So, on the topic of fun and balance. Note: for the purpose of this post I'm referring exclusively to things from within this homebrew (not monster classes and the like) and to single-track builds, no gestalt. I'm also focusing on combat here - let's take it as a given that any class can be made interesting for non-combat purposes. I'm also ignoring Einst Queen because I find it doesn't suffer from any of the problems here, being essentially all three main types of classes in one.
I still hold that Real Pilot is the best combat class due to the Real Robot builtins and models being just that good, plus full arsenal access and more accessories. The thing is, I also find them to be one of the least interesting classes due to having relatively little possible customization. Ironically, the most powerful feature of Reals (the choice of model) is also the most limiting, with only half a dozen choices per tier. The alternative, generics, are undercut by being largely worse than the premade models on the basis of stats, features, and weapons. This is because Real builtins are somewhat better than Arsenal, and premade Real models will end up with more weapons due to having access to builtins and arsenal at the same time. The other classes (not counting Mecha Mook) that get Real Robots but not Super upgrades are Divine Pilot, Mecha Marine, and Prodigy Pilot, all of which can cast or manifest. Every other class is Super-based or hybrid.
This interacts with a few other issues, as well. Due to the way cross-classing works, Real-based classes and hybrid classes always feel Real-first, something else second. The reason for this is that anything that gives you a level in Real Pilot gives you a Real Robot you can customize, instead of feeling like it supplements the other class. As a result, more than half the classes in the homebrew are exposed to the issue of choosing among half a dozen base builds per tier unless they make the affirmative choice to be pure Super for hybrid purposes. On the other hand, they're still more interesting than Real Pilot because they benefit from more customization between real tier breakpoints as they can apply Super upgrades during that point, plus they each have their own distinct set of class features. When you combine this with the numerical superiority of the Real models and access to Arsenal a full tier higher, most builds have to choose to be less interesting to be more powerful. For contrast, the reason that Star Sniper is so promising is that it feels like a Real, but with more interesting class features instead of just having worse stats. (Note, I'm not suggesting turning Star Sniper into a base class, just using it as an example.)
On the other side of the power curve: Ship Captain is other least interesting class to play, and the hardest to make combat-effective. It gets slow Arsenal progression, but can't meaningfully access it without cross-classing or directly sacrificing another class feature via the Combat Commander ACF. It benefits even less than Super-based and hybrid Real/Super classes from cross-classing with real-based classes, essentially ending up just worse than both. (At least Real/Super helps the Real model one chooses, Ship Captain just ends up with an under-leveled Real and an under-leveled Battleship.) It gets all the downsides of size, but none of the upsides. It's only possible to hit things without extra resource expenditure (maneuvers/spirits) or by making the first Distinguished Officer a Weapons Officer. Adding Distinguished Officer variety helped a bit with customizablity, since it's at least possible to focus a bit on one's favorite part of the class. Nonetheless, Ship Captain is arguably even less customizable than Real Pilot, but without the benefit of combat effectiveness. The one thing BB does well is buffs thanks to martial school choice and spirit discounts, but having one way to play isn't a lot of fun, especially since in the end it comes down to "do things to make other classes better at being useful".
The BB variety issue may be harder to solve, as (per other players from my game) the most fun BBs are the ones that are combat effective (Yamato, Neo Nautilus) or that don't really represent a pure BB (ie Choujinga Dai-Gurren and Shin Dragon, which are more like Super/BB crosses). The signature abilities of those BBs are represented in the class already, the main issue is the lack of effectiveness.
To summarize, there are four main types of classes:
- Real/Super Hybrid
In order of raw power, they are:
- Real/Super hybrid
In order of fun to use, they are:
- Super-Based or Real/Super hybrid
In short, class power is roughly inversely correlated with how interesting it is to play. This is the source of much of the frustration you've heard from us over the years. Much of our feedback has revolved around the Super/Real dichotomy - reducing the power on high-level weapons that only reals can truly access, and giving Supers access to options to keep up with Reals in more ways. Battleship is now even further behind as a result, and I suggest looking into ways to improve BB build variety.
Addendum: Even if you don't agree with the assertion that Reals are numerically superior, the rest of the issues with Real and BB not being as fun as other classes apply, just without the element of compromise on power. If you take that view, then there's no point to playing a Real at all, because everything else is equally powerful but more