A Succinct Guide to Trench Wars Badassery

If there’s one thing that always impresses the ladies, it’s pwning faces in multiplayer games. Since I can’t be a badass in real life (apparently there are laws about pwning faces in real life), I’ve been forced to be a badass online. As I was meditating on the pure stupenditude of my own badassery this afternoon, I felt a sudden twinge of pity for all you poor fools who may never know what it’s like to be as cool as me. That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to write this Succinct Guide to Trench Wars Badassery.

Trench Wars is the most popular gametype of SubSpace, one of the first massively multiplayer online games (and the only one worth your time, if you ask me). SubSpace is a top-down 2D space shooter with Asteroids-style physics. You fly around and shoot people. A pretty simple concept, but it’s enough fun that I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours of my precious time playing it since 1997 or so, and I still haven’t grown tired of it.

In Trench Wars, two teams vie for control of an immobile flag, which is situated inside an easily defensible base at the top of the map. Of the 8 ship types to choose from in Trench Wars, the Warbird is by far my favorite, and here’s why:

Being a badass in a Warbird is fucking hard.

You get one bullet. That bullet kills instantly, but it’s only a pixel. Firing this bullet depletes your energy, and you must recharge before you can fire again, which takes about five seconds. Becoming a grim bringer of death in a Warbird takes a lot of practice, but it’s extremely rewarding.

Which is really, really sad, if you think about it. So I try not to think about it.

Here’s how you too can win friends and influence pwn faces by being the deadliest Warbird in the game (assuming I’m not playing at the time, of course). I’m not going to explain the basics of the game, so go figure those out on your own you lazy bastards.

  1. Never stop moving. Let me explain what I mean by “never”: if you stop moving even for one tiny fraction of a second, for any reason at all, even if there is nobody else playing the game, you will die. I promise.
  2. Momentum is your friend. Never ever sacrifice your glorious momentum. Don’t think you can surprise your opponent by hitting reverse thrust and slowing yourself down. Unless your opponent is even more of a fool than you are, this will only make you an easier target.
  3. Walls are your friend. Not only can you use them as shields, you can also run into them at full speed and get a hefty bounce in the opposite direction, retaining much of your momentum and potentially wreaking havoc with your opponent’s aim.
  4. Spin, spin, spin. Your ship has forward thrust and reverse thrust, and your opponent should never be able to tell which one you’re using. One of the best tactics to use in a dogfight is to keep your ship spinning constantly, alternating between forward and reverse thrust to maintain your momentum while changing direction slightly and confusing your opponent as to where you might go next. It takes practice to be able to do this while still aiming effectively, but once you nail it, you’ll be extremely difficult to hit.
  5. Never attack head-on. I don’t care how much of an advantage you think you have, you should never willingly let yourself fall into your opponent’s field of fire.
  6. Count to five after firing. It takes about five seconds for the Warbird’s energy to recharge after firing. During that time, you must not attempt to fire! Pounding repeatedly on the fire key will distract you from what you should be doing, which is evading and lining up your next shot.
  7. Always assume your opponent is about to fire. Never stop evading. Don’t take a shot unless you can take it while evading. Even if your opponent has just fired and missed and you’re certain it will be five seconds before he can fire again, you shouldn’t assume you’re safe.
  8. Always assume your shot will miss. No matter how perfect you think your aim is, don’t relax until you see your opponent explode in a fiery ball of suckitude. And even then, don’t relax too much, or the other opponent you didn’t see will nail you from behind.
  9. When engaging multiple opponents, orbit and conquer. Being outnumbered is never a good thing, but if you can’t avoid it, try to orbit your opponents, keeping them as close together as possible in the center of your orbit. The closer they are to each other, the easier they’ll be to target and evade. If you’re surrounded, hit boost and fly past the nearest opponent to draw them together, then attempt your orbit again. If all else fails, run.
  10. Don’t attack opponents who have just spawned. Spawn-killing isn’t very sporting, and it’ll make everyone think you’re scum.

And a few bonus tips, just for fun:

  1. Never ever under any circumstances use any variation of the following words in public chat, or I will personally lay my vengeance down upon you: “owned”, “easy”, “newbie”, “lamer”, “eater”, “camper”, or “lagger”. For some reason, people who suck at the game think it makes them look better if they announce every kill, excuse every miss, or chastise every opponent who kills them. All this does is make the people who actually are good at the game think you’re a moron.
  2. If an opponent nails your ass with a skillful shot or displays extraordinary skill in evading you, compliment them. Remember, it’s a just a game. Be friendly and most of the time people will be friendly right back. Dueling is always more fun when there’s mutual respect among the combatants.
  3. Whenever you start feeling like a stupendous badass, look up your stats for a reality check. Nothing puts a damper on your ego faster than taking a quick look at the online stats and realizing there are 2,000 people who are even bigger badasses than you are. Not that this should stop you from pretending to be the ultimate expert on Trench Wars badassery. It sure didn’t stop me.
  4. I lied about online badassery impressing the ladies. But I got you to read the article, didn’t I?