Author Topic: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?  (Read 268 times)

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« on: December 08, 2018, 07:07:02 PM »
These two things have been on my mind for a bit, and I feel like they're not really that great or interesting in their current state, though they are getting some buffs next update. Wondering what people think of them currently in general, and where they should go possibly.

Plopped a few specific questions below for provoking thought - anything is welcome.

Guardians

* Should these be like mini starships, or more numerous almost like the current version? Or both!

* Hyper specialised, or more generalist, with a bit of speciality?

* Possibly more of them on AI planets? Feels the starting amount of AI mobile defense on a planet is fairly low.

* Should Dire Guardians go up at all in power, as they're mostly irreplaceable? Should they even be on Mark 4 planets?

Guard Posts

* As these are irreplaceable, should they simply be far stronger? Almost like Starships?

* Should these have the "puzzle" of sorts from Classics version, i.e need to find the blindspots, use the right counters, etc.

* Should they have the same protection buff (immune to everything beyond their range) as Tesla Guardians? They had dampening in Classic.

* Dire Guard Posts on the AI Homeworld - anything on these?


Offline Draco18s

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2018, 01:16:35 AM »
If things are going to be "puzzlier" I want them to actually be puzzles. Stop dropping the counter-to-the-counter units around guard posts. Its not fun trying to Paper a Rock when the Rock is surrounded by flying Scissors.

("Well, bring your own Rocks" *Points to the dozens of Paper thirty feet away, ready to pounce*)

In my game I had to throw waves and waves and WAVES worth of ships through this one wormhole, because on the other side was a Widow Guardian and a Plasma Eye sitting on top of the wormhole. The only unit I had that was immune to tractors was the Vanguard units, of which I had all of 30, which were no match for the mobile forces in the area, much less the mobile forces, immobile forces, the widow guarding and the plasma eye.

Each attempt knocked about 100k health off the widow guardian's roughly 600k max. It was super annoying.

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2018, 11:38:45 AM »
I'm not sure how well I'd be able to actually make it be like Classic in this regard, what with the new stat system replacing hulls and immunities. I have a few ideas to...help with that possibly, mainly upping the gravity well size (which I did propose a while ago, but no one responded to it). That'd...give more room to move in, and spread the Guard Posts out (instead of coming in and being in range of everything at once).

Maybe Guardians having a few unlocked at the start and gaining more with AIP as Classic did would help, instead of having everyone available at once.

Might actually be beyond me in the end though - I'm not good at big pictures. Classic Veterans would be far better suited to this I think...I'm not quite there.

Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2018, 07:50:18 AM »
Upping grav well size seems promising to avoid massive overlaps, that's for sure.
The tesla impenetrable radar dampening is one of the few things I loathe about the current state of the game, so I cannot suggest extending it to other units: "to hit me you need to be close enough to get hit" is almost as cheap as shields covering anti-everything guardposts and structures.
Had no idea that Dire Guardians were irreplaceable, guess they should be able to regen health if left alone to avoid death of a thousand cuts.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2018, 09:24:33 AM »
Yeah, the tesla radar dampening is a bit on the OP side. Probably fine for a player unit, but overkill in the AI's hands.

Offline Lord Of Nothing

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2018, 03:14:12 PM »
I think increasing grav well size would help a lot, particularly by reducing the need for players to just blob everything. Then the guardposts and their counter-strength could be stronger as well.
As for Dire guardians, I think you are right to be sceptical of their place on non-MkV worlds, but the thing I most dislike about them is how tanky they are, but that's actually something they share with all the game's big ships, and I don't think it can be tackled for them in isolation and is thus probably beyond the scope of this discussion.

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2018, 04:41:07 PM »
Had no idea that Dire Guardians were irreplaceable, guess they should be able to regen health if left alone to avoid death of a thousand cuts.

Far as I know, yes, excluding the Astro Trains and Exo-Waves spawning more.

The tesla impenetrable radar dampening is one of the few things I loathe about the current state of the game, so I cannot suggest extending it to other units: "to hit me you need to be close enough to get hit" is almost as cheap as shields covering anti-everything guardposts and structures.
Yeah, the tesla radar dampening is a bit on the OP side. Probably fine for a player unit, but overkill in the AI's hands.

Hm. I'm guessing the comment about the shields is from things like the good ol' Missile Guard Post from Classic. Man those things were obnoxious. Annoyingly the replacement for those is a bit similar in effect.

As for the Tesla...wasn't my idea, not that it matters. This is the first I've heard of it as well. The unit isn't that bad to remove it from if need be, but when it comes to Guard Posts, bit of a problem: You could simply snipe every one bit by bit from far away and need never engage. If there's an idea to replace it that works I'm all for discussing it.


As for Dire guardians, I think you are right to be sceptical of their place on non-MkV worlds, but the thing I most dislike about them is how tanky they are, but that's actually something they share with all the game's big ships, and I don't think it can be tackled for them in isolation and is thus probably beyond the scope of this discussion.

Not terribly happy with Dires being that common myself. In my experience they've ended up somewhat being punching bags - kind of there, die shortly after. They are also somewhat...just really high Mark level Guardians - sharing the same model and everything. I can easily change it though. I somewhat like the idea of them being MkV only, far stronger, and MkV only being by AI homeworlds ala Classic. But I wouldn't do that yet.

The punching bag part might simply be a consequence of the Mark system in general...very easy to upgrade a unit to absurd exponential power.

Regarding the grav well size, I'd be happy to try to properly get that working (the preview thing I had before sometimes caused AI structures to spawn *outside* of it) and see what people think after trying it for themselves. Unit speed will probably go up as well. One thing I like the sound of is it would make bypassing planets somewhat possible! You just ignore the defenses that are out of the way.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2018, 07:40:13 PM »
For things that can't move I don't see it as (as big of) a problem.

Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2018, 04:56:58 AM »
but when it comes to Guard Posts, bit of a problem: You could simply snipe every one bit by bit from far away and need never engage. If there's an idea to replace it that works I'm all for discussing it.

AIWC handled this via reinforcements: if I brought an artillery golem or built sniper turrets to destroy a guard post from safe range, ships would soon roll in to try and disrupt my attack, and on higher AIP the spawns from the command station would be a significant threat on their own unless I had something to defend my long range units.
And really, there was no reason to attack guard posts from up close unless they covered my entry wormhole or another vital objective, unless getting close was much faster and resulted in minimal losses (so using big units and/or taking advantage of hull bonuses), or unless I was too bored to wait for the anti radar dampening forces to be in position.

At the moment, even with 350ish AIP AI War 2 command stations only seem to spawn turrets as reinforcements, which makes slowly clearing out planets either a very low risk and low cost activity if entry wormhole isn't covered by multiple guard posts or if I have an artillery golem available, or a massive time and resource sink if the defenses can wipe full fleets in seconds and I have to wait for rebuilding before taking down another couple turrets.
Speaking of which, I've never seen a reprisal wave, even after losing ten mk2 bomber stacks in a matter of minutes.

I think throwing more ships at the player from the command station, scaling with the amount of guard posts on the planet, would be a good idea: that way one can snipe guard posts from far away while dealing with a large incoming fleet, or rush guard posts up close to get rid of reinforcements faster.

For things that can't move I don't see it as (as big of) a problem.

It's almost more annoying for static units IMO, as I can't even wait for them to wander into range or run away: so I end up with neutered planets growing a forest of tesla turrets near the edge of the grav well and there's no convenient way to stop that.
Speaking of which, neutering planets is far too easy: the command station and the warp gate never seem to spawn a significant amount of mobile forces (I think I saw a guardian spawn once, and that was at 300+ AIP), so a few sniper turrets near the edge and maybe some ambush turrets are all it takes to keep the area safe.

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2018, 06:37:18 AM »
I noticed the reinforcement thing just last night actually - only recall ever seeing turrets spawn (usually the same type). Beyond my ability to fix I think though, but I can try to look in case it's something super simple. Would be really nice to get that done.

I do remember being able to snipe Guard Posts with anti-dampening stuff. The current situation with Sentinel Frigates is more or less the same. Suppose the Warden is meant to be bit of an answer to that, which is fair enough. Couple that with the reinforcements actually spawning mobile forces and...in theory I like it. If it spreads budget to the mobile forces, it means less of that turret horde as well (it is obnoxious to go to a planet and find it has 5 Beam Cannons all in one place).

I also like that tradeoff of sniping Posts safely, but having more reinforcements, or killing them quicker but less reinforcements.

I could potentially use dampening to help with that - simply reduced damage when being further away from it. Space Planes use that right now, so it already exists and is pretty easy.

I can also increase the amount of mobile forces on a planet at game start, both Fleetships and Guardians if desired?

I'll do some research on how Classic worked, make up a proposal to test I suppose and if it's liked, make it up as a set of mod files for easy and quick testing for people. Goes well, I'll put it in properly.

EDIT: Testing the reinforcement and it...is actually working. It varies between fleetships and turrets. Haven't seen a Guardian yet though. Bit confusing.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 08:03:13 AM by RocketAssistedPuffin »

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2018, 09:47:33 AM »
For things that can't move I don't see it as (as big of) a problem.

It's almost more annoying for static units IMO, as I can't even wait for them to wander into range or run away: so I end up with neutered planets growing a forest of tesla turrets near the edge of the grav well and there's no convenient way to stop that.
Speaking of which, neutering planets is far too easy: the command station and the warp gate never seem to spawn a significant amount of mobile forces (I think I saw a guardian spawn once, and that was at 300+ AIP), so a few sniper turrets near the edge and maybe some ambush turrets are all it takes to keep the area safe.

That is a special case, I think. With mobile units, yes, they can come to you, but when you're attacking you don't want them to: you've already got you're hands full dealing with this pile, do you really want more?

Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2018, 10:03:07 AM »
Space Plane style dampening sounds promising, and I don't think the starting forces are in a bad spot given how at the beginning of the game the AI is seriously underestimating you.
Glad to hear the spawning changes are working out.

With mobile units, yes, they can come to you, but when you're attacking you don't want them to: you've already got you're hands full dealing with this pile, do you really want more?

I kinda do, because the new multishot weapons get stronger with more targets in range and so do the AOEs, both of which are plentiful right now.
Also, teslas have a short range so by closing in they would clump up, making them even easier to engage with said multi-target weapons.
It would certainly cost me a few more units compared to attacking them one at a time after the main battle is over, but it would be so much faster I wouldn't really mind.

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2018, 06:45:08 PM »
Thanks to Dominus saving me from the sheer confusion I was in, the AI now reinforces much better. Before it would max out on Turrets, then do almost entirely Fleetships with a tiny chance of Guardians, then things like Tractor Arrays, etc.

It now has randomness in what it reinforces, so Guardians now actually appear! And won't spam Tesla Turrets all the darn time. Will be looking at aggressiveness of AI threat myself now.

New question! AI stationary forcefields: Wanted back? Might be able to get those in action again.

Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2018, 10:40:19 PM »
New question! AI stationary forcefields: Wanted back? Might be able to get those in action again.

Yes! Make stingrays great again! BUT!

1) These need to actually spawn adjacent something worth protecting. If it doesn't have anything stationary under it, it's an obnoxious eyesore
2) Hard cap on how many the AI can have per planet, no more than 3 (and lower mark planets probably should have max 2)

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Thoughts on Guardians and Guard Posts?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2018, 05:23:09 AM »
I just quickly read through that. Here is my opinion.

I see Guardians as AI-only starships. In general, I love when units are unique, with special abilities that clearly differentiate them. Also, I believe AI shouldn't have turrets and only guard posts, which also should have unique abilities and form challenging puzzles. I'm aware some unfun combo may form due tu RNG, but that seems like a balance problem, not a design problem.

Hull'n'ammo or not, I'm all for the puzzle approach.

I really need to allocate the time for modding...
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.