First off, I’m not sure that letting people win the single player campaign with fighter spam is a bad thing. However, Cliff, if you are looking for tweaks …
I suggest you remove the limitations that block cruisers, fighters or frigates from visiting a battle. The battles that have other anomalies are cool - no shields, slower ships, camouflage doesn’t work etc - and they still provide for a variety of challenges.
Instead of the ship type blocks, require ratios. Say that fighters can only appear at a rate of 16 per frigate or 64 per cruiser (or some other ratio that makes sense). Similarly, say that cruisers need frigates as tenders, or the other way around. However, once this fleet is assembled, let it go anywhere it wants.
It would be a low damage but large area effect weapon. The shot would fire towards the target, explode nearish the target, but damage everything within a radius of the blast. The low damage means it would be quite useless against cruisers, but the area effect means it would devastate fighter swarms, with each flak shot hitting 20+ fighters at the same time, or however many you have packed into the swarm.
So, sure, spam fighters. but flak guns would vaporize those fighter swarms within seconds.
I think this solution while theoretically easy to do, also give much more usefulness to frigates which i find use only as cannon fodder, or EMP cruiser support.
Another way to weaken fighters against frigates is to give fighter weapons a poor tracking stat.
Ex: say lower their tracking so that any Frigates traveling faster than 0.25 or 0.3 has a 50% or better evade chance against most fighter weapons.
I think the Fighter torpedo should be the exception so that fighters can have a weapon that can kill frigates.
Part of the enjoyability of GSB is how, while it may be a glorified rock-paper-scissors, it’s WAY more complex then just the simple triangle above. The RIGHT fighter kills frigates, the RIGHT fighter kills cruisers. The RIGHT frigate kills… you get the idea. And there’s more then 1 right for each kind of ship! (also more then 1 “kind” of cruiser)
A Fighter-Bane Frigate
with 1 minimal engine, 1 command modual, two anti fighter missles,
and the remaining slots packed with heavy armor
will hold up vs. fighters for quite a while.
Putting one in formation behind each cruiser will tame even the worst fighter spam.
With Vulture orders, it even quickens the end to those crippled cruisers.
(Add one EMP launcher for some stun fun, and you still won’t need a power plant.)
It’s really rock-paper-scissors-spock! Played out with modules.
I do agree with you in that frigates should not be the end all be all to a fighter counter. But that doesn’t mean that they still can’t be the best solution.
The right design for any ship design should be able to counter any other class of ship.
But I feel pound for pound the best AA Frigate will still fail miserably to the best fighter design. I think the opposite should be true.
I’ll try a test tonight.
21 of the fastest fighters in GSB vs 21 of the best AA Frigates? Right now I my guess is the fighters will win.
I feel tweaking Frigates to be more effective against fighters, should be the best/quickest solution to the game balance, vs new modules.
I think a new module for all races could defeat the usefulness of Fighters entirely.
Also I think GSB partially suffers from a victory strategy by swinging to the extremes.
Most of the best GSB tactics appear to focus on Big cruisers working in conjunction with fast small fighters to win, and frigates being over looked because they fall so quickly to fighters. This limits my want to invest in them every time.
Adding more emphasis to the middle of the road to counter the small and fast, could actually be adding more strategy to the game. Albeit also adding just a little bit of cliche, but hey balance is balance.
Are we discussing a scenario where the player builds the best anti-frigate fighters he can manage, and pits them against the best anti-fighter frigates he can build, or uses standard laser fighters again frigates that have to be able to hang against fighters, cruisers and other frigates? I ask because, in the context of the campaign, the focus should be on general-purpose fleets, not the ability for a highly specialized fleet (all AA frigates) to defeat a general purpose one. The original problem, after all, is how to make a specialized fleet (all fighters) less desirable.
I’ll second this suggestion, it should be easy(ish) to add in and best of all will look fantastically Gratuitous on the screen. A flak barrage to the flank of your ship, with loads of little explosions with fighters exploding followed by a pause as the flak batteries reload… Perhaps make it Frigate only?
I did a laser fighter spam test 21 squadrons of rebel fighters Icarus’s (the fastest I could make any ways) vs the credit value equal of rebel Midguard Frigates with only AA weaponry.
I gave both sides Cooperative and vulture orders
2X Frigate pulse lasers
2X tractor Beams
1X anti fighter missles
and armor sheilds and crew
Summary 34 Midguards vs 21 Icarus’s = Win to fighters by 86%
Then I doubled the Armor dropped the sheilds, Fighters won again by 56% my best attempt
I also tried all pulse lasers and lost again.
If any one else can do a test where credit per credit get frigates to beat your fastest laser fighters in the 21 squadron category (cause thats the popular spam tactic in the campaign right now) I am all ears, but in the mean time I maintain there is an imbalance with frigates vs fighters that if fixed could fix the fighter spam issue in the campaign.
This is just my theory anyway. Hope it helps.
Was thinking it would look something like from BSG when the Galatica was putting up walls of flak. Explosions everywhere!
That would shred any fighters who get too close. Also, it shouldn’t be limited to frigates only. As is, cruisers really don’t have any good way of dealing with large numbers of fighters.
Another interesting thing to this is that torpedoes might become useful. If the flak is primarily an anti-laser fighter weapon due to its short range, longer ranged torpedo weapons might be able to fire outside of the flak radius. Torpedoes do need a lot of love. They’re pretty bad as is. Give them a range boost, perhaps to 600-800ish range and lighten them a little bit so that the bomber isn’t a sitting duck even for heavy plasma launchers, and torpedo bombers might be useful. That way they can fire outside of a cruiser’s effective anti-fighter defenses.
End result, flak walls would make it suicide for laser fighters to try to blast the cruiser under the shield bubble, but long range torpedoes could fire outside of the flak wall and potentially drop the shields. This would be a bit of a rock paper scissors thing.
An interesting caveat for a flak gun module would be to make the flak’s effectiveness based on the speed of the fighter, the faster the fighter the more damage it receives, vs torpedo fighters next to nothing.
Give the flak an armor penetration of 1 and bombers would be nearly immune. Unarmored rocket fighters with a speed of 4.0 would be destroyed despite their impressive speed, but the slow, plodding, heavily armored ships would have the flak just bounce off them.
Not a bad idea it would certainly give me a reason to add armor on a fighter, but I still prefer the thought of making existing weapons (especially frigate weapons) more effective against fighters, vs new modules.