Author Topic: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves  (Read 4960 times)

Offline amasuriel

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Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« on: October 28, 2012, 10:56:03 PM »
So I am fairly new at this, and despite reading up on strategy on the forums, my last 3 games have all ended the same way, around 500 AIP nearby planets start producing mass quantities of troops, loading them into carriers and sending them at my planets (even those without nearby warp gates) faster than I can rebuild re-inforcements.

I know 500 AIP is a fair bit, but I have an in theory defensible large territory with lots of good ships available and a steady economy, so I thought I would be okay to not take any additional planets except for key systems and stuff for the final assault, but maybe I was too greedy.

I am only on difficulty 7, and did a decent job of reducing my surface area this game, but these carrier waves don't come as part of warp gate attacks...they just attack the closest planets, and even with a pretty strong economy I can build ships fast enough to both defend and attack the systems spewing the troops, so I get overrun.

I attached the save game in case anyone wants to load it up (all 4 expansions in use). Watch what happens to Deskin on the right side of the map over the next 10 minutes or so.

Not sure what other details would be helpful for more skilled players in identifying my mistakes here. Any insight would be appreciated.


Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 11:10:16 PM »
Welcome to the forums, and to the game :)

Yes, 500 AIP is a lot and you'll run into issues that high.  You may be seeing border aggression from reinforcements putting planets over their "guard population" caps, Cross-Planet-Attacks, and/or other threat sources reorganizing into carriers and coming at you as normal freed ships.  None of these care for the presence or absence of warp gates.

My advice is to do your best to keep AIP under 300 throughout the game.  Under 200 isn't particularly difficult, either, just taking out data centers, the coprocessors, and not taking more than, say, 15-20 planets.  In general, if you need to take more than 15 you're probably doing something wrong and/or strange.

You can go high-AIP but you'd want to have only one (possibly two) planets through which it is physically possible to get from an AI planet to your homeworld.  Just gate-raiding around your perimeter isn't enough to stop already-existing AI ships from going through anywhere they can get to :)
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Offline amasuriel

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 11:55:34 PM »
Hmm okay. I thought 400-600 AIP was high but doable later in the game.

Not sure how to keep my AIP low enough though. I could have avoided seizing a stretch of systems, but I only usually find 2-3 datacenters at this point in the game, and never all 4 co-processors. Each system seized is about 22-25 AIP (command, warp gate, posts, dist nodes), so even if you only grab about 10 systems, and neuter another 5 or so to keep you attack lines clear I end up with ~225-250 AIP. Then even if that is enough economically, you need to incur another 22-25 AIP every time you find a research station, factory, fab, golem, rebel colony etc...and if you don't neuter the surrounding planets at least, they will not be defensible.

So what am I missing about keeping my AIP low? Do people just make due with economies run purely on the handful if isolated systems that contain useful stuff?

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 12:36:14 AM »
Hmm okay. I thought 400-600 AIP was high but doable later in the game.
You really only want to see those numbers in the middle of attacking the second AI homeworld... and going for the killshot.

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I could have avoided seizing a stretch of systems, but I only usually find 2-3 datacenters at this point in the game, and never all 4 co-processors.
In general, you usually take a core of systems (3-4) at the homeworld, and then highway it through AI space constantly.  A completionist game CAN be done, but you need to heavily control chokepoints.

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Each system seized is about 22-25 AIP (command, warp gate, posts, dist nodes), so even if you only grab about 10 systems, and neuter another 5 or so to keep you attack lines clear I end up with ~225-250 AIP.
Here's problem one... you can't keep your attack lines that clear and expect to keep AIP down.  You can nerf the heck out of those planets and keep reinforcements reasonable, but you only want to splash tactical targets.  Staging waypoints to avoid deepstrike, fabs/FactIVs, etc.

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Then even if that is enough economically, you need to incur another 22-25 AIP every time you find a research station, factory, fab, golem, rebel colony etc...and if you don't neuter the surrounding planets at least, they will not be defensible.
Describe neuter.  Neuter should cost you no AIP, it's just blowing up all the guardposts to keep reinforcements from hitting the cross planet aggression thresholds.  If you're talking warp-gates, then yes.  That's part of the price you pay to keep them from sending waves after a particular planet.  Either that or you spend research for the anti-warp command center.

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So what am I missing about keeping my AIP low? Do people just make due with economies run purely on the handful if isolated systems that contain useful stuff?

Yes.

There are other ways you can play but in general yes, that is the core tactic.  I tend to run minimally, aiming for <100 AIP for most of the game.  At 200-250 you should be on final AI HW assault vectors, only taking step-stone systems.  All your work should really have been done before you hit that point.
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Offline rabican

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 04:25:55 AM »
Looking at the save game ... well couple of things.

Neutering doesnt equal killing everything.

Probably would've needed to scout better and earlier.

I see a lot of planets that are dead without any reason whatsoever. 3 still have their K in them.  If you wan't AI to not launch waves from there, kill gate, eyes, and any warp guardians. Not CMD.

Also you've got core world alerted permanently, that is bad.

Aip should still be at tolerable limits, and game might be salvageable  (barely).  You are too spread, need to consolidate defenses. First priority should be getting warpjammer on murdoch.Halt all current fort /golem constructions. After that, bait all the stuff waiting in ai coreworld and kill them. Build some defenses on murdoch (preferrably turrets, ffs 1 fort at some point ,probably not now). Then get kalxi  , shuihahanhaoihnahnoa (those worlds, forgot exact names). Destroy all AI worlds between these worlds and your other worlds. Move all your forts and turrets to these 2, murdoch and wibiyaiyiay (your westernmost world). Remove forcefields in your deep worlds and move them to these worlds.

After that you can still take systems, golems ARS ,CSG, to prevent Deepstrike threat. I wouldn't take many though. And you can't keep them, mine them out of K , repair golem, leave.

AIP amount is doable for 7 difficulty, but you need to absolutely limit the amount of ingress points for AI. Warp gate raiding is completly useless at this kind of AIP.


If you want to start a new game, i would recommend X map. It suits this kind of playstyle pretty well.

Cough, wanderers opinions about ai are bit skewed towards playing extreme challenge games :)

edit: played the game a bit. Doable still but  hard yeah. Not sure if reinforcement sare working as intended, that carrier spam seems rather extreme for default difficulty.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 04:41:17 AM by rabican »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 09:34:37 AM »
Hmm okay. I thought 400-600 AIP was high but doable later in the game.
It's doable, but you generally need citadel-like defenses between you and the AI that it physically cannot evade :)
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Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 12:15:34 PM »
Hi and welcome to the forums ^^ I know I'm not the first one to comment here, but I'll throw in my 2 cents as well.

First things first. Never, and I mean never, put any of the AI homeworlds or coreworlds (the planets bordering the homeworlds) on alert, unless you are positive that you can destroy the AI homeworld and plan to attack it very soon. You put a planet on alert when you have military ships flying through any of it's neighbours or when you destroyed/captured any of it's neighbours. Putting a high mark world on alert can have serious consequenses over time and putting the core/homeworlds on alert is almost always a very bad thing to do (unless you actually plan to strike of course).
In case you don't already know, coreworlds appear to be regular mk IV worlds, but they're not. It's very possible that you scouted a coreworld, but not a homeworld yet, and accidentally put it on alert. That happened to me once or twice in the past. Not only do coreworlds have a lot of mk V ships, coreworlds also always have 2 warp gates on them. This is how you can tell them apart from regular mk IV worlds.
If you, for some reason, have to capture a coreworld or a planet bordering one, build a warp jammer command station. Not only do they prevent waves from being launched against your planet, they also trick the AI into thinking that the planet you captured is still one of theirs, thus preventing the alert.
I think the reason you see so many carriers with lots of ships is because a coreworld is on permanent alert. When a planet is on alert, it gets reinforcements over time. Tough planets get more and stronger reinforcements. Eventually all the guard posts will be crowded with ships and that's when reinforcements start to leave their guard posts and become threat (stalking the wormholes in "active" mode). When there are too many threat ships on a world, the AI starts to put them in carriers which they eventually send to your planets. This could happen very quick when we're talking about core and homeworlds. Also with the new threat behaviour, the stalking ships may decide to attack any of your planets quite fast. Keeping threat numbers low is very important.

That covers one part of the stuff I wanted to say. As for the AIP issue:

My own personal playstyle is all about high AIP games. I'm not skipping 3-4 worlds to take one planet and then skipping 3-4 worlds again. I scout for a nice target (ARS, Adv Factory, Golems, Dyson Sphere, SCL, etc) and once I've found one, I move in a straight line from my nearest world to the target, almost always capturing everything along the way. My games practically never end below 500-600 AIP, yet I manage to beat most of them, including difficulty 9/9 games.
Gravity turrets and tractor turrets are your friends. They should be a part of your basic defenses at ALL times. Always neuter bordering AI worlds wherever you go (killing warp gates and all guard posts except the wormhole ones, and leave the command station alive!) and just leave 1 single bordering warp gate alive. This way you can control where all the regular waves will come from and you can build your defenses accordingly. When you are absolutely certain that all regular waves can come from only one single wormhole, build Heavy Beam Cannons and Lightning Turrets near it, preferably as close to your command station as possible but still in range of the hostile wormhole. Don't forget the grav and tractor turrets either of course. Use your other attack turrets to defend the rest of your empire, placing them the exact same way as you would with HBC's and lightning turrets.
There are many different ways to succesfully defend your planets, but this is definitely one of them. I use it every time and it works every time. I hardly ever have to unlock mk II attack turrets (except for the HBC's and lightnings, which often even go mk III in my games). Just make sure you keep enemy numbers low on bordering planets, even AFTER you already neutered them. High mk worlds often require attention or they will reinforce too much. Don't let those numbers grow bigger than you think you can handle.
Making progress might be going slow this way when you have to do so many things to keep the AI under control, but it brings you much closer to a possible victory.
As for attacking, don't suicide your whole fleet on a planet if you think they won't be able to handle it. Retreat and rebuild. Even just killing a single guard post or ion cannon or any other structure before you have to retreat is still considered making progress.

Trying to keep the AIP as low as possible is not that important. What's important is that you find the right balance between keeping AIP low and not letting the AIP get higher than you can handle.


I know this is a lot to swallow, but I just want to help =) If I said anything that doesn't make sense to you, but you do want to know what the hell I'm blabbing about, feel free to ask me and I will try to explain it in a different way.
Good luck with getting your ass kicked stomping the AI and earn that 7/7 victory =)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 12:28:05 PM by zoutzakje »
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,10328.msg100587.html#msg100587

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Offline amasuriel

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 02:18:02 PM »
I appreciate the tips.

I used to play EVE, so I am definitely the kind of player who enjoys complexity :)

I bet you are right about the homeworld though...I thought they would show up as MKV planets, so I never paid attention to any of the worlds near my buffer zone unless they had goodies inside them. It would also explain why my game went from quite easy to overwhelming in the space of about 20 minutes with only about 40 AIP gain in that time.

I don't think I have an old enough save to go back to before the waves started piling in, but my next game I'll make sure to pay closer attention to the MKIV worlds I scout.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 03:05:57 PM »
I appreciate the tips.

I used to play EVE, so I am definitely the kind of player who enjoys complexity :)

I bet you are right about the homeworld though...I thought they would show up as MKV planets, so I never paid attention to any of the worlds near my buffer zone unless they had goodies inside them. It would also explain why my game went from quite easy to overwhelming in the space of about 20 minutes with only about 40 AIP gain in that time.

I don't think I have an old enough save to go back to before the waves started piling in, but my next game I'll make sure to pay closer attention to the MKIV worlds I scout.

Homeworlds do show up as Mk. V (and they even have the "big star" icon your home uses too), but the worlds next to the homeworld are always Mk. IV. However, these are "special" Mk. IV worlds, sort of like Mk. 4.5 worlds. (Just as a terminology note, planets that are adjacent to homeworlds are often called "core worlds") The AI will prioritize these higher than most other Mk. IV worlds, and they will get some Mk. V stuff mixed in (well, more so than the average Mk. IV world). You can generally tell if it is a core world or not if there are Mk. V guard posts even though it is a Mk. IV planet. On the galaxy map though, there is no visual difference between a Mk. IV core world and a regular Mk. IV world.

Offline Winge

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 11:19:25 PM »
Everything that TechSY730 said is valuable for spotting a core world.  A few other pointers for distinguishing a core world from a normal Mark IV planet:
1.  Lots of 'peacekeeper' toys--Warhead Interceptor, Orbital Mass Driver, and Ion Cannon--is almost a guaranteed core world, unless you are up against the Peacekeeper AI.  The Warhead Interceptor is especially rare, and very easy to spot thanks to the purple mark on the bottom.
2.  High Mark V ship count.  This is a very easy way to check--as long as you've gotten a scout on the world once, it will show you the number of ships by mark.
3.  A Spire Archive always indicates that a neighboring planet is a Core World.  There is no guarantee which planet, though.
4.  Fortress III.  Fortress IIIs are very rare (and thank goodness; they are really annoying to kill).  If you see one on a Mark IV world, double check to see if it is core world.
5.  If you enter a world and see an incoming wave from a Core Raid Engine (not to be confused with a Raid Engine, which is still quite nasty), get off that planet ASAP.  You just 'found' a core world, and the Homeworld has one of the most dangerous guard posts in the ENTIRE GAME.  In case you were wondering, that is how you do NOT want to find a core world.  Scouts are your friends!

One extra bit of flavor:  Mark V ships are nicknamed 'Core' ships.  Core worlds are called that because, although they are technically Mark IV worlds, they actually have Mark V Guard Posts and reinforcements.
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Offline Hearteater

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 08:55:58 AM »
This issue could be helped by this tweak, if it also mentioned Core, and possibly Homeworld (although that should be pretty clear).

Offline nas1m

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 04:09:28 PM »
Hi all.

I have a similar problem (meaning I always get my butt kicked by carrier waves later in game).

I understand the approach to keep AIP low, but I find it difficult to stick to it - especially as taking an Advanced Factory, Advanced Research Facility, etc. not only requires you to take the respective planet, but also to provide a supply line leading to the system to be able to take it...

In my current game (6/6) this could easily mean to take 3 or more systems along the way only to be able to 'colonize' the planet holding the capturable I want to take.

Is there anything I am missing here?

Any insight are greatly appreciated ; )...
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 04:17:34 PM »
I have a similar problem (meaning I always get my butt kicked by carrier waves later in game).

I understand the approach to keep AIP low, but I find it difficult to stick to it - especially as taking an Advanced Factory, Advanced Research Facility, etc. not only requires you to take the respective planet, but also to provide a supply line leading to the system to be able to take it...

I beginning to think that the bonus that the AI gets to reinforcements over AIP and/or per alerted planets, and/or the cutoff to border aggression to start happening needs to be toned down some.

In my game, at a "mere" 220 AIP, just four more planets being alerted (previously, it was only 3, then it became 7 when I tried to start setting up a satellite world) caused a near non-stop stream of freed defenders (due to border aggression and excess defenders going into carriers). Something seems off about that.

Also, special forces are making setting up satellite worlds very difficult. Even if you take a planet for yourself, if the special forces was on route to that planet or even merely routing through that planet, they will still try to go to it instead of trying to re-route around it (or change target planets). Thus, when setting up a satellite world, you can easily get 2000 special forces ships popping in even after taking the planet, sometimes even when there was nothing on that planet that special forces would want to defend.


EDIT: Actually, these points may be worth making a new thread about in the main AI War section.

Offline LordSloth

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 04:23:36 PM »
Well, first of all, you don't need to have supply in a system in order to colonize it, supply is only required for the mobile builders and most constructions.

You can load a transport up with a colony ship and several engineers and build a new station anywhere not under AI control. For advanced factories, there's certainly a few reasons to connect to your territory, but for an Advanced Research Station, there is no reason not to build an isolated outpost and just abandon it after you get all the knowledge, to be rebuilt only when you need a forward base.

It's nice to keep ARS alive - they can expedite the knowledge gathering - but once the system is under your control, you permanently gain the bonus ship type, regardless of whether the ARS then dies or not.

In short, if all the system has going for it is an advanced research station, don't build a supply line to it.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Always Slaughtered part way through by carrier waves
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 04:31:13 PM »
Oh, forgot to mention about the Advanced Factory thing.

Yea, there's the tricky thing. How can you take it if it is too far out to afford to build a line to it?
In some cases, the answer may be that it isn't.

However, there are some tools you have to deal with keeping a distant Adv. Fact.
- One is the Advanced Factory intra-galactic warp gate, which allows for you Mk. IV stuff to be sent elsewhere without having to move through all the planets (for a 0:30 paralysis time in return though). This way, you don't have to worry about getting your Mk. IV stuff back to where you need it. (There are also warp gates for your other constructors as well)
- Two is the Warp Jammer Command Station. At 5000 knowledge, it's pretty pricy, but it does stop waves to that planet and AI planets adjacent to it will no longer go on alert due to the mere fact that that planet (being a human owned planet now) is next to them. (They will still go on alert if there is a military presence on the AI planet, or if there is another non-AI planet next to is that does not also have a Warp Jammer Command Station. This will help not only to stop waves to that planet but also to stop excessive reinforcements near it (thus reducing the chance of "carrier madness" to that planet). Yea, you will still have to deal with already freed ships and exo-waves, but at least it can take care of common threats.
- Three is the mini-forts. At only 1000 knowledge, they are pretty cheap to get. Plus, they also have a per-planet cap instead of a global cap, meaning you are free to place them on your satellite world without having to worry about sacrificing defensive firepower elsewhere.