Thermal and Kinetic armor blocks, a way to fix the fragileness of most vehicles while changing combat to be more strategic
Unless you are going for a civilian ship, engineering in this game always comes back to the triangle of armor, weapons and thrusters and the shape of your craft to minimize weak spots. At the same time, unless you are using heavy armor, things are incredibly fragile.
On top of that, you have quite a few options when it comes to 2 parts of the triangle, thrusters have multiple types depending on purpose and size of the ship and weapons are the most diverse. This makes armor, despite being one of the most important things in the game, feel lacking. While the recent half-armor has improved things a bit, we don't have that many options on armor.
I propose 2 new blocks: Thermal and Kinetic armor. These blocks are able to soak up damage based on the energy type. Thermal is great for withstanding heat(explosions and thruster damage). Thermal armor can soak up more explosions than heavy armor can, but somewhere inbetween heavy and light armor when it comes to kinetic energy(bullets and collisions). Kinetic armor is the opposite, great for soaking up kinetic energy, but only mediocre when faced with heat damage. The mass of the large ship versions is 1650 kg, the small ship version is 60 kg.
On top of that, these blocks have a small "shield" that is able to soak up a small amount of damage when hit with the corresponding damage type. The "shield" regenerates after a few seconds when no damage is done to the block, but doesn't have any effect on the block's health. This is to mimic heat on the thermal block and bumpiness on the kinetic block. Another reason for this is to give it other uses besides protection from weapons and to give some vehicles a bit of an error margin when it comes to collisions.
This will make the combat and preparation for it more strategic while not eliminating the brute force approach completely. Now you have to choose what weapons to bring with you on your next encounter. Similarly, players on a server will try to hide their weapons and armour or deceive others as to what armour they are using. All warfare is based on deception after all.