ANTI-CAPITAL SHIP TACTICS
So try a mining laser: the ultimate capital ship killers. Get nice and close and you'll be blind to most, if not all of the capital ship's weapons. Turn the mining laser on, and within 20-30 seconds the target will be gone.
Notes (by Jet)
1: of course this also works well with more efficient beam weapons (Cutting beam and Antimatter Beam).
2: keep the max range of the beam in mind, the fact that they can't be aimed and the fact that on continuous fire a beam discharge in 6 seconds.
3: as the TRI setting doesn't have an effect on beam weapons it can be useful to divert Max Power to Shields in order to minimize the damages dealt to you by the capital ship.
Finally something that rockets are useful for. Since they bypass shields and the firing rate makes them more interesting to use on slow capital ships, even Gnat rockets are useful for small capital ship types. Another advantage is their huge range which allow you to attack from far far away (during testing, I nailed a destroyer 60 kms away using gnat rockets!!!)
Note: if you have the weapon link and multiple Launchers in your loadout, try having the same type of loadout in their magazine so that if you fire in salvo mode every one of them will fire at the same time.
To deal with capital ship outside of their gun range with some effectiveness, a group of Longbow Sniper Cannon is the ultimate choice. You deal full damage (which can be maximized by TRI setting) at up to 17.85 km and as the Sniper cannon bypass shields you don't have to worry about the orientation of the target to minimize shield effect.
A Navy heavy cruiser (the toughest ship out there) can be killed by 22 successful hits (without taking autorepair and armour into account) with Max power to Weapons and range under 17.85 km.
There's a range (quite close actually) where stopped (ie. speed = 0 m/s)capital ships seems to have a dead angle and stop shooting at you (except maybe once in a while but not enough to overwhelm your shields), the balance is delicate to achieve because the capital ship will move to maintain the distance if you come too close to it.
I once toyed with a Nova Heavy cruiser destroying all it's turrets without being shot at a single time.
- Engaging multiple enemies:
While it is nice and often effective to focus all your attention on removing a single threat before moving onto the next, later on in the game, when your active arsenal is substancial, it becomes a much more liberal obligation. I can quite happily dispose of a target with my primary weaponry, whilst at the same time have Lori and Az not only covering my back, taking out the odd target, but also softening up the next substancially. When my target is destroyed (and thanks to the large amount of hardpoints on my ship of choice, the advanced patcom, this is usually a matter of milliseconds) i can add a bit of yaw or roll to my current vector and fire off a few more rounds to finish the next target.
Often thought of as a con with T-fighters, i've found control over them is more than satisfactory. With quick recall of the t-fighter control numbered keys, you can just as easily fire off what i like to think of as secondary weapons as you can the primaries. Good awareness of the contact list and the ships around you mean you should be able to engage and evade multiple targets.
Nothing is more annoying than firing off your lovely arsenal of beam weapons and PBCs to then have to sit for a crucial couple of seconds while your heat goes back into the safety zone. By handing a couple of those PBCs over to the t-fighters, you retain the control and the linking if you wish, but remove the overheating.
While some of the latter missiles are very skill-based, early dummies and fire-and-forgets simply /cannot/ be relied upon to do any significant damage to an opponent. Load Az and Lori up with as many of those lowly seekers as you can, and then turn your attention to more vital areas. They may get through those missiles bloody quick, but truth be told it doesnt really matter, as they'll only work to soften up your targets. All i can say is that when Az and Lori go into battle, i often find that they're taking out the escorts of ships that i can fully turn my attention to. Thought their missiles may run low after a 5 minute battle, they'll still hand out the pain liberally.
- Adequate storage:
You feel that by leaving the base with your two turret fighters you are denying yourself those 20 extra missiles and perhaps an extra PBC? Worry not. I can happily have substancially heavy primary weapons along with a single cutting beam for those nasty cruisers. Along side that, i have a quad-pack launcher and an internal magazine which hold all the missiles im likely to need if i use them sparingly. Let it be known that im more of a PBC\beam person than a missile person. Missiles have their place, and its an unreliable place. Fire them off, by all means, but dont expect the target to die. A lucky block by their LDA and you still have a functioning enemy on your tail, much better to launch those missiles then go in with guns-a-blazing.
A problem, i admit, but you'd have to be /very/ unlucky to loose your T-fighters at a crucial moment. Enemies invariably target Cal himself, and only by chance does a shot of theirs land on a T-fighter. In the few instances i've lost T-fighters, its been beacuse of a beam weapon blowout. But even then, once gone, a good pirate will have enough random crap lying round to quickly replace it. Its invariably towards the end of a battle which is already won when you loose your T-fighters, or a battle you are certainly on the loosing end of.
The T-fighters biggest asset. Although it is frequently illadvised to be undocking those t-fighters with their paper-thin armour into battle, if used effectively they can do a fine job. They still appear to become secondary targets to any enemies, and i seem to remember quite effciently using them and my wingmen to defend Hoffer's gap while gunstars came online. Remember these are two standalone ships. Launch them, and you become a small fleet.