This will be an in-depth look into the unloved class of ships, the so-called fighters, jack-of-all-trades and masters of nothing.
In classic MMO’s - yes, I know this is no MMO - there are three roles: the tank, the healer and the damage-dealer. Star Conflict adds a fourth parameter, which is speed, since in many gamemodes, speed is mandatory to win.
Lets see how this roles are distributed in SC:
- Healer: Frigate
- Tank: Frigate
- Speed: Interceptor
- Damage-Dealer: Frigate
Of course there are some niche roles like for example the sniper & rogue. Well at least the Federation Fighter can cloak, so they are rogues, without any form of 400% backstabbing damage though, but who is the sniper? A frigate.
I spent over 200 hours with this game now and I wondered over and over why almost every game consists of 50% frigates, 3 interceptors and barely any fighters. And i really tried to make this class work for me. And it does, but merely because of my stuborness to accept they are sub-par and dispensable.
But lets look at what we got, our 3 magnificent roles:
- Offence Fighter
- Tackler Fighter
- Command Fighter
As an offence fighter you can choose between 2 magnificent skills, “Target Painter”, reducing the enemies resists. It can reduce an enemies resists by 20 to 30 points. Assuming an enemy has 100 points resist, this equals around 10-15% damage increase. However if his resists are at 150, the debuff helps a meager 5-7%. The second skill is “Electronic Interference”, which disables their targeting, and can be quite useful, unless charging in their face, because it prevents them from shooting missiles for 12 to 19 seconds.
As a Tackler, you can, well… you can slow the enemy down. Its called engine suppressor and it slows the enemy down from 16% to 21% over 9-14 seconds. I can’t even fathom who came up with that. Its a) highly situational (only viable against ceptors) and b) even in that situation utter useless. Even an EMP carrying interceptor (speed ~400) affected by this is still faster than my fighter on afterburner. Addmittedly, i have to slowest so-called fighter on earth (Empire), but still. In short: Tackler = cloth wearing paladin with a rubberdildo as main weapon.
Last but not least we come to the command role, the, in my opinion, only viable role for a fighter anyway. We come with 3 buffs, one for shield-resistance, one for hull-resistance and one for damage-output. The resistances add 15 to 29 points to anyone within reach, which reduces incoming damage by 5 to 12% depending on your base value. Whether or not thats feasible is another story.
But (!) they also have the valkyrie system, which adds 10 to 20% of damage to anyone. Always. In 2 to 5km reach. ALWAYS. I emphasize this, because comparing it to the offence module “Target Painter”, which for a limited duration adds 10-15%… well… you get the message.
So, lets get this straight. By combining ALL offensive modules on one fighter and triggering them, we can get 20 to 30% increased damage against one target, right? Guess what, without any of those fancy skills, a frigate has 50% higher base damage than you, and didn’t invest any energy or valuable skill-slots, because a Frig has 6 guns and not just 4. Hell, even an empire fighter with his damage increased by 10% or several others by 15% (Federation Wolf MK-II), its still lower.
Of course, you say, of course its lower. Then why do I end up with 50% of the combined health, too?
If you ask me, overdrive shouldn’t be a racial special, it should be default for every fighter. If I need a buff, a debuff, rockets, a racial skill and a rare weapon to bring down a frigate (offguard and unguarded as well) and barely survive it, there’s something fundamentally wrong with the balance. By the way if that burst is not enough, i float with overheated guns half dead through pulsar&minefield territory, while the frig heals back up. Glorious days.
Or how about a damage bonus against the broadside (25%) and the backside (100%) of frigates?
Captains get killed by interceptors, EMP bombs get planted by interceptors, beacons get taken by Interceptors and all beacons should be defended by Frigates, where do fighters come in?
Every time I try it with a Fed/Jericho Fighter its utterly depressing. At least with an Empire fighter I can bring down one frigate before being torn to shreds myself. (That is in Tier3. In T4 its a whole different story.) You need a fast firing gun to even be able to hit an Interceptor, but then you lack the range to fight frigates without having the health to close the gap reliably.
So in conclusion, I ask you the following, that IS the role of a fighter in Star Conflict?
Or maybe i got it all wrong, and you know a better way… what’s your take on fighters? How did you make him work for you?
Footnote: I read somewhere that 100 resist equals 50% damage reduction, 200 resist equals 67,5% and 300 resist equals 75%. In conclusion 50 resist is worth 25% damage resistance. Correct me if I am wrong.