I propose to do away with health bars, until you can get a scan off the enemy's ship.
Instead, we should have scanners that can scan flotillas for their weapons/shields/armor statistics.
Battles should be prolonged with intelligence warfare foremost, and then with firepower or subterfuge.
When an enemy flotilla comes into range, a scout ship with long range scanners would pick up the enemy composition as well as armor/shield/weapon statistics. With enough electronic countermeasures, a fully shielded enemy can fool you into thinking they have thicker armors or much better firepower than you do.
Coming closer to the enemy, you can then activate your long range artillery weapons (which should be hugely inaccurate or comes with long cooldown periods). At this point, the enemy will in turn, fire their artillery as well. Artillery should be divided into accurate but long cooldown or inaccurate and short cooldown. Countering artillery weapons can be done by:
- Putting power into short engine bursts to avoid it (Evasive Formation)
- Scatter Formation
- Sending fighters to destroy the Artillery ship
Note that Artillery will require a specific formation to fire from hence could be leaving the ship in a vulnerable position
When the enemy comes closer, short range scanners should work to gauge the shields/armor/weapons. At this point, the hero unit (that has the ability to do it) to send drones/hack to disable enemy weapons or take over certain ships. Mid range weapons like Anti Shield Missiles/Beams or Energy weapons should work to take out shields. Shield piercing beams can be used to disable/destroy shield generators. Note that only frigate classes and above should have shield generators.
Units that have powerful ECCM units will be able to prevent hacks and short range scanners, preventing the enemy from knowing the overall health and status of the flotilla or targetting certain modules.
Take note that not all weapons can be fired at the same time due to energy efficiency problems. Weapons will fire at a lower rate if all weapons are fired at the same time.The player can configure (either through ship configuration) or through an interface to put more power into certain systems. Of course, artillery can only be fired if it is fully powered, and it firing will take almost all the ship's power.
Melee battles will be fought for large ship classes where boarding teams can be used to take over ships. Also at this point, projectile weapons can be used to pierce shields (Note that projectiles are short range only).
When shields go down during a battle, shields will need to be repaired. Flotillas can employ different formations at this point to either:
- Put unshielded ships into the back of the formation and only to fire long/mid range weapons
- Assign fighters to protect unshielded ships by focusing them on the unshielded ships/counter attacking the ships attacking the unshielded ship
- Cloaking (Note that cloaking will remove shields)
- Escape the battlefield by putting power into engines (removes itself from flotilla formation)
- Assign more power to nanobots to repair shield modules
A base building strategy can also be employed here where damaged ships can be sent back for a resupply/repair. A support ship/carrier can also repair ships or build fighters or to rearm missile corvettes. Bases and support ships can also refit weapons/modules on the fly.