An insightful post found here in the forums, presented by Cloaked, touches on a few current issues. Feel free to read up on it, as he provides data and organization to thoughts and comments. Most of these 'numbers' highlight key issues in balance, and there are some other things in need to be note. I've heard (and played with or against) players pre and post patch, and many seem to be concerned with one or two of the following:
But first... do note that everything here is not in sour tongue or bitter offense, rather in for humorous constructive criticism and feedback, all only to help and inspire. Community, yup, that word, is what is meant to be accomplished.
1) Hw1 production time for ion frigates is too slow. When pitted against a vaygr force, the vaygr can spam missile frigates at an alarming rate, allowing in many cases more frigates to be built then lost after that first initial clash of capital ships. There is little bounce back or strategy involved now, when all that can be done to stop spam is to spam. And spam is a trap, both the food (it is, it is!), and the misconception that it is a legit strategy.
Solutions include decreasing build time of ions cannon frigates, or decreasing heavy missile production rate, or rebalance frigate on frigate damage, armor, etc.
2) The Vaygr, as a race, are able to mass produce much faster than the other races. A good amount of team games revolve around one tactic, involving one player spamming assault craft with several carriers and nothing else, and another player doing the same with frigates. This strategy is near impossible to beat, unless done in equal or greater measure the victimized team, thus eliminating micro strategies between individual fleet. When one or two units are spammed in such a way that cannot be competed with by other races, balance is slightly lopsided.
A solution to this would be to increase carrier build time and availability, but not dramatically, while decreasing heavy missile production rate, while raising the assault craft build cost to 480-500 with a build time drop of 2-5 seconds.
3) Fighter battles last very long. Now, personally, I like the length and the expanse of the battles, it feels nice. The problem is, as many have mentioned and ranted about online, fighter battles that last long tend to have fighters producing faster than being lost. Those last few squads after a grand or minuscule fighter brawl seem not to die, despite having over five times the enemy squads on you.
There isn't a whole lot that needs to be changed, however the concern has been mentioned enough to look into. Perhaps faster ballistic weapon velocities to improve targeting would 'speed' up the battle? Expert opinions, tests, and solutions here are needed, as there has been little suggested on this. Moving on.
4) Fighter docking and regeneration may need attention. Now, I know the pros and cons of the hw1 unit and hw2 squad based mechanics. And a lot online know that the debate around this mechanic has been going on for centuries it seem. Not much needs to be changed here, however, piggy-backing from 'Concern 3', the ability to dock fighters and regenerate them, in ways only die hard physicists could theorize, could cause a slight ru balance issue between the races. With fighter battles as long as they are (and it saddens me to say this), hw2 have an advantage of ru and fighter superiority as they could dock when left with one or two fighters left in a squad, thus eliminating ru expense to resupply the fleet, as the ships can escape practically untouched, and birth new ones faster than mice under an old, broken freezer.
Solutions to this could include decreasing cost of hw1 interceptors by 15, and bomber by 5 ru count, or increase time to heal and/or dock for hw2 squads, to prevent the immediate reinforcements.
5) Frigate walls behave in the domination role that battlecruisers in pre-2.0 did. Now, this was more or less intentional, and welcome at the same time. But, as with all things balance-minded, the destroyers and cruisers don't quite measure up. Strictly speaking of ions and missiles frigates, battles amongst these warlords are almost balanced, despite the vaygr having an advantage in kill ratios, damage, speed, reproduction rate, etc....yet when against destroyers and cruisers, they melt these larger, bulkier ice-cubes faster than a child's mind staring into a tv... er, somewhat.
Solutions to this could be to up the health or firepower of destroyers, slow down ion and missile frigate production time, AND lower frigate damage to destroyers and cruisers, and motherships.
For Vaygr missile frigates specifically, the target range after the initial target is killed has been discussed as too large. With ions, they shoot their target, kill or not, and recharge. Vaygr can fire and fire, but have a huge advantage because practically no 'waste' occurs, because of the retargeting. If every left over ion time was immediately utilized and not wasted, it would be different.
A solution here would be to limit the auto target range, or possibly add frigates with limited explosive damage that would blast down left over missiles? That way not all missiles are wasted into thin air, as seen in pre-2.0, yet some was taken down. Some one be awesome here and try to find a way to mod this in and test it, please!
6) Battlecruisers are the old battle cruisers, but lost all their teeth. Balance between cruiser and cruiser is exceptional, and many are glad about that. Those many, and many more, however, are eager to jump to the conclusion that cruisers don't do enough. Cruiser take a while to eliminate frigates, and are decent at destroyer wipe-outs. That's it. They don't serve a strong role, take a while to get, and are so easily harassed by frigates such that many in the community easily, and understandably, forget their improvements. They now function as slightly heavier destroyers, and are easily countered with that menacing Vaygr missile spam. Many a game have I seen cruisers waltz up with destroyers, only to be laughed at, insulted, and flogged by those frigates. Frigates!
Solutions to this would be to increase damage to frigates, about 1/3 the way from as is to pre-patch, re-implement the 3 cruiser limit (this I don't care for too much, but I've heard the folk in game suggest it, so I relay that here), or decrease build and research time, with the cost slightly lowered.
The most popular, and agreeable fix would be to increase armor value. Teeth or no teeth, these light tanks need heavy armor.
7) Destroyers lack a shell... or armor. Cloaked had a good analysis, while short and sweet, with numbers to assist. There isn't much I need to add, except that in gameplay, when 20 or so frigates swoop in, destroyers become sponges. Dead sponges.
A solution would be to increase the armor another frigates value or so. The damage could use a slight buff, yet this might be unnecessary. Best offense is a good offense, no defense, er... (debatable quote for debatable time), so armor should suffice.
8) Missile destroyers are destroyers at heart, and that's it. I add this because it was suggested to me that their armor be brought up another 10k or so, which makes sense. Fighters and bombers will diminish these four-eyed beauties, unfortunate as it is.
A solution: offense, defense ,debate, nonsense.... armor. Yes, armor increase.
9) Corvettes. Cloaked is great at diving into minds I think, because I in my trials and use of corvettes, I find nearly all to be sub-par to their role. Opinion aside, feedback in place, I'll touch on the 'specialty' corvettes, as again, you can read about the inability to anti-fighter fighters (verb, yes?) in his post.
Lasers could use a slight increase against subsystems and heavy capital ships, from what has been noticed. Pulsars I find a little inaccurate against corvettes, and darn good against carriers and cruisers. Tweak here, tweak there, done.
Missiles corvettes seem to be okay, I haven't heard any comment on them one way or another, except they are a decent threat against fighters. I mention them because if corvettes are getting an overhaul, they should be accommodated for change across the board.
Minelayers. Very few use minelayers, and to this day, in the limited testing of them for hw1, I have been unable to replicate the beloved wall I see the hw2 create. If this is operator error, please someone let me know, otherwise, if a mechanical hiccup is in play, I don't know how to suggest a fix. To the devs hands it goes.
10) Hw1 resource collectors have docking issues. This is both a bug and issue, in two different instances. Allow me to tackle. When hyper spacing with a carrier, occasionally a collector will be catapulted across the map, and then no control can be done to that collector until it docks with that carrier. Its been here since day one, and it needs to go.
Bug Solution: allow full control of collectors even when docking, such that cancel, move, and hyperspace from collectors can be committed during any point on the drop of dock pattern.
Issue One includes building a carrier and having collectors chase that carrier to dock instead of ms or refineries, etc. Now, this happens out of the logic of the collectors ( I think) such that not all are docking only at one spot, but go to available docking spots. With hw2, not an issue, because they move so darn quick. Hw1, collectors move in harmony with carriers, so that no docking takes place if said carrier is moved across the map, and, even if the carrier is halted, precious time is lost due to speed problems. Bummer. Big bummer if a teammate decides to bother and harass you by moving a refinery in, getting two collectors targeted at it, then run to the opposite side of the map, or into battle.
Issue two include, as mentioned, hyperspace ability during docking. The ms and carrier are unable to hyperspace until collectors complete their drop off. Why I don't know, as this kills time and survival odds in key moment.s
Issue solutions: Collector 'control' during drop off, as mentioned above, and... I don't know about that free spot docking problem. Maybe allow a closing of a resource drop off spot subsystem as a toggle? New features are tough, so perhaps the logic has to be looked into.
11) Let's see, um, where is it... oh, cloaked fighters! They are great, truly. At being normal fighters, they are great. At being 'heavy fighters', it hasn't quite been seen. Many players avoid them, and so, having an itch, interest, and favoritism over them, I tested and tried them. These fighters have several problems that explains their apparent extinction online. For one, they don't cloak long. For two, they don't cloak in combat, but fire and remain sightly. And three, the don't perform too much better than normal interceptors, even with the upped armor. These reasons stacked on top of each other has raised a question as to why the twenty unit limit is, well, so limiting? Their damage is slightly buffed, but not significant enough to call them a heavy fighter.
Solutions (hopefully) are a matter of tweaks to stats. The speed is good, the armor is good, but almost everything else needs a look. Cloaking time should be increased by about 10-15 seconds, as well as restored battle cloaking. Damage could increase slightly against collectors and frigates, slightly. With these changes, the twenty cap should remain, as their weakness (proxies!) will be necessary for fighting them.
Feedback, ideas, concerns, issues, bugs, and more are welcome! Please post what you find out there, and what you hear may be something worth noted. More importantly, keep playing the game and enjoy it. Thanks!