A balanced fleet is essential for achieving victory in Homeworld 2. The following tactics are meant for a Skirmish game with maximum unit caps.Any single faction can support a maximum of 25 Fighter squadrons, 25 Corvette Squadrons, 30 Frigates, 25 Capital Ships, 50 Platforms and 50 Utility Vessels.
A balanced Strike Group should have 5 Fighter squadrons, 5 Corvette Squadrons, Frigates and 4 Capital Ships. Players can build up to 5 of those Strike Group, giving them overwhelming firepower in the late-game, as well as tactical flexibility. These Groups should be designated Groups 1 to 5, although group designations are, ultimately, up to the individual player.
The core element of any strike group is the Strike Craft. Both Hiigaran and Vaygr fleets cannot function well without Strike Craft support. Hiigaran players should concentrate on Bombers exclusively, as they have better anti-fighter options once Corvette and Frigate facilities have been built. Hiigaran Bombers are faster and heavier-hitting than their Vaygr counterparts, making them more efficient in destroying Subsystems, Frigates and Capital Ships. Their superior speed also makes up for their lighter armor. Once a player builds the Corvette Facility, the player should concentrate on Gunships and Gunships only, as they are more versatile than their Pulsar counterparts, able to direct withering fire to Strike Craft and Frigates. Scout squadrons are also important, if only for their great sight range, though I rarely factor them into my fleets, preferring instead to conduct reconnaissances in force with Bombers and Gunships.
Vaygr players should concentrate on Assault Craft and Laser Corvettes exclusively. Assault Craft are the premier anti-fighter Fighter class and are perfect for destroying enemy Strike Craft, especially Bombers. Laser Corvettes are heavier-hitting than even the Hiigaran Bomber, as well as being more heavily armored. 5 squadrons of Laser Corvettes can destroy even a fully-upgraded Hiigaran Carrier while taking minimal damage.
A Hiigaran player, though containing a larger variety of Frigates in his or her arsenal, should only restrict his or her choices to one or two core classes, as an overinclusion of Frigate types only dilutes the Fleet. Torpedo, Flak and Ion Frigates are powerful, and with the exception of the Ion Frigate, versatile. These three classes should form the core of one's Frigate subfleet. Marine Frigates and Defense Field Frigates are optional, as Fleet Compositions of my design emphasise ease of use, devastating firepower and a lack of micromanagement rather than unit abilities. One can feel free to use those Frigates as they wish. Vaygr Frigates are more specialised than their Hiigaran counterparts. In keeping with the overwhelming-firepower principles of the Fleet Composition, I prefer using Heavy Missile Frigates exclusively, as Assault Craft often intercept enemy Strike Craft long before the main Strike Group, therefore negating the use of a dedicated anti-fighter Frigate.
Both sides have solid Capital Ships that can dish out devastating amounts of damage, though I feel Hiigaran Battlecruisers, with proper Strike Craft support, can defeat the Vaygr Battlecruiser in any engagement. Both sides should have two Destroyers and two Battlecruisers in each Strike Group.
One still has an extra 5 Capital Ship slots. Hiigaran players should build 1 Shipyard and 4 extra Carriers, distributed at different resource points throughout the map. I normally leave my Shipyard with my Mothership, as the Mothership is often located in the core of my territories, with the Carriers spread out evenly around it. This provides my Strike Groups with ample locations to repair and replenish battered Strike Craft squadrons. Gravity Well Generators are a must for all Carriers, Shipyards and the Mothership, as well as for every second Battlecruiser. This creates a fence around a large area(easily half of any 8-player map) which keeps any nasty surprises from popping out of Hyperspace. This strategy has served me well against even Expert enemies, although I have, on occasion, needed to replace one or more of my Carriers with a Shipyard, to increase the amount of Battlecruisers on the battlefield in a smaller amount of time.
Vaygr players should follow the same strategy, at least till the mid to early-late game, when one can finally produce Shipyards. When playing the Vaygr, I have found it necessary to replace the Carrier closest to the front with a Shipyard, as Vaygr Carriers are woefully inadequate when it comes to reinforcing depleted fleets.
Platforms are not essential parts of my Fleet, as I find them hindering and rather weak. I prefer to keep one or two Strike Groups in reserve to counter any enemy forces.
Utility Class vessels are the most important parts of one's fleet. Each Carrier and Mothership should have 8 Resource Collectors and 2 Mobile Refineries. This ensures a good flow of resources and even a large surplus in the late game. The Mothership, Shipyard, 8 Resource Collectors and 2 Mobile Refineries should be in Group 6. The other 4 Carriers/Shipyards along with their Resource Collectors and Mobile Refineries should occupy Groups 7 to 10.
Note that the above Fleet Composition has been tested against the game AI only and has not been tested against human opponents, as I have never, ever played an online game of Homeworld 2. I would like to receive feedback on how my Fleet Composition fared against a human opponent.
Hiigaran Strategy & Fleet Composition
Further to the above analysis: Such large formations are unwieldy, costly and untimely. Any experienced opponent would quickly attack before such a force could be assembled. Any and all craft types should be considered and employed in the appropriate siduation. All craft in Homeworld 2 are useful and fairly well balanced.
As the Hiigaran player, you will have the greatest option for countering enemy fleets with frigates - and so should be mindful not to tie down faster moving craft to escort duties. With the inclusion of flak frigates and torpeedo frigates you will find that you capital ship formations are much more resillient to strike-craft. Use this freedom to employ your own strike craft in a much more offensive role. Have a secret forward carrier group and operate your strikecraft from this position. Never let the enemy find your support fleet - keep them moving! Also, your battleships have 5 docking stations each, so fill them with corvettes for aggresive jumping.
Consider that a strike group can only move as fast as it's slower members. So try using strike groups consisting of only frigates when raiding. In this siduation you want to be hunting for resource fleets and carriers. Ion frigates do the most damage, so send them with flak frigate escort. But anything more than a solo destroyer and you need to run away. Don't be greedy, keep the ship fighting mobile and you will cease the initiative, forcing his capital ships into a defensive posture.
With Hiigaran capital ship fleets, there is little point in mixing capital ship types. My fleets tend to consist of either Battlecruisers or Destroyers, but not both. As I see it, the main advantages to the destroyer are as a tradeoff between firepower and mobility. So teaming up a destroyer with battlecruiser makes no sense - unless it is an agressive hyperspace mission.
Now consider the differences between Hiigaran and Vagyr ship design. Vagyr and heavyer hitting and forward facing. Hiigarans have tighter defence and a wide angle posture. Aka. get in front of a Vagyr battlecruiser and you are DEAD. This ought to mean that manouver is ESSENTIAL in capital ship engagements. With the Vagyr it is possible to render their battlecruiser entierly combat ineffective by destroying the missile and engine subsystems, then staying out of the firing arc of the main cannon. EMP is the best method for dealing with Vagyr destroyers. Using proper strike-craft support, even frigates can do a lot of damage.