Remember, the more automation, the better for the AI which has trouble with thinking for itself.
The most recent HoI game has a system where the amount of a divisions a leader can have is determined by their rank, and I think that in Stellaris this can be accomplished and along the way establish 3 things:
- Adding Ranks would increase the importance of individual ships, which is a very, very, very common Space SciFi mechanic (Enterprise, Enterprise, and the Enterprise, for example) I know what you're thinking, adding a Captain for each individual ship would be a ridiculous micro-management mess. However, in my vision only Cruisers-Titans (Non-modded base game) would have Captains, and if a fleet becomes large enough, say, 10+cruisers to start with, then they would be divided into squadrons, 1 captain to every 4 cruisers, for example. That way you're not micro-managing on a useless level. Additionally, the option to allow automatic Captain selection would be available. So, as a fleet increases in size and power, the higher the rank needed for all the ships to be in the same fleet.
- This would allow less technologically capable empires, who have access to particularly skilled captains to bolster their fleets and give them an edge in order to simulate creative tactics. Additionally, the more varied your fleet, (not just a single type of ship) the more tactics your captains and admirals have access to, increasing a skilled fleet's chances of victory, or, at least making the enemy's victory a costly one that can slow their advance. This, in my limited opinion, would be a great asset in mitigating death-stacks or the popular "What is the point of cruisers in 2400."
- This would make battles more organic. Giving dice rolls and scripted tactics translated to visuals, would make battles seem like they flow more logically and naturally. For example, your admiral's tactic is to harass enemy capital ships, while your capital ships engage their support ships. Visually represented by captains and their assigned squadrons to carry out those orders would make the battle look like an actual battle rather than some kind of mindless charge of brute forcing your way through their fleet. I understand this would be a significant overhaul, to the point the engine may not even conceivably handle it. But, imagining two fleets meeting with phases, tactics, and assignments would be very attractive. Not to mention flavor, for example, non-militarists wouldn't have much control over tactics, leaving the battle entirely up to the admirals and captains, while authoritarians and militarists have more control over it, making skilled captains and admirals less useful to them, while making them more valuable to non-authoritarians or non-militarists.
Battles would then proceed through phases, this would make battles much more cinematic and immersive, and logically, tactically, and strategically sound.
Instead of charging into each other, the fleets would meet at a certain distance and begin 3 phases of battle:
- Skirmish – Skirmish is exactly what it sounds like. Strike Bombers try to reach the other side, while Strike Fighters seek to stop the other side's bombers from getting through. For example, if you win this phase, your strike bombers are able to target enemy vessels, their targets depend on either your choice, or the captain or highest ranking officer commanding the fleet. Point Defense weapons are now very important.
- Harassment – The winner of the Skirmish, begins with Corvettes and Strike Fighters assaulting enemy light-ships, in an attempt to break formations and cause squadrons to pursue them. If successful, their ships will pursue yours, until they are in range of your capital artillery ships, who then tear them up. The chance for squadrons to break formation depends on many factors, species' traits, captain and admiral skill level, ethos, and a morale system. However, if your ships fail to draw them in, and they remain in range of the enemies capital ships for too long, then you lose this phase.
- Assault – This is what it all comes down to. In this phase You or the commanding officer of the fleet will then employ tactics, some of which would be unique to a civic, ethos, etc. But the universal 3 would be Flanking, Encirclement, or Direct Assault. I will expand on these concepts below.
Flanking – You or the Officer commanding the fleet assigns captains and squadrons to a flank, usually your heaviest ships, to focus on an enemy left or right flank. While sending numerous but lighter squadrons to pin down the other enemy flank to prevent relief.
If successful, their flank your heavy ships are focusing on will collapse, with most of them breaking and running away. The rest of the fleet will take a huge morale hit, and a general rout will begin. However, if their ethos allows for the no-retreat doctrine, they will fight to the death, but because they're out-maneuvered, it isn't too much of a threat.
If flanking fails, then the squadrons are recalled to join the lines while the enemy counter-attacks with the same 3 choices.
Encirclement – This tactic is better suited to fleets with high numbers of light ships. It is basically the encirclement of the enemy, which has lethal consequences or advantages. Anyone who studies war knows, always give the enemy an escape route, or they will fight for their lives and become more ferocious and deadly than ever before. If it fails, the enemy's morale will jump up to 100% and your forces will lose so many ships in the attempt to annihilate them that it is possible for an instant rout to occur. However if successful, the entire enemy fleet is destroyed with no survivors.
Direct Assault – Recommend only if you greatly overpower the enemy, or have ships to spare. Essentially the default battles we have right now, simply sending everything in at once in a charge-style assault.
This might seem too complicated, but it's really not different from the excel battles we already have in other Paradox titles, I just had to explain what it would look like since Stellaris is the most visual title.
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© Post "The way I believe ‘Fleet Command Limit’ should be handled, as well as battles and the end of death-stacking" for game Stellaris.
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