I’m sure, given the age of the game, this has been covered before but, if so, it’s now buried too deep for this noob to bother digging up. It was actually less trouble to re-invent the wheel myself. And to be honest, I haven’t had this much fun since they recently outlawed chicken fights in my bailiwick. So without further ado, I present the Great Dogfighter Shootout, a series of fighter vs. fighter battles to see what combination of modules, orders, and rules of engagement has the upper hand, and what variables go into this determination. The results may surprise you. Here’s a cut to the racetrack caller…
And now the backstory. My noobish prior experience and what little I’ve gleaned so far from this forum and other sources has convinced me that rocket/painter fighters are the best dogfighters. I have seen them beat all non-rocket fighters without the racially specific fighter gear and also mixes of rocket/rocket with a few painters mixed in. So, my #1 goal was to determine the best rocket/painter in head-to-head and then put that up against various other options.
By sending myself private challenges, I fought dozens of fighter vs. fighter battles. Each test was a best-of-5 series, 1st team to 3 wins advanced. The “home team” was the opposition in the challange, the “visitor” was whatever I put up against it. The scenario for Round 1 was as follows:
- $56K budget
- 400 pilots
- Only fighters
- 4096x map
- Opposition: 25x16 Federation Leopard Rocket/Painter with engage fighters 100% at 350, Stick Together, Last Stand. Arranged in 3 ranks of 7, then a centered rank of 3, and 1 more bringing up the rear
My baseline opponent, which I’d been led to believe was about average, was as follows:
Federation Leopard, Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $121, speed 2.51, HP 19.25
So, off to the races…
NOTE: Neither the Alliance nor the Empire has a fighter with 2 hardpoints, so neither qualified for the competition.
1. Fed Leopard R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
First off, I wanted to see if orders made a difference, so the 1st thing was a straight-up duel with everything the same except that the visiting team didn’t have the Stick Together orders. This was 1 of only 2 matches to go 5 games with the home winning games 2, 4, and 5. The box score was 29-10, 12-25, 29-10, 19-39, 16-32. For a while, I continued running tests with different “visiting teams” comparing Stick Together to pure chaos and Stick Together always won, usually by a much greater margin. So, after a while, I quit comparing this, assuming Stick Together would always triumph. So…
Observation #1: In rocket/painter duels, all other things being equal, Stick Together beats otherwise.
2. Slow Fed Leopard R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
I wanted to test a previous observation that perhaps rocket/painters that were slower had the advantage. So, I did another Fed vs. Fed fight there the visitors had Engine 1 instead of Engine 2, The slow version had the following stats: $116, speed 2.21, HP 18.25, giving the baseline home team a slight edge in both speed and HP. That was enough for the home time to sweep the series in a rout, 25-50, 29-58, 25-50. Thus, in R/P duels, all other things being equal, having the advantage in speed and hitpoints wins. But now I had to isolate which of these variables was more important. In the meantime, I had many other fish to fry, so kept on fighting all other races against my baseline.
3. Reb Achiilles R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
The Rebs fielded the Achilles Rocket/Painter/Engine 3, $128, speed 2.72, HP 19.80, thus having 8% speed and 3% HP advantages. While the size of the battle meant that small differences could add up, I’m inclined (especially in light of later events) to discount the speed advantage and go with the more significant HP difference. Anyway, the Rebs swept the series handily, 48-10, 38-10, 53-10. This leads to…
Observation #2: In R/P duels, all other things being essentially equal, speed wins.
4. Tribe Serenity R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
The Tribe’s entry, later to prove the ultimate champion, was as follows: Serenity Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $120, speed 2.25, HP 35). So in this case, the Feds had an 11% speed advantage but were faced nearly twice their total HPs. Despite their slow speed, the Tribe won going away, 44-10, 45-10, 40-10. But still too early to call on the speed vs. HP issue. Other results will have to be taken into account.
5. Order Acolyte R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
The Order fielded the Acolyte Rocket/Painter/Engine 2/Engine 1, $129, speed 2.56, HP 18. Despite having a very slight speed advantage, they had a somewhat great disadvantage in HP. And they lost, although they put up very good fights: 20-41, 13-27, 10-16.
6. Swarm Seth R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
The Swarm had Seth Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $103, speed 2.57, HP 16.63. Compared to the baseline, the Swarm is only slightly different from the Order in speed but rather worse in HP. Despite this, the Swarm put up an even better fight than the Order, going 5 games but still losing 10-21, 14-29, 16-10, 11-10, 11-22. Not taken into account is that Swarm fighters are very cheap compared to other R/Ps, so without the constraints of this test, they’d probably have enough extra numbers to carry the day. Still, ship for ship, the Feds win, but not by much.7.
7. Swarm Amun FFG/ MTB vs. Fed Leopard R/P
The Swarm has 2 unique fighter components, the Fighter Fusion Gun (FFG) and the Micro Target Booster (MTB). The FFG is supposed to replace the standard Fighter Pulse Laser (FPL), which we all know already is a non-starter in the dogfight world. I wasn’t going to allow this but the Swarm’s envoys were quite insistent that I let their specially prepared teams play, so I took time out of my busy life to watch the inevitable outcome. I mean, with a range well shorter than the rocket’s, the FFG was still as doomed as the FPL, despite its higher rate of fire. And this isn’t counting the speed penalty imposed by the necessary power generator, on a hull that’s already short of hit points. So, for the 1st, I let the Swarm have all their unique items. This involved an Anum FFG/MTB/Engine 2/Power Generator 3, $98, speed 1.82, HP 20.9. Giving the short-ranged Swarm the ability to roam at will without the constraints of the Stick Together order, they were still slaughtered by the Feds 45-90, 41-83, 46-93. With Stick Together, they lost 44-90 and the match was called by the mercy rule. Same with the Amun FFG/Engine 2/Power Generator 2, $89.50, speed 2.10, HP 17.10. This was also called by the mercy rule after just 1 match, which the Swarm lost 47-94, So, the conclusion is:
Observation #3: The Swarm’s unique fighter gear are total crap and should never be used. The standard FPL is better in all signifcant respects compared to the FFG and the MTB makes no difference whatsoever. I have no ideas what the devs were thinking when they assigned their stats.
8. Nomad Majuli R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
The Nomads fielded the Majuli Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $125, speed 1.74, HP 21.88, $125, speed 1.74, HP 21.88, thus ceding a huge speed advantage to the Feds in exchange for a fairly significant HP advantage. They were swept although they put up a pretty good fight with Stick Together, slightly less so without. There best (with Stick Together) was 34-68, 35-70, 33-65.
9. Nomad Awazem DFL vs. Fed Leopard R/P
Like the Swarm, the Nomads have a unique fighter weapon, the Dogfight Laser (DFL). Again, this is SUPPOSED to be an improvement on the totally useless FPL. And I’ll give it that, it does improve on the standard a bit, but it still sucks. The Nomads had the Awazem DFL/Engine 2/Power Generator 2, $99.10, speed 2.05, HP 18.00. Here they were out-ranged, slower, and had less hitpoints, so the result was a foregone conclusion, although closer than you’d expect from the standard FPL. Feds sweep 18-37, 17-25, 21-43. Thus…
Observation #4: The Nomad Dogfight Laser is a big improvement on the standard Fighter Pulse Laser but still will not win against rocket/painters in a dogfight. It will, however, do more damage than the Nomad R/P so, given that Nomad fighters generally suck, making the enemy go through a wall of DFL fighters will make it much easier for your main ships to fend off the survivors of the fighter swarm. I think the DFL is the only valid Nomad option for defensive fighters and, given that DFL fighters are way cheaper than R/Ps, would be a good, but expendable, investment in fleet defense in 1-off battles. But I expect their attrition would limit their usefulness in a campain.
10. Parasite Sporozoa R/P vs. Fed Leopard R/P
The Parasite Sporazoa Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $125, speed 1.97, HP 18.73 is inferior to the baseline in both critical respects. Not surprisingly, it lost in a sweep 28-56, 27-55, 28-59. Good ridance to something that looks like it was cribbed from that horrific, never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Star Wars Episode 1 movie :).
So, after an intermission while a mini black hole was brought in to sweep up the debris from all the previous battles, the stage was set for the final showdown to determine the relative importance of speed vs. HP. The finalists were:
Tribe Serenity Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $120, speed 2.24, HP 35.00
Rebel Achilles Rocket/Painter/Engine 3, $128, speed 2.72, HP 19.80
11. FINAL MATCH
Now the 2 best rocket/painters were going head-to-head in a contest of speed vs. hitpoints. Speed, after long custom, had the home field advantage. After fighting even down to both sides reaching about 75%, mass started to assert dominance and, while speed kept the score respectable, it eventually succombed to superior bulk. Tribe wins 32-10, 29-10, 20-10.
Observation #5: In R/P duels, all other things being equal, having both speed and hitpoints on your side assures victory. Having more hitpoints is more important than having higher speed. A speed advantage of 0.05 will ALMOST, but not quite, even out an HP deficit of 1.25, but with greater HP deficiencies, speed advantages become inconsequential.
The best R/P now had to face the ultimate test: facing a mix of the same machines armed with rocket/rocket and a few with a painter alone.
12. Special Overtime
The winning dogfighter now had to face a mix of similar ships armed with rocket/rocket and a few painters through in. The contestants were:
Tribe Serentiy Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $120, speed 2.24, HP 35
Tribe Serenity Rocket/Rocket/Engine 2, $81, speed 2.62, HP 34 and
Tribe Dove Painter/Engine 2, $100, speed 3.04, HP 24
I did this 4 matches of 3 games each (12 in total), with the mix of twin rockets and painters having a 5:1 and 6.25:1 ratio, and for each ratio, the R/R guys Sticking Together or not. The Painter-only guys were always not, to mix in. In all cases, the R/Ps swept each match in 3 games with an average score of 25-55. So…
THE ULTIMATE DOGFIGHTER
Tribe Serenity Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $120, speed 2.24, HP 35.00
Thanks to all contestants for their participation.
The losers, in order of performance against the baseline, are as follows:
2. Rebel Achilles Rocket/Painter/Engine 3, $128, speed 2.72, HP 19.80
3. Federation Leopard Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $121, speed 2.51, HP 19.25
4. Swarm Seth Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $103, speed 2.57, HP 16.63 (a VERY close 4th, with the cheap price perhaps bumping it up without pilot constraints)
5. Order Acolyte Rocket/Painter/Engine 2/Engine 1, $129, speed 2.56, HP 18.00
6. Nomad Awazem DFL/Engine 2/Power Generator 2, $99.10, speed 2.05, HP 18.00 (special mention)
7. Nomad Majali Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $125, speed 1.74, HP 21.88
8. Parasite Sporozoa Rocket/Painter/Engine 2, $125, speed 1.97, HP 18.73
It should be noted that the top 2 (Tribe and Rebels) are head and shoulders above the pack. Federation and Swarm are very, very close and neither is much better than the Order. After that, everything else just sucks. The Alliance and Empire need not apply, and fighters equipped with Swarm unique modules are total garbage.
In conclusion, having determined the above, I also fooled around with some Serenity R/P vs. Serentiy R/P matches with both sides Sticking Together and Last Stand, the only difference being the engagement range. I found that in R/P duels, if 1 side was set to a range of 350 (the standard in all the above), shorter ranges lost (but not by much) and longer ranges out to 500 won, the best results being at 400.
Thanks for listening.