I think this warrants its own reply, and I'm curious to see others thoughts on it, but I wanted to list what I see as the pros and cons of the current combat system.
- Ship designer is absolutely incredible and provides nearly endless variety to battle cinematics. It also allows for custom ship load outs which makes each ship class special.
- The battle viewer allows us to veiw the battles in 3D and generally has pretty good pathing and movement of the ships to make it look good.
- Logistics system prevents the huge doomstacks that are pointless and annoying in other 4x games
- The Rock, Paper, Scissors weapon style works well, is simple and intuitive, and covers all the basics of space combat. GC4 also changed defenses to be more varied in the defense output which I appreciate.
- Battles are auto resolved without player input. I know some people hate this, but I don't want to try and command battles even through starting commands like Attack, Retreat, or Hold Stance. It would take a lot of time to get through the list of battles at the endgame. I want to be able to just move on with my turn. Fleet design and fleet movement is where the majority of the battle is fought. In chess, I don't play a mini game to see if my knight takes the rook.
- Fleet design is lacking in variety and doesn't properly complement the ship designer and battle veiwer. The main issue is that an optimal fleet currently doesn't use multiple ship sizes, but work best when they're all the same size. This is in large part caused by ship speed and ship roles. The ship speed often get smaller ships destroyed before the larger ones can reach the combat zone. If we had reasons to build a fleet that used a mix of huge, large, medium, small, and tiny it would make battles look much more interesting. Look at real world naval fleet designs. Ex. Fighters escorting a Battleship, or Bombers protected by two Frigates that can lay down flak to destroy Interceptors.
- Ship roles are currently not well understood. The targeting system and pathing of the ships assigned different roles often leads to the loss of important ships. In one battle I assigned multiple small ships as escorts or guardians and a large ship as a capital ship. The enemy A.I. fleet destroyed the capital ship first which was the glass cannon I was trying to protect. The current system really makes it difficult to understand why a ship was targeted and why a battle progressed the way it did. I often assign each ship with the same role to avoid having them get singled out. The other problem is that it's really easy to separate the fleet into two halves that attack separately which drastically reduces the damage output of that fleet.
- The techs that give more slots to ships are uneven. Small ships receive the same number of new equipment slots as large ships which gives them more slots per logistic point gained from that tech. If the sizes are generally balanced at each tech, this is a small complaint that may not be important.
Thanks for listening to us Ron. Hope to see GC4 have just as long of life as GC3. New ship parts are always a huge plus for me in new DLC.