Hephaestus Class Attack Platform

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Hephaestus Class Attack Platform
Production information
Ore Cost

20,000,000

Crystal Cost

20,000,000

Hydrogen Cost

10,000,000

Technical specifications
Cargo capacity

1,000,000,000

Base Speed

90

Engine unit(s)

Warp Drive

Requirements
Shipyard

13 (plus Foundry 3)

  [Source]

The Hephaestus Class Attack Platform is the ultimate in planetary assault technology. It can be deployed into orbit in a solar system and act as a mobile base for your fleet.

Contents

Description

The Hephaestus Class is a roaming attack platform. Those familiar with the TV series Battlestar Galactica may consider this ship a riff on that notion. A player may only have one of this ship at a time (if it is destroyed, a new one may be built). When first built in your shipyard, it orbits the planet on which it was constructed; however, it then may be sent to any other planet (as any other ship) or deployed to an open planet slot. In its undeployed state, it behaves as any other ship, including the capability of passing through a Warp Gate.

Once deployed to an empty planet slot, it acts much like a colony planet. The owner may deploy other ships to it. The Hephaestus itself may be moved (as long as it has no fleets going to or from it), and all ships deployed to it will move along with it for free. The parenthetic description there is a subtle distinction. If you deploy or transport ships to the heph, it can be moved out from underneath them, and they will simply bounce back to the location of origination. If you recall the Heph prior to the "landing" on the moved Heph, the deployment/transfer will take place as though it never happened. If, however, from the Heph, you attack another planet or you deploy or transport ships or res from it to another planet, then the Heph will be "pinned" until either the ships in question return or the deployment has completed. This is one of the key risks of a Heph, and being conscious of potentially inimical forces around it, as well as mitigating those risks by various techniques (such as also firing off a MAC, and deploying ships to it for action -- particularly slow ships like Dios) is an important skill to develop.

The Hephaestus functions like any other ship in battle. If it is destroyed, all ships deployed to it or on tasks originating from it are lost in space. By and of itself, it can only be harmed by a Zeus or a Prom (see Ineffectiveness Rule, below). Any other attacking ships may harm the associated fleet, but only Proms and Zeus will do damage to the Heph itself.

Any ships docked on the Hephaestus when it is attacked contribute to the battle for the defense of the ship. For this reason it is common to have a number of Zeus Class on it as mobile defenses. The more, the better.

Once you deploy a Hephaestus, it can never return to a planet without the assistance of a Lunar Dock Dock icon.png to first undeploy the ship. In the absence of the ability to undock the Hephaestus, the owner must either have adequate hydrogen infrastructure to resupply the Hephaestus or raid frequently to keep it stockpiled. A deployed Hephaestus also can't make use of a Warp Gate.

You have 9 "planet/colony" slots at the top of your screen. When deployed, the heph will add one more to that. The heph's position in this list will vary with your preference settings and/or its location in the universe.

A deployed Hephaestus itself cannot/does not do harvest missions. Instead, to FRS, it changes its orbit, as it is untouchable when in the transition state (its prior colony slot will state that the colony slot is "Unavailable"). As it moves, it cannot be probed or scanned by an Oracle, though its "tail end" will be visible (via the "Unavailable" marker) in its former location until it lands at the new location. (This prevents another Heph or Gaia from being deployed there, and, if the Heph failed to be able to land at its target, allows for it to return to its previous location much as a Gaia returns to its starting planet if the colonization fails.)

There is at least one significant tactical trick that may be played if one gains an idea of where the Heph is aimed. Normally gaining this knowledge is difficult, given its behavior in transit with regards to Oracle scans, but an important exception is that, unlike Colonization missions, Hephaestus deployment (from a planet) appears on Oracle scans of the planet. The tactic involves launching an attack on a third party who temporarily (as briefly as possible, to avoid notice) places a colony in the target orbit, with the attack timed to land when the Hephaestus completes its deployment. Attacks destined to a particular orbit land on whatever is there, regardless of what entity was occupying the spot when the attack was dispatched, and regardless of any protection mode (Neutrality Marker, etc.). Therefore, it is essential that initial deployments originate from a moon.

Evaluation

ADVANTAGES

The Hephaestus Class allows a fleet to move from one system/slot to another while only paying the fuel cost for the Heph, in much the same way an aircraft carrier can move aircraft from one place to another without the aircraft using any fuel.

Since in-system distances are much smaller than those between systems, once the Hephaestus is deployed to a system with likely targets, attacks take much less time, require less fuel, and (most importantly) give minimum warning.

It allows a player to roam the Universe without the need to colonize a planet and "use up" a planet slot—or two to create a MAC every time they want to attack a distant target. Planet slots can thus be used for infrastructure, especially Mines and Research Labs.

Merchant trades can be done in quantities much larger than those normally possible on planets: for up to 1 billion (1,000,000,000) of the target resource.

Even in its undeployed state, the Hephaestus provides some advantage: It is a ship with an enormous shield and hull score, essentially a giant moveable decoy so powerful that Prometheus, Thanatos, or Zeus class ships are necessary to deal any damage at all.

A deployed Hephaestus can carry any amount of resources, without needing other cargo ships to add to its capacity. Only in its undeployed state is it limited to 1 billion resources.

DISADVANTAGES

The Hephaestus is by far the most expensive unit in the game.

It's slow, much slower than a MAC would be (unless the MAC itself includes a Zeus).

It consumes a considerable amount of Hydrogen, making it a bad choice for players who do not have very large fleets.

Unlike those from a Moon, attacks from it can be locked by Oracle.

Unlike a planet (a MAC) or (some) moons, a Hephaestus can be destroyed. This makes slow operations (harvesting with Dionysus, out-of-system attacks, attacks involving Zeus, etc.) extremely dangerous as the Hephaestus is held in place and vulnerable until all fleets have returned.

If it is destroyed whilst fleets are incoming or outgoing from it, all ships in the fleets (incoming/outgoing) are lost along with the Hephaestus. Hence, for practical purposes, attacks are limited to the system to which it is currently deployed.

The Hephaestus cannot manufacture new ships, so the only way to replenish losses are to deploy replacements to it from one of your planets.

The Hephaestus cannot generate resources, not even hydrogen. To keep it moving, you must either successfully raid enough planets to steal the needed hydrogen or deliver hydrogen to it from one of your planets.

There is great prestige attached to destroying a Hephaestus. You must have a powerful fleet onboard to stop casual assaults, and you must keep moving it to avoid attackers.

USES

When deployed, the main purpose of the Hephaestus is to carry vast fleets and resources to distant parts of the universe without spending as much fuel as the fleet itself would spend. The fleet on board can then be used to colonize, attack, probe, or recycle. Users are warned that the best defense for a Hephaestus is to keep fleets deployed from it to a minimum, so it can pack up and leave. Thus, practically, it is best to send only ships faster than a Prometheus on missions that end at the Hephaestus.

A deployed Hephaestus can also be used to make merchant trades, as the cargo capacity of the Hephaestus is often larger than the warehouse size of your planets. Again, speedy trades are preferable, so that the Hephaestus can escape if someone sends an attack your way.

An undeployed Hephaestus functions very much like any other ship... any other ship with a massive shield and hull score, which makes attacks from any ship smaller than a Prometheus ineffective. It could be used as a defense, or to soak up damage in an attack. However, many players consider a Hephaestus to be an attractive target, and without an on-board fleet, it is particularly vulnerable, so caution should be used if you intend to use a Hephaestus as a regular ship. An undeployed Hephaestus can also use its large cargo capacity to transport goods between your worlds. A deployed Hephaestus has no limit to its carrying capacity.


SPOTTING

A Hephaestus deployed to a planet slot has an icon next to the planet name, indicating that it is a Hephaestus. This icon is on the left side, and is a smaller version of the image used to represent the ship.

(Formerly, it was necessary to either notice if the planet slot was capable of being targeted by IPBMs—Hephaestus do not show the "initiate missile strike" Missile strike icon.png icon on the galaxy page—or probe to be sure.)

Statistics

Specifications

Hull Rating: 4,000,000
Shield Rating: 150,000
Weapons Rating: 0
Cargo Capacity: 1,000,000,000
Base Speed: 90
Hydrogen Consumption: 450,000
Engine Type: Warp Drive

Cost

Ore: 20,000,000
Crystal: 20,000,000
Hydrogen: 10,000,000

Requirements



Time and Fuel Costs

(based on Warp 9, one way)

Planet-to-moon 00:24:47, 257 hydrogen

Next Planet 5:20:38, 51,686 hydrogen

Maximum in-system (slot 15 to/from slot 1) 5:30:50, 55,029 hydrogen

Next System 8:54:36, 143,741 hydrogen

Next Galaxy 23:49:46, 1,028,560 hydrogen

Ineffectiveness Rule

Note that the base Shield rating is 150,000. In the older universes, due to the Ineffectiveness Rule, only the relatively slow Prometheus (base Weapon: 2000) or extremely slow Zeus (200,000) have a high enough Weapons rating to do any damage. Nova added the (very slow) Thanatos (20,000). Consequently, in-system attacks using only fast ships (usually Athena and Hades, but possibly including intermediate-speed ships like Artemis, Atlas, or Curetes) carry no risk of the Hephaestus being locked in place and destroyed, as the only ships that can destroy it would take longer to reach it than the attacking ships take to return. Attacks on the Hephaestus using any number of fast ships can be defended against simply by fleet saving. Although Nova also added the quite speedy Empusa, its base Weapon of 1250 is still substantially below 1500, the level at which it would be relatively likely to be able to be effective.

Conquest added two ships, the Erebus and Moros, which have a different weapons system that bypasses shields, allowing them to be effective against the Hephaestus. These ships are usually faster than the Prometheus, and although they are still slower than the Athena and Hades, they do make attacks including intermediate-speed ships more risky.

The new ships in Hired Guns do not necessarily pose a danger (they are light- or medium-weight ships with conventional weapons), but it also adds Eradeon, which allows the base stats of ships to be boosted. As lighter-weight ships are more easily boosted than heavy ones, it seems increasingly likely that an active Hephaestus could be destroyed by a fleet of fast ships, especially, perhaps, Athena.

Tracking Hephaestus Redeployment via Oracle

The redeployment locations of a deployed Hephaestus can be tracked using an Oracle. If an Hephaestus is Oracled while it is deployed to a planet slot and then it redeploys, the Oracle record will track the redeployment location of the Hephaestus. The Oracle record will not show to where the Hephaestus is transiting while the Hephaestus is in flight. This tracking will continue as the Hephaestus redeploys from location to location, until either the Oracle record expires after 7 days or the Hephaestus is re-docked at a moon using a Lunar Dock.

Trivia

Size Issue

There have been many arguments whether or not the Hephaestus is larger than the Zeus, although this seems ludicrously obvious:

Multiple Zeus may be deployed to a Hephaestus.

Multiple Zeus may be deployed to any moon or planet, but only one Hephaestus may orbit a moon or planet at a time, and when deployed, the Hephaestus orbits as if it were a planet.

The Hephaestus has two large spherical shields on the side, and the Athena looks even more minuscule in proportion to the Hephaestus than it does to the Zeus, leading to the assumption that the two spheres on the side of the Hephaestus may be storage hangars for two Zeus ships, although of course, far more than two Zeus can be deployed to a Hephaestus.

Name

Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes (his Roman equivalent is Vulcan). He was the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods.

As a smith god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus and was worshiped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly Athens.

See Also

Ship List

Ships in Starfleet Commander

Other Utility Ships Dionysus Class Recycler - Gaia Class Colony Ship - Genesis Class Solar Satellite
Helios Class Solar Satellite - Hermes Class Probe - Shadow Probe - Triton Class Recycler - Zagreus Class Recycler
Transports Atlas Class Cargo - Carmanor Class Cargo - Charon Class Transport - Hercules Class Cargo
Starfighters Artemis Class Fighter - Apollo Class Fighter - Empusa Class Fighter - Erebus Class Fighter - Magnon Class Fighter - Mantus Class Fighter - Vortex Class Fighter
Light Capital Warships Cirrus Class Cruiser - Curetes Class Cruiser - Poseidon Class Cruiser - Typhon Class Cruiser
Medium Capital Warships Athena Class Battleship - Hades Class Battleship - Moros Class Battleship
Heavy Capital Warships Prometheus Class Destroyer - Thanatos Class Destroyer
Other Warships Ares Class Bomber - Hephaestus Class Attack Platform - Pallas Class Bomber - Zeus Class
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