Orbital Strike Cannon Test


@mel @joe
As far as I’m aware, I’ve not heard of anyone testing the new Orbital Strike Cannon. This is the cannon that targets population specifically. I went and ran a test, and I’ll list a couple of observations as well as a minor display bug as well as the results of the test. There is a TL;DR at the bottom just in case this gets half-Cheatle-length.

So, as a reminder, the Orbital Strike Cannon is one of two weapons to be installed on Cruisers that attack planets directly. The original Oribal Bomber blows up buildings, and the new Orbital Strike Cannon kills population specifically.

First of all, they’re MASSIVE. The Syntis T43 Cruiser is 1000m long, so these things are really intimidatingly large. They’re like 150m long or so. That’s nuts… in a good way, imo. As Syntis my Cruiser has 4 slots capable of holding these weapons, so that’s exactly what I did.

Now, let’s look at this tooltip. First of all, there’s something very important missing. Remember that bug I mentioned earlier? This is it. These weapons each need 100MW of power. That important detail is missing.

Now let’s break this down. 1000 damage to population. I am guessing that means 1000 total kills (at most) worth of damage. The rest of this is based on this assumption. For this test I used a single ship fitted with 4 of these LOSC-30 (Lv1) cannons. This means I had a max damage of 4000. So if we expand this to 14 ships, we are left with 56,000 maximum kills. That’s a respectable number of kills, although I believe the cost is exorbitant. More on that below. Needing 600 ammo per shot, means I need 2400 ordnance per volley per ship. So a full 14 fleet would use 33,600 Ordnance per volley of 56,000 potential maximum damage. This is a significant amount of Limbalt, and should not be looked over.

Now, if that was the extent to it, the orbital strike would be respectable. But that is sadly not the case. An accuracy of 30% adds that RNG element into the equation that makes this option of orbital destruction most disappointing. 30% of 56,000 is a touch over 20,000 kills for a fleet of 14 cruisers with a combined 56 cannons. Mind you, that would be the average per volley. That is horrendously awful.

Using these numbers, in order to wipe a planet of 250,000 pop with this first level of LOSC-30, it would take 13 volleys on average. That’s an ABSURD 436,800 Limbalt cost to wipe out a mere 250k population. In short, you’re better off sacrificing 100-150k population to take the planet via T1 Frigates you can build in the first few days.

Now for the results of the test:

So you’ll see we have killed a measly 2,170 population with this strike. That’s a bit over 50% on the accuracy per volley, so this is a pretty solid strike by the numbers, right?. Except there’s one slight issue. That was two volleys, or at least should have been. It used 4800 limbalt, which is 2 volleys, to reach that 2170 total. That means my volleys did 1085 each. That’s ~27% of maximum damage. So that was a fairly close to average damage test.

So I burned 4800 Limbalt to kill 2170 peeps. This planet grows at 792 per hour, so this player will regain this lost pop in less than 3 hours (2.7). If we expand this to a full fleet of 14, that would be ~38 hours to regain the population he lost. Meanwhile, I spent 67,200 Limbalt, obtained at 620/h on my primary Limbalt manufacturing center, setting me back 108 hours. So if this had been a full fleet with this roll, it would have cost me 108 hours of mining to impact 38 hours of population to the other player.

This is incredibly underwhelming. It’s overwhelmingly awful, in fact. So much so I’d say it’s borderline useless. The only saving grace would be if that player had stacked a bunch of labs on that planet and you managed to shut the planet down for half a day while the pop regrew and extended their research times by a lot. But that could also be obtained by just capturing the planet, and in fact would be even better.

Now, if we combine this with the fact that we have travel time involved in this, this becomes even worse. What if the planet I bombed was 2 days away? Then I could keep bombing it with the same fleet and they’d still manage population growth, albeit stunted. Better to just bring a couple hundred thousand assault troops to take it decisively to begin with.

As an aside, it shot both volleys in my test instantaneously. Coupled with a couple of notification bugs I actually missed it, and had to open the log to find that it had worked. Furthermore, there are potential applications of the orbital strike that are quite intriguing - kill off a chunk of population to shut the planet down to soften it up for assault, or shutdown a shipyard - that I would absolutely love to see come to fruition, but the mechanic needs some serious work before it can be useful for either one.

The obvious things I can come up with are lowering limbalt cost, or increasing damage and/or accuracy, so that a full fleet of these cruisers can devastate a planet if it gets through to it. If it could wipe out 56,000 population per volley that would bean 112,000 for my 14/14 fleet. 112,000 pop is a significant number and would almost certainly send the planet into riots regardless of the size of the planet. With the inclusion of the new Large Extended Ordnance, I might be able to squeeze more volleys out, so this might be more viable in terms of overall damage per fleet, but the cost still seems extremely high for the results.

As always, if you see issues with my math, please point them out.

TL;DR: Orbital Strike (LOSC-30) is basically useless, don’t use them. Depending on the difference in ranks they might become viable later on, but the level 1 is hardly worth considering.


Thankfully, I read this before going further down that research branch.

Also, I’d like to see orbital bombardment be much more effective than that, but each upgrade tier of a structure adds OB defences (Shielding, interceptor missiles etc).

This adds value to upgrading structures, especially tier 3, but also keeps the higher tier OB cannon useful.


Keep in mind this is only the level 1 cannon.


This. The level 5 cannon is listed as 90% accuracy, though the wiki doesn’t indicated if damage increases as well. Effectively, this triples damage output at least, and cooldown is half as long.

Being able to take out 50k pop per fleet isn’t great, but it would definitely soften the defenses before an invasion. Also, the weapon really is a niche weapon. Since we can invade and take planets this is really either to soften a target before an invasion or to kill an enemies population to screw their economy. Either way, I don’t think you need to be doing a massive amount of damage. At least not until we get planetary shields to reduce damage.


Everyone might as well just invade planets and pull out their troops, not only is this faster, it also costs less and is more reliable.


what about orbital defenses, they fire every half an hour so you can’t keep your fleet over the planet without risking it being nuked out of oblivion so i doubt you could ever bomb a decently defended planet into submission.

also the mk 5 version is 101,250 rp, or about 42 days at 100 rp per hour, the mk4 version is 33,750 rp.i’s not worth it unless they buff it.


So glad I only put one of the thing son my prototype Planetary bashing cruiser…! At least it can still fire One heavy torpedo in a fight!

Hmm right you know what really worries me: The days-to-research-good-old-orbital-missile from A2 is listed as a mere 10% hit chance…

Look I do appreciate the desire not to have a colony that you have invested days in get swiped out from under you quickly but making it nigh invulnerable to planetary weapons (BECAUSE THEY CAN ONLY OCCASIONALLY HIT THE PLANET) is just stupid. As these numbers indicate nobody will bother with them and mass armies will be all anyone does.


And totally at odds with how technology works in the real world. The game has more than enough incidences of stupid Tech in the game already (Can you say forgetful computers and the disappearance of Map technology unless under direct scan…)

The real challenge of directing High tech guns and bombs on a planet would be to leave enough of the planet left in a state still worth having… The old Orbital bombs were good in that regard. Every time we fired some of the pre built infrastructure that we wanted to keep would go up in smoke making long sieges impracticable.

No every shot should have an effect period. Now if the accuracy chance reflected the chance of hitting a specific building like the damned Orbital defence yeah bring it on!


@BigBoomer I mentioned that. That is irrelevant. Even if the mk5 is 1000 at 90% it’s still not gonna be worth it.

@Archo triple of 2000 is 6000 so 5.x hours of damage instead of 3 per ship for syntis. Still not gonna overcome that massive gap in cost vs reward. Not even close.

@Sean99k and @Lord_Emperor get what I’m saying. It simply isn’t worth the investment. The cruisers aren’t cheap it’s not like they’re corvettes or t1 frigates. The ordnance cost is astronomical and you don’t get any lasting effect.

Let’s say you have a 20k mankind planet with 1% unemployment. Is that 50k going to hurt that planets ability to function? No. It won’t do anything because of labor shortages. Now if they had capped their labor shortages sure… but that makes a niche weapon even more niche.


What if your goal is just to erase the planet? As mentioned, you did all of this testing and drew all of your conclusions based on the starter level of the weapon. Someone could make a similar argument for kinetic or energy weapons being completely useless based on the starter version of those.

Send a fleet of 14 cruisers with the 2nd or 3rd rank of this weapon and get some actual results. The research times don’t get silly until rank 4. If your goal is not to cripple or cost your enemy time, but to erase him from the planet, I think these will work just fine.

And with the planet caps/corruption limits in place, I think that may be a very viable goal for many people. Erase your enemies, not capture them. Or, if you prefer, send a fleet of colony ships behind this fleet and colonize the ones you like after he’s gone. All of the resources should still be there for your use.


@Teeo This is assuming that the damage ramps up. I, and others, suspect it does not. If Lv2 is 40% @ 2000, lv3 is 50% @ 3000 then sure. But if the damage stays at 1000 it’s gonna be useless even at 90% @ Lv5.


As mentioned not only are the ships themselves expensive as hell, but they are also rather vulnerable having limited weapon slots to defend against enemy ships. That’s a lot of EXPENSIVE eggs hurtling through space in that lil basket. So you got the cost of the research time as compared to what an enemy may have focused on defense instead, you’ve got the cost of the ships which take up fleet space of other more combat oriented vessels, you’ve got the INSANE ordinance cost that effectively does little damage particularly when comparing pop growth rate compared to lymbalt mining rates which are more finite where as population is endless supply. You also have the flight time/fuel, and risk of all this getting blown up before it can even do it’s relativly small bit of damage. Huge net loss to you. If i had nothing better to do sure id reseach these, but as it stands wouldnt touh it with a ten foot pole.


@Veqlargh you nailed it on the head there. Perfectly said what I’ve been trying to say.

Even assuming 100% accuracy at 1000 damage, a fleet of 14 ships holding 4 cannons each would still only be doing an average of 50,400 per volley. So 100,800 with 2 volleys. If we take the aforementioned 20km planet, say a PR player has terraformed it to 50%, In order to do a significant amount of population damage, “guaranteeing” a temporary planetary shutdown, we would need to do 30% pop kills. That is going to require 3 strikes. 3 strikes of 2 volleys totaling 67,200 limbalt each for a whopping 201,600 Limbalt to hit 300k pop on a 750k pop world. Which means 3 FULL FLEETS of these.

For the record, my build with the Lv1 orbital cannons runs me 50k creds, 29k Farsu, and 17k Ziryl per ship.

Alternatively, I can slap 40k Syntis on a SINGLE T1 Syntis frigate and take that planet (Assuming they have a single lv1 mil base and a single t1 orbital). Total cost 23k creds, 9.7k Farsu, 500 ziryl, and take the planet all but guaranteed. If I bring 2 or 3 of those I can have multiple stabs at it to ensure victory.

There simply is not any real reason to use such a weapon if it cannot do a significant amount of damage to the enemy when it is so incredibly easy to just invade the world and take it over. Perhaps the answer is the nerf invasion mechanics, or perhaps the strike cannons need a buff. I can’t say for sure. But I know these numbers are worse for Ripchee & PR since their Cruisers only have 2 L Weapon slots. I can’t speak for Mankind, but I suspect it is the same. So halve the numbers here. 1 full fleet would be doing 50,400 damage per strike. Good luck.


Mk1 is 30% accuracy, mk5 is 90%. Thats x3 the accuracy. The attack in the post hit 2 times out of 8, so if you had mk5 it wouldve hit 6 times out of 8. If youre expecting to completely annihilate a planet within a few shots then this isnt the game for you. Orbital bombing is meant to weaken a planet so you can take it. If you really want to completely wipe out a planet you will pay the cost. How is the accuracy irrelevant? A 3x improvement isnt relevant? I dont understand what the problem is here.


The damage is lower than I’d hoped, but I agree with BB, I don’t see this as a big deal. I don’t think the goal of the weapons were to completely wipe out a population. Instead, they are to soften defenses.

Currently, invasions are definitely a better option, but to me that’s because invasions are borked. Same goes for orbit defense.

The idea that I can send in a single scout to bait the orbit defense, then I can bring in a few T1 assault ships, and have them do a drive-by invasion, and all of this could be completed in less than 45 minutes… that is what’s broken here. Invasions need to be a lot more costly, orbit defense needs to actually defend. By increasing the cost of invasions it makes orbital strikes much more attractive. Making orbital attacks cheaper just makes the current issue of actually defending a planet that much more difficult.


I showed the math in the post just above yours. I’m not looking for a Death Star, I’m looking to do relevant damage. To soften the planet a bit.

Let us assume the Lv5 cannon stats are as follows: 1000 damage, 90% Accuracy. That means if you got lucky and every shot hit you’d do a theoretical maximum of 4000 kills per ship.

A FULL FLEET OF 14 T43 CRUISERS WHICH CAN HOLD 4 CANNONS CAN ONLY DO 56,000 KILLS MAX PER VOLLEY. This number is halved for organics who only have 2 large slots on their Cruisers.

Using the 20,000km planet example from before, that is 100% irrelevant amounts of damage. It reduces the home guard by 5,600 and that is literally all it will do unless they’re already at max labor shortage in which case it will be useful, but that’s really niche.

Basically, 3x nothing is still nothing. Using the same planet stats I can take that planet with 40k troops. Why in the name of all that is holy would I wanna drop 700k credits on a cruiser fleet that does something completely irrelevant when I can spend 23k on a single assault ship that can take the entire planet?

Orbital Strike is irrelevant.


Assuming youre about to take a well developed home world. Minus 75% of your troops. The planet will most likely be at max labor shortage. So a single orbital strike will take the entire planet offline. No military bases, no orbit defence, the planet is yours. Its not supposed to be used on little side worlds, its meant for more important worlds. I agree the damage could be increased.


Even for important home worlds I can still slam 150k robots in a fleet and take the planet that way, 75% be damned.

That does speak to the fact that invasions and planetary defenses need reworking, but even so, orbital strike just isn’t worth the insane investment of 700k credits, 67k limbalt, 238k ziryl to use on that player’s home world, especially when players are gonna reset long before you take their HW anyway.


Understandable. But back in a2 it was even worse. 1k ordinance for either a single building (orbit defence, powerstations were immune) or some population.