When soloing you will need to adjust your strategies to accommodate the fact that there will likely not be anyone around who can help you, and instead you will need to attempt to act like an entire party on your own. As a result it is often best to cross professions, not only taking a combat-oriented profession, but also taking up any combination of the following: scout, entertainer, medic. While you will not need to specialize in any of these career paths, it will certainly help your longevity to simply have the novice basics down.
Soloing as a melee profession character will require quite a bit of fortitude and cunning. While ranged fighters can often get off a few shots before an enemy AI can get near them, you will not have this luxury.
Try to get in some disabling blows quickly, if you are able to do them. For example, when attacking them try to blind and stun your enemies, then move in with whatever attack you have that does the most damage. This will enable you to disable your enemy, in part, and allow you to get hit less often, thereby increasing your likelihood of survival.
In addition, it is best if you are able to exercise medic abilities during a fight, if you have any. Be conservative when using them. You don't want to stress your mind pool too hard so that you can still take mind damage, but don't forget the medic skills. They may very well save your life.
If you have managed to find a pair of vibro knuckles, then you will instead want to go for damage output. Stun an enemy if you can or have to, but once that is out of the way, go berserk and hit them where it counts. Remember, however, that when using vibro knuckles you will want to avoid special attacks, as they can seriously damage your own HAM pools.
Soloing while using a ranged weapon relies almost as much on planning as it does on raw skill or damage. Ranged means just that--at a distance. While melee fighters can survive in a close-up fight, ranged fighters rarely have the skills necessary to survive for long periods of face-to-face combat. Add to that the fact that most ranged weapons suffer a severe penalty when firing at a target at point-blank range.
The easiest way to plan for a solo fight is to think of ranged combat as having two different stages: ranged (before the enemy gets close) and kiting (when they get close enough to be a danger). The vast majority of opponents are creatures without ranged attacks, but note that when fighting an NPC with a ranged ability, the kiting stage may never occur.
The ranged portion is the most vital, as it is when you should be doing the majority of the damage. The first shot, when you initiate combat, is the most important shot of the game. Early on in the marksman profession, you will gain the aim ability. When used, it will give a bonus to the next shot you fire, but it doesn't count as an attack itself. To start a combat, move until you are just barely inside of maximum range for your weapon. Go prone, and then use your aim ability, followed immediately by your most devastating attack. The combination of bonuses for attacking while prone and aiming mean that your attack has a very strong chance of hitting; furthermore, combat won't begin until you actually fire the first shot. Follow this up with another special attack, or just use the default attacks. With any luck, you will get off several shots before the creature figures out where you are, followed by several more before the creature can get close enough to counter-attack (assuming it doesn't have a ranged weapon). With practice, you can have a tough enemy more than halfway dead by the time it gets a chance to strike back.
When the enemy starts to draw close to your position, stand up immediately. Fighting an enemy close up while prone is a terrible mistake--you will be a sitting duck and likely won't even have the chance to fight back. Now comes the tough part of the fight, called kiting. Like flying a kite, you will be running along with your enemy trailing behind you. You will continue to attack, and can mix in combinations of default and special attacks. This is your most vulnerable time, as the penalties for running and shooting at a close target can be extreme. Just try to keep the enemy far enough away that they can't hit you regularly, and keep at it until they drop. Remember that with the first tier of the ranged support discipline you get a point-blank attack. Use it if the enemy gets too close, and be prepared to burst run if you need to escape.
- Those fighting with a carbine should be able to use the above strategies with little change.
- If you have a rifle, you will be able to start from a much greater distance, and do more damage to enemies before they get close. When they do get close, lose the rifle. Grab a pistol for the kiting portion.
- If you have a pistol, you will find that most of your early fights will have a very short ranged segment, and a long kiting segment. Pistols are designed for this, and you are penalized less for close range and fighting while moving. More advanced pistol marksmen gain skills that can let them stand toe-to-toe with an enemy.
If you are one of the more support-oriented professions (ie: anyone who isn't a Brawler or Marksman) then you really have no business soloing, unless it is in the effort of surveying for minerals or other raw materials. As a result, if you get into combat, the best, and only real choice for you, will be to run. Yes, occasionally you may find an enemy that you can kill, but those will likely be few and far between, and not offer you the experience that you would want.