Author Topic: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?  (Read 4197 times)

Offline Khargan

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Let me just start out by saying that I absolutely love this game. I've played it for more than 170 hours and will continue to play it, probably for years.

But I have begun to wonder if the balance of starting ship unlocks isn't a little out of whack.

When it comes to effectiveness and cost/benefit ratio, especially in the early/mid game, I think that the combat carrier completely outshines anything else. They're relatively cheap, sufficiently durable, and besides the damage output of the constant drone swarm being okay they even have great utility through engine damage and gravity slowdown. Yeah, they won't help that much against a Golem Exowave, but with just the 6 ships from mark I, II, and III you can take out almost any non-eye planet at no cost. I mean, how does ship unlocks like Acid Sprayer compare to this?

For mid/late-game utility, Protector absolutely seems to be the best choice. They scale incredibly well and with all four marks out you can severely limit the amount of damage your fleet or defense takes. These will actually help you survive exowaves. They're not exactly cheap though, and they don't really work well on their own or just with mark I fleet ships when taking planets, but the pros far outweigh the cons here. Other support ships like Shield Bearers aren't bad, but I don't see how they can compare to Protector Starships.

Things like Munitions booster, Sentinel/sniper/B-spawner, Medic Frigate, Impulse Emitters, Shield Bearer and Tackle Drone Launcher are definitely not bad and certainly have their uses, if somewhat more situational.

Now, I recognise that I'm a pretty inexperienced player, comparatively, so I wanted to hear what you guys think is the ultimate starting ship? Am I missing some incredibly potent ships here? Are Protector and Combat Carrier really overpowered?

Offline Aklyon

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2015, 12:29:38 PM »
When I played with a couple other people one of them always picked Spire Corvette. Since they usually also started further away from the rest of us (and did pretty well out there), I'd say its worth looking at.

Offline Radiant Phoenix

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 03:28:33 PM »
If you commit to unlocking Sniper or Laser turrets, and HBCs or Plasma Siege Starships, then SCRVs are comparable to bonused acid-sprayers when in and against a mixed fleet. If you don't, then they're merely good against stationary targets, on a level comparable to a triangle ship.

In other words, making SCRVs work dictates some of your other choices.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 05:32:22 PM »
Let me just start out by saying that I absolutely love this game. I've played it for more than 170 hours and will continue to play it, probably for years.

But I have begun to wonder if the balance of starting ship unlocks isn't a little out of whack.

When it comes to effectiveness and cost/benefit ratio, especially in the early/mid game, I think that the combat carrier completely outshines anything else. They're relatively cheap, sufficiently durable, and besides the damage output of the constant drone swarm being okay they even have great utility through engine damage and gravity slowdown. Yeah, they won't help that much against a Golem Exowave, but with just the 6 ships from mark I, II, and III you can take out almost any non-eye planet at no cost. I mean, how does ship unlocks like Acid Sprayer compare to this?

For mid/late-game utility, Protector absolutely seems to be the best choice. They scale incredibly well and with all four marks out you can severely limit the amount of damage your fleet or defense takes. These will actually help you survive exowaves. They're not exactly cheap though, and they don't really work well on their own or just with mark I fleet ships when taking planets, but the pros far outweigh the cons here. Other support ships like Shield Bearers aren't bad, but I don't see how they can compare to Protector Starships.

Things like Munitions booster, Sentinel/sniper/B-spawner, Medic Frigate, Impulse Emitters, Shield Bearer and Tackle Drone Launcher are definitely not bad and certainly have their uses, if somewhat more situational.

Now, I recognise that I'm a pretty inexperienced player, comparatively, so I wanted to hear what you guys think is the ultimate starting ship? Am I missing some incredibly potent ships here? Are Protector and Combat Carrier really overpowered?
Protector Starship is almost certainly the most OP bonus ship right now.  Only the Shield Bearer can come close in the ability to turn an otherwise nominal fleet into a terrifying death machine.  Both do roughly the same thing:  Prevent damage to the ships that actually do damage.  Protector Starships just happen to be very, very good at it.

On the other hand, while Combat Carriers seem impressive, they aren't that awesome.  In terms of damage, it's mid-tier amongst starships.  If you want to see 6 starships clear a system easily, take Zenith and Spire Starships Mk I-III.  That's something like 5 times the theoretical maximum damage of drones and 10 times the HP of the motherships, and they aren't even bonus ships.
What Enclaves and Combat Carriers give is a savings on losses.  Because their drones are free, and because of the range and targeting confusion effects of those drones, the human player will lose fewer units when fighting an AI fleet.  But the lower damage means you are trading time for resources.  At times you can afford that, but usually you can't.  Which means the drones need to be used to support a damage-dealing fleet, to reduce losses.

Personally, I find that the ships with higher survivability (usually meaning longer range) are the best.  Your own list reflects this:  Sentinel Frigates, Snipers, Blade Spawners, and Tackle-Drone Launchers are all powerful units.  Neinzul units also rate up there, because fast, tough, damaging, AND dirt cheap is always going to be good, even if the concept of "survivability" is a joke.

Offline CaptainTaz

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2015, 09:41:02 PM »
I like using protector starships and medic frigate combo to augment my already-tough spire fleet into an invincible, unlimited range, bringer of death to all.

I also like using parasites and teleporting leeches if I plan on running with lots and lots of freebie ships.
Just that guy who hides behind walls of death hoping that they stay up.

Offline Radiant Phoenix

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 10:23:29 PM »
Some calcs for the SCRV:
  • Per Mark: 2x base beam of mark, 4x heavy slot of mark+1, 8x light slot of mark+1
  • Base beam bonused DpS/mark: 3000, x2 = 6000
  • Light slot bonused DpS/mark: 135, x8 = 1080
  • Heavy slot bonused DPS/mark: 300|1000, x4 = 1200|4000 (300 for the HBC in all cases, 1000 for a plasma siege cannon with bonus against a forcefield with 25+ units under it)
Thus, our bonused DPS in the optimal case is:
  • Mk1, 0K: 6000 + 4000 + 1080 = 11kdps, 0K
  • Mk1, maximum: 6000+8000+2160 = 16kdps, 1750K
  • Mk2: 12000+12000+3240 = 27kdps, 5000K
  • Mk3: 18000+16000+4320 = 38kdps, 12500K
  • Mk4: 24000+20000+5400 = 49kdps, 12500K
  • Mk5: 30000+20000+5400 = 55kdps, 7500K
Compare to: Zenith Siege Engine: 16x
  • Mk1: 12kdps, 0K
  • Mk2: 24kdps: 2500K
  • Mk3: 36kdps: 6500K
  • Mk4: 48kdps: 6500K
  • Mk5: 60kdps: 0K
If we use HBCs instead:
  • Mk1, 0K: 6000 + 0 + 1080 = 11kdps, 0K
  • Mk1, maximum: 6000+1200+2160 = 9.3kdps, 3750K
  • Mk2: 12000+1800+3240 = 17kdps, 7000K
  • Mk3: 18000+2400+4320 = 25kdps, 14500K
  • Mk4: 24000+3000+5400 = 32kdps, 14500K
  • Mk5: 30000+3000+5400 = 38kdps, 9500K
Compare to: Acid Sprayers:
  • Mk1: 9.2kdps, 0K
  • Mk2: 18kdps, 2500K
  • Mk3: 28kdps, 6500K
  • Mk4: 37kdps, 6500K
  • Mk5: 46kdps, 0K
The lesson to be learned here is... I should consider using plasma siege against glass more often. 'tis pretty good -- it gives Plasma Siege Starships better DPS than many fleet ships.

Offline Aklyon

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 11:44:26 PM »
SCRVs can use shields too, so you wouldn't be using every slot for weapons.

Offline Vacuity

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 01:40:31 PM »
Combat Carriers (and Enclaves) are excellent ships, but as Toranth points out, they're a trade off mostly against time.  If you're happy playing slow, careful, drawn-out games they're very good.  If you're trying to blitz, they're a very poor choice.

There are also some more specific limitations worth noting.  Against anything with gravity effects, their usefulness plummets faster than a depressed lemming faced with a cliff.  They're also of very limited usefulness against many of the biggest threats the AI can challenge you with.  They're an outright liability against most of the nastier eyes.  They're a liability against raid engines as you have to not only retreat your slow starships, but also suicide all the remaining drones before they trigger another raid (trying to attack a raid engine with them is idiotic).  Their usefulness against stuff like exos is exceedingly limited as they simply don't have the time (or the kiting speed) to wear them down.  Yes, they'll contribute, but they won't do much of the heavy lifting.  Nor will they hold off the special forces for long as they'll be overwhelmed and cannot retreat fast enough.

Granted, that in all these cases, they can buff a fleet to do the job a bit better (and with fewer meaningful casualties), but the addition isn't that great.

Anything that needs to be done now, now, now, needs to be done with something other than these guys.  Anything that should be done sometime soon-ish and isn't likely to shoot back too viciously is a good choice of task.

All that said, I do love them, but you need some other option(s) in your fleet to output and absorb large quantities of damage in a short time.

And Protectors are awesome!

Offline Radiant Phoenix

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Re: Best Starting Ship Unlocks - Combat Carrier and Protector Unmatched?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2015, 12:42:27 AM »
SCRVs can use shields too, so you wouldn't be using every slot for weapons.
Actually, if you're not in a position to apply plasma siege vs forcefields, the HPxDPS math appears to be that you want to go all-shields.