Hum, you see, I was actually quite happy with the mid-level one the abstraction scale the previous design had taken, I just wasn't content with the formations being completely fixed (nevermind that that broke ship movement pretty badly, as I mentioned a while ago). Ideally, it would have ended up like Company of Heroes, if you're familiar with the game, where you do control squads, but those squads' soldiers move semi-independently and take position/cover based on the surrounding terrain. Basically, the AI takes care of the nitty-gritty micromanagment inside the units, freeing up the player to decide higher-level tactics and strategy. Pipe Dream-wise, the units would be able to fight or at least survive independently, making them feel like actual subordinates rather than game pieces, while player interaction makes them fight more effectively.
A book series I've been reading, The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell, puts the protagonist in a similar situation (Uh, spoilers for the first book), he gets put in stasis after a surprise attack and misses a century of warfare where military discipline and tactics largely vanish, and once he wakes up he's the only person who even remembers that stuff existed - the technology is more advanced, the soldiers are more aggressive and used to losses, retreat is not considered a real option, but they fight by just charging at the enemy headfirst, making it a pure material battle. Once he gets them to agree to one of his tactics, the effect is... impressive.
Though it's not like Company of Heroes is my ideal game for this sort of thing, it's so speed-focused and twitchy that a regular RTS might be more relaxing. Though I haven't played newer RTS's in a while, maybe they're also "skill-focused" to an extent that they just aren't fun to play unless you're willing to invest a lot of effort into becoming that fast. It's just not my playstyle, I like having time to think.
Hence, I'd like some info on how the ship AI works now, and how formations work, provided they still exist - which they'd probably need to, with some level of independent maneuvering, unless we're getting a smaller number of ships as well. Which wouldn't be bad, Nexus was a great game, with enough time and space for thinking and tactics, and it had a very small number of ships.