Got the beta the other day (running it on 1.10) and all in all I thoroughly enjoy it, however I’m going to pick it apart and scream about everything I don’t like (well that IS the point of a beta). I’ve played through all the missions with 3 races (all except empire) and had a play around with various ship setups. So here goes my take on the game, in categories:
I like the designs, there’s enough variety within classes, but the power-crazed maniac in me is thinking “Cruisers? That’s the best he can do?”. I want battleships, dreadnoughts, carriers, whatever. I’ve seen the idea of a single large flagship thrown around on the forums, and I don’t really care about the specifics of implementation. We’ve been given our star destroyers (ie. cruisers), but now I want to play around with a super star destroyer, I want an absurdly large and powerful centrepiece ship that only the biggest budget fleets can have more than one of (hell, something small budget fleets couldn’t realistically have ANY of). Furthermore, the empire have weapon platforms, this idea interests me. Space stations of varying shapes and sizes could be cool. Perhaps constraints prohibiting engines on stationary platforms and mandatory inclusion of engines on ships would distinguish them.
Again, I like. Visually each race has its own flavour, and hardpoint loadouts tend towards certain patterns for certain races, making different types of ship superior in different ways. However I’d like even more individuality between races. In terms of modules I’ve only noticed two uniques (both alliance modules) with the rest being generic and statistically identical. Perhaps even include an entire unique class of weapon for each race, carrying inherent weaknesses and strengths.
What there is, is good. What there isn’t is noticable. No projectile weapons for one thing. Artillery, autocannons, flak cannons, rail guns. An entire category that shouldnt be too hard to implement or balance. Visually just a simply projectile, but with a bang on the other end. Low energy consumption, high weight/crew requirement. Lightning weapons are touched on with an alliance unique weapon, but not taken further. Pulse lasers seem to lack any visual oomph, they look like a bland projectile, while I imagine them as something more along the lines of the turbolasers in star wars (large and colourful). Also, different types of weapon doing the same thing seem rather pointless. Cruiser beam lasers for instance, there are two types of slightly varying range, damage and other stats. But the variation seems too small to justify a second module. Perhaps making one variation more drastically short ranged and far more powerful could create different tactical options that can viably be used.
Another idea for weapons I’ve seen touched on is big superweapons. This, I like (particularly in conjunction with bigger ships :P). Slow firing, massively power/crew/weight consuming weapons with a rate of fire that could only be called rapid on a geological scale, but powerful toys nonetheless. Nuclear missiles, big death star-esque lasers, giant railguns. Whatever, it’s shiny, it makes for brilliant cinematic battles in the movies, it would be awesome in this game.
I can’t think of much to complain about here, barring that the modules - within their categories - seem a bit homogenous. That is to say the differences between, for example, a supercharged engine and a regular engine are pretty tiny. Also, while cruisers enjoy a wide range of toys to play with, frigates have hardly anything (and fighters even less).
Short(er) ranged weapon classes seem to get shafted quite badly. Increasing the number of engines on a ship has very little effect on speed, and reduces the number of defensive modules you can equip. End result, you still don’t close the distance very quickly, but get ripped apart as you approach all the more. This renders anti-shield lasers in particular pointless, especially since missiles and plasma perform admirably in the anti-shield role anyway. Fighter size weapons seem overly effective too. Their lasers tear apart even large heavily protected ships in no time, this shouldn’t be the case in my opinion. Bombers should be required to destroy cruisers while fighters can only deal with lighter enemies.
So to summarise:
Ships - want bigger ones, stations would be interesting
Races - want more individuality and uniqueness
Weapons - want more types, want bigger ones
Modules - want more variation, want more for smaller ships
Balance - short range weapons need boosting, peashooters shouldnt kill cruisers
All in all though, a great game with even more potential. I hope that potential is realised