The point of Frigates and Deployment

So, I bought this game on the steam sale and I love it. I’ve played through the existing campaign, and there are a couple of questions I have.

  1. Frigates. Why bother? Almost every single mission I did could be won by plopping down a bunch of big cruisers with some fighter escorts. Maybe I’m building them wrong or something.
  2. Deployment. While the enemy has some interesting-looking deployments, but whenever I tried it it always seemed a lot less effective to do a Blitzkrieg-approach and park everything at a flank. That way the full force of my army can stomp on the enemy a bit at a time.

I don’t know, I guess I just feel that there might be some subtlety that I’m missing. Part of that might have to do with the fact that I’m running the game on a 1024x600 monitor, and as such the game info of the modules in the Ship Builder is unreadable. :frowning:

The online challenges against players are generally much harder. There’s an utter flood of unrated/unplayed ones due to the recent steam deal, though.

Frigates can be used against cruisers in a few ways:

  1. Really cheap firepower to overwhelm (400-600 credit frigates in large quantities)
  2. Fast frigates capable of evading most cruiser fire (.41-.6 speeds)
  3. As a means to attack cruiser escorts (Quickly destroying AA platforms and laser fighters)

With an emphasis on speed, many swarm/rebel frigates are quite good.

Frigate has EMP and Anti Fighter Missiles, both of which works a lot better than their cruiser counterpart.

Welcome aboard, Veterinari. Deployments in GSB are definitely an art as well as a science. There are signifigant subtleties to be explored thru careful use of the relative location of a unit in your formation plus tweaks done via combat orders. Once you also take into account the minimax of your guns’ effective ranges vs. the enemy’s, combined closing speeds, etc. and then it becomes something approaching high-level chess. You’ll see that the introduction to such is easy, but mastery of it is hard.

Those EMPs in particular can really screw up the enemy; doubly so if employed in quantity [see below]. One of the best frigate weapons, even though it only harms the enemy indirectly.

  1. Oh, hell yes – “Zerg rush,” anyone? :smiley: Frigates make superb light cavalry.
  2. That higher speed is great for foiling the tracking of cruiser weaponry. Combine that with the previous point and EMP missiles mentioned above = pretty fireworks display while your cruisers beat the pulp out of the stun-locked enemy.
  3. Frigate vs. frigate…“eggshells armed with sledgehammers”! Such actions within a larger battle tend to be quick and messy.

The scenarios that come with the game handle frigates completely wrong, it sends unsupported frigates straight at the enemy fleet and get destroyed easily. As others have stated, using frigates properly can be effective, ie like frigates deployed behind cruisers with a tractor and 2-3 anti-fighter missiles with armor of 12 to be almost immune to fighters.

As for deployment it depends but usually a tight deployment is better than spread out. My ships that have huge tanks will want the enemies spread out as much as possible in order to spread out incoming damage to tolerable levels, but in most cases vs the scenarios that come with the game a tight deployment of focused firepower will win vs a spread out formation. The last 6-8 or so scenarios can be tough.

My frigates tend to be multipurpose AA + EMP. Once they main body of my fleet hits the enemy those anti-fighter missiles are suddenly rather useful against de-shielded cruisers and frigates.

That, or my Swarm frigates that are loaded out with 2 beams and an ion cannon and told to go to town.


I am wondering how you make your frigates “immune” to fighters :slight_smile: Example - I build my fed fleet and assign close to a cruiser (partly beam partly plasma weapons) a frigate with 2 anti fighter guns, a cheap laser and pump it with heavy armor. If the enemy (e.g. one of those rebel scenarios) comes up the frigates are being dealt with within seconds, even when put next to each others. Of course winning the fight is not the problem, however trying different strategies fails always. I am only succsfull when having these frigates as bait and to “mesh up enough fighters” while the cruisers crush the opposing fleet.

Without frigates the cruisers of course would not stand a chance :slight_smile:

While frigates will not be completely immune, having an average armor value of 12, or above, will help them survive fighters long enough to take out the same value in fighters.

Im also very confused about frigates. Before, I usually get my frigates to rush, but they get deadded before they even do any real damage. Now I just put them close to my cruisers hoping the extra missles help somehow, but they also get deadded first. I dont use them against fighters because my own fighters takes care of that. I tried using the anti-sheild bomb(forgot wat its called) but they dont work 70% of the time. I havent tried using EMP though. I usually use the swarm btw.

Frigates with well used EMP are utterly devastating if used properly. I actually found myself being defeated entirely by frigates on one of the survival challenges, even with a modded heavy battleship! D:

30+ hardpoints, massive armor, thick shields…all undone by frigates! My battleship was completely locked down by EMP, and then ever so slowly whittled down by the frigates.

Without the EMP my battleship would have vaporized the frigates easily, but EMP takes even the biggest ship out of the fight. Enough EMP and an entire fleet of cruisers won’t be doing anything except sitting there for target practice.

True that! On one of the Survival Scenarios (the one without fighters?), the enemy starts deploying TONS of frigates with EMP and anti-armour weapons, which is about when my cruisers get their burros handed to them. They simply NEVER have a chance to fire.

Yes, that’s the Orion Ambush survival mission against the Alliance. Since the waves of ships are cyclical, eventually the mass of EMP-armed frigates will show up when you only have one or two ships left. And that’s all she wrote, since it’s nearly a dozen frigates dedicated to making sure your last ship doesn’t shoot back. Oy.

I would just like to say, that what the OP asks, is like a new chess player asking what are the point of the knights. They move all funny and don’t have much range. So why bother with them?

Sounds kind of silly to an experienced chess player. Same with this GSB game. All these pieces have a use. Sometimes they don’t apply well in a particular scenarios but overall, they have very useful uses. GSB, like chess is easy to learn, but very hard to master. And like chess, the masters, will even disagree on what is the best strategy. Arguing over the finer points of pawn positions and gambits. But it sure is a cool game none the less. And GSB should be destined for great glory in the best of classic gaming in the year 2030. Or at least, a variant of it.

See you on the battlefield !!

The problem with loading up frigates with armor is that it costs too much, which means you lose out on frigate’s main benefit: cost efficient firepower. At which point, it loses its advantage over cruisers entirely. That’s a problem, because it makes frigate/cruiser mixes useless due to their vulnerability to fighters. If you take a look at the SAC tournament, most of the higher number challenges either have no frigates at all, or are frigate spam. If you need some anti-air, it’s simply more efficient to put some anti-air on your cruisers, which are innately less vulnerable to fighters.

I think that’s a game balance issue that needs to be addressed. Frigates are too weak to fighters and too strong against cruisers (en masse). They don’t function as support roles as they were intended to.

The problem with loading up frigates with armor is that they will die to Beam Lasers, and those things will hit with 770 range.

Rocket fighter + cruiser beam laser > Frigates.

You can’t really fix frigates, they are broken beyond repair. So long as their shield resistance is < 12, they will get owned by rocket fighters. However, if their shield resistance is > 12, then frigate spam will dominate the game.

Another reason why mixing frigates with cruisers is bad is shockwave damage. 1 cruiser die, and frigates near it just dies with it. Even with swarm where I have near rocket immunity with scrambler + smart bomb, the frigates are still more trouble than they are worth.

I agree they’re broken, but I don’t think it’s beyond repair. Frigates could do with having specific support niches. For example, you could buff up their AA capabilities, while nerfing cruiser’s AA. That alone would make support frigates essentially necessary in certain setups. Other niches could include utility such as EMP and Disruptor Bombs: improve the range of both and remove EMP cannons from cruisers. At the same time, the damage of ion cannons and frigate beams could be nerfed to prevent frigate spam from being overpowered.

Utility frigates are useless because beam laser comes at 770 range. The only way frigates are usable is to overload their beam lasers, which turns into a spam. No amount of tools are going to offset the fact that they get vaporized in half a second.

AA frigates, same thing. AA missile with armor easily kills rocket fighters, but when Beam laser comes they die.

There’s nothing frigates can do against beam laser + rocket fighters, so long as they are set to prioritize frigates first. This is why all my recent frigate spams are actually frigate/laser fighter hybrid spams.

And strongly disagree that they need more utility… They can already stunlock an entire cruiser fleet, how much more do they need?

I realize beam laser destroys frigates, but you can somewhat offset this by deploying them behind your cruisers in formation (which is why I think extending range would greatly improve frigate support). Beam lasers are not that dangerous when the ships they are on are being pummeled by your cruisers out in front.

Beam laser comes with CL or howitzer in front, that’s just a standard spam. Your front liner will be busy firing at those since my beam cruiser won’t be drawing aggro in particular (as long as speed is same or greater). My beam laser though will target your frigates without fail as long as I set priority to 100%. So they will need some super long range to make them untouchable by 770.

That, and they still can’t be AA support. If AA missiles have super long range too, then they will be overpowered regardless or how little DPS they deal on the ground. DPS is unnecessary for a frigate spam to win if they can stunlock cruisers and kill rocket fighters from super long range. Laser fighters will grind stunned cruisers to death eventually.

Of course, if you nerf their ground weapons enough, a mass EMP/AA frigate spam and 1 or 2 cruisers as DPS support might emerge…

The big problem is that there aren’t many good choices to use frigates for.

I propose that they get a few things done to them:

  • Remove the EMP weapon. It’s clearly OP to be able to spam stunlock frigates.
  • Boost effectiveness of the AA missiles, and add more long-range support modules.
  • Increase resistance of frigate shields, so they can effectively repel rocket fighters as well as beam lasers.