Star Wars: Squadrons: How the Mosquito Strategy is ruining multiplayer
Emergent strategy has always been a part of competitive multiplayer gaming. Players want to win, and they’ll try different team compositions, character builds, and strategies until they figure out the most consistent routes to victory. This is not an inherently bad thing and can help to keep games fresh and interesting.
However, occasionally a strategy can damage the spirit of the game as well as the overall enjoyment, particularly for new players. The Mosquito Strategy in Star Wars Squadrons is one of those strategies.
Those annoying mosquitos
The Mosquito Strategy goes like this. In Fleet Battles mode, during the attack phase, you hop into a TIE Bomber with the rotary cannon equipped. You fly under an Alliance frigate’s shields and stop directly next to the hull. You open fire with the rotary cannon. You divert all power to your engines and transfer power from your engines to your lasers to keep them overcharged to deal extra DPS. The TIE bomber is so tough and the rotary cannon’s DPS is so high that you can kill a frigate extremely quickly. Even the mighty MC75 can fall victim to this strategy if the TIE bomber moves from section to section as it destroys the hull.
If the opposing team catches on, it can intercept incoming bombers, but even an aware and coordinated team can lose to this strategy because the rotary cannon’s DPS is so high. My team lost to this strategy two matches in a row, even though we were verbally communicating and knew what was going on. Our KD ratios were all positive; we knocked down a ton of TIE bombers on their way to kill our capital ships, but they still did so much damage that we lost. It’s much worse for teams that aren’t communicating.
Let me be clear about something: I don’t blame players for using the Mosquito Strategy. It wins, and in any game with a ranked ladder, winning is not just the most important thing; it’s the only thing. There’s nothing wrong with playing to win and I have nothing against people who want to keep their rank high and win/loss ratios strong.
However, this strategy has an overall negative impact on the game, both in terms of meta and aesthetics. The online meta suffers due to this strategy. New players who are queuing into random Fleet Battles probably don’t know that this strategy exists (I only found it by digging around on Reddit, then having it used on me repeatedly) and might not realize it’s even happening until they lose a frigate to it. While The Mosquito Strategy is not quite what I would call an exploit, it’s discouraging to folks who are trying to play the game as designed.
Speaking of which: it also disrupts the game’s goal of simulating cinematic Star Wars-style battles. These involve strafing runs and dogfights, not a single TIE bomber parking itself on the hull of a capital ship and blasting away its hull integrity. It’s not fun to play against, and it’s not all that much fun to engage in.
Fleet Battles mode is a space sim laid over a MOBA framework. The capital ships are your team’s towers and the MC75/Star Destroyer is the core. Any MOBA player will tell you that soloing the core should get you killed, but the Mosquito Strategy can do exactly that. This strategy makes an excellent game less compelling.
How to counter it
Situational awareness is key. Be aware of what ships the enemy team is fielding and how far they are from your capital ships. If anything is very close to your ship, kill it as fast as you can. Don’t be afraid to change out your build for something that deals more damage. The Y-Wing’s rotary cannon and high fire rate rockets are an excellent choice for dealing with TIE bombers.
Communicate with your team. If you’re in voice chat and you see the opposing team doing this, let your teammates know. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll win, but your odds go up significantly if everyone knows what’s going on.
Try to intercept the bombers as far away from your capital ships as possible. Put some A-Wings in your frontline with the rapid fire cannon to take down the bombers ASAP, and have one or two Y-Wings waiting in the back in case anything gets through. Once the other team realizes that you’re on to them, they will hopefully switch to a different strategy.
How to fix it
The Mosquito Strategy can be addressed by patching a few things in the game.
Devs could patch starship lasers to reduce the amount of damage it does to capital ships. The rotary cannon is an awesome, devastating weapon against fighters and it should stay that way, but reducing its power against capital ships makes both narrative and mechanical sense. We could maintain the current level of damage against turbolaser batteries and ship systems while decreasing their effectiveness against hulls.
They could also increase capital ships’ turbolaser damage to fighters at close range. In The Last Jedi, we saw that turbolasers suffered from severe damage falloff at extreme ranges. At close range, they were devastating. To compensate for increased close range damage, you could reduce the turbolasers’ damage at long range, encouraging the use of the iconic Star Wars favorite, proton torpedoes. If you wanted to maintain their current damage level, you could increase the number of turbolaser batteries on capital ships, making the Mosquito Strategy harder to pull off.
The devs could also implement an energy tax for diverting energy. Currently, TIEs can keep bouncing energy back and forth between the shields and lasers with no penalty. If five or ten percent were lost in the transfer, that might reduce the effectiveness of the mosquito strategy.
Those are our thoughts! How are you guys enjoying Squadrons? Have you encountered the Mosquito Strategy? If so, how do you feel about it?