In discord we discussed how currently kinetic weapons dominate ship battles. I've found missiles and beams to have little use outside their barrage functions. I think this is in large part due to the fact missiles and beams have relatively low damage output compared to kinetic weapons as shown below.
An interesting question in the context of this game is how to make weapons relevant?
In an FPS a shotgun is good in close quarters but not very useful in an open field. A sniper is the opposite of that. If I was developing an FPS it is easy to know which weapons I'm designing around based on how I layout the map.
GalCiv combat and space in general is different. There isn't really a map layout unless you're in nebulae or asteroid fields. It really creates a difficult problem to make each weapon feel useful and not allow one to dominate the encounters. I've thought about how I would do it and here's two ideas I came up with:
1. Go For Balance: In this case you would attempt to get the weapons closer to a balanced state by increasing the CDP of missiles and beams significantly. In this case I would still keep their CDP below kinetics, because they get the first volley's and have the barrage function, but this would make sure they're still functional in combat. Kinetics should still be the top weapon choice for ship to ship combat.
Then focus on making the ship classes feel different and placing the emphasis of combat in fleet composition and construction rather than what weapons they're fielding. This would be my preferred option overall.
2. Right Weapon for the Right Job: In this case the player is attempting to pick weapons for the job they can do and each new Tier of the weapon improves or adds to that weapons capability to do a job.
Current CDP of each weapon type. (I think plasma pods is supposed to have a higher CDP than disruptor banks, but currently it doesn't.)
I'm only accounting for weapons that don't use special materials in this graph.
This is how I think I would go about making weapons useful for the right jobs. Either give them special perks that just tell the player how they should function (easy) or make the math work out such that the weapons are better in certain cases (harder)
An example of this is missiles. They already shoot first out of any weapon so we can lean into that initial volley and make it count by increasing the amount of damage they do in each higher tier.
Tier One: These missiles are really only useful for they're barrage function and not much else.
Tier Two: These missiles are somewhat functional in combat, able to destroy most unshielded fighters with two missiles
Tier Three: These missiles are functional in combat, able to destroy most unshielded targets with their initial damage output, but slow reload will leave them sitting ducks if most of the targets survived by using shielding or evasion. You might even further slow their reload just to make sure they get one volley before having to wait.
Tier Four: Same as Tier 3 except with more power.
The CDP graph would look something more like this:
The large jump from 1 to 2 gives it the ability to destroy unshielded fighters, and the large jump from tier 2 to 3 allows it to destroy almost any unshielded target. This could be done by either increasing the damage of each tier dramatically. I used 2, 6, 20, 30 for each tier in my graph. Or you could add a perk that if enemy target is unshielded then this weapon gets +200% damage to that ship.
For beams I would lean into their high accuracy committing them to a fighter, bomber, frigate, and destroyer removal system. They almost always land their shots, but it will take them a long time to whittle through the high health and defenses of cruisers, battleships, and dreadnoughts. They would still need a boost to their damage output so they could do damage to those targets, but not so much that they can eat into the larger ships.
For kinetics they would struggle to hit anything smaller than a cruiser late game relegating them to more of a broadside cannon role in the end game.
Anyway I'd enjoy some more conversation on how other people think weapons should function. This is the month they're planning to do a lot of that work based on the roadmap and discord comments.