With so many modern shooters on the market, it takes a lot for any game to feel truly different. Enter Holdfast: Nations at War.
The main thing that sets Holdfast apart is the theme. Since it focuses on historical conflicts, Holdfast offers refreshingly different gameplay. Instead of modern automatic rifles, you have to make do with muskets and bayonets.
Holdfast is also an online shooter, which comes with its own advantages. Since combat is so deliberate, the game places a lot of value on teamwork. On a well-populated server, battles will feel like their own mini-epics.
Of course, the key to playing Holdfast is doing well enough to support your team. Here are some tricks that will help you make that happen!
The first thing you need to know about Holdfast is that lone wolves aren't all that useful. If you're on your own, defeating a group of enemies is tough. By the time you manage to reload, you'll likely be full of holes.
Instead of going alone, find the nearest friendly group and follow them. Oftentimes, that will mean hiding in a bush until support arrives. Depending on the mode you're playing, running away could be an option as well.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as the Siege maps. If you're on an attacking team on these maps, you don't have limited lives. In this case, it can make sense to charge repeatedly into the enemy's lines.
After spending a lot of time with modern weapons, muskets may seem hard to use. Much like in real life, they have no rifling. As a result, they're very inaccurate if you're shooting at someone over thirty feet away.
To increase the effectiveness of a musket, focus on its circular crosshairs. The smaller the red circle is, the more likely your shot is to hit an enemy. If they're a bit further away, take the bullet travel time into account.
If the enemy is right next to you, the best place to aim would be their feet. At about 100-120 feet, you'll want to aim for their waist. Keep in mind that private Holdfast servers offer more consistency in bullet lines.
At greater distances, there's not much point in using a musket. Enemy movement is too unpredictable, and ammo will likely be scarce. Plus, firing a musket at over 200 feet will cause a damage dropoff.
Whether you hit or miss, you'll eventually need to reload your musket. If you're familiar with how these weapons work, you'll know this isn't quick. It takes about 12 seconds for a complete reload, and you can't cancel it.
One simple trick that will help with reloading is to crouch while doing it. Doing so will speed up the process by a few seconds. You can also reload faster if you do it with a Flag Bearer nearby, whether you're crouching or not.
Crouching comes with other benefits, such as helping your aim. Of course, some classes help more from crouching than others. For example, a Skirmisher trait increases your crouching accuracy by 15%.
Another thing you learn quickly in Holdfast is that moving and shooting at the same time isn't a good idea. If you aim while moving, you'll slow down to a crawl, becoming an easy target for your enemies.
Instead, show restraint and stand still when you want to take a shot. For best results, do all your shooting and reloading from the cover. In general, the only reason to run around the battlefield is if you find yourself exposed.
When you first see a cannon in the game, it might seem confusing. Though it's clearly a powerful weapon, you won't seem to be able to use it. The reason is simple: on most maps, only Cannoneers can use cannons.
If you're playing as a Cannoneer, make the most of it. Cannonballs don't roll, so try to aim in front of your enemies. You'll also have access to a spyglass, which you can use to figure out how far your enemies are.
When facing an enemy cannon, try to wait until it's loaded. Hitting a loaded cannon with a cannonball will cause it to explode. Firing at an empty cannon will also destroy it, but you're less likely to kill the people around it.
The cannon exclusivity rule works for many other mechanics in the game. For example, only Hussars, Dragoons, and Cuirassiers can mount a horse. That said, even a non-Cannoneer can move a cannon, which brings us to...
When it comes to how to play Holdfast, very few things matter as much as teamwork. The game offers various roles that can contribute to winning a game. Take some time to find the best way to support your team.
For instance, every Holdfast player loves seeing a Flag Bearer near them. These units give reload speed buffs to nearby friendlies, which can turn the tide of battle. Fifers, Bagpipers, and Drummers also provide key buffs.
Though most of these bonuses don't stack, they do have a wide reach. As such, having support units around is the key to victory. If no one on your team seems interested in these roles, take up the mantle yourself!
If there's no Flag Bearer around, reloading becomes a risky proposition. If an enemy is charging your position, you won't have time to reload. In this situation, you're best off pressing X to switch from ranged to melee mode.
Unlike in most modern games, melee options in Holdfast are fairly potent. A bayonet can do a lot of damage, especially if you strike first. As a rule of thumb, the first person to realize they're in a melee fight will win it.
Some classes, like Guards, have built-in melee advantages. If you're playing as a Guard, try to force a melee whenever possible. You can do so by sneaking around and striking at the right moment.
Like with other multiplayer games, playing with friends is a great way to make Holdfast even more fun. Some servers will always have plenty of players, and you can also create your own dedicated Holdfast server.
Struggling to find your friends in the heat of the battle? If you're playing on Steam, add each other as friends, then join the same server. You should then be able to see them as a golden arrow on your minimap.
If you start to get tired of how slow combat feels, try playing as a Hussar. Thanks to its Skillful Rider trait, a Hussar on horseback is the fastest unit in the game. That said, it's also the largest one, so tread carefully.
The key to playing as a Hussar is having an escape plan. If you charge into a battle without one, you'll likely get obliterated. Observe the situation first to find stray targets or weak points in the enemy's lines.
Oftentimes, your biggest threat as a Hussar will be other Cavalry units. In these fights, rely on your sword to deal damage. A pistol only holds one shot, and aiming is even harder on horseback than it is on the ground.
Regiments in Holdfast are groups that take part in organized events such as line battles. Think of regiments as a game within a game. You don't have to engage with them, but they offer a fun twist to the formula.
Joining a regiment is simple enough. Chances are, every time you enter a server, you'll see a regiment member recruiting players. If you're looking for more options, join the Holdfast Discord to find more clans.
Speaking of interesting ways to play Holdfast, how about sailing a ship? If you have experience with naval battles in the Total War games, you know how this works. Of course, you can only use ships in Naval modes.
To sail a ship, you'll need to man the wheel. Any class can do that, but only the Captain can do it at any time. Taking the wheel will switch you to a third-person view, but you can switch back to first-person with CTRL.
Sailing in Holdfast is all about the wind. The compass in the bottom left corner shows the wind direction. Sailing with the wind (and with lowered sails) makes you faster, and sailing against it slows you down.
Keep in mind that bigger ships tend to be more sluggish. On a smaller ship, turning left or right creates an immediate response. On a 50-gun frigate, you'll need to hold the button for quite a while before you start turning.
As you can see, there are plenty of Holdfast tricks that can give you the upper hand in battle. If you need help reaching the top of the leaderboard, the above guide is a great starting point!
Want to have more fun with Holdfast? Consider investing in a private server to play with your friends! Check out our list of game servers at this link.