If a Heavy Cruiser hits a Scout, that Scout is dead. The problem is actually hitting it in the first place. The problem comes when you wonder, "Why didn't they put anti-fighter weapons on the big expensive ships that are most vulnerable to fighters?."
In the sequel there are point defenses on the bigger ships. They will munch on your fighters as they make strafing runs. It's still not quite effective, though, and requires anti-fighter ships to stick around.
Not as surprising as one might think. Fighters tend to run around in mobs; it's the only way they can be effective, after all, so putting the requisite amount of anti-fighter weapons on a battleship will seriously cut into the space available for the ridiculously huge guns. Following that logic, putting a few token AAA guns on will be essentially worthless and a waste of space better spent on making the battleship better able to survive slugfests. Better to just assign escort fighters; especially since new fighters are cheap to build, but replacing battleships that lost in fleet engagements is not. Still, one would expect the biggest ships to have at least token defenses to swat away small groups, at the very least. The second game embraces both philosophies, adding token fighter defenses, and even docking and repair bays for escort fighters on the biggest capital ships.
It's also reasonably logical in some other ways. The Kushani at least, wouldn't have much of a concept of naval warfare. On land, tanks are utterly dependent on infantry to be their eyes and ears, and for point defense. In the air, it's a tradeoff between anti-fighter capability and bomb load-out. It's only in the seas (and in space) that you can have a massive vessel bristling with guns for shooting all sizes of things. And the Taiidan ship designs do tend to have better turret placement.
This is also the case with the Vaygr in Homeworld 2, and is justified in the setting. Most of the Vaygr's technology comes from a variety of sources as they are a nomadic conquesting people, adapting other cultures and technologies as their own. When their technology is so eclectic, integrating it all together becomes difficult and messes up logistics. This informs their strategic doctine, and thus the Vaygr tend toward larger numbers of smaller, more role-specific craft. The Hiigarians on the other hand have developed most of their technology themselves (though they bought the plans for their early models from the Bentusi) and thus their ships tend to have more of it integrated into them. This means that Hiigarian ships often are larger and designed to fit more roles than their nearest Vaygr equivalents, but slower and more material-expensive. By example, the Hiigarian minelayer corvette has a small turret for point-defense against fighter craft, while the Vaygr minelayer corvette has no weaponry and must rely on other escort craft for protection.
So, umm. 650,000 Exiles managed to become 325 million Hiigarans over the course of only 100 years, did they? They've been, err, busy,. (In comparison, the highest population-growth rate we've ever seen in Real Life is 2.2% per year, which would bring Hiigaran population to a little over 6.3 million. For the Exiles to have expanded fifty times as much boggles the mind.)
My theory is that since the Hiigarans aren't actually human, the writers just decided that they could breed like rabbits. That, or They Just Didn't Care.
Actually, there is a quite reasonable conclusion. Kadeshi are stated to be descendants of the ancient Hiigarans, in other words same people as Kushan. They could not have been wiped out in few battles they fought against Kushan, yet in the next game Imperialists are not worried at all about going into the Garden of Kadesh, despite the far stronger Imperial fleet of the Taiidan's heyday avoiding it like a plague. Only possible conclusion is that Kadeshi have left for whatever reason. Now consider that the only reason they were so adamant about Kushan not leaving the nebula was that they wanted to prevent the Taiidan Empire from finding about them. But the Taiidan Empire has fallen, and Hiigara has been reclaimed, so they do not have any reason to stay in the nebula any longer. Chances are, they have decided to join the Kushan on Hiigara.
Even worse would probably be the question "How did a few thousand rebels from a desert planet manage to defeat a galaxy-spanning empire that had a 4000-year head start on them?" The Taiidan rebels and the Galactic Council didn't help until the very end.
A hiigaran year is longer than a Terran Year. It says in the manual that there were no elders or children on the Mothership and that Somtaaw recons are manned by young women. Either they are cramming tweens into their fighters, or their years are a bit longer. They also said that it took four generations to build the Motherhsip (15 years each). Still does not explain everything, but should be worth mentioning.
Because they came out of nowhere. Because they were discreet. The Taiidani initially thought all of the Exiles were killed when they set fire to Kharak's atmosphere and destroyed all their orbital facilities. Then they thought the Exile fleet was just a bunch of isolated rebel incidents, especially as the Exiles made a point of making certain that their victims couldn't get a warning off. The Emperor only found out the truth about the Exile fleet bearing down on Hiigara within the last three missions. In other words, they didn't realize the threat until the very end. Y'know, when the Council and the rebels were there to back the Exiles up.
That, and the destruction of Kharak had triggered a full-scale rebellion. Most of the Taiidan military was busy fighting the rebellion on 150 inhabitated worlds, and most of the time the Exiles only fought what ships the Empire could spare: the understrength and surprised border fleet that destroyed Kharak, a garrison force kept small because nobody but the Exiles would dare to pass there, a crack force that had been decimated fighting a Bentusi tradeship (note that this is the only time a Taiidan warship that's not a carrier will try and run away), the fleet trying to ambush Elson (that assumed a fully defensive posture and only tried to shoot down Elson's ship), and a huge but easily outsmarted garrison force at the outer limit of Hiigara's system. The two times the Taiidan were prepared (the ambush at Chapel Perilous and the final mission) the battle was much harder... And in the latter the Emperor was killed alongside the core of the High Guard (the elite force), with the rebels making sure there was no available successor to keep the Loyalist factions of the fleet together. After that, the "few thousand rebels from a desert planet" settled down as the Loyalist factions fought with each other for supremacy and the rebels established their republic.
It does seem possible that the Exiles took in a lot of Taiidani nationals displaced by that race's civil war, though; and, if the cut scenes from Cataclysm are anything to go by, the Kushan and Taiidan do appear to be the same race (or very similar at least)...
Maybe there were still enslaved descendants of the ancient Hiigarans, or the Kadeshi survivors, after the Exiles broke out, decided to go out with a bang and assault Hiigara before the Taiidan went for them only to find the Taiidan Imperial Guard annihilated by the Kushan and joined them.
Rare point on the first game. The beginning of the story was pretty clear about just how brutal, inelegant, damaging and permanent ripping open Karan's nervous system and plugging it into the Mothership was, being as her technology was nowhere near ready when it had to be pressed into service. Then the ending just got made a bit happier by having her successfully extracted, apparently without any harm whatsoever. Because the narrator said so.
Double Fridge Logic: Maybe medical had technology improved by then, thanks to the Council, acquisition of Taiidan tech, etc.
Considering that the planet Hiigara itself was the seat of the Taiidan Empire for 5,000 years, I should assume that they probably didn't kill off the Taiidan that were living there, so that's probably the reason. It's ironic though that Hiigara would be filled mostly with another race, much less that the Taiidani would just accept rule by aliens, and an incredibly small minority of said aliens as such.
In the final part of Homeworld 2 you have to travel through a stationary hypergate to Balcora, where the ubership Sajuuk is hidden. Balcora is situated in the locus of the trinary super-massive black hole that makes up the center of the Homeworld galaxy and is only accessible via the gate. When you approach the gate, you find out that Makaan has already passed through it and has left behind a small fleet behind in order to destroy it. Wait, what? Why would he want to prevent you from entering Balcora when you have the other two hyperspace cores he needs to activate Sajuuk. He needs you to follow him into Balcora otherwise he's trapped there.
If they destroy the gate you can't get Sajuuk,if you can't get Sajuuk you can't kill the Planet Killers (The Dreadnought(s) can kill the Planet Killers but there's no gurantee the Hiigarans would know that and it takes them ages to do so)
That doesn't negate the point that if the Vaygr succeed at destroying the gate, their leader is trapped forever.
Actually, this may have been intentional on Makaan's part; leaving a garrison at the gate makes the gate (or rather, the destination of the gate) appear to be important to the Vaygr and worth keeping the Hiigarans out, which naturally would prompt the Hiigarans to try and go through the gate to foil the Vaygr's plans. Basically, Makaan may have known fully well that the Hiigarans would be more inclined to go through the gate if he ordered his fleet to destroy it, and left the small fleet with the expectation that the Hiigarans would destroy it, go through the gate that they believe to have rescued from Vaygr destruction, and fly right into Makaan's trap with both the hyperspace cores he needs.
The Mothership's engines. They never work. She can hyperjump, yes, and she does have these big ol' exhaust vents all along the back of her hull... But they never work.
Yes they do, the player just isn't given control of them in the story missions. Generally, Fleet Command makes the wise decision to not involve the highly vulnerable Mothership in combat, instead parking it at a safe distance and sending ships into the fight from there. On a couple of occasions, her engines do engage, such as during the very first time you see the Mothership during the very first mission. She's just too massive, too slow, and too low on maneuverability for it to be worth firing them most of the time. Also of note, players do get control of the engines during netplay and the like, and can use them freely, for all the good it does them.
IIRC, there was a line during the first hyper-jump saying that they would calibrate their engines when they met up with the Kar-Salim. Since the other ship was destroyed...
More to the point, the engines are having to accelerate several million tons. The build tonnage for the Mothership in the original is listed at about five million tons. The heavy cruiser from the same game? 131,000 tons. (For comparison, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is 93,000 tons.)
Initially, whilst telling the Kushani fleet about their history, the Bentusi spoke of the Angel Moon, a beautiful satellite that used to orbit Hiigara but was long since gone. Only for you to arrive in the Hiigara system at the end of the game and have it sitting there in the background exactly as its described. HW2, even uses the thing as a big shiny rally point almost right at the beginning of the game. Why did they do this?
This wasn't retconned. The Bentusi never said that it was destroyed, only that it had been reduced to "myth and tale" in the memories of the Exiles. It shows up in the final mission of the first game as well.
Also, the Kushani hyperdrive technology being reverse-engineered and still rather imperfect was cited as the reason why the Mothership had to make such an epic journey. It was implied that with a proper hyperspace core, they could have simply jumped straight into the Hiigaran system. This, at least, appears to have escaped being retconned, as it is never a lack of range that has the Mothership leave hyperspace in HW2 (nor in Cataclysm, actually...).
As well, the Mothership is forced out on its journey before its sublight engines can be brought online and spends the entire game as a stationary object, jumping through hyperspace from one fixed location to another. Yet the opening cinematic of HW2 shows it cruising along surrounded by its fleet very Battlestar Galactica-like. In skirmishes and multiplayer matches, the Mothership is mobile however, as it is in HW2 as well.
What's evil about them? All the Kadeshi did was punish trespassers for harming their sacred place. It's implied nobody made it through yet because they all invoked the Kadeshi's wrath by succumbing to the temptation to harvest the awesome amounts of resources in the Great Nebula. Not only did they only attack travellers if they harmed 'The Garden', they even offered them a chance to peaceably disembark from their ships and join the Kadeshi as denizens of the The Garden, arguably one of the last real safe-havens in the galaxy.
You mean past the bit where they'll inform you of your deadly sin only after you've committed it?
A lot of real-world religious incidents occurred in the past because cultures simply assumed, after centuries of seclusion, that nobody would ever be so disgusting and thoughtless as to- Oh you did not just rip out and atomise a piece of our deity you sacrilegious heathen!
Also, it was heavily implied that trapping people in the nebula was at least in part necessary to avoid being discovered by the Taiidan Empire.
this is a bit of a stretch, but: The Beast, in multiplayer. When you fight them in 1P, they seem very dangerous, but once you get behind the controls in multiplayer, you find out it's all a sham. They research really slowly, so it takes twice as much time for anything to come out-such as your basic weapon, the Infection Beam that lets you Borg enemy ships. Even after you've done so (and your best ships can only be obtained through Borging,) there are further steps you have to take before you can build it. And finally, your ability to Borg is almost purely defensive, because only your Mothership can reliably do it! (Cruise Missiles? Like any 1P veteran is going to fall for those.) The end result is a race that loses if it turtles and loses if it Zergs.
Debateable as a former avid player (which frankly was a rather small club as far as Cata was concerned) I'm of the view of the beast where slightly underpowered, but hardly helpless. Indeed some of the best players among us preferred them as they could punish any mistake brutally. The biggest mistake many players made was thinking they could play them like Zerg expecting them to be a swarm type race which they most certainly were not.
The Beast is powerful in the solo campaign-game because nobody took it seriously when it was weak. Just look at missions 4 and 5: in both missions the Beast's forces are easily contained until someone fails to take them seriously and gets infected (the huge Raiders' fleet and the Imperialist cruiser in mission 4 and the Bentusi in mission 5, even if the latters self-destruct in time). In fact it's implied that at least someone mistook the Beast for the Kuun-Lan and the Clee-San going rogue (and the Kuun-Lan is actually fired upon by a Somtaaw ship that knew of the Beast), and by the time people started to take it seriously the Beast was already a threat... And the Imperialists grabbed the Villain Ball and repaired the Naggarok. In the multiplayer the Beast does not have this luck, so it's weaker... But if you play it well, and manage to stay clear of Siege Cannon fire, it can be devastating. A good tactic would be to research the technology to build carriers and heavy cruisers (the latter requiring less technologies to research before being available) and the infection beam, and then Borg away useful enemy ships, possibly using multi-gun corvettes to force enemy Acolytes into the Infection Beams of the heavier ships. Or you could just build a squadron of ion array frigates, cloak them and destroy the enemy's hangar module and carriers in a sneak attack, slowing their production ability.
How exactly does the Atmosphere Deprivation Weapon actually work?
The Encyclopedia Hiigara says that they are remarkably similar to thermobaric weapons (i.e. fuel-air explosives). It's probably on a much bigger scale, and with a lot more bombs involved, than the modern-day FAEs like the "Daisy Cutter."
Some of the Manhattan Project scientists thought that there was a very small but non-zero chance that the Trinity detonation could set off a chain reaction that would ignite the entire atmosphere. It turned out to be only theoretical (and they might have gotten a few decimals wrong), but...
During the final mission, the Taiidani rebels show up in a few ships and immediately head for the Emperor's mothership. The only problem is, by that point, you have likely yet to clear the way. This means that they will likely be obliterated before they even manage to scratch the mothership. It was obviously a futile attempt. Why not just work with the Kushan fleet to conduct a joint attack on the enemy that would have a much higher chance of success?
Possibly because fleet coordination is down at that time— Karan has been knocked out, and she's the one who manages all the hundreds of incident reports from every ship in the fleet. Basically, without her, the Kushan fleet is a hundred unconnected eyes, relying on voices rather than electrochemical signals to get information between them. Its entirely possible the Kushan, and, hence, the Taiidani rebels, simply didn't have a complete enough picture of the battlefield, or significant ability to communicate plans between one another, to set such a joint attack up.
In Homeworld 2, just after aquiring the Dreadnought Karan mentions in a cutscene "There is another Dreadnought. Makaan has it." Wait, what? How does she know that?
Information about the other one is probably in the computers of the one the Hiigaran just grabbed. And since it wasn't there, well... assume your enemy took it.
In the mission where you acquire the Dreadnaught, if you look out of the map bounds you can see another dreadnaught berth...