Author Topic: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)  (Read 2776 times)

Offline Astilious

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Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« on: September 09, 2012, 08:45:48 PM »
So I have now won my first 8/8 followed by my first 9/9 (my other AAR). Now for my first 10/10. If things go as they should I'll give up on this one before the end so I've decided to tier my goals:

Modest: First Difficulty 10 Loss.
Less Modest: I Have a Bad Feeling About This.
Not Modest: Double godlike via alternate victory condition.

So on to the settings:
Expansions: All.
AI: Fortress Baron/Fortress King 10/10
Map: 80 planet Clusters - Simple (seed: 1803293872)
AIP: 1/30m
Ships: All.
Options: Normal speed, ultra low caps, full fog.
Minor Factions: Fallen and Dark Spire (4/10).
AI Modifiers: None

I roll until I get a map with a single choke point. Goes against my usual "take the first map" policy but this is 10/10 so surely I can be a bit more generous?



Bonus Ships: Tackle launchers, vampires, tele raiders, tele stations, mini rams, bulletproof fighters, medic frigates and of course younglings (weasel).

0-30: Set Rinkil to auto build 100 engies and roll out my teleport units. Unlock mark 3 harvesters for super econ and roll out scouts. Add 5 FFs to each HW. Unlock mark 3 harvesters, no  knowledge hoarding this time, I'm taking this one seriously.

I spot my first AI modular fort. It only has 15k arbitrary range units! That will make this slightly more sane. 80 scouts quickly reveal almost everywhere is mk 3 or 4 (only Doordem and Tiomuas are not). I wonder if that is the result of 10/10, 8 HW or bad luck.

More lucky are the 2 DCs (p6) and ARS (p7). That planet also has a youngling commando fab, but younglings that cant be produced in the field are not very useful so I'm not enthused, Otherwise the only notable units super forts on a couple of worlds, so not the best spawns for my cluster.

I plan to knock out Boomqui, Doordem and Tiomuas warp gates, take and fortify Fopuco then destroy all warp gates before starting to grab shards, Speaking of which the first is on Cibang so that's one super fort that will need to go. First waves are a pair of 85 missile frigs, so 340 normal cap ships, I send my teleports to defend while moving out with an assualt force of 16 enclaves so I can super neinzul spam to the DCs.

i am actually amazed at how bad the tp units are. They barely stop the waves before the FFs shrink below the AIP structures even with added neinzul. Next wave is fighters, I send tp and neinzul to one and what I have of normal fleet ships to the other. Amusingly these waves are arriving in carriers.

The AI has SSBs and MRLS. And I have 8.5k FP worth of threat,,. Huh? What on earth did I do to warrant that? If it shows up I'm simply dead, no way can I take that on 17 minutes in, so I'll just hope it stays put. I also see many completely unscouted worlds on the other side of the galaxy are on alert... This is all to do with whatever Dark Spire does isn't it? Will find out soon I guess.

Yep the threat is the result of hundreds of dark spire ships. I thought this would only happen once I had ships die on one of their worlds? This may be over before it begins... Or not. The AI kills them all. Not sure If I should be relieved or terrified,

I shove my entire 8 HW fleet into 4 transports, which seems completely reasonable, then have all but the bombers and younglings perform mobile defense. I also build my starship fleet as I have such an absurd amount of energy I can afford it (over 10 million gross).

A mark 3 raider guardian has around a third the hp of a youngling weasel on ultra low caps. Just thought I'd point that one out. Ion cannon and tractors are also nuts (this is my first time trying a different ship cap setting by the way). Next wave is bombers. This is the first wave I really saw my tackles shine: those bombers were NEVER getting anywhere near that CC.

30-1:00: My first special forces defense fleet shows up, 300 mk 2 ships - 1200 normal caps. Ok I can't get away with such small attack forces any more it would seem. Luckily I have 100 starships. Turns out the 300 was only the fighters, more show up as the battle rages but the starship/bomber/neinzul fleet easily takes them.

Next wave is 200 fighters/35 "cloaked ships" (SSBs). Considering AIP has increased by 1 that seems a bit of a jump, must be a max time or so, The increase is inconsequential regardless, however I decide it is more than time I got the proper whipping boy up. Sooner or later I'll mess up and let something kill a CS.

I have already cleared Fopuco (name change: Gateway) so I leave the fleet there in defense while a cloaked colony ship comes over. Unlock modular forts, The ability to mount shields that don't reduce damage makes this a good choice by itself, the weaponry makes them near mandatory. Add shields mk 3 to turn this up to ludicrous. The fort is up fast but not before another wave gets announced to the HWs. 900 laser gatlings (which apparently the AI has now) and 370 missle frigs, Need I worry?

Not at all it seems. Tackles might just be my new favorite defensive fleet ship, they can pin a huge number of enemy ships indefinitely and remain well out of range while doing it. Also SSB are not immune to tractors - think about it. I clear the waves then pop the three warp gates letting the AI hit my HWs directly. AIP 46, but now I have a whipping boy. Time to pop those DC. I send out most of my defensive fleet and put my offensive fleet on Gateway.

Georib has Dark Spire, I rile them up by killing a few ships to see if I get a chain reaction. Not with a super fort around it would seem, Gateway takes its first wave in the form of 1k gatlings and 360 fighters. Sheer numbers overwhelm the 2 forts and defenders when the special forces join in. Uh oh. Also dozens of unhandled errors, I Pull everything back to fight but I just don't yet have the kind of fleet to take that much on. I lose.



45-1:00: Very good. I would have been very disappointed if this game didn't kill me at least once. Savescum (to just after Gateway was up). Need to get those defenses up faster and down those DC before the first wave.

This time I dedicate all of my economy to forts, I also b-line the DC with bomber and raid SS to reduce the wave size. My efforts are rewarded when the wave comes in at 200 fighters, 220 frigates and I have four modular forts up. Feeling paranoid about mass special forces I still bring my whole fleet to help. Annoyingly they displace one of the forts.

The fleet is needed, though not quite so much of it I think, particularly when a second wave set comes back to back. Now it is time for the 'fun' part, Waiting for defenses to build so I can do things again. AIP 27.

Oh spotted another AI ship: Infiltrators.

1:00-1:30: Unlock grav turrets. The modular fort shields could do with more transparency, it is actually making turret placement a pain. I built all the FF, around 6 billion health total. Put down turret caps under the 800 mill hp of fortress shields. I am at -500,000/s crystal for a while there. Unlock spiders and put them down too. Fun fact: when the economy is totally overwhelmed most recently placed things literally stay at 0%.

Just as the first few caps start to finish a new wave of 1.5k gatlings and 400 bombers announces (6k/1.6k normal caps, I have to keep translating this so I understand what I'm facing). The other AI adds its pair of waves: 850 MRLS a minute after the first lot hits. The spiders tear out their engines and the forts vaporize them. I'll need to be able to take on a lot more than that but the fate of that wave seems a good sign.

1:30-2:15: Turrets are still building when another wave of 430 fighters 480 frigates comes in. Seconds later it no longer exists. I set auto build remains rebuilders to 300. Next wave is 664 MLRS, dead in 51 seconds and that was on the far wormhole so only snipers, forts and missiles could fire,

At 2 hours in the primary defenses are complete. I have 2352 mines to place. 5 min later I have the defense nearly complete... Unlocked all marks of HBC. Oddly ultra low caps doesn't scale them, I guess as you get so few, This means I get around 200.

So the AI now has to travel through a grav turret infested minefield under heavy fire with their engines being annihilated by spider turrets only to reach a set of shields with literally billions of HP under which lie almost 2000 (equivalent to 8000 normal caps) turrets that are now in range. As a million monkeys with typewriters will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare the AI will eventually break this defense. Or at least that's the theory.



2:15-3:24: Single choke max time waves keep coming in, nothing special. I start clearing AI worlds in prep for a mass warp gate cull. The AI modular fort missile turrets get full range, which is a pain. However overall 8 HW gives me so much stuff I just kill whatever I see without much strategy. More special forces turn up but aren't nearly enough to harm my attack force (primarily composed of 200 starships). Even when I do eventually lose the ships the simple scale of the 8 HW economy means they are rebuilt in minutes.

A wave pair of 700 bombers comes in, causing retreat threat to also join the assault for a total of 2k (8k normal) ships, This is  also torn up without touching the shields, I think the defense will hold even as I ramp things ups. By 3:21 I have my cluster cleared (this was so slow due to the sheer number of forts, even my SS swarm had some trouble). I grab my normal fleet for support and take out the barracks to finish things off.

Side note: the Dark Spire on Georib did nothing, After the initial scare from the mass spawn at the start they have turned out pretty uninteresting (even during neinzul spam on the super fort and when I popped the  barracks). Maybe they don't scale to 8 HW or ultra low caps.

3:24-3:51: CPA announces at 2.25k ships. I scramble to kill of the barracks so nothing significant can hit the HWs  directly (to my knowledge). After that I decide with the first CPA in the past there is no better time for an AIP hike and pop all the warp gates (AIP 81). Preying for a distinct lack of WG guardian spawns I begin the survey.

The exo begins. A spire shield mk 4 gets one shot by the HBC. Wave announces: 4.4k infiltrators and 3.4k laser gatlings. That would be around 30k ships on normal caps - this is why they were down in the first place. They die. Fast. The shields are not even scratched. That is the effect I was after!

I recover the shard and achieve my second objective... Actually thought I would need to get the refugees for that.

3:51-4:32: Wave: 1.25k bombers, 1.5k fighters. Bring it. They die easily, At this point I'm confident that defense will not be touched till much later on. Next signal is also on Cibang (bug?). I build the outpost (on Rinkill) and my set of 32 "tiny craft". Next is Micherasbu.

Get the shard, everything going smoothing. Raids on HW. Lose. Memo to self: remember to tell turrets to prioritize raids. Savescum and repeat. I pop Doordem (rename: Prime) for the city (AIP 97), which should also help pick off stray raids. Wave of 3k bombers, maybe that will touch the shields... Nope.

Place the city. 250 massive ships including the game's fist HKs. The only danger is the dozens of Raid SS, the gravs just don't slow them enough it seems - will have to unlock higher marks. The CS also blows (luckily Prime lets supply be retained) probably due to siege SS fleets as the raids ignore them. Not much I can do about that.

Shields still not significantly damaged.

4:32-5:45: Unlock grav 3, build grav 3. Build first part of spire city and spire fleet. Pretty hefty knowledge cost just to deal with raids but there isn't much in the way of alternatives. Pop Isamuba and Bimikdo Ft CSs to upgrade the spire city. AIP 128. Also first FS exo comes in (it's pretty trivial in size compared to what I've seen so far).

Shard on Slovgin (outside my cluster). Damn, I guess we're past the easy ones now. Continue waiting for the gravs, which are rather expensive (464 at 2k/28k each). Mark 3s finish and I begin mark 2s at 5:08. Exos come more often than waves and are less dangerous. All the gravs are done at 5:20 so I build the rest of the spire city and fleet. Now the AI has a couple billion HP of gravs to deal with along with the rest.

Clearly in a plot to fry my computer the AI has unlocked all those low cap ships so I still have slowdowns on waves, Honestly the degree of slowdown is surprising, I feel like more ships have been handled with less slowdown in the past, I suppose it is to do with the number of defenses more than ships.

At 5:45 this phase of construction is done, 14,700 FP of spire ships are ready at Prime.



Thoughts:
8 HW + Low Caps + FS + many, many forts makes the balance of the game very strange. The funny thing is the combination of low caps and 8 HW actually gives me "high" caps for all the ships. The number of Ions in a 10/10 game and ultra low caps strongly encourages a SS based offense.

Fortress king is not a problem with these settings. I was worried when I thought the Ft Cmds would have the same (very high/planetary coverage) range as human modular forts but as they don't they are easy to just avoid until you are ready to kill them (unless they have missile modules).
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 01:06:15 AM by Astilious »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 12:15:08 PM »
Ah, another ludicrous multi-HW game ;)  Looks awesome thus far :)

A few notes:
- The dark spire may have been scrambled during the savescum(s) because of the savegame problem in 5.078, which may explain them not making your life very difficult.  They do consider cap-scale when scaling stuff dies, and iirc they do consider multi-HWs, though I don't recall that as clearly.
- Ion cannon rate-of-fire goes down on lower caps, so you're not getting a massively different balance out of them here.
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Offline KDR_11k

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 03:33:48 PM »
That screenshot screams for mandatory beachheads :P.

Offline Astilious

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 09:01:02 PM »
That screenshot screams for mandatory beachheads :P.

I would seriously turn those things on again if wave warnings told you which waves would contain them so you could respond appropriately without being so conservative with fleet movements.
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Offline Astilious

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2012, 06:22:56 AM »
5:45-6:56: I use the spire fleet to clear the threat balls, one of which is on a Dark Spire planet. Special forces also turn up to that one for extra fun, but still nothing that threatens a spire fleet. In fact the AI SSBs alone appear capable of clearing most of the spawns,

Double wave: 2.5k fighters, 420 SSBs, 9.3k laser gatlings, 2.7k bombers. On normal caps that would be 60,000 ships... dead.

Grav 3s counter carriers pretty well, might be good to keep this in mind for future defenses.

I decide to go ahead and clear the cluster next to mine before grabbing the shard. I notice my 111 ship spire fleet reads at "161 too many ships" on a world with parasite eye, I guess modules count for this. CPA of 4.3k. I ignored them since the other one was unable to get into my main area. Wrong. Lose. Savescum.

Reposition the fleet a little and handle it fine. A superfortress informs me spire ships are not completely invincible by cleaning up a small split off force, a popped CPA carrier makes a similar statement, gradual attrition accumulates and suddenly most of the fleet is dead...

As a considerable number of full carriers enter gateway I also realize my assumption that deep strike would not be relevant is incorrect, in fact the shields take notable damage to this (80% remaining) Guess I'll need to stick to a few worlds out. I settle in for the refleet that is punishment for my sloppy play.

6:58-7:34: Refleet.

7:34-8:04: Forget planet clearing, I'm just going for  the shard. More heedless destruction on Dark Spire worlds seems to activate another event like I saw at the very start - all the bases spawn a large number of ships and charge, including the one in my HW area. I have enough defense there to after the CPA to make this a non issue.



The special forces in my little area are on Micherasbu, or at least it looks like it judging by the ship count. i get some survey ships on Slovgin (apparently they are really bad at project coordination as having 39 does not speed things up at all). On shard spawn ~100 SSBs appear and attack for 40 mil HP before my spire fleet can even get there... 300 mil HP suddenly seems fragile.

I click spam to stack my spire fleet (and shields) on the shard and have them group move with the shard so they stay that way. As always the AI has a thousand ship carrier lying around somewhere to plonk on gateway and kill the game speed, however on this occasion it is really just one through the near WH so it doesn't last long.



The spire fleet's shields last till Vapi, where the shard is reduced to 20% hp. 8% on Hako... there is a lot of stuff there, more exos too, dead shard followed by dead spire fleet. The AI was not messing around. Savescum and try again. This time a pair of exo waves show up on the planet before the spire fleet even reaches the shard, reducing it to 50%. I may have found a situation in which spire shield bearers would be useful, too bat they aren't on.

I have my frigates escort the shield bearing ships and shard (which are stacked), wiping out exo waves before they get close and giving time for shield regen to kick in. I also micro for good beam angles. This time I hit Hako with shields up, shard still on 50%. Doesn't help, there is just too much stuff on Hako. Right.



I roll the shard pos a few times till I can get to it without it taking damage. In the mean time I move everything on Prime. I start switching out destroyers and cruisers to maximize shield regen. Everything is looking good till I roll the largest exo I have ever seen, so much stuff that it takes out most of the frigates on Vapi in seconds. By Hako the shard is at 2%, the fleet I sent there torn apart already. It dies a third across.



Gah. Next one I try to keep my fleet together again and it dies to a few exo to the back on Vapi. Attempf 5 I play a delicate game of position, trying to cover all the wormholes to maximize the duration in which my spire fleet's firepower can be brought to bear while not leaving the shard open to attack. I pick off sniper/spider/artillery guardians and Spire Implosion Artillery ASAP.



My normal fleet waits cloaked in transports on Hako till just before the shard arrives, when I bring them out to clear as much as possible before aiding the defense of the shard by covering avenue of attack. The Riots take over shield duty here. The shard reaches Gateway and safety at 49%.



Galaxy:


Thoughts:
Wow. That was the most fun I have ever had playing AI War. Everyone says to play at your limit and I think for me that was right about perfect. Doing iterations on strategy, positioning carefully, watching the most epic battles play out, even the micro was fun! I'm up to do that again. With four more shards I think I'll have to as well.

Edit: In hindsight it seems I may have been a tad excessive with the screenshots...
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 08:40:30 AM by Astilious »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2012, 11:47:19 AM »
Glad you had fun (or is it !!Fun!! ? ;) ) with that shard recovery :)  Those can be pretty intense.  I've been considering upping the shard speed and increasing the frequency of the chase-exo-spawns so you'd get the same amount of chase spawns across the recovery time, but I'm not sure if it would really feel the same.
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Offline Astilious

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 01:04:08 AM »
I've been considering upping the shard speed and increasing the frequency of the chase-exo-spawns so you'd get the same amount of chase spawns across the recovery time, but I'm not sure if it would really feel the same.

Aside from the one above I have always found shard recovery to be more of a dull waiting game. Increasing speed and intensity would mean the AI concentrates force more and therefor the recoveries would be more difficult, something that seems a good thing to me for more normal settings. In the case of this game things would get... interesting.

Also are carriers scaled up for ultra low caps?
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 01:38:24 AM »
Glad you had fun (or is it !!Fun!! ? ;) ) with that shard recovery :)  Those can be pretty intense.  I've been considering upping the shard speed and increasing the frequency of the chase-exo-spawns so you'd get the same amount of chase spawns across the recovery time, but I'm not sure if it would really feel the same.

I would support this (along with the spire shard seeding location change, just search the high voted issues on mantis and it will be there).

However, higher difficulties may need a bit of a nerf if this happens, as otherwise you could quickly wind up with an uncounterably big exo barreling down towards your shard. And once that is dead, an uncounterably big exo barreling down towards you. ;)

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2012, 02:46:53 AM »
Glad you had fun (or is it !!Fun!! ? ;) ) with that shard recovery :)  Those can be pretty intense.  I've been considering upping the shard speed and increasing the frequency of the chase-exo-spawns so you'd get the same amount of chase spawns across the recovery time, but I'm not sure if it would really feel the same.


This would in effect up the difficulty of the exo spawns, for the player would need to in effect deal with a stronger ai response over time.

Initially, this could cause problems I think, but in the later shard responses, especially once the first or second city is in place, the universal idea is: Shards are boring, and this would take care of it in multiple ways.
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Offline Astilious

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2012, 06:53:41 AM »
At last I have time for more AI War! Progress is as follows:

8:04-8:55: 10,000 game speed drops to Gateway in 1:30. Why did the AI have to unlock gatlings and infiltrators? I have also realized the raids getting through were actually immune to grav exo versions, but those are dealt with by the fleet on Prime so there's no issue.

EMP Guardian detonates on Kowoil. But I haven't been there... did the Dark Spire free it? Regardless it's coming and I can't let it onto Gateway. A good number of bombers and raids go down dealing with that. Dark Spire trickles in to be slaughtered on Prime and Gateway while performing endless massacre on AI worlds at this stage. There are rather a lot of them actually, most of the galaxy is on alert.

I pop Tiomuas CS, AIP 152. A carrier deploys on Zonrex. I do think the AI is struggling against the Dark Spire, I am curious as to why a carrier was there at all, perhaps the special forces use them. I rebuild the fleet and put down the city.

AI response is 250 massive ships at 12k FP. A game speed bomb of threat also joins in but still nothing scratches the defense. There is SOMETHING on Gateway causing this degree of speed drop, it's not nearly as bad anywhere else. I guess it's just the sheer number of static defenses and AI ships interacting (especially gravs and mines, removing them got me back up to 85% from 50% alone). Ah well extremely low performance profile mostly fixes things,



CPA of 5.7k ships, I wonder if the Dark Spire have left the AI with enough to fill that quota. Yep, it makes it,, though it has to draw on 3k mk 4s to do it. Needless to say they die. The Dark Spire grows increasingly impressive, my threat has hit 40k FP (only 10k or so is AI on nearby worlds) and very little of the galaxy is not on alert.

8:55-10:20: More carrier pops on Zonrex, but this time I catch it, Dark Spire ships are killing carriers! That explains an anomalous group of massive ships I got outside of an exo earlier. The FS exo is much larger now, larger than the one for putting down the city in fact. The AI initiates a new "HKs for everyone!" promotion.

Patch 5.082: Uh, 4X the speed and pain? Uh oh. To get a feel for this I reload my earlier retrieval. Surprisingly I get it second try with less difficultly. Did not expect that. Reload main save and continue.

Pop Locnoar and Cibang to expand the Spire City, AIP 183. The shard is on Slovgin again. I realise the survey ships are still there just in time to stop them unleashing the AI. The last few pockets of deep galaxy alerts go out so I guess the AI has finished the Dark Spire pulse. At this point another few pulses trigger (~25k FP).

More waiting for stuff to build. The AI now has polarizers, the Dark Spire is being a nuisance.The AI happily takes credit (taunts) for the border CSs the Dark Spire manages to pick off. They are actually able to kill off the 20 or so spire ships I had on each, almost 1k are sitting on their world, FS wave weighs in at 15k FP with the second city up.

I decide to give in and unlock decloakers, 73 massive ships? More carrier pops I guess. I try sending the spire fleet to camp the Georib spawn, but that plan proves difficult to implement as decloakers insist on suicide (shooting). Dark Spire threat hits 45k.

Finally the rebuild is done and I move on to the next shard.

10:21-10:35: Dark Spire threat at 75k FP. The AI no longer has defenses, how the mighty have fallen. Sadly I am not fighting the AI defenses, only the attack fleets - on to the shard. The Dark Spire cleans up the exos that go through Unpija and the rest is no issue... then the main FS exo comes in. Uh, whoops. Forgot about that. At this point threat is 180k FP.

I bring the shard in without trouble anyway, however surely all this will test Gateway's defenses? I leave my fleet out of this to make it a proper test. The result: Gateway falls. As thousands of ships including at least a dozen HK, hundreds of spirecraft and armies of guardians pour in the defense is slowly ground to dust. I guess the AI has more than a million monkeys.

I reload and have the spire fleet help. I need a lower performance profile for this ::). Aside from that issue the defense is fine with the spire fleet's help. Now what to do about the three thousand Dark Spire ships now sitting on Unpija? Total threat is 224k FP, and I'm pretty sure there are no AI ships out there.



Thoughts:
There did not seem to be a much higher concentration of ships attacking the shard during retrievals, maybe a few more but not much. Overall things are significantly easier for some reason. The Dark Spire has become a little silly, I think they are feeding off threat and exo that enter Unpija in order to get an absurd ship count. They may need a cap or something to deal with this kind of extreme situation.


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Offline KDR_11k

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Re: Team Fortress (10/10 Fort King/Baron FS)
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2012, 08:49:37 AM »
Dark Spire grows exponentially, while the factor was massively reduced pretty much immediately after their introduction exponential is still exponential and if they do keep growing this whole time they'll grow to an insane level.