Advocacy for Frigates


#1

Hello, I am a long time fan of Gratuitous Space Battles and am thrilled to be participating in the Beta.

I would like to advocate for a straight buff to the frigate line of ships. I have managed to design practical layouts for every other class of ship except this one. I think there are 5 reasons this is so:

  1. Lack of Cruiser Level Shield Penetration. At least for the Terrans, there doesn’t seem to be a weapon with the punch necessary to damage a Cruiser’s shields. I enjoyed the occasional kamikazi frigate in GSB1 that ensured my cruisers with good shielding but poor armor required some frigate hunters as escort. Currently frigates that attack my ships are crunchy distractions.

  2. Lack of quick firing weapons. Without weapons that could pelt the enemy with a ludicrous number of shots, the damage potential frigates can bring to a fleet is very limited.

  3. Lack of Armor. In GSB1, a frigate could be armored, at great expense, in such a way as to negate all fighter weapons except the torpedo, allowing them to breach fields of fighters and attack vulnerable cruisers. They have shields, but that requires crew and power, taking those resources away from weapons and engines.

  4. Lack of Specialty Modules. A large portion of great old Frigate Modules are now the domain of Destroyers. This is fine, but the frigate class could use some offensive “debuff” modules. The classic stun missile being one of them, but also a shield disrupting weapon, and a better selection of tractor beams.

  5. Lack of Power. Being more offensive means hitting harder, moving faster, and taking more of a beating. That means using modules with higher power requirements. Frigates do not seem to have a power advantage over Destroyers, despite really needing one.

Thank you.


#2

Having fiddled with all the frigates of the game now, I have some suggestions for addressing my earlier points.

For Point #1 and #2: Frigates strongly need additional things that can bring shields down. It should be a short range, rapid fire and have minimal effectiveness against the hull and armor (mass of small shots sandblast off the surface, but cant penetrate deeply). That will better allow for expendable rush frigates while not making the long range frigates, with their more armor stripping weapons, unnecessary.

For Point #3 and #5: I think I may have been a bit too too hard on the armor. I can still get pretty heavily armored frigates and destroyers that only Bombers can touch. However I think a closely related problem is that it is just plain too difficult to get frigate speed usefully high. This means that I can’t avoid cruiser shots and can carry only the most basic of defenses to allow the frigate to survive the inevitable cloud of fighters. Frigates need to survive long enough to accomplish something useful. I don’t think Frigates need to be buffed so much as many Cruiser weapons need to have their excessively high tracking toned down to increase the number of missed shots. Not to be completely immune to Cruisers, like most fighters are, but to give Frigates a little more time to go to work either bringing down shields and armor or popping destroyers.

For Point #4: Further differentiation from Destroyers and making their limited weapon choices more effective. And more modules that differentiate the frigate from the Destroyer. Vampire beams, short range analogue to shield beams that drain target shields to strengthen their own. Or a single tiny 8-16 fighter hangar, for that last flight of fighters you want to bring, or so fighters don’t need to fly all the way back across the map to refuel.

Part of the fun of GSB1 frigates is that they could do the job of a cruiser in decentralized manner, or the job of a flight of fighters, in a more centralized manner. They were flexible, and so far Frigates in GSB2 are much less flexible.


#3

I would certainly agree with these points. Having an ion cannon-like weapon for GSB2 frigates would certainly increase their usefulness. And I’d also agree that frigate engines need to be stronger - right now, it feels like it’s actually easier to boost a cruiser to a given speed than to boost a frigate/destroyer to that speed. I don’t think that was intentional.