I have talked to a LOT of "lone wolf" hunter pilots, and done a lot of hunting on my own, and here are some basics for you to consider and practice with. This is for the "lone wolf" hunter. Hunting in a pack is totally different from what I have written below.
NOTE: You do NOT need all of the "best" equipment and/or skills mentioned below. These hints are only guides, none are an absolute necessity. Most players will NOT have all the equipment and weapons that I have accumulated. That's perfectly OKAY!! Remember, start by hunting prey that appear to be smaller or weaker than you are. IF you have a vengi start by attacking Leo's or smaller ships with fewer drones than you have.
1. The easiest ship to hunt with is a goli. Any goliath is okay, I prefer the Sentinel / Bastion with the extra shields, other prefer the Diminisher / Enforcer with the extra hit power. Any goli is good because you can load it up with shields, lasers, etc. Vengi's are good hunters also, those ships give you speed. It is harder for a Vengi to beat a Goli, but not impossible. A Vengi will be able to take any other ship than a goli easily (assuming the Vengi is fully equipped). A fully equipped vengi can take a goli also. I have also been attacked by fully loaded Leo's and their speed advantage on the lower maps makes them a formidable opponent.
2. To be a good hunter you need the right equipment. The more drones you have accumulated, the better. You should also have the best speed, shield and lasers possible. You need single launch rockets (PLT-2021 or PLT-3030 are best) and multi-launch rockets (Hellfire or UBER-100). You might use SAB ammo to reduce an enemy ship's shields, then at 3x, 4x or RSB ammo to finish them off. Another rocket I find very useful for Leo's, Vengi's and Goliath's is the Deceleration Rocket (if you hit a ship with one of those it slows it down, usually long enough for you to finish them off). EMP's are also very useful. Firing off an EMP will break an enemy target lock on your ship. It may also uncloak an enemy ship -- if you are close enough when your fire it off.
Recommended equipment includes the 5 rocket launcher, the auto rocket cpu, the rocket turbo cpu and the rocket launcher cpu. With all these rocket weapons turned on you can fire a laser strike AND AT THE SAME TIME fire 5 UBER rockets AND one additional single rocket. If you put seprom on the lasers and single rockets and fire them and 5 UBR rockets all at once -- you can hit almost 100K damage in one strike with a goliath. After that everything fires automatically. You only need to change from SAB to 3x/4x/5x to finish off the enemy.
Being able to deploy a smart bomb is helpful for bigger ships like a goli or vengi. One smart bomb can take out 25% of an enemy ship's shields and hit points. I like to start cloaked with a smart bomb -- it scares the crap out of inexperienced fighters.
Also helpful are the upgrades. They are terribly expensive, averaging around 7,000 Uri per item per upgrade. For example, to upgrade the rocket launcher from level 1 to level 2 is around 4,000 Uri. To upgrade it from level 15 to level 16 costs around 10,000 Uri. (Thus the approximate average of around 7,000 Uri per item per upgrade). 15 total upgrades = approximately 105,000 Uri just to upgrade your one rocket launcher.
If you have 8 drones AND 15 lasers AND 16 shields and 1 rocket launcher altogether that totals 4,480,000 Uri. It's even more, however, because on one config I have 23 lasers, on the other config I have 27 shield gens (plus 2 additional drones).
You cannot look at the total cost and give up. Just work on it a little bit at a time. Do the rocket launcher and the drones first, they have the biggest impact for the least cost. I did the shield generators next - there were more of them but they increased my shield strength a LOT more than the lasers increased my hitting ability. Also remember that the beginning upgrades are less expensive (4K Uri per item for level 1 to 2).
I have now upgraded everything on my main ship to level 16. I also always fly with double shield and double damage boosters. The boosters are expensive, however.
3. The right configs are essential. Remember I have 10 drones. My suggestions - one config should be for speed -- I have one config set with15 speed gens, 23 lasers and 12 shields. This is what I hunt with. With the upgrades I still get 800,000 shield strength. I put Seprom on the shields, lasers and rockets, promerium on the generators. You NEED speed. Even with the maximum of 15 speed gens in a goli, you can get outrun by a fast leo in lowers or a vengi anywhere.
Config 2 I have set up for shield strength. I have 17 lasers, 6 speed gens, and 27 shield gens (shield strength is 1.8 million). If I get in trouble, I can usually reach a portal and jump with this config. If you are in a knock down, toe-to-toe battle, this config will take a beating and lasts a long time. If you run up against a multiple ships - you are still in trouble :-) Make sure you can pay for the repairs when you are destroyed - and constantly check your shield damage.
Some pilots hunt with almost all lasers and practically no shied generators. Their philosophy is to strike hard and fast, killing an opponent before he/she gets to lock on and fire back. This is fine if you don't get locked on. If an enemy ship is able to return fire right away, you are at a disadvantage without many shields. This is referred to as a "suicide configuration" because if you aren't successful, you're killed.
4. It is helpful to have a cloak cpu and a bunch of EMP's at your disposal. I see people that hunt uncloaked, but it's dangerous if you run into more than one enemy ship. If you get into trouble you simply stop firing your lasers, fire an EMP (which usually breaks the lock the enemy ship has on you), then do a fast cloak so you can hide. If in trouble I sometimes fire an EMP, cloak, and fly my ship right back at the attacking ship and keep on moving. The enemy pilot is concentrating on following you on the big map. If you EMP, then cloak, he loses sight of you. He then has to look at his mini-map to try and find your red dot. He will instinctively look in the same direction he is currently going. If you go in ANY OTHER direction he will have a hard time finding you.
5. It is also helpful to have shield boosters and damage boosters if you can afford them. They sometimes provide the slight edge you need to stay in the battle. If you are really well off with uri, you can get both the BO-1 and BO-2 shield BOOSTERS for a 50% increase in shield strength! The same goes for the damage boosters - 20% increase with both of them installed.
6. In the Tech Center in Skylab, again if you can afford it, it is nice to have the backup shields and the battle repair bot available to you. I don't use them all that often, but once-in-a-while they have saved me from being destroyed. If you can only afford one, the battle repair bot is the better of the two.
7. You need a way to use all of this technology as fast and easily as possible. I have them set up on my main map so I can press number keys to activate them. Here's what I have set up:
1 - smart bomb
2 - battle repair bot
3 - insta shield cpu
4 - EMP
5 - cloak cpu
6 - 3x ammo (or 4x if hunting)
7 - SAB ammo
8 - RSB ammo
9 - 2021 rockets
0 - Deceleration rockets
If I get into a real mess I simply press the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. I will fire off a smart bomb to damage the opposing ship, I will start up a battle repair bot to fix my ship, I will start up a insta shield for a bit more protection, I will fire an EMP to disengage the enemy's lock, and institute a cloak so I can try to hide and make my way to a portal.
I also bought a 10 button wireless mouse. I have found I can't remember what goes with all the buttons, however :-( LOL. I have set up the following buttons:
1 - mouse click to move, lock on targets and double click to fire
2 - Jump at a portal
3 - 3x ammo
4 - RSB ammo
5 - SAB ammo
I pre-select the rockets I want to use (hunting pilots with UBER, aliens like BK's with ECO, etc.).
8. Going Hunting on enemy maps. When you first hunt -- start with the lower maps. If you have the jump cpu -- cloak and jump to either x-3 or x-4. If you don't have the jump cpu, cloak and then use the portal. I have found the MMO to be easier targets than the EIC. Once you portal into an enemy map run to the edge and see if anyone follows you. Surprisingly, they don't follow you all that often. If they do follow, you should be able to outrun them. If not, go back to the portal and try it again. If you jump at a portal right after someone else does, that is usually a good opening for you.
9. Once you are in the clear, go hunting. I look for targets toward the middle of the map, or in spots farther away from the portals. If you fire at a ship, but don't kill it -- and then they make it to a portal, it is much harder to make a kill at a portal. So the farther from a portal, the better for you. The more you practice, the better "feel" you will get for how far away from a portal is a good distance for the type of ship you are hunting. The X-2 maps are a bit harder because the map tells everyone that an enemy ship is on the map. X-1 maps are difficult to hunt in - you have to be Level 16 and the entire map is a demilitarized zone. Thus, someone has to fire at you first!
10. When you first start, look for easier targets. Ships without drones, or only a few drones, are easy prey. The beginner ships are easy to pop - Yamato, Piranha, Nostromo and Big Boy's are all easy. Leo's, will 8 Iris drones, are fast and tough to kill. Leo's without the drones are easy kills, same for Vengi's and Goli's without drones. If you see a Goli with 8 iris's and the pilot has a major rank -- that would probably NOT be an easy kill. Start small, work you way up. Also easy to kill are ships that just did battle with a Sib or a Devo -- and don't have much shield strength left. (Really nasty is to kill them right before the finish off the Sib, then you kill the Sib for extra EP, etc. :-) Really bad is to kill their PET, then their ship, then their Sib - LOL!
11. Cloaked ships. You will see a lot of them. I have found that MOST of them are easy targets -- they are cloaked hoping you can't find them easily. Practice locking on cloaked ships. Some browsers, when you mouse over a cloaked ship, the mouse icon goes from an arrow to a pointing hand, If yours does that, use it to lock on to a cloaked ship. Also, fire an EMP and sometimes that will uncloak an enemy ship. NOT ALL cloaked ships are easy prey, however.
12. Know where the portals lead to on the map you are in. A few times I accidentally tired to find safe haven in 4-1 -- not a good idea usually.
13. RSB laser ammo - it is the strongest, but there is a recycle time for the laser to fire a second volley. If you have your mouse set up properly, you can fire a volley of RSB, then click over to 3x or 4x and fire for a second or two, then switch back to RSB, then switch back. This is a lot more devastating than just firing RSB and then waiting for it to recycle. This is the big advantage to having a multi-button mouse. One button for RSB, another for 3x/4x … makes it real easy to rotate from one ammo to another.
14. You WILL get beat and your ship WILL get blown up! It's part of the game and part of the learning process. Make sure your drones are repaired so you don't lose them. Getting killed also costs 500 uri (or a free repair) - so make sure you can afford it. You will learn from your defeats also.
15. Being a premium member makes your single rocket launcher fire rockets TWICE as fast - about 1 per second. That is helpful. Premium members also enjoy free repairs, and faster automatic damage repairs.
16. If someone puts up a particularly good battle, after it is all over whisper to them and congratulate them. I have learned a lot from striking up conversations with enemy pilots I have lost to. Ask them how they beat you -- what they did. You would be surprised how many will chat with you.
I wasn't ready to hunt for a long time. You will feel it when you are ready to start. Part of the problem is that most of the enemy ships you run up against in the lower maps are probably piloted by very experienced people. They have to have a lot of EP to even visit the lower enemy maps. These pilots are usually hard to beat one on one. Thus, I was getting beat so many times on the lower maps that I felt that I wasn't ready to go to battle - when in fact I was more than ready.
ALSO, it was hard to win battles when there were a lot of "modified" ships. Big Point has made a concerted effort to rid the game of cheating players. This is why you don't see the clan raiding like you did in the past - many of them either got bounced by Big Point or had to get rid of their modified ships. LOL!! There are still modified ships out there, however.
Gray~Hawk firing red UBER rockets, a 2021 rocket and 4x whites in an attack.
Lone Wolf Hunting
Techniques for Hunting as a Lone Wolf