Fleet debris limits combat opportunities.
I’m going to slap an [Opinion] on this right at the start because people are going to disagree with me here, and that’s alright, just hear me out.
I think the idea of fleet debris is a nice idea that adds a level of strategic depth to the game, but the problem are the cons that come with that strategic depth. If I’m in a war with someone far from home, then because of fleet debris I have to be extremely careful when I engage in combat. I cannot skirmish with an opponent on equal footing with me, without giving them an advantage over me, due to the fleet debris system. Allow me to explain.
The reason for this is actually relatively easy math. If you operate on the assumption that 10 nearly equivalent fleets engage each other, and both sides lose, say, 5/10 of their fleets, then there will be 10 fleets of debris (5 from each side). However, once the combat is over, since this is in defender territory, the defender will just pick up the debris, and use it to rebuild some of their lost armies. The exception to this, of course, is if the offender controls the defender’s airspace, that is to say, they’ve won an absolute victory.
Certainly not everyone is going to bother to care if they’re not coming out on top of a skirmish, and you won’t care in every situation (an overwhelming starting advantage), but in near even wars, which are often the most fun since they’re not one sided, this does, in my opinion, pose a problem.
In these close wars, you’re only going to have a single large-scale battle rather than battles spread out over multiple days. It’s simply not in your interest as an attacker to spread out your attacks and weaken your opponent over several days of fleet to fleet combat because they will always get the resources and come out on top of those skirmishes.
Some people may disagree with me on this, and say it adds a level of strategic depth to the game, it gives the defender an advantage, etc… I agree that it does, I simply disagree with the cons of it. I would argue that this strategic depth is overshadowed by the fact that it inhibits fun gameplay. I think most people would rather have fighting spread out over multiple days, even large-scale battles over multiple days, rather than a single all-out battle committing every fleet they have that’ll end in a matter of minutes. This is even more true in planet combat since if the person on offense doesn’t take the planet and can’t hold it with all that debris there, well, to put it bluntly, they’ve doomed themselves.
The way I see it, although it’s a cool feature, the cons outweigh the pros for me personally. I think if we want to keep the idea of fleet debris from player fleets, we should just send it directly to the player’s home world (sort of like we do with credits), not have the system at all, or find some system that allows for debris without discouraging skirmishes over several battles.
TL;DR: Fleet debris is a neat idea but discourages multiple skirmishes over several days with a player and instead forces an aggressor in evenly-sided wars to commit to a single all out attack which ends in a matter of minutes. We should either remove or change the fleet debris system to encourage rather than discourage multi-day skirmishes.
If anyone has any thoughts or ideas on the subject feel free to comment below. This is part of my “Can we talk about this” series of forum posts. Feel free to check out the rest and share your thoughts!