I was searching the forums for a way to alter the shield regeneration rate when I found a post mentioning this ability being included in FSO as of last year. Hurray! However, after realizing this new option I sat down to seriously consider what to do about Covenant shields.
The way I see it, there are two options:
- Massive shields (what I've got now)
- Reduced shields with very high regen
Up until now, I have had them equal or greater than the ship's actual hitpoint value. As I toyed with the regeneration rate, I reduced the shield values by about a third and settled on 1.0, meaning the shield would be fully recovered every second. It sounded a bit absurd, but I found the game started to play a little more like how it was mentioned in the books. Admiral Cole came up with the elegant solution to defeating Covenant ships by having all of the UNSC ships fire their weapons simultaneously. Before coming to that conclusion, they had just "fired at will" and they couldn't penetrate the shields. When they all fired at once, the first few rounds were soaked up by the shield and the rest hit the hull. This same effect was finally realized when I ran my capital ship shield test mission and found that the UNSC battlegroup that was left to the AI fired sporadically and got wiped out, while the SEXP group, firing nearly at once, downed the Covenant Battlecruiser within the first 10 seconds of the mission.
There is a consequence to this, however. While it makes capital ship combat more in line with the Haloverse it makes fighters absolutely useless versus them. Once again, there is a lot of evidence in the Halo games and books that mention this fact. In Halo 2, a Fleet Admiral is speaking with Lord Hood and makes the comment, "...my frigates are combat ineffective and the fighters...they don't have enough punch to take out a Covenant Assault Carrier!" Even in the books, Longswords are only sent against capital ships when they are armed with nukes or...
...when the shields are down. There are instances where Covenant shields are down long enough for just about anything to do some damage, and other times where they are nigh impenetrable. This brings up a dilemma that can be best illustrated by an old Michael Straczynski quote, "How fast is the Whitestar? It moves at the speed of plot!" SEXPs can handle this, of course, so the point may be moot.
I suppose the best answer would be to strike a balance, making them regenerate quickly enough to be up and about full power when the UNSC ships come off their MAC Gun cooldown, yet powerful enough to take some serious firepower to punch through.
I'm continuing to find a balance that both adheres to the story and makes for compelling, fun game play. And as always your thoughts and opinions are most welcomed!