Here's the raw .csv data if someone wants to extract it and pull out only the 1800+ responses, for example.
Naval Balance Survey
Looks like a majority wants T1 frigates nerfed and T1 subs buffed. So how about it? I recommended awhile ago just switching their costs so sub is cheaper and frigate costs more.
The majority also thinks aeon is the 3rd worst navy faction. How about it? Time to give them a buff
Alright got bored and sorted the data by rating bracket. All I can say is that not even 1800+ is a decent enough rating group for reviewing navy balance:
I use > to represent .1 difference in preference for navy, meaning that >> means that a group prefers a navy .2 more than the next subsequent faction.
UEF >>>>> Cybran >>> Seraphim > Aeon
Cybran = Aeon > UEF > Seraphim
UEF > Cybran > Aeon >>>> Seraphim
Cybran >>> UEF > Aeon >>> Seraphim
UEF >> Cybran >>> Aeon > Seraphim
Rating (UEF, Cyb, Aeon, Seraphim, Overall)
<300 (3.7, 3.2, 2.8, 2.9, 3.2)
300-800 (3.6, 3.67, 3.67, 3.53, 3.67)
800-1300 (3.82, 3.74, 3.7, 3.3, 3.4)
1300-1800 (3.76, 4, 3.6, 3.3, 3.76)
1800+ (4.1, 3.9, 3.6, 3.45, 3.9)
My only rationale for this data is that this survey was done by a bunch of dudes that have like near zero experience with navy.
Seraphim has indisputably the 2nd best frigate and either the 1st or 2nd best destroyer alongside the 1st or 2nd best cruiser while also being able to abuse zthuee and their t2 hover. Considering them the worst navy faction is literally impossible to justify.
By the way, I wouldn't read that much into the "small nerf for frigates" part of the survey. I voted that frigates need a "small nerf" but my idea of a "small nerf" is basically like nerfing sera and cyb frig very slightly so that UEF can have the 2nd best frigate to compensate for peepee heavily specialized t2 stage. Maybe make cyb frig 20 mass more expensive and either reduce phim AA or increase UEF AA.
So putting some more thought into it and looking at the data tables, I think a massive part of the problem here is the entirely inconsistent way of measuring by people.
The first issue is "what exactly is the benchmark for navy balance" because Cybran has a much stronger showcase on traditional navy 1v1 maps due to their frigate. However, their showing on maps like sentons is significantly worse. Likewise, UEF has a much harder time in 1v1 navy but it really plays to its strength in late game navy.
I personally therefore used Seraphim as my benchmark navy and gave them a 3 since they tend to be a comfortable pick for any sort of navy engagement and then gave UEF and Cybran higher ratings because they dominate in their niche. I gave Aeon a lower rating because while they are strong on very specific maps ie sentons, they are absolutely throttled in tons of scenarios due to the sheer lack of frigate AA, including other large teamgame 20x20 maps like selkie or beetle dance. If I instead decided to weigh sentons more heavily than I originally did, Aeon would bump into a 4 easily as a faction. However, I did not but maybe other people did.
However, I see data that seems like people only really cared about senton balance or ladder balance or some other balance. I also see people really just operate on some totally random benchmark. Some people only gave a 4 or 5. Some people only gave 1 or 2. I personally have no idea how you can rate things like this and not have an "average rating" benchmark, but I'm sure if I went and talked to some of the dudes that gave nothing but 4s and 5s we would agree on a lot in naval balance, it's just expressed in a different way.
For me, no faction is a 1 because everyone has a strength to play to and no faction is a 5 because there is no faction that is universally best in any (or most) navy circumstances.
What this means is that the scale range of the data is almost 100% useless. What matters is the difference in values subsets have because that at least somewhat controls for the 2nd issue (could still have a person have the exact same opinion as me but give Aeon a 1 and UEF and Cybran a 5). The 1st issue is just impossible to account for here.
I generally see beetles have more frig play due to the large amount of water mex. Selkie is more debatable but I think Aeon really suffers from cruisers being sniped and then losing a ton of navy power since you aren't really going to make more than 2 or so cruisers.
Sentons you see a much larger amount of scale to overcome the issues compared to what tends to happen on other maps. Likewise, early frig spam doesn't win you massive amounts of map control expression over underwater mexes and stuff.
If anything i think the opposite is true. The ratio of frigs to destro's in sentons is way higher than on any other conventional 20km teamgame map. Ofcourse you see more early frig action on beetles considering there are mexes to take and defend but it isn't to such an amount that aeon will suffer a significant drawback. Furthermore because of the chokepoints aeon destro's are even stronger there. Aeon is definitely in my top 2 navy factions for a map like beetles
Something that I notice that makes naval balance very different to air and land balance is that the factional differences are enormous.
It's difficult to summarise because there's just so many differences that feel too big to gloss over, but overall I feel that UEF navies are simply too good compared to navies without UEF units, as UEF provides powerful units not available to other navies, plus they have arguably the best battleships.
Of course, in team games, you can have a mixed navy which is likely stronger. A Cybran or Seraphim navy stands to benefit enormously from a few UEF units.
Bulwark especially bothers me as just too big a factional advantage. It combines especially well with UEF being well-suited to long range harassment as both their cruisers and battleships can attack at a range of 150, and greatly helps against air strikes, especially Ahwassa (a single Bulwark can nullify an Ahwassa hit that would otherwise do 20k mass of damage).
Have garbage frig
Have garbage destro that needs to push right into either factions with better frigs or monster kiting destro to do anything and can also die to t1 subs probably
Have to make cooper to deal with t2 subs
Only decent things UEF has until battlecruiser is bulwark (which got brutal giga nerfed already) and cruiser and neither of this actually help kill units.
On the subject of naval balance:
1 - Give radar jamming to all UEF surface ships -> this will actually boost UEF frigates because when someone sees a jammed radar signal, they won't know what kind of boat it is. It also reinforces the idea that jamming is a faction "theme"
2 - Since UEF has the worst destroyer, if you're not going to make it better against enemy destroyers/battleships, at least buff it in other ways. Ideas:
(a) add jamming even if you don't give it to other boats (b) give it stronger torps. People aren't going to stop making coopers just because Valiant gets buffed slightly. "Why would I make coopers now that I can spend 2.5x as much to make the worst destroyer in the game?" (c) give it another gun, a short-range gun that helps to deal with frigates and hover spam. (d) boost the anti-air rail gun significantly, make it like 7x as strong as a thunderhead aa gun (e) give a little more HP and regen, call it a "damage control system" or something so at least they can tank better for t3 boats or if you keep them alive long enough you get more value from them.
Jamming is already super usefull in uef navy so i dont think it should be buffed.
What i just thought off what could be more interesting is to give it a very slight speed buff so it can catch kiting destros
If anything, this and similar topics have taught me that there is a lot to know about which navals suck.
For example, I have been reluctant, a few years ago, to build Aeon Destroyers because I never felt destroyers were very good when I played a lot of UEF.
New or low-ranked players might complain less about navies when we know not to build 10 Aeon cruisers or 10 UEF destroyers.
I feel all this could somehow be communicated better to players, maybe with tooltips - just a wall of text players will find in the client could help.