I don’t agree with OP, I personally enjoy smaller games a lot (good change of pace, more tactical) but let’s talk LRF.
I would argue LRF is too underpowered. It can be powerful in a hands of a good player - sometimes, specially against bad players, but it is generally a ship that makes problems, mostly due to nature of the game objectives and maps that provide too much cover for snipers. The mechanic of itself is not appropriate, and just doesn’t really fit the game. If less pugs would pick LRF in small games that would be much more sensible, but once they start doing that once you need the ships at the front…
The problem is that the meta in the game is brawling. Everything is done short-range. Objectives are done in close proximity, most weapons are close to mid range, all interceptor weapons are close range and whenever there is a team fight in CtB, TDM or CR players allready start to complain that the game is boring with everyone camping, also we don’t have proper weapons for long range engagement, so there is not much point in camping except making the game boring. It is one of those rare situations where LRF is viable, but even there you will still have your brawlers that will try to force enemy out of cover, but ussualy the side with more LRF will lose because they will lack support up front.
The LRF do not provide the number count needed up front for clearing objectives, every time you stay behind to snipe you are hurting your team by not being there, since your sniping is only vaguely, situationally viable. You have no other ways to support your team but sniping. You have no debuff modules and no buff modules, it all just depends on how good and lucky you are with your aim and positioning (hence why SO many bad LRF players around, there are no “I win” buttons in this class).
Bottom line, LRF is still crap because of the way the mechanic of the game goes, and as long as being present upfront is more helpful than staying behind, there will be no point of using an LRF and it will keep hurting your team if you do it, until they change the class to adapt it to current game mechanics. It would make more sense to have a highly mobile sniper, than a slow frigate like now, it is just not working out and it forces you to stay put without being able to follow the team. LRF should be something that you fear, not just a slight annoyance as to what it is now.
Fix the LRF, fix the pug problems with making classes more viable and balanced (LRF is unbalanced because it is only good in good player > bad player, than everybody complains if they have LRF on their team and there are HUGE complaints if there is a good LRF on the enemy team wiping players flying in straight lines), and you make the game what it should be.