Things I Think Aren't Working Right

Anti-fighter weapons
I’m finding the best anti-fighter weapon is a tractor beam and a cruiser laser. The cruiser laser does crazy high DPS, is very effective against other ships and, with the tractor beam, is as good or better against fighters than other actual anti-fighter weapons. Similarly for frigates, I’m liking the tractor beam and ion cannon combo better than anti-fighter missiles. The ion cannon doubles as a good anti-ship weapon too, so you’re ready if your challenge fleet goes against a fleet with no fighters.

Just in general, I find frigates to be lackluster in performance. Fighters absolutely mow them down. Laser fighters, rocket fighters, torpedo fighters, whatever, basically any moderate number of fighters with any kind of weapons set to priority target frigates can decimate your frigate population fast. Even ridiculous frigates set to use 1 gun and the rest shields and/or armor ends up melting pretty quick to even moderate numbers of fighters.

Torpedoes are too heavy and make torpedo fighters pretty worthless. They’re easy to pick off and don’t ever seem to do their money’s worth. Rocket fighters basically render frigates useless. Laser fighters can kill frigates and can at least force cruiser fleets to bring ample armor. IMO, laser fighters should be more of an anti-fighter role or a “Vulture” roll to finish off damaged ships. I think they’re way too good at stripping defenses, especially against frigates. Laser fighters are surprisingly poor performers against enemy fighters, though. If it’s meant to be an anti-fighter weapon it should probably be a beam.

Point defense
What’s the deal with point defense anyway? The jammer is soooo much better. If the jammer fails to jam a missile, the point defense does not appear to shoot at it, which I thought was strange. Similarly, if a point defense fires at a missile and fails to kill it (which is most of the time) then the jammer won’t fire at it? You actually make your missile defense ability worse by equipping any point defense. Equip 1-2 jammers and be done with it.

That said, I don’t think jammers are overpowered. Even they, in all their glory, have a hard time dealing with true missile spam. (Although a plasma spam fleet with 1-2 jammers per ship will beat a missile spam fleet quite readily).

Ship Speed
I feel like fast ships don’t get enough advantage to make up for the loss they’re taking by equipping extra engines. As people say, if you lose against a fleet, just do what he’s doing with fewer engines and you’ll win. Consequently, I feel like long range weapons are trumping short range weapons in general, as there’s an awful lot of plasma spam and missile spam fleets out there. We could talk about modifying plasma and missiles but I think the problem is more to do with engines not providing a good enough benefit.

Maybe one thing that could be tried is to just greatly reduce the crew and power requirements of engines, so that ships with lots of engines aren’t doubly screwed by having to double up on crew and power generators, leaving them with too few module slots for defense and weapons.

Not that I want to see short range fast ships become the new dominant type, just that I think they aren’t as competitive as they should be against the single engine long range spamming doorstop fleets we see so much of today.

I disagree on frigates. They may die in droves, but the firepower they are capable of outputting is terrifying in a close assault role and they generally are quite modular.

Their strength is in numbers, and that strength can become very evident if you put an AA missle or EMP weapon on 20+ ships and set them loose.

They’re very hard to wrangle properly, though, which makes it hard to make any sort of challenge with them that’s not easy to exploit with mere positioning or shifts in weapon paradigm.

When you use short range ships, what do you set they max range too? I’ve found that if you make it as close as possible then the ships perform much better.

Also, if you ever give the Tribe a try, their frigates are by far the best in the game right now. They can tank fighters like a heavily armored alliance frigates but cost significantly less.

Besides that, I’d have to say I agree with you on everything. I’ll have to give those AA strategies a try since I’ve been using nothing but anti-fighter missiles up to now.

The latest patch (1.27) actually addresses the guidance scrambler thing.

Maybe in the future a new weapon could be a type of flak field like they use in the new battlestar series. Short range but would tear apart fighters if they tried to strafe frigates or cruisers. Balance it out with a high supply cost or higher crew cost something like that.

I always specialise frigates for each race, but I agree they do drop like fly’s when fighters swarm them. But yurch is right that they can be deadly when up close.

I agree that frigates do great DPS, but they’re just too fodderous when facing even modest numbers of enemy rocket fighters. There’s that one map that prevents you from deploying cruisers – you can beat the whole thing on expert using just 2 squads of Rebel rocket fighters (I used the Icarus). Can’t tell me that’s working as intended!

Maybe the problem is that frigate shields just don’t have enough reflection? Or, again with the speed thing, maybe frigates aren’t getting a good enough defensive boost for their speed? In my opinion, a frigate should be able to ignore laser and rocket fighters for as long as its shields and armor are undamaged. Once some other ship knocks a hole in its defenses, THEN the fighters should be able to clean up.

In a way, I would hate to see anti-fighter weapons improved because that might just make fighters obsolete, but they’re entirely too good at killing ships, especially frigates, and actually not good enough at killing each other.

Incidentally, the problem with pulse weapons versus fighters is that they don’t lead the target at all. This is why fighters suck at killing each other. Two fighters flying past each other never seem to land any shots because they don’t lead their target, so the pulse always misses. The only hits they seem to land are on fighters coming straight at them or heading straight away.

Certainly if enemy uses lots of aggressive rocket fighters, frigates are pretty useless. But then you can ignore frigates, and go all for cruisers as they are easily immune to them.

Strange, as I find fast laser fighters to be the best defence against any kind of fighters.

frigates with 4Pd are great, and cheaper than cruisers and allows them to focus on doing damage.

Wonder if your plasma fleet deals so good against a coward fleet without enough engines (engines are not useless).

That you see alot of them doesn’t mean they are any good.

Siting ducks fleets are VERY EASY challenges. Because you can chose at witch range you engage them.
Ex. slow boring plasma fleet- anything from: missiles, only fighters, fast melee ships… will have a easy time against them.

More engines means your ships are faster and gets hit less while they move.
Cruisers that move faster than 0.25 are a very very hard target for plasma and once those cruisers gets too close, plasma weapons won’t be able to fire them due to minium range. At this point won’t matter if you lost half of your ships while closing in.

No, they are fine.

Do you notice that Hit-check is calculated mathematically and not graphically?

Actually, longer range weapons stand to gain more out of an engine buff than anything. If we ever get a minimum range command, fast ships could obtain a stranglehold on engagement range.

A fast(er), disciplined fleet could edge towards a doorstop deployment and engage it one ship at a time with the entire fleet to minimize exposure. The reason that doesn’t work as well now is that even the slowest fleets tend to drift enough to bring other ships in range… and the assaulting fleet isn’t smart enough to back off when that happens.

The only reason to bring rocket fighters is to kill small unarmored frigates, which is an awfully specific role sometimes. There are maps that prevent you from deploying more than 70 pilots - two to three squads of rocket fighters for your team suddenly seems pretty anemic in light of what frigates can field in terms of AA.

Not all frigates are tiny evasive eggshells. Empire has that 180 meter, 15 module monster frig, which probably won’t be evading anything. I use a number of completely unshielded swordfish/wasp armored designs for my alliance fleet, and while they cost about 40% more than a similarly armed light frigate, I get to worry about entirely different classes of weaponry than mere rocket fighters. Light frigates royally spank them for cost, but I get to use rocket fighters - the other guy doesn’t.

Armor in general is the counter for fighter instadeath, and that course of design is probably the best thing to eventually keep frigate prices up and their spam down - even if armor is in a poor place right now.

Most of the challenges up there are Rebel, so don’t let that color your opinion too much.

Beam weapons: yes.
Pulse weapons: I don’t think so, or else fast fighters have a mathematical 100% chance to avoid fire coming at them from the side.

For a simple test, load up a ship with pulse weapons (e.g., Cruiser Laser) and arrange for a fighter squad to fly at it. The squad will usually lose at least one or two fighters on the approach and then won’t lose any more for a long time.

Also, just from very closely following a fighter in slow motion, I have never seen one get hit by a pulse weapon where the actual graphical display of the shot didn’t visually hit the fighter, and I have never seen a shot properly lead a target in order to hit it in this fashion.

As for fighter versus fighter, the problem is most visible with the Rebel Icarus. Put a rocket launcher on it, one good engine and a couple ablative armors (IIRC you should not need a power generator), then configure it to kill only frigates. They will wipe all frigates from the map before any number of laser fighters can stop them.

Incidentally, laser targeting + missile launchers is another decent anti-fighter weapon. Basically against fast fighters you need “something else” to help make the fighters hittable – laser targeters or tractor beams. Anti-fighter weapons alone, including anti-fighter fighters, are rarely sufficient to save you from a challenge fleet that has a good amount of rocket fighters set to focus on your frigates.

And yes, the counter is to “not use frigates”, which is my whole point. That’s not a very fun counter.

I think that you didn’t understand what it means that Hit-check is calculated mathematically(Logically).
You have a target and a weapon.
The target has a speed and a size. The weapon has a tracking value. Between the two there is a determined distance. With those values you determine if the current shoot hits or miss.

  • If it miss you shoot the projectile arround the target (angle to hit target + random angle)
  • If it hits you shoot the projectile where the target will be.

for test:
1 squadron of

[Icarius] fighter laser cannon fighter engine II fighter engine II fighter generator II [orders] attack fighters 100% priority, range 200

The same for the other side
On the first pass many projectiles will go trough many of the fighters, when they turn arround to keep each other in range, they will start getting hit from projectiles that come from the side, while many others still miss.

really a very bad example, a weapon with 0.9 of tracking isn’t going to do any better agains small things that move fast.

Certainly the problems here are rather obvious:

  • How you can put so much armor on a fighter and still be so fast.
  • Rockets weight to little for the power they have.

Against those fighters, my laser ones where having REAL problems they weren’t hitting them at all, because OMG they have 3.5 speed and 4.5 of armor.

How I countered them with fighters and frigates.
55 Icarius Rocket Fighters as you described [cost 6875, pilots 55]
48 Icarius Laser Fighters as I described above.

2 Odin Frigates with: frigate crew II frigate power II frigate tractor [WHAT MAKES ROCKET FIGHTERS HITABLE] frigate armour III + 2x frigate power armour [With 15 of armor, it takes really long for rocket fighters to critical the armor enough] 3x antifighter missile 2x frigate_engine II[cost 6818, pilots 50]

result: 10% vs 100%

One of my favorite ways is to have a Laser Cruiser being escorted by two frigates with multiple tractor beam emplacements, as well as a armored interceptor squadron of fighters. The key is the two frigates within the protection of the cruisers powerful beam or laser weapons, and stopping the fighter-bombers with their tractor beams.

Is it?

I was under the impression that hit-check for projectile weapons (pulse lasers, plasma…) was only if the shot actually intersected the target.

Because by your statement, we should see pulse weapons occasionally hit fighters without requiring a head-on or tail shot. I never see that. Set your camera to follow a fighter and slow the game down and just closely watch how it dies. Even if it gets tractored, it doesn’t start taking any damage until the speed and angle are such that pulse weapons fired at its current position manage to get there and intersect with it.

You should have lost your frigates immediately, if you set the rocket fighters orders correctly.

The point is not that rocket fighters beat laser fighters head to head – they don’t.

The point is that they’ll kill all of your frigates before your anti-fighter fighters can stop them. I’ve tried making fleets with pretty hefty amounts of tractor beams and all sorts of anti-fighter weapons and I still can’t save my frigates from fast death (doubly true for The Tribe, since their armor can’t hold its resists for very long).

I invariably beat these challenges by just not using frigates which is not, I think, the counter we should have to use.

When you see a small explosion, the fighter receives damage, that explosion is always caused by a projectile hit, the fact the projectile hits is not based on a random chance caused by a random dispersion of the weapon, but a calculaded chance to hit or not.

[size=200]NO[/size], the rocket fighters were set to attack only frigates at correct range. The armour of 15 the frigates had prevented them from being instantly raped by rockets with penetration of 12.
Give me the name that you use in-game and I will send you a challenge with the 48 Laser fighers + 2 anti-fighter odin frigates, and set the settings you want on your 55 Rocket fighters.

In fact, as stupid as it may sound they actually do, super-fast armoured rocket fighters beat fast laser fighters just because its easier to land a rocket on a 2.5 fighter, than a laser on a 3.5 fighter

not always, if they have enough armour to prevent being insta raped

I come to agree in the previous post, fighter rocket needs a serious nerf (I would increase considerably the weight)

Speaking of which, if you haven’t tried it yet, put target painters on rocket fighters and set them after other fighters.

I’m not sure if it’s cost effective but it’s pretty damn funny.

I usually mix in target-laser fighters in small groups. You can plop down a fighter squadron and then right click them to reduce the number in that squad, so a few squads of like 4-8 target-laser fighters is fun, backed up by full squads of dedicated rocket fighters. That way you can keep your speed up rather than trying to put the rocket and the laser on the same fighter.

I did actually make a reasonable fleet last night with frigates that can stand up to fighters. The problem is still that the frigates are now so armored that opposing fighters (or other low armor penetration weapons) is just about the only thing they’re good at. To get good, reliable armor resists you have to sacrifice too much speed and DPS.

Still, send me the fleet you made and I’ll play with it. In-game name same as here: Slamz

Incidentally, this is apparently IMPOSSIBLE to do with The Tribe because of their half armor. You can just barely get your armor up to a level where it can resist a rocket and the first crit will put you under the resist level and you’ll go down fast. Repair doesn’t keep up with it, either. Might actually be better off ditching the repair and putting on another armor, come to think of it.

Basically my conclusion is the same, though. By the time you’ve gotten frigates capable of surviving a focused fighter attack, they really aren’t being generally useful. I think the Empire frigate I settled on ended up having 1 tractor beam, 1 crew quarters, 1 generator, 1 engine and the rest was armor. Fighters will still kill them but it takes a while, and the tractor beams gave my own fighters the edge they needed to win the fighter battle. But as soon as I go up against a fleet that’s not relying on fighters, well, my frigates are basically useless. Even as “damage sponges” they just aren’t cost effective.

Thankfully a lot of the real nasty weapons are low penetration weapons - ion cannons, cruiser lasers, fighter lasers/rockets…

Sadly I find armor better for frigates than cruisers. The smaller granularity of lots of ships vs very few means a loose beam drops threshold on a smaller investment instead of a larger one.

Got your challenge - I see where the point of dispute comes from. You’re on a 70-pilot map. I’m thinking more along the lines of Caspan IV. There is some threshold where the number of fighters is sufficient to destroy most frigates in 1-3 passes and when the pilot limit is too low, you can’t reach that point. By additionally limiting myself to the number of pilots you used (well under the limit) it would be basically impossible to overpower those frigates.

So when fighter numbers are forcibly low, armored frigates are actually useful.

On Caspan IV, it might as well be a “cruiser and fighter” map because frigates just can’t stand up to it.

(Incidentally, I beat the challenge with similar money and pilots just by deploying 1 cruiser and getting my rocket fighters to escort it in. The cruiser and rocket fighters killed your frigates, then slowly picked off the fighters with the help of a tractor beam on the cruiser. I did another fight where I used a frigate instead of a cruiser, killed your frigates, lost my frigate and watched for about 15 minutes while our fighters flew all over the place very very slowly killing each other…)

I still think this comes back to one of my original points, though: fighters just aren’t good at killing fighters. It was the tractor beam basically doing all the damage and once those were dead it was a long game of dodge-ball.