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 Fleet Uses

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PostSubject: Fleet Uses   Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:22 pm

Using a Fighter Stack

Abstract: This guide aims to provide an indepth view and analysis of the construction, maintenance and use of a fighter stack in AstroEmpires.

Introductory Q/As:
Q: What the fuck is a figher stack?
A: Building basically only fighters. I consider such a fleet one of the more intermediate types in terms of difficulty to use

Q: What the fuck is a fighter?
A: I think it should be fairly obvious. Fighters are hangar units with base stats of 2/2/0 and basically zero tech and shipyard requirements. They are the second easiest production unit to produce (second only to goods).
In a normal fleet fighters perform the double role of clearing small ships and serving as meat shields in nearly any attack. In a large fighter stack not only does one have enough fighters to clear a real shitload of meat, they can also clear some compositions of fleet entirely or almost entirely for very good ratios.

Q: Whats the point of a fighter stack?
A: Fighters are really awesome - from clearing meat when you're small-medium sized to clearing entire fleets (even HC and up) when you are large in size. If you are even remotely experienced in the game you would know fighters are essential in clearing other meatshields from a fleet in order to open the fleet up for finishing by a cruiser or frigate stack. Fighter stack do that really well, and can go even a step further and do the finishing as well.

Advantages of a fighter stack:
- It has alot of fighters
- No tech or shipyard requirement

Disadvantages of a fighter stack:
- very easy derbs against the right enemy fleet (HCs, BSs, Levis spring to mind)
- needs size to function
- mediocore recycler protection

How to construct a fighter stack quickly:
16 shipyards on all bases for fleet carriers and fighters, and get to work. Fighter fleets are even easier to build than cruiser fleets.

Maintaining a fighter Stack:
When you are full in hangars, build fleet carriers. When you are not full in hangars, build fighters. When you need the occasional recycler, build it. That's it really.

Other Components of a Fighters Stack:
Although fighters are the only main ship you will be building, some players may elect to build a few of the following in order to enable their fleet to be a little bit more versatile or a little bit more defensible:
- Corvettes/Destroyers for Recycler protection
- Frigates/Cruisers for finishing/pshield killing
- Heavy Cruisers/Battleships for big ship protection
- Heavy Bombers for clearing medium shielded units (especially HCs)

I recommend to only build 1 to 2 out of the above seven choices in pocket sized quantities that are barely enough for what you'll aim to accomplish with it.

Current Cruiser Stack mandate:

FT: 300k

FC: 750 OR CA 6k
Optional: Some HC/CR/BS/FR (pick only 1 to build if you choose to do so; only build upto 10% of total fleet)

(Don't forget your 3k min recyclers per 1m fleet and optional HBs if you want)
(Don't forget its a ratio, not a goal, so for every 300k fighters you build, you also build 750 FCs, etc.)

Ok, I've got a sizable stack now, what can I do with it?
Considering fighters have always been one of the most versatile units in the game, you can do alot of things with a fighter stack:
- Preform multiple drops of unshielded units
- Kill fleets with many cruisers/carriers [second only to capital rape, if it can be done](need a medium-large stack)
- Kill small-medium capital fleets for a very good ratio for the best ratio (need a medium-large stack)
- Kill bases, especially those with low PS count for the best ratio (need a medium-large stack)
- Kill very well defended, multiple ringed and shielded bases for the best ratio (need a very large stack)
- Kill small-medium sized HC/BS/FC stacks (need a very large stack)

As you can see, fighters can destroy nearly everything, usually at the best ratio. However, you need atleast a medium-large stack to make use of most of the functions and that is why the fleet mandate advocates building only fighters.

Ok, got that, so what can't I do with a fighter stack?
Basically, the only things you can't do are:
- Go past a jump gate with 10+CCs after you've dropped the unshielded (get shit ratio)
- Kill Large HC/BS/Capital stacks
- Also without a very large stack, you can't take out any well defended base nor can you kill most HC/BS/FC fleets for a good ratio.

Ok, that's fine. What will my stack get souped by?
- Large Levi stacks
- Large HC/BS stacks
The second is an especially large weakness. It can either be solved by building some HC to deter HC rapage or simply be vigilant of large HC stacks. They will easily get 1:7 or so on your fleet if you don't see them coming.
As for levis, they are usually too slow to pose a threat so they really are a secondary concern compared to HCs. HCs are a bane to fighter stacks.

Tools:
Always have a battle calc with you when using a fighter stack. Make it a habit to scout out your enemy's techs and fleet makeup before hand and fiddle with the battle calc to determine the best course of action. Nowadays battle calcs are usually about 99% accurate so get in the habit of abusing it to nazi your ratios as much as possible.

How to attack:
There is only two ways to attack with a fighter stack - dropping and swarming - but each method of attack has many subcategories that you will be familiar with by the end of this section.
a) Fighter dropping
Fighter dropping is a precise art involving dropping a precise number of fighters to achieve one of three things - i) kill all cyclers, ii) kill all unshielded except fighters, iii) kill all fighters
i) Kill all cyclers only -
To do i) requires guesstimation skills acquired with time. Use Kahar's calculator and fiddle with it until you get the right number. A good general estimate to start is that for every cycler there is, you need about 3 fighters if there are no corvettes/destroyers, and 5 fighters if there are enough corvettes/destroyers to spread damage from the recyclers.
i) is done for profit mongering an inactive jump gate, to deny enemy recycling capabilities, and to generally be a pain in the ass. It's not a manly way of destroying/making profit, but it works very well.

ii) Kill all unshielded except fighters
To do ii) requires guesstimation skills also. Use Kahar's calculator until you get the right number where the enemy fleet only has fighters and 2 shielded ships and up remaining. A good general estimate is 1 fig for every enemy recycler, 2 fig for every corvette, 4 fig for every destroyer, 6 fig for every frigate, and times the number by about 1.5x to start of as your initial number and work from there.
ii) is done for dropping a jump gate in order to set up for HBs, or for dropping a fleet to set up a FT/CR attempt. Generally do this when you want to play the assist man.

iii) Kill all unshielded
Copy paste pre-battle screen on Kahar's calculator, right click the attacker, click 'Fighter Drop', and drop the # it says to drop (assuming you uploaded your tech previously). An estimate would be
If you don't have Kahar's a good estimate is around 1 fig for every enemy recycler or fighter, 2 fig for every corvette, 4 fig for every destroyer, 6 fig for every frigate, and times the number by about 1.25x
Always use Kahar if you can help it though.

Its the easiest drop to preform and sets up for the cleaner types of finishes - ft/cv/de/cr or ft/fr or for clearing small amounts fighters on CCed bases that would otherwise give a negative ratio when fighter swarming.

b) Fighter Swarming
This is the type that gets everyone saying "hey look at Dizz, maybe I should've gotten a fig stack too!" But its actually pretty complicated to preform, and requires a few conditions in place in order to do optimally. I think most people read this guide for this part so I'll try to elaborate on what I can. Fighter swarming in general means slamming as many fighters as you can get into a fleet or a base. The more the merrier and the higher the profit / lower the loss until you arrive at the ideal situation where you can one shot.

i) Cruiser Fleets
Here's the guideline: If the enemy fleet has only 2 shielded units or below (or very few high shielded units), you can one shot 99% of the time as long as you have more in fighters than they have in fleet. The average cruiser stack off-base gives around 1:3. The average frigate stack actually only gives 1:2. If the fleet contains only cruisers and carriers you can expect 1:5 to 1:6 easily.
Archaic Example where a mostly cruiser composed fleet gave 1:5 : http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?13dd806f1e82bd0fa111d92a1afeb454
Some of you may remember from the age old E28 days Razz I have around 600k-1mil fighters at any time now.

It is also possible to fighter swarm cruiser fleets sitting on CCs. However, if the CC amount is anywhere above 10, you are probably better off dropping all unshielded and letting someone bomb the cruisers instead.
In any case, make sure you drop all the fighters first though, 7.5/5 fighters (10CCs) on 5/5 fighters is 1.5:1, and you don't want any of that. So drop it for the slight loss instead so you can swarm the cruisers (Exception: You don't need to drop anything if its under 3-4 CCs).
Here's an age old example where it actually worked because of low # of CCs: http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?33c192a4c5e4534a10a0f8176afd7d1d

ii) Capitals
You need 350k or so fighters to one shot a leviathan, and about 90k to one shot a titan. 120k and 40k respectively is enough to make it worth it compared to using ft+cv+de+bo+hc.
So calculate using the minimum values of 120k and 40k for the enemy capital fleet. If you have that, then go for the fighter swarm, if not, then someone else is probably better off taking it. Notice you need around 600k in fighters (1.35m Fighters+Carriers) to profitably take out one leviathan, that's why fighter swarms are limited to small-medium capital stacks generally.

In case you ever find a death star, its about 750k figs to one shot and 250k is about the minimum for the best possible ratio.

Similarly, it is also possible to own naked capital ships sitting on CCs. This time however, the profitable values do not change since the HC stack's ratio are adversely affected by the CCs in the same way.
Example part 1: http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?b8a8fe8d922482fd4dfedf226811c995
Example part 2: http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?285cf23026fb3ce911c2e4c15a0a48a7
Note the 1k fighters that I forgot to drop. This is because it was simply a neglible amount for me at the time so I didn't bother. You can see here that I've hit the optimal amount of fighters for a levi as well as a pring combined (which will be covered next), allowing me to soup the base at a very nice ratio.

iii) Bases
You will soon learn that pshields are your bane when fighter swarming a base. Use the following table.
Per Level Minimal One Shot Losses (before debris)
Ions <100 <300 <500
Photons 5k 16k 500
Disruptors 23k 65k 2000
Deflections 45k 130k 0
P-Shield 180k 520k 0
P-Ring 90k 260k 17k
If you have the minimal amount, you stand to lose less than the average ft+cv+de+cr mix. Losses are for optimal (one shot) amounts. Expect losses for minimal amounts to be about twice as much.

For common base defense fleet use the following table: (% = Profit)
Per Unit 0 CC 10 CC 20 CC
Fighters 1:1 (0) 1.5:1 (-17%) 2:1 (-25%)
Cruiser 1:4 (+150%) 1:3 (+100%) 1:2 (+50%)
Battleship 1:6 (+250%) 1:5 (+200%) 1:3 (+100%)
Dreadnought 1:8 (+350%) 1:6 (+250%) 1:4 (+150%)
Titan 1:11 (+500%) 1:7 (+300%) 1:5 (+200%)
Assumes one shot.

Example part 1: http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?1866196c5d13d900d7f614232c51a46e
Example part 2: http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?7c183cc9f054941affeb40a2029fa871
Shows how even using sub-optimal levels of fighters can bring unpresedentedly low levels of losses and high levels of profit when assaulting a base.

iv) High Shielded but none-capital Units
These are the trickest to fighter swarm, and usually requires the largest swarm to pull off. Even then you can only suceed in derbing the low-medium sized stacks as big stacks will devour fighters.
Notice the very high values for one shot compared to the fleet value of an individual HC or BS. There is also a comparatively high minimal level because Cruiser stacks get very passable ratios on HC and BS so fighters need to achieve very nearly a one shot kill to get a better ratio.
Note: Survive is for defense in order to determine if a fleet can sucessfully HC rape you. Just because you survive doesn't mean your ratio will be good.
HC: 2400 Fighters per HC to one shot, 1600 fighters minimum, 250 fighters to survive per HC
BS: 6500 fighters per BS to one shot, 4000 fighters minimum, 750 fighters to survive per BS

Due to the difficulty in finding naked BS/HC to shoot, I don't have examples at this point.

v) Mix of i/ii/iii/iv
Subtract the fleet value of the total fleet value of the enemy unshielded/2 shielded units from your fighter fleet size. Then add up the minimal values of everything else and see if you pass. Otherwise look for another way other than fighter swarming that fleet, because its probably too big or too dense with HC/BS.

How many fighters should I aim for:
The sky's the limit.


Fleet Carriers or Carriers comparison:

6.25 Carriers
1 Fleet Carrier
Cost:
2500
2500
Attack
75 base (missile)
64 base (ion)
Defense 150 base
96 base
Shields
2
8
Speed
4 base
3 base
Hangars
375
400
Tech Requirements
Minimal
Little
Shipyards Requirements
12 (minimal)
16 (moderate)
Best used when
Nothing bigger than cruisers
Nothing bigger than battleships

Carriers have the major weakness of getting hit for very bad ratios when getting dropped by enemy unshielded. Therefore, Fleet Carriers are the natural choice to best protect your hangar slots when you are dropping fighters.They both get HCed for around 1:7 so in the end, you sacriface speed for much needed protection in Fleet Carriers that I think should be mandatory.

Sum up:
Composition: alot of fighters + enough FC + enough RC
Ways of attack: Fighter dropping , Fighter swarming
Good against: Small fleets, unshielded, cruiser fleets
Bad against: large # of capitals / hc / bs fleets
Gets raped by: large # of capitals / hc / bs fleets
Can: Do mostly everything
Cannot: Rape HC/BS

====================================================================

Using a Cruiser Stack

Abstract: This guide aims to provide an indepth view and analysis of the construction, maintenance and use of a cruiser stack in AstroEmpires.

Introductory Q/As:
Q: What the fuck is a cruiser Stack?
A: Probably the most common and easiest to use fleet in the game. A cruiser stack's main component is fighters/corvettes/destroyers/cruisers/carriers.

Q: What the fuck is a cruiser?
A: Overview of the cruiser:
Cost: 200
atk/def/shd: 24 (plasma)/24/2 (base); 28.8/36/2.2 (minimum tech)
requirements: 10 shipyards, Plasma 4 + Warp Drive 2 + Armour 10 + Shielding 2. Minuscule for any player basically.
Estimated time to produce: 20-40 minutes per cruiser, depending on the prod of the base, anything more than 40 minutes and you are either new or failing.

Q: Whats the point of a cruiser stack?
A: A cruiser stack is the jack of astro. Not the best in what they can do but they can do alot of things.

Advantages of a Cruiser Stack:
- Can do alot of things including base hitting, fleet hitting, fighter drop to an extent, recycler hunting.. you name the job and a cruiser stack can probably do it to some degree.
- Little to no tech requirements, easy to build up and increase in size.
- Good recycler support.
- Decent defense, won't be taken down in most cases for a great ratio. (You will probably see 1:2 most of the time, but none of the ridiculous 1:4's that some fleets can get taken down for)
- Fastest cookie cutter fleet in the game (a giant corvette or frigate stack is not cookie cutter, sorry.)

Disadvantages of a Cruiser Stack:
- very easy derbs against the right enemy fleet
- needs size to function
- not the best in basically anything they do. Cruiser stacks can do everything, but there's usually another fleet that can better it in specific aspects. (For example, frigate fleets in fleet hitting are generally better than cruiser stacks)

How to construct a cruiser stack quickly:
12 shipyards on all bases for cruisers and carriers, and get to work. Cruiser fleets are easy to build. This is one of their main strengths and one of the reasons why they are so commonly built

Maintaining a Cruiser Stack:
Ironically, the thing you will lose the fastest in your stack is not cruisers, but corvettes/destroyers (and fighters if you elect to do alot of drops). Therefore, maintaining a large cruiser stack requires you to build more corvettes/destroyers (sometimes fighters) than you'll do cruisers.

Other Key Components of a Cruiser Stack:
Fighters: meat shield, offensive weapon.
Corvetes: secondary meatshield for cruisers, recycler hunting. You'll want 2-5x the amount of cruisers in corvettes in your fleet.
Destroyers: secondary meatshield for cruisers, kills small fleets. You'll want half the amount of corvettes in destroyers in your fleet.
Bombers (optional): secondary meatshield, can also be used to drop cruisers
Heavy Bombers: (optional): hit cruisers/heavy cruisers on a high CC base. (Only ever use HBs when CCs are present, just a rule of thumb.)
Recycler: no explanation needed. Get about 5k recs per 1mil of combat fleet I'd say.
Carriers*: Ferrying extra fighters that you'll need

*FC or Carriers is a choice that will be covered later on.

As a general rule of thumb, the minimum amount of fighters you'll want in your stack is 10*your cruisers. However, that amount of fighters is quite inadequate for you to do anything other than hitting fleets with, thus nullifying the main advantage of a cruiser stack - versatility. Therefore, I recommend more towards the tune of 25*your # of cruisers in fighters in your stack so a sample cruiser fleet would look something like:

Current Cruiser Stack mandate:
FT: 140k
CR: 12.5k
CA: 1500 (Or FC 250 is possible)

Optionals: 10k Corvette and 5k Destroyers (pick one, having both is kinda a waste cause it doesnt improve ratios by that much and you can get more cruisers that way)
(Don't forget your 3k min recyclers per 1m fleet and optional HBs if you want)
(Don't forget its a ratio, not a goal. So for every 140k fighters you build 12500 cruisers and 1500 carriers, etc.)

Ok, I've got a sizable stack now, what can I do with it?
Mincing as few words as possible, cruiser stacks can do the following but are not limited to:
- kill fighter fleets with shitty tech
- kill other (smaller) cruiser stacks
- kill anything from cruisers-dreadnoughts at a decent ratio
- hit bases with anything from disruptors-prings.
- give decent fighter/hb drops.

Ok, got that, so what can't I do with a cruiser stack?
Basically, the only things you can't do are:
- hit leviathan stacks / death stars
- hit cruiser stacks that are bigger (without help)
- get optimal ratio on anything other than base hits. (You'll get a good ratio, but it won't ever be the best. )

Ok, that's fine. What will my stack get souped by?
- Levi stacks
- Cruiser stacks that are bigger than yours
- Giant fighter stacks
Keep your cruiser stack out of reach of those fleets if at all possible and you should have a good time.

Fighters/Corvettes/Destroyers
Fighters are always used in conjunction with cruisers except in very extreme circumstances that will be covered.
Corvettes and Destroyers (and bombers) are optional secondary meatshields that are used to strengthen your ratio somewhat when dealing with a fleet with very little/no fighters. When the need arises, corvettes / destroyers (and bombers if you have them) are always used in unison with cruisers. This will be covered in greater detail, read on. Remember to only build either one of corvettes/destroyers, not both because having both doesn't improve your ratios enough to justify lowering the amount of cruisers you have.

Generally, expect for every cruiser you lose that you also lose about 3 destroyers, 6 corvettes, and 12 fighters in a mixed attack. This is why you'll spend more time building fig/de/cv compared to building cruisers. Live with it.

Tools:
Always have a battle calc with you when using a cruiser stack. Make it a habit to scout out your enemy's techs and fleet makeup before hand and fiddle with the battle calc to determine the best course of action. Nowadays battle calcs are usually about 99% accurate so get in the habit of abusing it to nazi your ratios as much as possible.

How to attack:
a) Fighter/Destroyer/Corvette/Cruiser (ft/cv/de/cr)
This is used to finish fleets off. It should not be used on fleets with anything more than minimal amounts of fighters remaining. Optimally, you'll be hitting hcs and up on 0 CCs, that's 1:3 easy. However, sometimes you'll be hitting bs and up on 15-20 CCs or cruisers and up on 0 CCs. That's fine, you'll still get 1:1.5 to 1:2.5 or so, but don't ever hit cruisers or HC with ft/cv/de/cr on bases with 15-20 CCs, you're asking to get 1:1'd. Let HBs do the job of hitting cruisers/hc on high CC'd bases for you instead of a gung-ho cruiser smash into good defenses. A rule of thumb is that you can finish anything the size of your ft/cv/de/cr combined total in one hit. (So if you have 5mil in ft/cv/de/cr, you can finish 5mil max in HC+ fleet in one hit).

Don't ever use ft/cv/de/cr when there are still fighters left in the fleet you're hitting. Straight-out hitting Corvettes/Destroyers with ft/cv/de/cr are not advised either, but can be done if you're short on fighters.

This is also your standard setup for hitting most bases. Make sure no fighters are left when you ft/cv/de/cr though or it'll hurt. 2k cruisers are needed per level of psheilds, and 400 per level of rings to one shot as a rule of thumb.

If you have bombers, throw them out there as well in a ft/cv/de/cr.

b) Fighter/Cruiser (ft/cr)
As said by Infinity, "Cruiser/fighter fleets get positive ratios on naked fighters because of the partial shield absorbs, so they work well on fleets that you can't profitably fighter drop all the fighters on."
As a rule of thumb, Do not ever use ft/cr against fleets bigger than you unless said fleet is something dumb like 50% recycler/carriers.

Finally, ft/cr can be used against 0 CC bases with not enough fighters to warrant HC rape, but enough fighters to make you otherwise feel compelled to fighter drop. Instead of fighter dropping, you go straight through the fighters for a positive ratio with ft/cr, which can sometimes make ft/cr the best possible ratio you can get against a base like that. Again, this is because of the partial shield absorbs

So in a nutshell, use ft/cr when you are tackling a fleet that you cannot or do not want to drop all the fighters on, but can drop all the other unshielded units.

c) Cruiser rape
In otherwords, slamming all your cruisers, naked, into the other fleet or base. This is rarely if ever used. Only when your opponent is sitting on alot of fighters that only do <= 0.1 damage to your cruisers should you even consider doing something as otherwise dumb as a cruiser rape. However, when such a rare scenario occurs the cruiser rape is even better than a hc rape and should therefore be kept in your bag of tricks.

d)Fighter drop (ft drop)
Generally, you fighter drop to aim for one of four possible results:
1) Complete destruction of your enemy's recyclers only. 2) Complete destruction of your enemy's unshielded units, except fighters. 3) Complete destruction of all of your enemy's unshielded units, including fighters. 4) Complete destruction of everything below heavy cruisers of your enemy and more.

Whereas 4) requires you slamming all your fighters into your enemy and is best done to an off-base enemy fleet, 1), 2), 3) can be used in any situation and involve you suiciding a pre-calculated (using the battle calc) amount of fighters into your enemy's fleet to achieve what you want.

1) is used only in war to deny recycling capabilities or as part of a profit ninjaing hit and run operation.
2) is used to clear the enemy fleet for a ft/cr hit (cv/de/fr do not give as good a ratio when ft/cr'd compared to when ft dropped).
3) is used to clear the enemy fleet for a ft/cv/de/cr attempt (off base) or for a hb drop (on high CC base)

In general, with the limited amount of fighters in your fleet compared to fig - dedicated fleets, you'll be limited to mostly 1,2,3. 1 is rarely used so in general, learn to fiddle with 2 and 3 and figure out which is better for a particular situation using your trusty battle calc.

e) Heavy bombers drop (HB drop)

HB drop is only used for one purpose, clearing out cruisers, carriers, and heavy cruisers on a high CC base, opening you up for a ft/cv/de/cr hit. A HB drop will generally only give a slight to moderate profit even in the best circumstances (25-50%) but a HB drop is always better than slamming your cruisers into CCed HC/CR for 1:1.


Do not ever use HBs on off-base fleet.

How many cruisers should I aim for:
15k should be enough to do anything that's required of you, but you might need to scale even greater heights in order to tackle other people that do the same. So 15k minimum as your eventual goal, with no real maximums.

Fleet Carriers or Carriers comparison:

6.25 Carriers
1 Fleet Carrier
Cost:
2500
2500
Attack
75 base (missile)
64 base (ion)
Defense 150 base
96 base
Shields
2
8
Speed
4 base
3 base
Hangars
375
400
Tech Requirements
Minimal
Little
Shipyards Requirements
12 (minimal)
16 (moderate)
Best used when
Nothing bigger than cruisers
Nothing bigger than battleships

As seen above, carriers for the same price of a FC have far greater attack, speed, and defense which when coupled with smaller shipyard/tech requirements makes it seem on the surface far superior to a fleet carrier. However, in practice fleet carriers are superior due to their better hangar (thus cost effeciency), and shields, which allows for some protection when sending FCs in that Carriers don't get. (If you are attacking a base with fighters for example, and the guy was on, you would be screwed if you were sending carriers but mostly unscathed with FCs). Secondly, the fact that while carriers do have lesser requirements, the requirements of FCs are also quite small and thus the difference is neglible. This means that carriers only have one real advantage - speed - making them more suited with your standard cruiser stack with no hc/bs. However, FC is the superior option when using 3 other speed ships. In any case, some carriers are useful even if you elect to use FCs as a fast fighter shipment.

Sum up:
Composition: For every 140k fighters, build 12500 cruisers and 1500 carriers. 3k recyclers for every 1mil fleet. And finally optional bombers/corvettes/destroyers/heavy bombers
Ways of attack: Fighter dropping , HB dropping, ft/cr, cr rape, ft/cv/de/cr
Good against: Fighter fleets with shitty tech, smaller fleets, cr-dn over 0 CCs, bs-dn over 15-20CCs, most bases
Bad against: levi/titans, bigger fleets.
Gets raped by: levi/titans, bigger cruiser fleets, giant fighter stacks
Can: Do mostly everything
Cannot: Be the best at anything that they do


====================================================================

Using a Levi Stack

Abstract: This guide aims to provide an indepth view and analysis of the construction, maintenance and use of a levistack in AstroEmpires.

Introductory Q/As:
Q: What the fuck is a Levi Stack?
A: A levi stack, short for a stack of leviathans is a (usually large) fleet composed of primarily leviathans.

Q: What the fuck is a Leviathan?
A: Overview of the leviathan:
Cost: 200,000
atk/def/shd: 10,000/6,600/40 (base); 16000/15840/72 (minimum tech)
requirements: 24/5 Shipyards/Orbital Shipyards; 12 photon, 24 armor; 18 warp; 16 shielding
Estimated time to produce: 300-400 hours, 150-200 with dt.

Q: Whats the point of a levi stack?
A: A levi stack have a limited array of uses, but they are the best at their job. Some of their functions include shield raping cruiser fleets and griefing retards.

Advantages of a Levi Stack:
- No fleet loss when destroying enemy fleets (usually)
- Instant repair means you can rape fleets alot bigger than the size of your levi stack
- Very hard to destroy without a big HC fleet (because you can't do a HC drop, lol)
- e-peen

Disadvantages of a Levi Stack:
- slow
- easy derbs against the right enemy fleet
- slow
- slow
- harder to replace when you get it killed
- harder to build than normal fleet (without 24/5 on all your bases)
- you'll usually quit after you lose a big levi stack because you lose all interest in the game

How to construct a levi stack quickly:
be prepared to sacriface the speed you're used to produce your smaller ships. Many hours of your bases will be devoted into constructing leviathans. Start by getting maybe 5 of your best prod bases to shipyard 24 and orbital 5 (The orbital 5 should be relatively painless since it's bang for its buck by the time you get 25/20/15/10 metal/robot/nanite/android, however, the shipyards might prove to be a moneysink). Those bases you will assign to continually produce leviathans until you reach a predetermined, desired number of leviathans and other accompanying units.

do not ever double time a leviathan after your first or second leviathan, it is in my strong opinion that it is a waste of money.

Maintaining a Levi Stack:
The main method of maintaining a levi stack is activity. If you are active and sharp, you should never ever lose a leviathan that you didn't plan to lose (more on this later). In simple terms, your levi stack should be protected like you'd protect your gf. If you let the stack die, its all over and you'll have to start again from scratch - so don't get it killed ever.

Other Key Components of a Levi Stack:
Fighters: meat shield for when using leviathans as a cruiser substitute / fighter drop with so you're not totally useless against some fleets
Corvetes: meat shield for when using leviathans as a cruiser substitute
Destroyers: meat shield for when using leviathans as a cruiser substitute
Bombers (optional): second tier meat shield for when using leviathans as a cruiser substitute
Titan: meat shield for when using leviathans to shield rape
Recycler: no explanition needed
FCs (optional): carrying extra fighters/bombers.

Having your leviathan's hangar capacity in fighters is usually adequate (# of levis * 4000) however, you'll find you will run out of fighters very quickly. Therefore I suggest enough carriers to increase your capacity to atleast # of levis * 15000 in fighters. In addition, try to have about # of levis * 1000 (min 5k) in corvettes and destroyers as secondary meatshields.
For recyclers, take about levi * 2500 (upto 50000). It should prove enough for most instances to soup in one or two ticks.
Finally, if you choose to take titans, take one or two along, no more.

Tools:
Always have a battle calc with you when using a leviathan stack. Make it a habit to scout out your enemy's techs and fleet makeup before hand and fiddle with the battle calc to determine the best course of action. Nowadays battle calcs are usually about 99% accurate but I wouldn't count on your leviathan living when the battle calc says it will have 0.01 remaining. Around a 0.03-0.05 margin should be fine.

Fighters/Corvettes/Destroyers
are used in complement with leviathans in attacks where you would ordinarily expect to lose some leviathans or pay a heavy repair bill. It only works when all the unshielded are gone as unshielded units eat fighters/corvettes/destroyers for dinner. It allows you about five times as much leeway as you would normally have before losing a leviathan. As a precaution though always run the battle through a calc before going through with it. It really sucks to go from 17 leviathans to 15.99!

Besides the obvious advantage of allowing your leviathans more room for damage, it also usually improves your ratios by alot (even factoring repairs). However the usefulness of ft/cv/de/le is generally limited solely on mid-sized fleets that can not be ordinarily levi'ed for no losses.

Titans
are a meat shield for levis that you can choose to use in an ordinarily levi only attack. They allow a little bit more leeway with your levis (about +20% per titan upto +80% with 4 or more) but you can expect to lose some of your titans when otherwise your levis will only be severely damaged. Therefore only use titans if either one of the two following conditions are met:
1) You will not lose titans nor leviathans in your following shieldrape attack - it saves some minor repair costs and can help kill the fleet in fewer hits if you don't have enough leviathans
2) You will lose a leviathan unless you sacriface one or more titans - 1 levi or some titans? I'd pick some titans to get derbed.

Levi Leeway
When you are killing an opponent with approximately equal tech to you, you can expect:
(These numbers are for pure levi fleets)

~300k pure fighters to kill one leviathan (each 6k fighters = 0.02 of a levi)
~150k pure corvettes to kill one leviathan (Each 3k corvettes = 0.02 of a levi)
~80k pure destroyers to kill one leviathan (each 1.5k destroyers = 0.02 of a levi)
~30k pure cruisers to kill one leviathan (each 1k cruiser = 0.03 of a levi)
~800 pure heavy cruisers to kill one levi
~100 pure battleships to kill one levi
~20 pure dreadnoughts to kill one levi
~4-5 titans to kill one levi.

Using meatshields can give you more leeway usually with the middle - capital class ships (Cruiser - other levis). However with unshielded ships your FT/CV/DE meat will get shredded and most of the firepower will be directed to your leviathans anyways. Titan meat on the otherhand works against all forms of ships but is generally more expensive to utilize.


How many leviathans should I aim for:
Having more leviathans is a boon both offensively and defensively.
The offensive use is obvious - more leviathans allow you to kill fleet in less hits (in some cases, one shot it) and therefore save you cost in both time and repairs. However, the offensive use of your leviathans eventually peak as eventually some of the fleet you encounter cannot be leviathaned effectively whether with 20 or 40 leviathans.
Defensively however, having more leviathans is a true double edged sword. On one hand if you manage to get a big levi stack killed you'll leave alot of debris that most likely will not be secured for you. On the other hand the prescense of more levis means that just as you can't levi some fleet without an ungodly amount of leviathans, they cannot hit you without an ungodly amount of HCs. For example, with 20 leviathans your levi stack can be taken out quite easily with about 5k heavy cruisers, but your enemy would need 2.5 times that number for 50 leviathans. Therefore, by having more leviathans you eliminate many more fleet that can potentially kick your ass.

As a general rule of thumb I believe 5-10 levis is the minimum number you should have for a levi stack. About 40 is where the offensive use of levis peaks but true levi entrepenors go upto 50-100 levis for the e-peen and for defensive purposes.

Current Levi Stack fleet mandate:
Levi: 10
Titan: 2
Fighters: 42k
Optional: Some CA/CV/DE/CR (no more than 25% of total fleet)
(Dont forget the 3k recyclers per 1m fleet)
(Dont forget its a ratio, not a goal. So for every 10 levis, you build 2 titans and 42k fighters, etc.)

Sum up - Uses of a Levi Stack:
Shield raping cruiser fleets

o Simply direct your leviathans into a fleet composing of ships no greater than Cruisers (or very few HCs+). Watch as your leviathans slaughter their spacemen for no losses except a meagre repair bill while your enemies are crushed psychologically and fleetwise.
o Example: http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?fd69dbe29f156a7ef876a40a94f6559

Replacing cruisers in select circumstances

* After you clear a fleet of its unshielded units, rush your leviathans in place of cruisers in a levi stack attack supported by fighters, bombers, corvettes, and destroyers. The end result is the same demolition a cruiser fleet ordinarily delivers, but with far less losses and a repair bill that you'll have to foot instead. Generally it gives better ratios than FT/DE/CV/CR if you can one shot the fleet.
* Warning: Do not attempt to do this with big fleets and expect all your leviathans to survive. You only have about 5-8 times the average leeway before losing a leviathan with FT/CV/DE and 7-10 times the leeway with FT/CV/DE/BO (depends on tech).
* Example: http://ae.nullnetwork.net/reports/reportpaste.php?ee6db9134a1add4f17b85c426b019a0d

Killing bases with no prings

* Levis are also good to hit bases with premature defenses for their econ. Assuming nothing too extreme in terms of HC+ fleets sitting on a base with at most planetary shields you can expect to take the base for no fleet loss and a small repair bill.
* Example coming soon

Occing Idiots

* If you just want to grief someone for a bit or the person is an idiot or you are right next to a friendly blob, feel free to plop a leviathan on some poor soul's bases as an occupying unit.
* Warning: Don't do this though if the person you're occupying has enough to kill your leviathan or is smart enough to spawn Ion bombers to produce some very unfriendly repair bills.


When to not use your levi stack:

* Pringles with not much fleet on it are not worth being levi'd as they usually incur a hefty repair bill and the usual fleet makeup of base defenses mean you'd need to waste alot more fighters if you want to do a ft/cv/de/le attack (which will still suck usually compared to ft/cv/de/cr)
* Gigantic fleets with HCs (5x the size of your levi stack and 100*# of levis or more in HCs)
* Decently sized HC fleets (LordofWar's fleet instantly comes to mind)
* On a target a galaxy cluster away (It will take you a week to get there, have fun!)
* On galaxy invasions (3x as slow as HCs = fail) [Feel free to send still though, just expect it to arrive alot later than your main fleet]
* Against an online and smart player. He'll spam attack your levis until you die or take unexpectedly huge losses.
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