Author Topic: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?  (Read 3512 times)

Offline kasnavada

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Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« on: September 13, 2016, 05:21:35 AM »
Following the discussion in the refleeting thread... offense would be most of your fleet, as a player, and defense, most of the turrets, mines, forcefields, and so on. Yes, if nitpicking, the flagship for example can have a great role in defense too. Yes, whatever is in the offense group can also help at defending.

Thing is that any mechanic meant to kill you as a player would have to bypass whatever your defenses while you're "weak", and that "you're weak" could happen if your offense is dead, or if your defense is dead, or both.

In starcraft, for example, I estimate the "power of offense / power of defense ratio" it to 5, if not more. Civ 5, would be closer to 1. AI war... depending on your unlocks... I think "my" playstyle makes it a 0.1 or 0.2 or something. Others with 110 -planet capture gamestyle probably run it toward 0.001, if not less. Anyway, in starcraft, when your offense is dead, you also are. But, if your defenses are dead, your offense can save the day. In civ, it's more of "the cities can hold" while reinforcement arrive - but against an assault, you need both (AI stupidity concerns aside). In AI War, of course it depends on the playstyle, but mostly... it does not matter if your offense is dead, you're still mostly safe.

Retaking the "define how the game finds out that you're weak" idea before, my opinion is that in AI war, you're weak when your defenses are crushed, and that the state of your offense is a minor concern when calculating your "can I be killed" ratio.

I think that moving back the "slider" to a position where offense is stronger than what it is now could be a good move. Plainly removing some defense options could work but I don't imagine it being very popular - which does not mean that cutting some options could be a good move anyway. Another idea would be that defense is more dependant on offensive units being present (ideas that would help with this could be manning the turrets with ships, or having planetary boosts to damage and range to the "defending offense fleet").

What do you think ?

PS: depending on ideas, "ultra defensive" gameplay could be kept as a mod / lobby option.
PS2: while they were "refused", I think some ideas behind platforms could be of use here.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 05:32:39 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Cinth

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2016, 06:47:38 AM »
Turtle strategies in StarCraft are completely viable and work really well against the AI.

You can take that further and fight a battle of attrition vs the AI there and still win.  Basically taking enough M/G and walling up and giving up the map.  Let the AI exhaust that trying to kill you then clean up after the fact.

Strong defense is a strategy that works in a lot of other RTS also.
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Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 07:03:59 AM »
Sorry, Cinth, I have strictly no clue about how to link what you just wrote to the subject I'm trying to raise, and am at a complete loss at finding out what point you're trying to make.

Starcraft was an example, not the point of the discussion that I'm trying to start, and while I do think of starcraft as mostly a pvp game (and ignore that its AI can be killed by attrition), I don't see where you're going, at all.

Yes, defenses work in other games, including AI War I. Again, no clue why you're pointing this up.

Offline Cinth

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 07:10:36 AM »
Using your example and expanding on it, nothing more.

And it's not just "defenses work", its you can build a strategy around your defenses and be successful.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 08:39:16 AM »
I like that idea of changing the offense/defense ratio. I imagine the turrets would be a bit less powerful, the waves a bit smaller for a given AIP level... I think that could work. However that may require more back  and forth with the mobile fleet for more needed assist-defenses. Pour the fuel into that (the fuel mechanism, of course ;)) and balancing the whole game should become a fun thing. But it could work.

I have a different idea that wouldn't require a change in balance. But I'll put it in another thread.

Interesting idea, anyway.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 09:35:14 AM »
I like that idea of changing the offense/defense ratio. I imagine the turrets would be a bit less powerful, the waves a bit smaller for a given AIP level... I think that could work. However that may require more back  and forth with the mobile fleet for more needed assist-defenses. Pour the fuel into that (the fuel mechanism, of course ;)) and balancing the whole game should become a fun thing. But it could work.

I have a different idea that wouldn't require a change in balance. But I'll put it in another thread.

Interesting idea, anyway.

I was thinking about being a bit more drastic than that... (cough) leaving the player with 3 turret types, mines, and the thing you called utility turrets in another thread (cough)... but that's balance details, and I'm more interested in keeping the thread on the general idea rather than the specifics.
I like the idea of tying this to the first proposed fuel mechanic though.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2016, 10:58:49 AM »
Reducing the player's defensive capability, for me, means that I end up using my fleet for defensive purposes more which leads to faster stalemates, not quicker deaths.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 11:07:17 AM »
Reducing the player's defensive capability, for me, means that I end up using my fleet for defensive purposes more which leads to faster stalemates, not quicker deaths.

Fair point. It's certainly one way to reduce the ratio that may not work if the issue of being stalemated isn't resolved. I'll take you at your word though. "faster stalemates". Which means that stalemales are already an issue that needs to be resolved, am I right ?

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2016, 11:15:08 AM »
Reducing the player's defensive capability, for me, means that I end up using my fleet for defensive purposes more which leads to faster stalemates, not quicker deaths.

Fair point. It's certainly one way to reduce the ratio that may not work if the issue of being stalemated isn't resolved. I'll take you at your word though. "faster stalemates". Which means that stalemales are already an issue that needs to be resolved, am I right ?

Correct.  I currently stalemate at a point* where the AI is sending a wave/exo/whatever at me just as I'm finished rebuilding my fleet and I need to use my fleet to intercept and kill or I will be overrun.  Thus my fleet is sent in to help defend.  Thus my entire fleet gets wiped out.  Thus I rebuild.  GOTO 10.

I never have the opportunity to push forward and take more territory, even if the move would actually make it easier to defend, because I never have the fleet to perform the maneuver.  If I send it in early before the exo arrives (because I've got about 10 minutes before it actually arrives), then I don't have a fleet to defend against the exo, and I get overrun.

*Note: I haven't played a game in forever, but it always reaches this point

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 11:21:55 AM »
I understand that... but following the forum & patch notes a bit I thought I saw Keith make a few modifications to threat reinforcements to help with that. Possibly, not enough though. After the first few stalemate, I played with different options to avoid being stalemated... Think it deserves its own thread ?

Assuming that stalemate isn't (somehow), an issue, what do you think of the proposal ?


Offline Draco18s

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 11:49:20 AM »
Even from a conceptual standpoint of "only three turret types" I feel pretty miffed.  I want heavy beam cannons, I want tractor turrets, fortresses, and so on.

Having only three types of turrets means that I can't really specialize if the AI starts sending particular units my way.  In the case of fast, melee units, I don't have the option to build flak turrets around my command center, or lightning AOE.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 12:06:20 PM »
Even from a conceptual standpoint of "only three turret types" I feel pretty miffed.  I want heavy beam cannons, I want tractor turrets, fortresses, and so on.
Having only three types of turrets means that I can't really specialize if the AI starts sending particular units my way.  In the case of fast, melee units, I don't have the option to build flak turrets around my command center, or lightning AOE.

I knew I shouldn't have written that. Pumpkin's proposal of just "reducing the damage" would be enough for the idea to work. What I'm proposing is sensibly a bit extreme and would require a lot more balance changes to work.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 12:10:19 PM »
On a fundamental level offense, not defense wins games. Defensive techs are great early to mid game. But with the current AI HW setup there is a minimal quota of ships needed to win. For that reason I feel things should be tilted on the defensive front.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 12:25:25 PM »
If anything, that tells me that offensive units need to be made better, not making defensive ones weaker.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 12:28:15 PM »
Fundamentaly, yes, AI War is a tower-defensish games, so... it has to be tilted on the defense side.

What trying to ask is that whatever the balance currently is, my opinion is that's it's tilted on the right side, but... a bit too much. And, that the game could be made more interesting if the balance was tilted a bit less. Or, a lot less. Basically, if defending against the AI involved destroying stuff in their home a bit more often. And, when the AI attacks, to make their attack more dangerous, as a whole.

The ideas I had with that would be either flat-out reducing defenses, or asking the "offense" part of the game to help with defense (Currently, there are heavy defensive set-ups where offense fleet does not bring anything, like a chokepoint with caps of 1-3 turrets + fortresses + whatever). That would have to come with reducing the AI's attacks accordingly. And / or have a high risk of creating stalemates, as drao18 pointed out. Kind of a fatal flaw here. If a solution is found for that it's probably at the cost of a significant part of the current game flow.

Last idea, making "offense" stronger. Not sure about how to do that "fairly" though. It would help with the "refleeting" issue because, basically, stronger fleet = less losses.

Short for other ideas, I opened a thread.


Things that spawned this idea is the "Fatal refleeting" discussion. In it, basically... in other threads too, the concensus that I get from those threads is that there are strategies, and defensive set-ups, which makes you close to complete invicibility from the AI, unless playing at very high levels of difficulty, or, for some reason, follow non-optimal paths in order to make the game (artificially) harder.

Another issue is that the AI is very, very passive, but making it more aggressive falls on the same pitfall as above. Making it attack more often is probably just going to just be crushing itself against something it cannot penetrate, or starting stalemates. Or, being cheezy, like EMP guardians.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 12:30:36 PM by kasnavada »