Hey, thanks for making this cool game. I liked the original and in general this seems an improvement. I particularly like the new carrier system.
I wanted to post briefly to make one interface suggestion and a gameplay request.
The interface suggestion is that an option to change race be fit somewhere into the ship design window. This might be a minor thing and I can see that space is limited but it’d be nice to not have to pull up a deployment map just to change which race I’m designing ships for.
The gameplay request is related to a dynamic I notice here that wasn’t really present in the last game - there are very few close range anti-shield weapons in GSB2.
In fact, as near as I can tell, if you want to be able to harm cruiser/dreadnought shields (ignoring fighters for a moment), your weapons must have at least a maximum range of 900 and most will be in the 1200 range. This creates a situation where if you want to beat down large ships you have to either design strike fighter craft designed for it or you have to try to outblast them in a long range slugging match. This may be an intentional design decision and if so I don’t expect you’ll change it, but in the original game I enjoyed building fast frigates and sometimes fast cruisers that were agile enough to get on top of people who loaded their capital ships with too many clumsy long ranged weapons and armor, and use short range weaponry to take down shields so that beam weapons could eat the armor.
Now it’s still quite possible to make fast agile frigates that can dodge while peppering enemy shields but they have to do it at a distance. This misses achieving the fun of charging through a missile barrage to swarm around them with rapid fire pellet guns (kind of like massive fighters with shields). Such a style of ship weapon, and the absent campaign mode, are the only things I really miss from the original.
I agree with this, frigates could have a niche in GSB1 with exactly the skirmishing playstyle you describe. The Ion Cannon was fearsome if you had twenty or thirty fast frigates barreling into your lines firing multiples of it into the face of your cruisers. In GSB2 frigates are too slow and fragile to pull this off, even if their available weaponry hit hard enough to make such a tactic viable (it doesn’t). Battles in GSB2 are very much about the long-range slugfest; whoever brings the better artillery game wins.
The cruiser has supplanted most roles of the frigate, with the destroyer filling in the rest. Cruisers even get the EMP missile this time around and the higher tracking pulse options.
It’s not uncommon to see cruiser/dread pulse cannon fast fleets (or the popular sledgehammer pulse cannon) in the challenges. The frigate is just a particularly uninteresting chassis right now.
These related points have been and still are of concern to me. The present situation is not what I had in mind concerning frigate design for the sequel game.
Among other observed frigate weaknesses, the lack of credible short-range anti-shield weapons mentioned in the thread’s first post is a type of weaponry which the frigates should not merely have “available” to them, but in fact be “blessed” with. By that, I don’t mean that we need a dozen lackluster versions of them – rather, that if frigates (and they DO need the help) receive an additional two or three versions of such weapons, not only should those be distinct from each other, but also designed for ease of installation, tactical usefulness, and potent damage-dealing.
Frigate weaponry is decent for cost. They’re confounded by resist values though, so they’re dependent on other classes to overcome stacked shields or armor.
They rarely survive long enough to see out this process.
Frigates have a unique engine that will let them get faster than destroyers, but with the weapons cruisers are throwing around, the margin for survival is unrealistic. Speed is also punished pretty severely by the AI, with “keep moving” units slowing to a stop before proceeding to get tangled on one another - it appears collision has some inverse relation to speed. Minimum range orders would be be necessary if or when the driving change is reverted.
I can see very well budgeted frigates being part of a trash ‘zombie’ fleet, but they would have little distinction from destroyers.
I see revamped frigates as being something akin to the Klingon Bird of Prey and Defiant class escort from Star Trek, two of the coolest ships in the entire franchise. They’re insanely fast and maneuverable and can hit hard, but can’t take a punch the way a Galaxy class or Klingon Battle Cruiser could. They make up for that by not getting hit in the first place.