Author Topic: First Victory: Few Ever Find It  (Read 5509 times)

Offline Wingflier

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,751
  • To add me on Steam, click the little Steam icon ^
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2015, 08:52:53 PM »
I'd say one of the most overwhelming aspects of the game is the broken hull type system.

I've brought this up many times before, but the veterans of the community refuse to give any ground on it. However, they are the veterans, of course it makes sense to them after thousands of hours of playtime.

Honestly, when you look at a ship's stats and see "Heavy 11 Light 5 Polycrystal 7 Structural 9" Who isn't going to be like WTF is this? Who wants to, in addition to all the other complex mechanics of the game, spend their time learning endless hull type interactions, and memorizing which ships (out of literally hundreds) have which hull types, and which ships deal damage to which hull types, by what multiplier, and blah blah blah.

It's an utterly broken system, and I think it's a huge contributing factor to the fact that many new players don't stick around. The best thing to do is just ignore it for the first couple hundred hours until you've got a better grasp on the game, then try to start memorizing things like that, but once again, that's just unacceptable game design at work. If that weren't bad enough, the system itself is a balance disaster, making certain ships with specific hull types and specific hull type multipliers better than the rest by a significant margin.

The whole hull type system could be removed and the balance could be easily achieved using simple things like range, damage, rate of fire, area of effect, armor rating, and armor penetration (you know, real life mechanics translated into video game form). The hull type system was fine when the entire game had like 30 ships (Guardians didn't even exist), but now? It's an archaic system desperately needing a makeover, and I can't blame a new player for being like "F this".
"Inner peace is the void of expectation. It is the absence of our shared desperation to feel a certain way."

Offline Kahuna

  • Core Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,222
  • Kahuna Matata!
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2015, 08:57:49 PM »
the balance could be easily achieved using simple things like range, damage, rate of fire, area of effect, armor rating, and armor penetration
True dat.
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Toranth

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,243
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2015, 09:48:51 PM »
the balance could be easily achieved using simple things like range, damage, rate of fire, area of effect, armor rating, and armor penetration
True dat.
Honestly, several thousand hours into the game, and I still usually ignore hull types and bonus types.  Only Command-Grade and Heavy really matter - everything else just averages out.

Offline Aiviru

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2015, 11:15:22 PM »
Just as a point of interest, there is at least one person who has donated over $100 to Toady despite never once playing the game. He does it because he enjoys the stories of other people's games that much.

This is something I might do in theory. I've bought several games primarily because I enjoyed the LP enough to want to support and only incidentally to play.

Offline Kahuna

  • Core Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,222
  • Kahuna Matata!
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2015, 11:10:04 AM »
the balance could be easily achieved using simple things like range, damage, rate of fire, area of effect, armor rating, and armor penetration
True dat.
I still usually ignore hull types and bonus types.
On what difficulty level? Do you always play the Fallen Spire campaign?
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline NickAragua

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 281
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2015, 04:08:11 PM »
I'd say one of the most overwhelming aspects of the game is the broken hull type system.

I've brought this up many times before, but the veterans of the community refuse to give any ground on it. However, they are the veterans, of course it makes sense to them after thousands of hours of playtime.

Honestly, when you look at a ship's stats and see "Heavy 11 Light 5 Polycrystal 7 Structural 9" Who isn't going to be like WTF is this? Who wants to, in addition to all the other complex mechanics of the game, spend their time learning endless hull type interactions, and memorizing which ships (out of literally hundreds) have which hull types, and which ships deal damage to which hull types, by what multiplier, and blah blah blah.

It's an utterly broken system, and I think it's a huge contributing factor to the fact that many new players don't stick around. The best thing to do is just ignore it for the first couple hundred hours until you've got a better grasp on the game, then try to start memorizing things like that, but once again, that's just unacceptable game design at work. If that weren't bad enough, the system itself is a balance disaster, making certain ships with specific hull types and specific hull type multipliers better than the rest by a significant margin.

The whole hull type system could be removed and the balance could be easily achieved using simple things like range, damage, rate of fire, area of effect, armor rating, and armor penetration (you know, real life mechanics translated into video game form). The hull type system was fine when the entire game had like 30 ships (Guardians didn't even exist), but now? It's an archaic system desperately needing a makeover, and I can't blame a new player for being like "F this".

Long story short, I agree, but I don't think changing that system is going to make a difference.

In practice, the only time it matters to me is during incoming waves (which is like half the game). If I see '500 widgigazoos coming to falabarii' coming in, you damn well better believe I'm going to look up their hull type and then find which of my ships have bonuses against it. When I'm on the attack though, unless I'm going after specific targets, the various hull types are too intermixed for me to sort through hull types. Which probably hurts my efficiency, but I don't care, because, you're right, hull types are a pain in the ass to sort through (I bet if you drew a vulnerability/resilience chart with each ship type as a node in a circle, it would be shaded in entirely).

Back in the day, there wasn't a hull/shot type system in place, as I recall. Ships would just have arbitrary bonuses/penalties against other ships, which was even worse for memorization purposes. I believe there was a need (among other things) to enable bombers to take out fortresses without dying, and to prevent raid starships from stomping over everything. Also, to avoid making players memorize a pair of 500x500 strength/weakness matrices (now it's only like a 20x20 matrix, which isn't much better from a "human interaction" standpoint).

Anyway, I can pretty much guarantee that dealing with the hull/shot type system not going to make AI War any less dense. You've got the fact that each ship type has a dense block of text associated with it. You've got random colored numbers blinking all over the place. You've got hundreds of ship types of varying functionality. Walls of text are everywhere. And if you happen to start at an 'active development' point, you're going to find fundamental game mechanics yanked out from under you between gameplay sessions. At some point, you have to accept that the game *is* dense and there's just no way around it. I love it, but it's not going to be for everyone.

Offline Aiviru

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2015, 05:08:02 PM »
I haven't played this nearly enough to comment much on the hull thing. So far I've roughly done the 'pay attention in waves, and mostly ignore elsewhere' thing.

I do agree this game has heaps and heaps of info about every anything ever.

I won't pretend to be your average gamer. I don't think I'd be here if I were. But just as learning to read Unix style man pages, or API documentation is a skill, so is learning to grok all the data the game throws at you. And while I found it overwhelming at first, I am starting to get a decent idea of where to glance, or where to look if I want to know something specific. And at that point at least part of me so far appreciates that there's so much shiny to discover.

I believe most devs would opt to cut all that stuff out, or make it simple enough that not having all that info listed explicitly isn't a problem. And then people like me would probably still enjoy the game but with less stuff to keep us going.

Of course I'm the kind of person who considers learning a new programming language fun, so.

Offline RockyBst

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 192
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2015, 08:37:53 PM »
This is the part I find most interesting.

First Victory: 3.8% of players
Rarest Achievement: They're just bigger targets, you know - win against Starship Command on diff 9 plus - 0.4%

10.5% of the players who have completed the game have the rarest achievement. I'd wager that if you actually added everything together, seeing as nobody really plays that many games, 1/5-1/4 of the people who have won the game once have also won against a rare/dangerous AI type on 9+.

This is a game that has a lot of experts.

Edit: Also, 21% of people who have ever won a game have the double godlike achievement for beating two AIs on diff 10. Even I don't have that ('cos of a bug).


Offline Toranth

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,243
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2015, 08:43:45 PM »
the balance could be easily achieved using simple things like range, damage, rate of fire, area of effect, armor rating, and armor penetration
True dat.
I still usually ignore hull types and bonus types.
On what difficulty level? Do you always play the Fallen Spire campaign?
I usually play 9.6-10, depending on whether or not I want to win, and almost never play Fallen Spire.  It's fun, but there's so much else in the normal game to do.

Now, it got trimmed, but there are some hull types and bonuses I do care about. 
Anti-Heavy Bonuses are important for dealing with Carriers, and other major threats.  This means things like Laser Turrets are high priority.
Anti-Command-Grade is important, with only two fleetship sources, especially when H/Ks are expected to show up.  So Bombers it is, barring random chance.
But composite?  Close-combat?  These hull types don't belong to many major-danger units, so they don't need to be countered.  By the same logic, there's no real use in pushing to get units with those hulls.
Medium hull is good to counter, because it is so popular, but that's just strategic efficiency, not tactical significance.
Scout and Polycrystal hulls are useful against certain AI fortifications.
But, in general, most hull types have 6-8 units of that type, and most have 15-20 units with bonuses against them - averaging a 3.0 multiplier.

So, generally, except for major threats, you'll expect 25-33% of your fleet to have a 3x multiplier against each hull type the AI fields.  When you have 6+ unit types, and the AI is fielding 10 or more - it all averages out.
Finally, when I'm stretched for resources, I'm more likely to look up the specific counters for incoming waves... but I'm almost as likely to say "Build MORE UNITS!" as "build more efficient units".  Or, "WARHEADS!", actually.

So, again - I care a lot about Heavy and Command-Grade.  Specific circumstances call for more efficient use of units... but usually, it doesn't make that much of a difference.

Offline Imago

  • Newbie Mark II
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2015, 09:34:27 PM »
I doubt hull types are a major source of new player panic. I think they mostly don't get that far.

It's also hardly some crazy system people haven't seen before. Starcraft 2 has hull types. AI War just has way too many.

Offline TheVampire100

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,382
  • Ordinary Vampire
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2015, 10:40:23 PM »
the balance could be easily achieved using simple things like range, damage, rate of fire, area of effect, armor rating, and armor penetration
True dat.
Honestly, several thousand hours into the game, and I still usually ignore hull types and bonus types.  Only Command-Grade and Heavy really matter - everything else just averages out.
Hulls and damage multipliers are most of the time the ONLY thing that I care. Health, armor, even damage, I ignore all that because hull and multiplier gives you a quicker overview against what the ship is good against. And I think just for that purpose it should stay in the game. This is the only thing that makes it for newer players easier to understand the roles of different ships.

Offline twinnrova

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2015, 01:42:18 PM »
I definitely don't mind the information panels, or the "attack multiplier vs. hull type" setup. I find it very simple to remember most information about basic ship types, and during incoming waves you have three minutes to determine your best defense against attackers. Furthermore, before assaulting any system you have the power to scout out the enemy planet and devise a strategy that will hopefully exploit their weaknesses. I feel like you have plenty of time to determine enemy hull types and then sift through your ship types and find the best combination for an offensive, and that's not even considering that you have the ability to pause the game. That's just my personal opinion though. I find that aspect of the game to be really fun.

*ahem*

I as well am the type that thoroughly enjoys learning new programming languages. So... there's two bits of data supporting a trend.

Offline NickAragua

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 281
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2015, 04:28:15 PM »
AI War: The game for software engineers

Offline Draco18s

  • Resident Velociraptor
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,165
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2015, 01:37:45 PM »
AI War: The game for software engineers

No, that's TIS-100.

Also, I wouldn't consider "First victory" to be the measuring stick of how many players the game has.  I'd say use the most common achievement (Rainy Day, 29.7%) but I think at this point that one's simply an inevitability.  For people who've stuck around for more than an hour, I'd pick First Loss, 12.5% or Getting Into This, 10.3%
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 01:41:27 PM by Draco18s »

Offline Timerlane

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2015, 04:34:25 AM »
Finally, attacking the AI homeworlds is a higher-order challenge than the rest of the game, so a good percentage of people will get *almost* to the end and then get murdered by the AI when they go to attack the homeworld.
Personally, I feel like pulling the trigger on actually attacking an AI Homeworld is just extremely intimidating, particularly once you actually look at the stats on those core guardposts, like Wrath Lances(and having read some of the 'horror stories'), knowing the cost of potential failure in Reprisal waves by losing those extremely expensive high-Mark ships you've been collecting all game, and that destroying core guardposts also triggers countdowns to exogalactic waves, which can only be 'canceled' by successfully destroying that planet's Home Command station, which is only vulnerable after every single core guardpost on that planet is down(meaning you want to get it all done in one 'pass' if you possibly can).

I see loads of Core Arachnid guardposts that, as far as I can see, might as well be Core Orbital Mass Drivers, and then I read that the AI Home Command station has planetary tachyon coverage, so I can't even rely on using the cloak of powered-down Assault Transports to drop Bombers close to the guardposts, or any cloaked-ship related tactics. I know full well from reading that the Homeworlds eat Golems for breakfast, including Artillery(Golem) Ammo immunity and insta-kill counters for Hive Wasps, so I know better than to try that.

Technically, the only reason I've actually finished/won a game was because I just kind of half-boredly decided to power up the Exodian Blade(having read the wiki and knowing full well that doing that is nowhere near as innocuous as repairing a normal Golem) to play with it, fully expecting the AI to massively ramp-up it's responses, eventually destroy it, and/or the exogalactic waves to start breaking through my turret-fortified planets. I still don't know everything that happened there(I strongly suspect/believe that the allied Dyson Gatlings actually responded to and took out the first exogalactic wave before it could even reach my planets, so I never even realized where it was, though I noted on the map that there was a massive gathering of Dyson Gatlings in a much farther forward system than I'd seen them patrolling before), but I ended up winning a 6/6 game with just the Blade and my Mark III+IV starship 'blob'. I don't find that necessarily 'encouraging', though, as know the Blade's incredibly long range uber-beam and radar dampening immunity is why it could cut through the Homeworld defenses so relatively easily, something I know none of my 'normal' ships have.