HW2 FF Kiteing vs HW1 FF + SF advanced frigate battle meta

I’ll start by saying this post is not in defense of DDs ability to both out range and out run frigates and HW1 destroyers moving sideways. Not sure where I’ll land on that one, but for now I think it’s crap.

However, frigate battles are a different story. I’d like to demonstrate this in a video, but I have time now to try and type this out, but not time for a full video at the moment.

HW1 FF + SF meta

If you’ve never seen or done this, then use your imagination. FF battles were set up by placing a group of FFs into a wall formation then having a group of support frigates ordered to repair them from behind. The ratio of SF to FF was a preference to the player. Too many SF and you wouldn’t have the firepower to down enemy frigates, not enough, your enemy would overwhelm you. This was basic.

Where the advanced micro came into play was what you targeted, how or what you healed, and between the skilled, who made the first mistake. If equal setups went into battle and 1 micro’ while the other band box attacked, as you would expect the micro would win. So the whole battle became a combination of re targeting both attack and repair, movement to get better position, and of course keeping your research/build going and whatever skirmishes were taking place else where.

HW2 FF Kiteing

I just learned about this meta last night so some details I may get wrong. Please feel free to correct. Thank you @Cloaked and @Hideki_jp for taking the time to explain and demonstrate.

In HW2 there are no support frigates, and repair collectors are simply not effective enough to be worth using. So another micro meta was born.

This one is a little harder to imagine without a visual, but using a combination of stances, attacks, and movements, a line of HW2 FFs would instead of sending repair to the unit under attack would just pull the one under attack out of range leaving the others to press the attack. Then allowing it to rejoin the fight once a new target was selected by the enemy. It is important to keep the group close enough to stay in firing range of the enemy group, but not so close that a single FF cannot retreat beyond firing range before dying. Paying very close attention to ranges and individual unit retreats felt kind of like juggling when I tried it. And I could see how getting good at it has become an effective meta that requires practice to become proficient. Just like support meta in HW1.

I want to highlight this because I don’t think it would be good to remove either meta. Both sides hold equal claim to an advanced game play aspect. IMO neither meta should be removed, just reasonably balanced.

I’m not sure what to do about DDs and to and extent I assume torp FFs and missile frigates. Their ability to kite back and leave a propelled munition behind thus staying out of Ion range yet always able to hit the enemy seems a little imbalanced. Very similar argument to the one in the HWR Hig vs Vaygr BC thread.


Hi ratamaq! Frigates can outrun Destroyers…this isn’t HW1 where Destroyers were fast!

[quote=“paradoxnrt, post:2, topic:247088”]Hi ratamaq! Frigates can outrun Destroyers…this isn’t HW1 where Destroyers were fast!
A lv2 speed hw2 destroyer is faster than a hw1 frigate. This is obviously an upgrade balancing issue. I haven’t tested this myself though, so there could be additional issues in play.

Back on topic though, looking forward to rata’s video demonstration when he gets the time!

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When you say DD you mean destroyers, and FF for frigates? Or Field Frigates?

But yeah, I’m really quite confused on why HW2 frigates almost all have 161 speed, while HW2 frigates all have varied lower values on top of no speed upgrade.
And yeah, Destroyer becomes 161 with speed upgrades which is also faster. It is obvious that this is a thing that would happen.
Speed differences only become a potential/major issue when something out ranges and outruns, which they do.

But really, I think the biggest issue is that there is really no reason why Destroyers have a range advantage over Ions in HW2 to begin with. They already have a bit more dps and far more HP per cost, and they really aren’t that late of tech.
Advanced frigates are actually the same tech level as Destroyer…

Yes, DD = destroyer, FF = frigate. DFF defense field frigate. My mind gets spegetti’d some times with game and navy terms.

Others you’ll see people use interchangeable are CC or CV for carrier, MD or DDG for missile destroyer.

Here’s an abbreviation reference courtesy of @Alpha_1


Balance in HW2 is truly a strange animal indeed…

@Ratamaq I think we need a video, but it sounds pretty non-issue to me? I don’t know how bad ‘would just pull the one under attack out of range leaving the others to press the attack.’ really is. Are we talking ordinary frigate thruster movement? or magical force pulls them away?

Unlike the BC it’s unlikely to have a large effect on gameplay due to having to repair them in the first place, and any Destroyer is just going to cause it collapse violently. There’s nothing inherently wrong with kiting in HW2, the problem with the BC was that it was so critical to late-game and there are no acceptable way to mitigate it.

edit: I notice you refer specifically to HW1 vs HW2, but it probably bears no issue because the balance mod isn’t out yet. Though I’m sure they wouldn’t have noticed movement mechanics.

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You’re right, it’s not incredibly complicated except for how the change in speed would effect the meta. So that there is no confusion, let’s make sure we are using the word Kiteing in the same way. I understand Kiteing to be moving a unit backwards and balancing that distances so that it remains facing and engaged with it’s target. If you move it back to far, it will disengage and turn away, not far enough and it stays in range of enemy fire. So while still simple not as simple as moving a damaged unit back.

The HW2 guys already have muscle memory around how far to pull a frigate back, and how fast they need to do it. If we go fiddling with reverse speeds then what seems like a small change actually becomes a rather large change in the FF battle micro meta. If you make them too slow and it become impossible to get them back out of range before they die, you just completely destroyed this bit of meta gameplay and accomplish what by it?

I compare this to HW1 FF meta because we had something very similar with the way we micro managed our frigate battles, only instead of pulling damaged FFs back a few hundred meters, we just switched our repair target faster than the AI would do it for us, and often had to quickly switch 4 supports repairing 1 ion to 3 supports repairing 1 support as the enemy tried to tear down our support.

I make the comparison so that the HW1 guys who are familiar with SF meta understand that by asking for a reverse speed reduction or full on stop, wait, start moving backwards mechanic they understand what meta they would be destroying. And vice versa, any HW2 guy who argues against the use of support frigates is like us asking for kiteing to be removed.


I see your concern, but I don’t think we are going to see a ship-wide reverse slowing mechanic. I personally only suggested it to affect the BC specifically… I don’t think they’d go so far as to hit frigates as they’re supposed to be much more mobile.

A ship-wide reverse slowing mechanic has been suggested on this forum, and this would destroy arguably the most important micro in hw2/hwr. IMHO, there’s better options than destroying BC kiting.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

I believe the 'thruster" speed changes reverse speed in addition to strafing, not “main engine” speed, which is 2 different values.

If you give, say, HW2 Ion frigates 115 thruster speeder instead of the 161, I think they’d reverse at the same speed as Destroyers. Obviously, they’d strafe slower too.
(Also I should note I’d really rather see cap speeds more similar to HW1 ones. So maybe frigates speed would be reduced to 150-155ish except for assaults, supports, defense field, and captures, and destroyers would be buffed to like 125 or 130, so really talking about a reduction to 155 to 125 or 150 to 130 or so for the strafe/reverse, in my mind)

If Ions also had the same range of Destroyers, do you think that’d then be bad? I’m not sure. I think you end up with situations that are yeah, more all-inny. If you engage, it’s harder to back down. There could be plusses to that.

I understand the whole kiting thing well, but with forward speed being faster and those sort of mechanics, I wonder if things would end up happening where there is more commitment to dive in in, which opens up the other player to spread their ships out toward the sides(and above below), since they’re also relatively maneuvering faster than the one reversing ship that’s targeted.
Currently, people often give up on finishing something off with 10% hp because they can’t outrun it as it kites and have to go in so deep.
Ultimately, yes, you make it easier for a superior army to finish off a weaker one, but is that bad?

Then again I’m not really sure 150 speed is actually around what they were in HW1. And increasing their range effectively reduces the effect of speed(via how much less time you have to maneuver once guns start shooting). But just off memory, it felt like Frigates were faster in HW1.
I think it was that ion range was actually effectively shorter. I think 6000 range in HW1 is really around equal to 3000 in HW2. So 4500 range ions would need to have 225 main engine speed to feel similarly fast, I guess?

Yes, I consider that bad. Micro and kiting allows for comebacks. Otherwise the game outcome would often simply be determined by your build. ‘oh you got frigates out 30 seconds faster? gg’

Balance can be something of a slippery slope, especially with hard counters. The last thing you want is a superior force being even quicker to destroy the opponent, as Cloaked explained.

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Yeah, I would generally agree. Though I’m not completely sure on it.

While RTS main mechanic of game ending is snowballing, mechanics to come back are also important.
But when people complain that games don’t end easily enough, well that’s one way to make them end faster. Heh.

In HW1, could you strafe the ion frigate that’s being attacked around to dodge the beams of other ions?

rephrase your question. I want to make sure I understand you correctly.

Can you move a frigate side/side or up/down rather than simply reversing to make enemy Ion frigate beams miss it, in HW1? Or do they hit 100% of the time no matter how it’s moving?

You couldn’t dodge Ion fire as far as I can remember. Assault frigates could maneuver behind them given enough time and enough mistakes by the Ion user.

Memories, ah the memories… Wow that is an old thread, I’d completely forgotten about it.

As I recall we didn’t use reverse kiting in HW1 in frigate and above battles, there was no way to do it and lateral/up/down was so much more effective. Ships actually moved slower in reverse I think, it’s been a while since I’ve tried it so I may be wrong. The formations and how you moved your ships in the vertical/horizontal had more impact on the fight. Setting the ships to f2 for a move had them move slightly faster so you could get in that firing position you needed before going back to aggressive. When you told your ships to stop firing they would even on aggressive, they would just auto-retaliate if you left them on aggressive. Made it possible to get the captured ships back to the carrier or MS.

I don’t know what the answer is but I doubt it is letting ships go just as fast backwards as forwards.

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