Bam, I have yet to get into a fight where the AI is on par in Tech with me. I have read that a HUGE hull filled only With weapons and NO defenses is the way to go. That just does not make sense (to me). I like the 'armored' battleship idea and tend to make my ships like that.
Personally what I would like to see is a return to a need for defenses. Most here say all defenses do is 'add hit-points'. which is true. I like the hit-point idea but I also like how defenses kinda worked in GCII. In that game If you had 10 in point defense and got hit by a mass driver it would reduce the mass driver by a tenth, (not sure exactly).
I like long battles. It would be nice to have Capitals sit in back and slug it out long range while interceptors and assault fighters go and attack carriers or support ships. Defenses really need a slight rework. I think late tier defenses should have a unique feature to them that makes them worth working towards, maybe a 3 to 1 reduction or a hidden modifier to completely disregard said attack, (although make the chance low).
In all cases, I like the current system and would like to work towards a need for 'mixed' fleets. That can be coded so that Tiny, small and medium more towards the enemy while Large and Huge 'hang back' and stand off at range. The current system will allow this you just have to know how to designate the ship.
A Huge Ship with 500 missiles, extra range, extra rate of fire, and cluster munitions, 40 in each defense 'designated' as Escort or Guardian will sit in back.
A Capital is essentially the same as Assault, the difference is what targets they pick. Assaults go for softer targets in back while capitals 'leisurely stroll up and unleash on all that get near....
Our system is flexible enough that in an expansion we can probably get a 'ship behavior' drop down. This would also give the ship additional behavior with drop down options like Close in and attack at point blank, Stand off at range and fire. These are just ideas. I am NOT a programmer but the beauty of this game is the fact it is 64 bit and we can update/upgrade it (at a later date) with more features.