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What are some early ship designs that people use? Barring threat of early invasion, my first combat ships are always battleships with 2 heavy lasers with all modifications, three standard lasers with the works, three point defense lasers with the works, and then one nuke. I add on battle pods, a battle scanner, reinforced hull and augmented engines. While it takes a bit to get everything in place, the ships are utterly beastly early on, so I've always followed the same formula. However, I'm getting bored of it. Anyone else do something different? I've started experimenting with cruiser missile carriers, but they're not quite as effective, at least the way I make them.
MIRV nukes, lots of them. Plus one or two point defense laser cannons. Obviously as soon as stuff like battle pods are researched I'll add them. Once neutron blasters are discovered, I'll switch completely to them with a couple of fusion beams for backup.
Anything with MIRVed nukes to start out with - ideally cruisers (I like playing Telepathic), but frigates work in time of desperate need (and for killing monsters). One I can do it, the ships get a mix of MIRVed nukes (top slots) and Merculites. In a really early war, I may go with a laser cruiser or battleship escorted by missile frigates - it just depends on tech. Basically, early fleets will have a lot of little missile boats to do damage before they die and one heavy ship built to last until the missiles have all hit. The frigates are all offense - no Reinforced Hull or Augmented Engines, just battle pods and missiles. I call 'em Valkyries, because they will carry their crews to Valhalla.

Ideally, my first war fleet will be battleships armed with fully modified Fusion Beams - a mix of heavy, normal and point defense - plus maybe a bomb rack. Surviving missile cruisers and destroyers will eventually be upgraded to carry anti-matter torpedoes. Fusions get replaced with Neutron Blasters (plus transporters when I can) - those usually last until late in the game. Battleships armed with Anti-Matter Torps and PD beams can be vicious, but I hate that one turn recharge time.
I guess missiles it is, then. I do like the name Valkyrie--makes me think of the missile boats of the same name in the original Starcraft. Anti-matter torpedoes also sound interesting. I've never used them myself, but maybe now's the time to try. And as to fusion beams, I tend to go for fusion rifles instead, but then again, I also tend to play as a telepathic race, so I suppose they're not a necessity. Thanks for the recommendations, you two.
Has anyone every tried making carriers? Ships that carry fighters and bombers.

The Anterrans attacked me with a few destroyers and it's not their particle beams that did the damage, it was a clump of fighters that destroyed me with shots of 350 damage or so..

There's gotta be potential in there.
Fighters take up the same amount of space throughout the game, unlike weapons which get smaller. By the time you've picked up stuff like Death Rays, they're long obsolete.
I experimented with fighters once for a blitz game. They seemed to work fine early on (cruiser carrier with fighters escorted by missile frigates), but I'm not sure I'd rely on 'em later. From having to deal with fighter garrisons, I suspect they'll work best in mass and/or in conjunction with missiles - more stuff to overload enemy point defense.

Besides the constant bay size, the other downsides are giving up Reinforced Hull (unless you took Creative) and losing fighters caught in drive explosions. The main benefits would seem to be that the fighters are upgraded automatically whenever you get new drives, PD weapons or armor and that they can do a lot of damage once they're on top of a target.
Post edited January 04, 2012 by Techromancer
Fighters are extremely deadly, even more than MIRV Missiles.

I'm not sure if it's the game version but my first Titan ship was Two-shotted by fighters. They were hitting for 200-300 damage. And these are interceptors from the Fighter Bay, the basic early game technology.

I made a few ''Carrier'' ships and they are extremely efficient at destroying star bases and planetary defences.

I think massive beam weapons are better on bigger ships but for the smaller ones, give them augmented engines and tougher defenses, send them to the front and go nuts with the fighters. They tear ships apart.

I havent found an efficient way of dealing with them. I'm losing titans left and right so I designed a destroyer with a boatload of PD Particle beams, they deal 1 damage per shot. I then tried normal Death Rays, and again it's not worth aiming for the fighters.

Maybe a pulsar-type weapon would be effective? If these things touch my ships, they explode like a bag of flour.
Post edited January 09, 2012 by eregimbald
The problem with Particle Beams and Death Rays is that (IIRC) they never get miniaturized. Someone's probably crunched the numbers on this, but autofire phasers may do a better job (they're my late-game PD choice, anyway). Lightning fields ought to help some if you can get 'em (have to pass up Warp Interdictors, though) - it's a 50% chance to destroy fighters as well as missiles.

Pulsars were always great in the first game - nothing like 'em for taking out mass numbers of tiny Alkari or Klackon ships. I haven't tried them in MoO2 though - will they hurt your own ships?

I recall hearing about someone using suicide ships with Quantum Detonators, but I have no idea how well that works.

In the mid to late game, my fighting squadrons will pretty much all be battleships and larger. Here's two late game ships from a game in progress (all weapons have a 360 arc of fire):

Battleship
2 banks (slots - 1 gun per bank) of Heavy Autofire Disruptors
2 banks (1 gun per) of Autofire Disruptors
9 Phasors (PD, CO, SP, AF)
Augmented Engines
Battle Pods
Battle Scanner
ECM
Hard Shields
Reinforced Hull

Titan
4 banks of Heavy Autofire Disruptors
1 bank of Autofire Disruptors
2 banks of 2 Autofire Disruptors
13 Phasors (PD, CO, SP, AF)
Special Systems as battleship (though Titans usually get extra goodies if I have 'em - Lightning Fields, Warp Dissipater, etc.)

I have no idea how these compare to what anyone else builds (especially whether the mix of weapons is "normal"), but they usually work well for me.
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eregimbald: Fighters are extremely deadly, even more than MIRV Missiles.
Eh, I wish... fighters are a weird feature of MoO2. At the very start of the game they are ok or even good with Fusion Beams or Mass Drivers (granted, MIRV missiles will outclass them just a few turns later, but they still do their job). Then there's that very long phase* (until Phasers or Particle Beams are available) in wich their damage stays the same, and everyone's defenses grow up, almost to the point of nullifying their effectiveness. Even if you have the patience to stick with fighters and get them Phasers technology, there's still the problem of them being too vulnerable against Pulsars and Lightning Fields. Heck, in a way they can even blow themselves up by killing something if you consider engine explosions.
Then add the fact that they cannot be controlled once launched, aren't really effective as missile defense, are very slow without a good engine technology...

*The thing with the damage is, Interceptors can only equip a modified version of your stronger point defense weapon, wich limits the options to literally 5 weapons: laser, fusion beam, mass driver, phaser, particle beam. The gap in damage and research time between Fusion Beam and Phasers is so huge it's baffling. There really should have been something in between, because as of now fighters risk to be useless for hundreds of turns.
And this is only made worse by shield mechanics, since fighers damage is calculated individually rather than for the whole squad. To make an example: if you have a squad of mass driver fighters (6 base damage, 4 ships) against a target with Shields III (-3 damage substracted to every hit), the formula used is (6 - 3) x 4 = 12. Very low damage, and greatly inefficent in terms of cost and space used.

Personally I love the idea of carriers and fighters, it reminds me of the good old times passed on Wing Commander, but the way they are implemented in MoO2, frankly, needs to be reworked.
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eregimbald: Fighters are extremely deadly, even more than MIRV Missiles.
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Avogadro6: Eh, I wish... fighters are a weird feature of MoO2. At the very start of the game they are ok or even good with Fusion Beams or Mass Drivers (granted, MIRV missiles will outclass them just a few turns later, but they still do their job). Then there's that very long phase* (until Phasers or Particle Beams are available) in wich their damage stays the same, and everyone's defenses grow up, almost to the point of nullifying their effectiveness. Even if you have the patience to stick with fighters and get them Phasers technology, there's still the problem of them being too vulnerable against Pulsars and Lightning Fields. Heck, in a way they can even blow themselves up by killing something if you consider engine explosions.
Then add the fact that they cannot be controlled once launched, aren't really effective as missile defense, are very slow without a good engine technology...

*The thing with the damage is, Interceptors can only equip a modified version of your stronger point defense weapon, wich limits the options to literally 5 weapons: laser, fusion beam, mass driver, phaser, particle beam. The gap in damage and research time between Fusion Beam and Phasers is so huge it's baffling. There really should have been something in between, because as of now fighters risk to be useless for hundreds of turns.
And this is only made worse by shield mechanics, since fighers damage is calculated individually rather than for the whole squad. To make an example: if you have a squad of mass driver fighters (6 base damage, 4 ships) against a target with Shields III (-3 damage substracted to every hit), the formula used is (6 - 3) x 4 = 12. Very low damage, and greatly inefficent in terms of cost and space used.

Personally I love the idea of carriers and fighters, it reminds me of the good old times passed on Wing Commander, but the way they are implemented in MoO2, frankly, needs to be reworked.
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Well, maybe you should play my game because currently, fighters are completely fking me up.

I have the particle beam and I threw in a couple of carriers (All fighters, no weapons) in my fleet and they work beautifuly.

Of course they aren't perfect, no weapon is, but I think they are very strong nonetheless. Since I started using carriers I take out tough targets much faster than with the standard Big Beam titan ships. They have their uses as well. That's what is so cool about MOO. Mixed fleets are better than massing a single design.
I've tried building carriers several times, and while they've never outright failed, they've never really benefited me greatly either. My old battleship design is defensive enough that it can take the time to kill off any missiles or fighters without taking meaningful damage before engaging destroying enemy ships, and the new missile cruisers I've been making are proving to be just as effective so long as they have an old battleship for protection. It's entirely possible that my fighters would be devastating... if the battle wasn't already won by the time they reached their targets. >.> I tend to use high tech engines, but even with them, carriers take too long to win battles in my experience. But then again, I do have a preference for overwhelming force, so maybe that also has something to do with it.

And for that matter, particle beams are late- game weapons; this is about early game ship designs. ;)
Sorry for highjacking the thread.

I'll try your design. However, this game I'm not playing creative and I missed a lot of special items, making my ships glass cannons.

As for overwhelming force, who doesn't like it :P
It's just that the with the events of the game I'm playing right now, 3 people declared war on me and I'm fighting 3 fronts. I've been churning out ships for a while so I have 3 fleets that match the size of the main fleet of each of my enemies. So much for overwhelming force.
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eregimbald: Of course they aren't perfect, no weapon is, but I think they are very strong nonetheless.
I'm not expecting them to be perfect, but I'm not expecting them to be so weak compared to the alternatives either. I they become a problem somehow, Techromancer already suggested the solution: Pulsars/Quantum or Lightning Fields - even fighters with Xenotrium Armor fall relatively quickly to them.

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eon47: And for that matter, particle beams are late- game weapons; this is about early game ship designs. ;)
But fighters are effective in the very early turns imo, I'd say they're almost on par with non-miniaturized Mirv Nukes, and are much cheaper to research.
It's a time when very few races have armor upgrades, lasers are the most common PB weapons, and targeting computers rubbish. Or, to put it in other words, everything has low HP and doesn't bite back for much.
Missiles defenses are somewhat of a problem, since as you noticed, fighters are slow and carriers will get hit way before the fighters reach their target; so cruisers or destroyers work better than battleships in this case. Where a battleship would be forced to retreat in two turns, here you can retreat one ship at a time and prolong the battle. The main target should be destroyed well before your last ship has to retreat.
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eregimbald: It's just that the with the events of the game I'm playing right now, 3 people declared war on me and I'm fighting 3 fronts. I've been churning out ships for a while so I have 3 fleets that match the size of the main fleet of each of my enemies. So much for overwhelming force.
This may be obvious, but I'll offer it in hopes it's of some help. If it's a serious war on three fronts, hold on two and fight on the third. Don't worry about taking planets if you can't spare the force to hold them - kill his ships where you can, kill planetary defenses and kill or mangle his colonies. The goal is to knock your opponents out of the war one by one, whether by killing them off, forcing them to ask for peace or simply destroying the colonies that put you in range of his fleet. Hurting him like this will also cut down on how fast he can replace ships (not to mention on research, income, farming, etc.).