Bombers vs Cruisers, why they don't work

There’s a lot of forum posts complaining about the near-impossibility of stopping Battlecruisers in the late game. In the original HW/HW2, bombers and strikecraft superiority were a very viable way to kill off BCs. However, this doesn’t work so well in the current build of HW:Remastered… I was playing a late game 1v1 and massed up 60 bombers + 1 Cruiser, while my enemy had 2 BCs and only a handful of flak/ion frigs.

The bombers killed the ion cannon frigates very quickly, while my one Heavy Cruiser and handful of ion frigs killed off their flak frigs before dying. This left me with ~50 bombers against 2 battlecruisers, easy victory right?

Nope, the 2 BCs hyperspace jumped on top of my mothership and actually managed to kill it while 50 Bombers buzzed around ineffectively shooting bombs. One of the BCs died, but my Mothership also died and the game was over.

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Here’s the problem: Homeworld 1 attack bombers were designed with the old Sphere Formation in mind. For those of you not familiar with it, HW1’s Sphere Formation caused the bombers to completely surround the enemy ship and then sit in place, wiggling side to side while firing bombs. This both maximized the number of bombs delivered, and also gave the maximum possible flanking bonus (as the majority of sphere ships were hitting top/bottom/back armor).

Because HW:R’s strikecraft obey Homeworld 2 fighter rules, they no longer hold to spherical firing positions. Instead, they continue to make firing passes in a disorganized fashion, firing much fewer bombs than if they had the old HW1 AI. This causes BCs to survive an unexpectedly long time against massed Bombers.

The HW2 assault bombers are significantly better because they have an upgrade that makes them deal utterly ridiculous damage to subsystems. A Hiigaran/Vagyr player can simply target BC’s engines and immobilize them, rendering them helpless. HW1 bombers do not have this upgrade and therefore are all but useless.

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The best way to fix this (imo) would be to re-implement Homeworld 1 strikecraft AI. However, if this is not possible or if it causes gamebreaking problems elsewhere, then HW1 bombers simply need to have more firepower than they do now. The lack of HW1 sphere basically cuts their effective DPS in half.

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I agree completely. HW1 bombers are utterly ineffective against cruisers.

I dont fully agree on that formation dps move. Seeing there range they would be killed imo.

That said, I would like an increase in damage from bombers on bigger targets(frigates, destroyers, cruisers) as on hardpoints.

Hardpoints can take a ■■■■ load of hits from bombers. Seems to be a bit pointless if you can build corvettes.

This is also a symptom of the problem with HW2’s gameplay of capital ships having exponentially more health as the classes get bigger.

In HW1 classic, a heavy cruiser had twice the HP of a destroyer. In HW2 a battlecruiser has 3 times as much HP as a destroyer and this is before armor upgrades.

The TTK (time to kill) for a large group of Kushan/Taiidan/Hiigaran/Vagyr bombers against a battlecruiser is too long - like you said, the only caveat to this is that HW2’s gameplay introduces subsystems to capital ships that can be targeted although this still isn’t sufficient especially for Kushan/Taiidan as they do not have a research tech to give damage bonuses to subsystem attacks.

This sort of issue also applies to frigates trying to kill a destroyer and destroyers trying to kill a battlecruiser. The preceding ship class trying to kill the bigger class is exponentially outmatched in both firepower and HP which means trying to efficiently counter an enemy battlecruiser usually means building your own - this isn’t good or fun gameplay when you are forced to fight fire with fire or lose in the RUs lost vs RUs destroyed war.

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“The only way you can be sure of killing the enemies’ big, expensive monster is to have a big expensive monster of your own.”

I do find that frigates being popped like corn by DDs and DDs struggling hard to beat CAs and BCs to be a good thing. After all the bigger ships are supposed to be major steps upward in power. I think however that bringing more Bomber functionality into the late game would be good too. Giving bombers an enhanced ability to oppose the big boys would help keep them relevant in the late game, as well as the anti-fighter ships that the other side would need to have on hand to protect her biggest ships.

I’ve had a carrier + 3 destroyers take out 2 cruisers. The guy came at me with his 2 rushed BCs (he lost his second resource center to my Destroyers and bombers. So he then jumped both of his BCs in to get revenge.

The problem was I had a close support carrier equipped with a Hyperspace module & Gravity Well Generator. His BCs were stopped short.

I then launched ~10 wings of bombers (with subsystem bomb upgrades) and quickly took out his engines and Heavy Rocket modules. I then took out whatever modules he had on them and started attacking the ships directly. I also moved my Destroyers In from below (out of Trinity Guns firing cone). They helped speed the process up.

The end result was 2 dead cruisers and an opponent out of $. I lost nothing! As bombers would get damaged, I’d send it back to the carrier for repairs. I also had to build some interceptors during the battle to counter the interceptors that were coming in piece meal from his distant MS.

Having a Gravity Well Generator on a Carrier = the Carrier has NOTHING to fear from a BC. The Carrier is simply too fast!

Of course, a MS or Shipyard can’t outrun a BC. However, put a Gravity Well Generator on it, and use bombers to kill any incoming BCs engines long before they get into range. If they can’t move, they aren’t nearly as much of a threat. If you then also disable their ion turrets/heavy rocket launcher, Destroyers can help finish the fight.

Sure, BC/HCs are great blunt instruments that don’t require much management skills. Still, my point is that BCs DO have counters. A carrier fleet can still prevail against these behemoths…at a fraction of the cost!

I did move my carrier a bit closer to the cruisers at the very start = prevent him from hyperspacing away. It’s not like his cruisers could ever catch my carrier in a race either. Once his hyperspace module and engines were destroyed, he was stuck there!

I’ve been thinking about this and ran some calculations. My above post is a bit misleading. My opponent’s skill was less than average. This is why I was able to build up so much carrier/destroyer strength. And this is why I was able to crush his second resourcing center.

When you do the calculations to determine the most cost effective way to produce a powerful fleet, Battlecruisers (and Cruisers to a slightly lesser extent) are hard to beat.

…maybe their purchase cost should be raised a bit to make other fleet compositions a bit more competitive?

Its worth considering when you factor in a Heavy cruiser used to be worth 43 Attack bombers in The original homeworld, now the same heavy cruiser is only worth 30

and the attack bombers faired pretty well compared to some of the other unit that have made the jump. Frankly the price of the Heavy cruiser is miles off its old fleet balance point in terms of R.U costing but it was bound to happen when you look at the complete aversion to changing any of the HW2 values that the remastering originally launched with.

Personally, I think it’s okay that BCs do alright against bombers.

When I think of a cruiser, I think of a more well rounded ship that can take on many threats.
So bombers should be great vs Destroyers(which they very certainly are), and not BCs.

Destroyers should do better against BCs, though. Be their counter, even.

But sure, it’s silly that anyone claims that bombers are good VS BCs. They aren’t, except to kill the cap production facility on a shipyard before it pops out.

But now we are stuck in a BC is the end game unit. The BC is simply too much ‘bang for your buck’ to compete against!

Doesn’t this bore you after a while? I got bored of it playing HW2 back in the day…

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In testing HW2 and HW1 bombers become extremely effective against cruisers with a longer break away.

Yeah that would definitely make them better just in general against caps, but especially so against the BC’s PD that are significantly less range.
But I still doubt that the equal build time or cost of bombers would really 'Defeat" a cap ship with that, which is totally okay.

Oh and, are you also counting a weakened accuracy on the Pulsar for BCs? I believe it’s a separate weapon file than the Pulsar Corvette’s. If it’s sharing the accuracy reduction, than those two together would make Hiig BC rather super weapon against fighters.

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How does weakening the Hiig BC pulsar point defenses make it ‘rather super weapon against fighters’?

That would be welcome! As is, the equivalent RU $ of a BC invested into bombers and a carrier won’t defeat a BC. I would SO welcome bombers being a HARD counter to BCs.

Because nearly halving its accuracy against fighters means it kills them half as fast…

The Hiig PD as is is quite good against fighters, but not really too good, at least not by a wide margin. Just bombers getting less time under their PD guns from a further break off is enough of a nerf.

Hiigaran Battlecruisers use Hgn_Pulsarside so they’re unaffected. Thanks for the check though, that would have been unintended.

Finally, something that can counter those things, and a buff to bombers, right now I skip the bombers research every single time, they just doesn’t seem to be useful in any situation.

I don’t, they are ok. I keep them on F2 pretty much all the time though.

The break-away buff would be most welcome indeed sir!

Not only from a survivability standpoint; but from a visual beauty aspect as well. :slight_smile: Long, swooping curves, extending(that is an air force term) out of defensive fire… then re-attacking if needed.

Once bombers make a pass on a BC, Carrier or Mothership, the pass should carry the formation(hehe) to the opposite side of the target ship, and out of range, before turning back to re-attack. Yes, one may lose the angle, but them’s the breaks… attack a module on this side and hit the other on the flip side of the pass.

Watching my bomber groups hover like angry bees over the Pride of Hiigara, whilst its point defense chews on them, is not really appealing from either a visual or tactical viewpoint. :smile:

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I agree. Battle Cruisers should be vulnerable to bomber runs and not just as sources of sub-system damage.