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Ragnarok Ascendant

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So, let's get down to it:

Fleets kinda suck on a strategic and tactical level.

Tactics revolve around who can make the biggest doomstack and smash it into another. FTL escapes don't help the issue, instead pushing a concentration on alpha strikes above all else to prevent the irritating fleet escapes from happening. Once you get past the fleet and whatever chokepoint your opponent might have, you're basically done.

So. Let's bring some actual strategy and tactics into play.

Starting from the smallest, adding two new ship classes: Escort Carriers, and Fleet Carriers. Just keep this in mind.

Now. Here's what I propose:

  • Fleet command cap no longer is static. It, like admin cap, is represented with harsh penalties above a certain point. A skilled admiral can mitigate this, and better communications (represented via physics techs which would unlock such things) also do, but most of the fleet command cap will be dealt with by breaking down fleets into squadrons.
  • Each squadron works something like the fleets do now - they have a set ship list, they can conduct independent operations, and they have an admiral leading them. If you want, you can set squadrons for garrison duties or other port things - such as reducing piracy, patrolling, conducting raids into enemy territory, 'coastal' patrol, whatever. This keeps them from actually fighting in set-piece battles unless assigned to a fleet, but it provides something to do with them in peacetime or gives you a benefit to having your naval assets split up - the enemy could send their ships to raid your trade routes, so you had best have squadrons prepared to defend against that. Cruisers will be best suited for this - they're small enough to be relatively stealthy, fast enough to catch most things, and heavily armed and armored enough to tangle with escorting forces. This gives them a unique role that isn't just 'inferior battleship', close to their historical use as an all-rounder that could do detached operations you didn't want to risk the big battlewagons on.
  • However, you'll want certain squadrons to remain part of your fleet in being no matter what. This will typically mean capital ship squadrons and their escorts, but the exact specifics are up to you with regards to what assets you want doing various other jobs and which ones you want as part of your main battle line.
  • Each squadron, as part of a fleet, is assigned one of eight roles - frontal assault, barrage, carrier support, escort (will come back to this specific one later), flank left short, flank left long, flank right short, and flank right long. When battle is joined, each squadron exhibits this behavior. So, you can have corvettes, battleships, and cruisers attacking while another squadron flanks closely to engage the enemy main body and yet another one goes wide to try an attack on the enemy carriers.
  • Combat computers would largely have their ship behaviors replaced by this system, and would become mostly stat blocks (not too different from the reality of now, heh) to specialize a vessel.
  • To go back to escorts - escorts themselves have sub-behaviors: alongside, ahead, and support. Alongside escorts will do exactly that, moving alongside a designated squadron. This is mostly to simulate things like destroyers and cruisers screening battleships. Ahead, well, that's your meatshield setting, you can throw disposable ships into that so they take the hits the important ones won't have to. Support, the squadron tails the escorted one, and focuses on long-range weaponry (this is ideal for artillery vessels and escort carriers). You're encouraged to not mix squadron ship types both by admiral specialization (gale-speed is going to do a lot better on a corvette squadron, and cautious on an artillery battleship one) and by fairly strict caps on command size that are exacerbated by mixing those ship types. So, you'll want your big battlewagons escorted by PD destroyers and carrier groups protected by cruisers, or escort carriers hanging back to provide support to a flanking battleship squadron, or a sacrificial wall of light ships to cover for a frontal charge by your titan's command squadron...what have you.

Overall, this does a lot, but overall it's meant to encourage diverse fleet compositions, some measure of tactical decision-making (if only in what squadrons you send where, and how good those are going to be), and most importantly - it makes naval combat come closer to real-life naval command.
 

Tamwin5

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While this might encourage diverse fleet compositions, but nothing here would disincentivize doomstacking. Making fleet command limit effected by your admiral, while making sense, is something the devs specifically avoided to keep loosing a high level admiral from being even more punishing. Having the admiral level effect the penalty for being over cap is also iffy, because either it basically does nothing (and becomes a useless bonus) or at high levels can make the penalty insufficient, and you just stack everything over cap. Having a soft cap is fine, but having admirals effect the cap in any way I don't think is a good idea.

In regards to the sections of a fleet, unless the actual combat mechanics of ships change, the best option will be just to charge as many of your ships into engagement range as you can to get the most weapons firing at your opponent (or if you mass long range weapons, keep everything back to keep your enemies out of range). You'd need some mechanic where a ship being fired on gets a malus to fire rate, or a change in how ships target, to make dedicated escorts useful.

In regards to patrol fleets, with how both piracy and borders works, this would be completely useless. Piracy is easily suppressed by starbases (or a couple of corvettes for the gaps), and you don't really get small raiding fleets with how borders work. And even when ships do end up raiding you, the amount you loose from a broken trade route is what, 20 EC maybe? All of your big planets with high trade amount will be in your core area, and if you lose that you've basically lost the war already. I don't have an easy fix or solution to this one, but I have been in favor of changing sectors to be fixed galactic regions, and have fleets suppress piracy at a sector level. That would make small sector defense forces actually used.
 
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Archael90

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On a main forum, there is a very nice suggestion to make fleets act as units, this change could help both on doomstacking, and lagging (tho most lags are from pops, not ships).
I do not say this suggestion is bad, what i'm saying the unit suggestion can help more and in wider range.
 

Ragnarok Ascendant

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While this might encourage diverse fleet compositions, but nothing here would disincentivize doomstacking.

Nothing really does, though. That's the point - you're going to have one, maybe two, main battle fleets, there's nothing to really stop that.

Having the admiral level effect the penalty for being over cap is also iffy, because either it basically does nothing (and becomes a useless bonus) or at high levels can make the penalty insufficient, and you just stack everything over cap. Having a soft cap is fine, but having admirals effect the cap in any way I don't think is a good idea.

Ideally, you'd have techs and policy choices have your admirals start at a higher level than 1. But I see your point.

In regards to the sections of a fleet, unless the actual combat mechanics of ships change, the best option will be just to charge as many of your ships into engagement range as you can to get the most weapons firing at your opponent (or if you mass long range weapons, keep everything back to keep your enemies out of range). You'd need some mechanic where a ship being fired on gets a malus to fire rate, or a change in how ships target, to make dedicated escorts useful.

Don't ships basically target the closest vessels with most of their weaponry? The only time I've seen that trend bucked is when one of the Leviathans hits a cruiser or battleship with it's Giant Doom Beam. Agreed that bundling it with a change could help, though.

In regards to patrol fleets, with how both piracy and borders works, this would be completely useless. Piracy is easily suppressed by starbases (or a couple of corvettes for the gaps), and you don't really get small raiding fleets with how borders work. And even when ships do end up raiding you, the amount you loose from a broken trade route is what, 20 EC maybe? All of your big planets with high trade amount will be in your core area, and if you lose that you've basically lost the war already. I don't have an easy fix or solution to this one, but I have been in favor of changing sectors to be fixed galactic regions, and have fleets suppress piracy at a sector level. That would make small sector defense forces actually used.

Again, ideally, piracy would be higher, and the small raiding fleets 'created' by your squadrons would be represented mostly by trade maluses. I'd also like trade to be more important, tbh.

On a main forum, there is a very nice suggestion to make fleets act as units, this change could help both on doomstacking, and lagging (tho most lags are from pops, not ships).
I do not say this suggestion is bad, what i'm saying the unit suggestion can help more and in wider range.

Eh...acting as units would abstract the combat too much IMO.
 

Tamwin5

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Nothing really does, though. That's the point - you're going to have one, maybe two, main battle fleets, there's nothing to really stop that.

On the contrary, a proper supply system could do it (see my signature if you want an example), a penalty for multiple fleets operating in the same system would do the same. Making dealing with piracy require a significant amount of ships could also do it to a lesser extent.

Ideally, you'd have techs and policy choices have your admirals start at a higher level than 1. But I see your point.

Considering that currently there is nothing to make leaders start above level 1 (other then hiring leaders from various groups), assuming that you'll be able to grab even slightly higher level leaders is a bad idea.

Don't ships basically target the closest vessels with most of their weaponry? The only time I've seen that trend bucked is when one of the Leviathans hits a cruiser or battleship with it's Giant Doom Beam. Agreed that bundling it with a change could help, though.

Yes, meaning that all of this about escorts and flanks and stuff is kind of useless. Sending your ships on a massive flank just means they take longer to start firing. Escorts or screens don't actually draw any fire.

Again, ideally, piracy would be higher, and the small raiding fleets 'created' by your squadrons would be represented mostly by trade maluses. I'd also like trade to be more important, tbh.

So you just hit a button, then BOOM piracy? Just ignores borders and defenses? Honestly that feels much more like something for an espionage action then something that uses a fleet.

Eh...acting as units would abstract the combat too much IMO.

In actual combat, you'd still get the whole individual ships firing on each other. But instead of building ships and then merging them into a fleet, you'd create a fleet then select ships to build into it. It changes the focus of where things are. Personally I really like the idea, but I don't see it happening before Stellaris 2.
 
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Ragnarok Ascendant

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On the contrary, a proper supply system could do it (see my signature if you want an example), a penalty for multiple fleets operating in the same system would do the same. Making dealing with piracy require a significant amount of ships could also do it to a lesser extent.

Cool, then implement that.

Yes, meaning that all of this about escorts and flanks and stuff is kind of useless. Sending your ships on a massive flank just means they take longer to

The massive flank is meant to make threats for your backline, aka artillery ships and carriers. You're trying to bust through your opponent's flank and go for the ships that are weakest in a brawl.

So you just hit a button, then BOOM piracy? Just ignores borders and defenses? Honestly that feels much more like something for an espionage action then something that uses a fleet.

No, ideally you'd integrate it into the galactic map and take into account the preparedness of the enemy.
 
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Tamwin5

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Cool, then implement that.

I mean I'm not in charge of stellaris, but if I was I definitely would ;D

The massive flank is meant to make threats for your backline, aka artillery ships and carriers. You're trying to bust through your opponent's flank and go for the ships that are weakest in a brawl.

Artillery ships are only "weakest" in a brawl because it means when you get in a brawl A) shorter range weapons, and those with travel time like torpedos, increase in effective DPS, B) they lose out on the initial Alpha strike which is one of the reasons Artillery ships are so strong, and C) sometimes spinal mount weapons won't have a target due to their limited firing arc.

Sending part of a fleet around the edge of a fight to engage artillery ships doesn't get ANY of those. A) The time lost flying around means lower DPS then just flying straight at them, B) they get longer to fire at your flanking ships or even just the main fleet, and C) the rest of your fleet is still in front so they'll still have spinal mount targets.

A battleship build to be an artillery platform or carrier has the exact same amount of armor or shields as one made to be frontline, so really there is no reason to flank around. If you had a bunch of torpvettes it'd be good for them to dive straight at the battleships yes, but going directly through the fight instead of wasting time going around.

No, ideally you'd integrate it into the galactic map and take into account the preparedness of the enemy.

I'm not sure how you'd even do that. How are you measuring preparedness? Do the fleets just poof and disappear into some "ships creating piracy" menu, do they teleport into enemy space, what's happening?
 

Ragnarok Ascendant

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Artillery ships are only "weakest" in a brawl because it means when you get in a brawl A) shorter range weapons, and those with travel time like torpedos, increase in effective DPS, B) they lose out on the initial Alpha strike which is one of the reasons Artillery ships are so strong, and C) sometimes spinal mount weapons won't have a target due to their limited firing arc.

Sending part of a fleet around the edge of a fight to engage artillery ships doesn't get ANY of those. A) The time lost flying around means lower DPS then just flying straight at them, B) they get longer to fire at your flanking ships or even just the main fleet, and C) the rest of your fleet is still in front so they'll still have spinal mount targets.

A battleship build to be an artillery platform or carrier has the exact same amount of armor or shields as one made to be frontline, so really there is no reason to flank around. If you had a bunch of torpvettes it'd be good for them to dive straight at the battleships yes, but going directly through the fight instead of wasting time going around.

Great, then I guess targeting and ship templates both need a rework.

I'm not sure how you'd even do that. How are you measuring preparedness? Do the fleets just poof and disappear into some "ships creating piracy" menu, do they teleport into enemy space, what's happening?

My preferred thing would be disappearing from the galactic map and being converted into a menu or other interface where your 'doing things not related to actual battles' squadrons hang out. It'd be tricky to implement but it'd mostly be a game of modifiers and weights, with certain ship types being preferred...hm. Maybe have a tech linked to the Science Vessels Unstable Hyperlane Breach one that lets you assign those squadrons to target specific systems behind enemy lines?
If comboed with proper supply lines (as you yourself have talked about) and trade being made valuable and relevant, assigning squadrons to this task to safeguard your trade with friendlies and your supply lines into enemy nations becomes vital.
 

Tamwin5

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Great, then I guess targeting and ship templates both need a rework.

I don't think they actually need a rework, just some slight tweaking to tracking and such to nerf Battleships, but if you want to make a full sections of a fleet system, then yeah being able to optimize ships for damage or defense would help.

My preferred thing would be disappearing from the galactic map and being converted into a menu or other interface where your 'doing things not related to actual battles' squadrons hang out. It'd be tricky to implement but it'd mostly be a game of modifiers and weights, with certain ship types being preferred...hm. Maybe have a tech linked to the Science Vessels Unstable Hyperlane Breach one that lets you assign those squadrons to target specific systems behind enemy lines?
If comboed with proper supply lines (as you yourself have talked about) and trade being made valuable and relevant, assigning squadrons to this task to safeguard your trade with friendlies and your supply lines into enemy nations becomes vital.

Tieing it to subspace breaching is nice, I like that. If they are disappearing from the map, I don't think they should target specific systems, just hit wherever is vulnerable and unprotected. I still think it should be as an espionage action instead (might still take alloys, ships, or even an entire fleet to do). If there is a similar "off the map" space for local patrols, then it would make sense to manage it there.
 
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the player should have the scientific, human and material resources to be able to build and operate approximately 3-8 carriers simultaneously,
I think it could prevent dommstacking
 
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Ragnarok Ascendant

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I don't think they actually need a rework, just some slight tweaking to tracking and such to nerf Battleships, but if you want to make a full sections of a fleet system, then yeah being able to optimize ships for damage or defense would help.

Didn't that used to be an option, where you could swap out power modules instead of armor or shields?

Tieing it to subspace breaching is nice, I like that. If they are disappearing from the map, I don't think they should target specific systems, just hit wherever is vulnerable and unprotected. I still think it should be as an espionage action instead (might still take alloys, ships, or even an entire fleet to do). If there is a similar "off the map" space for local patrols, then it would make sense to manage it there.

It would also explain where the hell pirate fleets come from - they use the same tech to pop into undefended systems. I think specific targeting needs to be an option - maybe there's a valuable resource in a system that you want to prevent your opponent from using for a while, or you need to cut a specific trade route (or supply line, taking into account your own ideas regarding that).
 

Tamwin5

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Didn't that used to be an option, where you could swap out power modules instead of armor or shields?

That was still just a decision of "power + shields" vs "armor", didn't effect the weapons to effective HP ratio. I think the best way to do it would be through the ship sections, and have them differ in ways other then just which weapon sizes they have. You could even attach direct modifiers to the different sections.

It would also explain where the hell pirate fleets come from - they use the same tech to pop into undefended systems. I think specific targeting needs to be an option - maybe there's a valuable resource in a system that you want to prevent your opponent from using for a while, or you need to cut a specific trade route (or supply line, taking into account your own ideas regarding that).

By removing the ability to target, you also remove people trying to constantly micro things. While I don't think it would be something that needs tons of clicks and attention, and so wouldn't be too bad, it's still something to consider.
 
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