An Introduction to Dreadnought
Recommended for: New players
This guide doesn't explain every aspect in-depth. I believe it's important for new players to get an overview of the game as this is already enough information to process.
Controlling your ship in dreadnought is pretty straight forward. By default, your modules (skills) are bound to 1, 2, 3 and 4 on a Qwerty keyboard, SHIFT is descent, SPACE is ascent, W and S control forward and backwards thrust, whereas A and D control the turning left and right respectively. In Dreadnought you have to rely on energy management and there are a total of 3 different energy usages: Power to Weapons (PtW), Power to Engines (PtE) and Power to Shields (PtS). Energy management is controller by either F1 (PtE), F2 (PtS), F3 (PtW) and F4 (energy off). Additionally, there's an energy management wheel on E, which allows you to select one of the 4 modes by moving your mouse. However, the energy wheel will cost you a very expensive split second that will make switching between power modes slower at moments where you need it the most.
You can rebind the keyboard shortcuts. Rebinding the keys to your mouse might decrease the time between switching between modes, which can make the difference between blowing up your ship or killing an enemy.
Additionally, Dreadnought has the F button. This is a very important button and works different based on the target you're aiming at. Aiming at an enemy gives you the option to either mark the target in the HUD, or mark it as target to fire at for your allies.
Last but not least, a button often missed by new players, the Q to toggle between primary and secondary weapons, which is often forgotten, and the R, which reloads your currently selected weapon. When your primary weapon is selected, the left of the orange bars is highlighted, when your secondary weapon is selected, the right of the orange bars is selected.
In the previous two screenshots regarding the weapons, you can also see a white and a blue bar. The white bar indicates the health points left. When you take damage, it will take 10 seconds of not taking any damage before your health starts regenerating health back to full, and stops when taking damage again.
On the right side, you can see the blue bar, this is your energy bar. As mentioned before, energy comes in four different modes: Power to Weapons (PtW), Power to Engines (PtE), Power to Shields (PtS) and power off. You can see cross underneath the 100, this means that power is currently off. Different power modes are shown with different icons: PtW has a skull, PtE an arrow and PtS a shield.
For a detailed intro into Energy Management, please check out Noctamis#2571's guide on Energy Management!
The current power usage is also shown with identical icons next to allied and enemy ships, based on what their current power usage is as shown in the next picture. The current target is not using any power as shown by the cross next to the health bar. Also, this ship has no energy left (the bar below the health bar).
In this picture you can see several more important indicators that you will find extremely important while playing. On top, you see the four modules equipped on your ship. When on cooldown, it will turn red with an indicator, whereas active -over time -modules are shown the same but in green. The blue icon means it's ready to be used and green means it has a target lock. Whenever you aim for a target (missiles, torpedos, or anything else that can lock), or you have an area of effect module affecting allies or hitting enemies, the icon will light up green, but also the affected target will have a green icon above its health bar as shown in the screenshot. If this would've been an enemy, the weapon breaker missile would've been green on top and above the health bar. Also shown above the modules: ship class and tier.
Dreadnought features five different classes, of which three manufacturers have a unique variation of each class. There is no clear indication of which manufacturer has which role on the battlefield nor any real rules. However, the general indication is that Akula Vektor is the tanky variant, Jupiter Arms is agile and offensive driven, while oberon favors specialized tactics with hit & run. Note that this doesn't count for each and every ship and is more of a general indication.
Each class, regardless of manufacturer, has the same modules which have to be unlocked separately per manufacturer and is spread over different tiers. Each ship has a variety of modules that can be used but are all class specific. The classes are:
- Dreadnought: slow and heavily armored. While damage output isn't too high, they should not be underestimated. Comes with a range of defensive modules for itself and allies, but also has several offensive modules such as nukes, missiles and different broadside weapons.
- Destroyer: The firepower of the fleet. Modules for this class are focused around offensive builds and several debuffs such as energy drains, disruptor and scrambler. Offensive modules are focused around missiles, torpedoes and rams.
- Tactical Cruiser: Often mistaken as "the healer", while two out of three have healing ability on their main weapons, they can also pack an offensive punch with their modules. They have allied buffs and heals to keep the team alive when needed.
- Artillery Cruisers: The long range damage dealers. Mainly offensive and very squishy, they are heavy suppression fire able to cripple targets without cover or defenses.
- Corvettes: Fast and agile, heavy firepower and primarily offensive modules. They die rather fast when not moving, but once on the run, hard to hit and keep track of.
Ships come in a total of five tiers and can be selected into three different fleets: Recruit (Tier 1~2), Veteran (Tier 2~4) and Legendary (Tier 4~5). Each tier unlocks more modules and upgrades for previously bought modules. When buying a new ship, it comes with four modules of the previous tier. When doing so, it will make the previous tier modules available to the previous tiered ship as well.
Besides of tier indication, fleets also have another purpose, risk & reward. Each tier gets more XP and Credits than the previous level, but once in veteran and legendary, upon losing, a maintenance fee has to be paid before you can use that specific fleet again.
Experience and Credit system
Each module and ship has to be researched before it can be bought. Experience and credits can be gained by playing PvP matches. When earning experience, this sticks to one ship and one ship only. If you want to share XP to other ships, you'll have to use Free XP. Credits are shared and can be spent on everything, however, the modules or ships have to be unlocked via XP first.
Experience (XP) is a "currency" specific to each ship. Whereas Free XP is shared between ships and is accumulated at about 5~10% of the normal XP gained each match.
In this recruit fleet, you can see the XP each ship has. Once the ship is fully unlocked (all modules researched, not bought), you will get 3 stars next to the icon.
Tips & Tricks
There are some tips and tricks that might be useful to know once you head out into Dreadnought, the will be beneficial to your gameplay and help you and your team.
I cannot stress this enough, audio in Dreadnought is important. It will not only indicate from which direction is being fired, it will also alert you of incoming nukes, missiles, damage and you will be able to hear corvettes approaching you once you start knowing what they sound like. Hearing a corvette approach a few seconds before getting hit, can mean the difference between life or death.
Don't focus on one thing. A big part of Dreadnought is situational awareness. Knowing where enemy ships are is extremely important. A lot of players, especially artillery players, focus on the target they are shooting at, completely ignoring their surroundings. This is where corvettes shine, as they will abuse this situation to harass or kill you.
Practice power management. It's important to know when to use power to shields, weapons, engines or more important, when to not use them. It takes 5 seconds before energy starts regenerating after using any power mode, that means you can't waste energy by leaving on one of the modes. Also, in combination with situational awareness, it's important to not use power to weapons when you have an attack incoming from either your target or another.
Not every ship type has the same shield functionality. Dreadnoughts for example, have a constant energy drain, keeping their shields up as long as possible, regardless of damage taken. However, their shields let through a bit more damage. Corvettes have the opposite, they reduce damage taken by 100% until their shields run out, but lose more energy per hit they take. The other ships all take a certain % of damage, but all of them have energy reduction on hit.
Use the F Button
Marking an enemy corvette (or any ship really) with F, can alert team members there's a corvette incoming and might save them from their tunnel vision. It also indicates your team to fire at a specific target to focus fire.
When using the tagging feature, voice will be used from the game to indicate the type of tag given. When an enemy ship has been tagged, it will be shown with a red indicator in your UI (not map). If a focus fire mark has been given, this is a red fist. The same works for the allied tagging, for example, a healing request, will give a blue "plus" icon in the UI, which is targeting the ship requesting heals.
Even when playing a dreadnought, which features special tanking shields, it's important to try and avoid hits whenever possible. You might have a healer, but it doesn't mean the healer has the right skills available to keep you alive. Do yourself and your healers a favor and try to avoid damage as much as possible, even if your officer briefings are designed around tanking with shields.
Take Your Time
While the controls and UI seem rather easy, gameplay is not. It's recommended to play with the Recruit fleet until you've unlocked at least the majority of Tier 2 ships and modules for each of them. Once you think you're ready to play with your Veteran fleet, remind yourself that you will be paying maintenance upon losing and have to face enemies stronger than you. You won't have the best ships, so you'll need all the practice you can get.
Take Officer Briefings
As of T3, you will have access to Officer Briefings. They are scattered throughout the different ships at the moment, thus take quite some farming to get all of them. They can be used to create specialized builds for tanking, dealing damage or even steam roll once you made a kill. The default officer briefings are not bad but not sufficient end-game either.
A few recommended all-round briefings:
- Module Amper: T3 Akula Vektor destroyer, Dola, weapons officer. Increase module damage and healing by 30% when PtW is active. General rule: can be toggled off as soon as you have triggered your module. Exception is for mines and pods, which will need to have PtW when they are deployed into stationary mode.
- Desperate Measures: T4 Akula Vector artillery: Mutometz, communications officer. When your health gets low, it will give you 100% power back and reset all module cooldowns. This has an internal cooldown which can't be triggered multiple times in a row until this cooldown is over.
- Retaliator: T4 Jupiter Arms dreadnought: Jutland, communications officer. When you have PtS active, each hit you receive will reduce the cooldown on all of your modules. The more damage you take, the more the cooldown will be lowered.
Don't Use Hero Ships
Hero ships might seem like a good way to get started, but they are the opposite. Their module layout isn't particularly good and if you use the T4 variant, get you stuck with no progress and lots of maintenance. Another thing to note, is that you won't get any XP for a ship of the same class and manufacturer as the Hero Ship.
Avoiding Matchmaking Issues
As T2, it might seem interesting to play as Veteran. Don't. It will only lead to maintenance cost. However, due to the way Matchmaking works, it might be possible that as T2, you're still put against T3 and T4 players in your Recruit fleet. To prevent this, put at least one T1 ship in your recruit fleet.
Matchmaking doesn't respect the fleet system, it has overflow buckets. It tries to make matches of T2-4, regardless of which fleet you have selected. Note that you won't pay maintenance like this in your T2 ship if it happens.
Join Discord and Ask
Discord features a special channel to ask for game advice, called... #game-advice! There's usually a bunch of players just waiting to help out with any game related questions. When playing, people can also hop in one of the voice channels to coordinate their team or just their squad. Additionally, there are some community organized events being hosted at Discord, such as "Solo Saturday", where people play solo but hop into voice when they meet up in the same team. Discord can be found here: https://discord.gg/dreadnought
Pay Attention to (de)buffs
(De)buffs can change the outcome of a battle, so pay proper attention to each and every one of them. Take for example an ammo icon, red means it's reduced and green increased. If the enemy is having a green ammo icon, it means they will do a lot more damage. Learn what the effects are and how to effectively use them in combat.
Debuffs present in Dreadnought:
- Purge: Depletes energy and usually speed as well. Some purge effects might also apply Armor Break.
- Armor Break: take 50% extra damage.
- Stasis: Reduced movement speed by 90%
- Disruptor: prevents module usage
- Scrambler: causes view distortion, prevents the UI from displaying and prevents target lock
- Weapon Break: reduces weapon damage by 50%
- Drain: prevents energy regeneration and depletes a big portion of energy upon hit
All those effects can come in a variety of triggers: weapon alterations for X shots or seconds, torpedoes, missiles, nukes, pulses and mines.