Balancing this game cannot be easy with 12 factions, each with their own lore and strengths and weaknesses but after getting 3 different factions (Tau protector, Orks and Astartes) to top 20 and 50 I saw several identical patterns even with widely different factions.
- Some ship classes are outright worse
Almost every factions' light cruisers and battleships are simply not worth it.
For the price of 1 battleship i can bring 2-3 cruisers on average. Having twice or three times as many ships is powerful enough even if the rest of the stats match but once you add speed, guns, boarding, shields and hull, there is not logical reason to ever bring a battleship(orks, DE and nids are notable exceptions to the rule).
Astartes are the best example: for the price of 1 batlebarge i can bring 3 strike cruisers. Now lets to do some quick math:
Shields 200x3 vs 600=>equal
Hull 1200x3 vs 2400=>1200 hull advantage cruisers
Boarding 8-12 x3 vs 12-18=> double boarding advantage cruisers, not even accounting for the honor of the chapter ability
Speed 200x3 vs 160=> Not only 1 battlebarge can be in 1 place at a time but it will get there much slower
Weapons are a bit variable but in general battleships' only advantage is the range of their guns. 3 cruisers at closer range will inflict far more damage
So what is the solution? in this case, fairly simple: lower battleship costs and maybe give them some kind of aura ability appropriate for the faction. Lets say for imperial navy for the next 30 seconds take no morale damage. Or for the tau for the next 30 seconds rail guns reload faster. Maybe, make it so that the battleships' stance applies to all allied ships within the identification range, so we could stack buffs. Otherwise, i have no reason to bring a battleship into the fight.
Light cruisers, the story is similar. I can bring 3 destroyers for the price of 1 LC and get the same hull, shields but more utility and firepower. Lower LC price a bit and give LCs the same identification ability that escorts have. Because right now I see no reason to bring even 1 light cruiser into the mix (Tau is the only exception because Tau LC give me escorts)
- Boarding is too powerful
Boarding right now can disable a ship in 3 different ways:
1 Make it less effective and eventually turn it into a hulk as the troop count goes to 0
2 Disable weapons and subsections.
3 Inflicts morale damage thus making the ship mutiny
I think there is a reason why the top winning factions are Tyranids and Orks. These factions are really good at boarding. I do not think these factions are too strong, they just benefit from boarding a bit too much. In fact, I got to top 10 the first time as astartes by abusing their boarding capabilities. So what can be done?
Because right now an IN cruiser can be taken out by 3-4 boarding actions from a faction with good troop efficiency. In other words, in a fight between 6 IN cruisers and lets say 10 ork cruisers. The moment the two fleets get into fighting range. The imperial navy player will lose at least 2 ships to boarding. At that point mopping up the rest of the fleet is easy. Dont get me even started on how much damage the tyranids can do.
I think all factions' troop counts need to go up as a start. Maybe add an extra step of crew levels before a ship is turned into a hulk.
Reduce the crit chance and morale damage from boarding as well. Boarding already inflicts guaranteed crits and debuffs as it brings the troop count levels lower, no need for that much extra damage. Maybe, make it so that brace for impact lowers boarding damage instead of removing morale damage from ramming to reward players for switching stances from lock on during a long range engagement to brace at closer ranges.
- Criticals are too plentiful
I touched upon this in the melee section a bit but in general critical hits are inflicted way too often. My tau fleet taught me this very clearly. As soon as the shields drop the enemy ships start losing subsections, get fires, lose weapons and direct damage from my weapons almost becomes meaningless. Also, the way critical hits are calculated favors the fleets and factions that have many small weapons rather than a few large ones.
The solution here is also pretty simple. Lower the crit chance boost from lock on to 50% rather than 100%. And make it so that weapons that hit harder are the ones that are more likely to inflict critical damage. Otherwise, factions like orks and tau and eldar will always have an advantage.
Thank you for reading and making this game.