and now a few snippets of interview from each of these....
Star bases are hideously expensive space stations that can be placed anywhere within the orbital radius of a star. Unlike other facilities, they can orbit gas giants and circle asteroids or plasma storms or other space phenomena and get universal bonuses for doing so. They can also be parked in gravity wells belonging to other players. Fraser himself seems giddy at the strategic possibilities inherent in that feature. "There are definitely going to be sun-squatters," he says, referring to a new tactic in which players will now find value in placing star bases in otherwise empty star systems to get particular bonuses or to cut off key phase lanes.
While not as big a change as the addition of star bases, the team has also gone through every production facility and ship in the game and made some serious tweaks that Fraser feels will come as a surprise to long-time Sins fans. "When you're building a base, where do you put your hangers" he asks, referring to the orbital that produces small fighters. When we answer that we really don't have any one place, Fraser nods in satisfaction. "Exactly! No one does" According to Fraser, one of the development team's goals for Entrenchment was that everything on the screen needs to have a tactical function. If a logistics structure was merely a production facility, it needed to have some tactical utility added or have its functions rolled into a different structure. That led to thing like the addition of flak cannons to hangers and a meson laser and short-range missiles to gauss cannons. The flak cannons are a radius bomber defense and the additions to the gauss cannons are used against heavy vessels and zippy little ships that used to steamroll over the basic gauss. "We're giving reasons to not sit back and let the computer handle individual battles," Fraser said. "We want tactical skill to mean something."
The Ironclad development team is also looking at Entrenchment to deepen the game's strategy without making a tough learning curve even tougher. One of the ways the team found was actually to correct a mistake in the original game. "We never want to do what we did with capital ships again," Fraser said. He was referring to the possibility of eventually getting every upgrade for a capital ship. This lengthened an already long-running game by encouraging players to hold out for maxed-out flagships. Entrenchment's star bases, on the other hand, will not be able to be maxed out. Instead, players will have to decide exactly what functions they want their base to fulfill and level it accordingly. "We want players to make hard choices about what improvements they add to their star base," Fraser said. Apparently the ultimate idea is to not only makes it more fun for the base builder, but to deepen the strategy for their opponents by offering enemy units with varying capabilities to respond to.
Each of the three faction's star bases will be very expensive, far and away the most costly unit in the game. To put it into perspective, a star base will cost roughly the same as five capital ships, the most expensive unit in the original Sins, and Iron Clad estimates you won't even have enough resources for such a unit until mid-to-late into a game. But it's worth the wait. Once constructed, a star base can be placed anywhere on the map, including the previously inaccessible gravity wells of stars. A star base will allow you to attack and defend at two key points on the map. Once constructed, your fleet will be available to make key offensive attacks, while the base can manufacture frigates, as well as defend your own planetary systems with its formative attack power and range. Star bases are massive in size--a typical fighter is about 10 meters long, while a base is more than 1,000 meters long. They are not invincible, but eliminating an enemy star base would be extremely costly, requiring several capital ships and super weapons.
A problem with Sins, notes Iron Clad, is that once you took your massive fleet on the offensive, this would allow a weaker enemy to circumvent your fleet and attack a poorly defended homeworld. It was very difficult to wage wars on multiple fronts, so the star base will allow you to move the battle lines in your favor. Should you choose to go on the offensive with a star base, you could, for example, construct it in an enemy's gravity wells. All of your enemy's resources would be devoted to destroying your star base, and you would be free to mobilize your fleet.
Like capital ships, star bases will be upgradeable and able to level up. However, you will have to pick the specialization of your upgrades among military, manufacturing, and trading, so you'll have to choose your deployment location and specializations wisely.
Now, notice how the first line in each one says something to the fact that SB's will be VERY< VERY EXPENSIVE?????????????????
They are not that way right now and not being used in the way they were initially intended.