Guidance Scrambler Beam too good?


I’ve only been playing this game for a good week, so it might be my inexperience, but I notice in the challenges that anything that has Guidance Srambler Beams in significant numbers, makes all rockets/missiles basically useless. It just seems to take everything out before it has a chance to hit.
Of course you can use non missile/rocket weapons, but it kind of invalidates a large part of the weapons spectrum.

Or am I doing things wrong?


Well, as you said. If your opponet uses countless scramblers he loses much of his attack power. This gives you the chance to build ships with countless shields and emp. Or you could deploy a hand full of frigates with either dummies to make the scramblers useless, or emp for example which disable the scramblers of your enemy. You could also install no rockets or missiles. But as I said, if you don’t want to give up on missiles, just overmass him with multiwarhead and dummies, so his scramblers only can kill a small amount of them…


You’re right that it’s effective, but it has it’s limitations. Without it, I think missile swarms would probably get out of control.

Some fleets have a lot of trash flying about, and the scrambler doesn’t get too picky when choosing what to shoot down. When there’s a cloud of rocket fighters overhead and a dozen launchers dumping decoyed missiles on a target, that scrambler gets overwhelmed quickly.

Scramblers don’t work while the ship is under the effects of EMP, if you wish to mitigate it’s effects. Unfortunately the only two EMP options are a low-tracking beam and a missile, so there’s a degree of difficulty involved there.


Both EMP and decoy missiles have a much short range than the rockets/missiles themselves. At the ranges where you’d like to see your missiles (1200-700) these don’t seem suitable for anti-scrambler tactics.

I’ve tried adding a couple frigates into the mix that just spam missiles, to create more scrambler targets, but those do not make a big difference.

It’s only once you’ve closed from 1200 to about 700, that you seem to be able to deploy some defenses against scrammblers, but by then you can just as well mount lasers on your ships anyway as the larger range advantage of the missiles has by then dissapeared.


Maybe it’s that the kind of fleets that can outspam a scrambler setup are no fun. I can build some very cheap cruisers (1200), that basically sit there at a speed of 0.03 or something, and spam missiles and decoys once they have an enemy within 700 range.

But that doesn’t invalidate my point that when the enemy uses scramblers, any of the long range (900-1200) missiles are basically useless. Without scramblers they are already missing most of the time, but with scramblers they seem to have lost any use.

The only combination I can see, is with lot’s of torpedo fighters.


Not entirely. They have a fair range to them but I wouldn’t say that’s their only strength. Missiles with painter assist (which counters tracking problems) put out very dangerous high-penetration damage spikes that just power their way through enemy defenses.

Launchers can only refire once the current missile has expired, meaning that they increase in damage output considerably as the launcher gets close to the target provided they can continue to connect shots. As an extreme example, I think the max damage range for a megaton launcher looks to be something like 310-320 meters due to it’s slow speed - that’s as far as it can travel before the launcher is ready to fire again. It should be painted on target due to the potential of a miss, which is a considerable penalty for a missile that slow.

If you’re looking to purely standoff targets at the 800 meter range, plasma weapons have always been a good bet. They’re balanced towards poor tracking and lowish damage, but they can’t be countered with scramblers. If your opponent refuses to move closer or does so too slowly, plasma will strip away shielding at the very least.

From the perspective of a fleet that closes with short range weapons, you need enough speed and shielding to bypass plasma attacks and enough point defense to survive painted missiles (which typically ignore speed). This advantage comes at considerable expense if you’re up against a fleet that does not rely on missiles or spends less on speed.


Then that is what scramblers should counter. I’m talking about the range from 1200-700, outside painter range. The combination of the scramblers having a high range and not destroying the missile so a new one can’t be fired, makes that any fleet that has 6 or more scramblers is basically immune to missile fire from 1200-700 metres away.

I don’t have an issue with the scrambler being an effective counter at these kinds of ranges.

Plasma weapons have a range of 800 or so, I’m talking about the range from 1200 down.

My argument is that scramblers are so good, that even if you have only a few in your fleet, it makes the long range missiles so ineffective, that a stationairy non-missile based fleet is always better.

I think that the scrambler needs a shorter range. Or I’ve been miscounting the number of scramblers in the challenges I’ve played, for example I think each cruiser in SAC3 has one, if they have two then it’s a different argument.


Well, it’s obviously not my place to comment on the game’s design, but there’s also mission scale to consider, and I can see why the long range set of weapons would be intentionally kept ineffective. The danger of having a strong 1200m weapon system is that players can fit much more weapons in the volume of 1200 meters around a target than say, the volume of a weapon that shoots 400m. (or area, considering this is 2d) Most of the weapons in the game fall well under the 950 range and we want them to get some play, too.

In larger conflicts, you could easily get past the point where there are enough incoming missiles to cooperatively one-shot a cruiser in a single volley. Unless you’ve got all of your scramblers trained on that particular point of space, which is unlikely, the missiles are getting through. Painting can always be done by small advance ships or fighters, what matters is the position of the launchers.

I mean, I sort of get where you are coming from, but point defense is just the general flaw that missiles need to have. To me, right now it seems just as necessary to have a scrambler as it is necessary to have a shield to protect against beams. I’d certainly like to see some incentive to spread (shortrange) fleets out more, but that has more to do with the AI set than anything else.

Check out Dogthinker’s 12/14/09 Caspian IV fleet, if it’s still there, as an example of a large missile engagement. That is a very difficult fleet to beat without missiles and/or point defense.


60-90 multiple warhead missile launchers can blow up a cruiser in a single volley, depending on the cruiser.


I think the Scrambler is there to keep the game from becoming a missle-whore-spamfest. Lets keep the space battles from becoming gratuitously boring.


The scrambler beam is balanced just about right. It helps make for a lot of interesting matches and mismatches in the challenges.

Single-scrambler cruisers can be fairly easily overwhelmed.

When you start getting into double-scrambler cruisers as your front-line ships; that’s when the ship designs begin to become unbalanced. Those cruisers are typically good against missiles (as expected), but are at a handicap against non-missile (or rocket) fleets; in which case scramblers are mostly useless.

When you’ve got scramblers on your ships, and the other player has no missiles or rockets whatsoever, then the other player has the advantage.


I will figure out tonight how many scramblers a defending fleet needs to prevent a missile fleet with 60 launchers from damaging anything but shields before they get into painter range.


Actually, the opposite is true. Any stationary non-missile based fleet will certainly be beaten by a properly constructed missile heavy fleet. The only way to stop that is by having a small or limited map. i.e. a map so small the enemy fleets must begin within beam range, or which is supply limited or budget or pilot limited to prevent enough missile launchers from being used.

Post a challenge with any stationary non-missile based fleet on, say, the Defend Caspian IV map. Put in as many scramblers as you want and I will counter challenge with a missile fleet that certainly defeats it.


I think the bigger problem here is that Scramblers make the regular point defence redundant.