[Parasites] My fighters suck?

Ok, got the Parasites expansion and love em. Switched over from Federation on the spot. The only problem I’ve been having is: my fighters are performing consistently poorly.
Now, as Parasites have the outrageously effective flak cannons it’d be fully justified balance-wise for their fighters to be sub-par, but I can’t tell the difference between that and “I just fail at designing them”. Does anyone else find them sub-par or is it just me?

Also I’d like to emphasise this is not a call for a buff for Parasite fighters, again the fact I have flak cruisers makes most enemy fighter attacks into a joke, but it makes me really struggle on fights where cruisers are banned.

Anyway, onwards to my observations on the 3 fighter hulls, pick out any flaws you can find in them:

The hulls
Seems like the best choice overall: 3 slots, 1 hardpoint; speed, armour and hull bonuses. I took this, gave it a laser cannon, advanced ablative armour, power III and engine III. Seems pretty well rounded on paper, but unless used in superior numbers seems to fare poorly in dogfights. Am I just doing it wrong?

I honestly don’t see why this hull exists. 1 less slot, and the power bonus it has so far hasn’t let me really do anything the Hydrozoa can’t. Am I missing something huge with this? Is it just meant to be an inexpensive rocket fighter or something? Because so far I don’t understand what the niche for this hull is and would really like some input :S
Edit: Decoy fighter perhaps? Seems a bit strange though to dedicate an entire hull to this role (and with some slightly misleading bonuses to boot.)

Looks nice in theory: a fighter hull that trades off some speed for higher slot count and weaponry. Cool idea.
In practice: no matter how many engines I crowbar onto it, they get shot to bits so fast it makes my head spin. Armouring them up produces similarly dismal results. I just can’t find a use for this that justifies the cost of a single squad of them, let alone a meaningful number.

So, am I wrong on any of these, or do I need to just suck it up and work on building effective frigates that fill the no-cruisers-allowed niche?
Thanks in advance!

Generally speaking, faster fighters perform better in dogfights than slower fighters, regardless of the amount of armor present on the fighter or the fighter’s hull strength (note that there are exceptions to this rule, particularly Tribe fighters). Usually, for a general purpose dogfighter, I’d go with a fighter laser cannon, and whatever engine and power generator combination makes it go fastest, and forget about the armor. Without the armor, the fighters are cheaper, so I can field more of them or gain more honor from the battle or buy more frigates and cruisers. There is a break point in the balance between speed and durability, but the tolerance is very tight - 5 extra health was sufficient to compensate for a loss of 0.06 speed on the same fighter hull, with the faster fighter running at 2.49 speed/18 health, and the slower fighter at 2.43 speed/23 health. With more experimentation, you could probably find some kind of relationship for the break-even point, but I don’t think it’s worth doing, especially since the slower fighter was more expensive. Cheap and fast wins out over tough and expensive when planning fleet composition if cheap and fast breaks even with tough and expensive in a duel.

Fighter armor is usually only particularly useful if you’re facing lots of high tracking speed weapons (Cruiser Defense Lasers and Antifighter Missiles are the only weapons that come to mind), or on fighters that are very slow anyways (torpedo fighters, possibly fighters armed with Fighter Pulse Lasers), in which case the extra durability might make them last long enough to do something useful on the battlefield. There is also a use for armor in fighter duels where at least one side is using a combination of fighter rockets and target painters, and also for making a slightly more durable rocket fighter if the unarmored version isn’t surviving long enough.

When designing fighters, generally the only bonus worth bothering with is the speed bonus, as that is the only one with a significant impact on the fighter’s time to live. Most health bonuses (Tribe excepted) are too slight to allow the fighter to survive many additional hits, while armor usually slows fighters down enough that the extra hits taken tend to outweigh the extra durability from armor.

Try reading the Great Dogfighter Shootout thread (viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7591&hilit=great+dogfighter+shootout) - it has some detailed information on fighter designs.

I generally agree with your assessment of the fighter hulls. The Sporozoa isn’t worthwhile even as a heavily armored torpedo fighter since it is simply too slow, while the Hydrozoa is the best general purpose choice. If you really want to cut costs somewhere, then that is where the Myxozoa may come in useful - a little slower than the Hydrozoa, but also cheaper, it can be used for an acceptable laser fighter if all you care about is having something on the field to occupy enemy fighters, or it can be a much cheaper rocket fighter, or the cheapest of the Parasite torpedo fighters.

Thank you very much!
I used to play Federation pretty much religiously, and my fighters used a similar setup but I’m pretty sure they were a good bit faster than their Parasite equivilents. Going to modify my fighters to remove the armour and try and go for extra speed and see if that helps.
Pity to hear my assessment on the hulls was accurate though, would’ve been nice to have some other viable choices but ah well, no faction is perfect.

You are correct that Federation fighters are on average faster than the Parasite fighters. Moreover, ‘fast’ Parasite fighters are more expensive than ‘fast’ Federation fighters, because the Hydrozoa hull is more expensive than the Leopard. The difference in hull cost is also enough that an unarmored Hydrozoa is not significantly cheaper than an lightly armored Leopard, and moreover the speeds of the two fighters are similar. This is probably why you feel that Parasite fighters are underperformers - relative to the Federation, Parasite fighters are slightly worse, but compared against all races I’d say that the Hydrozoa is roughly in the middle of the pack (but it costs as much as some of the fighters at the top of the pack).

Generally speaking, with regards to fighters I’d say that Rebels, Outcasts, and Tribe have the ‘best’ fighters; Swarm, Nomads, Parasites, and Federation have the ‘average’ fighters; and Empire, Alliance, and Order have the ‘poor’ fighters. However, most of the factions have fighters which are better or worse - Imperial Phalanx fighters are nearly as cheap as Swarm fighters and in the middle of the pack speed-wise, while Parasites and Nomads each have a fighter hull with a speed penalty that, to me, places those hulls on the worst fighter hull list.

The Myxozoa hull isn’t really a bad hull, it’s just that speed bonuses on fighters outshine every other type of bonus in most circumstances. It’s great for cutting costs, and there are some situations where a speed bonus isn’t really that helpful (torpedo bombers come to mind - ~120 credits for a Myxozoa torpedo bomber or ~150 credits for the same configuration Hydrozoa torpedo bomber, and I’ll take the Myxozoa, because the Hydrozoa isn’t going to last much longer anyways).

No fighter I know of has more than a 15% bonus to power generation, which gets applied to the power production of the generators you install - which go up to 5 power. A 15% bonus means that you’re only getting an extra 0.75 power out of the Mark 3 power generator, and that isn’t sufficient to power any module, or in most cases to cover the difference between power requirements and a power generator’s bonus. Same goes for most hull bonuses (18 health + <15% isn’t going to significantly change the outcome of a fighter duel) and armor bonuses (up to 16 armor + <15% also isn’t going to help, and the armor usually comes at a fairly significant cost to speed - the trade-off on torpedo fighters can be worthwhile, though). Note that there are some torpedo-armed designs that have more than 8 average armor, which is enough to shrug off fire from fighter lasers, cruiser defense lasers, and antifighter missiles, but getting to this level of defense is expensive (usually around 200 credits per fighter). Also, torpedo-armed fighters are the only type of fighter where that much armor is usually worth having - all other fighter types will in most circumstances suffer far more from the lost speed than they will gain from the increased armor.

One final note: You don’t need to fill every slot on a fighter (in fact, it is often better to leave a slot empty if it means the fighter is faster and cheaper than fill the slot). My standard Hydrozoa fighters cost ~90 credits and have an empty slot - adding an armor plate to that increases the cost by about 33% and slows the fighter down by at least 0.1 speed.

I recently bought Parasites and now kind of in love with it, except… the fighters.
I give up hope on Parasites fighters. If I really have to use them, it’s only for enemy distraction and I don’t hope them to achieve anything else.

In one of the challenges I didn’t even use any fighters at all and just concentrate on anti fighters frigates and it worked destroying enemy fighters ^^

Here’s my general thoughts for each weapon’s optimal loadout. These give the highest speed while keeping the cost as low. The speed really does help to survive; they can’t be killed if they aren’t hit.

Rocket: Engine 2
Target Painter: Engine 2
Torpedo: No… just no.
FLC: Power 1, Engine 2
FPL: Power 2, Engine 2

Yeah, torpedo fighters only work in movies, when they are under protection of fighter escorts ^^

This isn’t entirely true. You can make effective use of torpedo bombers by setting them to escort a cruiser (preferably equipped mostly with Cruiser Pulse Lasers, a Cruiser Target Painter, a Proton Beam for breaking armor, and maybe a Cruiser Defense Laser or two), and having a sufficient number of whatever your preferred dogfighter is to occupy or destroy the enemy fighter force. Tying the bombers to the cruisers ensures that they stay in an area where you can attempt to secure fighter superiority, and putting the target painter on the cruiser encourages the bombers to shoot at the target of the cruiser (for best results, give the bombers the same targeting priorities as the cruiser). Using Cruiser Pulse Lasers means that your cruiser is probably going to be close enough to enemy ships that it becomes the primary target of most cruisers and frigates at about the same time as the bombers enter range of enemy weapons, and also helps to defeat enemy fighter forces before they can deal significant damage to your bomber force, and lays waste to enemy frigates. You can also move the target painters off of the cruisers onto a dedicated fighter or on to the bombers if you have a two-hardpoint fighter hull. Preferably the escort orders on the torpedo bombers will have them enter firing range at about the same time as the target painter and cruiser weapons.

My preferred bomber design for this purpose is a dual-torpedo (or torpedo-painter if I leave off the Cruiser Target Painter) fighter with one engine and as much armor as can fit on the hull. If I expect heavier antifighter defenses (lots of enemy fighters, or lots of Cruiser Pulse Lasers or Cruiser Defense Lasers or Frigate Antifighter Missiles), I might instead use a single-torpedo design as close to 1.0 speed as possible with one (or sometimes two) engines, and as close to 8 (or more) average armor as possible, but then again I might not - 32 fighter torpedoes per squadron is a lot of firepower, and can overwhelm point defenses if fired en masse.

Torpedo bombers can also work with swarm tactics when the enemy fleet has few or no fighters, and can work as part of a large fighter force where you brought enough fighters to ensure that your fighters clear the battlefield of enemy fighters.

I wouldn’t say that any torpedo bomber strategy is particularly cost-effective, outside of a few special circumstances, but torpedo bombers can be effective if you use them correctly.

With Parasites specifically, I would use a single-torpedo design based off of the Myxozoa, if I were to try something like the above. The Sporozoa is just too slow, and the extra expense of the Hydrozoa doesn’t come with noticeably improved survivability.

Thanks everyone for the input there. I’ve revised my design, ditched the armour but it’s gone from 2.27 speed to 2.36. I don’t know exactly how big of an increase that is, and this may be the placebo effect, but they do seem to be performing somewhat better now (though not gonna be up for any awards).

A speed of 2.3 is generally about the minimum speed you want on a dogfighter. 2.4 or better is a ‘good’ dogfighter, and above 2.6 is a ‘great’ dogfighter. Parasite Hydrozoa fighters should be able to reach somewhere around 2.45 when armed with a Fighter Laser Cannon. Fighter Pulse Lasers, which might be what you’re using if your fighter speed peaks at 2.36, are generally better for strafing than for dogfighting, though they can work.

Also, a lot of the time, the Fighter Engine I and Fighter Engine II will out-perform the Fighter Engine III from a maximum speed perspective.

And now with some further tinkering up to 2.43. Thank you again for all the great advice!

You could also try posting challenges to yourself and pitting the different variants against each other.