Part V:  A Captain’s Miscellany 

Terrain Tactics


Terrain is really annoying.  Once, I attempted a planetary assault mission and smashed into an asteroid just as my ground-attack shuttle was about to capture it.  Another time, my beautiful BCF got torn to pieces by a black hole as the Klingons, bastards they are, sat there in their frigates laughing heartily.  So here’s some tips I learned the hard way on how to fight in the various types of terrain.



Damn the Rocks, Full Speed Ahead!:  Not smart at all.  Really, if you move full speed in your new ship in the middle of an asteroid field, you're going to a) get hit by the dust clouds and b) smash into an asteroid.  Both of these will happen eventually--and the evil thing with fighting in a dense asteroid field is that you can't run from plasma races or the Mirak when they launch their full alpha strike at range 10.  In short, you're dead before you can react.  A better way to fight in an asteroid field is to zoom in your map of the area to max level and watch the asteroid next to your ship.  Another thing:  On the 3-D tactical display, any asteroids near you will also be shown as an ALERT in a target box.  Watch those and you'll be relatively safe.



The Smell of Gas Overwhelms Me:  Fighting in a nebula with a Federation ship is not healthy for the Federation ship.  Inside the cursed hellhole of ionized particles, all ships get like nine points of natural ECM.  ECM is not a good thing when you're fighting with photons--they will almost always miss, even on the almighty proximity mode.  Plus, one enveloping plasma-S will strip your shields completely, and another one will do 60 points of internals at close range.  Just stay away from the nebula.  Really.  But if you're forced to fight in one, immediately turn off your photons.  They are useless.  Stay FAR away and pound them with your phasers at range 15, keeping speed high to outrun any missiles/plasmas that come your way.  Also, remember that tractors do not work in a nebula, so if you are in a missile ship, get in close after you've stripped them with your phasers and launch all of your missiles at once at close range.  It'll kill them quite easily.



I Feel So...Sucked In:  Contrary to popular opinion, the Federation ship can put up a decent fight in the vicinity of  a black hole, but it is extremely hard to pull off a victory.  The best way that I can think of is go to your energy panel and change your movement priority to 1.  You really need your engines to get all of the power.  Once you get in the grip of a black hole, you can't get out unless you jack your speed up to 31 and run like hell.  Photons are nice on proximity mode, since you have a good chance to hit without needing to get too close, and you can slowly draw them in near the black hole.  Dead ship.



In general, modify your battle strategy to fit the terrain.  To sum it all up:  In an asteroid field, stay away from them and blast away with your proximities; in a nebula, run for the border or use long-range phaser assaults; and in a black hole, use your photons on (surprising) proximity mode and hope they fall into the hole itself.



Electronic Warfare, or The Math Professor’s Dream


EW is probably the most important thing a good Federation captain can master.  Without it, you are going to have one hell of a time trying to get your photons to hit, a heavy weapon which is most susceptible *ahem* to EW.  I am aware that what follows may sound like an arithmetic lecture, but remember, you asked for it :)  So, without further ado, here are the basics of correct EW management:


There are many different types of EW, and all of them pose a headache for the Federation.  The first type is natural ECM, which is simply ECM given by terrain or some other source and is applied to all ships and units in the area.  This is always encountered in a nebula.  The second type is generated from your ship's ECM/ECCM panel, where you can control the amount of jamming that your sensors can make (more on this later), and the third kind is generated by maneuvers or shuttles (like the Wild Weasel, which generates 4 points of ECM, or the Romulan cloaking device).


Electronic warfare works by something called an EW shift, which starts at a base of 0 (except in a nebula, where everything has a base ECM shift of 3).  To figure out the EW shift, you subtract your own total ECCM from the opponent's total ECM (or vice versa) and apply the square root function.  Then, you round it down and the resulting number is your net EW shift.


If the total ECM is 1-3, the EW shift is 1.

If the total is from 4-15, the EW shift is 2.

If the total is above 15 (which happens very rarely), the EW shift is 3.


Enough mathematics!  So, how does EW shift affect your weapons?  The greater the EW shift you are firing into, the less your weapons will hit and they will do a smaller amount of damage (except for one notable exception, the photon torpedo).  The loss of good to-hit percentages is very bad for your photons.  Very bad indeed.  However, there are ways of circumventing this difficulty.  First of all, monitor your opponent’s ECM/ECCM through your own EW panel.  Your opponent’s ECCM appears on the bottom right corner of the screen; his ECM appears on the bottom left corner of the screen.  One point of ECCM negates one point of ECM; use your ECM panel to your advantage and take advantage of your science officer’s ability to do simple calculations :D


Assume he has a total ECM of 5.  Unmodified, there would be an EW shift of 2.  However, you can pump up your ECCM to 2, and lower his EW shift to 1 by expending less than half the energy that he is spending.  A very effective way to combat ECM is just to memorize the numbers above and try to match them.  Important note here:  Extra ECCM does not increase your chances to hit.  Extra ECCM is a waste of power since it doesn’t do anything.  Try to negate your opponent’s ECM with your own ECCM, nothing more.  That’s all you need to do.


One very important power management tip:  when your photons have fired, dump all of your ECCM and put it into ECM until they are almost finished charging.  ECCM is of no use to you while your photons, the only heavy you have that is significantly affected by ECM, are getting prepped.


The advantage of the photon torpedo is that the damage it does is not affected by anything.  That means that if you fire an overloaded photon at a cloaked Romulan and by some act of God it hits, you’ll still do the full 16 damage.  Disruptors, fusion beams, hellbore cannons, PPDs, and even the phaser have their damage reduced—but the photon doesn’t.  Use that fact to your advantage.


Against specific races, it gets more complicated.  The Orion Pirate Cartels’ ships, as someone already stated on this thread, have two points of “maneuverability” ECM, which stacks with other sources that they might have.  Take his advice and jack up your ECM to two, which basically means that you have just negated the Orion’s natural protection.  Once you have done so, start running away from its seeking weapons (typically drones and lesser plasma, along with the ubiquitous phaser and an assortment of other heavies that you shouldn’t worry about too much unless you decide to close—and if you do that, review what’s come before on this thread!) until you’ve either shot them down with your phasers or run them out of steam.  While you’re doing that, continue to toss proximity torpedoes at him until you’ve heavily damaged some shields.  Once that’s done, close, tractor, fire your torpedoes (on normal mode or overload if you’re feeling nasty), and follow up with a drone assault while using your phasers to burn through his now unshielded hull, striking his systems and stunning them.  Orion ships aren’t exactly durable.


The Klingons will try to use his power advantage to stay fast and keep his EW advantage to a maximum.  Don’t allow this to happen.  If he tries to do this and saber dance (and remember, this tactic only works against AI), park your ship dead in space (speed 0) and fully reinforce your shields, remembering to watch that EW panel and making continuous adjustments.  Keep half of your photons holding on overload while the other half is charging as proximity torpedoes, and keep on firing those repeatedly at him.  If he closes, blast him with overloads (and kick up the speed as well, punching through his weaker rear shields), and if he stays away from you, whittle away his shields with your proxies.  Save your phasers for missile defense unless he’s showing you a tantalizingly weak screen or has a shield down.


Proximity tactics are very hard to execute against any plasma race because of the lowered holding cost and because of the typically superior power curve on their ships (well, maybe not the ISC), and the Romulan cloaking device is really, really annoying.  Here’s a tactic I developed after I wrote the Romulan section that seems to work pretty well.  Charge your photons and move towards him at speed 31 while he’s cloaked (the best time to try this is when he’s fired all of his plasma).  Watch that monitor carefully.  If he even tries to uncloak, blast him with your proxies and TURN AWAY immediately.  Otherwise, overrun him with your phasers at point blank and run before he can do anything, saving your proxies for when they’ll actually hit (as he uncloaks).  Repeat this and you’ll eventually win.


Shuttles and How To Use Them


Nothing can be more annoying to a plasma captain than watching his long-charging plasma go sailing off after a weasel; and it is generally not recommended to get in a Klingon commander’s way when he has just eaten six type-IV missiles launched from your scatterpack.  This next section is about your shuttles and how you can use them to your advantage.


There are five main types of shuttles:


1)  The administrative shuttle; a fancy piece of junk that mounts two phaser-3s

2)  The Wild Weasel shuttle; a shuttle that gives your ship 4 points of ECM while it is active and also attracts seeking weapons (plasma and missiles)

3)  The Ground Attack shuttle; which coasts over to the opponent, penetrates his shields, drills through his hull, and begins a boarding action (costs two marines to make)

4)  The Scatterpack shuttle; which launches six of your missiles together at a time (costs six missiles to make)

5)  The Suicide shuttle; which impacts an opponent and deals 25 points of damage to him (costs one mine to make)


To create the last four (a major departure from SFC I), you need the stuff listed, a point or two of energy, and a free administrative shuttle.  This is handled at the shuttle control panel.


Using the shuttles requires more skill than to make the shuttles.  There are two major drawbacks to these otherwise helpful craft:  they move at a set speed of 6; and even a well-aimed phaser-2 will kill it.  This is not good, especially if you’ve invested a bunch of your missiles on a scatterpack.  Therefore, the first rule to bear in mind is to never launch shuttles unless you are sure it will get to the target without getting shot down and to make sure it gets to the target without getting shot down.  This is the key to good shuttle management.


Administrative shuttles suck.  The only reason they’re there is so you can convert them into bigger, better shuttles.  However, they can be useful in a pinch when you want a few extra phaser-3s to shoot down missiles heading towards you.  As a result, I almost never launch an admin unless I want it to soak up AMD/plasma-D fire, which helps my missiles or fighters get to the target without getting shot down by the afore-mentioned systems.


The wild weasel is probably the most important shuttle you can get.  One WW can save your ship from a massive plasma volley consisting of two Rs, three Ss, and 4 Fs—all of them will go sailing off after the weasel and you’ve just ruined a Romulan KCN commander’s day.  The trick here is to use them wisely.  Many newbies see the WW shuttle and immediately convert one or two, dropping them at the first sign of plasma.  This is not good.  Once you launch a weasel, you either void its protection by firing or you stay under its protection by doing nothing.  If he has fired pseudo-torpedoes, he’s just reduced you to a dead stop and once he picks off the WW with a phaser, you’re going to eat a lot of plasma.  Instead, launch a probe the first second he launches his plasma.  If his plasma tubes are charging once again, you know you’d better evade (the AI almost never launches PPTs and real plasma one after another).  Otherwise, use your speed to waste his torpedoes.  Speed is your best defense against plasma, so use it.  The WW is only a last-ditch way to save your ship from getting eaten by a hungry Romulan.  BTW, the weasel also provides 4 points of ECM for your ship, which makes it harder for them to hit you with their direct-fire weapons, like phasers.  This can be very helpful.


The major drawback for the wild weasel is that it FORCES you to move at speeds less than 4, and during the time that it is operational you cannot fire weapons, launch a probe, or do any such activities without voiding its protection.  The WW forces you to starcastle, and sometimes that isn’t a very good idea.


The Ground Attack Shuttle is the most useful capturing tool you can get, and many a starbase has fallen to my ship when they were overwhelmed by multiple assault shuttles.  Advantages:  you don’t need to drill through a shield before you start a capturing operation—the GAS simply attaches itself to the ship and begins punching through the hull.  That’s the only advantage, while there are many disadvantages.  First of all, the GAS can only go at speed 6.  This leaves it wide open to get blasted apart early on by the opponent before it even reach his ship.  It also draws away two marines from your ship itself, rendering it a little bit easier for opponents to conduct H&R raids against your systems.  Don’t plan on using the GAS unless the target is completely crippled or is stationary, like a base.  Otherwise, the GAS is a very potent weapon at your disposal, and can make up for the Federation’s lack of many transporters.


Now, how to use the scatterpack/suicide shuttle.  Once again, these shuttles are vulnerable in one major respect—their complete lack of speed.  Now, this isn’t really a problem with the scatterpack, as the SP uses missiles for damage.  Just pop the SP out of the hatch, wait a while (engaging a tractor on the opponent if need be), and watch the fireworks (very effective with fast missiles, by the way).  But the suicide shuttle needs to actually impact what it is going to hit.  This is very bad, as any good opponent will be moving QUICKLY.  Better to tractor the SS and then dump it on them as you overrun.


These are just some basic shuttlecraft strategies to use, and I’ve found that they actually preserve my shuttles beyond the launch.  Try ‘em, and see how they work.  You might save a pilot’s life :) 


Tractor Beams


Tractor beams are probably the most misused things in the entire simulation, and woe to the captain who misuses one.  In the right hands, they are ridiculously powerful, but when used improperly…Ouch.


Just yesterday I witnessed a rather nasty confrontation between a Federation and a Klingon, both flying light cruisers.  What does the Federation do?  Logic dictates that he must retreat and begin firing his photon torpedoes at the Klingon (somebody hit me on the head again!  I’m talking like Spock :D ), but no.  Mr. Smart Fed decides to run up to the Klingon, turn on a LEVEL 4 ?!?! tractor, and put on the brakes.  NOT SMART.  From that point on, the Klingon simply allowed the tractor to keep on working and began to pound the Federation captain with his phasers and quick-firing disruptors while the Fed is trying to figure out a way to maintain the tractor while charging overloaded photons.  Needless to say, the Federation had to send out a few tugs to collect the scrap metal from the scene, all that was left of the poor NCL.


Don’t do this.  A Federation captain uses tractors for one purpose and one purpose only—to hold the opponent in place while executing an overrun or a drone assault.  Once that is completed, he drops the tractor and RUNS like hell.  That is because the Federation ship rarely has the power to spare, and needs every erg he can get for speed or weapons.  That’s it.  Pure and simple.


There are some advanced tactics, of course, that work especially well if you’re working with a team.  Here are my favorites in no particular order:


1)  Your wingman powers up his tractor and brings the other ship to a dead stop, while you and the rest of your fleet start pounding on him with overloads and Mizia-style phaser strikes.  Not very healthy for your wing, but it’ll leave the opponent gasping for breath.  I’ve used this tactic with three light cruisers against a battleship.  While it was destroying one cruiser, the other two concentrated on him with overloads.  This is referred to in SFCShadow’s strategy guide.


2)  You power up your tractor and hope that the opponent doesn’t know how to use F1 view.  While he’s smashing away at your ship, smile evilly and push him into a big rock or out of the map itself.  A VERY popular tactic online, and it works even better when your wing is distracting him with his proxims and drones.


3)  This is one I made up myself, and I’ve found it to be quite effective against the AI.  What you do is charge up a small tractor, level 2 at the most.  Weaken him with your proximities, and when you are relatively sure he has no weapons to fire at you, switch those torpedoes to normal and close the distance.  Launch your drones from a scatterpack at range 10.  Now, when you’ve caught him, execute an Emergency Decelerate and bring your ships to a dead stop, allowing the drones to catch up while you’ve just conveniently weakened and possibly knocked down a shield.  Wait just long enough for the drones to hit and the ED to wear off, and then hightail it out of there before he can respond.  Ouch.  SIX type-IV warheads is a total of 144 points of damage on a down shield.


Another note about defensive tractors is that they take one point of energy per defensive tractor to use.  This is not good, especially if you’re in a power-starved DD.  Instead, when you see drones heading your way, press the “c” hotkey and activate those defensive tractors to save you some grief.  This will also save you some power and save your ship some damage.


Scotty, Beam Me Up!:  A Primer on Transporters


It can really hurt when the (insert name of any race here) unleashes his full alpha strike on a shield you’ve just lowered for him in an attempt to hit and run his systems.  Unfortunately, that’s what many people try to do when they activate the Hit-and-Run panel of every ship.  What follows is a few quick tips for those naughty little captains so that their bucketheads can live to fight another day.


Transporters can be a very, very nasty weapon when used properly.  Usually used for getting those illegal cartons of Romulan ale off your ship just as the damned customs inspector charges in, in combat the transporter becomes a potent force to be reckoned.  Sound good?


Good.  Because now, the bad news.  The Federation doesn’t have a lot of transporters.


The Federation cruiser typically only has a few transporters to work with, and so can’t overwhelm an opponent with marines as some other races (Klingon, Mirak, and Lyrans in general and the Romulan KR-series ships in particular).  Instead, the Federation captain needs to use his ingenuity to use his transporters properly, which is why Spacedock provided the GAS designs.


But first things first.  The transporter is used in four ways: 


1)  To execute hit-and-run attacks on specific systems on a ship

2)  To send marines over to another ship and begin a capturing operation

3)  To beam out/beam in “special things” like dilithium crystals or a picture of that attractive captain in the next ship over

4)  To beam out mines


The H&R system got a lot worse when the patch came along, but still is useful.  Used properly, it can be used to take a significant proportion of firepower away from the opponent or interfere with his ability to defend against your attacks.  My targets change depending on the ship I am flying, but here is just a basic summary:


Phaser-photon ships.  GET THAT SENSOR PANEL!!!!!  Although some people think it is a waste of marines, I feel that sending marines to take out opponents’ ECM/ECCM is [I]very, very[/I] effective especially when you are flying a photon boat with no seeking weapons.  You rely on your heavies for crunch power, and his ECM prevents that from happening.  In addition, it forces your opponent to waste his spare parts trying to fix his sensors while you are sitting there with a boatload of overloads waiting for him to do just that so he doesn’t have enough spare parts to repair his weapons when the time comes.


Phaser-drone ships.  Make sure that he has no defense when you launch your missiles—and that means taking out his tractor beams.  After slashing him with your phasers, close and get those tractors with your H&R teams.  When they fall, begin launching all of your missiles in massive waves and overpower his defenses.


Phaser-drone-photon ships.  Mix in assaults on their ECM with attacks on their tractor beams, and then gut him with your phasers and overloads after bombarding him with proximity torpedoes/drones at long range.


In addition, if you have the marines to spare, target these systems per race you are fighting:


Klingon:  Get his drone racks first, and then take out the big phaser hardpoints to remove a significant amount of firepower from him.  Follow this up with a bunch of torpedoes and you have him.


Romulan:  H&R those plasmas quickly, so you won’t need to worry about them later.  If he only has an R (like the WB+ and the WE ships) and you’ve eliminated his torpedoes, he’s left with only a few phasers to oppose you.  In addition, plasmas take a really, really long time to repair.  With one marine, you can tie him up for quite a while.


Gorn:  Same as Romulans, although the phaser becomes a larger threat.  Mix in attacks on his phaser batteries with assaults on his plasma tubes.


Lyran:  Take out the ESG and he becomes a sitting duck.


Hydran:  The Hydran is complicated.  Against ships with fighters, destroy the shuttlebay FIRST THING so that his fighters can’t be launched.  Then, follow up with marines on their hellbores and big phaser mounts.  Be careful to stay out of fusion range and you have him.


Mirak:  Remove their missiles and they are dead.  Stay out of range of their typically weak phaser arrays (a lot of phaser-3s but nothing else) and kill them with proximity torpedoes mixed in with a few overloaded photons.


ISC:  Against a ship armed with just PPD and plasma-Is, laugh with glee and overrun him from within range 4 with overloads and phasers.  If he fires his plasma, outrun them and repeat.  You don’t need a H&R team for that kind of ship!  Versus a ship with plasma, take out his heavy plasmas first and do the same thing as against a ship with PPD, but this time use a lot of missiles to tie up his phasers.  Then pound him at your leisure.  Against a ship with both PPD and plasma, eliminate his plasma and then do what you did against a froggie with only PPD.


The major problem with H&R raids is that they require you to close to range 5.99 and drop a shield.  This is not healthy for your ship, and when you drop a shield just as he fires his weapons, you’ll take a lot of internal damage.  NEVER LOWER YOUR SHIELDS FOR YOUR OPPONENT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF!!!


I can’t stress that enough.  Although H&R raids are still a potent weapon, you don’t want him to be able to do a disproportionate amount of damage to your ship in exchange for taking a measly weapon offline.  If your opponent does that, laugh and overload his a$$ off with your photons, also using a Mizia strike to keep his weapons off.


In order to prevent your ship from taking damage it shouldn’t, use the nifty feature that Taldren installed (one of the best improvements to the game, IMHO):  the pause/unpause button for H&R raids.  When you don’t want your marines to transport over, click that button and pause all raids until he’s either a) fired off all his weapons or b) watching voluptuous women parade in front of him.  Then, H&R his ship by unpausing the raids.


With practice and a little luck, you’ll be able to take advantage of your marines in ways that haven’t been dreamed of.


Capturing a ship is a different story.  Unlike H&R raids, when you capture a ship, your marines stay on board that ship permanently and try to kill the crew and take command of the enemy.  This is very helpful, and sometimes is even a requirement for completion of a mission (like “Thief in the Night”).  To do this, you’d better remember to make sure he has under 5 marines and has no weapons to fire at your ship; the number can be adjusted depending on the amount of transporters you have and the amount of damage he’s taken.  To kill marines, fire weapons at the enemy.  That’s all you need to do.  Capturing is useful, but the Federation suffers from a lack of many transporters.  So, you can just damage him until he’s severely crippled and then launch a GAS and laugh.


To beam over diplomats, infiltration teams, presidents of councils, and the occasional Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, just get close (within range 5.99) and toss them over.  Be aware that you sometimes need to lower a shield to get them in (as in “Cuckoo’s Egg”).  Other than that, it’s pretty much straightforward.  Just make sure that you can’t get damaged by a stray phaser.  To beam in things, follow the same procedures and you should be relatively safe.


The T-bomb is one of the most annoying threats a captain has to deal with.  Not only do they arm extremely quickly, they deal a bunch of unavoidable damage.  Use your transporters to transport a mine out the door right in front of his ship…and then another…and then another.  He should be reeling, and if you’ve timed your transporting right, you shouldn’t have even lost a shield.  Follow up with a massive phaser-photon-drone assault and you have him.


DRONES and How To Use Them


Everybody says that drones and plasma are the two most annoying weapons in the game, because it doesn’t take an expert to toss seeking missiles at an opponent.  If they hit, they deal a lot of damage, and they almost always hit.  As a Federation captain, you do not have as many missiles as the Mirak or as many plasmas as the Gorn/Romulan, but you do have them and you can use them to your full advantage.


Remember when I said that I almost never used missiles?  Well, after a short fling with the Mirak captains, I’ve figured out how to fly a drone ship and stay alive while doing so.  They aren’t the deathtraps many people think they are, although personally I think no missile can stand up to the photon torpedo :)


There are three types of missiles:  Slow missiles, medium missiles, and fast missiles.  There are also two kinds of warheads:  Type-Is and Type-IVs.  You’d better know how to handle ALL of them, and I mean ALL of them, or else you won’t stand a chance when D2 comes out.  So, without further ado…Drones and How To Use Them!  (Bows)


Your typical slow missile moves at speed 16 and creeps up to a target like a—with apologies to Nannerslug—well, slug.  It all depends on the warhead to see if it is worth it or not:  a type-I missile (12 points of damage) isn’t worth it, since there is no way you’re going to catch a smart captain with that thing unless he slows down and starts laughing at them.  A type-IV (24 points of damage) is also iffy.  It all depends on whether you know how to use it. 


However, there are advantages, and the major one is that they are free, presumably included in the BPV cost of your ship’s missile racks.  This means that you can get a whole boatload of slow missiles for absolutely NONE of your hard-earned prestige!  In my Mirak campaign, I simply flew around in a frigate, saving up prestige by using slow missiles only, and in less than ten missions had a shiny new BCH that flew around and killed things.  The problem is that your ship routinely outruns the missile, and even the AI will make sure to fly fast when faced with a ship mounting slow-speed missiles.  So, I racked up kills by charging at them, catching them in a tractor, slamming on the breaks, and watching the missiles slowly but surely smash into their shields.  I tried this with a Federation NCD, and found it to be supremely effective against the ISC, which can’t really do anything about it unless their plasmas are charged, and I made sure that they were a nice light blue before I closed, engaged the tractor, cut speed, and watched the big explosion.


Do not EVER fire a slow missile at range (and that means at range 10 or greater) unless the opponent is moving very slowly or is dropping speed.  A smart captain will just put the pedal to the metal and outrun those missiles at a sedate speed of 17, shooting some of them down with his defensive phasers as well.  Instead, after exchanging a few alphas (where you should come out victorious after slicing their ship apart with proximities), drop off your missiles right next to them when you are sure they have no weapons and no speed.  That will almost certainly kill them, and if it doesn’t, your phasers will.  I kind of feel sorry for that Klingon captain who fought against my NCD in a D7B and came out hurting badly.  Of course, I suspect he gave the one about fighting five Federation light cruisers to his boss…


After watching slow missiles creep across the screen, the medium-end missiles, which zoom around at a blazing speed 24, were a welcome relief.  Here is a dangerous missile, since all but experienced players fight at under speed 20.  They carry the same warheads, and have a much better chance to hit, so when you’re carrying six of these in a scatterpack and another six in those racks (with 12 missile control), unleash them all at once and watch him take 288 points of heavy, heavy damage.  That really hurts.


Medium missiles are a lot better at long-range bombardment than slow missiles, and that means that you can follow up a menacing drone wave with a full phaser strike on their down shield.  What I do with medium missiles is park the ship at about range 20 and send wave after wave of missiles into their ship, overwhelming them while firing all phasers simultaneously.  He’ll soon be overwhelmed and then, when you see his shields go down, follow your drones in and smash it in with your phasers and a t-bomb or two.  He should be reeling as you pass, and motions for a cup of Romulan ale until he sees that suicide shuttle that’s going to impact on his down shield…Not very pretty.


The most dangerous type of missile is the fast high-end missile, which blazes across the screen at a astounding speed of 32.  You can’t outrun it, and you really can’t hide, so the fast missile can really ruin a captain’s day.  The fast missile is best suited for preparatory volleys of phasers and photons.  Launch ‘em all and wait for them to hit a shield.  Then, follow them in and watch them blow up.


Now, I’ve heard some very, very loud complaints from my friends who say that missile ships suck because their missiles can be shot down too easily.  Apparently, they don’t know how to keep their missiles alive to get to the target.


First of all, NEVER fire your drones in one big volley.  The opponent will pop a weasel and laugh as all of your missiles streak towards the shuttle.  Or, he could drop a mine and watch it destroy all of the missiles.  As a last resort, his AMD/phasers would take down quite a few of them as well.  If anything got through, it would be grabbed by a tractor or killed by an ESG.


Instead, launch your missiles in small amounts at a time, and spread them out.  This gets around the mine trick pretty easily, and also helps offset a WW.  If the WW is destroyed, the missiles reacquire their original target and begin heading for it once more.  In my Mirak campaign, I watched gleefully as one of my missiles killed a weasel and the other five returned to their primary target, a bit chagrined.  The AI didn’t even react as he took 120 points of damage on a shield.  I then proceeded to smash him in with phasers.  ESG—well, wait until he fires off that ESG and then fire your missiles.  AMD can’t be avoided, but you can execute a H&R against the system.  It also helps to fire one missile at a time, wasting their AMD slowly but surely.  When its all gone, close and blast the hell out of him.  If you use these tactics right, your opponent will learn to fear the Federation…and sometimes that’s a good thing :D


Defending Against Drones




It’s written by Ssazix, and is the Mirak captain’s nightmare.  Anybody who reads that thread will suddenly realize how stupid they’ve been when they bypassed it.  Secondly, buy the strategy guide.  Though it’s a bit outdated since the patches were released, it still has some great tactics about how to kill missiles.  Read that and the Mirak you’re fighting should be sobbing.


The stuff I’m writing is an elaboration on anti-drone tactics.  So, without further ado--


Part One of Defending Against Drones:  Know That Drone!!


Red drones are slow drones, blue drones are medium drones, and purple drones are fast drones.  There are also two types of warheads:  Type-I, which does 12 points of damage, and Type-IV, which does 24.  They both hurt very, very badly, and a wave of type-IVs can really ruin your day.  So, the first rule to keep in mind is to be afraid of getting hit by drones.


To avoid slow drones is easy enough:  All you do is keep your speed above 16 and outrun them.  If he launches a LOT at you, pop a mine out the door and watch them blow up, since most people think throwing missiles at the enemy 18 at a time is a good idea.  If they hit the mine, all 18 go boom.  It’s fun reading the flames I get when I do that to a drone-happy captain.


A smarter captain will launch his slow missiles one at a time in quick succession, which means that they’ll be spread out so mines can’t do jack.  It also, BTW, wastes your AMD racks.  So, turn off those AMD racks and go to the weapons officer panel.  There, set all of your phaser-3s and -Gs to point-D.  Leave your phaser-1s alone so that they’ll be free to damage the enemy.  While the drones are being shot down, proximity him to death.  He can’t do anything against your photons (except increase ECM, which you can counter), but you can do stuff against his missiles.


Medium drones are a bit harder to deal with, but then again, that’s just your luck :D  They move at speed 24 and blow things a lot quicker than those slow missiles.  Against these, I would recommend keeping your AMD rack on, just in case your defensive tractors get overwhelmed.  Anything your AMD doesn’t get, your phaser-3s and -Gs will.  Run and let him chuck his missiles at you while you merrily shoot them down.  If he sends out a SP (and you can bet he will), try to kill it with an AMD or a well-aimed phaser volley before it can launch its missiles.  What you’re trying to do here is to kill off all of his missiles so that he’s helpless before your photons.


Fast drones can be treated in much the same way, but this time, you can’t outrun them.  Instead, you need to outthink them.  Missiles want to seek your rear shields:  If you can get someone to fire them at range, you’ll see them start tracking your rear.  This is normally a good idea (especially if the missiles are targeting a D7 with horrendously weak aft shields), but you can use it to your advantage when fighting fast missiles.  A daring stunt that is referred to in the manual is to drive your ship around an asteroid and turn around it, forcing the missiles to crash into it  rather than you.  DON’T DO THIS!  With the Federation’s horrible turn mode, you’ll be space dust in less than two seconds.  Instead, drop mines out of the back door.  Remember that they take a while to arm, but when you kill all of the missiles, it’ll be worth it.  Just drop them out earlier and you should have no trouble.  Also, try shooting down fast drones with probes.  Send out an attack probe and try to get it to kill a missile or two (target the nearest one by pressing “Spacebar”).  And if nothing else works, turn on your AMD rack and let it do the dirty work.


One point here is that a Federation captain should not be afraid to take damage:  The Enterprise suffered two direct hits on the warp engines in ST2:  The Wrath of Khan and still managed to kick some genetic engineering butt, and in the same way, don’t be afraid to take some damage when you know you’re going to deal a disproportionate amount of damage in return.  Take the following example:  A Federation SCS is fighting a Romulan KHK.  The Romulan fires off all his plasma, sending it smashing in the Fed’s front shield.  Instead of backing off, the Federation ship KEEPS GOING, fires off full overloads at range 2, and follows up with drone and phaser strikes.  Add this to the 16 pissed-off fighter pilots itching to blow up that Rommie who accidentally beamed off their resident stripper and you have a KHK in deep trouble.  What’s more, that shield of yours will be back up in a few minutes, and none of your systems will be destroyed (or if they are, only one or two).  On the other hand, once you hit that Romulan, all of his weapons start blinking madly, and if you follow up with a bunch of Mizias…the possibilities are endless.


Captain S’Tasik, ISC Division, Xenocorp


ISCS Rod and Berry, DNT