So its pretty much public knowledge that after every massive re-armament or gameplay change, that re-balance is in the pike before any decent release beyond maybe a beta.
This is something I don't think I've really successfully did before any releases. So I've been doing it recently. Here's a summary of what I've been doing, and I'm pretty sure most of the players here would agree the mod really needed these:
1. Using the destroyer as a basis ship with its cost, time, armor, damage, and speed as a comparison tool for all other ships, I have successfully re-balanced all the frigates, corvettes, and fighters for both races.
2. All frigates have been repriced amongst themselves to better accurately show their usefulness in combat, and then I dropped all of there prices and build times by 25%.
3. Increased the armor on bombers and plasma corvettes a little, the damage output as well, and then reduced the price and build time by 25%.
4. All fighters and corvettes were rebalanced amongst themselves to better accurately show their usefulness in combat, and then I used the bombers (the only real link between strike craft classes and frigates/cap ships) as a comparison ship to modify costs and build times.
5. Removed friendly fire.
Having completed the above gameplay re-balance I decided to test it out on the A.I. first.
The A.I. was actually scary effective, because they actually used the ability to effectively produce strike craft to build fleet escorts AND flanking groups. Which out of randomness, just happened to usually be made out of heavy anti-capital ship strike craft. These said flanking groups were highly effective in battle, because while all the fleet escorts were per-occupied with one another they swooped in and eradicated the opposing fleet.
Hiigaran Siege corvettes are a scary fleet asset to see in action, a group of 8 to 10 wings can usually eat up 5-8 frigates with minimal casualties, actually they usually take out about 75% of the frigates in the first pass. Remind me to make a vagyr equivalent sometime.
The next test I did was the campaign.I currently am on level 9 haven't had too much trouble so far.
A little disappointed, I have come to find that with the re-balanced strike craft, that the first 3 missions are far easier than they once were. I used to find that the first few missions were quite a bit more entertaining because it was such a challenge to effectively coordinate strike craft with a lack of ru's, fighters stuck in intense long firefights, and bombers that were frequently left on their own.
Pushing on to the next few missions already knowing what comes next I used a few tricks I've learned to lessen my stress and effectively keep most of my ships through some of the more mundane missions.
One of which, that I have come to find infinitely more mundane, is the first keeper mission, which, is because, not having upgraded the keeper in any way, they are now more like second class combatants.
Using nothing more than strike craft: 10 wings of pulsar corvettes, 10 wings of multiroles, and 8 wings of heavy fighters, the keeper drones rarely ever made it past launching. Then utilizing 10 wings of Siege corvettes, and 10 wings of heavy bombers, I'm pretty sure the keeper destroyer never even had a chance to fire at a cap ship. It was sad.
Something I have noticed though, is that the vagyr in the later missions really seem to get a little closer to par. Coming at me in massive waves of corvettes, and frigates at random times they have definitely slowed down my otherwise nearly unhindered march toward Sajuuk.
An example of which being that the Shipyard Elohim, which hasn't had its hitpoints raised, went up in a ball of bright fire and screams shortly after jumping in. Needless to say, the repairs of the dreadnaught took a little while longer to complete.
One more thing I've noticed while playing is that even though the Vagyr A.I. does seem to (in the background) get an effective economy working, and actually sorta try to play out like a skirmish match, they never really get enough time, or even use any of the new ships. This is something I need to look into due mainly to the fact that it gives the player such an advantage. There's only so much the vagyr can do with just a zerg rush of heavy missile frigates and missile corvettes, when pulsar corvettes and heavy bombers are coming there way.
You can frequently hear me muttering... loudly... "Murder" as I command my ships against the incoming horde, because under most circumstances, its a blood bath.
Also I've come to find using the light carrier (which is available from second 1) with its still build-able hyperspace module as a VERY effective tool to maneuver ships in a tight squeeze.
One more thing about the campaign, something Ive already addressed. The lack of Parade points for some of the ships, and then others being to close to other ships, was very annoying.
On more than one occasion my far off LRMF in the "misc" parade line was being pulverized off the start by a horde of vagyr that weren't supposed to be attacking yet. That or melting in a radioactive cloud.
What I've noticed needs to be done was:
1. Increase difficulty on first 3 levels.
2. Increase combat effectiveness on keeper ships.
3. Increase hit points on single-player shipyards.
4. Add new ships to hordes, and build ques for the vagyr during campaign.
5. (completed) Finish and repair parade files for all ships.