In regards to the Phase Missiles,
I would agree with the idea that Phase Missiles are the problem at all, just that the bombers that presently deploy them are.
There are no problems with the Phase Missiles on capital ships, starbases, turrets and Assailants. Just those on bombers. While all bombers are capable of alpha-striking capital ships, Vasari need a lot less, especially against Advent ships, and tend to obliterate them while their shields are still very high.
If those were changed to wave cannons and kept at their present DPS (17.1, vs Advent ~17.5 and TEC 16.5 per squad) I think they would be balanced relative to the other factions.
Once that's done I don't think there need to be any phase missile blocking technologies. Vasari can still utilize their missiles effectively, but Assailants will be their primary platform.
As it stands, fighters and flak cannot stop a bomber horde and the only defenses against it for TEC and Advent are Flak Burst and Telekinetic Push respectively - the former of which does not actually prevent the attack, eats antimatter, and needs 3 blasts at max level to kill Vasari bombers, the latter of which is deployed from the most frail-hulled capital ship in the game, and both of which have short range and require some very intense micro to use effectively.
Assailants on the other hand are vulnerable - they get torn up by fighters (with basic manual targeting), taken out by corvettes, hit by starbases, hammered by AoEs, etc. And every loss is real, not just a short setback until a free replacement is built (as with bombers). They would be glass cannons, still very dangerous to enemy capital ships, but less trivial to use. Meanwhile the power of Vasari bombers would still be formidable, almost equal with Advent bombers, but they would have to go through shields and mitigation like everyone else.
Heck Vasari bombers even LOOK like they're armed with wave cannons; their front parts are a little reminiscent of the Enforcer's big damn frontal wave projector.
Now in regard to just the general issue of bombers being very powerful, there are a lot of potential solutions. Fighters could be buffed. Flak could be buffed somehow. Anti-strikecraft capital abilities could be buffed somehow. I think flak oughta be a bigger counter to them, either slowing/stunning them, doing AoE damage, or something. Because improved fighters still mean that carriers are a disproportionately large part of fleet compositions; they are the main counters to themselves.
Yes, the domination of bombers is a general problem that does nullify several parts of the counter system.
Heavy cruisers? Inferior in all important ways
Build a starbase? Dont bother, it will die to bomber spam
Build Torpedo Cruisers? Dont bother, bombers are better and are usefull against more things than just structures.
Personally I think that fighers should STOP bombers dead in space at a ratio of 2v3.... so if you have 20 fighter wings and your enemy has 30 bomber wings, the fighers should obliberate the bombers without those doing any major damage.
That would make it important to have fighter superiority before using bombers in reasonable capacity. As fighers however suck against most things, that would allow heavy cruisers and other underused ships a place in game again.
bombers to bring their DPS up to par with other bomber weapons that must deal with shield mitigation?
Actually the Vasari Bombers do have similar DPS to other bombers already, even without phase missile shield piercing being active.
Like ... shield mitigation. WTF if the point? Basically it reduces nearly all damage by half, except the first shot fired.
Actually shield mitigation is a unique idea that allows for some cool faction diversity.
Its effects are huge..... Try out Shield Bestowal on the Advent Hangar Platform.... 750 shield sound pathetic...... but it does give the platfrom and adjacent buildings shield mitigations, basically quadrupling its durability.
Like ... let's put in some defenses so that there's something to destroy for people, but let's not make them useful or anything, otherwise we're afraid that people might get turned off by hitting on impenetrable defenses - instead, let's stay on the safe side and let's make those completely and utterly *useless*.
Personally I think that Sins did a pretty good job at balancing offense vs defense. The problem here is that the best offensive faction Vasari happens to have the best defense (against human players) too.
That makes them so extremely powerful. You cannot attack a Vasari... because he will rip your fleet apart. You cannot defend against a Vasari because his fleet is superior to you.
Like ... let's put in a starbase, which is incredibly powerful and incredibly expensive! But let's give it this one weakness: it can be outranged by certain specialized units. Yes... I love those units... let's make them so powerful that a starbase cannot destroy even a single one of them.
It should be noted that the last weapon upgrade of both TEC and Advent Starbase does reach the torpedo cruisers, doing enough damage to grind them down over time. The Vasari one does not but then it can move...
Starbases are very very powerful..... until somebody fields bombers.
Try to take down a well supported starbase with your fleet (without bombers)..... and watch it die arround you.
Torpedo cruisers were supposed to be the counter to starbases, but as bombers are even better and are not helpless against anything else like the Torpedo cruisers, they reign supreme.
Torpedo cruisers are designed to crush a starbase, but by building them, your enemy does waste valuable fleet supply for them, so his fleet will be significantly weaker.
From the examples you just posted, I'm inclined to think that you are a player who likes to be able to turtle. That's perfectly fine, but it tends to yield very passive games: players establish choke points, build up defenses, and then mass units for overwhelming force. Such games are effectively decided at the very beginning, but take hours and hours to resolve.
Sins, in its current incarnation, works. Nor perfectly, but it works. All it needs are a few tweaks here and there to make other playstyles viable.
Incidentally, static defenses aren't viable in ANY RTS game. Starcraft, Supreme Commander 2, Sins, it doesn't matter. Patton said (and I paraphrase) that fixed fortifications are a monument to human stupidity because anything made by man can be destroyed by man.
In every RTS game I've ever played or watched, static defenses represent money that could have been spent on weaker mobile units.
Nobody wants a game where people just hide inside their fortress and never ever leave it.
Many RTS games however nerf defenses to hard, making them worthless.
Which in turn does make the game active... but boring.
"FIRST ONE to build 100 ships WINS."
I have 90 ships, you have 100 ships. I lose, you win.
That is not Real Time Strategy, that is "Who does click faster".
Having reasonable defenses in a RTS game, leads to better tactics instead of mindless spam of the best unit available.
Giving the defending party the possibiliy of an advantage, drastically improves tactics used.
It is called Real Time STRATEGY, so overall you should win by using superior strategy and not just because you have 10 % more APM.
In order to increase the effectiveness of defenses perhaps they should be allowed to be built further out of the gravity well (ie right on top of where the enemy will phase jump in). This would force players to fight through at least some of the defenses. Making the phase lane angle smaller might also help with defenses as you would have to jump closer to the phase lane line, thus limiting a fleet's ability to jump in on one side of the gravity well.
I disagree, the larger the gravity well is, the less effective they become.
That is the reason why large planets are much worse chokepoints than small Asteroids....
All ships in Sins are very durable, you have to stay a while close to defenses for them to do some serious damage.
A starbase directly at the jump in point of a hostile fleet wont do much, assuming the enemy fleet flies away immediatly.