|Starfighter: Disputed Galaxy, Human Weapons|
01. Laser Cannon
How to read the Weapon Tables
Each Weapon is rated in its damage, speed, maneuverability, range, refire rate, and for its ammunition. Each rating is from A+ (best) to F (worst) except for damage, which is both a numerical rating and a rating, ammunition, which is both a number for the number of shots and a rating, and range, which is both the distance range of the Weapon and a rating.
Damage: This is a rough estimation of the amount of Shield damage this weapon will do on a successful hit, and a grade both damage and damage per second. The higher the damage, the higher the grade.
Cons: Seemingly random damage
How to use it: The basic Laser Cannon is included with all ships, both human and alien, and is a fine starting weapon, particularly for dogfighting. Its strongest merit is the speed of the shots, which can cover about 1000 distance in less than a second. It is therefore a very difficult weapon to dodge, particularly if the ship using it is maneuverable. Refire rate is also very good; you can fire the Laser Cannon a bit faster than once per second. Despite being unguided, its maneuverability rating is high because of the great speed of the shots. Its ammunition rating is very high because it uses very little Energy, between 1% and 4% per shot (which is seemingly random). The average is 2.5%, which means that on a full Energy load, you can fire more than 40 Laser Cannon shots.
The disadvantages of the basic Laser Cannon are its range (about 1000 distance), which isn't very useful in anything except extremely close combat, and its damage, which is apparently somewhat random. Certainly, the closer you are to the target, the more damage that you will do with the Laser Cannon. Still, some shots do no damage at all, or very little damage. Other shots can do up to 25 damage. About 12-15 damage per shot seems to be the average. The Laser Cannon is also one of the few weapons that does no splash damage at all.
The Laser Cannon is a weapon that will reward those who watch the game carefully. The more the Shields of the opposing ship appear to "flash" when the Laser Cannon blast hits them, the more damage that you've done with that shot. The Laser Cannon is particularly useful for destroying very large, well-shielded, slow targets like Gatherers. If you don't mind some risk, feel free to fly right over a Gatherer and pound away at it with your Laser Cannon. This will maximize damage from this weapon (though of course at maximum risk to yourself...). A lucky Laser Cannon shot can also destroy a Drone in one shot.Best against: Either particularly well-shielded targets (especially slow ones) or particularly weak-shielded targets.
Weak against: Anything maneuverable with heavy shields. Back to top
Type 1 Stinger Torpedo
Cons: Rather poor range
How to use it: The Type 1 Stinger Torpedo is a weapon that will surprise a lot of people. First, unlike the other Stingers, its damage is pretty good, doing 18 to 20 Shield damage per shot, comparable with the Photon Bomb. However, unlike the Photon Bomb, the Type 1 Stinger is faster and very maneuverable. It is a near-perfect close combat weapon, needing only about 250 distance in order to arm itself and doing very predictable damage no matter what conditions it is fired under. Even if the target dodges the first attack, the Type 1 will swing back around and almost certainly nail the target on the second pass, and that second pass will happen very quickly thanks to the Type 1's speed and maneuverability. In short, if you fire this weapon, chances are excellent it's going to hit the target and do its full damage. What more can you ask from a torpedo weapon, particularly a human torpedo weapon?
The Type 1 Stinger has only one real disadvantage, and that is its range, which is less than every other Stinger and less than several comparable weapons on both the human and the alien side. You have to get pretty close to fire this thing, and that means that while you're waiting for your chance to fire, you're going to get pelted by a lot of counter-fire, particularly from EMP Torpedoes. Forget about using this weapon to destroy pesky Drones armed with EMP Torpedoes before they reach you. The Type 1 Stinger also has a very wide splash radius and a good percentage of the weapon's primary damage seems to be done on splash, too. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. If using the Type 1 to defeat an ambush, you will be very pleased with its qualities. Unfortunately, since the range is so limited, you have to be very careful not to put yourself or your allies in harm's way.
The refire rate of the Type 1 Stinger is outstanding, with about three-quarters of a second cool-down between shots. This allows you to put an enormous number of these torpedoes in the air very quickly. Its ammunition capacity is just as good, with 20 shots available, for a very impressive 400 Shield damage available from a full volley of Type 1 Stingers. This, incidentally, is superior to the much-loved Positronic Convergence Disc, which does more damage per shot, but for which the ammo capacity very quickly runs out. There is simply no finer close combat torpedo in the human arsenal. Pilots of Astros, Nymphs, and Hydras should definitely give this weapon a very close look.Best against: Anything that you're in close combat with.
Weak against: Nothing, really. A terrific generalist weapon. Back to top
Type 2 Stinger Torpedo
Cons: No major strengths, either
How to use it: It is impossible to consider the Type 2 Stinger Torpedo without considering its very close sibling, the Type 4 Stinger Torpedo. The Type 4 Stinger does more damage and is more difficult to dodge on the initial attack. However, the Type 2 is quicker and more maneuverable and has a slightly longer range (5000 instead of 4000), making it more likely that the torpedo will actually hit its target, particularly if it has to come around for another pass. Unfortunately though, it is kind of hard to say nice things about the Type 2 Stinger, because there are other comparable weapons that are superior to this one. As noted, the Type 4 does better damage and is harder to avoid; the initial attack from a Type 4 rarely actually misses. The Type 1 Stinger does much better damage and is much superior in close combat. The Positronic Convergence Disc is much superior for defeating ambushes at long range and for destroying Drones and Heavy Drones armed with EMP Torpedoes and Thunder Bolt Torpedoes. The list goes on. This is a very hard weapon to get excited about.
The weapon has other disadvantages than its relatively low damage, too. Its ammunition capacity is sub-standard, particularly when compared to the Type 4 Stinger. Only 15 shots are available, doing a total damage of about 150 to 175 Shield damage for a full volley. This isn't very much better than the Type 3 Stinger Torpedo! The Type 2 Stinger should have been given an ammo capacity of 20. This would have made it a much more generally useful weapon. The Type 2 also seems to need about 450-500 distance in order to arm itself. Type 2s fired from closer in will pass over the target harmlessly.
The single advantage that this weapon has over the Type 3 Stinger is the fact that it will consistently destroy a Drone in one shot. As a result, it is actually a pretty good upgrade for the Type 3 Stinger for new players after they gain some confidence. Every other Starfighter player should probably avoid this weapon. While it has no major weaknesses, it has no major strengths, either, when compared with other human weapons. It's not that this weapon is particularly weak, because it isn't; it's that other weapons are better. Depending on your needs, go with the Positronic Converge Disc, the Type 4 Stinger, or the Type 1 Stinger instead.Best against: Drones, Heavy Drones, and Sprinters armed with EMP Torpedoes or Thunder Bolt Torpedoes.
Weak against: Anything with heavy shields. Back to top
Cons: High Energy use, low range, wide splash radius
How to use it: The Photon Bomb is probably the hardest weapon to use well in the human arsenal. It has many fine qualities, but chief among them are its manueverability and its splash radius. The damage potential of the Photon Bomb is only a little above average, at about 20-25 Shield damage per strike. However, it does this damage in a very wide splash radius of at least 150 distance. As a result, if you can manuever yourself to fire this weapon on a large group of foes, you will find it to be a tremendously effective weapon. Its refire rate is also very good, allowing you to launch a large number of Photon Bombs quickly. When paired with an Energy Cell or a Energy Extraction Beam, the Photon Bomb is second-to-none for destroying large, heavily-shielded targets like Defense Turrets and Gatherers.
However, the Photon Bomb's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Allies will invariably wander into the splash radius of a Photon Bomb fired by the player, and the player can easily find him- or herself destroying allies and losing kills in the process. Great care should be taken when using the Photon Bomb in these circumstances. Even worse, it is quite easy to damage yourself with a Photon Bomb if you attempt to use it in close combat. Therefore, despite the maneuverability of the weapon, it is best to stay a good distance back. On the flipside, the speed of the Photon Bombs is about 13, which means that many ships will be able to outrun them. As a result, it requires some practice to learn the best situations and the best distance at which to use this weapon effectively. It is a very easy weapon to become frustrated with.
The Photon Bomb requires 14% Energy per shot, which means that a player with a full Energy load can fire seven such shots, sufficient to destroy a ship with about 150 Shields. In particular, Warship Captains that pair this weapon with an Energy Extraction Beam to fuel it will have the most luck. The Photon Bomb is quite efficient at destroying heavily-shielded targets or targets in groups due to its high refire rate, but you will need to find a way to feed its hunger for Energy...Best against: Heavily shielded targets with low maneuverability, particularly Gatherers and Defense Turrets.
Weak against: Anything fast. Back to top
Cons: Shot is unguided and slow, somewhat easy to dodge, and very easy to kill yourself with
How to use it: The Plasma Cannon is the most powerful basic weapon in the game. It has tremendous punch against almost any target, so much so that sometimes, to actually fire it is a waste of Energy. In particular, against Drones, the Plasma Cannon is gross overkill... fun, though. The shape of the target seems to make a big difference to the Plasma Cannon. Flat slab sides offer the best target, as do pointed surfaces, as do concave surfaces (shaped like the inside of a spoon). Since most of the ships in the game offer these sorts of surfaces, the Plasma Cannon does very, very well: at least 75 points of damage, average, per shot. Where the Plasma Cannon seems to have trouble is against convex surfaces (shaped like the underside of a spoon). Large ships like Gatherers, Destroyers, and Defenders offer this sort of surface and as a result, the Plasma Cannon seems to do less damage, about 60 points on average, to them.
On a full Energy load, though, you can fire the Plasma Cannon four times... sufficient firepower to knock down virtually any enemy ship if all four blasts connect. As a result, it earns a good rating for ammunition.
Of course, the Plasma Cannon has disadvantages to match its advantages. First, the shot is unguided and slow, traveling at a speed of about 16. As a result, there are some ships that can simply outrun the shot. There are others that will have little difficulty dodging it. This is particularly prevalent in MP sectors, where lag makes the Plasma Cannon extremely difficult to aim properly since you often can't get a good read on where your target actually is at the moment you fire it. The Plasma Cannon blast also has an enormous splash radius, at least 100 distance. Sometimes, this is an advantage, particularly when dealing with ambushes of large ships, such as Guardians. However, more often, this is an enormous disadvantage, particularly in close combat (where the Plasma Cannon is most used) or in combat in cooperation with allies. There are probably more suicides caused by Plasma Cannon blasts than by any other weapon; the splash damage seems to be particularly punishing to the ship that fires the blast, more so than it is to other ships caught in the splash. You'll also often find yourself killing friendlies (and losing a kill each time you do) if you're not careful.
Still, the enormous damage potential of the Plasma Cannon as well as its very good range -- at least 2000 distance -- makes it one of the premiere weapons in Starfighter. If you can learn to use it properly, it's a weapon that will serve you very well.Best against: Anything that isn't either fast or highly maneuverable.
Weak against: Nothing. Back to top
Cons: Enormous energy consumption, limited range
How to use it: The Laser Beam is a terrific starting weapon for a Starfighter player, and the second weapon I recommend purchasing in my Human Tutorial for Starfighter. The reasons for this are this weapon's never-miss qualities and its high damage. It has the best Speed and Maneuverability ratings of any weapon for one simple reason: it is a zero time of flight weapon, nearly instantly striking the target at which it is fired. Its damage qualities are also excellent. This weapon does 40 to 50 Shield damage per shot and can kill three ship classes, Drones, Heavy Drones, and Sprinters, in a single shot if that shot is fired correctly. In particular, the damage done by this weapon seems to be at least somewhat dependent on the amount of time the player holds down the "Z" key when firing it. If the "Z" key is just tapped, this weapon seems to do less damage than if the "Z" key is held down for a bit longer. The Laser Beam does not appear to do splash damage.
The disadvantages of this weapon are its enormous energy costs -- 30% Energy per shot! -- and very limited range, about 500. Ships with a limited locking angle will have some trouble getting the Laser Beam to lock onto very close or very fast targets. This weapon's refire rate is also not the best; the cool-down time appears to be more than a second and a half.
As a result, while the Laser Beam is an excellent starting weapon, Starfighter players will soon be forced to trade it in as they face more heavily shielded ships. In particular, any ship with 200 Shields or more will be difficult to destroy with the Laser Beam, unless the player using it also has an Energy Cell, Energy Extraction Beam, or like Utility to fuel the Laser Beam's great Energy needs. However, the Laser Beam is one of the only good option in Multiplayer sectors when facing players using high-speed harrassing tactics in Sprinters and like ships. Lock on to a high-speed Sprinter for even a fraction of a second, and the Sprinter will die.Best against: Very fast or highly maneuverable targets, regardless of shields.
Weak against: Anything with particularly heavy shields. Back to top
Type 3 Stinger Torpedo
Cons: Everything else
How to use it: The Type 3 Stinger Torpedo is the first weapon I recommend you buy in the Human Tutorial, but that's not because it's a particularly good weapon. If anything, it's one of the worst weapons in the game. It certainly has the worst damage of any weapon in the game, human or alien, doing only between 8 and 10 damage per hit. Still, it has two things going for it, the fact that it's guided, and its incredible range, 10,000 distance, far and away the longest range of any human weapon in the game. It's most useful in two capacities. The first is how I recommend to use it in the Tutorial: early game Drone and Heavy Drone ambushes, against which the Type 3 Stinger is a near-perfect weapon for keeping new players safe. The second is as a long-range scanner of sorts. Very few Starfighter players or AIs will activate stealth systems and the like until they're much closer to you than this weapon's 10,000 locking range, and as a result, you can use the long range intel provided to you by this weapon to get an idea of what you're up against.
The damage done by this weapon is not its only disadvantage. The refire rate isn't very good, and its maneuverability is only average. It's not a particularly good close-combat weapon as it spends its first several seconds accelerating to its normal speed. Still, unlike the Positronic Convergence Disc, it is possible to fire this weapon at targets not actually approaching you and have a reasonable expectation of getting a hit.
The ammunition of the Type 3 Stinger is also pretty good, with 15 torpedoes available. This is sufficient to take out an entire seven Drone ambush, or three out of seven of a Heavy Drone ambush. It's also a very decent way to soften up a stronger opponent approaching you from a long way off, and since the damage potential is so low, you don't really have to worry about the fact that you're firing it. In particular, if you're crossing one sector on the way to another, the Type 3 Stinger will be the first weapon you go for in dealing long range damage to the single enemy that happens to be in this transit sector. Feel free to put a whole volley of them out there if you use this weapon. Even the toughest target can't shrug off 15 hits in a row...Best against: Early game Drone and Heavy Drone ambushes.
Weak against: Anything with more than 50 Shields. Back to top
Cons: May or may not actually hit players in MP sectors
How to use it: The Electrostatic Orb is one of those weapons that you will either love or hate. The actual damage that it does is pathetic, averaging 5 Shield damage per strike. However, the Weapon will also randomly reset the target's orientation and location to a nearby position, generally within your ship's forward 60 degree arc. It will also bring them to a halt, killing whatever current velocity they have when the Electrostatic Orb hits them. Since the orientation of your opponent will change, this will make it much easier for you to destroy them with other weapons. This will be particularly true if your opponent is a large ship, one that has poor acceleration, or very poor maneuverability. They will struggle to bring themselves about or get back up to speed while you are able to land several free shots against them. Particularly in Multiplayer sectors, this will be an enormous advantage, and many experienced Starfighter players rely on this tactic to destroy much larger ships. The sheer panic and aggravation that this Weapon brings about in human players is not to be under-estimated.
Unfortunately, this is an extremely difficult Weapon to use well. It's speed, in particular, is abysmal. You're going to have to use this weapon when you're in a head-on orientation against your opponent and hope that they either do not see it or fail to dodge it. Otherwise, the Electrostatic Orb will miss and with its poor speed, even its very good maneuverability will probably not help. The Orb will miss the target. As a result, this weapon simply must be fired in large volleys. These very same large volleys will make it a little tougher on you when you try to take advantage of the chaos that you're causing. However, while the range of the weapon (2000 distance) is more than sufficient for these kinds of attacks, the ammunition capacity of the weapon is not. You receive only 10 Orbs, which is about right for one Multiplayer fight, but probably not for more than one.
The refire rate of the Electrostatic Orb is just fine, with about a one second cool-down between shots. This will allow you to put your full ammunition load of Electrostatic Orbs in the air in about 10 seconds, which is what I generally recommend you do with this weapon. Many of the Orbs will miss due to their poor speed, so for maximum effect, put them all out there! You can hope that one will hit, rendering the target immobile, which will make it all the more likely that another Orb will hit, and then another and another... Keep a quick guided weapon available (the Laser Beam is a great choice) to take advantage and hope for a little luck!Best against: Over-confident players in Multiplayer sectors, particularly those that rely on Engine Overdrive.
Weak against: Nothing, really, but Electrostatic Orbs are probably wasted against AI opponents. Back to top
Positronic Convergence Disc
Cons: Not so good in any other situation
How to use it: The Positronic Convergence Disc is a weapon with a purpose. It is custom-designed to do the maximum possible damage to enemies that are charging at you from a long distance away. As a matter of fact, the PCD won't even arm itself until it has traveled about 1700 distance away from your ship. If you are thinking about using the PCD against targets closer than that, don't bother. At ranges between 1700 and 5000, though, the PCD is an outstanding weapon, doing nearly as much damage as the Javelin while still remaining a guided torpedo. Once armed, the PCD is also one of the fastest weapons. Refire rate is also very good; you can fire the PCD just slightly faster than once per second.
However, until the PCD arms, it has some pretty enormous drawbacks. First, the PCD takes about seven seconds to reach its top speed. If the PCD is launched while the firing ship is moving at high speed, the PCD will fall into the ship's wake and it will take several seconds to catch up with and pass the ship that launched it. If you choose to use the PCD on the run while charging at your attackers yourself, be prepared for the reality that you will very likely beat the PCD to the target. As a result, the PCD has a dual Speed rating. If used in a running gunfight, its Speed rating is a C-. However, if the firing ship remains relatively motionless or at the weapon's maximum range, then the PCD's Speed rating is an A. No matter what, though, the Maneuverability rating of the PCD is a D. If the target of the weapon continues charging in a straight line, the PCD will hit and do its full damage; in fact, it seems to do more damage the faster the target is approaching. However, if the target takes even rudimentary steps to dodge, the PCD has a huge turning radius and will almost certainly miss. The good news is that the PCD has an excellent range; even if it misses and may very well swing back around and strike the target on its second pass. The PCD also does good splash damage, more good news if you're using this weapon against an AI ambush.
Unfortunately, ammunition for the PCD is sub-par, with only 10 of them available. This makes it likely that you'll run out of this weapon frequently if you try to use it. Still, compared to other human weapons, the Positronic Convergence Disc is one of the best -- if not the best -- long range torpedo options for the human player.Best against: Anything that's charging straight at you from a long distance, particularly AI ambushes.
Weak against: Anything in any other situation. Back to top
Cons: Unguided and extremely imprecise, particularly up close
How to use it: The Javelin is the cheapest weapon, and it's for a good reason: it's an unguided, imprecise bludgeon that is incredibly difficult to use. The primary advantages to the Javelin are its damage -- 40 to 50, the best of any torpedo -- and its speed. The refire rate of the Javelin is also pretty good, and its range is excellent. The Javelin will rocket away from the launching ship almost immediately, and will be very quickly followed by more, if the "Z" key is held down.
Unfortunately, while the angle of attack will match that of the launching ship, the precise starting point of the torpedo will not necessarily be lined up with the ship. The Javelin is quite random in this regard; some torpedoes will rocket away from the center of the launching ship. Others will originate from a full ship-width or more to the right or left. It is impossible to predict from torpedo to torpedo where each one will originate. Even fired at exactly the same angle at a motionless target by a motionless ship, one Javelin might strike the target solidly while the very next -- launched from exactly the same position and angle -- will miss to the right or left. As a result, the Javelin is nearly impossible to aim with any precision. It is therefore most effective either in large volleys or when launched at very large, slow targets. It also does enormous splash damage in a wide radius, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
Because you have to use so many Javelins to guarantee any number of hits, the ammunition capacity is not all that useful in a busy combat. Still, it is the most powerful torpedo weapon in the game. As a result, some players have refined the use of the Javelin to a high art, even at a distance. In particular, a volley of 15 Javelins launched at a large ambush at a range of about 5000 distance will certainly guarantee several hits, and perhaps even a few kills. All it takes is luck and a lot of practice.Best against: Anything large, slow, or both. Particularly Defense Turrets, Gatherers, and the broad side of Freighters.
Weak against: Anything that's actually trying to avoid the shot. Back to top
Thunder Bolt Torpedo
Cons: It is relatively easy to avoid, out-run, or counter
How to use it: The Thunder Bolt Torpedo is probably the most frustrating weapon for players in Starfighter, and yet, everyone who has a spare Weapon slot loves to carry one. In particular, it is one of the most commonly used weapons in Multiplayer sectors, where many players swear by its virtues. Its primary virtue is its damage potential: if it is well-aimed, it does about 20 Shield damage per second to its target over a period of about 7.5 seconds. This translates to up to 125 damage to the target's shields. This alone is sufficient to destroy six alien ship classes, the Drone, Heavy Drone, Sprinter, Fighter, Weaver, and Conqueror. Unlike other Thunder Bolt weapons, all of this massive damage is delivered to a single target. The Thunder Bolt will persistently pursue this single target and continue delivering damage to it until its full duration has expired or the target has been destroyed.
That said, the Thunder Bolt Torpedo is easy for experienced players to circumvent. First, it is extremely slow, and has a relatively poor turn rate. You can think of the TB Torp as a very small Starfighter ship, in fact. It can only fire its lightning at a ship in its fire arc, and fast or maneuverable ships will only have a little trouble escaping that fire arc. In particular, very fast ships, or those running under boosters or the Engine Overdrive Utility will rapidly outrun a Thunder Bolt Torpedo before it has done its full damage. A Rapid Shield Recharger Utility will also repair the damage being done by a TB Torpedo as fast as it is being inflicted, as will transfering Energy to Shields using the "C" key. Even if the ship is in range and within the arc of the TB Torp, there is a certain amount of randomness to just how much damage will be done to the target. Only if the target stays dead still will the Thunder Bolt Torpedo have its full effect. The range of the weapon is also very poor, forcing ships that might not be prepared for it into close combat with the target.
As a result, lots of practice is required to master the use of the Thunder Bolt Torpedo, particularly since you only get one! However, in the right hands, the TB Torp can be an awesome force multiplier for that player's other weapons, particularly if that player's weapons include Thunder Bolt Mines or a Thunder Bolt Proximity weapon...Best against: Anything or anyone.
Weak against: Anything or anyone smart enough to out-maneuver it. Back to top
Cons: Easy to dodge, and you only get one!
How to use it: The EMP Torpedo is probably the second most frustrating weapon for players in Starfighter, after the Thunder Bolt Torpedo. Still, many players enjoy carrying one and firing it. If the EMP Torpedo strikes its target, it will render the target powerless for between five and nine seconds. It will also defeat the LBSS and LASS stealth systems, if the target or another nearby ship happen to be using these systems. It does no damage on its own, but if you are close enough to the target to take advantage of the target's powerless condition, you can land many unanswered shots with your other weapons and potentially destroy the target while it is helpless. Even better, if you fire the EMP Torpedo into a cluster of enemy ships (such as an AI ambush), the EMP Torpedo has a relatively wide splash radius and will render every ship nearby powerless when it explodes. The range of this weapon, 2500 distance, is also nearly perfectly suited to its intended use.
Still, the EMP Torpedo is not without disadvantages. It has many of them. First and foremost, you only get one! Therefore, this weapon is not a good selection for ships that have only a limited number of Weapon slots, unless you are using it with a specific strategy in mind that is linked to your other weapons. Most often, this weapon will be carried by a ship that has a large surplus of Weapon slots, such as the Minotaur or the Medusa. Second and perhaps more seriously, the EMP Torpedo is not particularly fast (about speed 18) and has a rather wide turning circle. As a result, it is relatively easy to dodge, particularly if the weapon is fired head-on, as it often is. The only good news is that if the weapon misses on its first pass, it will circle around and try to strike the target a second time.
One final note of warning regarding the EMP Torpedo. When this weapon reaches its maximum range, it will explode, affecting anything nearby with an EMP effect. This could very easily be your ship, if you move in close to the target and are engaged in close combat with it. The same effect will happen if the torpedo catches up with the target on a second pass and explodes with you nearby. You are not immune to the effects of your own EMP Torpedo, nor are your allies. Beware of this!Best against: Anything or anyone with with particularly tough weapons that you want to avoid.
Weak against: Anything or anyone smart enough to out-maneuver it. Back to top
Shield Extraction Beam
Cons: Quite dangerous to use in groups, relatively low damage
How to use it: The Shield Extraction Beam is an extremely specialized weapon. It is intended for close combat, and in terms of Energy use compared to the damage done to your enemies, this weapon rates quite high, comparable to the Laser Beam or Plasma Cannon! In particular, the SEB does between 10 and 15 points of Shield damage to your enemies and repairs approximately this amount of Shield damage on your own ship (if they are damaged). And it does all of this for only a 5% Energy expenditure! The fact that this is a zero time of flight weapon (striking its target nearly instantly) and that it is a guided weapon, never missing its target, adds to its appeal. The range of the SEB is also perfectly acceptable, at 800 distance, perfect for close combat use and obviously intended for ships involved in this heavy close combat.
The Shield Extraction Beam only has three disadvantages, but two of them are fairly major. First, the damage that it does is somewhat poor. It is near-suicidal to use this weapon in a head-to-head confrontation. Even if your enemy uses the simple Laser Cannon, he will probably do more counter-fire damage to you than you will do to him. Happily, the range of this weapon is more than sufficient to use in a traditional dogfighting scenario, with you behind your opponent. Particularly against fast, maneuverable targets such as Shredders or Marauaders, the Shield Extraction Beam is hard to beat. Its good range will allow you to keep damaging your target even if your own ship's speed is fairly poor. Second, it is quite dangerous to use this weapon in a swarm due to its low damage. It's easy to become so focused on the ship you are trying to drain and on rebuilding your own Shields that you'll miss the fact that you're actually doing very little damage to your enemy. If your enemy has escorts, they will overwhelm you.
The third disadvantage of this weapon is not really the fault of this weapon, but is tied up in its purpose. The Shield Extraction Beam is a close combat Weapon due to its range. It is therefore of most use to dogfighting ships that will both welcome its close combat qualities and benefit from a Weapon that rebuilds their own Shields in a busy dogfight. Unfortunately, it doesn't do enough damage to be a primary weapon, and its range is not long enough to act as a guided weapon against ambushes. Dogfighting ships in Starfighter only receive two primary Weapons and as a result, while dogfighters can strongly benefit from this weapon, they will hardly ever actually use it in battle.
The ammunition associated with this Weapon is based on Energy, and using only 5% Energy per shot means that a player will effectively get more than 25 shots with this weapon, doing between 250 and 300 Shield damage. This is an excellent return on a full Energy load, particularly considering that you will receive up to the same amount of Shields in return. This is definitely a Weapon that human players should look at closely!Best against: Particularly strong opponents, or particularly fast, maneuverable opponents.
Weak against: Swarms of anything stronger than Drones. Back to top
High Density Photon Bomb
Cons: Incredibly slow
How to use it: The High Density Photon Bomb has one of the best conversions of Energy to damage of any human weapon: 30% Energy translates into 60-70 Shield damage, or a more than two to one conversion factor. This outstrips the Laser Beam (about 1.7 to 1), the Photon Bomb (about 1.6 to 1), and the Long Range Photon Bomb (about 1.25 to 1). Only the Plasma Cannon (about 2.8 to 1) is superior, and that weapon is unguided. The damage itself is also excellent; there are only two human Weapons that do more damage than the High Density Photon Bomb. It is also quite maneuverable, and the refire rate is excellent, with about one second cool-down between shots.
However, the HDPB is unfortunately not a weapon that I can recommend, because it is incredibly slow. The shots travel at a speed of about 8, which makes them slower than every ship in the game except the immobile Defense Turret. If your opponent will be kind enough to stay perfectly stationary, then this is the weapon for you; three HDPBs plus a Laser Cannon blast or two will be sufficient to destroy any alien fighter in the game. However, few opponents will be this accomodating. In addition, the splash radius and damage of this weapon, combined with its poor range, make it likely that you will take nearly as much damage from a HDPB as your target will, unless you're very skilled, very lucky, or are using this weapon on the right targets. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's really only one good target for this weapon: Defense Turrets, which will require seven High Density Photon Bombs to destroy.
Putting together seven High Density Photon Bombs might be a bit of a problem, because each one requires 30% Energy. As a result, a full Energy load is only good for three such blasts. An Energy Cell or Energy Extraction Beam is going to be an absolute must to combine with this weapon. Still, if you're going Defense Turret hunting, chances are you're going to bring one of those two Utilities, so for this sort of Clearance mission, you can certainly do worse than the HDPB. However, for any other mission profile, this Weapon should be left at home.Best against: Defense Turrets, and maybe Gatherers.
Weak against: Anything that actually moves. Back to top
Type 4 (Stealth) Stinger Torpedo
Cons: Very poor damage
How to use it: The Type 4 Stinger Torpedo is one of the best weapons that the humans have at their disposal in many areas. It has good speed and good maneuverability, which makes it an excellent weapon to use in close combat. Even better, though, it has a pretty good range (distance 4000), which makes it a very good choice for medium range combat and for confronting ambushes. The splash radius on its damage is also pretty good. The Type 4 Stinger also has an added advantage in that it is very small and very hard to see (it has been circled in red in the image above). This will make it very difficult, if not impossible, for alien Starfighter players in Multiplayer sectors to avoid this weapon. AI opponents don't even seem to try to avoid the weapon. The refire rate of this weapon is also quite good; it is possible to put a large volley of Type 4s into the air quickly.
In fact, the Type 4 Stinger has only one bad point: its damage is not particularly good, averaging only 12.5 Shield damage per strike. This makes what could be the single best human torpedo a rather heart-breaking disappointment and is the main reason why most human players turn to the Positronic Convergence Disc instead. Still, the weapon does have its merits. It's an excellent upgrade from the Type 3 Stinger Torpedo for a new player after he or she has built up some confidence in their gunnery. In particular, the Type 4 will destroy a Drone in a single shot, something that requires two Type 3s. Four Type 4s will destroy a Heavy Drone or Sprinter. Type 4 Stingers are a particularly good way to destroy AI Drones and Heavy Drones fitted with EMP or Thunder Bolt Torpedoes before they can reach you. The range of the Type 4 Stinger out-strips that of those weapons.
The ammunition load of the Type 4 is perfectly acceptable, with 15 shots. Therefore, a full volley of Type 4s will do a bit over 200 Shield damage. This makes it sufficient to put a large dent in small ambushes, or to do heavy damage to a single heavily-shielded target when a large volley of Type 4s is used. It is unfortunate this weapon does not do more damage, but its many fine qualities do deserve respect. It is a weapon worth considering, and the second best close combat torpedo in the human arsenal after the Type 1 Stinger Torpedo.Best against: Drones, Heavy Drones, and Sprinters armed with EMP Torpedoes or Thunder Bolt Torpedoes.
Weak against: Anything with heavy shields. Back to top
Long Ranger Laser Cannon
Cons: Unguided, difficult to aim, and a very poor refire rate
How to use it: The Long Ranger Laser Cannon is a rather silly weapon that is seemingly without a good purpose. Its range, 9000 distance, is ridiculously long, which is nice, but the weapon is unguided and very difficult to aim at distances over about 1500 or so. It also does no better damage, on average, than the simple space bar Laser Cannon, and that weapon at least has the potential to do more damage at extremely close range. The refire rate of the LRLC is also horrid, with a cool-down time of at least two seconds between shots. The combination of low damage and long cool-down means that it's virtually suicide to use this weapon in dogfights, and the difficulty in aiming it makes it not much more useful in long range battles.
As an unguided weapon, the LRLC would normally score the lowest rating for maneuverability, but the shot is rather fast, and as a result, it earns a higher grade. Other than the range and the speed, there are seemingly no good points to this weapon, and its few advantages are completely overturned by its many disadvantages. The long cool-down time actually functionally decreases the Damage rating. It decreases the number of shots you can put in the air, which lowers damage per second.
The Long Ranger Laser Cannon uses 5% energy per shot, resulting in about 25 shots from a full Energy load. This earns the LRLC a lower than average ammunition rating. There is simply no good reason to use this weapon. If you want a good long range unguided weapon to use against ambushes, carry the Javelin Torpedo instead. That weapon does better damage with an equal chance of hitting, and doesn't deplete your Energy stocks. If you don't mind using your energy stocks, use the Long Range Photon Bomb instead, which does near-equal damage and is guided. For close range work, the Laser Cannon is a far superior weapon, and doesn't require one of your weapon slots. In short, do not use this weapon.Best against: Anything with weak shields that will travel on a predictable path so that you can kill it.
Weak against: Anything else. Back to top
Cons: Low damage, poor manueverability, very poor range
How to use it: There's no question that the AT Torpedo is a good idea. AT in this context stands for "Auto-Targeting." This Weapon will attack the target that the player currently has locked on. After it is launched, if the target the player has locked on changes, the AT Torpedo will then change its targeting to the newly locked target. In particular, if your current target is destroyed and your ship automatically locks on a new target, any AT Torpedoes that you launched at the dead target will switch to the new target. As a result, with some changes, this Weapon would be perfect for repulsing AI ambushes. You could potentially launch the entire volley of AT Torpedoes at the first ship in the ambush and have a reasonable expectation that every AT Torpedo would hit each new target in succession. And in fact, in some cases, this is exactly what happens, particularly if you choose this weapon in the early game.
Later in the game, though, as the ships involved in ambushes get stronger and receive better Weapons themselves, the AT Torpedo becomes all but useless. Its range is extremely poor, and its maneuverability is worse. As a result, carrying these will put you at a tremendous disadvantage to enemies as simple as Drones armed with EMP Torpedoes. It might be worth taking the risk if the damage this Weapon did was better, but it isn't. The AT Torpedo only does an average of 12.5 Shield damage per shot, giving it a total of 250 Shield damage for the full volley of 20. This is (barely) sufficient to destroy five out of a seven Heavy Drone ambush, but as the Heavy Drones in the later game close, they will be firing EMP Torpedoes and Thunder Bolt Torpedoes, putting the player that relies on the AT Torpedo to repulse the ambush at a severe disadvantage. Even used in the early game, against Drones and Heavy Drones armed with Javelin Torpedoes is very risky. The AT Torpedo is also useless in close combat due to its poor maneuverability. There's one final disadvantage to this weapon, and this, ironically, is matched with its advantage. If the player using the weapon is in close combat where the locked target constantly changes, the AT Torpedoes will suddenly become near useless as they struggle to keep up in this environment. And of course, since the range of the weapon is so short, this sort of thing happens more often than you would think...
The light damage done by this weapon will mean that a large number of them must be fired in a volley to assure acceptable damage. Particularly when compared to the Type 1 Stinger Torpedo, with an equal ammunition load, the AT Torpedo comes off second best (particularly at their equal price tag). The Type 1 Stinger does much more damage per shot and is much more useful in close combat. The fact that you will rarely waste an AT Torpedo unfortunately doesn't make up the difference. This weapon should have been given a range of 5000 distance instead of 2000 in order to make the Weapon more generally useful to a human Starfighter player.Best against: Early game Drone and Heavy Drone ambushes.
Weak against: Anything carrying any sort of advanced weapons. Back to top
Long Range Photon Bomb
Cons: Low damage, limited maneuverability
How to use it: The Long Range Photon Bomb is a favorite weapon of newer Starfighter players. Its range, 9000 distance, is extremely long, and even better, this weapon is guided. It's quite quick, with a shot speed of about 25, which means it will catch all but the very fastest targets. Its refire rate is outstanding, with about three-quarters of a second cool-down between shots. It even has decent maneuverability despite this high speed. You have a reasonably good chance of hitting the target even if it is trying to dodge the shots. This is also one of only two weapons in the human arsenal that has both long range and uses Energy rather than ammunition (the other is the Long Ranger Laser Cannon); as a result, as long as your Energy holds out, you could potentially destroy a large number of targets at a very long distance without having to worry about bonus drops. A Hydra carrying this Weapon and four Energy Cells would be a formidable opponent indeed!
The primary downsides to the Long Range Photon Bomb are its damage, which is below average at about 12.5 Shield damage per shot, and the fact that it is completely useless at close range. The shots appear to need about 1800 distance to arm themselves, which is about equal to the Positronic Convergence Disc, which has much superior damage potential. As noted above, the LRPB uses Energy, 10% per shot, which gives you about 130 Shield damage for a full Energy load. There are certainly Weapons with a better Energy to damage ratio than that! In addition, the weapon has a reasonably large splash radius and since your targets won't appear on your short-range radar, you need to be careful not to destroy your allies along with your enemies.
Still, the weapon is a very good mix of damage, speed, and range, a little better than the Type 3 Stinger Torpedo, which makes it very popular. A full Energy load gives 11 shots, and this Weapon's extremely long range means that you'll probably have sufficient time to rebuild your Energy stocks before moving into close combat. Ships with a limited number of Weapon slots should definitely look elsewhere, but ships like the Minotaur and Medusa, both of which have a lot of Weapon slots and limited call for their Energy reserves, would certainly benefit from carrying the Long Range Photon Bomb.Best against: Anything with relatively weak shields, or at a long distance from your ship.
Weak against: Anything close to your ship. Back to top
Cons: Unguided and a little difficult to learn to use
How to use it: The Reverse Laser is about as specialized as weapons come. It is only useful for one thing, sniping at opponents that are behind you, most likely trying to hunt you down and kill you while you run away from them. In this situation, the Reverse Laser is excellent, in many ways better than Mines, which are the usual means of attacking opponents in this situation. It does very good damage, about 18 Shield damage average, and has a very good refire rate, a little slower than once per second. This allows you to deal a lot of damage per second and might just keep you alive, particularly if your pursuers are small, fast craft like Fighters, Weavers, and Sprinters. The speed of the Reverse Laser is excellent, and the range appears to be at least as good as the Laser Cannon.
As long as you don't use it in ways it wasn't intended (such as for dogfighting, for instance, which would be amusing and ridiculous, but probably suicidal), the Reverse Laser has no major downsides. As an unguided weapon, it would normally receive the lowest maneuverability rating, but its great speed counteracts this. If the target is visible or if you have a red arrow to guide you (assuming the enemy behind you is the closest one), the Reverse Laser is very easy to aim and is difficult, if not impossible, to dodge. That is not to say that the Reverse Laser can't be used to dogfight. In testing, I was able to destroy ships as large as Protectors with it (in 11 shots, on average). But it does mean showing your tail to your opponent, which generally isn't wise. Also, if your enemy isn't actually visible, the Reverse Laser can be much more difficult to aim and it's hard to tell how much damage you're doing...
The ammunition rating for this Weapon is excellent; it uses 6% Energy per shot, which means that on a full Energy load, you will get about 18 shots with it, for a total of more than 320 Shield damage for a full volley... if you were foolish enough to fire a full volley from this Weapon. The Reverse Laser is a rather unique Weapon. Either you will see a need for it or you won't...Best against: Anything that's chasing you, particularly if they're a bit slower than you.
Weak against: Nothing, as long as they're behind you. Back to top