skibum157 wrote:Well I'm definitely learning a lot from this game which is great. Sorry about the premature war fleet. I should have realized that I could and should have waited for better techs especially since the hivers have no chance of launching a surprise attack with their speed or lack thereof. As far as plasma cannons go, I didn't actually know they we're that bad, so that's good to know. Are mass drivers generally the better choice?
Mass drivers are considerably better than plasma cannon, so long as you bear in mind they are still early fission weapons and set your expectations accordingly. In the early fission era, mass drivers cost the same to research as plasma cannon, but:
- do considerably more damage per hit
- fire more frequently
- gain passive buffs from all techs that benefit ballistics (most particularly for the fission era, VRF)
- cost far less per mount to equip (plasma cannon are one of the most expensive early-game weapons to use)
- give a much more substantial HP buff to the equipping ship per mount
The downsides are they are slightly less accurate than plasma cannons, and they can be deflected by metal armour; however, you need to be up against some pretty heavy armour before plasma will outperform mass drivers. I once had a game as Zuul where I missed out on a lot of links to more advanced weapons, and wound up with nothing available to use other than plasma cannon and mass drivers for a relatively long time. Here is a topic where I posted some battle results for that game: against enemies with polysilicate and reflective armour, mass drivers and plasma cannon performed comparably in battle, but the mass driver ships were far cheaper and significantly more resilient.
Of course there are other options available. If you're still in the early fission era, you could use dual UV lasers, which will work considerably better than plasma cannon, providing your enemy isn't too reflective. Dual light emitters is also superior to plasma cannon, but they tend to work better when mounted on destroyers and not cruisers, as you need the nimbleness to be able to bunch up into a really tight formation for maximum concentration of fire. Cruisers can't bunch up as effectively and are considerably less nimble, which is a problem when using the very short-ranged light emitters. Particle beams are pretty decent as large mount turret weapons, but most cruisers rely more on medium mounts than on large mounts so you don't tend to be able to rely entirely on them.
Getting a little bit higher-tech, AP drivers are a solid all-around weapon that works well in the fission and fusion eras, and if you get neutronium in your tree, even into the AM era. Medium emitters do for cruisers what light emitters do for destroyers. Stormers are sometimes an interesting choice, as they do a very high amount of DPS against soft targets, but are easily defeated by even basic armour techs. DF racks are another possibility once you are approaching or in the fusion era; I tend to find they aren't very useful prior to Fusion Warheads, but they will upgrade for free to use better warheads as you research them. And of course the better the engine tech you have, the more options open up.