Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

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antlucasexe Sep 30, 2014 @ 4:47am
How do you use strategy in battles?
Hi all,

I didn't think much of SOASE at first, but the more I play it, the more I'm getting to like it.

The area I'm not coping so well with, though, is micro-managing battles. Battles feel like a right mess, over which you can have very little influence. I tend to just use overwhelming odds to win most confrontations and just let my fleets do their thing. I'd really like to micro-manage these though, because my capital ships keep foolishly wasting their abilities when on auto-cast.

Does anyone have any tips on the best way to micro-manage battles? Or is it a case of its best to just let them unfold?

I was thinking maybe turn off the auto-cast on abilities for a particular capital ship (or all of them?) and try to coordinate the battle that way, but its all a bit fast and furious. Any suggestions?

Last edited by antlucasexe; Sep 30, 2014 @ 6:34am
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Showing 1-15 of 49 comments
Chaoslink Sep 30, 2014 @ 9:05am 
Hotkeys. Keep certain units under hotkey and you can focus only on where to use the ability over selecting the ship. Though in most cases the only micromanaging I do other than my titan is to tell my fleet to stop hitting capital ships and knock out the frigates. In the long run you often benefit from that more than killing the capital ship first, though it usually depends on just what kind of capital ships are in the battle.

Only some capital ships have abilities you really need to micro manage. The Kol Battleship or the Radiance battleship Don't really need micromanaging for instance. They can often do their best just being left alone. Your Progenitor Mothership of the advent though you definately want to keep in the middle of your fleet to get the most coverage from its shield restore. The only abilities often worth managing are AoE anyways, just making sure you get the most out of the effect by maximizing the amount of ships affected, whether its a beneficial effect for yours or a harmful one on your enemies.

Other than that, its really more about fleet makeup. Choosing the right balance of ships to counter your enemy. If they use lots of strike craft, go for flak ships. The AI even of your ships I feel was done rather well as they often prioritize ships that would be best to hit first anyways. Flak ships always go for strike craft so theres no need to tell them to. So in some cases its not needed to micromanage.
antlucasexe Sep 30, 2014 @ 11:13am 
Thanks for the comprehensive reply :)

Yes, the lack of need to micro-manage is fairly evident most of the time, but I find that a little bit disappointing... I'd like to feel that my management of the battle could conceivably change the outcome, but it often doesn't feel like thats the case. You're either out-matched or you're not. But it'd really add a nice dimension to the gameplay to be able to issue some meaningful orders mid-battle.

I think concentrating on the ships with the AoE talents is probably a good idea, yeah. Maybe I'll just pick the support ship in the fleet and take their talents off auto-cast and see what good I can do with them. Or a battleship with good AoE damage. The battles are definitely too furious to try to manage every capital ship individually though.

I did try it once with a capital ship that had the shield restore ability, but no matter how many times I tried to tell it to restore someone's shields it just wouldn't listen to me. Frustrating...

GoaFan77 Sep 30, 2014 @ 12:57pm 
The developers of Sins did not want their game to be a "clickfest" RTS, so they thankfully gave units decent behavior AI so that you do not need to obsesively control all of your units. That said, good micromanagement can still have amazing results if you want to get into it, and is very necessary in the competitive multiplayer scene (against the AI you only need to do the basics like not order your fleet into minefields).

Much of the tactical depth in Sins comes from 2 things. One is your fleet combisition and being able to build a fleet that counters your opponents. The other is the special abilities. Using some abilities like Missile Barrage at the right moment can totally change the outcome of a battle, while other abilities like Ion Bolt can help prevent said abilities from wrecking your fleet. With practice you will soon get a good idea about which capitalship abilties can be left on autocast and which ones you need to control yourself to get the best results.

Also, was that shield restore ability the Advent one of the TEC one? The advent one does not need a target and is channeling (meaning giving it another order will cancel the ability), but it will heal the shields of your entire fleet. It is one of the most important advent abilties and is often the implicit core of most Advent tactics, since it gives Advent "Battleballs" impressive tanking power, especially when combined with their Guardian support cruiser.
ACJCLIGHTNING Sep 30, 2014 @ 1:19pm 
The people mentionede most stuff here. Being pretty bad at micromanaging until recently, one thing that was left out is putting flak frigates in the middle of the enemy fleet(atleast some of them) since they have 360 degree firing and can fire more if they can shoort in multiple directions. They are also some of the most tanky frigates despite their low damage to ships, so sending them to the front can take some fire off the rest of the fleet.

Thats for TEC atleast.

Am I right or wrong, I haven't actually played any real competitive games.
WOEaintME Sep 30, 2014 @ 2:49pm 
I agree with the comment on hotkeys and also if you stack the emprie tree and make fleets you can command units by groups of ten. For example, you could have a group of 10 Cobalts attacking carriers (queue multiple attacks with shift clicks) and another group of ten attacking enemy Cobalts (again with shift click).

As has already been mentioned microing the capital ship abilities is a good idea and can be the difference in very close battles.
Venrez Sep 30, 2014 @ 5:34pm 
As others have said, micromanagement is thankfully 'low' in this game at a base level. Units are intelligent enough to go for targets they are designed to counter and generally use their auto-cast abilities in the right situations. Generally though. Of course you cant account for every possible situation and encounter with given 'yes' or 'no' switches for when a unit does something.

Generally speaking, as others have mentioned, the most important things to remember and / or do involve :

- Certain Capital Ship abilities are definitely better left on auto-cast or manual. Over time you will learn which, also depending on your style of play, but things like the Akkan Battlecruiser (TEC) Ion Bolt is fantastic to use manually to stop an enemy from phase-jumping away. Let them charge their phase engines for a few seconds at the edge of the gravity well, then Ion Bolt them. You'll gain an extra 20 seconds or so of damage on the target if they are fleeing.

Same applies to the Jarrasul Evacuator (Vasari). The Gravity Warhead ability can also be used in such a manner.

The Marza Dreadnaught's (TEC) Level 6 Missile-Storm ability is also best used manually. The AI-autocast tends to use it when there are only a couple of targets nearby, but if you can fly your Marza in amongst the enemy fleet and use it then, it'll hit many more targets. The Vasari Dreadnaught also has a similar but less powerful ability (Phase Missile Swarm or something).

"Healing" abilities, like the TEC Dunov Battlecruiser Shield-Restore, or the Vasari Carrier's Repair Cloud, or the Advent Progenitor Mothership's Shield Restore, are definitely better left to manual control during the early stages of the game when fleet sizes tend to be smaller and your anti-matter regenerates less quickly, along with a lower level Capital Ship.

However, later in the game, when you've got hundreds of ships going at one another and multiple Capital Ships and Titans and everything else, its then better to set these "Healing" abilities to auto-cast, unless you specifically want to keep something in particular alive.

- Remember that Sins as a whole generally lacks rotating turrets on ships. The listed stats for ships is often completely wrong or inaccurate considering the functionality of how they work in battle. For example, the TEC Garda Flak Frigate lists quite a high DPS. Early on, I built mass amounts of these ships thinking they were simply better than the others.

However, the listed DPS of the ship is if ALL of the weapons (of that type) on the ship are firing at once. So the Garda has 4 Flak Turrets, one on each 'corner' of the ship. However, it is rarely, if ever, firing all 4 at the same target.

This is most evident with the Advent Illuminator Vessels (The Beam frigates). They have 3 beams and immense damage overall, but can only fire 1 beam at a time at a target. Therefore to get the best effect from these ships, it is often important to fly them in amongst the enemy directly so they are deliberately surrounded, and thus all 3 beam weapons fire at targets on 3 sides.

- Always micro-manage your Titan. It is your most powerful singular unit, an immense investment in terms of resources but also an indispensible tool of fleet-support and destruction. It can easily turn the tide of a battle in your favor and single-handedly annihilate opposing fleets in the right situations, but at the same time, the ship AI tends to be rather dumb in terms of correctly utilizing the Titans in particular.

Generally, I leave all of my Titan abilities to manual and not auto-cast, unless it is something like the Ankylon (TEC Loyalist) Furious Defence ability, which provides benefit regardless of whatever it is doing.

In contrast to this, the TEC Rebel Titan (Ragnarov) is nightmarishly stupid with its abilities if left on auto-cast. If you're using the Ragnarov, better to manual-control everything it does. Same goes for the Vasari Rebel Titan.

- As I mentioned earlier about weapon-banks and how ships lack turrets, thus being only able to fire in particular directions, sometimes you can save a ship or completely turn a battle around by exploiting this factor.

If the enemy is focus-firing on a particular ship of yours and you see it, sometimes it is a good decision to tell that individual ship to fly straight ahead, through the enemy fleet and continue going.

The enemy fleet, by focus-firing on it, will try to turn to face the ship as it flies through them, often resulting in the entire enemy fleet turning its back to the rest of your forces. Since most ships lack rear-facing weaponry or have less side-facing weaponry, they lose an incredible amount of effectiveness during the time they are busy turning around.

Innocent Sep 30, 2014 @ 9:35pm 
I had a fleet with 4 Dunovs that were hotkeyed 1-4. I would just cycle through them to restore up to 2000 pnts of shields :)
For targetting, it's a bit tricky. I either center the camera on the target, zoom in and then cycle through the hotkeys, or use the little icons on the fleet tree on the left (but these tend to jump up and down a lot because of strikecraft, it's driving me nuts by the way, if someone has any tips to stop this).
Venrez Oct 1, 2014 @ 1:52am 
Despite my lengthy post above, I still feel like Sins is missing a lot of critical information, even though I've played it since the initial Stardock release and sunk hundreds upon hundreds of hours into the game. I will say, I play purely versus AI. I dont bother with online 'competitive' play so any human-versus-human related info isnt pertinent.

But typically speaking, the info tooltips for ships are wildly inaccurate. I mean seriously, inaccurate as bad guys in movies.

Ships have very specific armor types as is common in RTS games. They use a given 'label' or attribute that doesnt do anything in and of itself, but it means that other factors can affect or are affected by it.

For example, a Ship (Javelis LRM Frigate) is classified as 'Light' armor, meaning certain weapons do more or less damage to 'Light' targets. Its weapons (missiles) are classified as 'Anti-Heavy', meaning they do additional damage to anything with the 'Heavy' attribute. But they may do less to something with the 'Light' attribute.

The tooltips for units are very vague. They only say 'Effective versus Light Frigates and Support Cruisers' for example, but it is critically non-specific.

It rarely, if ever, tells you exactly which units are what type and what damage type their weapons do to what targets, how often, when and how.

As I mentioned, the listed Damage-per-Second (DPS) for Garda Flak Frigates is huge, but it is critically unhelpful because it doesnt tell you that it only deals that much damage if it is firing all 4 guns at once at the same target, which it cannot do. It also doesnt tell you that its weapons do vastly reduced damage to certain targets, but more against others.

It just says 'Effective Versus Strike Craft', it doesnt say '+65% damage to Very-Light Armor Type'.

It would be ~much~ more helpful if the tooltips were like

Javelis LRM Frigate
Frigate - Light Class

Hull XX
Shields XX
Armor XX
Shield Mitigation XX

LR Missiles - Anti-Heavy
(+% damage versus Heavy)
(-% damage versus Light and Structure)

Damage per Individual Projectile XX
(Beam Weapons Damage per Second)

This is largely why I basically never, ever, bother with Carrier Cruisers for Strike Craft. To me, personally, even after all these years of play, Strike Craft seem only mildly effective and the cost : reward ratio for the structures or units that provide Strike Craft seem drastically inefficient.

So you can build a few Bomber squadrons, but they seem to do pathetic damage even to things they are supposed to be good against, like Cruisers or Structures. They are instantly annihilated by Flak or Fighters and generally spend 50% of their combat time flying around in circles rather than sitting still and shooting like all other units do.

As far as Strike Craft are concerned, I simply assign Fighters to anything capable of holding Strike Craft, because at least they shoot down Bombers and even seem to do more damage than Bombers to virtually everything else.

It doesnt help that the descriptive "this unit is good versus this" tooltips for Fighters and Bombers is also incredibly vague and unhelpful. Along with the weapon information.

So a TEC Bomber does 2 damage apparently? Sure, there may be several craft in a Squadron, but why the heck would I bother with that when they can be killed so easily by anything that can attack them and even then do less damage than a single LRM Frigate?

The only advantage is that Strike Craft cannot be shot by most weapons, but even then - who cares - they dont seem to do enough to even be worried about. Even ~huge~ amounts of Strike Craft can be ignored completely throughout a battle even if you destroy the enemy Carriers last. Even then, most of the Strike Craft spend the majority of the battle with 1 active 'unit' in the Squadron because all the rest have been killed and are being replaced by the host Carrier.

- - -

I've learned to play with it, but its also very strange how statistics in Sins are 'delayed'.

For example, even in the simplest firefight, you'll see Unit A shoot a whole bunch of lasers at Unit B. Roughly 5-10 seconds after maybe 5 laser shots have hit the target, only then will the target's health or shields change.

This is most evident when you have a large group of Ogrov structure-destroying Cruisers and you focus fire them at a single enemy building. Maybe 50-60 missiles will hit the building and it will display full health and shields and everything.

Only to then suddenly go from 3000 Hull to 0 and explode long after the missile explosions have already appeared and disappeared from the target.

Sins is a great game, but its just surprising that even after all these years and so much gameplay, I still dont understand how the vast majority of it even works.
Last edited by Venrez; Oct 1, 2014 @ 1:58am
antlucasexe Oct 1, 2014 @ 3:27am 
Thank you everyone for your good hints and tips (especially Venrez, who has written a dissertation on the subject - I did read it all, thanks!). Sounds like everyone plays TEC :)

I totally agree that appropriate info on each ship design is definitely lacking. I'm always really confused about what does what.

What I've learned so far is that its generally a good idea to use manual control on your capital ships when the battles are relatively small and there aren't too many of them to worry about, but when you get to full armada vs full armada it becomes more about selecting your most important ships (Titans, capital ships with protective abilities) and managing their abilities.

A few follow-up questions:

1) Are strike craft really that useless? I keep building defense hangers and capital carrier ships thinking that more guns in the fight must be better - but am I wrong then?

2) Given how quickly battles go, how do you get around managing multiple capital ships at once without sacrificing their efficiency? Do you pause the game a lot?

3) If you take some of your capital ship abilities off auto-cast and leave some on - won't that capital ship just drain its antimatter reserves using the auto-cast abilities continuously, meaning you never get the chance to use the manual ones?

4) GoaFan77 - It was the TEC Dunov shield restore ability that you have to target on a particular ally. For some reason it just wouldn't listen to the command. Targetting of the talent seems to be very unresponsive.

The smaller battles are not so much of a problem for me because I can micro-manage 1 or 2 capital ships without worrying about how fast the battle is developing. Its when the battles get massive in scale that I get flustered. I worry that if I don't leave all capital ships on auto-cast then they'll just sit around not using their abilities because I can't get to them quickly enough.

I wish there was an 'ultra-slow' game speed just for battle management.
Last edited by antlucasexe; Oct 1, 2014 @ 3:51am
WOEaintME Oct 1, 2014 @ 4:48am 
Strikecraft are not useless but you do need to achieve a certain "critical mass" so to speak. One to five squadrons of fighters or bombers is not going to do a darn thing.

Having said that, two fully upgraded Advent Halcyon carrier caps (12 squadrons each if I recall correctly) and 10 Aeria Drone Hosts (3 squadrons each) provides an impressive 54 squadrons which will be very effective even if there is flak (20 - 30 bomber squads will beat flak easily). This is obviously a more mid game fleet which I would likely add a Rapture Battlecruiser to (has an ability to improve strikecraft damage).

Originally posted by antlucasexe:
I worry that if I don't leave all capital ships on auto-cast then they'll just sit around not using their abilities because I can't get to them quickly enough.

Sometimes you don't want to waste all your antimatter at the beginning of a battle because then, if enemy reinforcements arrive, you'll be lookin like a fool with your pants on the ground.
antlucasexe Oct 1, 2014 @ 5:36am 
Thanks WOEaintME. Its hard to judge how much actual damage they inflict because, as Venrez points out, there seems to be a delay between a barrage hitting a ship and the damage actually registering. So it could easily be another ship in the fleet causing the damage that I think comes from the strike craft.

Is there a particular reason for strike craft? ie A service they provide/enemy they kill that other units can't fulfill?

EDIT: I think its safe to say that strike craft must be pretty effective because my lvl 3 Akkan Battlecruiser just got completely pwned by a lvl 2 Skirantra Class Carrier.

Also I tried manually using the Ion Bolt ability on it and it did absolutely nothing. The Skirantra just carried on moving and firing. Am I doing something wrong?
Last edited by antlucasexe; Oct 1, 2014 @ 6:00am
WOEaintME Oct 1, 2014 @ 6:05am 
Strikecraft are really great against starbases and defense structures because they can't be damaged by most conventional weapons (including all the weapons on starbases). If the enemy does not have flak, corvettes (which can attack but do little damage to strikecraft) or strikecraft of their own you can and will dominate the "skies" (a few capital ship abilities will harm strikecraft but they are few and far between).

Fighters are also arguably the best way to counter strikecraft because they can pursue better than flak in addition to being immune to most enemy ships (this means you can send strikecraft into the midst of an enemy fleet and they will still be effective because most of the enmy ships can't attack your strikecraft).

Long story short, whenever I make a push into enemy territory I always bring lots of strikecraft incase I run into starbases and/or defensive structures (you will almost always run into structures against the AI) in addition to providing a force capable of engaging ships beyond standard weapon range.

If you're interested in testing strikecraft I highly recommend playing a few games with the Advent as their capital ships have the most squadrons available. If, however, you're a fan of the TEC then be sure to build a Sova or two as they have enhanced strikecraft abilities (increased armour & damage as well as instant build times).

EDIT: If you use strikecraft make darn sure that you have full (or near full) squadrons BEFORE you phase jump into battle. This is especially important for Carrier Cruisers like the Percheron, Aeria or Lasurak as they must spend antimatter to build strikecraft and phase jumps cost 100 antimatter.
Last edited by WOEaintME; Oct 1, 2014 @ 6:08am
antlucasexe Oct 1, 2014 @ 6:14am 
Thanks again. Very useful info. Having just had my a** handed to me by a capital carrier I am changing my view on strikecraft. They seem pretty decent; especially the bomber craft.
WOEaintME Oct 1, 2014 @ 6:15am 
I only answered one of your questions so while I'm here.

Originally posted by antlucasexe:
A few follow-up questions:

2) Given how quickly battles go, how do you get around managing multiple capital ships at once without sacrificing their efficiency? Do you pause the game a lot?

3) If you take some of your capital ship abilities off auto-cast and leave some on - won't that capital ship just drain its antimatter reserves using the auto-cast abilities continuously, meaning you never get the chance to use the manual ones?

2 - I assign all of my capital ships to hotkeys (Ctrl + 1 for example). In battle I simply double click a number on my keyboard to jump to that unit and manually cast abilites before moving to the next, assuming another ship has antimatter available.

3 - It depends on the ability. The KOL is notorious for draining it's antimatter because it fires its Gauss Rail Gun at any enemy ship it is fighting. It shoots flak whenever a given number strikecraft are in range and casts its Damage Reduction whenever it takes any amount of damage. However the Marza, for example, can only use Raze Planet when it is bombing a planet and it can therefore be left on autocast. In addition, until Lvl 6 it's only other antimatter ability is Radiation Bomb which you can leave on autocast if you want or you can manually aim it for maximum damage (as the radiation spreads out can harms multiple ships, aim for large clumps of ships for maximum effect).
antlucasexe Oct 1, 2014 @ 6:48am 
I see... Wow this game is way more tactical than I originally gave it credit for. I actually bought it a while ago, tried it quickly and decided I didn't like it, then came back to it recently and now love it.

So do you tend to manually control all of the Kol Battlecruiser's abilities then?
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Date Posted: Sep 30, 2014 @ 4:47am
Posts: 49