So I got the Tribes expansion (love it!) and have been using what I’ve learned to update my fleets from other races.
I have removed armor from all (!) of the cruisers I use. This is because nano-repair plus filling slots with modules that have lots of hitpoints is cheaper than armor. Cheap enough that in a typical 40,000 pt engagement, I save enough cash to buy 1 or even 2 extra cruisers! One modified cruiser got a shiny new engine and ECM defense, lasted longer against other cruisers and still was a big cost savings over its armored brother.
The only drawback I’ve noticed is that such cruisers are more vulnerable to fighters, so ignoring fighter defense is not an option with the unarmored fleet. But that’s it.
- Make armor cheaper.
- Change the armor critical hit system so that it takes longer for a fighter cloud to get through, longer for a ship armed with only cruiser lasers to get through, etc.
- Make the armor per plate higher. Armor penetration above 40 is quite common. Getting a ship up to that level of armor is insane in terms of direct cost and in terms of module slots used up.
My preferred solution: Make the diminishing returns on armor 90% instead of 98% (to match shields) but double or even triple the armor value per plate. A single shield provides 200+ points of protection. A plate of armor should be able to do the same. The diminishing returns will make the maximum number of plates on a reasonable ship top out at 5 and for an armor “hedgehog” at 8. That will leave the maximum thicknesses in the same range as they are currently but allow typical ships to benefit from carrying 1 or 2 armor plates.