Frigates - why?


#1

I’ve been playing the demo and I’m wondering. What is the purpose of the frigate? I’ve tried to use them a couple times and they blow up like cannon fodder? am I doing something wrong?


#2

They’re fragile, but seem to be able to carry useful firepower much cheaper than cruisers.

You might be able to build them to outrun anti-cruiser guns, though I haven’t tried that.


#3

Frigates take some specialization to be useful in my experience. My favorite is to build make a bunch of super cheap torpedo frigates (only launchers, engine and crew) and have them hide behind my cruisers. You might be able to get away with making fast frigates to annoy the enemy as well. They also make decent anti fighter or point def platforms to support your cruisers. Basically the frigates are their to support the cruisers, though I’m sure someone can come up with a frigate only build that would rock. I think one person on the forums mentioned using a bunch of them in a swarm together to cause some havoc.


#4

I can’t decide if I should scale the frigate weapon modules up (cost, weight etc) and make them available for cruisers, or scale down the defensive items to let frigates last beyond the initial volleys of a fight, or if doing either would be cheating. Right now, I don’t use them much, and focus on making cruisers effective in the absence of the frigates.

I too would welcome advice on how to make them useful enough that their use outweighs the frustrations.


#5

I played the game for a whole one day, so my insight is not that deep, but it is clear that frigates are not just small cruisers, trying to use them that way does not work and turning them into those though modding seems pointless.

From what I see critical to using frigates is giving them a formation/escort order tying them to a cruiser. Otherwise they will fly too forward and get slaughtered by enemy cruisers. If they are slightly behind the cruisers though, enemy cruisers will lock on your cruisers leaving the frigates mostly alone. This allows deploying point-defense, anti-figher and middle-range weapons on them, which saves valuable heavy weapons slots on cruisers.

This would be easier if there was an option to save and deploy a template of few ships with predefined interrelated orders, but at least there is a shortcut for Escort order, so it is not that bad.


#6

Frigates give you way more dps per cost than cruisers. I can see why this might not be apparent at first. Having small numbers of frigates means they get blasted away quite early in the fight.

Try spending 50% or more for the total fight dedicated to frigates, and you will really see them shine. Just be sure that you have enough shield piercing weapons on some them to break through cruiser shields.

BTW, I recommend you try making sub 700 cost frigates (or sub 500 if you only put two weapons on) while still maintaining more than 50 of the deployment to frigates. You should be pleasantly surprised.

Edit: Spelling


#7

I just posted a challenge consisting of nothing but frigates, give it a try.


#8

What would an effective fleet (against most challenges or maybe some of the stock missions) comprised of mainly frigates look like? I’m guessing they would need to rely on speed and or armor for protection since frigate shields are so much weaker than cruiser shields. I haven’t found a way to make them work in the absence of a strong wall of cruisers.


#9

Got it first try, amigo. Used only my stock cruisers (and 3 fighters, which were useless because I forgot to set the engagement range so they shot uselessly at shields). However, I will grant you that your Frigafleet did pack a pretty evil burst of damage.

The best way to “make do” with frigates as part of a balanced fleet seems to be to give them the crappiest engines possible so they stay behind cruisers, as far as I can tell. But at the moment, for the same cost, I’d always take a cruiser over some frigates.

Edit: I challenged you back with my mostly-all-cruiser fleet. You should beat it with just frigates (easily possible, didn’t really fine-tune or anything) and we should wage war back and forth, me using ONLY cruisers, you only frigates, until one of us juuust cannn’tt dooo any better. A “scientific” experiment!


#10

I’ll take a look. I made some significant improvements to the frigates after I posted that one. Still trying to find the right balance of armor/shield penetration.


#11

It was fun. First I made my own army of frigates, then I made cruisers that could take them down; but the cruisers I had to make were specialized frigate killers. My normal cruisers just got eaten. :smiley:


#12

Frigates are also good as shields: pack one chock full of armor and set it to escort your more valuable cruiser: from my experience the enemy will first target your frigate and then your cruiser.


#13

It depends on what they have their targeting priorities set to- if its the standard 50% frigate and 75% cruiser, they’ll fire a volley at your frigate as it gets to targeting range, then when your cruiser moves into range, they’ll switch. I think its still better to have your cruiser take the first hit. If you want a frigate in front, load it with anti-missle and anti-fighter gear. It won’t last long, but it’ll help negate long-range/first-strike strategies. Just IMO.


#14

Curse your target painters! hehe