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Author Topic: Overall feedback on ships and weapons  (Read 32935 times)

HELMUT

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Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« on: August 15, 2016, 03:18:05 AM »

Part 1. The Frigates

I realised that even though i regularly give feedback for the modders, i haven't really done so for the base game yet. Which is why i decided to play a (mostly) vanilla campaign and experiment a bit more thoroughly some aspects of the games, mainly the ships and weapons.

As i said, it's not a purely vanilla experience, here are the mods i used during my campaign :

-Console commands, for occasional testing shenanigans.
-Save Transfer, just in case.
-Dynasector, for randomised AI fleet and loadouts.
-Combat Chatter, invaluable for managing a fleet.
-Common Radar, because Alex is planning to add a campaign radar anyway.

I probably won't talk much about the fighters, as it has been hinted they'll change quite a bit in the next update. What i'm going to say in this post come from my personal experience during this campaign, if you have a different opinion, feel free to share it. Another thing, i'm not that much of a smuggler player, so this campaign is mainly a bounty hunting playthrough. Also, i will often talk about early/mid/late game. In my eyes, early game is up to the first destroyer or three/four frigates in the fleet. Mid game roughly goes up to cruiser clashes and the first capital ships encounters. Late game is everything beyond that.

Oh, and i'll talk a lot about Safety Override, because i love Safety Override.


---


My starter ship for this campaign was the Centurion, i was curious to see how it would fare alone.

Early game was rough, hella. The Centurion makes for an amazing wingman ship, thanks to its inability to die. But as a flagship? Not that much. Picking a slow, undergunned frigate made pirate hunting tougher than it needed to be. Even with Unstable Injectors, i rarely was the one leading the dance and i had to capitalise on my enemies mistakes to damage them. Winning a duel wasn't really hard, i could beat any frigates through sheer endurance. Several enemies however...

I started with the default, asymmetrical Assault variant, which could have been an interesting broadside fighting style, if the Centurion didn't turned with the grace of a brick. It works in theory, show the kinetic side for the left hook, then switch to the HE/ion one for the right uppercut. Unfortunately it can't do it fast enough and i had to find something else to collect my bounties. Switching to a pair of frontal IR pulse gave me a functional, if lame, way to grind down my opponents.

Alternatively, this was my clunky, yet surprisingly fun attempt to make a SO Centurion :

Spoiler

Like a spinning brick
[close]

Same idea as the original loadout, a kinetic side and a HE/frag side, which worked better thanks to the mobility boost from SO. I used a Swarmer instead of an Annihilator, because aiming becomes hard when you're spinning like a weather vane all the time.

Later on in the game, the Centurion still holds its own thanks to its fantastic durability. I personally fitted mine as a PD boat for the fleet, probably one of the rare cases where the LR PD can be useful.

-

My second ship and first wingman was the trusty Hound. A cheap freighter and also the fastest ship (tied with the Tempest) in the game. Shieldless ships rarely want to take part in combat, but an early game Hound can survive small skirmishes thanks to its mobility. A long range weapon was the only reasonable choice here, a Mauler or HVD allow it to safely bombard enemies from afar. Unstable Injector is a must to increase further its great speed, but due to its limited mounts and OPs, the customisation never get really far with this ship.

While it can fight small battles, it would be suicidal to deploy it against mid-game fleets. Like many frigates, its usefulness rarely get past the early game.

-

The Kite is another interesting wingman ship to get early on. A cheap, very mobile missile platform, perfect to annoy enemies with Salamander and Swarmers, or mount Torpedoes, depending on your mood. Similarly to the Hound, the Kite rely on speed to survive. Even though it's protected by a shield, it overload fast, which usually result in death due to its lack of armor/hull.

Again, only good for early game, rapidly becomes cannon fodder against larger groups of enemies.

-

The Lasher rapidly replaced the Centurion as my new flagship. By itself, the Lasher is a very average combat ship with limited survivability in the hands of the AI. Its main strength come from its numerous weapon mounts, fortunately limited by its weak flux stats. Pretty good starting wingman, but tends to overload itself a lot if you put too many "big" guns on it.

When properly fitted however, the Lasher is a monster capable of taking down even cruisers by itself.  

Spoiler

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
[close]

A perfect combination of strong HE burst and massive kinetic/frag DPS. And thanks to the SO/UI hullmods, the Lasher can now casually fly at 260 speed for more than 80 seconds. Ideal for early/mid game battles, where it can rip apart half of the enemy fleet before the CR start ticking down.

That build doesn't works that well with the AI though. Also, even the SO Lasher rapidly shows its limit during late game battles against numerous, bigger enemies. A perfect starter, but i had to find something else eventually.

-

The Shepherd is probably one of my favourite wingman ship. Cheap, large cargo hold, shielded, an universal hardpoint (tends to mount a salamander/swarmer) and a bunch of defence drones. The Shepherd is slow and fragile yet surprisingly capable of keeping the enemy at bay, thanks to its long ranged, annoying drones. Unlike most frigates, the Shepherd still have its place in the fleet during mid-game, making an ideal PD platform against missiles and fighters. Its limited survivability prevent it from going on the frontline, they are better at escorting a carrier that will sit relatively far from the danger, letting only their drones engage directly.

-

I was lucky to get my hands on the Monitor, given how rare this ship is. Its purpose is more or less the same as the Centurion : being an indestructible wall, stubbornly surviving whatever the enemy can throw at it. There isn't much to say about it, it's a good AI ship to have at your side that will dutifully perform its PD/distraction purpose. It can even be a fire-support by mounting missiles on its universal mounts. Just like the Centurion, it's still pretty good even during late game battles.

-

Not so lucky with the Wayfarer, i got this one too late for it to be useful. My opinion on it didn't really changed since then :
Quote
The Wayfarer is a safe Cerberus, Their cargo stats are almost identical, but the Wayfarer is a tiny bit more expensive to deploy. Not the kind of vessel i'd use as a flagship but it can find its purpose as an early game wingman, a Kite with cargo in some way. I outfitted mine with a pair of frontal railguns, two sideways PDs for missile interception, and then a pair of Salamanders or even Swarmers on the rear for further fire-support despite their weird turrets arc.

-

The Cerberus, in my own opinion, is an inferior alternative to the Hound. While it is definitely more armed than its lighter counterpart, it's also much slower, one of the slowest frigates in the game actually. The lack of shield and mobility means the Cerberus tends to be one of the first casualties in battle. It's not completely worthless though, with its burn drive and larger cargo, it makes for a very good blockade runner, ideal for smugglers.

-

The Brawler was my biggest disappointment this patch. I liked the old one. The recent system change from Accelerated Ammo Feeder to Damper Field transformed the Brawler into something... Boring? I always considered the Brawler as some kind of slow, sturdy sniper that could unleash a truckload of bullets if left unchecked. Now however, it is more or less a Centurion MK.II, and while this may have made it more viable for bigger battles (it's harder to kill), it also made it so much more aggravating to fight.

Encountering a Centurion is fairly rare, but a Brawler? You'll see those everywhere. I had the misfortune of encountering two pirates and a Pather fleet one after the other, each one with a Brawler, while i was still cruising alone with my Centurion. It felt like fighting the old phase ships, the battles were fought with CR rather than guns. No fun was allowed that day.

As for the builds, something similar to the Elite variant (HVD+Mauler) plus whatever missiles you need is never a bad idea for a wingman. During the period i piloted one myself, i went for something slightly more agressive :

Spoiler

It's in these situations that i dearly missed Accelerated Ammo Feeder.
[close]

Also, because of the technology skills, i had just enough OPs to add Unstable Injectors on top of that. Not quite as beastly as the Lasher, but two angry chainguns will still scare anything that lower their shields.

-

The Vigilance is the only frigate with a medium missile launcher, which means it will always be good at any points in the campaign. Whether you strap a Harpoon, a Salamander or a Pilum on it, the Vigilance will perform wonderfully. The medium energy is almost an afterthought and rarely had enough OPs to fit a proper weapon. Everything was dumped in both Expanded Missile Racks and Unstable Injectors (it's a glass cannon, of course it'll get UI!). Ideally, a Graviton beam or a tac laser would be the secondary weapon. A point defence gun wouldn't works, as the AI tends to do get closer than necessary when a PD is its only direct weapon. Close combat isn't the right place for a missile boat.

-

The Mudskipper MK.II

-

The Wolf was a late addition in my fleet, possibly too late for it to become useful, unfortunately. It's a pretty good starting ship if you can find one for sale, very agile with a lot of potential firepower, despite being limited by its few OPs available. The old front shield nerf from 0.65 still hurt it quite a bit. With its paper armor, the Wolf is incredibly vulnerable to flanking. Getting a wingman when piloting a Wolf is one of the most important thing to do at the beginning of the campaign due to the way missiles react to phase skimmer. Without any allies on the field, the missiles will still follow you even after "jumping". With an ally however, the missiles will switch target, which is worth more than any PD system you can get.

As it is a very vulnerable ship, the Wolf doesn't scale really well in mid and late game. It is still possible to defeat bigger opponent with a long range "Wolf pack" fleet, but the 25 ship cap severely limit that strategy now.

-

The Mercury and Hermes. I'm putting both of those in the same category because they're basically the same, if you forgo some madmen experiments . I can definitely understand that those are not combat ships and shouldn't (ideally) ever see a gunfire. My complain come from their freighting abilities, or rather their lack of. There's currently no reason to pick one of those two over a Hound or a Cerberus, they are slower, more fragile, with less cargo, less crew and fuel capacity. Yeah, they're a bit cheaper to maintain but that's all.

I'd really like if those two had at least something going for them. Being mostly defenceless shuttles, i think their abilities to transport stuffs should be at least equal if not superior to those of a combat freighter. Not that i want each ship to perfectly fit in its dedicated box, but at least not letting them being worthless.

I also wanted to add the Mudskipper to the list, but given it can carry more crew than any other frigates, i suppose it will eventually find its purpose in future updates.

-

The Omen is a strange one, it's definitely supposed to be a support ship dedicated to escorting duty, similar to the Centurion and Monitor. Unlike those two however, the Omen rarely, if ever, survive its job. At only 75 armor and 750 hullpoints, it is the most fragile ship in the game (if you exclude D variants). Add on top of that a very light armament and a short ranged EMP emitter, the Omen doesn't have much going for it. That thing would require many buffs to start being worth fielding.

Fun fact, EMP'd missiles don't detonate and bounce on impact.

-

The Tempest can be seen as the direct upgrade to the Wolf. Barely more expensive, and in my eyes quite a bit more powerful. Faster, better flux, omni-shield, and also come with the most infuriating drone in the game. I like the dual pulse lasers to hunt down frigates, switching them for heavy/mining blasters also works if more burst damage is needed. No point defence required either, as the drone equipped with a burst laser can be quickly recalled.

Probably the strongest among all "conventional" frigates. It doesn't scale as well as indirect fire support ships like the Vigilance later in the game, but can still do a very decent job if given long range weapons like the ion/graviton beams. That drone never get old either.

-

The Scarab is among what can be called the "weird" ones, and a damn strong weirdo at that. My opinion is more or less the same since last time :
Quote
The Scarab was much more interesting. It worked for me like a high-tech Lasher, lot of small mounts that encouraged a very aggressive melee play-style. And because of the temporal shell and its really good shield, even the AI could get out of tricky situations. I used it as flagship for quite a while, and gave it 3 IR pulse on the front, coupled with a pair of Annihilators, and two PD lasers on the rear. The sideways mounts felt very superfluous to me, punishing arcs that can only mount more costly PDs that the Scarab doesn't even need, i left them always empty. Also, strapped SO and unstable injector on top of that, because with that much speed and temporal shell, the enemy can't even land a single hit. Later on, when i passed the Scarab to the AI, i replaced one IR for a ion cannon and removed SO. Not the greatest killer of our time, but it survived a lot of pirates.
Despite being a very strong frigate, it felt more at home during early and mid game, as it cannot really deal with the big ones you tend to see later on. I even tried an AM blaster loadout to compensate that, but its limited flux capacity prevent it from being really viable.

-

The Afflictor... The ninja of 0.7.2. Phase in, disrupt, kill. It's as simple as that. Can either bring torpedoes to immediately kill the enemy flagship (pretty good to win a bounty without dealing with the rest of the fleet), can bring AM blasters for more staying power, or can even bring ion cannons for a more supportive role.

Also works surprisingly well as an AI escort, the quantum disruptor can really give you a noticeable advantage even in large fleet encounters.

-

The Shade is the all around inferior sibling to the Afflictor. It's not a bad ship per say, the Shade is actually quite strong. A ship equipped with an EMP emitter that can sneak behind a target is never a bad addition. But it's sadly just overshadowed by its direct competitor.

-

The Hyperion, or the ship where your finger is locked on the vent button all the time. With its phase teleporter, it is by far the most mobile craft in the game, and thanks to its extremely short cooldown, theoretically impossible to catch. Theoretically of course, because it's easy to screw up with such a twitchy combat style.

For a flagship Hyperion, a dual mining/heavy blasters tends to be the ideal, thanks to their huge burst and very fast projectile speed, allowing to bypass even omni-shields. It basically plays like in a cowboy duel, teleport in, bang! Teleport out before the enemy can fire back. I tried to do that with the Ion Pulser, and while it "works", i found this loadout to be more expensive (require expanded mags) and risky (shorter range, less burst) than the blaster alternative. The two rear turrets feels a bit superfluous now, PD would be redundant given that missiles switch target when you teleport. Those can still be used for an AM blaster boat for a very high-risk, high reward playstyle. The very slight charge up delay on the AM blaster makes bypassing omni-shields harder though, and you have to be sure to have enough energy to teleport out after an attack.

An AI controlled Hyperion could also theoretically works if we omit its ludicrous supply cost. Strapping long range, energy weapons like the Ion Beams/tac lasers/whatever missiles can makes the Hyperion a pretty good support ship, the bane of everything with a front shield emitter. Unfortunately, both the price and peak performances prevent this loadout from being practical.


---

Part 2. The Destroyers


Okay, i finished writing the second part, about destroyers.

By the time i got to those ships, i also started to shape my fleet combat doctrine for the campaign. Usually, i tend to go for a more traditional (and safer) hammer and anvil strategy, but this time i wanted to try something a bit new. Instead of having the hammer (my flagship) crushing the enemy against the anvil (a fleet made of very hardy ships that can hold the line), i decided to ditch the anvil for more hammers, going all in with overwhelming alpha strikes.

I haven't quite reached the very end game of my campaign yet, but so far this going quite smoothly.


---


My first destroyer purchase was the Mule, mostly because it was the only thing available at that moment. While not a formidable warship by itself, the Mule is still a credible threat to the lowly pirates squads i was fighting early on, and was unlikely to get overwhelmed thanks to its omni-shield and heavy armor. Not only i got decent freighter, but it could also join the battle alongside me.

Its original Standard variant is quite good at dissuading enemy frigates from approaching, thanks to the all-around Pulse laser and the ever-annoying dual Salamanders. I needed something a bit more aggressive though, and filled the sides turrets with Railguns, and replaced the Heatseekers with Harpoons. Given how short the battles were (my Lasher was still mowing down everything), this flux expensive loadout worked quite well. I didn't have to worry about my high flux leaving me vulnerable to a counter-attack if the enemy was destroyed in the first exchange.

Soon, my entire fleet became based around this idea.

Despite its heavy armor, the lack of mobility and firepower made my Mule less and less suited for the increasingly dangerous frontline. Somewhere around mid-game, i had to find it a replacement.

-

The Buffalo MK.II always have been considered a crappy ship due to its lack of shield and paper armor, making it one of the least survivable ships of the game. Despite this, the ol' MK.II have its qualities, the main one is the ability to mount more missiles than any other destroyers except for the Harbinger. Still, i always had a lot of troubles making it works, and i recently found out one of the reasons why.

Those two ballistic turrets on the sides, perfect placement for cheap point defenses on a ship that mostly uses its missiles, right? Heck no. Those two turrets will broke the Buffalo's AI, forcing it to bring its PD in range to the enemy, resulting in the common mess we know the MK.II capable of. Long range ballistics like the Needlers are a much better (if expensive) fit for the Buffy, but due to their weird, middle/rear placement, i now prefer to keep those empty, choosing the thousand range tac laser on the prow. At least, my missile boat will survive the battle a little longer.

Still, the Buffalo MK.II stays a low tier ship, quickly reaching obsolescence at the end of early game. By the way, does it still needs its civilian-grade hullmod? If some mechanics managed to strap a bucketload of missiles pods on that ship, they can surely make it less of a sensor lighthouse as well.

-

The good old Enforcer, possibly one of the best destroyers ever. An ideal blend of thick armor plates, outrageous firepower, surprising mobility and inexpensiveness. You have to try hard to find a reason not to take one of those. Either as a flagship or a wingman, the Enforcer never disappoint. Thanks to its toughness and potential long range firepower, it also scale very well into late game, capable of punishing even the capital ships that dare to ignore it.

Needless to say, i had more than one of those in my fleet. Like my early Mule, i outfitted my Enforcers with a mix of cheap kinetic weapons and Harpoons. Overloading against my Enforcer's squad was akin to commit seppuku, as swarms of Harpoons would suddenly cross the screen to delete the unfortunate target. Of course, even with Expanded Racks, the missiles were limited, but most of the enemy fleet would have been obliterated by the time they would run out of ammo.

Naturally, i would eventually use one of those as my flagship :

Spoiler

The bowling ball
[close]

I wasn't much of a fan of the SO Enforcer before, mainly because burn drive vent cancelling was so important. Now that this is no longer possible though, i decided to have my fun with this one. The loadout change quite a bit depending on the available skills, switching from one to two chainguns, adding Unstable Injectors, etc... I even tried with Thumpers! Frag damage on a SO build, sounds legit, right? Unfortunately i still wasn't convinced, and that was with Ordnance Expertise and Gunnery Implant on top of it. Even the very flux expensive Chainguns felt more efficient.

-

The Medusa is the high-tech substitute of the Enforcer, and works quite differently, preferring mobility and surgical strikes over endurance and brute strength. Due to its twitchy and tactical playstyle, the Medusa arguably makes for a better flagship than most destroyers. It is fast, with strong shields and come with a deep flux pool, making it an obvious kiter rather than a brawler. It is still a very decent wingman, although i found the AI builds to be rather limited. Fortunately, i managed to find a fairly efficient (and safe) AI loadout exploiting its strengths :

Spoiler

A slow and insidious killer.
[close]

A weird, asymmetrical thing that becomes exponentially stronger when fighting in packs, and will slowly grind down its opponent while staying at safe range. The tac lasers offer low but steady DPS, the Ion Beam paralyse the target as its flux rises, the Light Needler (a second one can be added if you're fighting more high-tech ships) will raise the said flux. I wanted to add a Graviton Beam there, as its "impact" stat had the ability to slow down the target. Unfortunately, the impact value is just way too low to make a difference, even when stacked with several other Graviton Beams, which is why i ditched it for another Tac Laser. As said before, this loadout only really works in larger groups, and will rapidly show its limit later on due to the 25 ships cap.

This build, while effective, didn't fitted at all with my current strategy. My attempts at making an alpha strike build for the Medusa were met with failures (sadly, AM blasters didn't worked out very well), therefore the Medusa never really found its place in my fleet. As for a Safety Override variant, the results proved to be extremely unsafe :

Spoiler

No seat belts on that thing.
[close]

Starved on OPs and appropriate weapons, the SO Medusa rely on its speed and phase skimmer to survive. Very twitchy to play, every mistakes are paid dearly and enemies with wide turrets arcs are hell to approach. A pair of dual MGs for breaking shields, a pair of blasters (can be switched for the heavy variants) for breaking armors, and that's all. Charge in, teleport to the most vulnerable spot, pray it can't turn fast enough to catch you. The lone ion cannon is just there to give you some room to breath. No point defence, you can't afford them, phase skimmer is all you have against missiles.

The Medusa is probably not a very good candidate for Safety Override, but i still managed to outmanoeuvre to death a few cruisers with it.

-

The Hammerhead is a ship that i regularly see spurned here and there, considered as a mediocre alternative to its high/low tech alter egos. It's true that the Enforcer and Medusa are formidable competitors, but i still think the Hammerhead is a very decent destroyer by itself. It sits as an intermediate of mobility and firepower between the other two, while being the cheapest of the bunch. I personally think the Hammerhead is the "easiest" destroyer to fly. Fast enough to pick its target, with enough firepower (thanks AAF!) to overwhelm it and just enough armor to survive a few mistakes. A newbie ship in some way.

As a wingman, i got something similar to the Elite loadout, although an all ballistic variation tends to be better to benefit from its ship system. A pair of long range kinetic weapons, coupled with Harpoons was what i choose to go with. While it didn't had the raw power of the Enforcer, it still performed decently.

Here's what i got for my flagship build :

Spoiler

Stop! Hammer time!
[close]

Quite similar to the Enforcer's SO build, but easier and safer. Switching one of the chainguns with a HMG is also a very sound alternative. Can engage/disengage faster than its low-tech brother, can manage its flux better (thanks AAF, again) and can hold the shield a while longer.

The Hammerhead did an admirable job in my campaign, and scaled surprisingly well into the late game. I still preferred the Enforcer for its firepower and toughness advantage, also its quad missile mounts fitted better my current "balls to the wall" campaign strategy.

-

The Sunder is the team's glass cannon, with heavy frontal firepower and spectacular flux stats. Anything with heavy kinetic weaponry is a serious threat to the Sunder, as its mediocre shield will overload really fast, and its meagre armour won't provide much protection either. Fortunately, it is reasonably fast can kite decently its opponents. The biggest danger the Sunder have to face is the risk of being flanked, with nearly all its weapons facing forward, it have trouble catching enemies that can circle strafe it to death. Fortunately, Auxialiary Thrusters can be unlocked reasonably early to compensate this.

It can be outfitted both as an interesting wingman or a deadly flagship, nearly every loadouts works on it. Autopulse to pulverise shields and unarmoured threats, HIL to crack open heavy armour, Tachyon lances to fry the systems of a dangerous target... And that's when you decide to take a large weapon! Even a triple medium energy does wonders on the sunder, and usually at a lower flux cost on top of that. For a wingman, an asymmetrical, beam/needlers variant very similar to the Medusa's worked best for me. Mine was equiped with a mix of Tac-laser/Ion Beam/Tachyon lance (can be switched with a HIL)/Needlers/Swarmers (to counter its allergy to broadswords). I think i liked it more than the Medusa, not as safe, but packed quite a punch.

As for a SO build, it was the chance to try the biggest, baddest gun possible :

Spoiler

Not even compensating for something, i swear.
[close]

I could have gone for a triple blaster loadout and it wouldn't have been wrong, but i found this one to be even better. The plasma cannon have the surprising advantage of a longer projectile "fade" time, allowing to cheat the Safety Override 450 range limit. The projectiles can definitely reach around 600/700, allowing you to soften a dangerous target from afar while still dealing a hefty amount of damage. Add High Energy Focus on top of it, and the SO Sunder hit like a freight train, even capital ships have a reason to fear it. The biggest difficulty with this build is to actually find a plasma cannon.

Strangely, its description describes its shield as "powerful" despite its very weak 1.2 efficiency.

-

The Harbinger is the logical evolution of the Afflictor, a bigger, meaner executioner whose job is to assassinate the most dangerous target. I talked before of the triple Typhoon build and its absurd alpha strike potential, even more if you consider the Entropy Amplifier and the Increased Yield perk. I still think it is the ideal Harbinger loadout, not only it can backstab in all impunity most front-shielded targets at the start of the fight, it can also brute force them head on, thanks to its immense burst. Alternatively, a blaster/phase lance variant can still perform a similar role, prioritising staying power over raw damage. I wanted to makes the Ion Pulser works here, and tried different loadouts with it (triple pulser, or an asymmetrical mix...) but its flaws were too numerous to be worth it. Too expensive, limited ammo, low range, low damage per impact... Considering the other excellent options, this weapon didn't convinced me.

Like the Hyperion, the very expensive Harbinger isn't ideal for a wingman. If you forgo its cost, the Harbinger could be very good support ship, thanks to the very long range Entropy Amplifier coupled with its 3 medium Synergy mounts... In theory. Practically, the Harbinger's AI left me quite dubious, behaving in strange, unpredictable ways. Those weird mannerisms ranged from abusing the cloak at long range for seemingly no reason, venting immediately after using its ship system (and cancelling it), sometimes refusing to use it at all, and on some occasion to hug the target while cloaked. All of these made the Harbinger an unsafe choice for the AI, as i could never predict its actions. As such, it eventually found its place on a dusty shelf on Asharu's terraforming platform.

-

The Gemini and Condors are the two carriers in the destroyer category, and usually the first ones the player can afford. Each one have their own strength and weaknesses. The Condor is the cheaper carrier, more armoured, with a higher burn speed. Probably the better option for long range fire support, thanks to its Fast Missile Racks, although a close range variant equipped with torpedoes caught me off guard once.

The Gemini on the other hand, have a slower burn speed and lower armour, compensated by a better shield, bigger cargo holds and improved close range combat capabilities. A fairly interesting alternative if you want to bring a mobile launch bay doubled with a decent gun platform for early game engagements. A pair of Maulers supported by the mg drones can make the Gemini a tricky opponent to approach for pirates raiders.

I personally prefer the Condor. With its Fast Missile Rack, heavy armour and longer peak performance, i think it scales slightly better during the late game than its mid-game competitor. Although not by much.


---

Finally! Quite a wall of text again. I voluntarily left out the civilian ships as i couldn't find much to say about them. Unlike the two previous shuttles, each destroyer freighters have their own strengths and weaknesses (Buffalo have higher burn, Tarsus is tougher and have burn drive, etc.), so no one seems completely useless.


Part 3. The Cruisers

It took a little bit, but here's about the cruisers.

At this point, my campaign strategy was in full-motion. Numerous destroyers commanded by agressive officers, mounting a mix of kinetic guns and harpoons (or atropos), overwhelming enemy fleets on the first exchanges. The battles were short and brutal, and i was now looking forward to acquire even bigger, badder ships. It's cruiser time.


---


The Venture was my first cruiser purchase, mostly because my Gemini previously exploded in a clumsy engagement. I needed something to resupply my fighters and the Venture's ability to boat many harpoons interested me. Pretty tough, well armed and surprisingly cheap, this combat carrier have quite a few things going for it. Its main weakness is its low mobility, as much on the battlefield than on the campaign map. Going from speed 9 to speed 7 was rough, especially since i still had to pick my fights carefully. Fortunately, a tug could compensate a bit for that weakness.

Unfortunately, i realised i already reached the 25 ships limit.

The Venture didn't stayed very long in my fleet, as i later decided to ditch my few remaining fighters, and as such, the carrier soon followed them to the abandoned station. It still managed to do quite well in the few battle it fought, an agressive loadout with a pair of HVD, a pulse laser and a bucketload of harpoons made the Venture an unexpectedly threatening opponent, especially when properly backed up. A more reasonable build would have asked for some PD in the form of flak cannons, but i judged its heavy armour a sufficient insurance in this situation.

-

The Heron never really found its place in my fleet, not only i already contemplated the idea of selling my fighters in the soon to be future, its lack of proper firepower was also out of place for this campaign.

Still, it stays a very good carrier. Two launch bays, one medium universal mounts for lrms, PD drones, fiendishly fast... The Heron have everything a carrier could ask for, it can support the fleet flawlessly, is absolutely infuriating to catch and surprisingly tough to bring down. If needed, it can also be built with a more direct weapon loadout during early to mid game and jump into the fray, but will rarely be more than a fire-support ship in most cases.

-

The Falcon is a destroyer in cruiser's clothing, and as such, should rather be compared to its smaller brethren than other cruisers. For a fairly noticeable maintenance cost increase, its overall stats are boosted. Not enough to punch above its weight class, but good to bully anything weaker than itself.

I'm personally not a fan of the Falcon, and consider it condemned to be a niche pick due to its "light" cruiser nature. For some reason, i always thought it came with a burn speed of 9, making it an interesting choice for a raider themed fleet that must stay mobile at all cost (which would more relevant in a modded game than the current vanilla though). Alas, it's not, and while the Falcon isn't technically a bad ship, i can't really find a reason to field one either.

As for its loadouts, a HVD/beam combo tends to be a fairly safe and efficient to slowly kill things while staying out of range. But everything a Falcon can do, its bigger sibling, the Eagle, can usually do it better.

-

The Eagle felt like a much more interesting option to me. Bigger, tougher, meaner and obviously, more expensive, the Eagle is the basic cruiser that fit in nearly every fleets. It can bring a reasonable amount of firepower, survivability and mobility, making it a good, but not extraordinary option. A jack of all trades, master of none.

Like the Falcon, the Eagle can opt for a heavier variant of the safe HVD/beam loadout, or even a mix with heavy maulers. Alternatively, i managed to make a working SO loadout for it :

Spoiler

Don't judge a ship by its empty mounts
[close]

Looks clunky, and yet surprisingly deadly. The SO Eagle is fast, reasonably armoured, and can deal huge burst damage to its unfortunate target. The loadout can be tweaked depending on the skills. At higher level, i was able to add a third heavy MG and two more ion cannons. The trick is to lower the shield to benefit from the additional 210 flux dissipation, the ion cannons can thankfully helps you keeping the target docile enough in the meantime. I know those two annihilators here almost feel superfluous, and they are in some way due to the distant position of the missile mounts, they can be ditched in favour of point defence if needed.

I tried to make a blaster variant, but the Eagle tends to suffer too much from low OPs and vent points for it.

-

The Dominator is probably the king of cruisers, and the new backbone of my fleet. Heavily armoured and covered in guns, the big Dom was a perfect piece for my aggressive fleet, thanks to its ability to vomit countless kinetic rounds and even more harpoons. An amazing ship either as a flagship or for the AI, its only main weakness is its difficulty to turn and deal with flanking manoeuvres. Other than that, it's very similar to its smaller cousin, the Enforcer, you have to try hard to find a reason to not get one of those.

A Gauss/HVD/Needlers/Harpoons was the basic loadout i choose for my fleet, anything with a shield couldn't keep it up very long, and anything relying on their armour had to deal with a swarm of missiles. And because it's not awesome enough, it also loves Safety Override!

Spoiler

Bear hugs for everyone!
[close]

Not as good as other SO ships at catching small targets, but that's not its job. The SO Dominator purpose is to find the biggest enemy ship and stick its rocket covered prow as close as possible to it. Thanks to its heavy armour, it can even survive encounters with enemy capital ships, and will vaporise anything smaller that couldn't get out of its way in time.

Also, switching Unstable Injectors for Augmented Engines as soon as possible is wise. You will ram things a lot (voluntarily or not), and UI will make the ship flame-out all the damn time.

-

The Gryphon was another welcome addition to the fleet. A powerful and cheap missile boat would complement my kinetic heavy fleet very well. Like every indirect fire support ships, the Gryphon works from the early to very late game, making it a sure bet in every situations. The loadout i used was an unsurprising mix of harpoons, Hurricane MIRV and HVD, allowing it to punish everything that lowered its shield, and sometimes brute force through it. An important thing with the Missile Autoforge system is its flux cost : 4500, almost the ship's entire capacity. It's why i think the Gryphon benefit more from capacitors than vent, as it will allow more flexibility to use its system even when under pressure by the enemy.

A reaper loadout isn't bad either for a flagship, with missile skills and its system, you can fire 4 single shot torpedoes. I still don't think the Gryphon makes for a good flagship though.

-

The Apogee, with its powerful shield emitter, large flux capacity and dissipation is an adept of the flux war. It also comes with two sensor drones, increasing its range and fending off close opponents with their ion cannons. All of this makes the Apogee an exceptionally tricky opponent to approach and take down, making it the closest thing to a "backbone" ship you can get among high-tech vessels. Oh, it's also a freighter too! Always handy to have enough room for your supplies and fuel.

Its weird weapon loadout also gives it a surprising sting, covering all its flanks without neglecting the prow. Again, an all beam Apogee is as safe as you can get, a Tachyon lance backed by tac lasers and a Hurricane does a good job at keeping enemies at bay. Something with an Autopulse also works if you need more oomph and tanking for the rest of your fleet.

As for Safety Override, here what i got :

Spoiler

It's like using a fork like a shovel
[close]

Probably not a good idea to begin with, but it somehow works! Kinda... Investing in Technology skills is an obvious need for this loadout, as way too many mounts are left empty. Juggling between the plasma cannon and Cyclone launcher isn't always easy as well, but a successfully achieved combo can ruin the day of whatever stood in front of you.

Fun fact, the sensor drones bonus allow you to go beyond the SO 450 range limit.

-

The Aurora is a ship that got a lot of flak recently. It's not technically a bad cruiser, but its weird, asymmetrical layout, coupled with a 180° shield on its elongated shape (which surprisingly clash with the ship's description) make the Aurora a tricky ship to properly outfit. Being nearly as expensive to maintain as a battleship isn't helping either. Granted, its large OPs pool allow it to equip the hullmods to compensate for some of its vulnerabilities (Extended shields, stabilized shields, etc), making it usable, if still a bit underwhelming.

Loading the Aurora with a bunch of blasters and missiles works, but it wouldn't be wise to put it against anything bigger, or even of its own size. For a much more reasonable price, the Apogee is arguably more efficient at killing things and staying in one piece.

Everything isn't black though, while the Aurora makes for a fairly poor AI wingman, it excels better than anything else at one specific build :

Spoiler

One-Punch Man
[close]

12600 energy burst, 18900 with HEF (22680 with lvl10 Ordnance Expertise), plus 4000 HE (6000 with Increased Yield) from the Typhoon. One of the highest alpha strike possible in the game. Giving it to the AI probably won't works, but the player can makes good use of the overwhelming burst damage. The main difficulty is to approach the target without raising your own flux too much, having allies to draw the enemy's attention is quite useful. It's also the reason why my Aurora got Safety Override at higher level, not really for the vent bonus, but mostly to keep the 50 flux boost even with the shield on, making it easier to approach my target. For the biggest opponents, i prefer to aim for the shields for a guaranteed overload, letting my missile heavy fleet finishing the job.

The ability to one-hit-kill nearly everything even replaced my SO Dominator for the flagship role. The Aurora isn't much of a brawler and require more subtlety than the Dominator, i had to rely a lot on my shield, and overloading meant a certain death for me.

So yeah, a weird, overspecialized cruiser that is underwhelming at nearly everything else. I'm not sure how i feel about that.

-

The Doom's purpose is the same as its smaller siblings, phase in and backstab the enemy flagship to death. The Doom is also probably the trickiest to use among phase ships due to its slowness and humongous cloak upkeep. Fortunately, its heavy armour allow it withstand quite a beating even if caught with its pants down.

For its loadout, it tends to have better staying power than the smaller phase ships even if it still focus on powerful alpha strikes. An annihilators/typhoons/phase lances/ion cannons is a basic, yet efficient loadout to bully anything with a front shield. Alternatively, the Doom can also be outfitted as an AM blaster/Typhoon boat similar to the Aurora. Unlike its shielded cousin, the Doom have no trouble approaching its target thanks to its cloaking ability. However, its flux capacity is noticeably lower than the Aurora, making the AM blaster build quite difficult without a high level officer.

I found the Doom to benefit much more from capacitors than vents. Venting doesn't do anything against the 500 flux drain of the cloak, and you'll need all the flux you can when you'll be behind your target, as well as retreating safely.

As for Interdictor Array, i have to say i very rarely used it. 2400 flux per use is a lot for an "almost" flame-out, especially for a ship that desperately need this flux.

Funny thing, the Interdictor Array effect seems to be an AOE, you can flame-out entire fighter blobs with it. Sadly, it doesn't affect nearby missiles.


---


There! Asides from the clunky Aurora and the underwhelming Falcon that struck me at odd, i don't have much to say about the cruisers.


---


Part 4. The Capital ships

Alright, now we're talking about the big ones, the capital ships.

By the time i got my first capital ship, every frigates and fighters have been decommissioned to make room for the bigger vessels. The fleet finally reached end-game size, and i still could defeat my opponents even when outnumbered. My only weakness at this point was the cannon-fodder the AI  threw at me at the start of the battle (frigates and fighters). Not that they were a menace, but they acted as missiles magnets, draining the ammunition from my ships, making the later encounter with the bigger threats more difficult.

I also said there would be funky experimentation. For some reason (balance, i suppose), Safety Override have been disabled for capital ships, so i decided to dig in the files and make the hullmod available to see whether or not if SO should really be prohibited for those.


---

The Onslaught was my first battleship for good reason. Dirt cheap, tough and with many, many guns. Also surprisingly mobile thanks to its burn drive. Its poor flux dissipation is the only thing that keep it reasonable. Even at high level, the Onslaught can't really afford an all-big-guns loadout at the risk of choking on its own flux.

It works on the same principle as the Dominator. Point it in the right direction and keep moving there until there's no enemies left. And just like the Dominator, it's as good as a flagship as it's a wingman. My AI variant was in the same vein as its low-tech brethren, a lot of kinetic guns to open the show, followed by a barrage of Harpoons for the curtain call. The TPCs also bring some needed anti-armor power in long engagements when missiles run dry.

As for Safety Override...

Spoiler

Unstoppable force
[close]

Actually looks a bit tame at level 0. It becomes noticeably scarier with skills and additional OPs. The idea is the same as the Dominator's SO build, you go hunt the big one and engage it in a brawl that you'll invariably win. The improved dissipation helps you keeping pressure on a target, the additional speed is a nice bonus too. The 450 range limit however is a penalty common to all capital ships, and will prevent you from engaging anything but cruisers and other capitals. You can still burn drive in the melee if needed though.

If you need more OPs and less flux, swapping the Mjolnirs for Hephaestus is an option, even though i clearly have a preference for the Mjolnir.

-

The Paragon is the high-tech competitor of the Onslaught, relying more on defense, thanks to its exceptional shield and flux stats. Despite being noticeably more expensive, the Paragon is arguably a better (easier?) ship to use. It's still heavily armored, pretty much impossible to flank, and if needed, can pack massive firepower. Thanks to its inability to die, the Paragon makes for an ideal wingman.

My AI loadout was a mix of frontal plasma cannons and Tachyon lances in the turrets, coupled with a Harpoons in the universal slots, the rest was mostly cheap PDs to fill the side/rear mounts. The plasma cannons could brute force anything bigger than a destroyer, the T-lances could catch anything smaller than a cruiser. A perfect combination. Still, screwing up a Paragon build is hard, as it can mount nearly all kind of weapons and makes good use of them.

It's also probably the best candidate for Safety Override among capital ships. Opening the way for an exceedingly dirty playstyle.

Spoiler

Immovable object
[close]

This isn't a mistake, i maxed out capacity first to take advantage of the fortress shield. Fortress shield hard flux is a set value that slowly increase over time, not influenced either by skills or hullmods. In some way, it works just like a phase cloak that'll make you invulnerable, and i'll be using it to vent the soft flux from my absurd weaponry. And thanks to Safety Override, that soft flux will go down fast.

The idea is simple, approach the target with your fortress shield on (thanks SO for the constant 0 flux bonus), unleash the alpha strike (pretty much equivalent to the Aurora's) and re-activate the fortress shield to safely vent the 20.000 or so soft flux, you'll be around 5.000 hard flux when you'll be ready to fire again.

Pretty much unbeatable in a duel. Later on, you can also install stabilized shield and front shield emitter to further increase the soft flux venting. The ion cannons are just there to give you some breathing when you'll eventually have to lower your shield, but they can also be replaced by AM blasters if you really need more burst. Like the SO Onslaught however, frigates and destroyers will taunt you out of your limited range. Better having some teammates to deal with those.

-

The Conquest is probably the ship i tested the most, as i was desperate to uncover the secrets of its AI. And i think i found them! But with those experiments, i also discovered some dark bugs that goes with the lot.

A cheap, frail but fast battlecruiser with a hell of a punch. While the battleships love to brawl, the battlecruisers prefer to bombard their enemy at range, and the Conquest, with its maneuvering jets, is well equipped to keep the distance. It also have one of the best flux dissipation of the game, just 50 less than the Paragon, allowing it to keep the big guns firing for longer periods of time than most of its competitors.

A long range kiter with capital-grade firepower. In theory, this would make the Conquest a pretty good wingman. However, it also appears to be a broadside ship, with a well known pig-headed AI that comes with it. When properly outfitted however, the AI Conquest works, and it works really well. Unfortunately, the required loadout is extremely specific.

Spoiler

As demanding as a diva, but he does works!
[close]

This loadout doesn't works at level 0 (Edit : Scratch that, you can do it with Dedicated Targeting Core), because ITU is literally indispensable. More than that, it also require an officer with Gunnery Implants! All this range, to makes it all works... But let's dive a bit deeper in the Conquest's AI to understand why.

Broadsides ships suffer from what i call the "oblique disease", they will fly in a slopped way, with an unpleasant tendency to hug its target. Like so :

Spoiler

It died a vain and miserable death
[close]

However, with the range from ITU and Gunnery Implant (and a proper loadout), it seems to be cured from its oblique disease, and will now gracefully fight like the majestic battlecruiser it was supposed to be :

Spoiler

Spoiler : The Paragon dies at the end
[close]

Not only in duels but also in fleet battles. I pitched 5 AI Conquests (plus a few destroyers) against a 400/500FP enemy via Console Command, and they won without causalities. I didn't even participated in the fight.

I discovered that the Conquest behavior change depending on its effective range. Too low, and the Conquest will go in oblique mode. 1000 range guns with ITU and Gunnery Implants is the bare minimum, it does tolerate some point defenses, depending on which mounts you put them. With this successful loadout, it will kite its target at safe range, plowing it with its combo of kinetic ballistics and the ever frightening Hurricane MIRV, finally becoming a legit addition for the fleet.

It's not all wonderful though, i discovered two bugs while doing those tests, one moderately annoying, the other potentially gamebreaking. When overloading its target, the Conquest will immediately close in and face it. It would makes sense if the Conquest was armed with Cyclones, but it wasn't in this case :

Spoiler

Less than optimal, but bearable
[close]

The other bug is much more problematic, and i couldn't find the cause. Sometimes, the Conquest will enter a "catatonic state" and will slowly drift to the edge of the map, unresponsive to orders :

Spoiler

Top and left ones floated aimlessly until they bounced back on the edges of the battlefield
[close]

I don't know what is causing this. I think they can "wake up" if an enemy ship enter the range of their weapons, but i can't really confirm it yet.

Anyway, here's what i got for a SO build :

Spoiler

No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
[close]

A fast, flux neutral monster that will never stop shooting on whatever is on its starboard. The ion cannons are here to prevent the target from defending itself, the Mjolnirs and chainguns are the ones doing the actual DPS (swapping chainguns with Heavy MGs is probably better if facing high-tech ships), and two Cyclones for finishing off the big ones. Dual flaks cannons makes for better PD, but are more expensive than the single barreled ones. The single shot version, and four of them, tends to be more than enough in my experience.

It's a fun, if risky build. You have to get close, dangerously so due to the Conquest's mediocre armour and shield. Arguably weaker than a more conventional build, especially at low level.

-

The Odyssey is currently the weakest capital ship to get. Expensive, fragile and with a clunky weapon layout... It can act as a decent fire-support platform but shouldn't directly engage targets of its size. With the fighter change, the Odyssey will maybe become a more interesting choice in the next update, but it definitely doesn't right now.

I got serviceable results with an asymmetrical beam platform, very good at overwhelming anything smaller than itself, but not much more. Even tried a SO loadout with plasma cannons, typhoons and AM blasters, a mix between the Aurora and Conquest own SO builds. Alas, too fragile for my taste, the Odyssey doesn't like brawling at close range, despite its good speed for hit and run actions.

I also wanted to try getting a lone fighter escort to exploit that launch bay. The Trident sounded like a good wingman, a theoretically infinite amount of torpedoes, a defense burst laser... Until i realized most fighters were too slow to keep up with me and reach the launch bay. Eh.

-

Like the Odyssey, the Astral is also on the short end of the stick with fighters being what they currently are. The Astral is a massively expensive, missile platform with 6 launch bay, which isn't a bad design but doesn't follow the current trend. I won't talk too much about it, as it will probably be the ship that'll change the most in the next version anyway.

The Astral is surprisingly fragile despite its powerful shield. Trying to bring it on the frontline is rarely a good idea, as even smaller ships can threaten the lumbering carrier when its shields are down. And because it's usually the only carrier of the fleet, losing it means losing the numerous fighters that comes with it. I'll definitely try some more offensive loadouts in the future update though.


---


And that's all for the ships. After this campaign, i think capital ships could be allowed to use Safety Override. It does give them some noticeable advantages (especially the Paragon) but the drawbacks (range and CR) prevent them from beating more conventional builds in my opinion.

Also for information, here's what my fleet looked like by the end of the game :

Spoiler

Because who needs burn speed when you can have more firepower?
[close]

---

Part 5. The Weapons

Now that we're done with the ships, let's talk a bit about the weapons, ballistic in particular.


Small :

The light Mortar is a dirt cheap weapon, with poor accuracy, poor range, poor DPS. A catapult mounted on a spaceship would give equivalent results. I put those weapons on ships when i'm too poor to properly outfit them, at least so that lone pirates won't think of them as free food. Not completely worthless though, they may fill some purpose when your ship is starved both in OPs and flux and somehow needs HE to deal with armor.

The Light Machine Gun is the second cheapest point defence in the game. Not a very good PD per se, but good enough when you're starved on OPs. It does have really high DPS for its meagre cost, making it ideal for every Safety Override builds.

The Vulcan is the best point defence you can get among small ballistics, and also deadly at shredding hull thanks to its ludicrous DPS. A single Vulcan isn't that good at stopping missiles, several of them however will form an umbrella of bullets capable of blocking missiles swarms.

The Light Autocannon is a cheap but otherwise inferior alternative to the LMG. Expensive to fire, slow turning, bad accuracy, low DPS... It does have the range advantage though. I personally prefer to brawl at close range and get better results with the cheaper LMG.

The Light Dual Machine Gun is the "luxury" upgrade to the LMG. A reasonable DPS boost for a noticeable increased OP cost. I don't use it as often as the single barrel version, as OPs on low tech ships are usually better invested in various hull-mods. The PD flag is also a bonus, even though it's definitely an assault weapon in practice.

The Light Dual Autocannon is a similar upgrade like the DLMG is to the LMG. A bit more expensive to fire, a bit more expensive to mount, for a little bit more DPS. Then again, i prefer the machine gun alternative.

The Light Assault Gun is the only proper HE small ballistic available. Fairly expensive to fire and with poor armour penetration, the LAG is still good enough to deal with fighters, frigates and lightly armoured destroyers. Beyond that however, its usefulness start to falter. I personally have a preference for missiles to deal HE damage during early to mid-game, so i rarely use this weapon.

The Railgun is what you get when you need some reliable long range kinetic firepower. It's barely more expensive to fire than the LDAC and with even more DPS on top of it. It's more expensive to mount though, but it also come with the advantage of longer range, perfect accuracy, fast turning speed and surprisingly decent armour penetration. One of the most useful kinetic weapons throughout the campaign.

The Light Needler is the frighteningly expensive substitute to the Railgun. Its sustained flux cost is low, and its DPS surprisingly weak but it does compensate with a burst only surpassed by its medium variant. It's a scary weapon when coupled with an HE one (or even a few tac lasers), but quite worthless alone as the AI is very quick to lower its shield against sudden kinetic bursts. Also, even longer range than the Railgun.

Medium :

The Arbalest Autocannon is the cheapest medium weapon available with the flak cannon. It's actually not bad when your ship is struggling with flux and OPs, it can offer you a decent, budget kinetic gun. Unfortunately, i found the Railgun to be a better alternative in that regard, not by much though.

The Flak Cannon is a very good point defence in any situations. Cheap, low flux, good range, large AOE, reasonable burst but weak DPS. I use this one a lot as it provides sufficient protection for most situations without costing an arm to install.

The Thumper... The Thumper... The more i look at this weapon and the more i'm saying to myself it could actually work (as a niche weapon, mind you). Its DPS is fairly good, its range reasonable, its accuracy perfect... And yet it doesn't. I quoted its issues earlier, but i'll do it again :
Quote
Charge-up time, slow projectile and abysmal turning rate while firing, all of those combined are the main reasons the Thumper can rarely hit its mark. Without those flaws, the Thumper would be an interesting, if niche, weapon that can reliably "crit" unarmored spots on a target.
Add on top of that the frag/kinetic nerf against armour in the coming update, the future of the Thumper is looking grim.

The Heavy Machine Gun is the medium upgrade to the DLMG. It's twice as expensive to mount, 5 time as expensive to fire, with 1.5X more DPS and 150 more range. A very costly upgrade you only take when you have the OPs to spare and few mounts to fill. Still, 320 kinetic DPS will drill a hole through most shields, and being a PD, it will even intercept missiles, albeit poorly.

The Heavy Autocannon is a rival to the Needler like the Arbalest compete with the Railgun. Its role isn't completely identical though, the HAC have more DPS, better ROF and better armour penetration, making it a decent all rounder gun for most situations while the Needler is dedicated to shield bursting. Not my favourite weapon though, it turn slowly and have poor accuracy, limiting its usefulness against smaller, faster targets.

The Assault Chaingun is a niche weapon useful only in some specific situations. It's massively expensive to fire with very low range, so you have to be careful before committing the ship mounting this gun, as you can overload yourself easily. Its poor armour penetration prevent it from scaling during late game, but it really shines before that, even more since Safety Override offer both the venting and mobility to compensate for its weaknesses.

Also, for some reason the barrel animation seems broken. It spins weirdly.

The Dual Flak Cannon. While the single flak is a good point defence, its dual version is exceptional. The kind of gun you buy when you don't want a single missile to scratch your armour. It's quite a bit more expensive than the single flak, but bring much higher DPS and ROF, at the cost of slightly lower range, burst and AOE. Still, without a doubt the best point defence in the game for its price.

The Heavy Mauler is the most versatile and reliable HE weapon available. Huge range and impressive armour penetration, also turn surprisingly fast and with a reasonable accuracy. The DPS is quite weak, but you take this gun only to crack open the armor of your opponent, and at 200 damage per shell it doesn't take long to do so. Still, with time i relied more on missile for dealing HE damage, and as such i don't use the Mauler as often as before.

The Hypervelocity Driver is the kinetic alter ego to the Mauler. Huge range, reasonable damage per shot, and EMP on top of that! Perfect accuracy too. The DPS is weak, but still allow to slowly grind down most opponents while staying at safe range. Probably one of the strongest weapons in the game. Not the flashiest, but reliable in any situations.

The Heavy Needler is an expensive weapon like its little brother. The idea is the same, huge kinetic burst to pop the enemy shield, but only works with proper HE support. I personally prefer to invest in a few light needlers rather than getting the heavy version, as the massive OP price increase only offer relatively small improvements in my opinion.

Large :

The Hellbore is a cheap weapon to mount, but expensive to fire, and horribly unwieldy on top of that. The HE burst is immense, as much as a Harpoon, allowing to pulverize even the heaviest armours. Unfortunately, it's incredibly slow to turn, and its projectiles are equally slow, making the Hellbore nigh useless against anything smaller than a cruiser. It also have lower range than the Mauler, sadly.

The Mark IX Autocannon is my favourite cheap, large weapon. A decent all rounder similar to the HAC, with surprising armour penetration that will scare away smaller ships. Relatively cheap to mount and fire, and pretty good DPS too. I would use this weapon a lot for my AI ships, if it wasn't for the Mjolnir...

The Hephaestus Assault Gun is a fairly good choice for HE weapons. Much more practical than the Hellbore, it's also reasonably efficient at stripping armour despite its relatively weak damage per impact. And thanks to its high ROF and turning speed, is also good at catching fighters and frigates.

The Mjolnir. Possibly the best weapon in the game. High DPS, high damage per impact, EMP, fast turning speed, good accuracy, energy damage, and surprisingly reasonable flux cost too? Well, why would i want another weapon? It does it all, and it does it well. Its incredible versatility make it the ideal choice for all situations. The old reload clip system was the only thing that kept it in check before, but now there's nothing to hold it back.

The Gauss cannon is a frightening, if unwieldy weapon that can drill through shields and armour with ease, thanks to its impressive damage per impact. Also the longest range ballistic weapon, making it ideal for sniper ships (like the Conquest). Its low ROF and slow turn rate put it in a similar boat as the Hellbore when it comes to hitting small targets, although the Gauss fast projectile speed and perfect accuracy makes the whole thing less painful.

The Storm Needler is without a doubt the weakest large ballistic available, and possibly one of the weakest ballistic overall. Just like the Thumper, it suffers from a long charge-up time, and fairly slow turning speed while firing, making it unwieldy in most situations. The worst issue however is the very high OP cost coupled with the monstrous flux generation, preventing most ships from using this weapon at the risk of overloading in no time. It does have some spectacular DPS though, and fire in a constant stream rather than burst unlike its smaller siblings. Still, being from the Needler family, it still does need to be combo-ed with some HE to works properly, as it is helpless against armor. I even tried to make it works with a max level Onslaught with SO, but the flux generation was just too high for it to be practical.

And to add to the insult, it's only 800 range, the lowest of all large ballistics.

---

That's it for the ballistics. I started to write the part with energy weapons but quickly realised that there wasn't much to say, so i don't think it's worth finishing. Yes, some weapons like the LRPD and the Ion Pulser have some issues, but overall i found the whole energy family to be reasonably okay. As for the missiles weapons, it's a bit trickier. Some are really good (Harpoons/Hurricane/Reapers), some are debatable (Sabots, Prox charges...) and then some don't seem to have the right ship to go with them (Squall/possibly Locust as well).

I also kinda want to talk about hullmods, some can be considered overpowered (Unstable Injectors/Aug Engines, Front shield emitter, ITU...) and then some are pretty much useless (Solar shielding, Omni shield emitter, flux coil and distributor...) but then again, the post is starting to get overly long.

So yeah, i guess this'll be enough for this thread.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 09:52:22 AM by HELMUT »
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Gothars

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2016, 04:04:13 AM »

The Hermes was very much worth it before it's fuel costs per light year/jump were increased to standard frigate level. If it were reduced from 1 to .5  a squadron of Hermes would again be the cheapest way to move cargo fast. For that it  could also use burn 10.
The Mercury would need even more love to be viable for crew transport, it loses to the Mudskipper in every logistical aspect. But as long as there's little reason to carry around extra crew or passengers, what would be the point?

« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 05:33:08 AM by Gothars »
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borgrel

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 04:37:46 AM »

the hermes and mercury are PERFECT the way they are

as pointed out they are civillian ships, not meant for combat. they are shuttles ... for transporting CEO's and food critics and insurance inspectors around the galaxy

the fact that ships exist that the player will never have any interest in is awesome ...... it adds depth and immersion to the universe.


complaining about them is like walking into a BMW dealership as a trucking company owner and shouting because they cost the same as a mac truck but cant pull any trailers and demanding they make BMW's capable of pulling an 18 wheel trailer so that u have a use for it!!!!
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DownTheDrain

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 04:52:45 AM »

the hermes and mercury are PERFECT the way they are

as pointed out they are civillian ships, not meant for combat. they are shuttles ... for transporting CEO's and food critics and insurance inspectors around the galaxy

the fact that ships exist that the player will never have any interest in is awesome ...... it adds depth and immersion to the universe.


complaining about them is like walking into a BMW dealership as a trucking company owner and shouting because they cost the same as a mac truck but cant pull any trailers and demanding they make BMW's capable of pulling an 18 wheel trailer so that u have a use for it!!!!

You do have a point, but the OP didn't complain about either of them being terrible in combat.
Apparently these ships are also bad at their actual purpose, transporting cargo... or food critics and insurance inspectors for that matter.

I'm certainly not saying that all ships need to be geared towards the player, or that maximum efficiency should be the ultimate goal of any design, but ideally every ship should have some sort of edge, even a marginal one that is of no use to the player, or the flavor text should make it clear why not.
Perhaps shuttles simply shouldn't fly in a convoy with large, slow transporters and tankers so they would be much harder to catch and usually not worth the trouble.
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Megas

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2016, 05:46:14 AM »

The following killed Hermes/Mercury:
* Switch from Logistics to 25 ship hard cap.
* Cannot equip Safety Override from more top speed.
* Less burn than other frigates.  Want a frigate-only fleet for high burn, don't use these slowpokes!

They have one possible use:  Buy a damaged shuttle or kite, store everything except the aforementioned ship, then scuttle it for a fleet wipe, and respawn as fully equipped Wayfarer/Centurion/Lasher.  Not bad for a few thousand credits.  I sometimes do this when I start a new game.
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Megas

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2016, 06:34:15 AM »

Re: Wolf
I miss Omni-shield Wolf.  Change to front-shield without doubling its arc hurt.

Re: Hyperion
Its small turrets are most useful for IR pulse lasers or anything that can fry fighters or pile a little more damage to your target.  Using mining or heavy blasters just to pick off fighters or even small frigates can be a pain, and just letting IR pulse lasers grind them down can be a relief.  As for PD, with only two turrets, it only works with burst PD or high Gunnery Implants+IPDAI hullmod+IR pulse laser combo, and even then, not worth wasting OP for.  Hyperion wants Flux Dynamics perks badly and is very OP hungry.
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King Alfonzo

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2016, 06:04:40 PM »

The Mercury would need even more love to be viable for crew transport, it loses to the Mudskipper in every logistical aspect. But as long as there's little reason to carry around extra crew or passengers, what would be the point?

Is it wrong that I now want to see ships that require more crew than they can hold? I mean, is that even possible?

Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2016, 07:46:23 PM »

The Mercury would need even more love to be viable for crew transport, it loses to the Mudskipper in every logistical aspect. But as long as there's little reason to carry around extra crew or passengers, what would be the point?

Is it wrong that I now want to see ships that require more crew than they can hold? I mean, is that even possible?
Possible, I'm pretty sure. Practical? No. Realistic? NO.
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Stop trying to balance the game around a few minmaxers...
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One mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life.

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Alex

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2016, 07:52:56 PM »

Just posting to say that 1) read the OP in its entirety, and 2) thank you for all the feedback :)

(On a related note, the Pather Brawler now sports an ammo feeder.)
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2016, 09:28:56 PM »

Just posting to say that 1) read the OP in its entirety, and 2) thank you for all the feedback :)

(On a related note, the Pather Brawler now sports an ammo feeder.)
Don't forget to check back every so often so you get the rest of it!
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Stop trying to balance the game around a few minmaxers...
Programming is like sex:
One mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life.

Tired of having your game crash because of out of date mods? Then click here!
Spoiler
Get Version Checker today! Now with 90% less hassle! Simply toss it into your mod folder, activate the mod like a normal one and BINGO you will now be informed of any and all updates when you start SS campaign up!
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Deshara

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2016, 01:46:18 AM »

Just posting to say that 1) read the OP in its entirety, and 2) thank you for all the feedback :)

(On a related note, the Pather Brawler now sports an ammo feeder.)

!!! I love the thought of factionvarient hulls having alt fkey functions
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Embolism

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2016, 11:48:53 PM »

The base (not just Luddic) Brawler should have AAF back. It's meant to be a gunship and there's not much point having two midline frigates have the same specialised system (not to mention three out of four combat midlines specialised in soaking damage). If it gets it back it should have its old flux stats back too.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 01:18:21 AM by Embolism »
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Megas

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2016, 07:21:47 AM »

The main thing that discourages me from deploying Brawler is total lack of PD (and no way to get 360 shields, and omni-shield hullmod is not viable) and possibly no sweeping turrets.  It is very, VERY vulnerable, especially as an AI ship.  Salamanders will brutalize it, and it will struggle against a swarm of small ships if it is armed with slow-firing, long-range guns to counter big ships.  It might need the Damper Field as a panic button to save it when it sees an incoming attack that it cannot defend against (e.g., looping Salamander).

Rarely, I might deploy a Brawler to pilot myself if I feel like sniping big game with a small ship, but I generally have better options.  One of my favorite configurations when I pilot a Brawler is two Light Needlers and two Heavy Maulers.  Ammo feeder is useless because I max flux after a burst or two, and I have no OP left to afford capacitors.

EDIT:
If it gets it back it should have its old flux stats back too.
It lost flux stats?!  That might kill the double needler and mauler combo.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 07:26:17 AM by Megas »
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Embolism

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2016, 07:42:48 AM »

The way I see it, midline frigates are all designed to work in a "combined arms" fleet. Brawlers dish out kinetic DPS, Vigilances provide fire support, Monitors and Centurions distract the big boys and pick off strike craft and missiles. None of them work well solo and there's nothing wrong with that.

I'd like to see the Brawler be almost Destroyer-level from the front (flavour text states it's supposed to have a destroyer-grade power generator) in terms of guns and shielding, but helpless from the back (as it should be). Reducing its flux stats and trying to generalise it with a defensive system is a step in the wrong direction IMO.

If a generalist midline combat frigate is needed it should be a new ship. The Brawler looks like a brick and should act like one: form (art) begets function, yes?
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HELMUT

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Re: Overall feedback on ships and weapons
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2016, 08:57:41 AM »

(On a related note, the Pather Brawler now sports an ammo feeder.)

Yay! I hope we'll be able to purchase some Pather variant at Luddites stations in a future update, boarding is the only way to acquire them currently.

On a side note, i updated the OP with part 2, the destroyers!
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