I recently made a mod to try and address the problem of pure defense escorts. I found once I addressed that problem, others started creeping up. The more I thought about how to make the battles tactically interesting, the more I got frustrated with the current role system. Here are some ideas for relatively modest changes that I think would make combat more interesting.
First, split the current role into 2 parts:
1) Priority: Each ship has a priority this is based on the components of the ship and cannot be changed by the player who controls the ship. Priority has three parts, which coordinate with the three attributes Stardock has already introduced.
- Threat – threat is how quickly a ship can kill you. Ideally this would take into account weapon and defense types as well as the raw numbers. It would also include what a ship is targeting and how close to being in range of its target it is.
- Fortitude – How easy is this ship to kill? Again, ideally taking into account weapon and defense types and range.
- Value – What does this ship bring to the fight besides raw damage? Support modules should all be high value, and colony and transport modules should be VERY high value.
2) Role: Role dictates how a ship moves on the field and how it interacts with priority. Role is decided by the controller of the ship. I’d like to see basically 7 roles:
- Attackers: targeting highest threat/fortitude ratio, targeting highest value/fortitude ratio, and targeting the lowest fortitude.
- Defenders: same 3 targeting options, but they would always prioritize any ship targeting the ship they are defending.
- Support: stay as far away from potential threats as possible while staying in range of the fight.
Now, so far this is really just very minor tweaks on the current system, though separating role out into two separate attributes is pretty important.
Here’s where I’d like to see a pretty major change: Roles are assigned by the player at the beginning of a fight. Any ships assigned the defender roles are assigned a ship to defend at this point. Roles may be changed from fight to fight. Ships would have default roles, and fleets would remember roles from their last battle.
The player may set a priority target in the opponent’s fleet. Priority targets get a huge boost to their value score. It would also be kind of nice if eliminating the priority target gives the player the option to withdraw from combat.