Fighter setup

Hey all,

I’m working on my fighter layouts and I might need suggestions here. I play mainly empire so I’ll be discussing those fighters.

I mainly use Phalanx, because they are cheap, small, efficient, and that 14% speed bonus is useful in all cases. I have very little wasted power on any of my fighters. I have my laser fighters at just below 2.5 speed and a slower fighter with pulse lasers that I use for escort. Phalanx seems to be good all around for a one weapon ship, but the other two fighters not so much…

Javelins are good for quick, armored rocket fighters since they have above 2.2 power, allowing me to use a fighter engine 2 + a rocket launcher without needing a power generator. I also use this hull for armored torpedo bombers, which seem to be slightly more useful than unarmored torpedo bombers in certain cases. The only problem is the armored ones are way more expensive, but I’ve found their occasional use.

Ballistas, on the other hand, I just can’t find a use for in any scenario. Phalanx are cheaper, faster, and I couldn’t find a single case where the power output boost on that fighter could be used for anything other than wasted power. Does excess power help anything, or is there something I’m missing here? I’ve found a couple cases where it comes close to being able to have a unique setup, but it’s always .1 or .2 power off. Anyone find something to use these for?

Okay, now my big problem is fighter vs fighter maps. Does the empire have any chance of countering the dual weapon fighters, or should I just use other races? Rockets don’t really seem to be fast enough, and my laser fighters end up getting outlasted. I can’t put armor on the laser fighters because there’s no way to use lasers without a power generator, maybe armor isn’t the way to go about it anyways? Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations.

One thing I tried with some interesting results with the Empire, was to field about 25% fighters with a target painter, and 75% with lasers.

The problem is that cheap rocket fighters are kind of limited. They’re useless against cruisers with shields. Without painters, they don’t score very well in fighter-vs-fighter combat either.

But that 54-point rocket fighter is one thing; the cheapest, armed fighter in the entire game. Maybe some tactics could be developed around that fighter design.

Maybe field a horde of those, accompanied by cruisers which are given orders to (among other things) attack fighters; cruisers equipped with one or two painters apiece.

Cheap isn’t necessarily a good thing for fighters, because what usually limits them is pilot count, not cost.

I can’t think of much use for the Ballista, either.

Empire simply has a weak fighter force. There’s not much to be done about it (besides avoiding fighter-only maps), just be sure to spend the leftover credits on something to support your fighters.

Cheap can be quite handy. Any reduction is cost lets you field something else, so maybe team up cheap fighters with something with tractor beams.

As for the painter/rocket fighters, i like this approach. I find they do better than 2.33 speed tribe laser fighters. The only thing is trying to get the ratios right. Too many, not enough firepower, too little, the painter will rarely be on a fighter thats also being attacked by rockets.

Rockets are good against tribe, and can help a good deal for that final push against an unshielded/unarmoured target. At the start they mightnt be handy, but that doesnt limit them.

If it really comes to your fighters being outlasted, you can always field a bare-bones carrier. Give it a couple Fighter bays, slap on a generator and a Crew Module, and so long as you can keep the enemy fighters away from it, that gives a lot of staying power to your squads without being too expensive. I’ve noticed vast improvements on the survivability of fighters when a carrier is around.

On the other hand, I’ve not tried a single carrier and the rest being fighters - when a fighter retreats, it draws the enemy fighters into a screen of cruiser and frigate fire, which definitely helps.

I find that cheap fighters are important due to one thing - if you field carriers, the cost for building an effective one can add up FAST. Cheap fighters let you field a carrier or two and a few additional support capital ships without reducing your honor gains to nothing.

Though admittedly I’m new to this whole “field nothing but fighters” strategy - I won’t deny that it works, but there’s something atavistically satisfying in watching two opposing cruisers sit and slug it out. :slight_smile:

However cheap fighters have less chances to return to the carrier anyway due the low hitpoints.
And unless you play on 1000 pilots maps, you are going to be short on pilots rather than money.


cheap fighters die very fast, more expensive fighters die fast.
and fighters in general die way too fast to make it back to a cruiser to get repaired.

i tried everything to support them, especially fast cruisers with repair bays which arrive at the battle shortly after the fighters.
sadly, nothing was effective, the cruisers get destroyed without support from the fleet.
if you use fighters on the offensive hope they do some damage to justify their cost, but if the enemy has aa capability don’t rely on them too much.
i see money spent in repair bays as wasted, especially as those few fighters which actually make it back, fly all on their own.


I managed a reasonable rate of fighters that actually reported for repairs. Though I will admit it took deliberately designing armored fighters and giving them a Cautious setting of 80%. So yeah, not the most effective maybe. I do make my carrier-style cruisers slightly slower than molasses, so the fighters have a long way to go for fixin’. Methinks this tactic still needs some refinement.

Easy way to get your fighters to survive for repairs: sprinkle carrier modules among your frontline ships.

I Never have the space in my front-line ships for carriers or the money for and dedicated fighter support. I tried it once, but my fighters got destroyed flying back, and these are my rebel 101 pattern fighters with max armour and high speed.

I just doing it to raise my rating! NOT!

While I certainly won’t claim knowledge of how it works for everyone, I can attest to having a special name for carriers that I tuck out along the front line.

I call them dead. And I call them that very quickly.


But, seriously, I’ve found a single carrier module doesn’t severely affect the performance of a ship designed for other duties, especially when I only give it to every second or third ship.

One potential problem with this approach, is that fighters go to the nearest ship with a carrier module - regardless of how long a queue of fighters it might already have docked waiting for repairs. So you might have 15 carrier modules in your fleet, but only one of them actually active, with a queue of 30 fighters. For this reason alone, I favour having a dedicated carrier ship (maybe more in huge battles,) with many carrier modules, to guarantee that the workload is spread across the modules, and my fighters can get back to the battle quickly.

Carriers aren’t really vulnerable to enemy fire. Just put them a little bit behind your main fleet, with orders to engage at 1500 or 2000, so they don’t move into weapons range. The enemy fleet will attempt to fight your combat ships first, simply because they are close. Leaving the ship completely unarmed also helps - since this’ll make it a very low priority target.

For whatever reason, I can’t seem to keep my carriers out of harm’s way. Mostly because I can’t seem to get them to stay the hell back. The ship has all the speed and maneuverability of a lump of jelly, yet it still bravely “soldiers on”, apparently in the mistaken belief that all the enemy’s guns should have something to shoot at.

Make a dedicated carrier with a similar loadout as your main carriers. Pull 1-2 engines and replace these with repair bays. Replace the carrier’s weapons with fast missiles. Order it to engage at longest range. It will SLOWLY move to max range and then sit there, firing and servicing fighters. Do not put it in formation, or set it to keep moving, or set it to escort.

Also, have your fighters escort your main fleet. They have a much better chance of making it back to the carrier if thev’e got some cover fire.

This sounds similar to what I keep telling my stupid carriers, but maybe having the long-range weapons will encourage them to stay put. Usually I give 'em PD and very little else in the guns department. Yet they still seem to want to give it all for the team. Yeesh.


i think the whole concept of carriers being repair stations for fighters should be abandoned.
fighters, with their current behaviour and the way how carrier bays are working, aren’t just worth it getting repaired.
one would think that, the more bays you equip, the more fighters can be repaired at the same time. instead, they all fly on their own, neatly lined up, to the carrier and back to battle.
even a single bay runs barely out of supply until all fighters are dead or the battle is over.

instead, my idea is to make carrier bays what the name implies: carry fighters.
for example, give one bay the ability to carry a squad of 16 fighters (perhaps with the “escort” order to fighters or whatever fits)and an attack range. this would be the “release” range at which the fighters start from the carrier. think of it as a wepaon, launching a fighter squadron instead of rockets or laser beams.

i think this would be more useful than 10 fighters repaired out of 100…


I agree with this. Make fighter bays a requirement of fielding fighters, and make the fighters return to their home bay when repairing. Having said that, with the rules I setup above, My two-bay carrier seems to be servicing a decent amount of fighters… Maybe 40? That’s 20 per bay… Not bad really considering another shot probably would have exploded the fighters in question, so for the cost of the bay itself, I basically got about 40 new fighters… Working? Definately. Broken? Probably.

I think the carrier modules are quite well balanced. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t. Certain deployments or strategies favour using carriers over using unsupported fighters, others the reverse.

If you have very fast fighters, or very tough fighters, then a very nice proportion of your fighters will get second chances. If you have pretty average fighters, not so many will make it back to the carrier.

If you send your fighters to attack the enemy formation, you’re probably better off with the more concentrated fire you get by letting them stay in combat until death. If you escort your own fleet, it’s much less disruptive to have them popping away from the line for repairs, so long as you have enough bays they don’t have to wait long.

I definitely see carrier use as an interesting decision for each deployment I make. The same fleet often feels about the same strength with or without points invested in a carrier, which suggests to me that carriers are well balanced… And just add fun, rather being than a super weapon (or super dud) :slight_smile:

I strongly dislike the idea of forcing people to deploy carrier modules when they deploy fighters… It’s a reduction of choice in your strategies. If you think fighters are overpowered, then I think it’s better to address that directly rather than removing the decision whether or not to deploy carriers :slight_smile: