Attention! Most videos in this guide are outdated and were recorded before Light Assaults could hip fire carbines accurately while flying, and before we had Rocklet Rifle as our tool.
Light Assault is a mobile infantry unit with close-range oriented weaponry, proficient in flanking and harassing. Equipped with a Jet Pack, Light Assaults can fly to bypass enemy defenses or scale natural obstacles, and attack enemies from unexpected angles.
Light Assault doesn’t have as much raw firepower as a Heavy Assault, but superior mobility ensures that he can deliver a precise and powerful strike where it will hurt the most.
Light Assault’s tool, the Rocklet Rifle, deals moderate damage to vehicles and hovering aircraft, and can be fired accurately while flying on the Jet Pack.
Light Assaults are infamous for using C4 to deal devastating damage to all targets at close range.
Due to their mobility, Light Assaults tend to move independently from their allies, and if not careful, can find themselves fighting solo against an army, and often risk dying in a position where allied medics will be unable to revive them. So Light Assaults usually have to rely on stationary spawns to stay in a fight.
Not displayed on this picture: Munitions Pouch: 30 / 50 / 150
The following equipment is unlocked for Light Assault by default:
- Advanced Shield Capacitor rank 5 and Ammo Belt rank 1
- a starting carbine with Laser Sight and 1x reflex sight
- a starting shotgun with Extended Mags and 1x reflex sight
- Skirmisher Jets and Drifter Jets rank 1
- Rocklet Rifle
- Frag Grenade
- Auxiliary Shield
This gear is perfectly competitive and more than enough to get you started. You shouldn’t feel hard pressed to unlock lots of new gear just so your Light Assault loadout becomes viable.
That said, you definitely want to eventually and gradually path to Standard Loadout below.
Cookie-cutter Light Assault loadout looks like this:
- Primary Weapon: carbine
- Sidearm: up to preference
- Tool: Rocklet Rifle with Typhoon Rockets
- Ability Slot: Skirmisher Jets
- Suit Slot: Nanoweave Armor
- Grenade: Frag
- Utility Slot: C4
- Implant: Regeneration
- Melee: up to preference
These are most combat effective and versatile options. While you definitely should adapt your loadout to situation / personal playstyle / directive hunting, there isn’t much wiggle room, as other options are directly inferior or too specialized to be used all the time.
Adjust loadout for night time
Night makes some things harder to see, and some things easier to see. Muzzle flashes and flames from the Jet Pack become more noticeable, while immobile players can easily blend in with background.
Dark camouflage can be helpful if you take advantage of it, but even with default camouflage you will be harder to see in the darkness. Enemies with HS/NV scopes will be able to see you no matter what camo you have, so try to stay out of their range and move to flanking positions only while being covered by terrain or buildings. This will also help conceal your Jet Pack flames.
Light Assaults have access to carbines, shotguns and SMGs.
Carbine is a short-range version of an Assault Rifle. They do less damage at range, and tend to have more recoil, but much better hip fire accuracy. There’s a great variety of carbines, some of them can be specialized towards CQC, other for ranged combat. It is your best option for ranged combat, and the most versatile weapon class available to us.
Most importantly, carbines retain walking hip fire accuracy while flying on a jet pack, allowing Light Assaults to effectively engage enemies mid-air. This quality is not shared by other weapon classes, and it makes a carbine the best choice for LA.
SMGs are short range automatic weapons with defensive traits – excellent hip fire accuracy and mobility. They have good DPS, but short effective range due to bad ADS accuracy and strong damage degradation, and most of them have enough ammo to deal with only one target at a time.
Shotguns are devastating at extremely short range, but very weak everywhere else. The big part of using a shotgun is the skill of getting close enough to the target before being spotted or killed. Naturally, for an LA it is much easier to safely get close to the target.
It really comes down to how close can you get before being spotted. If you can get within 3-5m, the shotgun itself will carry your survival by killing enemies before they can do anything. If you’re spotted on approach – disengage and reset if you can. If you can’t – you’re screwed. You can try to pull out a sidearm with some range to it, but odds aren’t in your favor.
The best streaks I had when I’d just infiltrate an enemy-infested building – usually by impudently flying down to it – and then just turn it into “kill as many enemies as I can before being cornered”, using short TTK and high DPM to kill all witnesses, and skirmisher jets to jump around the floors, essentially turning the building into a portable towerstomp.
LA’s relationship with weapons
In outdoors combat, LA can often take cover in a position that’s unreachable to enemies, and remain there for as long as needed, so long reload and shield recharge times are not a problem.
As long as there is cover to maneuver around, Light Assault can gain an advantage by engaging on his terms, from a flanking position and controlling his exposure.
This helps to offset lack of effective long-range weaponry, but leaves LA weak in plain field without cover.
Indoors, Light Assaults maneuver in and out of the building, and fly above and behind enemies, unloading at exposed targets.
The ability to engage enemies with a carbine while flying creates a unique playstyle, with a heavy accent on maneuvering around enemies, and exploiting unexpected angles of attack.
Light Assaults use the same sidearms as everyone else. For detailed reviews check the Sidearm Guide.
Most often, sidearms are used when the player can’t escape to safely reload the primary weapon, and fighting is the only option. Breaching Light Assaults often bite off more than they can chew, and hip firing tends to waste a lot of ammo, both while flying and in general, so it’s important to have a reliable sidearm on hand.
Sidearms become especially important as a finisher if you use a primary with low damage per magazine.
For example, most VS carbines, feature only 143 * 30 = 4290 damage per magazine, which can be not enough to deal with a shielded HA at medium range, or simply if the target is running away or otherwise actively dodging your fire.
Light Assaults can also often get into great positions for sniping, which makes NS-44L Blackhand sniper revolver of special interest, as it provides an effective way of killing enemies at long range, which is normally Light Assault’s weak point.
Even if you’re rocking such a ranged beast as AC-X11, Blackhand can be used to surgically remove a player at long range behind cover with double tap headshots.
Tool: Rocklet Rifle
Item ID: 802768
Fire Rate in burst mode: 600
CoF Bloom in burst mode: 1.5
Keep in mind the listed damage is fairly meaningless, since it goes through a swirl of unknown modifiers before being applied to enemy targets. Indirect damage is not applied to infantry.
Rocklet Rifle is a drum-fed rocket launcher. Left Clicks fire single rockets with high accuracy, Right Click will dump the remainder of a drum at a high rate of fire and low accuracy. Rocklet Rifle retains the same accuracy while flying on a Jet Pack.
Rocklet Rifle has 3 ammo types:
Default ammunition deals moderate damage to ground targets, and has a Flak effect: rocklets will automatically detonate within 5m of an aicraft and and deal splash damage. However, low rocklet velocity makes it hard to hit an aircraft, unless it’s hovering at low altitude.
This ammunition deals ~35% more damage to ground targets, but loses the Flak effect.
Typhoon Rocklets have slightly reduced rate of fire and significantly more projectile drop.
When all 6 Typhoon Rocklets land, they deal damage, comparable to something between a default Heavy Assault rocket launcher, and a Decimator rocket.
Typhoon Rocklets are a popular choice, since they increases LA’s burst damage, and the amount of damage he can do without resupplying.
This ammunition changes how Rocklet Rifle functions: it gives its primary mode the ability to lock on vehicles and aircraft within 150m, but makes it unable to dumbfire, and removes burst mode entirely.
Locklets keep the Flak effect versus aircraft.
It takes 2.5 seconds to lock on.
Hard to use effectively due to limited range and long lock on time.
It’s a common technique to sneak behind an enemy vehicle, deploy C4, and then combo it with a burst from the Rocklet Rifle.
When you do this, always detonate C4 manually. While you can detonate it with Rocklets themselves, it will be a net loss in overall damage. Rocklets only have splash damage versus aircraft, so the only way you can detonate C4 is with a direct hit, and Rocklets that directly hit the C4 will not deal damage to the vehicle.
Both Lightning and MBTs should be destroyed with one C4 and one Rocklet Magazine in the rear armor. Vanguards specifically require an extra Rocklet shot, unless it was already slightly damaged or you’re using Typhoons.
Default and Stealth Sunderers are destroyed with 2x C4 and 1 Rocklet Magazine. Usually you would detonate C4 first, and then finish off with Rocklets.
Blockade Sunderers require 2x C4 and 3 Typhoon Magazines or 4 Regular Magazines. Order doesn’t matter.
Sunderers with fully charged Deployment Shield require you first disable the shield with 3-4 Typhoon Magazines or 4-5 Regular Magazines, and then destroy the Sunderer with 2x C4. Remember that Deployment Shield needs to be damaged constantly to prevent it from regenerating.
Ability: Jet Pack
Our bread, butter and caviar, the ability that makes Light Assault so good. There’s a few variants of the Jet Pack, but they all share these common traits:
Hold [Jump] key to engage the Jet Pack.
While flying on a Jet Pack, you can perform actions that cannot be performed while sprinting, like using weapons or utility items, throwing grenades.
Non-carbine weapons are very inaccurate while flying. Try to not mix together fighting and flying with these weapons, unless very close to the enemy.
An EMP grenade can drain all your Jet Pack energy even through a wall.
Popular Jet Pack Tricks
The idea behind Hanger is to float above the enemy when there is nowhere else to hide. Prerequisites:
- High ceiling
- Combat nearby, so enemy will not hear your jet pack sound
- Enemy has no opportunity to see you above himself unless he specifically looks upwards
“Fly along” means “flying along cover towards the enemy”.
Flying LA is vulnerable, because you can’t make rapid changes in course, and it’s hard to dodge enemy fire. So fly behind cover when possible.
Do not allow your Jet Pack to overshoot you. In other words, fly only as high as you have to. In video example above, me and an enemy Light Assault fly on the same roof. I fly only as high as needed, and enemy LA flew too high, and couldn’t land to return fire in time.
Overshooting is much harder to avoid with Icarus Jets, but still possible with enough experience and precise control.
Flying too high
Another mistake is exposing yourself unnecessarily while speed drifting through the air. Unless directly above enemy head, flying LA is easy to spot and shoot down.
Flying closer to ground will keep you safer and give you more time to land and hide in case you get in trouble.
Bumping into things will reduce your speed. This is a problem for Drifter Jets and Skirmisher Jets, which have poor acceleration, and a problem for Icarus Jets due to fuel shortage.
You can’t always avoid collisions, but if you do hit something and lose your speed, it may be faster to land and jump in the air again, rather than continuing flight and burning more fuel.
Pressing sprint key
Holding [Sprint] while flying will introduce a sprint recovery delay before you can fire, and you won’t be able to crouch mid air to squeeze through windows.
Holding [Sprint] while flying doesn’t give you any advantages, so just remember to let go of [Sprint] key while flying.
Jet Pack Crouching Myths
Crouching while flying has a lot of myths around it. I performed some in-game testing, and here are the results:
Myth 1. Crouching while flying makes you a harder target.
Holding crouch while flying will lower your viewpoint in first person, and makes you able to squeeze through windows and other narrow passages.
But it will not affect your 3rd person model, you will still appear standing to other players, and you will be just as easy to hit. Your character will only lower his/her head slightly when you shoot.
Myth 2. Crouching while falling a short distance makes you land on on your feet faster.
It doesn’t. It will only appear that way, because your first person view lowers as you press crouch.
It also doesn’t make you crouch faster when you finally land. For you, it will appear as if you have landed already crouched, but your character model will first land, and only then crouch.
Myth 3. Holding crouch while flying increases your speed.
True, but only when flying uphill or drifting along rough terrain.
It may also seem like you’re moving faster if you crouch drift along smooth, flat terrain, but that’s an illusion – terrain appears to move faster because your view point is closer to it.
Skirmisher Jump Jets
Also traditionally known as just “Jump Jets”.
The universal middle ground of the Jet Pack world, Skirmisher Jump Jets offer average performance in just about any task. They are the most versatile, and the recommended choice for most situations.
Upgrading increases fuel capacity and recharge speed by 8/11/14/17/20%.
Drifter Jump Jets
Drifter Jets maximize horizontal mobility at the cost of vertical mobility. They allow to glide – drift – though the air for a prolonged period of time, and recharge fuel quickly.
Their downside is that you gain height slowly, and only when not pressing any directional movement keys. This puts a strong limitation on versatility and combat movement.
You can also drift along the ground, moving a bit faster than sprint, but you still can’t make rapid course corrections.
Hitting a bump or an incline while drifting along the ground can slow you down, and you should hold [Crouch] to prevent that.
Drifters are also very good at climbing uphill: hold [Forward], [Jump] and [Crouch] at the same time and face the hill. When climbing like that, you can gain height much faster than Drifters normally allow.
Drifters have 15 seconds of air time at rank 1, upgrading increases it by 4/7/11/15 seconds. Same recharge time of 6 seconds at all ranks.
On a full burn, Drifters can actually gain more height than Icarus or Skirmisher Jets, but will take much longer to do so.
Overall, Drifters are very good at getting you to an objective, as long as it’s at least slightly below you. In other words, Drifters are great at moving between bases and between buildings, but not so great at maneuvering inside and around buildings.
To move upwards faster than crawl, you will need external help: uphill terrain to climb along, a Jump Pad or a Gravity Lift. Ditching an aircraft to start drifting at high altitude is also a common trick.
Due to lack of versatility and upwards speed, Drifters are rarely used effectively. Their main application is hunting enemy vehicles.
Here are some spectacular, but sorely outdated videos about Drifters:
All these videos are outdated, they were made before Drifters could gain any height and before carbines gained the ability for accurate hip fire mid flight!
Game footage by Paqu
A video by Cruczi:
And Shootybob’s videos:
Icarus Jump Jets
Compared to Skirmisher Jets, Icarus Jets provide significantly stronger vertical thrust and fuel recharge rate at the cost of in-air maneuverability and overall fuel capacity.
Icarus Jets simply hurtle you into the sky. They’re rather unforgiving if you miss your landing spot, but the energy regeneration is enough that you will be able to save yourself before you hit the ground. The thrust is powerful enough that even if you only have a fraction of your fuel left you can still make a quick hop up (usually about 1 story).
You can still employ the tapping movement method to get from ledge to ledge, but you need to be more careful since the fuel gets consumed so quickly you’re relying on regen to keep you up and your forward movement, and momentum between bursts to keep you moving forward. In a smaller scale, if you’re in danger, the Icarus Jets can get you out of a doorway in a split second.
They are great for getting around most bases and getting the upper hand on your opponents on the fly (pun intended). Or for getting out of hairy situations quickly.
Icarus can do some slow convulsive horizontal movement, but for the most part they lose the ability to speed drift. You can still do limited slingshot maneuvers with the help of a Jump Pad, or using a physics trick described in DarkFlight’s video below.
You can’t float in the air to drop C4 (C4 fairing). Precise movement – when you need to get exactly on that ledge or tree branch – is possible, but doing it feels like doing a surgery with a chainsaw.
Ironically, Icarus’ strong vertical thrust is what makes them hard to use – Icarus will often send you too high, and you’ll be left hanging in the air for a second, completely exposed. You can prevent this by letting go of the [Jump] key before actually reaching the ledge, but it’s something that requires a lot of experience with Icarus specifically.
Tip: According to my tests, the highest fall you can survive with Icarus without Safe Fall implants is around 75m.
Icarus Jets have distinct disadvantages, and do only one thing well. As belthazor3457 has eloquently put it in his brief video review, it’s a one-trick-pony.
That said, when used with impeccable precision, Icarus Jets can allow for extreme mobility when moving about bases, as demonstrated in this video by DarkFlight:
He also has more examples in this video.
How to perform DarkFlight’s trick:
When you fall on a sloped surface, physics engine of the game will make you bounce from it and propel you horizontally at great speeds. Then you engage the Jet Pack to maneuver and keep altitude.
Technically, this can be done with any type of Jet Pack, or even without the jet pack at all, but Icarus does it the fastest, and benefits the most from it.
Here’s some uncut gameplay with Icarus Jets:
Wrel’s video review:
Detailed explanation of each suit slot and its mechanics can be found in Suit Slot Guide.
Notes, specific to Light Assault:
Reduces non-headshot damage from bullets.
Recommended suit slot to maximize combat performance, and have a greater chance when going against Heavy Assaults.
Nanoweave also makes a great choice for indoors combat. When engaging enemies while flying, your whole body will be open to enemy fire, so you will need this edge to survive. Bumping into ceiling and moving fast will also make your head a harder target, and make it harder to exploit Nanoweave’s weakpoint.
Increases the amount of grenades you carry.
A solid choice when things get crowded. One frag grenade often wounds, but rarely kills anyone. Several frags thrown in a crowd of enemies are guaranteed to score a multi kill. Only recommended in large fights, when enemies tend to clump up in choke points. You can use your jet pack to bypass enemy lines, and throw grenades where it would hurt the most.
Advanced Shield Capacitor
Reduces shield recharge delay.
Fully certed and equipped by default, but not recommended for LA. It’s a decent choice for outdoors combat, where you can regulate the amount of damage you’re taking, and hide as soon as your shield is down. ASC will reduce shield recharge time, and give you more time to engage enemies. But it won’t save your life if you get caught.
Increases the amount of spare ammunition for primary and secondary weapon.
Not recommended for LA. Even if you lone wolf deep inside enemy territory, you should be able to safely retreat to an infantry terminal, deployed sunderer or allied engineer. Heck, you can even get ammo from enemy ammo packs.
Reduces damage from explosions.
Not recommended for LA. Light Assaults generally should not be where they can get damaged by explosions, but even if you do find yourself being bombarded by grenades, you can just fly above them to avoid any damage:
I am not saying Flak is necessarily better than ASC or Nanoweave on a LA. But I prefer Flak for a few reasons:
- No more deaths from AI mines
- I wont die to grenade even standing right next to it
- Dumbfires can’t one shot me (tho that didn’t happen very often before)
- If I am hovering over a tank or approaching one and the gunner spots me I can take one Halberd shot in the face without dying or one more shot from enforcer which of course increases my chances of blowing it up.
- Just overall resistance against all other splash damage + direct hit resistance against some other weapons like rocket pods and Fury/Marauder.
Flak Armor can be very attractive for ground troopers, who tend to bunch up and get bombarded with frags by Light Assaults with Grenade Bandoleers 😉 But LA isn’t a ground trooper, and you shouldn’t play him like one.
For Light Assaults, the main application of Flak Armor is to survive if you step on a mine while flanking, but deaths to mines happen so much more rarely than deaths to bullets that it just isn’t worth it.
Increases sprint speed by 10%.
Not recommended. Other suit slots have much better things to offer, and you can use Drifters / Skirmishers to move horizontally faster than sprint speed anyway.
Increases Jet Pack fuel capacity by 10/13/16/20%.
Not recommended. Our mobility is limited by speed, not fuel capacity. It’s a nice little boost if you’re trying to maximize mobility at all costs, but it’s not worth sacrificing the suit slot for general gameplay.
Provides 1 / 2 /3 extra Rocklet Rifle magazines.
Can be a great choice when you want to maximize your vehicle hunting potential, especially with Typhoons.
Frag Grenade is available to every other class, and it’s covered in Grenade Guide.
Blinds affected targets for several seconds. Strength of the effect is based on the distance to the explosion.
- Costs 25 nanites to spawn with.
- Fuse timer of 3 seconds.
- Blinds players even if exploded behind their back.
- If effective hit has been achieved, blinds for ~6 seconds, wipes the HUD and increases minimum Cone of Fire by 20%. Example.
- Emits loud and unique *bang* sound when explodes, so you know when to rush in to the room after throwing a Flash. A hit indicator will appear on your crosshair, if you managed to hit someone. However, that sound will warn enemies that an LA is about to breach as well.
- Does minuscule amount of damage, enough for the Marker implant to work, and Spot all affected targets, as well as interrupt shield regeneration.
- Clear Vision implant protects against the effects of the Flash Grenade.
- You will see a special indicator near your crosshair if your Flash Grenade was resisted by someone.
- Has no grenade indicator.
- Enemies killed by your allies while affected by your Flash Grenade will grant kill assist XP, and will count towards Flash Grenade ribbons and medals.
Flash Grenades are most useful in breaching scenarios, when you storm a small room full of enemies. With Grenade Bandoleer, you can throw several grenades at once, covering more area and increasing the chances of blinding more targets.
A lengthy fuse timer can make it challenging to intentionally hit a certain target, especially in a wide and open space or a big room.
Flash Grenades will be invaluable for agressive Light Assault, that actively seeks and assaults enemy encampments, especially indoors. It will probably be less useful to a careful, ranged Light Assault that patrols outskirts of the battle to pick out stragglers.
Quick-Det Flash Grenade
A variant of the Flash Grenade. It has a shorter fuse timer of 1.5 seconds, but it doesn’t affect enemy Cone of Fire.
Quick-Det Flash Grenades give a nearly instant result, which makes them more interesting than standard frags for infantry combat. It’s also much harder to accidentally hit breaching friendlies.
Creates a thick cloud of smoke after a delay.
Known issue: if you throw the grenade too far, it will disappear without producing smoke.
As explained here, Smoke has a lot of long-standing issues in PlanetSide 2, and generally isn’t worth using. Smoke Grenade especially so, since the same thing can be done resource free with Underbarrel Smoke Grenade Launcher.
Smoke is the core part of the Smoke Ninja loadout.
Here’s Wrel smoke video review and shotgun montage
(review is old, but smoke didn’t change much since then)
This should be your default option, even though it’s quite expensive. Light Assault is considered the best class to use C4 with, because using C4 requires being very close to the target, and Light Assault is the best in getting close to the target while remaining unnoticed.
Even though LA can’t cloak themselves, the Jet Pack opens new ways to get to your target, unavailable to any other class. For example, a tank that bombards your base and hides behind nearby rocks to avoid rockets. LA can use his Jet Pack to move over the rocks and throw C4 on the tank from above.
These have good synergy with Light Assault, as we often get wounded behind enemy lines, with no allied medic to immediately heal you up.
Also, normally kits can’t be used while sprinting, but LA can bypass that by using his Jet Pack to fly while injecting himself, and preserve his speed.
Increases shields from 500 to 550.
Unlocked and equipped by default. While it’s a nice slot filler for new characters, other utility items are immensely more useful.
Light Assaults use the same melee weapons as everyone else. Using your knife is an essential part of the LA play, as there are plenty of opportunities for it in close range skirmishes. Melee is also often used to instantly finish off a target after you have sneaked up on it and have done several shots in its back.
Check the Melee Weapons Guide to learn more.
This is a quick overview of useful implants specifically for Light Assault. For full descriptions of all implants refer to the Implant Guide.
Automatically restores health out of combat.
A very strong convenience option, and probably the best implant for Light Assaults, because the ability to carry C4 and still have a way to regenerate health is too good to pass up for any other implant.
Even Tier 1 Regeneration implant heals fast, removing the need to look for medics each time you get wounded.
Light Assaults get the most out of Regeneration, since for they have the easiest time finding safe havens to recharge shields and wait for health to regenerate.
Reduces fall damage.
This is one of the less useful implants for the Light Assault, because you can always slow down the fall with your Jet Pack, unless you waste too much fuel.
Safe Landing can be useful to players that are new to Light Assault or to the game as a whole, and have not yet mastered the way of the Jet Pack.
Training wheels, basically, but it’s the bad kind, since with these training wheels you will not develop the necessary habit of breaking your fall with the jet pack.
Safe Landing becomes a bit more important with Icarus Jets, since they’re a bit harder to pick up, and aren’t very good at breaking the fall.
Other uses of Safe Landing:
- You can allow yourself to fall faster, which saves time, conserves fuel and makes you a harder target.
- C4ing tanks becomes easier, because, you can float in the air without worrying about leaving enough fuel to safely land.
- For stealth: at night, LA using Jet Pakc is easy to see from pretty far away, with Safe Fall you can avoid using Jet Pack while falling. This also goes for sound. A keen ear can hear when you fly on a Jet Pack nearby. With Safe Fall, you can just jump down, which will too produce a sound, but much less audible.
Spots enemy explosives like C4 and mines within certain range, even through walls.
LAs often try flank, bypassing the usual entrances. Experienced players are well aware of that fact, and protect their flanks and rear exits with mines, which are often placed in such a way, that you can possibly notice them only tenths of second before you step on one.
EOD HUD will help you to survive in this case. Additionally, LAs are often first to arrive at the objective, and EOD will allow you to serve as a trailblazer for your faction.
Informs the player when he’s spotted.
This implant is probably more useful to Light Assault than to any other class. We rely on stealth and unpredictability to survive, and it’s useful to know when you are spotted, so you can:
- hide in safety until “spotted” fades
- make mind games with it, running in one direction while spotted, then turning around when spotted fades
- adjust your play to be more aggressive or careful depending on situation
- if you’re using smoke grenades as a screen to shoot through with HS/NV scope, enemy will be able to see and shoot you while you are spotted
- when running a stealthy loadout with suppressed weapon, so you know when you’ve lost your surprise advantage
- when running a loadout that requires getting close to the enemy, like SMG or shotgun
Automatically spots enemies that damage you, unless they use a Suppressed weapon.
Useful for making plays near cover. It is a human instinct to “address the threat”. When you get under fire, you naturally want to see who’s that shooting at you. But often if you do, you will not have enough time to retreat to safety or fight back. If you are able to break this bad habit, this implant will be useful to you.
Example situation: you run a shotgun loadout, and run on a rooftop. Somebody shoots you, you see hit markers and enemy pops up on the minimap. You jump down from the edge of the roof, so the building is behind you and the enemy. If he tries to pursue and run around the building, you will be ready for him, you will know when exactly to pop out from around the corner and blast him in face.
Automatically spots players damaged by you.
Flash Grenades do a tiny bit of damage, enough to trigger the Marker implant. So if you lob several Flash Grenades into a building and storm in, all the affected enemies will be spotted.
Another use is maximum stealth loadout – you can run a suppressed cross-faction weapon, such as NS-7 PDW, and you’ll be able to spot enemies without giving your position or faction with your voice.
Reduces screen shake from explosions and flinch when getting shot.
This implant is mostly taken to reduce flinch (the twitching of your screen when you get shot), to increase the chances of winning a 1v1 fight, when you and the enemy are both shooting at each other. Especially important for high skill players that often go for headshots.
This implant is controversial.
On one hand, LA is an inherently weaker class and needs every advantage in a straight up 1 v 1 fight.
However, if you play properly and flank a lot, you shouldn’t fall under too much return fire without the option to run away. For LA under fire, running away to re-engage is usually better than trying to just tank through damage and outshoot the enemy, as in a straight up fight LA is weaker than most classes, especially HA.
You can try tanking through damage if you’re partially hidden by cover, and shooting at an exposed enemy. But then you already have your advantage, and you don’t really need Battle Hardened.
Unexpected encounters, where you can’t run away and your options are fight or die, most often happen at close range, where flinch is not an issue, especially considering most of our weapons have good hip fire. As for screen shake reduction – as LA, you shouldn’t have too much vehicle fire near you.
Sensor Shield 4
Hides the player from motion detection tools, unless moving at sprint speed or faster within 20m of them.
This can be an interesting option. I consider Motion Spotters to be a direct counter to Light Assaults, since it’s the only thing that can preemptively pinpoint his position, and warn the enemy about his approach.
Sensor Shield 4 will considerably reduce the chances of you being picked up by motion sensors.
Being able to walk at normal speed with the gun ready and still remain undetected can be an advantage too.
According to in-game testing that I performed with CuteBeaver, Sensor Shield 4 makes you undetectable even when you fly even within 20m, as long as you move slow enough. You can pace Drifter Jets to move slow enough to stay hidden.
Icarus Jets are definitely out, but Skirmisher Jets probably can be used to slowly ascend without being detected. It’s something that’s hard to do on purpose all the time, though.
Implants that should not be taken
Reduces effects of Flash and Concussion grenades.
Flash and Concussion Grenades are most often used against infantry clumped up near ground cover or inside buildings: places where LA shouldn’t normally be. You might want to use Clear Vision to make sure not to blind yourself with your own Flash Grenade, but Flash Grenades have clear and loud detonation sound, so it’s hard to blind yourself by accident.
Sensor Shield 3
Hides the player from motion detection tools, unless he’s jumping or sprinting or flying on a Jet Pack.
There’s no point in having an implant that won’t work whenever you use your class’ main feature.
Reduces the effects of EMP grenades.
Same as other grenades, EMPs are most often used against clumps on infantry, where you shouldn’t normally be.
Only Infiltrators have access to EMP, and they are your prey, not the other way around. Sometimes a stray EMP can drain all your jet pack fuel through a wall – annoying, but not worth wasting an implant slot just to remove that.
Increases the time the user can hold breath to suppress scope sway.
Only scopes with sway that we can use is HS/NV . Suppressing sway on HS/NV scope could be useful, but other implants offer much more.
Note: this whole section has been wrote before LA could accurately hip fire while flying and needs a rework. It’s outdated.
Seek not beauty in battle.
Seek not virtue in death.
Think not that your life is your own.
To protect those who need protecting, strike the enemy from the rear.
While gunplay is mostly similar across classes, Light Assault’s positioning is a separate skill set. Only LA moves like LA, so it may be hard to transition from LA to another class and vice versa.
The basic idea is this: our weapons are either inferior or on par with everyone else, and so is our survivability. All our weapon options are short range. Our class ability, the Jet Pack, provides no direct combat advantages. We have to rely on stealth to survive, and mind games and flanking to kill. LA is naturally a weaker class, and you must use your skill and mind to play yourself out of that disadvantage.
My Light Assault video guide:
This educational video by Moukass covers just about everything Light Assault does.
Shadowflight is an expanded version of the standard LA loadout, and it’s also a playstyle. It puts a higher accent on stealth and flanking, and tries to move away from engaging enemies head on or in close quarters combat, unless to contest an objective.
While some people see Light Assault as a CQC aggressive skirmisher, I don’t fully agree with it. LA just doesn’t have the staying power to dive in danger and reliably come out alive in the end, and I don’t condone suicide missions. And if things get too hot in CQC, LA can’t just break contact and escape – not enough speed. LA also can’t reliably get good close range ambushes. With Jet Pack, we can move in unusual ways, but in the end of the day we’re still visible plain as day, both visually and on the minimap.
What LA has is the ability to get to good high ground cover, often overlooking the battlefield, and maneuver around that cover as he pleases. It’s perfect for leading a series of mid range engagements.
The theory of the playstyle is very simple in theory. Proper execution is the hard part.
First, LA moves to the general area of the enemy and peeks from cover, looking for potential engagements. Then different things can happen:
- LA sees an enemy in a vulnerable position, and he can easily take him out.
- LA gets shot or spotted from his position, and then he has the option of retreating back into cover.
Things can always go wrong. As LA, you don’t get the luxury of knowing what you’re getting into once you peek from that cover. So you need to stay close to cover, to always have the option of just taking two steps to hide and disengage.
For that reason, it’s important to be able to engage straight away, without having to close the distance first. You need a fitting primary weapon for that, and this immediately rules out SMGs and shotguns, and for the most part – CQC carbines. We’re gonna return to the weapon choice later.
So you either peek from cover and get some kills, or you get shot. Either way, you wanna retreat back into cover and regain stealth, to later try to get another engagement from a different position.
Regaining stealth here means disappearing without a trace for the enemy to follow. The enemy knows you’re out there, or might be out there, but they got no idea where to look. It’s like being cloaked, but without the cloak, so you can’t just hide out in the open. Fortunately, you have a jet pack to take you to wonderful places. Be creative.
Comparatively long TTK of PlanetSide 2 means that you’re probably not gonna killed if you just take a quick peek to see if it’s okay to come out and engage. Most players don’t even have means to chase an LA, so as long you have that choice of engaging or retreating, you can poke for good engagements for days.
A lot of the time, if the enemy knows where you are, it’s not even worth starting a firefight. Some players are skilled enough and well equipped enough to just shoot and kill you even in partial cover, and that’s why you need to restealth between engagements – you want to catch them off guard every time you shoot at them.
While suppressor is certainly punishing, and it hurts your killing power a lot, it also has one of the greatest synergies with this Shadowflight playstyle.
Suppressor has a twofold effect:
- makes it easier to restealth between engagements
- when you engage, it delays the response of the enemy you’re shooting at and other enemies in the vicinity
Sure, enemy knows that he’s getting shot from a certain direction, but it’s very different from knowing the exact position from the minimap. Tracers can give away the direction to you, but muzzle flash will give away your exact position.
Additionally, at close range of ~20m, tracers don’t render too well, especially for the person they are directed at. A lot of the time the enemy might stare you directly in the eye and not realize that you’re the one shooting him.
And if we are gonna be using a suppressor, we better use it on a weapon where it’s gonna be the least punishing.
Precision Carbines like Razor and T5 AMC are perfect for this. They got super high starting velocity and a great velocity benefit from HVA, so suppressor not gonna hurt velocity that much. Additionally, HVA’s bonus to minimum damage range of 18m almost entirely compensates for suppressor’s penalty of 22m to minimum damage range.
Combine HVA and Suppressor with Advanced Grip and you get a very versatile weapon with easy recoil, serviceable hip fire, and good damage per mag. Exactly what you want in a mid range ambush weapon.
Unfortunately, VS are somewhat shafted, as Pulsar C’s velocity and HVA velocity bonus are far from inspiring. NS-11C doesn’t help here either.
If you don’t like Suppressor, or you want a bit more firepower, I recommend the starting carbine with Flash Suppressor and Grip.
I recommend Counter Intelligence – it gives you a bit more control over your stealth. Most of the time you can tell if you’re lit up by motion spotter anyway, and with Counter Intelligence you cover all “enemy knows where I am” bases.
Alternatively, you could use Sensor Shield 4, if you have it. After all, motion spotters are probably the hardest counter to Shadowflight. The problem is high upkeep costs, low accessibility and unlike Counter Intelligence it doesn’t give you information – you don’t know when it’s keeping you from appearing on the minimap, and when it doesn’t.
If you have neither, Regeneration is always a great filler, giving you a bit of sustain out there in the field.
In the end, when you peek from cover you either get shot or you don’t, and if you don’t, you may as well engage, without caring if you’re spotted or not.
The rest of the loadout is the same as Standard LA Loadout.
The reason I recommend sticking with Frag grenades is this – for all the buff Flash Grenades received, there’s one thing Frags can do: clear out Motion Spotters and other deployables.
Ideally, you also want a camo fitting your potential cover. If you’re gonna be using suppressor and engaging from a stationary position, good camo can add a lot to response time. But it’s hard to get a fitting camo, since sometimes you’re gonna be engaging from base walls, and sometimes from terrain, and sometimes be up against sky.
Using no camo at all is just fine too. It’s more stealthy than most people realize.
The good thing about using a precision carbine here is that always gives you an option to engage. It’s accurate enough to be competitive at most ranges except very long, it has acceptable hip fire, so even if you lose the positioning game, you always get a chance to outshoot the enemy.
Ideally, you wanna stack as many advantages as you can for each engagement, but you’re not helpless even when nothing goes in your favor. This is what makes Shadowflight different from shotgun and SMG loadouts.
As you can see, there’s a bit of wiggle room in primary weapon and implant departments. The main thing here is thought process, playstyle.
Endless cycle of: [ poke for a good engagement -> engage -> restealth -> repeat ] and trying to keep the enemy at mid range. You never want a CQC fight with HA or MAX, and you always want to have an option of running away from a bad engagement. Naturally, you don’t want to come indoors unless it’s to contest an objective.
I do believe that Shadowflight LA is the strongest and most versatile LA. It benefits from stealth greatly, but it’s not an absolute crutch that he’s helpless without.
Current Jet Pack options have only one use – gain a positional advantage, flank and ambush an unsuspecting opponent. People tend to hate LAs because of that – “oh again this rat attacked me from the back, where I couldn’t see him”.
Sadly, attacking from the back is about the only viable option for us, because we can’t fire accurately while flying, and without flying we’re just engineers without all the utility. Light Assaults are forced to rely on passive stealth to survive. They make a terrible front line soldier because of that.
Flank any time you can. When you see a front line, don’t push through it, you will be seen and killed. Instead, run in cover along the front line, until you reach its end, then run some more. Now you’re in position to flank, to attack enemy front line defenses from the side.
Enemies won’t be watching your way, and won’t expect an attack from your angle, make the best of it.
Flanking is LA job requirement. No matter what weapon you’re using, you want to be flanking. Different weapons just lead to different styles and characteristics, like longevity, survivability, situation exploitation potential, stealth, etc. Try a bit of everything and see what works best for you.
Wrel’s crash course in flanking:
When behind enemy lines
- Don’t get closer than you have to reliably take out a target – you will be vulnerable outside of cover or high ground.
- Don’t Q spot if you don’t have to – your voice will give you away.
Don’t shoot if you have low chance of actually killing the target – the fewer living enemies know about your existence, the better.
- Prioritize targets according to battle. If your faction is doing a push with ground vehicles, than kill AV MANA Turret engineers and heavies first. Medics are always a priority, because they can revive anyone you kill, nullifying your hard work.
- If you see a Phalanx turret, racking up the kills, put 2 x C4 on it, kills outright. Be on the lookout for repairing engineers, they’re vulnerable. But beware of the mines they might have placed to protect their flanks.
- If your faction has lots of air in the area, destroy enemy AA turrets. Air support can be a huge nuisance to the enemy, if nothing else.
- Change positions frequently, especially if you’re using unsuppressed weapons. If you’re wounded or out of ammo, try to discreetly retreat to allied forces. Don’t wander too far off from them, you can’t accomplish anything alone in this game.
- Help your faction to break stalemates. For example, two MAXes killing everyone leaving the spawnroom or camping at the cap point. Use your jet pack to flank them, and use C4 to kill a lot of enemies at once, or at least distract them by killing support personnel. Find what obstructs the movement of allied forces, be it a tank, a MANA AI turret or simply dug in infantry, and do your best to destroy or distract them.
There are no new ways to be sneaky, there’s only the old one: don’t be where the enemy would expect you to be. This is relatively easy to do by staying away from the front lines, and attacking them from the sides instead.
Often this boils down to just staying as far away from your allies, so no one will attract enemy’s attention in your direction.
Best positions for LA are a highly situational thing. A perfect position can become terrible in a heartbeat. The golden rule is to never stay in one place for long. Usually, first shots fired in your direction are your cue to leave.
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical situation:
Situation: two sides fight for a base. Doesn’t matter who’s attacking or who’s defending, because most often both sides just attack each other at the same time, and a front line forms naturally. Usually, on an open ground between pieces of cover.
If anyone tries to leave the cover and advance further, he gets killed, and neither of the sides can advance without outside help. It is your job as a Light Assault to be that outside help.
Green circles mark different possible positions you can take.
- On the roof of the objective building. Usually not a good place to be, especially if there’s no railing to protect you. Enemy is pushing to that same building, and he will see you on that roof.
- Behind/on top of cover near your allies. There’s no point in being there, unless you’re looking to make some plays with a short ranged weapon while jumping around and above that cover. It’s a bit better than being in an open field, but still risky.
- On the roof of the building in front of enemy spawn. Makes sense only if that spawn is a Sunderer, not a spawn room. Extremely dangerous place to be, unless your allies have already taken this building. Otherwise, better don’t even go there, but if there are no enemies in that building, you can try to do a crazy stunt and drop C4 at enemy sundy, or jump around and disrupt stuff, maybe kill some snipers / engis behind turrets. But be ready to exfiltrate with a high tail.
- Flanking position on the assaulting enemy. Better than before, but still kinda dangerous, because enemies will still look in that general direction as they are moving to the objective building.
- Flanking position on enemies’ backs. Offers best view of the target, as they will be wide open before you. Fish in a barrel. But there’s a downside – by this time you’re so far away from allies, that you risk being flanked yourself. Extremely rewarding to visit here once in a while.
Base Assault and Defense
Neat tactic to use if you find yourself alone near capping point. Cap the point, then run away and hide nearby.
Wait for enemy to approach and start capping (you will see cap icon blinking), then jump out of hiding and blow their heads off. You can kill multiple defenders that way.
This tactic is superior to camping right by capping point, because they tend to have multiple approach paths available, and if you are alone, you will most likely get flanked.
If you hide you can flank them instead. Also, due to internet delay, this game tends to favor attacks and counterattacks more than camping.
Most capture points are located inside buildings. Because of it, the most reliable way of capturing bases involves “Cap Point capture and hold” tactic: an infantry unit uses a Galaxy to drop straight on point, rushes in, kills any defenders and protects the Cap Point while timer ticks.
They rely on medics to keep everyone alive, and thus bypass spawn mechanics and vehicle play completely. The Cap Point building usually gets surrounded by vehicles and enemy infantry within minutes, and going outside is suicide.
In this setting, Light Assault is ineffective, because he’s forced to stay indoors and can’t use his Jet Pack to maneuver. If he goes outside and dies, medics won’t be able to reach him, and his team will be one man short. Any other class would be more useful here.
There is an exception:
- If the attacking team is not using a Galaxy Drop, and instead uses a Sunderer AMS spawn, and rushes to the point on foot.
- Base defenders have their own infantry unit protecting the Cap Point.
- Attackers don’t have enough nanites to spawn a gazillion of MAXes and rush the point with brute force.
When all three are true, Light Assault can help his team by attacking the Cap Point building from a different direction.
But that’s just my opinion.
My outfit always has a Light Assault in squad during ops, especially if there’s an indoor cap point. Here’s a hint: keep the light assault outside the point building.
Enemies will always clump up near the doorways of the building when your squad inside uses those doors as chokepoints. Use the Motion Spotter your Infiltrator sets down (you do use infiltrators for point holds, right?) so that your Light Assault can remain out of sight and out of danger. He’ll be able to see on his minimap when enemies are bunched up and what direction they’re facing.
With enough practice, then without any communication needed, when the Light Assault makes his move and drops down outside the building, he’ll kill at least a few people and cause chaos and disorder. Then your squad will know to push outside the building and wipe out the rest of the enemies outside. If your Light Assault did his job, most of the enemies outside will have their repair tools and medic guns out and you can wipe them all out and revive your Light Assault.
The key to doing point holds against a larger force of defenders is to never let them group up into large enough numbers outside to rush you on point. You deal with smaller groups and completely wipe them out to send them back to the spawn room.
The Light Assault is also the perfect flanker for dropping behind lone enemies right as they enter the building. This way you don’t have those 1 v 1 fights on the stairways where if your guy falls, one enemy will get in and shoot a bunch of your people in the back.
But that’s talking about competitive side of PS2, when top outfits exchange blows on the battlefield. In a more casual setting, where attackers try to reach the cap point using nearby Sunderers for spawn, having a few Light Assaults operating in the area in addition to main forces can be a huge advantage.
The first priority of every Light Assault is to keep roofs and high ground clear of enemy forces.
In addition to that, do things like:
- Hunt down enemy infiltrators and LAs
- Destroy enemy Spawn Beacons. This becomes especially important if you have a deployed Sunderer with S-AMS nearby.
- Place your own Spawn Beacons in a hard-reachable place if you happen to be a squad leader
- Hunt enemy MAX teams with C4, UBGL or just bullets, if the MAX is already wounded
- Destroy enemy Phalanx Turrets with C4
- Destroy enemy vehicles when they’re in compromised position near walls or rocks.
- Cap points while enemies are distracted elsewhere. This will rarely result in a base cap, but distracting a few enemies from the front lines to cap the point back may be all your allies need in order to prevail.
- Generally be a pain in the backside by flanking and killing everyone you can
Light Assault is as useful during defense as he is during attack; and because there’s a spawn room available nearby, Light Assault can operate without the fear of death putting him out of the action.
When the enemy uses “Cap Point capture and hold” tactic mentioned above, Light Assault is one of the best ways to counter it, as he can use his Jet Pack to assault the Cap Point building from multiple directions, distracting enemies as his allies attack the point from ground entrances.
In casual environment, front lines often form between defenders’ spawn room and attackers’ Sunderer. Light Assault can effectively flank these front lines, as well as help his team to take out Sunderers with C4.
However, when enemies bring multiple vehicles and spam the base with explosives, Light Assault becomes useless, because going outside the buildings and on top of the roofs often leaves him exposed to vehicle fire. But, to be honest, all infantry becomes weak at that point, and best course of action for the defenders usually is to redeploy to a nearby base and pull their own vehicles.
Perching is a playstyle where a Light Assaults finds a concealed position – “perch” – with clear view of enemy lines, and kills enemies stealthily from that position. Perches inlcude: tree branches, center columns of Towers and Biolabs, “legs” of Tech Plants and Amp Stations, and in general – all elevated positions behind enemy lines.
Perching puts emphasis in staying on one place for a long time. If you get in position, kill 1-2 exposed enemies and then move along, it’s not really perching.
Perching LAs traditionally use a precision carbine. Ammo Belt suit slot and Suppressor are optional.
- Carbines are generally ineffective at range, they require a lot of hits to kill, giving enemy time to react and get in cover. Enemy that survives will know the direction he got shot from, and then it’s only a matter of time before your position is discovered.
- Multiple shots produce lots of tracers, making a Light Assault easier to discover. Suppressor doesn’t helps with this, and reduces damage even further.
- Precision carbines are often used with a Compensator, which extends the range of minimap detection when fired, making Light Assault easier to discover.
Introduction of the NS-44L Blackhand sidearm (a sniper revolver) changed this. Blackhand is effective in killing immobile enemies in double-tap headshots, and leaves your primary weapon slot open for a more versatile weapon.
Additionally, perching usually sets getting kills as a goal, rather than actually playing for the objective (capturing territory). In other words, perching Light Assault doesn’t usually contribute to his faction any more than a middle of the road sniper.
All that said, perching can be used in a useful and effective manner. There are three key things to understand:
- When it is appropriate – if there is an enemy line, exposed from at least one direction. If there is, then you have to know a position where you can exploit their weakness, and how can you get there without being noticed. You have to ask yourself if killing those enemies will contribute to the objective.
- How to get kills – you gotta know which targets can be engaged and killed reliably before they can get away. You gotta know how to control your weapon’s recoil, and understand cone of fire mechanics.
- When to run away or change position. You gotta know your cue to leave. Change positions when an enemy player survives your shots. Run away as soon as you even suspect you were spotted – you heard enemy voice or an enemy looked directly at you. Run away as soon as shots were fired in your direction.
Due to their unparalleled vertical mobility, Light Assaults are particularly effective at attacking bases with “Tower” layout. In the video below, Wrel explains everything you need to know about Tower Stomping.
Light Assaults are so effective at tower stomping, that I consider it to be kinda cheap, so I implore fellow Light Assaults to perform tower stomping only when it’s justified: if the tower is actually being contested, and you do have a realistic chance to capture it.
A skilled LA can wreak havoc among tower’s defenders. But if the tower isn’t being contested, and the LA is the only soldier of his faction in that tower, then all his flying around and killing people serves no purpose other than to farm kills. It’s not any different from lolpod farming or spawncamping. I find such behavior despicable.
Deep Flanking with Shotgun
The optimal way to play with a buckshot shotgun is as mobile skirmisher, jumping and flying all over the place, helping your team to capture and hold the objective. Something you can see in my Shotgun Streaks videos. In this case, the overwhelming firepower of the shotgun allows you to to spend less time killing, and more time maneuvering.
However, there’s another way to look at shotguns. In ideal situation, shotguns have very high damage per magazine. A pump action shotgun can kill up to 6 people before needing to reload, which is a rare trait for a non-LMG primary weapon. Usually, high damage per magazine doesn’t mean much on CQC weapons, because at close range you can kill 1 or 2 enemies before they start reacting to you, and will either kill you, or force you to run away, and you’ll have time to reload anyway.
Also, it’s hard to kill an aware enemy with just one pump action shotgun shot, this usually happens on immobile enemies, or enemies moving in a straight line, when you can safely get within contact shot distance, so realistically it’s 2-3 kills before needing to reload.
However, deep behind front lines, enemies will be relaxed, thinking they are safe, and they will be slow to react when you start killing their comrades nearby. They will spend more time standing around and tunnel-visioning at distant targets, so they will be easy to sneak up on and one-hit-kill with a shotgun.
The basic idea behind Deep Flanking is to use your Jet Pack to insert yourself deep behind enemy lines, find a group of unaware enemies, and quickly kill all of them. Adrenailne Pump or speed drifting along the ground can help you transition between targets faster.
There’s a bit of synergy with Drifter Jets, as they will allow you to perform Deep Flanking over wider area, but you’ll lose a lot of vertical speed and so the ability to make vertical plays near cover. Drifters are not really a necessity, and you can perform the same flanking with Skirmisher Jets, just over shorter range or longer time due to need to refuel halfway.
You can use a Power Knife to supplement such playstyle. If you’re getting that close to enemies that you can reliably OHK them with a pump action shotgun, you might as well use the knife. The knife still has shorter range, but in exchange it’s much quieter, doesn’t put you on the minimap, and has infinite ammo. So knife enemies you can knife, and shoot everyone else.
This might be the easiest way to get kills with a shotgun, but there are a few reasons to not play like that:
- You will spend a lot of time moving. It’s possible you’d kill twice as many enemies in half the time by playing near front lines.
- Doing this doesn’t help your faction, because you’re killing people not directly fighting for the objective, and they’re likely to just respawn nearby, so your attack will have no impact at all.
Loadout: Smoke Ninja
The Smoke Ninja loadout is based on Light Assault’s ability to ambush people at close range, and use the Hunter Crossbow + knife combo to get nearly instant kills. Smoke can help you be a bit harder to notice, but don’t rely on it too much, it’s nowhere near as effective as actual cloaking.
This loadout sets as a goal getting lots of knife kills in a short time, and assumes you will be grinding kills for the standard knife or its cosmetic variant. With some adjustments described below, it can be used for Power Knives.
Why would you even want to grind kills with melee weapons? For “Exceptional” directive, using NS Campion and NS Harrower, purchased for 500 DBC each. For “Force Recon” directive, using your standard knife. For events and medals.
Pro: probably the fastest way to grind knife kills with Light Assault.
- Directly inferior to normal loadout and playstyle, where you mostly engage enemies with your primary weapon. Resulted in about ~50% drop in K/D for me.
- Completely selfish. Even if you end up helping your faction, it probably will not be intentional.
- Still frustrating to play.
For actually getting the knife kills the fastest way, Stalker Infiltrator is a better option, since it’s much better at getting close to enemies and ambushing them.
Primary: Gauss Compact S / TRAC 5S / Solstice SF with Underbarrel Smoke Grenade Launcher, HS/NV scope, Suppressor, High Velocity Ammunition.
Smoke will help you cover your approach into melee distance, make you a bit more difficult to see while you knife people left and right, and cover your escape when you’re done. Smoke Grenades alone will not cut it, because they take too long to deploy smoke, and they’re a bit harder to get where you need them.
Overall, smoke is situational and unreliable, even in favorable situations, so don’t expect too much from it. You can ignore this part of the loadout altogether, if you’re stressed for certs.
Suppressor is used to cover your muzzle flash if you need to fire through smoke, and to generally increase your stealth, so you don’t give away your position if you have to defend yourself while moving into flanking position / moving into melee range. HVA is used to compensate for Suppressor’s penalties and make your weapon a bit more versatile. If you don’t want to gimp your already mediocre gun, you can use SPA and Flash Suppressor instead.
HS/NV scope is used to find enemies inside smoke. After deploying smoke you can take a quick look through the scope to see where the enemies are, and then rush to them with the crossbow.
The carbine with these attachments makes for a pretty bad weapon, but you can still use it for self defense, when you are engaged by targets that you can’t knife or run away from.
Sidearm: Hunter Crossbow with laser sight and 1x reflex or HS/NV scope.
First and foremost, the crossbow is used to give yourself that one body shot + one quick knife swing almost instant kill combo, even against full nanoweave targets. This way you can kill most enemies before they even identify you as a threat.
Crossbow also has utility of being a very stealthy weapon that does a lot of damage in one shot, and it is able to destroy all deployables from any range with one shot, and OHK infiltrators on a headshot within 43m. Avoid headshotting if you want to try to knife them.
HS/NV scope makes harder to see cloaked objects and deployables, so I recommend using 1x reflex over it.
You can also do this useful trick: if you’re chasing an unaware enemy, you can shoot him in the back with the crossbow, the enemy will turn around to see what is damaging him, and eat a knife swing in the face. But never use this trick against Heavy Assaults and high level players.
HAs will activate overshields and your knife won’t kill them, and other players may not let you in melee range; their reflex would be to jump forward, turn around and headshot you before you can do a second shot with the crossbow or run up and knife.
Crossbow can be inconvenient to use: it takes 1 second to cycle after each shot, and this process is interrupted by using the knife, so misses are punished severely. Crossbow has longer equip time than most sidearms: 0.8 seconds. Time between shoot + stab combos is ~1.5 seconds.
Try to nit hit enemies in their legs, if they have full nanoweave armor, a knife swing will not kill them.
Alternatively, NC players can use Mag-Scatter. Its main advantage is being able to do multiple shots in a short amount of time. In that regard, it is much more forgiving than the crossbow. However, Mag-Scatter has many drawbacks: much shorter range where it effectively does full damage of one shot, its OHK combo does not work against full nanoweave targets, unless at least one pellet hits the head, it’s not suppressed and has a loud faction specific sound.
Mag-Scatter has shorter equip time of 0.5 sec and shorter time between shoot + stab combos of ~1.1 sec. Mag-Scatter also doesn’t have to deal with the chunkiness of needing to cycle the crossbow after each shot.
More smoke. Smoke grenade has a nice utility of delivering smoke in a bit different way than the launcher. You can throw a grenade under your feet or bounce it from a doorway or a window to create a source of smoke inside a building.
Suit Slot: Nanoweave Armor / Grenade Bandoleer / Adrenaline Pump
I recommend Nanoweave. It will help you survive lots of friendly fire you will be inevitably taking, and survive when trying to combo aware enemies. Also stacks nicely with med kits.
Adrenaline Pump is useful for doing lunges towards melee distance.
Generally, I didn’t survive long enough to need more smoke than I had without bandoleer. Being able to resupply the smoke launcher from engineers’ ammo kits helps a lot.
Utility Slot: med kits.
Will help you stay in action more, and do turn-arounds, when you combo an enemy, get shot by a second enemy, hide into cover, eat a medkit, cycle the crossbow, and combo the second enemy as he approaches to finish you off.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have shields a melee attack will kill you even with full health.
Knowing when you get spotted is incredibly useful: it tells you if you should abort your flanking maneuver, and that your smoke screen became useless. Sensor Shield 4 bugs were fixed, and it’s also a strong choice.
Ability Slot: whatever jets you are most comfortable with. I recommend Skirmisher Jets for maximum versatility, but Drifters can be a strong choice too, since this playstyle relies a lot on deep flanking and insertion.
Mostly you will be playing with carbine in hands. Take out the crossbow only to combo someone, or when you dive in a cloud of smoke or a group of enemies.
Avoid open fields. Your kill potential is at the strongest when you are within melee distance, and you have a window of ~0.2-0.4 seconds to oneshot an enemy. Best plays are made near doorways and corners. Use internet delay to your advantage as much as you can.
People normally don’t expect a one hit kill at melee distance, and often forget that knifes even exist. Use this to lure enemies close to you.
You can do wide circles around base fights, hunting lonesome snipers and engineers behind turrets.
Generally, you will want to deploy smoke on top of isolated group of enemies, get inside the smoke cloud yourself, and combo as many people as you can. Keep in mind that flame from your jets will be visible through the smoke, so use them sparingly on approach. Do NOT rely on smoke too much. It makes you just a bit harder to notice, and becomes instantly useless if you get spotted.
Your hip fire crosshair will change color to red when you aim at an enemy within 10m, use it to help you find targets inside smoke.
Friendly Fire is a hurdle with this playstyle. You will spend a lot of time in hugging distance of enemies, and you will often take damage from allies shooting at those enemies. Don’t blame your allies for this friendly fire, just take this for granted.
There are several key aspects to finding a group of enemies that will be slow to react to your attack:
- They have to be busy with something, like shooting your allies.
- There has to be a clear front line established. A direction, leading to enemies. To have a surprise advantage, you want to attack from other directions, because an attack from the front line direction is already expected.
- There has to be a clear border of safety established. Enemies consider themselves to be safe behind that border.
On the picture above, the border of safety is the corner of the building, but it can be any sort of cover. To have a greater surprise advantage, you want to attack from inside that border of safety.
And what enemies expect the least is a threat at melee range. People can react to being shot. At range, TTK of LA’s carbine will be over a second. Even more against heavies. Plenty of time to find new cover or shoot back. Good players got that at muscle memory level.
But cover won’t help against a melee threat, and one barely has a chance to survive if he lets that threat within stabbing distance.
Melee attacks against a group of enemies are usually suicidal in nature. They conflict with common sense and are very rare.
Melee attacks inside smoke are even more rare. Smoke is used so rarely people barely have an idea how to react to it, and usually it’s spammed by engineers and medics from a safe distance. Nobody uses smoke for melee.
Oddly, the more there are people in a group, the less aware they generally are. Every single one of them thinks “guys around will see threats and protect me”, when in reality all of them tunnel vision in one same direction of the frontline.
When you combine so many factors that enemies do not expect, you can hope to ambush whole groups of people, and combo them one by one while they are busy with something else.
When you have several unaware enemies at stabbing distance in front of you, you can’t guarantee which enemy will be hit by quick knife attack, so it will be better to not even deal with the crossbow. Wield the knife and cut them down, it will be more reliable, and take less time and concentration, since you can just mash the melee attack button.
Aiming for the head with the wielded knife is a good way to reduce TTK against wounded enemies.
Dealing with Heavy Assaults
Heavy Assaults are a big problem for this loadout. You cannot OHK combo them when they are protected by overshields. A headshot with a crossbow does 625 * 1.5 = 937 damage. With a knife swing it will be 937 + 500 = 1437 damage, not enough to reliably tear through 1440-1666 effective HP of the HA, so sometimes even after a headshot it’s gonna take 2 knife swings to finish him off, more than a full second – enough time for HA to kill you.
- Try to combo HAs before they notice you and activate overshields.
- If you’re engaged by HA, run or trick him into thinking that you are running, so he drops his overshields, and then you circle back and combo him.
- If HA’s overshield is active, but he’s not aware of you, better don’t touch him. If you need to remove him from your path, a better choice would be to just headshot him with the carbine.
- If HA has no shields, the combo will kill him even through full overshield energy and nanoweave. If HA is spotted and you’re within 10m, you will see his health bar if he has no shields. If HA is eating a med kit, it’s also a tell that he has no shields.
- If you come face to face with a HA and running is not an option, try to headshot + knife him, and pray that he’s wounded or not at full overshield energy. If he survives the first combo, jump around and try to knife him a second time, but you’re most likely dead.
Adjusting the loadout for Power Knives
When wielded and activated, power knives do not need help for one hit kills. They can even OHK heavy assaults through overshields on a headshot. However, their quick knife attack is slower, so it’s preferable to treat power knife as stand alone weapon, and always wield it when engaging.
Remember, that while active, power knife emits sound effects, so activate it only as you’re about to knife someone.
You will still want to deploy the smoke, but you won’t need to sacrifice the sidearm slot for the crossbow, and you can carry anything you want in there.
Keep in mind that wielded hits are harder to achieve than quick knife hits, so it’s recommended to put higher emphasis on hunting unaware immobile enemies, and jumping right inside groups of them, so you can snatch as many kills as you can before being discovered.
It’s nearly impossible to land a wielded hit on an enemy that’s running away. If you’re still using the crossbow, you can perform the same trick described above. Quick knife attack with a power knife won’t be as fast, but with a proper timing will still do the job.
Alternatively, you can just chase the enemy until he stops, or attract his attention by the sound of activating the power knife. A worse choice would be to use one of the voice callouts or spot the enemy, which will give away your position to all enemies around.
If you don’t need knife kills
You can still enjoy this Smoke Ninja loadout. The only difference is that you will be mainly engaging enemies with your carbine. You can also throw away the Hunter Crossbow, but I recommend you keep it. It is an interesting tool to use, and what’s a ninja without arrows? 😛
This loadout will still be inferior to standard loadout, because these carbines sacrifice a lot to get underbarrel attachments, and there are currently some issues with smoke that make it less useful than it could have been.
Jump pads and gravity lifts
Light Assault can use gravity lifts and jump pads to his advantage, a lot more so than regular infantry.
Both are often used as means to get speed or height with drifter jets, but can also be used for the same purposes with Skirmisher Jets.
Also, being in the gravity lift even for a moment or using a jump pad makes you immune to fall/collision damage for several seconds.
- Gravity lifts tend to “overshoot” you. Hold [Crouch] as you’re leaving the gravity lift to land on your feet as soon as you get where you want instead of flying in the air for a few seconds.
- You can ascend or descend quicker while in a gravity lift; look in the direction you wish to move, press forward (W). Since you can’t look directly up or down, you will have to spin to remain inside the gravity lift.
- Jump Pads don’t always send you to the one same landing point, the location of your landing can be influenced by moving or jumping or jetting.
Wrel shows both of these tricks in this video.
Biolab tip: when on the roof, walking on the blue shields produces no footstep/landing noise, for when you want to sneak up on an enemy.
Light Assaults have 6 Directives:
- Kills – Any type of kill counts.
- SMG Kills – Any type of kill using a SMG.
- Carbine Kills – Any type of kill using a Carbine.
- Shotgun Kills – Any type of kill using a Shotgun.
- Vehicle Destruction – Destroying any vehicle as Light Assault, typically you’ll use C4 for this.
- Light Assault Kills – Kill enemy Light Assaults.
Kill credit awarded only if you play Light Assault class and not in a vehicle. As you may have noticed, the directives overlap quite a bit. If you kill an enemy Light Assault with a carbine, the kill will count towards all three: kills, carbine kills and Light Assault kills.
Incidentally, vehicle kills also count as kills. E.g., if you destroy an enemy Flash with a carbine, it will count towards all three: kills, carbine kills and vehicle destruction.
The LA Directives are split in 4 independent tiers:
- First tier requires you to complete 2 out of 6 directives.
- Second tier requires 3 out of 6.
- Third tier requires 4 out of 6.
- Fourth tier requires 5 out of 6 directives.
The higher the tier, the more kills is required to complete a directive. Tiers are completely independent, you can complete “Kills” and “Carbine Kills” to get through the first tier, and then complete again “Kills”, “Shotgun Kills” and “Light Assault Kills” to get through the third tier.
Note that “kills” do not cross over to the next tier. For example, Tier 3 requires to get 300 kills with a shotgun, and Tier 4 requires 800 kills. But if you do 500 shotgun kills while on 3rd tier, you will still need 800 kills to complete the 4th tier.
Completing each tier will award you with some Directive Points. Completing the final tear will award you with a lot of Directive Points, and unique reward – Auraxium Infused Plating, a cosmetic armor option that demonstrates skill and status, but can give away your position and faction, especially at night.
What to do?
LA Directives are relatively easy to complete, because they overlap so much.
If you play LA properly, and often go to places only other Light Assaults can go, you will naturally kill enemy Light Assaults. You also should go out of your way to hunt and kill enemy Light Assaults anyway, because LA is the best class to kill another LA, so you will do your faction a favor by doing so. As I have found out, enemy Light Assaults constitute 30-40% of overall kills for me.
You should aim for Carbine Kills, Shotgun Kills and SMG Kills. The plain “Kills” and “LA kills” directives will complete automatically as you complete the other three. Light Assaults are limited in their anti-vehicle capabilities, so it’s better to disregard the “Vehicle Destruction” Directive altogether.
So in effect, LA Directives require you to auraxium – get 1160 kills with – each: a carbine, a shotgun and an SMG. The real amount of kills may vary depending on how long will you spend on first three tiers.
You can use different weapons within one weapon class. E.g., you can split those 1160 carbine kills between four different carbines. But I recommend sticking with one weapon. It’s cheaper, you will learn to use one specific weapon well, and you will receive an auraxium medal in the end, which serves as prestige and awards 200 certs.
Which equipment to use?
For carbine kills, I recommend sticking with the default carbine: TRAC-5, Mercenary and Solstice. All of them are strong weapons in their own regard. Go here to learn more about weapons themselves, and here to learn how to use automatic weapons.
For shotgun kills, you have a serviceable starter shotgun: FA1 Barrage, Mauler and Thanatos. If you’re doing LA directives on a brand new character, then you’re likely to be stressed for certs, so use that. But if you have a 1100 certs lying around for no reason, I recommend using a full auto shotgun: Pandora, Piston or Nighthawk. Go here to learn how to use shotguns.
SMG kills are going to be the hardest – SMGs require good gunplay skills from the user to be effective at close range, and they’re not effective at other ranges at all. You will have to unlock an SMG for 1000 certs, and attachments will cost another 330 certs. I recommend using NS-7 PDW for that purpose, as it’s the most versatile SMG, and plays a lot like a carbine.
Experienced and skilled players can alternatively use SMG-46 Armistice, AF-4 Cyclone or Blitz GD-10. I don’t recommend using other SMGs, as they are a bit weaker. Go here to learn how to use an SMG.
As for the rest of the loadout, I recommend using the standard LA loadout. It will provide the most utility and versatility.
However, if you have a hardcore dedication to complete the LA Directives as soon as possible, you can use Med Kits instead of C4, and Flash or Smoke grenade instead of Frag, as you need only weapon kills. If you go with Smoke grenades, you can use a HS/NV scope to allow yourself see through the smoke, but this combo is not something I’d recommend, as smoke is generally underpowered.
With Med Kits, you won’t really need Regeneration implant, so you might want to go with something like Awareness, Counter-Intelligence, EOD, or any other implant you fancy.