I'm in general agreement with the tone and intent of the article being updated.
But I want to mention something I've been nursing. Maybe even borderline off-topic, but I'm not sure of where I else I could say it where there would be a receptive audience.
SARP ships are so very powerful. I mean, I get that the numbers are influenced by anime like Macross and Legend of the Galactic Heroes... and man, we've got a freaking ton of warships. I acknowledge it's a style, but it loses in opportunistic perspective.
I mean, we've got ships that can crack open planets, set gaseous nebulae aflame (however inaccurate that could perhaps be) and turn suns into supernovae. The warship is the apex predator of our setting, the thing that's generally in the top of any multi-tiered engagement. And yet, Our thousands-strong fleet pretty much trivializes those. Often, plotships work alone, and that makes us players the wierd one that take stupid amounts of risk when militaries want to hang together, do things as units and so on, and so forth. For the major part, we're no Starfleet sending out our Enterprise city-ships to boldly go.
And the oft favored ride, the lone speedy gunship, is frail in the face of any dangers it encounters because in this setting, warships hang out together.
Which segueways into my other feeling: the numbers trivialize how meaningful that powerful platform of hardware is. I get the feeling that somewhere along the line, just a single warship coming in system ought to generate a reaction like: "OMG, look, it's a Yamataian Plumeria-class! It's not just a patrolling Yui destroyer, it's a Plumeria-class. The Yammies mean 'effing business this time!" Whereas if you meet a battleship, it's awe-inspiring due to their rarity and how they're a clear symbol of a flag being carried to a system.
Which is where I expect someone with a longer memory, like Zack, to go: "Fred, dude, you're the one - a decade ago - that suggested we go down from hundreds-of-thousands to thousands. Now you're asking to go smaller? Why should we listen to you when you couldn't get it right the first time?"
Ah, well, impact to narrative, really. In a setting where you have fleets that are millions strong, you already employ vernacular dealing with thousands of ships... so, if the numbers go down to the already used vernacular, there's little to no negative impact to the written roleplay. Also, Yamatai's actually been constantly at war for over a decade; one would think that their stores of materials could petter out and only leave them with what they can furnish at one time and what they can build at one time; perhaps justifying going lean and decommissioning older ships in favor of bringing forth new ones (which has actually already been done a couple of times now).
Also, there's no choice. There's nothing in the allotment we have that defines a faction war doctrine regarding unit preference. Do you build small and fast, or do you prefer to focus on fewer but hardier units?
So, thought experiment. Less say that a resource-plentiful starsystem can enable a faction to produce and maintain a total of Eight of their best capital vessels.
Since I'm lazy and unimaginative, I think I can actual draw from the way DRv3 deals with units and how tier-equivalent weapons can be broken down into weaker weapons. The best uit would start with the (tier 15) flagship and then downward. So, for 1 flagship, you could have...
4 Heavy Cruisers
8 Light Cruisers
* and support crafts below, you get the idea
(32 x 8 = 256; which is close to our current 250 number - seems like a good departure point)
I think Frostjaeger's article already tried to account for that, but in this case you could actually account for everything and the numbers are less arbitrary, but on a level of give and take. There are a few extra layers that could be tacked on to that.
- Perhaps assets in-system are uniquely suited to do certain tasks. Perhaps the warmaster worlds in Core Yamatai are important to any war effort because they have amazing capital shipyard facilities; it could be extraodinary for a system to be able to churn out 4 heavy cruisers a year (fictitious value)
- Even if civilian vehicles don't quite count in military buildup numbers, perhaps they do happen to have an impact on logistics. The workers in an industrial system like Rufusland could be inconvenienced at the presence of a Star Army battlegroup passing by since they'd be resource hogs.
- Perhaps not all systems are well established enough to support 8 warships. Perhaps they've been depleted through catastrophic events. One system could be Level 8 while another could just be Level 3. Worldbuilding and establishing those systems could be more important.
So, you could have a situation where you're at a frontier system of a faction. New promising colony, just recently established, fledging infrastructure... so, it's Level 1. A frontier world isn't where you put your most expensive vessels... so, the unit's commander-in-chief could be in a Light Cruiser. Then you've got 2 destroyers and 8 frigates.
So, maybe the garrison in that system is an Anri Repair Vessel and 2 squadrons of 1 Plumeria and 4 Chiakis. The Repair Vessel in this instance would be extra handy because the new colony would be low on resources to help deal with the warships and their civilian traffic. Then if you get an influx of refugees, or a squadron of warships coming in without their own supply ship; the logistics in that system are boned and... I kind of believe that's the sort of considerations that can help build progressive stories even localy around a few systems, rather than a whole Empire (like Zack seems to be interested in, for instance).
Frostjaeger's article is awesome. A few tweaks, otherwise maintains status quo. If that's your only interest, that's great. But it's always a struggle with developping factions to help them define what they can do and they chafe at abstract limitations; and we've seen resource hungry factions go for landgrabs (make a system, put some sciency stats, and done) rather than investment and careful development of what they have. And, the value of single ships is lost in the 'horde' with only whim to rely to given how you want to populate your numbers.
If the above doesn't strike you as nonsense, I think it could be more.