This is more of a half effort post primarily because it involves a good bit of moving parts and a lot of potential adjustments that can cause problems. I'm going to divide it into two parts: conceptual and practical as if people don't think it's an interesting idea to move forward with as a concept then the practical details are pointless. I'd appreciate specificity on which is the bigger problem for people between the two.
I do not like the niche nuke subs operate in. They are pretty much a senton exclusive unit because their actual viability, this excludes meme games, requires:
- A navy segment that warrants winning
- A way to project nukes into the enemy through navy that cannot be done through land
- Enough value from navy to warrant investing 40-50k mass at a minimum, yet this mass investment does not result in a game win itself.
This means something like Lena River or Metir has no use for nuke subs because an SML from the land bases will have the same travel arc into the opposing base as the nuke subs. The only difference is if it's some cheese super far in a corner with zero cover.
Beetles has no use for it because a won navy will have battleships kill all the bases regardless.
This is such a pathetically small role for what is up to 33% of a T3 navy roster for some factions.
Instead I propose that nuke subs be reworked from a STRATEGIC weapon into a TACTICAL weapon. Rather than shooting strategic missiles the unit will instead be based around the tactical billy nuke of the UEF. This will allow nuke subs to be made cheaper while also carrying a larger role in general navy combat and rewarding good unit mix/targeting further. The units can be used to snipe buildpower and factories, snipe frigate blobs, and kill off retreating tempests/battleships. It can also nuke reclaim fields and therefore delay the snowball loss in a late game navy fight.
For this to work I would also recommend to remove TMD from battleships as this would provide too much safety. Instead cruisers should be the primary security tool, but it could be possible to add TMD to other unique support units such as the missile ship and maybe keep it on the battlecruiser.
Here are some values I've been messing around with to give some sort of framework for the discussion if people want to get into the details.
10,000 Mass (75 mass per second) -> 5000 (38 mass per second)
160k Energy (1200 energy per second) -> 60k (500 e per second)
12,000 Mass (40 mass per second) -> 4800 (80 mass per second)
1.4M Energy (4500 e per second) -> 300k (5000 e per second)
324k Buildtime (300 seconds unassisted) -> 64800 (60 seconds unassisted)
I centered the costs around the current values for the UEF billy.
The nuke would still do the same damage as the UEF billy to maintain consistency, meaning it would take at least 4 of these missiles to kill a battleship itself. The subs aren't intended to solo battleships and are instead focused on isolating them or picking off any that get away from the fight. Or achieving high value in some blob of units.
The big practical issues I've ran into with this idea are:
- The battleship TMD, which IMO is easy to rectify as I don't think battleship TMD adds anything to the game in the first place.
- Just spamming TMD on the water. Late game navy combat already involves SACUs being dropped to get reclaim and build SAMs. It will not be difficult to just use them to build a few TMD as well. I'm unsure how to feel about this issue and it's the main reason I decided to stop theorycrafting about the idea and just make a post because I can't tell if this makes it a deadend or if it's viable if we tinker with values like cost, hp of the missle, and so on.
Note: I am aware that the Seraphim battleship exists and that I didn't cover it, but functionally it's just a more inefficient nuke sub when building a missile so I would just carry that over into the billy.