I’ve noticed a number of threads about the Homeworld 1 (Taiidan and Kushan) and the Homeworld 2 races (Hiigaran and Vaygr) game balance, and I thought I’d add my two cents. I make no claim to being an expert Homeworld player, but I have a few general thoughts on game balance that may apply here.
1). Baby steps – often, changing a single variable is sufficient to create subtle but significant changes in the metagame that must then be observed across hundreds of games under diverse circumstances before an accurate analysis can be made
2). Grain size – absent other considerations (such as damage and armor type), large-grain units should be less efficient (in terms of DPS-per-RU or health-per-RU or both) than small-grain units. By “grain,” I mean the comparative size in terms of health and DPS. A Battlecruiser has high health and DPS, whereas an Interceptor has comparatively low health and DPS. To compensate, the Interceptor should cost less for each point of health and DPS than the Battlecruiser.
3). Minimalism – ideally, the developers should address balance issues without creating entirely new units or pushing existing units too far outside their existing roles
1). HW1 races do not seem to have strong anti-corvette weapons; Defenders work in a pinch but cannot pursue, and Assault Frigates are sickeningly vulnerable to other damage sources.
2). A lack of squadrons causes the HW1 races to lose fighter/corvette fights by attrition
3). A lack of upgrades causes HW1 races to lag behind their HW2 counterparts as soon as upgrades hit the field
4). A lack of shipyards means that HW1 races cannot keep up with HW2 race production and cannot build capital ships once the mothership is destroyed
5). Many of the HW1 fighters and corvettes were balanced on the use of formations to bolster their effectiveness. With the changeover to the HW2 engine, these characteristics are largely irrelevant
6). HW1 frigates do not provide the same long-range options that HW2 races do (via missile frigates and
7). HW1 races do not have any weapons designed specifically to damage subsystems
1). Adjust HW1 race corvette flight characteristics, maximum turret arc, and turret traverse rates for maximum effectiveness
2). Create new weapon class(es) for Light Corvettes, Heavy Corvettes, and Assault Frigate turrets designed for greater damage against corvettes and frigates, allowing light corvettes and heavy corvettes to function in the anti-corvette role
3). EDIT 2: Charge HW2 players RU for rebuilt fighters / corvettes, such that they suffer monetary attrition in the same manner as the HW1 races
4). EDIT 3: There are three possibilities to address the upgrade situation; I am a fan of the first one (thanks, Stuart98), but I feel compelled to list all three:
- Reduce the cost of HW1 units to compensate for the health upgrades received by HW2 units; if necessary, remove the speed upgrades or provide HW1 units with a speed boost.
- Remove HW2 health and speed upgrades completely
- Give the HW1 races access to equivalent upgrades
5). To address one aspect of the Shipyard situation, allow HW1 races to research additional production tracks, allowing them to build one more ship simultaneously (they can already build two at a time, if I recall correctly)
6). To address another aspect of the Shipyard situation, allow HW1 races to research an upgrade that will allow Carriers to build capital ships by hyperspacing them in (at significantly reduced rates – anywhere from 50% slower to 90% slower). The completed capital ship will appear out of hyperspace near the Carrier.
7). Rebalance HW1 race fighter health and damage to compensate for their grain size and for HW2 unit stats
EDIT 1: 8). “Emergency Thrusters” for HW1 fighters and corvettes that would allow them to boost out of combat for a very short duration when given a Dock order (consuming fuel in much the same way the HW1 scout does, only much more rapidly – 5-10 seconds of increased speed, at most, just enough to get them out of the fight)
EDIT 2: The following is a summary of suggestions to address the squad issue
- Emergency Thrusters: HW1 fighters and corvettes gain a short (2-10 seconds, depending on test results) speed boost when a dock command is issued (in order to help players avoid losing units). This speed boost depletes an energy bar (similar to the currently implemented Scout speed boost). This compensates for the fact that HW2 races have an advantage in keeping their investment alive (squads provide significant room for error).
- HW2 races are charged RU every time they replace a fighter or corvette squad member, so they suffer the same monetary attrition that HW1 races do. For example: if a Vaygr Missile Corvette squad costs 400 RU, replacing one corvette costs 100 RU.
That should do it.