Currently I’m up to the last map that just keeps spamming you with… fighters.
And there’s absolutely no way to effectively deal with them, even with heavily modded files. Stock items simply have zero ability to deal with the fighter mobs though they can survive the frigates/cruisers.
Point defense simply cannot keep up with multiple flights of drones under any circumstance, which is a balance issue, even when the ship’s sole weapon compliment is anti-fighter.
So there should be some sort of weapon capable of dispatching fighters on cruiser size ships. AOE would work best, either a splash-damage missile, or ‘smartbomb’ that radiates outward from the ship and strikes everything in range (friend and foe alike).
Hmm, I don’t remember what I did on the last map anymore, but have you tried deploying frigates with anti-fighter missiles? Rebel laser cannon fighters also do a decent job of killing enemy fighters, particularly in conjunction with tractors.
Some suggestions for possible AOE weaponry. Hopefully cliffski thinks a few of them are as peachy-neato as I do. So…
A minelayer module for friagtes. Have ML-equipped frigates tied to a ship via the escort or formation orders, and they’ll drop mines behind themselves until they run out of them. My intention is that the mines are designed as something other than an anti-ship weapon. The blast damage is low, as it’s only meant to lay down the smack on tight formations of fighters at close range. The blasts are to be light enough to be unnoticed for ships. (If cliffski wants to expand this to larger, kill-o-zap mines that can lay down the smack upon frigates & cruisers, that’s a future possibility.)
A cruiser module with a high-power, wide-spread beamwidth. High tracking speed so as to slew the barrel around and catch a group of fighters with their metaphoric pants down. Light shield and armor penetration, but that’s enough to smear most any fighter into a thin mist anyhow. Think of it as a spaceborne flamethrower of sorts…just the thing to nail a dozen or more army ants at once,
How about a fast-firing module that fires tiny AOE-type EMP missiles solely at fighters? While a group of them within reach of the expanded EMP blast are shocked, they aren’t firing back, and this would give you a moment to “catch your breath” as you bring other anti-fighter weapons to bear. This might be too tough to implement well, but I can’t shake the idea of something that somehow “hacks” a bunch of enemy fighters simultaneously.
I’m not a huge fan of AOE weapons, though I suppose nuke missiles might have some of that WRT unarmored fighters.
Better would be changing the weapon module paradigm to have more size variability. Ie: Cruiser sized hardpoints are for “big guns” like the ABC XYZ turrets on large warships. Cruisers should also have frigate sized hardpoints in addition that are more like the 5/38s, quad 40mms, etc on USN ww2 ships.
Then you’d put anti-fighter weapons on CAs and there would simply be more of them.
Alternately, fighters could be slowed down some (it’s not like there is any reason why smaller ships would be faster, in fact, just the opposite).
Well, sort of. My mod actually eliminates most of the differences between cruiser and frigate weaponry, but since most of my weapons have several different versions of different sizes, you can indeed pack a cruiser full of anti-fighter machinegun batteries. Fighters in my mod are rather weak right now, due to the strength of machine gun fire and anti-fighter missiles. Hopefully I’ll find a good balance for them at some point.
To return to the actual topic of the first post, I think having a small number of weapons deal their damage over an area of effect, rather than requiring direct hits, would be very a very valuable game mechanic. It’s been suggested several times, and hopefully it’s on Cliffski’s list of potential additions.