Some of the major changes coming to 2.2, refining the 2.0 and 2.1 beta test patches further into a brand new system. This one incorporates ion cannons as weapons that are more than just heavy damage dealers to shields, a counterpart to proton torpedoes, as powerful, but in a different way. Priority targets.
New ion cannon mechanics:
Ion cannons are now going to play a more active role in combat. Depending on calibre, they are going to reduce the firerate of specific ship classes. In addition to their heavy damage to shields.
Light ion cannons: Found on starfighters like the B-wing, TIE Defender, Skipray, and more. They are very fast and very accurate.
On hit: Fighters, Bombers, and Corvettes have their weapons fire 25% slower for 2 seconds. Does not stack.
Medium ion cannons: Found on frigates like the Vindicator, MC 50, Victory SD, Hapan Nova cruiser and more. They are a lot slower and more inaccurate than turbolasers.
On hit: Fighters, Bombers, Corvettes and Frigates have their weapons fire 50% slower for 2 seconds. Does not stack.
Heavy ion cannons: Found on capital ships like the Imperial SD, MC 80, Sabaoth Destroyer, Centurion and more. They are extremely slower and extremely inaccurate. Think lobbing giant energy balls, artillery more so than precision energy weapons. You will not be able to hit fighters, corvettes, and most of the time frigates with these projectiles. These are purely anti capital ship weapons.
On hit: Fighters, Bombers, Corvettes, Frigates and Capital ships have their weapons fire 100% slower for 2 seconds. Does not stack. Every added projectile (dual, triple, quad) adds 1 second to the duration, up to quad heavy ion cannons for 5 seconds.
The purpose of this change is to give ion cannons a central role in combat, where they become targets as important as say, proton torpedoes. To prevent capital ships from being too oppressive, the accuracy and speed of the projectiles is set so that a capital ship will have a very hard time hitting a frigate.
We'll continue with the 2.1 beta system of increasing heavy frigate and capital ship health to what it should be, doubling their total HP for capitals and a +-50% increase to heavy frigates, depending on the unit. We'll also increase the cost of these units by 50-100%
Since the HP change combined with the ion cannon change skews the combat in favour of heavy battleships, bomber craft like the Y-wing, B-wing, Skipray ect. will get their Ion Torpedo ability back. A once-per-battle usable ability that counts as a heavy ion cannon shot (+100% reload time on weapons across all ship classes) that lasts for 20 to 30 seconds, depending on what balance testing finds is best.
This will make it so you will be able to disable enemy capital ships even though you do not have a capital ship yourself. Of course it can be used on frigates and corvettes as well. Bomber torpedo recharge rate has been sped up from 8 seconds per volley to 6 seconds already to help compensate for the double HP of cpaital ships.
The B-wing and Skipray, like the TIE Defender, will get a Overcharge ion cannon ability that lets you switch off the ships other non-torpedo/missile weapons to change the rapid-fire light ion cannons into slower firing medium ion cannons so they can disable frigates.
The grand purpose of these changes is to maintain a interactive combat system where you can counter the enemy units with even low-tier units of your own, even capital ships, while slowing down capital ship combat significantly. 2.1 did this in a fucky way, I think this will work much better.