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
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.