Since balancing is yet to occur, here's my take on weapons. I evaluate purely
intuitively on several parameters. These are all very rough assessments that will
change based on tech level and so forth.
1. Tech difficulty. (How expensive/difficult (in terms of placement in the tech
a. Mass Driver. To me a mass driver is like artillery. "Mass Drivers"
were used in the Stone Age - pick up a rock and throw it. In ancient times
peltasts (slingers) were important to battles. Rock throwers. Point, this tech
should be super cheap. Of course, fire control, such as the Bismarck sinking the
Hood from about 16 miles away, granted, is a bit more trouble.
b. Missiles. Quite a bit harder to tech. Guidance, munitions, fuel,
c. Beam weapons (Lasers et al). The US Navy is just now testing laser
weapons for use on ships. How they will pan out is unknown. This is
sophisticated physics, which is much harder than "rocket science" i.e. missile
2. Space requirements: Roughly the same. Beams might actually win (slightly)
here because they don't require ammunition storage. Of course I don't see any
attention to ammunition requirements in GalCiv3 and don't expect them, but
whatever. One can imagine they are folded into mass requirements.
3. Cost (in BC). Roughly in the same order as tech difficulty, although because
of the ammunition thing, missiles will be closer in cost to beams than to mass
drivers. But mass drivers should be cheap while the others are quite expensive to
build and maintain.
a. Mass Drivers "total accuracy" is poor and falls off badly with
distance. Obviously, it isn't hard to shoot in a straight line, but I say "total
accuracy" because mass objects will be easier to evade (slowest velocity). At
very short range, however, mass drivers could be devastating.
b. Missiles. Guidance systems mean missiles should be very accurate,
(i.e. cruise missiles) but this ignores defense. Chaff and point defenses should
be quite effective, while armor vs. mass drivers less so because armor doesn't
prevent a hit. Sort of like the silly asteroid disaster movies. If you blow up a
big asteroid, what have you accomplished? The same mass is still headed for a
collision with Earth. Ouch.
c. Beams. Because they propagate at the speed of light, accuracy will be
very high at reasonable ranges. Evasion will be much less effective. However,
sophisticated shields (read tech and BC very expensive) should be useful.
a. Here we assess "effective range". Clearly a bullet in space could go
forever until it experience a gravitational field. But so what. Effective range
is very short.
b. Beams dissipate with distance, but have much longer range than mass
c. Missiles (equipped like cruise missiles with internal guidance and with
sophisticated fuel usage) could be exceptionally long range. Just might be a
while before impact.
a. Armor is cheap and maintenance is very low. Useful every time you take
b. Chaff, Point Defenses are expensive to use and maintain and are not
effective on every attack like armor.
c. Shields are very tech and BC expensive. I see them as effective on each
attack that lands, but their effectiveness should degrade if they are hit.
Mass Driver < Beams < Missiles (missiles can carry nukes, e.g.)
Summary of how this might play out in a battle.
Early ships use mass drivers, then later in the tech tree more expensive
missile tech becomes available, and finally, last of all, beam weapons.
In an actual battle with all three types available, missiles fire first at
long range,but approach the targets relatively slowly. Beams are next to engage
at medium range, but hit almost immediately. At very low range (if that is
achieved), mass drivers engage.
Well, that's my 2c. It is definitely not rock-paper-scissors. In fact, the
result will be that the best weapons will be mass drivers then missiles the beams,
although both missiles and mass drivers will have effectiveness in certain
situations. For example, with small, very fast ships (tactical speed) mass
drivers might be effective even at very late stages of tech development. Evasive
technology on missiles might make them harder to intercept, etc.
All this is just thinking on paper as we are dealing with a game that needs to be
fun, not a realistic similation. Please trash this as you see fit, fellow