As I mentioned in previous posts, all of the ships will come under certain classifications. These classifications will give a broad idea of a vessel’s offensive/defensive capabilities, cargo capacity, speed etc. There are 13 classifications in total covering a wide variety of ship types.
As a general rule, the larger the vessel is the more difficult it should be to obtain one. This works well in Starmade as you need more resources to build larger ships, therefore increasing the cost. I won’t ramble on too much in this post, I’ll just give you a breakdown of the classifications:
Example: J Class Cargo Ship, Workbee, Antares Freighter
Characteristics: Minimal defence/offence, large cargo space, slow to average speed
These ships will have little to no armament and will fulfill the role of workhorse, forming cargo convoys along trade lanes and generally requiring some sort of escort outside of core friendly territory. Also in this category are repair ships and tractor tugs.
Example: DY950, Andes
Characteristics: Minimal defence/offence, large cargo space, slow speed, mining beams
These ships will carry mining equipment and have huge cargo holds. They will be slow, bulky and ugly but they will be invaluable to a growing empire. A mining ship will generally have to stay in one place for a period of time and will have basic defences to ward off pirates, but will be no match for even the lightest of warships.
Example: Oberth, Sabre, Freedom
Characteristics: Lightly armed/shielded, high speed
Scout ships will be the eyes of the fleet, exploring new systems and keeping track of enemy movements. They will have the speed to outrun all but the fastest ships but won’t last long in a firefight.
Example: Hermes, Centaur, Norway
Characteristics: Light offensive/defensive capabilites, average speed, small cargo space
The frigate is the first shoice in escort and patrol duty in low combat areas. Fair speed allows it to keep up with some larger ships. Frigates are built in such large numbers that they tend to patrol in groups where there is any chance of a fight. Whilst one frigate might not present much of a challenge, three of them in a pack are more of a threat. Frigates are often assigned to outposts and low priority stations as a defence line.
Example: Akula, Defiant, Nova
Characteristics: High speed, average shields, multiple weapon hardpoints
The destroyer is fast, durable and packs a punch. They can typically be seen at the forefront of the fleet, protecting the capital ships. A destroyer’s speed allows it to employ hit and run tactics against the enemy, and will usually be deployed to hotsile areas in large numbers.
Example: Miranda, Steamrunner, Vesta
Characteristics: Average speed, average shields, average weapons
Light cruisers are the smallest and cheapest of the capital ships. They will be seen in large numbers across the empire performing border patrols, recons and low priority diplomatic missions.In a fight, the light cruiser is able to hold its own against several smaller ships.
Example: NX, Constitution refit, Nebula
Characteristics: Average speed, heavy shields, heavy weapons
Heavy cruisers are able to deal out as much punishment as they can take and typically act alone in their missions. Deploying a heavy cruiser to an area of space will act as a deterrent to all but the most fearless of opponent and is an effective way of projecting your power beyond your borders. Heavy cruisers often feature on-board component manufacturing facilities.
Example: NX refit, Federation, Akira
Characteristics: Average speed, heavy shields, heavy weapons, mutliple torpedo tubes, fighter bays
The tactical cruiser is designed purely for combat and carries very little in the way of scientific or diplomatic facilities. They are deployed not for deterrence, but to destroy. Tactical cruisers will have an armament to rival the best of the fleet and will occasionally even have heavier firepower than a command cruiser of the time. The addition of a small number of fighter bays allows the tactical cruiser to deploy fighters to increase its offensive capability.
Example: Constitution, Excelsior, Galaxy, Sovereign, Odyssey
Characteristics: High speed, heavy shields, heavy weapons, average cargo space
Command cruisers are the ships of the line. Often serving as flagships of an armada or even the entire fleet, they are designed to be seen. They have on-board facilities to rival a starbase and when not leading the way in a fight they are performing high level diplomatic missions and serving as mobile outposts in the frontiers of space. Captaining a command cruiser is seen as the pinnacle of an officer’s career.
Example: Sarajevo, Ark Royal, Typhon, Excalibur
Characteristics: Average speed, average weapons, average shields, multiple fighter bays
Carriers are a rarity in the fleet, as they are so large and cumbersome that most Captains try to avoid them at all costs. Their huge number of fighter bays however allow them to deliver a massive advantage in a close-quarters fight. They can defend themselves in small engagements but will rely on destroyer escorts to keep enemy capital ships far enough away to not be a threat.
Example: Class F Shuttle, Type 9 Shuttle
Characteristics: Tiny, little or no offensive/defensive capabilities, short range
Shuttles are purely designed a short range transport craft, for example when moving between ships and planets. All capital ships and some smaller classes will carry at least one shuttlecraft.
Example: Viper, Peregrine, Valkyrie
Characteristics: High speed, low armament, no shields
Fighters are designed to swarm larger capital ships and bring their shields down to allow the fleet to take them out. They are not robust in the slightest and will usually be destroyed after only a couple of hits.
Example: Raven, Delta Flyer, Runabout
Characteristics: High speed, low armament, low shields
Transports are designed as larger, more comfortable versions of shuttlecraft and are equipped for longer duration missions. Their light armament sees smaller transports occasionally pressed into service as impromptu fighter craft. Larger transports such as the Raven can be used as diplomatic couriers or even scout ships when the need arises. Command cruisers and starbases will typically have several transport-type craft assigned to them.