Just checked the newbie guide on the Wiki, and it says cloakbots best factory for beginners.
From what I could tell, this is also the prevailing attitude by the community.
I ask whether this is actually true. It takes more skill to start off with Cloakbots than other factories, is what I say
Consider the Glaive:
High damage per cost
The opening unit is an extremely good raider, but requires knowledge of grouped unit control. This is because on a 1v1, the Glaive almost always loses since its too weak to stand against any raider due to either being outranged, outdpsed, kited due to short range, etc. What this means is that for best results, an attack by Glaives should be done in large groups, and preferably from many directions. The problem is, for newbies, its hard to control the Glaives in such a way they can be effective as 1) newbies don't generally know how to flank and 2) newbies generally chase down raiders that kite the Glaive until the Glaives die, not giving the Glaives time to regenerate HP, making their ability to do so pointless. 3) All of the Glaives attributes tend to make it a do or die unit if you cannot manage failed attacks, since you either win with some casualties, or
lose all the Glaives under your command
What this means is while the Glaive is a strong raider in the right hands, it takes decent game knowledge to be used well, something I most newbies will not have and therefore, will not do well using the Glaive.
Short ranged compared to others
Slow speed rockets.
Slows down when firing.
Essentially, the Rocko must be made in large groups to be able to engage enemy skirmishers without losing too many Rockos, along with requiring basic line-movement to get the most out of the Rocko. Again, I don't think newbies know how to efficiently use the Rocko as a skirmisher, since its short range, low damage and slow speed mean enemy skirmishers can wipe it out easily if the Rockos are not used well. Nevermind the fact it needs to be line-moved or the Rockos get in each other's way, which is harder than simply clicking on a target and firing on it.
What this means is: The Rocko is a good skirmisher, but it requires decent unit control to be used effectively, something newbies do not have, and therefore, will trade very badly with the Rockos and lose significant amounts of them.
Then the Reaver/Warrior:
Again, the Reaver needs good unit control to be used right, since it cannot be sent to attack enemy fortifications without taking significant damage due to its short range, and most players will avoid running into one with raiders, so the player has to find a way to circumvent that fact. Other problems is that it needs to be managed effectively if it is to be used well: Line moving, and getting enough time to regenerate its HP, along with getting it close enough to deal lots of damage. As you can probably tell, requiring decent game knowledge and unit control to effectively use the Reaver makes it unsuitable for newbies.
Then the assault unit, the Knight/Zeus:
Expensive (350metal is quite a bit, considering that only Minotaur,Grizzly and Jack have more metal cost for an assault unit)
DOES NOT regen HP
Same as the Reaver: Short ranged and needs to be line moved, along with being used in such a way the Knights can effectively close range whilst not taking extreme amounts of damage. Due to its slow speed, it has problems pushing into heavy defences without the use of other units, and due to its lightning gun, it does better when used with other units. Essentially, to be used at its best, the Knight requires the use of other units to deal with its weakness: Glaives/Iris to get close range, Rocko to deal with enemy skirmishers, Reaver to deal with unit swarms etc. Again, while this can be used very effectively by skilled players, by circumventing its weaknesses, this makes the Knight unsuitable for newbie use. It does not help that every Knight that dies is extremely hard to replace by most factory standards, and it also lacks HP.
Short range compared to other artillery
Actually, this is good for newbies to use since its really simple to be used well enough. The fact its cheap helps as well. All it really requires is screening Reavers/Glaives to be safe from raider attacks.
Then the Scythe:
Requires energy management (it uses E, though not to extreme amounts)
Needs good cloak management
By virtue of its cloak, I would say the Scythe is actually not that hard to use since it does not really suffer from short range as it mitigates it with cloak. If a newbie wanted to assasinate Commanders/mess with economy, Scythes can be used relatively well enough. Only problems that really matter would be having to micro a few Scythes to be constantly stabbing at enemy economy whilst avoiding getting hunted down, but for basic usage (ie using it like a cloaked Glaive), it isn't as bad, and the fact that losing Scythes hurt pretty bad. But the cloak somewhat mitigates the risk and since it can regenerate HP, it does not really affect the Scythe unless the newbie decides to rush enemy fortifications with this.
Using this to flank, avoid enemies etc requires knowledge on what to do when stuff goes wrong, where most of the enemy's economy is, where their factory and Commander is etc. To use it in this function requires skill and is probably not suitable for newbies. But for simple functions such as letting Knights and Reavers come close, it is not too bad at that function unless the firing state of the units inside give their location away.
This is really effective, but requires planning to be used well (mining probable locations of attack) (using Iris to get close enough) and needs units around it to finish the stunned enemies off. Since it cannot be used in a simplistic 'rush the enemy down' most of the time, and requires unit coordination to finish enemies off, along with crippling their own side if the Imp attack goes wrong, it is not a suitable unit for newbies if they want to use this well (ie stunning the enemies and not themselves)
Projectile gives it away
To be used at its most effective, the Phantom should be on hold fire and only fires on HVTs. But it can do decently well if it just fires at will since unless its targeting something very fast, the Phantom can generally score a kill. All it needs is riots to prevent it from being rushed down by raiders, but this can easily be deal with by embedding the Phantom in the cloakbot army, or placing the Phantom behind it. Essentially, the Phantom can be used decently, by newbies, without requiring too much game knowledge.
In all: There are 3 combat units that are suitable for newbies use - Scythe, Sling, and Phantom. The other units require too much skill to be used effectively by newbies (by that I mean actually winning battles without significantly taking damage), despite the fact that when said units are used well, it can swing the tide of battle firmly towards the newbie and this makes the Cloakbot factory unsuitable for newbies.
I think that we should encourage newbies to look for different factories that are easier, instead of telling them the Cloabot factory is the best factory for them to use.