From the above, it may seem that in a 4 cobalts vs. 4 cobalts, the 2/2 fire split would be superior. But it's not, because two cobalts firing at another will raise the shield mitigation more than the pirate scouts' fire does, way up to 57%, albeit more slowly than the 4-way focus fire does. So it's back to the drawing board for small scale cobalt-vs-cobalt strategies; one can't apply directly what we've learned from the pirates firing.
So round three of testing... Cobalts vs. cobalts this time. All default/unpgraded.
2 cobalts vs. 2 cobalts. One side (AI) focus fires, while I direct each cobalt to fire at one enemy. Result: I win with about 238-336 hp left on the surviving ship (did two identical tests).
So can we do even better? After a lot of experimentation (about 8 tests LOL), the best/optimal strategy seems to be... Begin firing with both ships at one enemy. Switch at 25% mitigation one of your ships to fire on the other enemy; on the rare occasion that mitigation goes above 30%, switch both ships. When mitigation on the heavily damaged enemy goes down to around 20-21%, again put both of your ships to fire at it. When their most damaged ship hits about 100 hp just keep focus firing on it, even though its mitigaiton will reach about 40% when it goes bang. That's a lot of micromanagement, but the results speak for themselves. Enemy down to 501 hull on the 2nd ship when I lost fist the 1st mine. Won with 458 hp left. Repeated again with even better results the second time (494 hp left) due to practice, I guess. So fairly reproducible (see below for how this scales).
3 cobalts vs. 3 cobalts. One side picks separate targets for each ship, the other focus fires.
- worryingly, you lose your first cobalt when they have 422-424 hp left on each of theirs. But the you win with one cobalt almost intact (288 shields).
I tried some manual tuning of this 3 vs. 3 but I couldn't do any better...
So on to 4 cobalts vs. 4 cobalts. Separate targeting wins with almost one intact cobalt left (328 shields.) Optimal 2 vs. 2 strategy (a lot harder to pull correctly here because of the doubled micromanagement) is a bit more complex here after you're down to 3 ships: you should switch the opportunity target to your dead ship's pairs' target, meaning 1.5x of your ships per heavily damaged enemy. Doing this I won with one intact cobalt and another at 173 hull.
However, in a real 3 vs. 3 or 4 vs. 4 all-cobalt fight, the enemy can probably run away after focus firing and taking out one ships because of the 400+ hp left on two of his remaining cobalts. Even the AI ca probably pull this off.
Time for 6 vs. 6. Can focus fire finally win the whole battle?
- you lose one cobalt, but get the shields down on 4 enemies
- you lose one more cobalt, and get 4 enemies to about 300 hull each
- you pop three enemy ships in quick succession; just as the last of these blows up, you lost a third of yours. You now have three intact ships vs. enemy's one intact, one almost intact (241 shields) and one heavily damaged (223 hull). So the enemy clearly lost at this point. Even if he runs now, he'll lose the heavily damaged one.
- you pop the 4th enemy pretty quickly, but 3 vs 2 is actually pretty nasty mitigation-wise. Both remaining enemies will steadily climb from around 30% to 37% sm over time no matter how carefully you round-robin them. But you actually pop another one before you (almost) lose another one more of your ships.
- end result: won with two or thee ships left. Two intact and one with ahem... 1 hp left.
So in a 6 vs. 6; if you focus fire you can kill 1-2 ships but then you have run or lose handily all of yours for only 2 more of the enemies' cobalts... I suspect this is the most interesting result so far.
I'm guessing we'll see minimatches of stand-and-shoot cobalts after this thread. LOL.
If someone (who has grokked the optimal 2 vs. 2) has the patience to do an 8 vs. 8 cobalts (against the AI's focus fire), I'm curious to hear how it turns out.