Ideas to help make every ship role useful:
I know that range was just equalized for all weapons (although there are ship items that increase range still, such as predictive targeting), but i think that changing the ranges back to max for missile, med for beam, and closest for kinetic is really the way to go and will help give more meaning to the ship roles and give players better reasons to mix up ship sizes, roles, and weapon types. weapon range can be offset by weapon construction cost to even things out and make no one weapon type too good. weapon accuracy can be offset by weapon construction cost too (i know darek said that they're planning on equalizing weapon accuracy for now but if it's balanced right with construction cost then then i think it will help make for even more diverse fleets while helping add to the whole "no two battles are ever alike" thing, which is also very nice for the battle viewer viewers.
I think that other good changes to help ship roles would be:
1- higher accuracy and dodge for smaller hull sizes, balanced by larger starting defenses for larger hull sizes.
2- less base dmg bonuses so that smaller ships aren't OP like they seem to be right now.
3. targeting patterns: choose which order your ships prioritize attacking other ships within range based on their ship role and thus placement in the fleet. this could have a default setting and only change when the player thinks that specific battle calls for it, making it much less tedious.
4. defense changes from this system would be very helpful too, but i'm going to try to include mostly info that doesnt rely on changing the system to that. how fleet tactics/setup would be enhanced under a new weapon/def system » Forum Post by Basilisk83 (galciv4.com)
for these ideas i'll be going off of frogboy's post about how they're thinking of having ship roles be targetable, from interceptor to support. not sure if it's included, but i'm going to assume that this is the order in which ships attack too, which i think is very vital to making ship roles work best. so with equal ranged weapons interceptors would prob attack interceptors first, then interceptors would be within range of guardians next, then guardians vs guardians, then interceptors vs escort, then guardian vs escort, then escort vs escort, and so on. this is also very realistic, as interceptors, for example, should have to go through the ships in front first before they can attack the capital and support ships in the back (i think flanking and counter-flanking would be far too complex to pull off in this game).
Interceptor: tiny and small hulls only (including ships from carriers as tiny hulls). close in fast on specific targets. very useful right from the start of the game. perfect for the swarm tactic. accuracy would help counter other tiny and small ships too, ship to ship, and would prob be very good when used with support ships that can boost their attack and defenses, providing enough bonuses to make it worth it to separate your fleet into 2 forces until the opponent can get within range of the support ships, if that's their tactic. their high dodge would help protect them from larger ships, while the support ships boost their dmg and/or defenses to make them strong enough to take out those larger targets. this would also give players who want it more decisions to make before battle, such as do I want to target the swarm first or rush in to get those support ships as fast as I can.
Guardian: tiny and small hulls only too. high enough accuracy to target smaller ships well with high dodge to help protect them from bigger ships. stay back just behind front lines to help add firepower right after the interceptors engage, or to stay in front of the other ships but be closer to the bigger ships behind them backing them up. mixing close range interceptors with med or long range guardians could make it so that both actually attack the front lines at the same time, making it a very useful combo. with the weapon/def system change more complex tactics could be used, such as using beam interceptors to try to take down shields right before guardian missiles hit. or using kinetic interceptors and/or beam guardian ships to try to take down shields before missiles from escort ships hit. this tactic would continue through all hull sizes, making many, many useful usable combos.
Escort: tiny, small, and med hulls only. could provide long range support to the ships in front, or defend the ships in back. would be very useful with any weapon type in the right fleet. might be far enough behind the front lines that you might want to start throwing in a ship item that can help buff up the fleet. or could be the front line in a fleet that all has small and larger hulls behind them.
Assault: small, med and large hulls only. basically just continue the chain of tactics already being used, while incorporating larger hull sizes. might be a good choice to put mostly weapons and not much defenses into since most targeting patterns would prob target the front ships fastest, or the ships in back first. might be a good choice to hide some support items into as well to help buff up the fleet. could also be the front line in a fleet with mostly bigger capital and support ships.
Capital: med, large, and huge hulls only. great defenses with high dmg output to bigger targets, with enough item slots on the bigger hulls to also be a good choice for ship items that buff up the fleet. the bigger hp, defenses, and item slots would come at a price though, as larger hulls would start having a harder time targeting tiny and small hulls, and would work best with higher accuracy weapons against smaller targets, or being in a fleet with smaller ships to help target the tiny and small ships.
Support: med, large, and huge hulls only. stays in the back to provide support to all the other ships. could have ship items that increase the fleet's damage, and/or improve defenses, and/or launch tiny carrier ships and/or recharge fleet shields during combat. ship items that improve the fleet should have a high manufacturing cost to offset how much of an effect they can have on a fleet, and to make it harder to have a fleet include a lot of them on multiple ships. maybe have a system where the better fleet upgrade items can only go on med and larger hulls, and the best fleet upgrade items can only go on the largest hull sizes, rewarding people more for researching the larger hull sizes. maybe even make them take up multiple slots if they're that good and limiting them to one per ship.