[Guide] Shadowflight Loadout & Playstyle

Discussion in 'Light Assault' started by Iridar51, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Iridar51

    EDIT: Updated version of this is kept here: http://planethead.info/classes/light-assault-guide#shadowflight

    This is gonna be a bit of a ramble, I guess I got infected by CuteBeaver's habits.

    Recently I was playing a bit of Stalker Infiltrator to fish for melee kills, and it has dawned upon me.

    I always enjoyed stealthy gameplay in a shooter. I've enjoyed all Deus Exes for the perfect mix of stealth and shooter they are. Project I.G.I., Skyrim and Fallout 4. Stealthy gameplay wasn't viable in Oblivion and Morrowind, unfortunately. I'm sure there are other games that I just can't remember currently.

    The point is, stealthy gameplay is extremely rewarding and enjoyable in PlanetSide 2, because it's basically a free shooter with never ending supply of living, breathing opponents to outsmart and play mind games with.

    The most fun I had with Light Assault was when I was using Shadowflight loadout, and today I'm gonna explain exactly how and why you should use it.

    While some people see Light Assault as a CQC aggressive skirmisher, I don't really agree with it. LA just doesn't have the staying power to dive in danger and reliably come out alive in the end, and I don't condone suicide missions. Nor can LA reliably effect escape when things get too hot - jet packs are too slow for that.

    LA also can't reliably get good close range ambushes - not stealthy enough.

    But LA has mobility between engagements, and it's perfect for leading a series of mid range engagments on LAs terms.

    The general playstyle is very simple in theory, but it's all about execution.

    First, LA moves to the general area of the enemy and peeks from cover, looking for potential engagements. Then different things can happen:
    • LA sees an enemy in a vulnerable position, and he can easily take him out.
    • LA gets shot or spotted from his position, and then he has the option of retreating back into cover.
    Things can always go wrong. As LA, you don't get the luxury of knowing what you're getting into once you peek from that cover.

    That's why it's important to be able to engage straight away, without having to close the distance first. You need a fitting primary weapon for that, and this immediately rules out SMGs and shotguns, and for the most part - CQC carbines. We're gonna return to the weapon choice later.

    So you either peek from cover and get some kills, or you get shot. Either way, you wanna retreat back into cover and regain stealth, to later try to get another engagement from a different position.

    Regaining stealth here means disappearing without a trace for the enemy to follow. The enemy knows you're out there, or might be out there, but they got no idea where to look. It's like being cloaked, but without the cloak, so you can't just hide out in the open. Fortunately, you have a jet pack to take you to wonderful places. Be creative.

    Comparatively long TTK of PlanetSide 2 means that you're probably not gonna killed if you just take a quick peek to see if it's okay to come out and engage. Most players don't even have means to chase an LA, so as long you have that choice of engaging or retreating, you can poke for good engagements for days.

    A lot of the time, if the enemy knows where you are, it's not even worth starting a firefight. Some players are skilled enough and well equipped enough to just shoot and kill you even in partial cover, and that's why you need to restealth between engagements - you want to catch them off guard every time you shoot at them.

    So now let's talk about the weapon choice.

    We already ruled out all strictly CQC options, so this leaves us with with general purpose carbines such as the defaults and S carbines, and precision carbines like T5 AMC / Razor / etc.

    This is where things are splitting. I recommend using a suppressed carbine with Shadowflight loadout.

    While suppressor is certainly punishing, and it hurts your killing power a lot, it also has one of the greatest synergies with this Shadowflight playstyle.

    Suppressor has a twofold effect:
    • makes it easier to restealth between engagements
    • when you engage, it delays the response of the enemy you're shooting at and other enemies in the vicinity
    Sure, enemy knows that he's getting shot from a certain direction, but it's very different from knowing the exact position from the minimap. Tracers can give away the direction to you, but muzzle flash will give away your exact position.

    Additionally, at close range of ~20m, tracers don't render to well, especially when they are directed at someone. A lot of the time the enemy might stare you directly in the eye and not realize that you're the one shooting him.

    And if we are gonna be using a suppressor, we better use it on a weapon where it's gonna be the least punishing.

    Precision Carbines like Razor and T5 AMC are perfect for this. They got super high starting velocity and a great velocity benefit from HVA, so suppressor not gonna hurt velocity that much. Additionally, HVA's bonus to minimum damage range of 18m almost entirely compensates for suppressor's penalty of 22m to minimum damage range.

    Combine HVA and Suppressor with Advanced Grip and you get a very versatile weapon with easy recoil, serviceable hip fire, and good damage per mag. Exactly what you want in a mid range ambush weapon.

    Unfortunately, VS are somewhat shafted, as Pulsar C's velocity and HVA velocity bonus are far from inspiring. NS-11C doesn't help here either.

    If you don't like Suppressor, or you want a bit more firepower, I recommend the starting carbine with Flash Suppressor and Grip.

    For the implant slot, I recommend Counter Intelligence - it's great for restealthing. You know when you're spotted, and most of the time you know if you're lit up by motion spotter. This gives you a bit more control over your stealth.

    Alternatively, you could use Sensor Shield 4, if you have it. After all, motion spotters are probably the hardest counter to Shadowflight. The problem is high upkeep costs, low accessibility and unlike Counter Intelligence it doesn't give you information - you don't know when it's keeping you from appearing on the minimap, and when it doesn't.

    If you have neither, Regeneration is always a great filler, giving you a bit of sustain out there in the field.

    In the end, when you peek from cover you either get shot or you don't, and if you don't, you may as well engage, without caring if you're spotted or not.

    For the suit slot, as always, I recommend Nanoweave by method of exclusion being the most useful, and C4 for the utility to give you that power spike.

    Sidearm - any. The least important slot, in this case.

    I recommend sticking with Frag grenades. For all the buff Flash Grenades received, there's one thing Frags can do: clear out Motion Spotters and other deployables:

    Ideally, you also want a camo fitting for your potential cover. If you're gonna be using suppressor and engaging from a stationary position, good camo can add a lot to response time. But it's hard to get a fitting camo, since sometimes you're gonna be engaging from base walls, and sometimes from terrain, and sometimes be up against sky.

    Using no camo at all is just fine too. It's more stealthy than most people realize.

    The good thing about using a precision carbine here is that always gives you an option to engage. It's accurate enough to be competitive at most ranges except very long, it has acceptable hip fire, so even if you lose the positioning game, you always get a chance to outshoot the enemy.

    Ideally, you wanna stack as many advantages as you can for each engagement, but you're not helpless even when nothing goes in your favor. This is what makes Shadowflight different from shotgun and SMG loadouts.

    As you can see, there's a bit of wiggle room in primary weapon and implant departments. The main thing here is thought process, playstyle.

    Endless cycle of: poke for a good engagement -> engage -> restealth -> repeat

    And trying to keep the enemy at mid range. You never want a CQC fight with HA or MAX, and you always want to have an option of running away from a bad engagement. Naturally, you don't want to come indoors unless it's to contest an objective.

    I do believe that Shadowflight LA is the strongest and most versatile LA. It benefits from stealth greatly, but it's not an absolute crutch that he's helpless without.

    My old video, LA Basic Strategy Guide, explains a lot of what I said above:

    As demonstration, I can present few of my last carbine videos. None of them are actually with suppressor, and there's some risk taking, but the core idea remains.

    • Up x 2
  2. JohnProut

    That's pretty much how i do it too, except that i think using supressor without sensor shield 4 is kinda pointless, the benefit from not showing on minimap when firing is largely negated by all the darts, spotters, radars (not mentionning Q spotting). You can just get ride of it and try to stay outside 40m range to stay undetected (not easy to do i'll admit) and precision carabines will help you do that.
    Agree with you on carabine choice although i find supressed NS11C workable (with hva obv) + the added stealthy NS traits (sound, tracers). And i can't run c4 without regen implants, so i main medkits.
  3. Iridar51

    Motion Spotters can be taken out, though naturally with some risk involved. And all motion spotting systems can be negated by crouchmoving, which I tend to do a lot to stay off radar.

    The problem with Sensor Shield is that it's not a fire and forget solution, you can still by detected and / or manually spotted, and Sensor Shield doesn't even tell you that info. It's hard to tell just by minimap alone if it's okay to sprint or fly currently.
    • Up x 1
  4. JohnProut

    When I run sensor shield, I don't think too much about it, I just stop sprinting if i'm getting close to a spotter or darts. It's not 100% accurate for sure, but in the long run you stay off minimap way more often than without it. So it's a fire and forget outside 20m spotter range !

    Btw, if you sprint inside 20m spotter range, you get spotted, but ~1sec after stoping sprint (did some testing), you get off the map, so you don't really need to be extra carefull about range.
  5. repairtool6

    Iridar - just my opinion but - i know from the past that you dont really like burst-carbines, but at least for this specific playstyle i again implore you to give them another look. They are by far the best option for this type of play and really shine when played like you describe above. Its like they are specifically custom-designed to excell in this style of play - again i recommend to give it another try.
  6. Iridar51

    My problem with burst weapons is that burst mode's only purpose is to handicap the user. Whatever advantages the weapon has are due to superior raw stats - CoF and recoil.

    These weapons would become massively better if burst mode was replaced by full auto mode. Or if they're used with a click macro.

    What's the point of using an inherently flawed gun? Where its whole gimmick, which is supposed to make it unique and desirable, is actually a balancing handicap?

    An actual burst weapon needs to has delays between bursts and enough firepower and accuracy to kill a target in 1-2 bursts. Jackhammer is a real burst weapon.

    Current burst weapons in PS2 are not actually burst weapons, they are automatic weapons with a gimmick that you have to keep clicking to reach maximum rate of fire.

    After playing with SMGs, shotguns, crossbows and knives for so long - I AM DONE using impractical crappy weapons. I want a simple and functional weapon and burst weapons are not it. I already have an auraxium with TRAC 5 Burst and I look forward to never using it again.

    My personal feelings aside, I do not believe burstfire carbines are in any way superior over precision (or any) carbines for any purpose, I would not use them, and I cannot recommend to anyone something that I would not use myself.
  7. Corezer

    I find the solstice burst to be somewhat of an exception to this. There is enough time between bursts to easily max the fire rate in those cases where you need it, while the tighter moving CoF can really help out in mid range engagements (most precision carbines are downgrades if you don't hold still) also when you aren't maxing out the fire rate there is a definite lowering of the amount of bullets I pump into their corpse before the server catches up and makes them fall down.

    I find it a side grade to the pulsar-c, even, with more emphasis on mid/long range, which is good, because the perks of the eclipse (infinite ammo, auto/partial loading) overlapped with what I kept the pulsar for (higher DPM)
  8. McMan

    Show as a video of Shadowflight in action pls :) possibly at night for the extra coolness
  9. Iridar51

    Yeah, I want to make a video for it, but I'm currently at "can't force myself to play PS2 to collect footage" stage :) Will be done eventually.