Speed-Tanking Dreadnaught of Doom

Behold, my creation:

1.59 speed, while still managing to mount five fast missile launchers and four shields. There’s a variant that swaps out one of the missile launchers for a particle accelerator, while still achieving 1.51 speed. In short, the weapons that can penetrate its shields have insufficient tracking to hit it, so virtually the only danger it faces is getting stuck on an enemy formation long enough for them to get a full weapons volley off (I suppose target painters might also be a threat, haven’t checked). If you disagree, try your luck with Challenge ID # 5189582.

Cliffski, perhaps the dreadnaught speed bonuses are a little… excessive?

Yup, see the ‘fixing dreadnoughts’ thread :smiley:

To Tohron AND cliffski:
It might be somewhat too soon to reflexively think of lowering dreadnought hull-speed Boost values.
I’m going to use careful whitespacing and paragraph form to prevent a mere wall-of-text blur.

[size=135]I. )[/size] I can’t help but notice that this “rush” dreadnought has absolutely no armor. Thick shields, yes; but zero armor. For such a fast design to work you were forced to throw away your large Boost bonus to armor, which is a shame. Then again, to a large extent “speed is armor”.

Within game beta 1.15, both of the two calibers of cruiser/dreadnought Pulse Cannons can engage your rush dreadnought, Tohron.
They both have tracking accuracy of at least 1.80, shield penetration of at least 23, and shield damage of 50%. The lower-caliber pulse cannon does 13.5 damage per hit every 0.88 seconds, and the higher-caliber pulse cannon does 40 damage per hit every 2.65 seconds. I grant you that the 50% shield damage modifier is a real problem here, but in quantity that will begin to average-out. As long as your enemy spams enough of these to render your shield recharge rate meaningless, you can eventually be sunk by them. I admit that means a potentially long fight, and there’s always the chance that some other factor may intervene (such as your escort ships damaging or “mission-kill”-ing enemy cruisers/dreadnoughts so equipped), but it’s not the only arrow in the enemy’s quiver.

Both pulse cannons have armor penetration of 19. At the speed your ship is ultra-specialized to create, no realistic amount of armor belt light enough to avoid slowing you down can also be thick enough to stop those two pulse cannons from punching through it with every single shot after your shields are down. The design “edge case” you have created – a capital ship with immense shield strength but without any armor – can fall victim to another design “edge case” of a cruiser/dreadnought-mounted weapon which is cursed with weak damage output relative to the size of the ship carrying it, but blessed with enough accuracy and penetration to eventually (and it would take quite a while) neutralize your ship design in spite of its much greater speed.

[size=135]II. )[/size] Tohron, in answer to your earlier thought: target painters are not a threat to you unless your speed drops below 1.10.
If it does, painters suddenly become a force multiplier not only for missiles launched from relatively-rare enemy dreadnoughts and more numerous enemy cruisers, but also from the far more abundant enemy frigates. By itself, the ability of target painters to lock-on to your rush DN is not decisive. However, if you have taken enough engine damage internally that you can no longer exceed speed 1.10, or that some other factor is externally preventing you from doing that (see below), then this missile-assistance module might become part of the enemy fleet’s endgame strategy.

So without the target painters to help at the start of the fight, your foe will have to switch from quality to quantity. This is not necessarily such a crippling state. Your very large shield strength also has only 18 resistance, so the overlooked Frigate Hyperspeed Missile (tracking 1.75, shield penetration 24, shield damage 100%) can draw blood from your speed-beast. Spamming enough of those might be sufficient to compensate for the loss of the auto-hit ability the target painter confers upon missiles. Not installing armor aboard the rush DN is unfortunate, but this type of missile could easily overwhelm such armor anyhow.

[size=135]III. )[/size] The cruiser Tractor Beam & Multi-Point Tractor Beam, dreadnought High-Power Tractor Beam & Combat Tractor Beam might be more useful than weapons aboard those hulls. Concerning enemy cruiser and dreadnought designs, a 50/50 split between tractorbeam-ships and weapons-ships adds a new dimension to the battle.
Should your ship design lose its attack momentum (figuratively as well as literally) even temporarily via multiple enemy tractor-beam ships set up explicitly as anchors, then massed volleys of weapons can begin to lay down some serious hurt upon it. This is not a free win by itself – the tractor modules I just mentioned are actually more than a little under-strength relative to their function and combat roles. :confused:

Use of at least a dozen or more anchor-frigates, plus approx. 4-6 anchor-cruisers or 2-3 anchor-dreadnoughts should be able to slow this racehorse down somewhat. I recommend anchor-cruisers instead of anchor-DNs – even though the latter have access to better-quality tractor beams, the former are faster ships and can better attempt to get within range of the enemy.

[size=135]IV. )[/size] [size=115]Remember, you don’t need to be stopped – only slowed a bit. [/size]

Your speed-1.59 rush dreadnought has only a nine-point speed advantage over 1.5-tracking weaponry.
That’s just a six percent buffer between only being hit by pulse cannons & frigate hyperspeed missiles, versus being hit by the former as well as frigate standard missiles. I do not deny that it will likely be expensive in terms of ships required and casualties inflicited upon them in order to deliver sufficient hurt to your fast capital ship (you did bring equally-fast escorts along, right?). If on a reliable, recurring basis you can be slowed even briefly by six percent, you’re in some trouble.

[size=135]V. )[/size] If your opponent can repeatedly nudge your speed below 1.50 for more than just a few consecutive seconds, things suddenly become a bit interesting for your rush dreadnought.
Frigates armed with the ubiquitous standard Missile Launcher can now engage you: tracking 1.50, shield penetration 23, shield damage 100%. This is a gold-plated invitation to massive attacks by multiple formations of frigates.

Following that, if your opponent can manage to destroy your shielding with “the death of a thousand cuts” before slowing you (via anchor-ships) to speed 1.40 or less, cruiser/dreadnought Sniper Beams now come into play: tracking 1.4, shield penetration 8, shield damage 50%, armor damage 100%, damage 36 every 2.7 seconds. Because of the Sniper Beams’ extended Minimum Range, using this is very tricky but with serious planning can still be arranged to a (probably not close to ideal) extent.

[size=135]VI. )[/size] By this stage, if your rush dreadnought has lost all of its shields and the enemy’s various anchor-ships can still manage to occasionally hold you such that you slow down to speed 1.5 or less, you still have a ship that is quite dangerous but with a lot of luck can be cornered. This would be an interesting fight indeed. The advantage doesn’t necessarily belong to neither side until one of two things happens, and which of the two happens first:
Your shields are finally sanded-down to nothing by massed fire from large numbers of enemy pulse cannons & frigate hyperspeed missiles.

  • OR -
    The purely speed-based defensive modifier (despite your DNs huge size) that your ships enjoy causes so many of the enemy weapons to miss, that your shields fail to crack, and you then kill so many enemy ships that their entire strategy begins to weaken beyond recovery.
    Once either of these events happens, it’s a race between enemy missile-firing-cycles, and your struggle to land as many hits from your dreadnoughts as you can onto each single attacker unit. Whichever happens to gain the upper hand first here dictates how the rest of the engagement goes.

It’s extremely hard to meaningfully comment on casualties on the enemy side and how that will affect the fight overall, because no details exist of what forces are escorting the rush dreadnought. Going it alone is unwise. I expect that the opponent will likely rack up large losses among his frigate numbers from the rush-DNs fast small escort units IF they’re designed well (but what constitutes “well” is another thread entirely). That is the nature of the game; doubly so in this type of edge-case battle. The rush dreadnought needs to be flanked, encircled and continuously swarmed by many individual enemy ships, with no single enemy unit representing great value (offensive, financial or sentimental) to the enemy admiral. The exception to that are the cruisers and/or dreadnoughts which are carrying the pulse cannons; those ships are something the enemy likely cannot afford to have destroyed and still be able to win.

[size=135]VII. )[/size] Such an enemy battle force is much more expensive than the rush dreadnought itself. In an equal-budget battle, a loss for the rush DN looks unlikely.
However, in a wider and bigger fleet-scale battle, the sample enemy fleet armament I showed above should be capable of negating his design despite requiring a potentially long fight, and it should generally be possibly for combined use of that armament, plus tractor-only anchor-ships, to win in the end. I admit there’s still a problem with speed-based immunity coming into play here, and trying to become decisive. Even so, your speed advantage is only a thin 6% versus one example of a cheap and effective frigate missle weapon, and nonexistent versus another quality frigate missile weapon and an example of a quality type of “secondary” cruiser/dreadnought energy weapon.

A cool ship indeed! But not invulnerable, and not game-breaking by itself.
Comments invited.
Any mistakes appearing in my counter-argument are solely my own.

In theory, those solutions work, but in practice, they run into problems. With missile spam, it’s true that when you lob 500 missiles at one of these ships, some of them will get lucky, but bear in mind, the vast majority of those shots still miss, and each of these dreadnaughts is packing 4-5 missile launchers of its own. In the challenge scenario I provided, a pure missile fleet wasn’t even able to scratch any of the the dreadnaughts before getting blown to bits. In larger fleets, the problem is simply that after factoring out all the misses, the dreadnaughts have a better cost/DPS ratio than the enemy missile ships.

Cruiser pulse lasers were effective against the original challenge, however, swap in one heavy shield, and they become useless (though this probably means that those lasers should get their shield penetration boosted). Against the new challenge, I was narrowly able to beat it with a fleet of heavy plasma dreadnaughts using the +60% tracking hull and a bunch of tracking arrays, but it was a close affair - the last enemy dreadnaught was finished off by a single surviving one of the tracking dreadnaughts. If a hard-counter fleet fares that poorly, there’s a problem.

Tohron, thanks very much for replying. :slight_smile: It’s good to have an update straight from the battlezone.
What you’ve experienced with the Y’ootan “Khan” hull is potentially important.

Did the incoming enemy missiles fail because of strong presence of Point Defense-heavy destroyer escorts with each rush dreadnought? Due to time pressure with something else on the forums I’m not in a position to play the challenge for a while, so I must rely on your descriptions. You’ve piqued my curiosity, though.

I remember. That armament should not be decisive on its own, though; not against an adequately-defended (P.D.-heavy) fleet.

That causes me to wonder about the design of the enemy missile ships attacking the rush dreadnoughts. Did they sacrifice any slots full of anti-ship weaponry in favor of Point Defense systems vs. the rush DNs’ missiles? Or in favor of other non-weapon choices? I can’t help but wonder what actually happened with that; to me, something about this is not adding up cleanly.

If the attack-oriented enemy ships were accompanied by a full complement of destroyers, these escorts and their superior Point Defense ability should have been able to null a great deal of the rush DNs’ missiles heading for the assailants. That this did not happen causes me to wonder how the “anti-” rush DN force’s ships were designed and what their various priorities were.

I wonder if the present capabilities of the destroyer-sized hull need even more of a buff than I was already aware that they did. That’s a bit disturbing to think of. It might not decisively mean that dreadnought speed Boost values are too big; it might also (or instead?) mean that fleet defenses unique to destroyer hulls are too weak. The latter concerns me to a great extent. I’m grateful that an examination of just how good an exploit-ship designed to use a possibly-broken speed Boost bonus could also shine a light upon another potential game weakness as well.

I agree 100% about the shield penetration of the pulse lasers. As for the original challenge, I was aware that the present nature of both cruiser/DN-hull the pulse lasers is reaallllllly close to being obviously nulled-out by substituting one existing shield with a Heavy Shield. I didn’t comment on that originally because I chose to concentrate upon your “Khan”-based design as you presented it for discussion.

Yes, the Kraugerisk “Sabre” hull is formidable. But that a counter fleet based upon several of them could not beat the rush DNs without making the battle into a Pyrrhic victory is cause for some concern. I agree that there is a problem with that much mutual-assured destruction, but I’m not 100% sure that the problem is with the “Khan”'s speed bonus. Damn, this is one weird situation; I’d suggest more testing. Thanks again for shining a light upon this, Tohron.

Hmm, I tried this challenge and your dreads do seem to dodge almost every missile sent their way. The missiles look like they should collide, but instead they just fly over the top of them. I guess this is normal behavior, but looks a bit odd. My dread do have a few tractor beams that I think helped get a few hits in. Further methods of slowing them MIGHT produce better results, though I don’t have time to test now.

To your credit, they destroyed my slow missile loaded dreadnoughts after a very long battle fought at 4x. It was the first thing I’ve seen them not completely crush. Anyway, game crashed (always does for me anyway) at the end of the challenge.

I noticed your dreadnoughts fly off the map quite frequently and my dreads end up waiting for them to come back. This seems like odd behavior. I would think the battle map should have some form of invisible walls or some method of preventing ships soaring around off camera.

Well, I just tested another counter-fleet with missiles this time - seems that tracking bonuses do indeed affect missiles, and the resulting fleet proved highly effective, beating the rush dreadnaughts with no losses and only one significantly damaged ship. Considering the general effectiveness of missiles, perhaps they need a rate-of-fire nerf, which would also make point defenses more effective against them?

I came up with the same solution:
Sabre Dreadnaughts with lots of tracking and Heavy Plasmas. One I equipped with armour to tank - the others I spammed with engines (around 0.42 speed or so) (no shields, no armour). This way I “only” lost 1/3 to 1/2 of my ships until I beat the Racer Dreadnaughts Mk II - but the game always crashes, when I beat the last of them.

I just tried the same challenge with Beta 1.16: still most of the battle is off-screen! And the game is still chrashing when I am winning! (Edit: as of now Beta 1.17 challenges seem to work / are fully implemented: no more crashes at the end.)
(Some prices must have changed on a very small scale, because I was over budget a few hundred credits… - I solved it by exchanging one of the more expensive moving Sabres with a second armoured / tanking Sabre (which is a bit cheaper).

The game is (edit: Beta 1.17 no longer!) crashing when I am about to win the Racer Dreadnaught Mk II (5189584) challenge.
And too much of this special battle is happening off the screen… these fast Racer Dreadnaughts Mk II have gigantic turning circles… (most of the thrust is forward for obvious reasons (hit avoidance determined only by speed?), and if these ships just start turning when they get to the “sidelines” it takes them forever to come back into sight… - and with all that long range weaponry (missiles on their side, heavy plasma on my side), they even die outside of sight…

I think either the game needs to take into account how large the turning circle will be, or alternatively the “all-forward-speed” engines need to add so much turning power, that the circle ends up being half as large. Alternatively you could communicate (- and make it so), that turning rate has a higher impact on “hit / miss-chance” than forward speed, so I start using thrusters… - which I haven’t found a need for yet.

Lol @ 1.5 speed + 26 shield resist.

But yeah, like you suspect target painter/Fast missile is the hard counter, and plasma/booster also works. Still I don’t think Dreadnoughts should be moving at 1.5 to begin with. It essentially makes 99% of the game content useless.

Having lost to this challenge a few times now (haven’t tried the plasma / track boost combo yet) I agree that it highlights a number of problems.

I’d definitely support a reduction in dreadnought speed boosts, or every competitive fleet will look like this one.

Significantly increasing the tracking speed of one or more of the fighter anti-shield missiles would help too. There’s a real shortage of high tracking shieldbusting weapons in this game.

Upping the shield penetration of one of the cruiser / dreadnought pulse lasers would create this game’s version of GSB1’s CL. I can’t decide if that would be a good thing or not.

Painters wreck it pretty hard, as expected. Of course, the first one I downed plowed straight into my fleet.

Do you have any idea how much damage a dying dreadnought with four powerplants does in an explosion?