Efficient fleet compositions

General Stars in Shadow Discussion Forum
User avatar
PrivateHudson
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Efficient fleet compositions

Postby PrivateHudson » Thu Dec 16, 2021 2:32 pm

Hi there! Mind discussing efficient (cost/benefit wise) fleet compositions for various races and at different stages of the game? Dont' forget to mention your game settings: difficulty, galaxy size, state of your empire at the time, etc.
I usually play on brutal, number of stars between normal and large galaxy, oval shape, sparse stars, against 4 rivals.

It seems, initial period of the game is (just like in MoO2) dominated by simplest missile boats. Destroyer or light cruiser hull, no armor, warp line amplifier. Start building once acquire fusion warheads.
Pro: 1) in sufficient numbers (usually 6-8) are effective against any packs of harpies (except largest with 2 Mediators or a single Steward) or pirates; 2) could be built by any colony that already completed a factory. Contra: 1) are ineffective against Marauders (have to pay them); 2) rather costly in metal; 3) not taken seriously by AI rivals.
Tactic is to move away from the enemy, spreading fire evenly or concentrating on 1-2 targets while suppressing others with 2 missiles each (so that they won't form forward PD picket).
Same for all races, with 2.5 exceptions: 1) Tinkers use Vindicator asteroids instead; 2) Human destroyer is unsuitable, have to use CLs, so colony roles are reversed - HW build warships, other colonies colonizers; 3) obvious choice for Yoral is Torpedo Destroyer, but I self-restrict those to only using torpedos, so not much use until Plasma Torps.

Once the rivals are met, and 1st war looms, fleet is supplemented with anti-missile destroyers (frigates for Yoral, starting heavy cruiser for Humans), in sufficient number (usually 4-6) as to shoot down all missiles from ground defences plus, maybe, from 1-2 enemy ships. Handily, no Anti-Missiles tech is needed. Also with amplifiers, but armored. This fleet is tasked with attacking undefended enemy colonies, avoiding main enemy fleet (superior strategic speed is highly desired). Tinkers, with their powerful Vindicators, can confront larger enemy gatherings, up to main fleet in some cases, especially against Orthins, who overly rely on their superior PD. Number of missile destroyers (usually 8-12) must be sufficient to overcome lasers or coilguns on the ground and 2-3 enemy ships. Most ship building efforts go to troopships at this stage.

To be continued...

User avatar
PrivateHudson
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby PrivateHudson » Fri Dec 17, 2021 11:24 am

Phidi can try to postpone 1st war by hiring 1-2 larger ships (Cruisers or Cmd Cruisers) from marauders to impress AI rivals. Also they can use hired marauder Destroyers to augment self-built AM Destroyers.

Once 1st war concludes (it is unlikely to bring you substantial territory gain, survival is already win), it's time to refit destroyer fleet: shields in place of amplifiers, Missile Destroyers get armor and spare ammo. Duranium should be available.
Next goal is to capture Ephelos Superdread (if in range) and marauder systems. To this end fleet receives 2-4 Shuttle Carriers to capture large enemies and 2-4 Military Transports (Assault Cruisers for Humans) against smaller ones. Armed with Leech Missiles to make enemy PD busy.
2nd shipyard world should come online to build large ships, while HW focuses on colonizers (Tinkers can get along with only HW, Phidi should have 2 shipyard worlds besides HW converted to trade). All secondaries (additional destroyers, outposts, transports) are built elsewhere.
While boarders are built (they are rather expensive in production due to all those carried troops), destroyer fleet mops up harpy and pirate systems, if any still around.

When I'm ready to start crusade on slavers, almost all systems are already claimed by somebody. During crusade or shortly after 2nd war breaks out invariably. Your fleet still can't face main enemy fleet directly, but this time you should be able to split to 2 or even 3 (if possess Ephelos Superdread) invasion fleets to capture enemy worlds faster than they react or capture/destroy yours. The key is to have sufficient troopships to execute blitzkrieg. There should be 8-12 AM Destroyers to equip 2 invasion fleets + replacements, as they carry the brunt of losses. If there are not enough Missile Destroyers to equip 2 fleets and still have enough salvo to overcome ground defences, 1-2 ships with LR Heavy Coilguns can be added (Light Cruisers for Tinkers, Heavy Destroyers for Yoral, Heavy Cruisers for others; my Orthins usually don't have Gunships yet) to snipe them from distance.

Victory in 2nd war will establish you as the 1st or 2nd force in galaxy (overall, not by fleets strength).

To be continued...

User avatar
PrivateHudson
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby PrivateHudson » Fri Dec 24, 2021 4:25 am

After the 2nd war fleet gets more diversified. It includes captured ships, mostly marauder. Time before 3rd war is spent on refitting these, and expansion of the core fleet by newly-built 4 Shuttle Carriers, 4-8 Leech Missile Destroyers, and 2-3 Battleships (Phidi use mercenaries for these). Force Fields, Adamantium, Antimatter [Anti]Missiles, and Force Lances should be available (to adversaries too). Orthins field several Gunships with Ion Artillery, Primary is unlikely. Yorals, once Plasma Torpedos are acquired, can turn Torpedo Destroyers into main fleet hitting power, with other ships in support role. Massed usage of carriers with fighters/bombers is yet a thing to try.
3rd war happens not always. Sometimes diplomacy brings victory before it breaks out. Sometimes I just can't bear more micromanagement and declare a draw. Hopefully, other players, who have more experience in Superdreads and Doomstars warfare, will write about it.

zolobolo
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby zolobolo » Mon Dec 27, 2021 5:59 pm

I have also specked out missile boats for the 1st war in the early game but since the AI, diplomacy and economic changes have been deployed, I found they were not needed/optimal anymore unless I want to go for harpy tech which I never do as its unfair against the AI who cant use them

Since the above changes went live though there are more options:
In most cases I dont need actual but percieved firepower. Whereas I would have built rocket only light cruisers with no armor before, now I smack on armor and prioratize RF modules to ramp up percieved firepower for better diplomatic bargaining position. In most cases I can skip the inital war phase altogether and have the other factiosn duke it out without draging my faction in their conflict

If the above is not possible I would have hired mercs in past as well but now I rope in as many participants as I can to form an alliance block with.
As for fleet composition I use boarding and cloacking modules where possible
In early game I take what I can salvage from derelict colonies and race affinity the rule is rather what not to use no matter what and those are: Ion weapons of all kind and Interceptors

Early fleet composition derives from necessity rather then early planing for me

In mid game I prefer to have transport ships for boarding action as that is the most resoruce effectvie way to fight bar far in the current balance and a large number of small escorts counting destroyers and light to meadium cruisers with lots of PB + 1-2 heavy hulls with heavy guns for sniping enemy planets (a single heavy ships and heavy gun is enough to snipoe planets without any losses if there is PD around that ship)

In my last war I almost always employ the following strategy with great success even if ouclassed by tech, pop and military power:
1. 3-4 bombing fleet containing 1-2 heavy hulls and a few light escort with mission to bomb everything around my and my allies borders. These fleets are not to engage enemy ships but are simply there to wipe the border regions clean and deal with any light defenses that might be there beyond PD and bases (which are powerless against heavy weapon range)
2. 1-2 Strike fleets to engage pockets of enemy ships where losses are not likely to be high. These fleets consists of the best tech and as many large ships as possible, no destroyers usually. This tactic is for sure an exploit in many regards but it is so damn effective by cutting fleet ranges and denying the enemy resoruces that I simply cannot keep myself from not endulging in it :)
3. Endless waves of small fleets with 1-4 destroyers and a single light cruiser max. These fleets are tasked with covering everythign else: destroying enemy outposts and preventing new ones, protecting own and allied planets from strangling transports, providing reconnaissance, blockading enemy systems (sometimes even starving the pops) and even dealing with small scale invasion fleets if they have the time to pull together from the near area to put up a fight against them. The ships for these fleets are usually being produced in endless loop around 1-2 production specialised planets

The last fleet type I have introduced since the updates to the strategic AI. Since then the AI has been much better in conducting focused invasions but has also become very vulnerable to a swiling fleet of tiny ships all around the galaxy and hence dies a death from a thousand paper cuts

As for late game I sadly also dont have any sort of experience with heavy dred and dred star as my games never lasted long enough to get to these
My games are typically 100-120 starts with normal spread, normal difficulty, and all enemy factions once (duplicates are not good due to color coding, naming and duplicate insignias). With this setup my games and by turn 300 the latest and mostly at around turn 250

I am hoping we will get another faction or two some day to get enough density within those stars to last a game till late game tech

User avatar
PrivateHudson
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby PrivateHudson » Tue Dec 28, 2021 10:07 am

Is there any point in time where beam or cannon equipped ships are effective at least on par with missileers? Besides LR Coilgun anti-ground snipers that is. Is a pack of Orthin Gunships behind a couple of Battlecruiser tanks effective against missile or carrier fleet of comparable cost? Force Lancers could probably turn the tables, but they either come too late, or require risky beelining. Do you use direct-fire weapons in anti-ship role?

Dragar
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:20 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby Dragar » Tue Dec 28, 2021 12:15 pm

I've found dedicated point defence is certainly viable against missile spam. Interceptors are also helpful against it. The heavier beam mounts are not a ton more damage - the range is the main difference.

zolobolo
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby zolobolo » Tue Dec 28, 2021 5:50 pm

PrivateHudson wrote:Is there any point in time where beam or cannon equipped ships are effective at least on par with missileers? Besides LR Coilgun anti-ground snipers that is. Is a pack of Orthin Gunships behind a couple of Battlecruiser tanks effective against missile or carrier fleet of comparable cost? Force Lancers could probably turn the tables, but they either come too late, or require risky beelining. Do you use direct-fire weapons in anti-ship role?

Yes: all across the game PD focus counters missile focus in case of lasers (with RF module) and anti missiles
PD coilgun is pretty useless against missile focus but it does offer some limited benefit by being able to take down small to medium ships before second tier shields and armor appears if employed en mass as well as providing some meager PD as their original intent (they have range benefit over laser PD)

Normal guns on medium mount will neve really be effective agaisnt missile that is true and that is intentional
They are better for power calculation as they are more cost or metal effective then missiles

Heavy mounts are an absolue starbase and planetary defense killer even a single gun
But tihs also means that there is no real reason to mass produce them
Before the railgun nerfe, that weapon was clearly the most effective weapon thanks to its range and shield penetration. Since the decrease to its damage output it has barely been worth the research and production cost (only if we get a boost to their research thanks to derelict colony)

So yes I am mostly using direct firing weapons in anti-ship role for Strike Force elements as well as for the swarms of destroyers
Examples are if I am playing Yoral or Phidi as I prefer to go for torpedo heavy Stricke Force in both cases most of the time

Never got to use Force Lancers - late game tech as mentioned above :)

zolobolo
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby zolobolo » Tue Dec 28, 2021 5:55 pm

Dragar wrote:I've found dedicated point defence is certainly viable against missile spam. Interceptors are also helpful against it. The heavier beam mounts are not a ton more damage - the range is the main difference.

Agree with PD, not sure about interceptors - I found they needed more accurace of sheer AM power to be worth the ton of metal and time needed for their production (PD and AM is jsut much cheaper and effective at the same time)

Yes heavy mount is all about range - sniping planets :)
I also dont find them to be cost effective in anti-shipping role with maybe one exception: Plasma Gun can be effective when second tier shields are rolling out if there is enough of them to focus on he big targets as those can get crazy amount of shields and shield regen rate

I am alreafy very sad for how useless Ion guns are in the current balance but their heavy variant is possibly the worst option to chose for both planet sniping and anti-shipping role. It really needs some base mod to give it a purpose next to RF lasers, Turbo Lasers and shield penetrating coilguns

Dragar
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:20 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby Dragar » Wed Dec 29, 2021 10:21 am

The main use of heavy weapons is in large engagements on slow ships, where you want to be able to focus your fire. Beam weapons lack the main capability of missiles - unlimited range! - that allows this. And without heavy mounts, it can be hard to keep big ships in range of the main target.

Having fast point defence ships can be really important for moving to cover the target of another fleet's missile volley. A few races have some good escort cruiser hulls.

I haven't looked at interceptor versus point defence mounts from a pure metal efficiency standpoint. Interceptors have a couple of other advantages (range, automatically upgrading, better offensive power). Sometimes that's worth it; Ashdar have pretty nice carriers.


Agreed on Ion Cannons. Giving them double damage versus shields would probably not be overpowered given how strong lasers are. And maybe reduce damage versus armour/hull.

There aren't really enough weapon types to make for a really cat-and-mouse ship design session like MOO (and the tech tree is too linear for this), but it would be nice if ions did something to make them viable.

zolobolo
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby zolobolo » Wed Dec 29, 2021 12:13 pm

Dragar wrote:The main use of heavy weapons is in large engagements on slow ships, where you want to be able to focus your fire. Beam weapons lack the main capability of missiles - unlimited range! - that allows this. And without heavy mounts, it can be hard to keep big ships in range of the main target.

Yes missiles and torpedoes have unlimited range but limited munition, are slow and can be intercepted by cheap PD or AM (not using interceptors)

I think that the balance between lasers and missiles is perfect right now: none are clearly OP then the other it depends on the faction played (ship templates and research discount) tech level and economic strenght

Incidentally I have just played a battle with Tinkers and missile focus and got my hiney handed to me by an AI fleet with lasers that has cost less metal then my own fleet :)
Reason being is that they had slightly more shields and some minimal PD and this was enough to wear down my ships evne with their unlimited missiles and regenerating hull

If we produce a ton more of any weapon type we can overwhelm the enemy but all things being equal (same metal, coin and priduction output, same tech and same ship blueprints) economic efficiency is the most important factor: how much effective damage we can produce / time
Here is an example with basic laser and rockets:

Laser (Base)
Metal Cost: 6
Production Cost: 24
Damage Output: 1-10

Missile (Nuclear)
Metal Cost: 24
Production Cost: 6
Damage Output: 10

Lets say base laser deals 5 damage in AVG that makes it half as efficient in damage output but is four times more efficient use of metal
And this is without mods and counting with PD and AM in the balance nor with missile munition limitation

Dragar
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:20 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby Dragar » Wed Dec 29, 2021 1:58 pm

The real surprise there is the production cost difference.

zolobolo
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby zolobolo » Wed Dec 29, 2021 3:58 pm

Dragar wrote:The real surprise there is the production cost difference.

Indeed this was the reason I chose missile build in my current game with the Tinkers: I produce much more metal then ym neighbours and thus chose to outfit my ship with missiles to speed up their construction (I coudl take the hit to metal reserves which is rarely the case in my games as I dont usualyl prioratize mining)

I knew that my missiles will be coutnered somewhat by their PD and shield regen but went ahead anyhow due to being able to produce Cruisers within 2-3 turns this way and simply tried to swarm the enemy
Lost my initial two battles but thanks to my advantage in proidution and metal I coudl outproduce them and won in the end anyhow

Had I chosen lasers I would not have had enough ships to fight on two fronts at once in such a short notice so in the end missile seemed to have been the better option for my current scenario and faction evne though it wasnt ideal during initial combat where the enemy still had fully stacked fleets

zolobolo
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby zolobolo » Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:04 pm

Dragar wrote:I haven't looked at interceptor versus point defence mounts from a pure metal efficiency standpoint. Interceptors have a couple of other advantages (range, automatically upgrading, better offensive power). Sometimes that's worth it; Ashdar have pretty nice carriers.

The same issue applies here with metal usage: especially in the early game there are other more efficient uses of metal especially for the Ashdars who have the best Light Cruiser construct in the game (ideal for lasers)

Dragar wrote:Agreed on Ion Cannons. Giving them double damage versus shields would probably not be overpowered given how strong lasers are. And maybe reduce damage versus armour/hull.

Yes that would be awesome: double the damage output of Ion cannons agaisnt shields maybe even smack an ENV mod on them so they can pack a usefull punch even in late game and they are set as a staple of any well balanced fleet placing them as a relyable option between Leach Missile and Plasma Gun

I would evne reduce their damage against hull as they already have a relative disadvantage there when compared to both coil and AP modded lasers

Dragar wrote:There aren't really enough weapon types to make for a really cat-and-mouse ship design session like MOO (and the tech tree is too linear for this), but it would be nice if ions did something to make them viable.

Yes there are indeed not that many options but the options we have are very well balanced I found - that is why Ions stick out for me like a sore thumb as they are a pass in any circumstance :)

zolobolo
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby zolobolo » Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:20 pm

Here are the stats for interceptor:

Interceptor
Metal Cost: 72
Production Cost: 16
Damage Output: 7*(6-9)= 7*7.5=53 in AVG

Laser (Base unit containing two guns)
Metal Cost: 6
Production Cost: 24
Damage Output: 1-10

To get the same damage output 5 base laser units (each with two guns) are needed which would mean that their metal cost is less then half of interceptors
We also need to take into account that lasers need more energy and thus higher level of rector in such an amount but interceptors also have additional limitations compared to warhead type weapons by not being able to fire at all once countered once and having very limited space to be placed in (usually need a larger and more expensive hull to place them at all)

Have done the math several times since the rebalance for interceptors but they are rarely worth it as far as I can tell
Would probably give them much better evasion chance or allow them to be reproduced in battle (new units being readied from storage lets say)

emky
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 8:12 pm

Re: Efficient fleet compositions

Postby emky » Sat Jan 01, 2022 6:48 am

A couple things I've noticed in my meager experiences playing:

Missiles are overwhelmingly the best choice for fighting vs Harpies. They have no point defense, and missile swarms are the only way I've managed to take down their giant point blank burst things.

I often choose my options based on upkeep cost more than production costs. I don't remember how those are priced, but aren't missiles costlier in upkeep?


Return to “General Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron