With CR being one of the main features (perhaps the main feature) of the 0.6a release, it makes sense to revisit it after seeing how it’s played out so far.
(If you haven’t been keeping up with the details: CR (“combat readiness”) is a percentage rating each ship has that’s reduced each time it’s deployed into combat and governs how effective it is, and whether it can be deployed at all. Recovering CR costs time and supplies, thus rewarding the player for winning with fewer ships. That’s not the only reason for CR’s existence, but there’s a whole blog post devoted to it, so I won’t talk about it here.)
Overall, I think CR accomplished its intended goals, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect and can’t be improved. One of its effects in the current form is that ships go from “pretty much working fine” to “can’t even deploy this rust bucket anymore” awfully quickly, without much of a transition period. For reference, right now a ship below 10% CR can’t be deployed at all, while a ship below 20% CR suffers weapon and engine malfunctions. In theory that should be the aforementioned transition period, but in practice deployment costs are high enough that it can get skipped altogether.
With that in mind, the changes:
Ships have their deployment costs and CR recovery rates halved.
This means the supply cost per deployment and the recovery time remain the same, but more consecutive deployments are possible.
Malfunctions start at 40% CR, critical malfunctions start at 20%
This is all about extending the transition period between “working fine” and “not working at all”. A ship in average shape has roughly the same number of deployments as before until it runs into malfunctions, but now it’s possible to continue deploying the ship well beyond that.
Just what are critical malfunctions, you ask? Conceptually, it’s a chance for things to go very, very badly wrong. For example, a power junction failing catastrophically, ammo exploding inside a magazine, an engine containment field failing, that sort of thing. In game terms, it’s a chance for weapons and engines to go offline for the duration of the battle, and cause major hull damage in the process. Simply deploying a ship at low CR will cause some of these, an continued use in battle has a chance to cause even more.