Main Cannons

Watching replies on various factions and playing through the various factions I realized a trend. And most feedback seems to imply this problem. It's not just that hulking ships is too easy. It's that the main guns are far too weak.

So far I've only encountered like three fleet types that rely on and beat other factions exclusively through their main guns and positioning. That would be AP Macro Fleets. An extremely carefully micro'd lance Chaos fleet. And quadruple crit Protector fleets. And as for the Quadruple crit Protector fleets, it's not even the main guns you're worried about. It's the sheer number of bombers and missiles that they bring that will crush a battleship in one massed volley if you run outta turrets.

But even these fleets, which rely on massing around a single gimmick, still get insta hulked.

Special Weapons in general have been the go to win mechanic of the game since its inception it seems like. Bombers, torpedoes, nova cannons, bombs, etc. do significantly more damage to a ship than your cannons ever could over a full sustained minute of firing. Including for the above three factions. Boarding actions, which act as limited "Special Weapons", can instantly hulk a ship in the first 60 seconds of a fight. Or two if you're playing nids. The fight devolves into playing tag with your ships. But a ship with 1 crew is dead in the water anyway. Star Pulse wave used to be in this group and technically, it still is. The damage it does is still far greater than the cannons themselves.

I ran an experiment. I wanted to see just how effective armor really is for mitigating damage. I switched from fielding a few big guns and special weapons to fielding massed fire. Merchant Tau with 7 Gravitic Hooks across a battleship and 6 light cruisers. Meaning I had a metric ton of escorts since each hook reinforces the next, right alongside what should have been a respectable source of damage on their own. They trade launch bays for that hook, but they still have 6 weapon groups. Each Orca escort has 4 weapon groups. Tried it out a few times, and had every single ship in this like 30 ship fleet target one ship at a time. Just wanted to see if it even registered. Not a single ship. I blew up, not a single ship. The IN players I ran into took literally zero damage from this. No amount of guns I could bring could overcome a lack of special weapons. Even though some brought no way of dealing with massed ships, focused fire for the big guys, it didn't matter. Because the main cannons do not hurt. So add that to the list of options in this game that doesn't work I suppose, Gravitic Hooks are an expensive waste of points. But the real problem again is that Main weapons are the Support weapons for the Support weapons.

I'm not saying completely gut how special weapons work. I'm not saying make boarding a losing option. I'm saying that there needs to be some normalization between the systems. Boarding shouldn't instantly kill you, it should take just as long to get to that point as sustained cannon fire from a well positioned fleet. Especially given the penalties you take from getting boarded alongside the threat of getting hulked. Make bombers more persistent entities, out and about for longer and doing more than one run at a target. But greatly lowering their damage per run encouraging you to use your fighters to screen properly. Assault Boats should primarily be used for causing fires and disabling systems on opposing ships, not a massed insta hulk option. Make Bombs, Nova Cannons, and torpedoes/missiles do slightly less damage overall than they currently do, but better at knocking out systems on ships that get hit without shields. They support your ability to beat the enemy fleet by rendering their ships out of the fight, not instantly win you the fight. Support Weapons in general should aid you in deconstructing enemy ships, and not through zeroing out their hull, so your main guns can get in there to do the work.

I totally agree, I had some nice games in 2v2 which devolved into only gunfights either with macros or lances. It was really nice and feels exactly how BFGA should be but those fights are rare. With actual mechanics boarding/bomber nukes/mass crit is far better to kill ships and make proper volleys like a second damage output

to play devils advocate here, isnt the fact that special weapons are counter able i.e. dodging torps, proper use of your own fighters to deny bomber/assault boats and brace, and recrewing/scuttling hulked ships account for them being more powerful than standard weapons fire for the period of time they are on cd? boarding is a little 2 powerful atm ill give you that but i feel like ords are pretty fair game atm torps should have a huge pay off if you can land them, and if you can get your bombers on targets without them using tactics to deny them or them not bringing suitable counter to them then its you deserve the high damage output.

other special weapons perform better than standard ship guns/turrets in doing hull damage. thats true. but thats unimportant, because hull damage is pretty much unimportant.

I have written the same in the tier thread from jamadon: hull damage is neglible. you only care about troop damage / amount of troops in a list and to a lesser degree about morale damage and crits per second (both to a lesser degree, because there are morale immune / crit immune ships you have to deal with). the meta is to hulk and rout ships. you can do both very very quick, if you know what you are doing.

there are a few special weapons that do troop damage, all of them but nid torpedos are good. one of the most important of these are hangars (nid torpedos gets overshadowed by nid hangars). if tau had access to assault boats, all carrier builds would go for troop damage over bombers. boarding and hangars are the most important sources for troop damage atm. boarding has no counter but better counter-boarding and carriers have no counter but having more fighter hp, which means having more carriers / better fighters per hangars (let's not discuss the starpulse and necrons in general).

one turret without brace does at average during 90sec two hp damage to eldar fighters and three to the fighters of everyone else. 80 turrets unmolested for 90sec could kill 13 hangars worth of eldar fighters and 20 hangars worth of other fighters / 15 hangars of nid fighters. braced would give you another 40 turrets worth of damage. but you attack these turrets with your fighters and as everybody can observe in-game even braced turrets drop much faster than fighters in a mass carrier involved fight. you have three charges to drop these turrets. the fights are loopsided enough, that you can roughly add between a third up to half of the amount of offensive fighters as defensive fighters into the fight, without changing the eventual outcome (depending on involved hangars vs combined turrets). the advice to have some carriers to counter carrier spam does not work. you need massed carriers to counter massed carriers.

nids have these huge win-rates, because they are morale immune, mostly crit immune, have the best carriers combined with the best boarding and several reliable tools to force faster ships into boarding range.