Author Topic: Taking up the Guantlet  (Read 2240 times)

Offline Faulty Logic

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Taking up the Guantlet
« on: August 23, 2014, 10:09:31 AM »
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Balance dials have also been cranked to even-more-painful levels, and as of this writing there are no confirmed reports of a "normal" diff 10 win since the last round of related changes. The gauntlet's right there on the ground, folks.
Well, then.

It has been a while, and poking around the new expansion was fun. But it's time to go back to basics:

60 planets, simple clusters, (1019548571) combat carriers. Schizophrenic and complete visibility.

10/10 Feeding Parasite/The Tank

Resistance 4
Rebellions 6
Hybrids 4/0

Operation Open Archives

As usual, I spent the first 13,000 k on military command stations mkIII and enclave starships mkIII. The first waves are repelled with ease.

My initial goal is to capture and extract knowledge from the two adjacent archives, before the first CPA.

But first, I captured an ARS (shields!)/Spider Turret planet in my cluster, and launched raids against two data centers from it, unlocking Assault Transports for that purpose.

I have the turrets installed quickly, and they easily handle waves at 10 AIP.

Two more data raids take the game time to about an hour.

The actual capture and extraction of the archives wasn't difficult, with the fleet and core spider turrets handling 30 AIP waves easily. One came with a youngling vulture fab.

Unlocked leech starshipsIII, combat carriers III, Riots II, and Engineers III.

There's an ARS a couple hops from home and near two data centers, so I captured it (getting munitions boosters) and pop the data centers.

By now it's close to the first CPA, so I captured a StarIV constructor, unlocking flacshipIIs and Spire starshipIIIs.

A 1626-ship CPA announces, with another 300 or so ships in two waves at my homeworld.

Operation Cross Planet Defense

My fleet begins at the homeworld. After killing the waves, it should be able to hop into assault transports and get where it needs to. Space docks, engineers, vultures, and spider turrets should buy time.

That done, the AI has decided to devote the majority of its forces to a random planet. I captured it for an ARS, but it doesn't have anything important. Which is good, because by the time the fleet arrives, the ~1100 ships are attacking the exposed command station.

But once the command station is destroyed, the AI gets to deal with my fleet. Within about a minute, it's scattered accross the planet, with dead engines. I took minor casualties. Riots are awesome. And combat carriers. And loading everything into cloaked assault transports if the AI gets close.

A smaller attack on the StarIV diverts my attention. The fleet arrives in time, and replaces what few ships it lost before finishing off the bulk of the CPA. The best part is that a widely scattered group of paralyzed targets is ideal for leeches. So I end up with more ships than I started with.

The rest of the CPA is defeated by scattered static defenses, and the engiIII/vulture combo.

I rebuilt the planet, repelled a couple waves, mopped up the threat, and took stock.

I want the missile and sniper controllers by the next CPA. But I'm distracted by something shinier: and ARS with a core protector fabricator. So I take it (etherjets, but nothing interesting to hack for, either). And next to it is the sniper controller, which also has microparasites and a bomber starship V fab. So I take that as well.

Unlocked Spire starshipIII, Zenith starshipI, and siege starshipIII.

State of Empire:
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2014, 10:18:27 AM »
Yea, I kinda guessed that when I added Combat Carriers that the game's balance would regret it.  But it's awesome.

Though I guess I also hadn't realized that rushing both archives from the very start of the game was viable.  Mostly affects order of operations rather than total power, I suppose.


Riots + Enclaves + NCCs + Protectors ?  Oh well, it was a nice gauntlet while it lasted.
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Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 07:39:24 AM »
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I kinda guessed that when I added Combat Carriers that the game's balance would regret it.
The only number that I think needs to change is the spider drone's engine damage, to about 30% of what it is now.

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Though I guess I also hadn't realized that rushing both archives from the very start of the game was viable.  Mostly affects order of operations rather than total power, I suppose.
Yeah, I get a lot of early power at the cost of having a core world on alert for most of the game.

Operation Parallel Processing
I'm at 70 AIP, with a floor of 50, so destroying the co-processors will not increase my progress.

3 of them are easy.

The other one is on an alerted core world, with a threatening eye and a dire guardian lair (and one active dire guardian).

Fortunately, that particular core world has an every-guardpost-around-the-CS arrangement. The whole fleet in assault trasnports kills the guardian and processor. This releases everyone. And then:
1 massive AI ships,[3960 S]are en route to your planets.

Oh, right. The Hunter-killer factory. I pulled the fleet back and waited. And the H/K just decided to wait around with all the other released threat on the core world.

I debated using a warhead, but decided against it.

I used the cap of core vultures to get the threatball to separate by speed, and jumped around with assault transports, only unloading starships to keep the eye happy. This took care of the non-H/K part of the threat. I finished it off with a stream of vultures.

Now to conquer three new planets before the second CPA. They are an ARS (vampires, but again, nothing great to hack for), the missile turret controller/raider fabricator, and the speed boost/MLRS turret world.

Unlocked FlagshipIII, ZenithIII, and RiotsIII.

I fortified extensively in preparation, running a lot of matter converters. I won't leave the turrets up permanently, but it's worth it during a CPA.

CPA announced with ~3500 ships. Waves support it at different location, but the fixed defenses handle those.

Most of the CPA came in one big 2000-ship hammer, which the fleet killed easily, albeit slowly. Another 700 or so destroyed an outlying planet and then the protector fabricator, but then my fleet caught up them. And then the rest were groups of under 200, which didn't do anything.


It took a while to mop it all up, but nothing important was lost, as long as I don't lose either of my protector starships.

Operation Terminal Access

My next planet is a Zenith power generator, for my poor economy.

Unlocked FFII, HFFI.

Now, for the Superterminal.

Capturing it was trivial. Hacking it was not:

I intended to use it for 60 points of reduction. The first twenty had a much greater response than I had anticipated, given that this was my first hack all game. Then things started accelerating. By the time it got to 60, it was spawning ships almost every second. Including shield bearers on top of itself. I had to send the fleet into close quarters to kill it, at 73 ticks.

And then I had 4000 mkIV-V ships to deal with, while my fleet was, if not in tatters, heavily damaged.

The fleet withdrew, repairing and replenishing at the homeworld, while the enemy destroyed the command station and turrets. The enemy fleet was about to leave when mine arrived again, and it engaged.

It took half an hour. I reinstalled the command station four times. I refleeted twice. There's a reason I unlock engineerIIIs every game. They help with everything.

Unlocked Bomber Starship IIIs

Operation Cross-Planet Defense, Encore
I captured a very attractive shield bearer mkV fabricator before the 5500-ship CPA announces at 6:20, and performed the usual installation of core turrets (the long-range ones, anyway) everywhere before the CPA hits. I also built all the lightning warheads mkIII.

It resolved into a 1600-ship fleet (destroyed by warhead), a 1000-ship fleet (waited outside my homeworld until every other part of the CPA was dead, mopped up with the fleet), a 1200-ship fleet (destroyed by warhead), and a whole bunch of minor annoyances (destroyed by static defenses or fleet).

Mopped up, then captured last ARS (reprocessors), and a core-E world, the last of the CSGs. Gametime 7:00.

Unlocked HarvesterIIIs. Building mercs and armored warheads will be more useful than anything else, now.

State of Empire:
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 09:47:15 AM »
The only number that I think needs to change is the spider drone's engine damage, to about 30% of what it is now.
Fair enough.


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Yeah, I get a lot of early power at the cost of having a core world on alert for most of the game.
Assuming you can avoid pathing through it, does it ever get around to generating overflow threat?  Or is it contributing those higher-mark ships to the CPAs?


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This took care of the non-H/K part of the threat. I finished it off with a stream of vultures.
Perhaps they should be renamed to the Neinzul Combat Terrier.

A massive death machine being picked to death by diminutive but preternaturally tenacious creatures.  I wonder what that reminds me of.


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I fortified extensively in preparation, running a lot of matter converters. I won't leave the turrets up permanently, but it's worth it during a CPA.
Did the per-planet-cap stuff make a decisive difference, you think, or mainly just damage control because the main approaches to your homeworld would have be fortified to the gills either way?


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I intended to use it for 60 points of reduction. The first twenty had a much greater response than I had anticipated, given that this was my first hack all game. Then things started accelerating. By the time it got to 60, it was spawning ships almost every second. Including shield bearers on top of itself. I had to send the fleet into close quarters to kill it, at 73 ticks.
Well, at least that didn't go quietly.


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And then I had 4000 mkIV-V ships to deal with, while my fleet was, if not in tatters, heavily damaged.

The fleet withdrew, repairing and replenishing at the homeworld, while the enemy destroyed the command station and turrets. The enemy fleet was about to leave when mine arrived again, and it engaged.

It took half an hour. I reinstalled the command station four times. I refleeted twice. There's a reason I unlock engineerIIIs every game. They help with everything.
So basically that massive ball of death had significant opposition the whole time?  Otherwise it should have sent at least part of the fleet after some other target even if it was engaged.  Unless they were zombies, I forget whether I changed them away from that.


Have fun storming the castle!
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Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 10:11:17 AM »
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Assuming you can avoid pathing through it, does it ever get around to generating overflow threat?  Or is it contributing those higher-mark ships to the CPAs?
No overflow, though it did contribute about 350 ships to one of the CPAs.

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Did the per-planet-cap stuff make a decisive difference, you think, or mainly just damage control because the main approaches to your homeworld would have be fortified to the gills either way?
Decisive in terms of me not losing any irreplaceables, but not in the win-or-lose sense.

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So basically that massive ball of death had significant opposition the whole time?
Not quite, but when my fleet left the system it always returned in time to stop the ball from moving on. Also helping were the dead engines.
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2014, 09:16:00 AM »
Good stuff.
I need to try hacking the archive early game too. And Mark III Engineers.. though I've always been sceptical about them.  From what I've understood you prefer ships to turrets. Do you get Mark III Engineers so you can refleet asap? Also I guess strong economy is needed to fully utilize the increased repair and construction speed. I bet they would be really good at rushing beachheads. Save enough resources and insta build a Fortress and a cap of Sniper Turrets. Etc etc. Though the Fortress would probably make reprisal go nuts.. especially vs Mime/Overreactive.. but that would just mean more resources for the player (maybe).
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 11:24:52 AM by Kahuna »
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2014, 09:08:29 PM »
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From what I've understood you prefer ships to turrets.
Yes, quite strongly. I only ever unlock turrets in superweapon games. I do use the long-range core controllers, though.

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Do you get Mark III Engineers so you can refleet asap? Also I guess strong economy is needed to fully utilize the increased repair and construction speed. I bet they would be really good at rushing beachheads. Save enough resources and insta build a Fortress and a cap of Sniper Turrets.
Engineer IIIs are very useful for robust defense (builds cheap ships/turrets/forcefields very quickly) and repairing the offensive fleet if I can disengage for a few seconds. Their teleportation also allows me to have every planet be effectively a militaryIII world.

I rarely if ever use a beachhead. On non-home AI planets, I don't need it, and capturing a core world is too much extra hassle.
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2014, 03:25:50 PM »
Operation Subversive Programming
Taking my time, I hack the zenith autobomb, core munitions boost, and zenith hydra fabricators. I also hack for 4500 k. Nothing came close to the superterminal response.

And all the hacking gives me full mkIV caps of every ship the AI has, that isn't immune to reclamation. They go well with the mkII-III caps I already have from waves (I never fight with my reclaimed ships, they just sit at home until endgame).

At around 7:30, a colony rebellion finally declares. I quickly capture the planet and build the rebel fleet.

Unlocked cloaker starshipsIII and zenith reprocessorsIII. CloakerIVs should be basically identical to the mkIIIs, but have actually decent health, I think.

At around 8 hours, I'm ready to start the preliminaries to the homeworld assaults.

Operation Fast Pace
Generally, I've been squishing waves with the fleet. This can be tedious, but there isn't really another option on an open map like this. But it does allow all my k to go into mobile ships.

The new procedure for waves is to switch the targeted planet to a logistics station to see what wormhole the wave will come out of, and have a lightningIII waiting for it.

This allows me to focus my attention on the first homeworld. It has an H/K factory, a(n) (un)threatening eye, and a wrath lance. The last is a bit of an issue. Guess what I decided to do.
You're right, probably. At least if you guessed that I would use warheads.

I did have to clear a tachyon-free path, and destroy the warhead interceptor, but that didn't take too long. Reprocessors/vultures/autobombs in an assault transport makes for an excellent raiding force.

Once I have a clear path, the plan of attack is pretty simple.

Operation Signature Execution
Two armored warheads mkIII enter. One takes out the wrath lance, and the three other nearby guard posts. The other takes out the core forcefields, fortressIII, and most of the strategic reserve. The fleet mops up, trusting my distributed defense to deal with the fallout from the threatening eye.

It all goes according to plan. I took minor casualties. I stuck around for a bit longer to crush the special forces, as well.

CPA of 6700 ships announced. Too little, too late.

Pulled the fleet back, replacing all the ships I can.

The fleet heads down to the second homeworld, which has a CRE.


The plan of attack is even simpler: Throw everything at the homeworld, using the last armored warhead to take out the wrath lance, the other warheads to take out the enemy ships.
It worked:
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2014, 03:29:45 PM »
Sigh ;)  Congratulations, you embarrassed the AI again.

Any suggestions?
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Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2014, 03:37:03 PM »
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Any suggestions?
Not really. Enclave spider engine damage should be nerfed, possibly the riots as well.

The extra half cap of mkV turrets may have been too generous for the turret controllers.

Other than that, I'm not sure. I'll be posting a massive stack of balance observations sometime soonish, including from this game.
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2014, 03:39:05 PM »
Fair enough.  We're holding the game steady right now as most-of-the-last porting bugs shake out, but in a couple weeks I should be back to breaking things at least on a small scale.
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Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2014, 06:07:32 AM »
When that happens, I'll be ready.

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Any suggestions?
I thought of a couple things:

the H/K factory and core threatening eyes are pretty wimpy for brutal posts.

Also, I think halving the protector starship alpha strike, while maintaining its anti-DPS, is called for, as a start.
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: Taking up the Guantlet
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2014, 07:34:41 AM »
the H/K factory and core threatening eyes are pretty wimpy for brutal posts.
I agree. H/K Factory is a joke. At least the H/Ks' Mark level should be same as the current tech level. Tech level + 1 might be good.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 07:37:43 AM by Kahuna »
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!