i give my cruisers one each and set the fighters to retreat if they take 1% damage so that there fighter support (who tend to have ablative armor as well) can last long, having a dedicated carrier doesn’t really help much though.
Fighters fleeing to a carrier can suck in enemy fighters to follow to the carrier. You can set up an effective AAA trap that way. I have seen enemy fighters follow a fighter and then just hang around waiting for it to come out of the repair bay. Of course it’s merrily blasting away at anything while it is circling - but a couple tractor beams make short work of it.
In fighter heavy situation I often place “sucker” fighters that are fairly quick and ordered to retreat at 1% dragging enemy fighters to follow.
What I do NOT do though is place every fighter at 1% retreat damage - I have quickly found my bays jammed with over 100 fighters.
25% seems to work well enough.
I’ve posted a pair of challenges to test this. One fleet with a carrier and cautious orders, the other with an AA cruiser and no cautious orders. (4588832 and 4588834) I will post additional pairs of challenges as I have time. I invite others to do so as well. Test which is stronger.
I quickly glanced over those and I think you have a major fault in those challenges. There are too many fighters for any carrier to handle. I did a couple of rounds and quickly both sides had fighters lining up either side being of no use. A comparison should be same fighter vs same fighter with a carrier that can handle the amount. I find at 25% caution 1 Bay can deal with 5 sqauds of fighters.
What I did was challenge myself twice - 1 carrier + 11 squadrons with no cautious orders and the same with cautious orders. I played an exact mirrored fleet with and without cautious orders. In one version both carriers were armed, another they were both unarmed. I found that pitting up against another fleet of fighters, all being equal the cautious orders did have an effect on the battle - they usually won against the fighters that did not have the cautious orders.
This was much more evident when the carrier was armed. The ships with cautious orders sucked in the opposing ships and the fight would drift over the armed carrier which - with tractor beams really chewed up the fighters. With both sides having cautious orders the fights devolve into fights over both carriers and you can watch swarms of fighters going from one fighter to another in some sort of strange chaos theory graphic playing out.
I have completed about 50 challenges to myself this way and can say - The use of carrier bays really depends more on your playing style. They can be used to help, and they can be ignored as superfluous. I tend to make light laser fighters that are unarmored, but still some manage to get back to a carrier. Something like suicide torpedo bombers that are expected only to do one cruiser killing salvo probably wouldn’t benefit at all at cautious orders. Not until someone does something about those torpedos - gah I hate those.
Makes sense to me, more carrier bays would certainly be more effective than one if you are using that approach. I figured tossing out a couple of plain vanilla fighter challenges, one with basic Rockets and Painters and another with Pulse lasers (and the next one was going to be lasers) with or without one carrier bay would at least show if the carrier bay helped. That’s not how people responded to these challenges though. I’ll take a little time and the next one will be a more sophisticated (or at least more complicated) combined arms approach with or without sufficient carrier bays to “carry” it through a reasonable combat. Maybe I’ll run SAC-46 or SAC-41 or some of the others with and without carrier bays and see what happens.
The response I’m looking for though is not really if these were hard or easy challenges. What I want to know is which one of each pair is easier to beat. That would answer the original question.
Well I did them with my own fleets - responded to your challenges with them. For me it was easy to tell how well the bays worked for my side. You just didn’t have enough of them for your huge swarms of fighters and I think that let you down in the end. It was easy to see how each side could get the other to hang around a AA trap though. Sometimes that is more than enough to do the trick. Put the enemy where you want them.
When in testing for my super-cruiser i have includined a reinforced carrier bay, and set my fighter to come back if danaged at 25%, (unless fixed by the latest update the lower you set it the sonner they fighter will return). I have seen many times a fighter trailing smoke come back toward my super-cruiser. some make it back some are killed by crusier fire. But I have found that if you have the heavy armor, they will make it back 75% of the time for the first repair only, after that its more 50-50.
Also note I have NOT added in my fighter shields or heavyer armor into the game after my reinstall. I messed up some game files and it refused to load, so i reinstalled forgetting to back up the fighter stuff. >.< So reamber back-up your work in progress often and not inside the game folder.
I’m VERY VERY close to releasing my Super-Cruiser ships and items, and will make a thread about what I have done so far.
if you prefer “fodder” cheap fighters with some armor on them,it works very well,especially if theyre defending the cruiser with support bay atm
i ended up building a dedicated carrier at the heart of the fleet cluster once in a fighter-heavy engagement, had 3 squads of super-fighters and then about a dozen squads of the fodder ones defending the fleet,all had armor on em,and all were set to go repair after getting 5% damage
needless to say,losses were minimal and i won
i almost always use fighters as a “shredder screen” escorting my heavy hitters on a certain range… once the infidels get their armor blown off,theyre easy prey for such fighter screens and it really speeds up the process… since in this case the fighters are operating within say distance of 500,they almost always make it back unless they get tractor-raped
Oh, found the “quantity” command. I have decided that making lone painters results in an excessive proliferation of squadrons. And I also found that my painters were painting fighters that were escorting the cruisers I wanted painted. So my default is to either not allow painters to attack enemy fighters, or to have the percent at 1%, so they will preferentially paint a cruiser or frigate.
And some experimentation has yielded the answer, “Yes, Carrier Support Bays are very good”. I know that some of the bays have repaired in excess of a full squadron in a battle. One of the things I hope to get from Combat Statistics is repair statistics, which ships are repairing how many fighters, or use up how much supplies from their armor repair systems.
Well, that was educational. One dedicated carrier with 2 bays, and no weapons to draw aggro, and I ran it completely out of supplies for fighter repairs. I ended up with 3 fighters that retreated to the far wall due to lack of supplies. Figure that amounts to an extra 3 squadrons because I had a ship that cost about 1. Kind of hard to tell without an exact count, but the bay draws 400 supplies. It isn’t clear whether repairs are based merely on the size of the fighter, or the amount of hull and armor damage it took.
Useful, but it is a force multiplier. You can’t get more benefit beyond the number of fighters that are damaged and can get out of combat.