Given that it takes a little while for the attackers to re-join battles after being destroyed, I think it would be beneficial to lower the amount of time spent traveling, in order to keep the flow of battle moving.
I have a two suggestions to make this possible, split into strike craft (corvette and below) and capital ships.
Quick deploy for strike craft revolves around developing the carrier. I think the carrier should be given two abilities:
Stealth: Carriers are way too vulnerable to be close to a battle. They’re big slow targets that are heavily influential to the battle, and they give a credit high reward for it’s destruction. Carriers should be away from the battle. This creates two problems: It takes time for spawns to rejoin the battle, and it’s a single cruiser away from a bad day, now that there’s even less people around that can protect it.
I propose that the carrier receives an ability to mask not only itself, but also strike craft around it within a small bubble. I think that it should be a passive, so when the carrier is stopped it automatically it engages.
The effect can simply be lowering the detection range to about 5-10 km.
Deep Strike: Carriers will be able to set a point in space that defines a location of a ‘warp bubble’, that allows players to almost instantly warp to anywhere inside the warp bubble. The range should probably be a minimum of 100 to 300 km, and the bubble could be about 20-30 km in diameter. Any player (maybe within the stealth bubble) will be able to select a target destination within the bubble. Further rules could include a certain distance from any enemy ship to limit ganking. Once the location is selected, the player’s ship gets taken over and is warped to that location at about 5-10 times the current warp acceleration/speed. Accessing this ability could be either a pop-up key prompt when inside the bubble or an option within the star map.
The only “downside” to this is that carriers are delegated to mostly a passive role, and any players that pilot them would be bored very quickly. I would greatly recommend creating a system that would allow players to be able to ‘park’ their carriers and fly a different ship, or allow for some sort of RTS style AI commander role to go along side these ideas.
Quick deploy for capital ships revolves around the creation of a new station asset: Capital Ship Launcher (CSL) (you know you want this).
I imagine the launcher to look something like Babylon 5’s warp gates:
The CSL is a separate station object that resides only a few kms from the capital ship spawn. The gate can only launch capital ships. Carriers should be able to load up on strike craft prior to jumping.
To activate, a capital ship enters into the gate. A pop-up key prompt or something in the star map indicates the orientation of the gate. The gate can be re-orientated once every certain amount of time. The gate can be aimed at any friendly stationary carrier or friendly/enemy station that is within line of sight. Once the destination is confirmed, the capital ship is launched in a similar fashion to the deep strike ability. The cap ship is stopped within a certain distance from the target, say 5 km from the carrier and 20 km from a station.
Another great benefit of CSL is that it naturally allows for a more ‘lattice’ style battle flow. Once created, I would very quickly break up the current battlescape planet/moon orientation into two separate systems. Have pairs of ‘special’ CSL’s, one at the first system and the other at the second system that allows for deployment between them.
Also hurling yourself at the enemy with a giant catapult is always fun:
They could very quickly become a focal point for battle and control.
The protection of the CSL could in my mind be done by the station overhaul idea that I’ll post on sometime soon, mostly involving ~seige shields~. Otherwise, more station defense platforms of greater defensive power would do the trick nicely. I wouldn’t want these things to go down quickly, so maybe also give the CSL a very healthy shield pool.
With these two systems in place, it would facilitate a more dynamic battle flow, allowing for quick reinforcements, and faster attacks, as well as increasing the reliance on team-based play.