Ship Role Types Edit
The following is an introduction to the various types of ships found in StarMade. This is by no means a comprehensive list; this page merely classifies ships by their role type, rather than their size. For ship size classifications, see the Ship Classification page. Keep in mind that players, factions, clans, and servers often have their own complex and well-thought-out role type classifications.
Assault-type ships are everyone's favourite. Every fleet is usually comprised of a hefty amount of assault-type ships, and without them, no flashy, explosive, Gundam-esque space battles would occur. Assault ships can be broken down into multiple categories, with further permutations branching off of those, but let's stick with a general overview:
Exactly what it says on the tin, a Destroyer is an assault ship bred purely for combat and nothing else. They lack the tricks and traps of stealth and subterfuge, but more than make up for their maladroit behaviour by bringing an inordinate amount of firepower to bear. Destroyers often feature heavy shield networks, powerful weapons systems, and more often than not a lot of armour. Destroyers come in various flavours and weight sizes, ranging from frigates to worldships, but so long as the vessel's only mission in life is break things, it is considered a Destroyer. Destroyers are often big ships (though not always), allowing them to load plenty of weaponry and shield capacity at the cost of speed and energy management.
Assassins are just that: sneaky, treacherous, and swift, Assassins are the assault force unseen. Moving quick with stealth generators or cloaking devices, Assassins can act as infiltrators, saboteurs, or close-in reconnaissance. Frequently Assassin ships will utilise the destructive potential of Dis-Integrator explosives, maximising punch while minimising mass and size. The small size of an Assassin can also be its weakness, however, as an untrained pilot or a poorly-timed uncloaking can spell disaster for the vessel. Assassins tend to hide in the shadow of bigger ships, allowing fire to be drawn away from them as they slip into the shadows to perform their task, then vanish entirely as if they had never been there at all.
Every good fleet needs a flagship, right? Here we have Commandant types, bristling with enough firepower to fight a small war on their own. Heavy shield networks, high-grade weaponry, and the ability to see all points of the battlefield at all times are what make Commandant type ships invaluable in combat. Usually massive, Commandant ships must be protected either by turret or mobile defenders in order to issue commands without worrying too much about infiltration or a hull breach. Commandants will even load power supply beams or astro technobeams to repair and refuel friendly ships in the heat of battle, making them an impressive bastion of valour and destructive potential.
Close Quarters Combatants
Close Quarters Combatants, or CQCs, are a blend of Assassins and Destroyers. They offer the best of both worlds, with decent shielding, strong weaponry, perhaps a stealth generator, and the ability to move into enemy lines and quickly cause mass amounts of damage before escaping. Unlike Destroyers which rely on their tough shields to absorb incoming fire, CQCs must "bob and weave" to avoid taking unnecessary damage. Their main objective is to close in on a high-priority target, such as a Commandant or Carrier, and cripple its defenses, allowing allies to decimate the target vessel. CQC ships frequently load close-range, high damage or high spread weaponry, allowing them to maximise damage over a small area, perfect for taking down turrets or smaller defending vessels. They can also be used as interceptors, providing an ally with crucial fire support, but with low shield capacity and light armour, CQCs don't want to stick around in the midst of battle for too long.
Support type ships are the workhorses of every fleet. While a good fleet is full of Assault ships, a better fleet is comprised of both Assault ships and Support ships. Without decent support, any battle might go awry, and instead of crushing your opponent under your heel, you may find yourself instead fleeing with your tail between your legs. If you want to avoid that, put some Support ships in your mix of Assaults. Generally, Supports come in these flavours:
The Tank sub-type is almost guaranteed to show up in any mass engagement, and they are an invaluable ally and a more annoying foe. Tanks sacrifice speed, firepower, and agility for one thing: obscenely strong defence. Massive shield networks and reinforced armour is the name of the game here; Tanks are built to simply not die. Tanks may feature turrets, but more often than not simply move about the battlefield as mobile bulwarks, deflecting enemy fire and protecting allied ships that have taken a beating. Tanks are selfless in their quest to see each and every allied ship return home, even if the Tank must give its own life. As heavy as they are, Tanks can also be used as an unorthodox attack solution against bigger ships by turning themselves into battering rams.
Fleets with a good Healer always come out on top. Acting as a veritable battlefield surgeon, Healers dart to and fro, repairing, refueling, and helping friendly ships in any way they can. Healers can turn the tide of battle by repairing hull breaches in Destroyers or helping CQCs get back on their feet. They can also provide close-in support with power supply beams to keep the weapons and shields of any friendly ship up and running. While usually not very tanky themselves, Healers are often quick, allowing them to move about the battlefield with relative ease and escape potentially nasty situations if need be. Healers will frequently be escorted by CQCs or other defensive ships to mitigate the threat of an untimely demise.
Ah, the Carrier. Unsung heroes of any great battle, Carriers are the bread and butter of a long engagement. Lacking personal firepower and defence, Carriers more than make up for this in their cargo. Carriers can load anything to help out a fleet, from a horde of CQCs to a few Destroyers, even a Tank or two, depending on how large the Carrier itself is. Carriers with intrepid crew-members may even bring turrets to the battlefield, flying out fresh weaponry to allied ships who have either lost their turrets or need a different type to break enemy defences. Carriers require a decent amount of defending, however, and the loss of an entire Carrier might as well be considered "GG."
Finally we have the Heavy Gunners. You'll find these beastly ships over-laden with raw firepower, sacrificing combat mobility and shielding to load more dakka. These ships rarely venture into the heart of a battle, preferring to sit near the outside and bombard enemies from a safe distance. Heavy Gunners forgo all else in favour of loading more missiles or cannons or what have ye, and their main purpose is to break enemy strongholds or siege enemy-controlled planets or space stations. So much firepower does not go unnoticed, and Heavy Gunners must be protected, preferably by a Destroyer or two, and perhaps a handful of CQCs. A talented Heavy Gunner can demolish just about anything with impunity, swinging the battle in his favour.
The Auxiliary role type features ships designed not so much for combat as they are for other, more subtle ship functions. Of course, with clever use, they may very well find a place in the battlefield, but that is up to the pilot in question. Here's a breakdown of a few Auxiliary-type ships:
Reclamation units at heart, Harvesters are at home either in the heart of a planet or the boneyard after a battle, gobbling up as much mass and resources as they can. With salvage beams galore, Harvesters can rapidly chew through any sort of wreckage, salvaging potentially valuable pieces of tech from downed enemy ships. Harvesters can also act as baby Unicrons, eating whole planets to discover precious ores. While often lightly shielded and armoured, Harvesters, with proper defensive measures, can eat through space station walls and defences, clearing a path for allied ships to take advantage of.
Vampires are vessels with a vicious appetite for other ships. With power drain beams, EMP systems, and salvage cannons, Vampires steal that which other ships need to survive, namely, the ship itself. Vampires are often heavily shielded but lightly armoured, as they count on draining power from other ships to stay alive. They can act as secondary reclamation vessels, but more often than not work as an anti-healer, sapping the lifeblood out of other ships to keep themselves moving. Lasers giving you trouble? Call in a Vampire and watch your opponents DC in rage.
A Fleetcradle is a portmanteau of "fleet" and "cradle" and does exactly that: it provides a safe haven for entire fleets while they are away from home. Only even fielded during long voyages into deep space or during lengthy campaigns, Fleetcradles are akin to Motherships in their ability to repair, salvage, and protect allies no matter the situation. A ship of such magnitude becomes unconcerned about mass or space issues, and as such, Fleetcradles commonly carry everything from a super-heavy shield network to more missiles than Motherwill. Fleetcradles are the crown jewel of any fleet, and are usually prohibitively expensive to build and manufacture. However, a well-made Fleetcradle can truly make the difference, acting as a firebase during an engagement and keeping her allies alive.
Some ships simply defy classification, as is the nature of this wonderful game. If you want to build a cloaked battleship that acts as a siege ram, go for it. There are a few types of ships, however, that don't fit into the above lists yet still are common and entirely viable both in war and peacetime:
Just as it sounds, a Battle Harvester is right up there with somebody strapping an M132 flamethrower to a John Deere tractor. What could be better? Salvage cannons and laser beams? Battle Harvesters are the best of the Assault and Support worlds, able to defend themselves with heavier weapons than their demilitarised cousins while also packing plenty of armour and shield capacity to boot.
Snipers are polite. Snipers are efficient. Snipers kill everyone they meet. What isn't to like? Sniper-type ships are essentially smaller, slightly more lethal Heavy Gunners. Where HGs are concerned about spreading damage over as wide an area as possible, Snipers take well-timed, precise shots to cripple enemy defenses and help allies at a distance. Snipers often lose armour and shielding in favour of heavy weapons and the occasional cloaking or stealth generators. Common targets for Snipers include cockpits, turret docking modules, power tanks, weapon computers, even the ship's core itself depending on how damaged it is.
Game Enders are less of a class and more of a collection of ships whose sole purpose is to either crash the game upon spawn or otherwise suck the fun out of the universe simply because they're so indomitable. Game Enders are the broken ships that have shield capacity through the roof, fifteen to twenty-five-thick armour plating, and absurd thrust speeds on top of that. It gets better. Game Enders frequently field all sorts of weapons, from cluster missile systems that can demolish whole space stations in a single salvo to piercing HI-lasers able to cut through shields and armour alike as if enemy ships are made of balsa wood. Game Enders have essentially no weaknesses and serve only to destroy everything they touch.
As Schema would say, "Have fun, and thanks for playing StarMade."