I’d like to talk about modules that are so good that fleets should not be without them. This isn’t a nerf thread; in fact it’s the opposite: I think more stuff like this should be encouraged.
GSB(1 & 2) has always had a problem with hard counter modules. Are you up against a fleet with no fighters?
- Copy it verbatim.
- Remove all anti-fighter units and modules.
- Use the saved money to buy anything else.
- Guaranteed win through better spending.
Since fighters aren’t completely integral for any given strategy or effect, they become interchangeable with other classes. Interceptor fighters, limpets or tractors become risky investments and potential deadweight for your fleet if your opponent opts out. This type of rock-paper-scissors isn’t entirely healthy or satisfying.
However, there are some very powerful effects that prompt interesting fleet ecosystems in their wake.
The most obvious is the Shield Support Beam (SSB). This module is powerful enough to make entire fleet arrangements obsolete; The Kraugerisk version is so good that going up against their SSB arrangements without some sort of concession is virtual suicide. If you don’t use these, you’re missing out.
Why this is good: The first obvious weak point of every fleet is now the destroyer. A emerging niche of destroyer assassination is now available, and opting out of using destroyers to make this a waste is not a great idea. An admiral can freely budget for low-penetration units and modules with the intention of sniping out destroyers, because there’s an insurance plan - if your opponent turns out not to be using destroyers, you get SSB’s and he doesn’t.
Another such module is the Cruiser EMP missile. This excellently ranged weapon has such harm-reduction potential for your fleet - 3s of stopping fire is the next best thing to outright blowing up a ship. This weapon exerts pressure away from having just a few, powerfully defended ships, as significant percentages of a fleet can be locked down otherwise.
Why this is good: It’s a missile. The insurance plan here is point defense.
Other effects: Due to the nature of point defense, EMP encourages the use of additional missiles (to mask the shots), and may be partially responsible for why we haven’t seen many plasma-centric fleets take off. Most point defense is centered on destroyers so many of the dynamics introduced by SSB’s are further cemented by the need for the overextended destroyer to be present on both the front and rear lines.
I actually think EMP missiles should be made better, either in the form of extended payload or having EMP interrupt effects like holoprojectors, tractors, and SSB’s. It’d also be great if the earsplitting noise involved was… different.
What we’re looking for here is stuff that is so good, that you should expect your opponent to either have them, or to be at a severe disadvantage. Can anyone think of anything else? Should we encourage more?
Potential new avenues:
Carriers: I’ve been exploring untethered fighter “cavalry charge” deployments for a while. Since there (thankfully) isn’t a fighter defense in the game that can stop a whole mess of fighters quickly, there will always be some shock value in dumping a lot of fighters with a lot of guns on top of a very small area at the same time.
I’m hoping the upcoming torpedo change helps open up this as an option for all races. Rocket fighter rushes are already attractive if not risky; but I’m still noticing a disappointing lack of carriers in fleets that I come across.
Frigates: Frigates are completely without a niche right now, as high-speed destroyer assassination is too dangerous for them and near everything else they’re capable of is better performed by a cruiser, despite the price difference. Their saving grace may be the fact they just aren’t destroyers - most fleets at this point are just outright ignoring them as they are almost killed by accident.
I wonder if increasing their defensive values isn’t warranted, so they could range away from the fleet without the need for as much protection. They could have a role in skirmishing against destroyers or blunting fighter rushes if only they could be made to move more intelligently.