A quick guide to the Hidden parts of Fleet Ops

Share and discuss your gameplay strategies.
posted on January 4th, 2012, 6:14 pm
There was a request a few days ago for clarification of the races, which got me thinking.  While it's true that we have a wonderful and extensive set of ship info and guides (Especially look at Boggz race guides, in the forums under Strategy I think) there are still a lot of factors that affect gameplay that are partially hidden from a new person's view.

Keep in mind that everything in this guide WILL become obsolete shortly.  I'm just putting it together for fun and practice.

The Hidden stuff

Romulans:

We all know that Romulan ships are all about cloaking and not dying.  What you don't see right away is that their weapons fire faster when they start combat, then slow down as combat continues.  This bonus takes 15 seconds to restore when they leave combat, and almost no Romulan ships besides leahvals can get kills once their bonus has expired.

This means that the Romulans do best when they can choose the fight, and fall apart when they are "caught" after a battle.  However, they also have TERRIBLE map control through turrets and most of the time they will have only a single yard.  This breaks the game down into 2 distinct setups:

1. Romulan player built his yard next to his starbase:  Harass his mining repeatedly, sending 1-2 ships each to several different places.  The hammer will come down on one set of your ships, and then it will be used up.  It will be difficult for him to cycle through the repair yard, and right after he kills one of your raiding parties you will get a chance to strike and kill his fleet.  You will need cloak detect for this.

2. Romulan player built his yard away from his starbase: Harass his home mining lightly and try to bulk up.  It shouldn't be long before you can move on the yard, simply wait for a big battle and when it happens, follow his ships all the way back to their yard.  While he'll be able to cycle his ships through it, his firepower and special energy will remain depleted and you'll be free to kill his mining AND raid his other moons while he can't do a thing.  Keep in mind, if you send enough ships back to repair your fleet will lose effectiveness and need to retreat.  Unless you're feds, then you have infinite warpin reinforcements.

The absolute best time to fight a Romulan is right after he raids your mining, when his ships are heading back without their bonus and maybe with low special energy as well.  Cloak detect is absolutely necessary for this, in fact when you see the chance don't hesitate to pay 50 supply for the map-scan.  Here is a (terribly executed) example:

11 - Tryptic and Clintsat vs Funny and Mort on Star Traffic
- YouTube


Federation

We all know that feds have super good defense, and that their warpins kick butt.  What you may not realize right away is that their hitpoints are slanted toward shields: while most races have 60% shields and 40% hull, feds have 70% shields and 30% hull.  This can be both good and bad, but mostly good.

You see, while some ships can be retreated when their shields are at 10%, fed ships need to be retreated earlier.  A fed ship with its shields down has actually taken much more damage than a ship from another race, and its subsystems will be more vulnerable.  In the same way, if you are trying to kill a fed yard, and it feels like you're getting nowhere remember that the shields are the hardest part.  The same goes for sniping a platform right when it's upgrading: if you got the shields, you might as well go for the platform.

This also means that certain special abilities that bypass the shields and damage only the hull are best used against feds: the Kvort, Vorcha, and V-13 abilities in particular.  Also the Romulan Intelligence Center, but that's sort of a mixed bag since it's so random now.

Klingons

Well, I don't have too much to say here.  Klingons have 50% shields, 50% hull so they're not out of the fight when their shields go down.  This makes them easier to board though, if you happen to be using troopships.  Klingons can amass a TON of firepower through their small ships, or they can move to battle-yard and choose between the Sang and Vorcha which are both excellent slower fleet-backbone ships.

As a side note, for both Klingons and Romulans: there are 2 ways to decloak your ships.  If you tell them to decloak, they will begin firing immediately at whatever they feel like, but if you tell them to target an enemy they will wait until they finish decloaking to start firing.  For Klingons, this means you missed 4 seconds of shooting!  For Romulans it's less of a big deal, and occasionally you might WANT to focus your RoF bonus on the target ship instead of wasting a volley of it firing on something else.

Most people don't realize how awesome Klingon cloak detect is.  Yes, it's a pain to use and can't detect already cloaked ships, but it gets the job done.  The trick is to NOT bring your brels into combat in the beginning, when the enemy is ready to fight.  Keep 1-2 brels in their own control groups behind the enemy ships, and decloak them the instant the enemy cloaks to guarantee 1-2 free kills.  Against a Romulan player, this will either win you the game or scare them onto the defensive.  Remember, don't target ships to decloak, just hit the decloak button and your brels will start firing immediately.  If the fleets are getting too big, try getting Weapon Fatigue for a huge defensive boost that keeps your brels alive longer.

Against Romulans and Klingons you can even send a few small ships with damage specials to sit at their yard.  When the enemy ship pops out, they almost always cloak it right away and send it to join the fleet.  If you can decloak your brel inside that window, you get a free kill and some fond memories :lol:

Dominion

First, a quick note about carriers.  Carriers are ridiculously powerful, not because their damage is especially good but because their fighters provide a constant defensive screen for your ships.  A few B5's are like the old Generix supports, they can easily double the strength of any fleet because stuff just doesn't die.  You can basically shut down a starbase or turret, since they'll fire on the closest targets (fighters) before your ships.  Also, with its speed and defensive value, the B5 is the hardest to kill ship in the game (besides things like Tavara and Cube)  It doesn't do much damage, but it also costs practically nothing besides supply.

Dominion need to outmass their enemies to get kills, because a Dominion fleet will take losses in every battle.  The trick is to get kills in exchange for your losses, because you can build many more ships than the enemy.  It takes a few games just to figure out how the Dominion economy works and how to optimize your insane ship-building capabilities.

Any dominion fleet that isn't entirely made up of fast ships should eventually get B8's with IS bomb.  A mass engine disable is the single best thing you can have when your defining characteristic is "bad at retreating"

Also, Dominion cloak detect is the best in the game.  It's a bit confusing though: you get a sensor station and research the remote ping, then you tell the station to ping somewhere on the map.  It will send out a ping from one of your ships that is closest to that spot.  Now, this may not sound that good at first, except that THERE IS NO WAY TO STOP IT.  No scout, no brel, no EM adaptor they can snipe.  Your sensor station can be right next to your starbase if you want.

Borg

And finally, the Borg.  Ahh, Borg.  :borg:

Borg are all about the run distance: how far you have to run to reach safety.  Since they can't build yards or very powerful turrets, this is almost entirely up to the map.

Duel II has a very short run distance because of the blue nebulas.  This allows borg to get dodes, spheres, diamonds, and cubes in situations where they would otherwise have problems.

Maps like Early Bird and Malta x3 have much longer run distances: if the enemy has enough firepower to kill your sphere, you're going to have to run all the way back to your starbase.  If your hitpoints are low enough, they might pursue and kill your sphere under the starbase, at which point you're effectively done.  For this reason, Borg upgrade their starbase offense more often than any other race.

Always keep track of the enemy's fleet sizes and your run distance, and you'll do fine.  If the run distance is long, you want to keep an escort of scubes at all times.  But these scubes don't actually protect your spheres/dodes/etc.  They just hang out near the enemy base, threatening to kill every miner he has if he sends his fleet to chase down and kill your sphere.

On the bright side, while you're worrying about keeping your ships alive, you don't have to worry about your miners at all.  Seriously, Borg miners are ridiculous and should never be attacked without significant mid-late game firepower or in response to slow borg ships harassing the main base.  Romulans in particular should NEVER attack borg miners unless the borg fleet is significantly reduced, because 1. this allows the Borg to raid the Romulan mining and 2. this depletes the RoF bonus, setting you up for an ambush that's not worth killing 1-2 miners.

Final Note: hotkeys

I'm sure most of you are aware of control groups and attack/stop commands.  But what you may not be aware of is Fleet Ops' unique setup for active commands.  You can order a ship to attack something by either hitting A and then clicking on a ship, OR you can simply float the cursor over that ship and then hit A.  Much more importantly, you can do this with T for the transporter.

This is the key to boarding ships, the only good way to do it.  This is how Arash manages to board ships in the 2-4 seconds it takes to decloak, he just whips the mouse over and hits T.

Also, you should know how to use Ctrl-C for cloak and decloak, and Shift-R for priority repair.  Finally, all the starbases use C for build constructor, F for build freighter (miner), and S for scout.  Makes the beginning of the game easier, when everyone but Dominion starts with 4 miners every single time.

I hope this sheds some light on the inner mechanics of Fleet Ops without being too tedious to read.
posted on January 4th, 2012, 6:50 pm
Very good read. Thanks for compiling that information.
posted on January 4th, 2012, 8:44 pm
This is a very good overview.
posted on January 4th, 2012, 9:52 pm
Since this is titled 'hidden parts of Fleet Ops' I would like to point out direction of yard repairs and map orientation.

Depending on what race you are, and whether you play on the bottom or top half of the map.

First let's look at the individual yards and the direction your ships enter the yard to repair and exit:

Federation:

Antares: Enter Top, Exit Bottom
Eraudi: Enter Top, Exit Bottom

Klingon:

Field Yard: Enter Bottom, Exit Top
Battle Yard: Enter Top, Exit Bottom
Imperial Yard: Enter Bottom, Exit Top

Romulan:

Star Yard: Enter Bottom, Exit Top
Warbird Yard: Enter Bottom, Exit Top

Dominion:

Construction Yard: Enter Bottom, Exit Top
Large Construction Yard: Enter Bottom Side, Exit Top

Borg: No Yards

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, consider playing on the bottom half of the map, as Federation. If you are retreating from a battle, you move from the top of the map to the bottom, and therefore as soon as you reach the top of your yard you repair quickly.

On the other hand, if you play in a way where you are retreating to the bottom half of your federation yard, you have to swing around to the top to get in. Where you might be open to continued fire.

Depending on how many ships you are repairing, which direction will the line up go, and where will your enemy be shooting from?

On the other hand, if you play on the bottom half of the map as Dominion you have to enter the bottom so it takes a little longer. But on the plus side, you exit the top towards the direction of your enemy, so if they are attacking your home base, right as you exit the yard you will be ready to engage the enemy fleet.

Klingons have the clear advantage here. The first two yards field and battle are enter bottom and enter top respectively. Building a battle yard at your expansion with the right orientation gives you easy access to repairs. However, if you have a long chain of repairs with enter from top, your ships at the end will lag and get shot down.

So there are some ups and downs to consider.
posted on February 4th, 2012, 10:25 pm
I think we both know its not as simple as that:

First of all its just too dangerous for klingons to keep fighting after their shields are down. Except for the k'beajq, the risk of subsystem faliure is just not worth it, especially because the klingon midgame ships are supply hogs. This could be manageable if klingon supply were a little cheaper to get but it isn't.

Secondly, who said dominion ships die like crazy? Go for breen B-8 and then T-15. They are the spinal columns of dominion fleets and can be succesfully used against any race except the federation. There is also a trick to minimize deaths for the weak and sickly ships such as the bug or S-2. Since you have the advantage of numbers on your side simply retreat them while their shields are still at 50%. You have to note that they will take damage as they retreat so they might just get away still half alive.

The feds you got pretty much right buut... there is still the choice between double yarding or starfleet command in the early game. Starfleet command is more like throwing a dice to your enemy and hope it roles in your favor, because, for example, the S-2's live those excelsiors man! :D

Last but not least, if you don't like romulan RoF then go for the large yard. It won't make it go away but it will help... :shifty:
posted on February 15th, 2012, 1:18 am
Beef wrote:I think we both know its not as simple as that:

First of all its just too dangerous for klingons to keep fighting after their shields are down. Except for the k'beajq, the risk of subsystem faliure is just not worth it, especially because the klingon midgame ships are supply hogs. This could be manageable if klingon supply were a little cheaper to get but it isn't.

Secondly, who said dominion ships die like crazy? Go for breen B-8 and then T-15. They are the spinal columns of dominion fleets and can be succesfully used against any race except the federation. There is also a trick to minimize deaths for the weak and sickly ships such as the bug or S-2. Since you have the advantage of numbers on your side simply retreat them while their shields are still at 50%. You have to note that they will take damage as they retreat so they might just get away still half alive.

The feds you got pretty much right buut... there is still the choice between double yarding or starfleet command in the early game. Starfleet command is more like throwing a dice to your enemy and hope it roles in your favor, because, for example, the S-2's live those excelsiors man! :D

Last but not least, if you don't like romulan RoF then go for the large yard. It won't make it go away but it will help... :shifty:


Everbody know the dominion is the most fragile race

Ummmmmmmmmmm The S2 Has 18 Defence? Ummmmmm thats less than a risner Monsoon....... And no one in their right mind goes straight B-8s against any other race except the borg, Seriously, All races have really good long range counters, B-rels, cealers, Monsoons, S-2s, the list is brutal. and there all easy to get to.

that, and i've never seen a KBQs systems fail, ever, it has  like the toughest systems of any klingon ship.
posted on February 15th, 2012, 5:29 am
Actually I'm with Beef on this one.  Well, sorta.

Dominion HAVE the weakest-defense ships in their lineup, but not all of their ships are that way.  B8's seem to be the best option in many cases, although Fed Monsoons will always be a pain.  Against other races they work fine though.
posted on February 15th, 2012, 2:38 pm
Styer Crisis wrote:Everbody know the dominion is the most fragile race

Ummmmmmmmmmm The S2 Has 18 Defence? Ummmmmm thats less than a risner Monsoon....... And no one in their right mind goes straight B-8s against any other race except the borg, Seriously, All races have really good long range counters, B-rels, cealers, Monsoons, S-2s, the list is brutal. and there all easy to get to.


Ummmm, have you ever seen a bunch of B'rels fail horribly againgst anything that actually shoots at them? 11 defense isn't much. In fact, 11 defense is PAPER. Also, Caelahrs aren't easy to get once you settled for the star yard, but with their large size they would be perfect counters for pulse weapons too.

Anyway, since we were at yards earlier I might add a side note about the rally points of yards. It is usually wise to set your rally point to the entrance of the yard since you are likely to encounter a few situations in this game at which your expansion (with the yard) is under attack and the enemy will shoot at your poor ship as soon as it comes out of the yard. This way you will save a short moment that you would normally need to command the ship to move to repair.
posted on February 17th, 2012, 6:25 am
Last edited by godsvoice on February 17th, 2012, 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
About the yards and stuff. (Edit: Just copied and pasted this from below, I added this in at the end, but wanted to state it at the beginning again:  So I think I wanted to clarify that both aspects have merit. The protection that comes from swinging around to repair, and the speed of repairing head first from a retreat.)

I suppose I sort of wrote off the Borg, as they have no yards, however they do have their stations.

Like with the post about rotatable structures, you have to consider the SB orientation and map starting point.

For instance, against the AI, when I build my conduction matrix right off the bat right out of the station, it is usually right in front of it. So when I'm on the top of the map, it usually gets built behind the station, and enemy units shoot at my star base long before my conduction matrix comes under fire. However, when you play on the bottom of the map, because the SB faces upwards, unless you move your constructor to be on the bottom part of the map, you will be building the conduction matrix above you star base.

Maybe I wrote that a little bit long winded, essentially, if you are on the bottom of the map, and build conduction matrix right where the constructor exits, it won't be able to rely on star base for cover fire. However, if you play on the top of the map, it will automatically give you cover.

The point is not so much that even on the bottom half of the map, you can move the constructor and build it in a protected area, but what the default settings are, and how they favour certain positions.

Hopefully that all made sense. Same goes for when it comes to building incubation centres, transmission, but those usually come later, and not so important as how the constructor exits, and the station is facing as like in above.

Also, for the other factions, sort of Part 2:

A lot of it can depend on the types of units you are battling against. So let's say I'm retreating from short ranged units, or long ranged units. I agree this is all a little nitpicky about gameplay, but still, even quarters add up.

Short range units are generally somewhat faster, but will have a harder time, long range units will be able to shoot your ships down more easily though even if they are slower if your yard is the wrong way for the retreat. And depending on numbers you can take a pounding, Ie if you were being tailed by 5 e2s or something maybe, (retreating, suggesting some ships are damaged already). They might be slower, but when they catch up to you, you are just doddling there at the yard.

Other thing, is how you build turret defences. Against AI, let's say I have my Eraudi yard horizontally right beside my Starbase, er antares whatever. And say I'm on the bottom half of the map. So I'm faced the right way, where my ships will go right into the yard quickly, but! the line up goes the wrong way, to where I'm retreating from. However if you build some turrets say 1 eraudi length above the actual station... its true, you have turrets in the middle of nowhere 'seemingly', but then when you retreat, your back line is covered by turrets.

Also, in some cases, advanced turret locations like that are just nice. Building 1 turret at each moon, but not bolstering the defences there. Instead, drawing the line higher up. Also those turrets serve as a scouting line of stations to let you see further out.

So, this type of thing can affect turret station placement, and to always consider the ships that are chasing you.

When your yard is facing the wrong way (where you have to loop around to the other side to repair), does this mean you are getting more natural station coverage like from a home SB or something. Where do you need to defend?

Edit: So just as much as considering which way is your yard facing with respects to direction of retreat, but also QUAntity, how many ships are retreating? In the beginning, 6 ships retreating in the right direction to a well faced yard is awesome. However, if you ever repair like 10-12+ ships, I find it better when they need to loop around. Because in looping around, the line up goes away from the retreat. But also when the first of those ships do repair, they come out facing the attacking ships that are chasing. So best of both worlds. The only downside is when you are being chased, and one or two ships just can't make it that far, (so let's say the ships that are first in line, that if they were able to go in right away and not loop around they'd be save, but because they took a few seconds to swing around, either short range ships were right on top of them, and shot them down, or the long range ships were close enough to shoot them down as they made they turn). So I think I wanted to clarify that both aspects have merit. The protection that comes from swinging around, and the speed of repairing head first from a retreat.
posted on February 17th, 2012, 1:39 pm
that was well said, if a bit long-winded.  I think it can be summarized by the statement:

Don't assume that your ships are safe just because they're near the yard.  What matters is the yard entrance which is different for various yards.  You haven't retreated to safety until you're at the right end of the yard.  Also, you should set the rally point of a repair yard to its entrance, so repaired ships automatically get in position to do it again.
posted on February 17th, 2012, 5:09 pm
Last edited by godsvoice on February 17th, 2012, 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Yeah, afterwards the post was a bit long looking.

Borg: Building conduction matrix immediately at exit sometimes gets coverage from star base. I.e. when you are on the top of the map. On the bottom of the map however, that cover is not given, enemy units can target your conduction matrix without having to fear star base.

So borg don't have yards to really be considered, but that one aspect is sort of important I guess for opening speed of game.

Other factions: Exactly how Tryptic summarized.

Also, the safety of the retreat is looking at what units are attacking or chasing you. If it is short ranged units, they have to be much closer to catch you as you turn or enter the yard. Long range units can target you from further away. Also, short ranged units have a harder time of being able to shoot whatever ships they want. Having 5 e2s for instance right close to your yard, I can pick the weakest ships and I won't have to move them because they will always be within long range. So your 3 most damaged ships will always be targeted, but for short ranged ships, you might noticed that in choosing your 3 most damaged ships, they have to sometimes get closer, and it buys you time.

(So I find that long range units are more of a threat. For this reason, as Klingons whenever I face Feds, in every battle I target their long ranged units first. E1s and E2s die. Or simply, whenever you realize you are going to have to retreat, make a split second decision several seconds before you give the order, at a time while you still have enough ships to get kills. What ship do you want to destroy so that it can't chase you? Charghs are always a good idea to kill for retreat, same with Cehlears. I would again say that long range units are the problem. Short ranged units are generally smaller, faster, but weaker. Except for things like defiants, I kill them too right away. I'm more comfortable being chased by monsoons and akiras, for instance, than by defiants and e2s. While auto target shoots down weakest ships to lower dps against you, anticipating a possible retreat leans to taking out other targets manually)

Building turrets, sometimes I like a turret wall that anticipates a line of retreat. So if I have my yard at location X, I build turrets that are 1 or 2 eraudi lengths above X. That way, when ships come chasing, my turrets fire on them before they even get close to the yard. Build one turret at a moon, but instead of layering 2 or three more there, put them out further past beyond your base. This way you have coverage, and a those turrets give you scouting opportunities of whats coming. Easily defendable too, sending ships from home base to that forward position.
posted on February 18th, 2012, 8:36 pm
One other mistake that all players make is that they push the yard too close. I was playing with a klingon ally (human) once, and he had such a proxy craze that he would shove that battle yard inside the moon if he could... ehem... :whistling:

In the end we both got killed because his yard was phisics blocked by his own miners and the moon itself. :crybaby:
posted on February 19th, 2012, 5:44 pm
Last edited by godsvoice on February 19th, 2012, 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
For the above scenario, I don't think I would in general set my yard rally point to the entrance.

You are repairing 9 ships. Several are damaged, while several are not so bad. You are being chased by 5 ships. Some are somewhat damaged.

A few ships exit the yard quickly, while others take time to repair. Having a constant ship line of three ships to battle with the 5 ships allows the other ships to repair. You can still give manual orders for retreat and repair when 1 of the 3 is losing shields. By that time, another ship has exited the yard and will join the fight. Eventually, this will result in overpowering the 5 ships and driving them away. If they are not careful, it might result in a chase of their own ships where you go after them.

I think it depends. When your ships are alone and much more defenceless, maybe set rally point to entrance. However, sometimes you want them back in the fight to buy you a bit more time. engaging the enemy like in above can be best.

Edit: K so that doesnt necessarily make sense, if you are retreating 9 ships, and they have 5 why would you retreat? Even if they have 5 stronger ships, and yours are all weaker, than 3 weak ships isn't going to stop 5 strong ones.

But, I'm sure there is a time when something like the above scenario comes into play. Even say if you are fighting 1 ranked Tavara, and 2 warbirds, and you are retreating a larger fleet of mid powered cruisers, like ambassadors or something that can soak up some damage. 3 strong ships against 6 mid powered ships, if you can get some back in the fight etc...
posted on February 20th, 2012, 8:53 am
Last edited by Beef on February 20th, 2012, 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I think that the dominion small yards have it rather well because you don't have make any rally point muckery because they themselves go to the repair entrance by themselves.

A nice bonus to the diminished defence of early game dominion ships. Its not much but every little bit helps! :thumbsup:
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