Finding a role for frigates

I’m struggling to find a role for frigates, anything a frigate can do can be done a lot better by a cruiser for a little more cost. A cruiser is a lot more durable and frigates get picked off so it seems like a no brained decision.

Maybe if they shared a more supportive role and complemented cruisers it would be better, like, giving the frigates the cruisers targeting laser or having the cruiser remote repair nearby frigates.

Sadly I find this true as well. Anything two or even three frigates can do chances are one cruiser and a fighter squadron can do it better.

The only exceptions to this are

1: Spamfests - Ion spam and plasma being the most effective. Ive seen challenges with incredibly huge blobs of frigates just steamrolling everything, at least the first few times you try it (then you have to switch to another spam type). Not very fun at all, and doesnt require much thought. (Biggest was 112 Imperial frigates with plasma and no engines, so much of the stuff that even my fighters were hit)

2: “Support” ships for your cruisers. As in, a wall of cruisers with anti cruiser weaponry, and maybe five to eight frigates with tractor beams, missle scramblers and anti fighter stuff following behind.

In short there isnt really any fleet where your main force would be frigates backed up by cruisers. Frigates are more fragile then fighters with potentially more destructive force but rarely do they ever get to use it because by the first minute mark their all torn up by fighters or missles. I know GSB isnt based on realism but it does seem a bit silly if your 50 tonne frigates with armour plating and shielding are dying to a couple of fighters in seconds.

I reckon that your idea is good Winter: introducing command and communication, repair and targeting modules that affect more than one ship could help to make a group of frigates stronger than the sum of its parts, rather than just cannon fodder. Rather than going for maxed out cruisers with fighters you might then consider using frigates more; for example instead of a group of six cruisers and two anti fighter frigates, you would use two cruisers, one with anti fighter and one with modules that boost the offensive power and accuracy of nearby frigates. Perhaps, escorts with target painters and cloaking fields, lighting up enemy cruisers for your own missle ships, then hiding.

Just some thoughts, I encourage any of you out there to post good balanced frigate designs and share your own strategies.

I agree. Frigates just go down realy fast by Fighters or Cruisers. And in fire power is cheaper get 1 Cruiser than get lots of Frigates. 1 Cruiser normaly can kill 2x frigates cost of it self or more. Unless Frigates can go out of its weapon range, but even then they cant normaly past Cruisers defence. Few times they been nice for taking fighters if you build only to kill them, but only work vs small group of them. But it normaly come cheaper to counter fighters with 1 Cruiser if there is lots of them. Other way get some use for them is to gives them long range missile or plasma and dont put any shield or armor and keep them behind lines, But this only work if other guy dont have fighters.

I wish that they come usefull someday in normal battle becouse i like realy how few frigate look and could build more complex fleets. Now its only cruisers and fighters.

After few hour of thinking i wish to see that Frigates could be good vs heavy waepon Cruisers. So Heavy weapon got hard time hitting them. atm lots of guys run mass plasma cannon ships. So could be nice counter vs them with right build. Now Frigates go down after few Plasma hits.

S=Small weapon
M= Medium weapon
H= Heavy weapon

Fighter can have S and M weapon and are normaly weak vs S (Good to avoid M and H)
Frigate can have all weapon and are normaly weak vs M (Good to avoid H)
Cruisers can have all weapon and are normaly weak vs H (Can resist/tank S and M)

Not sure what the game maker has plan for this games but i love to see this type of idea in ships. Where there is counter for all. Game is mostly like this but Frigates go easily down normaly by all weapons.


my problem with frigates is, that i can’t find the right mix for shields an weapons.
frigates are just too fragile and i rarely see them survive the first 2 minutes of a battle when they are in the first line.

but adding more shields or armor would make those ships even slower and sacrificing weapons to shields or armor means those frigates have zero effect on the enemy.

i would be happy when frigates just were faster as they now are, that said make their engines better.


I’m actually finding frigates quite fun atm.

Essentially I make them massively specialist and deploy them in groups, my favourites including:

AA Frigate - All 4 weapon slots taken by Anti-fighter missiles. Rapist of bomber squadrons and nice escort ships for dealing with fighter squadrons which get released when their escort ship blows.

Disruptor/Shield Popper Frigates - 2 Disruptor launchers and 2 small beam weapons focusing on armour damage. The idea is to open a hole for the heavy hitters.

EMP/Tacklers - 3 EMP missile racks and a frigate beam to nibble away at ships without relfective shields. The good range on EMP missiles ensures a good proportion of the enemy fleet is stun locked at all times.

Armed with my firgate specialists, I basically use my cruisers as either shield or armour tanks with missile point defense/jammers and the odd tractor beam to soak up incoming fire while my frigates go to work. The cruisers weaponry is often aimed at high armour damage or shield cutting, depending on what I’m up against.

Oh, and let’s not forget some super cheap, no engine missile artillery spammage cruisers lobbing fireworks all over the show =]

If your frigates are popping to fighters early on, you need to change their loadout. Put some anti-fighter spamage nearby, or just make a variant with a single ant-fighter weapon and keep your frigates massed. Create some Interceptor type fighters to aid them if needed. If they pull too much attention from the enemy early on, I put them in formation with a Cruiser built to absorb damage and make sure their weapons are long enough range that they can sit behind their cruiser shield and launch death at my enemies.

It all comes down to countering the enemy, and frigates can be a cheap way to do it if they are able to get to optimal range and unload. Great stuff when it works.

I might have judge them too early. First challenge what i havent been able to beat had tons of frigates front and had mass plasma cannon cruisers behind. Might need to just build them more diffirnt way than just support roles what have been doing mainly. Time to go test more diffirent builds on them.

I disagree completely. A group of well designed frigates with a variety of weaponry can do a lot of damage before going down.

I make three types of frigates:

AAA frigates, which use defense lasers and anti-fighter missiles exclusively

Battle frigates, which are jacks of all trades, masters of none

And Assault frigates, for plasma spam

Occasionally I make a torpedo frigate, but my battle frigates really shine on their own in small groups. They’re fast (especially the Rebel ones, those are nice!) and although they die fast, they often each take a ship or two with them.

The only way I found Frigates to be useful so far has been as support ships.

I usually always have my cruisers accompanied in formation with frigs fitting 4x point defense for missile defense.

If not that, than lots and lots of anti-fighter spammage.

It’s the shields. A nasty blob of rocket fighters can drop a whole row of frig shields on the first pass. Distant antiarmor cruiser beams also do horrible things to the poor guys. Why bother?

The frig shields have a place, but probably for high speed frigates with evasive orders actually capable of dodging some fire.

I’m starting to use an unshielded armored frig model for any formation frigates I deploy, and I’m a lot happier with those. The space requirements get a bit easier once you realize that you can throw away the shield generator along with all the crew and power required to run it. You pay a bit more, but you actually get to play with your frigates some in the face of rocket fighter spam without taking unusually extreme measures to field AA.

The average armor is a function of how many modules you have, so a simpler design is better here. I’m still trying to figure out an appropriate pricerange.

Would you mind posting your current best design? I’ve fiddled with armour-only frigates, but had no success.

Swordfish frigate (10% armor, 13% speed)

(1) Frig engine 3
(1) Power gen 2 or 3
(1) Crew module 1 or 2
(2) ion cannons
(2-5) Frigate Powered armor (frigate armor 3 if power is a problem)
One or two additional weapons

Armor is divided among all your modules, so under no circumstances should you have more than one crew module or power generator. Empty space doesn’t hurt, either.

This is alliance’s smallest frigate, and I deploy these particular ones in small packed formations around short ranged cruisers with deflection shields with the intent of slugging it out up close with heavily shielded targets. Mine range from 17-25 average armor and I usually have at least a beam, aa missile or low power launched weapon also attached. Cruiser lasers have an armor penetration of 15, so that’s probably a good minimum starting point. Armor degrades over time, so some buffer won’t hurt.

Speed will usually range from 0.2 to 0.3, which keeps up with my plodding alliance cruisers. You can get the armor value over 30 with a two weapon design, but that’s definitely not practical.

The supposed bonus for going frigates is that you can get a whole lot more guns for cheaper. I suspect many of my variants are borderline too expensive for this, but I haven’t had a chance to set up tests against cost-efficient fleets.

I finally get it. What I was missing is that the armour strength is the armour amount divided by all modules.

thank you

I also find that if frigates have enough speed they cannot be hit by any but the most basic cruiser weapons. I usually do this and give them ion cannons against fleets with large cruiser groups where they support my cruisers.

On mssions without fighters, nippy frigates should be a huge pain in the arse for lumbering cruisers - essentially fast enough to avoid getting hit by the big guns whilst still carrying enough sting to pop shields and carve off armour sections when deployed in groups.

Frigates give you the advantage of multiple gun platforms which are difficult to track simultaneously by a single ship.

Remember that you can build cheap frigates with only a single weapon to keep the speed up! Essentially the mid-range equivalent of the rocket fighters =]

The thing is, Frigates aren’t supposed to be able to stand toe-to-toe with Cruisers. If they could, it would be a serious misbalance in the game. So yes, if you send in Frigates to tangle with angry Cruisers, they’re going to get popped, as they should. It would be like a couple of US destroyers taking out the Yammato or the Bismark by themselves in World War 2. Ain’t gonna happen, and nor should it.

In a support role, Frigates can be very useful. My two Frigate designs are Missile Artillery with enough range that they can hang back safely behind my wall of Cruisers, and Escort Frigates who have explicit orders not to come anywhere near an enemy capital ship.

I can say that I’ve noticed that Frigates die pretty fast to swarms of Rocket Fighters, but that may just be poor design choices on my part. But at the same time, fighters are only a minor threat to a properly designed Heavy Cruiser. If they couldn’t kill Frigates either, then who would ever use them?

While I’m sure there are better strategies out there, I’m fond of making fast frigates (basically and engine, weapon, and power) that aren’t placed near my other major formations.

I should probably call them suicide frigates because they will die, but they make a fine distraction and will usually tie up a portion of the enemy fleet while my main formations move through the rest. I’m also a big fan of pairing an anti-fighter and anti-missile frigate with a loaded cruiser in a formation. It costs more but I think its more effective than trying to equip enough anti-fighter/missile weaponry on the cruiser itself.

How do you do that? I would love to have certain ship designs hang back at their maximum weapon range and just lob missiles instead of charging into the fray.

Units appear to retreat at the halfway mark of their designated engagement range. So you could sort of do a retreat with a high-priority attack order on cruisers with range 2000, giving you a retreat range of 1k. Which isn’t much, considering your ships have to do a big u-turn afterward and will probably unload on whatever cruisers are nearby while they’re doing it.

It’s kind of clunky way to do it… the hard part becomes getting your units in range to begin with if the ship types aren’t present in the way you want.

My favorite setup is having 16 Torpedo Frigates with 4 Torpedo Launchers each, backed up by 3 Anti-Frigate and/or Anti-Fighter Cruisers, and then spending the rest of my money on whatever I can afford. It works amazingly well on the missions you get in demo, even though you lose a number of frigates. I used to use mostly cruisers backed up by frigates, but this seems to work better.