It's a fantastic look into the mundane workings of a development team — I really appreciate the transparency and learned a lot. Thanks to everyone involved.
On the number of world types, I see the issues in play. For "even-ness," though, I'd suggest starting with seven types—two easy, two medium, two hard, and rainbow. The current "one medium type" list seems odd.
"Super Melee should stay Super Melee." It's good to hear about the process your team has gone through to reach this decision, and I'm glad you ended up where you did.
I like the model of ship customization you're pursuing. Here's a few to throw in the blender:
- Flock of Spacegulls: a cloud of sensor decoys you can leave behind while running… far away.
- a trio of docked escort fighters that can be launched for close defense.
- treatment plant that converts crew waste to energy. Produces less as crew dies off.
- solar panel for trickle recharging when in a system (hat tip to the Escape Velocity series).