Author Topic: Let's bring up "passive" champions again  (Read 5630 times)

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2014, 03:48:05 AM »
I don't really have anything interesting to add to the champion discussion because the whole "micro one unit well in realtime" genre of gameplay isn't really that appealing to me, but I will say that I second the opinion not to have the champion get EXP upon AI command center death. I will agree that it just encourages too many bad habits on the champion's end.

The guard posts still giving exp seems reasonable to keep though.

Offline DrFranknfurter

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2014, 05:19:04 AM »
My thoughts: Loot improvements for champions.

The salvage mechanic is very interesting and adds a massive amount so perhaps AI champion's/waves destroyed in friendly territory near your champion can (%chance) drop new loot for your champions while conversely if your champion dies in enemy territory you drop loot for the AI. (Either modules used on hybrids, AI champions, modular stations or simply spawn containers with a massive metal value that increases with each death to feed into the salvage reprisal mechanic)

Aims should be, and I think this would:
1. Increase variation and replayability of champions, encouragment for using different hulls
2. Provide an incentive to play defensively and help your team
3. Provide a disincentive for suiciding your champion against the enemy.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2014, 05:20:42 AM »
That sounds a good bit like something I suggested a year ago: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12521.msg136399.html#msg136399
Ah, there's the thread.  I knew we'd done this discussion once before.  Yeah, there were a lot of interesting ideas tossed out that time, and what we got out of it addressed the biggest problems.  Still a lot of potential in that there thread, though.  Good reading for this discussion.

Offline Chthon

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2014, 09:20:26 AM »
The guard posts still giving exp seems reasonable to keep though.
I don't think so.  It still leaves the champion only players in the mindset of "I get nothing from destroying ships, only fixed structures."  Why should a guard post give more experience than a mobile ship anyways?  A guard post can't actively engage you.  A guard post can't chase you so running from it and attacking again later is easy.  A guard post's health never regenerates.  A guard post in effect is an easy target, or low hanging fruit.

If you want to give champions experience, you should make them work for it.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2014, 09:29:08 AM »
Why should a guard post give more experience than a mobile ship anyways?
The main reason is that guard posts have a fixed population that only decreases as the game goes on.  If AI ships gave xp then hello grind city.  But even the stations and posts giving xp isn't all that great.

As for champs needing to work for their xp: if that's all the player is doing, then yes, absolutely.  And that's what the nebulae are for.

But if the champ is just in-addition-to-everything-else-I-have-to-manage then just having champs level up with AIP (and gain unlocks from ARS's, AdvFact's, etc) makes a lot more sense.  You're not getting as much of a reward (no splinter faction ships or resources, possibly not as high a level, probably have the other-race mod forts unlock alongside the BB-size of their hull so that'd be later in the game) but also not having to put nearly as much attention into them.  They also wouldn't really serve any refleeting-amelioration purpose without the nebulae, but I think in the end that isn't a purpose they need to serve nowadays.
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Offline Chthon

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2014, 10:24:27 AM »
Why should a guard post give more experience than a mobile ship anyways?
The main reason is that guard posts have a fixed population that only decreases as the game goes on.  If AI ships gave xp then hello grind city.  But even the stations and posts giving xp isn't all that great.

As for champs needing to work for their xp: if that's all the player is doing, then yes, absolutely.  And that's what the nebulae are for.

But if the champ is just in-addition-to-everything-else-I-have-to-manage then just having champs level up with AIP (and gain unlocks from ARS's, AdvFact's, etc) makes a lot more sense.  You're not getting as much of a reward (no splinter faction ships or resources, possibly not as high a level, probably have the other-race mod forts unlock alongside the BB-size of their hull so that'd be later in the game) but also not having to put nearly as much attention into them.  They also wouldn't really serve any refleeting-amelioration purpose without the nebulae, but I think in the end that isn't a purpose they need to serve nowadays.
Which is why I suggested using a ship with a reasonable population for experience.  Champion ships are common, but not so common you see hundreds everywhere.  What I proposed was to spawn them in response to champions killing largish groups of ships with a similar power gradient.  In effect you would have to kill a large group of ships, and then a shadow ship that was out to get you at that point.

Finally, experience in the game tends to give diminishing returns.  The real prize you get from missions is the new hulls and modules.  Experience is just added fluff since after a certain number of levels, you have all the modules you want upgraded to max, and don't need any more.  It's the early levels where experience really matters, and then doing a few missions alleviates all of it.  I could understand wanting to limit xp gains over the course of a game if they got something else from every level, but right now you have all the experience you want after 5 or so missions, there isn't any more need for grinding after that.

It's the early game though where champion players tend to screw others, or they are just greedy and want every point of xp they can get.  Either way, I think guard posts are a bad idea.  Give them a mechanic they have to work for outside of the nebulas.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2014, 10:29:35 AM »
Experience is just added fluff since after a certain number of levels, you have all the modules you want upgraded to max, and don't need any more.
Really?  I though I'd heard from several others that they didn't like how even in the endgame they never had enough to reach the stuff they wanted, and were trapped into their earlier choices due to a lack of XP to develop other branches.  Perhaps I misunderstood, though.
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Offline Fleet Unity

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2014, 01:00:32 PM »
After reading all this I have one question are you saying that you are thinking of removing the nebula's and rewards you can unlock, like the extra ships your allies let you build or just adding a new option that can let you play if you want the nebula’s or not if you do not what the nebula's? My main question is are you thinking of removing them altogether?  I just asking because I do enjoy the extra ships they give and the nebula missions I do find them fun if not time consuming some times but I do enjoy them. This is my first post so I do not now how to quote others like Keith or others.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2014, 01:03:09 PM »
After reading all this I have one question are you saying that you are thinking of removing the nebula's and rewards you can unlock, like the extra ships your allies let you build or just adding a new option that can let you play if you want the nebula’s or not if you do not what the nebula's? My main question is are you thinking of removing them altogether?  I just asking because I do enjoy the extra ships they give and the nebula missions I do find them fun if not time consuming some times but I do enjoy them. This is my first post so I do not now how to quote others like Keith or others.
I have no intention of removing the nebulae entirely.  What I'm considering is providing an alternate mode (picked in the lobby) which disables them and instead gives your champion xp from normal gameplay (probably from AIP increases) and unlocks from the stuff that normally advances the player's technology (so capturing ARS's, etc). 

And actually perhaps XP could be tied to Knowledge-gain rather than AIP gain specifically.  Seems a better fit.
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Offline Fleet Unity

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2014, 01:11:12 PM »
Thanks for the quick response Keith I was just asking this because I have been playing AI Wars since the Ancient Shadows expansion and a little before that and it sounded like that the nebula's were going to be removed altogether thank you for answering this question for me.

Offline TIE Viper

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2014, 02:12:30 PM »
Really?  I though I'd heard from several others that they didn't like how even in the endgame they never had enough to reach the stuff they wanted, and were trapped into their earlier choices due to a lack of XP to develop other branches.  Perhaps I misunderstood, though.

I had made a suggestion on mantis about allowing a re-spec on champions.
Mantis link: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=11654
That way players wouldn't be completely locked into their earlier path choice.
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2014, 02:47:16 PM »
Really?  I though I'd heard from several others that they didn't like how even in the endgame they never had enough to reach the stuff they wanted, and were trapped into their earlier choices due to a lack of XP to develop other branches.  Perhaps I misunderstood, though.
I had made a suggestion on mantis about allowing a re-spec on champions.
Mantis link: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=11654
That way players wouldn't be completely locked into their earlier path choice.
Yeah, pretty much what this suggestion says.  Without a respec capability, there's always the chance you'll end up using points on an immediate need and end up with too few points at the end to spec out your desired ship.  It also limits the ability to 'play around' with some of the more interesting (but less combat effective) modules.
For example, spending points on IREs early to beat the Ravenous Shadow scenario, when you want your endgame Champion to be a Photon Lance and Railgun Spire Battleship.

And on top of that, since the Normal+Champion players have Modular Fortress modules unlocked by the Champion's unlocks, you need to spend points there on modules you might not otherwise want.  Like Bomber Bays and Insanity Inducers for a Neinzul Fortress, while (again) aiming for an endgame ship with different modules.
Of course, if the RNG says "You don't get those modules!", all your plans can go to naught anyway...

Offline Chthon

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2014, 03:50:15 PM »
Experience is just added fluff since after a certain number of levels, you have all the modules you want upgraded to max, and don't need any more.
Really?  I though I'd heard from several others that they didn't like how even in the endgame they never had enough to reach the stuff they wanted, and were trapped into their earlier choices due to a lack of XP to develop other branches.  Perhaps I misunderstood, though.
I spent some time thinking about why I don't think the champions mesh well with the main game.  I'm going to make some comparisons to another game that had hero units.

Warcraft 3 introduced a hero unit that could:
Gain levels (max 18)
Learn new skills
Resurrect after a brief wait
Do quests around the maps

The things that differ from AI War champions are:
There is a maximum level
You can choose the hero(s) you need but are stuck with that decision
Gains XP from normal enemies and from doing quests XP sources unlimited
Quests are not a separate map, and can be assisted by normal units

These things together allowed the hero units to mesh together in normal gameplay.  I think too much effort was put into making champions their own separate thing that they don't mesh with the main campaign.  They're like this sub unit that does it's thing, and then there really isn't any real conclusion to it other than everyone else got a bunch of nice stuff that can help out later.

I'm not trying to turn this game into Warcraft 3, but perhaps we can take a few lessons from it.  Why not limit the levels of the champions to 12*hull level + 12.  This makes maximum level 60.  Then take XP from the mission, and put it in the main campaign only, in the form of killing shadow ships.  This way the progression for champions is to help destroy clusters of ships bringing the shadow champions, and assisting homeworlders till they are of a level that they can deal with a nebula where they can learn new, and cool, abilities.  The level limit still prevents them from leveling up everything they have at once even at the end.

Finally, rather than have all nebulas exposed at the start, have events that cause them to be discovered, possibly triggered by time and champion level.  Upon discovery of an event, the champions have plenty of time to respond, but until they do, the nebula will remain hidden from view, as well as all other undiscovered nebula.

How does this sound?  Level 60, which is the maximum you can achieve here is currently easily achievable if you game the system like we've learned how to.  I've had champion levels of 78ish before.  All it takes is dragging nebula missions out for as long as you can.  It would also let you pick 10 modules potentially to fully level up per champion.

Offline Bognor

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2014, 06:58:22 AM »
Really?  I though I'd heard from several others that they didn't like how even in the endgame they never had enough to reach the stuff they wanted, and were trapped into their earlier choices due to a lack of XP to develop other branches.  Perhaps I misunderstood, though.
I had made a suggestion on mantis about allowing a re-spec on champions.
Mantis link: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=11654
That way players wouldn't be completely locked into their earlier path choice.
Yeah, pretty much what this suggestion says.  Without a respec capability, there's always the chance you'll end up using points on an immediate need and end up with too few points at the end to spec out your desired ship.  It also limits the ability to 'play around' with some of the more interesting (but less combat effective) modules.
For example, spending points on IREs early to beat the Ravenous Shadow scenario, when you want your endgame Champion to be a Photon Lance and Railgun Spire Battleship.

And on top of that, since the Normal+Champion players have Modular Fortress modules unlocked by the Champion's unlocks, you need to spend points there on modules you might not otherwise want.  Like Bomber Bays and Insanity Inducers for a Neinzul Fortress, while (again) aiming for an endgame ship with different modules.
Of course, if the RNG says "You don't get those modules!", all your plans can go to naught anyway...
Seconding this.  Even beating every nebula (all 9), I never have quite enough XP to max everything I want for the champion in nebulae, the champion in worlds, and the mod forts.  Dunno if that's strictly a bad thing as it forces tough decisions, though it would be nice if there were at least a chance of getting all the XP I want if I do well enough.  (I guess it's possible in maps with >9 nebulae using cmd:allow duplicate nebula scenarios.)
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Offline TIE Viper

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #44 on: April 05, 2014, 03:45:01 PM »
Seconding this.  Even beating every nebula (all 9), I never have quite enough XP to max everything I want for the champion in nebulae, the champion in worlds, and the mod forts.  Dunno if that's strictly a bad thing as it forces tough decisions, though it would be nice if there were at least a chance of getting all the XP I want if I do well enough.  (I guess it's possible in maps with >9 nebulae using cmd:allow duplicate nebula scenarios.)

That is actually how I ended up getting the Swiss Army Knife achievement. I played on a 120 planet map and allowed duplicate scenarios.
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