Playing as the Drath, I'm currently in a long war with the Altarians, where I have equipped my ships with high-level missile weapons and ultimate invulnerability shields.
I generally try to balance out the amount of attack and defense on every ship I build. However, I'm finding this to be an issue.
The Altarians are currently equipping a mix of high-level beam weapons and shields. They are also including a fair amount of point defense.
My fleet mix is generally as follows:
My huge and large ships, having been built very recently, equip the best technology available. The medium ships are very capable as well, although they are equipping outdated tech. The small and tiny ships are generally completely outdated, and serve as fodder.
So I'm at a cross roads. Generally speaking, when a fleet of mine enters battle, it leaves completely stripped of its small ships -- the Altarians are targeting my heavy-fighters, weak though they are. I don't think I've lost any mediums or above. While this is nice because it means I'm not forced to replace massively expensive ships, it is a pain because I do tend want to replace my fighters ASAP.
I've upgraded my heavy-fighter design with top-level equipment -- making them expensive. My newest small design includes 32 damage from missiles, and 36 defense against beams. This makes them, relative to their size, extremely expensive and time-consuming to produce.
It generally takes about 4 weeks to produce one -- and with about a dozen planets, refitting a 10 fleets (40 fighters) with an advanced design when my frigates and light-fighters are outdated is very difficult.
So I'm at a crossroads: do I build small and tiny ships with the intention of making them cheap and readily replaceable? Do I build small ships that are extremely capable, with the intention of making my fleets as lethal as powerful, even though they are likely to be more readily destroyed?
OR do I simply reduce the number of ships in a fleet, filling out my fleets with frigates (mediums), which seem to be the best balance?
How do you plan out your fleets?