I was testing fleet designs to determine if I could build an invulnerable fleet. I succeeded quite well. Just 5 Kols and 5 Dunovs can basically whip any AI fleet in the game, no matter how large. On a large map, I was walking around with 4 such fleets devastating everything in my path. The 5 Kols provide the up-front firepower and long-life (due to the shield special ability and the heavier armor, as well as the flak cannons to take out bombers). The Dunovs provided shield restoration for the Kols and each other, as well as a nice allotment of fighters and bombers. In the entire game (14 hours with max number of enemies) I lost only 2 Dunovs. Both times, I lost them due to the Dunovs straying from the main pack of ships (they were chasing after a fleeing ship and I was fighting more than one battle simultaneously, so I didn't notice until it was too late). In the majority of the battles, my ships never dropped below 1000 shield points remaining. In one battle, I had to manually manage the Dunov abilities to focus on restoring shields on Kols that were taking a heavy pounding. Mind you, this battle had about 30 Frigates, 20 Light Carriers, about 30 other cruiser class ships, and 3 capital ships, as well as 4 hangers and 19 gauss cannons all firing at me. And this was despite the bug that seems to be plauging the Dunovs that prevents them from firing at their proper rate (which I will post about in another thread).
The issue I see is this: The Kols are very hard to kill and do massive damage. They are awesome for a front-line capital ship. The Dunovs do almost as much damage as the Kols, but are far worse at taking damage. However, with enough Dunovs as support, their shield regeneration abilities can completely overpower the weapons fire from the fleets that the AI puts together. I think if the AI could build better fleets, the combination would be much less successful. For instance, if the AI used 5 Kols to back up their other ships, they would be much harder to fight. Also, if the AI stopped using so many fighters, it would not only make their firepower less transient / fleeting, it would make their ships harder to kill. With them using 28 fighter/bomber fleets and me casting a level 3 magnetize on their capital ships, carrier ships, and hangers, they pretty much just kill themselves. First I target their capital ship with one. When it is destroyed, I target the hangers and light carriers with it. They build new squads quickly and just end up detonating them on their own hulls. Meanwhile, my fighters and bombers are free to attack their other ships and gauss cannons while my capital ships take out the carriers and hangers.
So, in short, the AI is too reliant on squadrons and not reliant enough on capital ships. And, since there is no weapons platform with a range that can reach across the entire gravity well, the weapons platforms are basically useless. I just sit outside their range and direct my bombers and fighters to deal with them.