Bioware released part of the NDA on Galactic Starfighter beta tests. I have participated in the closed beta testing, and want to share what I learned. There are no videos or screenshots allowed, so unfortunately it’s going to be all text today.
Overall, my impressions were good. I was eager to play again and again. I certainly recommend you try this expansion if you like starship space fights at all. For those that don’t know, Galactic Starfighter is free roam. It is not on rails. It’s just like running around a warzone between objectives.
Updated: I added a YouTube video guide at the bottom.
Starships Of Galactic Starfighter
Different starships have different roles in Galactic Starfighter. There are four basic types of starship roles right now:
- Strike Fighter
There are also several variants of each (Think Smuggler —> Scoundrel/Gunslinger). The variants are completely different ships, but have the same roles. The Scout and Strike Fighter are unlocked initially, while the Bomber and Gunship must be unlocked. More on how to unlock later. For now, my impressions of each ship:
Just like it sounds, this is only for scouting. This is not your first choice for heavy dogfighting. Get in, cap early, get out. Provide support. The weapons are not very powerful. The engines though, are amazingly fast. I found it very underpowered right now, which was disappointing. Things are still in beta, so I have hope.
Like scout ships? Check out my Flashfire Guide. (S-13)
This is your average, run-of-the-mill starfighter. I recommend you start with this. I don’t want you to think this ship is underwhelming at all. This is your go-to ship for dog-fighting in Galactic Starfighter, and it’s second best at everything else. A very good, powerful starfighter.
By far the easiest ship to pick up, and the most powerful. A full defensive setup with this ship let me demolish the enemy. My first try with this ship ended with 4 kills, 6 assists, 0 deaths, and placing 3rd overall in damage. I also got several achievements. It was very overpowered. There is an effort to balance this ship appropriately, so don’t count on it staying this way at launch. My only complaint with the bomber is that it didn’t feel like a bomber. To me, bombers mean good against capital ships and large objectives (satellites, space stations, etc). Instead, it felt very much like an anti-starfighter platform. In Galactic Starfighter, Bombers drop drones. Drones are essentially little turrets that attack enemies. There are different types of drones that do different things.
*The bomber is reportedly delayed until February according to the latest Community Cantina.
I got the least playtime with this ship. This is the long range sniper role. It has very powerful weapons, but the engines are lacking. It’s kind of a turret that sits stationary.
You can assign different companions to different roles on your ship. Each companion has different benefits and offers different abilities during battle. You can use current companions, as well as unlock new ones. You can also upgrade your ship’s weapons, engines, and so forth with special currency.
I have put together Galactic Starfighter Tips and Strategies as well.
Galactic Starfighter Progression
Each mission rewards two kinds of experience, Fleet Requisition and Ship Requisition. Fleet Requisition is universal currency you can use to unlock different ships. Ship Requisition is used to unlock upgrades on the ship it is earned with. Faster recharging shields, faster engines, and so on. F2P players earn reduced amounts of Requisition.
Your character can play Galactic Starfighter from level one. You also gain experience on your character for Starfighter Warzones. The first game I played was a loss, and it leveled me from 1 to 2. All player levels share the same queue. There is not a separate queue for low levels in Galactic Starfighter. Everyone plays together.
Each ship is highly customizable. Paint job, paint colors, weapon fire colors, engine burn colors, and so on. Some are available right away, and some are unlocks from the Cartel Market.
The space combat was very fast paced and exciting. There isn’t a lot of distance between objectives, but there is enough for you to recharge and reload between fights. Your ship has a resource bar, similar to energy for smugglers and heat for bounty hunters. Power management is very critical in Galactic Starfighter. You can balance your power between weapons, engines, and shields, or you can give one full power while dropping power levels on the others. For example, boosting engine power will cause your afterburn to be more efficient, letting you boost for longer. F1 – F3 controls your power management, while F4 balances them all out. F2P players can play unlimited Starfighter Warzones.
The afterburn ‘boost’ for your engines is a very nice touch too, allowing you to cover distance quickly if you choose to sacrifice engine power. You have several abilities you can use on your ship. They vary based on your ship type, and your choice of crew.
Check out my Galactic Starfighter Dogfighting Guide for more on PvPing in space.
Tab targets the closest enemy, R targets the enemy damaged you last, and E targets the enemy in your crosshairs. The standard WASD moves you around. Shift+W enables a burst of speed from your engines. Left and Right mouse buttons fire blasters and missiles, respectively. Gunships have special railguns which do more damage based on how long they are charged up.
Map Game Mode
The only game mode available was domination. This is like the Alderaan: Civil War warzone. There are three satellites, and teams gain points for holding them. The first team to 900 wins. There were two maps I saw, Kuat Drive Yards and Makeb. Both were visually fantastic. I have no complaints about the way this game looks. It felt very true to the Star Wars universe.
More On Galactic Starfighter
I’ll post up more on Galactic Starfighter as I come across it. Keep checking back! The rest of the testing will take place on the Public Test Server for everyone to see. Keep an eye on the forums, or my Twitter feed. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below, or post your own impressions if you were able to do some testing.