I am a tactical cruiser pilot. Or maybe I should say I am a part time "TAC ship" pilot because I make an effor to play all 5 ship classes evenly so I don't get caught by the weird misconceptions various specialists have of other ships. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it seems.

One of my first complaints: if Tacs are really so powerful then why aren't more people actually piloting them? All too often I end up in teams where the only allied healer ship I see is the one I'm in. Considering the side with healers has a big advantage over the side without, in theory, it tends to really become irritating to see nobody else doing the job on your own teams.

Speaking of "in theory." The average HPS of a Koschei is 820 and the Aion is 670. The heavy beam of the Koschei can get up to 1800 HPS at close range. But close range means you are as exposed to enemy fire as the people you are healing. So that's a lot harder to do in practice than one would think. Complicating this, the optimal DPS of most tier 4 ships starts at 1500, is usually around 1800, and can get as high as 4000 DPS. The only way these healing beams are of any help at all is because people have shields and other specific modules that can reduce the damage taken. A healer can keep an ally alive facing a single opponent, and a healer-dreadnought combo can absorb fire from several opponents at once. But the reality is that the solo oponent taking on a healer-DPS combo is fighting 1 vs. 2, and the healer-dreadnought combo tends to lack the firepower to take down enemies fast. 3 attackers at the same time can be seriously frustrating to the 2 person dreadnought-healer combo.

Another frustration I often have is the frequent "armies of one" that I see. Setting up a proper healball requires coordination. Loose cannons that go off and do their own thing can singlehandedly lose the match for their entire team. Sorry Vindicta and corvette pilots. If you don't know how to keep yourself alive, your suicide runs are a liability to the enitre team no matter how high your personal score is. (And I've been guilty of that myself on occaion.)

So what I am seeing is that the so called "TAC ship expliot" is actually they have a proper team and you don't. Teamwork aided by a voice-chat application and proper coordination and planning really is OP when facing eight little "armies of one," and there is little any developer can do about it. Perhaps an ELO system for matchmaking could help, but I'm worried the Dreadnought playerbase might not be large enough for that to be viable yet.

I'll try to break this down a little bit more.

Module Amper gives a +30% to module damage and healing when the item is launched with power to weapons. That means missiles, nukes and torpedoes do more damage when launched with power to weapons (and will keep that extra damage if PTW is cut before it connects). Pods of all kinds, whether repair, tesla, sentry, or artillery will show the increased damage or healing for their duration when launched with PTW even after PTW ends. However, Module Amper doesn't have any effect on weapons directly nor on buffs from percent based boosters.

Side note: With the sole exception of the tactical cruiser's beam amplifier (which applies a visual modification to the beam) weapon buff modules are not actually modules that can "kill" according to mission system. Kills with kinetic weapon amplifier, weaponbooster pulse, weapon amplier, and offensive lockdown will only count and pay as gun kills and not modules kills. (Although you can get extra score and pay by using weaponbooster pulse as "Offensive Support" by boosting an ally as he is making a kill. But still no credit toward module kills.)

Weaponbooster pulse and weapon amplifier each add a +75% to the base weapon's damage. That's additive so with one you're doing 175% (100+75) damage and with two it's 250% (100+75+75) damage.

PTW is a bit more complicated as what it does is actually very different depending on which weapon you're using it with. Most guns get a small boost in damage per shot, which is again additive like the pulse and amplifier. But you can also get faster firing rates, which will multiply your damage output by a small ammount. Yes, in this way PTW does stack well with weaponbooster pulse and amplifier.

As for my personal opinions of these and their combos:

Weaponbooster pulse is too good not to use. Protean autoguns deal a direct 1000 DPS against enemies that come within 1400m when active. But while it is affected by module amplifier, it isn't affected by weapon amplifier or power to weapons itself. Also because it is continously launching its projectiles over its duration you need to somehow keep you power to weapons constantly on to get the full effect of module amper. So between the two, even without counting the effect on nearby allies, weaponbooster pulse performs much better. Other options include drain pulse, scrambler pulse or anti-missile lasers, which are more defensive than offensive. Drain pulse might be a good contender by making sure your damage isn't blocked by shields instead of just plain boosting damage output, but drain torpedoes in the secondary module slot also does that job.

Weapon amplifier I'm on the fence about. Competing modules include energy generator, for more PTW or shields as needed, module reboot for that punishing 4X missile combo, or something to help with mobility. Compared to energy generator or module reboot, weapon amplifier has a much better up-time and cooldown, so I can see it being useful. Since the cooldown on WA and WBP is so close togheter I see no issues stacking those two together.

Power to Weapons itself I actually don't want to use except for when something absolutely needs to die "now" with no concern for anything after. The trouble I find is that most of the time energy is much better used on shields or engines to create opportunities to fight and escape. Or in other words, killing really fast with PTW doesn't actually help much if it means the enemy's teammates get a free kill on you afterward.

So if you would like to try this combo, keep the Weapons 101 breifing. +6.5% damage isn't much, but it's always on without nasty side effect. Weaponbooster pulse and weapon amplifier are good by themselves or together. Don't bother with PTW unless you have a pocket healer or are otherwise sure your team can rescue you after you've done your thing.

Currently on PC ver. 1.10, the Jutland is barely used. The ship itself has two fatal flaws. First, the main guns are weak to the point of being useless. If it weren't for the fact that repeater guns and modules aren't different betweeen the three manufacturers the Jupiter Arms dreadnoughts wouldn't be able to fight. Second, they are the slowest ships of their tier, having only half the speed of even the second slowest ships (the Voronezh and Zmay). So without warp jump, it's practically stationary. It's a small mercy that warp jump is among the default modules for the ship.

So I mostly don't see a lot happening with the Jutlands in Veteran matches. Step 1 seems to be either to upgrade the Repeater guns to fight better or Warp Jump to move better. Step 2 is to get anything to unlock and purchase Retaliator. Step 3 is to switch to another ship. Basically, I either see an upgraded warp jump to get close to rear line enemies in a hurry and get back to the healball 30 seconds later or it isn't really upgraded from the stock modules. It is just too painful to grind the Jutland more than that, as things stand.

I recommend unlocking and purchasing as many modules as you can while you still can do so cheaply. But don't sweat it too much. It seems in the near future, the module prices aren't set to go down any. But the unlock tracks will be dissapearing. So all modules only have the prerequisite of ownership of the ship itself.

It's kind of strange, but I have never managed to get that combination of plasma ram, drain torpedo, and warp jump to work with my Dola. Should I be trying it with an Otranto instead? Or just wait to unlock everything at Tier 4 (with a Vindicta)? With the skill tree prices currently set as they are, I can't see me doing this in a Tier 4 before the skill tree gets changed again. It's actually really frustrating.

Actually, what I have observed with this combination is a bit unfortunate. In a team deathmatch, the side who has their ships die 25 times is the side that loses. In Onslaught things are somewhat better for the faster ships in that the command ship kills count much more toward winning than other player kills, so that even if it takes two or three deaths, a command ship kill will still earn your side a net profit, and you a pretty big score. But player kills still count a lot toward winning. Enough so that I have seen Onslaught matches being lost by with few command ship deaths because the team's ships get killed too often. That's bad news for the suicidal Plasma Ram and the suicidal corvette. Unless you can consistently take out two ships before you get taken out, you aren't really doing your team any good.

Though I will admit you seem to get paid a lot for it if you actually can consistently make one kill per suicide run this way.

So how do I get this to work?

What credit / XP loss?

In the new system, the price of modules has gone way up compared to the old system. And that which was unlocked didn't re-lock during the transition. Looking at a Tier III going to Tier IV, in the old system someone who XP rushed the lower tier to just spend credits on the next ship spent about 100000 credits. In the new system, since you now have to buy the modules at an expensive price, it would take about 145000 credits to get from Tier III to Tier IV. So the old player who did the XP rush got that ship at a significant discount in credits with the only disadvantage that the modules they didn't buy on that Tier III ship suddenly became more expensive.

I think someone who XP rushed the old system would end up having spent more if they went and bought the modules they skipped at the new prices. However, I only see that as being a big issue for someone who XP rushed Tier IV to get Tier V and wanted to drop down to Tier IV occasionally. That seems to be a rare case as most people who wanted to be competetive in Veteran matches would have actually worked on buying the Tier IV modules to begin with before the long grind to Tier V.

So what's wrong?

There shouldn't be any need to spam space.

In the other modes, once the timer expires, you warp in immediately when you press space. However, Onslaught uses a slightly different system. Warp-in opportunites happen every 15 seconds, and to warp in you need to press space to ready-up before the coundown reaches zero. If you don't ready in time, you won't warp in at the end of that 15 seconds, but get forced warped after the next 15 seconds.

So instead of pressing space after it counts down, you need to press space only once before the countdown expires. Unfortunately, the display is a little bugged. The display bar will turn yellow the first time, but will stay yellow after the second death, giving you the illusion you're ready to warp in even though you aren't. Press space again before the coundown expires and the bar will unlight, but the game will still consider you ready for the next respawn. Actually, it doesn't appear you can un-ready once you have pressed space once. So spamming space doesn't appear to do anything special.

But that is what I have observed. I do hope it helps.

Honestly, I don't think the plasma ram itself is much of a problem. The only advantage it really has over storm missiles or a plain old goliath torpedo is it's recharge time, and has the disadvantage of actually needing the attacker to physically touch the target. A drain torpedo also needs to be used to keep the opponent from using shields to absorb the damage, so the fast reload doesn't help as much unless a team is really distracted.

What I am seeing is that the Vindicta is faster than any ship except the corvettes. Using thrust amplifier module or the Vindicta-native officer briefing Engine Rigger makes it able to get bursts of speed that can keep up with most corvettes easily. But at the same time, its total HP is low and guns are relatively weak. A drain torpedo followed by a set of storm missiles would kill a Vindicta as fast as that Vindicta kills any artillery or tactical cruiser. So a Vindicta pilot really has to play as an ambush predator like the actual corvettes in order to survive. Sure it can take slightly more of a beating thanks to the relatively energy-efficient shields. But it really dies quickly once it's made or failed an ambush.

It feels to me the issue is more one of "seal clubbing," than anything else. It takes a lot of money and XP to work through the tech trees enough to unlock both the Vindicta and these advanced modules. So when matched against Tier IIIs that have inferior ships, fewer and less powerful modules, and nowhere near the experience the stacked disadvantages make for a very bad game for the "newbies."

To do effective damage with the Fulgora (or Machias) you really need to shoot within 1200m. The damage falls off drastically past that distance. Seriously. It's 1200 per shot under 1200m, but falls to 500 per shot at 3400m and 300 per shot at 4800m. However, if you get within 800m of a destroyer they can do severe damage with the 4 shots of their flak gun. I suspect that might be what you are experiencing.

Corvettes are really stealth assasins. However I find that the initial primary module 'Blink Warp' to actually be really bad. Sure it can be used once every 10 or 8 seconds, but the 1000m warp distance is just a drop in the bucket compared to the distance it needs to move to get in range or get out of danger. An opponent used to seeing it will simply adjust his aim and keep firing. The corvette's effectiveness as an assasin will go up a lot once it is able to use 'Light Cloak' or 'Thrust Amplifier.' Unfortunately, that means some grinding is necessary.

Light Cloak will allow you to sneak up to point blank almost anybody without being noticed. I occasionally encounter someone who seems to be able to see me just fine but in most cases out of sight is apparently out of mind. A combination of Heavy Torpedo, autoguns, and the main weapon can potentially sink an artillery cruiser or an unguarded tactical cruiser before he notices anything. Getting away from the dreadnoughts and destroyers surrounding that tactical cruiser can be a challenge afterward. But the rest of your team can certainly do some damage while the tac is away.

Thrust Amplifier will speed you up a lot for 15 seconds on a 40 second cooldown. This allows you to clear the 7000m range of most guns in mere seconds, turning your corvette into an ambush predator. Instead of sneaking up relatively slowly. You can pop the amplifier from behind cover, surprise an opponent, and use the remaining time of the thrust amplifer to help you get out of range of his allies afterward. It's not as popular an option, but still a lot more effective than the Blink Warp.

Although I mentioned Heavy Torpedoes and Autoguns above, the other secondary and proximity modules are also good. Disruptor pulse is a good can-opener to those Tier 4s who use Proximity Mines and Evasive Maneuvers to defend themselves from corvettes. Drain Torpedoes won't themselves contribute much to you damage, but will prevent an enemy from using their shields to absorb your burst. Weaponbreaker torpedoes do almost as much damage as heavy torpedoes, but also keep a survivor's flak guns from killing you long enough for you to get away or finish him.

To be honest, corvettes still get killed very easily. But they kill very easily as well. So I find them frustrating both to play, and play against. So maybe it's actually balanced?

For artillery, I always thought the Akula Vector was the "medum" and Jupiter Arms the "heavy." Silly me. Anyway...

You can get a small picture of each of the ships just by opening up the "TECH TREES." From there, it's just simply learning to identify the major features when seeing them in a battle. There can be slight visual differences, as it is possible to borrow hulls visual parts of other tier ships and premium ships once the ship is unlocked. But the major features are the same.

Akula Vector are the first you'll see as they start from Tier 1. They are the Rurik, Turgian, Vucari, Murometz, and Svarog. They all look like a long stick and shoot single lightning bolts roughly every 3 seconds (if not fire-rate boosted by a rapid fire module or Survival Instinct officer briefing). HP is better than the other two, but speed and weapon performance is average. Which is why I call it the "medium."

Oberon is the next set starting from Tier 2. They are the Furia, Virtus, Nox, and Stabia. Noticable features are a relatively curved body and the fact that their guns are turrets instead of built into the front. The turrets allow for firing in any direction (instead of just forward) and their clip size is 10. So they fire rapidly but don't have as much power in a shot. They are faster than the other two artillery, but aren't as good at DPS. So I call them the "light."

Jupiter Arms is the last encountered, starting from Tier 3. They are the Ballista, Onager, and Grenada. They're blocky and have a noticeable bulge in the back. These ships are both slow to move and slow to fire. However they shoot two projectiles that combined have a huge punch and therefore the best DPS of the artillery set. So I call them they "heavy."

But that's just my observation.

How do I "destroy enemies with any tactical cruiser module?" Repair autobeam them to death? Ram them with a repair pod? How does this work?