So, steam says I've invested 22 hours in this game, which is quite a lot by any objective standard. Certainly it should be enough to have a first impression of the game. In summary, my first impression is that the game has some strengths, but it also has a lot of areas that need work, especially in the areas of design and game balance. As a player with 22 hours in the game, I am still kicking around in a T3 newb ship. I have some LP, but since my first efforts to get a cheap T4 met with quick and brutal deaths, I've decided to wait and simply pool Lp for now. I'm playing Sol faction and I've given the new shields a try. For obvious reasons my critique is going to focus on tiers 3 and 4. I've only experienced tier 5 by being shot at by tier 5's. My first issue with the game is that, despite all the hours I've spent playing it, I've got nothing to show for it. I was, as I said, able to buy an Oslo, but I promptly got swarmed and destroyed as soon as I tried to deploy it. While this is supposed to be a gritty hard-science game, the emphasis at present is on grinding for literally hundreds of hours in order to gain a ship that you can then lose to a quirk of unlucky battlefield placement. My suggestion here is twofold: first, fix it so you don't lose ten+ hours of game progress every time you lose a battle. The current grind is simply a bad game mechanic, it's not fun and it's going to lose you players and lose you money. I strongly urge you to reconsider the current mechanic. A good candidate to address this fix is to refund half of any ship LP that is destroyed. Second, you might consider implementing a tech tree. Reduce all ship prices by 90% to be in line with what the current tier 3 prices are. Have players pay the full value (for instance, 1000 LP) to research a tier. You could even have tech unlocks, such as 3x shields, plasma guns, and improved engines, and allow players to upgrade purchased ships with one-off tech upgrades. All of this will contribute to a sense of progression for the player. My second issue with the game is the balance issue. I appreciate that the devs are keeping an eye on this and have already rebalanced tier 3 in particular so that Sol is more competitive. I understand that Gen is intended to dominate at tier 3 (and possibly tier 4) but I urge the devs to reconsider this intention. Giving Gen a 10% bump in HP and damage is fine. Giving them a 50% bump in HP and damage relative to Sol is a bad idea, and it's going to drive players away as fast as they can download the game and enter a map. Players are going to enter the game, see that their enemies have better stats across the board, and then they are going to uninstall the game. You've already improved Sol shields and power and nerfed Gen power across the board, and I'd definitely take a wait and see approach for a bit to determine whether that was enough to bring the game back into balance. Right now it's a little hard for me to tell because I keep running into Gen t4 and t5 ships in my newbie cruiser and then I get one-shotted before I can fight anyone. IF (and we don't know yet, so this is a big if) the game needs further rebalancing, I suggest giving all Sol ships one free unit of shields across all arcs. This would take the sting off their very low HP and the relatively higher damage from Gen ships. With the shield buff you already implemented I don't know if this is necessary. My third issue with the game is the tier system. As someone who has *only* played the game for 22 hours and is still in the free newbie ship, it's a little frustrating for me to see tier 4 and tier 5 enemies on literally every map I enter, because it completely shuts down my ability to play the game. Players who are unable to compete because they are low tier are going to get frustrated and leave. My suggestion here is twofold: first, I really like the idea of missions that let new players learn the game and earn XP, but it would be nice if it granted more than a very minor amount of XP. I would love to see missions with multiple T2's, multiple t3's, and even t4 ship tenders available to tier 3 ships, and maybe more than 1 xp per hit for these ships. I understand that this isn't intended to be a player vs environment game and missions are a low priority. Second, some sort of balance system in contested sectors would be nice. For defensive sectors, it might make sense to spawn high-level AI's when high-level player ships appear, who can at least give low-level player ships a fighting chance against the invaders. Alternately, some deployable structures that are tier-4 and tier-5 equivalent might make a lot of sense. I would guess that players would gladly drop a few hundred LP to gain a static repair structure that was able to contribute a couple of plasma lasers and some shields to a fight. I understand that players are already able to spend a captain point to have an AI fleet tender accompany them; this would be a different, related defense mechanic.