The Moloch is a poor excuse for a Shivan vessel and an even poorer excuse for a corvette. A Lilith poses more threat to allied forces than this big target. Its only saving grace is its ability to carry fighters, but it's never enough to turn the tide of battle.
The Moloch is an opponent to be taken seriously, despite all the negative commentary, and the statement a Deimos can take one on successfully is somewhat debateable. Shivans use much more effective (and faster-cycling) direct-fire beams, of which the Moloch has three SRed-types. Like most Shivan capital craft, its antifighter defenses are rather less impressive than those of a comparable Terran ship. Despite this the Moloch's defenses are nonetheless probably the best, pound for pound, of any Shivan capital craft. It mounts a considerable number of flak guns, and they are well-positioned. The broadside flaks are placed in such a way as to make them difficult to target at range, but still provide good coverage to the sides of the ship. Eliminating them requires getting in dangerously close. The aft flak is more vulnerable, but is also a heavy mount and still capable of inflicting significant damage. The Moloch is a dangerous opponent to an unwary fightercraft. Fortunately, there are no anti-fighter beams.
The fighterbay is never used in the FreeSpace 2 campaign. The Moloch has by far the worst firepower and anti-fighter defenses of any corvette, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a niche. The Moloch is a cruiser hunter, easily capable of destroying one of the best cruisers in the game, the Aeolus, which the Moloch survives without suffering any real damage. However, when faced with a cruiser and a wing of heavy assault fighters, as in the demo mission Crisis in Capella, the Moloch is in deep trouble, provided the fighters can destroy its main beam turrets quickly enough (they can). Under few circumstances will a Moloch prevail over a GTCv Deimos, unless the Moloch launches bombers, the Deimos's many flak guns and AAA turrets add to its total firepower, and although the SReds are definitely more accurate, the TerSlash does 2.2 times the maximum sustained damage, and the Deimos has four, as opposed to the Moloch's three. (It should be noted, however, that the absolute number either ship can bring to bear of its totals is only two. If that.) However, if the Moloch is a good distance away, its accurate SReds will be more effective than the TerSlash beams of the Deimos. Still, in a poll, it was found few people actually consider the Moloch superior to the Deimos.
I don't wanna insult anyone, but everybody who says this ship isn't dangerous has never fought it! :) The plating of its turrets is more than poor in comparison to the over corvettes, yes. But:
Firstly: Its anti-fighter missiles can hit you everywhere. At a Sobek, I can hide beneath the rear side and it won't hit me if I just take out one single flak gun.
Secondly: The convoluted design of the Moloch makes it much more difficult to disarm than a Sobek for example. At the Sobek I can park two klicks above and eliminate almost all of its turrets, including the main beam cannons. At the Moloch the antifighter and beam cannons are evenly spread all over the ship.
My conclusion: Maybe not as good as the Deimos, but definitely better than the Sobek - which is already deadly!
Do not underestimate the Moloch, just because of the distorted image the main campaign gives of it. They also misused the Aeolus!
Not as good as the Sobek. It really isn't. No anti-fighter beams on this thing. But it's still troublesome to attack due to the sheer number of missiles it can shoot out. The SReds are a little underpowered in comparison to its size, but it is still capable of taking out cruisers and other corvettes.
The Moloch has a blind spot if you position yourself directly in front of it with a slight elevation. Here, the only weapon that can hit you is a single blob turret which is easily taken out, leaving you safe to lob off bombs with no fear of flak.
Don't be fooled by the large 'eye' in the front- it's just a blob turret, though it should be an anti-cap beam. If you've ever flown against one of these, you know the first thing to do is take out the Piranha turrets, otherwise you'll be ripped apart. They explode at the same time as another is launched, so watch out. The best way to take one of these out is to use Trebuchets to destroy all the missile turrets, then send in a wing of bombers while you deal with the fighters. Be warned, the underside has some serious anti-fighter power, so you'll quickly be battered by several blobs, swarming heat-seekers, and at least one flak.
Most regard the Moloch as an inferior corvette. When you end up fighting one, you may be inclined to agree. But maybe the Shivans had a different intention for this ship, one that you may be able to use in your campaigns. There's no canon data on how many fighters or bombers she can carry, but remember this when you use them in missions—they should be using that fighterbay. Perhaps the Shivans had planned on using the Moloch as an outrunner or a surgical striker. Send it into a system, position it in a good place to hide, and then attack valuable yet lightly defended targets, such as shipyards, cargo depots, or even some cruisers with its fighter and bomber complement. Then, find a new hiding spot or rejoin the advancing Shivan fleets. In this way, Shivans may be able to easily ruin supply lines without putting their expensive and valuable destroyers in danger (in particular, the purely-offensive Ravana). Think of the trouble that a few of these mini-carriers—and their bombers/fighters could cause. Maybe this could work well in a campaign.