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Frigates fill an odd role within a fleet, finally have some kind of meaningful firepower against the larger targets, but they still have the manoeuvrability to stay mobile in an unfolding engagements. They have a tendency to have a large fixed forward weapon and multiple swivelling turrets to deal with additional enemies, in addition to several missile racks and a small fighter wing or support corvette. Their thruster web allows them to keep a resolution on just about any target short of a Fighter and this gives them great kill ratios against single targets and indeed frigates tend to do best when they can carve the battle up into a series of one on one duels, or preferably two on one while sitting out of range of the opponents guns.

The additional turrets actually tend to be a hindrance than an actual strength. They divert tonnage from the main gun and so lower the overall forward firepower; while most can also be fired forward a single powerful weapon in space tends to be more useful than numerous smaller ones[1]. When dealing with multiple hostiles Frigates find them spending most of the battle attempting to turn and face their target, only dealing nominal damage with their side cannons, and occasionally scoring a single large strike.

This is not to say Frigates aren’t dangerous, but they can not be used as either skirmishers or ships of the line, having not the manoeuvrability for the first or the staying power for the second. But, they are excellent ranged combatants[2] if they hang back far enough that they do not have to rotate excessively to bring their guns to bear. If they actually get involved in the mêlée they tend to get behind their targets as much as possible and stay there as they can not withstand much punishment, however in the few moments they are there they can do some serious damage. Unfortunately, as most battles aren’t a stand-up duel they too tend to get outflanked during this manoeuvre and destroyed.

Frigates work best slightly behind the lines, where they can be protected from the main fire fight and lob missiles and ranged weapons from afar. If someone does get to close they can bring their main guns to bear with reasonable regularity and launch the Fighter squadron to run interference so they can get a lock. They do have a tendency to be outflanked and destroyed by a larger force attempting this trick though, so additional ships may be set as guards, or they’ll be lumped with the support ships in the hope that there is safety in numbers.

Side note: Frigates have the dubious honour of being the first ship class to ever see major combat, mostly because during the independence wars space bourn weaponry wasn’t really advanced enough to produce anything larger on mass. This meant they were briefly the ships of the line, and this attitude caused significant casualties during the corporation wars as tactics and designs struggled to catch up with their new role.

[1] This is assuming you have a good accuracy rating but can not score one hit kills, which is true for the ranges and weapons primarily used in Vast Worlds. If you have a low accuracy rating but can perform one hit kills the converse is true.

[2] An odd thing to say about a space ship.


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