Thursday, February 01, 2018

Succeeding at Titanfall 2: Frontier Defense

[NOTE: One in a series of posts on my Titanfall 2 experience. Find the intro article with links to others here.]

Frontier Defense (FD) is one of my favorite modes, if not outright my most favorite. I like it because it reinforces good teamwork, something the other modes absolutely do not reward. I also like it because it’s pure mayhem without having to worry about that nine year old on the opposing team who’s apeshit awesome and has killed you six times in the last thirty seconds while wall running across the entire map like a spider on an insane mix of peyote, speed, and crack while snorting Wraith Enzyme. Or something.

Points for Leveling Up

Make sure you understand the post on Maximizing Points. All that applies to Frontier Defense Mode.
Additionally, due to the longer match time FD gives you more opportunity for multiple leveling up of titans and weapons. The overall math for points-per-minute is still in favor of other game modes, but it’s nice that in FD you can still get a good amount of XP through good gameplay!

AEGIS Upgrades

FD gives your titans a new bunch of level-up abilities. Each titan gets a unique set of mods that run from chassis and shield boosts to additional glorious OMG lethal blow stuff up way more better things.
For example, the Legion gets rounds that pierce multiple enemies, a one-shot kill for nearly-dead enemies, and Dreadnought—every single Legion Kit at once. Every. Single One. Scorch is one of my favorites, because at max AEGIS Scorch gets three thermite launcher shots per reload and exploding incendiary traps. Northstar’s double cluster missiles and traps are also sweet.
AEGIS upgrades are earned by a separate XP track. It’s similar to your pilot’s XP track and you can supplement with an extra XP by purchasing Titan skins from the store—that point will also share across your entire team.

Unique Titan Mix

Having four different titans on the team garners an extra AEGIS XP for the entire team. I’ll try to fit in whatever titan makes sense for the team, although I try to start with one of my favorites (Scorch, Legion, Monarch, Northstar).

How I Roll for Frontier Defense

Pilot Weapons: I play FD using the Devotion almost exclusively. It’s got a huge mag, especially when using the Extra Ammo mod, and it wreaks havoc on grunts, specters, and stalkers. It’s also great at close to medium range using hip-fire, and holds accuracy for longer shots aiming down the sights. I use quick reload as my other mod for this weapon.
I rotate through sidearms, so there’s no one favorite.
My preferred anti-titan weapon is the Thunderbolt since it’s an area of effect weapon that I can shoot in the general direction of a number of enemies.
NOTE: Anti-Titan weapons in FD mode have unlimited ammo, another reason I love the Thunderbolt for this mode.
Titans: I generally play Northstar, Scorch, or Legion because they’re great at dishing out damage—especially after you get them well up in the AEGIS levels.
Monarch is fun, but I’ve found it harder to get flat out wreck on the Remnant forces. What makes Monarch fun is when you take Energy Transfer as an upgrade, then run around healing up your teammates’ titans. Monarch’s smoke also heals your teams’ titans at AEGIS level 11, which is nice because healing actions give you support points which raises your overall score. This really plays into the fun “work as a team” aspect of Frontier Defense—and it’s valuable.
For Titan Kits I normally use Nuke Eject regardless of Titan type. Because if I’m gonna go, I’m gonna take a bunch of those asshat enemies with me.
Legion: Hidden compartment. Because 2x power shots are great.
Scorch: Wildfire Launcher. Makes total sense when you’re getting multiple thermite shots.
Northstar: Enhanced Payload. More damage from cluster missiles? Take my money. I occasionally use Piercing Round, but frankly I’m not sure of its effectiveness.
Monarch: Energy Thief. Even if getting a battery wasn’t such a win I’d likely keep this just because the execution is freaking awesome.
Ion: Refraction Lens. This totally wrecks Reapers. Yes, lots of damage on other things, but I’ve noticed it the most with how fast I’m able to kill Reapers. And I hate those rat bastards.

Using The Armory

When I first started playing I spent every last cent on Nuke Rodeo bombs. I’ve blown up a lot of Remnant opponents with Nuke Bombs, and damnit, it’s just fun. I’ve gradually shifted to focusing more on healing teammates via Amped Batteries (fast 30% gain for your Titan meter, plus good Support Points!), and buying Arc Traps to scatter down the main lines of advance.
Generally I only buy turrets when playing Homestead, Rise, or Exoplanet. The large number of Plasma Drones require several turrets for the team. The other maps just don’t seem to make sense for turrets, or at least I haven’t found great spots to place them.

A Few Thoughts on a Few Maps

There are other posts elsewhere on The Internets that break down things about the various maps. Below are a few specific things I’ve found on particular maps.
Angel City: Especially if you’re playing on Normal, grab a Kraber and climb up one of the high towers at the center Courtyard. You’ll have easy shots at the Mortar Specters across the entire map, aside from a few who may be blocked at the dockyards. Far shots actually drop a bit, but use the vertical hash on the variable zoom as the aim point and you’ll do just fine. As mentioned elsewhere, I saw a guy score 260 on the first round doing this. I’ll regularly score 200+. Change loadout to something more appropriate after the first wave. This will be harder if you’re playing Hard or higher since the Mortar Specters have A Walls to protect their team. Those walls take three shots from the Kraber, or a couple from the Thunderbolt.
I’ll throw out a few arc traps in the courtyard and back alley to catch early waves, then move them over to the dockards—the final wave is one insane bum rush of Remnants from that corner. A smart team will scatter a crapload of arc traps in the corner, the far dock path, and the yard just this side of it.
This is one of the maps I rarely buy turrets for. I just haven’t found any good spot where I can get more than a few kills. A turret is nearly the same cost as two arc traps, so for me it’s just not good money spent.
Rise: The first wave, regardless of difficulty, starts with a lone titan at the back of the map. Grapple and wall run down the corridors to go steal a battery.
Arc mines are great at the main junction, the far back spawn point, and the low corridor to the right. That corridor is a serious choke point and is the prime spot to hang out in later waves.
I’ll try to play a Northstar if nobody else has grabbed it. Hanging out just outside that low corridor choke point is great when you combine arc traps, the Northstar’s traps, and cluster missiles. You can also use your Core because the low ceiling keeps you nearly horizontal for blasting away at the nasty enemies.
That same zone is also great for Scorch’s ability to stack thermite, flame wall, incendiary traps, and flame core.
Homestead: If possible, grab a Scorch. The metric crapton of plasma drones flow on either side of the large round tower in the middle of the map. Camp out on either side and use the flame shield to destroy swaths of those nasty little bastards.
I like placing one turret at the trees on the left of the small rise just in front of the harvester. I’ll regularly get 60 turret kills from this one alone. Do NOT put your turret on top of the APC nearest the tower. Turrets there spend nearly all their time offline from damage. The APC to the right and closer to the harvester is an OK spot. I’ve seen some folks put turrets on top of the tall rock spire to the right of the harvester. It looks cool, but I haven’t seen huge numbers of kills there.
This map is one where I’ll definitely buy a few Nuke Bombs later in the game because enemy titans will cluster in midfield on the far side of the central tower.
Forward Base Kodai: I love how the game designers included smoke. Seriously. What an awesome tactical mess to have to work around. It’s a modest thing that makes play way more interesting.
First wave I’ll start up top on the left wall behind the smoke and wreak as much havoc as possible. Take care to grab a battery from the sniper titan which drops at the end of the wave. Also take care to not get punched, as that jerkface seems to be extraordinarily good at Titan melees.
Lay an arc mine or two on the main route up top, then start to lay them out to the left of the map where waves four and five will concentrate. You can throw some to the right, but fewer titans come this way. Another good option is throwing in the lower causeway, but I prefer the arc mines closer to the enemy spawn points.
Northstar with its traps is a great titan here, as you can really slow down the rush of Titans in later waves. Plus the cluster missiles do a great job with all the stalkers.
Blackwater Canal: Load up on arc traps for the canyon at the front of the map. Scatter a few to the route left of the harvester too. I don’t bother with arc traps up top because it’s easy to defend and hold the line there.
This is a map where I have a hard time justifying turrets. I’ll have modest success putting a turret high on the spire right behind the harvester, but that’s hit or miss for me. All other locations see to garner few turret kills and a lot of downtime.

Notes on Scores

Getting a really high score is cool and awesome. I’ve never seen any other player in any Frontier Defense match score over 7K, yet I crushed this match with 9156 points. You know how many more XP I got than the guy who scored 1023? None. Well, I likely got a few extra XP due to several level ups, but my point is getting top score doesn’t directly help you with XP.
9K in Frontier Defense
Keep your eye on the prize if your main focus is leveling up. Getting MVP is cool, but it doesn’t directly level you up faster. Even if you get MVP all five rounds…
MPV All Five Waves

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