Star Wars: Squadrons finally released on PS4 and Xbox One last week, letting players step into the cockpit of several iconic starfighters and take part in frantic first-person space battles. The single-player campaign does a pretty good job of showing you the basics in terms of flying and dogfighting, but for players wanting to do much more than simply bullseye womp rats from their T-16, there are plenty of other important tips and tricks worth knowing to dominate in the galaxy far, far away.
We’ve got a range of top tips that can improve your piloting ability, from best maneuvers and strategies for Squadrons’ multiplayer to some of the best loadouts to take with you. Here are a few things you should know before jumping into the game as well as some tips that have worked for us so far:
General Flight Tips & Tricks
Excelling in Star Wars: Squadrons is much like the Force in that it’s all about balance. Gameplay is heavily centered around diverting energy to one of three systems: Engines, Lasers, and Shields. It’s absolutely pivotal you learn where to divert power in any given situation.
Every battle begins with power evenly spread across all three systems by default, but diverting it solely to engines lets you fly faster, focusing it on shields will allow you to better fend off barrages of enemy fire (especially when attacking big capital ships), while maximizing your ship’s lasers boosts weapon damage and cooldown. Fortunately, you can control all of this with just a tap of the D-pad on a controller.
The other big aspect of flight you need to master is the throttle. Managed entirely by using the left stick on your controller, pulling back on the stick allows you to slow down, whereas pushing it forward will increase your speed. The key here is to always keep moving, edging the throttle up whenever you want to chase down foes and ratcheting it back if you want to gain a successful lock. It’s also important that you slow down before making very tight turns or else you’ll likely end up crashing against something.
Rolling will likely feel challenging at first, as that’s also controlled by the left stick, while the right stick is tied to your camera. Toggling the left stick to the left will send your fighter rolling to the left while toggling to your right will roll the ship to the right. Maneuvering can be a little dizzying at first, but a good rule of thumb is to lock on to your objective with L2 while flying, whether that means following your flight leader, an enemy fighter, or locking onto an objective.
Most importantly, avoid being stationary for too long as otherwise you’ll be a sitting duck out there. Fortunately, your droid companion can repair damage to your ship, replenishing your health by a certain amount. If you’re playing with a controller, hit L1 to repair your ship. This mechanic operates on a cooldown as well so you’ll need to time repairs just right when in the middle of a battle.
As far as more advanced maneuvering goes…
How to Drift
Drifting isn’t a technique you’ll use often in Star Wars: Squadrons as it requires a great deal of effort, but it’s a maneuver of use to advanced players wanting to better shake enemies off their tail. You are first taught drifting in the single-player campaign, but unfortunately, although you have to perform this technique correctly once to proceed past the tutorial, it isn’t explained by your Vanguard Squadron cohorts all that well.
Here’s how to perform a drift in the game: it essentially boils down to reaching your fighter’s peak boost speed, quickly cutting off power, and then boosting again while simultaneously turning at the same time. On a standard PS4 or Xbox One controller, this means diverting all power to your engines by hitting left on your d-pad, letting your boost meter fill up, and then clicking in the left stick to engage a boost. Just be sure to not hold down the left stick as if you were sprinting in an FPS.
From there, wait until you reach the height of your boost, before clicking in the left stick to shut down engine power and then turning in your desired direction and boosting again. Congratulations, you’ve pulled off a successful drift.
Knowing which is the best loadout for your play style in Star Wars: Squadrons comes down to understanding how the game’s starfighters work. Each is reserved to one of four classes – Fighters, Bombers, Interceptors, and Support ships – with their own strengths and weaknesses. You can check out a helpful guide to each fighter in the game here.
That said, all ships can be further customized to your liking by unlocking and equipping different primary weapons, auxiliary components, countermeasures, hulls, shields, and engines. That might sound like a lot to keep track of but the ideal way to find your best loadout is by picking a class that suits you and then customizing it from there.
The X-wing and TIE fighter are both Fighter class vessels that serve as decent all-rounders, so it’s these two we’ll make some suggestions for. There are slight differences to how both handle but here’s our basic suggestion:
In terms of your left auxiliary, always keep the Repair Droid attached as it’s a free health pack. Then, with your right auxiliary, equip Ion torpedoes if you want to temporarily freeze your enemy’s systems to earn a few seconds for some easy hits. Alternatively, though, barrage rockets is your best option if you want to just deal mass damage. Hull, Shields, and Engine will be dictated by your preferred speed, health, or damage – and we’d always go Seeker Warheads for Countermeasures as it’s an almost guaranteed missile evasion whenever an enemy locks onto you.
Fleet Battles serves as the main online competitive mode in Star Wars: Squadrons, pitting two teams of five against one another in an epic tug-of-war. The goal is to take down your enemy’s flagship, but to do this you must whittle down their smaller vessels to build your team’s morale.
The mode has three phases: 1) Dogfight against enemy starfighters, 2) Destroy Capital Ships, 3) Destroy the Flagship. The first phase is straightforward, wherein you must use all tactics and techniques learned so far to take down as many TIEs (if you’re Vanguard) or New Republic fighters (if you’re Titan) as possible. The best way to move on to the next phase is to specifically target player-controlled ships, as they net you a greater amount of Morale than the AI ships.
After decimating enough starfighters, you’ll move onto the next phase, which requires you to take down two Capital Ships. Be sure to deplete their shields as fast as possible using Ion-powered weaponry, unloading damage to the hull section using a bomber class vessel when the hull is fully exposed. Remember: in Fleet Battles, you can change ship class at any time, so feel free to switch fighters based on your current objective/strategy.
Finally, after destroying the two Capital Ships, you can focus on the Flagship. The key here is to locate and target specific defenses and subsystems. EA suggests you use Interceptors to take out turrets, Bombers to disable shields, and Fighters to destroy shield generators. Taking down the Flagship is always a challenge, but one you can overcome with good communication.
IGN has posted a helpful video showing how each phase in Fleet Battles works in case you need some visuals:
How Glory and Requisition Work
Squadrons thankfully doesn’t feature any microtransactions, but there are two unique in-game currencies you’ll need to earn to unlock items for your ships. The first, known as Glory, strictly relates to cosmetic items unlockable for both your New Republic and Imperial ships, which never directly affect gameplay. Glory is easily earned by leveling up, though you can accrue a lot more by completing Daily Challenges (found in the main menu) or advancing up your Fleet Battles rank during the game’s Battle Pass-style Operations, which is set to refresh every eight weeks. Earning Glory is worth it, if only for the chance to customize all your ships on the inside and out.
Requisition is the second in-game currency you’ll earn. This currency directly affects the capabilities of your ship. You use Requisition to purchase additional weapons, abilities, and upgrades that can quickly turn the tide of battle when used correctly. Earning Requisition, however, is also pretty easy. Just level up through general online play until eventually you reach the maximum 40 level cap that allows you to buy everything available. Obviously, we’d advise purchasing the upgrades most suited to your play style first, as Requisition becomes a lot more elusive when you reach higher levels.
At the moment, these are the keys to success in Star Wars: Squadrons but we’ll keep you updated as we discover new tips, tricks, and secrets about the game!