Balance the new Empire Shield Support Beam

As some recently posted challenges such as 4590783 have shown, it is possible to make a fleet using large numbers of the new Empire Shield Support Beam that is essentially unbeatable except by a similar fleet. I think the easiest way to fix this would be to lower the range of this beam to somewhere around 100. This would allow some support but would prevent massive fleetwide shields that are unbalancing.

If its only 100, then that seriously hinders its effectiveness. Only Frigates right on top of cruisers could use the beam. I do agree however that the beam is Waaaaaay to powerful. I originally thought that the beam would transfer some of the Frigate’s own shield power to its target, thus draining the frigate’s shields and also not being overly powerful, as the limitation would be the Frigate’s own shields, and not how many beams you can slap on a frigate.

Another idea is for the beam to simply double how fast the targets shields naturally recharge for the duration the beam is effecting the target. And make it work like an EMP system, where it goes into this recharging state, and no matter how many beams hit it, it doesnt recharge any faster.

Lowering the range would only encourage tight ball fleets, including those irritating ones that stack ships on top of one another.

Effectively, the thing is a shield carried by a ship other than the one being attacked. If you look at it that way, the the alarming stat on those things is the recharge rate.

Normal shields have a recharge rate of around 7 or 8. This thing has a recharge of 45. It’s vastly better than a regular shield in that aspect, with the added advantage of the ability to redistribute. Considering the communal nature of the thing, this is unacceptable - you can end up with collective recharge rates upwards of four digits.

It should probably have a recharge rate of about 4 or 5. If capacitance needs increasing or costs need decreasing after that, fine.

Having a low recharge means that all those low resist frigate shields quickly become a drain to maintain, and that proper antifrigate weapons will eventually have some effect.

I tried the beam in a lot of battles before choosing its stats, and I reckon after a week or so people will be less concerned. The problem is, you are looking upon it as a strength for the target ship, whereas what it’s really doing is transfering some cruiser defences to frigates. Target those supprot frigates, and the cruiser is easily dealt with.
A lot of peoples fleets are going for big cruiser vs cruiser slugging matches, and mopping up frigates as an afterthought. The SSB changes that. It makes you address the frigates at the same time as you attack the cruiser they support.
Don’t forget all the power and slots taken up by these things replace weapons and more importantly, defences for those frigates. Frigates with SSBs are easily torn apart by fighters, as a prelude to your cruiser attacks.
I reckon :smiley:

cliff good point…

also i reckon that somewhat encourages shield disruptors :slight_smile:

Frigates very often are targeted first. They die faster and house the better AA options.

But that’s not the issue.

Frigates networked with that SSB outsurvive anything that any other race can throw together. Empire cruisers are nearly irrelevant save for… scramblers and extreme armor penetration. Just buy more frigates and power through it.

They aren’t. Rocket fighters or torpedoes can’t conceivably outdamage shields of that recharge rate, and that leaves laser fighters against an array of frigates.

Disruptor bombs are the only cost effective thing that even bother those shields, and that’s telling. The stats are completely out of control.

Yes and the frigate that carries them is cut to pieces before it can get in range (600). With some success I have used rocket fighters to crack the frigate shields, but often I need 5 squadrons that break one frigate - then split and the rockets are spread out the remaining frigates and unable to do anything because they’re all getting chopped up in tractor beams ala Follick.

In the SAC challenge with limited pilot amounts it is hard to get a usefull fleet built up and the necessary rocket-fighters. Laser fighters are really useless in this case.

I am not saying it is impossible - but it is so powerfull that it requires a dedicated force that is now absolutely useless against any other styled fleet. I am a firm believer in generalization over specialization.


The best frigate destroyer in my experience is a squad of laser-armed fighters set to close-range attack and with stick together orders. That will tear frigates to bits, and don’t forget the requirements of the SSB mean that frigate has less room for stuff like quantum blasters or other anti-fighter countermeasures.

i have a “bomber” design… atlanta bomber hull with 2 lasers, 2 powerplants and 1 engine

it amounts to little more than target practice in dogfights, but for “raid of pearl harbor” style challenges or empire frigates, they frigging PWN.

I don’t mind the new shield module as it is. Of course, I’ve only thrown them against the basic scenarios, like Caspian V.

Fighters are a problem for the FRG’s using the support beams. Cliff’s comments about re-thinking basic assumptions are on the money.

Imperials now rock. :slight_smile:


Well how long will those fighters be effective once you get the Uber-Flak weapon designed?


And to many players, SAC-1 is considered fighter-heavy in pilots:cost ratio.

Challenge 4590783 (which I threw together in about 5 minutes) has a mere 12 anti fighter missile launchers, and yet it manages to survive the entire pilot count of laser fighters thrown at it, losing maybe half the frigates. This is not an effective air defense to begin with - there aren’t any tractors, opposing laser fighters, armor immunity (which is TRIVIAL) or misdirection attempts made at all. Laser fighters are just that bad against small bubbles. If ordinary races can make diverse frigate teams capable of surviving double-rocket fighters, Empire can make one that can survive a slower fighter class that can’t even penetrate a shield.

Even if laser fighters were useful, the larger issue is being ignored. Something so powerful has been introduced that it is approaching immunity to all conventional fleets. Not “strong against”, not just “difficult”. Totally immune.

So for completeness sake, here are the four nontechnical ways we supposedly have to “beat” this thing:

  1. Disruptor bombs, somehow while not getting shredded by opposing frigates.
  2. Sending laser fighters with attack frigate orders, a questionable tactic against any competent fleet.
  3. Create an entire fleet set to dump multiwarhead missiles on a single target, overpowering the distribution rate.
  4. Go empire.

The price/upkeep does not offset it. No matter how expensive it is made, sooner or later someone’s going to be able to afford enough of the stupid thing to make it a problem again. Same goes for module limits.

Yeah, it’s fun to throw together some uber Empire fleet and roll over some challenges, but until you actually lose to some type of threat on a regular basis, it’s not balanced. Every defeat is suspect now.

It’s time to bring that thing back in line with the rest of the game.

Really? I have yet to see a SAC-1 Challenge posted with fighter only retaliations. Some SAC’s I can defeat with fighters (rocket or laser) but they are far the minority.


Nobody said it favors all-fighter fleets. He said it favors a high ratio of fighters to nonfighter craft.

I’m open to feedback on the shield support beam, but it takes time for a consensus to develop on the over-powerdness or not of new systems. There was a time when the general consensus was that all of the tribe kinetic weapons were unbeatable, but that definitely subsided, partially because people got used to fighting the short-range tribe at a distance.
People tend to analyse a module for its in-battle effectiveness, and not consider elements like weight and cost. These have indirect effects, in that they result in less ships, or compensating for weight with more engines etc.
But like I say, if the long term general consensus is that fitting SSBs is a no-brainer, I will nerf it in the next patch.

Thank you. Will you also be able to do a cost check of the enemy fleet during deployment as mentioned in this thread viewtopic.php?f=21&t=4949

That’s fine, except the way i do it is to mount anti-fighter weapons on separate frigates to cover my cruisers or whatever. It’s more expensive, but i imagine it gets around that problem relatively easily.

well the way I saw it, it’s that ‘its more expensive’ thing that kills it. Soon you have a single cruiser that kicks ass, with a frigate to SSB it, and then another frigate to support the first one, and before you know it, its cheaper to just have several cruisers instead :D.

It’s cheaper to have an army of unkillable frigates*

But it costs at least 3 of an average frigate to equal one cruiser in cost; depending on which frigates i choose i could escort and cover a cruiser with 3 frigates more effectively (with the shield support beam) than using 2 cruisers. I can’t say whether it’s imba, but i’m just saying…