I’ve only had GSB a couple of days, so please forgive me if I’ve missed something. My impression, after beating all the stock missions on expert, is that Cruisers are far superior to Frigates and that the cost difference is too small. Perhaps this opinion will change as I immerse myself in the player challenges.
I think the issue is that Cruisers can (obviously) be made to be considerably more durable than Frigates, but still bring impressive firepower to a battle. During deployment, the only time I add frigates to the mix is if I don’t have quite enough credits to field another Cruiser – and even then the only type of frigate I have found to be of any use is a long-range weapons platform with few defenses. The trouble is that it seems to be impossible to design a frigate that can withstand any kind of direct damage while still contributing any offense.
The cost difference between cruisers and frigates is too small to encourage me to switch to using more frigates. The only unique advantage to a frigate is its higher potential speed, but (and this may be inexperience) I have not seen any real advantage to fielding fast frigates. In fact, the more I play the more I have moved to minimizing the number of engines I use (though I have not gone so far as using zero engines yet, despite the fact that anomaly effects seem to point to this being a strategy some use).
If I am missing an important use for frigates (possibly in challenges?), please point it out to me. Maybe it’s as simple as a design tip for constructing more durable frigates or how they are a good counter to certain fleets.
Otherwise, I suggest that the balance here should be investigated to encourage a more diverse fleet. This may require increasing the cost of Cruisers and/or increasing the survivability of Frigates (possibly by making speed more important).