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Thread: CAS Guide to Firemission Length: The Forgotten Feature

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

    Firemission Length, the feature most CAS POs miss.

    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.

    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: 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.

    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 Heinz, Maartje Rijnders, Johanna Hal and Amalia Verkerk. When I xeno I play QT-P1.

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