Firstly let me adress the entire squad issue a lot of people have been going on about. From a Developer/Business point of view you cannot refuse friends playing together. People will find each other over Discord, play together as a group of random people or simply as longtime friends. That cannot be helped...
What can be helped though is the general balance in the game.
I have noticed some trends lately when it comes to winning games, which only becomes even easier with 1-3 friends in a squad...
This will most likely be a series of "Findings" over the coming weeks due to having so much input with current balance issues, but let me start with one of the most frustrating parts, arti pods....
Issue What I have noticed lately is a massive amount of Tac cruisers tend to win games, especially T4 tac cruisers. Having 1 destroyer/dreadnought taking point, with 3-4 tac cruisers supporting it, the cruisers simply throw out massive amount of pods, both repair and artilery pods. Which results in a complete minefield for anyone wanting to try and disrupt/stop them. Now the repair pods dont do a whole lot to incoming flankers/dive player, but the arti pods on the hand have seemed to flipped the entire balance of the defensive game.
Some stats on the Arti pod - Invulnerable, unless destroyed with a pulse module. - Damage per Second: 833 - Damage per shot: 5000 - Rate of Fire: 10 shots per minute (Fires every 6 seconds, and dont have to manually aim) - Pod firing range: 7000m (10% less than an arti cruiser) - Cooldown 30 sec (lifetime 40 sec) - With cooldown reduction module you can have between 2-3 out at a time, as there is no limit.
As the pod is a single shot firing solution lets compare it to the Vucari (Tier 3, Akula Vektor, Artileri Cruiser) main weapon, which also fires only one shot at a time.
Ship statistics are as following. - 16000 Health, can be hit by anything. - Damage per Second: 1497 - Damage per shot: 5000 (3500 at 7000-7700 meter range) - Rate of Fire: 18 shots per minute (Fires every 3,33 seconds, but have to manually aim, and fire) - Gun firing range: 7000m optimal, 7700 falloff where it deals 3500 damage per shot. - Funny enough no cooldown, but has an arsenal of modules, which makes a bit more flexible.
I have tried going in with a T3 corvette, which is 8000HP standard and 10000 with "Reinforced" briefing, several times only to be shot out of the sky by a dual shot by the arti pods. I have tried blink warping straight in their face, sneaking up on them, and popping shield from an unnoticed player angle. The arti pod, excuse my language, does not give a ****...
When there is enough of them, the amount of shots, damage done, and chance to hit will simply be higher than what a corvette have. Also if the enemy notice you, there is incoming fire from their team included. Which only makes your job even harder being either a Corvette or Destroyer, the incoming damage will be massive.
The arti pod deals insane amounts of damage, on my Koschei (T4 Heavy Tac Cruiser) I have seen my points go way up in some games after getting the pod, the Koschei cannot do damage with its beam, but only heal. I have gotten more control in my healing, due to the increased map control from the arti pods, repair pods are easier to bunch up, as enemy dont dare to move forward, and I also get a kills. The amount of kills/assists, from doing nothing other than deploying one pod (2 with modules), simply seems wrong...
With office briefings I manage 2 arti pods out easily (without modules), and that makes a 10000 damage come out every 6 seconds. If you got 2-3 T4 Tac Cruisers that make a staggering 30000 damage every 6 seconds, which come in high delivery packages at 5000 damage a pop.
I find this type of pod extremely difficult to counter, it got high alpha damage, extremely precise (aims and fires instantly), and as a user it is "Fire and Forget". Launch it and it will do your dirty job for you, while you focus on healing and whatver else.
I do agree we need a "Guard dog" pod, but let it not be this. First move of any T4 Tac cruiser (apart from researching the pod) is flying up until you hit the sealing if the map. Then deploy the arti pod and go back down. You now how massive coverage of a huge part of the map for 30seconds, the only counter fly all the way up to the pod, use a pulse, and get away from the fire of the enemy team.
I could see some solutions to this issue...
Firstly Rebalancing the pod to having 3k range instead of 7k. This would also make the arti cruisers have a chance of avoiding the pod at range, and making it more effective against destroyers. Corvettes would, with skil,l be able to blink under its raders and use its pulse module to disrupt the pods and defensive formations, before the pods blow them to pieces.
Secondly Remove it from the game, and replace it with a high firing "autoguns" mechanic that most of the ship classes have. I can foresee some issues with this though, as destroyers will not be as threatened, but the corvettes will melt when a high amount of "Autoguns" pods are available.
Thirdly Make it destroyable by aiming at it, but I find this highly unlikely simply because hitting a repair pod at 3000m seems like a pain.
I know it is a wall of text, but what you think?