Whohoo! a post from a dev in a thread started by me! I am feeling all warm and fuzzy inside...
About being on the fence on Capital ships for pirates:
I am favorable to them, let me throw in my arguments:
This is the future. Ships may not be *that* much harder to pilot from a flight stick. Presumably education would be pervasive, and what we assume to be university-level education would be available to everyone. If they look back at our education level, it is akin to us looking back to the dark ages. Everyone would have great knowledge on their fields of stu
dy, and if you're into interstellar travelling crew - not just a passenger - you're likely to have lots of knowledge on engineering, piloting and whatnot. Of course, some people only have background information about some stuff, while excel at others.
Which means: there should be lots of highly-skilled people, but disillusioned with 'the system' avaliable and willing to live the pirate life, even defecting from the military.
This already is enough rationalization to justify pirates having standard capital ships.
Let me now introduce a variation of the custom pirate capital ship above:
When pirates get enough profit, they start to look at bigger targets. but having just a fleet of frigates and cruisers does not grant them enough space to store their bounty.
So they pick up a 'Big Bug' - as is called the biggest mining ship model ever built. A Miner Behemoth, if you will. Its cargo hold is 'so huge that a capital ship can fit in it' according to the engineers which designed it.
This is a 'fearless' miner. It was built with a very strong hull to withstand impacts from asteroid when mining in an asteroid field, and also posseses considerable shielding to withstand the energy surges on plasma and electric clouds.
Naturally, to fit its huge cargo space, it is also equipped with a mighty tractor beam, affeectionately called 'The Corkscrew'. It can pull a 10.000 ton boulder from the surface of an earth-class gravity well into orbit to carry away or process in orbital refineries. Or can drag a capital ship for that matter.
But, can it be called a mining ship without a drill? There is also a mighty laser, 'The Drill', powerful enough for very long range shots, so that it can 'pop the cork' of even a small planet from orbit, and pick up the pieces. Rather than being a continuous shot, it has been found that 'drumming' the surface with a series of shots is more effective to break matter apart.
Being a mining ship, that's about it for a Big Bug. At least until the pirates start modding it. They usually set up a few weapons on it for defense.
Over time, they will usually add more capital-class equipment to it.
This beast uses a very powerful fission power drive. It needs to be constantly burning, thus generating lots of energy, and some of it goes to waste.
If they can get their hands on the tech, they re-route the waste energy to create a resonating field which improves the ships shield and antimatter regeneration and speed up weapon charging (fire rate), as well as neighboring ships. The energy field can be quantum-pulse coded so that only ships belonging to the fleet can benefit from the field.
But there are always bigger targets, and also bigger dangers. Pirates are not about going on suicidal misions, so they found an ace to keep close to the chest.
Well, technically what they do is not quite scientifically proved as 'safe', but at least it buys them time to get out of hot waters. They store a big, big pile of energy and supercharge their field resonators in broadcast mode, for all ships to 'listen' to their energy. The energy wave is so mighty that the safety overrides take over all ships system up to a certain range.
If the basic life support systems were not protected under multiple layers, people could die. Usually military ships have a second protective layer for the engines too, which means they can still move. But the weapons are gone, at least for some time. For everyone, including the pirates.
This gives us 4 cap ship skills based on a realistic adaptation of a civilian ship for, ahem, other purposes.
'The Corkscrew' (front, channeled, interruptible): pulls ships towards the Big Bug's cargo bay. If the tractored ship enters the Big Bug, it's lost to pirates. If possible, bigger ships should be pulled slower than smaller ships.
'The Drill' (dead-on front): mighty shot can tear apart the hull of any ship, structure, or planet bombard.
'Resonate' (passive): boosts all friendly ship's systems (speed/weapon cooldown/AM regen/shield regen) by a small amount. It shakes up the target ship so violently that its systems may be reset (interrupts skills).
'Overcharge' (ultimate) : disables weapons from friends and foes alike, in a wide area around the ship.
Let's not forget one thing: this is a GAME! it's supposed to be fun, and it is already very good at it. We want to make it even better. Many players, including me, are clamoring for a tougher challenge from the pirates in the late-game. I am just giving my 2 cents.
I have rationalized, with the best of my abilities, why it should be feasible for pirates to be able to operate capital ships. But the most important question is:
Will it be FUN to have pirates with capital ships? Hell, yeah!
SO, BRING THEM ON!