The Lightsaber, "an elegant weapon, from a more civilized age," as a wise Jedi Master once said, is by far, the single most complicated weapon to master in JK2's multiplayer.
While it is fun to use, and definately powerful and versatile (when combined with the Force), I do not consider it the ultimate weapon for all situations. In fact, I consider it folly to use it in certain situations when better weapons are available. Still, some players swear by it as their sole weapon of honor, so do what you feel is best, according to your own playing style. However, our strategies are designed to optimize your chances of winning the game, if you take them to heart, so bear that in mind.
This section will take you through the basics of the Lightsaber, various special abilities you gain when using the weapon, and on to more advanced strategies and techniques.
Lightsaber - Weapon Stats
|Swing blade (varies with stance and movement directions)|
||Saber Throw (if Force points assigned to this power)|
|Rate of Fire
Slow (Red stance) to Fast (Blue stance).
Saber Throw: Slow to Fast (depends on how quickly saber comes back)
||Good (Primary) to Medium (Saber Throw)|
||Medium to Very High (Low for touching someone with the extended blade without swinging, 5 damage per pulse).|
|None. Cannot harm user|
By default, six colors can be chosen for the Lightsaber's energy blade:
Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Purple (actually Pink/Violet), and Red.
The colors have no affect on the actual performance of the saber, and depend solely on player preference. In team games, players will be forced to use a saber color that matches their team color (red or blue).
The Lightsaber is a very dangerous weapon. A mere touch of the ignited blade can cause damage to enemies it touches (in a pulsing manner, 5 damage per pulse). In most team games, your saber cannot damage your allies, but it is considered rude and is counter-productive to go about playfully striking your teammates.
A single well placed hit can kill even the most heavily shielded foes, and fast, repeated blows can whittle down your enemies in seconds. Powerful hits can send an opponent reeling. The blade itself can block blaster shots and small projectiles, even sending them back towards the player who fired them (this skill varies depending on the angle of the shots and level of Saber Defense that is assigned).
To block shots with the saber, simply "aim" at the enemy doing the firing, while not attacking. Focusing on the head of the person firing helps increase the chance that you'll get a good angle on them. But don't relax however, as your opponent will try to vary the angle of their shots and aim for your vulnerable areas (your non-saber side, your back, and below the belt). An overconfident Saber-user is an easy target for experienced gunners, so watch out! Close the distance and slash your opponent down, disarming them if possible (with Force Pull) and using your other Force powers to augment the saber's strengths. Similar techniques are employed in blocking other Saber blades. If someone throws their blade at you, don't panic, this too can be blocked.
The saber can be turned off (hit the "select saber" key a second time) for purposes of stealth (since the Saber gives off a bright colored glow around your character and an audible hum, giving away your position). It will flare up again if thrown or swung, ready for action.
It has often been said that the Lightsaber in the hands of a beginner can be laughable, but in the hands of a master, something to be feared. To help work your way from the former to the latter, I advise reviewing and practicing the following techniques:
There are three stances (or "styles") for the Lightsaber (accessed by clicking the "change stance" key). The current stance is shown on the right side of the HUD, just above your Lightsaber icon and Force Mana Pool indicator. The color shows the current stance. When a player starts the game, Blue is selected by default. Get to know what each stance looks like, so you can be ready to counter the moves of your opponent.
The three stances are (and from now on will be referred to by their proper names):
Fastest swings, virtually unlimited chainable combos and lots of spin moves. Best overall blocking ability for blaster shots and projectiles. Blocking against Medium and especially Strong stances are sometimes less effective. These swings also tend to do the least amount of damage of the three stances. This is the stance that all Lightsaber carriers possess by default.
Medium speed swings, do medium damage, and have less spins and chainable combos than Fast stance. More effective at blocking against Strong stance.
Slow, deliberate and powerful swings. This stance has some of the most damaging attacks of any weapon in the game. However there is a wind-up and follow-through for many of them that makes them easy to see coming, and avoid (or counter-attack). Use with care! Can knock aside Fast blocks with ease, if done properly. This style has the nickname "bat saber" in some circles, in the way that some of the attacks have the effect of a baseball bat on foes (knocking them around or tossing them to the ground like rag-dolls).
Lacks chainable combo ability.
These stances are not merely personal preference, but have different strengths and weaknesses and work better in different situations. Thus you may find yourself changing stances frequently in battle, and this makes it important to learn all three. Your enemies may also like to use certain stances, so you will want to know what they are capable of.
In addition to their various attributes, each stance has certain moves unique to it.
Stance Specific Lightsaber Moves
As the heading implies, these moves can only be performed while in the specified stance.
This move produces an "uppercut" swing as your character lunges forward.
The move can be done in mid-air (if repeated it can lead to a slight slowing in descent as your character grunts and tries to do the move a second time). If timed correctly, it can be used to stop yourself from taking damage from long falls (but not falls into bottomless pits).
Here is a demo recording of the move used in this manner. Special thanks to Strike for contributing it (place the file in your base\demos folder and run in game)!
The strike itself has poor range (like most Fast stance attacks) compared to the other stances, but is a good suprise move, and may be useful to take someone out in mid-air if your timing is good.
Perform this move when your enemy is directly in front of you. You'll flip into the air and strike, then do a flourish with your blade when you land.
This latter part of the move is rather slow, but has a wide sweep, making it possible to take out multiple enemies at once if done in a group melee. It also leaves you vulnerable if it misses.
Lunging Overhead Chop (aka "Death from Above"):
Character leaps forward while swinging his blade directly overhead and stabbing it into the floor. An excellent killing blow to use, if timed properly, on a fallen opponent.
Somewhat tricky to get the timing down at first, this move is done by tapping the aforementioned buttons quickly. Often after coming out of a force jump, this can be executed. Apparently, it is unblockable, but can be dodged. There is a short recovery after the move as well, after your saber sticks into the ground, leaving you open to counter-attack.
An alternate method of doing this move, which may be perhaps easier, is to run forward and swing the saber (this will result in an overhead blow). As you see the animation of your character hefting the saber back behind him to swing (the wind up) tap the jump key. If done correctly, you'll see the move execute (with a whooshing sound like Force Jump, although the move uses no mana). This method is more consistent than the one above, but it may be eaiser for your opponent to spot.
Mixing up your swings is a good idea to prevent it being countered when you land. It is also possible to control your direction (by "looking") as you leap through the air.
The game literature recommends Fast stance when facing multiple opponents who lack Lightsabers; Medium for facing multiple Lightsaber wielding opponents and for general use; and Strong stance for facing one Lightsaber wielding opponent. It is possible to use the Strong stance in a room full of enemies, with broad swings to wipe them out, but this is very dangerous and should only be attempted by advanced users.
The Lightsaber has a variety of different attack swings. Think of each "stance" as a seperate weapon. For each stance, memorize what each swing looks like (noting its speed and damage), and how it hits a target (practice on a wall or other object where you can see it hit and make marks). As in many fighting games, this technique for learning the saber will make each move more automatic, and may help you anticipate the moves of your opponent in order to better counter them (in a saber duel for example). Keep in mind that the same moves vary in strength, speed, and range as well as animation depending on your Saber Stance (see that section for details).
This fabled move has the air of "coolness" about it. Your character leans back with a stab directly behind him with the saber, running through anyone foolish enough to be in the way.
To do this move, press Back+Attack while the enemy is directly behind you. It is somewhat slow and can be dodged, but is seemingly impossible to block and can be deadly in one hit if successful. A good surprise move, especially when being "snuck up on" during a saber fight.
With Fast stance, the move is a quick backstab. With Medium and Strong stances, a spinning slash.
Forward Vertical Slice
Forward+Attack OR Backward+Attack
A quick top-down slash that can be good for hitting enemies that are higher or lower than you.
If you strafe to the right while swinging, you'll swing from the opposite direction. Great for hitting a forward (and moving) target. I find that sometimes it helps to rapidly strafe back and forth while tapping the key (especially while using Force Dark Rage or Force Speed) resulting in rapid sweeps back and forth if your time is right, which can wear down an opponent fast.
Be careful however, since the big sweeps can be slow, leaving an opening for your opponent to counter-attack.
With Fast stance, holding strafe and the attack button can result in your character spinning round and round with the saber (which may or may not be useful, depending on the situation).
Diagonal Downward Slash
Great for hitting a stationary target, this slash has limited range, but is fast.
Diagonal Upward Slash
The opposite of the above move, it can be excellent against crouching or jumping foes.
Lightsaber Special Abilities
These are moves that can only be performed while the Lightsaber is held in the hand. Most of them use mana (though they can be performed even when all mana is used up) and cannot be used while a Ysalamari is held. Some require at least Level 2 Force Jump.
Your character will hop up on the side of the wall and jog along it for a few steps, a good escape manuver or to help you get over a wall to a higher level easier.
A simple move really, simply press Forward+Strafe+Jump while parallel to a smooth wall (curved or sloping walls don't usually work). You have some control over yourself while you are walking (you can chain saber attacks or jumps with it). Uses about five mana units, requires Level 2 Force Jump, cannot be done while a Ysalamari is held.
While touching a wall, jump, or while pressing against wall, jump. Your body will be propelled away from the wall (you can control yourself in mid-air). Good for when you are cornered as an escape tactic or to confuse your opponent. This can be done when you are parallel to the wall facing it, or with your back against it. Requires at least Level 2 Force Jump, and cannot be done while Ysalamari is held. Uses the same amount of mana as a normal Force Jump.
Simply put, perform a Wall Jump, ON the body of an enemy. Your character will backflip, smacking your enemy in the face with your feet as you flip away. You'll hear the blow land and the enemy will be knocked back, often knocked on the ground (with a similar effect as Force Push). The attack does 20 damage, and uses the same amount of mana as the Wall Jump. Requires at least Level 2 Force Jump and cannot be performed while Ysalamari is held. Both Forward and Side kicks are possible, and can be used repeatedly.
Somersault (ground roll)
Hold crouch while running forward, backward, or strafing to the sides. You will roll forward a few feet. This can be used as you land from a jump to lessen the potential damage from a fall, or as an escape tactic. Be careful you don't roll off a cliff! You also cannot attack while the roll is being performed. Uses no mana, but cannot be performed while Ysalamari is held.
It is possible to control the direction of your roll, by "looking" in the direction you wish to move (you can even roll in a circle).
The Saber Challenge is when, during a FFA (Free for All, that is deathmatch) game, on a server where it is enabled a player targets you (from a short distance away, about Grip range) and presses their Saber Challenge Key ('K' by default). When they do this, text will appear on your screen showing you have been challenged. To accept the challenge, press your own Saber Challenge Key. You do not have to accept a challenge, and you may need to do the procedure again if you wait too long or get out of sight.
Once accepted, the combatants will freeze in place, a short distance apart, facing one another. They will begin to glow (with transparent white auras from their Point of View, and with dark blue auras from other players' POV), indicating that they are protected from outside attacks. No other players may damage them during the duel, however, they can "get in the way" which is considered annoying and rude. Thus it is recommended that Saber Challenges take place a safe distance away from the general melee and firefights on a map.
To start the battle, the announcer will say "Begin!" and the fight begins. The battle continues until one player dies, or the combatants get too far apart (text will say that the duel was "severed"). During the duel, Force Powers are limited (you can use Saber Throw and Jump) and only the Lightsaber can be used. Also during the duel Saber Locks are possible (see that section for details). The winner of the duel will have their health restored to maximum, and the gameplay will resume as normal.
One thing to watch out for when getting ready to accept a duel, is the fact that you can be hurt just before the battle begins, and thus be at a disadvantage without full health or armor. This can occur if your enemy takes a "cheap shot" at you before accepting the challenge (watch out) or if an outside player hits you by accident (or on purpose). It is best not to whine when this occurs, but it could be pointed out as a point of ettiquette, since that is the purpose of a duel, to have a one on one battle (outside the FFA game where anything goes). Still, with enough skill, you should be able to win the battle, even if your health is not at maximum, and it won't help anyone to whine and complain if you did not choose a safe place to have your duel.
There is something of a point of controversy about Saber Challenges among some player circles. Most of the time, a FFA server will have "Lightsaber Challenge" allowed. In most cases, this means one set of combatants can engaged in one of these duels at a time. What sometimes will occur is that players will assume that the game revolves around waiting for this duel, and that no one should do any fighting outside of it. Some players prefer to keep their saber "off" before engaging the Challenge. This however, leaves them ripe targets for snipers, since they cannot block anything (and they are still dangerous, able to whip out the saber instantly in an attack). I feel it is a better approach to keep your saber out when challenging, since it won't matter anyway once the duel begins (both players activate sabers automatically).
If you join a server and find that there are certain expectations relating to Saber Challenges, and you do not agree, it may be good to find another server, as some people can get quite upset. If you are the host of the server, and present, I feel it is incumbant on you to explain the rules to new players joining. After all, not everyone will be familiar with your own "house rules." Binding a key to a line of text explaining the rules clearly and concisely can save you time in this.
Personally I find it much easier to run or join a Duel server than rely on Saber Challenges, since it has all the benefits of the Saber Challenge duel (you can observe those fighting when its not your turn, in spectator mode; you can limit Force to make battles last longer; you get access to Saber Locks; no need to worry about being hit by people not involved in the duel, etc) with other benefits. For example there is no glow surrounding the fighters, and other players cannot "get in the way." As in spectator mode (automatic when you are not actually fighting) you can view the battle from the POV of either combatant. However the Saber Challenge can be a nice change of pace from the chaos of a deathmatch, or to match the egos of players who can't seem to beat each other using the rest of the weapons. =)
When two players are fighting with their sabers (in either Duel Mode, or during a Lightsaber Challenge), often a series of close range swings or if players begin to touch each other's blades, a "Lock" will occur.
At first these locks may seem random, but in general, when two swings collide at close range (regardless of the stances used) a lock will occur.
The two players face each other as their blades press against each other and they strain to overthrow each other, with sparks flying everywhere. Players tap their "attack" keys repeatedly to try to win the struggle. The winner of a lock will shove his opponent to the ground (much like the effect of Force Push) and can set him up for a free hit or killing blow.
A saber lock will last a maximum of 10 seconds, with the result being either the loser being thrown to the ground, or both players being pushed back (in the case of a tie). During the lock, the manual recommends using Force Push to give you a chance of an advantage over your opponent. It is true this is sometimes effective, breaking you out of the lock early and beating your opponent.
Some have suggested ways of winning locks that might be considered cheating in some circles. For example many controllers have a "rapid fire" setting or a script can be written to have rapid attacks. However, even for these cases, it seems that pure button mashing can still come out on top. I recommend, if you are involved in many saber locks, to bind a key to your keyboard (don't break your parent's/friend's keyboard!) for attack, even if you already have attack mapped on your mouse (as I do). That way you'll resist wear and tear on your mouse, and you can pound it a lot quicker than clicking your mouse.
What I like to do in a saber lock, is to switch to Strong stance (if I'm not in it already) while I jam on my attack button, so that I can set up my opponent for a free hit if I win.
Be ready however, if you lose, to get back up again (tap jump key repeatedly to get up faster) and be ready to use force and whatever you can to avoid a death blow!
Though it is utterly useless strategically, it looks somewhat amusing if one or both players turn OFF their sabers during a lock. It will appear as if you are both struggling with your hilts.