Apologies for yet another long-range frigate post, but something I thought of that might help make the guided torpedos a bit less ineffective:
- Add a special control key that leaves the torpedo running on its current course and returns control to the pilot. Torpedo explodes when it either hits something or reaches its maximum range.
- If the torpedo was locked-on to a target when the key was pressed, it autopilots to its currently locked-on target and returns the control to the pilot. Torpedo explodes when it either hits something, gets within say 3/4 of its effective explosion radius of its locked-on target, or reaches its maximum range.
These would give the torpedo frigates a bit more survivability and some more strategies for using their main weapon:
- this would allow the pilots to fire off torpedoes, point them at stationary targets like beacons or minefields, then leave it running whilst they get control back to defend against attackers, or re-position themselves like all good snipers do after every shot.
- this would allow pilots to hide back amongst debris or other obstacles, fire off a torpedo and guide it around the obstacles until it gets to open space, pick a target, lock on and then let it go on autopilot whilst they get control back to defend/reposition etc.
A balancing issue with this would be the turning circle of the torpedos on autopilot - you could maybe make it a bit less than human-guided ones so that savvy pilots could fly an evasive perpendicular course and get the torpedo to miss. Of course the autopilot would be oblivious to asteroids so you can hide behind them at long ranges.
Different defence modules could be more or less effective depending on whether or not the torp was under human control, eg:
- IR-Flares work against the auto-pilot but not against humans (which makes more sense being that IRL they have no effect on optically-guided missiles).
- Missile shields should probably always work regardless, though a smart torpedo pilot could fire a bunch of standard missiles at a target to soak up the missile shields first then follow through with the torpedo whilst they are recharging.
Anyway, thanks for reading I hope something comes out of this as I feel the torpedo frigates are pretty much the least effective ship role at the moment due to the slow travel speed and recharge time.