So I'm new to Sins and have been playing it quietly against the AI and learning what's going on. I've formerly played lots of StarCraft and WarCraft 3 so I get the gyst of the game style. However, one thing that's stumping me is micromanagement - and I'll explain precisely what I mean by that. I have a number of questions that aren't really filled by any of the comments I've seen online or any of the guides I've read here (including the two really big ones on TEC and Vasari). Yes, there is a post where people ask what ships to focus-fire, fleet or capital...but that's not where I'm going with this. Just between a number of features in the game that are unique, to how one splits one's attention on various points on the map, I'm not clear on the best way to direct my attention. Allow me to simply field a bunch of questions and see where it goes.
1. Fleets VS Cntrl-#'s
A. Exactly how do FLEETS function? Yes, I've done the Tutorial, and I've clicked the button in-game, but for the most part I still don't get what's happening here. All I'm sure of is that ships I didn't include in part of a fleet initially are suddenly part of it, and then I end up giving orders to units I didn't think were supposed to be getting them.
B. For the competitive players - how do you use fleets? What for and in what circumstances?
C. How are fleets different than using Control-#'s? Obviously I Control-# various aspects of my forces (Capital ships whose abilities I want to use, portions of my fleet with a special ability, etc...), but I can't help but wonder if I'm missing something here in terms of execution. Moreover it only goes so far if I'm controlling multiple actual combat fleets at the same time (e.g. three-pronged attack), and I just run out of Control-#'s. How do you deal with this?
2. Grouped or Ungrouped Jumping - or Unit Following
A. To what extent do you use grouped jumping or ungrouped jumping for one thing or another? On the one hand, grouping can slow down a force reaching its destination but ensure that it comes in force, on the other hand ungrouping makes sure stuff gets there ASAP. What motivates some of these decisions for you?
B. Do you use Unit Follow for jumping? (e.g. ordering your fleet to "move" to your Titan - the Titan jumps first and then everything else comes a little bit after) I find this is nice early on in the game when fighting Neutrals as they will focus on the Capital ship and ignore my Frigates. Later on it's a question mark whether the rest of the fleet actually comes together or not.
C. More on Unit Following - how useful is this during battles? Units SEEM to do OK here, but I'm not really sure...obviously managing the fleet directly is better, but here it's really a question of which things should GET my attention and which things should NOT get my attention in a battle.
3. Gravity Well Targetting & Ship Behaviour
A. What I notice with a lot of my ship's behaviour is that they can be incredibly stupid very easily. For example, if I have some Vasari healer ships, or some Hoshikos from TEC - they might charge right at the enemy and not even do much healing. So I turn Auto-Attack off. Then they sit around in the back until something is hurt and take forever to get where everything else is. So I need to babysit them and make sure they're in the right area. And this all assumes that they're even doing their job at all - my Vasari healers often just heal NOTHING at all even on auto-cast and I just need to manually assign all of them to do stuff. (too bad Sins didn't incorporate the WarCraft 3 micro item whereby each time you hit a command in a group it assigns the next unit to do it...whereas in Sins you need to tab through each unit to give the individual orders)
B. When do you change the Gravity Well attack range? Example using the whole Gravity well will make the whole fleet charge immediately when entering a system (say with a Star Base) and I don't necessarily want the ships to do that. I could micro the ships, but in order to keep them from charging they all turn around and then have their backs to things and it screws up the offensive. So turning it to "Local" is helpful - but then too often in a battle I will forget about something only in order to find some of my ships sitting around doing nothing (often healers) - so once again I need to babysit them and make sure they're sort of in the right area to do anything.
C. All this is besides the fact that the Gravity Well attack sequence is behind another item and seems like a lot of attention to click on, especially if I want some of my force to access the whole well and others not to. How do others manage their large fleets in battle?
4. Researching & Fighting & Stuff
A. I haven't started playing on Fastest income rate and stuff yet because frankly Normal is plenty fast for me. Attention on a single battle and I suddenly have far too much money to spend and don't know where it all came from, so I can't imagine what I would be doing with even more money in the same time frame.
B. Anyways, having said that - how do you direct your attention to various things when fighting a battle? I think my main issue is that I haven't familiarized myself with the whole tech tree for each race yet (because there is a LOT there) and so sometimes I'm just searching for an item whose location I have forgotten (in order to be able to click on it). Too often though I'm in a battle that's substantial enough that researching anything just gets neglected (and since research takes a LONG time, it's useful to have something being researched at all times). How do you keep on top of all your planets, and research, and fleet actions simultaneously? Is this something about "Fleets" I'm missing? Because once again - I find all the ships in battle so dumb that I need to manage all of them to do anything right at any time.
5. Zooming & Focus Fire
A. When do you zoom? This might seem like a banal question, but it makes a big deal. In many other RTS, zooming just isn't a thing - you might be able to control the camera angle, but that's about it. I can see how the way Planets are structured makes Zooming necessary in this game, but it does feel disorienting overall (certainly at no point have I ever felt the "thrill" of battle in Sins watching things die as I have in other games, because the need to have an overview of everything in the battle for tactical purposes necessarily makes the camera zoom be out just enough to see nothing shooting anything else ever, so meh). Obviously I zoom in order to place buildings. And I zoom in order to...
B. Focus fire. This one is tricky. It's not a question about WHAT to focus fire, but HOW to focus fire. Let me clarify. When zooming, sometimes it will focus on a ship (near my cursor when I zoomed), and sometimes not (if my cursor was near nothing). The zoom on top of a ship is nice to focus fire because it stays in the middle of the screen and so is functionally "stationary" - but as soon as ships of another type need to be focused we need to zoom out again, zoom in, zoom out, to nail certain ones. I actually don't mind it at all when it DOESN'T zoom in on a ship and instead I have a zoomed-in overview of a part of a battle, and I can pick out the ships I want who are moving in whatever direction. The problem is...
C. Ships are never quite where they are. The place where you need to click to focus on something seems to be a tad BELOW where you think it's supposed to be?!? You'd think bigger icon acceptance would be a thing here. Is it just me, or does everyone else suffer from the problem of clicking on an enemy ship in what seemed to be a clear click, only to find out that your fleet is moving to a location instead?
D. My only question about focus-firing - when is it time to not focus fire anything and let your fleet just shoot it out? (I find need for the "stop" button of course, in case the target runs away into a place I don't want to be)
I probably have more questions presently that I just don't remember. Yes, I'm still learning so am disoriented at times and I know this slows me down (Like - what was my Capital Ship's ability again?!? Oh yeah that's what it was...). Nevertheless, lots of items just could use some sharpening, and while this is an RTS like other RTSs, the way certain aspects work is sufficiently different that at least for me some clarification is required - and I need to ask, because every guide I read seems to just *assume* that these items are clear for everyone. I get build orders, and why a certain set of ships has a strong advantage, and so on...but actually executing the orders for a master fleet is a different story. Also, in other RTS, you don't always have this many troops to command. Things are larger in scope here, so it's something to adjust to.
Finally, a bonus question...
5. What's the deal with Corvette mass? Every time I build a million Corvettes, they just instantly die to anything all the time. Splash damage for sure, but normal ships too (even when I get behind the enemy fleet and nullify their guns because they're facing the wrong way). I'm obviously missing something - once again, it's one of those items that I see in guides, but nothing about execution is actually explained.
Cheers and thanks,