This isn't a new problem but the difficulty of events and the repair time of ships has clearly reached, and exceeded, the reasonable point where players could complete numerous fights, gradually improve their skills, and ultimately be successful before all the content is changed and learned tactics are invalidated.
I believe many players would love to have access to a public test server or even the preview server. I'm envious of the few content creators who can experiment before a release with infinite coins to learn tactics or try different fleet configurations. Even if the content changes when it goes live they still had the opportunity to practice a fight as many times as they wanted. They have to adapt to a change rather than develop tactics and skills from scratch. There are a few people that post YouTube videos showing they can take out a deceiver fleet with instant-rep with perfect flying but that takes practice and experimentation and at 2-3 fights a day (due to repairs) over 3 days of an event it simply isn't possible for most players.
I think a practice mode would address many of the problems people have been expressing lately. A flight simulator also fits in perfectly fine with being a pilot. Select a fleet in your fleet bay and add a 'Simulate' button in addition to 'Launch', where you can pick any target from a lowly cargo 7 up to Deceiver 100' then start the battle as if the fleet had been attacked. Award zero resources, zero intel, zero boxes, and zero damage to your fleet. Repeat as often as you want until you feel ready to farm the targets for real. This simple change would be a massive improvement to the game and negate many of the complaints players are currently making. No more lost fleets due to a stealth nerf, or a 24-hour repair from trying a new target on day one without knowing any tactics, etc.
Ideally you would also be able to practice co-op fights and simulate fleets you don't have to learn what you should invest your months of builds/refits into but that would be significant new development. Spawning a battle with an existing fleet is how the game already works, so doing it without launching the fleet or giving any rewards/damage would be a much smaller project and a good starting point.@CM Chris
please pass this along since it should be relatively simple to implement and provide massive player appreciation.