Author Topic: Returning player feedback  (Read 103 times)

Offline Berkobob

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Returning player feedback
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:39:51 AM »
Hi,

I picked up the early access version of AI War 2 on Steam and it has been a lot of fun - I have already finished 3 games! Thanks for all your hard work on the sequel so far!

Sorry for the walls of text, but I wanted to get everything together instead of opening multiple new topics.

All options were default, except 60 planets, so my feedback is on the core game.

The Good:
- Captureables not being permanently destroyed - Although it weakens the idea of strategically defending systems, it makes gameplay more dynamic, the AI can still inflict setbacks but the player isn't punished too severely for making a mistake, which encourages more risk taking;
- Per planet turret caps - I disliked the idea of whipping boys in the original game, this makes recovering from losses feel easier (no losing whipping boy = death spiral)
- Upgrading - brilliant decision to remove lower marks for upgraded ships and turrets, having different marks of the same thing made the game needlessly complicated;
- Logistic stations - I felt these were useless in the original but are now a good option;
- AI progress - Again, feels challenging but less punishing to the player, taking an extra planet wasn't such a huge jump up (in my wins I ended up with about 25-30% of the map + another 30-40% of the map being neutered & hacked)
- AI rebuilding - made the game feel more dynamic, but AI seemed to spam 1 turret type which was often useless (eg tesla turrets way off the path between wormholes)
- AI Instigator bases - LOVE that these force the player to be more active on the map, great idea!
- 'Impossible' AI worlds - the original AI war felt like it had combos which were practically unbreakable, every failed attack felt like progress this time around;
- Less science per planet - I actually like this as it increases the relative value of hacking points.

The Bad:
- Ark reliance - I tried a few games with no Ark (Hate superweapons - they make gameplay stale, everything revolving around the Ark) but I got stalemated a lot when i didn't use them (diff 9)
- Warden/Hunter fleets - Feel the AI should use more resources in the Hunter fleet and less in the Warden fleet, my 9 diff game the Hunter fleet basically never attacked me in force, and the Warden fleet had 7k ships at the end!
- AI drip-fed units spawned from instigator bases into my planets, so leaving these was actually helping me via salvage;
- Turrets still working when player command station dies - not sure if this is to prevent death spirals or command center snipes, but losing worlds actually felt less impactful as the AI was still wasting time chewing through my turrets, giving me plenty of time to reinforce;
- Insta-changing command centers when under attack felt cheesy (switch to mil for big waves, then back to logi once the danger is gone to get extra salvage - I only used this mechanic once though as it felt off)

Overall:
The gameplay felt smoother than the original, the player gets better chances to recover, and I never felt I couldn't make progress towards an objective (even if I had to settle for a secondary objective), I felt way less at risk of a 1 mistake = death scenario.

I think the AI should lean towards offense more than defense, to prevent stalemates and create more of a back-and-forth game with the player, and encourage the player to take risks.

Bugs/Issues:
- Sometimes I wasn't able to delete turrets which had been redeployed, I also occasionally had rebuilt fleetships I couldn't actually move (but were visible on the map and counted towards my fleet cap) This usually fixed itself via a quit/reload;
- Gangsaws seemed to 'bounce around' a bit, I am guessing this is because they are changing targets too rapidly, they were still useable/effective but felt a bit difficult to control;
- Ships in general seemed to 'lose track' of queued orders, eg if I told a group of bombers to attack 5 turrets in sequence, some of them would shoot other targets, even when they were all in range (well before 'overkill/overflow' damage, ie when the turrets were still at full hp, and needed 5+ volleys to kill)

Suggestions:
- Option to split the listing of things on a planet between turrets/buildings and ships, I had a lot of trouble finding things like scouts, engies and hackers on my planets;
- A saboteur unit (or use the existing hackers on friendly worlds), which can create weaknesses in the AI's defense at the cost of hacking and/or AIP, some examples:

- Create a 'false threat' forcing the AI to send some of its mobile response units to a distant system, giving the player a chance to bypass or take out defenses (over-ridden by attacks on homeworld)
- Sabotage - able to blow up key defensive structures on hard to crack planets;
- Warp jammers - preventing AI reinforcements for a limited time.

AI suggestions:
My suggestions are made with the aim of making the standard game practically unbeatable on difficulty 10, and for 9 to give the veteran player about even chances to win. Some of the nastier stuff can maybe be for diff 9+ so newer players still have a fun game.

I haven't read patch notes so if it already works this way, then goodjob!

- Overlord phase 2 - AI should bring the warden fleet and hunter fleets with the overlord, in my diff 9 win, the AI had 7500 ships in the warden fleet which were off guarding a planet 2 hops away, while the AI overlord charged alone towards my homeworld, having the AI fleets grouped with the overlord would have created a cool situation of the player fighting a running retreat back to the homeworld against the giant AI fleet, which fits in well with the theme of the game as well; Please do this if you take nothing else from my post!

- Reduce the AI reinforcements in general, but have the AI gradually build structures which generate additional reinforcements (similar to instigator bases) - force players to attack and take more risks or be overrun, while rewarding players who are more active on the map;
- AI should be able to take a part of the Warden fleet and turn it into Hunter fleet if it senses weakness;
- AI can open multiple wormholes if AIP crosses a certain threshold (maybe 1 extra wormhole per 500 AIP?);
- Make warpgates worth 10 AIP and command stations worth 20 - I was able to neuter islands of 6-8 planets for only 30-40 AIP and isolate these behind my frontline planets, these were easy hacking targets and not able to threaten less defended worlds, saving me resources/power;
- Do a calculation of relative strength before rebuilding on planets - another tactic I used was to build ambush turrets around neutered command stations, the AI would build turrets which all insta-popped, the AI should use these resources towards its' mobile fleets instead;
- Scouted planets give the AI extra resources, maybe 0.5% to its budget per scouted planet (paranoia over player having unknown presence on its' worlds) - force players to choose between having full visibility, against potentially leaving blind spots the AI could use to build up a strike force and catch the player off guard;
- Structures on hostile worlds cost additional power, beach-heading on every world is viable currently, which makes the game more about grinding instead of making tough choices.
- Hacker being destroyed during an active hack, increases AIP by 1.

Looking forward to many more hours with this game, time to see if I can beat diff 10 before the developers steal my ideas and make it too hard :P
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 04:41:55 AM by Berkobob »