Fleet Battles are Star Wars: Squadrons flagship game mode (no pun intended), and take a little getting used to beyond the already fairly rigorous requirements of piloting one of the franchise’s iconic starcraft.
The basics are this: you and four other pilots form Titan or Vanguard Squadron, and spearhead an assault on the opposing fleet with the assistance of your own AI forces. The aim is to destroy the enemy capital ship and protect your own.
Of course, it isn’t as simple as flying at your opponent’s Star Destroyer or MC75 and mindlessly blowing it up. There are a number of stages before you earn the right to take on your opponent’s capital ship, and they go a little like this.
Star Wars: Squadrons - Fleet Battle guide
Stage 1 - Dogfight
If Fleet Battles are Squadron’s flagship game mode, then the contender is Dogfights - something that also plays a major role in Fleet Battles. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: a brawl in the middle of the map between the two factions’ starfighters plus an AI-controlled Corvette or Raider.
The aim of this stage is simple, namely to destroy more enemy ships than vice-versa. The more enemies you kill the more your faction’s morale increases, the more you and your allies fall to enemy fighters, the lower your morale drops. The first side to crush the opponent's morale gets to be on the offensive in the second stage.
Tips and Tricks
- Aim for the opponents’ pilots, not their AI counterparts
This holds true for most stages of Fleet Battles, but never more so than here. On a base level human pilots (or at least named AIs) simply fly better and are more of a threat, but more than that, they are worth far more points than their AI counterparts. If you want to quickly turn morale in your favour, aim for those enemy pilots - just remember you’re worth more points too… If you can’t get to the enemy starfighter, or just love your bombers, remember destroying the enemy Corvette/Raider grants +25 morale!
- Make sure you have an Interceptor or two on your squad
X-Wings and TIE-Fighters might be the most versatile, but if you need to quickly outmaneuver and hunt down enemy fighters, TIE-Interceptors and A-Wings are the way to go. Kit ‘em out with rapid fire lasers, get in close and watch the morale climb. And lastly…
Prep your Interceptor skills! (Picture: Motive)
- Remember you can resupply at your cruisers!
Barely escaped with your life? Out of those all-important concussion missiles? Head back to the resupply points under your cruisers and wait for a moment or two (no need to press any buttons, it’s automatic). With your hull and ammunition topped up, you can head back into the fray with the advantage.
- Abuse terrain
This won’t apply to every map, but most Star Wars: Squadrons maps include some detritus, asteroids, or other terrain that you can use to your advantage in a dog fight. If you need to break a missile lock, send power to engines and try to break the line of sight with terrain. Just don’t crash diving through the narrow holes in space wreckage!
Stage 2 - Assault Cruisers/Defend Cruisers
With the initial Dogfight concluded, you will either move on to assault the enemy cruisers or fallback to defend your own. The victors of the Dogfight get the first crack on the assault (a fairly major advantage) and will spawn a Corvette or a Raider to aid them depending on faction.
There are two cruisers for each faction (Nebulon Bs for the New Republic and the mundanely named Light Cruisers for the Empire), both of which are shielded and pack a punch. Come armed for a fight and with some anti-shielding (i.e. ion) and try to take them down before morale swings back the other way and it’s the opponent’s chance to take the fight to your cruisers.
If you were unfortunate enough to be on the defensive straight away or had the morale swing against you during your assault, your aim is to destroy as many enemy pilots as fast as you can to break the enemy's morale and cut the assault short.
(Picture: Leo Faria)
Once you’ve destroyed the enemy cruisers (or had your own destroyed), it’s time to move onto the final stage…
Tips and Tricks
- Bombers matter
Whether on the offense or defense, bombers are MVP. Their auxiliaries are unsurprisingly very well optimised for levelling cruisers and capital ships. On the offense they are a primary tool for destroying cruisers, and on the defense they should be at the top of your list to intercept ASAP. Try and come in from a rear angle to avoid as much turret fire as you can if you happen to be piloting one.
- Prioritise taking out one cruiser first Don’t split your focus. See if any of your squadmates have designated a target (or do so yourself), or look to see which cruiser your Corvette/Raider has focussed.
- Avoid the crossfire between the two cruisers
The fastest way for a return trip to the hanger is to get caught between the broadsides of both cruisers. Don’t be that pilot. Instead, either use your Raider/Corvette as cover, pump your shields, and then use your boost judiciously to transverse that perilous space.
Interceptors make great turret destroyers
Interceptors do poor damage to larger ships, generally. Low HP values and a lack of anti-capital auxiliary options mean their damage is often fairly limited against larger opponents. However, what they do have is speed, and the ability to get under the deflector shields to rapidly deal with turrets to clear the path for your heavier hitting squadmates. If you’re running an X-Wing or TIE-Fighter, consider aiding Interceptors in their mission!
Stage 3 - Assault the Capital Ship/Defend your Capital Ship
With the cruisers out of the way, you can finally take the fight to the final boss. If you destroy the enemy flagship, you win. If your flagship falls, you lose. Sounds simple? It’s not. In fact, we have a separate guide for the best ways to take an enemy capital ship apart.
In short, Star Destroyers and Mon Calamari Cruisers are damn tough. Starfighters? Not so much. That means taking them out requires skill, a little luck, and most importantly, a plan. Your first aim should be to take down the shields - ion weaponry is worth its weight in gold here - or take the gamble and boost your way under the shields to deal some direct damage to the hull.
With the shields down, you’ll want to start taking out subsystems. Each capital ship has four: two shield generators that restore shields over time, a targeting system that improves turret accuracy, and a power system that creates weak points in the hull when destroyed. General wisdom suggests the shield generators should be the priority, lest every assault starts with having to take down the shields all over again.
- Read more: Star Wars: Squadrons Loadout Guide - Best builds for Bomber, Fighter, Interceptor, and Support Class
Put enough damage into the flagship (even without targeting the subsystems) and victory is yours! On the other hand, fail to defend your own flagship and all you’ll be seeing is the defeat screen.
Tips and Tricks
- Whatever you do, don’t fly in straight
It’s suicide, plainly put. Instead, look to circle around to the flanks or come in from the rear - it’s a better angle to avoid turrets. Another option is to use your Raider/Corvette as cover. Keep them between you and the flagship to stay out of the line of fire and get close, then make your attack run.
- Make sure you have multiple loadouts - including ion weaponry!
Ion torpedoes are worth every penny (or point of glory) in a bout against a capital ship - nothing shreds their shields (and from range, too) like ion weaponry. Make sure you have at least one bomber and a mainline fighter armed with one, or an equivalent. That said, once the shields are down, you need something that can deal hull damage - that’s when your proton bombs and torpedoes come to the fore.
- Clear turrets for your bombers
If you’re running an Interceptor or even an X-Wing/TIE-Fighter, try and clear out as many turrets for your bombers as you can. Your greater maneuverability will allow you to avoid fire and get under the shields to deal with them, and make sure your slower squadmates have an angle to attack from.