Author Topic: During Action Report  (Read 3005 times)

Offline Catma

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During Action Report
« on: February 26, 2012, 08:37:11 AM »
I tend to play in ridiculously long blocks of time. My theory is if I do an AAR, and update it every hour while playing... something will happen. Seems like an idea, almost. So this may not be super entertaining, but it's a thing.

Settings:
Realistic, 100 planets (up from 80)
Seed: 1891544160
Minor Factions: Human Colony Rebellions, Broken Golems (easy) [I have played this once before, and feel bad about the (easy) so I tend to use them only if I have to.]
AI Plots: AI1: Hybrids [Really sound like fun, been meaning to play this]
AI: 7.6/7.6 (up from 7.0/7.3, didn't really feel the bump last time.)

A note about AI types: I haven't bothered to set disabledaitypes, so I get numbers from random.org and count. I am using moderate/easier, and picking the nearest AI type if the one I roll is one I've already played. I roll 11 and 32, Vicious Raider and.... nope... not that either... lets go upwards instead and... Support Corps! Sounds good!

...Vicious Raider and Support Corps. The game hasn't even started and I have to break a rule, of never changing settings after the AI types have been picked. Between the increased difficulty, increased galaxy size, and terrifying AI combo... I disable HYBRIDS AI plot. Ok, I have no willpower; I have to set disabledaitypes from now on.   :-[

Operation Unlock-A-Lot-Of-Turrets is a go!



100 Planet realistic maps, hard to untangle. Oh wow look, an 8-planet snake tail! I wish I could relocate my home command center somehow.

Random Homeworld start, or else I'll pick the same few ships over and over. Bonus ship is... anti-armor ship, neither terrible nor great.

After some Scouting:



Wolfwood is noteworthy for having an ARS and an AI Eye on a MK IV world. Mithos has a Planetary Armor inhibitor! Ladies and gentlemen, we have our whipping boy. Resources are scarce. I will likely take almost this whole lower-left area, between securing resources and tactical concerns. Also unlocking Econ III ASAP.

Meanwhile, first wave occurred. 170~ish fighters, speed boosters, decoy drones, and decloakers. I am underwhelmed. I think the support corps AI is actually to my benefit, as I plan to invest in leech starships and merc parasites to score some easy support units.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 08:44:38 AM by Catma »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 09:48:04 AM »
It begins.

We'll see if the vicious raider can live up to the name.  And support corps, for that matter; I'm not sure if they're quite up to snuff but I haven't heard too much concern about them.

The hybrids say "booooo!" ;)

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Offline Catma

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 10:33:03 AM »
Update the first. AIP 116. The galaxy as it stands now:



I cleared out the surrounding environs. A couple of forts made this take a while. My first starships would be raids to keep the warp gates down. Or so I thought; at least one planet had a warp gate protected by a fort, and only one raid came back, necessitating a rebuild. I tried to see if the remaining raid could clear out the warp gate on Tarth. Answer: nope. Rebuild 3 raids.

Abaddon has 2 Counter posts on it. "I'm going to regret this later," I say to myself, "But it's not later. It's now." I kill them both not a minute apart from each other.

Meanwhile, I want Ayame to be the first MK III that I take, because of the resources. I go in to clear it our with my fleet ball consisting of MK Is and MK II bombers. It gets reinforced several times and my attrition rates are very high. Zenith Bombards contribute to this, though I managed to get some leech starships up and reclaimed a few of them.

At about 2 minutes until the counter waves hit, with my fleet at half strength, a wave is announced. 480 bombers(!) to Abaddon! I panic, pull all my ships home, pop open a Zenith Reserve I and a distribution node. I put down 30x turret II, 10x Heavy Beam cannon, and a line of gravity turrets on Abaddon. One counter wave is going to Mithos which is pretty well fortified, the other is going to Thymara which has no fortifications at all. I add some spider and sniper turrets to both planets. I split my fleet something like 75% to Thymara, 25% to Mithos.

All 3 waves hit at about the same time. I focused on Thymara since it had the fewest defenses. The defense was going ok, so I took a look at the minimap to see a huge number of ships still on Mithos! I had relatively clustered my spider and sniper turrets on the opposite side of the planet from the hostile wormhole. The counter wave spawned almost right next to them and took out half the line. I split off part of the fleet to Mithos, but it wasn't enough to hold the command station. And I didn't leave enough to finish defending Thymara properly either. And I didn't send enough to catch the ships that filtered into Moria, either. The rampage was finally stopped on Abaddon. I'd lost every other planet except my homeworld. Moral of the story: Leave a long, long time between killing counter guardposts.

Rebuild. Some blowback from a gate raid takes out Thymara command station about .01 seconds before the shield finishes building. Continue clearing Ayame. Take out ONE of the Counter (III) guardposts, and go somewhere else. The counter hits at the same time as a wave, of course. 2000+ laser gatlings to whipping boy Mithos. I pause the fort that won't be done in time, finish placing full caps of lightning and flak turrets, and a second shield over them. I thought I didn't have enough tractors, but I forgot that such waves come in carriers. I think most, if not all, of the support units were also in a carrier, so they got separated from the main wave. The turrets kept the planet clean, as my fleet stomped the counter wave.

Back in 1 hour of play time!

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 11:34:45 AM »
heh I see some familiar names among your planets. L, Abaddon, Mithos, Dante. Names of games and Anime, eh? ^^
Be careful of the snake part of your map, the end might very well hold one of the homeworlds if you're unlucky.
good luck ^^

Offline Catma

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 12:37:49 PM »
Yep, it's mostly referential stuff, with some latin words and others that just sound nice. I've only got about 200 right now though.

Anyhow, Not too much happened. Took Ayame and Shakuras, the two IIIs on the left flank. Shakuras had an ARS hiding under a stealth guardpost! I could have sworn i saw one for an instant when I looked at the summary on the galaxy map, but I dismissed it. Got BOMBARDS out of it. Game over.

Cleared a path towards the two MK IVs that I have to take. Getting really sick of these counterattack guard posts. Is that something support corps does, or am I just really unlucky? I keep getting hit with large waves that are nonetheless bearable. Some 1900 raiders came and went. All the support was in the carrier, not that it would have made much difference. A handful of speed boosters, some decoy drones, and a LOT of decloakers. Are people defending their wave points with cloaked units or something?

It seems that this AI combo is not as bad as I'd feared. All the terror comes from the raw size of the Vicious Raider waves. The handful of not-very-useful support units that come out definitely do not provide enough trouble to warrant having half as many waves. Does Support Corps get better support units as AIP advances, or is it a similar mix all game? As it is, this shouldn't do much of anything.

I'm considering restarting with the hybrids on. Gonna take a break and think on it.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 01:28:59 PM »
A lot of back and forth there.  Not that your fleet notices; back = casualties, forth = casualties ;)

Interesting on the Support Corps, I may need to add some teeth there.
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Offline Catma

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2012, 04:50:15 PM »
Spent most of that hour destroying the AI eye on Wolfwood. MK IV AI Eyes take a long, long time to kill with a MK 2 army. I really should have gotten MK 3 bombers instead of bombards. It might have actually been faster to resort to K-raiding to fix that error! Got Spire Stealth Battleships from the ARS! And OMG my AIP is at 215! How did that happen?!

Hm, now what... I'm curious about that long chain. Yes, the tip of the tail is an AI Homeworld.



This is pretty nice. None of those worlds will ever be in my way, or on alert before i want them to be. There's really nothing in the entire tail that I want. 2 Fabs (Spider and Youngling Tiger.) Found one Data Center and destroyed it. The homeworld itself is pretty tame except for the AI Eye, but I've dealt with those before. I'm just gonna leave the whole thing asleep. Till I stab it.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 06:58:01 PM »
Spent most of that hour destroying the AI eye on Wolfwood.
It's a shame you can't convince the AI guards on the planet to just run around with scissors for a while...

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Got Spire Stealth Battleships from the ARS!
You're doing well on the ARS rolls; SSBs are lovely raiders.

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And OMG my AIP is at 215! How did that happen?!
I'm sure the AI will be happy to explain it to you during the interrogation ;)

And ah, a homeworld is found.  Neatly out of the way, even.  That will probably work in your favor.

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I'm just gonna leave the whole thing asleep. Till I stab it.
Such violent people, players ;)
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Offline zoutzakje

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 06:49:11 AM »
ha i knew that was a homeworld, now to find that other one...
And I only spotted that planet called Lemuria just now :D Golden Sun all the way.

Offline Catma

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2012, 08:15:22 PM »
The cool thing about references is how they totally destroy the original meanings of stuff! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemuria_%28continent%29

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Lemuria (besides "lost continent") is an underwhelming album from Therion. I don't think I got up to Lemuria in Golden Sun.

As for the other homeworld, I had my suspicions, which turned out to be well founded. Take a wild guess, I bet you'll get it. Spoilers below!

ANYWHO

So the fleet and I were just sitting there in our stable little rut, wondering what we could possibly do next. I was getting worried about the AI's perception of us. I called for a scout report showing a map of all the AI processing centers we'd found. The report looked like this:


Well. I fired those scouts (into a MK IV planet filled with tachyon guardians) and sent some new ones out. A lot. And killed tachyon guardians. A lot. Built transports. Quite a few. Nearly 2 hours later (Hence the lack of hourly updates; some games are just slow) I found a single data center! It was on Braxis in the right cluster, past Horus which had an ARS on it. I set up shop on Horus and whacked the data center. With a planet I had a reason to take and some AIP reduction to offset it, I finally had a foothold in another quadrant. I set about grinding more scouts into neutron dust.

This quadrant was actually populated with 2 or 3 Data centers! I wanted to take the ARS on Tenebrae, back near my home quadrant, but I noticed that another ARS planet, Elysium, all the way in the upper right, was actually only 4 hops from Horus, so I was able to take it with just minimal fuss from a nearby raid engine. From Elysium I was able to complete scouting the galaxy. 3 more Data centers were on Fermat, Tatlin, and Faust, and the last 3 co-processors were also in this upper area. Also found a Zenith V cache that I broke open, heedless of AIP.



Oh, while this was going on, waves continued to hit whipping boy Mithos, and Horus which was surrounded by 4 warp gates - too many to justify gate raids, especially when I have so many turrets not anywhere near cap. Between the remaining turrets and my fleet, Horus was very secure. I don't know if it was the work of the planetary armor inhibitor or what, but I found I could just ignore any waves that went to Mithos, even when the AIP was above 200. Even the bomber waves. The last thing I had built there was 2 force fields over the incoming wave wormhole, so the ships couldn't escape after spawning. They never broke out.

Here is a list of Mithos' defenses: Basic Turret: 10. Flak Turret: 49. Lightning Turret: 49. Grav turret: Basically 3. Heavy Beam: 7. Laser Turret: 30. Missile Turret: 20. MLRS: 25. Sniper Turret: 15. Spider Turret: 25. Tractor Beam: 34. Force Field I: 2. Hardened Force Field: 1. Fortress: 1. And of course, Planetary Armor Inhibitor: 1.

These defenses seem kind of paltry for the sort of waves I had been getting, but they did the trick every time. I don't know if the P. Armor inhibitor helped that much, or maybe... I hate to say this... maybe certain turrets deal too much damage when under force fields. ButICouldBeWrongItsOnly7.6DifficultyDontNerfMyTurretsPlz!!

Ahem, where was I?

I was able to handle a CPA on the western front by using residual forces and mercs that had built up in concert with stolen Engie IIIs constructing and saving emergency turrets. After that I upgraded to Raid IIs and killed all the data centers and coprocessors in the galaxy, landing me at a sweet 119 AIP. This freed another 1500~ish ships that I was basically able to ignore as half of them obligingly filed into my defenses, and the other half came one by one to dance with the entire patrolling fleet. Oh, they destroyed Elysium and I didn't bother to rebuild it.

ARSs yielded Munitions Boosters! and Acid Sprayers  :-\ and Bulletproof Fighters. It seems that all business is taken care of and... ah, a human colony rebellion. Right at Strife, on my doorstep. Ok, I can spare 20 AIP to connect my worlds and gain some serious firepower! (I should be kinder to the Acid Sprayers. They are fast, and thus good at scaring enemy Bombards away.)

So now I have taken 12 entire planets. All the CSGs are gone, except D. The CSG-Ds are on planets with Factory-IVs, which I haven't taken. One of these is on Jung, just two hops from the upper right homeworld! I would prefer to take out the left homeworld first, as the low AIP would help deal with the AI Eye, but it might be tough without the factory. I'll also probably have to do some K-raiding to get my fleet up to snuff - a lot of my fleet ships are very low mark. Munitions-boosted Bombards have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting, but they may not cut it for homeworlds.

This game has gone out of its way to make this easy for me... I'm starting to get a little paranoid... Or maybe it's mocking me for turning off the hybrids. That's probably it.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 08:19:38 PM by Catma »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2012, 08:54:36 PM »
I set about grinding more scouts into neutron dust.
And the scouts union sharpens the axe a little more...

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ButICouldBeWrongItsOnly7.6DifficultyDontNerfMyTurretsPlz!!
Don't worry ;)  Players having effective defenses is not a bad thing.  The AI not being a threat would be a bad thing, but ongoing feedback about the higher difficulties seems to indicate that isn't a problem.  Refinement will continue, but I don't think it will be by nerfing player stuff unless it's the sort of thing that just short-circuits arbitrary amounts of challenge with no corresponding tradeoff.

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ARSs yielded Munitions Boosters! and Acid Sprayers  :-\ and Bulletproof Fighters.
Hey, Acid Sprayers are really really good against bombers now ;) If your turrets weren't eating them all already.

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This game has gone out of its way to make this easy for me... I'm starting to get a little paranoid... Or maybe it's mocking me for turning off the hybrids. That's probably it.
That's probably it, yea.
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Offline Catma

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2012, 02:04:37 PM »
And the scouts union sharpens the axe a little more...

Cursed Leashed AI rights activists.... We're at war! Now is not the time to consider anything except what I say!

That's probably it, yea.

LOL.

Well, I walked easily into victory. Took the Fact IV on Jung, Neutered Dante, Killed Nevare, Finished the job. Never even thought about repairing a golem.

This was an especially placid game. Having half as many waves actually gives you MORE than twice as much free time - since the interplay between the timing of the AIs' waves is gone, there are just huge periods of time between waves. It also reduces the chance of a deadly convergence of events, like CPA + 2 waves + ill-timed-counter guard post-wave + exo. However, this is the first game that I gate raided consistently and with strategy, and created a full and proper whipping boy... so that could be clouding my perception of the difficulty. I was also very lucky in the placement of planets and assets (except for the AIP reducers which were mostly off in deep space.... but I didn't have to take any planets to deal with them.)

I would definitely suggest support corps to new players, as it creates a more relaxed pace without even the bother of grinding through heavily-defended turtle worlds. The core mechanic has its own flaws and advantages which can be balanced around, but there are other problems. Too many non-useful support units (I can't see why decloakers in a wave would ever be a problem... tachyon microfighters would be better, but still not really a scary support unit); tendency of support units to get separated from the main wave in a carrier when waves are large; and... do the support units get sped up/down to stick with the wave? Do they act as one coherent unit? I have no idea but it's possible they don't, and that would further dilute their effectiveness.

Thanks for reading. Til next time!

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2012, 02:14:14 PM »
Congratulations on the win :)

Will have to consider how to make the support corps a bit more enthusiastic about its job :)
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Offline zoutzakje

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2012, 02:22:13 PM »
congratz, well done =) shame you didn't turn on the hybrids :P
what was your end time / AIP?

Offline Catma

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Re: During Action Report
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2012, 03:59:28 PM »
Oh dear, I should be concerned about such things? I guess I should be, if i want to keep increasing the difficulty.

13:04, 477. My time is coming down a lot, actually. Learning curve progression ftw!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 06:04:46 PM by Catma »