A very good point (or two), but there's an additional problem: the AI only seems to use missiles if they're nukes - and that's not FF specific. You're also right about the AI not upgrading starbases; I'm not sure if that's simply a matter of calculating whether it's cheaper to rebuild one after destruction. To be true, I've hardly ever seen a starbase get attacked; the main targets seem just to be star systems (which is a bit obvious as that's what counts in the end). Personally I only upgrade starbases if a) I can afford it and b) stronger spaceships appear in the game (whether barbs or regular AI). As far as I can tell, the main AI reason to build a base is to get at resources and to rely on ships for attack/defense of systems. Perhaps with reduced fighter/bomber ranges the AI will use starbases as intended?