The Earthling Cruiser

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The Troglodyte
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The Earthling Cruiser

Post by The Troglodyte » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:15 pm

I would like to open up a discussion on the Earthling Cruiser. I've had many reservations about this perplexing vessel, and I've been examining it from many different angles including its history, role in the first war, armaments, defenses, capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, etc..

Even its name puzzles me: Earthling Cruiser. Earthling? The only time I've ever heard the term "earthling" is when I'm watching an old cheesy sci-fi flick and the aliens refer to us as earthlings. It's not like representatives from earth would tell the leaders of another planet, "We come in peace. And by the way, we are called earthlings." But I digress.

My personal opinion of this ship is I've always maintained that it seems a bit underpowered. Or perhaps I'm just being biased. On second thought, I AM being biased! And rightly so, I mean, this is OUR race being represented!

I don't mean to criticize, the makers and writers came up with a good story where the human role does make sense and they also wanted to create a good portion of balance amongst the ships; I just wanted a little more from the Cruiser and I probably would have given it more power in one form or another.

I would love to hear other people thoughts, comments, observations, questions, or anything else worth contributing and discussing about the Earthling Cruiser. I will also be adding my own independent test results that I've been conducting with the Earthling Cruiser for critique and analysis. One last note, please include any necessary spoiler tags if they are warranted. May not be necessary but I thought I'd mention it, just in case.
“He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!” ― Khan Noonien Singh

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by Quasispatial » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:39 pm

Well, the cruiser IS utterly overpowered against anything slower than it, and will with high probability deal at least some form of damage against any attacking enemy ship. If used correctly, it can be formidable, though its slowness leaves it much in the hands of the enemy. Of course, maybe a bit weak compared to others, but considering the fact that it's relatively cheap, I do believe that it's fairly balanced.

It also happens to be so that "earthlings" was not the name we, ourselves, introduced us with, and the 'Human' name is also used, but rather it was one given to us by extraterrestial allies.
"Sentient life. We are the Ur-Quan. Independence is intolerable. Blah, blah, blah." - the Spathi High Council, Star Control II.

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Death 999
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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by Death 999 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:37 pm

In the first war, cruisers were very important. They hit dreadnoughts hard and were much cheaper than dreadnoughts (11/30). They were the only hard counter the allies had, and you didn't need a lot of them to provide a lot of the benefit.

With game mechanics on (i.e. taking into account parts of the game that are unlikely to carry over to the war that the game was simulating)... that's because one of them can do about half damage to a dreadnought, so after you send in one, the dreadnought will not be able to launch fighters without weakening itself substantially (makes it vulnerable to Yehat, Chenjesu, full-crew Syreen, etc). With game mechanics off... their SDI provided an anti-fighter umbrella that other allied ships could take advantage of.

Also, they are effective vs Spathi, and utterly wipe the floor with VUX (except for a starting encounter). This is largely independent of game mechanics being on or off.

On the somewhat-smaller SC1 battlefield, they were better against Mycon (less time to regen) but worse against Dreadnoughts (the fusion bolts were effectively longer-ranged). Still a good deal vs dreadnought, just not as strongly so.

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by Draxas » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:49 pm

Plot wise, the Cruiser makes perfect sense. The Chenjesu made first contact and invited Earth to join the Alliance when humanity was just starting to explore the stars. Humans had no prior experience with space combat and had to whip up a fighting vessel from whatever they had lying around, hence the application of surplus weapons systems from an earlier age. That kind of a makeshift design is definitely not going to be one of the powerhouses of the Alliance, though it was perfect for its intended role of bolstering the dwindling Alliance forces and providing support to dedicated combat ships like the Terminator.

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by The Troglodyte » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:39 pm

Here's the first of my independent tests pitting a fleet of Cruisers vs another fleet. I'm going in alphabetical order, so first up is the Androsynth Guardian:
14 AI-CONTROLLED AWESOME SETTING EARTHLING CRUISERS
VS.
14 AI-CONTROLLED AWESOME SETTING ANDROSYNTH GUARDIANS
ANDROSYNTH GUARDIAN WINS BY A RATIO OF 14:1

ANALYSIS: The Androsynth obviously built their ships with the overall priority being that they would crush any Cruisers they encountered. The Comet Blazer form was simply way too much for the Cruiser to handle. At full strength, the Comet ripped the Cruiser to shreds, dodging every Nuclear Missile on its way, whereas the missile's guidance system was unable to correct its trajectory in time. In fact, the only damage the Cruiser could muster was to get in a few Point-Defense Laser shots at close range as the Guardian destroyed its hull. There's also the occassional missile the Androsynth ran into head-on while in Blazer-form or was caught in regular form while recharging for its next assault; the Guardian nevers really had much need to use its Acid Bubbles. A completely one-sided battle.
“He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!” ― Khan Noonien Singh

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by The Troglodyte » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:23 pm

Death 999 wrote: With game mechanics on (i.e. taking into account parts of the game that are unlikely to carry over to the war that the game was simulating)... that's because one of them can do about half damage to a dreadnought, so after you send in one, the dreadnought will not be able to launch fighters without weakening itself substantially (makes it vulnerable to Yehat, Chenjesu, full-crew Syreen, etc). With game mechanics off... their SDI provided an anti-fighter umbrella that other allied ships could take advantage of.
Is the game mechanics you're referring to the 1 Ship VS. 1 Ship factor as opposed to the "what would occur in real-life" Cruiser being an escort ship in an actual fleet?
“He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!” ― Khan Noonien Singh

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by Death 999 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:01 pm

Right.

Trog, Androsynth Blazers are really, really strong vs Cruisers. On the other hand, they are much more expensive. Not 14x more expensive, to be sure.

Short of the Chmmr, that's probably their worst matchup.

The most plot-relevant comparisons would be vs the Hierarchy ships. If you do those first, that would make sense (and you started with one!)

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by The Troglodyte » Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:21 pm

Death 999 wrote: The most plot-relevant comparisons would be vs the Hierarchy ships. If you do those first, that would make sense (and you started with one!)
Nice suggestion, I think I'll do that, starting with the SC1 Hierarchy ships, then the "introduced" SC2 ships (since I'm not positive which are friendly or foe), and then I'll finish up with the SC1 Alliance ships. So I'll be skipping the Arilou and Chenjesu for now.

Which would bring us to the Ilwrath Avenger:
14 AWESOME CYBORG EARTHLING CRUISERS
VS.
14 AWESOME CYBORG ILWRATH AVENGERS
ILWRATH AVENGER WINS WITH A RATIO OF 4.66:1 (14:3)

ANALYSIS: The Earthling Cruiser was really never able to establish any feasable strategy against the Ilwrath Avenger's Cloaking Device. The Avenger, on the other hand, was able to focus its own strategy on unpredictably changing its course at will, keeping the Cruiser on its heels. The Gravity Whip, at first glance, would take the Cruiser away from the Avenger, but upon closer examination, the Ilwrath had already corrected its course to attack, coming in from the other direction and then it could fire its Hellspout Cannon to engulf the Cruiser in flames. Its first volley usually meant the Cruiser's destruction. The helm of the Cruiser always seemed to be panicking as it would pivot back and forth, trying to anticipate where the cloaked ship was hiding. The Cruiser's tactical position seemed equally as flustered and would even fire in the opposite direction of the Ilwrath vessel; the Nuclear Missile's guidance system had no target to acquire and it would drift lifelessly into a void in space, shortly to be followed by the twisted hull of the Cruiser. The Earthling Cruiser just couldn't take the heat.
“He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!” ― Khan Noonien Singh

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by Death 999 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:40 pm

Humans can do better than that, at least.

The way the AI interacts with the cloaking device is that it sees the cloaked ship offset by a constant magnitude in some randomly determined direction. This constant is not very small, and does not scale down as you approach. So the AI cruiser might think the Ilwrath is behind it.

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Re: The Earthling Cruiser

Post by The Troglodyte » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:11 pm

Quasispatial wrote:Well, the cruiser IS utterly overpowered against anything slower than it, and will with high probability deal at least some form of damage against any attacking enemy ship. If used correctly, it can be formidable, though its slowness leaves it much in the hands of the enemy. Of course, maybe a bit weak compared to others, but considering the fact that it's relatively cheap, I do believe that it's fairly balanced.
Death 999 wrote:In the first war, cruisers were very important. They hit dreadnoughts hard and were much cheaper than dreadnoughts (11/30). They were the only hard counter the allies had, and you didn't need a lot of them to provide a lot of the benefit.
Draxas wrote:Humans had no prior experience with space combat and had to whip up a fighting vessel from whatever they had lying around, hence the application of surplus weapons systems from an earlier age. That kind of a makeshift design is definitely not going to be one of the powerhouses of the Alliance, though it was perfect for its intended role of bolstering the dwindling Alliance forces and providing support to dedicated combat ships like the Terminator.
One thing that everybody seems to be in agreement with is the cost of the ship represents getting, at the very least, good "bang for your starbuck", whether it be the cost to build Cruisers in SC1 (or even SC2 I'm assuming), or by using a point system in SuperMelee.

Because my main recounting of history comes mostly from SC1, and I've only scratched the surface of SC2, my position on the Earthling Cruiser may have been ill-affected by the vulnerabilities and deficiencies of the ship that I've personally experienced. It does seem I used Earthling Cruisers a great deal as "workhorses". Actually, maybe a better illustration would be to say I frequently gave them the role as "grunts" on the battlefield, making them do all the dirty work by putting them on the front lines, given the task to advance my forces or build up a stronghold, hoping just by sheer forces they could either overtake an enemy's defenses or hold their position until the mines could bring in the resources needed to build "better" ships.

The Shofixti Scouts could also fulfull this soldier role to a degree, but I found them more useful as reconnaissance (hence the name "Scout"). I'd also use the Scouts for cheap, fast development in the early stages of a campaign or, if being used during an assault on the enemy, they can be used as cannon fodder...literally.
Last edited by The Troglodyte on Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!” ― Khan Noonien Singh

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