Arcen Games

Games => AI War Classic => Topic started by: Jus7ice on October 21, 2012, 11:52:27 AM

Title: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Jus7ice on October 21, 2012, 11:52:27 AM
I'm not especially good at strategy games but I'm not totally inexperienced. I've played through SC2 on hard mode and I spent a season or two laddering. I've also played a couple games of Civ5. AI War looks pretty daunting though. I've done the tutorials and the next chance I get I want to start a campaign. I've had the game in my library for a while and when I bought it, it included the first three expansions. On the campaign setup screen I noticed that you have the option of enabling or disabling the expansions. For my first play-through, would it be a good idea to keep it vanilla? I'm worried that playing with one or all the expansions will introduce so many elements as to change the learning curve of the game into more of a learning cliff. Thoughts/experiences?
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Volatar on October 21, 2012, 12:44:13 PM
I am honestly not sure. The expansions don't add difficulty so much as they add variety. Variety is difficulty in itself though.

I would recommend playing with them enabled for the ship type variety, but with the plots disabled. The expansions add some map types which are really awesome.

That's me though.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on October 21, 2012, 12:57:47 PM
Try learning the base game first if you are not very good at adaptation. The base game has a whole lot of things to play with, and none of them are going to be particularly too hard to manage. When you throw the expansions into the mix, you need to be a very adaptive gamer to be able to figure out what's happening sometimes.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: doctorfrog on October 21, 2012, 01:06:06 PM
Play the beginner script and just enable all the expansion features you think would be interesting without being overwhelming. Also, don't expect to win. Feel free to ask for advice on the forums for your game, but I also suggest discovering solutions on your own when you can. AI War allows for a lot of approaches, and part of the reward is figuring out your own.

I'll say this much, that I was (and still frequently am) completely unprepared for Hybrids, and I suggest keeping them off for a while. And as exciting as champions might be, you might want to wait a bit before introducing their mechanics (and the 20% bump given to the AI).

The last bit of advice is to explore the tech tree a slightly different way each new game you play. There are some 'sleeper' technologies that you might not see a use for until you unlock and figure them out.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Kahuna on October 21, 2012, 02:29:09 PM
NEW VERSION:
Kahuna's Guide To AI War - Find Your Inner Super Cat!
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,13369.msg151816.html#msg151816



Hi and welcome to the forums.

When I first started playing I had pretty much everything enabled because I didn't know what everything does. That eneded up making things too hard so I disabled most of the stuff. Expansions were still enabled. The first time I won a game was vs 6 difficulty Feeding Parasite and 6 difficulty Vanilla.

I recommend you enable all expansions and use the following settings or something similar:
2 6 difficulty AIs of your choice (http://www.arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_AI_Opponent_Types). I'd recommend The Tank and Shield Ninny. OR Vanilla and Neinzul Viral Enthusiast.

Map
80 planets
Map type: Simple
Map seed: Whatever you want. I just found 1888254074. It looks nice and clear. Some maps look a bit messy.

Ships
Available Ships: Simple or Normal
All enabled except Core Shield Gen(erator)s. You can enable CSGs if you want a bit more challenge. You will have to destroy the generator before you can destroy the AI Home Command Station.
EDIT: Good point by Hearteater:
I recommend having CSGs on, just because they really focus you on completing objectives which will naturally get you ready to take out the AI homeworlds.  Without them, it's pretty easy for a beginner to find the mid-game gets a little directionless.

Game Options
Combat Style: Normal
Unit Cap Scale: Normal
Visibility: Full fog of war

AI Options
Minor Factions To Include:
Human Marauders: Disabled (These guys are powerful and annoying)
Human Resistance Fighters: 4/10
Human Colony Rebellions: Disabled
Zenith Trader: Enabled
Zenith Miners: Disabled or 2/10
Zenith Dyson Sphere: Disabled or 2/10
Zenith Devourer: Disabled (Devourer aka Cookie Monster. This thing will destroy ALL (AIs or your) ships (except MarkV aka Core ships) on it's way. Sometimes it will stay a while on 1 planet and chase ships around)
Broken Golems: Easy or Hard: 1/10
Botnet Golem: Easy or Hard: 1/10
Neinzul Rocketry Corps: 2/10
Neinzul Preservation Wardens: 1/10
Neinzul Roaming Enclaves: 1/10
Fallen Spire: Disabled
Fallen Spire Civilian Leaders: Disabled
Spirecraft: Easy or Hard: 2/10

NOTE that Broken Golems (http://www.arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_Ships_and_Structures#Golems) Hard, Botnet Golem (http://www.arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_Ships_and_Structures#Golems) Hard and Spirecraft Hard will cause the AIs to send Exogalactic Strike Forces which are very powerful. If you feel lucky you can enable one Hard. I recommend Enabling 1 hard and setting the 2 others on Easy.

AI Modifiers:
Schizophrenic: Enabled
Reveal Random AI Types: Enabled
Others disabled

Auto AI Progress (aka Auto AIP)
0 every
0 min
or
1 every
30 min

AI Plots First AI / Second AI
Avenger: Enabled / Disabled (An Avenger will spawn after you have destroyed an AI Home Command Station. It's VERY powerful and half impossible to destroy without super weapons like Golems or Spirecraft ships. You can still win the game even if you don't destroy these. You just need to destroy the AI Home Command Stations and you win.)
Hybrid Hives: 1/10 / 1/10
Advanced Hybrids: Disabled / Disabled
Astro Trains: 1/10 / 1/10
Beachheads: Disabled / Disabled (These things are very nasty. They will knock out your turrets and Force Fields until you have destroyed them. They also have a built in blackhole machine which will prevent your ships from leaving the planet.)

For me the best way to learn this game was to just try stuff and get my ass whooped!

Just ask if you need help with anything!
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Hearteater on October 21, 2012, 02:54:49 PM
Kahuna has a pretty good starter setup, but I'd make the following tweaks:

Expansions: All are fine, but you might want to disable Light of the Spire.  That's got some really nasty gravity-based toys for the AI that make systems noticeably tougher.

60 planets vs 80 planets.  60 just plays much quicker.  If you don't mind a learning game that could last 12-20 hours, 80 is fine.  But I find 60 cuts 2-5 hours off my game time.

I recommend having CSGs on, just because they really focus you on completing objectives which will naturally get you ready to take out the AI homeworlds.  Without them, it's pretty easy for a beginner to find the mid-game gets a little directionless.

Don't enable: Zenith Miners, Neinzul Rocketry Corps, Neinzul Roaming Enclaves or Neinzul Preservation Wardens.  All are annoying for a first real game.

Go with: Broken Golems Easy, Botnet Golem off, and Spirecraft off.  Golems are easy to work with, understand, use, and are pretty clearly powerful.  Spirecraft are trickier to use and much more specialist.  Botnet works best with some experience.

Don't enable Schizophrenic waves.  That really pulls you away from learning individual ship types.  When every wave is a single ship type, you really start to learn and feel the ship differences.

Don't enable Astro Trains.  They are fairly pointless, and really nothing more than annoying.

Don't enable Hybrid Hives.  Way too aggresive and annoying for a new player, and very prone to building up to something that feels unbeatable for a beginner.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Kahuna on October 21, 2012, 03:13:21 PM
Ye good points.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: KDR_11k on October 21, 2012, 05:14:12 PM
Maybe dial down the ship complexity for your first run. You don't play Agricola with the K deck on your first run either :P.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: madcow on October 21, 2012, 05:21:26 PM
I'll add another vote for playing with the Core Shield Generators (CSGs) turned on.

Also golems are fun, I recommend playing with them on with on.

I wouldn't play with too many minor factions enabled, maybe just one or two. Resistance Fighters are basically allies. The other factions can make things seriously weird if it is your first game. Heartseaker basically nailed it on his recommendations.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Mánagarmr on October 21, 2012, 05:43:18 PM
I'd say that the advices given above are fairly spot on for a beginner. You do want to step above 7 difficulty later though to unlock the AIs full potential.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: LordSloth on October 21, 2012, 06:37:01 PM
Personally, I'd advise on turning off all the expansions except Zenith, perhaps, for your very first game.

Zenith adds Golems to your toolkit (minor faction, easy), a fun way to break a strategic deadlock. They are a superweapon, however, so try not to go for them first thing, see what you can do with just ships for as long as possible. Zenith bonus ships have their quirks, but still tend to play fairly standard. Plus, Zenith expansion gives you two more mine types, if you like mines.

Neinzul is great, but... Neinzul ships will really stress your defenses the first time you encounter them. They're designed around short life spans, high speed, huge numbers, etc. They can be countered with static defenses but it's a bit much to ask you to adapt to them while you're still figuring out how to defend against standard wave.

Spire is also great, but I believe it adds a lot of new guardian types (i think it added emp guardians), and some bonus ships that are particularly good at trollling you when you're inattentive, such as tractor platforms. It's generally very player friendly, but if you're still busy learning all the basic icons and stuff, it might lead to a few nasty surprises. Raiding and the like is also generally much easier before this expansion, due to the AI getting several gravity effect units (slow).

For your second game, whether you beat the first or not, turn on all the expansions, make sure ship complexity is on complex, and turn golems on to medium, spirecraft to easy, and whatever non-neinzul factions you feel comfortable with.

Neinzul is great fun, but unlike the rest of the game, it is very pro-active, rather than reactive. Stay away from Wandering Enclaves and Hives and the like until you're looking for the AI to apply a lot more pressure regardless of how hard you push.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Cyborg on October 21, 2012, 08:16:26 PM
Just try rocking a level 1 universe on a small map to get used to the mechanics of moving around, producing units, and fighting battles.

Bump that up to level 6 against some easy AI.

Lastly, level seven is where the main game is at. Should be good to go by then.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Volatar on October 21, 2012, 08:22:48 PM
Just try rocking a level 1 universe on a small map to get used to the mechanics of moving around, producing units, and fighting battles.

If you do the Intermediate tutorial you have already done that.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Aklyon on October 21, 2012, 08:41:51 PM
Just try rocking a level 1 universe on a small map to get used to the mechanics of moving around, producing units, and fighting battles.

If you do the Intermediate tutorial you have already done that.
On a very tiny map.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: doctorfrog on October 22, 2012, 02:05:03 AM
There is some real good discussion coming out of this. Would it be worth coming to a general consensus and trying to come up with a lobby script? I tried tooling around with a few of the lobby scripts myself, but I am the farthest thing from a programmer and it wasn't long before I was starting to think of the tall bottle of scotch hidden in the upper shelf of my closet.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Mánagarmr on October 22, 2012, 02:51:09 AM
There is some real good discussion coming out of this. Would it be worth coming to a general consensus and trying to come up with a lobby script? I tried tooling around with a few of the lobby scripts myself, but I am the farthest thing from a programmer and it wasn't long before I was starting to think of the tall bottle of scotch hidden in the upper shelf of my closet.
I've played this game since way back in the 2.x version somewhere...and I've never bothered with scripts. Mostly because I have no real need for them, or I feel the work / benefit ratio is off.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Hearteater on October 22, 2012, 09:46:23 AM
This biggest reason for such a script would be something included with the game as a "First Game" type thing for new players.  Game setup is pretty intimidating.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 22, 2012, 11:03:03 AM
but I am the farthest thing from a programmer and it wasn't long before I was starting to think of the tall bottle of scotch hidden in the upper shelf of my closet.
Hmm, that may be the first time I've written software that's driven someone to drink.

(Remembers some of those AARs)

Actually, nevermind.


This biggest reason for such a script would be something included with the game as a "First Game" type thing for new players.  Game setup is pretty intimidating.
The "Beginner Game" script is designed for that purpose (just pick Beginner Game, pick a HW, click start; no other setup required), and there are suggestions to use it both in the tutorial and the "This looks like your first game" popup that happens the first time someone opens the lobby in a profile that's never started/loaded a non-tutorial game.

There are ways I could have the game suggest it more forcibly, but I'm not sure folks would want that.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Wanderer on October 22, 2012, 12:15:29 PM
Hmm, that may be the first time I've written software that's driven someone to drink.
(Remembers some of those AARs)
Actually, nevermind.

<--------------
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Jus7ice on October 24, 2012, 12:23:29 PM
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, there are some pretty comprehensive replies in here. I will get a chance to start a game pretty soon here hopefully. I might be able to reply with my experiences.

Keith, about the first game popup. When I got this game months and months ago, I opened it up and looked around in the menus a bit. Only recently did I actually do the tutorials. Now when I open the start game screen I don't get the popup and I have no memory of what it said. My usage may not be typical but perhaps the first game detection could be replaced with some sort of button that brings it up. The setup options are actually prettty intimidating. I'm sure the customization will be awesome to have once I know what I'm doing, but to start it leaves me not really knowing how to start to get the "AI War experience". This is the perspective of a fairly casual RTS player which doesn't appear to be the target audience for this game, but there you have it.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: brianc on October 24, 2012, 09:35:58 PM
Oh yeah, this game overwhelmed me so much that I spent my first ten hours of AI War actually reading about how to play online.  Now, that didn't help nearly as much as I thought it would; I could not finish my intermediate tutorial no matter how many times I tried and could not beat even a level 1 on my first 40 hours.  Now I comfortably play with two 7.3's and the medium random AI's (I was steadily progressing but I so rarely have time to play since my son was born last year) and I have no clue what clicked but I'd certainly recommend starting very slowly maybe jumping from 1 to 3 to 5 to 6 to 7 or something along those lines.  I actually worked my way from 1 to 7.3 doing everything in between!  Reading everyone's recommendations makes me feel like a terrible gamer  :o

In the same manner I'd recommend starting with no expansion packs or minor factions. Even if it makes for a much simpler game it will reduce the craziness on an early go.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Kahuna on November 16, 2012, 01:50:59 PM
I just updated my "Beachheading" thread and wrote a new one called "Ship Combos". You might wanna read them.
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11391.msg129159.html#msg129159
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11996.msg129236.html#msg129236
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Bognor on November 16, 2012, 05:43:04 PM
Since we've already necro'ed...

I believe the nasty guardians alluded to by Hearteater and Lord Sloth only appear on difficulty 8+.

The single piece of advice I'd give a newbie would be to start with the default fog-of-war and use the Objectives tab in the references screen.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: LordSloth on November 16, 2012, 10:25:09 PM
To be clear, a lot of the nastier guardians appear on 8+, but EMP, Tractor, Gravity, Warp Gate Guardians all appear on 7+, if not lower. They're not particularly bad, but they're an unnecessary level of complication to watch for, opening up previously safe territory to waves, disabling defenses if you overlook them, etc. ... I'm pretty certain you won't see EMP and Warp on 6, but I wouldn't know where to doublecheck.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Bognor on November 17, 2012, 01:59:34 AM
My mistake; thanks LordSloth. 

According to the wiki (http://www.arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_Light_of_the_Spire#AI_Guardians) EMP and Warp Gate Guardians appear on difficulty 7+, and Self-Destruction Guardians at 8+.  The rest are presumably present at all difficulties, unless something's changed.  Nasty.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: PicardsFlute on January 16, 2013, 10:24:53 PM
Sorry to necro this old thread (again), but it seems to be the only one on the topic.

I'm setting up my first game right now. (I've already breezed through the intermediate tutorial.)


This thread was before the latest expansion.  I'm curious if I should turn the new expansion on/off, and whether or not I should use the normal+champion role in my first game?  The other posts about champion balance (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,11825.0.html) all seem to be between players who are already familiar with the game.  I learn pretty quick, I'm just curious the adding champion will make the game too easy/hard.

I'm using Kahuna's setup, with Hearteater's changes, except I also have Botnet and Spirecraft Easy turned on.  I'm not really going to use them, as I'm sure it'll make things too easy, I just want to see what exactly they entail.

I just don't want AI champions to come annihilate me before I can figure out what to do with mine.  But at the same time, I'd like to play around with them as long as they don't dramatically change the game's balance if I get one and then don't do much with it.


I guess my questions really boil down to:

What exactly is the AI's response to having a champion?
Does a champion count as a full player (increasing AI strength by .85)?
Does the Ancient Shadows really add anything else besides champions?
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Faulty Logic on January 16, 2013, 10:46:21 PM
Quote
What exactly is the AI's response to having a champion?
Increases wave and cross-planet attack sizes by one fourth (not 100% certain) what another homeworld would.

And adds enemy champion frigates to both AI homeworlds. The number is proportional to Nebulae completed/ AIP.

Quote
Does a champion count as a full player (increasing AI strength by .85)?
No, I think it increases strength by 25% of another homeworld.

Quote
Does the Ancient Shadows really add anything else besides champions?
There are some new ship types (not really important), new map types (Clusters), and new AI types (which would be absolutely brutal to use in your first game).

I would recommend waiting on all the expansions until you have a couple 7/7 (or harder) victories.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Eternaly_Lost on January 17, 2013, 07:16:39 AM
Unless you planning on playing Fallen Spire (a completely different way to play the game) expansions are a good idea to delay to get used to things.

Fallen Spire however plays very differently then the base game. Base game, you would take a few planets, likely no more then 10 or so. Fallen Spire, you will often end up taking 50 or more planets. The game play is very different and I personally perfer Fallen Spire over the base game, but each to their own.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Ragnarok on January 17, 2013, 09:11:00 AM
I would advice to not play with with Fallen Spire and not with Ancient Shadows.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Hearteater on January 17, 2013, 09:50:07 AM
The biggest issue with Ancient Shadows will be the selection of Brutal Guard Posts on AI Homeworlds.  At your difficulty level there should be only one so you won't get the problems that 2-3 brutal picks can cause, but they can still be pretty daunting to a first timer.  This means you'd wouldn't have the option of a champion, but honestly I'd skip having a champion in your first game.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: TechSY730 on January 17, 2013, 11:46:34 AM
Yea, the base game already has so many options, that adding the expansions would probably just make things more confusing to someone learning the game.

However, it should be safe to turn on the Zenith Reminant stuff. It is much more polished and balanced than the others (understandably so, it is the oldest expansion after all), and adds a bunch of stuff that is very, very useful that has sort of settled into the "metagame" almost for granted.
And possibly most importantly for a new player, the things it adds aren't really all that "different" compared to the base game, it doesn't really add a huge new aspect (other than the optional Golems) to learn. The other expansions add new, somewhat tricky mechanics to learn. Plus, the ZR expansion gives more "boons" for the humans than it does the AI on average. (Golems, Z ship caches, distribution nodes too I think).
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Hearteater on January 17, 2013, 03:06:15 PM
Children of the Neinzul is generally safe to enable, especially if you want to play one of its map types (Concentric Circles or X).  It doesn't really add much to the AI or player unless you explicitly turn stuff on.  As I mentioned earlier, the Spire expansion has a lot of AI gravity stuff, so that one and Ancient Shadows I'd leave off for the first game.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: Ragnarok on January 18, 2013, 07:28:27 AM
The biggest issue with Ancient Shadows will be the selection of Brutal Guard Posts on AI Homeworlds.  At your difficulty level there should be only one so you won't get the problems that 2-3 brutal picks can cause, but they can still be pretty daunting to a first timer.  This means you'd wouldn't have the option of a champion, but honestly I'd skip having a champion in your first game.

I'm not necesarrly advising to disable AS because of the champion or brutal picks. Its more like a huge general unbalance. I dont know if the nebulas are static, i.e. you always have the same nebula reward in a row, but my homeworld gave me 13 dyson gatlings which are largely overpowered. When the early game was a "struggle" without AS, it became VERY easy to both raid, full attack and defend versus waves alone on the fact of a douzen dyson gatlings. They have huge range, huge alpha and a very good rate of fire. They definitly break the balance at AI progress <60.
Title: Re: Going for my first game of AI War. Should I use the expansions?
Post by: CamKrist on January 23, 2013, 09:19:11 AM
I sent you in pm