Author Topic: Counterattack Posts  (Read 8128 times)

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2014, 09:32:49 pm »
Potential counters that come to mind:

1) Make sure these relays never get built. 
Some combination of always clearing threat out or zerging threatballs once these get to 50% to stop them.  I'd kind of prefer a minimum strength for threat to start working on these, so I don't feel compelled to clear out tiny amounts of threat due to OCD, but that makes it easier to avoid the mechanic.

I think this encourages having one choke point with multiple ingresses; the threat will potentially spread out (dunno if threat is smart enough to clump onto one planet while waiting), and then you just sally forth and wipe out the threat as needed.  Even if threat is smart enough to try to clump up, if you hold the center of an X map, they have to clump on separate planets if they come from different arms of the X.  If you have multiple chokes, then you have to either split your sally-forth force or have it patrol between ingresses, which might be slow and/or require annoying micro.

Beachheading the adjacent planets would potentially help a lot, if you have VotM+Core Turrets.  Makes great threat-bait at low risk.  Without core turrets, you'd take ships from your main fleet instead, not take anything off your choke. 

2) Kill the relays REALLY FAST after they show up
Gonna need a strike force ready when the relay is nearly charged.  And firepower.  Lots of firepower.  Superweapons (ie artillery golems) would make this a lot easier, but having reasons to use superweapons for defense isn't bad.  And then you're basically dedicating a strike force to defense, or having to turn around all/part of your main fleet whenever threat piles up on your borders.  Then the strike force probably heads to whatever waves came in while the relay was up (hopefully, you know, none). 

If the AI is smart enough to delay waves if a relay is almost done, or to launch waves early the instant a relay finishes, then this is much less viable; at that point you blow the relay and send the strike force to stop the waves, which might not be possible if 4 waves get launched at once (both AIs, two homeworlds).

3) Have multiple choke point planets, none of which are strong enough to deter threat.
This seems like one of the intended counters.  You'll need more defenses to pull this off, though, either via unlocks or Core Turret controllers. See below for numbers.

4) Defense in depth
Reinforce planets far enough back that even if a relay gets built, your defenses can soak the waves on all those planets. IE, be playing low difficulty and have lots of Core Turret Controllers. This gets harder and harder the farther back those waves can penetrate, though. 

5) mobile defenses
Just have half your fleet on defense all the time. That won't be a problem, right?  This is how I usually counter WCA-GPs anyway; just pop them and move a fair chunk of fleet back to deal with the counterattack. 

6) Play on maps that don't offer chokes
At which point you'd BETTER have core turrets and mobile defenses to survive; regular turrets will be spread thin and forts will have to guard irreplaceables. And don't turn on Shark.   

Much as I love core turrets and VotM, it is a bit frustrating to have *the* major distributed defense mechanic be in an expansion rather than included as part of the base game.  And even then, if you're on a big map and all the Core Turret Controllers happen to be really far away, you may be stuck without much distributed defense for quite a while.  Miniforts only go so far, especially since there aren't higher marks available (hint, hint). 

This all seems to have the issue by the wrong end, though. 

If building one choke is really good, then maybe the AI just needs to be better at hitting that one choke REALLY HARD. Discounting core turrets, miniforts, and mobile defenses, if you go from two chokepoints to one, you've increased your defensive strength by 100%.  Going from three to two boosts your defensive strength by 50%.  I'm not sure how to interpret these numbers from the 5.036 patch notes:
* If 3, from (AIDifficulty*30) to (AIDifficulty*120).
* If 2, from (AIDifficulty*60) to (AIDifficulty*120).
* If 1, from (AIDifficulty*90) to (AIDifficulty*150)

If the base range of the wave is 3 mins, then dropping from 2 chokes to 1 makes the smallest waves 38% larger and less often, and the largest waves 20% larger and less often.  That isn't anywhere near enough to keep up with doubling your effective firepower.  If you throw a large enough wave at defenses, eventually the adjacent threat is going to go through.  This might require annoyingly infrequent waves, though (you won't get feedback very often).  Or the two AIs start syncing their waves if there's only one choke.  Or they start deploying waves as cross-planet waves. 

Conversely, splitting your forces across two chokes *halves* your effective defense strength.  Any intervention intended to change that is going to need to be something like a factor of 2 or a total gamechanger to make it worth splitting firepower, unless you have core turrets and can increase firepower by splitting it up.

If the AIs always launched paired waves (like with two homeworlds), and the two waves launched always hit different planets if at all possible, that would make splitting up into two chokes way more worthwhile.  Then the AI doesn't double up its forces unless you do, and having any core turrets at all probably makes it worth having two chokes as far as waves go. 

None of those deal with threatballs intimidated by super-chokes, really.  Nor do they really affect the power of using chokes vs CPAs, which are way more of a concern than waves.  Maybe CPAs should take into account how many choke planets there are?  Might be hard to make that un-cheesable, though. 

Oh oh, here's a counter to entrenched planets: bored threatballs don't build warp relays, they build *beachheads*.  Or they start doing cargo deliveries like astrotrains.  Though an artillery golem sitting on your choke could probably one-shot beachheads easily, restoring your defenses. 

Man, I'm glad I'm not the one balancing snake maps vs crosshatch maps.  *salutes your dedication*
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 09:51:40 pm by tadrinth »

Offline ZaneWolfe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2014, 10:22:45 pm »
My one concern is the charge rate - if I have 2,000 threat just sitting around (quite possible by mid fallen-spire) and that means I have to go micro my fleet to kill one of these every 5 minutes, that could get annoying.
That is a potential pitfall.  Two thoughts:

1) The rate can be capped to make sure it takes at least X minutes, or something like that.  Like you suggested.

2) Even if it was allowed to throw them up really fast, there are defensive strategies you could use to avoid the threat piling up right outside your citadel.  A lead planet with lesser defenses, for instance.  Of course, that may not be an appealing option.
Or a fallback planet with just as many defenses might work, assuming you haven't just dumped everything into one planet.

Maybe it could be made to scale on Effective AIP. In example, if your Effective AIP is 10, then 100 threat builds a relay in Y time. If however your Effective AIP was 100, then it now takes 1000 threat to build the same relay in Y time. As your Effective AIP goes up, the more threat is needed to build at the same rate. (Numbers are for concept purpose only, not suggested balance.) I would certainly rather it scale on FIREPOWER rather simple number of ships. One thousand MKI Fighters isn't exactly threatening, but that same number in MKI Spire Stealth Battleships suddenly becomes a force that could win the game for the AI if it could only get past the choke. Thus firepower represents the overall power of threat far more than simple number of ships does.

All in all I love this idea. I would suggest that once a relay is built, rather than only sending normal waves at the player, it also starts warping a % of the current threatfleet's firepower with normal/somewhat longer than normal wave timers. Probably have that % scale on the average AI difficulty in game. Say 80% at 10/10 (Because that is supposed to be the greatest pain, hell you might even go 100% at that level) and scale down from there. If 7/7 is the main balance point, maybe have 7/7 Average be 50%?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 10:24:30 pm by ZaneWolfe »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2014, 11:00:40 pm »
Maybe it could be made to scale on Effective AIP.
My intent was that it scale with normal wave strength, which would include scaling with AIP and factor in unit strength (rather than unit count).  That way it also factors in multi-HW, etc.
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2014, 01:54:55 am »
But a new, permanent structure that continually launches deepstrike waves?
To clarify, it wouldn't cause any waves.  But the waves that would have happened anyway would (potentially) be able to target planets they couldn't otherwise.
Would finding that structure be as infuriating as finding the Dyson Antagonizer?

So it would be new Warp Gate that could send waves over x hops. Basically Warp Gate Guardian in steroids.

I thought the Counterattack posts were there to prevent the player from just killing every AI Command Station willy-nilly.  By being forced to kill the posts and trigger a counter-attack to the player's backfield, there is a reason to not kill that CS, or to take multiple slower raids on the planet.
That's what I thought too.

I'm also a little concerned over what could happen after a CPA.  Would the strength of, say, 10,000 ships be so high it could charge waves in just a few minutes?
It's not charging waves, actually, it's just building the relay.  Also, this is only waiting threat doing this.
So relay=warp gate in steroids?
What's the difference between threat and waiting threat?
If a CPA of 20000 ships is approaching me I would have at least 20000 threat. If 4000 of those 20000 ships are waiting next to my planet while the rest 16000 are still on their way how would that affect the charging?
If I pop an AI planet and the AI ships guarding that planets are become threat ships how would that affect the charging?

2) Even if it was allowed to throw them up really fast, there are defensive strategies you could use to avoid the threat piling up right outside your citadel.  A lead planet with lesser defenses, for instance.  Of course, that may not be an appealing option.
If I have a "lead planet" in front of my whipping boy the lead planet might have to take the waves. Or I'd have to double/triple the amount of gate raiding. Unless this lead planet is a beachhead. This would be an indirect buff to core turrets thanks to their per planet cap which have already been discussed as OP.. though I think the conclusion was that they're not OP.
 
If the relay could send waves over tech level + 1 hops that would double the amount of turrets needed at tech level I. Actually that would indirectly nerf turrets and make fleet ships much more important. And again.. it would indirectly buff Core Turrets. I'm pretty sure these relays would make everyone hack/capture every single core turret controller in the galaxy AND an Advanced Factory.. and unlock Mark IV fleet ships.

Would the relay waves come from wormholes or the edge of the gravity ring like counter attacks at the moment? If they don't come from wormholes it would be an indirect nerf to minefields.


I already know how I would counter this.. I would get every single (or most) core turret in the galaxy and beachhead adjacent AI planets to keep them threat free.. and I'd still have these
Or a fallback planet with just as many defenses might work, assuming you haven't just dumped everything into one planet.
The "everything AND the kitchen sink AND the factory that makes kitchen sinks, all on one planet" approach is the main one I have in mind in terms of needing a counterbalance :)
..whipping boys. I'd just beachhead the sht out of the AI and get a couple of extra economic unlocks to support the beachheads. Beachheads and fleet would keep threat low and adjacent AI planets clear so I could easily go kill the relay. "Boom problem solved"?

Again.. it sounds like this would be a huge buff to Core Turrets.



Something like this would probably make the game more interesting and strategic though. And Harder of course.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2014, 04:00:12 am by Kahuna »
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Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2014, 04:24:08 am »
Quote
I thought the Counterattack posts were there to prevent the player from just killing every AI Command Station willy-nilly.  By being forced to kill the posts and trigger a counter-attack to the player's backfield, there is a reason to not kill that CS, or to take multiple slower raids on the planet.
I don't think they are a significant factor in that regard.

Quote
What's the difference between threat and waiting threat?
I think waiting threat is only the threatballs hanging out on neighboring planets. If it's moving, or in threatfleet, it doesn't count.

Quote
If I pop an AI planet and the AI ships guarding that planets are become threat ships how would that affect the charging?
They wouldn't; they'd be engaging your fleet.

Quote
Again.. it sounds like this would be a huge buff to Core Turrets.
I don't think so. Basically, if this change is affecting you, you have a massive chokepoint or two. In those situations, core turrets don't help much. I'd rather spend my AIP/HaP on fleetship or starship fabs.

The change would benefit more open strategies, and for completely open empires, it would be a straight buff. Which they need relative to chokepoints, IMO. More importantly, the structures that slow the game down no matter what stage you're in, but almost never pose a real threat, are gone.
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2014, 04:30:28 am »
I think waiting threat is only the threatballs hanging out on neighboring planets. If it's moving, or in threatfleet, it doesn't count.
And what's the difference between threatfleet, threat and waiting threat? Why isn't a fleet 2000 threat ships waiting next to your planet a threatfleet? Or is it? Why is not the approaching CPA a threatfleet?
"threatball"=waiting threat?
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
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   set /A me=SadPanda
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2014, 04:32:36 am »
They wouldn't; they'd be engaging your fleet.
They wouldn't engage my fleet if I'd pop the Command Station with Assault Transports and Raid Starships.
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
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   set /A me=SadPanda
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echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2014, 04:38:59 am »
I don't think so.
Of course this change would increase the usefulness of Core Turrets.

Basically, if this change is affecting you, you have a massive chokepoint or two. In those situations, core turrets don't help much.
Because this change would not affect people who don't use chokepoints..
I do have a couple of chokepoints.. and core turrets do help a lot..
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   set /A me=SadPanda
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2014, 05:46:07 am »
I really like this idea. Much more interesting than the existing Counterattack Post mechanic, imho.
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Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2014, 06:14:22 am »
Quote
Of course this change would increase the usefulness of Core Turrets.
Obviously. I was disagreeing with the "huge."

Quote
Because this change would not affect people who don't use chokepoints..
Yeah, if the AI can get to most of your planets anyway, the relay wouldn't be a big deal.

Quote
They wouldn't engage my fleet if I'd pop the Command Station with Assault Transports and Raid Starships.
Point.

Quote
And what's the difference between threatfleet, threat and waiting threat? Why isn't a fleet 2000 threat ships waiting next to your planet a threatfleet? Or is it? Why is not the approaching CPA a threatfleet?
"threatball"=waiting threat?
Threat is all the free AI ships. Waiting threat is threat that isn't moving but hasn't yet joined the threatfleet. After about 30 minutes of waiting outside your planet, waiting threat will become threatfleet, grouping together and waiting deep in AI space.

Yes, threatball = waiting threat.
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2014, 07:30:34 am »
Ah I see. Thanks.
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Offline LordSloth

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2014, 09:29:51 am »
Just want to throw out a couple possible edge cases that might cause threat and ask what happens:
  • Zenith Miners
  • Vengeance Generators

I'm a bit rusty on the mechanics of some of these, and at the moment have neither the time to play nor the time to pour over patch notes. If I had the time, I might try to finagle wiki access so I could bring "Zenith Miner" and other such articles up to date.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2014, 09:31:59 am by LordSloth »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2014, 10:20:09 am »
Would finding that structure be as infuriating as finding the Dyson Antagonizer?
Probably not, since it would only be built next to your lines rather than 3 hops deep in AI territory or whatever those hybrids do with the antagonizer.

But to make it simpler I could have an "AI Warp Relays" line in the alert box that you could mouseover for a list of the names of all the planets with one.  No scout picket necessary, on the idea that the nature of how these work involves giving off stupidly obvious signals, etc.


I'd answer the rest but it looks like the discussion already handled that.

It would make core turrets more useful.  I'm borderline on core turrets being OP (more in the sense of overshadowing normal turret unlocks as a choice than sheer power, but to some extent power too) but the general consensus I'm hearing is that people are having way too much fun with them to want a nerf ;)
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Offline Qatu

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2014, 10:21:27 am »
 I hate counterattack posts so much the first thing I usually do in my games is cheat them all away. Any solution that isnt limited to removing the cheat sounds like an improvement to me.

Offline Chthon

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2014, 11:35:38 am »
It would make core turrets more useful.  I'm borderline on core turrets being OP (more in the sense of overshadowing normal turret unlocks as a choice than sheer power, but to some extent power too) but the general consensus I'm hearing is that people are having way too much fun with them to want a nerf ;)
I am fine with the AI getting some cool toys to counter our cool toys.  Cool toys are what make the game fun, and we need reasons to use them.

I'm going to be blogging on the champion mechanic and what I feel is wrong with it, but that's off topic here.  I'll link it in the champion thread later.  However once again that's cool toys, and you need reasons to use them.

 

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