Early thoughts

Weapon balance
“Shield resistance too high” is the current name of the game. I know we’re going for more combined tactics this time around, but there are a whole lot of weapons that can’t even do above the 17/20 shield resist that destroyers/frigs have. Granted, these are armor penetrators or hull perforators, but the select few antishield weapons are just going to become mandatory when there’s always a chance of high-resist shields in play. I think we need more options there - high-resist Frigates can only initially hurt each other with variants of the missile launcher, which is kind of silly as missiles are innately counterable. It’s easier to just give up and pull more cruisers, since at least those can be used against each other.

I think frigates - not destroyers, which already have a frightening amount of utility - should probably get something adjusted to let them attack destroyers/cruisers with a little more conviction. Otherwise I see most of us just using destroyers or cruisers instead.

Destroyer utility, on the other hand, is bordering on way too good. Painter/tractor/supportbeam/ecm/tractor are all seemingly not considered weapons, so you can build variants of destroyers that are almost completely ignored by the gunner AI unless they’re away from their escorts. I think the support beams might need to be reclassed as weapons.

There are so many antifighter options that fighters/gunships are getting wrecked left and right. Insane tracking boosts (modules/hull bonus/support beam), tractor beams, painted dogfighter missiles, limpets - there is way too much hate pointed at the poor little guys in light of how much they are hurt by the new shield mechanics.

Armor is still really unsatisfying to play with or against. I’d really like to see what a version of the game is like where the penetration chance was scaled against armor strength instead of the penetration value. You still only currently need a few token armor penetrators in your fleet before the inevitable defensive collapse into paper occurs.

I see my smaller ships as small fish hiding among the sharks, which is usually at odds with how I can order them. Medium ships are much faster this time around - escort and keep moving need to be compatible if agility as a defense is ever going to be an interesting option. Avoidance orders are desperately needed, too. It’s frustrating losing 8+ ships to an enemy dreadnought explosion while they’re all happily parked under it.

Additionally, with the new ‘depth’ look the game has, I’m not sure the current level of ship-on-ship ‘collision’ really is necessary for anything smaller than a cruiser. Ships look kind of strange bumping into each other at different elevations.

I like the support beams being not classed as weapons, as a ship with only support beams can’t directly impact the enemy in any way. On the same wavelength, though, I would class tractors and ECM as weapons, as they do interact directly with the enemy. That way the genuinely defensive ships get a sort of Geneva-Convention-esque “medic” exception - after all, a destroyer equipped with shield support beams and nothing else becomes completely useless if the only allied ships nearby have already lost their shields.

I’m running into a lot of the same AI quibbles as the last, but overall, I like where GSB is going.

The crazy customization is a pleasure to see in the player challenges. There’s some weapon or effect that’s crashing me, though, so I can’t seem to finish many.

I have the same feeling about high shield resistance. Cruisers with 26 shield resistance are going to become even harder to fight against, since the shield strength of heavy shields will be increased from 50 to 200 in Beta 1.20 (if I understood correctly):

Yeah, I hope it’s just bringing cruiser shields in line with how frigates work, swapping light with medium instead. I like the tradeoff between strength and absorption. Everyone might throw on at least one heavy shield, but you can definitely see who skimped on the rest when the frigate weapons start connecting.

Shield resistance of all shield modules is being scaled back in the next patch…