Welcome to Sinley Bay and the Scum Belt, Captain. Your mission briefings on Game Modes. Offering additional insights and perspectives on various game modes for new Captains.
Before We Begin
A brief note about Tiers
As a new captain progressing into the next generation of any class ship—a few details to take note. A newly purchased ship is slightly more advanced in base stats than its predecessor; starting with a tier below modules. This becomes significant when moving between tiers; progressing from Recruit to Veteran and Veteran to Legendary matches.
How is this important? Excellent question. Moving between tiers can make any captain feel like a big fish from a small pond; unceremoniously getting dropped into the ocean of the next tier. Ergo—this may affect the way to approach each game mode when graduating from one tier to the next; adapting to battle hardened, experienced captains, clans and well outfitted ships between tiers.
Take some time in each tier to build a fleet, earn experience and credits; collect modules and to get a feel for each ship—understand limitations and strengths of each class. Spending a little extra time here can make the journey through Dreadnought a little more enjoyable and a little less grief laden. It takes time—a few hours of command time is rarely enough to “git gud” as many veteran Captains of Sinley Bay will attest.
On to the game modes!
Introduction to Game Modes
Game Mode Highlights and Conquest Mode (Edited & Annotated)
“Got a bearing on an enemy ship…<Locked on to target> All ships we’ve got an enemy contact at this location! Fire on this target!! …Somebody fire!“ — in the heat of combat.
This guide is not intended as a comprehensive guide to ship builds or playing each game mode—but rather offering some perspectives and reflecting some additional details that may or may not be readily apparent. Hopefully, giving new captains the opportunity to gain a better insight and avoid some of the more common pitfalls each game mode presents. Not to mention, keep from being discouraged or decimated (at least too badly in the beginning). At the same time gaining some experience with a few of the basics within the domain of Dreadnought.
Throughout this guide I have tried to offer a few fundamentals for positively experiencing the game modes through a few general tactics—rather than nit-picking the perceived benefits or shortcomings; limitations and flavors of every weight class and every ship design and strategy (too numerous in detail and perhaps something for a future guide). In understanding the basics—a more enjoyable, equitable and profitable match may emerge.
A personal fleet can be assembled or managed after selecting a Game Mode.
Within the local space of Dreadnought exists 5 different game modes. Of the 5 modes, 3 are primarily used for leveling ships and gaining experience as a Captain—and of course the highlight of all mercenary pilots and captains—a payday of credits and experience*. Each game mode has a unique goal ranging from the simple to the more nuanced game play. The following includes general highlights from each mode as well as covering some basic tactics and strategies of each mode to consider as a new mercenary captain.
List of Game Modes
- Proving Grounds (PvE)
- Deathmatch (PvP)
- Onslaught (PvP + PvE)
- Conquest (PvP + PvE)
Although, not required, remember to integrate a balanced fleet. Over specialization can lead to expertise in one area, but may also limit the ability to adapt to a changing enemy strategy, battle map or team dynamic. Not to mention skipping the coveted Officer Briefings missed in certain classes.
"It’s not easy out there in the Scum Belt. If you’re an Artillery Cruiser captain — try piloting a Corvette. If you’re a Dreadnought captain — try commanding a Tactical". — Anax of the Belt.
“Replay the combat tutorial to master the basic skills.”
The Tutorial is a great way to get acquainted with the realm of Dreadnought. A little background history and lore—for new Captains it’s required training and helpful in what’s expected of every new recruit.
Game Mode highlights
- An introduction into the domain of Dreadnought.
- General walkthrough of keyboard commands and Heads Up Display (HUD) in an orderly fashion.
Proving Grounds (PvE)
Fight against rogue enemies to prove your loyalty to Sinley Bay!
The Proving Grounds are a great way to test newly purchased ships and modules. Try different maneuvers and tactics either solo or as a squad. A paced engagement against the regular rogue captains that inhabit Sinley Bay.
Game Mode highlights
- 1 minute countdown from hanger to start (additional solo or squad players may que in from hanger).
- 20min Time Limit / 4 team points, per kill / 100 total team points to win.
Deathmatch — a freestyle testing grounds
- Practice using Communication Wheel to call for heals.
- Generally, Sinley Bay Captains will try to prioritize repair calls based on situation and range.
- Practice using Energy Management Wheel.
- PtW – Power to Weapons.
- PtE – Power to Engines.
- PtS – Power to Shields.
- Understanding ship limitations by class and weight.
- Stock builds.
- Alternate builds.
- Counter builds.
- Test Ships, Modules and Module combinations.
- Getting familiar with the Heads Up Display (HUD).
- Use the “H” key to bring up a descriptor of various functions and icons (Can be used in any game mode).
- Practice range estimation.
- Understanding mini-map limitations.
- Develop Line of Sight (LoS) and general situational awareness skill sets.
Notable Rogue Captains of Sinley Bay
- Aram Jones
- Argyle Grim
- Asaph Hall
- Crom Gallant
- Elias Revik
- Gnamesh Kam
- Jin Ebisu
- Keiko Lee
- Leto Elo
- Mayra Citlali
- Melville Blanco
- Olga E. Custodio
- Svetlana Kov
- Tam Stalksy
- Tomasz Ryuu
- Yolanda Fudeng
Team Deathmatch (PvP)
Reach the game score before the enemy does or time runs out.
Simple and to the point. Survive or go up in a glorious ball of fire. The first way is better. We’ll be covering a few more details in this section as they typically apply to an array of general situations. There are some map benefits to selecting certain classes, types and builds—but for now just getting the basics down will get you on the path towards the hallmarks for success.
Game Mode highlights
- 100 points team total, wins.
- 4 points per kill, towards total team points (25 Kills per side).
- 20min Time Limit, team with highest score wins.
- Win bonuses apply to both fleets in the case of a Draw.
- 4 Team Points per Kill.
- 100 Total Team Points to win Match.
- Points are awarded by Player Kills (+65 Even Tier Base) and Assists (+20 Base).
- Point bonuses given, via Ribbons for types of kills (See “Statistics” in game Ribbon rewards).
Choosing and Prioritizing Targets
Individual enemy player kills are weighted the highest in TDM, along with the associated ribbon award points. During the ever changing conditions on the field, experienced captains understand which targets to prioritize (a key concept to keep in mind) while balancing the opportunity when it arises.
A sample list of Primary Targets by class:
- Artillery Cruisers & Corvettes
Some classes are hard counters to its opposite—but by no means a guarantee for success for a watchful PUG, squad, or player. Module selections and Officer Briefings may also influence outcomes based on individual playstyles.
At the start of each match there's a brief chance to select a ship to form the team. Hitting the “Tab” key will allow you to see an overview as to what your team is picking as well as the opposing team. There is some utility here for the new and veteran captain. By seeing where the other team may be lacking or strengths; quickly balancing defensive or offensive ship builds depending on playstyle or team makeup. Nothing game breaking, as skill level, knowledge and team unity usually outweigh the perceived advantage. As mentioned earlier, although, not required, remember to integrate a balanced fleet. Over specialization can lead to expertise in one area, but may also limit the ability to adapt to a changing enemy strategy, battle map or team dynamic. Having a balanced personal or group fleet is always helpful.
Taking the lead position
Every captain at some point will find themselves in the lead position either by default or thru brutal attrition. Know when to take the lead, when to follow — and when to retreat and regroup after a respawn or successful push.
Staying together. Move together
If you find yourself alone, flying high over green fields and canyons; tall spires with the sun on your face, do not be alarmed — for you are on Elysium, and you may already need to regroup. At the very least you may have wandered too far ahead and over extended from your team. Moving together is also a good way to keep those pesky Corvette captains at bay. A lone ship can often become a target for unwanted attention.
Heroes are always the first to die. Dreadnoughts hold the line. Shields up, Captain? Every map has a few spots where the team can take refuge — sometimes that’s you. Out of mobility, become a pillbox. Out of reloads or energy, become a wall. Out of everything, become a hero. Module and Energy management of shields, weapons and engines are crucial.
Use the Terrain
Battling in the open is sometimes unavoidable and can be somewhat risky. Sometimes you can beat the odds with a careful choice of where to fight or flee. Where to fight can count for a lot—but there's also nothing like having a bunch of captains with lots of guns at your side or a watchful Tactical Cruiser.
Knowing when to push
Taking temporary refuge or cover is always useful. Use the terrain or a dreadnought for cover and take the advantage it can offer from one spot to another. Veteran Captains know when to advance and push forward on a position with your team. Staying in place is not always the best option and can make a group vulnerable to AoE bombardments. Movement is key—sometimes a slow push, is better than a full throttled dash. Remember to regroup after a successful push.
Take advantage of Debuffs & AoE buffs
Move together as a group. Strength thru numerical superiority and AoE buffs or Debuffs. Especially useful in gaining a momentary advantage. (ex. a Cloak Pulse from a Tactical can hide all status information and render all opponents’ weapons that require a lock non-targetable for several seconds; Weapon Pulses and Boosts increase the damage surrounding ships can apply)
Keep teammates in mind
While it’s not always necessary or desirable for any commander to spam or bark orders at the fleet—try to have "a general sense" of where and what everyone is doing. Examples, out pacing the group escorts and support ships will often leave you out in front with little to no assistance OR missing the moment when the lead tank starts to push or taking advantage of a buff or debuffed target.
An experienced Captain, commanding a Repair Tactical (or variant), can give almost any ship an edge advantage in a prolonged encounter, with buffs or debuffs. Targeting these support ships as a priority can often remove that edge advantage and tip the scales during an engagement. Likewise, remember to offer cover and defense of these little ships when they are on your team — as they’ll likely be the enemy’s primary target. Successful teams target and protect these field assets. Other teams not so lucky or so prudent, ignore them at peril.
Soloing, paired & squad tactics
This is where it gets a bit tricky and personal playstyles come into play. There are way too many variables to cover in depth—dependent on playstyles and builds. However, there are a few good rules of thumb to keep in mind. Dreadnought is a team based oriented game—and marauding squads/clans are tough to beat as a PUG or a Solo player. There are certainly advantages to squading—even simple pairings can offer advantages (ex. 2v1 encounters). The foremost advantage is a relatively more coordinated defense and offence; taking full advantage of buffs and debuffs. If on voice communications you’ll notice that reaction times are that much faster.
As a PUG or Solo player, choices become more limited as it becomes difficult to take on 1v(x) or a coordinated focus—never an optimal situation. Either soloing or grouping up within the fleet (non-squaded or on comms); waiting for the moment and/or looking for opportunity when it’s in your favor becomes significantly more important. Again, having “a good general sense” of what the team is doing can sometimes be enough to deflect a tide. Without voice communication, assessing the situation and paying closer attention to communication wheel callouts become more essential. Think of different tactics to buff or debuff; creating windows of opportunities for other team members to exploit. If another player is creating an opportunity—build on it. A high pitched whine, of a well timed Rupture Beam is always a call for every team mate to switch targets and focus on the unlucky target. Sometimes it’s not always about you.
- Elysium Island, on the moon of Titania may have been abandoned by its Transhuman creators, but it hasn’t been forgotten…The moon as a whole has become a battlefield for outlaw captains looking to score the most valuable Transhuman tech ever created...
- The communication wheel — use the communication wheel to highlight potential threats (3 triangle icon) and calling special attention to primary targets (red fist icon). Callouts will be visible to others when they have a line of sight. When a callout is made take a moment and look around. Ignoring the callouts might cost you a respawn (ex. Calling out a corvette to mark it for the fleet or as it tries to sneaks up on a team player).
- Rupture Mechanics — Rupture, which focuses to strip existing armor buffs from a target and applies a 'damage vulnerability' debuff. Although helpful, the Rupture Mechanics still rely on players to coordinate with their team to take full advantage.
- Rupture Beam — Remove target's armor buff and increase the damage it receives by 50%. Reapplying refreshes duration.
- Rupture Ammo — Remove target's armor buff and increase the damage it receives by 50%.
- Rupture Ram — increase forward thrust by 75% and apply 50% damage reduction until the ram strikes. On striking, the ram deals ability damage; then increases target's damage taken by 50%.
One notable exception is Tartarus Missile, which relies on the old Purge Mechanics.
Advice from an old tracker. You want to find someone? Use your eyes.
The Transhuman technology has been adapted to passive stealth technology in all manufacturing lines. Rendering most radar almost useless except a very close ranges. A concentrated, focused narrow cone arc plane (think narrow squashed cone) forward looking camera scan can overcome these passive Transhuman techs as you scan in the X,Y and Z coordinate planes. Enhanced cloaking technology is not affected by intense scans.
Managing the Death Count
Everyone dies — heh, it happens. Precious credits and experience are still being earned. Don’t worry about it unless you’re racking up kills in the wrong column. A general comparison of managing the death count.
Respawns // Possible outcomes
- 0 // Player Deaths you’re untouchable or ignored.
- 1-2 // Player deaths doing great (usually on the winning team).
- 3-4 // Player deaths about average (usually on the losing team).
- 5+ // Somebody’s got you dialed in — maybe time to reconsider strategy, module loadouts and / or ship choice.
Note: In Conquest Mode, deaths are not weighted as high vs. TDM and other modes. Thus a higher death count is potentially not as detrimental towards team scoring (ex. a corvette with a high death count in Conquest. See Conquest section on Influence and Scoring).
Onslaught (PvP + PvE)
Face off against an armada of enemies.
Onslaught is a little different than a regular Team Death Match. An objective based mission with some elements of Team Deathmatch game play.
Game Mode highlights
- Objective: Reach the team score limit first by destroying the enemy fleet.
- The First team to score 300 points wins.
Each team is made up of various types of ships:
- Assault Ships
- Command Ships
- 1 Team Point per Fighter kill.
- 2 Team Point per Assault Ship kill.
- 30 Team Points Command Ship kill.
- 7 Team Points Player Kill.
- 8 Personal Points per Fighter.
- 22 Personal Points per Assault Ship.
- 22 Personal Points per Player Kill (Base).
- 150 / 225 / 300 Personal Points per Command Ship Kill (Total overall damage dependent).
Choosing and Prioritizing Targets
Although destroying enemy players is helpful towards overall team scoring, individual player kills (base score) are the same as Assault Ships. In Onslaught scoring player kills are not weighted as high vs. TDM for personal scoring.
- Enemy Command Ship when spawned.
- Nearby Fighters and Assault Ships.
- Defend Team Command Ship.
- After Command Ship kill (or loss), Individual players.
- Nearby Fighters and Assault Ships.
A Captain focused on Command Ships, Assault Ships and Fighters can net anywhere from 1000-1500 personal points without a single player kill.
Conquest (PvP + PvE)
It’s all about control.
For the new recruit Conquest can be a little confusing. Conquest is a little different than a regular Team Death Match or Onslaught mode match. Although, kills and deaths count toward team and personal scores. Here the objectives are weighted more heavily than kills or deaths. Team scoring is calculated on Territory Control.
Game Mode Highlights
- The first team to 2,500 points wins!
- Every 10 seconds the percentage of overall territory each team controls is added to the Team Score (the more territory covered / controlled on the mini-map, the higher the points gained).
- Every 10 seconds each player will receive 40 points added to their Personal Score, of individually controlled territory (you must be alive to receive points).
- Although player kills are important in diminishing enemy controlled territory and controlling territory, player kills are not weighted as high (for personal scoring) as for other modes.
Gain and Defend Territory
Conquest is a unique, objective-based game mode that forces captains to think about their environment in a new way—through Control Points, Influence and Linking. Each team spawns at opposite ends of the map with a starting amount of territory at their Home Base and a nearby, uncaptured Control Point. Every 10 seconds the percentage of overall territory each team controls is calculated and added to their (team and individual) Score. To increase territorial claim, captains capture Control Points, deny the enemy territory (by destroying enemy players or defending space) while spreading their own, and contesting enemy Control Points.
Based on the size of their ship, captains will spread their Influence throughout the map claiming territory for their team and generating score. Control Points on the map can be captured and held to increase your team's score. The first team to 2,500 points wins!
Two Control Points, A and B, exist at opposite ends of each map and start in a neutral, uncaptured state. Ships entering the Control Point radius will begin capturing that point for their team. Progress towards the capture can be seen on the minimap and by looking in the direction of the Control Point node. Capture speed varies by ship class, with Corvettes capturing Control Points the fastest and Dreadnoughts the slowest.
Enemy captains can interrupt the capture progress by entering the Control Point radius. Until no enemy players exist within the radius, progress will be halted and instead begin reducing over time.
Once captured, Control Points add to a team’s territory percentage and become Linkable (see Linking). Players receive Defending points towards their personal Score by remaining near held Control Points and fighting off enemies attempting to capture the point for themselves.
Corvettes capture Control Points the fastest and Dreadnoughts the slowest.
Each ship class (except Corvettes) has a radius of Influence they exert over the map to claim territory for their team, defined by their size (top down). Enemy ships who have their Influence overlap will press against one another and negate a portion of their claim.
Dead enemies assert no Influence and players do not affect an enemy team’s Home Base Influence. Players respawn at Home Base and are given a buff when spawning to defend against immediate attacks.
Dreadnoughts have the largest radius of influence, while corvettes have zero influence. (Ex. Corvettes score points by capturing/defending a Control Point or removing other player’s ships from a controlled territory. Not by Linking or Influence.) Heavy, medium and light weight classes also plays a factor in influence size radius. ex. A Light Destroyer has roughly the same influence as Medium weight Artillery.
Territory Linking is the heart of Conquest Mode and allows for maximum contribution to a team’s claimed territory. Links can be formed three ways: Ship to Ship, Ship to Control Point, and Ship to Home Base. Control Points will not link with one another. When two allies move close to one another, they will link and their Influence area will become greater. When a Control Point is captured, it will attempt to link with nearby allies.
Links can be severed if an enemy player (Corvettes included) intersects between the two linked points, one of the linked players dies, or a Control Point flips ownership.
Linking allows for more coverage of partial map squares—thus the calculation of points is affected. Especially useful in covering neutral unclaimed territory by linking ships.
Minimap — The Big Picture & Linking
Keep track of territory gained — while filling the empty space with influence and linking to others.
The minimap in Conquest Mode offers important information to the evolving state of the game. Each team’s owned territory is updated in real time, even if no allies are able to see an enemy ship’s position. The white lines between friendly ships, Control Points, and the Home Base represent active links.
Numbers above the multi-colored bar show the percentage of control each team has over the map, while below show each team’s overall Score. The bar represents the same current control percentage additionally the border of the score bar fills every 10 seconds to show when a new score is calculated.
Multi-colored bar — is a visual representation of controlled territory. In this example, 65 above the bar represents the current allied percentage before calculation, the 16 represents the neutral uncontrolled areas, and the 19 represents enemy controlled area by percentage.
Every 10s the score is calculated for Linked overall Territory occupied.
- 40 Personal Points for Territory occupied.
- 500 Personal Points for Control Point capture.
- 300 Personal Points for Control Point defended.
- 20 Personal Points per Player Kill assist (Base).
- 10 Personal Points per Player Kill (Base).
- Various Ribbon and Event point Awards.
In Conquest Mode, repair tacticals earn the highest rates per repair tic of all the game modes. In conjunction with other ships, think of it as keeping other ships earning territory points.
Decide — when to engage or when to break off
Chasing kills is not always a winning strategy. An unsuccessful engagement or chase can lose the overall territory once occupied when the time bar resets and may even leave you out of position for the next 10 second reset. Know when to shoot and when to stay put.
Look for opportunity — when it’s in your favor
Often in the heat of battle it’s tempting to try and take on more than one ship—always a distinct disadvantage when it’s 2v1.
While TDM favors moving as a group—grouping the entire team together is not always as helpful in Conquest Mode. (Ex. 2 ships in the center of the field or Control Point are plenty—while 3 or more might be a crowd).
Floating above, waiting in lonely vigil.
"I am tormented with an everlasting itch for all things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas....' — Herman Melville, 1851
In all game modes, there are, no doubt, subtleties, varying tactics, favorite ploys, ambushes, solo and elite tactics; strategies and various ship builds. For the independent and creative—a list of potentially endless treats awaits. In part, what makes Dreadnought deceptively simple—yet delightfully complex.
There are also, perhaps points of debate on strategies that are effective (ex. team and personal fleet makeup, etc). However, aside from what is possible and what is not — counter tactics or builds; inherent weakness in all classes of ships. At the heart of the realm of Dreadnought is team play.
Some strengths need not lay in having voice communications, or the best ships and an elite cadre of squad members or marauding Clan. Although it certainly can and often helps put a thumb on the scale; by no means required to put a mark in the personal kill column and collect a payday.
By intention I have left out some specifics for playstyles and module selections (either for particular game modes or strategies) and kept things fairly general — as many times the situation or opposing team will often dictate change and leave the perfect ship build, tactic or fleet left in a brilliant explosion and smoldering ash.
One of the key tenets to remember is the ability to continually adapt to changing environments, enemy tactics and conditions within the dynamics of the team’s fleet. If you don’t your opponent(s) certainly will take note and advantage.
Part of the fun can be figuring out what works best for you in captaining each ship class, countering opponent(s), rogue clans and elite commanders. As progress is made and experience gained from each battle—the discovery of module selection can often influence a playstyle for each class, battle map and perhaps eventually/ultimately become a signature style—as should all rouge captains that inhabit Sinley Bay. Perhaps, becoming one of the more notorious captains that inhabit the Scum Belt; causing rookie captains to flee on sight. You are your own best captain— make your name and mark in the domain of Dreadnought.