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Thread: CAS Guide to Firemission Length: The Forgotten Feature

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    Senior Member Nyvrem's Avatar
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    CAS Guide to Firemission Length: The Forgotten Feature

    Firemission Length, the feature most CAS POs miss.

    Foreword:
    I don't play CAS PO often, but this guide doesn't exist to tell you what you learn from playing often. It exists to explain a basic feature of firemissions that is rarely utilized by CAS POs - length. I hope this guide helps you consider new ways of using and looking at firemissions. This guide presumes you've looked at the wiki or played PO before. https://cm-ss13.com/wiki/Pilot_Officer


    What is firemission length?
    It is that thing it asks you when you make a new firemission that a lot of people skip over. It decides how many tiles the firemission covers. A shorter length doesn't mean it will fire less, but instead, that what it fires will be condensed to fit the length. Because the game looks at a firemissions in 12 steps (corresponding to what you set up when you assign weapons to those steps) it is best to keep the length of a firemission to a number that neatly divides 12. Such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. Anything else could get a little buggy.

    Example: Suppose you have a firemission that fires a GAU in bursts on steps 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. On a 4 length firemission it fires bursts 1 and 3 on the first tile, 5 on the second and 7 and 9 on the third. This is because it basically divides the firemission into blocks of three and spreads them out over four tiles. If you've set it to do nothing for steps 10, 11 and 12 it won't fire on the fourth tile. Something to keep in mind.

    As for the lengths, here's an overview of what I think about them:

    Short length:
    1 - Very short. I suppose if you can dump an entire GAU directly on top of a xeno that works, but, at this length there is also no argument against using a Keeper rocket instead.
    2 - Same as 1.
    3 - You can make pretty patterns here, but, since a GAU is typically set to fire on steps 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 of the firemission, 4 is probably better.
    4 - Short, but still meaningful. Can be used for nice and small patterns. Supposing you are using a GAU, have everything but the middle shot offset to make an X. Have everything but the first and last shots offset to make a square. Beat those xenoes at tic-tac-toe!

    Medium length:
    6 - A decent intermediary. Here you are shooting at a length comparable to the average marine's range.

    Long length:
    12 - The standard and long. Really long. So long that you are unlikely to hit xenoes with the final shot unless they are lagging out of their brains.



    Weapons and Lengths:
    Here is a link to another guide that goes more in depth on the weapons themselves, even if it is old: https://cm-ss13.com/old/viewtopic.php?f=94&t=15560. Keep in mind that most weapons with an area of effect do more damage near the center. Now, let me explain what weapons are useful with what lengths:

    GAU: Short, Medium
    5x5 with stuns on direct hits. Supposedly High Velocity stuns on other hits too, but I can't confirm. Firing this on a short length is like magdumping the entire burst of bullets into whatever is next to the laze. Extremely effective at getting kills on shorter firemissions, if a xeno is near the laze. Often boilers are too busy spitting gas to notice. On longer firemissions, however, it's like you are giving the xenoes a tickle even if you use High Velocity ammo.

    Minipod: Medium, Long
    4x4 knockdown. Flames too with the incendiary variant, but it does less damage. You use these because they stun anyway, not because they hurt. Right. Right? So longer lengths are worth using here, because stuns don't really stack, so it's better to hope you just hit more xenoes. If your fire mission is short, however, consider using a rocket instead. Remember if you intend to use the incendiary variant: Marines don't like unexpected flames, because they kill pushes.

    Laser: Long
    6x6 fire. If you don't space these out enough, the fires overlap. You use these to provide a lot of area denial instantly, unlike the incendiary minipod rockets, which give xenoes a little more time to run. It also has the cheapest ammo of any CAS. It does damage too, but, not that much, although it ignores armour and explosion resistance. Be sure your JTAC operators KNOW you have laser loaded, because otherwise they won't laze accordingly, and you'll end up flaming off marine pushes or sitting on your thumb. Maybe you'll sit on your thumb because marines really don't want to flame their own push, but, that depends on what way the rounds goes and it's still better than getting BE'd for flaming everyone that's on the front.

    Rockets:
    There isn't a rocket that can't be effectively direct-fired on a laze except for napalm. Doing so gives a much greater sense of what exactly they do and a greater deal of control to JTAC operators, which is precisely why the keeper was nerfed many months ago, because they used to be direct-fired unto boilers all the time.

    Widowmaker: Medium
    6x6 knockdown, at least as far as I know, so anything shorter doesn't capitalise and anything longer wastes it. Sure you could go for a longer firemission and fire it halfway through, but... that implies knocking xenoes down later into the firemission is genuinely meaningful.

    Keeper: Short
    3x3 damage. Some extra killing power with a very small area of effect, but it hurts a lot. It's more costly than GAU though.

    Banshee: Medium?
    7x7 flames, why are you using this instead of a laser? Because that would mean you were going to commit to using a laser. Why are you using this instead of a Napalm rocket? Because Napalm is TRASH. All in all, I rarely use this bad boy and rarely see it used. Pair it with something that stuns if you want it do a lot of damage, because it doesn't do that much outside of the fire.

    Fatty: Direct Fire
    12x12 obliteration. For reference, that's about the size of an entire screen. This thing obliterates xenoes, it feels more like you're dropping an OB than a rocket. Of course, its downside is that it can't be used in a firemission.

    Napalm: Never
    I once saw an event where the pilots got unlimited napalm rockets. That round we got to see just how utterly trash these are. Sure, they set an entire screen of xenoes on fire. They also do no damage and no stun, so unless the xeno was already otherwise fucked, they just get extinguished and live to fight another day. The only reason I can even concieve of for using napalm is if you had both dropships flying CAS, but that sounds like an extremely painful idea for literally everyone else in the round. These can't be used in a firemission. If they couldn't make it work in a round where it was handed out for free, you should remember: The Fatty is cheaper.


    Here's some miscellaneous advice: Since it can't be said enough, if you're CAS PO, communicate, communicate, communicate. Doing good CAS depends on the JTAC operators knowing what kind of CAS you have and when it's available. Tell them when you're in the air, tell them when you're landed, tell them your loadout, tell them how you intend to use it, tell them what you had for dinner yesterday. If you don't keep talking, they might think you went back into cryo, or worse, that you are a baldie.
    Last edited by Nyvrem; 03-23-2020 at 11:46 AM.
    What I play sometimes depends on how tired I am. I play: Maria Heintze, Maartje Rijnders, Johanna Hal and Amalia Verkerk. When I xeno I play QT-P1.

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    Junior Member Sugardust's Avatar
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    +1 good guide. Didn't know about firemission length and now maybe my GAU strikes will kill something.
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    Admin Hunk1's Avatar
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    Pro tip from a veteran: Long CAS Strikes are good for chasing down running xenos if your J-TAC knows what they are doing.


    Also, always variate the Gimbals of your GAU, it will increase your area of attack.


    On CAS, you're firesupport, rarely you will get kills, So you need to increase the maximum "boom" area for maximum "boom" effectiveness.


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    Admin Hunk1's Avatar
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    Pro tip from a veteran: Long CAS Strikes are good for chasing down running xenos if your J-TAC knows what they are doing.


    Also, always variate the Gimbals of your GAU, it will increase your area of attack.


    On CAS, you're firesupport, rarely you will get kills, So you need to increase the maximum "boom" area for maximum "boom" effectiveness.


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    Whitelisted Captain Fortelian's Avatar
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    Hunk farming posts smh. What I have found works best is 4 missle pods, and as many fattys as money can buy.
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    Aaaaaaaaaaaa! But minirockets are too good to only go with missile pods, and standard issue.

    Anyway my 2cents, i'm however only a JTAC spotter and only played CAS Co-PO a handful times.
    - Napalm indeed bad. I lazed two direct onto Ovi Queen during the event and it did nothing! (... 2nd CAS PO trolled us, was supposed to have a Fatty. But yeah Napalm was super underwhelming)
    - Deviation is important, especially for Minis in FM, and Fatty in direct - they can land very wide - this is something to keep in mind when gimbal'ing or just targeting in general (but that's for spotters)
    - This is something i have yet to make a PO care to do for me, but i believe you can make "delayed start" FMs, eg length 12 but shoot from 6 to 12. This brings the benefit of noise being heard further away reducing your target's panic levels, and increasing range further on concentrated fire missions (as it conceptually expands onto your offset), but at the downside that effect will come slightly later.
    - To expand on Hunk's comment, I'm personally a big fan of firing 'behind' as spotter, as this will will either net you retreat kills, or knock crap out for your people to pick up.

    I always ask POs for their standard FM Length, and two-third of them never answer me, hopefully that'll change a bit - one can dream..

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    Whitelisted Captain Fortelian's Avatar
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    How do you play PO without knowing what FM length is? I don't do CAS often but I just assumed that everyone knew what it was.
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    Senior Member DekoToast's Avatar
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    Remember kids, if you are using a las/flare with an offset to strafe, don't follow it up with an Fatty on the same target. For some reason the cap gets annoyed whenever I make a reasonable operation error, or in his words a "War Crime." Like he know what he's talking about, cmon.
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    I don't think I've gotten you as a spotter. But in general, the overall quality of spotters + Cas/Mortar operators has gone down in recent months due to Pylons. We're having less fun due to the fact that every other mission is blocked by pylons because fuck the marine's strongest perk in the game.

    You used to see tons of notable PO's like Damien Prince Royle. And for the most part I'd go out of my way to spawn as engie to steal the mortar crate from REQ as fast as possible. Now? It's honestly really boring because we get maybe 1-2 fire missions and then static for the next hour before win or lose.

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