If I may: what, in your opinion, are the issues that we (the playerbase) face?
The first issue with population, (and likely biggest) is the lack of appeal to various types of players, and skill sets of players. This is undoubtedly the single most destructive element to the game.
this come in two fundamental issues,
The lack of content variation (trading, mining, etc). If research was applied to this game, we’d see that some 73% of games in this genre are non-pvp oriented. A game focused fully upon this
aspect is a game that is limiting its population to the other 26%.
The variant level of skill now applies here, if the newer or even unskilled players cannot compete (more specifically if they feel like they cannot compete) then the game will experience massive bleeding ( the joining and leaving of new players to the game). this further diminishes the population levels.
The Lack of ** Play-ability** by the variant skill levels; If modifications where made to the game, to allow the players to enter that realm of “feeling they are doing something” Then the game will retain a large amount, if not all of that 26%. This is the most simplistic, and likely solution to bolster the games population.
Looking at option two in more detail.
Undoubtedly, Skill should play a major effect in the game. Players “feel” its important The problem in this regard rests in that the players thing Skill is dependent upon X Conditions, When it in fact is dependent upon Y conditions. Further this realm of correct understanding is blurred do to the nature of some egotistical players wanting to be “Ubar mode” and “one shot everything”.
Correction of these problems will increase the enjoyably and competitive play in the game.
How would i fix this?
I would start with reducing the damage of weapons significantly, Placing the survival of all ships under single fire to around an average of 30 seconds, however this time would be accomplished by improved accuracy rates, at the lower damage variables (in short, reduce the weapon damage, but make them hit more). This will make the unskilled, or new player “feel like” they are having an effect, There for retaining interest in the game, and reducing bleeding.
Other mechanical changes are needed in this regards, Like a limitation upon the max turn and strafe rates, preventing interceptors from moving so fast that they cannot be targeted in hit (again, the damage rates would allow them to survive longer, but be hit more often).
There is a more simplistic option in this, but it requires an advance set of calculations, It would be to add a mechanic that can be problematic in itself, so fixing the foundation is the solution.
After this, I would tailor the operational mode of modules to make the classes (especially the interceptors) much closer to their class play concepts, For example, ECM Ships (since mentioned earlier) i would change to
sit in the back idle, Jamming. They’d have a module they continiously keep on, to reduce their signature. their skill would be to spam jams of enemies, while not using to much energy to unstealth them from their active module.
I would also add a class that works directly against these effects (Covert ops, vs EW interceptor).
changes like this to classes would help improve the dynamics, and i agree paper rock scissors is not the way to set up this game, as much as it is this counters that ( a fine line between the two)