From a very simplistic formula of “more bases = more resources” comes a very easy snowball effect of giving the dominant faction increasing advantage which is inherently unfair. Planetside 2 would be a good comparison to expand one, specifically when talking about the facilities (Biolab, Techplant) and their bonuses. In IB bases should never give direct power to both players and faction (more money) and instead provide options and specialisations for players to exploit.
I propose a system for the game, or perhaps a custom server:
Bases (Battlescapes) would serve as the main hubs for content, providing the top-tier fights and rewards. Bases would initially be very heavily defended and effectively impossible to fight solo against. There’s also facilities that provide a variety of specific “services” when connected to a Base. I’ll provide a few examples of Bases and Facilities and explain how they work:
Role: Respawn Point, Repairs, Rearm, Convoy/Fleet Spawn.
Level 1: Respawn for Fighters, Repair and Rearm for all ship types.
Level 2: Adds Respawn for all other ship types. Adds Convoys.
Level 3: Adds Fleets.
Comments: Allows for players to get ships, acting as a main source of all ships in the game (apart from the home planet). Landing on it repairs and rearms the ship. Lets players spend money to spawn convoys and fleets (explained below). Can process and has increased yield from Production Boxes.
Pirate/Mercenary Hideout (Base)
Role: Custom Weapons, Repairs, Rearm, Pirates/Merc Spawn
Level 1: Repair and Rearm for Fighters
Level 2: Adds Pirate spawns
Level 3: Adds custom weapons to the shop
Comments: Serves mainly for a convenient place to repair and rearm, but also having a rotating stock of special weapons with unique effects that are only available on one specific Pirate base, for example: Drunk Missiles - a variation on the standard Dart Missiles that have higher defence against Point-Defences but less fuel. Lets players spend money to spawn pirates to harass the enemy forces. Has increased yield from Science Boxes.
Industrial Plant (Base)
Role: Resources (money), resource Boxes
Level 1: Processes Mining Boxes from Convoys.
Level 2: Processes Production and Science Boxes from Convoys.
Level 3: Lets players deliver Mining Resources for processing on top of what NPCs carry for additional income.
Comments: Initially used for steady money income from mining facilities, with lvl2 it can also process Science and Production Boxes (as opposed to carrying them to the main planet). At level 3 players can participate in its activities as Convoys themselves.
Science Facility (Facility)
Role: Provides Science Boxes
Location: Small space stations in orbit of other bodies. The Astralis bases would work well.
Asteroid Mining (Facility)
Role: Provides Mining Boxes
Location: Asteroids. You’ve seen these from the Prototype footage
Role: Provides Production Boxes
Location: Surface of planets.
Main resources: Mining Boxes, Science Boxes and Production Boxes. These boxes are created in their respective facilities that, when processed, generate Supply Points, Science Points and Production Points. All Boxes are transported in NPC Convoys to the main planet but can also be carried to a captured Base if available.
- Supply Points - each cycle the game takes the amount of available supply points and converts it into money. Straightforward.
- Production Points - each cycle the game takes all production points and sets the respawn cooldowns for everything. The more production points you can gather the faster you can respawn in your ships on this cycle. High-cost or high-tech ships take more time to respawn so it’s important to get as many production points as you can.
- Science Points - working in tandem with the Production it’s a modifier on high-tech equipment cooldowns. The more of these you have the faster you can get your expensive ships and equipment. It mostly affects expensive equipment that you fit on your ship.
Respawning - while stock ships don’t have increased cooldown or cost, players have the option of fitting high-tech equipment at a greater monetary cost and time cooldown. A shipyard produces all hightech equipment for players to use, but players can use that equipment faster than it is produces (die a lot). Production Points decrease overall cooldowns for equipment while Science Points have an increased effect for high-tech gear. This means that everyone has the option of constant respawning on stock ships but a limited budget of high-tech equipment. While everyone from the same faction has the same cooldown times, the available supply is individual (everyone has a maximum of 10 Ultra Shield Generators and the game makes one for you every 5 minutes so if you die a lot you will run out of Ultra Shields).
High-tech equipment. This equipment is not a straightforward upgrade but rather a specialisation on current gear. If you take a stock Dart Missile, high-tech variations are the Drunk Missile (better PD avoidance, less range), the Slingshot Missile (faster and longer range, less tracking) and the MIRV Missile (higher impact area, lower damage). Slingshot missiles are better against stationary or bigger targets but easily avoidable by skilled fighter pilots while Drunk Missiles are the opposite. Stock ships and equipment are competitive with all high-tech gear, it simply allows for niche gameplay (like Stalker Infiltrators from Planetside 2).
Bases range from levels 0 to 3:
- Level 0 - when players destroy an enemy base it is converted into a Level 0 for the conquering faction. Players need to wait a few minutes while the NPC Fleet repairs and rebuilds the base. Nothing is available from this base. Convoys, however, can start delivering to this base immedietly and the boxes will be processed once the base is operational. Enemy players can harass, slow down or even stop the repairs.
- Level 1 - standard state for any base, providing basic functionality.
- Level 2 and 3 - A player has to pay for a Convoy to come here and upgrade the base. During the short upgrade window the base does not provide services and is vulnerable to attack.
Convoys and Fleets. Convoys and Fleets are generated at the home planet and Shipyards.
Convoys are sent to Facilities to automatically deliver resources to Bases or home planet.
Fleets are sent to enemy Bases and serve as window for attacking and capture. Bases are usually too well defended by NPCs for players to capture bases themselves and instead require players to pay for Fleets to attack Bases. Fleets will take some time (minutes) to reach Bases which allows for both friendlies and hostiles to gather up before a fight. A group of players can form a fleet and attack the base of course, provided they have bombers and at least one capital to tank the base turrets.
Conclusion: A system that allows for expansion without providing direct power to players. Having more money lets players use high-tech equipment more often. If players have too much money and are hitting the cooldown caps then they could focus more of aquiring and holding more science facilities. Each facility will also provide a supply of unique equipment made available at their shipyards and home planet. Capturing a lot of bases and facilities would simply increase your options and gameplay styles. A very skilled player doesn’t need a lot of money - he can spawn a very high-tech ship fit once and fly it for a long enough time to have enough money to instantly replace it when he dies. If players want a specific item variation they can capture the specific base that has it.
EDIT 1: It’s up to the players to pay and choose the destination of Fleets and Convoys.