While still a work in progress, I prefer to try it all myself as I have found a lot of advice received from the Star Citizen community to be largely based solely on numbers derived from spreadsheets. Much of the “knowledge” of the community is not gained from experience but solely from weapon values grabbed out of extracting the data from the game.
The problem with using solely numbers to determine “what is the best hornet loadout” is that they are typically working in a “perfect scenario”. Accuracy of the weapons or the pilot that is wielding the weapons is completely ignored. Furthermore, when actually playing the game, the target is moving all over the place and trying to shoot back.
This post is not a solid breakdown of numbers at all, so if you came here looking for that, sorry.
The Hornet Loadout Project
The primary suggestion I kept getting was to put some Omnisky VI‘s under my wings. They are popular because they have solid damage output and good range and speed. Plus a lot of players like them because they shoot the green shit from Independence Day.
The only problem I’ve seen with them is overheating. Which isn’t really a problem with the Omni’s but a problem coming from the Bulldog that doesn’t have an overheating problem. I grew accustomed to just holding down the trigger and trying my best to keep the weapons gimballed at the pip. I needed to adjust to not firing all the time and to focus on precision aiming.
Sledge II Mass Driver Cannon
A few people thought I was crazy with this choice. And I was. But I’m one to understand that a 60mm cannon, if the ballistic properties are represented at least semi-realistically, would tear a ship apart in only one or two shots. And I loaded two of these cannons to my Hornet.
They have a very long range, longer than the Omni’s and their speed is comparable to their range. Only problem is they overheat really quickly. Some may also be hesitant because the magazine only carries 60 rounds.
60 rounds is all you need when you one-shot most fighters. Seriously.
The Sledge II is a VERY fun weapon to play with but it takes a lot of patience – 4 or 5 shots and they overheat, although they do cool quickly.
I experimented with the Talon Quad Rack. Here are a few things I learned:
- It only accepts size 1 missiles.
- The missiles that come with the Hornet F7C are dumbfire, as in they are not guided – they fly in a straight line. Pretty useless against another ship that is moving.
- When you put a guided missile on them, the Hornet F7C becomes at least 11.6 times more deadly, if you know how to fire missiles.
The Marksman was my choice after extensive trials of both, once I figured out that there is a bug that affected the Taskforce I missile from showing in the ship fitting window. (They are invisible but there, just mouse over where they should be in the vertical list of available parts.)
The Marksman just packs more punch and I had better luck with actually hitting targets. The Taskforce appears to still use the old GUI function for locking (red circle forming around the target) and I believe that may somehow hint that it uses an older missile tracking mechanic – who knows, I could be wrong.
Using missiles effectively in Vanduul Swarm
I’ve only been playing Vanduul Swarm as I find it forgiving when a loadout choice was crappy and it’s an easy way to spend time honing in on techniques for each loadout. Plus I can earn a reasonable amount of Rental Equipment Credits for the time that I put in testing these loadouts.
I’ve found two tactics to be effective when using the Marksman I missiles.
- Maneuver behind the target, get within 1000 meters, get a lock and fire.
- At the beginning of each wave spawning, afterburn (double-tap shift) towards the group and spam missiles until all are expended. The way missile tracking mechanics work, if a missile loses its lock due to flare, it will attempt to find another target. Chances are, it’ll find a target in the group of Vanduul approaching you.
Obviously, technique #1 is a tad more effective. I’ve found it more resource effective to fire missiles at the “lower level” Vanduul. Prefer firing missiles at Vanduul in this order: Scavenger, Hunter, Alpha, Elite. Scavengers rarely fire a flare as a countermeasure for the missile. All of the others readily fire flares and I found the only reliable way to defeat them with missiles is to chain fire. That is lock a missile and fire, then immediately lock a second missile and fire that. It can sometimes take 3 or 4 missiles in order to hit the Vanduul Alphas or elites.
I kind of wish there was another missile option, maybe a Domintor I? The Dominator II missile won’t fit and I’ve heard excellent things about it.
What I’m going to try
I’m considering trying a non-gimballed setup. It’ll allow me to run size 3 weapons on my nose and wings. I’m considering trying the Mantis GT-220, as I really like the idea of low power draw and shield penetration. This will also open up the door to run a size 4 weapon – the C-788 “Combine” Ballistic Cannon attached to the Hornet Flashfire Specialty Mount.
I may also try going to Panthers in a non-gimballed setup. That may be more for a loadout I run in the universe where endurance may come into play and I start worrying about carrying enough ammo to stay in the fight.
In a gimballed setup, I intend to try out the SW16BR2 “Sawbuck”. It’s a “ballistic repeater” meaning it fires smaller ammo but at a much higher rate of fire when compared to the Sledge II. Consider it a smaller version of the Mantis.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself learning more finite details of the game. My skill as a fighter pilot has grown tremendously through these equipment trials, which was sort of the purpose of the weapon and loadout testing in the first place.
If you want to join me ingame sometime, add me to your contact/friends list in-game and put your Star Citizen handle or a link to your profile in the comments below and I’ll add them as I see them. (Entries must be mutual for matchmaking to work currently.)
Remember, The Lone Gamers also have a TeamSpeak 3 server. I try to get onto it whenever I’m at my computer. Use it to talk to me or just communicate with your friends.