Suggestion for Anti Fighter Missiles

Okay, reading some of the threads here on the board, it seems that Anti-Fighter missiles are regarded pretty badly. Now I’m sure this could be dealt with by simply juggling the numbers until you get a more satisfactory outcome, but let me suggest a possible alternative.

During a recent battle I was deploying a couple of cruisers with fast missile launchers and target painters, on their way to attack the enemy cruisers they ran passed a group of fighters and took some potshots at them. Obviously I didn’t expect them to hit anything, but lo and behold, when they passed close enough they both painted a fighter and fired a missile, I kept watching, and despite the relative lack of speed, both missiles flew home and took out fighters.

This got me thinking, what if you added a target painter to frigates? Each anti-fighter missile would have a greatly improved chance of hitting. Admittedly this would only strike at a low speed, but (in theory) this could be balanced by giving the frigate painter a high refire speed and low range, allowing it to target fighters quickly and efficiently. Adding a version of the targeting system would also help, this would require additional module investment, but no more than to ensure each frigate is truly specialised.

I’ve tested this as well. One squadron of fast fighters can easily kill a frigate with four anti-fighter missile modules, even if the frigate has a ton of armor. The situation changes though if there’s a dedicated target-painting cruiser around. The reason is that when a missile is fired at a painted target, it will always hit, regardless of details like tracking speed and size. Frankly that seems a bit ridiculous, but that’s how it works right now. Target painting in such a situation is all or nothing.

I’ve just tested this with a self challenge, and you’re quite correct.

A single squadron of fighters will easily overwhelm a frigate with nothing but armour and anti fighter missiles, but with the painter cruiser nearby the frigate wins every time. Even though the cruiser has no other effect on the battle (it has no weapons, and the fighters are programmed to attack the frigate first).

It would seem then, to be a relatively simple fix (as wonderfully bizarre as it is to build a dedicated painter cruiser) simply allow frigates easy access to target painting and rejoice as anti-fighter missiles re-discover their purpose.

There’s discussion around AoE attacks, and fighter missiles will benefit from this. An area blast enough to kill fighters will need less missile accuracy (they currently miss around 80% of the time against average fighters, I’m sure someone can test this vs speed) while being even worse against everything else. Ideally you’d have dual fusing… but maybe not in this game. :slight_smile:

I’ve also experimented with AA frigates, and both missiles and ‘lots o’ guns’ pretty much suck. It’s a shame, but AoE weapons might allow a storm of flak to actually be effective.

Well, I thought I’d try this again since anti fighter missiles were buffed in the latest release (12.50 tracking speed, wow!). Unsurprisingly they’re better, an AFM Frigate can now handily defeat two bog standard fighter squadrons, but is quickly overwhelmed by three. Interestingly throwing a targeting cruiser into the mix improves this immensely. With this backup the single frigate can take on four squads of fighters and win! The downside, however, is that once you get past five fighter squads, you reach a tipping point where they appear to be able to obliterate everything, even a second frigate doesn’t help.

It’s worth noting that I used imperial weapons platforms with nothing but missiles and armour here, which is hardly realistic, but it does show how that AFM frigates are now a serious threat, and opens up some interesting possibilities for painter/tractor cruisers to escort them.

Wow, interesting. I hope they don’t turn out to be too good…

Very interesting. I’ll have to try out that balance, but it’s good to see that:

[]There is a potent threat for taking out entire squads for fighters[/]
[]Adding a target painter somewhere has a pronounced effect[/]
[]Defending against fighters still takes some specialized effort (keeps fighters from becoming useless)[/]
[]It’s still possible to overcome these defenses, but at a significant cost[/]
[]Frigates now have a legitimate use[/]

Now that I have an answer to fighters, expect to see me at the top of the survival charts (yeah right :P).