As a minimum, it should be much more convenient to change home bases for fleets. The interface for this is currently painful and a huge step backwards.
Another two issues were also present in DW: U.
- a fleet cannot exist with zero ships. If it suffers a fleet wipe, that fleet cannot be reinforced.
- management of ship reserves for fleets.
Functions of levels in the hierarchy:
Fleet Template: As of now, some functions changed to Fleet level.
Ships of Fleet: As of now.
Fleet Management: New and Different from now.
Fleet Management: An administrative layer where the player manages:
- Fleet Template to follow.
- New functions introduced in 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 (Ship role upgrade/downgrade, Trim Excess, Auto-upgrade)
- Home base.
- Attack target.
- "Front Management" or Area of Operations.
- Engagement Range
- Construction Yards
- Reserves for Fleets
The engagement range is often fiddly. The range of a sector is still opaque, 10 months after release, and frequently too small. The step up from sector range to % of fuel ranges can be huge, and refitting to pull off surplus fuel due to reactor, fuel cell and hyperdrive technology advances can be annoying. I think this needs to be better. Ideally, there would be a distance slider with text input, maxing out at 50% of the fuel range. That is exactly what I do now, I just need to pull off fuel cells and adjust reactors to manipulate the number.
I'd also like a function where the player defines an area of operations or a front. With this, I could trust automated fleet posture management.
For example, using a defensive fleet as an example, I define its home base as a fuel mining station halfway between my homeworld and a colony. Then the Boskarans come and wipe that mining station out. I'd like the fleet's home base reassigned in the vicinity so it is still capable of defending the approximate area I want it to (the two worlds). It's not an engagement range. I don't want it to defend a circle of radius 33% of the fuel range from the new base (which could be much closer to one colony than the other), but keep defending both.
The huge issue is that the defended area increases with the square of range. One colony may be a relatively long way from another. Getting a fleet to defend both high-value colonies results in it defending an unmanageably large area full of expendable assets. Getting two fleets to defend both high-value colonies is twice as expensive.
Similarly, for attack fleets, one fleet could be dedicated to a particular theatre. It's often the case I want an attack fleet to focus on a particular empire, not everything possible within an omnidirectional radius.
Construction Yards: It would be absolutely great to choose construction yards to prioritise reinforcing particular fleets with.
An important issue is that the game frequently does not respect that distance requires time to travel, and it will treat every shipyard in the empire as equivalent. This is a problem if a fleet takes a longer time to assemble after production. It is conceivable a ship produced across the empire could take as long (or longer) to travel to a fleet rally point than a nearby shipyard would take to produce every ship and have them immediately rallied.
Finally, ship reserves for fleets.
It would be great to define the number of ships to keep in reserve (either idle or doing low-risk missions) to relieve a fleet when its ships are damaged in combat. I'd like this number with a default set by the fleet template, overwritable from the Fleet Management layer.