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  • The updated Light Assault class

    I just finished almost four hours of squad leading that included a fair amount of experimentation with the recently updated light assault. The TL;DR is that I'm going to be including them liberally in my squad compositions going forward.

    The primary change is the addition of the Rocklet weapon as a light assault tool. This thing is amazing. It's an extremely capable AV option against close range or static targets, and the secondary fire burst mode is devastating at close range and can be deployed at a moments notice. All its functionality can be used--completely unhindered--while hovering as well, so you can put yourself in a position that is very difficult for an enemy vehicle to respond from. For instance, if your heavies are being suppressed by splash damage, the light assault can hover above the surfaces being splashed and still engage with their Rocklet launcher

    The secondary change--which has a lot of fascinating and subtle implications--is the aiming while airborne when using carbines. You get hipfire accuracy while flying now, allowing full use of vertical movement in close range fights. This impacts breaches, defenses, interior combat, and offensive pushes on high ground. The main thing this does for the light assault in a squad context is give the light assault a clear role in a firefight of providing a novel angle of attack in all situations, without having to go places the rest of the squad can't follow.

    LAs previously had a few major downsides that caused us to eschew their use. If you attempted to integrate the old light assault into the standard high cohesion, medic heavy TG play, you were either inviting an undisciplined player to wander off and leave the squad short handed, or you were actively undermining all the unique value of the class and leaving it as a less capable heavy without a rocket launcher or overshield, and only some meager situational utility to compensate. I feel, however, that this new kit defines a clear utility even in a cohesive squad, and brings their capabilities more in line with a heavy assault. In many ways, they serve the same purpose, they just do it in a differerent way; you can freely substitute heavies for lights and vice versa.

    Here's my view on the roles the new light assault plays:
    • Rapid demolition, particularly of Sunderers. I believe they comfortably outdamage heavies in close quarters AV work, and can contribute in midrange (or long range against static targets) with their single fire mode. Also now very useful in a HIVE assault.
    • Air deterrence. They're not great at this (though I hear they're due for a buff in this regard), but a mag dump of 6 rockets is a solid smack on the nose for an ESF that gets too close, and becomes downright dangerous if multiple LAs are contributing.
    • Rapid reaction to close quarters vehicle threats. I can't count the number of times I've had a squad wiped or substantially cut down by a surprise Harasser, ANT, Lightning, Sundy or flash that decided to barrel through us or come for a close quarters attack. The Rocklet is very good for reacting to this; you can pull it out fast, dump a mag into the offending vehicle, and do this while jetting skyward in a way that makes you a difficult target and/or impossible to run down. The hovering also means you've got a good angle to engage the attacker, where heavies are often constrained by terrain when those enemies surprise them. Several times tonight we were engaged by enemies that would normally have been a potentially squad killing threat, but we were able to react faster and more accurately than we normally could. If heavies miss their dumbfire shots the reload will be too prohibitive, but the light assault is more flexible at this close range. This is a pretty valuable tool for open field engagements (not where you expected the LA to shine!)
    • Anti-MAX. They've always been this, but they've got a great new tool for it.
    • Increasing the surface area of the squad on engagement. When facing a threat the squad would normally spread sideways to get more guns on target and make it harder to hit the entire squad in one go. The airborne hipfire change means a carbine equipped LA can do this moving vertically, at least in a close quarters engagement, and if they get shot they still land somewhere the medics can pick them up. Interestingly, this holds up pretty well in open terrain as well, at least when the enemy is close. Obviously not helpful against distant targets.
    • Similarly, LAs can zipper through a doorway in a breach in a vertical direction, keeping their heads out of spots enemies might be pre-aimed at, improving the effectiveness of zippering by adding a vertical element, and possibly even evading people's notice as they have difficulty tracking an enemy hovering above them.
    • Covering approaches the rest of the squad cannot. Some of this is the old "stop the enemy LAs on the rooftops" job, but you can also do a lot of it when hovering (for instance, to cover a balcony above the squad without landing on it). Doing this job while hovering means that getting shot won't put your body out of medic's reach
    • When necessary, to go places the squad can't go and set up in positions they can't take. Again, that's the old job, but the new additions mean that this utility isn't the only thing the LA brings to the table.
    • Flash grenades for breaching rooms
    • Placing and destroying beacons in difficult to reach places
    Their limitations (versus heavies):
    • Limited AV utility against distant or fast moving targets
    • No overshield means heavies are going to win a slugfest and they have less staying power
    • Limitation to carbines makes them mostly only effective at close or mid range.
    • Their AA capabilities are limited to deterrence against large hovering targets or diving fighters at close range

    There's many possibilities I haven't explored yet (for instance, I haven't taken a look at the unlockable rocklet munitions at all). However, it's clear to me that the LA can consistently carry its own weight in a TG squad now, and their inclusion can make for a very flexible squad. An LA heavy squad with the regular scattering of support classes can, if they're disciplined enough not to leave their medics and engineers behind, be an incredibly fluid unit that moves over the battlefield less beholden to terrain and able to move with speed and aggression. They're still much more dependent on local spawns like beacons and Sunderers than other classes and squad cohesion loss is more likely, but with disciplined players that can be minimized and a lot of advantages gained.

    To sum it up; I believe the changes to the LA mean that it can be seamlessly swapped and mixed with the heavy assault class in our squad compositions. Some degree of mix will probably benefit us in all situations, assuming our LA players are disciplined enough to keep close. Heavies still dominate for long range sustained AV work and brute force combat scenarios. Light assaults are primarily valuable for their close range AV burst potential and their ability to let the squad engage from multiple angles, as well as their overall flexibility of position. A squad with a higher proportion of HAs will be a familiar ground pounding AV squad, where one or two LAs might be helpful in responding to sudden close range attacks. A squad with a high proportion of LAs will be a highly mobile shock troop force, not able to hold ground like we're used to but able to flow around a fight better and--if it can close with enemy vehicle assets--a powerful close range demolitions team. In particular, an LA dominant squad is a phenomenal fit for an anti-logistics squad or a Galaxy drop on a Sunderer.

    I highly encourage all our SLs to experiment with the Light Assault in their squads, with the caveat that you need to remind your SMs not to wander off and lose squad cohesion. It feels like there's a ton of potential to be had here!




  • #2
    I've been thinking about the role of the LA in our squads some more; I think it might be more useful to frame it in terms of what situations you want to employ them (or not employ them):
    • Long Range AV: Limited utility for primary task. If you're going to be open country where a Harasser, flash, or other vehicle ambushing and closing on the team in close quarters is a credible threat, then one or two LAs might be helpful for perimeter security at the cost of not being able to contribute to the primary mission. In this situation, the job of the LA is to jet upwards when a close vehicle contact occurs and use that vantage point to spam rocklets. Heavies, especially those equipped for long range AV, might have limited field of fire due to terrain and confusion, but the LA's jets will let them more reliably engage the close range ambushers.
    • AA: LAs provide a small amount of flexible AA, but they're useless for air denial. Don't bring them for this, but they might be able to bat an overly aggressive ESF in the nose and scare them off for you. Nice when it happens, do not count on it.
    • Rough terrain AV: In tight quarters with lots of intervening geometry, the rocklet launcher shines and the LA can be helpful against the sporadic infantry contacts you can expect. In particular, an LA can jet up behind a rock or hillside, fire rocklets accurately, and then drop down. In the same situation, a heavy might find themselves suppressed by infantry or splash from vehicle weapons, LAs are a bit more resistant.
    • Anti-sunderer: A high LA proportion will serve you well here, whether your dropping on the Sunderer or moving across the ground to assault it. The rocklet works just fine for killing deployed Sunderers at any range, and is extremely effective up close. Additionally, attacking from a hover will further confuse enemies defending the bus; it's easy to miss a hovering LA entirely if you're busy shooting at ground bound elements.
    • Point Assault: LAs are helpful here. Building breaches can include a vertical element, high ground found around buildings can be held, cleared, or watched more effectively. Opportunistic Sunderer attacks are a good opportunity for Rocklet attacks.
    • Point Hold: Light assaults don't bring a whole lot to a static defensive position unless allowed to roam and potentially be picked off. During a rush a light assault can jet to the ceiling and take advantage of the confusion. Don't bring too many.
    • Base Demolition: I'm not 100% clear on how the resistances and overall DPS stack up on the Rocklet, but they do tolerably well in knocking down turrets from a distance and the mag dump is very effective for rapid module demolition. Doesn't hurt to have C4 on hand. Light assaults are useful in a direct infantry assault on a HIVE base, but if you're just going to knock it down from a distance heavies are preferred. Falcon MAXes are better than either, obviously. However, I've lost a lot of base assaults because some harasser or ANT came out of nowhere and mowed the squad down, and THAT'S something an LA or two can help with.
    Like I've said elsewhere, I'm starting to think of light assault and heavies as a similar "class" for the sake of squad composition, that you swap out instances of the same way you'd swap your lockons for dumbfires. Rough terrain or close contacts make LAs more helpful. The more you expect of either, the higher the proportion should be. I don't feel like you should usually be 100% of one or the other without a really solid idea of why you'd like to be; HA's and LA's are now fairly complimentary in how they work, and the benefits LAs bring are minimized without more static ground pounders to hold people's attention and serve as a more reliable (if less flexible) infantryman.

    That's my thoughts from a few days of messing with them; I've only got about 7 hours with them, though, so I expect that my opinions are going to change as we go. I would be very interested to hear other's thoughts and experiences.



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    • #3
      Rayscout LAJesus here [Thats a quote From Mackhan btw] just like to add in my thoughts

      First off the various ammo types
      Default: Great all rounder, and does a surprising amount of damage, more than i thought the la would be able to get out of an av tool for light assault most av situations the range over other options is pretty much needed, and whilst it doesnt go super far, your ability to hit vehichles in semi is definitely need, also if you can mag dump a max thats half his health gone, at least for now. Swatting at a low altitude mosquito/scythe with a rocklet dump is also enough to send the pesky critter with its tail between its legs it seems, because the rocklet will air det just like flack rounds just with more damage, alternativeley though your probably only gonna be able to get 4 of your six rounds to air det, but it is still very usefule
      Typhoons: Think of these as your pocket decimator, if the decimator shot six rockets in the arc and speed of a softball launcher, tremendous damage if you can get close enough, great complement to c-4 and perfect for wrecking crew type squads alternatively these are the prefered ammunitions for base destruction as well and actually might be the best tools other than falcon maxes for takeing down bases, its easy to get the arc right due to a bases stationary nature
      Locklet: Oh boy The one ammo type your probably gonna want to avoid. lockelets are fun... when they work, locklets can let you lock on to vehicles, if the vehichle is stupid enough to let you do it in the first place, you can lock on to air, hahahahaha if the aircraft is moronic enough to hover in what feels like the range of an air-soft gun. basically my issue with these is this, the entire point of a lockon is to increase the range of your av potential by allowing you to hit what youd normally have to compensate for and wouldn't be able to because the vehicle is moving. on top of it the semi nature means more often than not your targets going to escape and you still have half your mag left meaning you barely tickled the machine, until it receives a little bit of a range buff avoid them like the plauge. I would have much prefered to see a sort of grenade launcher type ammo for damageing infantry or at least suppressing them think 2-3 splash shots to kill and a slower fire rate with out the magdump ability

      Frankly I think the rocklet rifle is just what the la class needed
      and now on to a little bit of strategy

      -If your engaging a vehicle at a sort of awkward medium distance range fire of 3 rounds in semi than mag dump it will be quicker than firing off the entire volley in semi, and wont have the absolutely huge cof by the end of the dump.
      - often times it is more useful to mag dump and miss 2 or 3 of your 6 shots than to it is to go semi and and only land one or two rocklets, because the vehicle is fleeing.
      - The actual cof of the rocklet on mag dump is slightly smaller than the the final display on your hud would actually lead you to believe and the bigger the hitbox of the vehicle the longer at range you can reliably mag dump and hit for instance a sundy is easier to hit with a dump at a little bit longer than a lightning
      -when utilizing typhoons remember that even within mag dump range you have to account for drop slightly "Yes typhoon drop is that bad" - but definitely worth learning for the shear damage
      -popping over a rock with a quick dump is often a great way of assisting your squad if there being surrounded by splash wielding vehicles
      -with the addition of the rocket rifle the la is now THE GO TO CLASS FOR MAX HUNTING. remember this. some may argue its the heavy but lets be honest c-4 plus rocklet dump equals a dead max. but honestly the rolls are pretty changeable with the heavy here.
      -when going drop hunting (load up in a gal with dumbfire stuff and splosives) it is useful to float above the target whilst the rest of the squad engages, not to be a jerk but you might be the last one alive because your floating to make or break killing that target.

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