In another post I threw out the idea of "slotless modules". I want to expound on that more to explain the concept.
The Issue with Slots
In general, I think the new slot model is far superior to the old mass model. Its much easier to understand, its less fiddly, miniaturization is much meatier and usable, and it gives tiny and small ships a greater purpose as compared to old systems.
That said, the main issue is the loss of granularity. I use to be able to have a module that was 1/4 the size of a weapon, and so could slip it in on an otherwise full ship, or it allowed me to trade in 1 weapon for 3-4 of something else. Without that granularity, certain modules are hard to justify, because they compete with the loss of a weapon, defense, or engine I could have otherwise had.
Slotless Modules - High Cost / No slot
One simple way to reintroduce some granularity is with slotless modules. Simply put, they are on the outside of the ship and so don't take up a slot.
The two best modules to start with are:
- HP Modules: These are hard to justify in the face of more offense, or even worse...more defense. Defense and Hp both effectively do the same thing, and so it gets muddy which one is better. However, if HP was slotless, and defense slotted, that gives you an immediate difference. But in return HP modules should be resource expensive. Perhaps the +4 hp module costs 1 durantium, and maybe the +20% one costs 3. This ensures you aren't just slapping more Hp on every tom, dick, and harry ship....but for specialty ships where you don't mind paying a premium, its a nice add on.
- +25% attack modules: Right now there is nothing special about these modules to me. If the +25% gives me more offense, I take it. If another weapon would instead...I take that. There is no decision, both do EXACTLY the same thing, its just about which one does it more at a given time. But if the +25% attack module was slotless, now we have a difference. Again we want to ensure an expense here, and I am going to recommend durantium once again for the cost. The reason is, each weapon type already has its own strategic resource for specialty weapons, no reason to push that resource even more here. Instead we can diversify, and allow durantium to be an aid.
Its also worth removing the 3 +25% boosters in favor of a single +25% to all offense. Frankly, most ships already have tons of incentive to stick with one weapon type, generally it will do more damage on average than a ship that is dividing its damage among multiple weapon types. Further, its very tech expensive to maintain good stats on multiple weapons. So if the ship is willing to pay that cost, no reason to further punish it by only allowing +25% on a portion of the weapons....go all the way. So I recommend a simple +25% slotless offense booster for 3 or so durantium.