General Strategy

So, here’s my dilemma: I suck. No, really, I seem to be shooting in the dark (no pun intended). Despite my best efforts, I can’t get beyond 20k in survival, even having read about ship designs that other players have used to get over 150k. What’s the trick?

Here’s what I’ve found:

  • The best defense against fighters is some decent armor and a repair system. It’s going to take a long time to kill the fighters no matter what you do, so you have to make sure you can stay alive long enough to do it.
  • No amount of shields and armor will save you from heavy plasma. You either need to be moving fast enough to avoid it or kill that ship before it kills you.
  • Fast fighters are hard to hit. REALLY hard to hit. Your best chance is a heavily-armored cruiser with cruiser defense lasers and tractor beams. They won’t die quickly, but they will die.
  • The fastest way to take down an enemy cruiser is with fast fighters with laser cannons ordered to minimum range. The only problem is, even the fast ones seem to die quickly.
  • A slow fighter is a dead fighter. Torpedo bombing and especially target painters will just get you killed.
  • Taking down the enemy’s shields is 80% of the battle. Once shields are down, ships seem to die quickly. A heavily-shielded ship can be VERY difficult to take down because most weapons will just reflect. Your ships need at least a few weapons with high shield penetration or at least some kind of ECM to drop their shields.
  • Is there even a use for frigates? I can’t seem to make them fast enough to avoid heavy weapons, strong enough to live through them, or powerful enough to make a dent in the enemy.
  • Missiles are great (with 1.12), but only if the enemy doesn’t have point defense. If they do, don’t even bother.

Any other pearls of wisdom people can add, or any axioms I’ve made here that you disagree with? I’d really like to start challenging the high scores on survival, but so far I’m not even up to par.

Frigates are fine in normal gameplay but they are bait in survival, simply because they don’t have the regenerative / defensive capability of cruisers.

Empire cruisers are vulnerable to fighters, but you’re going to take constant attrition damage on your fighter squads so you might be better off with more cruisers.

Try Fast Missiles.

You might also look into ECM Shock Missiles/Beams. These are excellent defensive tools. The ECM Shock Beams do not even need to be mounted in a weapons hardpoint.

I find the best strategy for frigates is often to use them as cheap behind-the-lines weapons platforms. Load them with long-range stuff then put them in formation behind a defensive wall of cruisers with some fighter escort. I’ve seen this strategy posted elsewhere on the boards so I guess it must have something going for it…obviously it’s no use in survival though.

Great idea, Joe. I keep forgetting that the enemy will generally target the first thing that gets in range. It seems strange to use frigates as artillery, but they do have some long range weapons and cruisers definitely make better tanks. I’ll try this out.

I love the ECM shock beams. They don’t just disable the anti missile weapons either… they disable all of them. What better defense than a weapon that turns off your opponent’s weapons?

Yeah they are pretty great! One tip is to mount them as far forward on your ship as possible so you get the first ECM shot off.

This works because you can make incredibly dirt cheap torpedo platforms this way. But they are horribly horribly vulnerable to fighter strikes unless you shell out for armor, which can as much as double the price.

One of the Rebel frigates can mount like 6 torpedo tubes for ~450 points… xD

Now I don’t actually have 1.12 so I’ve never played survival mode, but I would think using fighters at all in an attrition battle would be pointless. Only ships that can regenerate are of any use (and indeed, that last long enough TO regenerate somewhat).

As for missiles, I found in some of my early builds that a large number of multi-warhead missiles worked wonders, simply by firing an impossible number of missiles to take down. The first few missiles will be shot down but then the point defences will be completely overwhelmed and a flood of missiles will start impacting the target, hell even the missiles that miss serve a purpose, they’ll be decoys that draw point defence fire as more on target missiles hit. Shields, armour, it’s no defence against that volume of fire. My only problem with the missiles was a huge number of projectiles would be wasted, flying off into space when a target is destroyed.

Furthermore, I’ll agree with the people praising ECM shock beams, they’re brilliant. I always try to mount one on every cruiser design I make if possible.

RobnHood, Erlandr, Netraik, you guys seem to have this survival thing down to a science. Can you offer any insight? I’m really interested in your rational: how do you choose weapons, formations, etc.

Some general tips for survival:

  • I use cruisers only, the biggest hull I can find
  • Placement is important, I tend towards the top of the map
  • You only need ~10 armor per ship for defense against fighters
  • I use reflective shields for their higher resistance, don’t know if this is a good move or not :slight_smile:
  • I use several weapons, including plasma, cruiser lasers, beam lasers, defense lasers, and tractor beams
  • As many nano repair modules as you can fit while still taking care of business

With the right setup the only real damage is the 2% criticals from fighters, which turns into attrition. Eventually your nano repairs will run out, its just a matter of finding the right balance to keep your ships going for as long as possible :slight_smile:

Do you bring any fighters as anti-fighter cover? I found that that seemed to work better than dedicated anti-fighter cruisers, but it sounds like you’ve gotten the cruisers to work for you.

Aside from that, that’s basically the loadout I’ve had the best luck with - cruisers with about 10 armor, plenty of shields (I use 3 fast-recharge, but there’s not a lot of difference), 2 nano repairs, and plasma and/or a mix of cruiser lasers and cruiser pulse lasers.

Currently no fighters. If I had budget leftover and nothing to spend it on then I would consider fighters, but they usually die out before the 100k mark.