quote:Does this actually work? I'm not sure how a design that consists entirely of running away from a fight is going to do anything other than be a waste of money. It seems "one weapon, run away uselessly" is something merchants accomplish just fine on their own.
To meet that, I take the base Escort vessel and strip it down to a single weapon. I tack on 5 armor, and set the engagement criteria to run when attacked.
These ships pull quadruple duty for me.
1) They draw fire while merchants flee, then flee themselves. With more shields and some armor, they are far better suited to receiving fire than any merchant.
2) They do ok against worms (they do tend to be flighty ships in a fight), and can leverage their armor enough to flee a kraltor even when it gets a piece of them. The default designs tend to be canned soldiers for the wildlife, but this actually tends to last.
3) They act as a tripwire, running around on their own finding pirates, wildlife, etc.... and live to go back out after most misadventures.
4) They can be built in swarms. There is an advantage to having lots of eyes I can direct. They act as exploration ships in the very early and even mid game. Early, they get sent out to peek at systems for habitable planets and pirates, later I split them off off to go explore the latest discovery. Being built in droves, you will always have two or six handy to send at a pirate ship attacking a mining station. They may not always kill the pirate, but the mining station will survive, and if nothing bigger is in range (possible if I'm in a 2-front war), the pirate will flee before touching the base (pirates have to deal with lack of fuel too).
quote:40? That's your idea of fast? I have BATTLESHIPS that go faster than that. My "survivable recon scouts" push for speeds of 80-90....
Evolution with the game: As my tech level permits, I give this guy more engines, pushing for a speed in the 40s, turning him into a semi-survivable recon scout.
And any of my equal-tech-level ships will defeat yours in any stand up fight, because you gut the armament for the extra speed. Speed, to a point, is good -- anything under 24 risks being unable to dock at a port 50% of the time, and will stall in a no-hyper zone. Anything fast enough to outrun the wildlife while activating hyper is good. Once you get past that, speed largely becomes meaningless. The faster ship will slow down to keep the slower ship in attack range, and will remain there until it decides to either refuel, or flee. If you can kill it between when it decides to flee and when it actually flees, his speed was a complete waste. (As an added speed factoid: When using torps, slow and steady wins the race.)
In fact, I pretty much build Explorer ships on the same line one might build an "escort" under. Their mission: To see the galaxy, meet new and interesting lifeforms, and then kill them.
To be fair, you have a different mission for your ships than I do for mine. My escorts are expendable shields and eyes. My explorers don't fit into my piracy design principle, but they cost about the same as my escorts, and die far far less often. (Think I lost one in my current game when it 'explored' a thriving pirate base). A speed of 40 keeps my escorts out of the wildlife's mouth, and is not so fast as to be uncatchable when the design gets copied. The only real worry I have is for my escorts is when they decide (wisely or not) to tangle with enemy fleets. At a cost of under 2k/ea I admit I might still lose one now and then, but it hardly breaks the bank, and the maintenance cost/ship is quite workable, it means I can have escorts everywhere, acting as my eyes and ears, harrying enemy merchants (well, the unarmed ones), and handy to bog down any enemy vessel smaller than a cruiser that wanders out alone.
The point is: The design still is effective, but does nothing to help the pirates that copy it.
quote: I never said against itself (I suppose I should have specified: 3:1 fight against pirate escorts). There is also a difference in survive and win. Enough guns to survive means he beats on the other ships until they retreat, without also being forced to retreat himself. Not all that hard either, once the pirates start copying the 1-gun escorts. To be fair, I don't make large use of my frigates in direct anti-piracy actions. With their upped firepower and longer reach, they are who I go to to clear wildlife. If they beat on a pirate? Yay. If one gets caught in a 3-1 fight defending a mining station? Meh, the base and ship will both likely survive. But like the escorts I'm not going to lose them to the wildlife or the barbarians in meaningful quantities.
quote:This idea is mathematically flawed: You can't build a ship that can win a 3 on 1 fight against itself
The Frigate:...The goal is enough guns to survive a 3:1 fight.
Like speed, more firepower is better.... to a point. You only need to be enough to defeat your enemy. Anything more is wasted. Anything more is money you could have spent in research, or in expanding your empire.