Keith, while that is true for many of the newer bonus ships, I feel that this isn't so with the default bonus ship-types. There is one aspect in particular that stands out: in no original fleet ship-type do we find the ability to simply *prevent* a portion of the enemy from contributing at all to the battle. The mechanics revolved around what was immune to what, so e.g. bulletproofs are generally useful, but enemies with bullets can still shoot at something else.
Then with each expansion we introduced new mechanics.
It wasn't noticeable until now that their targeting has been improved - Paralyzers can now shut down entire defense forces around a guard post, one after another, and drastically reduce attrition rates for everyone else.
Bombards conducted matter-antimatter annihilation at extreme range, something that wasn't even possible with full caps of snipers.
Autobombs fulfill an innate desire for push a red button that says 'Launch ALL Missiles' (something not seen since the UCS recruitment ad in the Moon Project ). Is that just me?
Quad-cap Nanoswarms can shut down entire *planets* (That Neinzul fleet game changed my perception about the expansion. Conquest was a tsunami engulfing a screen of flashing disabled ships, stopped only by AI fortresses. I'm starting to think we should make Missile Frigates immune to them but not paralyzers).
Spire Maws, Spire Grav Drainers, Blade Spawners... each cool thing that we do add is good, but at the same time they begin to take away from the Starships which saw little change.
What if... we found Beam Starships as an unlockable ship-type? A triple-cap of Bomber Starships can still wreck, but... chances are I can find or hack a shiptype that is more desirable. The new plasma sieges start to appeal, with its mass engine damage, actually, since it can't one-hit KO a bunch of ships.
I don't know exactly how to fix the expansion effect - or if it can be fixed, but I'm just trying to tell you the symptoms. If there was a different ARS route that gave you the option to unlock new starship lines instead (even revamped Zenith and Spires will do), military carriers, tachyon-equipped destroyers, or translocation battleships, then going for a more starship-based fleet would suddenly become cool. These are things not found on fleet-ships, and perhaps they can complement the existing starships in a way that a fleet-ship unlock cannot (a starship grav link that finally brings those plasma sieges up to combat speed, say).
That will certainly be a major release.