Much harder than it looks

Command a squadron of spaceships
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Much harder than it looks

Post by EA6B » Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:01 pm

Give this a try. Design a mission with no random asteroids, and only two objects. The first object is an enemy turret ring in the center of the sector. The second object is an asteroid field in the center of the sector. The objective is to destroy the turret ring. See how many turrets you can take out before being killed.
This mission is hard for three reasons. First, the asteroids act as decoys for your missiles, leading them away from their intended targets. Normaly, when attacking turrets, you can move within a distance of point one or point zero-five of the turrets, and fire on them before they can detect you. However, when the turrets are hidden in an asteroid field, you must move into dogfighting range in order to be sure of hitting them. When you move in that close, you expose yourself to the tremendous firepower of the turrets.
The second reason is that the asteroids hamper the mobility of your ships. Your ships will have to slow down, in order to avoid collisions which will bring them to a stop and make them a sitting duck for a few turns. By traveling slowly, your ships increase the odds of being hit. The third reason is that because collisions with asteroids can leave your ships so vulnerable. You will be forced to choose ships that have more thrust in order to avoid collisions with asteroids, and to recover more quickly from collisions that do occur. Although more thrust is good, it means that you must sacrifice other assets such as stealth and turning.
Of the three difficulties mentioned above, it is important to note that your squadron will suffer all of them, but the turrets will not suffer any of them. Because the turrets are armed primarily with Drachans and Plectrons - neither of which will hone in on asteroids - they can fire at you freely. They still can't fire at you very far through the asteroids, but since it's hard to hit ships from a distance anyway, this doesn't make much differance. Since the turrets are static, they also don't need to worry about colliding with asteroids. I hope someone will try this mission out and give me their oppinion on it. Any ideas on ways to win it would be great.

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Post by ima_gnu » Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:31 am

turrets have obscenely poor radar, a ship with 8+ stealths should be able to sneak around fairly easily, I think
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Post by cavemaniac1 » Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:31 am


Actually, you've just detailed my FAVOURITE scenario!

I NEVER rely on guided missiles for a kill. I have been known to use a 'smart' missile (the white ones that ignore asteroids and friendlies - can't remember their name) to line up a shot, but I nearly always use unguided missiles for a kill.

The turrets don't fire until you're close because they can't guarantee a hit - their guided missiles also lock onto asteroids. Just keep an asteroid between you and the turret - though obviously, not in a direct line or you won't be able to hit the turret!

Going slow is not a big issue - you're not a sitting target because any enemy ships that show up are hampered by the same fire control restrictions as the turrets.

Remember, there is absolutely NO reason why you shouldn't stop, fire a (unguided) missile at a turret miles away (which won't fire back at you because of the proximity of nearby asteroids), watch where it goes, if it misses just adjust your aim and fire again. You can do this for ages - especially if there are no ships hunting you down.

One tip that might help you out: the powerful big slow guided missiles (what the heck are they called?) are not manouverable enough to go chasing off after asteroids - so just position yourself with a clear view of your target turret beside an asteroid (and SLIGHTLY behind so the turret doesn't start shooting at you!) and fire your missile(s).

I think the strength of Critical Mass is that there are so many ways to play it and customise it to suit your own prefferences, so that we end up with posts like these. You find a scenario like the one you described challenging, but I (with my style of play and custom ship set up to suit that play style) find it the most enjoyable and not at all daunting. :D

Where **I** come unglued is with huge powerful turret rings in clear space - my wingmen will be off shooting up freighters or something else useful, while I tackle the ring on my own. Their massed firepower and the fact that I have to keep moving makes my kind of missile loadout (unguided) undesirable. Also, my ships aren't mondo manouverable so I don't really like dog-fighting! I prefer stationary targets (read 'sitting ducks'!) like turrets, factories etc.
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Post by Fusion_power » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:02 pm

My favorite missions are the ones where you attack a turret ring in an asteroid field. I almost always get a gold star. Maniac is on the money about how to attack them, but I add one extra twist. I maneuver my men into position so the turret follows them, then I move in for the kill from the rear. Its rough on my wingmen, but highly effective at killing turrets.


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