The Attack Modules consist of five different weapon classes:
- Ballistic Weapons - These weapons are great close range weapons and have no cooldown so they can fire every round. Their range is 1-2 squares so your fleet will have to select "Min Range" in order to use these weapons. Since their range is only 1-2 squares, you will need a fast ship with a movement of 3-5. You can accomplish this by increasing your engines . These are the least powerful weapons of the four, but since they have no cooldown time, they can fire every round which makes them deadly when used correctly. These weapons also use the lowest consumption of He3 per round, but the Directional Weapons actually use less He3 over the course of the entire battle. There are two types of Ballistic Weapons: Kinetic and Heat. Each type will damage ships differently, depending on the armor type of the ship. Heat Ballistic Weapons does additional damage to Regen Armor, while Kinetic Ballistic Weapons does additonal damage to Neutralizing Armor.
- Directional Weapons - These weapons are great close range weapons and have a cooldown of 1 round so they can be used very effectively in combat. Their range is 2-5 squares so they are excellent for short range and mid-range weponry. Since their range is only 2-5 squares, you may need a faster ship with a movement of 2-4. You can accomplish this by increasing your engines . These are the third most powerful weapons of the four, but since they only require 1 round of cooldown time, these make excellent short and mid-range weapons. Although, these weapons also don't use the lowest consumption of He3 per round, they will actually use least He3 over the course of the entire battle. There are two types of Directional Weapons: Heat and Magnetic. Each type will damage ships differently, depending on the armor type of the ship. Heat Directional Weapons does additional damage to Regen Armor, while Magnetic Directional Weapons does additonal damage to Nano Armor.
- Missile Weapons - These weapons are great long range weapons but have a cooldown of 3 rounds, so even though they don't fire every round or so, when they do, they will pack quite a punch . Their range is 5-8 squares, so they are excellent for mid-range and long-range weponry. Since their range is only 5-8 squares, you may not need a faster ship with these weapons. However, getting away from a pesky fleet of Ballistic Weapon ships may help. These are the second most powerful weapons of the four, but since they require 3 rounds of cooldown time, they do not engage their target as often, but when they do, they are very effective. Missile weapons us the second highest consumption of He3 per round, usually twice as much as ballistic and directional weapons and can be He3 hogs. Missile Weapons are Explosive Weapons which does additional damage to Chrome Armor Ships. Each type will damage ships differently, depending on the armor type of the ship.
- Ship-Based Weapons - These weapons are the best long range weapons but have a cooldown of 4 rounds so even though they don't fire every round or so, when they do, they will pack quite a punch . Their range is 6-10 squares so they are excellent for long-range combat. Since their range is only 6-10 squares, you may not need a faster ship with these weapons. However, getting away from a pesky fleet of Ballistic Weapon ships may help. These are the most powerful weapons of the four, but since they require 4 rounds of cooldown time, they do not engage their target as often, but when they do, they are very effective. Ship-Based Weapons use the highest consumption of He3 per round, usually twice as much as missile weapons and usually four times as much PER ROUND as ballistic and directional weapons. Even though they do not fire very often, they will suck down the He3. Ship-Based Weapons can be any of the four types : Kinetic, Heat, Magnetic or Explosive. Each type will damage ships differently, depending on the armor type of the ship. Heat Ship-Based Weapons does additional damage to Regen Armor. Kinetic Ship-Based Weapons does additonal damage to Neutralizing Armor. Magnetic Ship-Based Weapons does additonal damage to Nano Armor and Explosive Ship-Based Weapons does additional damage to Chrome Armor Ships.
- Planetary Weapons - These weapons are short range weapons that only do damage to Defensive Structures. They do not attack ships. Although you could use a fleet equipped with the other four types of weapons to destroy defensive structures, you would use a LOT of He3 to accomplish this and it would take you much more firepower to do so. Planetary Weapons are designed to specifically attack these defensive structures quickly while using as much He3 per round as Ballistic Weapons. With a cooldown of 0, they can attack these structures every round. Their range is 1-2 squares so you will need a faster ship to engage the defensive structures quickly without getting taken out by them. Since these type of fleets will be attacking the defensive structures, you probably will want to load up on some shields and structure modules as well.
What is the best combination?Edit
Combining different weapon classes (i.e. Ballistics, Directional, Missile, Ship-based) within a single ship design or in a single fleet is widely regarded very ineffective and not recommended. This is because of the way weapon ranges for different weapon classes work in the game, making only one weapon class or another within the same fleet fire in any given battle round.
If you wish to mix weapon classes, it is much more effective to create multiple fleets with specialized weapon classes working in tandem. You could, for example, have some hard-punching Missile fleets to take down heavy defenses, and some Ballistics fleets to chip away every round and sweep up what's left.
On-the-other hand, combining different weapons from the same weapon class has distinct advantages. This can be done by combining your strongest weapon types (i.e. Heat, Kinetic, Magnetic, Explosive) from the same class and/or the same weapon at different research levels (e.g. 4x Cannon-III + 3x Cannon-II + 1x Cannon-I).
There are many different ways to combine or not to combine weapons on ships:
Mixed Weapon Classes: Short and Long RangeEdit
- Different weapon classes fire at different specific ranges. For example, Ballistic weapons fire at 1-2 range, while Directional weapons fire at 2-5 range. By mixing the two in the same ship design or fleet, your fleet must move to exactly 2 squares away (rarely) to attack at full power, otherwise only one of your weapons will fire. It is possible to increase the range of Ballistic weapons so they fire at a range of 1-4 squares, meaning both weapons will fire simultaneously at a range of 2-4. But because fleet orders can only be set to Min Range or Max Range, your fleets will try hard to position themselves at the ineffective ranges of 1 or 5, and if they have sufficient movement points (never a bad thing) they will succeed.
- Therefore, mixing different weapon classes in a single fleet is a waste of space that could be used for effective modules. You'll also waste the resources used to pay for those unused weapon modules when building ships. Additionally, more ships will need to be built to get the firepower equivalent to a fleet with a single weapon class, which means wasted resources and build time for reduntant defensive modules/hulls. If you don't build more ships to compensate, then you'll have less firepower, which means your opponent stays alive longer and has more opportunities to attack and kill your ships.
- If you want mixed range capabilities, put them in separate fleets. This is a good way to diversify your fleets to handle different situations, deal different damage types, and provide fleet layering with more fragile fleets staying back at long range.
Single Weapon Class: Focused RolesEdit
- Building ships with a single weapon class ensures those ships fire all weapons when in range, so long as all ships in the fleet also use the same weapon class. The advantage of this is that you can add many wepons and select either attack range in the fleet orders and you will use all of your attack potential, not wasting space with differently ranged weaponry that won't be used most of the time. With all long range weaponry and "Max Range" selected, these ships won't engage often due to weapon cool down, but they will keep their distance and pack quite a punch when they do engage. Similarly, fleets with "Min Range" selected and short range weaponry will close in and chip away at enemy fleets every 1 or 2 battle rounds, sometimes too close for enemy long range weapons to lock in.
- The disadvantages of this is that without proper engines, your short range fleets could get hit by long range ships as they close in without being able to return fire. With long range fleets, your cooldown period will be 3-4 and short range ships can get right next to you and attack you without you being able to counterattack since they outside of your range. Therefore it is best to combine fleets with short range weaponry on fast, agile ships that can avoid or mitigate a lot of damage, with seperate long range fleets that can deal with enemy long range attacks and take a few kicks while they pop entire enemy fleets with their superior firepower.
Mixed Damage TypeEdit
- Since Ballistic, Directional and Ship-Based weaponry attack using different types of damage (i.e. Heat, Kinetic, Magnetic, and Explosive) you could configure your weponry based on the type of Damage. For instance, you could outfit a ship with a Heat damage Ballistic weapon and a Kinetic damage Ballistic weapon for maximum effect on Neutralizing and Regen Armour. Such a ship will deal less damage to specific Armour types, but would be effective against all Armour types and avoid a situation where your ships are nearly completely ineffective against the enemy.
- Spreading your weapony's damage types evens out your damage versus most eneny ships you might encounter so it's neighter very strong nor very weak with the typical 150%, 100%, 75%, 50% distribution; useful if you're building generic ships not meant to deal with a specific threat. Some combinations will spread effectiveness more evenly than others, but the total average will always be the same as using a single damage type. The following table compares combination weapon effectiveness vs various armour types, and assumes two weapons of the same class but different damage types with total damage split 50/50 between the two.
- In addition to changing your ships effectiveness vs different armour types, mixing weapons of different damage types has the added benefits of sequential firing and hull volume optimization described in the Mixed Weapon Levels section below.
Mixed Weapon LevelsEdit
- Most weapons have three improvement levels (e.g Cannon-I, -II, and -III). Different levels of the same weapon can be combined on a ship, providing significant benefits:
- Sequential Firing: Different weapons on a stack of ships fire sequentially, starting with the one with highest damage and moving down. The result is that if you kill the target stack of enemy ships with the volley from the first weapon type, the remaining weapon types never fire. This is beneficial for two very significant reasons:
- The unfired weapons remain armed. So even if the fired weapons are inactive due to cool down, unfired weapons can still fire during the next battle round instead of being wasted on "overkill" this round. This makes no difference with Ballistic weapons which fire each round anyway, but becomes very important when using Missile or Ship-based weapons which have long cool down periods.
- Unfired weapons will not use He3, preserving the reserves on the ship for defense and additional attack rounds during prolonged battles and minimizing refueling costs between battles. Ship stacks with only a single weapon type usually do "overkill" damage which still costs He3.
- Hull Volume Optimization: Combining different weapons into a single ship design may sometimes allow you to fully utilize the ship's hull space while increasing the total attack power of that ship. For example, 5x Cannon-III might provide 1200 attack power and use up 320 out of 335 hull slots, leaving 15 hull slots open which is not enough for another weapon, shield or other module. Instead, you may be able to combine 3x Cannon-III, 2x Cannon-II, and 1x Cannon-I, providing 1265 attack power and using 333 out of 335 hull slots. The ship would cost slightly more resources/build time per point of attack power, but it's probably worth it.
There are many different configurations to try when outfitting your ships. Not any one method is the "best" but you may find that some work better than others. When adding multiple stacks of different ships to a fleet, and having multiple fleets with different commanders, these variations can also change. Please comment below on your experiences on weapon configurations.
The Best Weapon TypeEdit