My stance on everything in a game with serious realistic simulation ambitions is that nothing should really be prohibited in the end. Realism over everything, - nothing should be barred out, unless it is still under construction or just too ambitious to achieve.
So the reason why ramming is rightfully left out at the current state is that it is unrealistically powerful. Actually, if you consider the trans-newtonian "infinite acceleration/force" physics to be real, it might even be
realistic, in that context. But clearly that is not intended this way, and probably the consensus would be to have a simulation of just classical naval battle ramming, which the game simply can't give at this point.
However, this could be fixed by just adjusting the ramming rules until they fit the simulation that was desired. The shield thing that GreatTuna complained about could for example be left out (shielding should maybe just be able to intercept usual weapon caliber attacks, not ship or asteroid sized threats), and then you could make successful ramming much more difficult the smaller the target vessel is compared to your own. These two rules combined would effectively and well explained ban these dreaded ramming leviathans before they arrive for example.
That would still leave the 100-ton+ sized vessel ramming problem; no idea how to deal with that yet, but there might be a way if the thinking keeps going. Hmm, maybe reduce ramming damage the smaller your ramming ship is compared to the target ship, so there manifests an exponential drop that makes anything that is factors below the target basically a waste of resource to sacrifice.(so you would only crash the fighters when they are lost anyway, like it should be)
- Your ship too large => Hitting very unlikely
- Your ship too small => Hitting likely, but does only insignificant damage
What would stay is a zone of slightly below and slightly above mass neighborhoods for each ship where ramming seems to be an appropriate tactic. That could maybe still be exploited, because a specialized ramming design could here potentially still sort out vastly more tech savvy opponents at little cost if the engine is halfway appropriate.
A little mitigating counter could be that shock damage could be more severe when appropriate ramming damage has been received, so hitting a near-equal or larger opponent is very likely to destroy you, even when using "all-armor" specialized ramming designs.
..Just keep thinking, there might be a way to make it fair altogether, and I would hate the classic naval tactic being banned just because people (like me) would abuse it.
The chance of ramming should be based on speed difference, only a significantly faster ship should be able to ram somewhat like boarding action.
I agree with speed being a major factor in hit chance, but if there is nothing done about it being the sole dominant factor, we will only get the specially manufactured metal blocks with rockets that would currently result from the game rules, and not the nice last resort tactic that actually needs rendering.
It's not looking good for the idea that a heavily damaged ship could ram as a measure of last resort, but really if a ship has severe armour damage and isn't particularly fast of course it wouldn't really be able to ram.
If you are getting destroyed anyway, you don't care how much armor damage you already sustained.
Of course, if your ramming ship has really become slower than the enemy, then the only way to really do the maneuver is to have him fail at moving away soon enough, or maybe having him encircled with a couple ships, so he can't avoid them all. The trick in those types of situations would be to spot a future loss soon enough as a captain, so you initiate the maneuver before it is too late.(some difference to naval can probably not be overcome when no momentum or bearing is involved in the potential tactic crafting)
I thought about an alternative rule set to the one above that could also make ramming more fair:
- Your ship similar or large => Shock damage starts much earlier, and will likely destroy your ship even when the enemy was puny and cheaply constructed in comparison (+ your 100 armor layers won't help you too)
- Your ship too small => ..Yet, damage falls of exponentially via the size-to-size comparison from before, and when too small for shock damage to trigger, ramming does achieve too little to be economical as a clean war tactic.(still does at least something in lost cases ofc.)
It kind of brings back the leviathans this way, because they could simply become so large that most ships you encounter fall under the "too small for shock damage" threshold, but I still figure this set better than the other, because I find to hit penalties due to size very difficult to justify scientifically in this computer-precision navigation age.
I feel there must be a better way to do it still, that just has it all.(and not require Aurora to introduce any lofty extra calculation while doing it)