Heroes in the Sky Gunner Tips and Tricks
Heroes in the Sky Gunner Tips and Tricks by kabukikitsune
Greetings. As most already know, in the game I fly a gunner. My K/D ratio isn’t bad, but let’s face it, it could be better.
Now, if you’ve just hit twelve and are looking for a gunner, or you’re an experienced player looking for a challenge, this guide is the one for you. However be warned, there are some things this guide will NOT do.
1.) It will not list names of guns, or missiles for you to equip.
2.) It will not tell you what armor to use.
3.) It will not tell you how to totally equip your plane. It will give suggestions however.
4.) It will not tell you any secrets or exploits that are against the rules.
So you wonder, why bother? Well maybe because what this guide WILL do.
1.) It will tell you how best to use your plane effectively.
2.) It will tell you what you can expect from the experience.
3.) It will tell you some tricks that can help you get a leg up on the opposition.
With that, how about we begin? First of a bit of notes about the gunner aircraft.
The gunner is often mistaken for a bomber. As a new gunner pilot, you will find time and time again pilots will mistake you for some lumbering low lvl bomber. You can, at higher levels, use this to your advantage. However, do not expect to always be accepted. You will get kicked from rooms. Don’t let that get to you, just move on to another one. Not every player understands what gunners are, and thus, some just equate two engines with bomber. Hopefully, as the game progresses there will be some more education on the subject, but for now you just have to deal with it.
The second thing to note is that while your gunner can carry bombs, it is not suggested that you do so. Especially in PvP combat, the few seconds it takes to go through your weapons: Ie: Cannon, Missile, Bomb, can be the difference between life and death of your plane. Leaving the bomb off will also make you more agile, at least at higher levels where the bombs start having effects on your aircraft. Lastly, leaving the bomb off prevents accidents, the most common being you drop a bomb instead of firing a missile off at a target. Mistakes can be fatal, so this is not something you want happening. In the end, it’s easier to just not chance it and leave the bomb off; than it is to have to deal with it in the first place.
Lastly, you can expect to be shot down often. The early gunners are very slow, and until you start equipping special and unique engines and propellers, you are not going to be able to out turn or out fly most of the other planes out there. In fact, the newbie fighters are far more maneuverable than the gunner aircraft. However, as your skill grows with practice, you will learn the few nuances for dealing with fighters. Since you don’t have all the time in the world though, this guide will help you get a jump start.
Armaments: What to equip for what battle, what to expect, and why.
Unlike other aircraft, the Gunner is a purpose built plane. They are intended to engage bombers at long range, using their missiles to whittle down the target’s defenses, before closing in with their cannon and guns and finishing off the target. Typically speaking, a gunner is not intended to duel with a fighter, though in a pinch the planes can do just that. Most gunners are actually based off of old bomber designs, and thus they can carry heavier weapons and armaments than the average fighter. Though slow and ungainly, the sheer power that one can dish out makes up for the difference.
So, what is the best armaments to equip you might be wondering. As I said, I won’t tell you exact names, but I can tell you types.
Machine Guns: (MG).
You are going to want two of these. Typically speaking you want the forward firing one to have a slower rate of fire, but higher DPS. As with most MG’s the trade off for rate of fire (ROF) is damage output. The slower the ROF, the higher the damage. Since your forward mount is going to be doing the most work, you want it to put out the most damage. It’s there to work in conjunction with your cannon. As your level raises, this is the gun you will need to update the most, since more effective weapons come available for you over time. Power and Supply guns work well in this slot. Rapid is passable, but not recommended.
Your second MG is going to be your Tail gun, or TG. The Tail gun needs to be mid range dps, but HIGH speed. Keep in mind this gun isn’t controllable by you, but is instead used to discourage aircraft from chasing after you. You will find that as time progresses, you get a number of kills from it, but you shouldn’t really rely on it for that. Instead, most gunner pilots use the gun as a way to notify them (beyond radar) when an enemy is within gun rage. The old adage being, if I can shoot you, you can shoot me. Since you can’t control it, many gunners find it tempting to put a high dps weapon in this slot. However, as you continue in the game, you will find that this doesn’t do you much good, since in the time it would take the TG to shoot down an enemy, you yourself are shot down. Instead you want a quick burst of damage, enough to make the enemy think twice about taking on the Gunner. In this slot, you want Rapid guns where possible, Supply if not.
Lastly is your Cannon. For the most part, gunners have more forward firing cannon than MG’s. Due to this, you will find yourself relying more on the cannon for kills than on the MG’s themselves. With this in mind, you should always place the highest DPS cannon you can find in this slot. Speed of the weapon does not matter, since in the end you will also have your main MG firing. What you want instead, is a hard, heavy punch. Something to pierce through the enemy’s armor, and to do the most damage. In higher levels, you can actually get cannon with the “Pierce” ability to bypass armor. If you run across one of these, you should save it. Color of the gun doesn’t matter in the long run, since as long as it has high DPS, then the cannon will get the job done.
Your missile is, though many gunner pilots rely heavily on it, your secondary weapon. The Missile is used to reach out and tag someone just before they bank away, or to take advantage of an enemy pilot that isn’t paying attention. Missiles do not do a ton of damage, but some are “Rapid” and can reload faster, allowing you the gunner to spam them. Typically speaking however, you want to place the fastest reloading missile on your plane, since in truth you will only be using these to weaken your enemy. Always keep in mind when looking for a new missile, that it is possible for pilots to avoid these. If you rely heavily on it, you can expect to be at the bottom of the killboard (not mine ) every match. Instead you need to find a happy medium. You want a missile that has a high reload, and reasonable DPS, while at the same time good agility. Even if the DPS isn’t reasonable, high agility missiles can be worth the trouble to load, since nothing quite unnerves someone like having to run from something that matches their turns.
Armor, Engines, and Propellers.
Coming from fighters, we all learn that speed is life. However, for gunners that’s not always the case. In fact, most gunner pilots will tell you that they would prefer to slug a fight out with the enemy, as opposed to maneuvering, turning, jinking, and trying to get behind the next person. For gunner pilots, life is a series of slow looping turns, dives after vulnerable targets, and periods of rapid, seat of your pants firefights, interspersed with a heavy dose of looking for the next target. Even when you have a fighter on your tail, the experienced gunner is sucking everything in hoping his armor holds out just a bit longer so he can get that kill he’s chasing.
So, what armor is best then?
In the end it all comes down to style. Most gunner pilots will tell you that more is better, and for the starting out pilot this is true. As your experience and skill builds though, you’ll find yourself looking for something else. Something that isn’t quite as heavy, but still has the same power. The quest is never ending, but over time you will find armors that allow for your agility, and some that help with your speed. The experienced pilot will tell you that armor is a trade off. The more you put on, the slower your plane goes. The less you do, the more a target you become. However there is a trick that you can use to offset this. Skilled pilots have been using this since the game came out, and now it’s time for you to learn it.
The trick is simply called “cancelling.” Here’s how it works. Gunner pilots who want heavier armors, ones that have – speed, and – agility effects on them, will often look for engines that have corresponding buffs on them. Meaning + speed, and + agility. Since the two effects would cancel out, this allows the gunner pilot to carry the heavier armor, while at the same time retaining his original speed. When you start getting into the Unique armors and engines, you will often run across two items which can be used together like this. However, even with base line armors and engines, it’s still possible to use the canceling effect. It just takes a little work and time to sort out what works best.
Fighter pilots all talk about speed. Faster and faster they want to go, and when they look to a Gunner pilot, they laugh. Slow and steady, the gunner is often bypassed. Yet, what they get in speed, they also get in overheat. The faster they go, the shorter their boost is. When building your first gunner, you will find yourself using your old fighter engine. This is passable till you get better, but you shouldn’t expect to be effective like that for long.
Instead what you want to do is find an engine that has a higher temperature rating. The higher that rating is, the longer your plane can boost without overheating. It is entirely possible for you, in your first gunner, to have enough boost to not only catch up to the fighter that just left you, but to over shoot him if you’re not careful. Finding those special engines takes time, but the Gem you put into them will repay you several fold as your experience and skill grows. Typically speaking you should change out your engine ONLY when you see something significantly better come along. If you find an engine that is one or two points above what you have, changing isn’t going to do you that much good. However if you have a +5 engine, and see a +17. Then yes, you want to buy the +17.
Your propeller is perhaps the most useful bit of hardware you will have. Depending on the one you have, you will find that it adds to your agility. What does that mean? Simple. It means that you can turn quicker.
Skilled pilots will tell you that while turning battles with fighters never end well for the gunner, by the same token if you can turn BETTER than the fighter, you should try to do so. The quicker you can bring your guns to bear on the target, the quicker you get the kill and the fighter goes spiraling into the ground.
Finding +agility propellers isn’t going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be a hard grind at first. The stock propellers work, but you should always keep your eyes open for something better. Unlike your engine, if you find a propeller that is only marginally better than your current one, you should still purchase it. Let’s face it, in turning battles, even if you have a few scant points over the other guy, you can still use that to your advantage to win the battle. It just takes skill, and practice.
Tactics: What works, what doesn’t, and Why.
Tactics are something that every pilot talks about. For the average fighter pilot, there’s really one one main tactic. Get behind the guy and shoot him down. In the long run, that’s what works best for them. However, for the gunner, each battle is a series of small skirmishes; each of which may require a different tactic.
Some of the more experienced gunner pilots will tell you that they have different tactics for each type of plane they are fighting; while others like myself use different tactics for each situation. Both ideas are right, but as this is my guide, I’m only listing my own personal tactics and their names. These are tactics which I use, the situations, and my reasonings.
Tactic 1: Hit and Run.
Hit and run is a quick tactic based off of something that Germany actually used against bomber formations over their homeland. Fighters and gunners would dart through the formation of planes, firing a series of blasts at whatever targets they could, before passing on through and circling around. However, in HIS (Even in OW) you rarely find a situation where you have a large organized group of planes. Yet, the Hit and Run tactic is still viable in many situations. The most common one, is when I see a higher level plane, one I do not think I can win a dogfight against. Instead, I will attempt to hit the plane with at least one missile, and then dart in to fire my guns at them, before turning and using my boost to get away from the enemy as fast as I can. With the high DPS of my cannon, and the mid range of my gun, it is possible for me to severely injure the enemy before I make my run. However, since I would likely lose any dogfight I get into, by leaving I allow myself to gain distance before circling around and moving in for another run. This tactic is best used in PvP and Occupational War.
Tactic 2. Treetop Level.
Treetop Level is a defensive tactic I use to combat other gunners, and some fighters. With gunners, the simple fact of life is that the ground mucks with the radar they use to target their missles. Since planes lose their agility and speed at this level, it becomes harder for smaller more agile planes to keep from crashing. Since my plane isn’t agile to begin with, I have a leg up on them and can use this to get away, or at least put some distance between them and I while I let my armor rebuild or take a breather from the fight. Also, few pilots are willing to dive after something so close to the ground, since the action would place them in a position with their rear elevated and tail vulnerable to attack from above. I use this primarily in Occupational War.
Tactic 3. Insertion. (Treetop Level 2.0)
Insertion is the tactic I use when during Occupational war, I am required to act as a ground attack aircraft. Much like TTL, I will fly in as low to the ground that I can, doing so for the defensive purposes. Since few pilots look down to see what’s coming, there is a chance I can get in before I’m spotted. The only difference here is that I will “pop up” to a mid low level to bomb, and will use my speed brakes to allow quick turns before running back in to continue my series of bombing runs. This is a no win tactic though, since it places me in a nearly defenseless position. However the high DPS count of my bombs offsets this, as does the abilities of my team mates. In many ways, Insertion is a suicide run, one where I expect to do much damage, but at the same time will not likely survive.
Tactic 4. Cut the corner.
Cutting the corner is a tactic I use if I find myself drawn into a turning fight with a fighter or other gunner. Since it is highly unlikely I will out maneuver the other plane based on speed and agility alone, I make use of my speed brakes to suddenly stop my plane and allow it to turn to the inside of the curve. This will usually bring my guns to bear on the enemy for a few split seconds, where I can unload my cannon and machine guns into them. With the cut finished, I then continue out of the turning fight, and speed away in a variation of Hit and Run, seeking to distance myself before turning around and reentering the combat. Cutting the corner takes a good deal of practice, and doesn’t always work. However against an inexperienced fighter pilot, or a slower one, it can be the difference between life and death. I use this exclusively in PvP.
Tactic 5 “Ma Bell.”
“Ma Bell” (so named for the old “Reach out and touch someone” theme) is a tactic I use almost exclusively in PvP. This tactic is more meant to rattle the enemy than do great damage to them. To enact “Ma Bell” I will seek to fire my missile at any enemy that I think is about to curve in and attack me. Typically, this will take around 200 points off the top of their damage, more so if I happen to get a critical hit. Especially with lower players, this attack is sometimes enough to discourage them from attacking me completely.
Tactic 6: Jinking.
Not to be mistaken for “Jinxing”, Jinking is a real world tactic which I use to make myself less of a target. Jinking, otherwise known as jinking and juking or simply juking, was a defensive series of maneuvers that was used by pilots in an attempt to spoil the aim of an attacking fighter who has managed to achieve an excellent tactical position. Consisting of a series of random slips, turns, dives and waggles using a craft’s control stick and the rudder. The idea behind jinking and juking was to avoid giving an attacking enemy a solid targeting lock; though the pilot of the attacking aircraft retained his advantageous position, the longer he was forced to concentrate on achieving a viable shooting solution, the less aware he became of the situation around him. This lack of situational awareness while focusing on a single enemy was sometimes known as ‘target fixation’; the danger of this was that it left a pilot vulnerable to counterattack from other fighters. I use this in all combat. Even missions.
Question 1. Which is better, Combat or Support gunner?
Answer: Depends on what you want to do. Combat gunners are, as their names suggest, more geared to combat with other planes. However support gunners are more aimed at supporting their comrades in Occupational wars and team combat. When first starting out, you don’t have much choice in this, but as your time in the gunners progress, you find yourself starting to have different choices.