When I looked at some of the threads here that talked about new AI ship behaviours, I had some thoughts about how we could use AI more to contribute to larger battles in a meaningful way, especially when there are a lot of player-controlled cruisers, destroyers, and carriers in the middle to the end of each match.
Considering how players will earn enough points to obtain larger ships larger ships over time, we should have the ability to request for allied “bomber/fighter/ corvette support” (AI and player-controlled) for a limited amount of time (accessible by destroye and cruiser), granted that a friendly carrier is nearby.
If the carrier is player controlled, they have to decide to send help, deciding how much ships they should launch to the allied position. AI ships that are destroyed in the process cannot spawn from the carrier again unless there are more to spare or you resupply at an allied station. Since there is already plans to use the carriers as spawn points for player controlled ships, a spawn ticket system (like in the Battlefield franchise) can be used to keep large battles short but meaningful.
In early game when everyone is using ints and bombers, the interceptors should have an ability to request AI/player carrier support, which is limited to commanding a small wing of ships (replicating whatever the ship the requesting player is using). That player can then take command of the deployed ships, as the requestee survives, the requested AI are not all destroyed, there are more ships to spare, the requestee is within the vicinity of an allied carrier, and if a player controlled carrier decides to loan some ships to you in the first place. The small AI ships are only limited a certain distance before they need to stay behind so than the carrier is not left unsupported.
The vision here is to make Battlescape a game of logistics on a large scale with the use of AI and player judgement. We then would have to think about how many player carriers we have in the field in proportion to the player bombers/interceptors nearby. The ability for player bombers/interceptors to call for reinforcements will create some nuance in their tactical and strategic contributions during the match.
This concept considers the importance of fighters and bombers late into a match, which was a worrying to a number of players according to another thread I read in bed earlier today. It will compliment the AI behaviour proposed by the developers, in which, AI ships will appear to be more organized in formation and the like. The larger ships will be important for more than just firepower alone, and will have the ability to directly coordinate the team’s strategic and logistical resources for better or for worse.
Player led leadership and good use of logistics is what will lead to a strategic victory, not mindless points farming from small ships early game and larger ships late game.