I made a long post in one of the threads on the Academy forum this morning, and later realised that it probably should be in Feedback. So I represent my thoughts here (whilst the server is down) for consideration.
Basically, the thread I was posting in was saying 'Combat is too easy, and this is because if you do anything other than the core missions (i.e. Admiral Quinn) you outplay the game as it was designed'. In other words, you end up fighting against ships, and ground troops that are below your level.
This was something I happened to agree with. However, I feel, some of the solutions that have been put forward over the past couple of weeks (such as a difficulty slider) always seem to have a point on which they fail. For brevities sake I shan't go into them here.
At the end of my post I threw out an idea, and asked for constructive criticism. So here goes.
We start the game in Light Cruisers. I think we are missing two whole classes of ships - the frigates and destroyers. These are obviously more fragile vessels than the light cruisers we start in. They might also have fewer weapons, consoles, etc...
I propose that when you create you character you be given the option to start play in one of these ship classes instead of the Light Cruiser. This would make the initial part of the game that much harder for those who find the space combat too easy. Being optional, those who casually play the game, can start with the Light Cruiser as per usual and everyone is catered for.
The reward that my idea provides is the opportunity to play ship classes the average joe will never play, and the kudos associated with playing the game on 'hard'. Perhaps a special title could be associated with this.
Clearly this is just the seed of an idea. I like it, and feel that others could constructively criticise it and improve it.