Special: Bringing you the first-ever Warhawk strategy guide, even if it means resetting my PS3 more than 300 times.
Warhawk released to a select number of PS3 gamers in the form of a public beta, but because it includes no storyline and no single-player campaign, this multiplayer-only game can be a little confusing for the lucky downloaders. There is an online manual, but chances are gamers are going straight to war and entering battles unprepared. To better equip Warhawk beta testers and to improve the online atmosphere, here are some Beta Battle Tips for everyone.
How to wage a conversation in Warhawk
Break out the SOCOM headsets folks, because we've got a PlayStation Network game that is worth a lot of chatter. I can't count the number of times people discover their PS2 headset is compatible with PS3 games while in the midst of battle: ?Test, Test. Hello? Can you hear me? You can? Wow, it still works.? Everyone seems to know that a Bluetooth headset can connect with this next-generation system because it's a part of the Crossbar settings menu. But, some people forget that the old USB technology can be plugged into one of the 4 USB ports on their PlayStation 3. Just remember to go to Accessory Settings then Audio Device Settings and adjust your input, output and mic volume levels before entering the game.
Because Warhawk is a dynamic assault between two forces of up to 32 players, any type of headset is an important communication tool for you and your teammates. Organize offensive and defensive tactics in team deatchmatch mode, demand more protection as you run the enemy's flag back to your base in capture the flag mode and call out newly overtaken spawning territory in zones mode. The fourth and last mode is standard deathmatch. Conversations in this every-man-for-himself mode contain no strategic value and consist of nothing more than entertaining smack talk.
To silence irritating adult gamers who use the headset like a cell phone and grade school 12-year-olds who complain about all of their homework they're not doing, head into the audio menu by pressing the start button and selecting the sound tab. Beta Battle Tip #1
is easily missable, but can save your ears from torture.
Since no one likes to be muted, to avoid being shunned by other players here are three simple rules of etiquette you have to follow:
1. Don't be that creepy adult who talks only about how bizarre your cats are.
2. If you haven't reached puberty yet, try not to talk at all.
3. Stop breathing into the mic! Keep the flexible microphone stem bent outward so that it's not down your throat. We can all hear you breathing out AND eating those potato chips.
The complaint about players constantly breathing into their mic is the biggest issue because other useful communication can fail to pass through the headset spectrum. The Xbox Live community has been using their headsets to a larger degree, so some basic etiquette has been followed. Hopefully more PlayStation Network adopters will develop the same level of respect with a little more experience. Communication can be a valuable and fun asset in a game like this.
Freeze, your PS3 has been iced
The other big issue with the Warhawk public beta is that the game freezes? a lot. Even though glitches and disconnections are to be expected, my personal encounters entail PS3 locking up and having to reset the system. Not even the trusty fail-safe PS home button can bail you out of this jam. Turning the console off and on again is especially frustrating when I'm carrying the enemy flag to my base and the only bullet to catch me is the server biting the bullet in the middle of my run.
Beta Battle Tip #2
is best method of dealing with this out there and that is to remember that this is only a beta and that there's a good game underneath all of these glitch errors and constant resets. Hopefully, it'll be fixed soon, as server improvement is all a part of the beta testing process.
The Nondescript Races
Warhawk pits two races against each other, but because there's no story, the game never introduces you to the differences between the Eucadian and Chernovan forces. Most testers simply refer to themselves as being on either the red or the blue team. However, this color-coded identity isn't fool-proof because important message like ?The Eucadian flag has been stolen? indicate that either someone on your team has successfully acquired the enemy flag or your flag has been snatched by the enemy. Because you don't know Eucadian from Chernovan, you don't know whether you're out to rescue the stolen flag from an enemy or to assist the fellow flag possessor.
Beta Battle Tip #3:
The Blue Team is the Eucadian and the Red Team is the Chernovan.
Flight Control Battle Tips
Flying a Warhawk is a sensational experience of freedom, but effectively piloting the aircraft is a little tricky at first. Hop into one by pressing the square button and you'll begin hovering above the ground. The flight controls in this hover mode are limiting as the craft moves slowly without engine propulsion. My first few minutes of flying without directions felt boring and I thought the entire game lacked excitement? that is, until I found out that pressing the triangle button ignited the Warhawk's thrusters and launched the spacecraft into hyperspace and the gameplay hyperfun mode.
One of the easily missed Warhawk moves is Beta Battle Tip #4:
Double tap the R2 button to gain a blue-flamed boost. The immense speed that results makes for a great escape maneuver, but it's truly ideal for offensive flag stealing tactics. This has been one of my favorite parts of the beta. I enter one of the hawk's surrounding my base, blast off with the extra speed toward the enemy base, turn off the thrusters and crash into the ground, ditch the ship and head for the flag. By double tapping R2, I easily go unnoticed in the airspace between my base and my enemy's base.
Ground Control to Major Tom
Getting back with the flag is the hard part. Most game scenarios make it impossible to mount a Warhawk with a flag in hand, so your best bet in these cases is to find a nearby vehicle and drive like a maniac back to your base. Maybe even have a jeep prepared outside the enemy base. This brings us to Beta Battle Tip #5:
Use foliage, rock formations or building foundations to setup awkward angles to throw off pursuing enemy Warhawks. Remember, they're either flying too fast with their thrusters on or hovering too slowly with them off to easily maneuver into that perfect firing position. Throw some visual obstacles, like trees, in their way of shooting your smaller vehicle target and maybe you'll make it back to your base in one piece.
Bring a friend into the game
Did you receive a beta invite and all of a sudden discover that you have a bunch of new friends as if you won the lottery? A lot of beta testers ask if it's possible to bring another gamer in via splitscreen or just assume that it's impossible because ?Local? is not accessible on the main menu. It's possible and the process is quite simple. Beta Battle Tip #6:
Start a round normally and press the start button on the second controller. The screen splits vertically with two players and in to four boxes with three or four local, the fourth box being blank if there's only three in the match.
Your best friend while on foot is the rifle. It's fast, it's pretty powerful and it loosely locks on to enemies after an accurate shot. This makes the rifle the ideal weapon for offensively attacking other on-foot players at a near and medium range. Defensively, you'll want to use the flamethrower, especially when you're protecting the flag or a base zone. Enemies are always surprised when, instead of bullets, fire comes out of your gun and spreads throughout close corners. Always carry a rocket launcher with your rifle/flamethrower combination when you face off with a tank, jeep or Warhawk. While the launcher isn't great against fast moving on-foot enemies, it makes any of the vehicles blow up nicely if you find yourself in a man-vs.-machine match-up.
Beta Battle Tip #7:
The binoculars look like a forgettable visual aide, but they're one of the most powerful weapons available. No, you don't chuck them at other players. Instead, you use them to call in air strikes, which work especially well on still opponents (since it takes a while for the strike to occur) like anti-aircraft gun turrets.
In the air, your best friend should be air mines. They're a great defensive weapon for enemy Warhawks that won't quit following your vapor trails. If you find that you're always getting shot down, release some air mines as a means of rear protection and circle around with the standard machine guns to finish the job. There's a wide range of offensive missiles and rockets available to Warhawks, homing being the best way to lock on and get the job done for new players.
Beta Battle Tip #8:
The rarest and most hidden pick-up in a level is usually the best. I'd say that this description applies to the cruise missile, which takes you out of the Warhawk and has you manually guide the flying bomb to a target of your direction. This purple pick-up can only be found on the most remote spot of a map, which is a good thing. While you control the missile, your Warcraft sits vulnerable to damage. Usually, I turn off my thrusters, fire the cruise missile, maneuver it into a far off anti-aircraft gunner and wait for the pick-up to reappear so that I can do that again to another AA gunner or defensively-positioned tank. That way, when all of the enemy defenses are down, my side can strike.
Be a Team Player
Firing cruise missiles into defensive targets makes you feel sneaky at first, but after a while you may want to go on the attack. However, staying in this position and ensuring that the map is clear of all danger for your teammates is just as important. Likewise, it's valiant to stay at the base to protect your flag or zones from intruders. Playing the defensive doesn't sound as fun, but it does have its own set of thrills and if everyone chargers the enemy, you're team is going to be open to easy attack.
One of the best ways to be a team player is to man the anti-aircraft guns back at the base. Sure, AA guns can be taken out by far off Warhawks via cruise missile, but not everyone is going to be as smart and read this guide to find that out. Plus, it's easy (almost too easy) to take out flying Warhawks while manning these powerful turrets.
In addition to taking a turn to provide protection, don't hold your own guys hostage. You may have done this without even knowing it. The Warhawk has two seats, so it's possible to carry a second person in the backseat, which is all well and good if he or she intended to go along for the ride willingly. However, a lot of times, players aren't seeking transportation in this seat. They're usually stuck there after attempting to hop into a Warhawk at the same time as you. Instead of flying the craft as they had expected, you're in control and in the air, making it impossible for them to dismount. So they're stuck there for the duration of the flight, which cues Beta Battle Tip #9:
please let them (more than likely ME) out!
Follow the Zoom
Like a lot of games out there, Warhawk zooms in on the enemy that killed you after you die. It's a great opportunity to see who you have to seek revenge on and a way of understanding how they were able to, say, snipe you from an unseen caveat. This cuts down on the ?WTF? How'd I die? Who did that?? ranting. Just follow the zoom, which is Beta Battle Tip #10
, followed by the one and only battle tip exception?
If some one from your own team accidentally kills you, don't be a jerk and respawn only to get some payback. Whether they mistook you for an enemy and fragged you or they just hopped into a jeep and accelerated as you were standing in front of it, try letting them know politely over the headset. ?Hey, MGSslyCooper, you know you just killed me, right?? Of course, if their name happens to be something like Xbox360isDaBest, go ahead and kill them over and over again. I'm not about to tell you how to treat fanboys on the wrong side of the system war.