The Tribes 2 Annoying Bastard GuidePublication date: 21 August 2001.
Last modified 03-Dec-2011.
Tribes 2 is the first person shooter for everyone. Well, for everyone who doesn't get seasick when they play first person shooter games, anyway.
T2 suits so many people because there are so many roles you can play, in a server with a decent number of players.
You can be a flag grab-run-and-capture specialist ("capper"). You can be a farmer - one who deploys defenses and keeps 'em working. You can be a duelist, if you're a die-hard deathmatch player. You can be a tank driver, tank gunner, bomber pilot, bombardier or tailgunner, fighter pilot, or mad motorcyclist. You can be a sniper. An anti-vehicle missile dude. A general repairer. A command guy who does most of his shooting with turret guns. A heavy-armour power-assault specialist. A stealth assassin and base infiltrator. The list goes on.
I do not choose to be any of those things, most of the time.
I am, instead, a member of Team Annoying Bastard.
We're a distinctive bunch.
Whenever a defender says "There he is AGAIN! Didn't we shoot that guy? Why isn't he dead?", that's a member of Team Annoying Bastard he's talking about.
Wherever someone destroys an enemy deployable inventory station cunningly concealed near his base, and then notices there's no drop in the number of guys in medium armour who pop up, fire four missiles, vanish for 30 seconds, reappear and fire four missiles, et cetera, and thus concludes that there's at least one more bloody deployable inventory station out there, both stations were deployed by one of us.
By the time the defenders figure all this out, of course, the inventory they shot has been replaced, somewhere else.
When someone needs to fix the generators and discovers that there's a mine in front of both of the deployable inventory stations in the generator room, and another mine under the repair pack at the top of the building, all three mines were left there by a member of Team Annoying Bastard. Who probably also blew up the generators.
When you're being an Annoying Bastard, the golden rule is to always think about what you're doing, and decide whether it's the sort of thing that might induce a sporting member of the opposing team to say "You beat us fair and square! Well done!"
That's not what you're aiming for.
You're aiming for something more like "Die! DIE! DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!"
Schadenfreude, baby. Ain't nothing like it.
Bastard ≠ Jerk
Let's be clear about Team Annoying Bastard's aim.
Being a Annoying Bastard does not include doing things like blowing up your own team's deployables (unless they've been deployed somewhere dumb), or shocklancing your own vehicles, or tearing around the inside of your own base with a cloak pack activated and frightening everybody you pass, or otherwise hindering your side's ability to get stuff done. That's not being a Bastard, that's being a Giant Walking Male Organ.
Likewise, being a Bastard doesn't involve laying mines in the hinterland, driving Mobile Point Bases into crevasses, deploying deployables in the precise geometrically determined arse end of nowhere, flying bombers either two feet or twenty thousand feet off the deck, or using a Havoc transport like a one-seat personal commuter vehicle.
All of these activities, done over and over, can annoy people on one side or the other, but they do not make you a Bastard. They make you, at best, a n00b. In this context, a n00b has all of the bad qualities of a newbie, but generally also has some extra strange but useless skills, and does not ever improve.
It may be an overreaction to say that n00bs should be wrapped in barbed wire and shot into the sun. But the jury's out.
The real aim of the Annoying Bastard is to advance his or her team's cause - which, in Tribes 2, is nearly always the capturing of the enemy flag, because that's nearly always the kind of game people are playing - by means that drive the opposition into apoplectic fits.
And now, on with the handy Bastard hints.
Inventories are your friend
The number one gold-star all-time best way to productively annoy the enemy in Tribes 2 is by deploying inventory stations all around the opposing base. Being able to resupply and repair while you annoy people is ever so convenient.
Getting inventories to the enemy base is, often, a bit of a pain. The inventory pack makes you too big for any drivers' seat, so you're reduced to standing around near the vehicle station and hollering about how you need a ride. If you've got bus-driver teammates that'll help you out, then great - but on the average public server, you'll get there faster if you just schlep the inventory station across the map on foot.
The current version of Tribes 2 makes inventory deploying a rather fiddly affair; the difference between "too close" and "out of reach" is a small one. Just waving the crosshair around and pounding on your "pack" key ought to do it.
Inventory stations should be deployed somewhere fairly close to the enemy base - say, 300 metres or so - and out of line-of-sight of the bad guys. And to let your buddies find the thing, stick a beacon in front of the inventory.
You'll look rather n00b-y if you just hit the beacon key once, and thereby deploy the beacon in "targeting" mode. It's fairly unlikely that anybody will unload missiles or mortars at the inventory as a result, but it's possible; press the beacon key again without moving the crosshair and the beacon switches to "marker" mode.
Inventory stations are particularly hard to see on green maps like Slapdash. This one's not all that conspicuous even when you're close to it...
...and when you're further away, without the benefit of a same-team beacon, the thing's invisible (it's a bit above the crosshair, but even in 1280 by 960 resolution, it's now just a handful of darker pixels). Only people coming and going will give its position away.
Here's a fine example of a lousy inventory station location.
OK, this one's unrealistically lousy even by n00b standards, but you get the idea.
The secret to long deployable inventory station life is partly to put the things in suitably out of the way places, but mainly to avoid drawing attention to them.
Don't kit up at your inventory station, then run straight to the top of the hill it's deployed behind and start unloading missiles at the enemy base. Move a decent distance away from the inventory before you draw attention to yourself. And when the bad guys come for you, run away from the inventory. If you survive, you can come back later.
Similarly, don't deploy a turret farm around your inventory station. A storm of turret fire from the neighbourhood of a tree which does not otherwise have any obvious strategic value is a bit of a giveaway.
Underwater inventory station deployment can be an exception, here. No n00b seems to realise that deployables can be deployed on the bottom of lakes and oceans as easily as they can on land. Underwater turrets are harder to dispose of, and they're a great Annoying Bastard calling card.
If you find yourself in a defensive role and suspect there are one or more nearby deployable inventories resupplying the upstanding member of the enemy team, the correct strategy is not to fire on the attackers you think are using them. Flank the attackers, quietly. Watch them. Allow them to shoot off their four missiles, or whatever, and then follow them. They will helpfully lead you to their resupply point.
Then, just raining discs on an attacker while he uses the inventory is generally the best idea. You can get all crafty and lay mines around the inventory if you like, but once you've got an attacker and his inventory station in your sights, the obvious course of action is probably the best.
If you want to go inventory station hunting but can't find any bad guys to follow, that's a minus, and a plus. On the minus side, you're going to have to cast around nearby mountains and ponds and such to try to find deployables the hard way - and it can be very hard if the level design and colour makes the things easy to hide. And there may, of course, not even be any inventories out there.
On the plus side, solo searchers are less likely to get shot up by a team of four other Bastards defending their staging point. Unattended deployable inventory stations are beautiful things.
Unattended Mobile Point Bases are even more beautiful, mind you.
My standard Bastard Suit (ask for it by name) is Assault (medium) armour, armed with the blaster, spinfusor, chain gun and missile launcher. I accessorise with a repair pack, flash grenades and mines.
When a Bastard is not lugging an inventory station around, he or she should usually be wearing a repair pack. The repair pack doesn't let you fly high or vanish from enemy sensors or make a really big explosion on demand, but it does render you practically immortal, if you're not being fired on from multiple locations, bombed, or closely pursued by very angry defenders. Assault armour can take one hit from just about anything; whenever you're damaged, you can just duck into a hidey-hole and repair yourself.
And, of course, you can repair colleagues, vehicles, friendly deployable stuff and so on. Which also annoys the enemy.
The flash grenades are handy little critters when a quantity of bad guys are all over you like a polyester safari suit. Just fling every last one of the grenades while you run randomly among your attackers.
You're running, not jumping, because at moments like these you generally have the pointy bit of your repair pack stuck down your pants and are using all of your energy to reduce the size of the chunks of your buttocks that your enemies can blast off.
Six flash grenades in close proximity will of course probably blind you as well as them, but that's OK. Once everyone's blind, you just have to run in a straight line, hopefully away from the enemy base. On many levels, you'll end up far enough away from the people hunting you by the time you can all see again that you'll have a decent chance of survival.
Why's the blaster in my loadout? Because it's groovy, that's why.
Blasting for fun and profit
The humble blaster is the best gun in the game, for certain jobs. It can be very annoying indeed.
Which is not to say that n00bs don't use blasters pointlessly, all the time.
Firing one blaster shot when you respawn because you're still all excited about the battle that just killed you is forgivable.
Spraying-and-praying with the blaster at a moving target is, unless you're a Grand Ass Kicker who can actually hit that target, not forgivable.
If you want to hurl generalised nastiness at a hard-to-hit enemy, like a flag runner who's already 250 metres away, you spawn with a perfectly good chaingun for that exact purpose. A crowd of distant spray-and-prayers with chainguns can hammer down a flag runner from extraordinary ranges, with a bit of luck. Or, at least, weaken him enough that one disc near-miss from a closer pursuer will finish him off.
A crowd of blaster n00bs trying the same trick might as well be angrily tossing cotton balls.
In its place, though, the blaster is a marvellous gun.
It doesn't need ammunition, has decent range, and can rapidly dispose of a variety of things that have the decency to not move.
Like enemy deployables of all flavours, for instance. And enemy missile launcher dudes. And enemy snipers who take too long to figure out that now is the time to drop out of maximum zoom and get moving.
Top-class snipers only stand still when they're actually lining up a shot. Most snipers, though, behave as if their feet take root every time they whip out their Big Gun.
Blasters are also great for zotting any bad guy who's buying a vehicle. Vehicle station kills are a staple of the Bastard diet.
The way T2 vehicle buying now works, with the buyer teleporting into the pilot's seat if he's wearing armour that'll let him fit there, means the vehicle station's less of a turkey shoot than it used to be. People used to have to hang around the station to get into their vehicle; now, they don't. Sensible vehicle buyers make their purchase and then bugger off at great speed, since there's no limit to the teleport distance.
But it still takes a significant amount of time to buy a vehicle, and a light or medium armour can still be blastered out of existence in that time. Even if they're using a shield pack; the blaster will ignore it.
The blaster's chief disadvantage, besides the fact that it usually can't shoot as far as you can see, is that the stream of red bullets makes your location really obvious.
On the plus side, that means it's great when you want to draw fire.
When one of the bad guys is dishing out Heavy Love from the ridge line directly above your artfully deployed inventory station, and you really don't want him having a look down there at the bottom of the hill, hit him with a stream of look-at-me blaster fire.
Wave the gun around for a nice conspicuous ineffective spray so you look like a n00b, if necessary.
Just as long as he starts lumbering his heavily armed behind in your direction, and away from Mister Inventory.
Which brings me to another key strategy of the Annoying Bastard. It's called Wasting The Enemy's Time.
Hey! You! Your mother was a hamster!
Once you've distributed an inventory station or three around the enemy base, and picked off their most useful turrets and sensors and deployables, it's time to encourage some defenders to take a trip to a far-off country with you - or, at least, to buzz around their base searching for you, and getting nothing else done.
The Bastard's aim in life is not to rack up a zillion kills. If you see an easy target or get engaged by a persistent and faster foe then a certain amount of killing is likely to be on the menu, but you're there to help your team win the game, and zapping people who are standing around their own base and will therefore just respawn in the same place does not, in itself, achieve much. OK, so they may have to take another trip to an inventory station to kit up again, but it's hardly worth the bother.
For that reason, single discs are a fun thing to shoot. A single disc explosion won't kill anybody who's not already damaged, but it will cause them and the people near them to get all excited about where the attack came from. Discs have very long range, so you can launch 'em at maximum zoom from a hilltop in the distance and then just slide down and relocate.
The goal of disc-and-blaster harassment strategies is to get as many bad guys as possible focussed on Killing The Annoying Bastard - preferably after a long and irritating chase - and not on more useful tasks. Like, for instance, Stopping The Other Guys From Capturing Our Darn Flag Every Ten Freaking Seconds.
Shooting people on the vehicle station's a great way to get yourself a fan club. Shooting people on inventory stations and launching missiles at enemy Havocs that're waiting for passengers is good, too.
And remember - while several people are ineffectually hurling ordnance at you from extreme range, an inexpensive way to induce them to have a go from closer up is to shine your targeting laser in their faces.
If one guy on the enemy team makes it his mission in life to kill you whenever he sees you, that only helps if he's their star player and you're hopelessly uncoordinated. Their team loses a star, your team loses a turkey, and there's a small net gain for the good guys.
But if you get a dozen of their players so annoyed that they drop whatever they're doing to chase you to Venezuela every time you pop out from behind a tree and point out that it's your sincere belief that their father smelled of elderberries, then you're a real asset to your team.
A Bastard who finds him or herself up against enemies who have their act very thoroughly together is going to have to change strategies, though.
Quality clan players are like the Borg. Any time they see you do something annoying but not too dangerous, they'll ignore you as much as they can. Any time they see you do something that poses a genuine risk to them, they'll fall on you like a coal scuttle full of tiny anvils.
Some public servers tend to be tougher for Annoying Bastards than others. When I play on US or Australian public servers, I can generally Bastardise all the live-long day and manage about a 50% win rate against defenders who try to kill me. But every time I've played on a BattleTopJapan server, though, the defenders have handed me my gluteus maximus with a small parsley garnish whenever I did something impertinent.
Accordingly, Bastards who want to live for a while near a base crawling with expert players have to keep their heads down and restrict themselves to deploying inventories - lots of inventories, because the bad guys will find and kill them - missiling sensors and turrets, and sneakily zapping the odd deployable. And absolutely not doing things like hopefully solo-missiling the tank in which the enemy flag carrier's sitting during a flag deadlock.
If a friendly Havoc full of heavies is coming in, then by all means pop your head up and make a huge nuisance of yourself, even if the enemy's the Harlem Globetrotters of the Tribes 2 world. Any bad guy who then spends the next 30 seconds joining the Smack The Bastard Down Square Dance won't be helping the rest of their team fight off the sudden infestation of airborne heavies.
But unless your death can mean something, don't invite it.
Annoying Bastards should not become so focussed on their chosen role in life that they never do anything else. If stuff needs fixing all over your base, fix it. If someone needs a bombardier, go and do it, provided you've got the minimal skillz required to actually (a) drop bombs and not just warm up the landscape with the belly gun and (b) drop bombs when the red doohickey's near something worth bombing.
Similarly, if you see a Jericho getting mobbed by bad guys, what the heck. Pick your Plasma-Disc-Chaingun-Missile-Mortar-On-A-Sesame-Seed-Bun heavy loadout and be Mister D-FENS for a while.
And, of course, if the flag runner passes by, do everything in your power to keep him trucking. If you've got an ELF gun, use it to suck the people chasing him down onto the ground. Shoot at 'em with your chaingun and hope they decide to fight you rather than keep chasing. Unzip your pants and show 'em what you've got. Anything. When the game is Capture The Flag, flag-capturing takes precedence over everything else, including whatever diabolical plans you happen to have on the boil.
Besides - if you think you annoy people when you shoot 'em dead while they're buying a vehicle, just imagine how irked they'll be when you plunk your fat medium-armoured behind in their face while they're trying to stop someone from escaping with their flag.
"I hate to interrupt your pursuit of our flag carrier, but have you ever read any of these informative pamphlets about Jesus?"
Know your foe
The natural enemy of the Annoying Bastard is the Heroic Deathmatcher. I try to avoid these guys, because they're usually not much value to their team even when they're not wasting their lives pursuing me.
Heroic Deathmatchers invariably buy light armour with an energy pack, though they don't necessarily tote a sniper rifle as well. The sniper rifle eats their energy, after all, and the Deathmatcher loves his jump pack.
A couple of Deathmatchers on a team can be useful enough for blunting the force of enemy thrusts, but they tend to play Tribes 2 as if it were Quake 3. They're more interested in their personal score than their team's success.
If you're in medium armour with a repair pack and you get in a toe-to-toe with an assailant in light armour with an energy pack, and he's even slightly got his act together, and there are no deep ponds or mountain crevices for you to hide your miserable rear in while you repair, you really ought to be toast. But it's amazing how often fights like this on public servers end up with the Bastard victorious. Eventually.
Heroic Deathmatchers don't always carry flare grenades, for a start. So when they're a mile in the air, you can just fire a missile up one leg of their pants and then continue with your mission.
A surprising number of Heroic Deathmatchers also seem to have a really hard time hitting you, if you pay attention to dodging their Discs From On High and don't bother shooting at them. Well, not unless they're obviously about to touch down somewhere, and you can put a disc there to meet them when they arrive.
Why just avoid their fire? Because people used to plain deathmatch games waste their ammo, that's why.
Captain Klingon the Deathmatcher only has 15 discs to shoot at you. Letting him use them all up will somewhat spoil his value as a walking ammunition repository (lousy deathmatchers are a great help when you want to live off the land...), but it'll reduce him to using his grenade launcher or plasma gun or whatever else he's carrying. The ammo for that won't last, either.
For entertainment, I have occasionally dodged fire from puddingheaded deathmatchers until they ran out of ammo for everything they were carrying. If you do that, you're left wondering whether you should actually bother to kill the guy at all.
If he doesn't have a blaster or a laser rifle or an ELF gun, he's going to have to nick off and resupply. Or petition the patch developers to include a "throw rocks" key in the next update. Either way, he's no immediate danger to you, and more of his time will be wasted if you leave him alive.
Plus, it's hilarious.
If you're in the happy position of being on a winning team with a healthy points advantage, you can do the sporting thing and switch to the other side. Or you can start being a cheeky Bastard.
Deploying turrets near enemy buildings is a good cheeky trick. It's strategically nearly useless, of course. Getting in and out on such a mission without getting nailed by a horde of irritated bad guys is very difficult on any well-populated server, and the turret won't live long, and whoever it kills will just respawn nearby anyway.
But what it says to the other guys is "I'm not even taking you clowns seriously any more."
Nothing caps off a perfect day for a downtrodden player who's already watched his team's flag get carried away over and over like stepping out of a doorway and straight into a spike turret blast.
There are some places on some levels where you can effectively deploy turrets near or on enemy buildings. And deploying them inside enemy buildings is a perfectly OK strategy for advanced base-rapers who've managed to get an inventory station into an enemy structure.
But, generally, the value you'll get from a turret deployed in the middle of a crowd of bad guys isn't worth carrying the thing over a hill, much less from the other side of the map, as n00bs have been known to do.
There's a particularly advanced Bastard strategy, best done with a team of two Bastards, in which you deploy a turret somewhere important to the enemy - like a spider clamp turret in the generator room, say. Then the other Bastard, who's standing somewhere far away and perfectly safe, immediately takes control of the turret via the command interface. In the generator-room permutation of this tactic, the turret-deploying Bastard blows up the generators with the help of the human-controlled turret, and heads off to have fun elsewhere. The other Bastard sits and waits.
Sooner or later, an enemy repair guy will show up and fix the generators. The turret-controlling Bastard does not shoot this fine team player. He waits for him to go away.
Then he disables the generators again, with turret fire. A single spider clamp turret takes a while to kill a generator, but it can do it. You don't have to actually blow the generators up; they stop working when the oscillating whatsits on the front stop moving. Stopping shooting the generator then saves time, and also saves your turret from getting damaged by the exploding-equipment blast.
With the generators disabled again, back will come the angry repairer, scouting around to find the base-raper that he presumes must have done the deed. He'll fail to find anyone, almost certainly fail to suspect the apparently completely inert spider clamp turret hanging on the wall (or high on the ceiling, by preference), and he'll fix the generators and go away again. And shortly afterwards discover that all of the lights are out once more.
Reader-suggested Bastard strategies
* Adventurous Bastards can ply their trade with a sniper loadout - they'll need an inventory station to heal themselves at, but light armour with an energy pack lets you lead defenders away from their base further and faster, and if you get far ahead of them you can turn around and snipe at them. That's really irritating.
* The sniper rifle also gives you another way to imitate a n00b, by shooting constantly without giving your energy time to recharge. Uncharged sniper shots do about as much damage as a handful of grass clippings, but every one of them draws a nice red line pointing right back to you, and someone's going to run out of patience soon enough.
* If you're on a map with lousy visibility, there's a lot to be said for toting a shocklance, as long as you're brave. When you see a bomber or transport waiting for crew, sneak in next to it and give it a darn good lancing.
If you haven't seen how spectacular the effects of a shocklance hit on an air vehicle are, you'll be impressed.
Of course, once the thing's flipped and exploded there will be a heavy precipitation of half-dead crew members with a very bad attitude, and your shocklance will have eaten most of your energy and left you with no juice to run your cloak pack, if that's what you used to sneak in there in the first place. So good freakin' luck getting out alive.
But if you manage this a few times, wrecking a fully loaded transport that took a minute or two to get together every time, team-playing Havoc-buyers may just give up in disgust.
* This segues into one of the cheekiest tricks in the game - hopping into a seat on an enemy vehicle.
In the unlikely event that you get the driver's seat then you can crash the vehicle (a quick vertical half-loop followed by a bail-out is the fastest way to trash an aircraft), but you're more likely to only be able to find a seat somewhere else. The single most stylish way to capture the enemy flag is by sitting in the tailgunner's seat on a bomber or transport and letting the bad guys fly you back to your own base.
If the pilot's in first person view and nobody else looks at you hard enough, then the people in the aircraft can remain completely unaware that one of the crew has a red triangle over his head. A sensor jammer pack can be handy, here, but you don't have to have one; a surprising number of players recognise nearby bad guys by their behaviour, not their Identification-Friend-or-Foe triangle, which is why it's often so easy to walk right into an enemy base on a public server, as long as you don't go in shooting.
The crew may be oblivious to the fact that they're carrying an enemy with them, but there are more people outside the vehicle, and they can easily see what's going on. They're typically not very pleased about it.
If you buy a transport or bomber, and your whole team starts shooting at you as you cruise away, that probably doesn't mean they've just decided that they don't like your Biggles scarf.
* Speedy Bastards can even steal Jerichos. When a Mobile Point Base has deployed itself, there's a green shield over the driver's seat that'll only let friendlies in to drive the thing away. Before the MPB deploys, though - and it'll never deploy if it's parked on even slightly uneven or sloping terrain - anybody who can fit in the driver's seat can hop in and drive off.
If you manage this trick, it doesn't make the Jericho yours; it'll still belong to the team that bought it if you hop out and let it deploy. But nothing but your threshold of patience, or considerable enemy firepower, is stopping you from driving it to North Yemen and deploying it there. Or dumping it down a canyon, for that matter; done carefully, this can wedge a Jericho so it can't get out but won't explode, and if nobody blows it up (killing a Jericho one-handed is easier said than done...) it'll keep that team MPB-less for the duration.
There's also an intermittent bug that causes Jerichos to fall between the ground polygons and end up a very, very long way underground - but not dead. I don't know of any way to force that to happen, but if it happens to an enemy Jericho, they're not going to be able to buy another one for the rest of that game.
* It's been pointed out to me that if waving your targeting laser around to create your own personal rave light show doesn't get you the enemy attention you crave, you can of course actually use the darn thing the way it's meant to be used. Point it at enemy vehicles, turrets or what have you, to help friendlies with Big Fat Guns turn the area into a smoking grease spot. Illuminating a target with the laser will allow missiles to home on it even if someone's frantically tossing flares around nearby.
Shining the laser on enemy faces almost certainly won't get 'em shot, because unless they're a total hypnotised-chicken n00b then they're likely to, you know, move. But enemy heavy armour guys standing on top of buildings can be great candidates for illumination of their backs.
Sure, that's not likely to work too often. But it'll certainly draw fire your way. And every now and then a missile will slam into the kidneys of Mister Immovable Object on top of the clocktower.
* One get-'em-angry strategy about which I'm not so sure is taunt-spamming. Yes, it will indeed fill the enemy team with a great desire to punt you all over the map if you decide to hold forth on the subject of how you've got their number, you've got all their numbers, over and over. But even if you only jabber away with messages that only people nearby can hear, and don't flood every voice channel with nonsense ("Defend the nexus!" "Hahahahahaha!" "Woohoo!" "Woohoo!" "Woohoo!" "There's a snake in my boots!"), you're still likely to invite a kick vote.
* Fire away at an enemy inventory station until its lights go off and it stops working - which also means its shields don't regenerate any more - and then drop a mine on it. Anybody walking on the mine will blow up both the mine and the inventory station, and the combined explosion is likely to kill them.
* Some Bastards like to specialise in vehicular homicide. A tank can turn a light or medium armour into a skid mark on the ground quite easily, and a skilful Shrike pilot can slam straight through anybody who's standing on a ridge having a look around.
I'm not a particularly artistic tank driver, myself, but I've been pursued by a few. The ones that don't even bother with a gunner can be profitably irritated by a Bastard who manages to drop himself into the empty seat, but the ones who use a fully manned tank can be spookily difficult to avoid, if you're not on a level with sharp terrain that tanks can't climb. Those guys must rule at Carmageddon.
* From a reader in Germany comes a strategy that you might like to practice on a local server for a while, until you can do it without embarrassing yourself. In this description, I shall put the exact ways in which you're likely to embarrass yourself in [square brackets].
Wearing light armour and toting whiteout grenades, a satchel charge, and whatever else takes your fancy for beating people up near a vehicle station, buy yo'self a Shrike and tear off towards the enemy base at maximum warp.
[You get missiled on the way because you're afterburning and thus have no shields; you plough into a mountain because you are a n00b.]
When you get to the enemy base, yell "Banzai!" and afterburn down at their vehicle station, preferably at a fairly steep angle. Unless their vehicle station is deserted, in which case you should fly around and see the sights until some victims turn up.
[You fluff your dive and ram the ground; you get shot off course by a missile or lucky disc and ram the ground; you are overcome by ennui and ram the ground.]
At an appropriate juncture in your guided-bomb dive, you eject from your Shrike and, while still in the air, activate your satchel charge and toss a couple of your grenades.
[You eject too late and die in the explosion caused by the crashing Shrike; you get the keys wrong in all of the excitement and die with your targeting laser on and a pile of mines under your corpse.]
If all goes well - for you, at least - this leaves the enemy with a thoroughly discombobulated vehicle pad, somewhat damaged and strewn with corpses and flash-blind live players. You have bounced off the pad, not taking too much damage, and skied onwards and away.
[The fall kills you; the Shrike explosion kills you; in the general disc-fest you've encouraged someone shoots your satchel charge a couple of times and that explosion kills you; you hit a pillar on the back of the vehicle pad and stop dead with a sheepish grin on your face, whereupon the entire enemy team really, really kills you.]
When the satchel charge arms, you immediately let it off, effectively daisy-cutting the vehicle station area. If that vehicle station ain't dead now, it never will be.
[Someone nails you before you can press the Big Red Button.]
This is your cue to about-face and return to the blasted vehicle station, so you can lay mines all over it. Now you hang about and kill anybody else who shows up, until someone finally smacks you down.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
* You know what the problem with targeting beacons is?
People tend to shoot 'em.
Now, that's kind of what they're for, I know. But wouldn't it be nice if you could beacon something and have the beacon survive bombardment (by mortar-toting heavies, heavies and mediums with missile launchers who can be on the other side of a hill and still shoot a beaconed target, and of course random hopeful buggers with grenade launchers too)?
Hey, while you're wishing, why not wish for beacons that'll survive the tender attentions of the enemy repair dudes who clean up your mess afterwards, too?
This is, as a couple of readers have pointed out to me, possible. What you want to do is beacon the underside of an important elevated enemy position, like for instance the vehicle platform on Recalescence. Just scurry under the thing and stick a beacon or three as close to the vehicle station plinth as you can. Set a waypoint there if you want to be really sure you've placed the beacon right.
Now you've got yourself a targeting beacon that the bad guys can't see unless they really go looking for it, but which is perfectly visible to your team and will guide fire immaculately onto the top of the surface under which it's hiding. Said surface will also, of course, prevent the Hail Of Death™ impacting on the top side of the platform from blowing up the beacon(s).
The Recalescence vehicle platform's an ideal candidate for this strategy, because people generally ski down the slope onto it, and seldom approach it uphill from the far side. So nobody's likely to see your beacon by accident, and it may take a while for them to figure out what's going on even if there are cruise missiles zipping over the hills all around them.
You can pull a similar trick on Katabatic. The vehicle stations there are the normal attached-to-the-ground type, but the turret on the roof of the base building has a convenient attic room under it. A Bastard is likely to be able to enter this room through the slanting window without too much trouble, if he or she bolts for the enemy base at the beginning of the match and doesn't attract any attention by shooting at people on the way in.
If bad guys see you going into the attic and follow, they're not likely to notice the innocent-looking beacon you've just stuck like a mortar-attracting smoke detector on the ceiling under the turret. They'll probably be concentrating on chasing you down the chute into the rest of their base.
More elaborate versions of this strategy, involving deploying an inventory station among the girders under a vehicle station and making the place into a little home away from home, are possible. But the return on investment from a simple lightning beaconing run is hard to beat.
* Vehicular homicide by hoverbike can be surprisingly effective, especially in places where crowds of enemies are kind enough to assemble. Like vehicle pads. Avoid using the bike's boosters, so your shield energy stays up, and hang close to buildings and terrain features as you, in the words of my correspondent, "tear donuts around the enemy base". And, of course, if your team grabs their flag, delivering your bike to the flag runner will probably get you onto his Christmas card list.
* On Katabatic, the tower near the enemy vehicle station has an attic area that's an amusingly perverse place to deploy an inventory station, if you can sneak in there. Whether or not you manage that, you can lurk in the tower (preferably with a cloak pack, or at least a sensor jammer) and wait for someone to buy a tank or bomber. Ski to the vehicle station from behind, and hop into a seat. (Or miss, and look briefly like a dork, and then like a corpse. It's your choice.)
If you're lucky enough to get into the gunner's seat of a tank driven by a turkey, you can create rare havoc (starting by destroying the vehicle station, of course) before an enemy finally manages to teamkill the tank, or the driver grows a brain and trundles the thing far, far away.
* Definitely in the Cheeky Bastard category, and shading into outright silliness, is this:
Kit yourself out with a satchel charge, get a Shrike or a bike, zip off to somewhere well-populated with bad guys, and park.
Drop your satchel on top of the vehicle. If you do this accurately, the satchel will actually sit on top of the vehicle; if not, it'll be sitting on the ground next to it and probably still be OK.
Now, head for the hills, but not so far away that you can't see your booby-trapped vehicle.
I think you can figure out what happens next for yourself.
The beep-beep-beep delay of the satchel charge isn't likely to be long enough that someone hopping into the driver's seat will be able to disentangle himself from the thing before it goes off. Result: One enemy virtually certain that he's just being toyed with.
If any of you faithful readers have other silly, or not-so-silly, Annoying Bastard Tricks, do feel free to e-mail them to me!
If you just feel like e-mailing me to tell me how funny you think this page is then hey, be my guest. But click here to see how you can show your appreciation like a right Bastard.
Onward, fellow Bastards!
Some of this advice may deserve to be in the "duh" category, but in my Tribes 2 adventuring, I've noticed that Annoying Bastards are rather thin on the ground. OK, that's possibly because inventory-schlepping is not the most glamorous of careers.
But the world needs more of us. When there are 30 or more people playing, just one Bastard can tip the balance for his or her team by tossing a generous handful of sand in the enemy gears.
Plus, it just seems to suit some personalities.