Surviving the universe of Star Wars: Squadrons can be tricky, as you’ll need to manage a lot of features of your spacecraft while dogfighting Imperials or Rebels. This can be pretty overwhelming to those unfamiliar with games that focus solely on flight combat. Two of the key features of any of the eight different ships you have access to are shields and hull integrity. Both of these ultimately determine if you’re going to end up victorious or floating scraps of metal drifting through space.
How Do Shields Work?
(Author’s Note: All Imperial ships but the Support class do not possess shields, so you can skip this part if you fly for the Empire.)
Shields are the first line of defense on any starfighter, as they will deflect laser shots from enemy ships or frigates. You can only take so much damage before your shields deplete, which exposes your hull to direct damage. However, unlike your hull which has to be manually repaired, all starfighter shields will passively regenerate when you’re not taking fire. This allows you to have some form of defense, even if you sustain a lot of damage during a dogfight or from an enemy cruiser.
Additionally, you can divert power to your shields by pressing right on the D-Pad for both Xbox One and PS4. Doing so will fill up your shield gauge with a white overlay indicating the additional defense. This comes at a cost, as both your weapons and mobility will be drastically reduced. Typically, it’s best to divert power to your shields before you start an engagement and not in the middle of it. Diverting power to your shields will make you a sitting duck for any experienced pilot if you’re in a battle. Instead, dip out of combat, gain some distance from the enemy, and then divert power to your shields. This will give you a nice extra layer of defense before charging back in.
You can also determine which direction your shields will be most potent. This is done by holding X (Xbox One) / Square (PS4) and then moving the Right Stick either up, down, or centering it. Doing do will divert all your shield strength to that direction. This is terrific if you are going to bomb a Capital Ship or can’t shake someone on your tail!
You can see your shield gauge in the photo above. The console on the left is where you can see where your power is diverted while the top left circular screen displays your shields and hull. Remember, the placement of these will slightly change depending on what ship or faction you’re using!
How to Repair Your Ship
There are three main ways to repair your ship, one of which is locked to the campaign. The first is to use a Repair Droid (Rebel Alliance) or Repair System (Empire). Both of these are initially equipped and mapped to the left bumper. You can change this by going into the Edit Loadout menu when you are customizing your ship if you’d like it swapped to the right shoulder button. Once you use this ability, your ship’s hull will begin to repair and fix itself. Be careful, as this isn’t a burst of healing, so an enemy pilot can easily blast you out of the sky while you’re fixing your ship. Similar to shields you’ll want to do this out of combat to maximize how much you recover. Every auto repair ability has a cooldown which you can see on your ship’s console.
Not every ship is created equal, as the Bomber and Support class starfighters do not possess an auto-repair function. This is due to Bombers possessing a higher base hull stat and the Support ships boasting a Supply Droid that will repair any friendly ship that flies through it. If you’re planning to use a Bomber, then good shield management is key. While your defenses are stronger up front, you’re still vulnerable to sustained fire. Remember, you can also repair your ship by just flying back to the flagship. This won’t always be an option, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re heavily damaged.
Finally, the last way to repair your ship is tied solely to the campaign. You can call in a Resupply by pressing Y (Xbox One) / Triangle (PS4), which summons a floating green ring you can fly into. Doing so will automatically heal your ship for some of its damage and restocking you on missiles. This also has a cooldown, but make sure to utilize this either between battles or enemy waves.
Good hull/shield management is a pillar of Star Wars: Squadrons, so get used to managing them both in solo and multiplayer.