Wing Combat Guide

By CMDR Ghosti

Wing fights are any fight in which more than one Player CMDR is present. This introduces a slew of different mechanical effects and gameplay bugs that can make Wing fights more or less challenging than a solo depending on how you handle them. Wing fights differ from solo fights in a few key points, which are as follows:

  • Aggro management

  • Swarm management (related to point 1. above)

  • Handling the shield decay

  • Distance management

  • Difficulty with cold reboots after heart destruction

  • Coordination & communication

  • Bug management

Aggro Management

In solo fights, the ship always has the aggro of the Interceptor, whereas in wing fights the Interceptor always focuses on one ship at a time. This is important to note for 2 main reasons:

  1. Heart sniping: Taking out the heart is always easiest for the pilot whose ship the Interceptor is currently focusing on (aggro of the 'goid), This is the main reason you should avoid pulling aggro if you're not optimally positioned to take out the heart (distance is beyond the falloff range, for example) or if the "invincible heart bug" is in effect

  2. Heat Management and Reboot/Repair: Thargoid abilities can be bypassed by maintaining low temperatures, this depends on the heat level of the current target. Also taking the heat off a specific pilot to enable them to reboot, synth, repair etc.

The Interceptor will always target the ‘highest threat’ - the ship that has dealt the most damage to it recently. However, Interceptor aggro is ‘sticky’ and won’t switch for ~30 seconds after selecting a new target. What this means is that for a short time after an aggro switch there exists a ‘safe window’ - the wingmates that don’t have aggro are completely safe from lightning attacks, triggering caustics and can purely focus on damaging or ramming the Interceptor. (Make sure to pay attention to whether your ram causes the Cycle Reset Bug - where the Interceptor deploys a new shield and caustics. If that happens, try to avoid ramming entirely in that fight)

If you need to go repair/rearm at a station or megaship during an Interceptor fight, it's a good idea to make sure the Interceptor is aggro'd on someone else than you before jumping out. This is because the Interceptor might wake out when the pilot who has the aggro jumps away. The waking out might happen immediately or the Interceptor might stay in place until that player re-enters the instance, and then proceed to wake out. Naturally, none of the pilots receive any reward from the battle if the Interceptor wakes out. There is a chance of the Interceptor waking out also if it destroys one of the player vessels in the battle and there is no-one else nearby for it to focus on after that.

If the Invincible Heart Bug is present and you notice you’re not dealing any damage to the Heart, stop firing at the Interceptor. If you have aggro try to position yourself in such a way that the Interceptor is facing your wingmates so they can get a clear shot.

Swarm Management

The swarm also focuses on one ship or fighter at a time by following them. However, the swarm will still fire on all ships and fighters currently in range. In wing fights, it is usually considered the responsibility of the ship which has the aggro of the swarm to take it out and only that ship should engage it while the rest deal with the Interceptor. If the ship that currently has aggro of the swarm is not equipped with Flak, it’s a good idea for one of the wingmates to try and pull its aggro with a beam. If the swarm breaks off its target the person who lost aggro should call it out (especially if it’s a large swarm or in a missile formation)

You can sometimes pull aggro of the swarm by firing on it with a laser or moving very close to it, but this does not happen immediately and is not guaranteed to work, but it can sometimes be useful to take aggro off a wingmate who is in danger or is unable to destroy the swarm.

Handling Shield Decay

In wing fights, the shield of the Interceptor can be taken down significantly faster by multiple ships firing their Thermal Vent Beam lasers (TV beams) on the Interceptor while shields are present. Ramming is also viable, but great care should be taken since there are circumstances where ramming the Interceptor can trigger the "heart cycle reset" bug. This is closely related to the current aggro target.

Distance Management

In solo fights, the ship can kite the Interceptor for long distances without much concern. In wing fights, however, one should always consider the wingmates when flying at high speed in one direction when holding the aggro of the Interceptor. Slower ships may have trouble catching up.

When the shield is down and when performing the attack run, it is possible to cause problems to a wingmate's orbit by unnecessarily disrupting the distance management.

When exerting the hearts, all pilots should open fire on the Interceptor in a coordinated manner and avoid increasing the Interceptor's distance from other firing ships unnecessarily. Similarly, pilots should avoid pulling the Interceptor away from others when the heart is exerted unless they are absolutely confident that they can destroy it while it is still in exerted state.

Interceptor Scan

The Thargoid Interceptor scan is shared across all CMDRs in the wing, so in wing fights it is enough for only one CMDR to have a Xeno scanner and scan the Interceptor, unless seeing the number of remaining Thargons in the swarm is desired. The scan can also be distributed to other wings by having a CMDR with scan data join a wing which did not have the scan beforehand.

Post Heart Destruction Phase

After the Interceptor loses a heart, it will deploy a shield and enter the caustic missile phase. Caustic missiles will only be launched if the Interceptor’s current target is detected. This means that as long as the person who has aggro remains cold, or outside of 3km, there won’t be any caustic missiles or EMP.

If you have aggro after the heart is destroyed you can:

  • Deploy a heatsink and boost away. Make sure to be at least 3km away but don’t fly too far out

  • Deploy a heatsink to lower your temperature to 0, and use a Thermal Vent beam to maintain low temperature for the duration of this phase. Stay close to the interceptor so that it stays still, and wait for it to start attacking again.

  • In a shieldless ship, go Silent Running and either boost away, or use beams to maintain low temperature (if your ship runs cold enough)

If you don’t have aggro after the heart is destroyed:

  • Do not fire on the interceptor at all if your temperature is above 15%. Even using a beam can pull its aggro in an instant and trigger caustics for everyone. Instead, first use a heatsink to get to 0 heat, and then fire your beam

  • Do not fire Gauss on the Interceptor

  • Do not try to ram the Interceptor (unless the ram is well coordinated with a safe window*)

  • Do not boost far away, unless caustic missiles have already been triggered

*Take a look at the Aggro Management section

If you manage to take down the shield before the caustic phase ends, do not shoot the Interceptor. Doing so will trigger a volley of caustic missiles and a new shield will be deployed.

During this phase there is an opportunity for ships to recover their shields, either via reboot or with ‘healing’ lasers.

If a pilot is performing a cold reboot and another pilot above the 15-18% detection heat limit pulls aggro, it could disrupt the cold reboot because of launched caustic missiles. If there are problems with the communication, try to perform the reboots when outside the range of the Interceptor and consider changing your loadout accordingly for wing fights.

Shield "healing" lasers or the Regeneration sequence & Concordant sequence experimental effects can be useful in wing fights. It's possible to significantly regenerate a wingmate's shields with them. This is especially true for ships with Prismatic shields, which rarely get more than 50% shield strength in solo fights after the shield has dropped below that limit.

Coordination & Communication

Communication is key in wing fights. Optimally, all pilots involved in the fight should be on voice comms or at the very least, have a common text channel in-game which they are actively monitoring. Listening on the voice comms with the mic muted is a valid option even if you cannot speak and must type instead.

Try to limit voice communication to the essential updates, callouts etc. Recommendations on what to call out or send:

  • Energy surge / EMP

  • Calling for assistance (eg. asking someone to pull aggro)

  • Shield down / strength percentage

  • Coordinating the attack runs

  • Swarm state and behavior

  • What are your intentions

When the final heart has been destroyed, even a Hydra can be relatively easily destroyed by only one ship.

Please consider your wingmates when performing the final attack run and make sure all pilots have landed shots on the Interceptor before its hull reaches 0%, in order to ensure everyone gets the reward for the joint effort to kill it. This is again one point where communication is key.

Bug Management

Every pilot engaged in a wing fight should try and limit the occurrence of AX related bugs manifesting during the fight. Recommended actions:

  • Drop in on the signal source simultaneously (use the nav lock function)

  • Avoid ramming unless you know what you are doing

  • Enable manual port forwarding instead of UPnP if possible (Port Forwarding Mega Guide)

  • Communication