I disagree with the overall assessment here.
I haven’t done any thorough studies yet (not enough games under my belt yet), but HW1 light corvettes seem to do the trick pretty well against most strike craft, even lance fighters (sure, the lance fighters get one good pass, but then the light corvettes cut them to ribbons). Laser corvettes are a problem because there’s no easy way to get rid of them – assault frigates do fairly well against corvettes in general (much better than light corvettes do!), but laser corvettes ravage assault frigates. Defenders can take out laser corvettes but can’t pursue them, meaning they will simply attack somewhere else.
I haven’t tried heavy corvettes or multigun corvettes yet, simply because light corvettes do the job so well.
A related issue is that HW1 fighters aren’t really worth getting. Combat happens too quickly for you to selectively dock them; as a result, you will lose most fights by attrition.
Some other issues to keep in mind:
- HW1 races don’t have access to carriers or resource controllers as soon as the HW2 races, making the HW1 races somewhat less mobile early on. At the same time, HW1 races don’t have to bother building or juggling modules; they have access to all factories automatically AND hyperspace capability from the get-go.
- HW1 races automatically have access to repair corvettes via the corvette research tree, which means: if you go corvettes (and you will, because fighters aren’t really an option) you can support your destroyers and heavy cruisers with repair corvettes easily.
- HW1 races don’t have passive upgrades for their ships (movement and armor); I’m not sure if this makes a difference or not in the long run (too many variables; not enough games).
For a first pass to address some of the above issues, here are my suggestions:
Take a careful look at corvette flight patterns, fire arcs, turret rotation speed; if necessary, optimize these statistics so corvettes are bringing their DPS to bear on targets as efficiently as possible.
If heavy corvettes are not worth it compared to light corvettes, I recommend changing them to make them slightly better against other corvettes (armor penetration somewhere between where they currently are and pulsar corvettes)
Consider buffing Defender armor penetration slightly to make sure they work well enough against corvettes.
Light corvette penetration should be higher than multigun corvette penetration to give light corvettes a role as raiders if multigun corvettes are on the scene.
Hiigaran Gunship penetration: 100% against strike craft, 5% against everything else
Hiigaran Pulsar Gunship penetration: 100% against corvettes and strike craft, 50% against frigates, etc.
Light Corvette: 100% against strike craft, 25% against corvettes, 10% against frigates
Heavy Corvette: 100% against strike craft, 50% against corvettes, 25% against frigates
Multigun Corvette: 100% against strike craft 10% against corvettes, 5% against frigates
Naturally, the above values are purely speculative; I haven’t crunched the numbers, but you get the idea. Something liek that would solve any issues players are having with corvettes.
- Dramatically beef up HW1 race DPS-per-RU and health-per-RU for fighters, either by increasing damage and health, reducing RU cost, or both
- Add passive research to the HW1 race research trees (movement and armor) to bring them up to par against their Homeworld 2 counterparts