How do we make Destroyers and Cruisers more desirable in the late game?

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fourteenfour

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To separate out my suggestion from the text I had with regards to efficiency of ship types.

apply a minimum range to Large, Titanic, Missile, and Torpedo, weapon mounts. This will encourage the inclusion of ships with smaller weapons which can close inside this minimum range value and effectively be immune to a ship with all Large mounts.

I do think that in some cases the tracking value for medium weapons should be higher to negate the evasion values Corvettes can put up. Light speed weapons should pretty much negate the ability to be dodged except at extreme ranges but I don't want to clutter the game with realism.
 

fourteenfour

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Destroyers: 2x4 utility slot (so they will be similar to Cruiser)
Battleship: Double production time, so getting or loosing BS would be hard.
Cruiser: More interesting modules.
Bow: 1xH so we can proper carriers
Stern 2xP if you need that screan use
Stern 1xG for Torpedo boats

Generally with Cruiser is the problem that every module is like random staff put togeher, so you cant have proper ship with define purpose.

Other option is having like small bonus against ships one step below. So Corvettas<Destroyers<Cruiisers<Battleship. But Battleships cant exacly hit corvetas. Maybe a bonus to weapons of sertain size, like destroyer could be have bonus to small weapons, cruiser to medium, BS to L. Corvettas are fast and evasive so they have a bonus in that.

I would love more module options for both Destroyers and Cruisers. We seem to have an inability to create single purpose ships unless they are exclusively beam or kinetic load outs. I would love an all missile destroyer or cruiser and perhaps an all hangar cruiser design. It certainly would make recreating ships from other games (SFB anyone or B5 Wars) easier if not ships from books, movies, and shows.

I really do not like the Rock paper Scissors meta that so many other Games have now a days i one variety or another. Isn't there another way to make multiple Strategies vailable? (I have no idea just throwing my opinion out there)

Most of the games do not deal with the sheer number of ships that a Stellaris battle has
 

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I have a few thoughts on how to improve combat in general in ways that might provide a better basis to work from.

1. High alpha weapons have to go. One of the supposed hats of cruisers and destroyers is that they are better at combat disengagement than other hulls. But combat disengagement stops existing as a mechanic as soon as Proton Launchers/X weapons hit the field, because nothing ever gets a disengage roll when it's taking 75% of its hull with every hit and so will never be in a situation where it has survived a hit at under 50% hull.

There are three components to this, in my opinion. Increase hull hitpoints across the board (eg. start at 500/1000/2000/4000 and double that via techs, instead of getting +66% from techs), reduce alpha damage of the XL weapons whilst increasing their rate of fire and sticking Proton/Neutrons back in the bin (maybe making them T weapons again with a particular hat), and remove all bonus damage to hull on weapon types. Hull is the "neutral" bar that everything does even damage to. That makes disengagement much easier to keep, and means that fleets with mid size combatants can score strategic victories by trading effectively because they survive by disengage but the ships on the extreme ends of the sizes can get tactical victories but at higher strategic cost because they stick around to die instead.

The aim should be that no ship takes more than about 20-25% average hull damage from any weapon that can actually hit it, guaranteeing at least one disengage roll.

2. Accuracy is too high and Tracking is too easy to get. I would go as far as to flatten weapon accuracy. All unguided weapons are now 75%. Flatten tracking per size, so all S weapons have 60%, M weapons have 40%, L weapons have 20%, and X weapons have 0. The only sources of extra tracking would be from ship computers, which would be more individually defined between classes so that tracking was unavailable to Battleships and above. This would mean that X weapons could never hit corvettes and the big scary one shot weapons are big and scary again because they're not just doing what battleships do without them.

3. Combat repeatables are too lopsided. There are 2 weapon repeatables in Physics and 6 in Engineering. To the point that if you know you're going to go for gun battleships in the late game it's better to not even research missiles and strike craft because that prevents their repeatables from appearing. Change this so that all damage repeatables are in Physics and all rate of fire repeatables are in Engineering. (IIRC physics has the least repeatables overall whilst also being the easiest research to get bonuses to)
 
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But who said that this has to be true?

The concept of mixed fleets might be true here on our planet, but that has more to do with a lack of technology: armor is just not viable anymore and propulsion is lacking. That's the only reason why smaller ships are used (as they punch well above their weight class) and why aircraft carriers are as slow as they are. If we had armor that could only be penetrated by big enough guns, if big ships could move as fast as small ones, I assure you we would see a strong trend towards big ships. Or - in terms of Stellaris - if a Corvette was always ten times faster and always had enough firepower to kill any battleship, I'm confident that everyone would avoid building those in favor of Corvettes.

That's why battleships in Stellaris are superior to everything else, because both aforementioned problems are eventually solved by technology: shield/armor tech keeps up with weapon tech (which makes bigger always better than smaller) and propulsion tech allows for moving big ships at a fast enough rate to keep up with smaller ships.

Solving long-standing issues like those is reflected ingame by gaining certain tech (meaning Gateways, endgame Thrusters and also targeting computers), which causes all three ingame advantages of smaller ships - speed, evasion and piracy-suppression - to lose their edge. That is the very definition of the word obsolete: becoming out of date and being replaced by something better. That's why it is comparable to starbases, as it is a very straightforward approach by offering upgrades without drawbacks (aside from the resource and time costs of course).

I understand that from a realistic viewpoint one could say that troops/ships/armies/navies always needed to be diverse and the same should go for warfare in space, but arguing for realism in a galaxy that has giant dragons and undead is quite a moot point. It is believable enough that tech solves problems and reduces micromanagement, so good enough for me I guess.

And funnily enough, a bit of the dreaded realism to the whole question of speed would even invalidate the very idea of smaller ships being always faster than bigger ones, as the whole thing is just a matter of propulsion and mass. If the ratio of both remains the same, even a Juggernaut might become as fast as a Corvette.

Anyways, the game doesn't forbid mixed fleets, you may use them as much as you like. It may give you a bit of a disadvantage in competetive multiplayer, but then again, so do other things as well, like choosing the 'wrong' Ascension, traits or origin.

I see no need to change a working system. There are a few things that are broken in this game, but this here isn't one of them.
The progression of armor in Stellaris makes no sense. Kinetic weapons increasing in damage from basically 1 to 2.45 to 6 (S- to M- to L-slot) does make sense, as a kinetic slug accelerating down a 26% longer barrel (from S- to M-slot), even when using only twice the power and a slug at twice the mass, will end up travelling faster, and force of impact is mass times the square of velocity. But armor is a volume and mass of material, and the cost in (amount of) minerals only doubles. If the volume of a Destroyer is twice that of a Corvette (quite a few systems indicate a doubling on each size increase), then its surface area would only increase by the square of a proportional dimensional increase (i.e., 26% dimensional, 59% surface area). That means the thickness increases by 26%, but Stellaris no longer models armor on thickness (per hit resistance) - it's just a pile of hit points. There's definitely no reason for the armor to increase not just by 100%, but another 45% on top of that (other than to keep pace with the kinetic weapons).

A Battleship in Stellaris with the same ratios of armor to shields and the same techs in armor, as a similarly advanced Corvette, would:
  • By mass only have 8 times as much armor as the Corvette, with the thickness being only twice as much.
  • By the game's values have 12 times as much armor, two x245% size increases and then a doubling in quantity. If that additional 50% is applied entirely to thickness, the Battleship would have 3x the thickness of the Corvette's armor.
Shields make about as much sense as the armor, as they have the same issues with surface area, spot strength, and total capacity as armor, and again have little justification for the bonus based on size increase (I'm not really confident in my ability to run the math on increases in emitters versus just increases in power input to know for certain).
 
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I don't see much value in must-be-more-like-reality arguments. Light-speed shots would take over 5 hours to travel distance from sun to pluto and armored vehicles do not have equal armor thickness all round.

Best way to design any system is probably to build it from ground up with all its laws, then image how it would operate and what will emerge as a necessary and logical consequence of the initial conditions. For combat to have diversity of ships, the combat has to be complicated enough to warrant that. Combat "jobs" in Stellaris are pretty limited: kill ships, bomb planets, invade planets, well, PD maybe. PD and bombing can be combined since both require a lot of ships and bombardment does not even care about weapons. Which leaves exactly two "jobs", which get filled by bs and corvettes. I don't think inventing new modules for cruisers or shaking weapons would help. Warfare needs more "jobs" to require more shiptypes.
 
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wodzu_93

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I have a few thoughts on how to improve combat in general in ways that might provide a better basis to work from.

1. High alpha weapons have to go. One of the supposed hats of cruisers and destroyers is that they are better at combat disengagement than other hulls. But combat disengagement stops existing as a mechanic as soon as Proton Launchers/X weapons hit the field, because nothing ever gets a disengage roll when it's taking 75% of its hull with every hit and so will never be in a situation where it has survived a hit at under 50% hull.

There are three components to this, in my opinion. Increase hull hitpoints across the board (eg. start at 500/1000/2000/4000 and double that via techs, instead of getting +66% from techs), reduce alpha damage of the XL weapons whilst increasing their rate of fire and sticking Proton/Neutrons back in the bin (maybe making them T weapons again with a particular hat), and remove all bonus damage to hull on weapon types. Hull is the "neutral" bar that everything does even damage to. That makes disengagement much easier to keep, and means that fleets with mid size combatants can score strategic victories by trading effectively because they survive by disengage but the ships on the extreme ends of the sizes can get tactical victories but at higher strategic cost because they stick around to die instead.

The aim should be that no ship takes more than about 20-25% average hull damage from any weapon that can actually hit it, guaranteeing at least one disengage roll.

2. Accuracy is too high and Tracking is too easy to get. I would go as far as to flatten weapon accuracy. All unguided weapons are now 75%. Flatten tracking per size, so all S weapons have 60%, M weapons have 40%, L weapons have 20%, and X weapons have 0. The only sources of extra tracking would be from ship computers, which would be more individually defined between classes so that tracking was unavailable to Battleships and above. This would mean that X weapons could never hit corvettes and the big scary one shot weapons are big and scary again because they're not just doing what battleships do without them.

3. Combat repeatables are too lopsided. There are 2 weapon repeatables in Physics and 6 in Engineering. To the point that if you know you're going to go for gun battleships in the late game it's better to not even research missiles and strike craft because that prevents their repeatables from appearing. Change this so that all damage repeatables are in Physics and all rate of fire repeatables are in Engineering. (IIRC physics has the least repeatables overall whilst also being the easiest research to get bonuses to)
Regarding tracking and accuracy - I've found out that replacing all +Tracking bonuses with +% Tracking helps - this way bonus is proportional to weapon's base tracking. S slots scale against increasing evasion nicely with this, L slots barely have any improvement and XL stay at 0. 50-60% chance to evade on Destroyers VS Battleship alpha salvo really helps in survivability.
 
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GloatingSwine

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Regarding tracking and accuracy - I've found out that replacing all +Tracking bonuses with +% Tracking helps - this way bonus is proportional to weapon's base tracking. S slots scale against increasing evasion nicely with this, L slots barely have any improvement and XL stay at 0. 50-60% chance to evade on Destroyers VS Battleship alpha salvo really helps in survivability.

The advantage of leaving it flat but restricting which ships can get it means that it can be used to allow Destroyers to effectively bring M guns to bear on Corvettes, which should let them more effectively outshoot them due to the fact that weapons get approx 2.3:1 scaling with size.
 

Cordane

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Regarding tracking and accuracy - I've found out that replacing all +Tracking bonuses with +% Tracking helps - this way bonus is proportional to weapon's base tracking. S slots scale against increasing evasion nicely with this, L slots barely have any improvement and XL stay at 0. 50-60% chance to evade on Destroyers VS Battleship alpha salvo really helps in survivability.
Stepped bonuses (i.e., thruster bonuses to Evasion, but by slot size versus hull size) might be "fairer", but would be harder to apply correctly as a hull auxiliary slot bonus.
 

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When you think about it, stellaris's fleet combat mimics WWII naval combat, at least in theory. Battleships and carriers are your heavy hitters, while late game the corvette almost takes on the role of a submarine. They're evasive and can do great damage to enemy capital ships.
In WWII naval combat the new important innovation that changed everything was striking over the horizon with aircraft. In Stellaris there is no horizon and the pew-pew is faster, can't be shot down, and has equivalent range to the fighters and bombers. The parallel you draw is invalid and so is misleading. The only parallel that tenuously works is with with WWI naval combat, which was big ships with big guns blasting each other at the maximum range, with small ships trying to make torpedo runs to luck out with a big kill for small expense even if the attacking small ship was lost.
 
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In WWII naval combat the new important innovation that changed everything was striking over the horizon with aircraft. In Stellaris there is no horizon and the pew-pew is faster, can't be shot down, and has equivalent range to the fighters and bombers. The parallel you draw is invalid and so is misleading. The only parallel that tenuously works is with with WWI naval combat, which was big ships with big guns blasting each other at the maximum range, with small ships trying to make torpedo runs to luck out with a big kill for small expense even if the attacking small ship was lost.
In WWI the initial aircraft carriers had flattop-launched aircraft that didn't have much greater range than that reachable by the big naval guns (the biggest US guns reached a max of 21 miles, well past the horizon for even a very high observation deck ) - not that those aircraft were able to do jack to a battleship. By WWII the aircraft weren't attacking over the horizon, but hundreds of miles away, and the biggest US guns got all the way to ... 24 miles.

Stellaris has absurd presented ranges for its direct-fire weapons, based on the false distances involved on the system view to account for the "game clock = calendar" time scale. The best starting energy weapons will probably have effective ranges of (at most) a handful of millions of kilometers (e.g., 3M km would be around 10 light-seconds). Kinetic weapons will, of course, hit just as hard at any range from 100 meters to actual light-years away, but whether or not they could hit any mobile target they were aimed at is entirely another story. Kinetics able to reach 1% of the speed of light will take 100 seconds to reach a target at 300,000 km away (1 light-second) - even a sizeable ship using lateral thrusters (not as a reaction after seeing the shot fired, but just using proactive "drunk walking") could consistently cause any shot from that range to fail. Getting a kinetic shell to that velocity, especially in a turreted barrel, would be difficult, wearing on barrel components and extremely power hungry, but it could be managed. What if you could somehow get it to 10% c? At that same 1 light-second range, it's now just 10 seconds to deviate, but what if you're now trying to match the beam weapons? You're now back to that 100-ish second lag time at 10% c. Oh and good luck getting it faster than that - run the math on just the 100% efficient power consumption and tell me if you're fitting that on a ship-board reactor.

Using a proportionately smaller version of the same thrusters used on warships, a GW could pull 8 gravities of constant acceleration (9.81 m/s^2 x 8 = 78.48 m/s^2) and cross 10 light-seconds in a little under 2-1/2 hours; a strike craft, at half that acceleration and having to flip-over to decelerate to a manageable velocity before engaging, could reach point-blank range in a little under 5 hours. Ten million kilometers (33.3 light-seconds) would be damn near impossible to hit a mobile target with either beams or kinetics, but GW get there in 4-1/2 hours and SC in less than 9. (For crew endurance context, B-2 Spirit stealth bombers are regularly capable of making global bombing runs in excess of 24 hours, topping out at a 34-hour round-trip from Whiteman AFB, MO to attack an ISIS training camp in Syria in 2017. And yes, I'm not looking at SC as being a cockpit-only snub fighter, but closer 1-2 orders of magnitude larger.) I'm probably being conservative in my assessment of the acceleration on GW, as they could probably start the game at a higher value; SC possibly have meat pilot considerations that limit their available acceleration, but AI controls or inertial compensators could mitigate those ceilings as well.
 
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I have a few thoughts on how to improve combat in general in ways that might provide a better basis to work from.

1. High alpha weapons have to go. One of the supposed hats of cruisers and destroyers is that they are better at combat disengagement than other hulls. But combat disengagement stops existing as a mechanic as soon as Proton Launchers/X weapons hit the field, because nothing ever gets a disengage roll when it's taking 75% of its hull with every hit and so will never be in a situation where it has survived a hit at under 50% hull.

3. Combat repeatables are too lopsided.

Many high alpha weapons compensate with long cool downs, proton launchers are on the order of 16 days before fire rate adjustments; that may be the real issue is that there are just too many methods to increase fire rate. I would prefer to ditch repeatable technologies all together and instead replace it with esoteric research which allows you to blunder into a random technology you cannot normally research and I mean very very very rare. We can still mitigate many large weapons by giving them a minimum range so that ships can get inside of that range

A Battleship in Stellaris with the same ratios of armor to shields and the same techs in armor, as a similarly advanced Corvette, would:
  • By mass only have 8 times as much armor as the Corvette, with the thickness being only twice as much.
  • By the game's values have 12 times as much armor, two x245% size increases and then a doubling in quantity. If that additional 50% is applied entirely to thickness, the Battleship would have 3x the thickness of the Corvette's armor.
Shields make about as much sense as the armor, as they have the same issues with surface area, spot strength, and total capacity as armor, and again have little justification for the bonus based on size increase (I'm not really confident in my ability to run the math on increases in emitters versus just increases in power input to know for certain).
I would change armor to damage reduction that is always there. As in, currently base armor on a corvette at tier one is 50 points. How about this instead be 10 points and every hit after passing through shields which remain ablative is reduced by that amount. The number has to be that low because the average red laser only does 11 so we might even lower it to 3 each ... so that an average red laser hit could actually damage the ship. This would also negate some of the corvette spam as high tier battleships might be immune to 90% of the weapons that corvette could mount; hence you may end up with more torpedo vettes :)


I don't see much value in must-be-more-like-reality arguments. Light-speed shots would take over 5 hours to travel distance from sun to pluto and armored vehicles do not have equal armor thickness all round.
No one is contemplating across the map shots even though at times Stellaris shows this; the range numbers are just so odd. The simple fact with light speed weapons is, can you dodge what you don't see until it hits? Granted super tech ships should be dancing all the time.


TL;DR Armor is broke i that is ablative as a whole when hits obviously do not hit an entire ship but merely areas of it. Large weapons have long fire delays but there are too many stacking abilities to increase fire rate.
 
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Many high alpha weapons compensate with long cool downs, proton launchers are on the order of 16 days before fire rate adjustments; that may be the real issue is that there are just too many methods to increase fire rate. I would prefer to ditch repeatable technologies all together and instead replace it with esoteric research which allows you to blunder into a random technology you cannot normally research and I mean very very very rare. We can still mitigate many large weapons by giving them a minimum range so that ships can get inside of that range

That actually doesn't address the point. The problem with high alpha relative to hull HP is that the disengagement mechanic goes away. The long rates of fire of high alpha weapons do absolutely nothing to correct that. A ship can only disengage if it takes a hit whilst under 50% hitpoints and survives. That means that weapons need to do a much lower proportion of hull HP per hit to any practical targets to allow disengagement to occur.

This cannot be balanced by slow fire rates. That is why X/Launcher battleships are so degenerate in the late game, because they instakill everything and do not allow it to disengage and repair, causing an overwhelming tactical and strategic victory.

I would change armor to damage reduction that is always there. As in, currently base armor on a corvette at tier one is 50 points. How about this instead be 10 points and every hit after passing through shields which remain ablative is reduced by that amount. The number has to be that low because the average red laser only does 11 so we might even lower it to 3 each ... so that an average red laser hit could actually damage the ship. This would also negate some of the corvette spam as high tier battleships might be immune to 90% of the weapons that corvette could mount; hence you may end up with more torpedo vettes :)

That is how armour used to work prior to 2.0. It was hilariously broken and exploitable, because if you have 90% armour you actually have 10x your base hitpoints. It meant that plasma was the only weapon worth mounting (it had the highest AP, and in the face of high damage resistance only AP mattered on weapons) and any ship that couldn't hit 90% armour was irrelevant.

Now, damage reduction could return, but the way to do it would be to have it work at a fixed level by hull size. (eg. 5/10/20/40/60 for Corvette-Titan)
 
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That is why X/Launcher battleships are so degenerate in the late game, because they instakill everything and do not allow it to disengage and repair, causing an overwhelming tactical and strategic victory.
It wouldn't be so bad if the AI used mono battleship fleets as well but they spam mixed fleets even during the late game.
 
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Disengaged fleet has a good chance of returning from emergency jump still damaged into its capital system already occupied by a fully repaired fleet which has defeated it once already. I fail to see how better or worse disengagement is relevant.
 
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x-St4n-x

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No, making AI using mono-fleets is not a solution.
Think of a shooter in which the sniper is king, because it not only does it's designated role, but performs well enough in close and mid-range, too.
How fun is the gameplay of said shooter if every enemy and every player just use sniper-rifles?
Diversity is important.

So we are back to the question on how to make every ship more viable even for endgame use. First we need to aknowledge, that there are a multitude of problems that come with the simplification of realworld mechanics so that they can be displayed in the game. And we need to acept that they can't be easily implemented. Just to name some examples:

- You pay for every corvette you replace but can repair a 5% battlehip free of charge.

- Fleeing is naturally the ability to leave the enemies firing range without receiving too much damage. So you need to be faster than your enemy and you need to evade shots. Thus, smaller and faster ships should be favored. A ship that can't leave the enemies firing range shouldn't be able to flee at all. But since the fleeing mechanic right now favors high Hp-pools and ignores evasion and speed totally the near dead 5% battleship can flee better than the fully functional 100% corvette.

- Strike craft should be a very potent weapon system, but unlike real life it isn't limited to hangar capacity and the need to replace them for an actual cost.

- If strike craft exist, no warship would ever leave the dock without a minimum amount of PD, because PD is relative cheap and doesn't require much space in return for at least some protection from a very common weaponsystem.

- Tech-rushing makes your weapons and ships arbitrarily OP. While there is some resemblence to real life it irgnores a lot of factors. Real life doesn't work in tiers, you develop a new weaponsystem, the enemy develops a counter to it. The counter is developed to the stuff you allready have, not the stuff you had 50 years ago. And even if you lack the ability develop stuff yourself you can just buy said stuff from someone who has comparable technology. Weapon trading is a very common concept, but absent in stellaris.

- Also the tech-bonuses, especially from repeatables, are bonked. They need to be scaled down the more you have, since it is physically impossible to increase damage outputs indefinitly. If your laser allready melts a hole trough the enemy ship, double the energy doesn't make two holes - it's still only one hole.
Also, the additional energy comes out of thin air, said laser doesn't need more energy to increase it's output...

I could name a lot more, but those examples should be enough to show, that the game is in it's complexity very simplified. We can't make all the factors go in as they would in reality, therefore we need to accept that our solutions will also be simplified. So we irgnore reality and just add arbitrary rules to make the outcome as it needs to be.

Solution:

A simple way would be to give whole fleets boni if they are mixed. Another way would be to give each ship an inherent damage bonus against the ship it is supposed to counter.

A more sophisticated way would be a variation of the rock-paper-scissors-scheme.
Why not standard rock-paper-scissor? Because you can win most times with only rock if you enemy doesn't use the specific counter to your rock all the time. (Basicly the situation we have now.) The variation is to make the effectivness of those 3 depend on each other.
Lets say you need to choose a "fleet" of rock, paper and scissors. Rock is king, rock beats scissors and other rocks, but rocks can't attack as long as there is paper, which is only removed by scissors. This creates an interconnecting dependence between the three. If you have no paper the enemy can directly start using his rocks. If you have no scissors you can't remove your enemies paper and thus never attack with any amount of rocks you have and if you have no rocks you have nothing to attack with after removing your enemies paper. Therefore you allways need some of each.

To make such a interconnected system work with stellaris we simplify corvettes (acting as paper) into beeing an automated screen that every fleet has by default (spawned in like strike craft) depending on the amount of cruisers, battleships and titans are present. These corvettes dimnish the effectiveness of enemy capital ships (acting as rocks) very hard in various ways without actually doing a lot of damage. Therefore destroyers (acting as scissor) come into play which specifically counter the corvette screen. But wait, you don't want your screen to be dimnished faster by the enemies destroyers, so we can add cruisers as a counter to them. (acting as weak rocks that can attack scissor even while paper is in play)

With this there can't be a mono-corvette fleet by default.
A mono-destroyer fleet would have no screen and would be decimated by anything else.
A mono-cruiser fleet would have few screens but couldn't stand against everything but a mono-destroyer fleet.
A mono-battleship fleet would have no effective way of removing the enemy screen or defending its own and would only win against other mono-fleets.
Every combination of only two would work well against any mono-fleet but worse vs any fully mixed fleet.

This system essentially forces you to mix and balance since it is not only necessary to bring enough firepower, but to make it effective while also maintaing your own protection against the enemies firepower. Eg. 2 battleships that can use 90% of their firepower thanks to some destroyers removing the enemy screen are more effective than 5 that can only use 20% each.

I hope the mechanic is understandable...

TL;DR
The good old Rock-Paper-Scissor is just a counterplay and no real solution.
To make every ship truely viable at any time they need to exert an influence on other ships that they can't replace by themself. They need to depend on each other to work to their full potential and therefore a mono-fleet is allways ineffective.
 
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Battleships should grant a bonus to smaller ships in the fleet, up to a certain amount. say for each battleship in a fleet you get a 5% bonus for up to 10 cruisers, and a 10% bonus for up to 18 destroyers, and a 15% bonus for up to 22 corvettes? the numbers of course should be decided by the dev team this is just an example. If the bonus it grants offsets the "oh just put all battleships" then people wont spam mono battleship.

Also, the alpha strike weapons are fine, mostly. they should only have a very low chance of hitting a speedy corvette though. Alpha Strike weapons are for alpha striking cruiser size ships and larger. things that cant just dodge. if any weapon has to "go" its the arc weapons. those are OP simply due to jumping target to target.
 
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if any weapon has to "go" its the arc weapons. those are OP simply due to jumping target to target.

You realise that doesn't happen, right?

Arc emitters/Cloud Lightning are the go-to when a target has 1/3 or less of their total health as hull. They are worse otherwise. (However, since there are repeatables for armour and shield and none for hull they do get better the later on in the game you go and they comically humiliate fallen empires because their ships are only about 1/5 or 1/6 hull with super strong armour and shields.
 
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ok then, I guess the alpha weapons are mostly fine. I agree with the earlier mentioned armor changes though. it would make having a lot of armor on a ship actually resist high alpha.