In the Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment micro-expansion, Starbases are the largest and most powerful military structures, but are extremely expensive, while Anti-Structure Cruisers provide the firepower to counter Starbases, and Mines change the shape of the battlefield.
In the Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy micro-expansion, Envoy Cruisers expanded the diplomacy aspect. Each of the three factions possesses a unique set of ships, but they all fulfill the same general roles, however, unique ships appear in the two micro-expansions.
In the Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion stand-alone expansion, Titans have become the largest and most powerful ships, dwarfing any known ship, and Corvette Corvettes bridge the gap between Strike Craft and Frigates. The three factions have fractured into Loyalist and Rebel camps, that have their own variants of the Titans and Corvettes. Each core faction also gained a new capital ship.
This page describes which types of ship are effective against which other types, but for a quick overview, see Counters.
Main article: Strike Craft
Strike Craft are carried into battle by larger ships or deployed from planetary defense hangars. They are free to build and difficult for other ships to destroy. The two types of strike craft are fighters and bombers. It should be noted that in Entrenchment, the designs for the strike craft were overhauled (TEC Bomber, Advent Bomber, Vasari Bomber, etc.).
Main article: Fighter Fighters move quickly, engage targets with precision weapons, and will utterly destroy bomber squadrons. They are extremely vulnerable to enemy [[Anti-Strike_Craft_Frigate|flak frigates}. Generally, they are quite ineffective against ships with anything other than light armor.
Main article: Bomber Bombers are slower than fighters and vulnerable to fighter attack, but they carry powerful munitions designed to destroy large ships and structures.
Main article: Corvette
Corvettes are small cheap multi-purpose fighters that are produced enmasse. They have a special niche of being able to debuff enemy ships and also serve as a core fleet unit within the early game. Their usefulness will, however, fall off once flak weaponry is deployed. Due to their mobility and speed they can also function as a pseudo scout.
Main article: Frigate
Frigates are the small, cheap workhorses of every fleet. A well-balanced armada is likely to be numerically dominated by specialized frigates, which may be used as scouts, skirmishers, colonization ships, and anti-fighter escorts. Frigates are built at Frigate Factories.
There are six different types of frigates.
Main article: Scout Frigate
These frigates are used to scout out planets and harass enemy supply lines later in the game. All scout frigates have the Explore ability which can be activated to automate exploration. Although weak individually, scouts are very inexpensive to build and in sufficient numbers are actually respectable combat units. Be sure to turn on auto-attack if you want to use them in combat. With the deployment of Mines, these frigates gained the Reveal Mines ability to counter them.
Main article: Light Frigate
For newer players, these frigates form the backbone of an early game fleet. A good balance of cost, speed, survivability and firepower, light frigates are a cost effective method for adding to fleet firepower. However, be careful when using them, especially in the early-game, because they are extremely vulnurable to enemy Long Range Frigates.
Long Range Frigates
Main article: Long Range Frigate
These frigates sacrifice survivability for additional range and firepower. They are typically used to take out stationary enemy defenses or to augment fleet firepower. Although fragile, they can do substantial amounts of damage in large numbers, and are usually the combat frigate of choice in the early-game.
Main article: Siege Frigate
These frigates are used to bombard planets, killing population, damaging the planet infrastructure and eventually wiping out the colony entirely. Siege frigates are not effective against other ships and need to be properly escorted to be effective.
Anti-Strike Craft Frigates
Main article: Anti-Strike Craft Frigate
These frigates are used to counter enemy fighter and bomber squadrons, and to counter enemy long range frigates. Although they do not excel at other types of combat, they are capable of enduring large amounts of damage from other frigates.
Main article: Colony Frigate
These frigates are used to form new colonies. All colony frigates have the Colonize ability. They are rather weak and while not unarmed, do not excel in combat.
Main article: Cruiser
Cruisers are larger than frigates, but not nearly as large as capital ships. They're also generally more expensive. While some cruisers are designed strictly for combat, others may carry fighter and bomber squadrons into battle or provide fleet support capabilities through indirect abilities. Cruisers are built at Frigate Factories (once their design has been researched).
There are four types of cruisers.
Squadron Support Cruisers
Main article: Squadron Support Cruiser
These cruisers carry squadrons of strike craft into battle. Being somewhat fragile and possessing no other armaments besides the strike craft they carry, these cruisers are vulnerable to attack by other ships unless properly escorted. They are weakest against the fast and powerful light frigate.
Offensive Support CruisersEdit
Main article: Offensive Support Cruiser
These cruisers have abilities that vary greatly among the three factions but generally augment the offensive capabilities of a fleet. They are weakest against the light frigate.
Defensive Support Cruisers
Main article: Defensive Support Cruiser
These cruisers have abilities that vary greatly among the three factions but generally augment the defensive capabilities of a fleet.
Heavy Combat Cruisers
Main article: Heavy Combat Cruiser
The outright most powerful cruisers in any faction before capital ships. They are very well armed and quite durable. They sometimes form the backbone of late game fleets and can easily defeat any other non-capital ship in single combat, although are very vulnerable to bombers.
Two additional types of cruisers were added in Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment.
Starbase Construction Cruisers
Main article: Starbase Construction Cruiser
This cruiser is used to build a starbase and is consumed by the action. The Vasari have no specialized ship for this role, depending instead on the Jarun Migrator.
Main article: Anti-Structure Cruiser
This class of cruiser excels at attacking structures. It delivers an impressive amount of damage and has a long range so that most structures cannot fight back, but is vulnerable to counterattacks from ships or strike craft.
An additional type of cruiser was added in Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy.
Main article: Envoy Cruiser
This cruiser is used to improve relations with other empires. They posses no offensive weaponery to speak of and very modest defenses at most, so it is best to ensure they vessels are kept out of harms way.
Main article: Capital Ship
Capital Ships are the largest, most expensive ships you can build. All capital ships are well armed and well shielded, able to effectively fight smaller ships and if micromanaged properly or they are at a high enough level other Capital Ships, even when outnumbered. Capital Ships also possess the ability to bombard enemy colonies, much like Siege Frigates. Although versatile and powerful, most capital ships will be defeated by overwhelming numbers of smaller units, so it's usually a bad idea send them into battle alone without a supporting fleet. However fully upgraded Capital Ships even alone possess a significant threat to smaller ships and other Capital Ships.
Capital Ships are the only ships that gain experience and level up, until the addition of Titans in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, gaining new abilities and becoming substantially more powerful in the process. Capital Ships also gain the ability to host additional squadrons of fighters and bombers as they level up. All Capital Ships reach their pinnacle experience at level 10. Capital Ships are built at Capital Ship Factories.
There are five different types of capital ships.
Main article: Battleship
The battleship is the strongest combat ship in the fleet, typically with a great deal of survivability and high damage output. They often lack the utility of other capital ships, but their need to be on the front lines makes them relatively easy to pick on. This ship has great damage and health, but a low number (2 MAX) Strike Craft slots. These ships lead any fleet into battle so they are at the front of a fleet. Battleships are very vulnerable to carrier capital ships, and as such are extremely risky when chosen as your first capital ship.
Main article: Carrier
The carrier has the most squadrons available out of any capital ship. Although they lack the firepower and durability of the Battleship, the damage output of their combined squadrons dwarfs any other capital ship, and their ability to deploy those squadrons from anywhere in the gravity well makes them the hardest to kill since they don't need to stay in combat. Carriers are the most powerful capital ships for their overall damage output thanks to their squads, and they are a highly favorable choice as first capital ship.
Main article: Mothership
The mothership sacrifices some combat abilities for the ability to colonize planets. This is an immense economic advantage (more than it first appears) and it makes motherships an ideal choice for your first capital ship. Though the description accurately notes that the ship has somewhat compromised combat abilities, it does get a strike craft squadron, and it means not having to worry about colony frigates, which are slow, vulnerable, easy targets for the enemy, and perpetually low on antimatter. Because they are slower than other types of capital ships, many players choose to send their motherships away from their main fleet in the late game, since they're virtually sitting ducks. If you do bring them into a fleet battle, ensure they are well protected.
Main article: Support Ship
The support ship sacrifices survivability and combat prowess to augment its surrounding fleet and disrupt the enemy fleet. Support capital ships need lots of antimatter to fuel their abilities, which are their only strength since they have pathetic combat damage and few squads. This means you should only build them when you have a large fleet already assembled, and preferably have already researched antimatter regeneration upgrades. Their lack of direct combat utility means that support capital ships probably shouldn't be considered until mid-game, if not late-game.
Heavy Assault Ships
Main article: Heavy Assault Ship
The heavy assault ship sacrifices mobility and survivability for very powerful offensive capabilities. The Heavy Assault Ship is also the only capital ship that specializes in planetary bombardment. The Revelation is a little odd, and aside from its high bombard damage it plays more similarly to a support capital ship. Otherwise the Marza and Vulkoras are highly comparable to battleship capital ships. The Revelation does not specialize in Planetary bombardment but instead fills a Fleet enhancement and combat Capital Ship.
Unique Capital Ships
Main article: Unique Capital Ship
A unique type of capital ship for each faction was added in the stand-alone expansion pack Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. They all serve in a particular niche to help strenghten their fleets. The Corsev functions as a mix between support ship and battleship that boards enemy ships. The Discord functions as an AoE Battleship that leads Advent forces into battle. The Rankulas uses a bunch of nanite swarms for multiple purposes such as healing allied ships or damaging enemy ships and structures.
Main article: Titan
Titans are a new type of ship added in the upcoming stand-alone expansion pack Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. These monsters dwarf Capital Ships in size and armament, and are capable of wiping out entire fleets on their own. Not much else is known about these new behemoths. They are theoretically a late game vessel; though, at the cost of economy and fleet diversity it is possible to field them in the early-mid game . The titans embody the strengths and weaknesses of their factions. The TEC Titans are big utilitarian weapon platforms and made for frontline combat and either sport huge firepower or considerable survivability. The Advent Titans are massive and elegant space idols loaded with powerful situational abilities which greatly increase the threat of Advent fleets. The utility of the Advent Titan's make up for their diminished survivability. The Vasari Titans have not been reveled in their final state yet, but appear to lend themselves to powerful all in late game conquest strategies.
Main article: Construction Ship
These ships build orbital structures at colonies that you control. They automatically build structures queued from the colony itself, but can be given orders to manually build structures as well.. Along with their normal construction abilities they can also deconstruct structures belonging to an enemy player around newly colonized/conquered planets. They cannot leave the gravity well in which they are automatically created.
Main article: Orbital Refinery
These ships automatically travel between refineries and generate additional metal and crystal for an empire. They cannot be given orders and are automatically created. Note that the Advent do not have Refineries, hence no Refinery Ships.
Main article: Trade Port
These ships automatically travel between trade outposts and generate credits for an empire. They cannot be given orders and are automatically created.
An oddity among oddities, the Sivuskras Ruiner is the game's sole mine-laying ship in Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment. As its name implies, it does not attack directly, but instead can lay mines wherever it chooses, even at Stars or Wormholes. The Advent's Aeria Drone Host and Hangar Defense gets this capability with its unique Homing Mines that can be stowed aboard the carriers or in the hangar, while the TEC must rely on the LEV Construction Frigate to construct Proximity Mines only in orbit of TEC planets.
Main article: Starbase
A Starbase is a unit type added in Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment. The base cost of a Starbase is comparable to that of a Capital Ship.
To build a starbase, you need a special cruiser, whose sole purpose is to build a starbase. The exception to this are the Vasari, who use the Jarun Migrator instead to build a starbase. The cruiser/colony ship is lost permanently when the starbase finishes building or is destroyed before it is built.
You can build a starbase at any planet, however, you can only have one per planet, and only four per star. The exceptions to this are for TEC Loyalists in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, who can research Twin Fortresses, which allows them to have two starbases at planets, and five at stars. Unlike ships, a starbase does not require Fleet Supply. The construction cruiser/colony ship does take up supply, but it will be returned once the construction finishes or is interrupted by destruction.
Starbases have 8 module slots, which can be filled in whatever way the user sees fit. Each module has a resource cost and many have some research that has to be done first before you can build them.
Like capital ships, a starbase has a name and the name can be changed.
There have been numerous changes to the ships during the patches. For simplicity's sake, the ones that apply to all of them are listed here.
Patch 1.1: So many it had to be split into two sections so you could read a bit easier.
Ships and Strike Craft