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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Author Topic: Heron loadouts  (Read 8932 times)

Megas

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Re: Heron loadouts
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2022, 07:14:33 PM »

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Imo the Heron is the best pure carrier right now: 3 bays, a good fighter boost system, and high enough speed to kite cruisers and slow destroyers. But like Supraluminal says because of the AI tags its not suitable for a battle carrier build outside of player hands. The AI simply won't fly it right, which is a pity and not told to players in any way.
And that is a shame.  Best carrier being unarmed or minimally armed (with PD) is bad like unarmed Drover was because it looks stupid.  Heron has weapon mounts, it should be able to use them to harm enemies, not be sacrificed for OP to fuel defenses and fighter power just to do its main job.

I tried to outfit Heron with hullmods (but no s-mods) and mid-grade weapons and fighters like nu-Mora, but do not have enough OP left for flux stats (vents and caps nearly at zero).  If I keep the guns and get flux stats, then either a hullmod gets dropped (ITU or Deck Crew), or I downgrade the fighters to Talons.

If I want to use guns, I want ITU so it can fight like a proper warship.  If I need to drop ITU, I might as well drop all weapons (except maybe PD) and build unarmed carrier (which I do not want to do).  I want it to fight like a warship in case a fast small enemy tries to attack my carrier (or if I pilot the carrier, I can use it like a warship instead of running away into a corner like Spathi).

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The main key is to not install expanded flight decks (expanded flight decks is overrated and overcost and not needed for many fighter compositions, though it helps for bombers)
Is it needed without Leadership?  I take Deck Crew because I have Combat/Tech/Industry at 5, and no Leadership.  Unskilled fighters drop to 30% too fast in non-trivial fights, maybe faster than running out of missiles.
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Null Ganymede

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Re: Heron loadouts
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2022, 08:10:58 PM »

The 2 points in leadership (3 if you're not at 100% CR yet) are now a huge deal for carriers. Maybe you can skip it if you're running 0 engagement range PD escorts like Xyphos or those nice low-tech SWP ones, or using bombers for free missiles on an artillery ship. Otherwise replacement and speed boons are too good.

It sounds like the carrier meta has shifted. In 0.9a it was straight damage and survival. Now skills scale mobility, replacement, and point defense (??!) and an officer only really has 1, 2, maaaybe 3 mandatory "carrier" skills unlike before.

That puts the Heron in an awkward spot. With vanilla wings it's one of the best bomber carriers (lmao @ Pirahna Heron meme) but that's not where skill scaling is anymore. Your bombers go 30% faster but bombers don't get any value from improved point defense (until you install some mods, hello Mayasura) so you're stuck trying to squeeze combat value out of ~4 unused officer skills and a single universal medium mount. The Mora is a decent backline missile platform or frontline assault platform, the Heron doesn't have the slots or combat tag to do either.

To make full use of current skill the min-maxed Heron is basically pigeon-holed into running interceptors/air superiority fighters with enough PD to abuse the elite range, but also enough damage to make use of the ship system.
  • Broadswords and Gladius both spit kinetic fire if you're fighting high tech, but aren't great versus fighters or missiles. Stacking too many on a single ship also feels like it has diminishing returns. Either is probably optimal if you're running a missile-heavy fleet, especially with Pilum spam.
  • Thunder speed doesn't line up with anything else so I guess you can spam those exclusively.
  • If mods are available, anything that's basically a better Gladius should do.
That leaves the weapons and other ~2 officer skills. Since you're already running elite point defense, I'd personally go all-in on overlapping PD beams. Either tac lasers with improved weapon turrets and IPDAI, or LRPD laser spam. Gunnery Implants on the officer.

Two Herons should then create a large zone of fighter-and-missile-free space around themselves and wherever their fighters are at. Is that worth 40dp? Ehh... Low tech heavies bring their own PD, but it might be worth it on high tech frigate heavy fleets?

40dp of Herons, 30dp Doom flagship, 40dp reckless capital fleet anchor of choice, 5 wolfpack Tempests for 150dp? Maybe some Gamma-piloted Glimmers overtop?
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Megas

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Re: Heron loadouts
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2022, 05:17:47 AM »

I do not want to drop Hull Restoration because it is massive QoL at least on par with Navigation (not to mention it is only one point away if I want Industrial Planning, which is also QoL when I run colonies without cores).

I do not want to drop Automated Ships because I like collecting exotic ships and Radiant wingman still wrecks things.  Probably more expendable than Hull Restoration to me, if I had to drop either Hull Restoration or Automated Ships for more skill points.

I like to have Combat 5 because trying to pilot Radiant with only two Combat skills is miserable, and Radiant is still very powerful.  I do not want to think how less Combat impacts less powerful ships that I will pilot.

I would love to get some Leadership for Wolfpack and/or carrier skills, but all of my skill points are taken by Combat/Tech/Industry 5.

Thus, I make do with Deck Crew on carriers because I have no Leadership skills.

When I use Heron (and other carriers), I generally put fighters or interceptors.  Bombers cost too much unless I go unarmed or put two s-mods on the ship.  I usually want interceptors and fighters to seek and destroy small fast ships to mitigate the cowardly AI problem of fast ships kiting until heat death.  I load up on bombers if I plan to attack stations, though.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 05:24:16 AM by Megas »
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