Endless Space 2 – Weapon Modules Guide

Weapons

Battle in Endless Space 2 game is in my opinion decided upon at 4 levels:

  • Researching ship and modules
  • Building and outfitting of ships
  • Engaging fleets on the map
  • Tactics used in battle

This guide focus on the building of ships focusing on weapon modules discussing how they work, how you should use them and some side notes on battle tactics. Though some basic concepts are covered these guide is intended for players who have a basic understanding of the game and are looking to go beyond, some concepts touched upon may seem foreign as to new players but, overall this guide should be helpful to anyone.

This guide was developed by a combination of researching wiki, Reddit and Endless Space forums along side a fair few hours of weapon module testing.

Concepts

Battle Phase: Each battle has three phases that decide the distance at which ships will fire upon each other. This is decided by battle tactics and affects weapon range

Battle Tactics: A tactic you choose at the start of combat which decide what range your ships will attempt to engage in while also providing various bonuses

Range: The distance between ships during a battle (short, medium, long), affects weapon modules hit rate

Flotillas: The three lanes that ships travel during combat

Moral: A buff given to the fleet if only thier ships are in a flotilla, 10% damage and 5% accuracy for each flotilla owned

Manpower: The crew of a ship, gives a bonus of 20% damage at full that progressively drops to no bonus at zero manpower

Crossfire: If a lane is empty of enemies the ships in that lane will fire at an adjacent lanes enemy ships, weapons that crossfire are always counted at long range for chance to hit

Effectiveness: Weapons chance to hit a given range

Evasion: Chance to dodge attacks, 0% by default

Note – Sources on how evasion and effectives interact are conflicting, I can say for certain that if a ship misses due to evasion it will get a bonus to hit against the evasion on it’s next round.

Rate of Fire(RoF): The speed at which ships fire their weapons (rated 1-8), relates to “Overkill” concepts. As the battle goes on this can become slightly disjointed as ships change target

Overkill: When an attack deals excessive damage to finish off an enemy vessel effectively wasting damage

DPS: Damage-per-second

Side weapon mounts: Weapons mounts on the side of the ship, rife in a 90 degree arc.

Top weapon mounts: Weapon mounts at sit-on-top of a ship, has a 270 degree arc of fire(front & side). These slots are superior for crossfire

Heavy Weapon Mounts: Weapon module slots deal 2x DPS, how it really works is that it halves the RoF of the weapons but, one shot will deal 4x damage. All heavy mounts are top mounts by defaults

Critical hits: Weapons hits that ignore armour or shields, provide no bonus damage. A certain battle tactics can provide a damage boost

Targeting priority: The enemy type that a ship will prioritize attack in combat, note that this can be random at times but, is mostly consistent

Focus Fire: A skill on hunter and attackers that can cause them to focus the same target, beneficial against large enemies but, in some case can result in overkill

Slugs

(Long 10%, medium 50%, Short 85%)

Pro

  • Moderate-High damage
  • Hard counter to torpedoes though flak
  • Soft counter to squadrons though flak
  • Constant fire (RoF 1)

Con

  • Poor accuracy overall, only effective in short range
  • Flak value varies thought the game
  • Terrible at crossfire

Notes – Close range weapon that can do lots of damage if your ship can survive long enough to get to short range. Works best if the race has more defence modules than attack on their ships so they can close the distance safely. 10% hit rate when performing crossfire means a pure slug fleet will have to win each lane battle individually.

Tips 

With the ambush cloaking module(DLC Penumbra) equipped you can safely get into short range as it keeps you ships invisible until they enter the range selected in your battle tactics

Warning: Ships will crossfire at visual enemies in other lanes until your ships reveal which can result in one lane getting attacked by three lanes) Ambush cloaking module(DLC Penumbra) doesn’t work against fighter and bombers(I suspect this was unintentional)

Against critical heavy laser fleets evasion can be more viable than shielding for closing range

A good battle tactic that helps them survive getting into position early is “Turtle” which should later be replaced with ‘Evasive Manoeuvers’ with grants 30% evasion at long range and 15% at medium range

Would recommend Railgun(for close range) or Torpedoes/Swarm missile(for crossfire) for heavy weapon due to the heavy slug losing flak effectiveness and 85% hit at rate lower RoF.

Notes on flak – The flak feature provides an additional effect to the weapon where it will fire on incoming torpedoes with an 85% chance to hit. Each slug equip will counter two torpedoes though the range of flak is so small and most ships will only shot down torpedoes that target themselves ship. Because of this as you get to the later stages of the game where ships fire such large barrages alongside swarm missiles that your flak will get overwhelmed reducing its effectiveness greatly. Against squadrons it is a soft counter(I would very roughly estimate you need two flak modules to counter one bomber module though rough testing) and the flak only fires during the bombers attack run on the ship(I don’t believe you get any support from other ships flak when this happens). One final note, heavy weapons only count as one flak weapon module with which means a carrier with a Heavy slug mount is as effective as a scout ship with a single mount for flak.

Torpedoes

(Long 100%, Medium 50%, Short 25%)

Pro

  • High damage
  • Long range weapon
  • Crossfire at 100% chance to hit

Con

  • Can be countered by flak
  • Effectiveness drops greatly as the enemy closes in
  • Low RoF(4) leads to overkill
  • Slow firing projectile can’t change target lead to wasted volleys when during crossfire

Notes – A strong early game option against pirates and AI as they cannot effectively counter during that stage of the game, can wipe out enemies before they can even fire back. Nature of the weapon can be high-risk/high-reward as no other weapon can suffer as badly from overkill or wasted volleys. Heavy weapons slot increase the health of the torpedo though the lower rate of fire worsen the overkill factor.

Tips 
One set of swarm missiles can makes opposing flak almost useless against torpedoes
Long range battle tactics are a given when entering combat

By sacrificing one lane to overloading one flotilla with missiles to ensure it wipes out the opposing fleet before they enter medium range enables it to crossfire at 100% hit rate for the rest of the phrase(very effective vs short-medium fleets) Warning – in some cases centre lane loses the ability to target right lane in the third phrase while they can still get attacked.

Swarm Missiles

(Long 100%, Medium 50%, Short 25%)

Pro

  • Overwhelm flak with large volleys
  • Long range weapon
  • Crossfire at 100% chance to hit
  • Provides cover to torpedoes

Con

  • Low-Medium damage
  • Effectiveness drops greatly as the enemy closes in
  • Low RoF(4) leads to overkill
  • Slow firing projectile can’t change target lead to wasted volleys when during crossfire

Notes – Exist to support torpedoes so they can always hit the target regardless of flak, only one or two is generally needed in flotilla to do the job

Tips 

Weapon has a ‘set rate of fire’ which means when equip to heavy weapon slot it doesn’t have RoF halved, this results in quadruple damage according to the weapon details. This will deal slightly less damage than a torpedo but, halves the risk of overkill due to better rate of fire, I suspect this was unintentional

Since Attack ships will focus fire along Hunters you can round out with your CP with with one loaded with swarm missiles can let your hunters keep the higher damage Torpedo modules equipped.

Boarding pods (Vaulter DLC)

(Long 100%, Medium 100%, Short 100%)

Pro

  • Accurate at all ranges
  • Manpower damage lowers enemy damage
  • Can steal enemy ships
  • Pods have better health than torpedoes
  • Upgrading infantry increase manpower damage
  • Ignores any armour or shields

Con

  • Requires manpower for initial weapon equipment
  • Enemy fleets with high manpower take longer to capture
  • Can be countered by flak
  • Slow firing projectile can’t change target lead to wasted volleys when during crossfire
  • Very slow RoF(8) means overkill risk is high
  • Heroes, arks and behemoths immune

Notes – Can be very effective against medium ships and lower with a huge reward potential. Depending on the enemy fleet manpower it can sometimes take quite some time to capture the enemy fleet, more so if they have high manpower ships, that being said I have a vaulter carrier with 5 weapons modules of their special champion pods take another carrier in one volley. Though it can be amazing it does feel like a win more weapon on occasion. A behemoth can also shut down a fleet that solely relies on these pods.

Warning: The support mod that increases ‘flotilla damage to enemy crew’ doesn’t effect the damage over time of boarding pods but, will affect the initial 15 damage from ‘Champion pods’.

Tips

Enemy fleet invades a system? Suddenly they have no man power in their ships, one shot from a pod and any ship is yours

A good tactic is a coordinator with these pods as it’s targeting will bypass the enemy support and focus on the soft hunter in the back, 2-3 volleys and the ship is yours.

Battle tactics are flexible as with 100% hit rate you have a lot of freedom to choose, that being said….

“Prudent Positions” reduce weapon module damage by 50%, pods don’t ‘damage’ ships they deliver infantry that do damage. It so good for this weapon almost too stupid, just remember bombers are squadron not weapon modules and can still do a lot of damage with this tactic selected.

Railguns

(Long 10%, Medium 50%, Short 100%)

Pro

  • Very High damage, due to complete penetration on hulls and shields

Con

  • Poor accuracy overall, only effective in short range
  • Low RoF(4) can lead to overkill
  • Terrible at crossfire

Notes – Same rules as slugs apply, the main difference being that railguns give more damage that makes up for the overkill risk, the cost railguns don’t require any strategic resources (Highist level slugs do 80% of rails damage on a critical hit) and doesn’t provide have flak. A good way to prevent overkill is to combine with slugs with railguns in the hope that they can finish a vessel before the next volley.

Tips 

Refer to slugs tips

Railguns can critical hit but, it will have no effect as it already penetrates by default. That aside if you have the ‘Get Lucky’ battle tactic than when the railgun lands a critical hit it will get the bonus 70% damage.

Lasers

(Long 50%, Medium 100%, Short 50%)

Pro

  • Moderate damage
  • Mid-range weapon but, somewhat flexible
  • Good chance to critically hit targets
  • Good RoF(1)
  • Average crossfire

Con

  • No defence against missiles
  • Shield modules scale up faster than hull modules

Notes – A safe weapon choice to pick. What makes them shine is the ability to critically hit almost constantly with the right upgrades making your enemies shields feel worthless. Two points of concern, the battle tactic ‘Unlucky arms’ set critical chance to zero and the hyperion shield module reduce critical bonus damage by 50% which (after testing) can stack(the ‘Get Lucky’ tactic interaction strangely with this where critical damage still happens but, is still reduced).

Tips 

If you can force a long fight against torpedoes you will have a better hit ratio once you get to medium range assume they choose long (50%-75%-83% vs 100%-75%-58%) and against flak you will win out starting at long range assume they choose short (50%-75%-66% vs 15%-32.5%-50%).

The battle tactic ‘Get Lucky’ was made for lasers with 2 lanes set to medium range and one short alongside a bonus 70% damage to weapon modules that critically hit.

Beams

(Long 100%, Medium 100%, Short 100%)

Pro

  • 100% hit rate at all ranges
  • Instant crossfire damage reduce chance of overkill

Con

  • Poor RoF[4]
  • No defence against missiles
  • Shield modules scale up faster than hull modules
  • Weak damage

Notes – Very safe weapon that’s not bad but, is unremarkable, combines well with lasers but, never build a ship that is pure beams as its DPS is too low.

Tips 

Niche roll of being a great crossfire weapon makes it a good candidate for top mounted and heavy weapon slots

All beam module strategic upgrades have ‘kill crew effect’, these effects will occur at all ranges reliable due the 100% hit rate (More on this later)

Blast Effect Battery

(Long 100%, Medium 100%, Short 100%)

Pro

  • High area-of-effect damage that hits all enemies in the targeted flotilla
  • Ignores hulls and shields
  • Crossfire at 100% chance to hit that can’t be evaded
  • Strong vs Small ships

Con

  • Terrible RoF(Once per phrase at the start)
  • Half damage to medium and larger ships
  • Greatly increases chance the ship carrying the weapon will be targeted by enemies
  • Uses a heavy weapon slot
  • Weak to lanes or fleets with few ships

Notes – Needs hit 2-3 ships just to be able to out DPS beam weapons. Don’t build this weapon into your ship design, add it as needed to counter swarms.

Tips 

If two carriers are both equipped with this weapon they should do enough damage to instant kill max health small ships.

Squadron Bombers

(Long 100%, Medium 100%, Short 100%)

Pro

  • Accurate at all ranges
  • Can attack anywhere on the map regards of lane distance
  • Large damage bonus against large ships
  • Will change target quickly after destroying a ship
  • Will keep fighting after carrier ship has died, only stops if fleet is destroyed
  • Appear to be effective against both shields and hulls

Con

  • Poor base damage
  • Poor damage vs small ships
  • Weak to fighters
  • Can be soft counted by flak
  • Doesn’t start damage till the second phrase

Notes: At the start of the fight bombers move out to attack the enemy(usually large ships first, even if they are in another lane) and don’t arrive till the second phrase, depend on battle tactics they are escorted by fighters who work to ensure they don’t get killed by other fighters. Though I don’t know the numbers shields and hulls seem to almost be ignore by the energy base bomber possible due to shield being knocked down by the second phrase.

Bomber weapon modules: The problem with bomber is for them to be strong enough to warrant doing no damage in the first phrase you need to get the better modules from quest. One is a pirate hunting group quests which occurs randomly that reward first and second with the modules, the second is a plague quest which happens constantly to all players that requires you to choose between a great fighter or a great bomber at the second stage of the questline. The difference between this bomber and the advance bomber in the tech tree is 70-80% damage more damage and 50% dodge instead of 10%, they do have around 40% less health though the trade-off feels more than worth it. I have had games where they have done 2/3 of the total damage despite coming into the battle late. The only to stop them is to field plenty of fighters or to kill the enemy fleet before they can do any real damage. It’s a really bad situation and I hope one day the devs add better bombers and fighters into the tech tree so we don’t have to rely on quests to make them competitive.

Tips

As range does not matter you can position a carrier fleet to counter the enemy, an example would be putting all your ships in one lane against a short range fleet so the crossfire you receive is so low they’ll have no impact and eventually get bombed to bits.

A few special battle tactics exist solely for carriers, one of which give bombers a 20% bonus to critical hit chance

Make sure to have some fighters to match the enemy(2/3 ratio), if they tie the enemy fighters long enough for your bombers to do plenty of damage. If the fighters win and kill your bombers any attack they launch will do next to no damage and be ubale to make up the difference of the damage already caused

“Prudent Positions” reduce weapon module damage by 50%: as with boarding pods if you want near pure carrier fleet than this is the tactic for you, provided you have either a larger force or better fighter and bombers than the enemy.

Ambush cloaking module (DLC Penumbra) which enables you be invisible till you enter chosen battle range doesn’t work against fighter and bombers(I suspect this was unintentional)

Squadron Fighters

(Long 100%, Medium 100%, Short 100%)

Pro

  • Accurate at all ranges
  • Can attack anywhere on the map regards of lane distance
  • Best tool to protect against bombers
  • Can protect bombers from fighters
  • Will keep fighting after carrier ship has died, only stops if fleet is destroyed

Con

  • Ship damage so small they don’t effect the battle (10% large, 25% Medium, 45% Small)
  • Not utility outside killing fighters and bombers
  • Can be soft counted by flak
  • Battle tactics can lead to undesirable results

Notes – Fighter behaviour is a lot more complex than bombers, they either defend a ship against incoming bombers or escort bombers to attack the enemy. If they have no enemies fighters or bombers than they will roam and attack enemy ships for doing almost no damage.

Fighters and battle tactics: Battle tactics effect if fighters escort ships or escort bombers and assault enemy ships. The image on the centre of the tactics card decides this beheviour.

Shield Icon: 70% ship escort – 30% bomber escort/assault enemy ship
Lighting Bolt Icon: 50% ship escort – 50% bomber escort/assault enemy ship
Forward Icon: 50% ship escort – 50% bombers escort/assault enemy ship
Strafing Run Tactic: 100% bomber escort/assault enemy ship
Fleet Escort: 100% ship escot

This is good because you can decide how you want your fighters to react but, also bad cause it can miss up your tactic selection. I remember watching bombers kill my carrier while one of my fighters attacked the enemy carrier for like 16 damage.

Tips 

You don’t build these till you see the enemy has bombers, every fighter module makes double the ships of a bomber module so keep this in mind when building your defence

Ambush cloaking module(DLC Penumbra) which enables you be invisible till you enter chosen battle range doesn’t work against fighter and bombers(I suspect this was unintentional)

Special Weapons

Shield interface beam(Vaulter DLC) – A beam weapon with the default 100% hit chance that disables shields for 6 secs with 10 secs cooldown but, does terrible damage. Would advise putting it on an Attacker to support Energy Weapon Hunters or put it on a hero and hope it takes the same target.

Turret interface missile(Vaulter DLC) – Missile weapon built for long range that disables weapons for 10 sec if it hits, 14 second cooldown but, terrible damage. Put it on Protector as it will target enemy Hunters which can be helpful for any build, hero is also a decent option to equip. Weapons has no health which may mean it may not be targetable by flak(one of the few tests I haven’t done). Can do a good job supporting short range fleets as they try to get into range.

Improved pinch beam – The Hyperion based beam 100% hit chance that lowers energy weapon accuracy of the enemy ship by 20% for 10 seconds, put on a Protector to maintain a constant de-buff to the attack of an enemy Energy Weapon Hunter.

Annihilator beam – 100% hit rate beam that fires once a phrase for a huge amount of energy damage. The idea is that you will finish the enemy ship off so quickly you won’t get off more than a volley or two. Huge price tag to use this weapon and of killing a ship before it can even fire a shot, very high prices tag, increases chance to be targeted by 50(Carriers target Carriers at a rate of 20) which means all guns will point at the ship carrying this weapon. Lastly a smart could achieve 100% evasion (Penumbra DLC) on the first shot received and than with the focus fire kill the ship. Think of it as a bit fun late rather than a staple weapon and make sure to put it on something super tough.

Core cracker – Can only be used on Carriers, lets you destroy a planet but, the carrier lose all weapon slots and becomes target practise if forced into combat. I believe it has a 6 turn CD.

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