A few things I'd advise:
- The debriefing for Through the Looking Glas could use another stage to convey the failstate that comes from not having "scanned" enough approriate targets. I would say the mission could use more detailed directives as well.
The player is supposed to be performing reconnaissance, which intrinsically involves exploration and discovery. I have already added several nudges based on feedback, but I'm not going to spell out "go here and scan this".
I can respect that. Maybe there is a lesson in there about me approaching recon missions too rigidly.
But maybe there is room for a "hidden checklist" of task completed, beyond marking each ship as "recorded" - that means basically that you don't give a directive to do a task that has been programmed into the mission, but instead give feedback when one has been completed (similar to Bonus Goals).
- Shark Bait appears to have a very thin margin on error on Medium, esspecially with regards to
the SC Achar (if its LRed is not taken out by a lucky beam hit, it can get off up 3 shots before the Trebs hit).
It is meant to be extremely difficult.
From the mission outline: "This mission is a risky gamble on the GTVA's part, and the final results should leave some Shivans ships still active in the system. It ought to be a very Pyrrhic victory for the GTVA, including the loss of the destroyer itself. We've reduced the Shivan threat in the system for the moment, but at a very heavy cost. This mission will include the Ravana destroyer, multiple smaller vessels, and a nice assortment of enemy wings. The Ravana should be destroyed in this mission along with the Hatshepsut. Some Shivan vessels escape, including corvettes able to launch fighters for later missions." If the player does manage to save the Arnku despite the odds, he is awarded a medal, but he is not expected to.
My big issue here would be that the Shivan warships pose less of a threat to the Arnku than Aquarius wing does. In most attempts I lost the Arnku, she was lost because the bombers got a good salvo in, even before the Arnku's power fails. By comparison only the Achar and the Kraken appear as supstantial threats while the corvettes and cruisers do much less damage and are more easily prevented from doing damage to the Arnku, not to mention that sometimes you just luck out and one of the BVas shots just takes out a beam turret randomly.
With bomber damage being inherrently being more preventable than warship damage, I though it to be a bit lopsided.
I recognize that some that is simply Retail AI at work - your AI wingmen allowing the Aquarius wing to go into "stop and shoot"-mode while you are off doing something else.
If one were to shift that balance somewhat, maybe by increasing the survivability of the enemy warships (e.g. by increasing the fire wait on Arnku's beams) and/or taking the "lucky shot"-factor out of Arnku's beam fire (e.g. instead of letting it fire its beams dynamically, tailoring the beams hit to be just off to the side of the main cannons of a Shivan ship; Note: to do right might be too much work for too little effort though), I think it would look more like what is intended here.