There has been a lot of discussion lately about balancing the Strike Craft/Carriers and Its been observed the main problem is the un-counterable strike craft that focus fire on your capital ships making it go down in seconds. I thought there has to be a more elegant solution to just buffing Flaks, and while I do support a Flak buff and preventing Carriers from instantly replacing their SC without any cost, I also always wondered why SINs never had the elegant Interceptor.
Interceptor are designed for 1 thing: to destroy other strike craft, fighters and bombers in a Air-Superority mission. Their primarily mission and purpose is dirty messy dogfighting, taking the fight to the fighters/bombers and protecting the main capital ships from Strike Craft attacks. (There is some conflict with the real world definition of interceptors, but for the purpose of this thread we're going to take the Sci-Fi definition of specialized dogfighters.)
Bajorian Interceptor, Star Trek ; Colonial Viper Mark VII, Battlestar Galactica
The Interceptor is designed to be a class below the fighter and the bombers. Fighters being generally multipurpose can still take out capital ships by focus fire, while bombers will take them out in 2-3 passes (1 late game), Interceptors will do close to zero damage to ships larger than a LRM and cannot take out a HC or Capital Ships; they are meant purely for taking down other SC. In the spectrum of strike craft balance:
low Lethality against ships high
| ---------------------------------- | --------------------------------------|
Interceptor (none) Fighter (moderate) Bomber (Very high)
♣ ♦ ♥
WING COMMANDER Strike Craft.
♣ - The Bearcat Interceptor, developed as a pure interceptor customized to destroy other fighters
♦ - The Hellcat V Multipurpose Fighter
♥ - The Shrike Torpedo Bomber
The Thunderbolt Star Fury from Babylon 5, a remarkable improvement from the original Star Fury, and excelling at a Interceptor Role against enemy fighters.
In terms of lethality against Strike Craft, the scale is below.
low Lethality against SC high
| ---------------------------------- | ------------------------------------ |
Bomber (none) Fighter (multipurpose) Interceptor (high)
The underrated Y-Wing Well-known X-Wing A-Wing, fastest ship in the Rebel Alliance
In almost all popular Science-Fiction we see Interceptor craft. In Battlestar Galactica, Vipers don't attack Cylon basestars, they take out the raiders (bombers do that) one could argue there are only Interceptors and Bombers in depicted battles on Battlestar Galactica. In Star-Wars we have esp. designed A-Wings and Tie Interceptors to have a more specialized role in dog-fighting. In real life, the F-16 (a interceptor) is considered to be better than the multipurpose F-14 Tomcat in air to air combat and is the primarily first choice for such roles.
Why we need Interceptors in SINs
The problem with just having fighters and bombers, is when the enemy spams a lot of fighters, they are effective against large ships as well as other fighters. In a fighter and fighter war, the person with the most fighters (Flak withstanding) wins hence to effectively counter his fighters you just need more fighters than he does. What if you only make SC to begin with to counter his SC? You end up having to dump a significant amount of your fleet just to counter 1 aspect of his fleet. This problem is solved with Interceptors. Interceptors will engage in dog-fights with enemy fighters and effectively protect your own ships, and if you are relying on a melee shp-to-ship combat strategy you can blunt his fighter/bombers with your own interceptors. Note, Interceptors will still take losses from fighters, but fighters will need to fight at at least a 2/3 to 1 advantage to defeat interceptors. The cost-effectiveness of Interceptors will make those 1 or 2 SC slots on regular capital ships much more useful as now you could load up on Interceptors to better protect your capital ships against enemy SC despite being outnumbered. Interceptors will receive a 75% huge penalty received dmg penalty from enemy fighter/interceptors for targetting bombers if in the presence of their own escorts. (If the player micros to target the enemy bombers instead of enemy fighters/Int erceptors)
Interceptors will offer more and better Tactics in SINs.
People will now have to use ALL THREE TYPES of SC to achieve the best results. He will now need to have the correct ratios of Interceptors to counter other Interceptors, Fighters to support your own Interceptors, and escorting bombers while also doing some dmg to enemy ships, all the while protecting your own bombers which will now be the primarily attack SC. To ensure, Interceptors do not annhilate bomber SC and effectively moving them from the game, make them target enemy Interceptors and fighters first before they target the bombers, add to the fact Interceptors cannot dmg enemy ships larger than a LRM (and even for them they will do crappy dmg per sec) it makes Interceptors fit in perfectly with the SINs game. This adds more dept to SINs and more strategic planning in the allocation of SC to Carrier groups.
Yes this will make the counter table more complicated, but thats what happens when you add tactics and dept to a game.
I'd gladly appreciate any suggestions, and I really hope Ironclad takes a serious look at my proposal. (Dorian)
Now Enjoy the deadly Imperial TIE interceptors:
OBJECTION & REBUTTAL COLUMN
—"fighters already fill this role..."
No they don't, a fighter vs. a fighter will be equal. Fighters are significantly good at destroying ships, even capital ships leading many players to make purly all fighter SC for their carrier fleets because essentially as I mentioned you can only counter him by having more fighters then he does which if he is going for a pure SC-spam fleet and you aren't it makes it very difficult to counter fighters. With the addition of Interceptors Fighters will again be even more crucial to serve the role as Escort Fighters protecting bombers and dog-fighting Interceptors.
—"Bombers will be obsolete because now they have 3 counters" (assuming Flak is buffed)
No, they won't. Firstly Flak should counter all SC, regardless of if they are bombers/fighters/Interceptors. Also Interceptors will only be able to target bombers with impunity only if the bombers do not have their own fighter/Interceptor escort to get slaughtered which happens already anyway if bombers don't have fighter backup against enemy fighters. Bombers need escorts, is that something new? If you do escort them, then there is little difference with the addition of interceptors apart from now you need to tactically manage your ratios more. Which is a good thing.
—This will make everyone go back to LRF spam because the interceptors will take out all the strike craft that can take out the LRF.
No, it won't. The Interceptors will still be able to take out LRFs pretty decently, Interceptors will not be able to damage any ships larger than LRFs. Furthermore, everyone won't spam Interceptors because they can't damage large ships at all. Furthermore Fighters will still be able to defeat Interceptors in mass and if they mix in a few of their own Interceptors they will surely win.
— "Why not have the fighter changed to the stats of the interceptor? That way fighters can't take down crusiers or caps."
No, that is a bad idea because the fighter does have an important role right now. Also that'll completely make the bombers obsolete and un-tendable. Fighters should be able to take out heavier ships while being able to fight interceptors in a multi-purpose role. Also just replacing the fighter with the interceptor is limiting tactical options again to two types of strike craft.
—I played a game last night where I was going against [_] Tax in a 2v3 (my two allies were playing another [_] player). He had more fighters then me and had air superiority, even when I ended up with more physical carriers as I lacked the AM to replace the SC. The game was largely a stalemate with my egg leveling up under a repair cloud while I pumped out LF and LRMs and tried to kill his carriers. It wasn't his fighters that I was worried about killing my cap - it was the assailants or HCs!!! Due to tactics, I was able to last. An interceptor would not have made a difference as we would have both spammed them and ended up in the same situation...
This is a Straw Man Argument but in any event Yes, it would have helped. With interceptors included it would have ALL mattered on the ratio of Interceptors/Fighters/Bombers. If you had a higher ratio of intercepters then you would have won allowing some of your bombers to damage his carriers if you didn't you would have had to change your ratio, this is called adding tactics to the game. In this event YOU WERE BOTH CARRIER SPAMMING, in addition to letting players depend on the ratio, Interceptors would allow non-carrier spammers to use Interceptors to protect their ships. Should this not be an option?