I liked quick rocket and laser fighters in gsb 1, but I have never really gotten good results with dtrike crafts I In the sequel.
What weapons do you use and in what roles do you deploy them?
Is breakneck speed still the goal with each design or is a certain speed "good enough "?
Do you armour them or deploy them in any special way to keep hem safe?
I have not been able to use fighters in the game so far, except to fight player challenges without any anti-fighter measures. All the battles originally in the game seem to have plenty of that, so to field it there hardly will give you a highscore, since they all seem to eat through your fighters. I for one has not been able to make it work at least. When I get fighters attacking my fleet, it’s most of the time, easy to pick them down with cruisers or destroyers costing a fraction of what the fighters does OR just ignoring them the whole battle, by having shield support destroyers behind my larger ships.
To put the story short, fighters and bombers seem too weak to be cost-efficient in the game right now. They can be fun to play around with, but they are not worth it cost-wise. The last battle Cliff released though, The Gamorlian Expanse, fielded some pretty potent fighter (or gunship?) power, that got a free buff from no-shields (which is my regular fighter defense), but I was still able to wipe almost all of them with cruisers for about half the cost on expert. Was a tough one though. Possibly some unleashed potential in the limpets, but I don’t think it’s enough to make them viable.
If I can suggest a buff on fighers Cliff, I would seriously buff almost everything on them a lot. Engine power, damage, hull strength, armor. Then I would cut drastically down on pilots on all battles. Some could allow more than others. I belive that would make fighters and gunships viable costwise and fun, while still ensuring that they don’t dominate too much. Is it too much, you could always nerf it later. I guess finding a balance that works for old scenarios is a challenge there. You could either change the scenarios, or just make new parts, so that you would have to make new designs to benefit from the fighter buff.
Because fighters can no longer get under the shields of cap ships, and because they can’t carry their own hyperdrive and require a carrier, AND because they now require fuel, they’re largely useless in GSB2. The first change is most damaging, since you absolutely have no chance of even damaging a cap ship now until the shields drop, but any one of these changes alone would have curtailed their usefulness severely. All three at once have rendered them a mere footnote.
The only weapons that are of any use on fighters currently are the pulse laser and the dogfight missile. Other weapons are too heavy or, like the micropulse laser, too weak to be of any use.
Breakneck speed is still indeed the goal, it will keep your fighters alive longer than anything else, but unfortunately it’s nearly impossible in GSB2 to get them to a survivable speed (unless you’re Y’ootan) thanks to the fuel requirement. Heck, even Kraugerisk dreadnoughts can consistently hit fighters with pulse cannons thanks to their innate targeting boost on every hull.
Armor in GSB1 was a detriment to fighter survival – it simply slowed them down too much in exchange for negligible protection – and is even moreso in GSB2 (if you can even fit it on the frame now, thanks to the fuel tank).
There is one use and one use only that I’ve found for fighters, and that’s to set a wing of them (just one wing, mind) on Escort for a capital ship at a distance of about 300. They’ll act as a defensive screen by distracting the fire of enemy cap ships away from the ship they’re escorting. Other than that, though, they’re pretty pointless, and as aiven points out, far too expensive compared to other ships that can do the exact same thing they can do.
Fighters have no objective in GSB2. That is their single most glaring weakness. In GSB1 you would use Laser Fighters to go after Cruisers and Rocket Fighters to kill every un-armored Frigate. IMO the writing was on the wall with the Outcasts expansion, where those Multi-Point Tractor Beams were a complete counter to Fighters. The fact that Tractor beams auto-hit is the main problem of them, but the result was that against tractor beams, Fighters were not cost effective in their primary roles.
Carriers and Fuel are actually nice additions, but the auto-hit Tractors and lack of achievable objectives given current Fleet Defenses makes Fighters pointless. Cruisers don’t take damage anymore, Combat Frigates are jokes, and even a pair of Shield Support Destroyers are incredibly hard to kill.
I sometimes deploy small craft as screening units under escort orders (300-600m depending on the enemy). They are there to disrupt firing runs if the enemy tries to deploy strike craft and also to serve as decoys and fast skirmishers once the escorted ship is destroyed (and Fighters don’t take explosion damage). I only use fast Gunships, as they are durable enough to make it back to a Light Carrier bringing up the rear, and tend to deploy 1-2 squadrons per escort target (so maby 4-8 squadrons in a 100k+ battle, rarely up to 12). It depends on how many anti-missile and shield support Destroyers I deploy.
I never use anything but Pulse Lasers (although I do have designs for several different weapons); they deal 3x the damage of Dogfight missiles. It is best to deploy a gimped fighter using a hull with a built-in tracking boost for the laser than an optimized design with the dogfight missile.
Fighter missiles are just like the rockets from GSB1, in that they fully penetrate frigate/destroyers. You can even penetrate the destroyer medium shields with dogfight missiles. Fighter missiles are actually a bit better this time around - or rather, frigates are worse - because it’s near impossible to armor up a frigate to the point of resisting missiles.
Since the destroyer beam supports are so powerful - especially the ridiculous Kraugerisk ones - this is probably the largest single effect fighters can have on a battle. Most point defense is also destroyer based as a bonus. Unlike torpedo bombers, rocket fighters are cheap and relatively difficult to stop in a timely manner.
Granted, there’s not a lot of counterplay for the inevitable responses, but it’s a sure way to punish uncontrolled spam of shield support destroyers. There’s a lot of challenges where you can clear the destroyers out by simply sending your fighters screaming from the carrier.
Going one step further, to fill this hole, an opponent must:
Field tractors or elaborate painter/limpet/missile setups, which may spend the rest of the match idle
Bring a whole bunch of pulse fighters, which might work on inferior rocket fighters
Use more destroyers, or none at all
A good question is if one can pull it off for cost, treating the rocket fighters as disposable units.
Although Missile Fighters are supposedly good against Frigates and Destroyers, they are easily countered by Destroyers outfitted with RTS Scramblers. A single anti-missile DD defending your escorts is worth a full squadron of missile fighters for half the cost. Those DDs not only neuter strike fighters - they also work against shield disruptor bombs and conventional missiles. The worst part is that support destroyers are ‘unarmed’ - they are often the last priority when other FFs and DDs are shooting back.
It is best to deploy support DDs in groups of 3-4; one Scramble DD in front with 2-3 Shield Support right behind. Not only do they synergize with cruisers, together with multi-point tractors and backed by cruiser pulse lasers (and maby a small gunship squadron), no strike craft assault is cost-effective without completely overwhelming numbers.
You’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, here. Every credit spent on defending shield support destroyers is another credit not spent elsewhere.
As Deeps has shown in challenges, the Kraugerisk rush is probably the most dominant setup in the game right now. Most races can’t even imitate it, as they can’t hope to go toe-to-toe with the Kraugerisk support beam - it has 890 range, a 50% faster transfer rate, 66% more reserve power - just crazy stats across the board. If the enemy gets to use these uninhibited, you’re probably going to lose. There’s a giant niche here waiting to be explored, and fighters are probably the only class that can do it.
Overwhelming numbers are precisely what fighters are good at - they are fast and dynamic actors. If the goal is assassination, all of your fighters should be hitting at the same time in the same place anyway. We’re talking 16/32/48/etc volleys at a time here, I’d be impressed by any localized destroyer setup that could handle that kind of volume.
Fighters have a lot of problems, (like their reliance on torpedoes for cruiser work) but I don’t think this is one of them.
How would people feel about a super-light, but not cheap module for fighters that scrambled tractor beams and made them difficult to lock on to? I can imagine it being a nice use for a ‘spare’ module slot, and would encourage more use of limpets, just in case the enemy fighters were packing tractor-scramblers
Cliff, it could certainly alleviate the lack of a real decision when it comes to the choice of anti-strike-craft method. One quite probable result is a push of the “meta” towards gunships.
Look at my suggestion for combined shield disruption and resistance reduction in the shield thread for another important part of the puzzle (a reasonable way to have strike craft wings capable of threatening shielded cruisers).
It’s an interesting idea, but to be honest I think it’s only a bandaid. Tractor beams are markedly more effective in GSB2 than they were in GSB1, it’s true; it’s not uncommon in GSB1 for a fighter with enough speed or what is at the extreme range of a tractor beam to break free of its grip before the beam can pull it to a complete stop. I haven’t seen that happen in GSB2. But the problems for fighters are quite a bit broader than just tractor beam effectiveness.
I’m not sure those exist on fighters. Or gunships for that matter.
I really dislike the introduction of hard-counter modules like this: Yes, it would hurt tractors (if the module is good) so opponent AA setups should theoretically diversify. There are plenty of other options available. Fighter deployments, on the other hand, must now play an awful guessing game between diluting their unit effectiveness or simply ignoring the option. This is a wildly unsatisfying choice whether or not you happen to be correct at the time.
Tractors ironically have the same problem. They’re deadweight if your opponent does not take any strike craft.
Depending on how often this device is able to cool down and be used again, I’d potentially find it to be desirable. It would also depend upon how high the probability is for successfully forcing a tractor beam lock-on to fail.
Oh, and since we’re talking not just about making the device super-light but also installing it aboard fighters and gunships, then we also need to talk about power consumption. That, too, had best be made super-light (or even zero). I won’t mind the extra financial cost of it very much, as long as I don’t have to also slow down my one-man craft by being forced to trade-up to the next larger size of power generator.
Agreed – but since fighters and gunships already have extremely few slots of any type, this is a major complication.
Cliff, what constitutes a “spare” slot here? You spec’d this game’s one-man craft to have virtually no practical amount of slack space.
What can a pilot realistically afford to give up - without becoming either unacceptably vulnerable to other forms of incoming attack - that won’t also come close to functionally scoring a “mission kill” on any given design loadout, before that fighter or gunship even leaves its carrier at the start of the battle?
Specifically regarding the proposed anti-tractor scrambler, here’s a way out of that trap:
[size=125]A )[/size] Given that one-man craft are already very often being ushered to their doom by the enemy’s lavish use of tractor beams;
[size=125]B )[/size] And also given that finding space for the player to optionally install a countermeasure for the above is quite difficult;
[size=125]C )[/size] I therefore suggest that the ability your proposed module confers should instead become a [size=115]built-in[/size], permanent, intrinsic property of the fighter and gunship hulls themselves.
One-man craft have an existing built-in immunity to all EMP weaponry as well as all ship explosions. These involve no additional installation of defensive modules by the player. My suggestion is no different.
Hmmmm. That’s a trade-off which, my above argument to the contrary, is actually a good thing to leave in the player’s hands. Generally, the more numerous & useful options the player has, the better GSB2 becomes. I seem to be back at square one…is preservation of player choice here actually worth disposing with the “streamlining” idea of making tractor-scrambling a built-in feature of all fighters and gunships?
Viewed from the other direction: is making all those tiny craft able to, no-module-needed, have at least some chance to shrug-off enemy tractor beams worth the reduction in player-accessible tactical choice?
I can’t help but think that both of the above while important, are probably too narrow a view.
Once again, we’re confronted with the reality that the immediate dilemma here is really just one subset of the wider problem that one-man craft are too limited functionally, partly because the number of slots aboard fighters and gunships is painfully & unnecessarily tiny. I think that all fighters should have five module slots instead of four, and all gunships should have six module slots instead of five. This was clear to me during closed-alpha playtesting, and unfortunately that problem is still with us. But it doesn’t end at slot counts, nor with super-obvious notions like much less wasteful engines (hell yes!), lighter & more-efficient armor, alternate anti-fighter-system specs, etc. …
If, as I strongly believe there should be, there were numerous additional other “optional”, but still useful, secondary modules available to all one-man craft, we would have a much better situation for the game’s smallest units. Ever since GSB1, we have been stuck with almost nothing more than the bare minimum of engines, guns, power and armor. As things are now, there’s such a needlessly constrained menu of player choice for design loadouts on one-man craft that they’re often even worse than ineffective - too often, they’re simply [size=110]boring[/size] to use. That state robs the game of a substantial chunk of potential value, and for no good reason.
That’s a sharp-eyed view of things; thanks. I cannot remember if in GSB2 I’ve seen even a single instance of a fighter break free from an enemy tractor beam.
It’s good to know that others aside from me are seeing parts of the wider problem.
The above is another part of why I’m not only pushing the idea of another 1 slot for fighters and gunships alike, but also more equipment choice to plug into said slots - more numerous, more useful, and more interesting. These should introduce new abilities to fighters and gunships, instead of merely making it possible to support additional guns and/or bigger guns.
Like you, yurch, I also want us to be able to maintain unit effectiveness in general (especially with regards to fighter speed, and what it takes to achieve this). But I wish to do so while also bringing at least one of several new potential “lateral”, or “support” abilities aboard the same unit to any given battle. That might not be impressive at first (and will surely need tweaking), but it will help somewhat to drive the agonizing guessing game in a new direction where the stakes become less starkly grim. No, it’s not meant to be a magic wand to fix all other fighter problems, and it’s clearly unable to be a magic wand. Cliff’s proposed anti-tractor gadget is but one example of the kind of possible future secondary module choices to add a new dimension to one-man craft instead of just “move and shoot”. Other such new auxiliary/support modules are on my mind.
True. However, even ships as small as destroyers still have a wider menu of modules and weapons available to them than any fighter or gunship can currently dream of. As long as the player doesn’t rely overmuch upon any single means of defense against one-man craft, not much is wasted overall on a fleetwide basis. Of course in a really small battle, any such deadweight is proportionally more of a drawback.
I’d like to point out that most of the space on fighters/gunships is going to engines. I’m playing around with a torpedo bomber that has four. Given more slots, I’d probably be filling them with engines anyway, turning my fighters into a practical examination of the tyranny of the rocket equation. The thrust/weight return is out of whack.
I’ve got a larger post to explain, but I think I’ll spin it off into another thread.
Previously, I didn’t directly touch upon the poor state of one-man craft’s Engines simply because their feebleness is so very explicit. The largest single reason I’ve all but given up tinkering with offensive use of one-man craft in my own gameplay is due to how wasteful the existing official engines are. (The poor return from one-man craft’s Power Generators is a close second-place reason.)
“Breakneck speed” [as Cyk0 mentioned ] is definitely my top priority. But actually obtaining it without unacceptable compromises is the difficult part.
For me, any fighter or gunship that needs more than two engines merely to avoid any type of “insta-kill” damage, while also flying quickly enough to miss most of the specialized anti-fighter/gunship weapons’ effects, is not worth using. Light craft should definitely be routinely zooming along far faster than that, and without having to cut deeply into their loadouts. But right now that’s not possible to the extent that it should be. This dilutes other aspects of fighter and gunship performance, and right now I just don’t find them enjoyable. Perhaps this will change.
I agree fighters definitely don’;t have spare slots. I guess what I am proposing is adding a slot to almost all the fighters. Ideally I would find a way to balance the numbers of everything so it didn’t make sense to add more weapons or engines to those slots, WITHOUT the hassle (partly in terms of code, but primarily in terms of explaining it all to the player) of introducing a third slot type.
So what I’m getting at, is say we introduce a ‘tractor resistance module’ (not a hard counter, but maybe 50% chance of tractor evasion?), and we give it a tiny weight, tiny power requirement, and non-trivial cost… and then add a slot to each fighter…
Is it likely there is a combination of numbers that prevents that slot being practically used by weapons and engines?
Essentially I want to make fighters more varied and usable, but not dramatically more heavily armed or faster…
Hmmm…now I’m musing on a whole range of fun possibilities if I did add a new slot type. ha ha…
Yes, fighters/gunships are simply much too slot-constrained. I like your suggested first solution, but I truly think it impractical to impossible unless you choose instead to take your slot solution to a higher level (which will need at least some degree of recoding not just to create it, but also to make it “air-tight”; see below).
Even so, while that would meet your immediate goal of getting your anti-tractor gadget into the game, there’s still the much larger issue of fighter/gunship overall performance problems that needs to be addressed. I’m in favor of new modules in general and new slot types in general, but when it comes to the weaknesses of one-man craft your anti-tractor gadget is not going to get the entire job done by itself. I’m becoming concerned about the undesirability of simply moving problems to different parts of the battlespace, instead of decisively eliminating them by repairing their root causes.
That sounds like a good first step in the right direction, and for now I support it.
But where do you want it to proceed from here, though?
This anti-tractor gadget won’t exist in a vacuum, after all – it should be a part of a bigger, integrated plan to help the game by not crippling the utility of fighters and gunships.
Speaking only in terms of the proposed anti-tractor gadget, I tend to doubt it can be adequately done merely in terms of nudging other modules’ performance stats by some tiny increments. (That same plan of action, and by larger increments, is still needed for fixing one-man craft in general.) A solution for that slot may have to be implemented at another level of the game’s functionality.
You should consider some way via coding to automatically make the new slot type (let’s call it the “Auxiliary” or “Support” type of slot) somehow sense when any module of family type SIM_Engine or SIM_(all weapons) is inserted into it, the slot will then refuse to accept the module and the player will have to choose again.
I don’t think there’s any cleaner or more direct way to permit some types of modules to function normally inside that new type of fighter slot, but prevent other types of modules from being “legal” in it. This third type of hull slot needs to be aware of what type of item the player is trying to install there.
Please also make certain that modders can adopt this hypothetical new slot type for use aboard other hull sizes, too.
I’m pleased that you support the same concept that I mentioned in detail here before you. Again, that notion is parallel to but separate from other needed changes to one-man craft.
If you’re serious about this third type of hull slot, then please don’t leave us hanging here in suspense, Cliff…I’d like to hear more about it.
Cliffski, I don’t see how adding this module will help out the bigger picture. As Yurch posted good information on the state of fighters, and as I posted how engines – fighter engines especially – are really imbalanced, it would be better to further adjust what is already in the game (engines, tractors, etc.) then adding a band-aid module.
My main concern is with the mechanics of this new module; if the resistance module works the targeted fighter will not slow down and will fly out of range quickly. The Tractor will fire far more often as its capacitor is not drained very much… and given the nerfed range of the Multi-Tractor, it will essentially rapid-fire on fleeing fighters until it works. This… is not worth the opportunity cost of an extra fighter engine at all. You could add a cool-down, but this brings me back to my point; why do this when giving Tractors a tracking rating would create a framework for solutions beyond the immediate problem: Fighters and anti-fighter weapons in general?
Adding an additional slot to Fighters could be a good thing, so long as things like the incredible thrust/weight ratio of certain engines is normalized and/or soft-caps for fighter speeds are put into place. Right now, a Yootani fighter with an extra engine would be OP… unless you have Tractors.
A resistance module would be a buff to gunships and a nerf to fighters, since it is a per unit cost (which could be good/bad, don’t know). For any craft not intended to go against Tractors, an extra slot is an extra engine – and with that kind of speed, people will be forced to have Tractors against any hint of fighters, as no other weapon (system) would be as cost-effective against 3.5+ fighters.
An anti-tractor module and an extra slot will cause an even bigger divide between have/have nots for Tractors, and will simply make people field more Tractors due to not being as reliable/still by far the best option. A Tractor resistance module on a fighter will clearly separate offensive craft from defensive craft. If Tractors remain auto-hit (their single most OP feature) then this new module will force players to pay a ‘Tractor Tax’ if they actually want to attack any enemy with Tractors. Why should I spend extra credits on this module when I could add an engine and make my fighters that much faster and less vulnerable to every single other weapon system?
Bottom Line: Tractors need to have tracking like every other anti-fighter system so there is an actual Choice vs. fighters. Fighters need to have soft caps on speed or engine stacking penalties to encourage the use anything other than guns and engines on fighters and to aid in balancing anti-fighter tracking. Engines need to be balanced to fix the extreme range of costs/benefits.
Battles are simply boiling down to rock, paper, scissors; bring the right tools or die, no matter how good you are at setting up orders or ships. Instead of having a fleet that you can personalize with roughly effective weapons and equipment so that a semi-casual player can enjoy the game against anything other than the pre-built enemies, it all comes down to finding the ‘Hard-Counter’ (or Best in Slot) that will counter the enemy. Everything is very specialized and Should Be Done a Certain Way or be punished/at a disadvantage, which results in very little choice – and by extension player content. More slots and specialized modules without balancing is just leading to hyper-specialization and less content for your average player. Once you pick up an OP setup like the Sledge Rush or a race like Tribe from GSB1 - or auto-hit Tractors are first/last/best against all fighters, the content for the average player (friends who picked up GSB2) ends… no matter how many shiny but inferior/niche modules are still left to try out.
Yikes, its very hard for me to keep all the thoughts in my head :D. I do agree that just adding stuff to fix symptoms is a mistake, and also agree that hard counters are bad. However, it does seem to be the case that the preferred solution of adding tracking speed to tractors also has a fundamental issue:
The whole reasoning behind tractors is that ‘fighters are too fast for us to hit, so slow them down’, but if we add tracking, tractors will only be of use against relatively slow fighters anyway, meaning you still have a pretty sharp divide between the super-fast fighters that are invulnerable now, and those fighters that were probably easy meat anyway, on which we are now wasting tractor beams.
I am still (in the long term) attracted to some sort of support-slot type for fighters. I had always imagined the target booster as a ‘support-socket’ style module for fighters, added as an afterthought to marginally nudge upwards the capability of a fighter. An anti-tractor module could be another module of the same style, maybe a fuel-efficiency module could be another, etc.
On the more general note of ‘are fighters any use at all’, does this really come down to the relative ineffectiveness of bombers, ie: gunships and their ability to damage cruisers. I like the idea of a squad of gunship bombers being able to take down a cruiser if they can keep enemy fighters away from the bombers long enough. I don’t see this really discussed which makes me think that one of the problems here is that fighter/gunship torpedoes/bombs are just underpowered?