On Frigate survivability

I’m looking through my designs, and it seems that on average my favorite frigate designs run between 800-1400 in cost, and usually have around 200-300 hit points. My favorite cruiser designs run 2500-3300 in cost and all have upwards of 1200 hit points.

Am I just putting the things together wrong, or are frigates just generally much less survivable for the cost than cruisers?

no you have it just right… as it stands now,frigs suck big time
i dont even bother using them anymore unless i need something very specific or im experimenting
(or unless im doing a brainless frigate wall to humiliate certain challengers :P)

cruisers + fighters = win
frigates = suicide

ofcourse there are ways to use frigs effectively… and they “can” be effective somewhat,but any job a couple of frigs can do,a single cruiser does better
maybe except clogging enemy guns with your own debris

Frigates: high firepower / lower cost
Cruisers: high survivability / more emplacements

You’ll note that frigates sometimes have trouble breaching a cruiser’s shields or armor, but they have such a high number of emplacements that you can load a relatively cheap/fast frigate with weapons and dump 3-4 of them for the cost of 1 cruiser. The frigates would win, in all likelihood.

It’s all about design and orders. Frigates weren’t ever designed to be front-line ships that soak damage.

Except for: long-range EMP support, shield disrupting, and popping fighters with AF missiles. <.<

FIshbreath, ever made an anti-fighter design with ~4 AF Missiles? I always pull a trick: it’s secondary orders are to hit frigates and cruisers, with a vulture bonus. It has no shield-breaking capability but provides high DPS to low/no armor craft, and with vulture can provide a decent help to your cruisers.

Doh. I’d intended mine as a reply to the post before yours. That’ll teach me not to quote, I suppose. :stuck_out_tongue:

Frigate shields have nearly the same recharge rate (but not strength) as cruiser shields. Make them slippery enough and you can get a fair amount of survivability out of them.

Wrangling them properly is another story.

This is the use I stumbled upon recently - I give a frigate two EMP IIs, something for shooting fighters, and have then closely escort (trail) a cruiser that is large enough to hide and protect them. This, coupled with a fighter cloud for defense seems to work very well. Otherwise, frigate just give something fighters to swarm.

except for a small detail, 99% of the weapons will damage them.

Fighter rockets and heavy beams, yes - but these weapons aren’t always deployed in high enough numbers… much like fighter or point defense.

Follick’s wide spread fed beam cruisers in the SAC challenges were counter enough to keep frigates at bay, I’m still not sure why rocket fighters are allowed such survivability in the face of that.

A more subtle/advanced thing I’ve been meaning to try for frigates is utilizing size differentials as a distraction. When presented with two equal targets (so no cooperative, rescuer or vulture type orders in play), gunners will initially tend to pick the easiest target to hit. A stationary fat frigate gets preference over a small mobile one.

I’ve found SAC 18 does this inadvertently, although the armored Asgard frigates tend to fall behind too quickly when there are fighters overhead. I’ve refined it a bit since then and it works surprisingly well as a rocket fighter defense without armoring the entire fleet, although it does mean your air defense units get pasted by long range fire first.

Of course this is all based on the idea that your frigates need to survive for a prolonged period. I’ve found that frigates can make for fairly effective “redshirts”, especially if they’re properly equipped with EMP and decent shielding. They take a bit of wrangling, as yurch mentioned, so as to keep them at least somewhat protected from shredding at the hands of fighter swarms. I’ve actually used a frigate design completely incapable of damaging enemy ships (2 EMP II launchers and one PD Mk II turret) with some decent results. And the fact that all of them wind up drifting in pieces doesn’t hurt my feelings too much because by then usually the meat of the formation has started chewing up the enemy.

But then, I’m the sort of guy who sees a victory with 34% remaining as a victory. It’s not like I provide my crews with life insurance anyway.

You misunderstood me. I mean, look at the frigate shields resistance. The maxium is 10.
All cruiser weapons except one (cruiser defence laser) have a shield penetration above that.
All frigate weapons but 2 (anti fighter missile, frigate pulse laser) have a shield penetration above that.
All fighters weapons (if you consider that cannons can shoot under the shield) can penetrate them.

In short, pretty much any weapon that manages to hit a frigate(ofcourse not all weapons will have a easy time hitting them) will damage the shield stack. And since they don’t have much strength they will not last that long.

Frigates are meant for DPS not tanking.

yes, but to get a high DPS they need to survive for more than the few seconds they do once they come under fire.

Frigates can survive being in combat for a while, under the right circumstances.

Ultrathick armor can work for some roles, like countering rocket fighters.

High speed can work if the enemy isn’t armed to deal with it.

I haven’t gotten any other approaches to work, so far, but I’d be surprised if there aren’t any.

I’ve been putting a full beam laser, and photon cannon on a frigate design, with enough armor to stay alive for awhile; and enough engines to go speed .25+.

Depending on race/hull/exact number of weapons (some frigates have 3 weapons), the cost is generally somewhere between 800 and 1000 credits.

In general, this kind of frigate appears to be deadly against missile or plasma spam fleets.

Whatever the case of that; i used to build frigates with 0 armor and a lot of speed. Putting a good amount of armor at the sacrifice of speed (and even with the extra cost); it all seems more effective in most situations.

I totally agree with the statement about frigates being ‘about firepower and not defense.’

I like scenarios which limit the number of pilots, so that frigates can play a major role. With fighter-heavy scenarios, frigates in general appear to be too limited. Yes, a frigate can be built to withstand/defeat a fighter attack, but then it seems like such a frigate design is fairly ineffectual against cruisers.

Bottom line is; i really like frigates, but need to know there aren’t going to be a lot of fighters around, in order to really exploit the frigate’s strengths.

I like to get my frigates above speed 4-5.0 and with vulture and always move, the problem is it takes multiple attempts to stack them up at the right distance so they arrive at the right time. Its either that or formation and most of the time once the lead ship is destroyed the just sit there. I want my frigates zipping around and causing pain, when the orders are re-jigged to allow timed charges, both formation and keep moving or a Escort BUT STAY BEHIND order, then they’ll be of much more use.

How on earth do you do that? I built some fast frigates at about 1.0 speed, but only a few fighters can get over 4.0 speed

probably mistyped 0.40-0.50

I too have trouble making frigates effective.

I have a dedicated ‘Frigate Support’ Cruiser that I use sometimes. The main features are dual EMP cannons and a half-decent speed rating; my frigates escort this cruiser as it closes and absorbs fire. I enjoy the short range frigate cannons more, they seem to deal a lot of damage in practice, or perhaps that is only because they make lots of explosions instead of a few big explosions. In any case, I think they might have an easier time overcoming auto-repair systems, due to the rate of fire. As has been noted in many other places, frigate armour seems to be pointless to me… I load them up on shields and engines if I can.

I think the main problem is that frigate speed is very helpful for their survivability, but their speed also allows them to sometimes be the first or only target against a cruiser or two, which is usually a very bad thing.

I often toss in two frigates with EMP missiles as well, which helps my cruisers survive. The range of the EMP missiles tend to keep the frigates alive for a bit.

Also, three frigates with missiles escorting a cruiser equipped with target painters seems to be an effective combo, though I don’t know if two missile cruisers would be even better. Probably.

Frigates need help against fighters. I am sure a resistance 13 shield is not the answer, though, because then every frigate would be required to have one.