I'm just about through conquering the sector in the name of the Shadowyards Reconstruction Authority.
Now's the time for me to drop a bunch of feedback on you.
First off, I'm a huge fan of the Shadowyards aesthetic. I imagine the top engineers of the various factions subscribing to brutalist design principles, or following a high-tech, minimalist approach. Then there are the Shadowyards designers, who seem to have fallen in love with an ancient Tripad containing the works of surrealist artists.
I'll go through the ships in the order I purchased them.
Enlil: The versatility of this little ship is amazing. I outfitted it to close-out small combat encounters very quickly - A Shrike ASM Pod, and two Tusk Racks. With Extended Missile Racks, the little Enlil could clear an encounter of 1-4 small ships on a good day, though there were days when I was outlasted, and had to resort to crude ramming tactics to finish a combat. I liken the Enlil to BRDY's Silverfish, in both role and flexibility. I have no qualms with the Enlil at all - they served me well.
Morningstar: I love the Sensor Drones, but it feel like the ship itself inhabits a place between Enlil and Clade, and I might have been better served by purchasing one of either. This is especially true given the monthly supply tax of the Morningstar, which is very close to that of the Clade (10 vs 11, as I remember). I couldn't find the perfect niche for the Morningstar, but that may be my issue.
Sargasso: I appreciated the idea behind the ship system, but I feel it needs a polish pass - I never received any strong feedback that my fighter wings were improved, apart from the occasional torque sound effect that accompanies the activation. I would like to say that a range indicator, or an 'aura' effect would be useful. As for the sound, you've mentioned that's a weak-point of Shadowyards, so I know you're aware. Despite the complaints, the ship served well as a light carrier, allowing the Rakshasa wings (Which look amazing, by the way - like little Bats) to fulfill their destinies.
Clade: The retro-thrusters are fun! I felt inclined to engage in hit-and-run tactics with the Clade, ruining foes with a burst of firepower, before boosting backwards and away. I did ashamedly total several allied ships by mishandling the retro-thrusters, but I figured that was just practice for the Mimir. I do say that a phase ship with retro-thrusters would be the ultimate nuisance.
Tartarus: I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but Siege Mode turned the Tartarus into one of my favourite ships, I did notice that the AI didn't often utilise Siege Mode, though. I've always had trouble establishing a strong defense, perhaps due to unwillingness to invest in command points early on. Regardless, a Tartarus that is supported by a dedicated escort serves as an absolutely amazing bulwark against an attacking fleet. Lategame they acted as anvils, against which my Scylla hammer would pulverise the poor, hopeless foes. I almost hoped that the names of the Tartarus and Charybdis would be swapped, so my enemies would truly be torn between Scylla and Charybdis.
Lambent: It's a cute tanker. I would pay good money for a hot water bottle that looks like a plush Lambent.
Charybdis: It allowed me to field unholy amounts of Rakshasa bombers, and for that I am grateful. It served as a nice mobile base, behind the aforementioned wall of Tartaruses, but I didn't feel it stood out in any exceptional manner.
Potnia: I kept attempting to field ships that were probably meant to be kept out of combat. I enjoyed the marine-boosting effects, but lategame I had several hundred marines, and I assumed the Potnia only buffed a number equal to it's crew holding, so I shelved it. How did you envision the Potnia being utilised?
Mimir: Piloting a capital ship can often feel like you're a boss in Shadow of the Colossus. A small pest evades you, stinging constantly, and you aren't agile enough to reach out and swat it - And then I engaged the Lock Drive. I can imagine the '420 MLG NOSCOPE' dubstep playing in the background as I barrel forwards, smashing the hapless weaklings into piles of metal and heavy machinery before my trio of Wavepulse cannons overwhelms their feeble companions. It's such a satisfying ship to pilot, though I was underwhelmed by the missile slots, given that I couldn't find the perfect missile to compliment the Mimir's role.
Scylla: It's absolutely disgusting. All that forward-facing firepower is an absolute force to be reckoned with. The Hydra Drones served as an ample distraction - I've been saved more than once by them.
Elysium: The "Let's jam a bunch of cool systems and built-in weapons onto this ship!" It became my dedicated sensor vessel, which was a boon in larger engagements. I pulled off several critical hits with the REIS, though it felt redundant when the CAS beams were available - I felt they were a much more versatile immobilisation tool.
And there were several ships I never got to pilot. The Belet-Seri, which looks like a mini-Morningstar, the Inanna, the Shamash, and the Seski (Which I always read as Seksi).
The former three never turned up in markets for me, and the Seski wasn't picked up, due to already fielding a number of fighters and Enlil.
Given the somewhat limited variety of weapon types, as well as the small selection of weapons native to Shadowyards, I felt like there wasn't extensive choices to be made when it came to installing weapons - I tend to play through each faction using as much of that faction's tech as I am able. I don't mix weapons and ships very often, so this issue is definitely on my end. On your end I can compliment you on a very refined vision for Shadowyards.
I'm beginning to see that most ships are designed within an acceptable margin, and deviation results in them being broken, for better or worse. Knowing that, the charm of Shadowyards definitely has the remarkable ship systems to thank. A select few - Clade, Tartarus, Mimir - really changed how I played the game, or approached tactical deployment.
Now I'll talk briefly about weapons:
CEPC Family: They look good, feel good, and work very well. It's always nice for your barrage of laser death to adhere to a uniform style. I especially like how the projectiles pop at the end of their lifespan. Progression is generally linear, with the outlier being the Scatter CEPC. Absolutely devastating in close-quarters, becoming even moreso with the expanded magazines hullmod, it works surprisingly well on a Scylla, working to punch through shields so the CAS beams can do their work, or to finish off weakened foes while the beams are on cooldown.
Tusk Torpedo: These have ruined my day more than once, it felt nice to not be on the receiving end for once. I'd say they are my favourite torpedo overall.
Shrike: So they're almost useless if the missile isn't facing the target as it is launched, but I suppose that's a fair trade for how damn effective they are under the right conditions. The Shrike ensured I succeeded in every single pursuit I engaged in, and they break shields on-par with the Sabot. Definitely my preferred kinetic missile.
Blackcap: These fell somewhat short for me. The large ammunition count was a bonus, but they felt somewhat underwhelming against fighters, as they would regularly miss their target, not to mention they used up a slot which could field a different missile. They might do the trick in large numbers, but I used other missiles over the Blackcap. Although, as I write this I wonder if a Blackcap Pod would be at home on a Mimir.
Splinter: They remind me of Diable Avionic's Plover missiles. Splinter missiles would probably be a nightmare if used cross-faction on a dedicated missile ship. On a Shadowyards ship, however, where missile launchers are usually at a premium, I still prefer to use a Tusk or a Shrike.
Barrago: I like the idea, I really do, but the Barrago seems to have more issues than any other Shadowyards weapon. Firstly, the coloured trail doesn't seem to be centered on the thruster, and floats several units behind the missile. This is most noticeable when the Barrago turns, and while it's not a gameplay issue, it's an outlier in a mod that prides itself on amazing visuals. Secondly, when the Barrago enters phase two and chases a target, very rarely does the secondary detonation actually hit the target. As I understand, the Barrago bursts into a plume of flame, which is meant to strike the target - but if the target is moving, this is almost never the case. I feel the tracking needs to be improved on this explosion.
CAS Family: Gosh. The immobilising effect of the beams really is strong. It's quite handy when it comes to catching a foe behind their shield, as they are usually unable to rotate to deflect your attack. It's a really satisfying weapon to use, though I'm leaning towards 'too-strong' in classifying it.
Polarizers: I could see these adopting the Impact from the CAS beams - they're built for debilitating foes, after all. They're a great supporting weapon for ships that don't necessarily want to be in the thick of things, like the Charybdis. Unfortunately, the polarizer weapons are causing crashes when interacting with Knights Templar Lattice Shields.
Niddhoggr Lance: I want to love it, but I don't know which role it suits. It's useful to add flux to an approaching ship, especially since you have time to vent afterwards. Apart from that niche use, though, I didn't get much out of it. The flux it generates is so high that it's not really viable to use it when engaged in combat, especially if the Mimir's shields are active. It's a cool idea, but I don't quite see where it fits, other than as an alpha-strike in an engagement, to cripple the opponent's flux before you Lock Drive in and blast their face. Also the additional projectiles launched by the Nidhoggr regularly disconnect, sending different green particles across the screen and away from the actual projectile.
Gosh, I've been writing this for way too long. I would like to ask you, MShadowy, if Shadowyards introduced a large missile weapon, what do you imagine it would be?
To summarise, I love the mod. The aesthetics are great and the design space is well-defined. The ship-systems are a treat. I'd mark the Barrago and the Nidhoggr Lance for a once-over, and maybe the CAS beams for a slight tweaking. I'm really looking forward to what else you have in store for us, MShadowy.
PS: I apologise for any mistakes or idiocy, my brain seems to be increasing in flux as I write this, and I'm in danger of an overload