Homeworld Ship Formations

These are the different patterns you can assign to units of ships in the Sierra game Homeworld. Knowing when to use the correct formation is critical for success.

Delta

The Delta is a triangular flat, wo-dimensional formation.

It is not a good offensive formation (like most of the two-dimensional formations) and should mostly be used for organizing your Strike Craft forces. One should never bother putting Capital Ships into the Delta formation. By the time it takes those slow monsters to maneuver into such a formation you've wasted valuable time.

The one real use of the Delta is a small cluster of Corvettes or Assault Frigates to use as a concentrated attack on a much larger vessel. Typically, your opponent will concentrate the majority of his/her firepower into the first attacking ship, leaving your other vessels free from harm but still more than capable of causing damage. Coupled with a repair vessel working on the front ship, this can be an effective method of disabiling more power ships left on their own. Even then though, Claw probably is a better bet.

Broad

Basically, a straight, flat line of ships...

Like the Delta formation, the Broad formation suffers from the same problem: a lack of concentrated firepower due to not full utilizing three dimensional space. In an ideal situation, Broad is hardly useful - in reality though, when one is suffering from all the fatigues of micro-managing an entire fleet, Broad can be very useful for keeping track of ships you want to split off into more effective fighting units.

30 Interceptors flying at your opponent in a Broad formation isn't all that threatening. Being able to split them into 2 or 3 Claw formations of 15 or 10 Interceptors respectively, is dangerous.

X

Imagine an X made up of fighter craft flying about, and you have the idea of the X formation.

Personally, I rarely use it - finding Claw far more versatile and deadly. But it can be a moderately useful defensive structure - allowing you to shoot a single target all at once and then pull away quickly. I just worry about all those little fragile Strike Craft stuck in such a tight formation.

Claw

Variation on the X theme, but placed three dimensionally so that the middle ship (the keystone ship) is the furthest back, with the four ends of the X laid out like arms pressing forward (claws, if you will).

The Claw is the perfect Strike Craft formation. Because Claw utilizes three dimensional space, your ships are less clustered right next to one another, giving them a lot of freedom to move and dodge. Coupled with the fact that the four of your ships closest to the enemy are very far from one another in different directions makes the Claw confusing for an enemy Capital Ship to counter. Strike Craft set in the Claw formation lose almost none of their original maneuverability.

Wall

A two dimensional brick wall.

Something for your big, scary Capital Ships to sit around in. While it would be suicide for anything that can actually maneuver, the Wall is perfect for those big monsters - they can easily defend one another and concentrate their firepower into different segments of the Wall. The Wall is effective both for singling out one opponent vessel, or allowing your firepower to spread out against many.

Sphere

The Sphere is excellent for two situations:

  1. Defending a specific ship - whether that be the Mothership, a Heavy Cruiser, a collector or just about anything else... The ships in the Sphere formation will put themselves into a tight formation with the escorted ship in the formation's belly. Done with enough ships, and the network will be tight enough to stop most assaults.
  2. Attacking a single ship. In this case, the same idea occurs, but rather than shielding the chosen ship, they swallow it.
The Sphere should never be used for a generic formation defending an area of space. Because each individual ship is facing a different direction until told otherwise, you tend to lose a lot of firepower by having several ships defending a direction, not directing their firepower where you desire.

Military Parade

You ships come out of the Mothership like this. It's simply a tighter Broad formation. Get them out of this right away once you're finished assigning squadrons.

Custom Formations

Custom Formations can be deadly if you know what you're doing or a royal waste of time if you don't. But - any setup you can imagine can be set into a formation, just maneuver your ships where you want them and set this as a formation - they'll stay in the same shape as best as they can. Enjoy making these up, there are more than a few clever formations out there to be had...

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