First of all, IMO we need to do some kind of "swap" in the tech tree: instead of having the lowest-level shield part pre-unlocked and armor further down the tech tree, we should do it just the other way round: pre-unlock the lowest-level armor part, and move shields further down the tech tree. After all (especially with the latest changes to shield mechanics), shield technology

*is*way more powerful and sophisticated than armor.

So, let me give you the new numbers. The last column shows the ratio for part strength vs. build cost for easier comparison. As you'll see, there are some new parts: Ok, now let me comment on what is my rationale for these numbers and changes:

*All three categories:*I've defined a kind of "standard line" of parts in all three categories. These can be researched and build without additional reqirements like asteroid belts and neutron stars, and most of their stats progress throughout the entire line by clear dependencies calculated by simple formulas. Apart from them are the special variants (asteroid/rock and neutron) which require "special resources" (asteroid belts or neutron stars) and are calculated a bit differently.

*Weapons:*As you can see, I've preserved what we had - almost. I did remove Death Ray 5 to match the 4 types of weapons exactly (it's just been easier with the numbers that way). And I added "neutron" weapon parts to flesh out the neutron branch of the tech tree. The numbers are calculated by the following formulas:

*Damage:*"Standard line": The highest refinement of a weapon type has twice the damage value than the basic level. The damage values of the next higher weapon type are three times that of the preceding weapon type, so MD1 has a damage value of 3, MD2 4, Laser1 9, Laser2 12, PC1 27, PC2 36 and so on. I've set the starting value, the damage level for MD1, to 3, because this is the lowest number that avoids fractional numbers with this formula. "Special variants": The NPB is calculated a bit different: it is even more powerful than the DR, but not much, so it doesn't continue the line as the other weapon types do.

*Build Cost:*"Standard line": Starting with 10 for the MD, each weapon type costs twice as much as it's predecessor. By multiplying the damage value with 3 and the build costs with 2 we get progressively better cost/damage value ratios. "Special variants": The build cost for the NPB is set to a value that makes it more cost effective than the PC, but

*less*cost effective than the DR. So these two weapon types (NBP/DR) are matched: the one gives you higher absolute damage stats, which might give you the deciding edge over your opponents in combat, the other one is not

*quite*as powerful, while being more cost effective.

These stats should ensure that you get a sufficiently significant gain when moving to the next weapon type, but also provide a gain that's worth the effort when researching refinements, and achieve all that by keeping the same ratios through all weapon types and their refinements.

*Armor:*Here you'll note some changes. I've renamed "Lead Armor Plating" to "Standard Armor Plating" - I like it more that way, but that's just a matter of personal taste. I've added another armor part "Xentronium Armor" so I have one matching armor part for each weapon type in the "standard line". Number calculation:

*Strength:*"Standard line": Equal to the damage value of the highest refinement level of the corresponding weapon tech "tier", so it can withstand exactly one hit from this weapon. SAP is destroyed by one hit from MD4, ZAP by one hit from Laser4, and so on. "Special variants": RAP: Between SAP and ZAP. CAP: Between DAP and XAP. NAP: Same as standard line (NAP is destroyed by one hit from NBP4).

*Build Cost:*"Standard line": One fifth of the costs of the corresponding weapon parts. "Special variants": RAP/CAP: Same as SAP/DAP, making them better alternatives to their respective counterparts. NAP: Same as standard line (one fifth of NBP), so the same applies what I've said regarding the NBP: A bit more powerful than the XAP, but less cost effective.

The strength for the PAC have been adjusted in accordance to these changes (roughly 8 times the strength of NAP, as it has been before).

Bottom line: Armor is

*cheap*.

*Shields:*Here we have the most prominent changes. First of all, there are two new shield parts: one for the "standard line" (Plasma Shield) and, like with the weapon parts, one for the "neutron" tech branch (Neutron Cloud Shield). You'll notice that the "standard line" only has three parts, as opposed to weapons and armor, where the standard line has 4 corresponding types/parts. Here the tech tree placement swap comes into play: shields are significantly more powerful and advanced than armor, so their "tier one" level does not correspond to the "tier one" level of weapons and armor, but is matched against their "tier two" level, and so on. That means DG corresponds to Laser and ZAP, DS to PC and DAP, PS to DR and XAP.

Number calculation:

*Strength:*"Standard line": Matches the strength of the armor part one level

*below*that of their corresponding armor part, or the damage value of the highest refinement of the weapon type one level

*below*their corresponding weapon type. That way, only weapon parts of the corresponding level or higher can penetrate a shield. This leads to a value that absorbs two third of the damage dealt by the level one part of the corresponding weapon type. "Special variants": Same ratio to the damage value of the corresponding weapon type as in the standard line, giving strength 60 for NCS (two third of NPB's damage value of 90).

*Build Cost:*"Standard line": Three times the cost of the corresponding weapon type, making shields extremely expensive. "Special variants": Same, so same applies what has already been said regarding NPB and NAP.

In addition to these changes I also suggest the following: making shields internal only. They are special, powerful, and you should have to give up an internal slot if you want one. And, of course, make them non-stacking, otherwise these numbers would be insane.

Bottom line: Shields are both extremly powerful and expensive.

The MSS is even slightly better than the NCS, but has the same build costs as the PS, making it the most powerful and most cost-effective shield (it

*is*expected to be very special after all ).

Ok, that have been my new numbers so far. As you can see, we wind up with considerably higher stats than before, but I think we can't avoid that if we want reasonable progress of values and also keep reasonable ratios between the stats of the various parts.

This of course makes an already existing problem even worse, and that's the ratio between weapon/armor stats and hull structure values. The latter are

*far*to low. Armor should

*enhance*hull structure, not

*multiply*it. My suggestion is simple: just increase the hull structure values by a factor of 10. This in turn requires that also the values for "Reinforced Hull" and "System Defense Mines" are adjusted accordingly.

I'll try to come up with new numbers for that.

What else needs to be done: The planetary shield and defense techs need reworking/rebalancing too. The new parts and corresponding techs must be added, the tech tree adjusted to all these changes. We also need new icons (for NPB part and tech, XAP part and tech, PS and NCS part and tech - did I miss anything?).

I'll try to do that also, except the new icon part (because my artistic skills are close to what most people would describe as "abysmal"...). For that I'd ask our graphics team

Alright, I think that's it. Now I ask for your comments, objections, suggestions, etc.