Its worth clarifying then what the direction of the changes are as these can warry wildly with player type, gakaxy config and DEV intent
Mayor aspects I take from this threasd so far inclduing my opinion:
1. Should there be a limitation on fleet size?
2. If there is a fleet size limit, how large should it be (small amount of ships, large amount of ships)?
3. If there is a fleet size limit, how long (turns) should it take to reach this "turns to militarize"?
4. What is the ideal reatio of small to large ships?
5. Should the game encourage usage of the latest tech or allow old tech to be viable even if resoruces are available?
6. Should refit be possible for all ships to keep them updated or force choice which ones to keep competitive?
7. Should upkeep cost be static or dynamic taking all of the above in consideration
Now I can only provide feedback on Normal difficult, Ellipse, Huge maps with 98 stars (I also add 10% on top of default - AI is more competitive on these), all factions distinct and all other settings default and my take is:
1. No limit (you sohuld continuall build and loose ships via raids, pirates, Harpies even when not warring)
2. No limit
3. No limit (surplus coin should be used for refit)
4. 60% small, 30% medium, 10% large (capital/named ships). Current game where 2 AIs are loosing war agains player:
M: 38/16=42% (because playing Colonials and Light Cruisers I like
so medium is over-represented now
5. No: old tech should be outdated BUT this ties into decision of next point:
6. No: player should need to decide which ships to keep modernised and the rest are getting outdated over time, or rotate and keep all of them somewhat outdated (sweet spot). Should not be possible to keep all of them updated all the time
7. Static upkeep: so that updated ships do not take away coin from refit and producing new ships + it is more simpler for the player to calculate the costs this way not having to look up each updated design and compare the laways changing numbers ( this sohuld not meddle with the main gameplay loop: we know what they cost and that is it)
Note that there were also 20 transports carrying tanks (only 3 left now due to invasions) and I found the amount of scombat ships to be somewhat small for such amount of transports + size of empire (21 planets and 120 billion inhabitants) for amount of combat ships: 38. Ideally I would like to realistically field 50+ ships at this size and ratio but this is on me as I was somewhat prioratizing Light Carriers over Light Cruisers
I do not recommend tightening the budget any furhter to currnet build do to the above and:
- AI already has issues keepin up their ships (due to avoidance of market building) and they are worse off due to their higher preference for large ships
- Trade routes are nerfed already by a lot - an outpost brings in more trade routes then markets do in the beginning leading to some odd outpost spamming from my side to rank up income
- The player already balances out income ot production: I think most of us always had: I always build at leat one market per planet due to moral bonus needed to distribute various pops (minors and pops of factions I am at war with) + love to trank up trading as it feels you are really investing and building up economy via the trade fleet
I think Phidi should keep the Opil bonus: they finally have a real advantage from this resource compared to others and when coin was abundant for everyone. They only have this reasource on one planet and shoudl rely on mercs due to their weak starting ships and mercs cost a ton of money ot buy and upkeep
Note: back when AI was pumping out capital ships only I have already crunched the numbers and found that small ships are already more cost efficient. This did not change but is made worse with upkeep cost increase. I do not think large ships were useless but I only use them in circumstances where they fulfill specialised roles such as:
- Siege (heavy mount)
- Planet destruction
- Harpy destruction (carriers)
- Boarding action (light and medium cruisers to accomodate cloacking, shield and/or marine quarters)
and otherwise only build them to be thematic and they look nice
With considerably higher upkeep large ships are even less worth using in battle and only in the above scnearios due to time.
Lets talk numbers:Escort Cruiser
16 Fusion Anti-Missiles
4 turns build timeLight Cruiser
12 Fusion Anti-Missiles
3 turns build time
Offensive Combat efficiency is 75% of EC
Production efficiency is 125% of EC (as the two have been balanced out)
Defensive Combat efficiency is 50% of EC
Upkeep is 200% efficiency of EC
Time to maket is 125% efficiency of EC
What would you build if you are in war (which is usually the case in the above galaxy config from turn 100-250 when the game is usually over)?
Here is my calculation in 10 turns (lower mid-term strategy) you can have either:
2 Escort Cruisers with 32
Fusion AM and spending 20
3 Light Cruiser with 36
Fusion AM and spending 15
Escort Cruiser does have double the strenght but you can clearly see that any increase in upkeep just compound the "situation" I was mentioning from the start: it is not worth producing big ships as I can field more ships more quickly AND with more offensive power when producing small ships! Not once I have beaten AIs mass-producing battleships, dred and carriers swarms by outproducing them with Light cruisers or destroyers.
Now this is not necesseraly a bad thing: I proposed higher ship upkeep costs to "teach" the AI to buld smaller ships (with the power of math
) but caution is to be used here for sure not to also teach players to spam small ships only and rush the AI as that will likely not lead to good stories.
My suggestion is to keep the upkeep if you like it this way and make it static (to simplify and not make outdated ship production a viable thing), but do not try to limit fleet size with coin
(or at all): let the spice, I mean coin flow and try to balance the surplus income to refit costs instead. If someone wants to refit their existing ships to max all the time, then fine: let the coin run dry and thereby the player not being able to produce new ships that makes sense. With any fleet size limitation via coin (metal is fine), I see the danger of making large ships completely unviable or only having large ships viable depending on the direction but it will always mess with the ratio: making low-tear ships more efficient to produce and maintain under limited fleet circumstances is a concept that leads to naked corvettes sitation from Stellaris if you do not hit the cost/firepower mark perfectly but why risk it at all?