How to campaign?

So went though the Imperial campaign, and enjoyed it mostly (that timer and by the time I was near the end, I was done with the battles) so tried out both the Necron and the new Chaos campaign, but I'm hitting mini walls in those.

Necrons I'm just finding to be boring as heck to play. Each fleet is extremely similar, and the repetitive grind that I disliked about the Imperial campaign is hitting me much sooner in this campaign. Either I'm not grasping the different strategies of the Necrons or I'm going to be bored out of my mind playing them all the way through their campaign.

Chaos I'm running on a shoestring budget and am not grasping how they're supposed to progress. I know in the first game you either had the disco build with all the lances or all the carriers, but getting the funding to build these fleets (and progressing enough to be able to truly spam a ship) seems like a distant goal, while still dealing with the invasion spam.

I'm not sure I can help with finding the Necrons boring, to be honest. I personally enjoyed them, but I am perfectly content to have a fleet consisting entirely of 3 Cairns (or whatever my largest ship at the time would be) just sit in a gas cloud/asteroid field while the enemy approaches, pick off the leading elements while in reload stance, switch to dispersed stance once most of them have arrived and clumped up, then jump in the middle and watch the fireworks every battle.

As for Chaos, I too found them more challenging than the other 3 races in terms of resource management. It helps to avoid dedicating every system/planet you capture to Chaos gods until you've got a solid financial base, though. That makes their upgrade costs more manageable.

In terms of builds, I've enjoyed the disco style. Carriers are in a weak spot right now, and are generally a bit slower. That means it's more difficult to kite the enemy with them, and they're not really powerful or reliable enough to take down the enemy in straight fights before you're overwhelmed (especially since the player is almost always outnumbered).

Conversely, the admiral perk "silent running" applies to every ship of every tonnage, which means you can "all ahead full" with even Desolators, without revealing your ships to the enemy. That makes a lance & kite centered strategy quite strong. Add to that the renown based upgrades that boosts lance critical chance in lock on stance, & reduce combustion gauge depletion, and it's even more powerful still.

In terms of what ships I actually use, it's relatively easy to make due with your starting ships until you hit renown level 4 and can build battle cruisers. I spam Acherons until 9, and then Desolators.

@Fletchtar Thanks for the reply. The biggest thing with the Necrons is that there's no variety to how they play, at least it seems that way to me. I'm ok with having some of my fleets play the same, but I do like some variety. They have a very sparse amount of ships and weapon types. This part was really mostly me whining about how very same-y Necrons feel, so no worries about that.

As to the Chaos campaign, I decided since my mixing and matching wasn't cutting it, I went full hard on carrier and it's been rough. I stabilized my economy but it's not doing much because there's just so many invasions that are capping way beyond what I can pull off with a carrier fleet, and I leaned hard into carriers. Might as well start fresh at this point. Thanks for the advice!

@Leadpaintchips happy to help!

Ah, I see now about the Necrons. I actually have all my fleets set up the same (with the exception of titans, of course), so that's not a big issue for me. There's some variety you could still try with Necrons, then. Though I personally like all Cairns, you could do say, all Scythes instead. That's arguably a stronger list, especially if you go Ruiners. Those particle whips are quite strong, and it's really aided by the AI's tendency to advance in single file. Which is also why I almost always take Transdimensional Thunderbolt (2 if possible). If you just park in a gas cloud or asteroid belt in the deployment zone and wait for the enemy to come to you, and you're careful with lining up the shots, you can do immense damage on that single file line before the enemy even gets to you. I've literally won battles like that without even firing a shot.

I'm not sure about the new Grand Cruiser Necron Carrier, but you could maybe add some variety using that too. Granted carriers are weak right now, but the sheer volume of fighters it can pop out, as well as the dual role function makes them a little more tempting. At max level, you could field 4, which works out to 16(!) bays of strike craft. That's enough to overwhelm just about any fighter screens, and to make relatively short work of most ships. Combine that with high durability and maneuverability (using the displacement jumps), and they just might be viable. I don't think I'd spam those, but maybe 2 fleets consisting of 2 GC's each might work, so you could add more variety.

@Fletchtar Might give that campaign another go with your advice, but I know that banging my head against both the Necron campaign and the Chaos one has got me burned out on the game in general.

Totally fair. Good luck, I hope that you end up having fun if you come back to it!

@Leadpaintchips I realized I left out something that seemed obvious to me, but might not be to everyone.

I always, always, always use two fleets (splitting my total ships evenly between the two fleets) in every assault and every defensive action. I think of paired fleets as a single "unit" when planning my movements.

The biggest reason for this is sheer fleet point limitations; you can't hit your overall deployment cap with a single fleet. It also really helps to minimize the ratio by which the AI nearly always outnumbers the player. Plus, you get "extra" admiral abilities, so that's always nice. It helps to pair complimentary abilities as well. I try to always snag at least one (often two) admirals with the faction equivalent of Augur Probe since I tend to fight at long range (waiting for troops to regen after suffering boarding actions is a pain). Then you can also do things like pairing a disruption bomb with plasma bombs, or whatever else you find helpful. For Chaos having at least one ship with Daemonic Ritual really helps to keep your ships' crew counts high, and keep them fighting instead of waiting for troop regens.

I also avoid losing ships at absolutely all costs, even if it means failing secondary objectives. They're just so much more powerful once they've leveled up. Similarily, I try to save battleplans for reducing urgency level; having to fight a zillion invasions at once inevitably means you're not going to be able to defend against all of them, and losing a system is a huge investment down the drain.