Galactic Starfighter Aces

The GSF Ace Controversy

On my servers, as with many others, there is a GSF channel.  To join, just type /cjoin GSF.  In this channel, I see people get super serious about the term ‘ace’.  I’ve literally seen someone begging in the channel to be called an Ace.  I’ve also seen Aces go completely unnoticed.  Then I’ve seen self-proclaimed Aces get their feelings hurt when they fly against real Aces.  Of course i’m using the term Ace from my own meaning.  So what exactly is an Ace?  In the modern world definition, a flying ace is someone with 5 confirmed kills.  That’s of course not going to apply here.  So I did a little stat digging, because I love stats, and have tried to explain what I think defines an Ace in Galactic Starfighter.  I’ve also posted my own overall stats below, and the ships I play most along the way.  That way you can decide whether you agree, or disagree with my definition of Ace.

You Are Better Than Your Stats

Before I go on, I want to point out something.  Your stats are wrong.  Stats are the big picture, but not the whole picture.  You did much better in your last ten games than you did in your first ten games.  Your stats still lump all those games together.  Even though today your performance is substantially better, your stats will tell a different story.  For a while, anyway.  Until your rookie games become the minority of your total games, they are going to drag you down.  Don’t be discouraged.  Even a tiny fraction of a move up in your stats means a HUGE performance boost on your part.  So hang in there.  Those small changes mean a lot more than you think.

Case in point, my Flashfire.  I flailed around in my Flashfire my entire rookie pilot career.  It was Corellian made, my smuggler was a Corellian, so I was in love.  Then I noticed everyone was flying the Flashfire, and I like to be a special snowflake.  Then I started a new character on another server, and my love affair with the Pike was born.  If you look at my stats below, they’re not as good as my other ships.  Why?  Because I was new.  I was flying wrong, I was building wrong – I was just all wrong when it came to the Flashfire.  After I found the Pike, then the Clarion, then got a bug to master all the ships, I kinda left it in the dust.  I’ve maybe played 20 games in the Flashfire since February 2014.


What Makes An Ace

Kills.  I think the five kills bit is a good starting point for defining an Ace in GSF.  The essence of that meaning is that a pilot has shot down 5 other pilots, and lived to tell the tale.  So regularly surviving 5 engagements in GSF is a good starting point for an Ace.  A 5 to 1 kill/death ratio determines that pretty easily.  Kills, after all, are the most important aspect of GSF.  You could make an argument for the value of assists I think.  They aren’t all born starship killers.  It’s hard to quantify the value of a support ship.  I don’t have any ideas on good ways of measuring support role ships.  If you’ve got an idea, or an opinion, throw it in the comments below.  After all, there are definitely some Ace wingmen out there who deserve recognition.  And they don’t all fly support ships either.


Versatility.  You can be an Ace without a 5 to 1 kill/death ratio in every ship, but an Ace can fly multiple ships and still maintain that ratio across those ships.  Why multiple ships?  What if you see the enemy team start with 3 gunships in a TDM?  Or what about 3 bombers in a DOM match?  Are you going to let your team start with none, or pick up the slack noone else can?  I’ve seen some people fly with one ship on their bar.  That’s fine if you can carry a team with that ship, but that’s very rare.  An Ace should be able to fulfill multiple roles competently.


Victory.  You just don’t see an ace losing all the time.  It’s hard to tell what the average win rate is for GSF.  Still, an Ace should be able to carry their team in some capacity.  That would put your win ratio well north of the halfway line.  I’d say a win ratio around 67% is about right.  Everyone loses games.  Sometimes you play bad, sometimes it’s your teammates, and sometimes it’s just bad luck. Winning 2 out of every 3 games isn’t luck though.


Aces Never Quit

An Ace is always flying to keep their skills sharp.  It’s easy to get rusty if you take a few weeks off.  Aces don’t rage after a loss.  They evaluate the reason for the loss, and decide how they can improve their own performance next time.  They don’t blame everyone else on the team except themselves for the loss.  A true Ace can see exactly why the team lost, and knows whether it was even worth getting upset about.  An Ace gets kills, in multiple ship roles, and leads their team to victory.  Galactic Starfighter needs more Aces.  Are you one?

Do you agree with my definition of Ace?  If not, what are your criteria for an Ace?





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6 Responses

  1. Shintar says:

    Well, I’m very sure that I’m not an Ace, and I think my 61.32% win ratio and kill/death ratio of 1.28 back this up. 😉

    Very interesting insight in the hardcore GSF community!

  2. Ezesquire says:

    There are a lot of fallacies with the entire Ace issue. I agree that many people desperately want to be called an Ace and there are many more self-proclaimed Aces. However, actually quantify what an Ace is can be far more difficult.

    The single most important point here is that a player can be better than their stats. So much of GSF is not about kills and so much more is not in the control of the player.

    Kills are the single most overrated stat. I have played all kinds of ships and never had as many kills as I could rack up while in a gunship. I was shocked how easy it was to sit back and just get kill after kill, match after match. Especially, ships that have been shot up with low health. Bang, one hit kill. I would hardly classify my play as an Ace when I encountered very little to no resistance match after match. This does not mean that there are not skilled players in gunships but from my experience it is far easier to get a high kill count while in a gunship and even higher kill count when your teammates guard your gunship.

    Kills could mean very little because often it has more to do with the competition than your own ability. Players that play in premade groups and farm wins and kills will always be ahead of the curve. Are they the only ones that should be called aces?

    I completely disagree that you have to play multiple ships. You can be an extremely good player and never fly a certain kind of ship. A good team player should be able to contribute to the team if needed with any kind of ship. Just like a player can heal or tank is a good team player in a raid.

    But, a player’s versatility as a team member has little to do with their ability in an individual ship. Very skilled players could simply choose to fly only one kind of ship. This does not mean this player is not an ace. They could get 30 kills every match in one ship but never upgraded a gunship. Are they not an Ace simply because they choose not to play a gunship?

    Victory is probably the second most overrated stat. Winning is completely out of the control of the individual player. If you are not picking your team then you have no control over the outcome of the match. Every player has been in matches where the rest of the team is just not very skilled. Some teams have skilled players but do not play as a team. No matter how good you are you cannot control every node or prevent your teammates from getting killed. You will find the players with the best winning percentage are usually in premade groups or always play on a side that is dominate on a server.

    Regarding Aces never quitting. This is an arbitrary qualification to put on a player. I think any player could know why they won or lost a match whether they are skilled or not. The worst player alive could understand that a team lost because no one guarded a node. They do not have to be an Ace to understand the mechanics of the game. Getting upset also has nothing to do with skill level. Some people are just more competitive than others. It may mean more to some players than others.

    It is difficult to quantify the better players in GSF. Stats are extremely misleading, match making is extremely unbalanced, individuals do not have control over the outcome of a match and premade groups can farm wins and kills. Until premade groups are competing against other premade groups and match making more balanced some players will always be on the high end of good stats. Unfortunately, this does not make them a skilled player and it does not mean some skilled players will not end up on the lower end of the stats.

    • Traitine says:

      Kills are the single most overrated stat.

      I agree. Someone can deal 99% of the damage, and the last 1% scores someone else the kill. I might have been a little unclear on my meaning. Killing your opponent is the essence of GSF though, not just scoring a point in your kill column. In TDM, kills are the entire point of the game. In DOM, killing your enemy keeps them off your satellite(s). Your follow up remarks on the gunship ties in to my point. As you mentioned, anyone can get kills. Maintaining a 5+ ratio though isn’t at all affected by a single game. It requires consistent kills in every game.

      My opinion multiple ships has a little tie-in as well. Being an ‘Ace’ is about skill. Gunships being an exception, and bombers only slightly, the skill used in dogfighting is the same from ship-to-ship. Pikes have to land their shots the same way Flashfires do. While the finer details are different, the overarching concepts are the same. Stick on your target, land your blaster shots, lock your missiles, and dodge enemy fire. If you’re a Flashfire Ace, you’re almost certainly a Starguard Ace. It’s a natural talent thing in my opinion.

      And Victory might seem arbitrary, but an Ace is going to win games. They’ll have good blaster accuracy, great damage and kill ratios. It’s a result of their performance more than a tangible objective someone can achieve. I think people are drawing too broad a stroke for Ace, and a much smaller stroke for Good Pilot. Meanwhile, there are way more good pilots than aces. Ace status is a small percentage of all pilots. Look at ranked Warzones for example. Only a few people out of an entire PvP population are getting those top tier ranked rewards. Those are your Ace PvPers. Meanwhile, good PvPers are still getting most of the rewards. If you aren’t an Ace, it isn’t an insult. If you’re a good pilot, pulling your weight on the team, you should absolutely be proud of that. It’s like calling yourself poor if you aren’t one of the top 1% of income earners. Good pilots don’t give themselves enough credit.

      As far as not quitting, I just don’t see the players I consider Aces leaving games. If they do, i’m pretty sure it was a disconnect and not a rage quit. Aces rise to the challenge, and can still perform well even against all the odds. They might not win, but their score will reflect their effort. Like you said, showing up in the lower end of the stats doesn’t mean you’re an unskilled player.

    • Travis Cook says:

      Many of your points are valid but I disagree with your view on premades. Teamwork is an integral part of being an ace. You should be able to handle anything solo if needed be, but don’t expect to have anywhere near as much luck if you were in a well formed team. Being an ace means playing to your teams strength as well as your own and having to adapt to a random team’s playstyle should you get put in that situation. Additionally, you should be able to formulate a plan to break an opposing teams strategy and synergy should you encounter another premade. Personally, I know that I do well on my own but I wouldn’t be as good as I am without my squadron.

      • EZesquire says:

        You can be a great team player and not be very skilled. There are a lot of things to do for the team that can help the team win that does not have to do with kills. You can play the support role and have zero kills but helped the team more than anyone else.

        Being a good team player is just that. A good team player.

        You points are great if you are part of a team. But if you are not on a premade team all your great teamwork is useless. You cannot make a plan if your teammates are not listening or do not know how to follow instructions.

        You have dismissed anyone that is not on a premade from being an Ace which I stated as part of the issues with people defining an Ace.

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