First of all, I enjoy x-wing. It's fun, fast paced and starfighters are cool. That said, I feel like there are some inherent flaws in the game from a game design angle.
First of the problem that over half the pilots are useless. Pilot skill is not that important, surely not important enough to pay for (apart from a few instances) Wether you have skill 2 or 4 doesn't matter much, so why would I ever get a red squad pilot over a rookie? (Pro tip, I wouldn't) the pilots that are worth fielding are the ones with good abilities and fair costs, like Howlrunner. Now, I love my fluff and I'm so disappointed that both super badasses of the empire; Fett and Vader, sucks. Why would I ever get Fett? That banking shenanigan is cute, but it's not very good. Vader has a lot of stuff going for him, three actions with PTL is cool and you do all kinds of fancy maneuvering and then you fire with your mighty 2 dice … Not worth more than a third of my army!
It's just bad game design. My opponent has x hit points I need to chew through, I have x dice pr round to take them from him. This is the gist of the game and therefore economic pilots are always better than expensive ones. Dark Curse doesn't kill any more models than my Academy pilot, hell, VADER doesnt kill more than an academy pilot and surely not as much as 3 of them! Abilities that boost other ships are for some reason not as valuable in point costs as abilities that generate more attack dice. This is why Howlrunner with Swarm Tactics are amazing. She pays 6 points for an ability that boosts your entire army and 7 points of pilot skill AND the option of getting a pilot upgrade. 6 points! The ability to once pr. game shoot 4 dice on long range and make an eye die to a crit costs 4 points AND a target lock action … How was this even tested?
upgrades can be good. But again, it's like 25% of them thats worth it. The rest is just wasted cards but why would I even get them? If I equip all my x-wings with proton torpedoes and astromechs (which is standard for them in the fluff) I am missing out on another x-wing. Thats 3 or 4 extra dice to kill enemies with each turn and 5 extra hit points. It's NEVER a good idea.
upgrades and pilots are crap in this game, i have no idea who playtested it but they did not do a very good job, it's waaay to expensive. How can Fett have to pay 6 points for +5 pilot skill and a terrible ability when Howlrunner pays the same for more skill and a much much better ability? It feels like the designers have just made up some random abilities and slapped them on cards without thinking about internal balance. And that is my main problem with the game, it's not balanced, it's as if they don't have a balancing system for abilities and pilot skill and that really bugs me.
How do you guys feel about named pilots and upgrades contra nameless rookies and a lot of them?