In Vox Machinae, each player pilots a massive Wikipedia:Mecha known as a Grinder, or GDR. The Grinder is a chassis that each pilot's cockpit can swap interchangeably between; hence, each Grinder cockpit is identical. Each GDR has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and a skilled pilot can usually pilot more than one kind of GDR. Specialists, who pilot only a single type of GDR, are often some of the deadliest pilots in the game. Each GDR typically comes equipped with a different set of weapons, which are modular and can be swapped out.
|The Catalyst is a medium GDR, designed to act mainly in support roles during combat. Because of its weight and somewhat sluggish fuel regeneration it is not as maneuverable as other GDRs. However, it does benefit from a slight boost in cooling. Although the Catalyst does boast heavier armor than most other GDRs, it will seem sluggish and fragile as a front-line combatant. It is a reliable support unit, and is frequently found straddling the edge of the battlefield with either a Skyjacker or Hammer launcher.
The main benefit of piloting a Catalyst lays in its large “fixed” weapon mount, enabling it to equip 8x missiles, Skyjacker or the Hammer missile. Unlike the Dredge's "fixed" mount being on a limb, the Catalyst's “fixed” weapon mount is located on the torso and cannot be destroyed if a limb is removed. Since the Catalyst excels in a combat support role, most players tend to equip a Skyjacker or Hammer paired with a Railgun or in some cases a Large laser.
The Catalyst is not an ideal choice for beginners.
The right arm (the small weapon mount) of the Catalyst carries more armor plating than the more valuable left arm. During combat, it is a good idea to present this arm to the enemy as it will shield the torso and left arm.
The enemy will try to shoot your limbs off, specifically the left arm.
A popular load-out for the Catalyst is: Railgun + Skyjacker + any small weapon
The 3-pack of missiles in the small weapon slot has a tendency to shoot very straight and cluster predictably (compared to the same weapon on other GDRs), so it is a good choice for the small mount.
Recommended modules: Thermal Pump, Target Recognition, Coolant Flush, Backup Generator
Some thoughts on Catalyst from the OG cat pilot Shifty (AKA many Catalyst related handles): https://www.reddit.com/r/VoxMachinae/comments/dtqe9d/lightly_organized_thoughts_on_the_catalyst/
|Packing a serious wallop, the Dredge is a highly defensive class capable of sustaining massive damage. Its impressive array of heavy weaponry and high heat capacity makes it an ideal choice for territory control. However, the Dredge is also the slowest and least maneuverable GDR in Vox.|
|The Drill is the lightest and most maneuverable GDR. Its tripod legs enable it to traverse terrain quickly, and its improved vertical jet capabilities allow it to access routes other GDRs can't handle. Additionally, the Drill comes equipped with a powerful rapid-fire drill weapon which can cause devastating blows to enemy GDRs unlucky enough to find themselves below it.|
|Cow catcher in front, train whistle horn blast, charging recklessly into enemy GDRs... these are the hallmarks of the Goldrush. Its superior forward armor and powerful front ram make it a particularly troublesome foe. Since it takes minimal damage from smashing into other GDRs, the Goldrush is an ideal close-quarters combatant.
Fuel recharge is slower than Hopper or Drill and the chasis is heavier as well, but the Goldrush is still one of the most mobile GDRs in the game, with a large enough fuel reserve to make very large jumps. It has 2x forward jets so when maneuvering this feature has the greatest impact on it's jump/flight capabilities. It can accelerate very quickly making a ram even from a fairly short distance very dangerous. One hurdle for new pilots is landing from a big jump without damaging or completely shearing off the legs. It is encouraged to save at least 1/4 tank of fuel to allow for reverse thrust to cushion the landing from a big jump. Forward momentum is more damaging than downward momentum, but both should be minimized during a landing.
There are a number of strategies for landing from high altitude/speed without taking damage. The airbrake module is the easiest option and often recommended for beginners as it allows for you to come to a complete stop mid-air. This has the disadvantage of taking up a module slot and making you a pretty easy target if you stop and hover in the wrong spot! Another more advanced strategy is to turn 180 degrees before landing and use the 2x forward thrusters to your advantage to slow down with less fuel than typical back thrusting requires. The legs are slightly more durable it seems when landing backwards, so this method ties in nicely with a pattern of jumping over an enemy while firing at them, then turning 180 at the apex of the jump, pass over them and continuing to fire into their back as you land. With practice landing facing forwards can also be done quite reliably, but it takes some experience to know exactly the minimum amount of fuel needed to make a soft landing after a large jump. The final (and most reliable) method is simply to slam face first into the side of a mountain or other obstacle. While this method may cause some damage, it is negligible in most cases and even very seasoned pilots rely on this method in many circumstances as it is VERY fuel efficient.
The Goldrush's forward armor is very substantial and can soak a large amount of damage in addition to being excellent for ramming other GDRs and mountain sides. The flat top and rear panels of the Goldrush are the weakest areas of armor, especially the fan port on the rear after the back armor plate is removed. Goldrush pilots are should be especially aware of letting an enemy get above or behind them as this can lead to a very quick death from just a few well placed shots. Missile Hoppers especially, have a natural advantage here, so be careful when approaching and try to go into a fight with a height advantage from the beginning, and try to maintain that advantage. Rotating your armor plates to spread damage as much as possible is usually good policy, but with this GDR sometimes standing toe-to-toe and taking all the damage to the face is the best course of action, but remember the cockpit is still vunerable, so if your opponent has good aim, especially with a rail gun, it's best to keep moving to make this area harder to target.
There are many weapon loadouts that work well with Goldrush. Cannon and Large laser are the two most popular large weapons, with rail gun being a good choice for a sniper build. Scattershot is rarely used on this GDR, but it can be useful in a Salvage match, especially when paired with mini-guns, for a splash damage free ultra-short-range build. Small weapons are often set as a matching pair in this GDR and linked to the same fire group in many cases. Missiles, mini-guns, and small cannons are all recommended for small weapon choices, small lasers are also effective but less common to see in practice. The small weapon mounts are well positioned for peaking over cover and getting off a few shots without exposing yourself to much return fire; small cannons are the best choice for this kind of sniping at a distance.
Recommended builds: Med-long range combat Lg.Cannon + 2x mini-gun/missiles/or sm. cannons
Shorter range combat Large laser + 2x mini-gun or missiles
Long range combat Rail gun + missile/mini-gun or small cannon
Recommended Modules: Thermal Pump (trade heat for fuel), Ram Air Intake (turn speed into cooling), Air Brake, Absorbent Coating (for sniper build)
Other tips: Unlike other GDRs, the Goldrush's weapons cannot be knocked off by severing their supporting arm—it has no arms! The small mounts are nearly impossible to damage, but the large mount on the underside can become bent and not fire straight on occasion, usually from impact damage.
Hoppers make bad ramming targets. If you run into one of their claws you may kill yourself! Avoid ramming hoppers unless you are sure of the angle of impact (safer to stomp them from above if possible).
Goldrush's flat head makes an excellent landing pad for a drill. Watch out! If you see a drill coming down on you, the best move is usually to try and boost forward, under and past the drill, if there is time. If you can gain the altitude fast enough you can sometimes counter ram, but this is very dangerous, so use caution.
|The Hopper can often be found soaring above the battlefield, raining hell upon enemy GDRs from the sky. The Hopper has powerful aerial maneuvering capabilities combined with a relatively low profile, and as such can be difficult to slap back down to the ground.|
|The Overhaul is a medium size GDR, but weird. It has a tremendous amount of armor plating but a very squishy center. Make your Overhaul dance and spin in the air, spreading damage across your armor and shielding your cockpit. Put your shoulder towards your target and shoot over your shoulder to really absorb some damage, then switch shoulders. If you dance and turn your armor plates correctly, you can take a lot of punishment. The ability to wield two XL weapons often gives the Overhaul the edge in raw firepower, but pilots must be careful to position themselves well so as not to get overwhelmed by flanking enemies.
So far, there are only three XL "fixed" weapons: Hammers, Skyjackers and Missiles.
Hammer Overhaul- Two Hammers usually lets you have one hammer at the ready at all times. Never fire both together! You want to keep constant pressure, one hammer after another. Keep distracting from your allies, burn their heat and jets while they counter you, and punish them for any mistakes.
Skyjacker Overhaul- A Skyjacking Overhaul is the king of ambushing light flying mechs. Once the enemy knows a skyjacker is trained on them, they're going to slow to a hover and land. Encourage teammates to force targets to move by setting up rams or throwing hammers. Never stray from your team, even if you think you're safe in the back. Caught alone, you're helpless against anyone moving too slow to detonate your skyjackers.
"Missile Boat"- An Overhaul can bring a lot of missiles to the battlefield, but be aware of the tremendous heat they generate and the tricky firing pattern on the Overhaul. The way these arc, there are a lot of blind spots you have to learn, but they are great for strafing runs, bombing down on the enemy, as well as flanking from behind. Often, you need to aim far down, almost chin to chest in VR, and much lower than your actual target in order to hit something close range.
While the Overhaul can walk and jet like any other GDR, it also binds the Hummingbird to a weapon input. Pressing this input turns on the drive and causes the GDR to lift up, until it reaches its maximum height and hovers indefinitely. There is no fuel cost.
The Lift: Don't keep your Hummingbird on all the time. Stay on the ground and enable it before you jump. Allow the hover to break gravity and begin your upward ascent with no fuel cost.
The Slide: Although this thing starts slow, it can move surprisingly fast and free of fuel once you get momentum. If you're flying on a trajectory, engage the Hummingbird and allow yourself to slide
The Ramp: Your Hummingbird wants to push you a set height above the ground. If you look for something like a hill, you can jet forward and allow the ascending terrain to continuously push you upwards. This is a great way to launch yourself quickly and efficiently, and easily sets you up for a slide.
Emergency landing: Don't be afraid to fall in this mech. Turning on the Hummingbird protects you from a lot of falling damage. This is useful for quickly ascending and descending to evade fire.
Stay with the group, instead of hiding in the back.
Do not stand there and take hits. You can move like no other GDR. Do it!
Practice the physics of the Hummingbird Drive. You need to be able to dance and spin in a firefight, all while firing.
Do not keep your Hummingbird on all the time. You need the lift from the ground that turning it on gives you to make quick escapes.