I understand a lot these concerns wholeheartedly. One of the things that I love about this game is that new players such as myself can have great fun alongside the more veteran players and still feel like I'm making a contribution to the team. One thing I have felt lacking is a substantial feeling of progression. As I tend to go into support roles in these types of games, I already know what it is I want and I'm just going through the numbers just for certain items. If for example experience was applied to the pilot, and in turn this xp could then be spent on boosting certain aspects of your pilot, boosting energy recharge rates or reductions in ability cool-downs. Then that way you can truly customise your character and make them more unique. Another example, make your pilot more suited for pure attack with higher than normal damage, or boost defence of your ships shields to be a tank that draws enemy fire while your friend, who specialised in stealth abilites has snuck around to flank. Also, as you go up in the tiers, how about a nice new freshly pressed uniform to show off your rank, with some other vanity items that can be purchased for real currency. As for the idea of fleet repair costs, bad idea as it would break immersion for me. ( Last time I checked the navy didn't bill Captain to repair their vessels). But... what if you and a few friends had decided to break away from one of the games factions to create your very own. Have all factions competing against each other aswell as ones controlled by the ingame factions that currently exist. On the topic of factions, not much is given about them. I only know their names by the small descriptions given in the ship parts information. I know in time this will be filled out more as the main purpose of the beta is to get the game mechanics up and running first, just please please.. don't make it where I have to go elsewhere to learn about the games lore.. hated that aspect of a certain fps game I shall not mention. For matchmaking I agree that captains of similar tiers should be sought out 1st by the system, then if theirs not enough players to fill the game then seek those of a fewer levels. Also to help balance things out a little, If player groups do join a match, have it where their levels are evened out across the whole fleet, for instance, if a tier 50 captain played with his friends who were tier 43, 36 and the new guy who was level 10... the the system game would automatically adjust stats so the whole team was even, so all captains would enter a battle as tier 34-35. So what I suggest is not to have the ships dicate the tiers much, but the abilities of the players themselves. At each tier be able to assign gained xp into different areas. 1 area to start, such as armor increase, energy efficiency, or faster reload times then when you reach tier 2, you can apply into 2 -3 different areas. Now you can upspec weapon damage, missile travel speeds or the amount anti missles lasers can lock to. Also I recommend not applying a limit, Captains never stop learning how to better their ships. Ships become our babies and we know every nut & bolt, so the more you use a certain ship, the better it performs in battles and can stand up to a little bit more punishment. Then in time Captains of a very high level can go into epic battles where the things that you have learnt are truly put to the test. Can your 2 year old Destroyer go against that 1 year old Dreadnought, but It's Captains been flying for 3.. then that way players themselves can become heros in the game and have their own customised setups on the store for people to purchase. I feel customisation will be a big thing in this regard and vanity items are a must have if your mugshots going to be public as well as having your ship blinged out to the max.
Anyway.. that was my 2 cents worth on this, sorry I went on abit but I'm very passionate about this game. It has been a long time since a game was this fun for me. I get bored of alot of arena type games but this one has me hooked. The basic gameplay is addictive, fun and playing against the "Big Boys" is awesome, and still feeling like I can contribute. Keep up the good work and looking forward so much for what comes in the future.
"I was a mechanic in the Navy. And mechanics in the Navy are like mechanics in airlines. You may have more stripes than I do, but you don't know how to fix the airplane".