Author Topic: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?  (Read 2403 times)

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2016, 12:33:48 PM »
The thing is, I feel that no matter what change you make my response to it is going to be "so I need to use my fleet on defense more" which causes refleets to occur more often which causes "so I need to use my fleet on defense" more which causes refleets to occur more often which...

Impenetrable defenses are less of a thing now than they used to be.  The last time I played a game with an insurmountable chokepoint world was version 3.8.  There were no exo waves, there were no golems, guardians, hunter/killers, spirecraft, jump-over-it-warp-gates...

Ironically, that's also the last game I won.

Again, this isn't saying that the balance is in the right place currently, but that the suggestions to alter that balance have the same general impact on what I'd see during play.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 12:35:29 PM by Draco18s »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2016, 12:43:26 PM »
Quote
The thing is, I feel that no matter what change you make my response to it is going to be "so I need to use my fleet on defense more" which causes refleets to occur more often which causes "so I need to use my fleet on defense" more which causes refleets to occur more often which...
Yes, I know :D

Not sure what I can do about that. IMO stalemate come from the refleeting mechanics, which come from the metal mechanic, and from how AIP progress works. Neither seems touchable, as far as game design goes, and taking into account the replies I've got to proposal aiming to change those.

Quote
rest
Not sure about what we're calling impenetrable defenses is the same. To me it's just something that the AI can't crack at the current AIP level.

Last games I played, I went for low-AIP route and there was little challenge unless I was ready to strike. Then, I won. I built choke points, and the part of the defenses that I lost, I rebuilt in less than 30 minutes, which left me with about 3 hours before the next AI strikes. My fleet was mostly untouched. Kept as a back-up, it took care of stragglers and / or escapees like raid ships. The AI was killed "inside" a 3 hour window.

Sometimes I didn't care enough to upgrade my defenses, so I got scared a bit, but if I were to restart, I'll try to find a set-up that works for the first 20 hours of the game (as it can probably be built from the game start), and by then I'd have won.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2016, 12:48:16 PM »
If anything, that tells me that offensive units need to be made better, not making defensive ones weaker.

How so? If offensive units are improved there will not be a need for good defenses. Whether you weaken defenses or increase offensive it still relatively makes the difference smaller and thus diminishes defense.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2016, 12:51:27 PM »
You were playing low-AIP.  Your defenses should almost always be "invincible" at that level of play.

The problem occurs at the more moderate levels of AIP play, above 200 AIP.  The whole "if AIP goes over 200 you're fucked" style of play is the super-low-AIP playstyle.  The playstyle I play at is the "if you go over 600 AIP you're fucked."

Your proposals seem geared towards making the AI attacks meaningful at lower AIP, which ruins a whole two other playstyles:
1) higher AIP, but still relevant
2) AIP, what's AIP?

If anything, that tells me that offensive units need to be made better, not making defensive ones weaker.

How so? If offensive units are improved there will not be a need for good defenses. Whether you weaken defenses or increase offensive it still relatively makes the difference smaller and thus diminishes defense.

I mean making player offensive units stronger relative to AI defensive units, whereas AI offensive units remain constant vs player defenses.  The whole idea of "you must be this tall to assault an AI homeworld" bar goes down.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2016, 12:54:37 PM »
If anything, that tells me that offensive units need to be made better, not making defensive ones weaker.

How so? If offensive units are improved there will not be a need for good defenses. Whether you weaken defenses or increase offensive it still relatively makes the difference smaller and thus diminishes defense.

I disagree with that. It would be if "player offense" would clash against "player defense", but in the game:
- "player defense" cares for "AI attacks".
- "player offense" cares for "AI defenses".

The only parts where "player offense" would clash against "player defense", would be when AI defenses become AI attacks, or the opposite. Like, released threat as reinforcement (large stalemate issue), CPA (killer move) that leaves large part of the AI defenseless), AI fleeing from chokepoints after attacking (preventable, but potentially creating a huge blob of stuff that's annoying to deal with).

Your proposals seem geared towards making the AI attacks meaningful at lower AIP, which ruins a whole two other playstyles:
1) higher AIP, but still relevant
2) AIP, what's AIP?

I want to get rid of low AIP. If I support it / speak about it, it's to show that it's a meaningless playstyle, mostly.

You were playing low-AIP.  Your defenses should almost always be "invincible" at that level of play.

The problem occurs at the more moderate levels of AIP play, above 200 AIP.  The whole "if AIP goes over 200 you're fucked" style of play is the super-low-AIP playstyle.  The playstyle I play at is the "if you go over 600 AIP you're fucked."

Yup, I agree with that.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2016, 12:57:30 PM »

I mean making player offensive units stronger relative to AI defensive units, whereas AI offensive units remain constant vs player defenses.  The whole idea of "you must be this tall to assault an AI homeworld" bar goes down.

Ah yes this I agree with. AI HW are so unique in their challenges that they can force a player to build a strategy against them first then try to make it worst for the rest of the game.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2016, 01:12:28 PM »
Your proposals seem geared towards making the AI attacks meaningful at lower AIP, which ruins a whole two other playstyles:
1) higher AIP, but still relevant
2) AIP, what's AIP?

/rant
To elaborate on this... I've had, personally, the most fun with AIP between 200 to 400, and rising a bit. Then lost repeatedly. Then found the low AIP route. Then won, bored out of my mind. Tried a few more options, like golems, spire, and so on, had some fun discovering new mechanics. Tried a few "harder games", but the low AIP route crushed fun into a hole. Resumed back into new mechanics and lower diff (7-8), and higher AIP. Funnier game, and I like discovering new features.

I'd rather have made the game harder, provide some challenge at the same time I would have discovered the new features, but the challenge it's providing is a test of my patience, not of my skills. That's what I did with X-Com EW, cranked-up the diff with starting with mechs. Had more fun than ever.

The design of AI war II is plagued with people's conflicting playstyles. Nothing can change ever because some guy's playstyle is gone. I don't know where the game is going with those idea in mind, but I don't think very far. What, 60, 80% or 90% of suggestions on the forum can't be done because it alter's some guy's playstyle. I understand that, but... from a design, from a "what could the game be" perspective... feels very limited to me. Where the game should allow the game to do stuff, I feel likes it constraints itself into not really resolving stuff that caused issues for years.

I deemed obvious that given that it's a sequel, it'll be a somewhat different game, and that some of the extremes, or that some of the parts that are known issues since the start of the game, would stop receiving whatever band-aid they got, and got "more real" solutions.

Like: low AIP route (I think that's the part of the game that has received the most band-aid over the years, CSG, deep strike counter attack, multiple reviews of energy mechanics, dire guardians, dire lairs...), like the AIP feature and the stalemate it causes. Like, the refleeting mechanic (slow, boring). Like, the fact that the game is soooo damn long is not an issue if most of that time wasn't waiting time. Other issues are around. These are the few that come to my mind now.
/rant
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 01:20:11 PM by kasnavada »

Offline skrutsch

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2016, 03:02:58 PM »
In many respects, I like the slider at 0.1 or 0.2.  That means I can drop a standard defense on a new acquisition to guard it against local aggression, waiting to beef it up when a timed raid is announced.  That gives more time to move my multiple fleets around and plan and execute assaults, the fun part for me. 

But that isn't the way you fully defend a planet you can't afford to lose (whipping boy, chokepoint, home command system, call it what you like).  Kasnavada noted in a previous thread an excellent question, which I'm going to explore via algebra:  How do we make an AI counterattack defeat a full defense, but lose to a full defense + some defending fleet?

Well, the power-per-planet AIW II rule change (along with turret caps - are they per-planet or global now?) will define what a full defense looks like, let's call that a fixed strength of D.

Let A = the strength of the AI's strongest attack (CPA, reprisal, threat, Shark, whatever).

If A = D, then it's a 50-50 battle, heads your HCS survives, tails it doesn't.  Lots of dead things in either case.

The relationship between A and D is not the least bit linear... I have little sense of how to quantify A and D anyhow, so I'm going to go with this:
If A is only 2/3 the strength of D, your chances of defeat are only 1%.
If A is 1.5 times the strength of D, your chances of defeat are 99%.

Now for my preferences: yours may be different.

I wish to discourage losing the entire fleet in offensive operations. I'd like the AI response (regardless of mechanic) be a 50-50 proposition, so I want A to equal D.

But I wish to encourage losing half the fleet; my vision is to move and use the other half-fleet while the first half rebuilds.  (So I'm always doing something interesting, thus removing netflix time.)  Should the AI response occur at this time, I'll use the moving half-fleet to aid the defense.  And I would like the chances of my success to be 99% in this case.

Let F = the (defensive) strength of a player's entire fleet. Then I want A to be only 2/3 the strength of (D + 0.5F).  So 1.5A = D + 0.5F, so 1.5D = D + 0.5F, which works out to D = F, a "slider" of 1.0 .

Maybe this is just a big garbage-in-garbage-out?  Hope it illustrates something!

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2016, 03:09:42 PM »
Well, the power-per-planet AIW II rule change (along with turret caps - are they per-planet or global now?) will define what a full defense looks like, let's call that a fixed strength of D.

Woah. I didn't even think of that. Me <- stupid. I did read the design doc multiple times though.

@skrutsch: thanks for your post, brings very nice ideas. Indeed, the limitation of power / planet and the rest of what you've written, does actually takes care of a lot of issues I've been meaning to convey. Including the part with "How do we make an AI counterattack defeat a full defense, but lose to a full defense + some defending fleet?".
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 03:11:49 PM by kasnavada »

Offline Sestren

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2016, 03:21:48 PM »
The design of AI war II is plagued with people's conflicting playstyles. Nothing can change ever because some guy's playstyle is gone. I don't know where the game is going with those idea in mind, but I don't think very far. What, 60, 80% or 90% of suggestions on the forum can't be done because it alter's some guy's playstyle. I understand that, but... from a design, from a "what could the game be" perspective... feels very limited to me. Where the game should allow the game to do stuff, I feel likes it constraints itself into not really resolving stuff that caused issues for years.

From lightly browsing these forums I think it might even be broader than that. Part of what people enjoy in classic is not just the presence of the different playstyles themselves but the capacity of the underlying game to be adjusted to house them. Its to some degree almost a roll-your-own-game so long as you are content with that game being an asymmetrical space rts. The requests for modding support are an outgrowth of that position.

I almost feel that, when having these conversations, the presence of modding flexibility needs to be kept in mind. On one hand, people should get out of the mindset that if the game their playing isn't the 'optimal approach given the official balance' that it doesn't count and embrace the ability to adjust the game to their desired taste. Yes that takes some effort, but unless your tastes are completely unlike anyone elses, you can find what worked for others and use that as a starting point. On the other hand, given that anyone who wants a particular playstyle (110+, ultra-low AIP) can recreate it via modding if not just lobby options so long as enough mechanics are available to be tweaked in xml.

This means that the 'default/official' version of the game is most important as THE NEW PLAYER EXPERIENCE, because that is almost universally going to be the first thing tried. If the game is, on the whole, more interesting when the ultra-low AIP route is NOT available/encouraged, then I am all in favor of removing it WITH THE UNDERSTANDING that the underlying mechanisms aren't changed in such a way that people who really want it can't put it back in afterwards.

====

On a semi-unrelated note, would expecting fleets to contribute to defenses be easier if human fleets moved significantly faster at the strategic level? The time taken to go to the fight is usually longer than the fight itself. Granted I don't have any ideas how to do that without messing up insystem fleet speeds in combat aside from a clunky system like movement 'modes' but maybe someone else does.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2016, 03:48:20 PM »
I almost feel that, when having these conversations, the presence of modding flexibility needs to be kept in mind.
+1

This means that the 'default/official' version of the game is most important as THE NEW PLAYER EXPERIENCE
+1

On a semi-unrelated note, would expecting fleets to contribute to defenses be easier if human fleets moved significantly faster at the strategic level? The time taken to go to the fight is usually longer than the fight itself. Granted I don't have any ideas how to do that without messing up insystem fleet speeds in combat aside from a clunky system like movement 'modes' but maybe someone else does.

As a whole, I tend to put my chokepoints near reinforcement points, which alleviates the problem. Also, home station is probably gone, and we've got a mobile command center now.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 03:50:12 PM by kasnavada »

Offline Toranth

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2016, 03:52:39 PM »
Your proposals seem geared towards making the AI attacks meaningful at lower AIP, which ruins a whole two other playstyles:
1) higher AIP, but still relevant
2) AIP, what's AIP?
/rant
To elaborate on this... I've had, personally, the most fun with AIP between 200 to 400, and rising a bit. Then lost repeatedly. Then found the low AIP route. Then won, bored out of my mind. Tried a few more options, like golems, spire, and so on, had some fun discovering new mechanics. Tried a few "harder games", but the low AIP route crushed fun into a hole. Resumed back into new mechanics and lower diff (7-8), and higher AIP. Funnier game, and I like discovering new features.
<snip>
See, low AIP at low difficulties is boring to me, too.  So I play at higher difficulties.  At Diff 7, that first wave of the game will be approx. 40 bombers.  At Diff 9, it'll be 80 bombers.  At Diff 10, it'll be 160 bombers.  And that's the base, the minimum that all further AIP increases multiply from.  On Diff 10, when you take that first AI system, getting that first +20 AIP?  That's a more than triple in the size of the waves coming in.  You cannot be careless, and you cannot get above the absolute minimum AIP, because you WILL die.

It's all about balancing your gain vs the AI's gain.  You want to maximize your gains while minimizing benefit to the AI.  That means a lot of careful choices and a lot of tradeoffs.  Then, right at the end, it's still a major gamble.
I see you wanting to get rid of low AIP as trying to take away those options from me.  I don't even know how you'd balance the higher difficulties.  You may not care, because you don't play them, but I do and I like the danger and the careful, near-fatal, tradeoffs that are required.  On the other hand, I'm a terrible person to ask about Diff 5 balancing or fun, because I don't play there. 
But please accept that there are people that like that you can be required to keep AIP low, and carefully minmax your conquests - or lose.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2016, 04:35:08 PM »
I see you wanting to get rid of low AIP as trying to take away those options from me.  I don't even know how you'd balance the higher difficulties.  You may not care, because you don't play them, but I do and I like the danger and the careful, near-fatal, tradeoffs that are required.  On the other hand, I'm a terrible person to ask about Diff 5 balancing or fun, because I don't play there.
But please accept that there are people that like that you can be required to keep AIP low, and carefully minmax your conquests - or lose.

- The first counter-argument to that is that the game could be balanced so that "Keeping AIP low" meant be keeping AIP under 350, and have the EXACT same min-max conquest or lose issues. Currently it's not. But it's a matter of the game not being balanced around this, and not a matter of keeping a playstyle at all.
- The second counter-argument is that keeping ultra-low AIP (like below 100 for the entire game) prevents me from having a 600-700 AIP game at diff 9 and more. I appreciate the irony of the game I'd like being impossible, while yours must be kept... because ? Is your way of playing "better" than mine ? Not anymore than mine is.
- The third argument, rarely spoken of or countered, is the amount of band-aid that the low-AIP strategy has required over the years, to work. Which removed a lot of gaming possibilities for other people. It's also the cause of a lot of complaints and issues over the years, least of which is refleeting time, CSGs... and the amount of stuff that should work but does not, because low AIP in place (reinforcement...).


Anyway, now it's moddable with AI war 2 - at least I hope it is, and the design doc seems to indicate that it will be. I'm not preventing anyone from having his game fetish here, not even me. So... I don't know why you bring that argument again - no point.


The main question I'll ask from now on is this :
Quote
This means that the 'default/official' version of the game is most important as THE NEW PLAYER EXPERIENCE
The ultra-low AIP route is viewed by some as cheezy at best, and (IMO) required a lot of band-aid to get better. Do you want it to be the new player experience ? Is the game for newbies more enjoyable with this "mindset" in place, or is another way of playing more fun ?

My opinion is that a game where the low AIP route is viable and used ain't fun, because by definition it removes a lot of mechanics in place to make the game turn (reinforcement, waves scaling to territory size, allows you to get stronger without the AI getting stronger... and a few other issues). I'm open on discussing that, but really, it's becoming a minor point as time go by. Because moddable in part, and because of some stuff that is in the design doc that people don't notice (me included), that'll change the gameplay and removes a lot of cheese. Possibly adds new cheese too.


PS : I'll stress it again. I'm NOT making your playstyle go away, whatever flaws I see in it don't matter. I'm focussing on making the "vanilla" future game more fun - and think it goes via that.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 04:57:00 PM by kasnavada »

Offline Toranth

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2016, 08:20:02 PM »
- The second counter-argument is that keeping ultra-low AIP (like below 100 for the entire game) prevents me from having a 600-700 AIP game at diff 9 and more. I appreciate the irony of the game I'd like being impossible, while yours must be kept... because ? Is your way of playing "better" than mine ? Not anymore than mine is.
To reply to this one:  Because that's how the game is designed.  Literally, that's the point.  AIP is the measure of the AI's attention to you.  If you attract too much attention from the genocidal ultra-being, it will kill you.  This is stated in the advertising, the lore, the instructions, and the mechanics.
AI War 2 may be different.  But that would be a BIG change.  Huge.  Like, the biggest change you could possibly make to the game.

If you look at Diff 10 as "If you play perfectly and are lucky, you will almost win", then you can look at every difficulty level below that as increasing the margin of error (or inefficiency, if you prefer) you can have and still win.  That allows you to play looser at lower difficulties, and me to have a brutally punishing game at higher difficulties.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way to require lower difficulties to rack up the AIP but allow higher difficulties NOT to do it.

So, yeah, while you say you don't want to take away the low AIP playstyle... if you make it impossible to play with low AIP, that's exactly what you're doing.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2016, 08:57:29 PM »
While I wouldn't mind the "offense/defense" ratio raised (pushed towards offense) a little but (In AIWC, small armies take freaking forever to get anything done, including killing other small armies, which could make the early game sort of stale in lower difficulties), I still think it should be kept quite soundly in the "defensive" favored.
Part of what I feel is "AI War" is the slower nature of the game; the fact that you don't have to micro like a god or pause like every second to get reasonable performance out of your fleet; that you have time to "think" in battles. Also keeping the ratio on the "defensive" side helps to preserve the "player sets the pace" nature of AI War (which TBH, I'm not sure is still a design goal for AIWII like it was for AI War classic)