DUST 514 HAV Pilot’s Guide
DUST 514 HAV Pilot’s Guide by 0 Try Harder
Before one even enters a HAV, a little preparation can go a long way. A few simple steps can prevent the loss of millions of ISK.
Every HAV pilot’s dropsuit needs to have a [REPAIR TOOL] I cannot emphasize this enough. I have starting players lose their HAV because they did not bring a repair tool into the battle.
Cheap and easy setup:
(Extra low slot of choice, but preferably used for another Kinetic Catalyzer. The second Kinetic Catalyzer may be too hard to fit.)
Logistics Type-II, Logistics B-Series, and the god of all suits: Logistics vk.1
You may have noticed, but I believe that the Logi suit is the best suit in the game for almost everything. The logi suit is the best suit a pilot can use.
I have played around with various combinations of weapons. Here are two setups which I have had the most success with.
Light Weapon: Shotgun
Light Weapon: Mass Driver
AV grenades have the highest DPS of any AV weapon. Enemies must be close to a vehicle to successfully use AV grenades. AV grenades are a high priority threat.
Forge Guns and Swarms are two other AV weapons. If a forge gunner or swarm launcher is hundreds of meters away and targeting a HAV, the best way to deal with this threat is through teammates, the HAV’s main gun, or simply retreating.
If enemy AV is close, and it frequently is, the enemy AV usually stays behind a hill or wall in a position that is hard to reach while piloting a tank. Infantry can easily reach enemy AV, but tanks have to worry about a number of things, including AV grenades and allowing enemies to enter the HAV’s dead zone. Sometimes the best option is for the pilot to exit her HAV and kill the enemy AV on foot.
What are some of the problems with killing enemy AV on foot?
The first (and most obvious) is that the pilot is abandoning her vehicle, thus making it an easy and stationary target. This may not be as bad as it seems. If an enemy swarm launcher/AV grenade nanohive jerk just on the other side of a wall, hill, or corner, he will have trouble hitting the pilot’s HAV if he is getting shot at. He will have even more trouble hitting the pilot’s HAV if the pilot is between the enemy and her HAV.
The second problem is the pilot may die, leaving the enemy free to hack or blow up her HAV. This is a chance that one sometimes has to take.
For quickly killing nearby enemies, a shotgun is a normal choice. Many people have seen the (n00b) shotgun scouts, and I have too. I decided to try it out. I found out that even a proto scout be annihilated by a PROTO heavy who has high SMG or scrambler pistol skills. The heavy may also have a friend who can also take you out. Yes, you need to kill the enemy AV ASAP, but a scout suit is not the answer to your problems.
The logi suit is. Yup, that’s right. Logi. Put as many Kinetic Catalyzers on a logi suit as possible. A pilot will quickly discover that she can easily out-sprint a normal scout. What’s even better is that the logi vk.1 dropsuit has better base stamina control than the scout dropsuit.
Stamina Recovery Rate: 24.0 /s
Sprint Speed: 7.4 m/s
Sprint Duration: 19.8 s
Stamina Recovery Rate: 18.0 /s
Sprint Speed: 7.8 m/s
Sprint Duration: 19.5 s
If a pilot needs to sprint to a target, kill the target and then sprint back to her HAV, the Logistics suit is a clear winner. 0.4 m/s sprint speed is traded for more stamina, faster stamina recovery, and longer sprint duration. What makes the logi suit even better is that it has 1 more high slot, 1 more low slot, more pg, and over one hundred more CPU than the scout suit does. So go ahead, equip Kinetic Catalyzers, and watch your enemies crap their pants as a Logi with over 400 HP sprints towards them at over 9 m/s.
I included the mass driver build because it has excellent explosive damage. Heavies tend to have higher armor totals than other classes. A flux grenade will knock off a heavy’s shield, and the mass driver’s explosive damage will finish off the heavy with ease.
Mass drivers also have longer range and ( possibly) higher damage for a direct hit than a shotgun. A mass driver’s splash damage can also compensate for a missed shot. The downside is that it has an arc, and the round travels slowly. It is extremely hard to hit enemies who have the high ground with a mass driver, especially if they are taking advantage of a ledge, and do not allow you to exploit the mass driver’s splash damage.
That, coupled with the Mass Driver’s higher PG and CPU cost, makes me favor the Shotgun over the Mass Driver. And with a sprint speed as fast as I have, I can usually compensate for the shotgun’s poor range.
I use a Specialist Shotgun. It requires a mere 24 CPU and 2 PG. This lets me fit better Kinetic Catalyzers. The downside to the Specialist Shotgun is its low ammo capacity. This is not a problem for a HAV pilot, because it is a weapon that does not see frequent use. A pilot should stay inside her HAV if she can.
So what about contact grenades?
In case anyone does not already know this, the Merc Pack gives you 50 Fused Locus Grenades. These are contact grenades. Fused locus grenades explode when they come in contact or within range of an enemy. Many players do not wish to spend $20 on a merc pack, but if you have, you should definitely save them for important corp battles. Planetary Conquest is coming out soon, so save your expensive items for when you will see more of a reward for using them.
I do not know if Contact Grenades are better than Flux Grenades on this suit. I would guess that they are, but it is not something that I have tested. Sadly, CCP does not offer these grenades through the marketplace. They cannot be purchased with AUR. CCP has stated that a player-run market will come out, and players can sell items to each other.
The merc pack also comes with the HK4M Shotgun. This is a shotgun that requires Level 0 Shotgun skill, but has the same stats as a prototype shotgun. I have heard that it may have less kick than a proto shotgun, but this is something that I cannot confirm. As one can imagine, this shotgun is better than the specialist shotgun that I have equipped to my suit. Use it if you desire (corp battles!) but keep in mind that it does require more PG and CPU than the specialist shotgun. You may need to change your other mods to fit this.
High and Low Slots:
Shield tank duh! XD
Put a shield extender in every high slot. The objective is to kill your target, then make it back to your HAV without dying. You may also be to survive long enough to repair your HAV and then escape. Either way, shield extenders are the best high slot mod by far. There is no need for shield recharge or other similar mods.
Many players fit one damage mod along with their shield extenders. I have found that the shotgun can one shot almost anyone, and can easily two shot proto heavies if I place both shots in his head. This is with no damage mods, L2 shotgun skill, and L3 weaponry. Simply put, the shotgun does not seem to see the same benefit from damage mods that other weapons do.
Damage mods also require more CPU than shield extenders, but less HP. I prefer to fit the best Kinetic Catalizers I can, so my fit works better with pure shield extenders. I keep optimal ranges in mind, as it is important to be within or as close as possible to a weapon’s maximum optimal range. Faster sprint speed means that I can reach my optimal range faster, thereby doing more damage. From what I have tested (with other weapons) I see a significantly large DPS increase by using a damage mod, but it is not like I are just losing the entire 10% damage if I do not have it on.
A rough estimate, but I can probably get 8 to 9% more damage by using a 10% damage mod than without. Again, completely situational, this is not something you should write down in a book, but you can keep this in mind if you do tests yourself. I also have Level 0 Light Weapon Sharpshooter, so my optimal range is significantly smaller than almost anyone else’s. I also have L3 weaponry, so I cannot even buy a 10% damage mod on this character =] Make the best with what you have! (note: I do my weapon tests on both my main and my alts, which have higher weapon skills.)
Obviously, a Repair Tool!
Yes, 90% of the time a pilot’s shield HAV catches fire, she is dead. Yes, a pilot’s armor tank has an armor repair module, but what if it is on cooldown, and needs a second or two until it can be activated again? Sure, a blue dot might jump into the pilot’s seat and steal her HAV, but if the pilot’s HAV was at the point where she needed to exit the HAV to repair it, does it matter? Is it not better to risk having a blue dot steal a HAV, or someone coming with AV to finish the HAV off, than it is to have a 100% chance of the HAV exploding?
I have done a number of solo battles where I have simply jumped into a blue dot’s HAV. (I have crazy high turret skills, and I can get out to kill AV :>) Since blue dot HAVs tend to die minutes after they are called in, I like to use my free suits unless I know the driver. Unfortunately, my free suits do not have a repair tool in them. There have been a number of times when I could have saved a friendly HAV, had I had a repair tool on my dropsuit. I always feel guilty when that happens. What is even worse is that the blue dot could have saved her own HAV had she carried her own repair tool too.
But the nice thing about the logistics suit is that even the Type-II has two equipment slots. I spend a lot of my time going over optimal this, optimal that, what is situational useful, how I can make sub-par gear or situations work better and compensate for a disadvantage, etc., etc.
I absolutely love having a second equipment slot, because it can be used for *whatever* I want it to be.
I’ll just run down a couple of things I have, or have thought about putting in that second slot.
Drop Uplinks: Quite possibly one of the most important equipment items anyone can have in a corp battle. It seems like one can never have enough.
Nanite Injector: Ok, I have not even thought about using this one. If someone dies, they can get another player to res or something, I do not like to get out of my HAV if I do not have to. They can also use the drop uplink I just dropped. xD
Remote Explosives: With multiple uses, these bad boys are fun, easy to use, and explosive! Put them on objectives, on places where you think AV might go, the possibilities are endless!
Proximity Mines: Fairly ineffective against enemy HAVs for a number of reasons. I have been killed by them once, and that was when my Sagaris was already left with 600 HP of armor. Even a mass driver could have killed me.
However, these beauties shine against enemy LAVs. Heavies love to murder taxi around the field, but dropping a few proximity mines might make them think twice. I have come to love these things. I scoffed at them for the longest time, as people tried to use them against my HAV, but now these bad boys are my friends.
Since I’m pink and fluffy, or post on forums, or drive a HAV, enemy LAVs and the AV they carry seem to love me. I now use my proximity mines in a number of different ways. Mines can cover a weak or blind spot, but can also cover a means of escape. There are a number of roads and crevices where enemy AV has to travel, or take a long route to avoid the road or crevice. If I lay prox mines at place along this road, and drive my HAV past the mines with enemy AV on my tail, the enemy AV has to walk the entire distance to try to catch up with my tank (RUN FATTY, RUN!) or sacrifice an LAV and/or call in a new one. All of this takes time, and that is time I am using to escape.
I will note that I do not use them in Tank vs Tank fights in pub matches. I would prefer to lose my HAV in a 1v1 tank battle, than to win by using prox mines (or something like help or AV grenades). The reason for this is simple. I want to get better, and I want to encourage more 1v1 vehicle combat.
If I end up having to rely on things like prox mines to win tank v tank fights, once the enemy figures out how to counter them I will be done for. And for corp battles, I now have a double advantage over my opponents because not only do I attempt to practice 1v1 tank v tank combat as much as I can, but I also can use things like prox mines and REs to give myself an even greater advantage.
I understand if other HAV pilots do not feel the same way. I have over 8mil SP invested in making my HAV the best tank destroyer possible. (Note: L3 weaponry, which I got a few weeks ago LOL)
but I am almost always available for 1v1 HAV duels ^.^
and last but not least, Nanohives. These are also important to have. I can put more explosives on the field. A maximum of three prox mines can be carried at a time, but six can be active on the field. I can also use nanohives to replace mines that have exploded.
In pub matches, I want to destroy any supply depot I can. This is a safety issue. My teammates may express some displeasure, but I can help them out by dropping a few nanohives to compensate for the lost supply depot.
Hopefully aspiring HAV pilots will find these tips useful, and be able to keep their HAVs on the field for slightly longer. All of this may change in a week or two, when CCP redoes the SP system.