Unless you're going to significantly drop K costs for the turrets, I still can't see them ever beating out the mobile military, no matter what mechanic becomes involved.That is another thing to consider. Your low level of turret research is not (I think) common, but the fact that 9+ is beatable with <= 3K of turret research would indicate that pretty much whatever is done with the turrets has a limited impact to some extent.
But a lot of other players use them pretty extensively, and by the numbers they generally have three times as much health and three times as much dps as similar-tech fleet ships. If 3x isn't enough, what is?
I'm starting to see a different pattern as to why stalemates occur so often. In ~95% of my games, I spend 2000 k on turrets. Grav I, Tach I, Basic II, HBC I. That's it. FF's I have invested more in depending on the scenario. Everything else is spent on something that can hurt the enemy long before it can hurt me.
If you count Fortresses as turrets I usually spend 5000 k.
Turrets, by their nature and current usage, are only useful in a handful of scenarios, whereas fleet ships, while underperforming in these tasks comparitively, are much more effective over a long game where waves aren't arriving every 5 minutes (AI 9+ at 200 AIP, for example...) and you'd like to use them elsewhere.
- Limited location(s) wave attacks
- CPA defense behind chokepoint
- Exogalactic defense behind chokepoint
- Counterstrike defense
Note, without the chokepoint, your ability to defend from ExoGalactics and CPAs is very limited unless you invest very heavily in that turret count, thus having to up marks. One of those is fixable, you murder everything behind a few chokepoints so the CPA can't spawn behind you, thus offensive. The exos you'll have to intercept with your fleet.
However, your fleet can maneuver to multiple defensive positions and deal with a much wider range of situations.
Let's take a look at a scenario, one that helped me make the decision between turrets vs. fleet. When I was first starting, one of the things that was breaking my weaker builds when I tried to turret everywhere were starships. They'd just plow through any turret build I had. The counter to heavy starships is laser turrets.
(All discussion from Normal/Normal cap/speed) Laser Turrets are 6000 x 3 with a static 12k range in a system. We won't discuss heavy armor vs. a 3 way splitshot. In multi-entrance system that means you're parking on your cmd station, not the wormhole for full effect of said laser. That's 18k with a 2.4 modifier for heavy/ultra-heavy. 43,200/4 second recycle = 10800 DPS optimal each. Now, to upgrade Lasers to II and III will cost you 6000 K. We'll get back to the whole 'split systems' issue shortly.
That gets you an additional 21600 for the MK IIs and 32400 DPS for the MK IIIs. The mk I cap gets you roughly 1.05 mill in DPS optimal, and with the x2 + x3 you get about 6 mill optimal DPS. The research got you 5 mill in DPS, on a unit that can't move, limited range, and an average 750,000 health per unit (196 of them).
This was for the price of the Bomber III upgrade. Bomber III, alone, is ~ 1.12 mill DPS optimal (78*(28800/12)*6) for the same units.
How does 1 mill beat 5 mill? A few ways.
1) Armor. The bomber III at ~500k in HP is lighter than the two marks combined above for the equivalent K. However, it has twice the armor rating. Survivability becomes roughly a wash, particularly since the laser turret being forced to defend at the cmd station instead of wormhole can get sniped by anything with better than 12k in range.
2) Armor type. The best thing to kill a bomber with is fighters. Fighters die in a light breeze.
3) Command Grade multipliers. The Turret has a 0.1 multiplier against command grade. Ever try to stop an H/K with a turret?
4) If I'm trying to defend 5 close systems with those turrets, I've diluted their firepower to 1 mill per system unless I've chokepointed. With bombers, I can react to each system with now equivalent firepower AND THEN go do something else with them when I'm not under attack, like kill a fortress or a forcefield. That's only 5 systems. The average game wants 25+ systems taken.
My fleet is reactionary and requires more management. It does, however, hold up across multiple defensive points equivalently or better for the same K price. That's how they fail the research test. Caps are too low for a good spread, and too weak to invest in until you've literally filled your fleet. They are not equivalent in a choke-point entry, however, and there turrets shine... but I'm busy killing things with my shiny fleet. With enough grav turrets I can buy my fleet time to get home if a max-time comes in.
Another thing that I think is more interesting is finding a way to let players use turrets offensively in a balanced fashion. Not that turrets would ever be as offensively useful as fleet ships, but they could be less completely a defensive choice. And thus appeal more to the hypothetical offensively-minded player