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"Unfortunately, guardians do not do nearly as well against carriers as he thought"

FreeSpace BR - Part 1
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Date: 03/23/02 12:03
Game Type: Other
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Hi there, and welcome to another |]agomar battlereport!

Wow, the bulk of this text was written a WHILE ago. Actually this game was played about a year ago, during my all-too-frequent times off StarCraft ( another than my Canadianess, that's the main reason I never got good :[ ). It's late at night and I've had a rough day, so I figured I might as well take my mind off things by finally posting it. Then I have to work out. What a night.

So, let's get on with it, shall we? A BIG thanks to the players ( wonder if they're still out there ) who graciously agreed to take screenshots during the game and send them to me after. Unfortunately I didn't get pics of some of the most intense action, since managing a spacecraft and reporting a game is a tad hard . . . but you'll have to live with that.


I'll say one thing about FreeSpace right off the bat . . . it isn't easy to sign up for a multiplayer account. In fact, it can be a frustrating, irritating and sometimes enraging experience. What's more, the multiplayer server has quite a bit of lag, unless you have cable. Nonetheless, I eventually completed the registration with some success, and stumbled into the fastest server around 5:00 AM in the morning. Quickly enough, I met up with 7 nice people, and we talked about everything from how awesome FreeSpace II was, to the present state of the global economy. Somehow, however, we managed to initiate a game ( wow ), and immediately 2 other players joined up.

The match was to be a rather interesting 4v6 . . . besides our strikecraft, my side would have double cruisers and a destroyer ( also known as a carrier ), while the enemy would posses no fewer than 6 cruisers and a bomber wing. Both of us were Terran. To add to the fun-factor, a load of terrifying Shivans would warp in now and then to blow stuff up, while two full-scale Vasudan Destroyers, a few bombers and a couple cruisers would phase in simultaneously to attack one another. Each Destroyer had an escort of those smaller ships, split into two groups both sides. Finally, a full-scale Space Base inhabited the map, weaponless and entirely neutral.

If this didn't crash my computer, it might actually be a very exciting match. Our team decided to split into dual 2-ship groups, one consisting of Hercules-class heavy fighters and the other of Apollo-type Interceptors. I'll refer to that first squadron as Alpha Wing, while the second I will deem Beta Wing. I quickly chose an Apollo-class, which offers a top speed of 125 ( about average for a fighter ), along with decent shields, good armour and a nice weapons capacity. All this makes it the perfect well-rounded fighter, and perhaps my favorite strikecraft. Here's a look at it:

Alright. My Wingman, Starfish, a girl from England, loaded her craft with Prometheus cannons ( probably the most lethal gun available, with a decent cooldown rate as well ), Banshee guns ( devastatingly destructive cannons - the most powerful, in fact- but they also have long cooldowns and are best against shields ) and deadly Hornet swarm missiles, which are billed as the best anti-fighter torpedo. I also chose Prometheus-type cannons, but was tempted towards avengers ( those things own . . . much quicker cooldown so I can afford to miss now and then ) as my secondary gun-type ( I ended up picking a second rack of Prometheus cannons ). For my secondaries I racked on 10 Interceptor missiles ( awesome for taking out fighters, doing great damage, especially against armour . . . but you need to keep the target focused for a relatively long time ), along with a motherload of furies ( light missiles used mostly for distraction. I usually hate them, since they do so little damage, but I was feeling slightly whimsical today ). I didn't have a clue what our hotshot allies Blaster and Quick_X chose for weaponry, but then I didn't really care at the moment =D. Soon enough the game was launched and we were ready to rock.

Early Game

We started about 4000m away from one another, with a couple multi-coloured nebular wisps drifting about behind us. A couple asteroids dotted the space lanes here and there, but they didn't worry me too bad. Yelling at my ally to follow me, I raced out into the abyss, afterburners a-blazing. She fretted that perhaps it wouldn't be good to leave the slower Hercules behind, and, regretting my bravado, I agreed. We turned back, and now our entire team moved as one towards the massive Boston, which appeared to be the name of the 2.1 km long Orion-class destroyer infront of us. Beta wing swept by as we spread out, preparing to engage our foe.

The 2 enemy heavy fighters were moving ahead at top speed, yet their light fighters ( double valkyries . . . highly maneuverable, ridiculously fast., surprisingly large missile payload . . . but rather frail ) stayed behind to protect the lumbering 41m Ursa Heavy Bombers. I wasn't sure what the armament on those bombers was, but I suspected the worst - Harbringers ( 5000 mt fusion missiles, the most powerful in the game - can wipe out a ship the size of a destroyer with shocking speed. But each ship can carry a maximum of two ) or maybe Tsunamis ( take a harbringer, make it smaller, fill it with low-grade anti-matter and throw a couple at a cruiser for some fun fireworks ) and Cluster Missiles ( five rockets in one, explodes with a shockwave and releases a swarm of bomblets which home in upon fighters and blow them to smithereens ).

Obviously the first objective would be to take out the bombers . . . they could give the enemy a decisive advantage in the upcoming capitol ship confrontation.

The Boston and its two escorting cruisers eased by slowly from about 1000m away, and I could just barely see the turrets wheeling about into position. Good. The bombers were now 1500m away, and closing at around 60m/sec. We were racing towards em at anywhere from 50m/s to 120 m/s, so it wouldn't be long at all until we clashed. The opponent's heavy fighters had returned to protect the bombers, which now were lumbering ahead at maybe 40m/sec, knowing that they outgunned us and seemingly had little to fear. Behind the enemy wing, six Fenris-class cruisers thundered forward, and it wouldn't be long until these relatively quick ( as capitol ships go ) vessels would be in range. I advertised speed to counter the enemy's brute force, and Starfish wholeheartedly agreed.

At 700m we fired up our afterburners and hurtled forward at 150m/s. I launched an interceptor, and a salvo of furies, while my wingman fired off double hornet volleys ( each salvo contains 6 missiles, I believe ). We both targeted the leading bomber, and hoped for the best. Moments later we were 400m closer, and eased back on our burners. All the furies had predictably missed their targets, yet they frightened the escorting fighters into evasive maneouvers, so we hadn't recieved any return fire yet. My interceptor, with plenty of time to lock on, had nibbled through the big bomber's shields with alot of help from prometheus cannons, while it seemed like at least 8 hornets had slammed into the same ship, reducing its hull to 70%. I released two more interceptors, but suddenly a spread of cluster missiles screamed out from the Ursas and sped towards us.

Uh oh.

As soon as I saw the distinctive yellow missile trails arcing away from their carriers, I instinctively pulled up, activitated my afterburners, diverted energy away from my weapons and into my engines, and raced off into space at ridiculous speeds. My ally did the same, yet didn't redirect any energy - hence she was a bit behind as the first cluster rocket detonated, releasing five smaller homing missiles which arrowed angrily towards us. Due to Starfish's marginally slower speed, she got slammed by one of the little missiles, avoided another, jammed the next and rode out successfully into relative safety. I eased back on my engines to join her while the other missiles exploded well off to our right.

Alpha wing now thundered into battle, releasing a hoarde of hornet missiles. The enemy responded in style, however, unleashing a massive volley of Interceptor, Pheonix ( more powerful than interceptors yet require a longer time to lock on. My favourite missile, but Apollo's can't carry em ) and hornet missiles. We were now extremely close to one another, and I maneouvered wildely to avoid the hulking hull of a nearby bomber. Just then, the two heavy fighters seemed to notice me simultaneously, and I was suddenly pummeled by a tremendous volley of heavy banshee fire. I screamed as 12 cannons opened up on my whirling craft, and the scene degraded to looking very much like 10 fat, bear-bellied hicks gunning down a squadron of little ducks fluttering overhead.

Crimson Lights were flashing all over the place, my shields were nearly gone at my rear and right sides, my sensors were in the red and alarms were blaring like a wombat in heat. My ally pummeled the nearest heavy fighter with hornet rockets, yet they appeared to be having ludicrously little effect. Then, suddenly, I accidentally jammed the tab button, activating my afterburners with a jarring roar. With my hull at 80% I bolted out into the calm of space at 160m/s, engines howling. I stabbed the tab bar a couple times as my fuel began to run low, and finally it released itself. Looking about, I found myself in the middle of nowhere, and tried to locate the battle. There it was.

I rocketed into combat as quickly as I'd left, and saw an enemy Hercules erupting in a blaze of glory, tumbling over again and again before dissolving into random spacedust. My british ally had scored her first kill.

Our joy was short lived, as Starfish immediately came under intense bombardment from all three bomber turrets and the massive guns of the remaining heavy fighter. Bear in mind that so far the entire battle has lasted less than 50 seconds. Even so, we were now only about 1500m away from the Boston, which by now had blossomed out to fill the entire field of view. If we were to have a hope of winning, we couldn't let the enemy bombers get any closer.

I raced to my ally's aid as our Alpha group dueled with the rapidly maneouvering valkyries. Our Hercs simply couldn't focus on a ship long enough to squeeze off a really good volley, and so very few shots had been fired thus far between the dueling groups. I tumbled down upon the nearest enemy heavy fighter, and squeezed off a continuous barrage of Prometheus fire, while unleashing another three interceptors. This took the big Herc's attention off my wingman, who managed to get out of there with her hull at 87%. My beam weapon fire was surprisingly accurate, and all missiles slammed into the pathetically maneouvering fighter. However, just as I readied myself to launch the furies which would break the target's hull, two enormous Heavy Bombers eased themselves about and launched another 4 cluster missiles.


I swerved hard to the left at 100m/s, not bothering to activate my afterburners. The first two rockets detonated in double shockwaves, releasing countless homing torpedoes, 6 of which sped in my direction. Breathing hard, I diverted all my weapons energy to shields, maxed up my rear forcefields, and tried to dodge. The first rocket missed cleanly, and the second was jammed. The third hit me square in the teeth, yet my shields absorbed the damage without too much trouble. Then the other two cluster missiles released yet another bomblet hoarde, 3 of which curved about to follow me. I twisted, jinked upwards, tumbled down, and wheeled off to the left to avoid another missile. I jammed the next, but the following slammed into my side shields, weakening them substancially. No more impacted, and I powered up my weapons as I threw my battered fighter once more into the fray.

I didn't have all that many missiles left, and neither did my ally, so we decided to be a bit more aggressive. I matched speeds with the Hercules, diverted power to weapons, and layed down a devastating barrage on its rear shields. I fired off a good 20 or so furies as the enemy whirled about, firing back confidently. Then my wingman swooped in, launching all her remaining hornets and blasting at the massive Herc all-guns-a-blazing. I moved all my shields to the front, and even so they took quite a pummeling. Nevertheless, the already damaged Heavy Fighter didn't have much hope of surviving this double teaming, and just as the enemy bombers fired off another few cluster missiles its cockpit was torn to oblivion as flames rippled out to engulf its shredded hull.

Just then, a Shivan Demon class Destroyer ( one of the most lethal ships in the game ), two Shivan Lillith-class cruisers ( easily the most deadly cruisers in the game ) and a wing of heavy fighters warped in about 1000m behind us.

Erm, wtf.

The fighters screamed in rather alarmingly fast, and the cruisers advanced upon us about as quickly as their engines could take them. By now, our Terran capitol ships were close enough to engage the Shivan cruisers simultaneously . . . just in time to see two titanic warpoints bursting into brilliance roughly 2000m away from our little strikecraft squirmish.

You guessed it . . . Vasudans. Their entourage of cruisers and fighters warped in about them like a swarm of protective wasps defending the hive. Things were heating up . . . literally ( DUM DUM DUM - corny Hollywood saying of the year ).

By now you're probably wondering whether the respawn option was on, and whether those two heavy fighters had been ressurrected yet. The first answer would be that yes, respawn was set so you could die once and return, but only once. The second answer is that the first deceased enemy fighter was already 1000m away and closing fast. The other had run straight into the Shivan capitol ships, and was now under intense fire. Hence, with all its wheeling, twisting, dodging and turning, it wasn't approaching very quickly.

But now to more immediate matters. The enemy Vasudan carrier had dropped down right on top of our craft, yet luckily its guns were too preoccupied with blasting apart its similar rival to pay all that much attention to us. However, we did recieve the occassional heavy gun fire, even though none of us had been hit yet. The other Vasudan battlewagon was about 2500m away, so there was little threat of the Ursas reaching it in time to aid in its destruction, if they were to blow up the Boston first.

I yelled at Starfish to stay focused and help destroy the bombers, and she agreed with a curt "ok." Twisting about my fighter, I diverted what energy I could to weapons and shields, then matched speeds with the most damaged bomber and proceeded to ravage it with my entire arsenol. My wingman swooped in alonside, and fired off her last few Hornets, firing wildly with her Banshees. ALL the bombers then wheeled around, unleashed a motherload of cluster missiles, and continued on course, afterburners screaming.

I reeled back at the enemy's sudden change in strategy. With us only 800m away from the Boston they had finally decided to make a break for it, while keeping us preoccupied with dodging missiles. Our heavy fighters could only watch them dwindle off into the distance, still grappling as they were with those dastardly Valkyries.

This was most decidedly a bad thing.

Mid Game

There were four primary problems facing us at the moment:

First, we were both out of missiles. This essentially meant that the chances of us killing those bombers before they reached our beloved carrier were pretty much nil. We would have to call in a support ship, and that would take some time.
Second, a swarm of cluster missiles were screaming towards us. These would erupt in damaging shockwaves and release an insane number of homing bomblets.
Third, those bombers were now 700m away from the Boston. Very soon they could begin to fire off their Harbringers. They were travelling at 70 metres/second. It wouldn't take them too long.
Finally, our capitol ships were completely distracted by their enemy counterparts, especially the Shivans. With all turrets focused on the opposing battlewagons, they wouldn't notice the more destructive bombers until it was too late.
Oh and there were three Shivan Dragon-class heavy fighters now only 700 metres away from us. These are the fastest, most powerful fighters in the game.

After a moment of dispair, I staunched myself yet again for battle. With our backs to the wall, we decided to tackle the most immediate threat first. Both of us shiftted into position and began to lay into the valkyries with everything we had left. The twin Valks, now under assault from four more powerful enemies, maneouvered wildly and fired off a couple hornet missiles. We easily absorbed the damage, with the lead Hercules finally getting a good lock on the most distracted fighter, and launching three pheonix missiles straight into his engines.

The light fighter spiralled wildly as the missiles pounded through his shields and blew its hull down to 40%. Both craft, now under just the type of bombardment they weren't designed to take, activated their afterburners and raced off towards their bomber complement at 150m/s, a speed we couldn't hope to match.

Our roles were clear. Alpha wing was to pursue the heavy bombers; with the Herc's devastating firepower and only half-empty missile bays they might just be able to down the Ursas before too much damage was done. We, in our empty little Apollos, were to stay behind and distract the oncoming enemies long enough for the Heavy Fighters to finish their dirty business. Afterburners roaring, Alpha thundered off into the inky night of space, dodging a nearby Asteroid as they did.

We immediately called in a support ship, which warped in soon after. With 20 seconds left before my ally recieved her missiles, I quickly pointed out that we may be better off hiding behind the lumbering asteroid before our enemies were closer. The three Dragons had been distracted by light turret fire from a nearby cruiser, but now had resumed their approach. If we hid behind the planetoid they wouldn't be able to fire their missiles at us before they were much nearer, enabling us to even the odds with our short-range beam weapons. Starfish quickly agreed, and we dove for cover just as the Shivan fighters approached the 500 metre mark. 2 seconds later, huddling behind the big asteroid, we emerged, guns ablaze and set to max. My cannons were set to single-fire setting, meaning I could pump off a nearly continuos stream of the deadly beams at the unfortunate cost of damage per hit.

The leading Dragon took a pounding, zipping by at 100m/s. However, it quickly wheeled about at astonishing speeds, returning with its wingmen to tear us to smithereens. Outgunned maybe 3-1, we darted up, tumbled down and sped off to the right to avoid a healthy load of missiles, with the black Shivan enemies in hot pursuit. I jammed the next two missiles, but my ally took one hard in the rear, heavily damaging her shields. Just then the support ship rambled into view, and I banked up hard to meet it, the Dragons keeping pace with nearly pathetic ease. As the incoming supporter balooned rapidly in my HUD, I realized that it would be no use. There was no way we could refill in such intense combat, and until we did the odds were simply too high. Starfish was already taking hull damage, and trailing a line of sparks. She couldn't divert much more energy to her shields, and it was obvious they wouldn't hold out much longer.

I ordered my Wingman to open fire on the support ship. Sensing my mutinous intentions, she quickly agreed. We dove up and around, pounding away at the hapless ship. The Dragons were right behind, and dual missiles slammed into my rear shields, knocking them out entirely! I diverted all my remaing shield energy to my back, redirected half my engine power to my weapons, and tore into the supporter with everything I had left. Then, suddenly, its hull began to flicker with writhing lightning. I led the two dragons on a particularly close pass as my ally polished it off from a safe distance. Suddenly, I put all my energy into engines, and screamed away on afterburners as the wrecthed vessel exploded in a titanic blaze of glory. Now, for those of you who don't know, resupply ships like these are massively stocked with weapons. Hence, when one detonates, you don't want to be anywhere within 200 or so metres of the blast. Which is exactly what those three Dragons were.

I rocketed out into space just ahead of the shockwave as my ally whirled about to follow me. The Dragons were blasted in the explosion, and one was ripped to smithereens in the firey inferno. Another was utterly engulfed soon after, and I assume it must have died quite quickly because I didn't see it again. The leading fighter, however, escaped with heavy damage to its hull, and limped out of the deadly blastzone with its structural integrity at 40%. Swooping in again, our Apollos blew it to scrapmetal just as it powered up its afterburners in a pathetic attempt to flee.

I cannot begin to relate to you how ecstatic we were at this point. I whooped with joy, twirled about, pumped my afterburners and fired wildly away into space. My ally was a little more reserved, calling in another support ship in the middle of our triumph, but she screamed in glee as well, and joined me in my maneouvering antics. To have two missile-less Apollos defeat three fully loaded Dragons is ludicrous. Almost impossible. Our Alpha Squadron was silent in wonder, eventually contributing a few awed remarks. We didn't, of course, tell them what we were forced to do in order to pull out a win. Oh well =D.

There was still one enemy Hercules coming in fast, and even it could destroy both of us if we didn't watch out. Frankly, I was drained after the continuing action, and my adreneline rush was beginning to wear out. Oh well.

The big, opposing Herc was slowing down quickly, and, after witnessing the previous battle, decided to play it slowly with us. This was an excellent tactic. The captain of that ship knew we absolutely HAD to get back to the Boston if we were to have any chance of survival. Alpha wing had already reached the bombers, and even killed the damaged valk, but with all the cluster missiles those blasted Ursas had, they were making very slow progress indeed. At least they were a distraction. The enemy formation was now 400m from our Carrier. If they were given a moment's rest they'd launch their devastating Harbringers. Since such slow missiles must be targeted for ( which involves staying still in the same position and not firing at anything else - very risky ), none had been fired yet. But the remaining valk was continuing to pummel the Hercules fighters with incessant and deadly fire, making the task of successful distracting ever more difficult. Soon enough, one or both of the Hercules would have to try and destroy the enemy light fighter lest be killed themselves . . . and that would provide the bombers with just enough time to launch their 5000 Mt packages of death.

As the big Herc lumbered closer, I racked my mind for a way out. Then, suddenly, it hit me. we didn't HAVE to wait here for the deadly fighter to approach. We could simply turn round and head back in pursuit of the bombers, and the enemy would have no way to run us down. But first we needed those missiles.

I told Starfish to fly to her support ship, now only 10 seconds away. She did, and I followed quickly at 50m/s. The opposing ship continued on course. The supporter quickly docked with my ally, and I was forced to wait for my turn. The Hercules was now 500 metres away, so it clearly saw the dock, changed its target . . . and fired at the support vessel with triple pheonix missiles. Should our resupplier explode while loading us up, we would certainly die in the resulting fireball. It was now a matter of time. I blasted away at our enemy, slicing through his forward shields, yet the missiles smashed into their target, and dropped its hull by 15%. I was next in line for docking, and as soon as the supply ship was finished with my ally, I asked her to follow our Alpha group right away. She quickly agreed, and, powering up her afterburners, was soon a small speck in the distance.

Now the Herc, seeing its chance, moved in at full speed, squeezing off a massive volley of rockets and laying down a wall of Prometheus fire. Nevertheless, I now had my full complement of deadly Interceptor missiles, and the the Herc, in a galling tactical error, was still heading straight towards me at 80m/s, lashing away wildly at the support vessel. I smirked in pity, instantly launching a full salvo of 3 Interceptors at my oncoming foe, complementing them with a lethal dose of brilliant Prometheus fire.

The result wasn't exactly pretty. Before the missiles even arrived, the Herc's normally nearly impregnable shields, foolishly not diverted to maximum frontal strength, took a terrible beating from my beam weapon bombardment. Then the yellow streaks of my rocket exhaust closed in on the suddenly rapidly maneouvering glare of the enemy engines. The opposing pilot pumped his afterburners in a pathetic attempt to outrace the streaking missiles with his hopelessly slow fighter, but it was to no avail. The first bomblet impacted successfully, bringing its hull to 70% followed by the second, which, with the help of my cannons, brought it down to 30%. The third, being well off course, looked like it would fail, and apprantly the enemy thought so to as he brought his Herc around, relaxing on his afterburners and retreating more slowly now in the direction of his oncoming cruisers.

It was a fatal error.

My missile rediscovered its target, jerked into a homing path, and plummeted down upon the hapless craft. I activated my afterburners and unleashed another interceptor from 200m as my previous rocket found its mark and lowered the opponent's hull to 5%. It also obliterated his navigation.

With his radar gone, he called for a support vessel to patch up and rearm. Yet, in his present confusion, he turned right into the path of my hurtling interceptor rocket, closing in like murdrous dagger.


The missile slammed straight into his cockpit, blowing completely through his vessel and blasting him to stardust within seconds. Debris hurtled out in all directions as my cannon blasts zipped through the hellish chaos and out into the beckoning Cosmos. I cheered wildly, realizing I'd smashed the last remaining fightercraft resistance besides that which was threatening to destroy our flagship ( =P ), then called in my support vessel again, to stock up on the missiles I'd need to take out those dastardly Ursas.

And speaking of the bombers, they were now only 500m away, and were still duelling with the Hercules fighters. Suddenly, as the other two blasted away at our strikecraft, the third straightened, and launched a massive Harbringer missile straight towards a gargauntuan turret hunkered down at the side of our Carrier. I gawked in horror, recieved a confirmation that I was once again fully loaded, and screamed off in the wake of my ally at 125m/sec.

There was little our fighters could do. The Harbringer sailed ever closer, until it was obvious it would make it. The bombers slid off towards the upcoming impact at 60m/s, then pulled up at the last minute with the Hercules fighters following hot in their trail. Suddenly, our Alpha wing realized what was happening, and, powering their afterburners, raced away as fast as their engines could take them.

The Harbringer slammed into the batardered hull of our monolithic carrier, doing stupendous damage. A mighty shockwave raced out from the epicenter of the blast, buffeting the far away Hercules but, thanks to the quick reaction of their pilots, not doing too much damage. Our Carrier's hull was down to 80% ( also factoring in the damage it took from the Shivan cruisers ), and the bombers, escorted by their Valk, seemed out of range of the shaken Hercs. Only our Beta wing could save the day now.

Hurry to the next section you filthy whores!

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