[Feedback] Discussion of Fleet Composition: Why Bigger or Smaller Ships? Why are Large Ships Weak?

I wanted to get a feel on everyone's opinion on why fleets tend to look the way they do. I find that the most effective, in every way, to field large numbers of smaller ships. The damage output of smaller ships, coupled with many more boarding actions and abilities, far outstrips the HP boost and increased Troop numbers of larger ships. Efficiency dictates large amounts of smaller ships in every way. Even down to the turret effectiveness, a few smaller ships is better.

I don't really have a good suggestion for how to solve this problem, which was addressed in the first patch of the full release. It's possible that making larger weapons more effective, or at least against smaller ships. I feel like changing points is the wrong direction. A change to Armor mechanics, such as the lowest possible armor going lower than 50 or reduced damage from ships smaller than you, would probably be a good step forward. or possibly just making larger ships a little bit tougher armor wise.

I like to use Imperium ships as my base for discussion, because they are sort of a middling faction and therefore most easily comparable. The larger Macro weapons on the ships have increased range, but decreased damage and critical hit chances. Lances (which have a bunch of their own problems) straight up don't change at all, aside from the light prow lance on the Dauntless.

Some ships scale quite well into a higher tonnage. Eldar ships perform well at higher tonnages, but I think that their unique ship design balances it out. Tyranids are horrifically strong, but they have their own faction problems to deal with as well.

Please be CONSTRUCTIVE in your criticism, because we want things to buff out for the game. We can yell into the void about race/weapon balance in the discord channel. Thank you <3.

last edited by Focus_Camille

some factions have great capital ships while others do not.... eldar necrons orks and tau merch have great capital ships... imperial navy adeptus mechanicus space marines tau protector and chaos do not...

mind you there are of course non capital ship units that are overperforming... the carnage comes into mind... but otherwise its pretty straightforward...

last edited by gbem

I like the Necron and Tau Battleships, because they are immensely effective, but priced accordingly.

the custodian apocalypse retribution emperor oberon despoiler desolator ark mechanicus and battlebarge are all underperforming battleships tbh... the custodian and the battlebarge are probably the saddest of the bunch lol being 500+ pts yet woefully outmatched by the cheaper cairn

only the eldar battleships (voidstalker obsidian rose) ork battleships (deadnot) necron battleships (cairn) and tau merchant battleships (galeath vashya) are good for their price...

tau auxilla BBs are good too though... demiurg stronghold and the deathsphere (kroot)

last edited by gbem

Agreed, Most of them are woefully under-performing.

@gbem said in Discussion of Fleet Composition: Why Bigger or Smaller Ships? Why are Large Ships Weak?:

only the eldar battleships (voidstalker obsidian rose) ork battleships (deadnot) necron battleships (cairn) and tau protector battleships (galeath vashya) are good for their price...

You meant the Merchant one, right? 😉

ohh yeah thats merchant lol

I suspect the battleships need a well-defined role.
Currently, Light cruisers are good because they can dominate escorts, have enough firepower to take down most cruisers, and what they cant take down - they will outrun.

I suspect we need to have two things looked at -

  1. making cruisers and battlecruisers more reliable at destroying light cruisers when facing them directly. This could be done by giving cruisers a boost in turn rate (since they are mostly fine already).

  2. giving Grand Cruisers and Battleship a purpose -
    I suspect the real problem here is lack of utility. Damage wise most of them are fine, except for those that arent (im looking at you, battleship retribution). That needs an individual look at from devs but thats not what we discuss over here.
    main problem with BS is that once you're in and engaged, you will just get circled to death, and you might not even get to bring your broadsides to bear.

well for starters... most cruisers have greater DPS efficiency than battleships while having slightly less hull efficiency... this means that big fat slow battleships will be outshot by equal points of smaller more nimble ships in a straight shootout...

EG protector vs custodian
2x protectors not only have twice the crit as one custodian... they also have more ordinance more hp and more shields than the 391 pt custodian (502-37*3)

this should not be the case for any battleship...after all the high cost singular field presence and low speed of the battleship is supposed to be the balancing factor against supposedly higher hull efficiency and DPS efficiency... as of the current meta bringing 2 cruisers out is generally preferrable to a single battleship as that BB is most likely going to get outgunned anyways

soo i recommend increasing the DPS output and HP of all underpowered BBs

i also disagree with buffing BB mobility as buffing BB mobility ends up in simple dumb battleship spams over combined arms... buffing BB DPS and HP means smaller ships still retain a purpose in that they are needed to cap and shoot at ships attempting to flank the BB... hence preventing BB spam by creating different roles for each ship...

BB = heavy ship that shoots
CA = ship that moves around flanking BBs and preventing enemy flankers from flanking your BBs...
CL = anti escort
escort = scout and capper

I think gbem and vitmerc make solid points. The BB class of ships doesn't really have a role to fill in the game as it stands. Their lack of power (vs smaller ships esp.) and mobility seem to be sticking points.

In my Imperial campaign i only use two kind of offensive fleets. One is a standard Imperial Navy fleet fielding 3 Retribution class battleships. The other is a Adeptus Mechanicus fleet fielding 3 Ark Mechanicus. I never use boarding actions so i can keep my troop numbers and only rely on my guns and abilities to beat the enemy. The best way for me is to deploy the Mechanicus fleet first and use all my nova cannon charges on the enemy before they come into range, at least one leader should have the Augur Probe skill or if you like put in some escort ships, im just sick of replacing them all the time and its not needed. Next step for all enemies except the Orks or Tyranids is to charge straight into the enemy battle lines, preferably splitting the enemy force so my ships can fire from both sides as much as possible. Warp out ships when they go below 50% health and get Retributions as reinforcement. If facing the Orks or Tyranids do the same but run the fuck away as soon as they come close and keep at range trying to circle them while firing the guns and using all abilities available to kill the first wave as fast as possible, after that its quite easy to take out the reinforcements as they enter the battle one by one.

But this is single player, i dont play multiplayer (yet) but it makes perfect sense that tactics should be favored over size and in my opinion thats a good thing. The main advantage of big ships is the amount of damage they can take and as such i would think the primary purpose is tanking damage while the rest of the fleets sets up an ambush. Of course i cant comment on how applicable this is because i havent done any multiplayer yet but i would guess it doesnt work too well since even a battleship will go down fast if it faces the whole of the opposing fleet, especially if they are smaller more nimble ships who can circle around it and get to the weak rear. Another good thing about the big ships is the ramming but i suspect this will not matter in multiplayer since real people are not as stupid as the AI who death stacks all their ships into a neat row that is just asking for it.

In my opinion the mobility of the battleships needs to stay the same, this is supposed to be the main weakness of a big ship, trading more guns and more health/shields for reduced speed/turning. There is some things to consider though. Maybe granting the battleships the fast turn of the other ships in the fleet. Or possibly giving battleships the micro-warp jump ability as a default since as others have said if you get surrounded you are pretty much out of luck, but if you could reset this with a micro-warp jump you would regain the advantage for some time.

Other possible improvements could be increasing the damage of the guns, but this would make battleships ridiculous in the campaign where they already face-roll everything.

Another thing could be increasing hit points and armor but this would have the same effect of making them really overpowered in the campaign.

Maybe the shields could be increased and the regeneration buffed because this plays a smaller role then the overall hit points but i suspect this would also make them overpowered in campaign.

A good solution could be reworking the boarding mechanics of progressively bigger ships, a bigger ship should have more assault craft and a bigger teleportarium either delivering more troops in one blow or being able to deliver troops more frequently and with a higher max usage number. The overall number of troops should be increased too since a Space Marine fleet can instantly take out an enemy battleship with all boarding actions used and thats a pretty big hit to a fleet losing the most powerful ship in an instant. However since the boarding mechanics are being reworked maybe that will fix some of these problems giving the battleships more staying power to deliver more damage. It makes perfect sense lore wise but you cannot balance Space Marines of lore since that would mean they would dominate everything and everyone.

The other abilities are already handled pretty well as battleships have more turrets and a stack of 3 battleships can shoot down every torpedo coming at them 8/10 times and also handle enemy fighters/bombers pretty well.