Some people have a problem with cruiser spam.
It stands to reason that most cruisers should have better weapons, power plants, armor, and other things than smaller ships like frigates. In a science fiction setting, whoever can generate more power usually gets an incredible advantage. This makes it hard to give frigates an exclusive “role” in the game. Why give frigates an exclusive AA gun, for example, and not stick one on your cruisers? In fact, having cruisers with a mix of offensive and defensive arsenal sounds like proper ship design theory to me. Due to their large size and excessive power, it seems like cruiser engines should be better than they are, too.
So what’s the “answer” to cruiser spam?
It seems to me that the solution should be one of logistics, rather than game balance. You can’t just balance it with cost. If it costs too much, you end up with no cruisers. If it costs too little, you end up with all cruisers. And if its at the sweet spot, you’ll end up with one situation or the other, but not necessarily a mix.
I see three basic solutions:
Have cruiser hulls cost more for each additional cruiser in the fleet, like a logistics penalty. This makes your first few cruisers cheap, but its too expensive to pay for too many cruisers. Each player will have to decide for themselves about how many cruisers is “too much”.
Simply place a mission-specific limit on cruisers like the “fleet supply”. Personally, I like the idea of an even larger hull - a flagship - limited to only one ship by default, but even then I think the setting should be adjustable. Still, this seems like the least interesting solution and will only lead to fleets with the max cruisers possible – still better than “cruiser spam” for a lot of people though.
My favorite of these proposed solutions, have cruisers cost more pilots. If it costs 1 pilot for a fighter, 2 pilots for a frigate, and 5 pilots for a cruiser, i think we’ll see some more variety in fleets. I like this because it still leaves choices in the hands of the player. You can still have “cruiser spam” if you like, but I don’t think it will be as big an issue. This can even be combined with #1 to have the pilot cost for each cruiser rise progressively higher for each additional cruiser.
This isn’t really related but also touches on the subject of frigates and cruisers: Another thought I’ve had is that perhaps shields for frigates should be much more efficient and have higher resistance ratings due to the small size of their protective shield bubbles. A lot of energy must be wasted creating those gigantic bubbles. I think this will be my next mod.
As a final note on the subject, I think all the specialized technologies available to cruisers should also be available to frigates. I don’t like exclusive cruiser-module unless there’s a good justification for it, such as extraordinary size and power requirements of certain weapons. But “superheavy armors” and “driod bays”? Why not have frigate versions of those, as well?
In RL naval warfare, the big issue with fielding something battleship-sized is that it’s a sitting duck for any stray torpedo or mis-aimed shot that can hit it. Maybe something like that could be devised for balancing cruisers?
Then fix the frigates so they’re not horrible; they’re not protected from change by a magic shield…
Agreed. Plus… now that Cliffski has removed the coding flaw that kept ships from exceeding 256x256 pixels, the Mod Patrol has been experimenting with ships that, proportionally, are roughly battleship-sized in comparison to cruisers. The correlation between hull size and ease of enemy weapons acquisition seems to scale linearly.
Hey, you stole my answer. Weak frigate tech is one of my major peeves. We’re modding as fast we can, folks!
Yeah, but it doesn’t help much since whoever will just load a gazillion engines on their cruiser to make it uber-dodgeable and go a-rampaging. What if cruiser shields were made a lot weaker? Then plasma and missile weapons and the like were made to penetrate armor better, and got better at tracking. That way, you could more easily hit cruisers with the weapons, but they wouldn’t haev as much of an effect on frigates.
which is y I propose more anti frig cruiser weapon, like maybe the pulse beam but better ROF and a bit less tracking speed or sumthing.
in theory it should work kinda like EVE online:
if you outfit a cruiser to destroy other cruisers it’s gonna get raped by small fast frigs
and if u outfit it instead to kill frigs their gonna be significantly less competent against fellow cruisers…
then maybe we can give better shield pen to turbo shields so theyre immune to rockets but are quite a bit worse in most other aspects.
I’ve never had too much of a problem with fast frigates. The fast frigs I use don’t typically last too long vs. enemies, but it is fun to watch them swoop around and draw fire for a little while, which is, actually, their job when it comes to fleet vs. fleet fights.
If I did have a problem with fast frigates, I’d field a cruiser with a target enhancer, what’s that dingus called. . .you know the one.
In a strategic sense (may or may not come up in the campaign game) small ships are in their element–for controlling wide areas of the ocean, err, space, much more cheaply than capital ships can do the same job. Patrolling, getting the eyballs out in the yonder, showing the flag, and so on.
Oh, and I’ve positioned my fleet in certain ways to counter FRGs, fast and otherwise. Basically, in my experience, a fast FRG dies real soon after any of my cruisers acquires it as a target. That can happen through retaliate orders, through movement, through eliminating higher priority targets.
Rockets with painters has no problem hitting frigates at any speed, as do pulse. Beam works up to 0.7. Then again frigates with > 0.7 speed are no threat since they don’t deal enough damage before getting slaughtered by rocket/painter.
The problems with frigates is that they lack the survivability of cruisers. What if they simply… didn’t?
Frigates are smaller ships and pack less weapons. They have less module space, so they can pack less shields and armor and stuff.
So they’re already weaker than cruisers. What if we just simply gave them access to cruiser weapons and modules? You’ll end up with a really slow ship again, unless you mix and match with cruiser weapons… perhaps half cruiser weapons and half frigate weapons? Or just a single cruiser shield on a regular frigate. What’s the disadvantage in allowing them cruiser modules? You could use crew production/requirements to balance it out so that you don’t get too many cruiser modules on a frigate, if you’re worried about that.
I might start writing up a mod to test out this idea.