Heroes in the Sky Hero of Taranto Quest Guide by RogueAce
Okay so from a few little comments, it sounds like this quest (and the branch it requires) have almost become a legend for its rarity. I have not managed to get it by what seems to be more than just luck, though it still isn?t easy or guaranteed. I will post several things I have learned about the mission and maybe they can help everyone else.
First, a few interesting details about how the mission works.
1. The plane spawns and branch start timer do not start until someone gets close to the enemy. I haven?t tested to see whether this is a map area trigger or a distance to some target trigger, so it may be possible to come up with other tricks to use this, but still it seems good to know. Personally I normally rush in in my fighter, so the branch triggers long before the AI planes I have to protect get there (and I have also killed a couple ships by then as well as one of the groups of fighters).
2. When the branch triggers, any of your AI planes that have been killed will respawn. Granted, normally none will die so early, but it does appear they get a second chance if they die in the opening minute or so before it branches.
3. AI planes will retreat once the targets are destroyed. I?m not entirely sure whether it is based on each plane having a specific target then retreating or on the group as a whole waiting until the last boat sinks. The one oddity is the planes going after the four cruisers that are inside the closed bay seem to stick around for a while. However, they also seem to survive a bit better than the rest for some reason.
So here is the method that has yielded me the ?best record? (10+ swordfish alive) many times solo on vet and has now given me the ?hero? branch on rookie and vet with aid (as a lone fighter can?t seem to kill the boats fast enough).
Start off sinking all the outer line of boats from one side to the other. You don?t have to go in order, necessarily, but don?t split in half or bounce from side to side. This helps keep the swordfish planes closer together and makes the enemy planes spawning on the other side have to fly farther. We started on the left when we got hero, but I don?t know if that makes much difference at this point.
Aim to have several ships down before the mission branches. Even as a fighter, I can get two down and one damaged as well as killing the first group of 4 fighters in that time. Don?t go flying off to intercept the fighters. Let them come close while you hit the ships, then wipe them out while your secondaries reload.
While it seems counter-intuitive, make the ships your primary targets early on. The faster they go down, the better the swordfish tend to survive. However, don?t take this to mean you should ignore the fighters. Kill them when you get the chance in between attack runs, just don?t waste time chasing after them until most of the ships are gone.
Kill the outer line of ships first to allow most of the fighters to begin retreating then kill the inner ships. Of course, once most ships are down, it?s easy enough to have one player continue sinking ships while any others ensure no fighters get to chase down your allies.
Because the inner fighters tend to hang around for some reason (glitch?), you probably need to be sure someone protects them at the end. Once the others are on their way home, it isn?t that hard to fly out and kill any chasers long before they get in range if you?re in a fighter.
I hope this helps all of you who are struggling with getting this quest. It may also be possible to spawn camp the enemy fighters if you have four people (dunno, never organized a group with designated jobs), but I can say this method worked for us with one fighter and one bomber and it yielded ?best record? probably almost half the time I got the ?strong aerial defenses? branch alone in veteran. Good luck, it won?t be easy, but it is possible
Ok, after several more tries and another success, I can now say that the branch timer (and fighter spawn) will trigger on its own if you wait long enough. However, before that it does trigger when you attack something. You can fly over the first line of ships without triggering it if you do not attack them (and you may need to fly high to maintain distance, I didn?t try going in low).
It doesn?t look like you can hit the inner bay first before it triggers, but you can attack anywhere else in time. Also, we managed to get hero again attacking from opposite sides and working toward the middle. This may work a bit better as it seems to keep the friendly planes grouped a bit more and it lets you hit the inner bay last without having to fly halfway across the map.
Otherwise, I think losing some planes may be from bad AI or even something weird going on. Sometimes they simply seem to die even if it seems like you can account for every plane and they are perfectly fine. They may need to monitor this mission for issues, but it?s hard to tell without being able to see a recording that shows what happened