The Tech 2 Artillery Installations are long range bombardment structures. At an average cost of 2500 mass, they are quite expensive, and should be built sparingly.
Tech 2 artillery installations fire powerful, low-arc shells over large distances. This allows them to bombard an opponent's fortified base or engage enemy surface units (land or sea) at very long range. All T2 artillery fire at a medium to slow rate (once every 20 seconds normally and every 18 seconds with power generators on all sides), deals high damage over a moderate area (average of 2,250 damage per shot), and can only be stopped by shields. They can be used offensively or defensively, but due to low rates of fire, their static nature, and their inability to attack targets within a minimum range, they can be quite vulnerable independently.
Compared to Point DefenseEdit
Although these structures can be used as base defenses, tech 2 point defenses are usually better suited for the job: At a much lower cost, they have equivalent DPS, better fire rates, and much less overkill.
They can also be used as an effective means of defending coasts and channels from enemy shipping, a very effective method since it can outrange most enemy ships and those it can't, T2 tactical missles can match or exceed.
However, T2 artillery units have superior range to any point defense weapons, in addition to a very short minimum range. They also outrange T3 mobile artillery. As such, they can act as effective counter-artillery units that can also weaken an approaching group of enemy ground units. However, the DPS of T2 artillery versus naval units can be effectively zero, because they turn so slowly that your average destroyer can zip past them before the T2 artillery can even aim at them. A way to partially compensate for this weakness is to order your T2 artillery to attack ground in the rough direction of the enemy's approach well before they come into range so that they are better oriented during actual combat.
At a cost of around 2,500 mass, these units should only be built when they are absolutely needed. Not only are they expensive, they also take a very long time (2 minutes, 40 seconds by a T2 engineer) to build. One could build about 20 tech 2 direct fire land units for the same price. But they are also very useful for building T2 artillery batteries (3x3 artillery battery)
Compared to Tactical Missile LaunchersEdit
Both Tech 2 Artillery installations and Tech 2 Tactical Missile Launchers may be used to bombard an enemy base from afar.
TMLs are generally favored because they have twice the range, cost about 1/3 the price (before missiles), have much higher accuracy vs. stationary targets, and they have a much higher alpha-strike (i.e., higher initial-shot damage). In fact, a single tactical missile hit (possibly from outside artillery range) is enough to destroy an artillery installation. Of course, the reverse is also true, but the TML can be built outside the range of the artillery, and is more accurate. These differences make the TML more useful for surprise attacks on critical enemy structures, or even an enemy ACU.
However, artillery shells cost no mass and less energy (average of 1,225 energy/shot), and they are not affected by TMD, which can completely nullify a TML attack. Moreover, T2 artillery installations will - like most units in the game - automatically 'lead' their shots to hit moving targets. This gives them a distinct advantage over TMLs, which must be manually aimed and fired. This makes Artillery overall more effective if you need constant shots or shore defense, but not as good against single, stationary targets
Artillery installations get bonuses from adjacent power generators. This lowers their power consumptions, and increases their fire rate. However, their energy consumptions are already low enough not to require this, and the fire rate increase is so little it makes little, if any, noticible difference. Building generators around a tech 2 artillery installation for the adjacency bonuses is a waste of resources.
Note: A T1 power generator costs ~3.5% of a T2 artillery. A T2 artillery fires 2.5% faster for each T1 power generator it is adjacent to for a maximum total of 10%. If one T1 power generator can provide a bonus to two T2 artillery installations, it improves overall firepower by 5% of a T2 artillery but only costs ~3.5% of a T2 artillery (it also provides 20 power). Therefore, if you plan on building at least two artillery pieces, maximum firepower/cost is achieved by mixing them with T1 power generators. Templates can be of great help here.
If you have to build power generators, you might even be better off having no bonus than surrounding the artillery piece. Keep in mind that artillery are units of very high importance from the opponent's point of view. This will draw fire to your generators. Further more, if any generator is destroyed, the ensuing explosion could damage your expensive artillery.
Factional differences Edit
The four tech 2 artillery installations are the UEF Klink Hammer, the Cybran Gunther, the Aeon Miasma and the Seraphim Zthuthaam. They have slightly different costs and damages, but overall, have an equivalent cost/effectiveness ratio. They all have the same fire radius.
The UEF Klink Hammer has average accuracy, damage radius and damage, and the Cybran Gunther and Aeon Miasma represent their faction's weapon's philosophy:
- The Cybran Gunther has awful accuracy, but makes up for it with a massive damage radius. Its damage is low, but it can damage multiple targets simultaneously. It excels at firing at approaching armies, or just wreaking indiscriminate havoc in an opponent's base. It is absolutely incapable of destroying a specific target effectively. The Gunther is also considerably cheaper than the other T2 artillery pieces.
- Considering the traits of the Cybran's T2 Point Defense, the Cerberus, the Gunther pairs very well with them. It is capable of heavily damaging high-health incoming enemies that the Cerberus can then finish off. This is balanced by the fact that its inherent inaccuracy makes the Gunther the worst for shore defense against any Naval unit faster than a Battleship.
- The Aeon Miasma has almost perfect accuracy, but almost no damage radius. It features damage over time, making it effective against shields and buildings, but less so against mobile units. The Miasma is perfect at destroying selected targets of high importance, like other artillery pieces. It is also the most expensive of the T2 artillery pieces, although not by a large amount.
All things considered, the Seraphim Zthuthaam might be the best T2 artillery out of the four. It is as accurate as the Aeon Miasma, has a high damage radius, and packs quite a punch in terms of damage. It is, however, more expensive to build and maintain than the UEF and Cybran artillery installations, and does not have the advantage in terms of HP.
It is possible for an artillery installation to hit a moving aircraft. The Aeon Miasma is the only T2 artillery installation that can destroy itself in one shot.