Author Topic: AIWC Player First Impressions  (Read 395 times)

Offline Astilious

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AIWC Player First Impressions
« on: November 10, 2019, 08:21:17 PM »
So, while I was a kickstarter backer for AIW2 I didn't end up playing it before release. Now that I'm some hours into my first campaign I thought I'd talk about my initial thoughts, both in terms of the game and strategy.

For context I played quite a bit of AIWC and had reached the point where I could routinely beat diff 9 and was pushing diff 10 (though I never actually beat the latter). I decided my first AIW2 campaign would be a diff 7 full ensemble, with just player and AI factions. I'm now a few hours in with 5 planets taken, AIP ~50 and enough fleet strength to easily clear mkV worlds.

So, thoughts:
  • The game feels like AIWC at a basic level.
  • The AI plays like the AIWC AI, and seems to have many of the same strengths (i.e. sensible strategic retreats) and weaknesses (i.e. special forces -> hunter fleet wandering one by one through choke point worlds).
  • Transports are now a core gameplay element! And the UI to support them is really convenient! As a player who used transports and assault transports heavily in AIWC I'm thrilled :D.
  • Automatic kiting during attack moves can make your units feel like they're unresponsive until you work out what's going on.
  • You still need to split out parts of your fleet when attacking something that counters them (i.e. heavy vs pike), but the UI makes this fiddly (i.e. box select, scroll through every unit checking armour, select unit with high armour, order them away, repeat). I feel like I need a "everything not weak to the enemy I'm clicking attack" button, or something.
  • The shield frigate is an offensive bulldozer used to push enemy fleets out of position :P.
  • Too many of the big fleet leader ships (flagships?) are just transports. It would be fun if they had something other than the attached fleets to set them apart, without being significantly more powerful, like different armour values.
  • The capturables/hackables seem, so far, to give interesting strategic decisions. Possibly better than the "select a minimal set of CSG worlds that gives you maximum power/reach" of AIWC.
  • Bombers are still very, very good.
  • Diff 7 feels about as hard as it did in AIWC. I've never felt threatened so far. If it doesn't go crazy as the game goes on I'll probably jump right in to the deep end of diff 10 after this. Then get bashed back to diff 9 if things are working as intended :D.

Looking forward to getting into the later parts of the game and seeing how they unfold.
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Offline I-KP

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Re: AIWC Player First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 05:19:26 AM »
  • You still need to split out parts of your fleet when attacking something that counters them (i.e. heavy vs pike), but the UI makes this fiddly (i.e. box select, scroll through every unit checking armour, select unit with high armour, order them away, repeat). I feel like I need a "everything not weak to the enemy I'm clicking attack" button, or something.
I encounter the same difficulty; exacerbated by reinforcements charging headlong into their doom. It's a constant box-select, cat herding nightmare.

It feels like the game has been designed to discourage such levels of micro. AIW2 is a decidedly 'more accessible' game than AIW so this may have been a deliberate choice.
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Offline ZeroTheHero

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Re: AIWC Player First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2019, 02:01:24 PM »
You still need to split out parts of your fleet when attacking something that counters them (i.e. heavy vs pike), but the UI makes this fiddly (i.e. box select, scroll through every unit checking armour, select unit with high armour, order them away, repeat). I feel like I need a "everything not weak to the enemy I'm clicking attack" button, or something.

I had a suggestion for this: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/feature-request-do-not-unload/

Offline I-KP

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Re: AIWC Player First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2019, 02:56:35 PM »
There's another suggestion floating around that does this and more; being able to set Standing Orders by ship line.
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Offline Astilious

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Re: AIWC Player First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2019, 04:07:36 PM »
I had a suggestion for this: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/feature-request-do-not-unload/
There's another suggestion floating around that does this and more; being able to set Standing Orders by ship line.

Hmm. Both of these would probably help, maybe bring it back to the number of clicks you need in AIWC. A couple of "one click" solutions might be:
  • Control-right click an enemy to order all ships that enemy does not get a damage bonus against to attack.
  • Another fleet mode (i.e. like pursuit or hold fire) called something like "Avoid Counters" or "Cautious" which causes ships to avoid entering/move out of the attack range of stationary units that get a damage bonus against them. This one doesn't help with some important enemies (dire guardians come to mind), but would help with the most common guard post/turret cases.
How hard is it to mod that kind of thing? I'm a programmer, so I could give it a shot if it's viable.

A few more thoughts so far.
  • I feel like logistic command stations are the obvious choice right now. 2 force fields and more slows mean they can hold off enemies longer than mil, the intel they give you about neighboring worlds helps immensely with tracking threat, and they give a very solid chunk of energy.
  • Frigates feel underwhelming. There are so many guns that counter large ships out there I almost always find myself leaving them all behind. Bulldozer excepted of course: the shield frigate might be my favorite ship, other than transports.
  • The AI did sneak by me and snipe an important building (the 1.3x fleet cap one). It managed to hide threat from me long enough that I went back on the offensive, then snuck past while I was ~5 hops away with all my fleets. Of course, that was on a planet with a mil command station I was trying out, so less warning/scouting.
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Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: AIWC Player First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2019, 04:23:19 PM »
Frigates feel underwhelming.

in the galaxy setup, you can actually modify the multiplers of health/damage of frigates (and turrets and strikecraft)


this affects you and the AI

Offline I-KP

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Re: AIWC Player First Impressions
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2019, 05:59:58 AM »
  • Frigates feel underwhelming. There are so many guns that counter large ships out there I almost always find myself leaving them all behind. Bulldozer excepted of course: the shield frigate might be my favorite ship, other than transports.
Depends on the frigate. The frigates that have to get close to engage invariably suck; frigates that engage from afar, or shove stuff around, or provide shielding, are good. (Essentially, frigates are only good if they act as a force multiplier for ship lines.) The ones that do low damage but slow targets down are terrible; the range of the weapon is so small that they get auto-wiped by the targets they're trying to affect. All of the stealth frigates aren't worth not having a line of stealth ships either.
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Offline Astilious

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Re: AIWC Player First Impressions
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2019, 05:02:03 PM »
frigates that engage from afar, or shove stuff around, or provide shielding, are good.

I do have a few sniper frigates I could mess with more. And yeah, shoving the enemy fleet around is great. It feels like there's less crowd control stuff available in AIW2 than AIWC, which makes anything that can do it super valuable.

So I'm at what seems like late mid game now. I'm sitting on the AIP floor at 86 AIP with 246 earned and 195 reduction. I can see most of the map now, but no sign of the AI HW yet. Mobile fleet of about 300 strength. So, thoughts:
  • Superterminal seemed appropriately aggressive in its response. I ended up with -36 AIP from it. Would definitely be "fun" on higher difficulty.
  • Major data centers are interesting. A ton of AIP reduction in exchange for defending a point. On high difficulty losing that may as well be losing your HW.
  • The AI managed to snipe my one GCA, this time due to me just not paying attention :o. This dropped the defense strength of all my worlds to 2. This means the AI threat stops hiding and just attacks, so while it leads to extra micro there are benefits to it. Definitely going to leave some deliberate "bait" planets around in my next game >D.
  • The lost spire frigate was on the major data center planet, so I ended up grabbing it. It's a fun ship, though the audio for its commands is too loud. It also looks pretty ugly. Is it supposed to just be that flat sort of aqua shade all over? More importantly I would never capture it under normal circumstances. 20 AIP is an absurd cost for what you get. Consider the alternative for that: capture another AI world to get 200k energy, >300 metal income, 2k science, 30 hacking, up to 8 revealed worlds and some useful free capturable like a transport with a ship line you've already teched up. The last one alone is going to give you about the same fleet strength as the lost spire frigate with more than 3X the long distance move speed. To be worth 20 AIP it would have to be hugely powerful.
  • Same applies to the arks I've seen. I could just capture a transport instead so we can ignore the fleets that come with them so the ark alone needs to be worth 3/4 as much as an AI world. The Orchid seems so bad I might be missing something. Very fast repairs, but slightly slower than a normal transport? But you can't repair in combat... I guess the gun is pretty solid, but not worth 15 AIP. The Rorqual Hegira looks better, and bubble shields are so useful it might be worthwhile in some cases. Still, 15 extra AIP is a lot, so I haven't captured it so far.
  • A CPA of 50 strength ???? Come on AI, you'll have to do better than that :D. That was when I was lower AIP, but I still had about 200 mobile fleet strength, so it was pretty underwhelming. I wonder how many times larger diff 10 CPA are.

Edit:
Game won! AIP floored at 96 when I began the HW assault. 205 after. Obviously would have been much trickier if I'd had more than 1 AI to deal with. HW seemed appropriately tough for diff 7. Ended up hacking a GCA so that I wasn't stuck with all planets at only 2 strength worth of turrets. Also hacked the spire archive... a super long hack forcing you to dedicate forces for ages while maintaining your defense elsewhere? Not sure how I feel about that. It's interesting.

Later Edit:
I created a mod to do the kind of careful attack I mentioned earlier. You can find it here: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii-modding/astilious-interface-tweaks/
« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 02:35:00 AM by Astilious »
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