Lethality vs Survivability

Which tactic do you adopt?

Do you build weapons platforms that can deal an awesome amount of damage but succumb quickly to fire or do you build plodding tanks that can do just a small pew pew every so often?

I strike kind of a balance.

I use heavy, heavy shielding most of the time and forsake lots of armor, so I can still use the bigger guns. For my Cruisers, anyways.

Since this game allows a great deal of gray areas, your black-or-white query is difficult to answer. For my own part, construction priorities depend upon the nature of the mission, the race I’ve chosen, and the budget. In the broadest possible terms, I usually put survivability a wee bit ahead of lethality; more, if the opposition looks feisty and argumentative [-chuckle-].

BTW, welcome to both of you new dudes. :slight_smile: These sub-forums offer loads of useful data; be sure to consult them thoroughly!

Lol the simple equation is Max[(DPS * HP)^0.5]. Distributed unevenly amount the ships depending on their position.

In practice it just means your front line needs a lot more defense than your back row, unless you are Tribe.

When designing a ship, before I’ve put anything else in, I stick in two engines and two shield generators. If using my Augmented Defenses Mod, I’ll throw in at least one armor module, too, as a priority but otherwise I’ll wait to see if I have leftover space at the end.

I usually use all my hardpoints for hardpoint-specific modules, although I never throw in more than two weapons of a specific kind unless that is the theme behind that ship – and even then, never more than three.

With a long range weapon ship such as missiles, lethality is more important, you’ve got to kill those ships before they get into close range.


Max[(DPS * HP)^0.5]


HP = hit points
DPS = ??

Is it crazy to include one Cruiser Laser on EVERY Cruiser?

Yes. Absolutely insane, in fact. Were I to meet you in the supermarket I’d be struck mute with fright at my near-miss from The Cruiser Laser Maniac. :smiley:

Seriously, the low optimum range of that gadget means that it’s not going to play very nicely with other, much-longer-ranged toys aboard your ship. Gonna be hard to get anything into optimum range, I fear. However, for short-range defense it could be pretty useful against the odd frigate or damaged cruiser. Other toys could probably do a better job at that task, though.

There’s a good reason behind such thinking. Having a smorgasbord of widely differing guns aboard a single ship is very often going to result in an inefficient & expensive mess.

Damage Per Second. When used in the context of this forum, it’s usually calculated as 500 * damage / fire_interval.
The amount of shots that can be fired in one second, times the amount of damage per shot.

Personally, I think way too much emphasis is placed on this statistic, and there is lots of other things to take into account.
But for purposes of comparing weapons, most people start with that, while also looking at the range and penetration values.

Neither. I just use tribe.

I always seem to get that ‘odd frigate or damaged cruiser’ Astro. It’s certainly not for lack of long ranged weaponry. I admit I don’t play many challenges, but challenge orders can only be tweaked so far.

You can’t win if can’t kill the other guy.

Conversely, if you can outlast the other guy…

I tend to do a layered approach. The first layer tends to be more heavily shielded/armoured with with weapon systems designed to work both close range and longer range. Averagine 2 rockets, 2 Beams, 2 Cruiser Lasers. It is not all the same ship in a line, so there is a varience of ones that will hang back and ones that will keep going forward.

A middle line is frigates, cheap and disposable, that are armed with 2 X Torpedos, 2 X EMP.
The third line is mostly cheap cruisers with longer range weapons. A fenrir is great for this.
Rocket fighters escort the cruisers upfront more to finish off any ship that loses it’s shields.

I usually do have at least one on all ships except for extra light cruisers. For a last ditch defense and more commonly, most ships I use have a tractor beam for AA defense. I tend to avoid Frigates for AA defense since I think a cruiser, though more expensive, will be much more effective - or in my case no real AA defense cruiser, just make most ships able to defend themselves. Since they begin in a pack, each ship can aid its neighbour.


Interestingly, I’m getting a slightly different reading on lethality vs survivability with Tribe than has been described as common wisdom hereabouts. I suspect it is because I am using them under different conditions.

When I was going through the campaign as Feds, my goal eventually became to complete every campaign mission with greater than 2/3 honor on every difficulty setting. So I have regularly been going up against 3:1, 4:1, and 5:1 odds – in some cases I probably could have gone even higher. The way I can do this is by mitigating as much damage as possible, in whatever form is appropriate to the mission at hand, and making sure to only pick the defenses I need in order to have enough weapons left to kill at a decent pace, since eliminating enemies reduces incoming DPS as well.

The thing is, Tribe has much fewer ways of reducing incoming DPS as compared to other races. They compensate for this by having stronger hulls to start with, and by relying on outgoing DPS to take up the mitigation slack, which works fine (perhaps more than fine) when facing an enemy of comparable point value. But they have a lot harder time stretching that innate HP bonus further without useful shields and armour. When you’re outnumbered 3:1 or 4:1 to start with, there are only a few ways you can pour out enough damage fast enough to minimize incoming damage and keep your fleet intact, and it’s much harder to defend well against everything an opponent could throw at you.

Popular hulls I see in challenges posted online such as fast howitzer or CL cruisers in Tribe hands fail miserably under those kinds of force disadvantage levels, whereas I can get equivalent Federation or Rebel cruisers with heavy shields to work no problem in the same mission. The only thing Tribe seems to be able to do when under a heavy force disadvantage is missile spam, and even then that becomes problematical when facing a mixed fleet including substantial fighter support.

This may well have implications for the campaign game, where there may be more variability in amount of resources available to each side in a battle. Even more than the other races, Tribe may be a pushover when outnumbered/outgunned, but nigh-unstoppable with a significant resource advantage (assuming equally competent fleet design/organization in each case.)

Why rush in a force disadvantage level? Use one of those near stationary Tribe MWM spams with some CL. No need to increase it’s 2x HP further when it has enough firepower to kill most things in long range.

That said, when playing challenges made by real people, most tend to use the “co-operate” command. This makes total HP + shield strength much more important than any recovery.

That’s kinda what I just said, that they have to rely on missile spam when at a severe force disadvantage, yes? It does make them even more of a one trick pony, though.

As far as cooperate goes, when you’ve only got a couple ships on the field, the enemy tends to cooperate by default. :slight_smile: Even so, I’ve found both total strength and recovery to be important when aiming to survive while badly outnumbered. Incoming damage can often be spiky depending on what type of damage is incoming and what defenses you have against it; you need both depth to survive the spikes and recovery to be able to take advantage of any lulls that happen. Of course some damage types like CLs are less spiky and recovery won’t help you much against those.

I’m certainly not arguing for any balance changes based on corner cases like what happens when one side is severely outnumbered. I just thought it was an interesting observation about the Tribe. :wink:

Like ISSB in 1.44, 1 trick is more than enough as long as it works.

As you already mentioned, majority of the damage online comes from CL, MWM, and Cruiser Plasma. You don’t have much room for recovery.

My reply to Ramcat from the Challenges forum (Moved here due to it’s being closer to the topic discussed in this thread.)

I tend to classify my ships based on how long I intend them to live. Not at all unsurprisingly, my ships in my main combat fleet are designed to die in very very small numbers, if at all! Whereas the ships i use as my border patrol/raiders/recapture fleets will be designed to die horrible deaths, but destroy as many enemy ships and modules as possible. At the moment I’m working on perfecting my patrol/raider/harassing ships. Because I play from a Mac, I only have the demo atm, although around 48 hours after it comes out for steam i’ll have my ideal formations built in my normal race (rebel.)

In SoaSE, My defense strategy was very fleet-oriented, ie. I just parked my fleet on my star and waited until my enemy came to ME, then launched at them. Even when they had a sync’d landing, I could predict where they’d land and open up on them from the moment they dropped out of hyper

My current Harassment fleet, as based on the third mission, The Lagoon Nebula (Remember as this is the Demo, that’s the biggest most interesting map i have access to. If someone were to tell me how to get a full release while awaiting the STEAM release, i’d be much abliged!)
Some notes to start things off. This fleet is not designed to kill Fighters, as any enemy FT should be engaged only by your fighters. As such, this fleet has the “target fighters” option disabled. it’s intent is not to be ultra fast and dodge fire, nor to be armored enough to withstand it. It’s purpose, pure and simple, is to get in close taking it’s licks along the way, and beat the enemy up. 4 of these can do more damage then they take on Expert.

Me: 0/8276 (all 4 lost, first lost while damaging 2 cruisers, last one died after killing 2 cruisers alone)
Them: 3023/16813 (One remaining ship with module damage, no armor or shields, and looking to be down to ~67% speed, other remaining ship unharmed.)
With 5 of these ships:
Me: 6207/10345
Them: 0/16813
At a 1:2 disadvantage against a fleet of long-range energy weapons and missiles such as the AI fleet from the Lagoon Nebula, this fleet does 1:1.5 ratios at worst. Better then 1:2 odds give it a resounding victory.
Anyone with advice for tweaking my build, or with their own ship designs, or with advice on good frigates for a similar purpose (<-- PLEASE) go ahead and post a response, quoting me with “stuff” as the text quoted.

I suspect that adding anti-missile frigates would add to this ratio.
Ship Hull:
Federation Buffalo Cruiser
Power: 125.4/127
Crew: 271/273
Average Armor: 13.38
Shield Strength: 415.8
Shield Resistance: 27
Speed: 0.18
Cost: 3294
Weight: 2287
Lots of hardpoints and standard modules, speed and hull boost. Perfect!
When I remake this fleet, I am considering using some less defended Fenrir’s for more damage per credit and speed.
x6 Cruiser Laser
x1 Megaton Missile
The Megaton Missile is there to eat up armor at close (under 600m) ranges. Against fleets with poor anti-missile or slow frigates this is slightly more effective but the main point of it’s inclusion is to batter enough armor down that my Cruiser Lasers can rip apart the rest of it.
Standard Modules
x1 Cruiser Power Armor
x1 Ultra Heavy Cruiser Armor
x1 Fast Recharge Shield
x1 Reflective Shield
x1 Cruiser Auto-Repair System
x1 Power Generator III
x1 Power Generator II
x1 Zero-G Crew [Cabin]
x3 Supercharged Engine
Attack Frigates (40% priority, move to attack at 400m range)
Attack Cruisers (90% priority, move to attack at 300m range)
Keep Moving

Ok, took me a while to respond. That is a great ship I have a similar one I use, which I will have to post later. But these ships have a weakness. Frankly, I don’t know how to describe it, but to share my experience.

I build a similar ship for my Empire and Rebel campaigns. And for the most part they a win the small battles quickly and allow you to expand you empire quickly. Then you run into Fleet B, the kind of fleet that knows how to kill these fast moving Cruiser Laser ships, and your fleet dies. There is some point where the odds get stacked against them and they “fold up” under the damage.

So, I think you’d agree that these are highly lethal ships but lack survivability.

There is a lot more to talk about here.

Add this ship to the mix (on that mission) and 5 of yours and it will beat expert.
name = f c buff speed plasma l mk1
guiname = F C BUFF Speed Plasma L MK1
hull = Federation Buffalo Cruiser hull

0 = cruiser heavy plasma,
1 = cruiser plasma,
2 = cruiser power III,
3 = cruiser_beamlaser,
4 = cruiser_engine IV,
5 = cruiser power III,
6 = cruiser_engine IV,
7 = cruiser_engine IV,
8 = cruiser shield II,
9 = cruiser shield fastrecharge,
10 = cruiser_engine V,
11 = cruiser_engine IV,
12 = cruiser_engine IV,
13 = cruiser crew IV,
14 = cruiser crew,
15 = cruiser_engine IV,
16 = cruiser_engine IV,
17 = cruiser_engine IV,

This ship just runs away and swoops in to shoot the enemy (often gets the final shot in).
Keep Moving
Attack F 1% 770
Attack Frig 100% 900
Attack C 100% 900

For that mission a relective shield might be better but it never loses its shield anyways.