Author Topic: The AI 9 through 10 run  (Read 41953 times)

Offline Wanderer

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The AI 9 through 10 run
« on: February 17, 2012, 02:24:27 AM »
So, having beaten my head on the wall a bit lately with AI 10 and wanting a nice calm game, I booted up a dual AI 9 game.  The intent here is to play at each level from AI 9 through AI 10 on the exact same seed and have an idea of just how the ramp up is currently, and to determine if I can recommend any tweaks to polish off the incline.

So, how's it going?  Not bad.  The setup:
40 planet map
AI 9/9 Vanilla / Mine Enthusiast
Special Plots: Schizophrenic
Minor Factions: Dyson Sphere, Rebel colonies and revolts, Zenith Traders.
AIP Increments: 1/30 mins
All expansions

So, I crank myself up a nice little game on a Tree Map, find a decent starting point close to an edge but not in a dead end (which has a Maw, rock on!), and detangle the map.  I do a little scouting while building up the starter fleet, and I end up with this:


Things start off nice and easy.  I wreck the locals a bit.  We'll need a map with names on it to make more sense, so bear with the next map, it's from much later, but it's a reference point.



I explore my locals first, and lo and behold, right off my doorstep is a superterminal in a MK II system.  Awesome.

Checking out the back corner reveals an ARS in Fraggle Rock, and a Blade Spawner V and Younging Weasel V in Huge, along with an AI Eye.  Janeway's got a fortress II in it, and my count of Spire Shield areas is inane.

I start working my way west with the starter fleet after bouncing off two weak waves.  The AI has: Space Planes, Blade Spawners, Munitions Boosters, and polarizers.  My Maws inhale the blade spawns so no huge deal at this moment.  I chew up Shawshank and decide I'm going to chew on the Mk III world (roulette) before I proceed much further.  I've decided I'm going to whipping boy on my homeworld while I contain the western flank.

I get my scouts out to Macross and it's got 3 Ion Cannons on it and has a good long run from Craps towards the SuperTerminal and Dyson wormholes.  I don't realize this early the Dyson's on Dyson, and AIP is so low I don't notice the reinforcements yet.  My little Scout Is only go so far.

My opening research was Warp Sensor, Grav Turret, and Tachyon Turret.  Nothing else, I wanted to stay mobile while I poked around.  I pound down Roulette, retreating off and on to deal with invasions into Sushi, the homeworld.  A couple of grav turrets were all that got dropped on the homeworld at first.  Over time I built it up with five turrets here, five there.  Eventually it has about 20 snipers, 30 lasers, and 30 basics on it, along with 3 more FFs on the wormhole from SuperTerminal (which I let send in waves until I went east) and a bunch of tractors.

At about 20 minutes in I research Scout IIs, and start looking east deeper.  I find the Dyson and decide we need to wake him up and start clearing out the eastern arm so I don't have to brawl my way through, so I shove my scouts in there until one finally lives.  Craps has nothing of interest and Kerensky has another ARS, but it's way out of reach.

I decide Macross will definately be my whipping boy with Dyson next door to feed in support units as well.  SuperTerminal is going to be ignored for yet a little while longer.

At 25 minutes in I take Shawshank and research Econ IIs.  I'm 500 K short of Econ III so I let that build up.  While my fleet of MK 1s has been being replenished, I built off a set of Raid I starships.  I drive into Fraggle Rock, deciding that's the most important target in the rear, since I've given Roulette a good nerfing.  Once I get 500 more K I research Econ III and build one on Shawshank.

Waves are still reasonable and in the 300-400 realm.  Because I haven't gate raided yet I'm bouncing back and forth between Raid assault, using my main fleet after ions are dead and moving the raids to the next target (and rebuilding them), and using my main fleet as a mobile defensive unit, because homeworld just can't stand on its own yet.

Along the way after building the earlier turret build, I decide I'm going to try the new lightning turrets.  I slap down ten under the FFs on the entry and go back to where I was, cleaning out Fraggle Rock.  I eventually pop it and send in a construction unit to start building another Econ III down that way.  A wave heads for Sushi so that gets my attention.

I LIKE the new Lightning Turrets.  I like them so much I slammed in an entire cap after defending that wave.  40 ship max/burst or not, they chew up little things like it's nobody's business.  Hiding under the FF they last long enough for usage too, and at 75% they're nothing to shake a stick at.  I'm probably going to drop another 1500 k on them for my whipping boy eventually.

So, I get the ARS on Roulette and it's Blade Spawners.  Oh, ROCK.  Time to deal with Janeway.  I need to Raid the Eye on Huge out before I head for Roulette, so I warp gate raid Roulette so Sushi is taking the brunt (yes, my homeworld) and pound Janeway down.  I'm keeping an eye out on Macross to see when I need to deal with Dyson.

Janeway takes a bit, primarily because I'd thought Spire Shields needed supply, they don't.  The fortress was easy enough without supply though. :)  I had to retreat and deal with a bit of backwash back in Shawshank who's packing 20 basics now for minor annoyances, but otherwise we're good to go.  Research is going strong and I'm sitting on a decent supply of K that I'm just waiting for usage.  I'm about an hour in now.  I research up Maw IIs since they're being so dang useful on defense and offense (damned spawners) and start building them off.

I poke my head into Macross and the Dyson's about done chewing up the locals.  It's time to set them free.  I start working my Raids through to Dyson, and it takes two tries to get in there and pop both the command station shield post and then the command station with all those enemy dysons hunting down my wee ships.  I get 'er done though about 1:15.

Which is when an AIP 100 wave hits.  I've popped 4 systems now, plus a gate, plus little things here and there like SF forces.  My Raids are in the back working over Huge, and I've got a 257 ship + 880 ship wave coming into Sushi.  Well, alright then.

It's blocked easily.  I stick the maws under the FFs on the wormhole, leave the main fleet out of range, and let the lightning turrets go to work with other turret support.  It chews through all the little guys and I send the main fleet in to deal with the starships who got stuck in the FF pocket.

I start going back to work on the west and realize I'm going to need the whipping boy, and soon.  It's time to head east, but I don't want to break the existing blockade on homeworld until I'm ready.  I leave Huge and Roulette nerfed and head to Macross to thump it across the back of the head.  I get in there, Raids fly out to deal with the ions, and I nerf SuperTerminal's 3/4 guardposts while I micro the raids around.

The raids get done with their job and start getting a little friendly support from Dyson.  Perfect.  I get my main fleet in there and we mop the floor with Macross.  Transport over 5 Engi Is and a colony ship and start building off my new whipping boy.  I look at Sushi for a second to figure out my next move and my new station is blown to pieces.  Damned space planes.  Repeat process, surround with fleet, try again. Much better.  I build a Combat I station in Macross.

It's time to get down to business, I need more FFs.  Open up HFF Is.  Start building out the primary Whipping Boy with 2 FFs on the Ion III/V, 1 FF on the Ion I, 2 more on the Cmd Station, 3 on the wormhole from Craps.  20 Tractors, a string of Grav turrets from entry to any point of interest, and a spare FF on the Dyson FF just in case.  That's sucking down Crystal like it was a joke so I've got no real defenses other than the fleet.  I send the Raids down to Dyson to clear out everything but the local Ion Cannons (which I still haven't taken yet) and chill out waiting for things to build.  Glad I didn't take out SuperTerminal, they sent another wave at Sushi, where my defenses are still sound.

Which was good, I'm getting about 1000 ships this wave.  Blocked and stopped, no problem, rebuild the fleet for a few minutes.  at 1:30 I decide it's time to make SuperTerminal a neutral and crank up Macross as a full on turret ball.  I drop into SuperTerminal, pop the CmdStation, and head Macross for now to defend it in case anything pops in the meanwhile.  I drop in a full stack of everything, and then start destroying/moving turrets and extra FFs from Sushi to it.  Hardened edge of the shield.  If Macross goes, there's nothing behind it to hold onto.

My AIP is ~120 at this point and I'm feeling alright.  I ignore SuperTerminal for now, I want to clear out my backfield.  I head for Roulette and Huge and crank through them, having raided them into uselessness.  At ~1:45 my AIP is 166 and I get a 1700 ship wave.  Macross and the Dysons handle it incredibly easily.

Well, alright then, I don't need to save scum.  I was still working on Huge when it announced.  I get Econ III's built throughout the backfield and start sending all troops from homeworld and the Fabricators to Macross.

AIP is now 181.  It's time to start working SuperTerminal while I get some scouting done.  I build off a Military I station in ST, drop an FF on each of the exits, a few grav turrets between the ST and the way out, and start going to work.  My fleet needs a bit of a build anyway and my science guys are going to work.  I build off two Science IIs in Macross, let them go through their routine, and send them (cloaking is nice) into Dyson to get that too.  Meanwhile the guys in the back go through the rear planets and I let them soak ST's Knowledge too.

Having had 0 AIP reduction so far I'm inhaling the ST's troops pretty easily, particularly with 10 maws sitting there.  For those curious, every 75 AIP reduction increases MK by 1.  You're reducing by 2 for each burst of troops, but adding one.  It's mostly to mess with the floor.  It also does one other thing.  My AIP never crossed the 200 threshold, but the AI now has Cutlasses.

This is 5.026, most recent release.  Cutlasses got a bit of a boost.  They're not super-deadly, at least not with gravity, but you're not laying waste to these guys anymore.  Even with 50 Lightning 50 Flak sitting there, they're able to retreat a goodly portion of them.  I'm not sure how to block the auto-retreated threat of these guys.  Luckily, I'm schizo, so it's not like waves of 2000 of just those are coming in.

But it was a surprise, I hadn't realized it was a big deal.  I get my AIP down to around 120 and decide it's time to neuter my neighbors.  Which means, I need more firepower if I'm going to knock down wormhole guardposts sometime before the ice age.  I research up Bomber II, Bomber III, Fighter II (I meant to do bomber II earlier but misclicked on Fighter II.  Literally wasn't worth mentioning till now), Missile Frigate II, and Scout III.  I've got exactly 3k left, so I research up Fortresses for K-Raids later and emergency defenses now in case the ST gets out of hand on me (I hadn't figured out exactly how it worked yet for incrementation).

I start nerfing Craps and blow through a huge (500+) ship stack sitting on the other side of the wormhole while my new tech ships start building.  I've added Starship Is, Bomber Star Is, and Siege Is to the main fleet now.  My Blade Spawners are on their own hotkey and hang out at the edge of the fight.

It's a brawl, but I clear Craps enough to get scouts through finally.  I retreat to heal and start doing deeper scouting.  I'll give you the update on that soonish.  It's about 2:15 now and the map looks like you see above, just with less AIP.

Well, I decide I'm going to lick my wounds and work the ST some more, so I do.  While my fleet builds out I just hammer on the ST for 15 minutes, dropping my AIP to 66ish before my fleet's rebuilt.  ST is now at MK III units but my upgraded fleet is handing them their butts.

Along the way the traders came through again, so I dropped a Z Gen on homeworld (along with a backup set of armor increasers/reducers and radar jammers) and a full set on the Whipping Boy.  None of it's even remotely close to built, and with the cutlasses I REALLY need them to visit again so I can get a black hole generator.  My income is ~1500/s of each material, and that's basically keeping the fleet operational.  I've only just started to make a profit so I've started to build up the whipping boy's structures.  Power's solid for the moment so the ZGen is chilling in the background, waiting for resources.

I brawl my way down to Cyborg, and run into a massive, continuous stream of troops.  I check F3 to see what's going on and there's ~2000 ships between free and special forces, just using this as the highway.  I soak as much of them as I can, reducing those values by about half (Kerensky really chewed me up a bit) and retreat what's left back to Macross to pick up the rebuilds.

So, for the last hour I really haven't done much but utterly neuter Craps, nerf Kerensky and Cyborg, and clean up a whole stack of enemy free-floaters, gotten in deeper scouting, and reduced my AIP to 69.  Hm, alright, that's not exactly nothing.



So what I'm looking at is ARS's on Kerensky, SolarMoon, and Eridani.  Cyborg has a fat stack of fabricators (Armor V, Bombard V, StarBomb IV).  There's Co-Processors on Craps (which means I can't K-Raid yet) and Pai Gow.

My next step is to pop Kerensky and hold it for however long I can.  Get the ARS, and use the neutral world (I'm not defending it) as a stepping stone to deep strike down to LLama, Ceasar, PaiGow, and Solar Moon, to clear the way for my scouts to get that much deeper.   Blackjack and Eridani have Eyes on them, and PaiGow has both a fortress and a SuperFortress on it. 

So, I expect the next hour or two will simply be deep space combat, working these systems down to nothing and opening the doors to whatever I'm looking to do.  I'm hoping to find the other two Co-Processors soon so I can break the supply lock on Craps and K-Raid it.  My guess is AI homeworlds are Canopus and Riker, but we'll see.  It might be Riker and Davion/Liao but that's unlikely.  Threat's low, power's good, resources are taking a pounding but I'm back down to 400-500 ship waves so I'm pretty sound on the whipping boy.  I've got a ton of Dyson allies in the backfield from when I took SuperTerminal for a while so I've got a 'spare' force in the back if any of those cutlasses actually do sneak in.

Research plans are to get Military IIIs up for the whipping boy +100% boost to turrets, and then will make rest of my decisions based on what I find in Kerensky and SolarMoon's ARS.

I'll be back.  Is it bad that I'm considering AI 9 a 'relaxed' game?  The super-Terminal's nice but Macross could handle the 190 AIP I'd be at normally right now.  Really, I'm not entirely sure giving the AI cutlasses to reduce AIP was in my favor.  I'm really, really, really not that sure.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 02:28:27 AM by GUDare »
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 09:02:48 AM »
Wow, after all that Diff 10 stuff you're just strolling through 9 :)  I'm wondering if wave sizes need a bit of a general buff after all the various changes in the last few weeks that have buffed the players.

Great read, as always; I'm just hoping the AI will make some kind of comeback and not get slain in its sleep at AIP < 100 ;)

Glad to hear that lightning turrets are doing right by you.  They may be my favorite (shooty) turret, now.

And glad to hear the cutlasses have gained a bit of respect :)
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 07:30:35 PM »
I'm wondering if wave sizes need a bit of a general buff after all the various changes in the last few weeks that have buffed the players.
I'm not entirely sure I'm the right one to ask that. Ask someone who usually plays at 7/7 would be my guess.  I can tell you they're blessed WEAK at 100 AIP to me at 9/9.   That may have more to do with the fact that I'm waaaay too used to handling 10/10 at this point though.

Quote
Great read, as always; I'm just hoping the AI will make some kind of comeback and not get slain in its sleep at AIP < 100 ;)
If it wasn't for the SuperTerminal I'd be deep scouting/raiding out Data Centers, and there's two I've found and just didn't mention.  It's become a bit of a habit to never let AIP get over 150 for long.

My guess is the SuperTerminal will probably have done me more harm then good in the long run because of the massively raised floor and early extra unit.  I might bring up Riot IIs and test them out to see if I can shutdown the Cutlass.  They'll be getting ANOTHER extra unit shortly just because of the increase/decrease volume.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 09:15:30 PM »
I can tell you they're blessed WEAK at 100 AIP to me at 9/9.
Yea, that's kind of what concerns me... or, rather, it's a combination of how easy (for you, at least) it is at 100 AIP and how (relatively?) easy it's been for you to keep AIP from going all that much higher than that.   


Quote
That may have more to do with the fact that I'm waaaay too used to handling 10/10 at this point though.
That's the other side of what concerns me: 10/10 isn't meant to be "handled", it's meant to be feared ;)  Which I think it's still basically doing, aside from the first few waves.

Generally speaking, what I'm thinking would be good is that the really intense/insane players could get a very stiff challenge out of 9.6, really push the envelope on 9.8, and basically die before mid-game (but not really early, if they play well) on 10/10.  Of course, you're only on 9 here so maybe that's ok, we'll see.

Quote
My guess is the SuperTerminal will probably have done me more harm then good in the long run because of the massively raised floor and early extra unit.  I might bring up Riot IIs and test them out to see if I can shutdown the Cutlass.  They'll be getting ANOTHER extra unit shortly just because of the increase/decrease volume.
Definitely interested in seeing what works against the cutlass.  My guess is it will always involve fairly large concentration of (preferably mkIII) gravs.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 10:24:18 PM »
I can tell you they're blessed WEAK at 100 AIP to me at 9/9.
Yea, that's kind of what concerns me... or, rather, it's a combination of how easy (for you, at least) it is at 100 AIP and how (relatively?) easy it's been for you to keep AIP from going all that much higher than that.   

When I jump a level I may pop the ST early and not use it, to get a 'fair fight' out of the AI.  I don't want that to be the excuse of a crutch.  8)  Really though I've basically ignored it as I've wandered around for the last 2 and a half hours and my whipping boy is laughing at anyone coming in.  I haven't had to beef it up since I first built it.  The Dyson support is a chunk of it, but that cost me 20 AIP early to get so it's a catch-22 there.  I'm at 134 now (just popped a few data terminals I've passed by) and I don't even pay attention when waves hit.  My troops go there from the homeworld construction farms, but they're set to park, not FRD, when they get there.  I don't want them dying when I go back to get reinforcements for the main fleet.

Well, that's part of why I wanted to do this, to see the 'slope' of difficulty.

As a side note, you'll notice I haven't posted a WIN against 10/10 since that first time... ;)  It's kicking my arse around, don't worry about that.  The other reason I wanted to do this, to build up to facing 10/10 waves.  I think my expectations are just way higher as to volume of inbounds, so my defensive aggression is built around a much more intense foe.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 10:35:53 PM »
Oh, I should mention.  The Cutlass?  Still target practice even against Grav Is.  The Black Hole Generator is just to make sure they can't escape and annoy me in large quantity later.  Mind you, they're Cutlass Mk Is, soooo...  Yeah, they're not as big a deal as I'd expected after the first few invasions.  I thought they'd escape more being tractor and FF immune, but my grav density is holding them tight.  Now that they can't escape they're just more fodder.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 10:47:07 PM »
Oh, I should mention.  The Cutlass?  Still target practice even against Grav Is.  The Black Hole Generator is just to make sure they can't escape and annoy me in large quantity later.  Mind you, they're Cutlass Mk Is, soooo...  Yeah, they're not as big a deal as I'd expected after the first few invasions.  I thought they'd escape more being tractor and FF immune, but my grav density is holding them tight.  Now that they can't escape they're just more fodder.
Can they not even reach the gravs holding them down?  Or are they going after other stuff?  Or do they kill a couple gravs only to look around and see the (event) horizon filled with more gravs?

Anyway, yea, it will be good to see what sort of difficulty slope there is :)
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 10:57:22 PM »
Oh, I should mention.  The Cutlass?  Still target practice even against Grav Is.  The Black Hole Generator is just to make sure they can't escape and annoy me in large quantity later.  Mind you, they're Cutlass Mk Is, soooo...  Yeah, they're not as big a deal as I'd expected after the first few invasions.  I thought they'd escape more being tractor and FF immune, but my grav density is holding them tight.  Now that they can't escape they're just more fodder.
Can they not even reach the gravs holding them down?  Or are they going after other stuff?  Or do they kill a couple gravs only to look around and see the (event) horizon filled with more gravs?

Anyway, yea, it will be good to see what sort of difficulty slope there is :)

They can, ish...

Then they hit the next one and have one behind them at the wormhole under FFs.  They can choose to hit a short-range turret or the grav turret, not both.  And a good chunk of that is that my turrets are more distracted killing other things. :-)
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 12:02:12 AM »
Starting position:


So, where was I?  Oh, yes, right, I'd just went home for more troops.  Well, first stop, Kerensky.  I want more ships.  I head to Kerensky with a transport full of Engis and and a Colony Ship and dig in while I collect myself up another ARS.

And I getttt..... Armored Ships.  *groaaan*  Well, at least they're GOOD cannon fodder.

Just as I setup, I get word of an 800 ship wave coming to Kerensky.  Oh, goodie, yay.  Also a CPA of around 500 ships is getting ready to spawn.  Even better.  My fleet trapped between Craps' wave and Cyborg's CPA.  I wreck both and I'm down to ~350 ships.  I head home and get reinforcements.  Kerensky gets its knowledge done with the help of 4xScience IIs, and then falls.

I'm not done with Kerensky, I need it for transport hop-off points, so I rebuild it again once my fleet's up and running.  Then we head south to Cyborg, clean up the locals, and I look to see which way I want to go.

I proceed to fight my way up the NE neck a bit.  I fight through Confederation, letting my Raids handle the Eye on Eridani.  I setup a transport hanging onto a few colony ships and some Engis for repairs under a cloaker on Confederation, which I use to clean up damage on the Raiders as they head back and forth.  I've upgraded (sometime a while ago, sorry I forgot to mention it) to Raid Starship IIs as well, so I've got a fleet of 6 of them.

I let the primary fleet start neutering the wormhole posts on Confederation in anticipation of taking Cyborg and Eridani later.  I get some Replacement Raid starships for the ones I couldn't get out in time for repairs and finish neutering Confederation.  It takes FOREVER.  Gyeah.   It gets done though.  I'm about 3:30 at this point.

Scouting continues deep into the Eastern bloc, but I can't get scouts down past Kirk.  Kirk, however, is a blinkin' Core World.  That means taking Eridani's out for the moment.  Time to go west, young man.

Blackjack's a monster of a world and I eventually take it down.  My transports were sent up to Kerensky to heal up again as I went through Cyborg, and I bring them back down as I head for SolarMoon's ARS.  I send the raiders into Caesar while I'm fighting in Blackjack, getting them to dump MK IV units into Blackjack as I one-off pop the guard posts so i don't have to deal with them in bulk later.  I repeat the process of using cloaked engineers off in a corner to repair my raid starships, and am able to get a good hunk of Caesar done before I look to knock down Solarmoon.  I send in the raids there to pop the two whole guardposts and knock the eye down, and bring the raids home.  I hide them in the transport with the engineers until needed.

I hammer down the backwash from SolarMoon's guardposts falling and debate on neutering Blackjack now or later.  I decide for later, maybe I'll get something handsome for wormhole guardpost killing.

I drop into SolarMoon, and pop the CmdStation.  I hold off on taking the system yet though, but tuck the transport group and cloaker in a corner, and unload my engis and raid starships again.  We've got work to do in Green Lantern and Camel before I crank this open.  I need more econ and I want to hold this station.  Kerensky has fallen along the way and shipping new troops down to myself is getting to be a PITA.  I'm also trying to finish building up my 'extras', like my new Black Hole Generator, on Macross.  Need income.

The Raids head into Green Lantern first, and pop the Ion cannon there.  I pull them back and heal them up while the main team (with my new, fancy, useless armor ships) head into Green Lantern and start wreaking havoc.  The Raids start working Camel down, trying to knock down enough so I can get the eye to fall over.  Eventually I clear enough of Green Lantern up to send the bombers/starships at the fortress II in there.  I'm seeing leakage into Solarmoon from the backwash from Camel, though, so I'm glad I held off on the cmdstation build.  Camel, though, had not one but TWO Spire Shield Generators.  There's no way my raids can deal with this.  I split off my troops, bringing only my starships, bomber IIIs, Frigate IIs, Maws and Blade Spawners into Camel.  I ignore everything they send at me and pound down the spires.  Eventually most of my Bomber IIIs are dead so I need to bring in the Bomber IIs.

At about 4:10 or so I finally knock out GL and Camel to wormhole guardians only.  Yah woot.  Fall back to SolarMoon, send down fresh raid starships, and start building up.  It's got an Anti-Starship V on it (Oh, YAY!... not.  Can't hit guardposts, can't hit guardians, can't hit... yeah, what is the damned point of this ship again?) and I get.... jeez.  Bulletproofs.  Oh, joy.  Fighters.  Fine, start up a new space dock on homeworld (the other one's out of queue positions) and start building bulletproofs.  I'm tired of sending raid starships down here to myself so I put up a starship constructor on SolarMoon as well so I can rebuild my starships locally and turn off the one on homeworld.

I decide to kill some time and neuter GL and Camel completely.  I put a token defense turret setup on SolarMoon and soak the knowledge.

At about 4:30 I'm done cleaning up the hinterlands and I head back to SolarMoon.  No problem, I head up to Blackjack, start neutering that full out while getting a new batch of transports and reinforcements setup to head down from Macross.  Kerensky's fallen along the way but oh well, no biggie.  I keep digging scouts in deeper along the chains and trying to see what I can see.  I bring the fleet into Caesar and clean out the Tachyons there, and I'm finally able to get deep into the SW corners.  I find my first Factory IV down at Canopus.  Hmmmm.....

In the Pai Gow branch is jack and... Arrakkis and Solaris VII are also useless.  So, Canopus is the only other world worth working on.  I bring the fleet down to Caesar, The raids head for Pox Aurelia to start banging on the doors there, and I proceed to clean up the two systems.  I nerf Caeser and Neuter Pox before I head into Canopus.  I really neutered Pox because I had to use the raids to clean up Canopus.  I ship a transport with colony ship down from SolarMoon and begin reinforcing the Fact IV world with turrets and a Fortress I.  I've only got Bombers at III at the moment, so I start debating with myself what to upgrade next... and SolarMoon falls down.

Wait, wut?

Some backwash must have gotten through the fleet.  SolarMoon was whining I just thought it was Kerensky moaning again.  Kerensky had fallen and I didn't notice.  I think that was the 6th time I'd rebuilt Kerensky.  Just a faux pas.  However, everything on SolarMoon's dead.  Crap.  I manage to start building up on Canopus and there's another Fabricator here.  Guess what this is.  Yep!  Another Anti-Starship V.  *ca-click* *boom*.  They don't even make decent cannon fodder.

Well, at least I get to replace the all important one I just lost on SolarMoon...   :-\

I proceed to buildup Canopus and laugh as waves crash on the Macross shore.  I stop rebuilding Kerensky, it's pointless at this point.  I've got other jump points and Cyborg is the real 'jump point' for center map, I just haven't opened it yet.  I drop a fortress on Canopus as well while I'm building off bomber IVs and decide that I should beef up my Blade Spawners, so I open Blade Spawner IIIs.  Which gives me IV's now as well. :)  I also build my Scout IV and send him haring off for the Riker corner, the last place I can't see into.

It's now about 5:25.  I've got ARS's still on Desperado and Eridani.  A couple of data centers have died in my travels so I'm at ~133 AIP.  Pox Aurelia is a MK I station that seems to spawn MK II ships for some reason, but whatever.  I decide it's time to do a K-Raid.  I want more MK IVs before I continue on.

I start setting up in Pox Aurelia.  2 Fortresses, 35 snipers, and I open up HBC Is to deal with the inbound blade spawners.  I also send up a new transport to SolarMoon to rebuild that, and open Basic IIs to help defend itself.

So, map looks about like this right now:


I start rebuilding SolarMoon while I do this and they get waxxed by another roaming patrol.  Grrr, fine, you can wait.

It takes about 20 minutes to get the K-Raid setup, mostly because my econ's rather abused at the moment, particularly after building a fortress not 10 minutes ago in Canopus and trying to finish getting the last piece (Radar Jammer II) online in Macross.

I decide I need more snipers so I steal some from Macross.  I've got 60 Snipers, 10 Grav turrets to deal with blade spawners, 2 fortresses, and 12 HBC Is.  5 Engi IIs and 5 Rebuilders under FF.  Crank it over.

My fleet was powered down as a 'just in case' behind the k-raid ball.  I wanted to see how things would go.

How it looked:
Close up of defenses:


System overview:


At first, things went fine.

When we got to things looking like this, things went afoul:


I could handle everything but the blade spawners.  The constant traffic jam a the edge of the grav turrets soaked up all my HBC firepower, so other ships were being ignored.  Dropping in 50 Basics didn't help enough either.  I finally had to turn on my own stack of Blade Spawners to even the odds out.  There's really no good way to deal with the blade spawner traffic jam that I found in the time I was there, other than countering with my own.  It's really a viscious thing and I almost fell once trying out different strategies.  I had to bring up the fleet ball to cover while I dealt with rebuilding the grav turret wall.

Eventually, I got that done.  I just had to leave my own spawners online.  I suppose putting the maws up front would have worked too but I think what I really needed was a 3rd fortress just to deal with the traffic jam.  At that was against MK II spawns.  It really felt like I was doing an AI 10 K-Raid because of the spawners.  They unbalance K-Raiding rediculously.

So now it's about 5:45 and I decide it's time to rebuild SolarMoon.  I'm also getting whined at that a CPA is coming.  I leave the K-Raid defenses up to block inbounds to Canopus from the CPA, and merely take down the couple of things that aren't necessary anymore.  I escort a transport up to SolarMoon and rebuild the station off in a back corner of the universe, give them 25 Basic IIs, a dozen or so snipers, some gravs, and wait for the CPA with my fleet watching over SolarMoon.  The CPA hits, I clean out the 300+ ships freed from Camel, and then clean out Green Lantern again for good measure.  With SolarMoon now stable, I prep to head north.

It's 6:15.  I've got a transport with a colony ship and 5 Engi IIs, and Cyborg's about to be my new friend.  Kerensky will stay neutral so the only warp gate I've got open is the one against Macross from Craps.

I've found the last AI Homeworld.  It's on Riker.  I also found the last Co-Processor.  It's ALSO on Riker.  Oh, that's cute.  The AI Homeworlds: Earth has a Core Raid Engine and a Core CPA Engine.  Riker has a pair (2!) of Neinzul Spawners.

Desperado and Eridani both have ARS's and CSG-As.  They're both bordering the core world Kirk.

There's a Decoy Fab up on Hacker I'll probably skip.  There's another Fact IV on Batman that'll be basically useless to me. 

There's not a lot left in the universe I care about.  Cyborg's fabricators are going to be very tasty.  I'll setup warp gates there for the Fact IV, star dock, and starship constructors so I can stop worrying about hopping over Craps and just let Macross and Craps have their war of the worlds without me.  With Cyborg as my front base, I'll be able to hit in a number of directions and get reinforcements pretty easily.  Those forces will also help to defend my pretty little fabricator land from the evil AI.

After that, KRaids off Solarmoon to the 3 worlds.  Kirk is off the AI homeworld with the Raid Engine.  I can't nerf/neuter Kirk without taking a crapton of nastiness from the homeworld.  Which means I dig in on Eridani, and raid Kirk into never never land while my fleet absorbs the raids trying to get past.  Once I can completely neuter Kirk, with better forces from the K-Raids (I'll need Raid Starship IIIs for this) I'll be able to get my two ARS's and let Kirk hit its 500 max ships without significant concern.  I think.

I still need to figure out which of the D-Class CSGs to take down, Llama or Jumping Jax.  They both have Counterstrike posts on them, so it'll probably be Llama, allowing me 2 additional K-Raid worlds instead of 1 in a back corner.  It'll also make a reasonable, but not close enough, staging area down to Riker.  I'm half tempted to blow the SuperTerminal since I'm ignoring it so I can get the room for another Econ II station.  I'll leave it in the back as a just in case though.  I'm not too concerned about winning but that dual Raid/CPA post setup can make things very very ugly.  I think I'll have to kill that one first, so I don't have to deal with the 100 point jump of killing off the other one first.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 12:13:52 AM by GUDare »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 09:36:07 AM »
Ah, so the AI continues to swing while you hold it out of range with the good ol' hand-to-the-forehead.

Glad it was having a party with Kerensky, though, if not much else.  Oh, blade spawners vs K-raids was pretty funny too.

Anti-Starship Vs will be getting a buff...
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 04:26:52 PM »
Ah, so the AI continues to swing while you hold it out of range with the good ol' hand-to-the-forehead.

Glad it was having a party with Kerensky, though, if not much else.  Oh, blade spawners vs K-raids was pretty funny too.

Anti-Starship Vs will be getting a buff...
That's great news.  Anti-Starships have always been an annoyance to me.  Feels like a wasted Fabricator.  What ARE they supposed to hit?  I'm actually kind of serious about that.  I can't find a single ship they can shoot at.

I've gotten better with the K-Raids, and figured out a few things. Usually I want distance so the snipers can get their work done on the bombers before anything else wastes shots on Polycrystal.   However, with Blade Spawners out, I wanted to get closer.  I haven't tried parking directly on top of the command center yet but I moved to put the fortresses in range.

The last two hours of this fight have been nothing but K-Raids and the taking of Cyborg.  Cyborg fell pretty easily.  Zenith Bombard V, Starship Bomber IV, and Armor Vs.  The AI's gotten Anti-Armor ships a while ago I didn't mention mostly because they basically just counter my Armor ships, so that's alright.  I've dug in a decent amount of FFs (even opened up standard IIs) on Cyborg to not lose the Fabricators.

After that I spent the time K-Raiding from Solar Moon into 3 areas with 3*Fortress, 35 snipers, 9 HBCs, 50 Basics and my 20 Blade Spawners.  That took a bit (about 30 minutes per raid).  The volume of firepower is just nuts to deal with the blade spawners.  The next time I try I'm going to see about getting a ton of shortrange turrets up and parking on top of the CmdStation to see if that will require less resources.  I've also researched up and produced my Raid IIIs in anticipation of striking down towards Kirk.  It's 8:15 now.

Regarding Zenith Bombard Vs:
They're 6400/64000 to build, cap at 12 (normal, 1 HW), and DPS at 30,000 each for 360,000 by cap, which costs 844,800 materials by cap. 

By comparison, the Bomber Starship MK I is 80000/8000, cap at 4, and dps at DPS at 70,000 for 280,000 by cap, which costs 352,000 materials by cap. 

On a one to one basis though, the Bomber Starship is kicking the MK V's Zenith Bombard's butt for nearly the same price.  I don't think the power of the bombard should be increased, but the price isn't viable in damage comparisons.  The bombards bonuses of *2 for Heavy, structural, and Ultra-Heavy are limited in usage.

There's a Range vs. Speed argument that the two argue over, so I'm leaving those out as a moot point.  One's a support fire craft and the other's a raider.  I'm just not convinced the Bombard is balanced price-wise.  We already know it's a powerful ship, particularly in AI hands.  I think the caps could use a minor adjustment as well.
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Offline Hearteater

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012, 04:35:41 PM »
I use them to kill Spire Starships and Zenith Starships.  That's all they are good for.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 04:48:00 PM »
On mkI bomber starships vs mkV bombards: higher mark stuff is always way more expensive; and mkV stuff is particularly ridiculous.  Partly it's a matter of "we can barely even make this tech at all, we had to capture an intact factory to pull it off".

And Bombards are rather expensive to begin with.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 08:45:53 PM »
Re: Anti-Starship Vs, I'm just making those Spider Vs since that's what they are internally before the special overrides are set, and the AS-V's special role in the game (while it was once huge) is long, long gone.

Re: the nomination of spiders for worst ship: I'm not sure how much of a buff they really need. 

Their cap-health is at the very flimsiest end (5M) and I'll go ahead and double that since they aren't really supposed to be as fragile as eyebots, etc.

Their cap-DPS actually looks fairly respectable: 39k non-bonus, 235k bonus (on epic combat style).  Only 9 fleet ship types have a higher cap-bonus-dps, and 3 of those are self-destructers.  Bonus against Light means vs Fighters, against UltraLight means vs Raid Starships, against Swarmer and CloseCombat means most melee ships, and a bunch of other types fall under those 4 categories too.

Their cap-Engine-DPS was way lower than competitive ED sources, so I'm buffing that to bring it up to par-ish.  But by the numbers these guys wouldn't be bad in blob-combat even if they had 0 ED.

Move-speed is a bit on the slow side, but not abysmally so.

Energy cost is quite low.  m+c (or, rather, c) cost is also really low, lower than fighters.

So... why are they so bad, again? :)
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: The AI 9 through 10 run
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 09:44:11 PM »
Re: Anti-Starship Vs, I'm just making those Spider Vs since that's what they are internally before the special overrides are set, and the AS-V's special role in the game (while it was once huge) is long, long gone.

Re: the nomination of spiders for worst ship: I'm not sure how much of a buff they really need. 

Their cap-health is at the very flimsiest end (5M) and I'll go ahead and double that since they aren't really supposed to be as fragile as eyebots, etc.

Their cap-DPS actually looks fairly respectable: 39k non-bonus, 235k bonus (on epic combat style).  Only 9 fleet ship types have a higher cap-bonus-dps, and 3 of those are self-destructers.  Bonus against Light means vs Fighters, against UltraLight means vs Raid Starships, against Swarmer and CloseCombat means most melee ships, and a bunch of other types fall under those 4 categories too.

Their cap-Engine-DPS was way lower than competitive ED sources, so I'm buffing that to bring it up to par-ish.  But by the numbers these guys wouldn't be bad in blob-combat even if they had 0 ED.

Move-speed is a bit on the slow side, but not abysmally so.

Energy cost is quite low.  m+c (or, rather, c) cost is also really low, lower than fighters.

So... why are they so bad, again? :)

I think it was frustration from the AS Vs more then an actual review of the Spider itself.  If the Mk V was useless, I expected I-IV to be equivalently pointless.  I'm also not usually a fan of engine damage except concentrated from long range, since the idea is to stall out an enemy until you can get around to them.  The Siege is really the only ED I like using, because the AoE of it stalls out a vector, where as spider turrets and the like ping everybody around town equally.

I'll recheck my concerns with it and pop into the appropriate thread when I get a chance.

EDIT: On a side note... who cares what gets a bonus against fighters?  They're nothing more then cannon fodder.  I certainly don't need an ED using unit to care about stalling out fighters.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 09:46:47 PM by GUDare »
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