I find I usually end up with catastrophic failure whenever I try tiered offenses like this. I get the theory, but the practice doesn’t do so well.
In order to pull it off with smaller range variations, you can’t use ‘keep moving’ orders, because not only will the boats bump into each other, the fire doesn’t come in disciplined enough to force kills. This often causes your ships to naturally clump together, causing plant damage and becoming a prime target for the standard drunken unarmored cruiser laser to explode all over.
Many of the midrange weapons are deeply flawed in some way or the other (beams can’t penetrate cruiser shields but destroy frigates, disruptor bombs don’t do hull damage and are only on frigates, frigate missile systems are generally bad, etc) so it’s probably going to take longer for someone to come up with a really good setup.
Right now, I get far better results with Phalanx type tactics, which makes a bit of sense considering the minimum range of a standard beam.
It unfortunately might not be that simple.
I’ve been doing extensive experimentation with a very fast cruiser armed (and ordered to engage) with 1200 range missiles, so the natural retreat range is 600, outside of cruiser range. 1v1 the cruiser preforms exceptionally against slow, cruiser-laser armed enemies. Group conflicts of any greater size then that often get it killed.
It appears the pilots aren’t choosing (or switching to when conditions change) the closest enemy to match distance with. You’ll see them turned around, pulsing their engines and keeping perfect distance with some cruiser in the middle of the pack while the ones in the front shred them. It seems at some point the driving target becomes very much a “till death do us part” sort of thing, I can’t even snap them out of it with a ‘retaliate’ order.