Your second idea with map interaction is really too much, it fits more for a commander chosen by the players rather than a kind of ship class/abilities. It's not a carrier at this point it's the Capital ship ! Not to forget that you can have multiple Carrier ship.

I see no way to have carriers function similarly to the other classes of ships as far as player selection and use go. That's just not how carriers are used in combat. They are outside the battle and reach into it with their launched craft. Having 3 out of 5 people on a team outside of the standard playing area would break the game flow. The ideas I presented were under the assumption that only one player could operate a carrier, most likely in a special game mode.

Through energy management, we already see speed/shield/strength trade-off.

If breeds exist within each class, I'd like to see it affect available field of attack and attack methods.

I think the overwhelming effectiveness of the artillery is subject to how aware and coordinated a team is. I found it quite easily to scan around me quickly, picking up on corvettes even when cloaked. They're no match defensively for well placed shots.

But that was only one game. Perhaps if they coordinated better, making more use of the jump abilities, this might not have been the case. I think a beta is the only way to get a large enough sample size of gameplay to determine balance.

If they were to nerf the artillery, I would not want them to reduce the strength of the cannon, but instead perhaps tweak the firing cone. I found it weird that a ship so clearly linear due to being a cannon with engines could fire 30 degrees off the nose. Forcing they player to control the orientation of the ship more precisely, or having a direct correlation between firing angle off boresight and shot damage (one could argue that the gun's coils would drain energy to steer the shot) could indirectly nerf the effectiveness of the sniper craft. The only other option may be to subtly tweak damage/range properties.

I find that most corrective measures on weapon strength in games tend to over react, rendering the adjusted element too ineffective. The best adjustment should leave some people crying foul.

If you look to reality for an analog, I think you'd struggle adding player-controlled carriers into the game.

You don't commit carriers into a fight; they are extremely stand off. There would be little to do between sending fighters out and recalling them. I'll take some time and really flesh out some ideas.

My full opinion on carriers:

Movement, shields, and on-board weapons

Carriers are going to be big, that's a given. They should move slow, which should be fine because carriers should not be in the fight. Their launched fighters engage, and, ideally, a carrier should not be fired upon.

Large ships should imply large reactors, giving carriers dreadnought-level shielding.

Lastly, carriers should have small, close-range weaponry. Something comparable to the artillery's secondary weapon: light cannons to repel quick-attack strikers.

Player control versus AI

This is where I have a lot of opinions. With little to do between launching fighter waves and being stationed well outside the fight, player control could be rather boring. Having AI control over this could be effective, though mechanics would have to be implemented to allow other players to influence who and how the carrier's fighters attack. Simple coding could be implemented to handle point defense of the ship proper.

The other alternative, I think, may require more game development. There could be implemented a sort of Fleet Commander position, who operates "within" the carrier, controlling its functions but also being able to interact more indirectly with the other players. For examples, this commander may be able to interact with mini-map and HUD beacons/tags, vector fighters to targets via the map, or even go so far as control environment elements (maybe static turrets, moving structures, etc), but that may really start compounding the complexity of adding in carriers.

The other alternative is to have the carrier controller interact more with the fighters themselves. Instead of just deploying the fighters, the player could pilot them, switching between egressing fighters, spent from battle, to ingressing bombers. This would cut down on the "boredom" a carrier pilot may experience.

Launched craft

I envision the actual launched craft mechanics operating similar to Battlestations: Midway. The controller would have access to multiple types of crafts to be committed through a set number of hangers. Types could be numerous: fighters to protect other craft, bombers to target ships, repair drones to buttress your teammates defenses, or perhaps a more exotic options. Each type would differ in their speed, strength, shields, and formation numbers. Each hanger could be selected to launch any type, allowing the carrier to keep a level of flexibility to remain relevant at any stage of the battle. However, there would be a set number of hangers to limit what is committed at one time, as well as a hard limit to the number of crafts the carrier has over the course of the battle. Commit nothing but bombers with no cover early on? Rough, you've run out and only have fighters left. As sorties return alive, their numbers would be returned to your totals.

Finally, these craft would likely warp into and out of battle, given the distance from the fight the carrier should be.

Would love feedback on these ideas.

Dreadnought was great at East. My four friends and I committed to investing this game on the spot.

Spent the rest of the weekend discussing play strategy, class selection in our group, and how to best use each ships' abilities.

[Excitement Intensifies]

Saw a YouTube video yesterday. They discussed this and the swapping of abilities. Well try to find it.

Had this thought earlier today.

Could be incorporated as a game mode: Carrier Defense. Either large carriers or stations could be AI controlled, launching drone waves with small anti-aircraft-like weaponry.

With the large size and implied slow movement, there would need to be some mechanic to counter artillery cruiser/sniper fire. Maybe a shield system, with vulnerable "projectors" that have to be disabled from within the large radius shield?