Best Mainline Weapons

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Virtokaii
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Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Virtokaii » Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:43 pm

Here is a comparison of the best mainline weapons in my opinion. By "mainline" I mean a weapon you will put on your ships that are not intended to counter any specific threat, but serve as a general purpose design.

Energy Cannons:

Pros:
- they're flashy
- decent damage
- available early
- no natural armor deflection as with ballistics
- sometimes nice for RP purposes

Cons:
- early weapons suffer from horrible accuracy, as in, couldn't hit a Dread standing still at perfect range...
- needs FC section to be effective, when you could use HH section instead
- few automatic upgrades, generally every era requires redesign and replacement of your old fleet
- First tier (plasma) is absolutely pathetic at planetary bombardment


Missiles:

Pros:
- Every single upgrade available to missiles applies directly to the weapon, making retirement and redesign for the purposes of better weapons unnecessary
- Missiles are a weapon that don't suffer from the fireark problem, anything in range is fired at
- Excellent range. Infact, best range stats for a mainline weapon and that range is available from turn 1!

Con:
- THEY CAN BE SHOT DOWN!! A single broadside of energy cannons or ap drivers is a frightening thing, but with the ubiquity of PD a full broadside by a fleet of DN missile boats won't cause you to break a sweat if you have enough PD turrets installed


AP Drivers:

Pros:
- Good damage, especially in dps terms
- High rate of fire cuppled with very good accuracy means reliable damage dealer
- Very good range
- Very good upgrades available through the ages make an already very good weapon even more powerful
- VRF is a required tech no matter which category main weapon you choose and is an upgrade for ballistic weapons
- They're available early. If the first two technologies you research are Mass Drivers and then AP you basically have a weapon that's will last you until well into the AM age. Infact I often postpone researching the heavy driver tech even if could mount them because the APMDs are quite sufficient for some time


To sum up, I obviously think that AP drivers are the single best mainline weapon, by a large margin. They do a good amount of damage, have a high rate of fire combined with excellent range, what more could you possible want from your main gun?!

I started thinking about this a while back when I noticed, that in literally every game I started the APMD quickly became my main weapon. On the other hand wanted some variety, not every game playing out the same so I started looking into alternatives, but after some testing I found that nothing even compares to the effectiveness of AP ballistics. Only in the end game, when your Dreads have become glistening spheres of doom, is there a desire to branch out, most likely using energy weapons.

So, tell me what you guys think! :)

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fibio
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by fibio » Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:55 pm

Pro for energy weapons:
Link to powerful weapons further up the tech tree.

Cons for balistics:
Armour.
AP not certain.
High enviromental damage.

Also, what happened to lasers, twin UV mediums are a great stop gap and if you use X-ray they can give DEs a shot at destroying DN.
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The Magus
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by The Magus » Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:57 pm

Heya.

Out of curiosity, what races have you been playing/favor and/or find yourself going up against often? ;) APMD's are an excellent medium mount workhorse, but I can imagine more than a few scenarios where they start to glimmer alot less ;) Your missile observations are mostly true, but maybe abit of a hyperbole. A full DN's worth of missiles from the few times I've experienced them are...somewhat difficult to stop.
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Vemarkis
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Vemarkis » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:18 pm

I've found that energy cannons with mass shotguns on my tarka cruisers are awesome(war cruisers), and stormers on my war destroyers are quite good staple weapons for a long long time if your enemy takes their time researching armor. Currently I'm in a game where I have neutronium rounds + accelerator amplification, result is that every close range blast from a stormer or mass shotgun sends those zuul cruisers drifting quite nicely, especially when they lack a engine. Though, I tend to like facing Zuul, but if I don't have one in the game I'm in, I usually combine energy cannons with beamers if I can get them, if not its either sniper cannons or UV/X-ray lasers.

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Coyote27
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Coyote27 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:22 pm

It's hard to go wrong with beams.
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Mesaia
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Mesaia » Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:40 pm

Even the Ai will start pulling out counters if all you use are AP drivers... Deflectors are a terrible thing to see when your entire fleet and empire are armed with AP drivers.

But in general, yes, AP Drivers are yummy.

I find that my workhorse weapons are the heavy beams though. More often than not, I uuse a heavy beam ship armed with an accurate medium mount weapon (Such as AP Drivers or doubled UV lasers forex.)

Cheap on research and with no hard counters.

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Kimori
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Kimori » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:38 am

Unless your mediums are the aforementioned AP-MDs, I think disruptor shields might count as a hard counter.

That is, before you start pulling out Meson Beams.

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Coyote27
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Coyote27 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:45 am

Or get behind 'em. :mrgreen:
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Mesaia » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:04 am

If my mediums are the AP-MDs... their disruptor shields won't stop the rain of AP-MD rounds from slamming into their polysilicate armoured command sections. Those will go blooey pretty quick followed by the rest of the ship when I do a quick flip of the 'hold fire' toggle on my heavy beam weapons group.

I'll admit that DNs with Disruptor shields are another matter entirely, but then, it becomes alot less painful to slap on a EMP torp of some kind or a shield breaker large mount if I'm also using DNs or to out maneuver them if I'm using CRs.

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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by ZedF » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:20 pm

fibio wrote:Pro for energy weapons:
Link to powerful weapons further up the tech tree.

Cons for balistics:
Armour.
AP not certain.
High enviromental damage.

Also, what happened to lasers, twin UV mediums are a great stop gap and if you use X-ray they can give DEs a shot at destroying DN.

Drivers don't have high environmental damage unless you get up toward Impactors and Siege Drivers. (Impactors are not very good against planets overall anyway.) Now, infrastructure damage, they do have. Still, in most cases, I've found AP drivers to be above average choices overall for planetary bombardment.

Twin lasers are another good choice and in most games, if I can get them, I prefer them to energy cannon... at least until AM cannon rolls around. It's a lot easier IMHO to go back late in the game to pick up missing cannon techs on the hunt for AM cannon, than it is to suffer through energy cannon limitations in the early and mid game. But then I've always been one for minimizing my weapons tech research in the early-mid game as much as I can get away with, and energy cannon tech is expensive.
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Virtokaii
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Virtokaii » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:42 pm

UV lasers aren't bad, but their limiting factor is range. APMDs can open up on the enemy comparatively early. Btw, a weapons range can also make up for, or worsen, the effects of turret placement and firing arc.
I like the lasers for their accuracy and good rate of fire cuppled with nice damage, but in terms of research efficiency I still think that APMD are second to none. Two techs and you're there, plus you get the bonus from VRF which you wouldn't get for the laser boat. Technically an APMD in the med turret for DEs and lasers in the small turrets would be nice, but a) you might need all small turrets for PD (Human War DE for ex.) and b) it's more research intensive. I often play games on extremely low overall settings, something like 60 stars and 50/50 econ/research, because I like it when research choices really, REALLY matter and when a new threat appears for which you're completely unprepared, then gearing your techs towards it takes a considerable amount of time, during which you have to fight costly delaying actions. Anyway, in games like this I don't really have the luxury of branching out in weapons tech, which is why I usually go with the ultra efficient ballistics tree.

Of course when the enemy counters you may be in a bit of trouble, but like I said in the beginning, I'm really just talking about general purpose weapons here anyway.

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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by ZedF » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:39 pm

Lasers actually have very good range; their weakness is a lack of burst damage and they tend to be a bit easier to deflect than AP drivers. But comparing APMD with UV lasers is not a very fair comparison for the laser user. APMD is more comparable to X-ray lasers, in that both have research costs and performance characteristics suitable for Fusion-era weapons, whereas UV lasers are still firmly Fission-era weapons in terms of cost and performance.

APMD is one of my preferred Fusion-era weapons choices as well, especially with races that can't afford to do a ton of research. It has many strengths, most noticeably that it doesn't actually require Fusion to research, but also that it's a good general-purpose all-round performer with relatively few drawbacks, and is easy on the pocketbook and hull strength modifiers. Do note, however, that it's by no means necessarily the best first choice, especially for energy-weapon-loving races.

The races that favour energy weaponry tend to be pretty powerful on the research side of things, at least once they have gotten their economies up and running, which in theory offsets the higher RP costs of energy techs. Moreover, energy-weapon-loving races tend to have relatively poor chances to roll AP drivers, so investing in ballistics has a decent chance of resulting in a poor return. Even for ballistics-loving races, the game will occasionally throw an AP-less curve your way, usually necessitating a change of weapons research focus away from ballistics (at least temporarily.) That said, in most cases odds favour AP drivers as a first choice for ballistics-lovers, with other energy weapons as a fall-back or specialty pick, or even just something to round out your small mount options.

So, in general it's not a good idea to rely too much on the idea of heading straight for AP drivers. There will come a time when that option simply isn't available, and you'll need to adapt accordingly. If you've already had practice with some of those other options because you chose to go there a few times when you weren't as much under the gun, you'll have an easier time adapting when you are. :)
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by fiendishrabbit » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:59 pm

There are also a question of "What's your balance between light, medium and heavy mounts".

Even with Neutronium rounds the AP Heavy driver is no match for the Heavy Antimatter Cannon (Or even the heavy fusion cannon) in terms of damage.
These weapons also outrange ballistics and they're not too far behind on accuracy at all.

Fusion cannons on the other hand are wildly inaccurate and not too far ahead of the much more accuracy AP Mass drivers in terms of raw damage.

Adding the kinetic effect of Driver weapons and (IMHO) the energy cannons come out ahead in terms of large mounts, while the drivers are somewhat superior medium mounts.
This is reflected in the effect against planets where AP Heavy Drivers deal less population damage and extreme damage to infrastructure and terraforming, while AP Mass drivers deal more population damage and less terraforming damage when compared to Fusion cannons.

So the tech balance is also affected by the medium/large mount ratio.

Also, there is the Chakkar. A pretty neat energy weapon. Kind of the AP version on the energy side.
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Virtokaii
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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by Virtokaii » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:29 am

fiendishrabbit wrote:There are also a question of "What's your balance between light, medium and heavy mounts".

Even with Neutronium rounds the AP Heavy driver is no match for the Heavy Antimatter Cannon (Or even the heavy fusion cannon) in terms of damage.
These weapons also outrange ballistics and they're not too far behind on accuracy at all.

Fusion cannons on the other hand are wildly inaccurate and not too far ahead of the much more accuracy AP Mass drivers in terms of raw damage.

Adding the kinetic effect of Driver weapons and (IMHO) the energy cannons come out ahead in terms of large mounts, while the drivers are somewhat superior medium mounts.
This is reflected in the effect against planets where AP Heavy Drivers deal less population damage and extreme damage to infrastructure and terraforming, while AP Mass drivers deal more population damage and less terraforming damage when compared to Fusion cannons.

So the tech balance is also affected by the medium/large mount ratio.

Also, there is the Chakkar. A pretty neat energy weapon. Kind of the AP version on the energy side.


Agreed, I often use the APMD/HEC combo for med/large turrets as well.

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Re: Best Mainline Weapons

Post by MS_Cowboy » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:59 pm

I usually go for UV lasers and then plasma cannons, but I usually play as Morrigi. I do enjoy ballistic weapons occasionally on other races. Using energy cannons never lets me down, though. I actually like them quite a lot (they are totally sexy weapons). Going for energy cannons also sets you up to get projectors whenever you can afford the research, and their power speaks for itself. Every once in a while I also play an all-missile game for the first half while they still work. It's nice having weapons that upgrade after they are built.

Also, another pro for missiles: upgrades simultaneously upgrade planetary missiles, boosting your defense as well as your offense.
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