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.
Tips for starting out in the Hopper:
Basic Maneuvers: Hopper is a great GDR for newer (and veteran) pilots to practice maneuvering in. It has strong, springy legs and a quick fuel recharge making it one of the most mobile aerial units. To make best use of your fuel in the hopper, don't fight gravity, if you lose upward momentum, let yourself fall and use the spring effect from your knees bending to lift back off for very little fuel. When already in the air try to coast as much as possible so your tank has has a chance to refill. Just use tiny maintenance puffs of fuel to maintain altitude. With practice it is possible to keep the hopper in the air for a very long time this way. The same as falling, when moving forward you don't want to fight your momentum when making course corrections. You can make a 30-45 degree turn from your existing course by turning your chassis and doing a forward burn on the new vector, but any more than that and it's just going to cost too much fuel to be worth it. So if you need to make a U-turn or even a right angle you want to land and jump again OR redirect by colliding with the terrain. (see Wall Kicks below)
Modules: One of the most popular module combinations with fast movers is Ram Air and Thermal Pump. Thermal pump is activated by a button and starts rapidly regenerating fuel at the cost of creating heat. Ram Air increases cooling speed proportional to air speed. The synergy here means you can move faster more often, and the faster you move the more you cool. IMPORTANT: DO NOT forget about the thermal pump and leave it running, you will overheat and shutdown. Thermal pump works best in very short bursts, so get used to tapping it on for a second or two and tapping it off, especially mid-flight while you are getting the extra cooling. You can see how much cooling Ram Air is actually doing by looking at the little meter that fills up on it's icon near the top of the cockpit.
Other popular modules include air brake for special aerial maneuvers and stomp tactics, and the Radar Identification mod when using the hopper in a scouting role.
Weapons: Typically hopper pilots will load all three slots with the same weapon, thus having the same lead time and range across all firing groups. Usually these are split into left arm on left trigger, right arm on right trigger, for better heat management. In some cases all three may be on separate firing groups (all cannons for instance).
All missiles is a popular build for it's high burst damage and fire and forget use. You only need to train your cross hair on the target (or leading the target in motion) for the moment you pull the trigger, the rest of the time your are free to look elsewhere. Meaning you can check your radar, scan the horizon, or just turn your cockpit away from your target to take less core damage. Missiles to not lock on, but they will attempt to go exactly where your cross hair was when you pulled the trigger, so you need to lead moving targets. Missiles have the highest potential damage of any small mount in the game, but a fairly short range. If you manage to land all the missiles on your target it is a devastating amount of damage with each missile doing around 30 points a piece (x9 missiles that's a lot of damage per volley). But that damage spreads out quickly at range and many missiles will miss the target entirely, so it is advisable to do closer range strafing runs. Hold your fire on approach if the enemy hasn't seen you, firing from a distance only wastes heat and warns your target to take evasive action. The hopper's excellent agility makes it a great missile delivery system with the ability to close distance and also retreat quickly and usually get the high ground on an opponent for an advantage. It's not terribly effective at long range, but not many hopper builds are.
All mini-guns is a good harassment build that has very low heat output, meaning more heat can be spent on fuel with thermal pump if more mobility is desired. At any range it is very distracting to other pilots. The damage falls off with distance as the bullet pattern spreads out, so be aware that even though this build can do some damage even at extreme long range, that damage is very minimal. To get kills with this build you need to focus the fire on a small section of armor from as close as possible until a hole is opened in the armor for core damage (or shoot the cockpit). At medium to long range this is not a quick kill loadout, more of an attrition/support/distraction build, but it's very dangerous at close range, especially when ramming skills are used in conjunction with the low heat for a high mobility melee focus build. Mini-guns require you to lead your target at distance, and of course unlike missiles, you do have to keep the reticle locked to the target the whole time, meaning less opportunity to look around and check radar, which can lead to tunnel vision, be careful about getting to locked in to one target to the exclusion of your situational awareness.
All lasers is a close range brawler, good mixed with ram damage and for kill stealing in game modes where that's desirable (FFA, 3+ team deathmatch etc). Lasers have a very definite max range beyond which they do NO damage. In fact at the extreme end of their range you can get a hit indicator on your reticle for ZERO damage. So you'll want to close the distance in this loadout and get into the closer half of the laser range to use it to best effect. They also generate a lot of heat, so you want to make your shots count. Keep your fire trained on one spot and hold the beam as steady as possible. Aim for the cockpit if possible, but lasers are also great for removing limbs, so targeting the shoulder joint is advisable if you need to relieve your opponent of some firepower.
All Cannons is the longest range Hopper build available. The small cannon doesn't do much damage each shot, but it can do a very respectable sustained damage over time, and it can do it for relatively little heat, meaning you get a lot of the miniguns advantage but with more range. The downside is they are relatively slow bullets and you need to lead your shots especially over distance, as well as account for drop due to gravity. So this is a higher skill build.
All Pulsar- just use missiles instead ok?
Wall Kicks: Hoppers can make use of terrain to redirect their momentum and make the most of their fuel. If you run into a rock with your side facing it (not too hard) you will get a spring back effect as you bounce away from the rock. If you them apply a small puff of fuel just after this bounce you can be off an moving in a new direction at good speed for very little fuel. If only your leg makes contact with the rock (pushing from the side) it's possible for the leg to bend or bow and store more potential energy, then when it springs back it creates and even better bounce to exploit with your jets. If you want to be an expert Hopper pilot, practice wall jumping.
Ramming: The hopper is one of the best GDRs for ramming. It's claws do extra ram damage, and if you land a cockpit shot with sufficient force, this can be a one-hit-kill. When ramming, note that the arms follow your reticle, so you can use your head position to move the arms left and right (and to a lesser extent up and down). Some pilots favor the two arms straight ahead ram, others prefer to come in at an angle and lead with a single arm. The feet of the hopper can also do considerable damage, so stomps and even foot drags over the roof can be effective attacks. To really get your speed up over a short to medium distance try rapid short forward bursts over all one long burst. Also using gravity to build up ram speed is a great idea and some rams are more like a stomp from longer distances.
ALL RAMS ARE RISKY, losing one or more limbs in the attempt or even dying yourself are possible and even likely outcomes. B/C of the physics based nature of the game, no two rams are exactly alike, but with practice, you can up the odds that you are the one who walks away afterwards and trading a limb for a kill isn't a bad deal most of the time.
|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.