Presently, if no valid / supplied fighter bays are left, fighters retreat and never rejoin the battle. I think fighters in such circumstances should fight on.
Also, when the last fighter bay runs out of supplies, the unrepaired fighters within it just hang out waiting to die when the cruiser carrying them dies. Once a bay runs out of supplies, all fighters should exit even if there is no where else for them to go. (I note that it does disgorge fighters if there is another supplied carrier. It looks neat to see 95 fighters suddenly leap out of a dying cruiser and go tearing off to the as-yet-unengaged cruiser a few hundred meters over.)
I built a super carrier with 4 hardened fighter bays. It seemed like 2 bays was not enough to last an entire battle. On the 80,000 point map, the fighters would end up out of the battle, on my own backline. It’s happened to opponents as well. If I see all their fighters on the back line, it usually shows that my fighter countermeasures must have been ok; ok for that challenge at least.
I have mixed feelings about damaged fighters on ‘cautious’ going back into battle. Maybe the answer is to adjust their ‘retreat from battle’ damage number to 90%.
If I’m using repair orders on a largish map, I’m probably fielding my 9 bay design carrier, to make sure the queue doesn’t back up. If I’m expecting a long fight, then the 11 bay design looks attractive… Sometimes even these can run out of supplies.
When repairing, I set my fighters to retreat at 1% damage. A fighter with a damaged weapon needs repairs to be effective. A fighter with a damaged engine is an easy target. So… Most of the time if the fighter has taken a single hit, it’s best to get it back to the carrier.
If you set retreat at 90%, you’ll probably only need one repair bay
AS for the suggestion… That’s a big +1 from me. Cliffski mentioned doing it like this a long time ago, I guess the idea has slipped down the queue some.
You have to be somewhat careful with 1% orders. I just lost a challenge because all of my fighters were backed up inside carrier modules - I’m talking something like 80 fighters somehow getting stuffed inside a single ship. When initial fighters leave the fight early, the remainders are there to get focused, and it can really cascade along.
After playing the game some more, I would agree that it would be good to see the fighters going into back into action, instead of retreating when the carriers run out of supplies or are destroyed.
Maybe a simple order like ‘caution for as long as friendly carriers are operational.’
I’ve seen people set the caution really low, and it sets up a situation where there is a constant stream of fighters entering and leaving the main battle. Depending on the matchup, this could work out well for either the fighters, or the ships they’re attacking. Sometimes, this ‘stream of fighters’ is obliterated in fairly short order; other times the fighter stream prevails.
We’ve probably all witnessed where dozens - if not hundreds - of fighters retreat en masse because the carriers were made inactive.
As it is, a player has got to match up the proper amount of carrier resources with fighters, or it can result in wasted build points. At least with a ‘fight to the finish’ order the fighters would continue to contribute despite having no repairs available.
Anyway, I didn’t think it was a big deal until it happened to me. Seeing all of those friendly fighters waylaid on the edge of the map is disheartening. Of course, if my fighters were otherwise getting chewed up, retreating would’t be such a bad thing.