Using Units in Formation

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There are two general classes of formation, fleet and engagement. Fleet utilizes a formation representing the best placement of many unit classes and designs in order to make the entire group function stronger as a whole. Engagement is the name given to a formation comprised of a small group, about five to twenty units, of one to three unit designs not too different from each other. Engagement formations are typically useful in hitting a specific target quickly rather than an entire group over time. Fleet formations accomplish the latter.

A well-mixed fleet formation will generally contain units from all of the ship classes: Fighters, Escorts, Corvettes, frigates, and capital class ships. Each plays a specific role that will be useful at certain stages of a conflict. Fighters are best used at the beginning and middle of a conflict, in waves. Their ability to knock out components can render large ships useless for the entire battle. However, Fighter ranks will most likely dwindle far faster than any other class, so reserve extra waves for opportune moments later in the clash.

The main purpose of Escorts is as a countering force to Fighters. They are larger and pack more punch while retaining maneuverability, but cannot target components. Corvettes are useful against larger targets in greater number. They have the ability to be very maneuverable in relation to the firepower they can possess at the same time. Frigates often serve as auxiliary units. Their weapon count is not as high as other classes of the same hull size, so it is advisable to use them as either carriers or weapons platforms for very large weapon systems, both of which could make the ship vulnerable.

Auxiliary units should be used throughout the conflict but should never directly engage a target. Capital ships can serve both in an auxiliary capacity and in direct fire roles. They possess the size and weapon mounts to contain large and numerous weapons while having the armor or hanger space to defend or launch reinforcements.

Neither the unit-designing process nor the Formation Builder is designed for use in the heat of battle. To maximize their benefit to the fullest, be sure to consider these things before the fighting commences.

In a fleet type formation, it is advised to place Corvettes at the front and sides to both scout and deal with surprise attacks. They should possess the armor to withstand some beating and the maneuverability to escape danger, should that be necessary. The next layer of your formation should be heavily armored Destroyers and battleships. Keep purely auxiliary units well protected at the center of the formation. If you can, leave Fighters and Escorts in the hangers of auxiliary and capital ships until engagement. Creating complex formations like this can be made easier by using the name sorting option in the formation builder. This is described in more detail in a topic on “Using Name in the Formation Sort”.

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