[Campaign] Fighters, fighters, fighters

Greetings ladies, gentlemen and tentacular obsceneties

I’ve been playing GSB for a while, but haven’t been on the forums before. The Campaign mode is pretty interesting but… I’m sort of annoyed by the heavy emphasis it bases on fighters. Especially in the beginning of the game, they really dominate. Only real counter to them is having very heavily armored ships. (Of course, torps kill those too, but torpedo bombers are sluggish and vulnerable.) Playing as Swarm, I got pretty far by just using…well… swarms of fighters and bombers with little heavy support. Now that I’ve tried to play other species with more balanced fleets, mainly using just interceptors, things are much harder.

I think this is boring. I abandoned my Swarm campaign because it was boring to just repeat one trick again and again. When emphasis of the game balance is put on one tactic or countering that tactic, it kind of sucks the life from the feeling of free possibilities. Am I the only one who thinks so? I’d like to see fighters nerfed somehow in the campaign game. For example, requiring fighters to have cruisers with them in order to move to another system to carry them around or something. (Yes, I’m aware no cruisers -systems would then become pure frigate matches.) Having fighters sport tough defensive edge wouldn’t bother me that much, it would be kind of logical - portraying planetside squadrons and whatnot.

I recently got a major comeuppance by way of Swarm Frigates. And another one by an INCREDIBLY clever use of a Frigate, a horde of Cruisers, and a combination of Keep Moving and Escort orders (seriously… whoever came up with that for Rebels, my hat is off to you. You are incredibly skilled).

The real bonus of Campaign is the actual balance within the game. If you have some experience with the Survival scenarios, it’s a touch easier. Myself… I like Cruisers. My frigate designs almost invariably suck hobo butt. My Fighters are lackluster. But get me into a Cruiser and I’m pretty decent within the balance. Right now I’m playing with just Federation and getting stymied at every turn. So be it. I’d been winning by mass numbers, not superior design. Maybe try that?

Swarm is actually my next choice if/when I win with Feddies. The cost difference makes them very attractive.

Oh I like cruisers and I love fast skirmish frigates. Using them is just not very smart in the campaign, since they get murdered by fighters. A fleet of fighter swarms and some heavy supports usually beats everything, either 10-0 or with some casualties. Fleet with cruisers and fast frigates always runs the risk of annihilation against the wrong type of foe. I’m jut starting to feel like fighter swarming is almost cheating, since it is so powerful, so I don’t want to use it… Only trouble being those superarmored ships, but even those die eventually.

Try feilding a cheap anti-fighter frigate with a couple of fighter escorts in the furtherest corner from your fleet as a lure. The only orders should be target Cruisers/Frigates/Fighters at 2000 range, which will stop the AA Frigate from closing. This will distract a sizeable number of fighters.

With the rest of the fleet close in on any non-fighters, take them out. This will bring you close to or over causing 90% casualties. When they surrender you get lots of free fighters, often of more value than those you just lost.

I have to agree with Matt there. Though fighter spam is a pain in the ass in regular challenges, it is actually a very profitable way to get free fighters in the campaign. I captured dozens of squadrons from various races by simply destroying the frigs/cruisers in fighter fleets, at which point the remaining fighters just hand themselves over.

its no secret that the fighters are way overpowered in campaign. i usually had to keep around 8-10 squads if my formations were going to survive the fighter spam :stuck_out_tongue:

i think having cruisers bring fighters to the battle is a pretty good idea. currently there’s not too much point in using a lot of carrier bays. maybe like each bay could hold one squad? that would even things out a bit…

I was thinking 2 squads, but I like the idea. That forces you to “protect” your carriers because to get as many fighters as you might want, you need lots of carrier bays, which weakens the cruisers that have them. Thus makes a r-p-s model of how many fighters/carriers do I want or all non-carrier cruisers, etc…

A while ago i created a post similar to yours, only i suggested that the fighter numbers be limited by the number of deployed frigs/cruisers (exact numbers per frig / cruiser are up to cliff/player suggestions). Unfortunately most of the replies were from people who felt i should seek out challenges with less fighters. however this post was made before the release of the campaign, and i hope that now it may be considered by more players as it would force fighters to be used tactically and not as a guaranteed insurance policy for a battle.

ya fighters seem to be the way to go in the campaign. I do like that some planets restrict you from getting cruisers or fighters past them. This forces you to use cruisers on one side and fighters on the other side. But I would hate to meet up with a heavy fighter fleet against my cruiser fleet. I also don’t like this restriction, because I thought we were supposed to make versatile fleets. But that’s not really possible when you can only use 2 out of 3 ship classes. So it’s sort of a love hate relationship :stuck_out_tongue:

Squadron or two squadrons (or more precisely, 16/32 fighters) per carrier bay sounds good to me. It would still allow figher-based fleets, but would require base ships to move them around. Plus you could still use fighter swarms for defence… and you’d have to protect the base ships from, for example, fast enemy bombers on orders to attack only cruisers.

Aircraft have been the primary offensive weapons system for all naval forces since 1940 (British attack on Taranto). GSB actually does an excellent job of honoring the traditions of naval history in this regard. Of course, there were those Japanese admirals who complained that the Americans won the battle of Midway with “fighter spam” and subsequently tried to continue the war with their remaining battleship fleet, but since most of them wound up at the bottom of the Pacific their opinions are now largely ignored.

The idea of requiring carriers to transport fighters from one system to another is an interesting one, but in space fighters could probably be carried and launched from exterior racks on any ship (no need for a flight deck to get them “into the air”, so to speak), so the role of carriers would basically be for maintenance and repair. Coincidentally, that is what carrier bays (and the permanent “cautious” order that got added to the game in one of the updates) seem to provide for in GSB. If you want your fighters to keep coming back to the battle, you need a carrier or two to refit them. A carrier today can support about 100 fighters, and the supply limitations that come with carrier bays reflect this as well. Golly, it’s like Cliffski actually read some naval history or something.

Anyway, one final thought. In the campaign, especially in the early stages, the availability of pilots is definitely a limiting factor. You can make faster progress with a combined frigate/fighter fleet.

Okay, I have a new idea for fighter balance in the game.

Fighters can’t warp from system to system on their own. Carrier bays are needed to transport fighters to a new system (each bay transports 1 squadron of 16- a normal cruiser with bays instead of weapons could transport like 8 squadrons). This would result in people making dedicated carriers, which I think would be cool. Frigates and cruisers might also have a “rack-launch” module that allows them to deploy and transport 4-8 fighters each, but not repair them. The rack-launch system would be fairly cheap, mostly just taking up module space. If a player loses their rack-launch/carrier ships, their fighters cannot retreat.

A new fighter module should also be made available (like a fighter deep space drive or something). This module would be fairly heavy and/or costly. This module allows fighters to move from system to system on their own, and at the same time, it somewhat nerfs fighter-spam attack fleets, restoring game balance. The deep space fighters would be at a slight cost/speed disadvantage relative to the defending fleet’s fighters.

OR… another balance idea…

Fighters need to be resupplied after each battle, either from a friendly planet or carrier bay. If fighters are not resupplied, they’re out of ammo and can’t shoot/move slower. Each carrier bay can resupply a squadron or so of fighters in between each battle. A friendly planet can resupply an percentage of fighters relative to its loyalty/factory/shipyard capacity. The homeworld can supply an infinite amount of fighters, helping people out in the early game. Fighter-spam fleets would be forced to include a number of carrier vessels in order to remain effective.

The first balance idea is my personal favorite and would be the most straightforward to implement.

and Entropy- no one cares about 20th century naval tactics. All we want is a balanced game that’s fun to play. I believe I speak for everyone when I say that fighter spam ruins an otherwise good time.

Kazi: I am not suggesting that late 20th (and 21st, so far) century naval tactics are the only standard by which GSB should be judged. After all, this is just a game based on an imaginary universe. I am, however, suggesting that one would need a plausible reason to shift things back to a WWI framework, which is what a “battle-line” focus would require. Your statements that “no one cares”, and “I speak for everyone” seem a bit exaggerated.

However, if in fact “rack space” is all that is required, the squadron support characteristics of carriers would increase, not decrease. Exterior racks would only multiply this effect. Looking at dimensions already expressed in the game, a frigate should be able to hold 2 squadrons in exterior racks, and a cruiser 6 squadrons. Although that’s just for launching, not for maintenance. Is there any other reason to go in the opposite direction, other than the desire of some folks to play the game in another style than that which has been designed? Because with a normal game, you figure out the rules and then win by those, rather than asking that the rules be changed.

I do not, by the way, disagree that requiring a module for rack space, on either frigates or cruisers, would be a bad idea. However, I really only use fighters as cover for the main fleet, so that wouldn’t affect my tactics much anyway. One cruiser with a bunch of bays would pretty much cover all of my fighters, even in a retreat. Even the “spam” fleets would probably be only moderately affected by this restriction. And then would you add “planetary defense fleets” as a separate category for the AI to consider? Without the need to retreat, and therefore also without the need for carrier bay support? Just wondering how far you would want to unravel the thread from this particular sweater…

After re-reading my previous post, I feel I should clarify. I totally agree that 100% fighters are a boring thing to fight. I have seen some very fighter-heavy fleets in the campaign, but none that were exclusively fighters. On the challenge board, however, that happens fairly frequently. Unfortunately, the people posting those challenges usually restrict you to deploying only fighters in response, which makes the exploration of “balanced” counter-strategies impossible. Recently, I found one that did not have such restrictions; unfortunately, when I tried to play it is merely crashed (and debited me with a loss, aargh).

Anyway, balance is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps, because of my interest in naval history, I have more tolerance for fighters than most (although I would love to test the hypothesis that you get further with a fighter/frigate combo), but do not advocate that they should be used exclusively.

And, in fact, from my experimentation in the campaign game, the fighter/frigate combo does seem to be more effective, but the results are not as definitive as they would be if the test were run in the challenge universe.

Name of the game is not realistic space battles, though. Thus argument based on history - especially as naval warfare is very different from what warfare in space would be - isn’t very convincing to me. Anyway, manned space fighters don’t sound very plausible in the first place… my whole point was based on game balance, where certain space opera conventions are taken for granted. I simply find fighter spamming to be the easiest way to win - so easy, in fact, it is a boring way to win. Compared to other available fleet combinations, it is simply superior to everything. Dedicated anti-fighter fleets can give a match worth your money against fighter spam, but they lose to anything and everything else.

So yeah, I’m really talking about my perspective as a player - the game is pushing me to do fighter spamming because it is superior to anything else. It definitely needs some sort of handicap in campaign. I think the carrier requirement would be the easiest way to do it and it would still allow fighters totally dominate in defensive engagements. My problem is not as much with facing fighter fleets as the game telling me to use fighter fleets… I think the battle matchup somehow cleans away most fighter spams from opposing forces anyway.

Not in my experience…try having a 80k hp fleet with 1/3 cruisers, 2/3 frig, and some fighters for support against 150k hp fleet…with know a half dozen frigates…the rest fighters. Obviously a player designed fleet, but still horrible to come up against…

That’s why I’ve resorted to using a variety and amount of anti-fighter frigate escorts that prior to the campaign I would have found insanely excessive. When I saw that the enemy fighter threat was far more insane, it was time for me to “crazy-up” accordingly. :wink: It’s rather annoying to me, though. I’d never have done it were it not for some of the “here’s a tsunami made almost solely of fighters” enemy fleets that are out there. Yuck.

Wow. I’ve never seen a fleet as big as either of those. By the time the game is over, my largest fleet is generally around 24K, with a couple of 15K fleets finishing up the campaign on the secondary front.

I’ve actually beaten that fleet… it was NOT easy. I used a few dozen dedicated anti-fighter frigates and a pulse laser/rocket hybrid fighter, 122k HP, won with 47% remaining

Two additional comments about requiring ships to transport fighters from one system to another, and possible unintended side effects. A rule like this would make systems with large fighter fleets virtually impossible to take. Fighters could either be built in a given system, or shuttled there a couple of squadrons at a time, building up an impenetrable barrier. Also, if carrier bays were required (as opposed to just ships), it would actually be impossible to get fighters past planets that do not allow cruisers. Just something to think about.