2) Not that I expect this to change... but are hull and shield strengths canon? It strikes me how quickly ships go down, in comparison to say RoTJ, were the final battle (with relatively few Rebel starships) went on forever! I have this strange temptation to double all the figures in the INI files... although that would probably take foooorever.
I don't find this much of a problem. If the pace of battle slows down too much, it takes away from some of the tactical pressure, the quick decision making that makes strategy games fun. Battles between individual capital ships tend to resolve themselves in a matter of about a few minutes or so, and that seems like a good pace to me. Especially true if either of the ships are Mon Calamari. Independence class ships all seem to take forever to die anyway. I remember a 20 or so minute brawl to take one down with about 20 Katana dreadnoughts in the Thrawn Campaign.