Having somewhat dumb missiles in capital ships that can be directed by players seems like a cool idea. Imagine your capital ship fires a 10 missile salvo. Usually just half would hit and maybe take out a gun or two, but if 5 players directed it somehow, you could take out the 5 guns that are on the side that can aim at your team’s capital ship, giving it a huge advantage. Having somewhat bad missiles on fighters that require laser targeting to not be easily distracted by countermeasures would also be fun and match that whole “player skill should beat pure firepower” idea.
Having things like railguns/lasers on capital ships that require time to charge(visibly) and fire very accurately but to a fixed position(no auto aim) and for high damage would also make capital ship combat more fun than just pointing at the target and holding the mouse button so the auto turrets do the job. Add also a sort of “dash/dodge” on the capital ships that require to recharge and depletes energy(call it maneuvering thrusters overload) and you get a viable way to both have positioning/tactics as something important, but you also can test a capital ship player’s reflex(while reducing boredom by having the player require to keep concentration). I still remember all the cool stories that this type of capital ship dodge has made possible in the Halo books. In the books they could also be fired so that a ship could quickly be spinned to aim the railguns.
And since space is so big, maybe instead of dumb mines we could have special “shield wall” mines, that you would need to drop 3 of them near aech other so they could link and destroy/damage players that pass between them. Call them “barrier trap mines” or whatever. They would be inert until a high speed ship passes between them, then it would activate right before it goes through, making the ship take collision/energy damage if not fast enough to dodge. The farthest the mines are apart, the less damage it gives because the area of the triangle shield wall would be bigger, and the wall would be less dense. You could even use this as flak defense, having those mines take multiple shots of small missiles and survive, forcing enemy players to destroy one of the mines to break the link and allow the missiles to go through, or fire from a different direction. Basically making cover a thing again, but in space.
Another idea is a sort of harpoon mine, that latches on to the other ship and reels in to attach to the ship as it passes somewhat close. After that the payload can vary. Either it just blows up after it has enough time to reel in(you could be fast enough to spin and shoot it before that happens), or it could suck some of the ships power(less maximum or recharge rate, maybe), or disable targeting, or start hacking your missiles to lock them in the ship and eventually detonate them unless a teammate destroys it. Just imagine a timer ticking until they blow up, making people run for a teammate to shoot it off, or you carefully lining your ship in front of a capital ship turret, or diving in the atmosphere to burn it off.
Other weapons… hmm, how about a battering ram shield that can be used to hit another player and cause damage based on the speed difference. The shield would take some time to swap from “cover me from damage” mode to “stay in the front like spear” mode. Combine this on capital ships with the “dash” and you end up having combat like viking ships ramming each other. Maybe this could also be used to gain speed in atmosphere, at the expense of having no defense shield.Even better if you had to press a button to activate the shield just in time, or you would use too late/early, so and the shield would dissipate before(or not activate fast enough) and you would hit full speed with no protection.
For missiles, maybe there could be some that latch on to a ship and basically act as an ion thruster, sucking the ships power and using it to push it in the direction it hit the hull. It would be used to spin the capital ship out of alignment and mess with its aim until a player comes to destroy them, or until they run out. Maybe one could be countered by the maneuvering thrusters, but if a squad of bombers hits a capital ship with a few of those in the same spot, the capital ship would start to spin a lot, making it miss all shots for some time. A capital ship with no escorts would then be dead meat against an experienced squad of bombers.
More ideas… hacking rocket that allow you to do all sorts of fun stuff after hitting an enemy ship. Maybe you could make it so if that player fires a missile at you it blows up in the missile bay, or you could choose to disable/mess with that indicator of the future location you need to fire to hit a moving ship, or maybe you chose to have the controls randomly move a bit, or maybe you could set it so you would press a button and the current target hud thing keeps following your speed, but you could actually have stopped, or hidden behind an asteroid, so the enemy would be chasing a decoy hud icon. This would make electronic warfare interesting, and maybe instead of requiring to hit a special rocket on the enemy you need to be close to the enemy for X seconds and use a lot of energy to complete the hack.
Also, add a sort of chemical ammo that covers the enemy ship and catches fire/melts as it hits air/atmosphere. Damage would be even higher if fired in space, so if the ship enters atmosphere in x minutes the damage would be huge. Would allow you to use it to escape other ships by going to a planet after a quick orbit fight.
Another option is to make some energy weapons do very little damage, but instead severely cripple the other ship power system for a while. So much so that after enough shots the other ship shuts off a bit. This would allow ship builds where you shut off the other ship and get close to hit it with a sort of shotgun style gun, or dump high damage rockets. Crippling targeting systems and other stuff could also be a thing.
Other ideas with little explanation:
-attachable torpedo with gravity field that sucks in all projectiles and both pulls missing shots to hit the affected ship, but also slows down or warps the trajectory of the ship’s own weapons.
-trackers. Hit a capital ship with a tracker and run away, and you will know exactly where it is from anywhere in the galaxy. For a while.
-Small tactical EMP nuke torpedoes that disable enemy ships or damages its energy systems. Maybe only affects ships with shields down unless direct hit.
- Blinding flare/torpedo. Essentially a continuous space flash bang that blinds both visually or just sensors. Could be used to hide incoming torpedoes from sensors. Or have a couple of those things set up so it hides an entire approaching armada.
- lasers that deal more damage the longer they aim at the same ship(ideally the same spot in capital ship, but this might be hard to code), this would vary with the ship’s armor rating, so thicker armor takes longer to melt and expose the insides. Same idea as the laser guided missiles really.
- Decoy torpedoes. Basically the torpedo would launch tiny decoy drones around it so one torpedo looks like 10. Have fun discovering the real radar blip to shoot at.
- anti-figher swarm rockets. Capital ships could shoot “walls” of heavy damaging projectiles that are slow. Approaching bombers/fighters would then have to be nimble to fly through the holes in the wall.
- adjustable timer flak guns. Capital ship flak guns where you have to adjust the detonation timer. Involves skill/timing to protect against fighters and missiles. Explain a lack of proximity detonation with “hacking or tricking the sensors”.
I better stop because it is 5 am…