I've been considering the idea of making anti-cloaking measures more appealing to the player. IMO, it's optimal to add a cloaking guardian and/or an offensive cloaking starship to the AI's default list. This way, you can potentially meet cloaked defenses that are not restricted to the cowardly stealth guardpost - a trivial speed bump that only requires spotting the m/c rock that *is dubiously unguarded*.
Consider the following ship:
Cloaking guardian, available from difficulty 7 upwards.
- HP: 2,000,000 * Mark.
- Speed 76 (equal to fighter/bomber. That is, as average as possible or encode an exo-wave/hybrid mechanic and allow it to recruit followers).
- Refractive hull (thematic). Possibly neutron. Something nice for acid-sprayers.
- 0 armour. Placeholder for armour re-balancing. Perhaps 3,000 if it's proving too small.
- *Not* cloaked itself (do NOTforce de-cloaker combat).
- Cloaking superbooster x50 * Mark (6,000 range). Radar dampening (8,500 range, just so it doesn't get sniped by bombards, etc.)
- Attack 10,000x8 per 6 sec, shell type, 7,000 range (something to give it a little bit of oomph+first strike against a bombing run)
- Attack Bonuses: Basically close-combat+medium+polycrystal like the fighter to again softly discourage bomber runs. Please not light, that's tachyon microfighters. Not composite, which are decloakers in general that die quickly already.
- Standard guardian immunities, perhaps immune to sniper fire.
- Standard player counter: missile frigates (damage bonus like acid-sprayers, but that's a potential issue for another day), but must close to radar dampening range.
NB: A cloaking assault starship version, might have weaker attacks, smaller HP, smaller boost range but has armour. Contrast cloaker-starship-II + flagship statistics.
NB: There is a second anti-cloaking counter in Sentinel frigates. Consider increasing its tachyon emission ranges to emphasise its multiple utility nature (currently 1,000 * mark). Are these supposed to be better at decloaking than scout starships??? This is to compensate for their combat philosophy and retreat range of 15,000 that doesn't help combat use.
Suggestions? Philosophically, I'm more inclined towards reducing the number of player-only technologies that have been developed post AI-takeover of the galaxy. Thematically, the AI would prefer to develop militarised versions of the human cloaked-starship rather than keep them as "civil" non-combat vessels.
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Edit: Mantis-link http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=5894