PlanetSide Jackhammer Guide
PlanetSide Jackhammer Guide by Kruhl
I haven’t had the time yet to go and get a bunch of screenies, and certainly not to make a movie or something, but I just can’t stand it anymore. I guess I just must be naturaly very good at the Jackhammer, because I can rip people apart like crazy with that gun, while I’m constantly hearing bitter complaints about how bad the gun is supposed to be. So, I’m going to make a small guide here to hopefully help all these guys out in learning how to use the gun properly. Later on (as in who the heck knows how long from now) I may make an in-depth guide, but for now I want to at least get SOMETHING out. Besides, I’m getting sick of seeing 80% of my allies losing all the time when they use the Jackhammer.
Just learned some VERY important stuff recently, so I decided to add it onto what I’ve already covered. I hope it helps you all out.
First of all, never, never, NEVER listen to the people who call this gun the n00bhammer. Is it powerful? Heck yeah! Can a n00b use it? Not unless they like having a 1/5 kill/death ratio or worse. The thing about this gun, is that among all the other heavy assault weapons, this one both has the highest potential for killing power, and at the same time by far the greatest numbers of weaknesses and strengh of each weakness. Thus, in reality, this weapon is one that is made to amplify one’s skill, and is definately NOT n00b friendly.
Range of use
The proper range of the jackhammer is when the avatar of your jackhammer is shoved into the avatar of your target. I’m not joking either. From the instant those pellets leave the barrel of your shotgun, you are already experiencing damage degredation. Unlike every other weapon type in the game, this gun has no free range before it starts up it’s rapid loss in damage. Thus, if you are not VERY close to your target, you are inviting death. In all honesty, if your enemy is in position to attack you from even medium range, RUN AWAY. You heard me. RUN… AWAY… You have no chance to win against even moderately skilled opponents, and that’s just all there is to it. I don’t care if it sounds cowardly, it’s better to run away and force them into a favorable situation than to be sent back to the spawn tubes and have to hunt them down all over again, in which case they can easily have the same thing happen all over again.
Agile or Rexo?
Both actually. Mostly agile though, but there are definatly times when you will need a rexo. The agile is far better suited to the many tactics you need to employ for the most part, really. However, there are times when your only choice is to charge down that hall full of bullets or lasher orbs, and you won’t be getting anywhere near your opponents without at least the armor of the rexo to shield you.
This is the single most important factor in any battle using the jackhammer. Anyone who understands that the jackhammer is a short ranged weapon WILL use this fact to win against you whenever possible. So then, since you can assume that no one is going to wait for you to run up to them before they start firing, how in the world are you supposed to be able to get that point blank range you need to win? Simple: ambush them. Suprise is the ultimate factor in getting that close range you need. This can vary greatly in how you need to be setting up your ambush, but one thing is almost always a must: 3rd person view. While you need to be in 1st person for the actually shooting, only in 3rd person can you set up true ambushes where they cannot see you, but you can can see them.
The Stair Well
In a stair well, almost everyone seems to know the simpler, less effective method of setting up the ambush. They stand right up against the wall dividing the steps, and use third person to see anyone coming. This isn’t that bad, it’s just that while this works on a large majority of people, it fails against two types of people: experts and lasher users. This is the reason why most NC complain about the lasher: their opponents lash their position simply by spamming the area… or do they? As a lasher user, you really don’t need to be emptying your clip before you meet up with your opponent, and thus you generally only spam randomly when guarding a door, not when running around a base or up the stairs. However, that little position next to the dividing wall often doesn’t completely hide you when they get to a certain range. That range is still well outside of your optimum range, and as a result they will start firing around the corner and kill you almost effortlessly with the lashes alone.
Instead, you are going to need to be aware of your circumstances enough to know from which side of the stairs your opponent is going to be coming from. With that knowledge in hand, get a little bit on the opposite side of that dividing wall. Practice it and mess around until you get the hang of it. If you do it just right, you can actually see a little bit around the corner the enemy will be coming from on the opposite side of the stair well while being around yet another corner yourself, well outside of their view until it is too late, even if they too are using third person. This also means that in the incident where someone really is just spamming around that corner just in case, you can easily take a step or two strafing away from the wall and be outside the lash range, in which case by the time they reach you they will more than likely be out of ammo. If there is just one person, you can also use their reloading time to pop out and tear them up if they are at least half way up or down the stairs towards you, as you move much slower by moving backwards than turning around and moving forwards. And remember: don’t pop out at them until they are just about to turn that corner.
Indoor Ambush Points
There are two main kinds of indoor fights: massive zerg floods everywhere, and anything else. In the prior case, ambushes cannot be set up, and I will cover that area later on in the guide. For anything else though, once again it’s ambush time. Just like in the stair well, you can use third person to see around a bend in a hallway and set up an ambush. However, do NOT make the common mistake of using the small alcoves as ambush points: alert enemies can easily spot you, and thus negate your chances of an ambush. The best places for ambushes though, are in the main rooms (especially tech plants), and in those square rooms with all the storage stuff sprawled about.
This leads into another common mistake: hiding around those cross-section walls that make up the corners for each square. While slightly more effective than the niches in the hallways, they too are flawed, and often you may be spotted ahead of time. Instead, find places around the crates and such where you will have more room between you and the edge of your cover. If you do use one of those cross-sections, make sure you have plenty of room from the edge of your opponents’ line of sight around the wall based on their possible paths of approach. If you set this up right, you will be rewarded with the best kind of ambush of all: a back attack. By the time they realize they are getting hit, rule out anyone in front of them, rule out anyone to the left or right, and make the full turn around, alot of times they will either already be dead or very close to it, especially against agile users. Done properly and assuming they don’t have too much backup, you can even get a half dozen or so kills without too much trouble, even in an agile without anything other than a few medkits to keep you alive.
There are several main rooms, each with it’s own ambush points. Remember: BE CREATIVE! Just because I didn’t mention it, doesn’t mean it can’t be a good ambush point. The exception to this is descending from above: if you can just walk forward and drop down, that’s great, but if you have to jump some sort of railing, don’t do it. The jackhammer’s CoF doesn’t go down THAT quickly, and jumping always makes your gun’s CoF go straight to maximum, no matter which gun you are using. That aside, I’ll start with the worst type first: Bio Labs. The only cover in there is near the mods, and what with that being a nice, clear, indestructible glass pane, it’s not very good for ambushes. However, if you are willing to take the risk of getting blown to bits after you kill your opponent by tank shells, then you can use a type of ambush that works well with any door to the outside. Just watch the little red dots on your radar: when go up to the side of the door to try to hack it, they become VERY vulnerable, unable to do anything but die. Most people just carry around the REK so they can open doors and granny hack, so alot of times they will be stuck with their REK out, unable to even pull out a gun. Even if they are an Adv. Hacker, if you do it quickly you can catch them off guard while they are switching back to their main gun.
Then theres the Dropship Center type of main room. Here, you have a few ambush points, but each of them has a weakness: if your allies aren’t covering the upper doors, which don’t have decent ambush points for you to use, then your opponents can catch YOU off guard and attack from above where you can’t really retaliate. The main ambush point is just around the wall in front of the primary entrance: use third person, and try to find a good spot along that wall where you can pop out. Try to mix up which side you jump out from so that they don’t know for sure where you’ll attack from. If they are attempting to spam plasma ‘nades, watch carefully for where the grenades are going. Since it takes 2 seconds from the time they are fired to detonation time, if you are alert enough you can move around to avoid their splash before they go off. Don’t worry about having to move back from your ambush point a bit to get to safety: even if your opponent does pop in there, they will be hit by their own team’s plasma grenades, softening them up for you enough to make up for the slight loss in initial range of ambush. If it’s maelstrom grenade spam, then either stay out of the way, or if it’s crowded enough to where your allies keep getting most of the room chain-lashed, just stay away from where they are, perioud. Also, if you are being spammed by the maelstrom in an area where your opponent cannot readily get another one, do your best to take the guy out, and soon. Once they goe down, unless someone else rummages through their pack, you won’t have any more maelstrom spam to worry about. Other good spots include around the corner in the short, L-shaped hallway leading to the stairs, as well as any other good cover from sight you can find.
There’s only 1 position that really works in the interlink main room, but it’s a really great one. The main entrance has to go through not one, but two sets of doors! As a result, a few things happen: first, they are completely and utterly blind coming in. Getting into melee range is a breeze, but just don’t get too close to the wall. Untill the devs fix explosions going through walls, you can actually take damage THROUGH that wall in there! That aside, it is a very well shielded spot where very few if any plasma ‘nade spam can reach you, and where your opponents generally can’t see you until you can take advantage of the ambush point. What’s even better, is that your non-ambush making allies make for a nice distraction, allowing you to frequently attack from behind. The downside to this is that your less accurate allies may frequently kill you, but that’s just what happens. If they are really that bad, it won’t be too long before they get weapons’ lock, so just spawn back in, head back to your ambush point, and try not to get too pissed off by their incompetence. Also, ‘ware the upper doors once again.
Finally, is the ever fun tech plant. This one really has 3 main entrances: the real main entrance, the vehicle entrance, and the air pad entrance. Whatever you do, do NOT go into the vehicle entrance! MCGs can easily hang back and pick you off, and Lashers can even hit you from below the grates via lash damage! Don’t worry though, the other two main entrances more than make up for this weakness. First, the air terminal room. This one has some advantages and some disadvantages. The nice open windows and clear glass panels ruin a large amount of ambushing, but provide lots of cover that forces your enemy to come to a favorable distance. There is also a nice little spot in the back of the room where you can actually hide, but the disadvantage is that it can take a bit to get out of your cover to where your enemies are running by, so it’s not necessarily a good one. It IS a nice place to put a router pad when attacking though…
And of course, my all time favorite, the actual main entrance. There are quite a few places to ambush from here actually, albeit less for jackhammer due to null range. First, if you go around the stairs going down to the entrance and instead go to that upper railing, you can get on top of the main door’s frame. While your range isn’t exactly optimal here, at least 90% of the people won’t even turn around to that angle to fire at you, making for a rather safe attack point. A better weapon for this position might be the gauss rifle or the thumper, but the Jackhammer is still very good there, and you can always just walk off the ledge and drop down behind your foes for point blank obliteration. Then there’s that first blind corner. It’s very easy to set up a nice spot there and pick off the weakened opponents as they rush for cover from the people up in the railings. You can also use the railing in that area as a good spot for attack, but ambush is a bit harder, as you will be more relying on your opponent not looking all the way to the back, as well as to the top of the stairs like they normaly do, than on any cover that might be there.
Outdoor Base Defense
By now you’ve probably noticed these strategies are entirely defensive. That’s because I’m still going over the Ambush section, and quite frankly ambushes work by having your enemy come to you, not the other way around. The sad part is, this means that NC are incredible defenders with the jackhammer, yet because so few anymore have any clue what they are doing, alot of times they will just up and abandon defending a base. This means that they are missing out on the best bep rates of all, as well as the rather high possibility of pushing out of the base. Next time it looks like you will lose that base, do the NC as a whole a favor: stay until the end. Trust me, you’ll get lots of bep if you know how to use the jackhammer very well, and you might even push the enemy back out and help turn the tides of battle.
Back on topic though, outdoor base defense is another great one, assuming you know what you are doing. You will need to get to the upper walls and ledges, as these are your staging points. When moving along the outer wall, make sure you remember to use those covering walls to hide behind while waiting for your prey, as crouching down doesn’t always protect you too much. In this situation, 3rd person won’t be the thing you use to see your opponent. Instead, it’s time to watch your radar. Unless it’s a cloaker, any infantry that are approaching will inevitably be trying to do so quickly in order to avoid fire from up above. In such, they will cause themselves to show up on your radar. Keep an eye on where those red dots are going. You need to wait for two things: first, for that red dot to reach the wall. Second, make sure that when you descend upon them, you have some cover between your ambush and others who are heading in that same path. Otherwise, while you probably will take down 1 or 2 people, you will soon be dead from long-range fire. Once you are set up, the plan is simple. Drop down from above, but make sure you aren’t jumping down. If you need to go over that railing, first jump up on top of the railing itself, and wait for your CoF to return. This will only take a half second or so, but it will be a massive boon to your accuracy. If there is a phalanx turret nearby, you can use the platform it is set up on as a method of avoiding the railing entirely. Also, when dropping try to manuever towards the wall, if you hit that little ledge on the way down, while you can’t actually stand there, it will negate any falling damage you would have taken. Don’t worry if you can’t hit it though, usually the damage is very small from the drop.
This ambush method works for both the inside AND outside of the courtyard along the walls. You can also use the upper ledges on the bases to drop on enemies who are closer to the inside of the courtyard, and a really great method is to drop down inside a cloaking bubble of an AMS. Since it IS after all cloaking, it also protects you from sight from people on the outside. Most people in there will be busy setting up CE or grabbing their gear. Also, consider dropping a jammer just before you descend just in case there is alot of mines in the area so you don’t just die as soon as you hit the ground, but be careful as the jammer can also disable that cloaking shield and make you more visible to your enemies outside of that field. You should also consider using the AMS itself as a shield against enemy fire where possible, forcing them once again to come and fight you on favorable conditions. These tactics can also work well in a tower battle by dropping down from the upper ledges onto your enemies, often taking down 3 or more before they can react to your attack if you do it right. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to take advantage of the weakness of grunts in those wall stairs trying to repair up or check the map or something.
Finally, there’s the trees. Use them as cover, use third person to look around, and use them as hiding points. Wait for that unsuspecting grunt to get a little too close to your ambush point, and ambush the sucker. Simple enough, but takes some practice to stay hidden from all your many opponents. I wouldn’t recommend skeeter dropping into the trees, as you’ll just have to come down anyways to get in attack range.
What About Offensive Tactics?
This is when things take a radical change, and the Rexo becomes the suit of choice. You just won’t have the opportunity for those ambushes, and thus can’t use any of the above tactics, but they will be replaced by new ones, that, while they DO work, they don’t work nearly as well. Actually, it’s kinda simple in concept, but a bit difficult in practice. If at all possible, get personal shield for this, it will help you dramatically. The basics of it, is that you are charging in and trying to get in close as you continuously fire. The catch, is that you have multiple enemies trying to kill you. Almost every time though, some poor sucker steps forward in front of the rest of the formation in an attempt to push forward, and in the process gives you something you really need: cover. That’s right, cover. Whenever someone strays a bit from the pack manuever yourself as quickly as possible to put them in front of their allies, essentially using them as a human shield. With your high firepower, you should be able to go through one or two people before you die each time, more if there are alot of agiles. Since the damage is suddenly turned down from multiple opponents to only coming from one opponent, who inevitably won’t have the DPS of your jackhammer at that range, you suddenly have just enough of an advantage to get that kill. The instant they go down, move straight to your next shield/victim, and so on until they all die or they manage to take you down. Also, all the above tactics have another use: breaking through lines of enemies when trying to push your opponents out of your base.
There are two areas here: who to go for, and how to take them down. Remember, the very high damage output potential of the jackhammer is very good at taking advantage of your opponents in their time of weakness. When moving through targets, try to get to the back as quickly as possible, as there you will find the people who are in the middle of repairing and healing, and these are the people that are the easiest to bring down. They can’t really fight back at that point, and they will also die quickly if they are already damaged. Always be on the lookout for people repairing, healing, or hacking something, or anything else that will keep them occupied, such as coming up from behind a sniper. Also, if you have allied MAXs nearby, your enemy will often switch over to anti-vehicular weaponry, leaving them vulnerable to your attacks. Finally, go for agiles over rexos. The less enemies around, the less their overall damage output. If the agiles get a chance to hide behind their well armored rexo allies, they can produce much more damage before they go down.
I’ve already covered pretty much what to do with a rexo, but what about the agile? It’s also rather simple in concept, and difficult in practice, just like the rexo strategy. Now, if all you are doing is attacking from behind, then do just that, perhaps with a little side to side strafing to throw off any allies that might try to help them. However, as soon as someone turns to attack, start circle strafing like mad at point blank. Circle strafing means you continually circling them while still facing them. At close range, they often will have trouble keeping their eye on you. Because of the screwed up nature of hit detection though, they will see a second or two ago instead of where you really are. Because of this, do NOT stop circling, even if it means you are about to move into their line of fire, because even though you may be standing behind them on your screen, on their screen they are probably standing behind you. Also, remember to duck into cover and reload as necessary. In fact, often you can pop out, drop the guy or two that came into your ambush, then go back into your ambush point and reload.
The Infamous Triple-Blast
Many people tell you that only n00bs use this. That’s not entirely true, and it’s not entirely false either. True experts and masters WILL use this, but they will only use it when they know for sure that it can be used to it’s fullest power. That means if your opponent can get beyond a foot or two from you, the triple blast suddenly becomes worthless. N00bs love to use this because they see others use it for one hit kills, and soon find that it really is worthless in most situations. In the right situation though, it will kill an agile in 1 round of shots, 2 if they move too quickly. Against the rexo, it will kill them in 2 or 3 blasts normally, but if you catch them just so and they don’t have personal shield up, you can potentialy drop a rexo user from full health and armor in one triple-blast. If you lose your point blank range though, it may even take more blasts than your gun can give out before reloading quite easily and readily. Remember, think of the triple blast as a super uber knife with a VERY long refire rate. If you are outside of knifing range, more than likely the primary mode will be better due to the fact that the triple-blast is HIGHLY inaccuracte. Also remember that, just like the rocklet rifle, it takes a half second or so to load up all three shells before it can initiate the triple-blast. If you are going to use it from ambush, try to start firing just before you would actually be in line to fire so that they have as little time as possible to react. This WILL take lots of practice to get it to work just right, but it will really pay off if you can do it.
There are two implants you should seriously consider when using the jackhammer: personal shield for the rexo, and audio amplifier for your radar. Others to consider include: enhanced targeting to know which guys are already weakened a bit, and surge to get into battles quickly, run away, or even dash through enemy lines. I’m sure there are other possibilities, but these are the probably the best ones to get really.
I’m sure many of you have heard this term before. What I doubt is that many of you truly understand what it means, and just how [Removed for Content]’ potent it really is. Funny thing is, I actually discovered this “dance” per se on my TR character with the MCG. Needless to say, it helped… alot. I went from just over 1/1 ratio in bloody zerg battles to more like 4/1. Unfortunately, translating this over wasn’t easy, until I had the help of one VERY skilled JH user. By “help”, I mean he freakin’ kicked my butt before I knew what hit me, but I managed to catch just what he was doing. Ironic as that is, after some practice… okay, after alot of practice I can now dodge like crazy, aka, the “dance”. In order to learn it, you’ll need to make sure you have a whole bunch of time to spare, dedication to learning stuff like this, and willingness to go use the newbie shooting range.
You COULD try to learn this on the battlefield… if you like to die ALOT and get your allies’ way all the time. Maybe you just pick up on this naturally, but most will do much better just taking some time off in the shooting range. In any case, here’s what you need to do: get yourself an agile or rexo, a jackhammer, and alot of ammo. If you have the rexo cert, practice with both rexo and agile, as the timing and movement is a bit different. Personally, when I train like this, I practice until I can get it right 10 times in a row. It’s up to you how you do this. I think I ended up spending over an hour in there myself, but… man, I didn’t know you could do that with the jackhammer. I’m talking things like, maiming a lasher user, at range, with no backup, and 4 enemies to backup your target. Anyways, I’m getting off track.
The movement part is easy: strafe left and right, and try to keep it around 1 second in each direction until you get used to the proper timing. The catch: don’t aim at your target, aim forward. Don’t move that aim, at least not just yet. You just can’t keep your shots on a mobile target like you can with the spray of a MCG. Instead, each time you pass by and line up with your target, hit the fire button. Don’t hold it down, you’ll just waste alot of shots. When you run out of targets in the shooting range, kill anything else that isn’t good practice to clear the way for more good practice targets. At first, you might want to consider using AP ammo and practicing on the MAX suits, which are, of course, nice big targets. Before you quit though, make sure you can do this on the smaller softies, as those are the ones that actually require a little to hit. Keep in mind this is short range gun, so don’t try to practice on anything that isn’t close. If you do it right, it’s 3 shots for an agile, 5 for a rexo. Of course, this isn’t point blank, but still short range.
At first you’ll, of course, notice that this is much slower firing. However, once you get used to it, I’ve found that I don’t even notice the difference in firing rates. The optimal strafing is so that each pass is one shot, as fast as the gun can handle. And remember, DON’T HOLD THE TRIGGER DOWN. I can’t stress that enough, this is the one weapon where that really doesn’t work, at least while doing this. Just click as you line up, maybe even ever so slightly before so that each shot lands dead center. The jackhammer is actually pretty accurate, and this also helps at longer ranges. Some other suggestions for the training: make sure you can do this while moving back and forth as well as strafing left and right, such as to simulate running up to your opponent, or backing into cover. Make sure you can hit the ones at longer ranges fairly well too. They require more accuracy, and some of the pellets WILL miss, but overall the damage is actually suprisingly good.
Good luck learning and implementing this, if you can do it, you will seriously gain some major advantages. I probably must piss off ALOT of zerg, what with dodging like a madman in tight corridors, blocking their shots, but… hey, I took down more than they do anyways, so it works out pretty good. Do try to be careful to avoid crossing into friendly fire, this is the one problem with dodging. Once you get accustomed, this too becomes very little of an issue, ‘cept for losers who like to lob plasma ‘nades into wherever their allies are trying to go, and that’s never going to change. Now go give some zerglings a reason to say the jackhammer is overpowered.
Okay, I lied, this is a very long post. I honestly didn’t realize when I went to write this up just how much information I have to share about the Jackhammer tactics. Even so, while I do consider myself an expert with this gun, I am no master. I still have some experimenting to do to tweak out some of the flaws, and I still have to work on keeping my aim on fast moving agiles sometimes, and I still haven’t mastered the timing on the triple-blast for coming out with it already firing the instant I’ve got the shots lined up. Even so, I have learned a ton, and I do hope that this helps all the many NC HA users to change over from n00bhammer users to Jackhammer users. Good luck, and happy maiming!
The above section separated up there by the horizontal lines is the new stuff. I still can’t believe the difference this thing makes, don’t underestimate it. If you already have your own version of the “dance”, try this one and see which one works better for you. Seriously, this stuff is really making a difference. If I find any more cool stuff like this, I’ll be sure to post it up here as well. I’m sure there’s got to be lots more, since after all, I haven’t exactly been playing PS as long as some of these other guys. Some time in the next few weeks I may also come out with a striker guide, and maybe even a phoenix guide if I can analyze better what I did to solo that magrider earlier today. Heck, maybe I’ll just brush up on my Lancer and make an ES AV guide, the zerglings really need it out there. Anyways… go enjoy the view of paniced faces as they desperately try to survive the onslaught. >=) :smileywink: