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Author Topic: Fleet compositions  (Read 8450 times)

Null Ganymede

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Fleet compositions
« on: May 28, 2018, 07:42:52 AM »

To minimize save scumming you gotta win. To not run out of supplies and fuel, you gotta win with as few ships as possible. Let's make a list of some fleet compositions that do so, and explain why those composition works.

I'll start with some vanilla ships that are still competitive in Nexerelin/modded play-throughs. These are ways to jump into combat without having to bootstrap it via exploration.

(Early-Game) SO Flagship
Spoiler

Safety Overrides gives you mobility and flux dominance versus everything you face early. Mobility lets you do silly things like use kinetic point defense weapons for DPS, like so:



With points in the combat tree you can solo early 40k pirate bounties in a Lasher. This works best on ships with lots of guns or Accelerated Ammo Feeder, otherwise you can't kill much before CR runs out.
[close]

(Mid-Game) Condor Missile Massacre
Spoiler
Basically, you're going for synergy and extreme point efficiency to make up for a re-purposed freighter's weakness.

  • Condors are 2 fighter bays and 1 medium missile with Fast Racks, for 10 points. Mid-tech fighters do kinetic damage, Pilum LRMs do explosive, it's a match made in heaven.
  • Frigates are 3% ECM each (with ECM mod) for ~5 points. ECM range reduction completely throws off the AI, making your ships more confident and the enemy less. Most importantly, 3 levels in the ECM skill also gives you the ECCM mod which brings us to...
  • Salamanders. Without ECCM or skills they're annoying but unreliable, with either they're agile enough to get around shields and out-track PD. They have good synergy with fighter distractions, ensure LRM hits, and give your flagship easy targets to shoot.

So your carriers provide the kinetic and explosive damage. Your frigates provide ECM to keep the enemy AI off your carriers, while throwing Salamanders into the fighter + LRM swarm. The end result looks a lot like this: easy flanks on flamed out ships with missile and fighter support rolling in.



The skill investment is quite low (3 points in ECM + probably extra officers since missile and fighter skills are amazing) so you've got plenty of room to branch out from the base composition.

Starting with a Hegemony commission in a Nexerelin playthrough, level 1 start, no exploration; here's what 6 months looks like.



The frigates are pretty interchangeable, as are any specialist ships you eventually pick up. The Condors are really the core of the fleet. (Probably need 2x as many of them, grew the frigates without buying more Condors.)
[close]

So, what other fleets hit way above their weight class? (Ideally, with minimal player skill investment to allow for some customization.)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 10:13:34 PM by Null Ganymede »
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MajorTheRed

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 08:43:52 AM »

A really different way to play for me. I will give it a try. Most of the time my fleet is always formed by self-sufficient ships instead of relying on support from eachothers and I never been found of SO.
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Sarissofoi

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 11:15:13 AM »

Interesting.

TaLaR

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 11:52:29 AM »

I think this is the best one can do with a Lasher: full Melee SO(add caps/vents if HS is unavailable)
Spoiler
[close]

When player piloted it can solo about any DE (both sides skill-less, including optimized DE variants better than ones present in sim). Can also handle weaker Cruiser variants.
Though vanilla pirates and remnants are so weak that you'd get better mileage out of similar non-SO variant against them.
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Goumindong

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2018, 04:39:08 PM »

To minimize save scumming you gotta win. To not run out of supplies and fuel, you gotta win with as few ships as possible. Let's make a list of some fleet compositions that do so, and explain why that composition works.

It would be nice to have a list of early and mid-game fleet compositions, not just capitals or "carriers lol".

I'll start with some vanilla ships that are still competitive in Nexerelin/modded play-throughs.


(Early-Game) SO Flagship
Spoiler

Safety Overrides gives you mobility and flux dominance versus everything you face early. Mobility lets you do silly things like use kinetic point defense weapons for DPS, like so:



With points in the combat tree you can solo early 40k pirate bounties in a Lasher. This works best on ships with lots of guns or Accelerated Ammo Feeder, otherwise you can't kill much before CR runs out.
[close]

(Mid-Game) Condor Missile Massacre
Spoiler
Basically, you're going for synergy and extreme point efficiency to make up for a re-purposed freighter's weakness.

  • Condors are 2 fighter bays and 1 medium missile with Fast Racks, for 10 points. Mid-tech fighters do kinetic damage, Pilum LRMs do explosive, it's a match made in heaven.
  • Frigates are 3% ECM each (with ECM mod) for ~5 points. ECM range reduction completely throws off the AI, making your ships more confident and the enemy less. Most importantly, 3 levels in the ECM skill also gives you the ECCM mod which brings us to...
  • Salamanders. Without ECCM or skills they're annoying but unreliable, with either they're agile enough to get around shields and out-track PD. They have good synergy with fighter distractions, ensure LRM hits, and give your flagship easy targets to shoot.

So your carriers provide the kinetic and explosive damage. Your frigates provide ECM to keep the enemy AI off your carriers, while throwing Salamanders into the fighter + LRM swarm. The end result looks a lot like this: easy flanks on flamed out ships with missile and fighter support rolling in.



The skill investment is quite low (3 points in ECM + probably extra officers since missile and fighter skills are amazing) so you've got plenty of room to branch out from the base composition.

Starting with a Hegemony commission in a Nexerelin playthrough, level 1 start, no exploration; here's what 6 months looks like.



The frigates are pretty interchangeable, as are any specialist ships you eventually pick up. The Condors are really the core of the fleet. (Probably need 2x as many of them, grew the frigates without buying more Condors.)
[close]

So, what other fleets hit way above their weight class? (Ideally, with minimal player skill investment to allow for some customization.)

4

So before i get into my Fleet Compositions that I use lets talk about making these better.

To start with the Lasher. That is a perfectly good Lasher build in total but it is set up incorrectly. The LAGs you've got should not be in the hardpoints but rather should be in the turrets. And the LMG's in the front should be on the hardpoints. The reason for this twofold. The second is the most important IMO

1) The LMGs will prioritize missiles since they're PD and you want them shooting at your target instead. If they're on the turret then they will be more likely to do this.

2) When LAGs are on the hardpoints they will not hit the same point in armor. Additionally on thin ships which point their nose at you, like a Wolf, you will end up splitting the ship entirely, either getting zero or only 1 LAG on target. When the LAGs are on the turrets they will both hit the same point on the enemy ship, stripping armor and hull a lot faster. This problem does not exist for the LMG's because shields extend the width of ships when they're active, letting you hit the shields with the LMGs regardless of whether or not you would otherwise split the target ship.

___________

Your missile spam setup is really inefficient you can almost certainly do it easier/better. Most small missiles when moving up to their "pod" version get about 4 times better. A Harpoon MRM launcher has 3 shots 1 at a time, a Pod has 12 shots, 4 at at time. 4 times the ammo, 4 times the volley.

The Salamander does not. The pod version launches 2 missiles at the same interval as the regular version. So a medium slot here doesn't give you any particular advantage. Rather you should be looking for getting the most of Small + medium x 2 for the lowest supply cost.

Brawlers are OK (2 for 4), Drams are similar (1 for 2), Hecates are good (2 for 3), Lashers are ok(2 for 4), Kites are Great(2 for 2). You could fit. You could fit 2.5 more salamanders per supply cost in your deployment by loading up on Kites! Vigilance is pretty good with the 2 for 5 plus a bonus.

Mercury Class Shuttles however, are king... with 3 universal slots for 2 supply/deployment. Granted they can't quite fit ECCM and ECM... but its still the top of the line. With Mercury Class Shuttles you could fit 15 Salamanders in the same space you're using for 4.

If you're willing to go up a class the Buffalo MK II is actually pretty efficient. At 5 Salamanders for 4 supply. It also has space for ECM and you can fit a tactical laser for rangefinding (and maybe some PD and other things so you don't get wrecked by Harpoons
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Null Ganymede

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2018, 09:44:27 PM »

Good fleet compositions still work with sub-optimal weapons/hulls. Even if you're unlucky with item drops, you should still have a solid baseline to chew through enemies with. This way the fleet is still cost effective if you're lugging along overly specialized hulls because you thought they were cool, or want to customize stuff to your personal style.

For example, there's a ton of ways to make early game SO setups with low loiter time but very low time-to-kill work:
  • I like LAGs on hard mounts to control their spread at range while burst-firing. I also like one or two Reapers for problem solving.
  • TaLaR on the other hand is making the absolute most out of the Lasher's weapon slots, at some cost to flexibility.
  • Goumindong likes to keep control of auto-firing weapons.

Ditto for optimizing Salamander spam. I like Predators and a bunch dropped during the run, so here we are. Maybe in another run I'd collect a pile of Drams and put points into Command & Control to counteract civilian AI cowardice with direct orders. As long as I hit a critical mass of fighters, LRMs, and ECCM Salamanders to keep the enemy at bay, it all works!

As a niche example that works well but needs specific weapons and officer skills, consider:

(Mid-game) Projectile Artillery

Spoiler
HVDs, Heavy Maulers, Gauss and Mjolnir Cannons are rare but good. Once you find enough for a couple of ships, you can build around them to make them even better.

Ideal officer skills look something like this:



Gunnery Implants is the absolute top priority. The second level abuses pinpoint accuracy weapons to land shots at max range, often sneaking past shields and evasive maneuvers. The third point combined with an ITU on a large hull overlaps fields of fire with neighboring vessels.

With the right setups, Helmsmanship 3 allows big ships to keep the 0%-flux speed and agility bonus while firing. This is huge on slow low-tech ships. Since good projectile hulls are low-tech, armor skills (especially the free-repairs one, repairing armor is a huge supply drain) are also a good investment.
[close]

Condor-fleet relies on missile spam to keep enemies at bay, and Salamander hits to secure kill. Artillery-fleet relies on the threat of overlapping long-range weapons arcs to keep enemies at bay, and clutch long-range shots from unexpected angles to secure kills. The first is cheap to start, the second needs rare items but can be transitioned into from the first. Each works better if you focus on it alone instead of mixing the two compositions, but both want to see this:



Other stuff for a good start:

(Early Game) Privateer Flagship
Spoiler
Load your flagship up on torpedoes. Skill burst damage and CR endurance.

Then take a commission and follow conflict hotspots, tipping battles in your favor by taking out key ships. You'll get bounty payments, salvage rights to large hulls, and it's a ton of fun.

The extreme version of this is the Plasma Cannon SO Sunder, which can dance from ship to ship to ship until it's out of CR. By stashing your loot regularly, your risk is fairly low.


[close]


(Early/Mid Game) Ghost Fleet
Spoiler
This focuses entirely on the strategic map, but has a low skill investment if you're already in the yellow/blue trees.



Closely watch the sensor strength and signature profile details ("Press F1 for more info") in the bottom right of your screen. Stick the 50% reduced sensor profile mod on anything that sticks out, and look for ships with high-resolution sensors. Eschew civilian hulls.

With careful use of Emergency Burn and the various sensor skills, you can dictate engagements completely. Never take a fight you can't win, even in enemy territory!
[close]
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 10:16:35 PM by Null Ganymede »
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Goumindong

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2018, 01:01:34 PM »

No pictures here because I am lazy but i play with a smaller fleet size in general than most people.

One of the things that had been very successful for me was a mix of 2 carriers and 2 Sunders. The 2 Sunders had HIL and Graviton Beams while the 2 carriers (Drovers) had exclusively kinetic fighters(broadswords). Doctrine was simple, overload something with Kinetic Fighters -> 2 Sunder's rip it to shreds with HILs.

It is/was surprisingly effective and would punch up to 200k bounties fairly easily
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Linnis

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2018, 01:37:44 PM »

Vigilance with medium sabots start also is very powerful in small fleet battles without any skills invested.
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HELMUT

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2018, 01:24:14 PM »

That's a cool thread. Here's my take on an old classic composition, the beam spam fleet.

Pro :
-Easy
-Safe
-Very good for early and mid-game

Con:
-Finding enough tactical lasers can be difficult
-Fall off during late game
-Boring?


A very easy strat that allows to keep your ships safe. Low offensive power, but beams works in a way that they reach a "critical mass", becoming exponentially more powerful as you field more and more of those. A such, keeping the number advantage is extremely important. Very efficient during early and mid game, although it tends to fall off later on, especially if you decide to go for a "pure" beam spam. Eventually the player will be outnumbered while facing end-game opponents, unable to focus enough beams on each individual targets.

Here's what i did to fix some of those issues.

Spoiler

Mid-game average fleet.

Wolves are obvious choices for this one. Cheap, fast and can focus all of their weapons to the front. Their jobs is to slowly grind down their targets while keeping them at a safe distance.


A standard beam-Wolf.

Missiles can be changed depending on your needs. Salamanders gives you good crowd control. Swarmers allow for constant HE spam. Harpoons are reliable finishers. Torpedoes when you really need some burst damage (and you'll need it later). Only a few missiles i think, doesn't really work well work this fleet. Sabots, as you "should" have more than enough Graviton beams to melt any shields anyway. Annihilators, as a friendly fire prone weapon doesn't pair well with ships with a front shield emitter.

You don't want to be picky during early-game, pirate wolves and pretty much anything that flies is good, as long as it helps achieving number superiority and some early beam critical mass. No need to religiously stick to beams though, strap in there a few autocannons or so if you need to. Strength in number first.



Now things are getting interesting.

Same idea as the beam-Wolf, but upsized. And because it is a destroyer, you can now use the converted hangar hullmod to add in there a Xyphos. Why a Xyphos? Well, for 25 OPs, you get two hard to kill fighters, two flux-free Ion beams and two Burst PDs. Two actual Ion Beams would cost 24 OPs and 400 flux/second. Oh and also, because Xyphos are fighters, they can fire over allied ships, which is really big deal when your fleet start to reach a sizeable size. Again, the Ship loadout can be tweaked depending on you needs.



If you include mods, the Beholder is a prime candidat for a beam fleet.

Less mobile than the Medusa, the Beholder offers much better offensive capabilities, thanks to its 4 tactical laser drones, which bring it to a total of 8 TacLasers. You'll reach critical mass in no time with those guys. Just like fighters, drones can also fire over friendly ships.



A possible alternative.

Unlike the other ships that provide some proper beam spam, the Sunder is more about raw power. Where the rest of the fleet might struggle to drill through armor, having one or two HIL can be useful. I went with Salamanders here, but just like with Wolves, use what you need.
[close]

So, here's how things should go. Graviton beams melt through shields, Ion beams immobilise the target, TacLasers slowly burn through the hull, add a few missiles to accelerate the process. Because of your superior range, you'll be able to intercept and neutralise threats before they can get in position. Worst case scenario, your ships are still faster than average to safely disengage (only frigates and destroyers). The smaller the enemy is, the easier you can take it down before it can do anything meaningful, this also applies to fighters. Bigger ships however, requires much higher beam concentration, which can be tricky in the heat of battle, especially when that bigger ship is an Onslaught burn-driving into your fleet. The beam fleet low TTK problem will become more apparent against more numerous opponents, and you'll pretty much reach your "level cap" once your fleet hit the 30 ship limit.

To compensate for this, the flagship must be something quite different, something like this :

Spoiler

So much for subtlety.

Your job is simple, what you ships lacks in killing power, your flagship will make up for it. Just approach the target that have been caught in the beam storm, and press the left click button. You won't need to think too much about your defense either, remember that the target is high on flux and very likely EMP'd to death. You're merely an executioner, not a knight. This will dramatically reduce your fleet TTK and help in big battles.

I showed a Medusa here, but anything that can deal a lot of burst damage and move fairly quickly around the battlefield is good. Aurora, Phase ships, Safety Override builds...
[close]

As for skills, a mix of Technology (mainly for Electronic Warfare and perhaps Loadout Design) and Leadership (Officer Management and Coordinated Maneuvers) to make sure every battle will go smoothly. Having one point in industry to get the first perk of Recovery Operations is a good one too, to make the search for Tactical lasers slightly less difficult.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2018, 01:44:00 PM »

Beam spam fleets massively benefit from a couple eagles/falcons. These provide additional beam stacking with hard flux and he damage.
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Goumindong

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2018, 02:30:50 PM »

Beam spam fleets massively benefit from a couple eagles/falcons. These provide additional beam stacking with hard flux and he damage.

Also the Heavy Blaster Medusa is the superior executioner medusa.

Also if you're really heavy on the beam idea you should consider a Sunder with an HIL. HIL is the second fastest armor stripping non-torpedo in the game*. If you want to get down to some hull to murder things you've fluxed locked an HIL Sunder will do the trick right fast. And it will do it to 1400 range while also providing kinetic pressure

Spoiler
[close]

*measured as "time to kill base onslaughts armor with no skills/abilities". A Plasma Cannon does it in about 4 seconds (give or take due to its staggered shot increments). An HIL does it in 4.8 seconds. A Hellbore Cannon does it in 6 and a Heavy Blaster does it in 10. An antimatter Cannon does it in 20.58 seconds. Asymptotically the Hellbore should be a bit better than the HIL its listed because it spends a lot of time reloading (So at 2200 armor the Hellbore does it in 6 seconds and the HIL in 7.3) and the Hellbore will also make other shots penetrate better faster which speeds up time a lot as well. But the Hellbore is also a slow ass projectile and can miss. All together those three weapons are pretty similar in armor stripping ability. With the Heavy Blaster not far behind... And the HIL will not. And Sunder's have high energy focus for even more hilarity

If you want an executioner you might also consider this

Spoiler
[close]

That is right, its just a Medusa with Safety Overrides and 2 Heavy Blasters. Its shockingly effective
« Last Edit: May 30, 2018, 02:47:52 PM by Goumindong »
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MajorTheRed

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2018, 02:52:06 PM »



Also if you're really heavy on the beam idea you should consider a Sunder with an HIL. HIL is the second fastest armor stripping non-torpedo in the game*. If you want to get down to some hull to murder things you've fluxed locked an HIL Sunder will do the trick right fast. And it will do it to 1400 range while also providing kinetic pressure

Spoiler
[close]

A classic, never get old. The only drawback is the AI is unable to fly it correctly
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Igncom1

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2018, 03:20:54 PM »

I always struggle with AI sunders. Far far too vulnerable in my opinion.

My current two have got the big old pulse laser cannons, some SRMs and a bunch of vulcan cannons. Not good on it's own, and I find rarely where I need them, but fantastic burst support for hammerheads... from time to time anyway.

They can't defend themselves from a wet paper bag, espically if one gets into the engines, but with support they can fulfil their supposed duty as heavy energy weapon carriers for a mostly ballistic fleet.
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Sunders are the best ship in the game.

Goumindong

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2018, 04:12:04 PM »



Also if you're really heavy on the beam idea you should consider a Sunder with an HIL. HIL is the second fastest armor stripping non-torpedo in the game*. If you want to get down to some hull to murder things you've fluxed locked an HIL Sunder will do the trick right fast. And it will do it to 1400 range while also providing kinetic pressure

Spoiler
[close]

A classic, never get old. The only drawback is the AI is unable to fly it correctly

If you have a cautious officer they do quite well. Also helps to give it an escort command to something that also likes to stick far away
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TaLaR

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Re: Fleet compositions
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2018, 09:34:23 PM »

I always struggle with AI sunders. Far far too vulnerable in my opinion.

Sunder is objectively vulnerable (being a glass cannon), it's not just AI problem.
- Hammerhead is best for AI. Decent overall and it's win tactic is simple - AAF and overload target on approach.
- Medusa is fast, has best flux and shield, but AI is not too impressive with skimmer. Still decent, if not cost efficient under AI control.
 -Enforcer is at least an armored brick. Even when it fails (which it is likely to, being the weakest DE overall), it won't die too quickly.

Sunder is on slower side, has weak armor and very bad shield efficiency.
Tactic required from it to survive is harder to pull off for AI - it needs to sync it's large gun to HEF (Tachyon/Plasma/Autopulse) to get results similar to Hammerhead. Also needs to control engagement range with better precision than AI is capable of.

I rarely use it - as player ship Medusa rules supreme, as AI Hammerhead seems to be the best option - simple and efficient. Other two just fill the gaps in availability.
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