Fleet compositions?

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duckbird
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Fleet compositions?

Post by duckbird » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:45 pm

Hey folks,

Been playing Sots2 for about two weeks now, and still having a blast with the game. I've played around a tiny bit with roughly half of the races, but my main game is playing as Solforce, and I'm about 450 turns in. I think I've pulled so far ahead in tech of everyone that there won't really be much challenge left, and instead I'll just end up meticulously cleaning up the rest of the galaxy. So I'll do my next game on hard mode but I wanted to talk about fleet composition and strategy because there's still so much about this game that I don't fully understand yet. I'm just going to babble for a bit and I'm hoping everyone feels inclined to chip in on whatever subject they feel like!

My fleet types are usually one of two general themes. Brawler fleets, made up of closer-ranged gunboats that just close the distance asap and have a slug fest, and artillery fleets, usually made up of dedicated missile cruisers and carriers. I sometimes run hybrids, and usually have a carrier or two in most fleets, but for the most part my fleets fall into one of those categories. The brawler fleets charge at the enemy and have a shootout, and the artillery fleets try to kite and avoid close combat as much as possible.

For ship types, my ships generally fall into three categories. Gunboats: heavily armored, covered in guns/PD, wants to sit and trade shots with enemy. Carriers: Drone carriers, usually covered in missiles, stays far away and fires missiles and releases drones when needed. Artillery: A ship just covered head to toe in a variety of missiles.

I haven't played much with shields, torpedoes, or battle riders. For energy weapons I use mostly fusion cannons, and the occasional heavy beam. I found them kinda underwhelming. My favorite ship is a dreadnaught, usually with the standard command section, the war middle section, and the pathing engine. Covered bow to stern with a mix of drivers, stormers, and rippers. Pretty much tears anything to pieces.

Early on in my game, Hivers were my closest neighbor. They declared war on me immediately, and my early fleets felt incredibly weak. I just couldn't deal with their tough armor, and my ships couldn't hold up in a slug fest. I lost many ships. I coped initially by having loads of artillery ships and just kiting all day, which slowly but surely whittled them down and kept me from losing too many ships. As I discovered AP and then HEAP rounds, my other guns became much more useful. I started fielding lots of heavy drones with HEAP drivers and they also proved very effective. The hivers were eventually destroyed.

Liir were my next enemy. Their ships were covered in ludicrous amounts of PD lasers, and all had shields. My artillery fleets were 99% useless. Not a single missile would get to them, and my drones would melt in seconds. I switched back to lots of brawlers and focused on just running straight at them and pounding the crap out of them at close range. Much more effective. Then I had a couple of battles where their fusion torpedoes really wrecked my ships, and I had to adapt to using more PD than I was used to. Once I got dreadnaughts out, they didn't stand a chance.

Now I'm fighting the Morrigi I think, and I'm pretty far ahead so I'm not really struggling, but certain things still surprise me. The first battle I had against the Morrigi when they had lightning guns, I lost a bunch of cruisers. My dreadnaughts emerged pretty much unscathed, so now I only really send heavily armored dreads at them. A mix of HEAP drivers and stormers is super effective at killing their unshielded ships. I've made a few ships as well with heavy rippers but haven't seen them in action yet. Not sure which weapons are best or which combinations synergize effectively.

So I want to just hear about various people's strategies and ship designs and fleet compositions. What do your favorite ships look like? What sort of fleets do you like to field, and how do you use them? Any fancy weapon combinations you really like? All input is much appreciated. Thanks!

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Gizmoh
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Gizmoh » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:25 pm

I like to field fleets with specific loadouts, for example, an invasion fleet would only have assault carriors, with the odd bioweapon, supply ships, command ships, and a R&S ship, just in case.
Then, It depends on what I'm facing, and what I'm playing.
If I don't have a definite strategy, torpedoes, they work against everything.
Against PD heavy enemies, direct energy weapons in tandem with brawlers.
If I'm playing a psy heavy race, like Liir or morrigi, I'll put a X module on the command cruiser to use fear on the most dangerous enemy vessel, looking at your boarders duck_bird.
If playing Hivers, brawlers all the way.
I don't really like drones, so I don't use them if I can avoid them, I really like Battleraiders, so I'll add them as a complement, but never as the main element of my fleets.
I'm not really fond of missile heavy fleets, but I like Polaris missiles so I'll include a cruiser or two, you get the idea.
And that's it really, as with almost everything in this game, "it depends".

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Karu
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Karu » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:09 pm

Gizmoh wrote:I like to field fleets with specific loadouts, for example, an invasion fleet would only have assault carriors, with the odd bioweapon, supply ships, command ships, and a R&S ship, just in case.
Then, It depends on what I'm facing, and what I'm playing.
If I don't have a definite strategy, torpedoes, they work against everything.
Against PD heavy enemies, direct energy weapons in tandem with brawlers.
If I'm playing a psy heavy race, like Liir or morrigi, I'll put a X module on the command cruiser to use fear on the most dangerous enemy vessel, looking at your boarders duck_bird.
If playing Hivers, brawlers all the way.
I don't really like drones, so I don't use them if I can avoid them, I really like Battleraiders, so I'll add them as a complement, but never as the main element of my fleets.
I'm not really fond of missile heavy fleets, but I like Polaris missiles so I'll include a cruiser or two, you get the idea.
And that's it really, as with almost everything in this game, "it depends".



You build ... odd fleets.

1) Drones and BR gets stronger the more you can field at once (their use grow exponentional). Same with missiles.
Basically it's more targets for the same amount of PD resultin in less casulties and more things hitting the target (read: more damage)
2) R+S belong in a second fleet - it is enough that they "hang out" at the same system to get the salvage - no need to dumb down your combat strengh.
3) mixed fleets are a though one ... you cannot be easly countered ... but you don't exploid the enemy either. A Drone/BR fleet in combination with a pure brawl setup and as 3rd fleet R+S is more versitile (you can choose your fleet(s) to fight) and are not as easly beaten by bread and butter compositions.

But that are just my experiences and thoughts.


Sincerly

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Aranador
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Aranador » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:32 am

WRT the Morri and their lightning guns:

The Emitter has a damage profile that is 2 armour layers deep, and has quite a high amount of damage per shot, as well as per second, and tops that off with the arc effect for even more damage spread to your fleet. These weapons will murder BRs, and as you noticed - maul cruisers too.

But a DN has 2 blue armour layers - which means the Emitters can not hurt them at all. A heavy emitter could, but Morri are pretty slack on having heavy turrets, and even then, there would be far fewer of them.

Essentially, you have discovered one more aspect of SotS2's combat system - some weapons are great for some situations, but not others - and for every thing that seems awesome, there is an awesome counter available to block it.

My preferred fleets are generally brawlers too, as you get the greatest density of firepower and thus can eliminate your enemy quickly, but there is no one solution. Even if your AI enemies are not challenging you, each random and Grand Menace will push you to get out of your comfort zone and respond well.

Every weapon, every system, they all have potential, but they all need you to make them shine.

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Karu
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Karu » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:49 pm

Early game for Morrigi:

- Drone cruiser (Hammerhead, Drone, fusion - all medium missiles) with Xray Drones (later with heavy drones - reflective coating, magnoceramic, emiter).
- Short range plasma brawler (later HCL)
- Long range missile (later with polaris mid section)

The end of (medium) emiter are:

- Enemy field no drones / BR / execive amount of missiles / torps
- Enemy has adamantium armor or is fielding dreads/Levi or a Liir with antimatter drive tech
-> if I stay on heavy drones I normaly change to HEAP

Personally I fear Hiver on small maps ... just because their early game assault cruiser are hard to deal with.


Sincerly

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Pavane
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Pavane » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:59 pm

Karu wrote:R+S belong in a second fleet - it is enough that they "hang out" at the same system to get the salvage - no need to dumb down your combat strengh.

That is just one philosophy. I prefer my combat fleets to be capable of independent operations, so they each have a pair of R&S cruisers for support (which are designed for long-range combat). In multi-fleet battles I would rather have each of my three fleets fight a round of combat than your method of one combat fleet fights twice, one combat fleet fights once, and the support fleet not at all. To each their own.
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Karu
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Karu » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:26 am

Pavane wrote:That is just one philosophy. I prefer my combat fleets to be capable of independent operations, so they each have a pair of R&S cruisers for support (which are designed for long-range combat). In multi-fleet battles I would rather have each of my three fleets fight a round of combat than your method of one combat fleet fights twice, one combat fleet fights once, and the support fleet not at all. To each their own.


Sure, still ... they are not exactly the fighting or the supply-type.
So in a even match up they will loose (vs a Player, DDub promised AI updates in fleetfight that the ai starts kiting, so it will start hurting there too) and 2-3 armor over your enemy can tip a battle hugely into your favor. Also: whats dead cannot shoot back or gets repaired.

But you are right. There are very different fleet concepts. Personally I tested fleets with 1 R+S (for bug searching in salvage).
You feel the "lost" fighting power ... against low tier threats (like swarm hive f.e.) you can repair the fleet up and it's as new after survying.

It's like allways: a tradeoff.
Still I wouldn't include them in a fleet befor PD and plasma focusing (and maybe a new front sectio deepscan/shield).
A supply DN does the same job as R+S cruiser.


What are your experiences with early R+S and randoms? Got any nice salvage out of it?


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Pavane
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Pavane » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:54 pm

Karu wrote:Sure, still ... they are not exactly the fighting or the supply-type.
So in a even match up they will loose (vs a Player, DDub promised AI updates in fleetfight that the ai starts kiting, so it will start hurting there too) and 2-3 armor over your enemy can tip a battle hugely into your favor. Also: whats dead cannot shoot back or gets repaired.

Your advantage would only be the difference between two armour vs. two R&S, not two extra ships. As command control increases the advantage that just two armours bring decreases. In the second round of combat you are fighting that same damaged fleet (possibly no drones and no BR left) against a fresh one, where I will have the advantage.

Karu wrote:But you are right. There are very different fleet concepts. Personally I tested fleets with 1 R+S (for bug searching in salvage).
You feel the "lost" fighting power ... against low tier threats (like swarm hive f.e.) you can repair the fleet up and it's as new after survying.

Yes, against a pirate base, a swarm, a small enemy colony, etc. my fleet repairs the damage and continues the mission.

Karu wrote:What are your experiences with early R+S and randoms? Got any nice salvage out of it?

I don't remember receiving salvage from randoms. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention. Salvage is not explicitly tied to a battle in the message, so if you have multiple battles it is difficult to pin the exact battle the salvage came from. Also, you don't know what it is until the research is complete. I usually have a dozen available projects in my salvage list

I haven't tried this, but I wonder if you send in three pure battle fleets and one support fleet into a combat whether you can fight the three rounds with the battle fleets and still have a chance at salvage with the unused R&S ships in the support fleet.
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ZedF
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by ZedF » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:22 pm

Pavane wrote:I haven't tried this, but I wonder if you send in three pure battle fleets and one support fleet into a combat whether you can fight the three rounds with the battle fleets and still have a chance at salvage with the unused R&S ships in the support fleet.

Yes you can. You can do this even if you have less than 3 full combat fleets.

I have successfully included repair ships in early game survey fleets to improve their longevity during extended scouting missions away from core worlds, and I think this is a valid and valuable strategy in the early game. However, by the time you are gearing up for full-scale assault missions (or trying to defend against the same), consisting of multiple fleets working together, I have yet to encounter a situation where it's not flat-out better to keep your repair ships out of your combat fleets, and just let your combat ships handle the fighting while your support ships hang out away from combat.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

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Aranador
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Aranador » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:28 am

Yah I'd generally keep my supporting fleet separate in any actual planned warfare. Even if it means there is a fleet with a CC and 2 repairs in it tagging along behind a full battle group.

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Pavane
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Pavane » Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:05 pm

Aranador wrote:Yah I'd generally keep my supporting fleet separate in any actual planned warfare. Even if it means there is a fleet with a CC and 2 repairs in it tagging along behind a full battle group.

The Morrigi are more challenging with this strategy as the smaller support fleet will be much slower than a full battle fleet. They may have to start on different turns with the support fleet telegraphing the target system.
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Karu
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Karu » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:55 pm

Pavane wrote:The Morrigi are more challenging with this strategy as the smaller support fleet will be much slower than a full battle fleet. They may have to start on different turns with the support fleet telegraphing the target system.


Smaller? o.O
I have a full fleet of R+S - as morrigi 1 Cnc, 1 grav, exactly the amoutn of supply ships to get the same endurance as the combat fleet(s) it flys along with and it's a full fleet - if may even defend itself ... R+S have missiles+PD on my ships, and the supply ships the deepscan.

And to add to Fleet compositions:

a "starting fleet" has 54 CP - or 9 cruiser.
1 CnC, 2 Supply min ... so there are 6 cruiser to fight. Substituting 1 or 2 R+S ships really hurt then.
If you get the first C3 tech then it's okey as it evens out a bit.
But by the time new cruisers designs are emminent for me most of the time.

But first after colofleet 1-2 R+S for the scouting partys seems like an interesting start ... i will try that out.


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Pavane
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Pavane » Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:53 pm

Karu: I was replying to Aranador, who mentioned one Command and two R&S ships in his support fleet.

I just tried an Invasion mission against an enemy system with three full battle fleets, one R&S fleet and one colony fleet. On the turn after the system is cleared the colony fleet switches to a colonisation mission before any other race can snatch it. It works, but I still think that full battle fleets may be a bit of overkill against the AI. In MP, I see the logic after the cruiser era.
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zortlord
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by zortlord » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:02 pm

Anecdotally, I've never gotten salvage when using the "fleet of repair ships" approach. I arm to only get salvage when the repair ship is actually part of the fighting group.

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Karu
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Re: Fleet compositions?

Post by Karu » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:54 pm

zortlord wrote:Anecdotally, I've never gotten salvage when using the "fleet of repair ships" approach. I arm to only get salvage when the repair ship is actually part of the fighting group.


This is a bug currently investigated by DDub.


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