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Games => AI War Classic => AI War Classic - After Action Reports => Topic started by: Wordsmith on November 30, 2012, 02:53:12 PM

Title: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on November 30, 2012, 02:53:12 PM
So I'm fairly new to AI War, but I am greatly enjoying what I've experienced so far - to the point of picking up all the expansion packs, even. And this is the story of my first solo game.

It will likely end in catastrophic failure, because I have no idea what I'm actually doing, but hey, that's half the fun.

This thread will be updated whenever I get a chance to play, just so you can watch a newbie bumbling through his first attempt at saving humanity. So let's see where things stand at the moment, shall we?



First off, I don't actually remember what I have enabled on this game. I know that I specifically went without any AI gambits, because I didn't want to have to deal with the craziness that is Astro Trains during my first-ever run-through, and I don't have a Champion. I also think Golems are disabled, but I'm not sure about that.

What I do remember is this: I'm playing against a 5/5 team, just to get my feet wet, and both AIs are Random Easier. I don't think I've got enough information yet to figure out exactly which they are.

I also started on the Laser Gatling planet, because having soft, expendable bodies to soak up bullets is never a bad thing. I am a big believer in the value of meatshields.

Anyway. I've logged forty-five minutes in this session so far, and things currently stand as follows:

 - AI Progress: 74
 - Planets Held: 4
 - Ship Types Captured: I was fortunate enough that a planet just two hops from my home planet had an Advanced Research Station for me to capture. As such, I have access to Zenith Electric Bombers, Mark II, as well as the Laser Gatlings I got from my home planet.
 - Tech Unlocked: All Mark II fleet ships, including Laser Gatling and Scouts. Heavy Bomber Starship Mark II. Metal Harvester Mark II. Advanced Warp Sensors.
 - Ships In Service: Currently, almost all fleet ships are at cap. My home planet Space Dock is currently pumping out Zenith Electric Bombers as fast as possible.
 - Planets: Terra is my home planet, and is currently quite well-fortified, with several Tractor Beam turrets on each outgoing wormhole, a forcefield on the Command Center, multiple damage-dealing turrets by each Wormhole, and some Sniper Turrets around the edges for good measure. My other three planets - Hyperion, Rowsdower, and Kevin - are much less securely held, and building them up is currently my priority. As it is, Rowsdower is currently looking like prime whipping boy material, as it borders three enemy planets. Even if it doesn't end up as a whipping boy, getting it heavily defended is vital, as it's right next to Terra.
 - Targets: Kevin currently borders a Mark II AI planet, but losing Kevin is unlikely and wouldn't be a death blow in any case; I only really took it because it had the ARS on it, and now I'm just holding it as a sort of buffer for the rest. Rowsdower borders three AI planets, two of which are Mark III and one of which is unscouted (though hopefully not for much longer). My prime target is the single planet bordering Hyperion, which I have designated "Cabot". Cabot is a Mark III planet, and is extremely heavily defended (at least compared to the rest), with its main threat being its Ion Cannon, as well as several heavily-force-fielded missile guard posts. This will be my first attempt to deal with one of them. It is, however, imperative that I take it, as not only is it quite close to Terra but it possesses a huge wealth in both Metal and Crystal, as well as being bordered by only one AI planet. It's an easily-defendable source of resources that I desperately need. Currently, my plan of attack is to make use of that Bomber Starship Mark II I just unlocked, wipe out the Ion Cannon, and then follow up with my fleet ships, using the new Zenith Bombers to crush the force fields.
 - Current Priority: Securing currently-held planets, building up military in preparation for an assault on Cabot. Scouting.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Picture521.png)

I'm probably taking this slower than I need to (with the number of fleet ships I have, I could probably steamroller Cabot without any trouble, Ion Cannon be damned), but I'd prefer for everything to not just collapse around my ears because of a newbie mistake.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 30, 2012, 03:12:03 PM
Welcome to the forums and to the game :)

Quote
It will likely end in catastrophic failure, because I have no idea what I'm actually doing, but hey, that's half the fun.
I suspect you'll fit right in ;)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on November 30, 2012, 03:33:15 PM
Heh. Thanks for the welcome.

And yeah. I played Dwarf Fortress and enjoyed it greatly. I'm starting to suspect that I have a masochistic streak of some sort.  ;D



Cabot starts dispatching waves of Zenith Viral Shredders and Bombers to attack Hyperion. Fortunately, Hyperion is, by now, rather heavily fortified, and between the Tractor Beam and Flak turrets, along with the Laser Gatlings and Fighters dispatched from the main fleet, both waves are made short work of.

Meanwhile, construction and knowledge-harvesting proceeds unabated across all human systems. Turrets and forcefields go up on all planets to ward off attackers, and production on both a Mark II Bomber Starship and Mark I Plasma Siege Starship begins on Terra, to provide some heavy punch to my fleet. Even with the Zenith Electric Bombers, a little extra firepower can't hurt. At least one of these AIs is rather Force Field happy. These things are everywhere.

Hm... after browsing the wiki, it seems likely that I'm up against a Turtle on one side and possibly a Zenith Descendant. Not sure on that one, though. I can't remember if I've seen any other Zenith ships deployed. It's possible I've just run up against a different AI entirely which just happens to have Viral Shredders due to planet unlocks.

Mark II Scout Drones manage to make it past the Tachyon Guard Posts on Cabot and get me a report on Melusmoat, the only AI planet directly bordering it. Holy shit is this place armed. Orbital Mass Driver, Zenith Regeneration Chamber, two Command Shield Guard Posts, two Special Forces Guard posts, two Missile Guard Posts, a Fortress, and forcefields everywhere. Yeeaaaaaah I think I'll just leave that alone, since there's nothing there worth -

- ah, crap, it's got a Core Force Field Generator. I'm gonna have to take it.

That's gonna be fun. But one step at a time, I guess. I keep fortifying the planets I already have and exploit my massive resource cache to get a second Dock up and running on Hyperion, so I can still pump out Laser Gatlings and other (comparatively) quick-building ships while Terra continues to manufacture Zenith Bombers for heavy firepower. Once my Starships are up and running, I'll be ready to try an assault on Cabot.

But that's going to have to wait for my next post, unfortunately, as real life is interfering. Blah. I was getting into that.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 30, 2012, 03:42:12 PM
Dwarf Fortress
Yep, right in.  A bunch of us around here are DF fans and "losing is fun" is almost as true of AIW in terms of attitude as it is of DF.

Quote
Hm... after browsing the wiki, it seems likely that I'm up against a Turtle on one side and possibly a Zenith Descendant.
If you got a ZD this could get ugly particularly if you have the Ancient Shadows expansion enabled.  But it's not sounding like a ZD.  The other could be a Shield Ninny: turtle-like with a particular penchant for forcefields.

Quote
- ah, crap, it's got a Core Force Field Generator. I'm gonna have to take it.
Core FF Gen, or Core Shield Gen?  I hadn't realized til just now how easily those two could be confused.  Anyway, a Core FF is annoying if you want to kill anything under it but isn't a critical unit on the grand scale.  A CSG, on the other hand, has to be killed before you can take on the AI homeworlds.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Kahuna on November 30, 2012, 03:54:04 PM
Heyy welcome to the forums. Always good to see new people.

It will likely end in catastrophic failure, because I have no idea what I'm actually doing, but hey, that's half the fun.
For me the best way to learn was to just try stuff and get my ass whooped over and over again! LOL

EDIT:
NEW VERSIONS:
Kahuna's Guide To AI War - Find Your Inner Super Cat!
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,13369.msg151816.html#msg151816

If you haven't already might wanna read these :)
Going for my first game of AI War: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11837.msg125730.html#msg125730
Some overall strategies and tech unlocks: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11937.msg128188.html#msg128188
Neutering: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12037.msg129629.html#msg129629
Ship combos: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11996.msg129236.html#msg129236
Beachheading: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11391.msg129159.html#msg129159
Bindings and In-Game Controls: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,13292.0.html


- AI Progress: 74
Not bad. Just try to keep it under 200.

- Tech Unlocked: All Mark II fleet ships
End game when the waves get bigger you might wanna consider unlocking some turrets. Heavy Beam Cannons, Spider and Missile Turrets ftw.

multiple damage-dealing turrets by each Wormhole
Ah I've noticed a lot of players do this. In my opinion it's better to place the turrets in front of the Command Station (between the CS and the Wormholes).

If there's 2 Wormholes on a planet: A and B. Half of the turrets are next to Wormhole A and others next to the B Wormhole. When a wave comes from either of the Wormholes half of the defenses wont be able to shoot. They can't do anything.

If you place them like this:
(http://i1155.photobucket.com/albums/p542/pdbKahuna/epicdefenses.png)
When a wave comes all turrets will be able to shoot and no turret is wasted. All the firepower is in one place so you will be able to stop the waves with fewer casualties. End game when the waves get big rebuilding 80% of the turrets after every wave will kill even the strongest economy. It's usually this economic attrition that will kill you in high difficulty levels.

several Tractor Beam turrets on each outgoing wormhole
This is good. It will prevent some of the AI ships from getting away. They will also stop wandering threat ships etc.

- Targets
Good. It seems like you know what you're doing and have goals. It's good to have a (flexible) plan before you start a game.

I only really took it because it had the ARS on it, and now I'm just holding it as a sort of buffer for the rest.
That kind of expendable buffer/beachhead planets are useful some times. Just build some Area Minefields, Gravitational, Tractor and Spider Turrets to slow down the AI. It will be easier to stop the wave after it has been weakened in the beachhead planet. Don't be afraid to lose (beachhead or distant not so important) planets. Also even if you capture an ARS it doesn't mean you have to hold the planet. If the ARS is like 8 hops away from your homeworld you wont be able to hold that planet unless you're using a Warp Jammer CS. You can just capture the planet and then abandon it.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on November 30, 2012, 04:48:51 PM
If you got a ZD this could get ugly particularly if you have the Ancient Shadows expansion enabled.  But it's not sounding like a ZD.  The other could be a Shield Ninny: turtle-like with a particular penchant for forcefields.

That's very probably it, then. I didn't see any reference to a "Shield Ninny" type on the wiki, or I would have picked up on it.

Core FF Gen, or Core Shield Gen?  I hadn't realized til just now how easily those two could be confused.  Anyway, a Core FF is annoying if you want to kill anything under it but isn't a critical unit on the grand scale.  A CSG, on the other hand, has to be killed before you can take on the AI homeworlds.

I'm pretty sure it's a Shield Generator, as I remember it having an 'E' somewhere in its name. That indicates to me that it's one of the five networks. But I don't have the game running at the moment, so I'm not entirely sure. If it's not a CSG, I'll probably just end up neutering the place instead of taking it. Not much in the way of resources to be had, and I really just want Cabot for the resources, not as a path to launch attacks from.

(Also, yes, I am naming these planets, save Hyperion and Terra, for MST3K movie characters)

If you haven't already might wanna read these :)
Going for my first game of AI War: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11837.msg125730.html#msg125730
Some overall strategies and tech unlocks: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11937.msg128188.html#msg128188
Neutering: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12037.msg129629.html#msg129629
Ship combos: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11996.msg129236.html#msg129236
Beachheading: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11391.msg129159.html#msg129159

I'm pretty sure I've read all of those. I've lurked around the forums and read a lot of the wiki articles, even though this is my first time sitting down and trying to play through a full game. So I know most of the theory. It's just putting it into practice now. But thanks for the links!

Not bad. Just try to keep it under 200.

Yeah, I figure I'm getting near to the end of the early game, and the AI progress shouldn't be much over 100 (if it even breaks that at all) by the time I'm done. I really just need to take Cabot, and possibly one other resource-heavy planet (one of the ones bordering Rowsdower is 4/3 for Metal and Crystal, IIRC), and I should have enough resources incoming to fund the rest of the war.

After that, I pretty much plan to just neuter and/or gate raid as necessary until I can clear a path to the homeworlds. I'm not a particularly completionist player. I'd rather have a small amount of territory that I can reliably defend than try to rush things. As it is, I'm only planning to take other planets if I absolutely have to control a point for strategic weapons (or temporarily capture it for its ARS, of course).

End game when the waves get bigger you might wanna consider unlocking some turrets. Heavy Beam Cannons, Spider and Missile Turrets ftw.

Oh yeah. When I crank up the difficulty (I plan to move to 7/7 after this game is over, win or lose, as this is basically just me learning the mechanics), I'm definitely going to invest more in turrets. But as of now, all I'm dealing with is waves of 40-70 Viral Shredders or Bombers, none of them higher than Mark II. Flak turrets absolutely murder Shredders, and the Sniper turrets I've got parked by my CCs make sure that stragglers never make it far enough to be an actual threat.

Ah I've noticed a lot of players do this. In my opinion it's better to place the turrets in front of the Command Station (between the CS and the Wormholes).

I actually do have this, though I neglected to mention it. I only have three planets that need defending at the moment (Terra has quite a few turrets as well, but that's beside the point): Rowsdower, which borders several AI worlds, Kevin, which is low-priority and borders only one, and Hyperion, which borders Cabot and is the target of all the incoming waves thus far.

Kevin is only lightly defended, as the AI planet it borders is only Mark II and has only a handful of ships in any case. There's not going to be any real threat from there, I think, and even if there is, Kevin isn't a critical position to hold. Rowsdower and Hyperion, on the other hand, have around... thirty turrets each, I think. At least five Tractors per wormhole (including the ones leading to Kevin, in case it falls), five Basics paired with the Tractors, five Sniper turrets back by the CC, and various other turrets spaced as appropriate (Flak turrets on Hyperion's wormholes, for example, with a few Missile turrets placed midway between the wormholes and the CC on both planets).

For now, though, most of my turrets are parked pretty close to the wormholes, even though I do have light backfield defenses. This is because this AI has sent multiple waves of Viral Shredders at me, and Flak turrets - an extremely efficient way of dealing with them, at least so far - are very close-range, so I have a large concentration of them by Hyperion's wormhole.

That kind of expendable buffer/beachhead planets are useful some times. Just build some Area Minefields, Gravitational, Tractor and Spider Turrets to slow down the AI. It will be easier to stop the wave after it has been weakened in the beachhead planet.

Oh, I will be eventually. For the moment, though, I have bigger concerns - namely, Cabot. As mentioned, all waves thus far have come from there. For now, Kevin is going to have to deal with having only light defenses. I have better places to put them.

Also even if you capture an ARS it doesn't mean you have to hold the planet. If the ARS is like 8 hops away from your homeworld you wont be able to hold that planet unless you're using a Warp Jammer CS. You can just capture the planet and then abandon it.

I know. But Kevin is very close - only two hops - from my homeworld, and borders both Hyperion and Rowsdower. I'm keeping it because there's no real point in sacrificing it now; the planet it borders is low-level, has only a handful of ships on it, and doesn't pose much of a threat, and at least as long as I hold Kevin I can get the resources from it.

Thanks for all the advice!

EDIT: Oh. Also. Something I learned this game.

YOU WILL USE LASER GATLINGS. YOU WILL LOVE LASER GATLINGS.

They're basically this game's equivalent of Imperial Guard Conscripts from Warhammer 40,000. They have crappy stats, but they cost basically nothing, and you can manufacture them so fast that losing them doesn't really hurt you. Thus, the enemy is presented with a Catch-22 problem: if they target the Laser Gatlings, they're wasting time killing little things that will probably be replaced before the battle's over, but if they target the stuff that actually matters, the Laser Gatlings are going to crush them under sheer weight of numbers.

I love these guys.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 30, 2012, 05:08:30 PM
EDIT: Oh. Also. Something I learned this game.

YOU WILL USE LASER GATLINGS. YOU WILL LOVE LASER GATLINGS.

They're basically this game's equivalent of Imperial Guard Conscripts from Warhammer 40,000.
I think you'll like the neinzul youngling types :)

But yea, impy-goo.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: TechSY730 on November 30, 2012, 05:30:06 PM
EDIT: Oh. Also. Something I learned this game.

YOU WILL USE LASER GATLINGS. YOU WILL LOVE LASER GATLINGS.

They're basically this game's equivalent of Imperial Guard Conscripts from Warhammer 40,000.
I think you'll like the neinzul youngling types :)

But yea, impy-goo.

High cap ships generally get a bad-rep around here.
And I can sort of see that. Most of the time, their kill-to-death ratio is rather poor.

However, I think the bad reputation is mostly undeserved. Most of the high cap ships (there are a few that don't fit this, but there are a few, like infiltrators) are cheap. This, combined with their number, gives them great utility that doesn't directly show up in DPS and kills and other directly measurable things but still can have great impact on military. (Like being "stall material" for low ROF ships)

One fun tactic is to loop build a space dock with a cheap, high cap ship (or neinzul ship) and have that space dock FRD move or attack-move (which sets a rally point to do that move) to another planet.
Great for cheaply wearing down threat balls or guards on the other side of a wormhole. (Yes, it does it slowly, but it is usually so cheap, you can continue your main operations with that in the background) Easy, low micro harassment. ;)


Plus, laser gattlings do make a nifty anti-bomber unit.


Could many of the high cap ships use a bit of a buff? Yes. But they are not as bad players like to think they are.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on November 30, 2012, 07:15:40 PM
Low cap cheap ships are also great for, say, getting spec forces in a permanent loop. We had a space dock on an adjacent planet to an ARS we were hacking. LordSloth just rallied his vorticular cutlasses to another planet with something valuable and spec forces camped there and just killed them one after another.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on November 30, 2012, 09:21:26 PM
So you like low cap ships too? I like either Neinzul low cap ships with Neinzul enclaves or the new Zenith Medic with starships. Perhaps we should play a game together sometime.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Hearteater on November 30, 2012, 10:15:30 PM
The biggest problem that isn't really accounted for in high cap ships is in a given fight, they die faster than low cap ships, which means their DPS drops quicker.  So when comparing a low cap ship to a high cap ship, the high cap ship needs better effective DPS.  This often comes somewhat in the form of lower individual damage values which results in less overkill.  Let's compare Space Planes and Zenith Reprocessors.  At high caps, they are 344 vs 16 respectively.  Let's look at the damage they do with no bonus, and against optimal targets: Heavy armor.

Space Planes
DPS: 273,671.1 (no bonus), 875,747.5 (vs Heavy x3.2)

Zenith Reprocessors
DPS: 179,200.0 (no bonus), 1,433,600 (vs Heavy x8)

So Planes are +52.7% DPS with no bonus, but Reprocessors are +63.7% DPS against bonus targets.  Note also that Planes cost more than twice the Energy per cap, take twice as long to build a cap, and cost 61% more resources per cap.

This comparison is somewhat flawed because Space Planes have Radar Dampening, but I wanted to compare a high and low cap ship against the same armor type, and both of these have cloaking so that's a wash.  But if it weren't for Radar Dampening, the Planes would suffer much faster lose of DPS due to attrition than the Reprocessors (they have 15.7% the health individually, and 33.8% the cap health).

Hmm, Micro Fighters are probably a better example as they are straight inferior to Reprocessors.  Amazingly, high cap ships have really hefty cap build times.  It takes more than x4.24 as long to rebuild Micro Fighters as Reprocessors.  Anti-Armors take x5.76 as long!

I haven't really crunched all the numbers, but I'm pretty certain Micro Fighters and Ether Jets need a DPS boost.  Several others too, but I really need to examine them better.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 01, 2012, 07:11:50 PM
The biggest problem that isn't really accounted for in high cap ships is in a given fight, they die faster than low cap ships, which means their DPS drops quicker.  So when comparing a low cap ship to a high cap ship, the high cap ship needs better effective DPS.  This often comes somewhat in the form of lower individual damage values which results in less overkill.  Let's compare Space Planes and Zenith Reprocessors.  At high caps, they are 344 vs 16 respectively.  Let's look at the damage they do with no bonus, and against optimal targets: Heavy armor.

Space Planes
DPS: 273,671.1 (no bonus), 875,747.5 (vs Heavy x3.2)

Zenith Reprocessors
DPS: 179,200.0 (no bonus), 1,433,600 (vs Heavy x8)

So Planes are +52.7% DPS with no bonus, but Reprocessors are +63.7% DPS against bonus targets.  Note also that Planes cost more than twice the Energy per cap, take twice as long to build a cap, and cost 61% more resources per cap.

This comparison is somewhat flawed because Space Planes have Radar Dampening, but I wanted to compare a high and low cap ship against the same armor type, and both of these have cloaking so that's a wash.  But if it weren't for Radar Dampening, the Planes would suffer much faster lose of DPS due to attrition than the Reprocessors (they have 15.7% the health individually, and 33.8% the cap health).

Hmm, Micro Fighters are probably a better example as they are straight inferior to Reprocessors.  Amazingly, high cap ships have really hefty cap build times.  It takes more than x4.24 as long to rebuild Micro Fighters as Reprocessors.  Anti-Armors take x5.76 as long!

I haven't really crunched all the numbers, but I'm pretty certain Micro Fighters and Ether Jets need a DPS boost.  Several others too, but I really need to examine them better.

No offense, but I think you're missing the point here.

I may be a newbie when it comes to AI War, but I'm not new when it comes to strategy games as a whole, and this analysis of high-cap versus low-cap units is very, very shallow, and doesn't actually cover the reasons why someone would want to use one over the other.

No one who supports the use of high-cap ships (or, to widen the category slightly, cheap, spammable units in any game) is going to argue that they're going to be more powerful than a group of high-level, expensive units. The only case in which low-level units are going to be able to keep up with high-level ones in terms of DPS is if they can be well and truly spammed, to the point where they outnumber the enemy five to one or so (see: Zerg rush).

Let's go back to my original analogy: that high-cap units are analogous to the Imperial Guard Conscripts in Warhammer 40,000. For those who don't play the game, the Imperial Guard is the "standard human" army in 40k. It has two main things that it can use to its advantage: cheap, spammable infantry, individually weak but which can be brought to bear in crushing numbers, and awesome, awesome tanks.

So Guard armies usually fall into one of two categories: infantry armies, which might have some light mechanized support but which rely on numbers to win, or tank armies, which have few infantry (and thus have trouble holding objectives) but can bury their opponents under massive waves of firepower.

Infantry armies in the Imperial Guard actually have three types of basic infantry to choose from: Guardsmen, Veterans, and Conscripts. Standard Guardsmen are as flimsy as wet paper, miss half the time, and have a 50% chance, if they come under stress, to break and run. Veterans are more powerful in all respects, but are more expensive.

And then you have Conscripts. Conscripts are possibly the only unit in 40k easier to kill in melee than standard Guardsmen (except maybe Tau Fire Warriors, but that's beside the point). Come to that, they're possibly the easiest-to-kill unit in the game period. Beyond that, they're practically guaranteed to break and run if they come under fire, miss a full two-thirds of all shots they take, and... well, you get the point. Basically they suck at everything, forever, compared to everything else in the game.

And yet there are still top-level Guard players who will swear by the Conscripts and run huge blobs of them in all their Guard foot armies. Why? Because the amount of damage-dealing potential they have isn't the thing that makes Conscripts worth taking.

Even standard Guardsmen are highly spammable, costing only 5 points apiece (and games of 40k usually consist of 1500 or more points per army). Conscripts cost even less, and come in squads of twenty rather than ten. They can't shoot worth a damn, they won't hold their ground against even the lightest attacks, and they fold like wet paper if anybody even looks at them wrong. But there are a hell of a lot of them, and they can still stand on the objective point and say "YAY, WE'RE CONTRIBUTING" while your more powerful units get the real work done. Your opponent still has to go through them if he has to win.

Which wouldn't really be a problem, because, y'know, Conscripts aren't exactly durable. Except... well, every shot directed at a blob of Conscripts is a shot that's not hitting something that can actually hurt you. And if you ignore the Conscripts entirely, they actually can do some damage, or get dug into a fortified position in a critical area. Examine their stats and they suck. Use them on the tabletop, and there's no end to the utility they offer, whether it's cheap bodies to sit on a backfield objective just so you can say you have it under your control at game end or acting as a meatshield for your more important units.

Beyond that, a special Guard unit called Commander Chenkov can be used to make Conscripts respawn, so even if your opponent guns them down at one point, he's never going to be able to keep them off the table entirely. They'll always be there, gumming up the works with cheap, expendable bodies.

That's what high-cap, low-cost, fast-building ships are good for. They cost you next to nothing, both in time and resources, and they still manage to make your opponent's life hell. And if they die? They'll be back just a few seconds later.

You don't use them for DPS. You use them for their flexibility and expendability.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Winge on December 01, 2012, 07:55:12 PM
You don't use them for DPS. You use them for their flexibility and expendability.

Sounds like you'll really love Neinzul + Enclave.  Once you have the energy to support a few Enclaces, you can really use them to stir up some trouble.

On a marginally related note, Space Planes are not the typical low-cap ship.  They have a Radar Dampening Range that is shorter than their attack range--to my knowledge, they are the only mobile ship that has that bonus.  Oh, and Cloaking, Mine Immunity, and Tractor Immunity.  With enough micro, they are downright overpowered against everything that doesn't have Radar Dampening Immunity.  I've even used them to kill a Superfortress on a Mark IV world without support--I lost about 20 Planes after I killed the Ion Cannons (note:  old Superfort, haven't played a full game in a bit, so I don't know what the new one is like).
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 01, 2012, 09:22:01 PM
On the low-cap vs high-cap thing, yes there's a lot of utility in just having a good solid spammable type (fighters actually do this fairly well in a pinch) to soak up enemy fire.  But the difference from the 40k situations I think you're describing is that when a heavy enemy attack comes in in AIW your main challenge is generally not keeping your defense force alive (though that can be hard), it's killing the enemy invaders before they kill something important.  Conscript-like units have a hard time really contributing in a case like that (largely due to how armor works, which was part of the point of why armor was made that way, even though that's probably going to change).

Another mechanical difference is that it's a lot more common in AIW (iirc) to find heavy enemy units with a high rate of fire.  Sure, those individual shots are getting soaked up, but it gets a whole lot of shots "per turn" and can afford to eat a few caps of your minnows.  Also, in general when you're defending a serious attack you're substantially outnumbered.

All that said, I love the spammables too :)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Hearteater on December 01, 2012, 09:31:59 PM
That's what high-cap, low-cost, fast-building ships are good for. They cost you next to nothing, both in time and resources, and they still manage to make your opponent's life hell. And if they die? They'll be back just a few seconds later.

You don't use them for DPS. You use them for their flexibility and expendability.
So basically, you didn't read what I wrote?  Did you notice that high cap ships take LONGER to replace than low cap ships?  Your 40k analogy isn't particularly useful in the context of AI Wars, for a list of reasons based on 40k mechanics and victory conditions that I don't feel it is necessary to go in to.  But I've played 40k since Rogue Trader, which is more than 20 years ago, so I'm pretty familiar with how it works.

But the biggest issue is younglings are so much stronger than any other high cap spam unit they just make non-younglings obsolete.  So high caps really do need to be competitive DPS-wise, unless they have a special role (which Space Planes actually do).  But in no way are Micro Fighters, for example, better than any of the youngling options.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 01, 2012, 09:43:13 PM
But the difference from the 40k situations I think you're describing is that when a heavy enemy attack comes in in AIW your main challenge is generally not keeping your defense force alive (though that can be hard), it's killing the enemy invaders before they kill something important.

Yeah, I figured. Useful on the offense, not so much on the defense. Still useful, though.

Another mechanical difference is that it's a lot more common in AIW (iirc) to find heavy enemy units with a high rate of fire.  Sure, those individual shots are getting soaked up, but it gets a whole lot of shots "per turn" and can afford to eat a few caps of your minnows.

Well, there are actually quite a few units in 40k with a high rate of fire - which is precisely why you use such high numbers of the high-cap ships. And while you can afford to eat a few caps' worth of casualties, I'd very much prefer not to. ;P

Also, in general when you're defending a serious attack you're substantially outnumbered.

Fair enough. I haven't really had any serious attacks launched against me yet.

So basically, you didn't read what I wrote?  Did you notice that high cap ships take LONGER to replace than low cap ships?

I did. And you're wrong. Again, you're looking at things too shallowly, I think. It takes longer to produce a full cap of high-cap ships, precisely because there are so many of them. But in the time it takes to produce a full cap of the low-cap ships, you could have four times that number of high-caps.

You don't have to measure everything by extremes.

Your 40k analogy isn't particularly useful in the context of AI Wars, for a list of reasons based on 40k mechanics and victory conditions that I don't feel it is necessary to go in to.

Which, you'll note, is why I didn't go into any 40k-specific mechanics, save the points (which were just used to show how the Conscripts were the same cheap unit-type as high-cap ships in this game). The Conscripts are an example. The same principle can be applied to any strategy game.

But the biggest issue is younglings are so much stronger than any other high cap spam unit they just make non-younglings obsolete.  So high caps really do need to be competitive DPS-wise, unless they have a special role (which Space Planes actually do).  But in no way are Micro Fighters, for example, better than any of the youngling options.

I never said they were, because I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know what Younglings are or how they render other stuff obsolete.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on December 01, 2012, 09:51:20 PM
Younglings would be the designed spam units of this game. They are all extremely cheap and fast. They also usually have enough health to survive a couple hits. Their downside is that they attrition health over time. I think they die four? minutes after being made. When combined with the neinzul enclaves which are basically mobile factories, they can be a rather effective attack force.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Kahuna on December 02, 2012, 03:30:17 AM
Spire Stealth Battleship VS Laser Gatling

Spire Stealth Battleship
Cap: 5 | Rebuilt in 1s: 0,00746 (0,746% of 1 SSB) | 2,46*0,00746=0,018=1,8% of 1 SSB
Health: 1.920.000
Cap Health: 9.600.000 | Health rebuilt in 1s: 14.328 | 2,46*14.328=35.247
DPS: 36.000
DPS With Multiplier: 50.400
Cap DPS: 180.000 | DPS rebuilt in 1s: 269 | 2,46*269=662
Cap DPS With Multiplier: 252.000 | DPS WM rebuilt in 1s: 376 | 2,46*376=925
Build Time: 134s
Cap Build Time: 670s | Helped by Engineers: 670/272=2,46 | 670/2,46=272s
Total Cost: 22.000
Cap Total Cost: 110.000 | Total resources used in 1s: 164 | 2,46*403

Laser Gatling
Cap: 272 | Rebuilt in 1s: 1
Health: 39.400
Cap Health: 10.716.800 | Health rebuilt in 1s: 39.400
DPS: 600
DPS With Multiplier: 1080
Cap DPS: 163.200 | DPS rebuilt in 1s: 600
Cap DPS With Multiplier: 293.760 | DPS WM rebuilt in 1s: 1.080
Build Time: 1s
Cap Build Time: 272s
Total Cost: 400
Cap Total Cost: 108.800 | Total resources used in 1s: 400

In terms of..
..Health: 1 SSB = 49 LGs
..DPS: 1 SSB = 60 LGs
..Build Time: 1 SSB = 134 LGs
..Total Cost: 1 SSB = 55 LGs

Boom! Laser Gatlings win!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Hearteater on December 02, 2012, 09:45:29 AM
Do you need me to explain by SSB are a bad comparison, or are you just being silly?
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Faulty Logic on December 02, 2012, 12:29:19 PM
Quote
Could many of the high cap ships use a bit of a buff? Yes. But they are not as bad players like to think they are
There are a some cases where they are the better solution, like against ship that deals huge damage with every shot (zombards, H/Ks, Forts, armored golem) or you want to clog up the enemy defences (ion cannon, Doomsquid, spiders, honeycombs), but, succinctly, they suck.

The breakdown: High-cap ships are relatively:

Expensive: they die so often that they cost significantly more over time.

Ineffective: because their damage curve decays so fast, they end up dealing less damage than lower cap units.

Not favored by secondary mechanics: like putting ships under a ff, transport-unloads, cloaker starships, AoE, and eyes.


I think a major buff is in order, about a 50% dps or health increase.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: TechSY730 on December 02, 2012, 02:14:42 PM
Those two cases you mentioned are actually much more useful than you are giving them credit for.

Even if they weren't, 50% above normal target balance for fleet ships seems a bit much. 20-25% seems closer to a good point.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Faulty Logic on December 02, 2012, 03:38:37 PM
Quote
Those two cases you mentioned are actually much more useful than you are giving them credit for.

Even if they weren't, 50% above normal target balance for fleet ships seems a bit much. 20-25% seems closer to a good point.
In both cases, the AI prefers to target your normal/low caps.

20-25% to both, or one?

Another buff I would like to see (even more than either dps or health) would be to dramatically increase their speed, giving them a unique use.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Minotaar on December 02, 2012, 03:45:20 PM
I just checked the high-cap fleet ships, and none of them can really compare favorably to younglings (space planes got a large buff not so long ago and are now rather formidable, though). I think it mostly comes down to them having a much larger cap cost and no real advantage in stats (and they are usually much worse on HP to boot). Decreasing their cost would just make both fill the same role, though, so I would be in favor of increasing their damage across the board, so that they can swarm smaller groups of enemies but not participate in sustained battles without severe casualties. The attrition wars would still be the domain of younglings.
Decreasing the rate of fire for more damage would also help with the random armor. I mean, Laser Gatling has a polycrystal multiplier, 600 armor piercing and still can't get through a bomber's 1200 armor without an almost 80% damage reduction! Combine that with the fact that the AI usually has mark advantage and things are really not looking great for our swarmers.
So really, give them some more damage, they need it :)
(also we really better continue this discussion somewhere else)


Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 07:38:12 PM
(also we really better continue this discussion somewhere else)

As interesting as it is, yeah, I think it would be best off in another thread.

Anyway, because I am a glutton for punishment (and because I'm starting to realize that Difficulty 5 really isn't any challenge here; after about twenty more minutes of gameplay from the last thing I posted, I held Cabot, had pretty much maxed-out resource pools, and was rebuilding my army without any real threat from any of the nearby AI planets). I also admit that I just want to see all the cool new stuff that came with the expansion packs, so there's that as well.

So. Incoming shortly, a new game! 7/7 this time, with rather more features enabled.

NEW GAME DETAILS:
 - Map Style: Clusters
 - Opponents: Two Difficulty 7 AIs, each a Random Moderate.
 - Expansions: All.
 - AI Progress Rate: 1 per 30 minutes.
 - Enabled Features: Human Raiders, Human Resistance Fighters, Human Colony Rebellions, Zenith Traders, Broken Golems (Moderate). All of those to whom it applies are at 4/10.
 - AI Plots: Astro Trains and Beachheads on both AIs, because screw taking this slow, I want to get steamrollered.
 - Starting Bonus Ship: SPACE PLAAAAAAANES oh my god I know nothing about them except they are laser planes in space and they are also swarm units yeeeeeeeeessssssss

The Map

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Picture522.png)

My home planet, which I have chosen to call "Forrester", is in the lower-left cluster. You can probably see the Space Plane icon on it, but just to be sure.

Let's see how long it takes me to get utterly crushed.

EDIT: Oh, and some questions. What do the "x3" or "x5" or "x6" multiplier icons on the map mean? What is the point of selecting multiple planets prior to game start, and why does it highlight a path between them? I never could figure either of those out.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on December 02, 2012, 07:52:08 PM
You should look into picking up the beta updates. They're always worth getting, and are generally speaking very stable. If they aren't stable, give it 5 minutes and Keith will probably have already fixed it by then. Balance is another story, but I don't think perfect balance is quite AI War's biggest focus either way. ;)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 08:00:33 PM
You should look into picking up the beta updates. They're always worth getting, and are generally speaking very stable. If they aren't stable, give it 5 minutes and Keith will probably have already fixed it by then. Balance is another story, but I don't think perfect balance is quite AI War's biggest focus either way. ;)

I actually tried, a couple times. Every time it told me to restart the game to install them, but it would always say immediately afterwards that there were the same updates available for install. I might try it again in a bit, but for now I'm content with what I've got.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on December 02, 2012, 08:04:15 PM
You should be able to get some support on that elsewhere, but until then, happy AI hunting!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on December 02, 2012, 08:17:48 PM
Sounds like you're having the Windows Virtual Store bug. It's popped up a couple times before. You can find a solution here (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9949.msg99245.html#msg99245).
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on December 02, 2012, 08:43:09 PM
Sounds like you're having the Windows Virtual Store bug. It's popped up a couple times before. You can find a solution here (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9949.msg99245.html#msg99245).
Is this the windows 8 nonsense? It breaks the games of entire companies now?
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 08:48:03 PM
I'm actually on Mac OS X 10.5.8, playing via Steam, so I highly doubt it's a Windows bug.  :P But thanks for trying to help!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Hearteater on December 02, 2012, 08:56:05 PM
On game creation, the x# tells you quickly how many adjacent planets there are, so you know how many points you need to defend against initially, as well as how many options you have to expand from.  There are pros and cons to high/low numbers.  For most beginning players, x3-x4 is a good start.  With more experience, you may find you like more/less connections.

Be really careful of those Astro Trains.  The balance probably isn't quite right on them yet, and if anything they are sounding a bit rough.  You'll want to have something that can deal with big boys be around the 2ish hour mark.  An Armored/Artillery Golem would be perfect if you can get one.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 08:57:29 PM
All righty then. Looking over the situation, I can already see some major changes from the game that I was playing before. The most obvious difference is the presence of my shiny new Champion, a Human Shadow Frigate which I have christened the Tom Servo and outfitted with two shield modules, two MLRS systems, and four Laser Cannons. My fleet ships should be able to clear away the annoyances, I think, while the Servo deals with the major threats.

Secondly, I appear to have several new installations hovering around my homeworld Command Center - namely, a Mercenary Space Dock, several Cryogenic Pods, and two Human Cities. I've never seen the latter two before, but they're giving me resources with the only downside being an AIP increase if they're destroyed. Since them ever getting destroyed would mean I'm already dead, as the AI would literally be just outside my front door, I'm not too concerned about that, so HEY FREE RESOURCES.

Forrester, fortunately, seems to be quite resource-rich, with five Metal and seven Crystal, and Space Planes are cheap to manufacture. While I send my two starting Scouts out to check out the nearby planets, I set my Space Dock up on loop to fill up my fleet ship caps, as well as building some more Scouts so I can go see what else is out there.

On the research side, I snag Mark II Metal and Crystal Harvesters, as well as Mark II Economic Command Stations. That leaves me with 2000 Knowledge in the bank to figure out the rest of what I want, but I figure that having access to more cash is never a bad thing, and upgraded resources gatherers will allow my Space Dock to churn out ships that much faster without emptying the bank.

Initial scouting reports come in from the three AI worlds bordering Forrester. This immediately looks like much more of a challenge than last game. I like it.

I've named the three planets bordering Forrester Mike, Pearl, and Joel. Mike is nothing special, really, and is the least-defended of the three by a wide margin despite the fact that it has a Fortress. I want to get rid of it even though it isn't really a threat, though, because it has an Astro Train station on it. With one of those stations so close to my home planet, it's likely that I'd be dealing with Astro Trains plowing through my defenses on a regular basis, so capturing Mike is my priority at the moment.

Joel is the planet that sits at the edge of the cluster, providing one of the only two bridges out to the other areas of the map. I'm very probably going to have to take Joel eventually, but at the moment, it's not feasible. Not only does Joel have another Fortress, it's got a Warhead Interceptor, two Starships, and an Armor Inhibitor. Given that I can spam Space Planes (which don't have any armor anyway and so aren't affected by the Armor Inhibitor), I think I'll be able to take it once I get some more resources.

Pearl is the planet leading deeper into the cluster, and is quite intimidating at this point. It's got a Black Hole Machine, Radar Jammer, and a Counterattack Command Post. But I'm going to have to take it eventually, since there's a Core Shield Generator there.

I'm going to start fortifying Forrester and prepare to launch my initial attack on Mike. Capturing it is my ultimate goal, but at the very least I want to get rid of that Train Station.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 09:04:29 PM
Less than thirty seconds following my previous post:

OH GOD ASTRO TRAINS EVERYWHERE

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Picture525.png)

Yes. That Train Station needs to die.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 09:08:35 PM
there's five of them now oh god

quickly, Engineers, build those Counter-Dark-Matter turrets and save us all
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on December 02, 2012, 09:15:37 PM
Sounds like you're having the Windows Virtual Store bug. It's popped up a couple times before. You can find a solution here (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9949.msg99245.html#msg99245).
Is this the windows 8 nonsense? It breaks the games of entire companies now?
Actually the Virtual Store first appeared in Windows Vista.

I'm actually on Mac OS X 10.5.8, playing via Steam, so I highly doubt it's a Windows bug.  :P But thanks for trying to help!
Well I don't have a Mac so I'm out for this round of tech support.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on December 02, 2012, 09:31:33 PM
Oh okay.
All I know is I've already heard more than enough windows 8 horror stories related directly to some kind of virtual store restrictions, so... I kinda jumped the gun there. Sorry.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 09:43:15 PM
With a few CDM turrets in place, the direct threat of the Astro Trains is neutralized for the moment. They're still annoying, and that Train Station is still my priority target, but some well-placed defenses keep them from doing any real damage, even if they are steaming through my home planet every few seconds. Seriously, these things are crawling all over the place. It's crazy.

With Forrester relatively secure, for the moment, I gather my army and prepare to launch an assault on Mike. Our goal: THE WORLD!

It falls easily, as expected. AI Progress increases to 30, but at least I don't have to worry about Astro Trains charging through Forrester quite so often. It's going to take a while to actually bring the planet itself under control, as, even with a Heavy Bomber Starship leading the attack, Fortresses are tough, but I'm still not complaining.

As my Bombers are still working on taking down the Train Station and Fortress, I get the alert about my first attack: 78 Fighters and a Starship en route to Forrester. Shouldn't be too difficult, considering that I have a full cap of Astro Planes and Fighters, along with quite a few Missile Cruisers, waiting in the wings, and Servo is standing by just waiting for a chance to take out a really juicy target. I plop down a few more turrets just to be sure and brace for impact.

As expected, the entire wave is wiped out without any casualties. It does become apparent, however, that there's another Train Station in the area, as Astro Trains are still powering through Forrester on a regular basis.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Picture526.png)

It turns out that there's another Train Station located on a planet bordering both Joel and Pearl - one that's even more heavily-defended than either of them.

This game enjoys my suffering, I know it.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on December 02, 2012, 10:16:09 PM
This game enjoys my suffering, I know it.
I'm pretty sure keith has made an experimental algorithm that uses your webcam and microphone to evaluate your suffering level and sends recordings of the times when your suffering is at it's greatest. He really is a bit sadistic when it comes to AI War.

P.S. The forums just got 100,000 posts total!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 02, 2012, 10:38:36 PM
If the astro trains are shooting, you're probably on 6.0 rather than the latest beta; so the trains won't be much trouble to you ;)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on December 02, 2012, 11:06:05 PM
He did mention having some problems updating, Keith.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 02, 2012, 11:08:05 PM
He did mention having some problems updating, Keith.
Yea, I wasn't sure if that meant he was on 6.0 or a later beta that wasn't the most recent, etc.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on December 02, 2012, 11:19:04 PM
He has a screenshot that said 6.0 on the upper left.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 02, 2012, 11:51:37 PM
If the astro trains are shooting, you're probably on 6.0 rather than the latest beta; so the trains won't be much trouble to you ;)

Yeah, I'm on 6.0. And a few CDM turrets have them locked down for the time being; they're still moving through my territory, but they can't really do any damage. I'm just hoping I don't have to deal with them all game. They're quite annoying.

What's changed in the latest beta?
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Kahuna on December 02, 2012, 11:52:24 PM
Btw.. what do we do with Counter Dark Matter turrets now? ??? Trains don't shoot anymore and I think there's 3 bonus ships that use Dark Matter ammo (Infiltrators, Armor and Munitions Boosters). :o MAYBE if Hunter/Killers used Dark Matter ammo they would be "semi useful". Fortresses' Counter Dark Matter ability should be removed in that case.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 03, 2012, 12:00:37 AM
Ha, okay. Had to install the update tool manually. AI War updates fine now.

Will this alter the way the Astro Trains behave in my current game, now that I'm running 6.009? I did see the Pain Train update details, and that actually sounds pretty awesome. Or will I have to restart?
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Kahuna on December 03, 2012, 12:10:58 AM
will I have to restart?
I'm pretty sure no.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 03, 2012, 12:17:42 AM
Well, it runs fine, at least, but I don't have time to see whether or not it's altered the behavior of the Astro Trains that are already in the game. I guess I'll have to wait and see whether or not I accidentally boarded the pain train.  ;D

Stay tuned: next time, I attempt my very first gate/knowledge raid!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 03, 2012, 04:31:56 AM
saved games with old astro trains will have all old trains removed and new ones will be spawned from the train stations over time. So yes, now that you patched get ready for some pain :P
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 03, 2012, 06:49:27 AM
saved games with old astro trains will have all old trains removed and new ones will be spawned from the train stations over time. So yes, now that you patched get ready for some pain :P

Well, in that case, ONWARD TO BRAIN GUY! That Train Station must fall!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 03, 2012, 08:45:55 AM
I'm curious to see what happens in your game with those astro trains. I haven't tried the new trains yet, but I will soon. Just be careful of the Cargo trains. I believe you're only playing on intensity 4 for trains, but for the AI that's reason enough to send a Golem your way every now and then. Kill those cargo's or find some golems yourself.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 03, 2012, 08:48:16 AM
I'm curious to see what happens in your game with those astro trains. I haven't tried the new trains yet, but I will soon. Just be careful of the Cargo trains. I believe you're only playing on intensity 4 for trains, but for the AI that's reason enough to send a Golem your way every now and then. Kill those cargo's or find some golems yourself.

I plan on doing both, if at all possible. I haven't actually seen any Golems in action yet, but just looking over their wiki articles is enough to know that I don't ever want to see them on the AI's side. I just need to find an effective way to destroy Cargo Trains.

EDIT: According to the Reference tab, it would take absolutely ludicrous amounts of firepower to destroy even a single Cargo Train. Heavy Bomber Starships look like the answer, along with upgrading my Champion as soon as possible. Plasma Siege Starships are a hell of a lot slower than either of those, but at least they still do decent damage; it's looking a lot like absolutely nothing else is going to be any help whatsoever, except for a huge mob of Bombers.

Good thing I have a full cap of Mark I and II Bombers already, along with a Heavy Bomber Starship and my Champion outfitted for heavy damage. Cargo Trains are going to demand huge amounts of attention, and I should probably start setting down Gravity turrets to slow them down and buy more time to attack, but if they pass through my territory, I think I can kill them.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 03, 2012, 09:06:08 AM
to bad you don't have Spirecraft minor faction enabled. I don't kow the cargo trains immunities, but Spirecraft Rams and/or Implosion Artillery should probably get the job done quickly.
But yeah, bombers are your salvation for now. Keep an eye out for any Broken Artillery Golem, capture and repair it once you found one. I don't know if Cargo trains are immune to Artillery Ammo or not, but if they're not they will kill a train in only a few shots.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Minotaar on December 03, 2012, 09:15:21 AM
Pretty sure killing cargo trains without at least Artillery Golem-level firepower is not a worthwhile thing to do  :) And they'll just keep spawning anyway. I'd suggest you use those resources to win faster instead, as on this difficulty and intensity the construction project should take quite a lot of time, probably more than 5 hours.
Besides, killing moving wormhole guardposts over and over doesn't seem like a fun time  :)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 04, 2012, 02:29:57 AM
Well that was a doozy. This game certainly ramped up in challenge fast. I like it.

It started out simply enough. Since the upgrade to full-on Pain Trains, I haven't seen any Astro Trains come through - though that likely just means that they're lying in wait for me somewhere. Instead, something else showed up on my homeworld...

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_03_21_50_07.png)

After I got over the initial panic of WHAT THE HELL IS THAT GIANT THING THAT JUST CAME THROUGH A HOSTILE WORMHOLE, I got down to some serious being disappointed about my economy not being nearly powerful enough to sustain one of those things. No real matter, though. I had bigger things on my mind: namely, gate-raiding Bobo and swiping whatever Knowledge I could.

I set about building a pair of Knowledge Hackers and a Mobile Builder, while I sent a fleet of Fighters, Bombers, and my Heavy Bomber Starship to take out the gate and the Wormhole Guard Posts.

Only it turned out to be... yeah. Not as easy as I thought it would.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_03_22_01_25.png)

The AI's fleet ships weren't much of an issue, but it did turn out to have several Guardian ships, which I had never seen before. It took me a minute to figure out how best to deal with them, but then I was able to take them out with my Fighters (fortunately, I had upgraded to Mark II not long before). Even with my Fighters and Space Planes covering my nearly-full-cap fleet of Bombers, along with my Starship, the Force Field protecting the Warp Gate just refused to die. Note to self: taking out FFs via brute force is extremely slow work.

Meanwhile, the AI decides to launch a wave of Microfighters at Mike. Fortunately, I've got my Cruisers on standby there, and plenty of Flak/Tractor Beam turrets set up to chew them up as they come through. A few Sniper turrets in the back provide insurance against any of them that get through.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_03_22_16_32.png)

As expected, that wave is repulsed easily. Meanwhile, I finally get my Mobile Builder and Force Fields set up on the other side of the Bobo wormhole. I'm now ready to begin Knowledge-raiding, and so I dispatch my two Knowledge Hacker facilities. Unfortunately, the Wormhole Guard Posts have proven to be very, very durable; taking them out really is inefficient. And the AI has lots of long-range weaponry parked around other areas on the planet.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_03_22_23_02.png)

...which promptly destroyed my Mobile Builder and my first couple Engineer Drones. Well. That's wonderful. My FFs are quick to fall after that, and it becomes a scramble to get another Mobile Builder and Engineer Drones out while my fleet holds off the massive AI counterattack. I've got no idea where these ships are all coming from, unless guards behave very differently from how I think they do (and they might, I'm still new to this).

I manage to get twin FFs up, and three Mark I Engineer Drones in there to keep them up. I shuffle all my ships under the FFs, toss my Knowledge Hackers in there, and brace for impact.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_03_22_25_20.png)

...Which promptly comes in the form of a Raid and Spire Starship jumping through a wormhole directly onto my home planet.

WHEEEEEE

Meanwhile, the AI is also retaliating against my hacking force. All of a sudden, there are Guardian ships everywhere. Zombie Guardians, Teleport Guardians (or whatever those are actually called, I don't remember), Laser Guardians... These things are coming from everywhere, but between my two FFs and my rather impressive fleet I'm holding them off.

...Until, that is, around two-thirds completion, when both FFs suddenly fail. I still don't know what caused it, but both of them implode, exposing my fleet to enemy fire. They're not entirely gone, but they've shrunk enough that they're no longer actively shielding most of my units. And then the battle begins in earnest.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_03_22_28_41.png)

Especially because some Human Marauders decide that it's time to throw in their chips with the AI. Seriously, these things just cruise right past multiple AI installations on their way towards my fleet, then start dishing out the pain. Meanwhile, back on Forrester, my reserve forces are fighting off the two Starships that are chewing their way through my Command Center FF.

But I manage to hold them off just long enough to finish my hacking and run the hell out of there, as well as destroy the two Starships back on my home planet. All in all, I think I lost a total of about a third of my fleet from that battle, which is much more than I've ever lost before. I would have lost much more if it weren't for setting up dual FFs before beginning the actual hack, as well as the presence of Tom Servo, who apparently leveled up from the battle (though I'm not sure what concrete benefits that has just yet). With my remaining ships being repaired and my Dock busy replenishing the lost ships, I set about using those 3000 Knowledge points I just stole from the AI.

First off, Mark II Scout Drones. Mark Is just aren't cutting it any more. I send my new Scouts out to check out the rest of the nearby planets, and turn up several very interesting places, the most notable being...

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_03_22_38_16.png)

A Mark III planet with a Mark V Space Plane Fabricator. Papa like. The Space Planes have really saved my bacon multiple times during the last session, whether it's acting as rapid-response to various Guardians showing up where I didn't expect them or keeping the MicroFighters off of my more valuable ships. Having a Mark V set of them is bound to be incredibly helpful. I'm making that planet my top priority.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 04, 2012, 02:39:07 AM
Also, note to self: invest in Raid Starships. Taking out FFs with brute force is too slow.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 04, 2012, 08:18:37 AM
oh yeah, guardians are new at dif 7, I completely forgot that. I've been so used to seeing them everywhere. Watch out for the Emp and Warp Gate Guardians. Especially the EMP ones. Don't piss off an AI world with one on it, unless you're sure you can actually kill it. If you have to retreat or if you get wiped out and the EMP Guardian is still alive...Well, you'll most likely lose at least one planet.
Are AI Eyes dif 7+ only as well? If so, then you're in for some treat.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on December 04, 2012, 09:45:35 AM
Ai Eyes are 5+. I think EMP guardians are 8+ though. I'd have to look it up but I don't remember ever running into one myself and I play on 7.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Hearteater on December 04, 2012, 09:55:01 AM
I thought EMP was 7+ and Self Destruct was the 8+ guardian.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 04, 2012, 09:57:07 AM
yeah that's right. I have seen EMP's at dif 7. Not many of them, but they're around.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Oralordos on December 04, 2012, 10:01:21 AM
Yeah I do remember self-destruct guardians as being described as 8+. I thought there was another though. I guess I am just lucky in avoiding the EMP guardians.  :)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 04, 2012, 10:03:15 AM
we need Nuke Guardians for dif 9+
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 04, 2012, 10:37:30 AM
we need Nuke Guardians for dif 9+
Not outside of some appropriate AI plot ;)  A nuke going off in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily be gg right there (not thinking of the human HW specifically, but that would do it).


Interesting to see the new-to-7 experiences here.  Seems like the game's going decently thus far :)  The trains may change that ;)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 04, 2012, 11:05:26 AM
well, if they'd have the same rules as EMP guardians, nuke guardians shouldn't be too hard (only setting off after entering a wormhole). Only piss off the planet with one on it if you're sure you can kill it. And they'd be as rare on dif 9 as EMP's are on dif 7 of course. No AIP penalty of course. Just the big bang.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 04, 2012, 05:59:16 PM
Right. So I've looked over the stuff involving Guardians, and it turns out that they're basically the AI's equivalent of turrets, which is pretty neat.

After a little more scouting is done, though, I realize that I might have to take Bobo in order to reach TV's Frank (the planet with the Space Plane Fabricator), which means that I essentially did my Knowledge raid for nothing. Ah, well. As of now, it looks like I can take Joel, though the Armor Inhibitor is going to make that costly. I'll need to take it anyway, though, so I can use it as a stepping-stone to more resource-rich planets. Joel is looking like prime whipping boy material as well, given that the planet on the other side of the "bridge" it controls is Mark IV.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Faulty Logic on December 04, 2012, 09:44:53 PM
Quote
No AIP penalty of course. Just the big bang.
AIP free nuke? The abuse, from many players (especially me) would be unending.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: zoutzakje on December 04, 2012, 10:16:23 PM
Quote
No AIP penalty of course. Just the big bang.
AIP free nuke? The abuse, from many players (especially me) would be unending.

well, they would hit player ships only of course... like the EMP. If you want to abuse AIP free nukes, Nuclear Command does basically the same thing. Just not on one of your planets.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 07, 2012, 01:01:47 AM
Right. I've got my first of four finals later today. After that, I should be able to update this. Sorry for the delay!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 08, 2012, 08:15:26 PM
So I've been stuck without internet for the past two days. Since I can't update my previous game, then, I've taken the time to try my hand at another one. I'm about four hours in now, and here are some notable moments:

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_14_58.png)

The defense of Ferrus IV goes... poorly.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_16_39.png)

SONOFA-

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_17_57.png)

WHY WON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_23_00.png)

Riot Starships prove their worth.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_27_57.png)

OH YOU SONS OF MOTHERS

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_47_48.png)

One successful gate raid = Raid Starships are now considered invaluable.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_51_54.png)

Marauders: more intimidating than an army of T-1000s. Fortunately I have quite a strong defensive fl-

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_07_22_52_34.png)

OH COME THE FU-

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_08_01_28_54.png)

FOUND YOU

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_08_01_40_56.png)

Transports prove their worth.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_08_02_01_13.png)

Mwaahahahahaha yeesssss kill one another my foes

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_08_02_24_55.png)

A Fort IV, Ion IV, Warhead Interceptor, and Orbital Mass Driver, along with a Dyson Sphere? Yeah that's not happening sorry

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_08_17_37_07.png)

Curse you, gravity drills! At least there are no Astro Trains to interfere this time-

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_08_17_41_14.png)

EVEN NOW THEIR LEGACY HAUNTS ME
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Faulty Logic on December 08, 2012, 10:31:23 PM
Quote
SONOFA-
Why yes, we astro trains are evil. Thank you for noticing.

Quote
WHY WON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE
Did we mention the evil?

Quote
Riot Starships prove their worth.
Was there ever any doubt?

Quote
Marauders: more intimidating than an army of T-1000s. Fortunately I have quite a strong defensive fl-
Marauders: because otherwise you might be able to feel safe.

Quote
EVEN NOW THEIR LEGACY HAUNTS ME
Why should we give you any peace?

I like the image-caption format.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Mánagarmr on December 09, 2012, 08:56:57 AM
That "Pain Train" sub-title is starting to make a lot more sense :P
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 09, 2012, 03:45:21 PM
That "Pain Train" sub-title is starting to make a lot more sense :P

Indeed. I'm running multiple campaigns simultaneously now, jumping in and out of each as I feel like it. On one, I set Astro Trains to 4/10 on one AI, leaving the other one without any. It feels much less chaotic, while the Trains are still a noticeable force. Having them enabled on both makes it so that you're hardly ever without them making their way through your territory.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: onyhow on December 16, 2012, 02:50:11 AM
Blow up command center on Admmi, and watch the Dyson fun!
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 19, 2012, 01:21:13 AM
Right. It's been a while since I've posted here, and I've been through a couple games in the meantime. In all of them, I didn't get much farther than the four-hour mark, as I outright refused to turn down Astro Trains. This meant that I was getting mobbed by Golems from about the two-hour mark onward, and maybe some pros can deal with that, but I can't.

But, every time, I lasted a little longer. Every time, I learned a little more about the game. Finally, I turned down Astro Trains to 2/10 on both AIs and started a new game. This one is going much better. I'm two hours in, hold six planets (and plan to take at least one more very soon), have a Golem coming online and an Advanced Research Station within spitting distance, broke my first Mark IV planet, have a whipping boy that has proven itself capable of withstanding simultaneous attacks from 300+ Threat and an 800-ship wave of Vorticular Cutlasses, a powerful economy... things are looking good.

No screenshots this time, unfortunately, but here's a list of my thoughts on the game so far. Not, like, criticisms, but the stuff I've had to learn over the course of my previous failures.

Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Mánagarmr on December 19, 2012, 04:25:37 AM
Astro Trains were always designed to be unstoppable, even in their first iteration. They were supposed to be a constant annoyance and the only real way to deal with them was to reroute them. Eventually though, they just became a no-issue. This buff to trains put them right back into dangerous territory again. Some like them, some don't. I'm not a fan of trains and never were, but now that they actually bite, I might try them again.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LordSloth on December 19, 2012, 01:31:32 PM

No screenshots this time, unfortunately, but here's a list of my thoughts on the game so far. Not, like, criticisms, but the stuff I've had to learn over the course of my previous failures.

  • RAID STARSHIPS: Use them. Love them. Even Mark I Raids can pull off seemingly-impossible feats and make previously untouchable planets easy pickings.
Beware Gravity Guardians. The mere presence of them is no threat. But if they end up guarding a wormhole post directly on your route, you will lose those Raids.
  • RIOT STARSHIPS: These are only slightly less necessary than Raid Starships. A Riot Starship outfitted with four Machine Guns, a Shotgun, and a Shield can break the back of massive hordes of fleet ships, even when their Mark level is incredibly high. These have brought my forces out on top of battles that I would have otherwise considered impossible.
You do know how to respec existing Riots and how to save designs for later use, right? It has been made much easier and convenient with the development of Ancient Shadows. I often switch between a long-range, no shields kiting design, and a shielded model designed to drag loose threat through a wormhole into my systems. In particular, when dealing with Zenith Bombards. Neither of these two layouts are very good for -general- use, unfortunately.
  • TRACTOR TURRETS: Mark II Tractor turrets give you more than enough stopping power to handle pretty much anything the AI can throw at you - at least, for as far as I've gotten into the game. Combine these with Heavy Beam Turrets and watch the fireworks.
Yep, they're great. If you see a new shiptype announced in a wave, hover over the announcement for a bit, there are a few ships immune to tractor turrets. If those show up a lot, consider switching to gravity turrets.
  • FORTRESSES: Never, ever, ever attempt to approach a Fortress, no matter its Mark, with anything other than Bombers or Heavy Bomber Starships. You will take horrendous losses and deal no damage in return. If you've got a Fortress defending something like an Ion Cannon that has to die before you bring your fleet in, use Heavy Bombers, not Raids, to bring that thing down.
It's worth noting that AI Fortresses require supply, just like yours do. While the cost is almost always prohibitive, if you take down the local and all adjacent AI command stations or fire off a nuke, the fortress cannot shoot back at you. Cluster maps are midway between crosshatch and snake map for how viable the tactic is, so it might come up.
  • PLASMA SIEGE STARSHIPS: I've... never really encountered a situation where I've considered these to be all that important, really. Heavy Bombers and Raid Starships seem to be capable of handling any situation they could better. I still use them for stuff like Spire Shield Guard Posts, but they're much less lower-priority than Raids, Riots, and Bombers.
Plasma Siege Starships are good, and can be great under certain circumstances, but your analysis is pretty much spot on unless you build around them. There are a few ship and AI types that can dramatically increase their value, however. A defensive, but not exceptionally fortress heavy AI (entrenched homeworlder, shield ninny), Force Field Bearers, and Gravity Drains (bonus ship) are all excellent reasons to unlock Plasma Siege Starships, especially since the the last one can result in the brutal death of your raid starships and heavy bomber starships. The engine damage can also help with some pesky low-cap ships although it isn't central to the role like it is for riot starships and spider turrets. There are a couple of silly fun things you can do with Plasma Siege Starships, like boost their speed to four hundred with Zenith Space-Time Manipulators and turning on auto-kiting.
  • FIGHTERS: These are your go-to ship during a battle when you need a specific type of enemy eliminated. More often than not, AI Guardians have Medium hulls, which means that Fighters are a hell of a lot better against them than I expected. At first, I kept chucking Bombers at them to little effect.
Given their low resource cost and build time compared to bombers and frigates, I particularly like to send these guys on suicide runs against warp gates and tachyon guardians. Once all the tachyon guardians within two hops are dead, you can 1) scout farther 2) auto-picket your scouts for a great intelligence network - particularly helpful in hour four 3) pull back your pickets to support your higher mark scouts, and redeploy them easily 4) load raid starships into transports, escort the transport with two cloakers (one in front, one behind) and group move through dangerous threat buildup with complete ease, to strike at vulnerable targets behind the AI's frontline.
  • ZENITH SPACE-TIME MANIPULATORS: Are a hell of a lot more useful than you might think at first glance. They let your fleet get from one side of your territory to the other in about half the time, which means that you get to defend that critical planet that much sooner.
Combine these with the slowing effects of logistics command stations, and you can have lots of fun manually kiting enemy forces with riot starships- just switch the machine guns out for the longer ranged lasers.
  • ASTRO TRAINS: Just don't bother. You can't stop them. Nothing can stop them. Armageddon will come, the Four Horsemen will ride out, and Death will be forced to pull his pale steed to a halt and hold up one skeletal hand to force the others to do the same, so that the invincible Astro Trains might pass. When the heat death of the universe comes, there they will be, steaming silently through the great black void, continuing their endless journey to nowhere.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 19, 2012, 07:03:03 PM
Well, the current game I'm playing on is going very well, I think. I've got a Regenerator Golem (the first Golem I've ever managed to hold long enough to bring online) and a Black Widow ready to come online. Scouts have located a planet that has not only an Artillery Golem but the Botnet as well, only two hops away. I've captured one ARS and have located two more, each no more than three hops from my front lines.

The issue, however, is rapidly becoming one of AIP management. I've gotten further into this game than I have any other - actually survived the early game, believe it or not, with a total of seven planets in my control, and am now approaching the four-hour mark. I've lasted this long in previous games, but never with this much territory and power.

But this is not going to last, I feel. I've only found one Processing Center. Without them, AIP is going to skyrocket very quickly no matter what I try to do.

We'll see how this goes.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Mánagarmr on December 20, 2012, 03:31:07 AM
Are you running on Golems medium and that's where the AIP is coming from? Otherwise, you should be fine with a temporary AIP spike.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LordSloth on December 20, 2012, 10:34:15 AM
Instead of indulging in my usual tendency towards 'backseat driving', I'm merely going to suggest making a separate save for the fourth hour, as close to 4:00:00 as convenient. This should give you sufficent wiggle-room to reverse time and experiment if necessary.

I would request a screenshot of your Stats screen. Should provide a nice overview of all factions enabled.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 21, 2012, 12:15:30 AM
Are you running on Golems medium and that's where the AIP is coming from? Otherwise, you should be fine with a temporary AIP spike.

Right. I've brought two Golems online so far, so that's +50 AIP. On the bright side, between my heavy defenses and my Regenerator and Black Widow Golems, I've pretty much proven invincible when it comes to defense. The allied Roaming Enclaves that have shown up have proven very helpful as well, since one of the planets I've been unable to take thus far is a Mark IV only two hops away from my home planet. The Enclaves camp out on my home planet, and there's about eight of them thus far. Whenever anybody threatens New Texas, they suddenly find themselves swamped in 2000+ Neinzul Younglings of various kinds.

Anyway. I've definitely hit the middlegame now, with easy expansion ground to a halt in favor of knock-down drag-out battles for juicy pieces of territory, Gate-raiding, attempting to clear paths for scouts, and so on. I've just passed the seven-hour mark. Notable events thus far include:

 - My first ever CPA, repulsed easily.
 - A "natural" wave and Counter-Attack Post wave slamming into my primary whipping boy, New Kansas, in rapid succession, both over a thousand ships strong and both getting absolutely shredded by the combined might of my Golems and the Military Command Center there. The Military CC has earned my appreciation, and will see a lot more use in future.
 - A wake-up call that impressed upon me once and for all the importance of keeping your Energy Collectors intact. A Threatfleet attack at one of my outlying, lightly-defended planets, New California (named as such because it was a resource-rich planet that also contained the Regenerator Golem, and me beating a path to it through a Mark IV planet was considered my own personal gold rush), took out its Energy Collector, and a few eager ships jumped through the nearby wormhole to New Washington and took out that Collector as well. The resultant Energy crisis was only barely salvaged at the last moment by the initial arrival of my now-indispensable allied Enclaves. I now have backup plans in place to install Matter Convertors on my home planet as soon as any Energy Collector falls.
 - My first real slug-fest battle, for a planet called New Arizona which contains a wealth of resources, a broken Artillery Golem, a Core Shield Generator, and the freaking Botnet Golem. Transports again proved their worth here, as transported Bombers, Heavy Bomber Starships, and Fighters proved all that was capable of even reaching the planet's Special Forces Guard Posts (yes, multiple), let alone taking them out, and the Special Forces were absolutely murdering my ships every time I attempted an attack.
 - The return of my old nemeses, the Tractor Trains. I seriously cannot even count how many ships I lost to those buggers until the fall of New Arizona, as the Train Station located there is obviously very close to another one on the other side of my whipping boy. The Tractor Trains would just bounce back and forth across New Kansas over and over, dragging my fleet away whenever they were engaged in a fight against aggressive Threat ships.

As another note, both AIs have Astro Trains at 2/10. In the course of these seven hours, AI 1 has completed two major construction projects, while AI 2 has completed one. I'm fairly sure that AI 1 is a Train Master, though, so that makes sense. AI 2 is quite definitely an Experimentalist.

As for the Stats screen printout, LordSloth, here ya go.

(http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u65/Maestro134/Screenshot_2012_12_20_23_58_38_zpscaf70dd3.png)
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: LordSloth on December 21, 2012, 10:26:58 AM
Cool, looks like some interesting settings, and sounds like you've got defense all set up to handle trains.

Has the rebellion shown up yet? It's one of my favorite minor factions. A bit overshadowed by golems perhaps, but the ships are absolutely wonderful.

I'm curious - in general, are you running logistics or economic command stations? I haven't had a chance to sit down with the game since the former were rebalanced, and I'm curious how much MKI Logistics Commands help with errant threatfleet. On one hand, you've got more speed with your basic fleet, but you also have less enemy speed reduction.

One of my favorite tactics when dealing with pre-pain trains that I couldn't route around my territory (and couldn't afford counter-dark matter everywhere) was setting my defenses off-center and throwing in lots of spider turrets (5 to 10 a world, usually five) to slow ships down, with a single forcefield and a handful of turrets (esp missile) guarding the logistics command at the system's edge. I'd invariably lose the system, but not after a good long while, and not until a large portion of the threat fleet was disabled. Now the trains are a threat in their own right, so I really have no idea how it'll play out.
Title: Re: The First Words - A Newbie's First Game
Post by: Wordsmith on December 21, 2012, 11:55:14 AM
Cool, looks like some interesting settings

Very.

and sounds like you've got defense all set up to handle trains.

Ahahahahahaha no.

Spire Implosion Artillery are still the only things I've found that can reliably scratch the paint on the Trains. The Artillery Golem might be able to once I get it online, but it's not up yet. The last half-hour of my game has been dedicated to raiding local Train Stations just to get them the hell away from New Kansas, in fact.

Has the rebellion shown up yet? It's one of my favorite minor factions. A bit overshadowed by golems perhaps, but the ships are absolutely wonderful.

Depends on what you mean. I've had Human Resistance Frigates and Fighter/Bombers on my side for a while, but they're less numerous, slower, and less likely to show up during any given battle than the Neinzul Enclaves currently on my side. Still, they did save New Texas once or twice, and it's never bad to have them around.

I haven't run into any other Human factions thus far, though, save for the usual Marauders.

I'm curious - in general, are you running logistics or economic command stations? I haven't had a chance to sit down with the game since the former were rebalanced, and I'm curious how much MKI Logistics Commands help with errant threatfleet. On one hand, you've got more speed with your basic fleet, but you also have less enemy speed reduction.

I've been running Economic Command Stations pretty much exclusively since I started playing this game. Particularly in this one; with two Golems to support, I need the income desperately. In other games, though (the ones I failed horribly in), I've put up Logistic Stations every once in a while, but I've never really been wowed by them. The attack boost and attached guns on the Military Station are much more impressive and useful for dealing with Threat ships, as well as all manner of other nasties. If I want to speed up my own ships, I use Zenith Space-Time Manipulators, and if I want to slow down the enemy, I use Minefields, Tractor Beam turrets, and Gravity turrets.

One of my favorite tactics when dealing with pre-pain trains that I couldn't route around my territory (and couldn't afford counter-dark matter everywhere) was setting my defenses off-center and throwing in lots of spider turrets (5 to 10 a world, usually five) to slow ships down, with a single forcefield and a handful of turrets (esp missile) guarding the logistics command at the system's edge. I'd invariably lose the system, but not after a good long while, and not until a large portion of the threat fleet was disabled. Now the trains are a threat in their own right, so I really have no idea how it'll play out.

Probably badly.  :P

The new Pain Trains are pretty much entirely unaffected by Counter-Dark-Matter turrets, and their effects are much nastier to boot. They're no longer any real threat to your turrets, but Armor and Attack Booster Trains are nasty. Regenerator Trains are essentially miniature Regeneration Golems that the AI gets for free. Repair Trains make taking out any concentrated fleet a real pain. Shield Trains aren't really bad on their own, but they do make it pretty much impossible for your Implosion Artillery to target the other Trains in the caravan, and that's a bad thing. Depending on the location of the Train Station, they can also just park themselves over a critical target at a bad time, too. And then there are the Widow Trains.

I think I might have mentioned those before.