Assault Ships (AS)

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                              PLAYING AS


Newsgroups: alt.games.xtrek
Date: Sat,  7 Mar 92 16:32:47 -0500
From: Todd Andrew Williamson <tw0i+@andrew.cmu.edu>
Subject: AS players guide

Here's my guide to playing an assault ship.  I don't consider myself to be a great AS player, but it *is* my favorite ship type.  What I'm posting here is just the basics.  Bert (Red Shirt) will probably post his more advanced stuff pretty soon.

-- Araman


Assault Ship (AS) Play


  • Internal damage/shields: 200/80
  • Maximum warp speed: 8
  • Torpedo Speed: 16
  • Maximum fuel: 6000
  • Fuel threshold speed (with/without shields): 6/5
  • Torpedo damage/fuel: 30/270
  • Plasmas damage/fuel: N/A
  • Phaser damage/fuel: Poor (80 max damage)
  • Maximum armies: 20
  • Bombing: Excellent
  • Cloaking: Excellent
  • Manuverabilty: Poor/Fair
  • Tractor/Pressor strength: Poor/Fair


Assault ships have wimpy phasers and very little fuel, which makes them pretty bad at dogfighting.  You get maybe 3 torp spreads, and you're out of fuel.  The good news is that they have the fastest torps available (along with the scout), which makes it easier to hit with the torps you do fire.  In order to kill someone, you're going to have to rely on your torps, since you won't be able to kill anything with your phasers alone. The huge hull means you can take a lot of damage and still get away, but the slow speed and poor manuverability sometimes make that difficult. Tractor beams are not often useful, as they are extremely weak, but don't forget that you have them, since there are some occasions when they may be necessary.

Assault are ships bad at ogging, too.  To ogg effectively, you really need both good tractors and good phasers.  An exception to this is for starbase oggs, where the large hull means you can survive more phaser bursts (and thus get closer to the starbase so that your explosion does more damage), and more of your faster torps will hit the slow-moving starbase.

I find myself going at a variety of speeds in AS.  Battle speed moves between 4/5/6.  AS have pretty fair acceleration, and poor manuverability, so moving between speeds to dodge is a bonus. 

vs. BB/CA

These ships manuver poorly enough that you might be able to kill them, especially if they're inexperienced.  Stay out of tractor range, and try to get them moving at warp 6 or more so that they can't dodge.  Then pelt them with a stream of torps.  They may just suck them all.

vd. DD/SC

These ships are too manuverable to hit with torps consistently, and are very hard to kill with an AS.  You'll have to guess which way they're going to dodge, and have your torps waiting for them.  Even so, you may run out of fuel before you've damaged them significantly.


Which brings me to the main purpose of the Assault Ship: taking planets.  Where taking planets is concerned, the Assault ship is King.  The extremely low cost of cloaking, the low cost of going max warp, the high engine temperature threshold, the huge hull, and the superior bombing ability all combine to make the AS the ship of choice for planet-takers (which is not to say that it is appropriate in all planet-taking situations; sometimes the maunverability and speed of a DD or SC makes it preferable).  For example, the AS can go warp 8, cloaked, with shields down from Earth almost to Draconis before it runs out of fuel. It can stay cloaked and go warp 1 without losing fuel.

The assault ship is the best ship for bombing.  It is much more likely to bomb a planet to 1 or 2 armies than the other ship-types, so it should be used for bombing whenever your team is in a low-army situation.

There are other guides to planet-taking that say more than I could possibly come up with, so I'll limit myself to a few points.  When approaching a defended planet (presumably at warp 8 cloaked; the only time you shouldn't be doing warp 8 in an AS is when you're dodging, repairing, or dead), slow down to around warp 5 and begin to dodge. t's good to det torps a little bit, so that they don't know your exact location, but you have to be careful, since detting costs a lot of fuel, which is a scarce commodity.  If you're orbitting a planet and you're going to get hit, don't just sit there like a lump.  Raise your shields (don't bother if they're already gone...) and det the stream at max range, then resume bombing or beaming.

Assault ship pilots are often accused of being runner scum.  That's because ogger scum like to hunt us down and kill us, and they're often successful.  If you're going to be ogged, your best shot is to run away and fire torps out the back.  The combination of your fast torps and the fact that they're moving so fast that they can't dodge makes it possible to damage them heavily.  Cloaking is also an option.  If you have a kill, you should be constantly looking at the galactic map for those incoming ??.  Chances are there's sombody coming for you.  Remember that the ogger is not afraid of dying, as long as he can do damage to you. An ogger's ship is worthless to him, and since you already have a kill, he doesn't lose anything by giving you another.  This is why you should run away.  If he can cripple you, he'll be back to finish you off in his bright, shiny new CA (or even SC) before you get a chance to repair.

Of course, having escorts helps.  Let your escorts det the torps for you while you're beaming down armies; you're much more effective this way. If you die, but take the planet, that's cool.

-- Araman


Newsgroups: alt.games.xtrek
From: hde+@CS.CMU.EDU (Herbert Enderton)
Subject: tips on playing assault ships
Date: Sat, 07 Mar 92 22:46:56 GMT

I'm not a great assault ship either, but I like spouting off, so here is some more advice on playing the assault ship.  Take it or leave it.

Tips for playing the assault ship


Conserve your fuel; don't fire until you're pretty sure that you will hit.  For example if you're being ogged, one good strategy is to wait or run until the moment when the ogger uncloaks behind you, then blow him away before he gets a chance to fire.  The warp 16 torps are very good for this.  A reasonable rule of thumb is to fire when you get tractored, not before.  Try to stay near fuel planets, because you're sure to be low on fuel after every fight.  If someone attacks you when you have less than half a tank of fuel, you're probably not going to be able to kill him, so if you need to live, cloak, dodge, det where necessary, and pray that he doesn't get a phaser lock on you.  Or else run towards a friend.

When planet-taking or bombing, save your last 1000 units of fuel for staying cloaked when getting to the planet and for detting (which costs 100 fuel every time you hit the key).  Learn how early you can afford to cloak when going for a planet.  Remember that if you cloak when it's condition green, they can't even see the ?? on the galactic map.

If you can get to the planet before an enemy gets within phaser range of it, you can guarantee yourself a few seconds on the planet by detting all torps.  It takes 800 points worth of torps to kill you, if you just keep bombing or beaming down your armies while detting at the maximum range.  Stay cloaked, of course, so you don't get tractored off the planet.  Detting also has the advantage that it hides your exact position.  The assault ship is by far the best choice for trying to take the last planet, because it can take so much punishment while beaming down armies.

Look for planets with exactly 5 armies.  You can destroy or take these with a one-kill assault ship carrying 3 armies.  Planets with 6 armies are annoying, because the assault ship's bombing advantage is nullified.

Always send one distress call when you pick up armies, to inform your team.  Also call out the planet you intend to try for, but be flexible if it's not going to work.  Your teammates won't necessarily escort you, but at least they'll have some idea what you're doing, and even the greedy ones might use the opportunity to scum a kill off someone ogging you, or to attack a planet elsewhere while you get clobbered.  This advice applies to all ships, of course.  Two distress calls means you're in trouble, e.g. you're low on fuel and Val Ckurai is coming to kill you.

Assault ships are great for playing the "machine gun": orbiting a fuel planet and firing at anybody in range, while detting (at maximum range) any torps that might hit you.  The assault ships torpedos have the longest range of all; they go off the screen and then some.  On the offensive side of a last planet stand (or a last-two-planet stand), it's great fun to be an assault ship machine gun at a fuel planet within range of the target planet.  For example last night we had the Feds down to Earth and Vega, so I flew down to Altair and fired continuously from there towards Earth.  This was sufficient to pick up an easy kill or two, and also drew their attention away from our cloakers -- it's hard to watch the galactic map while you're dodging torpedos.  Of course eventually they would come after me and usually kill me, but that's the idea in an assault ship: force them to attack you, then run away.  Other things the machine gun is good for include defending one planet against multiple cloakers, breaking up a starbase-og wave, and in general taking pot-shots.  Try to avoid overheating your weapons though.

When the enemy has many planets with many armies on each one, the assault ship is the only reasonable choice.  For example if you're a Romulan, and you just genocided the Feds and now have to face the Klingons, your side will have 20 planets with typically about 15 armies on each one, and the Klingons will have 10 planets with an average of 35 armies on each one, and 55 on the agris.  In this case to play anything but an assault ship and to do anything but bomb would be very foolish. Some people complain that they always get killed in assault ships, in such situations.  This may be true, but it's not because assault ships are easy to kill; they're not.  It's because an assault ship poses a much bigger threat to the Klingons than anything else, so the good players will concentrate on killing the assault ships.  So the obvious Romulan strategy is to take 8 assault ships into Klingon space at the same time, and some of them will get through to flatten some planets. In situations like this it is important not to try to fight the enemies; if you spend 40 seconds getting to Castor, smash into a Klingon and you both die, that only helps the Klingon defense.  Instead just fire a few torpedos, if you like, to give them something to think about, then cloak, dodge and det on your way to one of their planets.  Fuel planets tend to be harder to bomb this way, because a clueful defender will orbit the planet in order to shoot at you without running out of fuel. The usual strategy for the Klingons in this situation is to send a few AS bombers, but keep the starbase and some good cruisers back to kill bombers, and when some of these cruisers get a few kills they refit to assault ships, load up with as many as 20 armies each, and go take the Fed quadrant.

Assault ships make excellent decoys because they look like planet-takers, they can stay cloaked for a long time, and they can detonate a lot of torps without dying.  The role of a decoy is to draw attention away from the real planet-taker, and to use up the enemy's fuel.  So if your friend up at Canopus says she wants to take Earth, you fly past Earth cloaked (all cloakers look alike, they won't know you don't even have a kill, let alone armies) and make like you're going to attack Vega.  With luck some of them will come charging after you, leaving Earth open.  Then the idea is to stay alive, cloaked, looking threatening, for as long as possible.  So don't go straight into Vega if that will get you killed; dodge torpedos and pretend you're Mr. Wizard, as if you're just going to wait for them to use up their fuel and then take the planet under their noses.  This is where cloaking in repair mode can be handy.  Run away in earnest if they get a phaser-lock on you.  If for some reason they don't come after you, then uncloak.  It's also sometimes useful to decoy/escort to the same planet that the real taker is going for; in this case be sure not to blow up on your friend, and be doubly sure to detonate all torpedos that will hit either one of you, especially when she is orbiting the planet.  Don't go in too far ahead of her, lest you draw extra defenders and die before it's time to usefully detonate their torps.  One good trick is to overlap with your planet-taker as you approach, then you both cloak and split up, so they can't possibly know who is who.  Uncloaking and blowing people up is always an option, of course.

If you're getting ogged by some of their best players, consider simply runing to neutral space, and keep running as far as they want to chase you.  The assault ship can go practically forever at warp 8 without running out of fuel or burning out its engines; in the long run even a destroyer will have trouble keeping up.  If you're running away from them you should be able to easily dodge all of their torpedos, so you really shouldn't die.  Be content to waste their time.  Your teammates should take advantage of the opportunity to attack their planets while you're distracting the oggers.  Eventually they'll get tired of trying to kill you, and then you can sneak back and actually try to take a planet.  When you're sneaking around in neutral space, be aware of the rules about when you are hidden on the galactic and when you aren't.  If you're one third galaxy width away from all enemies, stay uncloaked, because you can't be seen anyway (unless you orbit a planet you don't own).

As with any big slow ship, you can't go around picking your fights.  If you're within range of a planet that their scout is approaching to bomb, fire some torps at the planet, maybe you'll get lucky.  But don't go chasing him if he veers off!  In general, if you want a fight, attack their planets, and thereby force them to attack you.  A multiple-kill assault ship can actually be a surprisingly good ogger, because the target will often charge at you, which is much better than you having to charge at it.  And when you can achieve surprise, those fast torps can kill him before he has time to react.  Play in such a way that you are content no matter what the enemy does; if he leaves you alone you bomb his planets, and if he attacks you, you kill him.

 -- Red Shirt