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Valience's "The Art of SD"

This is taken from a message to an ally about how to build SD. It turned into more of a rant than advice, but it's true!!! Take it from someone who knows. I see the greatest players in the game (seriously, people far better at AAT than I still make this mistake) doing this, and it's wrong. So here is my dissertation on how to build SD the RIGHT way.

Note that this theory can be extended to implicate that a person should only build 1!!! SG. It's a clear consequence.

I am going to be brutally straightforward because I am supremely confident in my correctness. Your SD strategy is wrong. Note that I am not saying it could be better or whatever. I use the word wrong because there is a right way and a wrong way.

The reason it is wrong is because you are spending 3x the cash you could be, and with the cash distributed like that, everything is weaker.

First, I suggest you read Frederick Lancaster's "Mathematics in Warfare". It is an excellent treatise on the theory, and the consequences of the laws described in the paper are accented in this game.

If you split your SD forces/money between sectors, they are weaker in each sector. Militarily speaking, a force is ALWAYS weaker than the sum of its parts. Weaker. There are all those motivational posters saying "The whole of us is greater than all of our parts," and that's basically true. If you've got all your money into one sector, that sector will be harder to take than the three sectors with the money distributed combined.

Basically, think of it like this. Either you can take a sector or you can't. If you can take that sector, and you do, it means you can take another sector the same size after it. This is over simplifying, but it's basically correct, so just accept it for the hypothetical scenario. If the first sector is take-able, the others are too. But if you put all that money into the first sector, the first sector might become un-take-able. Because of the bottleneck, the whole SG is now un-take-able.

That's why SD has to be centralized and focused on one key spot. You have to make that spot so strong it won't fail. This lesson has been hammered into me because I am an attacker. I have been able to kill people SO MANY TIMES because they fail to learn this lesson. Alf's home fell because he did not practice this advice I am giving to you. If he had done what I am telling you to do, he would still have his ship.

Now again, this is over simplifying. If you can cause damage to their ship and drain repair money, it is conceivable that when they get past the first sector and start on the second, they will run out of repair money and will be forced to give up. But even if this is the case, you lose the first sector. And you can even attain this effect (for LESS MONEY and MORE EFFECT) in your first sector if you use reserve fighters with fighter bays on your other planets besides your main SD planet.

In summary, because I feel like I have to state my point one last time, if I can take your first sector, I can take your second and your third and all after it. Therefore, you MUST rely on me being unable to take your first sector. And if you are are successful here, it automatically means I won't make it to your second sector or your third because I didn't make it past the first. This means that you might as well put the money you used defending the second sector and the third into defending the first. That's how it's gotta be done. You've got to stake it all one the first sector.

Heck, take a historical example. At the beginning of WWI, look at the failure of the German Schlieffen Plan. If Moltke hadn't cannibalized the right wing, the Germans might have won the war in the first year! France would have been crippled. You've got to focus your forces!

Part II:

"I built the SD in the later sectors so that it would take longer to take the SG (someone on my team might login mid-attack and stop the attacker) or the attacker might be drained of repair money).

I'll be honest: when I take a sector that's been a hard fought battle, running into another sector just like it is VERY disheartening. But I always take it and I always win (unless it's Tarnus because he's got a sixth sense about when I'm attacking his stuff and he always logs on to screw me over).

Relying on someone logging in is far too slim a chance to rely on. Relying on them running out of repair cash is a far better excuse... except:

If you just upgrade the reserve fighters in the first sector, you get the EXACT same effect. Just as if you'd upgraded two sectors, it takes longer to take down and it wears away more repair cash. AND you don't have to upgrade

1) main fighters in more than one sector (saving you hundreds of trillions that can now go to making the primary main fighters all the more stronger)

2) sensors in more than one sector (saving you hundreds of trillions that can now go to making the primary sensors all the more stronger)

3) cloak in more than one sector (saving you hundreds of trillions that can now go to making the primary cloak all the more stronger)

The only question that remains is if you understand the difference between main fighters and reserve fighters. The vast majority of AAT players don't, so if you're one of them, there's no reason to be ashamed, but you MUST learn. Do you know the difference and significance?

Part III: The difference.

First understand when I say "fighter tech" I always mean SD fighter tech unless I very specifically say otherwise. And I won't, because planet fighter techs have nothing to do with the whole affair.

The main fighter tech is the fighter tech that is the highest in the sector. ONLY the fighters supported by this tech attack whenever a player ARs your sector. That means if you've got 5 planet supporting SD in your sector and they've all got the same fighter tech only 20% of your fighters actually attack when someone ARs your sector.

Of course the person still has to destroy all the fighters in your sector to get in and not just the ones supported by the main fighter tech, but you'll be doing way less damage to the attacker because only one fifth of the fighters are doing anything at a time.

So basically, it is very important to upgrade one planet's fighters way above the others.

Now, as fighters that are supported by the main planet's fighters are destroyed, others will come to fill their place. This is why I call the other fighters reserve fighters. Having fighter techs upgraded on your other planets is still good. If you don't do this, then the first attack, say you have 100M fighters go to attack the attacking ship. 5M are destroyed. The attacker comes back. Because you have no reserve fighters, now only 95M attack the ship. So reserve fighters are good, but not nearly as important as main fighters.

This is just me personally, but I like to have half of the planets in my main sector supported by my main fighters. That's just a rule of thumb. Now that's really most worth doing when you've got more planets, so you should always try to get 5 planets in your gate sector. 4 is fine if you can't get 5, but it's more expensive. 3 is too low. Imagine with just two. If you wanted half supported by your main fighters, you'd be upgrading both planets the same! You save no money like that. Remember, you spend less money per fighter at lower techs, so when techs are distributed more and therefore lower, you save money.

How much you upgrade your main fighters over your reserve fighters for a certain ratio of main fighters to reserve fighters (in actual fighter numbers) is dependent upon how many planets you have in the sector.

Here's something from Nomic's blog adapted to work for SD techs.

Where t is tech level:
Capacity = 100 * 1.04138 raised to the t power (the carat symbol is interpreted weird in the stupid wiki)
Cost = 250 * 1.07670 raised to the t power

So here's a little math.

If you've got 5 planets in a sector and the main planet has level 375 fighters and the 4 reserves have 330 fighters...

The main fighter tech supports 100 * 1.04138 raised to the 375th power = 401,293,617 fighters.

Reserve fighters? 4 * 100 * 1.04138 raised to the 330th power = 258,884,931. That's decent. I'd go for a little more reserve.

Total fighters are then 401,293,617 + 258,884,931 = 660,178,548 fighters.

Now, if you want the effect of more sectors, all you have to do is upgrade the reserve fighters. It does the EXACT same thing. It is slightly more expensive to upgrade these for the same number of fighters because fighters get more expensive at higher techs, but you don't have to pay for main fighters, sensors, or cloak again, you in the end, you save loads of money that you can use to upgrade more.

So that covers all the theory stuff. Now I'm going to go into some more technical stuff about how much to upgrade.

How many reserve fighters is purely up to you. So how much you upgrade your smaller planets' SD fighter techs compared to your main is a matter of personal preference. I like having really meaty SD that does a lot of damage for the number of fighters up (it helps if your SD is stronger than the attacker thinks it is) so I don't go over half and half in the main to reserve ratio. But I do recommend setting goals and planning and using the above formulas to help plan and calculate.

SD Sensors are important. You want them around your main fighter tech. Some people put more emphasis on them. I keep them about the same or maybe a little higher (the whole fool the enemy thing is cool). Definitely don't leave these too low. They keep your SD deadly, just like main fighters. You want main fighters pretty high too so that you have lots of fighters bearing down on the bad guy doing damage. I don't know the equations so I don't know some coefficients, but making some probable assumptions and applying a little differential calculus, I find that for monetary optimization, keeping sensors and main fighters the same tech is the hot spot. That's what you want. But then, if you want your fighters to be more deadly than normal per fighter and to take your enemy off guard with the damage you can do, go with higher sensors.

Cloak is for defense. It's supplemental to reserve fighters, if I understand correctly. Don't neglect cloak either. Many people downplay its importance, but if you want your sector to withstand a siege, cloak is essential. It works like ECM does for ships in the AR combat (ECM likewise gets downplayed by the attackers, but that's a matter for another article). I wouldn't allow it to be much more than 20 techs below sensors. Higher cloak means you lose fewer fighters each attack. Fewer fighters lost per attack means more attacks which means more damage to the attacker. Again, cloak is supplemental to reserve fighters.

Another note on cloak: If you're one of those guys into using math to attain optimization, I suggest the following: Apply the above formula for quantity to cloak tech and try to get that equal to around total reserve fighters. If you've got way more reserve fighters than main, that's going to be MASSIVE. If that's the case, disregard. Just upgrade it to a bit below main fighters. But if you go light on the reserves (say reserves are equal to half the main fighters, or are a third of the total), then try to get it equal... But everyone has their own preference, and I encourage that.

So there you go. That's how to build SD.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Saturday 06 of December, 2008 19:14:51 CST by Valience.