Author Topic: (Zenith Trader) When would you *ever* buy an Ion Cannon or a Counterspy?  (Read 5267 times)

Offline Haagenti

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After toying a bit with the Zenith Trader, I wonder when you would *ever* buy an Ion Cannon or Counterspy?

By the time you can afford one, the AI sends ships in groups of 500 or so, and <plink>.....pause.....<plink> isn't going to help.

Most other toys seem worth it:
- Booster/Inhibitor/Jammers are great.
- Power Generator is a godsend
- I presume that Black Hole Machines work very well against Raid Starships & Eyebots and other that ignore forcefields.
- SuperFortress and Mass Driver seem moderately useful

but I can't see myself ever buying an Ion Cannon or Counterspy. Or am I overlooking something?

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Offline keith.lamothe

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I don't think you're missing anything on the Ion Cannons, they're just not capable of the same defensive-output-per-cost as normal turrets.  They do have the advantage of infinite range, but so do snipers.  Anyway, it's one of those things where the AI gets a lot more use out of them then you would.

The counterspy may seem like the sort of thing, but being able to hit sneaking AI cloaked ships with total disregard for the fact that they're cloaked can be rather useful.  Putting one on a chokepoint planet combined with "doorstop" forcefields on all the wormholes could be pretty effective if you're frequently seeing roaming cloaked ships coming through and shooting up your resource harvesters.  Of course, some of them can fly through forcefields, and stealth battleships are immune to instakill, so there are gaps even there.  The AI definitely gets better mileage out of these.

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Offline chemical_art

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A few toys I think have lost their impact.

For example the super fort. Before normal forts got a huge boost in firewpower these things were by far the best single defensive unit. Now with the boost I know MK III fort is better and II's I consider better as well.

Counterspy's could be cool, but as long as I have access to MK III military stations that can do the same thing I won't need them.


It's ok though. Z-power gens and armor inhibitors are good enough to make Z-traders worth it.
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Offline TechSY730

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A few toys I think have lost their impact.

For example the super fort. Before normal forts got a huge boost in firewpower these things were by far the best single defensive unit. Now with the boost I know MK III fort is better and II's I consider better as well.

Counterspy's could be cool, but as long as I have access to MK III military stations that can do the same thing I won't need them.


It's ok though. Z-power gens and armor inhibitors are good enough to make Z-traders worth it.

I disagree about the superfortress. Superfortress have a MUCH better durability than Mk. III forts. (150 million compared to the Mk. III's 60 million)
As for the DPS, lets compare

Mk. III fort: (1 shot / (6 seconds)) * (50 bullets / shot) * (500,000 damage / bullet) = 4,166,666.666... damage / second
Superfortress: (1 shot / (3 seconds)) * (120 bullets / shot) * (120,000 damage / bullet) = 4,800,000.000 damage / second

So the superfortress still out DPSs the Mk. III fort (but not by much).

However, superfortresses most certainly have a far, far worse cost efficieny than Mk. III forts.However, in the late game, when cost efficiency doesn't matter as much, superfortresses can be quite useful.

I would agree that the Ion cannons and the counter-spy could use a firing rate boost (reducing it from 4 seconds to 2 seconds seems reasonable, maybe even slightly faster)

There is already a mantis post about buffing Orbital Mass Drivers (see http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=2704), but IMO they either need a massive heath boost or a increase in base damage.

Offline Orelius

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In late game, resources are still a very valuable commodity, as they are what allows you to rebuild your fleet.  I think it's a much better idea to be able to rebuild your fleet a few dozen times as opposed to making a superfortress.

You're also much more likely to build a bunch of black hole generators, zenith reactors, and radar jammers as they have a niche that is unfilled by knowledge unlocks.  Why spend 18 million of both resources to build something that in actuality is just a slightly better version of something you can already easily get?  Why not make black hole generators to seal chokepoints?  Why not build a bunch of MkII radar jammers to inhibit the enemy fleet?

Besides, in order to even support such a structure, you'd need upwards of 20 planets and many, many spire habitation centers in order to even build it.
So, yeah.  Not worth it at all.

Ion cannons are useless as of now, they scrap for very little and don't make much of an impact in battles when you control it.  I agree, this probably needs a buff, but not with firing rate, as it makes them so much more deadlier when the player is engaging the world.
Counterspy is too expensive for its utility;  it hits only cloaked units and is very fragile.  Unless you're very self-conscious about having red 1's and 2's on your planets, it's not worth it at all.  Even then, you need only to unlock decloakers.
Orbital mass drivers...well, yeah, they need a buff.  Too ineffective overall.

Offline TechSY730

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Besides, in order to even support such a structure, you'd need upwards of 20 planets and many, many spire habitation centers in order to even build it.

Oh yea, I forgot about its absurd energy costs. While needing 20 planets to be dedicated to powering the superfortress is an exaggeration, it would still take several planets worth of energy to power on. So yea, more of a gimmick than a practical defensive measure, though a rather effective (if still impractical) gimmick if you can manage to pull it off.

Ion cannons are useless as of now, they scrap for very little and don't make much of an impact in battles when you control it.  I agree, this probably needs a buff, but not with firing rate, as it makes them so much more deadlier when the player is engaging the world.
Counterspy is too expensive for its utility;  it hits only cloaked units and is very fragile.  Unless you're very self-conscious about having red 1's and 2's on your planets, it's not worth it at all.  Even then, you need only to unlock decloakers.
Orbital mass drivers...well, yeah, they need a buff.  Too ineffective overall.

Counterspy could use a cost nerf, that seems like it would make it balanced.

Ion cannons are trickier. How about instead of a rate of fire buff, they get a buff to damage to things that are higher mark to them? Right now, they do pathetic damage to HP and engines of things they can't instant kill. Giving them a decent attack would really help them out. Whether this increase should be to HP damage, engine damage, or both is to be debated.
This would also solve the "Mk. I ion cannons are near useless past the early game" problem, as Mk. I ions would still be a decent hindrance to Mk. II ships.

I already mentioned my ideas for OMD buffs.

(A similar rebalance may need to be considered for the spirecraft ion cannon things)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 01:01:30 AM by techsy730 »

Offline superking

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or just make Ion Cannons affordable toys again?

Offline realcoolguy

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I'd like to see a few of those toys come down in price slightly and the unit cap relaxed (as opposed to making them shoot faster, build an extra 1 or 2 to make up for how fast you need to pick off ships).  Ion cannon 65% off sale has a certain ring to it too...  Counter Spy - buy one get one free.

Offline Haagenti

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An extra 1 or 2 won't cut it. In my current game (in the mid stage), the regular waves are about 3000 and 3 starships.
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Offline realcoolguy

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If things are going to be that excessively expensive from the trader, maybe they should be nearly uncapped.  The economic cost would limit the build rate anyway.  I mean things like z power generator and some of the planet-wide enhancements are obviously a little dangerous in terms of game balance to uncap, but maybe at least we could consider uncapping ion cannons to allow players to actually make a difference in terms of waves if they choose to spend their resources that way.  I guess the risk is you can create a perfectly turtled world at a chokepoint and have an unfair defensive advantage for beating back the big rushes the AI does when it does get through the front lines.

The point is there has to be a way to make the ioncannons either cost effective, useful, or a viable option again.  As it stands now I don't even bother trying to save any ion cannons from any planet when I take them, with very few exceptions.  I generally don't ever bother building any ion cannons either, except for maybe a major hub world where I need to pick off ships the AI has that doesn't get stopped by tractor beams.  Even then it's not cost effective at all.

With light of the spire expansion it feels even sillier to have ion cannons since you can be looking at a pretty tremendous number of ships if you're moving those shards around.  I'm the last person to ask what to do in terms of game balance, but it just feels like there are some items in the game that because of the cost benefit ratio just aren't very useful anymore, and ion cannons are one of them. 

Offline keith.lamothe

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Yea, Ion Cannons definitely aren't useful in any proportion to their cost.  It's something I want to bring into somewhat-more-sane territory someday, but not a big priority for me.

If it showed up on the upper list on: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/plugin.php?page=GaugeSupport/issue_ranking that could change my mind, though ;)
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Offline Lancefighter

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I remember when ion cannons were powerful


Oh, those were the days.



Back in 2.0.
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Offline Haagenti

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I guess the risk is you can create a perfectly turtled world at a chokepoint and have an unfair defensive advantage for beating back the big rushes the AI does when it does get through the front lines.

You don't need the Ion Cannons for that. My current map has a chokepoint with:
- 1000 turrets
- all Beam Cannons
- all I and II fortresses
- a fully fledged (5 reactors and a habitat) Spire City
- the two Armor thingies
- a Black Hole Generator (otherwise the AI escapes when they see what you have)

This has managed to stop everything (even though the AI level is now 800+) with one exception: when two raids hit simultaneously with a CPR while I was escorting a shard back home. Always keep a few Martyrs ready for these occurrences: even the lowly Martyr I can easily take out 1000 ships.

I'm playing without Beachheads (too much micromanagement). If I did, I would have to keep a few Rams ready near the wormhole under a Cloaker.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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You don't need the Ion Cannons for that. My current map has a chokepoint with:
- 1000 turrets
- all Beam Cannons
- all I and II fortresses
- a fully fledged (5 reactors and a habitat) Spire City
- the two Armor thingies
- a Black Hole Generator (otherwise the AI escapes when they see what you have)

And:

- Several cloaked audio recorders near the hostile wormhole to catch the reaction of the enemy ships.  Anyone who thinks there's no sound in space has never been near an Avenger when the AI pulls the handbrake.
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Offline Haagenti

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I may be imagining things, but often they send in x000 ships who:
- rush towards the turrets,
- see what they are up against,
- go back in the direction of the wormhole trying to escape
- mill around there waiting for the inevitable (because the BHM is preventing their escape)

I have never seen an Avenger, but I think that I will soon. I wonder how it stacks up against a Spire DN.

And...now that I finally have enough resources, I've found a use for the Counterspy. Its great to clear those worlds that have 4 cloaked AI ships lurking about :)
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