This happened.

The Story Before the incident:

I made very little actual ground in the Campaign at the time, with only a slight expansion from my Home-world.

A key place needed to move from this section of the map to the rest of it, is Mildor’s Stand. I managed to hold a long line of dead end Planets, most of which had Large Factories and Large Naval academies.

After a few mishaps and retakes, this random Fleet takes Mildor’s Stand.

The incident: That Fleet was 4 Alliance Vessels, after taking them on with 21 of my finest Cruisers, 6 Captured Swarm Vessels and a Dreadnought (playing with the mod installed). They were crushed.

The process repeats with more and more vessels being massacred.

They still have 4 Vessels.

I manged to preserve the majority of my fleets by retreating, but I’m still stuck on the wrong end of our territories.

I need help getting rid of this fleet.

Thanks in advance.

You need to provide us with more information. Were the enemy ships immune to your weapons? If so, was your fire bouncing off shields (reflects off of a bubble around the ship), or armor? Were little green beams shooting out and intercepting your missiles and causing them to go haywire? What weapons were you and your opponent using? What kinds of ships? Are you using any mods that alter the statistics of base-game modules? What faction are you playing?

Since you haven’t told us anything about your fleet other than that it was trashed by four ships and you haven’t told us anything about the four ships which trashed your fleet other than that they were of the Alliance faction (which is still more information than we have about your own fleet), I cannot really give much useful advice other than to say that you should probably look over some of the design advice threads and battle orders advice threads, many of which are conveniently collected in the thread ‘threads with advice for new players’. Just saying ‘help, my fleet’s been trashed’ isn’t that likely to get useful advice for your specific case, because it doesn’t tell us anything about where you went wrong. Without more information, we can only make generalizations like ‘try using a cruiser design with 5 or 6 plasmas, a guidance scrambler beam, and a cruiser pulse laser or cruiser defense laser’ or ‘build a force of 10 or so squadrons of laser fighters.’

It was a tank fleet, I was just getting “No Effects” all over the place.

I know it wasn’t point defense, I didn’t see any beams, and with the amount of missiles incoming it wouldn’t matter.

No shields.

He was using Plasma weapons (4 of them on each ship) and it was decimating my slow fleet.

I’m playing Federation with Classic Dreadnoughts, (3 Dreadnoughts in the actual battle), along with Space Stations at the time.

I made this to ask:

How do I destroy Tank Fleets?

(I’ve flattened everything else so far.)

Have you tried building a beam cruiser design to throw against these Alliance ships? I would expect the ships you described have an average armor in the mid-sixties, which is good enough for missile immunity but should get murdered by cruiser beams. I would be surprised if the average armor was high enough to shrug off beams. Even just one Cruiser Beam Laser or Proton Beam should be enough to break the armor, and after that it’ll be easy.

More general advice against tank fleets, particularly true (average armor >73) tanks:

To defeat tank fleets, you want to bring lots of rapid-fire weapons into play. Lots of high penetration weapons can also work, but as long as the average armor is greater than your weapon’s armor penetration a faster firing rate is probably more useful. This maximizes the number of lucky hits you’ll attain, which will slowly erode the armor rating of the target. If you also bring along a high penetration weapon (e.g. a Proton Beam), you can speed the process along once your lucky hits have degraded the armor enough to leave it vulnerable to the high-penetration weapon. Missiles are about the worst weapons you can choose for fighting anything with more armor than they can penetrate since they have such long firing intervals.

The best weapons for this purpose are the Fighter Pulse Laser and Fighter Laser Cannon, as the craft carrying these weapons will give you more guns per credit than any other ship design available, and the weapons themselves are among the fastest-firing in the game. If looking exclusively at armor-stripping, Fighter Pulse Lasers are slightly superior to Fighter Laser Cannons, but are more vulnerable to defensive fire and more expensive. Fighter Laser Cannons are the more versatile choice, as they perform much better in the dogfighting role and are only slightly inferior to the Fighter Pulse Laser in the armor removal role. You might also consider a dual-laser or a laser/pulse laser fighter if you can design one.

As far as orders go, I would suggest Cooperative/Vulture for strafing fighters, because that should cause them to pile up on one enemy ship at a time. This can cause issues if you have a mixed group of strafing fighters and dogfighting fighters, as your strafing group may try to cooperate with the dogfighters.

I can’t bring Fighters, because of a Spatial Anomaly, so that’s not an option.

But, I do use Cruiser Lasers, my Captains just choose not to use them, they seem hellbent on using the Megaton Missiles. Coped with the fact that they’re slow enough to be eaten by the plasma, but they might be able to damage if enough of them survive.

Thanks for the tips, I should be able to deal with more of these fleets (There will be more).

Edit: Despite the lack of Cruiser Lasers, I managed to defeat them with acceptable losses

Cruiser Lasers are incredibly short ranged weapons. They also have poor armour penetrating abilities, but their high rate of fire will tear down shields quickly. Beam weapons are longer ranged (though not plasma/missile). And I would avoid Megaton Missiles - too slow to be effective.

Day after easter.

If each of those Alliance ships have four Plasma Launchers, I seriously doubt that they have an armor rating of 74 or above. And even if they did, they’re unlikely to have either shields or repair systems. The best way of breaking that armor is to use Cruiser Beam Laser (not Cruiser Laser, that’s a completely different weapon).

My advice is; stop using missiles (in campaigns). It’s too easy to counter in so many ways.

Instead, use Cruiser Plasma (pref. 5 or more), a Cruiser Beam Laser and a Guidance Scrambler (or two beam lasers). 1 Multiphasic Shield, 1 Reflecting Shield and 1 Fast Recharge Shield (I like them but many don’t, you’ll get a slightly stronger shield more cheaply with one more Multiphasic instead - but FRS’s recharge rate has its uses). It is better to have two engines than adding a little bit of armor, since speed helps Plasma in the Multiwarhead-Missile matchup.

Megaton Missiles are among the weakest weapons in the game. They fire slowly, have very poor range and the missiles go so slowly that you will be out-fired by just about anything else even if the opponent does not have scramblers or point defense. If Megaton Missiles had a range of 1300, did 100 damage (50 shield and armor), did radiation damage on top of that (like Rad Gun) and improved fuel/fire rate balance, the slow-moving missiles would still make them a poor choice. As it is, they are half as good as that…

Whoops, they were Multiple Warhead Missiles, my bad.

No, the Alliance cruisers didn’t have repair systems or shields, and after a few barrages of Missiles from my clustered ships, the Armor disappeared and one by one the Cruisers were destroyed.

As for not using missiles, I disagree. The majority of my fleets (Which have yet to be defeated except instances like this one[Also retreat mishaps]) use the same setup like this: cluster your ships and use your sheer collective firepower to destroy enemy fleets, that firepower is the sheer amount of Multiple Warhead Missiles, that bypass nearly everything. It’s also the main method of attack, Plasma is there as well, but it’s not nearly as effective, and the Megaton Missiles never get used, and when they do they contribute the least amount of damage.

To quote Murphy’s Combat Laws: “If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.”

I guess that’s also true for the Megaton Missiles, if you can bypass all defenses, any weapon can perform well.

what if plasma spam

i’m no statistician someone hit me over the head with facts and tell me why this stupid idea

Lack of Armor penetration?

Building a specific fleet to dispatch this one?

Of the cruiser plasma weapons, only the Light Plasma Launcher and the Parasite Plasma Slinger have less armor penetration than some missiles (but only some, not many). The standard Cruiser Plasma Launcher has slightly better armor penetration than the megaton missile, and the Heavy Plasma Launcher has a bit more than the standard version. However, it hardly matters, as most of the time the difference between being vulnerable to missiles and invulnerable to plasmas is one or perhaps two armor plates.

The main disadvantages of plasmas over missiles are that plasmas are unaffected by target painters, which can allow missiles to attain a 100% hit rate in the absence of point defenses and guidance scramblers, and that they don’t have quite as much range as some missiles do (~75% of the range of MWMs and Cruiser Missiles). On the other hand, plasmas have a constant firing interval, are immune to point defenses and guidance scramblers, and the standard version has decent tracking for hitting average cruisers. Plasmas tend to be cheaper than missiles, but require more power (which could work out to a net increase in cost, depending on design), and require about as many crew to operate. As a result, I’d tend to say that it’s more or less a wash whether you use plasmas or missiles, though missiles are a bit better for very long range combat. You may run into issues if you ever encounter a fleet that went heavy on the guidance scrambler beams, though.

Whoops you’re right.

Of all the weapons The Cruiser Proton Beam has the highest armor penetration.

The two Plasma Launchers (Cruiser and Heavy) are only followed by the Megaton (According to in-game statistics).

They aren’t near to highest on the list, so there are better choices (If I wanted to spend some honor on getting the Proton Beam.

Well, if you take a 10 Panthers with 8 Cruiser Plasma and 0.08 speed against 10 Panthers with 8 MWM (speed irrelevant), and they have around 500 shield each, I think the MWM’s would win. However, if the plasma cruisers had 7 Plasma and a Scrambler each, the missile cruisers wouldn’t stand a chance. Even less of a chance if they replaced a launcher with a Target Painter. Not to speak of faster plasma cruisers.

Then there’s the fact that if you want lasers on those missile ships, shield penetration becomes much worse. So much so that when you go missiles even using one slot for Target Painters might reduce firepower too much in some matchups. 5 CP, 2 CBL and 1 Scrambler, however, takes down shields AND armor just fine.

Bottom line is, a Plasma + Laser combo deals with more types of ships than MWM + Target Painter, especially when considering the short range of the Target Painters compared to MWM.

Now, in Campaign mode, you never know what you’ll come up against, and I too use the Python with MWM a lot when playing campaign with Alliance. However, the versatility of the CL+Laser cruisers with anti-fighter support make for a much more “streamlined” campaign. Less chance of meeting a fleet that cannot be beaten with only missiles.

I only have seen my fleet use MWM,they have Cruiser Lasers and Plasma Weapons, they refuse to use them.

I won’t question it though, it works, they always beat the enemy with acceptable losses. The sheer amount of missiles my cruisers dish out makes using anything other than Swarm Disrupter (Not even then in my experience) ineffectual.

That’s without Target Painter.

This suggests very strongly to me that you’ve set your engagement ranges up in such a way that your plasmas and especially your cruiser lasers never, or very rarely, come within firing range of a target; alternatively, if it’s only one plasma per ship as opposed to five or six missiles per ship, the plasmas may just be something you overlooked amidst all the missiles. Regardless, if you decide to stack up missiles, it’s best to go all out on the missiles and not dilute your long-range firepower with plasmas, as a handful of plasmas are probably insufficient to take out an opposing fleet if the missiles are denied, and standard and heavy plasmas don’t have the range to fire from the same point as MWMs and Cruiser Missiles anyways (they do have similar range to Cruiser Fast Missiles, although I would still not recommend mixing Fast Missiles and plasma; all that happens is that the missile side of the equation becomes much more vulnerable to point defenses, which makes for an overall reduction in fleet strength compared to pure missiles or pure plasma). Diluting the long-range firepower with something capable of countering rushes is acceptable, though it does leave you more vulnerable to a dedicated long-range fleet.

I would also tend to suggest that you try experimenting with target painters. Target painters can massively increase the effectiveness of missile fleets, especially against fast targets, and the range on the target painter is similar to many cruiser beams (the presence of which in your fleet could probably have spared you from the issues you had with the Alliance cruisers), and to cruiser rockets, which while not great weapons in and of themselves are nevertheless fairly decent for distracting point defenses. Point ships such as would carry target painters can also serve the valuable role of distracting faster enemies before they can reach your main force of long-range ships, and can be given a heavier anti-missile, anti-fighter, or anti-frigate armament to allow your main group vessels to focus more heavily on the long-range side of the equation.

Ships are set to stop at a certain distance from the opponent, and the max range of MWM is 1160, the longest-ranged Cruiser weapon in the game. Cruiser Plasmas have a range of 950, Target Painters 700 and Cruiser Lasers 490. If you have set your Pythons to stop at 1160, none of the other weapons will fire until the enemy comes within their respective ranges.

In addition, the range is from the foremost weapon slot of the ship (perhaps even the nose of the ship!), which is a pretty long distance away from the rearmost weapon slot on the Python. Maybe 150 meters. So, in other words, if you want all your MWM’s to fire at once the correct setting is 1060.

This is why, if you want to protect those Pythons against aggressive close-combat ships and fighters, it is not a good idea to equip all of them with that defense, especially when you use MWM’s which need every weapon slot they can get. Instead, add other ships and keep them together with a Formation instruction/order.

MWM spam is powerful in Campaign, but it does have “hard counters”, and when you eventually face one of those fleets you will lose them all - and that can be a major setback if it happens early. There are no hard counters for a Plasma+Beam Laser fleet with sufficient anti-fighter defense, especially if it has 0.11 or higher speed, which means it can withdraw from the battle!

I would be terribly worried about running into a Parasite fleet armed with missile revenge scramblers. As Parasites I have fought engagements where the majority of the fleet was wiped out by their own missiles.

Also - how about fighters armed with targeting lasers?

GSB 2 countdown?

Not quite. Standard Cruiser Missiles have a whole 40 extra range, for a total range of 1200. Not that it makes a significant difference, of course, and MWMs are still better at the long-range war.

1160 - 150 is more like 1010, not 1060, StigRS77. Close enough unless the other guy is stopping at extreme range too, though (but then, 1160 is close enough in this case, too). Engagement ranges are measured from the centroid of your ship to the centroid of the target ship, so a fudge factor of about half the length of your ship should ensure that whenever your ship stops moving, all of its weapons are in range of the target. Go with something a little larger for extra insurance, or something a little smaller in the hopes of staying just out of opponent ranges for some weapons. Since ships generally tend to be oriented roughly bow towards the enemy, this also means that it’s better to place shorter-ranged weapons closer to the bow of the ship, unless the purpose of that weapon isn’t to engage primary targets (for example, I’d sooner have a Cruiser Defense Laser towards the middle of the ship where it can cover the whole vessel than placing it towards the bow and leave the stern unprotected).

Maybe it’s just me, but I almost never seem to run into Parasites in campaign. Don’t really know why.

My experience is that I have to replace them too often, but might also not be buying them in sufficient quantities. It also has the issue of not necessarily being able to accompany the cruisers to all the places you want target painting for cruiser missiles, as well as cutting into my budget for actual fighters, which I typically use as my primary anti-fighter defense and eventually as a swarm fleet.

To respond:

I have run into Parasites, more often than not. But I can destroy them despite the Disrupter, it just can’t keep up.

I don’t know how effective a fighter armed with a target painter would work, it might get obliterated over and over again.

How come they refuse to use Cruiser Lasers and Plasma Weapons? Are these type of weapons not effective to use?