We already know the ships Star Wars: Squadrons will feature at launch and with no (current) plans for DLC the notion of getting any additional ships post-launch is really just a hope at this point. But that’s OK. Speculation is fun! If EA does ever decide to add more ships, these are some of the ships I’d like to see.
Before I get into the list, though, it’s important to note that I have a great appreciation for the stripped down to basics lineup of the ships in Star Wars: Squadrons. The classic line up of TIE Fighters, Bombers and Interceptors vs. the Rebels’ X-Wings, A-Wings and Y-Wings is really all you need for a tight, competitive experience. I don’t feel like anything is missing with the line up as it stands, but there are a couple of ships I’d love to see added if the balance issues they present are properly accounted for and mitigated.
All of the classic Rebel and Imperial ships feature distinct tradeoffs that are harder to find as you delve deeper into the bench, particularly on the Imperial side where it can be difficult to justify why one would fly a TIE Fighter over say, a TIE Defender, which is a sort of inherent issue with the lore that makes it difficult to translate to a multiplayer game. The Rebel Alliance never had the ability to just zerg their pilots, so it always put focus on the performance of individual pilots and their ships, making them much easier to balance against each other in a game. The Empire, on the other hand, just swarms its enemies with TIE Fighters and Interceptors as fodder. Later, shielded designs didn’t really go to your rank-and-file pilots, but important figures like Darth Vader with his TIE Advanced x1 or Inquisitors with the TIE Advanced v1. This obviously isn’t a factor in a video game where any player can decide to go into a match with whichever ship they have available to them, so getting the balance right in order to avoid crowding out the unshielded “fodder” ships will be key.
In any case, let’s dive in!
B-Wing & TIE Defender*
I slap an asterisk on this one because frankly we cannot add one without the other. I have to say I personally despise the TIE Defender. It’s an ugly design and it’s an example of complete and utter power creep with its numerous lasers (six to eight!), huge payload of ordnance, and shields. The B-Wing, by comparison, also veers into power creep territory, but is a bit more balanced when compared specifically to other Rebel craft.
I recognize both of these ships are popular and found at the top of the list for lots of players interested in Star Wars: Squadrons. That said, the only way I see either of these ships working at all in SWS without completely upsetting the balance and turning every match into 5 B-Wings vs. 5 TIE Defenders is if the developers make micromanaging power on these ships critical to their performance. Ideally, it should be incredibly difficult to take advantage of all they bring to bear (speed, hardiness and firepower) at once by forcing players to make frequent power management decisions mid combat more so than they would on other ships. So, yes, technically the TIE Defender can move like an Interceptor, but not without putting significant power to engines, etc. If this is emphasized in the design of these ships, then maybe they can work for SWS.
The Alpha-class Xg-1 Star Wing, better known to fans as the Assault Gunboat, is well known to players of the X-Wing games Star Wars: Squadrons draws its inspiration from, but these aren’t strictly canon ships. The Gunboat has been featured in post-Disney materials such as Fantasy Flight Games’ Starships and Speeders sourcebook and even in FFG’s Star Wars: X-Wing miniatures game, but an appearance in Squadrons would truly bring the ship into canon in a broader sense.
This was one of my favorite ships to fly in X-Wing Alliance and to this day is one of my favorite Star Wars ships overall. Unlike the issues I raised with the Defender, the Assault Gunboat is a lot easier to balance, even as a ship that brings both shields and a pair of lasers and ion cannons to bear. The Assault Gunboat is powerful to be sure, but it makes clear tradeoffs in speed and agility for its gains in hardiness and firepower.
If we assume the Squadrons’ approach to balancing shielded vs. unshielded ships actually pans out for the game, the Assault Gunboat should easily fit into the Imperial side of things without crowding anything else out.
TIE Advanced v1/x1
Darth Vader’s iconic TIE Advanced x1 (or the Inquisitors’ TIE Advanced v1) could also work in SWS for the same reasons the Gunboat might. In lore, these ships are strictly better than their unshielded brethren, but not ridiculously so. In SWS the simple fact that unshielded ships get a number of advantages in terms of power management, speed and damage, may be enough to balance their selection down to preference. Maybe you love The Empire, but you find it frustrating to play without shields, so you opt for a TIE Advanced (or Gunboat) instead.
YT-1300/2000/2400 & VT-49 Decimator
Let’s call these more offensively minded support ships with a unique feature to allow an additional player to jump in the turret in lieu of selecting their own ship. The New Republic side would obviously get the Corellian freighter(s) while the Empire would get the VT-49 Decimator, which was an original creation for Star Wars Galaxies, but has since appeared in Star Wars: Commander and both FFG’s Armada and X-Wing miniatures games.
Played solo these would function like the U-Wing or TIE Reaper, but would trade some of its support capability for an AI controlled automatically firing turret for some additional firepower. Teams in the planning stage of a match could also decide to run with a physical player who can switch between the two turrets in-combat.
What are some of the ships you'd like to see playable in Star Wars: Squadrons? Share your list with us in the comments below!