Vessel Management

Don’t Waste Warships

This should be self-evident to any player. Fleet Operations is not a real-time-fleet-building game, it is a real time strategy game. This becomes very clear in the early game. When the battles are between small fleets of early game vessels, you often have a way to get a damaged starship out of a battlefield alive. There is no point to wait and see how your ship explodes if you can prevent it (Oo, pretty colors!).

Repair your ships if they get damaged and recrew them. As soon as the crew drops below a certain amount it enters yellow crew state (the crew display turns yellow). For Borg this is at 10% of maximum crew, while for the other factions this is at 70% of maximum. If this vessel loses even more crew it enters red crew state (the crew display turns red). For Borg this is at 2% of maximum crew, while for the other factions this is at 30% of maximum.

If a combat vessel enters yellow crew state the repair rate of that vessel is reduced by 10% and the rate of fire is reduced by 50%. If the vessel enters the red crew state, the time it takes to repair damage is doubled and the rate of fire of that vessel is reduced by 150%. The only exception to this rule is the Federation due to their superior engineers. All Federation combat vessels receive no repair rate reduction when entering a yellow state and only a 50% reduction when in a red crew state. They have the same weapon fire reduction as that of the other factions. All constructors and freighters receive no such penalties.

Ships that have crew in the “yellow” or “red” zone will also obviously succumb to the Borg (or to crew killing weapons) much more quickly. Hitting the “R” key when a unit is selected will force that unit to immediately head back to a shipyard to begin repairs (tapping “R” a second time will cancel the order to repair). This can be useful in the midst of a battle when you don’t wish to tediously click through the “Orders” menu in order to send your vessels to repair. Pressing “R” while selecting a Borg unit (which cannot go to a repair facility) will not do anything. When a battle is going on, try to send badly damaged / decrewed vessels to a shipyard to be repaired and move new and repaired vessels from the yard into battle. However, be careful not to send all your vessels back to repair when only a few have actually sustained damage. A great big queue is a prime target for crafty opponents, as none of those ships will fight back!

Note on Tractor Beams

Have a ship with damaged engines and really want to repair it? Simple: take any of your constructors and tag the listless vessel with a tractor beam. Click “repair” or “R” on the engineless vessel (it needs to have at least one crew aboard to do this) and move the constructor close to the repair bay entrance of a shipyard. Once the damaged ship is close, it will move in automatically by the service drones and be repaired.

Grouping Vessels

When using the hotkeys (or even manual control) make sure to group vessels together based on at least their use, speed and/or range. For instance, if you group a bunch of slow moving and medium-ranged warships with fast, short-ranged units, not only will your forces lose that speed advantage, but the short ranged units will never close into firing range. Likewise, keeping support vessels  all together allows you to keep track of exactly what special weapons you have access too, and allows you to quickly retreat these easily damaged vessels. Furthermore, even if you have lots of vessels of the same type, keeping them in small fleets will cause them to outperform large monoliths, because you can maneuver them around your opponent's fleets, scatter them away from enemy support powers, and bring more firepower to bear at one point.

Attack Priorities

Pay careful attention to the passives of your vessels, their weapons, and the size of your opponent's vessels. Do not simply have all your vessels attack one warship, but choose the most efficient targets for particular units. For instance, if you have a mixed fleet with warships that do increased damage to short ranged vessels, have these specialized warships concentrate on the short ranged units and thus more efficiently eliminate your opponent's armada. In general, attack the weakest ships first, as this methodology insures that you destroy the most firepower the quickest. Although a Tactical Cube might seem to be the most important target on the field, destroying all those weaker vessels will usually allow you to bide your time and use your special weapons efficiently to incapacitate that single large unit.

Support Vessels

Each faction has a few support vessels at their disposal. These warships are not usually very good in battle on their own, but they will be a huge boon to any fleet they are added to. Support vessels are often dismissed by new players because of their often weak offensive capabilities. They can carry powerful special weapons that can turn the tides in battle for your victory. You can recognize these vessels by the fact that most have a maximum of three unique support abilities.

Support vessels are an important part of any fleet and that is even more true when playing against a human player. They should not be left in the yard’s main computer.

Delay and Cancel Construction Button

If you want to get funds returned, you can either click the "cancel construction" button or click the icon of the building ship. Hitting the “pause construction” button will permanently halt the queue after the currently constructing vessel. Simply click the "pause construction" button that now appears in the queue to get rid of it.

Ability Ranges

You can see the range of weapons and sensors by holding your cursor over the sensor and weapons indicator on each ship (the place where it says at what capacity these ship functions are operating at: obviously, they are normally at 100% effectiveness). You can see the range of special weapons by holding your cursor over the appropriate special weapons button.

Alert Levels

There are three alert levels available to your vessels and stations. All units are initially set to Red Alert and thus your units will engage the enemy upon sight. Units that are set to Yellow Alert will proceed with their orders unless they are attacked. If fired upon, the unit will then engage the enemy forces. On Green Alert, units will not fire weapons without an explicit order.

Autonomy Levels

All of your ships are initially built with Medium Movement Autonomy (meaning they will move to intercept passing ships in formation) and Low Weapons Autonomy (meaning that they will not use their special weapons unless you direct the unit to).

High Movement Autonomy means that the ship will follow an enemy ship all across the map regardless of formation. High Weapons Autonomy will mean that the unit will use its special weapons anytime it gets the required amount of special energy recharged. Medium Weapon Autonomy indicates that a unit will only fire a special weapon when more than half of its special energy is recharged. Note that on Green Movement Autonomy vessels will move to engage enemy warships within sensor range: if the ship's sensor range equals its weapon range the vessel will not move.

You can set all your construction ships to high/medium/low weapon autonomy and/or high/medium/low movement autonomy to build shipyards and Collective Uplinks so that the units that are built will have the same autonomy level as the construction ship that built them. Likewise, by doing the same to individual shipyards (or to Starfleet Command) the vessels that are built from them will have the same settings as the mother shipyard.

Advanced Note: Unfortunately due to a bug in Armada II, movement autonomy causes grouped ships to behave differently than singlet vessels. Ships are considered "grouped" when several are selected at once and given an order together. A group of Low Movement Autonomy vessels will always move to engage enemy ships. Ships in Low and Medium Movement Autonomy will sometimes be unable to turn around: High Movement Autonomy abolishes this issue.