DUST 514 Heavy Assault Vehicles Guide
DUST 514 Heavy Assault Vehicles Guide by Tac Com
Some of you may have noticed I’ve been talking up a guide I’ve been working on. I’ve been experimenting with many differant tank fits and have been using HAVs for a long while into the Closed Beta and even into today trying to gather more information on them. I have noticed a good number of players looking for help and information on HAVs and modules related to thier use as thier seems to be a lot of people who are using tanks in specific roles and formations in thier corps. I am here simply to share my experiance with HAVs and to help others better understand vehicle modules and how they are attributed to HAV use.
So, welcome to the HAV Owners Manual.
TLDR – Each Chapter has a short summery outlined at the beginning. Read the summery to find out which sections are useful to you.
Chapter 1 – Basic Characteristics of an HAV
This section covers the general attrbutes of HAVs and how they operate. This section is intended for those new to HAVs to become more familiar and aware of HAV use.
HAVs are complex and heavy machines and thier care and maintinance is of utmost importance. An HAV is designed to repel light arms fire and handle multiple rounds from heavy weapons, but keep in mind that weapons designed for anti-vehicle purposes still pose a great threat to your vehicle. Survival should be considered as your number 1 concern as a dead tank is less threatening then a tank that got away as that threat could come back later. As you become more comfortable with your HAV you will find yourself more capable of providing even more of an impact on the battlefield.
There are many differant things that you must be aware of in an HAV. Aside from other combat skills such as battlefield awareness, there are some specific items you need to pay attention to in your tank.
Durability (Armour or Shield) – For starters, one of the ways to help stay alive is to increase your durability. Items such as Armour Plates and Shield Extenders will give your tank more health and thus allow it to take more hits before going down. Another way to help last longer is to increase your repairing ability by using Armour Repairers and Shield Boosters or Rechargers. These will help to fix your tank of damage it has taken. And lastly adding resistance modules to your tank will reduce the incoming damage to give you that extra bit of toughness and help increase your repairers’ ability to combat the damage. As a general nature, shields are more resistant to explosive weapons such as AV Grenades and Swarm Launchers but vulnerable to EM weapons such as Flux Grenades and Laser Rifles. Armour is more resistant to EM weapons such as Laser Rifles, aswell as Flux Grenades do no damage to armour, but they are more vulnerable to explosive weapons such as AV Grenades and Swarm Launchers. Hybrid Weapons such as Forge Guns, Railguns, and Blasters are equally effective against shields and armour.
Speed – While adding to your durability is important, not being in the line of fire is the sure way to survive when in combat. Having enough torque and speed to get out of sticky situations is something that many new tankers overlook and something that more veteran tankers will use to thier advantage. One key thing to keep in mind is that HAVs are heavy and thus are slow to start moving, but even while turning it’s easy to keep up your speed. Thus if you ever hit something or stop for any reason such as reversing direction, then is it very slow to get back up to speed (even more so with Armour based tanks). Keeping your speed up and always planning your escape route as you move will significantly increase your survivability.
Turret Tracking – So far we have mostly focused on the defencive aspect of HAVs. But if we were just looking for a vehicle to joyride in from point to point you would probably already be in an LAV by now. HAVs are also known for thier big guns. But big also means heavy, and that also means they are not quick to spin that turret around. Typically longer range weapons such as the Railgun will feature slow tracking speeds and will make it very tricky to hit targets up close, likewise closer range turrets will feature higher tracking due to thier close range nature. As a tip, if someone is moving faster then your turret, you can also turn your tank in that direction to increase your tracking, just keep in mind what way your tank is facing incase you need to escape. Remember that survival is still paramount.
Gunner Seats – You might have noticed aswell that your tank has more then 1 seat (3 in fact). These other 2 seats are reserved for the small guns on your tank. There is one mounted on the front and 1 mounted on the top. You are also able to change seats and sometimes your small turret may be better suited to dealing with a target that your main weapon is unsuitable for. Be aware in public matches though that friendlies can steal your tank so I would advise not to change seats when someone is around that might try and steal your vehicle as you may not get it back. We will go over what to put here in the next chapter.
There are the main points to consider that are specific to HAVs but they are not the only thing. Many other skills such as being aware of the enemy and thier intentions are also used as a foot soldier but are slightly modified to take into account an HAV’s strengths and limitations. For example you might be more likely to seek out dense cover as an infantry soldier but dense cover as an HAV means it will be hard to manuver should the enemy get the drop on you thus making it hard to escape. I would suggest talking with your corp to figure out how best to apply your HAV in specific scenarios as this guide does not cover them in major detail.
Chapter 2 – Armour, Shields, Guns, Oh My!
This section is for those who are not sure about the differances or advantages between shields vs armour and the differant weapon types. The more experianced tankers may be aware of what is here but if you have mostly focused on one style you may learn something about the others.
One of the most frequently asked questions within the Dust community is the question of shields vs armour. A lot of the times the questions are what is superior but often this question comes from a lack of understanding of thier differances. The other big question is what turret you should put on the tank since this will be the basis of your firepower. Hopefully to help clarify a lot of the confusion on this topic this section will be covering some general information on these systems with some basic module information to help reinforce the information.
Shields – Shields are your first line of defense, on a dropsuit and on a vehicle. Shields have several properties which make them quite coveted and understanding thier strengths and weaknesses will give you an edge. Shields have a natural resistance to explosive weapons and because most AV weapons are explosive currently this can make them very powerful. Also shielding does not weigh down the vehicle so even a tank with very heavy shielding still retains a decent level of acceleration. Also shields have a natural regeneration so backing out for a minute can give your shields time to regenerate and keep on fighting.
Shields though currently suffer from 2 major drawbacks. First is thier weakness to flux grenades, and while this might not seem very threatening compared to homing AV grenades and Swarms, flux grenades can do an incredable amount of damage to shielding, often doing more damage then the mighty Railgun. Second is thier ability to handle immediate damage. Shields are very good at taking some damage and then giving them time to recover, and while Shield Boosters can recover some shields back, it’s a small amount compared to Armour Repairers. Thus shield tanks are more well suited to taking damage over time so taking heavy hits within a short period of time is the key to defeating shields, and combine that with flux grenades for added effect.
Armour – Armour in Dust can also be described as your Hull, as it is the last line of defence before your vehicle is destroyed. Thus armour tanking has no safety net, you can’t take just enough damage to break your armour but still get away safely like shields. Armour though does have several key advantages to make up for this though and understanding the strengths and weaknesses will better help you to understand how armour tanking works.
Armour is very tough and strong. If you look at the modules on the market you might notice how armour plates give more armour then shield extenders and how armour repairers repair more then shield boosters. Armour is not meant to be easy to crack. And when you better understand how to use your modules in battle it can turn you from tough to nearly unstoppable. In a Soma with an 180mm plate it’s very easy to get over 5k armour and more with skills and better modules. And heavy repairer will repair around 5k armour aswell over it’s entire cycle. Good use and timing of your repairer is key.
Armour though is not without it’s weaknesses and some are more noticable then others. The first one that is apparent is armour does not regenerate by itself. You need to use some module or repair item (such as a repair gun on a dropsuit) to regain your armour. Second, is that armour plates may give you more armour but they also slow down your acceleration, very significantly. You will have to factor that into your planning to accound for the extra bulk. They are also more vulnerable to the majority of infantry AV weapons so always be on the lookout for anyone with AV grenades or Swarms. Lastly is thier reliance on active modules. While a good shield tank can get away with mostly passive modules, armour tanks can not. Hardeners are required for strong resistances and you need a repairer to keep your armour up. So careful management of your active modules will be key to your success. When facing an armour tank, it may be best to engage them to activate thier repairer then wait for it to finish before continuing the assault as anything short of overwhelming damage will take it down during it’s repair cycles.
Now, onto the part which more people love to see, damage, big guns, explosions. Weapons are a very key part to your vehicle and currently they come in 3 flavours: Railgun, Blaster, and Missile. Now Railguns and Blasters are both Hybrids and do equal damage to shields and armour, but Missiles do more damage to armour then shields. If you also want a good example of how the weapons handle before putting them on your HAV, use one of the installations with the turret you wish to try on it. They handle exactly the same as a basic large turret for an HAV.
Railguns – Railguns are the long range weapon of choice. Thier high damage shots combined with thier range makes them excellant for dealing with large targets. They feature a decent zoom level and a small blast radius for dealing with infantry. Railguns do have a flight time though and thus will require you to lead your targets. This also makes hitting infantry very difficult unless they are not moving (in which a sniper might pick them off sooner, but Railguns also make good counter-sniping weapons). They also have a very low tracking speed so if someone manages to get up close or behind you it will take a very long time to turn that turret around to return fire, thus careful planning and distance are the keys to using this weapon effectively.
Blasters – Blasters are the kings and queens of close quarters with tanks. They are short range, rapid fire, high DPS (moderate damage per shot) weapons what will shred anything it points it’s gun at. Blasters feature high tracking speeds and high DPS, and the rapid fire means they are much better suited to dealing with infantry aswell. Being a high DPS weapon aswell, a blaster at close range will outdamage a railgun, but at mid range the damage falloff will reduce some of your damage so the railgun may still edge out. Careful distance management and use of cover are keys to making this weapon shine.
Missiles – Currently Missiles have had thier effectiveness reduced during the stages of the closed beta. So as if right now they don’t have a spot that properly contends with Blasters or Railguns in thier respective fields. One thing the large missile turret can do reasonably well is sweeping groups of infantry with it’s blast damage missiles. I’d recommend the fragmentation missile turret for this role. As for small missiles currently thier accuracy goes out the window when you so much as breathe in any direction so currently they are not recommended at the moment.