In a straight fight between Heavies and LRFs, the HCs will dominate
It's not as hard a counter as some would like, but it works. I'm not opposed to making HC's more resistant to LRF attack (because right now they're tough to phase) but I wouldn't go too far here, particularly if we're nerfing bombers in the same stroke.
Flak could possibly be made more effective against bombers.
We need to be careful with flak, because that unit is also fairly top-notch. I think we do need to pay attention to the fighter/bomber/flak interactions. We don't want any one of these three to be dominating the exchange.
I think if bombers were easier to kill, that would be a start...making flak better against bombers would certainly help the situation...
If anything, I'd be more inclined to buff up fighters a little to make bombers more fragile. Flaks already clean out fighters quite nicely, making a flak/bomb combo very difficult to approach.
I guess I don't really think this early whole is that much of an issue.
If two Vulkoras Desolators show up at your homeworld, guns blazing, you'll be churning out whatever you can to quickly send them home. Or try two or even three Sovas with missile platforms and loads of strike craft. Early-game capital ships can be a very big deal.
Even if LRFs are rendered ineffective against them (and I doubt any changes will make that happen), there are always the other players capitalship
The problem is the decisiveness
factor. Imagine an army of LRF against a single capital ship; as the battle continues, the LRF will take casualties and their damage output drops. The capital ship, however, is still at 100% damage output until it goes down. This means that LRF need to overcompensate to account for taking casualties (and this is before we even consider the possibility that this capital ship might be doing hit-and-run tactics!) and this means proportionately you need more LRF early on to counter that capital ship.
As well, there's an issue with repair. Early-game, repair gives a massive TTL bonus. The problem is that if (after mitigation) you deal 30 DPS, repair will cut this down to a mere 10 DPS. That's a 66% damage reduction on top of mitigation and armour. Late game, reducing 100 DPS down to 80 is much more manageable.
These factors, plus the fact that your first cap is free, make capital ships a lot more dangerous early-on. The big risk is that we create a situation where mass capital ships is the way to go, since smaller frigates are non-viable until you get a sufficient mass.
As I see it we either make bombers easier to kill or less effective, not both. I'm leaning with less effective against capital ships to avoid having to starbases be protected to easily.
I'd agree; we don't want to make starbases tougher, but we do want to make bombers less effective against capital ships. If we're going to nerf bombers further, I'd do it indirectly by buffing the fighter.