What are you looking at? You are looking at a few minutes in paint meant to better visualize the concept that is being suggested: free progression.
Above is a part of the tech tree, with some Jericho interceprots renamed to represent the idea for a consistent tech tree layout, that offers freedom to the player as to how they advance.
The idea being, that within each tier, there exist three types of ships:
- Primary type ships, are the ships of each factions signature kind: for Jericho Tnterseptors that’s ECM, for Empire Fighters, that’s Gunship, ect.
- Alternative type ships, which I bet most of you have figured out by now, are the ships of each factions “borrowed” type: for Jericho Frigates that’s Long range(since despite both abilities being “signature”, it was the Phase Shield that was unique to the faction), for Federation Interceptors, that’s Recon, ect.
- Finally, Primary +, it’s the upgraded version of a factions main unit type.
Another thing you’ll notice, is that from each ship, you can either skip to it’s equivalent in the next tier, or switch type.
Want to jump tiers immediately? Or maybe you’re patient, and will only pay for top-of-the-tier quality? Perhaps you want to advance as cheap as possible, or maybe the other kind of ship is just not your thing?
In this layout, all those are things you can do.
For each of the tiers 2-4, the ships are laid out as presented.
For T1, this kind of layout is used across all three ship classes(Jerico starting with a Fighter, Federation with an Interceptor, and Empire with a Frigate).
For tier 5, the Alternative and Primary+ ships are both pushed to rank 15(as opposed to Alternative being 14).
Finaly, a word on how the tier layout plays into balance. To be honest, there’s only one consideration:
To keep all ships within a tier equivalent, while justifying Primary ships lower prices, while Primary ships have the same stats as Primary+, they have less less modification/passive slots, and a different missile config, meaning they cannot be tuned or upgraded as much. This remains true untill Tier 5, where all ships are capped in slots, and the only difference between Primary and Primary+ ships is the missile distribution(they’re priced the same).