I think the point is that playing Rock, Paper, Scissors isn’t really very fun.
If each strategy archetype was exactly as good as each other, and the game was just a question of picking the one that beats the one your opponent chose… Then you’d be playing a prettier version of RPS.
One thing that is fun about strategy games, is trying to piece together strategies that are improvements over your previous ones. An example of this, is that I glean some enjoyment from testing ship designs and modules to understand the game better, and try to find which things are stronger than the others. Part of my motivation is to uproot anything blatantly imbalanced so the developer can fix it (i.e. Howitzer being dramatically inferior to the Cruiser Laser,) and part of it is just to try to eke that little bit of extra performance out of my designs, by helping to identify what are the best items for each role I need.
But I don’t think that argument against balancing really has much milage. Once a game gets as complex as something like GSB, the RPS analogy starts to get pretty weak, as the relationships between the multitude of different ships/modules/tactics gets more complex. It’s only really as simple as RPS when you pit single-design fleets against each other.
I do think it’s true that the game doesn’t have to be ‘perfectly’ balanced (in fact, I think that would be an impossible target.) I do think that parts of the game that are grossly imbalanced should be subject to balancing… The challenge is spotting where that is actually the case.
Some are easy - like weapons modules or ships hulls that are inferior to another module in every way.
Some are less obvious, and tricker to fix, like ‘really fast fighters are too hard to kill’.
Some are deceptive - I recall many threads complaining that plasma weapons were overpowered. What was actually the case, was that plasma weapons were a powerfull counter to the way most people were playing - fleets with mixed weapons, but only one engine… Of course the long ranged weapons are going to be very powerful against slow fleets… But as soon as ships with 2 engines or more show up, suddenly plasma starts looking like a pretty poor option. Imagine if it had been ‘balanced’ to make it weaker? Another deceptive one is ‘engines need to be more powerfull’. They’re already powerfull, because the short ranged weapons deal such vastly superior damage per second compared to the long range weapons. If engines got better, then all the weapons would need rebalancing too, and in a bad way - they’d need to be more similar… But I’m digressing from the question.
Most importantly though… And really, this is the most fundamentally crucial thing I’ll say in this post, the rest was just fluff. It’s Rock, Paper, Scissors. Not Paper, Rock, Scissors. Heretic!