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Thread: UI Tips & Tricks

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Pacific Northwest, USA

    UI Tips & Tricks

    [Article with images also available on my site, here.]

    Atlas Reactor's user interface (UI) contains a number of additions that aren't readily apparent for new players just picking up the game for the first time; multiple different ways to get information about the match, camera manipulation, unique key bindings, and other options settings. Here are some UI tips and tricks to help new players better interact with the game.

    Daily Bonus

    This tip comes from a question posted on the Atlas Reactor subreddit.

    When you log in each day, you're presented with three options for a daily challenge mission. You'll probably notice that sometimes they have a bonus assigned to each of them. For every day that you are offered a particular daily challenge and do not choose it, a 10% bonus will be applied the next time it's offered. This can happen for any given challenge mission up to five times, giving a maximum of a 50% bonus.

    While it's tempting to pick the highest value challenge mission, such as "Play five matches" or "Win 3 matches," if you skip them they'll become even more valuable over time. This could prove fruitful for farming Flux in the long run.

    At a glance skills, catalysts, and mods.

    The game's UI has three methods for checking on the status of a freelancer's skills, catalysts and mods while in game, and each of them come in handy during different situations.

    ALT Key
    The first is the ALT key. For a quick glance, the ALT method is probably the most useful. During a match, holding down ALT will show every freelancer's skills and catalysts above their head. If a skill is on cool down, it will appear dark with a number indicating how many turns remain before it can be used again. If a catalyst has been used the red, yellow, or green bars trailing the skills will appear darkened as well. With the ALT key held down, you can hover your mouse cursor over a particular skill to see its description and selected mod, too. Unfortunately, these skill bars can overlap if freelancers are close to one another on the map, forcing you to either pan or rotate the camera to get a better picture of an enemy's skills on cool down. The ALT key method also doesn't show whether a freelancer has an ultimate skill available. It only shows any standard skills that have a cool down. For example, Quark will only show his dash skill and catalysts because all of Quarks skills, besides his dash, don't have a cool down.

    Another method is to hover your mouse cursor over the portraits at the top of the screen, near the scoreboard. If the ALT key doesn't work because too many freelancers are in close proximity of one another, the portraits glance is a convenient method that doesn't clutter the screen. The portraits method also has the added benefit of showing a freelancer's skill cool downs even if they are invisible to you, such as in fog of war, brush, or using an invisibility skill. Unlike the ALT key method, though, you cannot see the skill description or mods selected.

    TAB Key > Ability Mods Page
    The Ability Mods page of the TAB key screen has the most information available on any freelancer at any time. Not only does it show every available skill and catalyst for every freelancer, and whether those skills are on cool down, it also shows whether a freelancer has an ultimate available regardless of whether the freelancer is invisible to you or not. Hovering over a skill on this overlay also shows the skill's description and the mod assigned to that skill. Naturally, the downside to this method is that the information overlay covers the game map. It can also sometimes have a slight delay of up to a few seconds to gather other player's stats information, which can be dangerous when you're on a 20 second timer trying to setup an escape or counter skill. If you like to use this method, one suggestion would be to keep the Ability Mods page selected when you hit the TAB key, instead of switching back and forth between it and the Stats page. Once you better familiarize yourself with the freelancers and their skills, you can use it much more quickly. In the heat of battle, the damage and healing stats are less useful than skill cool down information. As Kenny Rogers used to say, "You never count your money, when you're sitting at the table..."

    Key Bindings

    Key bindings can help speed up interaction with the game. Here are some tips to working with the game using the keyboard over the mouse.

    Change key bindings
    Before discussing key binding tips, here's a quick note on how to change and disable existing key bindings.
    • To change a key binding, click to turn the desired key binding box grey then hit the key you want.
    • To delete a key binding, simply right-click in the key binding box to set a null value. (These words chosen in appreciation of Jeff "Hawk" Hamilton.)

    Out of match
    If you scroll down the Key Bindings settings, there are several useful keys for getting around to your Season, Collections, and other stats pages pretty quick.

    You can also hit the ESC key when not in a match, a hidden key binding, and the game will close any other UI page and take you directly back to the Play screen you were last on. For example, if you're playing ranked matches, and want to adjust your banner. Hit B to get to the banner UI, then hit ESC once you're done and you'll pop back to the ranked UI again.

    Disable ESC In Match
    In a match the ESC key, by default, will undo your last action. Listed as Cancel Action in the Key Bindings this setting offers a quick escape from your last decision, but it can also create some unfortunate situations. This can actually cost you time if you want to redo a skill you setup early during the decision phase or a move that you setup prior to a skill. Mashing the ESC key multiple times to try and get back to the one element of your decision phase you want to change is a potentially dangerous waste of precious time. One argument is to retrain yourself to escape the ESC and get used to the existing settings for remapping moves or redoing skills with their associated key binds—shift+right click, and the number keys respectively.

    One viable suggestion is to simply delete the Cancel Action setting in the Key Bindings. Another idea is to remap it to another function such as the system menu. Hitting ESC then pops up the center-of-screen system menu during a match offering you quick access to the settings.

    Other Useful Key Bindings
    Some of Atlas Reactor's key bindings are obviously a bit more well known than others; such as ALT for skill cool downs, or TAB for in-game stats and skill cool downs. Here are a few of the more overlooked key bindings that may come in handy for certain situations and might improve your game.

    V - Show Personal Visibility
    Without a doubt, the V key provides some terrific tactical information of the game board. When holding the V key, you get an idea of fog of war from the enemy's perspective. This means that if you're in fog of war, the enemy is mostly guessing at your location. Some enemies, such as Kaigin or PuP, cannot even use their dash attack if they cannot directly target you. Getting the hang of using and interpreting the V key can save your matches.
    C - Toggle Auto/Manual Camera
    Manipulating the camera with the A, S, D, F, Q, and E keys can give you a better view of the board, but there's still something to be said for the auto-camera. It's easy to move the camera around a little too much and miss an action off camera that may provide useful information, such as an enemy's movement into concealment. And sometimes the auto-camera will not follow an action that is hidden. Hitting C during a turn's resolution to try and track hidden enemies manually may help. Judicious toggle of the C key may prove useful when trying to get a full picture of the match as it progresses, particularly when considering the use of other key bindings, such as F.
    F - Center Camera On Action
    Little known, and probably less used, the F key also affects the camera view. When auto-camera is enabled, and during a turn's resolution, the F key will have no effect. During decision phase, however, while you normally have manual camera control you can hit F to have the camera jump back to your freelancer. This is useful for certain freelancers that have long range actions; Garrison and Asana's ultimate that can span the entire map, or Grey's hawk drone. Once you setup the location of a long range skill, you can jump back to your freelancer quickly with F.
    T - Cycle Target
    This key binding doesn't work with every freelancer, but is incredibly useful for those freelancers with skills that require a specific target. Most support freelancer's skills, PuP's dash skill, and Kaigin's dash attack, are all good examples of freelancers with skills that require a specific target. The way this key binding works is that once you start a skill that requires a specific target, the nearest target-able freelancer near your mouse pointer is selected. From there, tapping T will cycle to the next available target. In this way you can cycle targets easily without extra camera manipulation and mouse movement.


    Menu Mode/Resolution & Game Mode/Resolution
    These settings separate the mode and resolution of the game window while out of a match, versus when a match starts. If you like to browse the internet, watch a video, or do some work while waiting in the queue, you can set the Menu Mode/Resolution to Windowed and whatever dimensions you like. Then set the Game Mode/Resolution to Fullscreen and your primary monitor's resolution. Once a match starts the game will automatically switch to fullscreen for you.

    Lock Cursor
    The Lock Cursor setting, mostly tied to the Menu Mode/Resolution and Game Mode/Resolution settings, comes in handy for those players who customize the windowed mode settings described above. Still, there's a neat trick for those who use the Fullscreen setting, and don't want the camera to move when their mouse cursor hits the edge of the screen.

    With the Fullscreen setting, set the Lock Cursor option to Unlock. While normally intended for a windowed setting, when the game is in fullscreen the Unlock setting has the beneficial side effect of keeping the camera still when the mouse hits the edge of the screen.

    For reference, here's a breakdown of how the Lock Cursor settings work...

    Locked - Pointer will lock to the Atlas Reactor window in windowed mode. As your pointer reaches the edge of the window the pointer will stop. If in a match in windowed mode, the camera will pan when the pointer reaches the edge of the window.
    Unlocked - In windowed mode the pointer will leave the Atlas Reactor window. As your pointer reaches the edge of the Atlas Reactor window, the pointer will switch back to the sytem pointer leaving the in-game camera still. In fullscreen mode, the pointer will stop at the edge of the screen and the camera will not pan.
    Smart - Pointer will leave the Atlas Reactor window while in windowed mode, but will lock to the window and pan the camera while in fullscreen.

    Right Click Targeting
    This setting allows you to configure the right mouse button for skills. If you have it set to Cancel, you can setup a skill and click the left mouse button to confirm the template or target, or the right mouse button to cancel. With the Confirm setting, both the left mouse button and the right mouse button will confirm the skill's setup.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    United States
    At this point, I'm aware of all of the functionality listed here, but what a great guide for new players. Excellent post Sakeel. Thanks for taking your time to create it.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by C3NTURION View Post
    At this point, I'm aware of all of the functionality listed here, but what a great guide for new players. Excellent post Sakeel. Thanks for taking your time to create it.
    Agreed, this could do with being stickied

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