First, I would like to say I love the game. I like being able to fight across a solar system and interact with worlds, and have had a good time thus far. But as I play, I realize that I would like to consider expanding what we do with planets. As such, I had some suggestions, including 2 new ship types which are modifications of the same chassis, A system suggestion tied to one of them, and gameplay effects that I feel would complement the worlds themselves.
Given what I have in mind, I wish to start with a general overview of the worlds involved. Currently, Planets boast two kinds of facilities, bases and Factories. Factories supply transports which fly to orbital stations and this provides credits to the team. Bases are a bit strange as I have not really found their general purpose as of yet. Missions to attack these places can result in some interesting day night battles and more, with cruisers floating to bombard the world best they can, while fighters dogfight around.
As I have seen this a few times now, It occurs to me that planets could be used in much more interesting ways. Its entirely possible this will extend game time, but I don’t see that as a bad thing really as there are other ways to collapse a near end-game match.
- Anti Orbital Planetary Defenses. A Multi-layered Defense!
Frankly, Factories and Worlds are far, far too vulnerable, a Sentiment I have seen shared. Given what some have suggested though, I feel just making a few guns that shoot capital ships isn’t going to get very far. Every scifi to date that pits the world against a invader shows that defenses are layered on layers of guns and defenses for all kinds of targets. Hardened positions from bombardment, to guns that shoot the big guy in the sky, to dozens of Autoguns and flak guns that shoot down fighters, planetary shields, and bunkers to fend off enemy armies. In this, we get the sense of a vicious defense that would to me, be quite fun to attack time and time again, slowly chipping it away through subsequent battles.
What I would like to propose is that every planetary base and factory be armed for this purpose. The First defense line will be a large shield tower that can project a Dome style shield across the facility, effectively protecting it from bombardment and tight enough that flying too close is dangerous as best, though not impossible. The Shield tower should be impenetrable to damage from outside the shield, torpedo and missile included. And under the shield, the Tower should be able to absorb significant amounts of damage even from a wing of bombers dumbfiring torpedoes into it. currently its too easy for a single bomber to decimate a area.
Now while it sounds like the shield is meant to be hit by small craft, It shouldn’t be easy. the tower itself, or the area around it, should boast 1-3 rings of anti air bunkers with decent range that are armed with a number of anti-air guns that can shoot down these bombers and so on, while a hanger nearby allows defending players to spawn and fight as well. Given this applies a casualty count, this would incentivize a carrier in low orbit to act as a spawn for it’s team so that the assault may continue, and make cruisers and destroyers act to protect the carrier. The AA ring should be dangerous so that one jockey can’t fly in now and then and just destroy the shield with impunity, so the AA ring should also maintain some high altitude targetting as a result, at least to the level of the shield’s surface.
To make things more uncomfortable for attackers though, the next layer of defense should be added. Long range Railguns or torpedo launchers, nuke tipped perhaps. These guns could have a altitude height of perhaps around 50 km from the installation’s position, shooting targets well in the air and attempting entry. However given what they are, these are purely for anti-capital ship attacks. While they should possess some flak ability, these are mostly to fend off cocky capitals trying to raid a unprotected base. If the AI attacks this kind of layered defense, it should have more ships dedicated to this sort of battle as a result, and rely more on a swarm of small bombers that would target the ground defenses as much as the larger targets that come to protect the base.
The result of this kind of defense would require a more complex strategy then what is currently available, forcing a team’s players to coordinate their assault in stages to make use of new openings. If the shield could be shut down, cruisers would be able to jump close to the target and duel with the now unshielded large defense guns, and take them out with their own torpedoes and later on, Nukes. This then would leave the installation exposed to bombardment by cruiser main weaponry, which would hopefully be hardened.
- A Tale of Two Ships
Jokes aside, this is fairly straight forward. If a player wishes to support his team economically, he could potentially invest in a larger then average bulk transport. Using this transport, he could fly loads of supplies larger then those of the ai transports between the factories and stations. He could receive a larger cut of credits this way as a result, and provide a way to self fund in a sense. If this idea is hampered though, we could adapt the idea towards the ship being a large planetary exit and entry capable factory vessel. Flown down to a planet surface to locate a resource deposit, the player could harvest raw materials to ‘manufacture’ goods and fly that to the stations, to provide team credits to his team. How this will work economically is worthy of debate, but it would be a way to fill the gap for when factories are destroyed and give a chance for a losing team to still turn the tide.
A adaptation of this idea is it’s sister ship, the Troop transport. The system I mentioned before would be a Invasion mechanic, where upon you spawn a small ‘army’ of tanks and low detail infantry platoons, or just tanks really, that you could fly down to a planetary system blockade runner style. Upon landing, you could deploy the tanks and have them march on the nearest base to attack it below the defenses of the base. While the defenses may shoot caps down, these tanks are a sort of way to bypass that concept. While the base should be able to fight back somehow, perhaps making a few tanks of its own thus necessitating a tank factory for the base, it would make for players to either form their own invasion forces to mass land a army, or potentially protect a fleet of ai transports that attempt to land on a planet during a assault. This last option would give the AI commanders a new way to attack planets that it could use to cycle between a traditional destroyer/fighter assault or a landing assault.
I feel the troop transport would be a new way to play personally. How many tanks it should deploy is debatable, of course, but I feel that it could use a mechanic similar to the AI wing for carriers that is being mentioned here and there to make it work personally.