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For the EA, I don't use them. I use Tectors + ISD-II's + VSD-II's. They're great for defensive fleets, but by the time I can afford them I have no need for them. Offensively, they're tanks but are so slow they're not worth using (IMO) due to their (comparatively) low offensive output for their size.For the PA, I do use them simply because they don't have any other ships that can protect their fragile carriers. So I'll have a single Praetor in a fleet as a flagship, drop it more or less center of combat and build slightly behind it so that it protects all my carriers disgorging the bombers, and have a few ISD-II's and VSD's to help actually defeat things.
Well not counting the Thalassa of course if you aren't using that as Eraidu Authority you are doing it wrong, personally I find Praetors good as a flagship for fleets that don't have a dedicated big ship like an Executor or Bellator, though they have to be supported by carriers as they have no hanger bays
Are Praetors good at anyhitng? They take up a lot of room. Of the 3 factions that can build them 2 of them can build Tectors and 2 tectors>1 Praetor (yes I know 2 Tectors are marginally more expensive). That leaves the Pentastar Alignment and if I am going big ship with them you can run 4 SSD's and ISDs+ carriers seem a better boom fleet.
To an extent I agree. The Praetor is for most groups one of the worst value ships. It's expensive, but offensively rather meak. Defensively it COULD shine due to it's powerful shields allowing support ships (glass cannons) to work their stuff while the Praetor soaks up damage. Sadly, it's pop cost is so high that it doesn't particularly work for that, either, since you can't bring in enough support ships to really be powerful. The one time they do show some promise is in defensive fleets, as they're wonderful in a defensive posture when they don't need to move However, the game engine ruins that, as it puts other ships so far away from it that it ends up making all other ships easy prey for the attacking fleet due to being spaced so far apart and some ships setting in the enemies firing arc upon starting battle. In the end, basically it is exactly as you say, it's just not really useful for anything. I'm not really sure it's fixable, either due to the limitations with the game engine.
At one point they had that long range ability but that got nerfed.