Four Pilots defend a Harvester, managed by Pilots Davis and Droz, formerly members of The 6-4, against 5 waves of AI forces, earning Money and Score during each wave. After each wave is completed, Pilots can spend money they earned at the Armory to purchase upgrades, which gives them various boons during the subsequent waves, as well as earn Aegis Ranks, which upgrades their specific Titan. Note: Aegis Rank Upgrades currently only apply to Frontier Defense, and as such are not available in other Multiplayer modes.
Frontier Defense adds a new Faction, The Last Resort. This Faction is not playable in other Multiplayer modes, and as such can not be selected in the Faction screen. Instead, Pilots will still level up their selected Faction, but all voice-over effects will be performed by Davis and Droz. Additionally, instead of being greeted by their chosen Faction commander at the start of the match, they will be greeted by Davis and Droz, performing one of a few scripted events before dropping the Pilots on the map.
When a Pilot dies, they will respawn in a Dropship flying over the battlefield after a short delay. The respawn time lasts roughly 17 seconds, while respawning Pilots can still deal damage from the Dropship. If a second player dies within the respawn time frame, they will either respawn in the Dropship with the first Pilot, or in one of the map-defined spawn points.
There are 4 main difficulties: Easy, Regular, Hard, and Master, with a fifth difficulty, Insane, existing on the main Multiplayer page. Insane mode rotates through maps once a month. Unlike Titanfall, only 8 maps are supported for Frontier Defense, as opposed to all maps:
Pilots will encounter various enemies during each wave:
- Mortar Spectres 2
- Plasma Drones3
- Cloak Drones4
- On Easy and Normal Modes, Stalkers will slowly walk towards the Harvester, sprinting when damaged or getting close to the Harvester and committing suicide by overloading their power cores on their backs (much like Suicide Spectres from Frontier Defense in Titanfall 1).
- On Hard, Master, and Insane Modes, Stalkers will typically spawn with weapons, usually the EPG-1, and typically one per squad.
- Reapers will occasionally leap on top of buildings and spawn Ticks. These Ticks are not counted in the total Enemy Count for the wave, and as such a wave can end while Reaper-spawned Ticks remain on the map.
- Mortar Titan (Tone Titan with the Brute loadout from the Single Player Campaign)
- Sniper Titan (Northstar or Tone Titan that specifically targets the Harvester. They will target attackers only when attacked.)
- Arc Titan (Ronin Titan that emits an Electric Field that quickly reduces Shields and kills Pilots).
- Nuke Titan (Legion Titan that automatically enters a Nuke Eject when in the Doomed state).
Titans and Aegis Rank
All seven Multiplayer Titans are available for Pilots to use in Frontier Defense. In addition to standard Titan Kits, each Titan has a rank, called "Aegis Rank", that add various benefits to the Titan as the player levels that specific Titan up. Aegis Rank Upgrades are earned every third Aegis Rank after Aegis 2 (Aegis 5,8,11,14,17,and 20, with an additional award at Aegis 24), with the final upgrade being an "Ultimate" upgrade. Aegis Rank points are earned for the following:
- Match Completion (1 point)
- Match Difficulty (1 point on Easy and Normal, 2 points on Hard, and 3 points on Master)
- Wave Completion (1 point per wave, max 5)
- Retries Available (1 point per Retry left, max 2)
- Wave Milestone (Not available on Easy, 1 point per wave in which at least half the enemies were killed by Pilots or their Titans, typical max 56)
- Aegis Bonus (1 point per squadmember that owns a limited-edition Elite Titan Warpaint for any Titan (separate from Elite Weapon skins, only available July 25 - September 25, 2017). If a player owns more than one Elite Titan Warpaint, this bonus will not stack, it will only stack for multiple players owning Elite Titan Warpaints. This bonus is no longer available for purchase, as it was part of the promotional event Respawn Entertainment ran for Frontier Defense.
Each Titan has 7 Aegis Upgrades available, earned by playing matches. Aegis Upgrades are the following:
|Ion||Split Shot Power
"Split shots deal more damage."
"Your Titan's health is increased by 2,500."
"Ion's max energy is increased."
|Laser Shot Power
"Laser Shot deals additional damage against weak points."
"Your Titan's max Shield is increased by 2,500."
"Ion regenerates energy 25% faster."
"Kills extend the duration of Laser Cannon."
|Titan specific PRISM Banner
"Thermite Launcher now fires two shots before needing to reload."7
"Thermite damage builds up a Core Meter multiplier."8
"Thermite damage is increased."
"Thermite Launcher now fires three shots before needing to reload."9
"Igniting an Incendiary Trap now triggers an initial explosion."
"Tether Traps explode when they break."
|Plasma Railgun: Quick Charge
"Plasma Railgun charges faster."10
"Northstar now has two charges of Tether Traps."
|Plasma Railgun: Critical Hit
"Plasma Railgun critical hits deal increased damage."
"Cluster Missile now fires two missiles."11
"Melee attacks deal more damage."
|Ghost in the Machine
"Phase Dash has two charges."
"Incoming blocked damage charges Sword Core."
"Phase Dash travels further."
"Sword Core attacks generage shield. Sword Core's duration is doubled."
|Tone||40mm: Splasher Rounds
"40mm rounds deal damage over a larger area."12
|Sonar Weak Points
"Enemies take 25% increased damage while revealed by Sonar Pulse."13
|40mm: Extended Ammo
"40mm ammo capacity is doubled."
"Sonar Pulese's duration is increased by 100%."
|Salvo Core Barrage
"Salvo Core fires more missiles."14
"Predator Cannon rounds pierce through enemies."15
"Close Range Power Shot bypasses Doomed State."16
"Damage absorbed by your Gun Shield recharges your Titan's shield."17
"Long Range Power Shot deals more damage each time it pierces an enemy."
"Legion is equipped with all of his Kits."18
"Monarch's Electric Smoke now gives her shield."
|XO-16: Sniper COnfiguration
"Reduces spread and enables toggle zoom on the XO-16."19
|Energized Smoke Level 2
"Monarch's Electric Smoke now gives friendly Titans shield."20
|XO-16: Critical Hit
"XO-16 deals additional damage against weak points."
"Monarch starts with a random Tier 1 upgrade."21
Waves and Wave Flow
Each map has specific spawn rates. For instance:
- No wave spawns Plasma Drones, although Cloak Drones will occasionally spawn to cloak enemy units.
- Wave 1 starts with multiple squads of Mortar Spectres spawning, either starting in the corner furthest from the Harvester, or along the shoreline.
- Wave 4 starts with multiple Mortar Titans spawning all over the map. Pilots will do best if they spread out over the area to take them out simultaneously to minimize damage to the Harvester.
- Wave 5 spawns all enemies near the water, either on the crane pad or the grass patch directly next to it. It is a good idea to have Pilots or Titans surrounding that area, as it's very easy to box in the enemies, making this arguably the easiest wave of the map.
- There are technically four lanes to the Harvester. The fourth "lane" splits off from the West lane, going around the rock the Harvester is backed up against. Be careful Titans or Reapers don't sneak up on you.
- At the end of Wave 1, a Sniper Titan will spawn near the bridge on the Middle Lane. Pilots can take advantage of this to get a free battery, provided other Pilots don't kill it first, as it spawns within direct line-of-sight of the Harvester.
- Scorch is particularly effective on this map, as he can take advantage of the close-quarters nature under the bridge to lock that area down and block enemies from advancing on the Harvester, allowing either him or a teammate to quickly kill enemies coming down the middle path. Additionally, he can "hide" behind the boxes directly after the bridge while he reloads, as his Firewall ability will travel through the boxes directly in front of him, giving him cover while he reloads. This is especially effective when he reaches Aegis Rank 17, because his reload time is effectively tripled due to the added ammo capacity.
- Mortar Titans, when they spawn, spawn in the covered area on the east side of the map, and will move to the side (under cover so as to prevent "Crushed by Titanfall" deaths), to launch their Mortars.
- Wave 3 consists of a large wave of Plasma Drones attacking from the North. A good way to counter this is to have Legion with Smart Core, as well as a few well-placed Sentry Turrets (either on top of the building or on top of the dropship next to the Harvester), and an Arc Trap placed on the very top of the building directly north of the Harvester room.
- During the final wave, Arc Titans will spawn on the exterior ring of the map, circle once, and then enter the middle area via the main entrance closest to where they spawned.
- Mortar Titans will spawn in groups of two or three in the back and left sides of the map. It's generally a good idea to place a few Arc Traps in those areas to help mitigate their damage output before they can be killed.
- At the end of the first wave, a Sniper Titan spawns near the back of the center building. This is a good source for a free battery for your Titan.
- Nuke Titans, Arc Titans, Scorches, and Ronins will typically take the middle path under the building to the Harvester. It is a good idea to place Arc Traps along this route to slow their progress. However, if they spawn on the left or right side, Scorches will sometimes walk around the outsides to the Harvester, so be careful to not have a Scorch sneak up on the Harvester.
- Sniper Titans, Monarchs, and Ions will typically take the path over the center building to the Harvester, unless they spawn on the sides, in which they will take the outside paths.
- Sniper Titans and Mortar Titans like to spawn on the overcrop just beyond the center building. Northstar can easily reach this with Hover, or Titan's can loop around the back to take them out.
- Next to the building on the right side of the map is an overhang that overlooks most of the back area of the map. This is a great overlook for snipers like Northstar or Tone.
- All waves consist of large numbers of Plasma Drones, that will maneuver around the large central building, attack the Harvester, then move off to the left around the domed building to the left.
- Nuke Titans will spawn twice in the first wave: once at the beginning and once at the end. This provides a nice boost to Pilots, as the need to purchase an Amped Battery between the first and second waves is nullified, provided each Pilot steals a battery from either Nuke Titan.
- There are two great areas for Scorch to bunker down: in the garage near the back center lane, or at the end of the center lane nearest the Harvester.
- Northstar is great on this map, as the long lanes allow her to take advantage of her Piercing Shot to deal massive damage to Titans and Reapers coming down any of the lanes.
- While Mortar Titans will spawn in the back directly "in front" of the Harvester, they will move to the left or right rear lanes to set up and fire.
- There are 5 lanes on this map: one looping around the bottom of the dropship to the left, one looping above the dropship to the left, the center lane, one coming straight from the apartment buildings on the right, and one looping around the far side of the apartment buildings on the right. Keep an eye on your minimap, as it's easy to get overrun on this map.
- Due to the placement of the Harvester on this Map, when a Pilot respawns, it is very possible to be dropped directly on top of either a Tick or a Reaper, as the Pilot Spawn is in front of the Harvester, as opposed to behind the Harvester on other maps. This makes it so that Pilots may be killed immediately after spawning, resulting in having to go through the respawn sequence again.
Black Water Canal
Money and The Armory
During a wave, players earn money for dealing damage and killing enemies. Money is also earned immediately after each of the first four waves, as follows:
- $700 on Easy and Normal
- $600 on Hard
- $500 on Master
- $400 on Insane
- Aside from dealing damage and killing enemies, this will typically be your primary source of income
- Awarded on a per-player basis. Other player's deaths do not have an impact on whether or not you get this bonus.
- Awarded to the player who earned the most Combat and Support Score for that specific round. Scoring is based on damage dealt, units killed, and other various sources.
- Awarded for the Harvester not taking any physical damage. Damage to shields does not disqualify players from receiving this bonus.
No Deaths This Wave
The Armory is used to purchase upgrades between rounds. These upgrades give various boons througout subsequent waves, and spending money wisely can be the difference between a win and a loss. Money can be donated to a group fund for other players to share, to more effectively utilize funds. (Prices are based on PC difficulties).
Amped Weapons - $100
- Applied instantly.
- Like the MP boost, but lasts until your death. Boosts all Pilot weapons, but not Titan Weapons.
- A battery more powerful than stolen from enemy Titans. It is differentiated by its orange color, instead of the typical green. It will restore a friendly Titan out of Doomed state, and restore Shields and 2,500 health (if shields were restored). If shields are full, it restores 5,000 health. It also grants 10% core charge, with the exception of Monarch running Energy Theif, in which case all batteries grant 11% core charge.
- Grants the purchaser a battery (not visible on the player), that when used, is inserted into enemy Titans, immediately sending the Titan into a Nuke Eject and sending the Pilot high into the air.
- This is useful against clumps of enemy Titans, as the damage done by the Nuke Eject is considered friendly, even if it's from a Nuke Titan. This means players can take out large groups of enemy Titans if used tactically.
- A permanent trap that sends out an electric shock to any enemies that pass through its radius. It has a somewhat lengthy recharge, so stacking them in a line is usually the most effective way to use them.
- A Sentry Turret that acts like a mix of a Pilot Sentry and Titan Sentry. It deals good damage to Grunts, Spectres, Stalkers, and Drones, and decent damage to Reapers and Titans.
- Best used in areas that are harder for Titans to reach (like the balcony directly looking over the Harvester on War Games).
- Limit 2 per Pilot (8 max per match).
- Makes the Harvester impervious to damage for 5 seconds, whereafter the shields are recharged and must be depleted again.
- Extremely effective if a Nuke Titan detonates next to the Harvester, as Nuke Titans deal 25% Harvester damage after destroying the Harvester shield.
Amped Battery - $400
Nuke Rodeo - $500
Arc Trap - $650
Sentry Turret - $1200
Harvester Shield Boost - $1200
- On maps with long lanes, like Rise, or large open areas, like Homestead, Northstar is particularly effective when using her Piercing Shot kit.
- It is usually advised to have four different Titans, instead of two, three, or four of the same Titan, as different abilities, like Tone's Sonar Weak Points upgrade, benefit her allies.
- Just like in other Multiplayer modes, there are three basic Monarch loadouts:
- Core 1 Upgrade: Arc Rounds
- Core 2 Upgrade: either Malestrom or Rapid Rearm
- Core 3 Upgrade: XO-16 Accelerator
- Core 1 Upgrade: Arc Rounds
- Core 2 Upgrade: Rapid Rearm
- Core 3 Upgrade: Superior Chassis
- Core 1 Upgrade: Energy Transfer
- Core 2 Upgrade: Rapid Rearm or Energy Field
- Core 3 Upgrade: Superior Chassis
- Northstar's Cluster Missile and Legion's Close Range Power Shot are good for dealing with groups of Plasma Drones. Northstar can shoot her Cluster Missile at the ground the drones will pass over, or at a building they pass by, to take them out.
- Reflex Cannon pairs well with Overcore and Grand Cannon on Ion, as Grand Cannon extends the duration of Ion's Laser Core and Reflex Cannon refreshes it, much like Ronin's Highlander Kit.
- Anti-Titan Weapons like the LG-97 Thunderbolt work very well, especially when paired with Titan Hunter, as it allows Pilots to call their Titans in more quickly after they die. This works expecially well when enemy Titans are clumped together, like they tend to do on Homestead, Forwardbase Kodai, and Rise.
1, 2, 5Grunts, Spectres, and Stalkers spawn in groups of four. Grunts can either be dropped in via Drop Pods or Dropships.
3Plasma Drones spawn in groups of four or five, typically outside of "normal" spawn zones, and fly around the map dealing damage to enemies they pass on their way to the harvester.
4Cloak Drones do not attack, but instead cloak enemy units, and will "escort" them towards the Harvester. If the units they are cloaking are killed, they will either fly away to cloak more enemies, or despawn. It is recommended they be killed, as it adds an extra $10 to the game economy.
6 Max can go up to 7/8, with both retries being exhausted. If the team fails three times, using all available Retries, they will not get a Retry Bonus, but instead get extra Wave Milestones, if applicable.
7This effectively doubles Scorch's reload time, as each round is reloaded separately, like the Mastiff.
8This makes building a Core extremely easy, especially around choke points, as dealing damage with Flame Core subsequently charges Flame Core, and once the multiplier gets going, players can earn a Core potentially every 5-10 seconds.
9This triples Scorch's base reload speed.
10This decreases the charge time from 2.25 seconds to 1.35 seconds. This increases her DPS from 922 to 3075, assuming the player has reached Aegis Rank 17.
11Both Cluster Missiles are fired one after another, instead of storing two charges like her Tether Trap Mastery upgrade, or Ronin's Ghost in the Machine upgrade.
12This not only damages enemies in a larger area, but also applies a 1/3 lock-on in the same area, making it easier to get multiple lock-ons for clumped enemies.
13While enemies are marked by Tone's Sonar Pulse, they turn red instead of orange on friendly unit's HUD's; this is to signify the increased damage those enemies will receive.
14The animation and audio isn't extended with the increased missile launch, so players should note the extended launch duration (about 1 extra second), if launching Rocket Salvo into the air to strike enemies from behind.
15This applies to freindlies as well. Don't worry if an ally jumps in front of you, you will still deal damage to enemies beyond them. However, this does NOT apply to static objects, like the open door on the middle route on Rise.
16This is extremely beneficial when facing Nuke Titans, as it will destroy them, thereby bypassing the Doomed state.
17"Damage applied" means either from enemies or friendlies. This means that players can recharge their shields for free simply by having players shoot Legion's Gun Shield between waves, negating the need to purchase an Amped Battery.
18This only applies to Legion-specific kits, and not the generic Titan kits.
19The reduced spread is applied both in regular and ADS (Aim Down Sights) fire mode, as well as adds an option to zoom in while ADS'ing, like some scopes for Sniper Rifles, or Northstar's rifle.
20This allows Monarch to function as a support Titan even when running a pure DPS build, as she can pop a smoke around her allies to give herself and her allies shields while dishing out damage. It can also be used between rounds to recharge friendly Titan's shields, provided she has enough smoke charges.
21Apex Titan starts Monarch with a random Tier 1 upgrade other then the one the player currently has equipped. This means if Arc Rounds is equipped, Apex Titan will choose between Missile Racks and Energy Transfer. This triggers every time Monarch is dropped, since it it possible to change Titan loadouts for different drops.
22Running this build is potentially detrimental to a player's success, if the party fails a wave, as Monarch will spawn with no upgrades, and the player will have to work harder to get her back up to "support mode".