Arcen Games

Games => AI War Classic => Topic started by: chemical_art on March 28, 2014, 05:35:34 PM

Title: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: chemical_art on March 28, 2014, 05:35:34 PM
AI Wars is getting updates again. Yay!

Let's hatch an old chestnut.

Those who want the benefit of champion rewards without actually playing the nebula.

SO I'll start:

If selected via the lobby. The player champion upon entering a nebula will not be usable for X minutes. After X minutes, it will be usable again. It will gain Y levels automatically. It will get Z rewards from the nebula. The champion at this point can find another nebula and repeat the process. Any AI response from using too many nebula shall occur as normal.


[Place opinions here.]
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: orzelek on March 28, 2014, 06:22:16 PM
There was this huge threadnaught about reinventing/redoing champions.
If there is a chance for that small changes can wait ;)
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 28, 2014, 07:10:44 PM
Reworking champions was the #2 on the big 8.0 poll.  After hacking.  Now that hacking is largely into the polish phase (in my opinion, at least), reworking champions is the next big item on my list.

Part of the challenge is that there's not so much a consensus on what needs to be done as at least two different camps who want very different things from champions.  Some want more direct-use abilities and in general more skill-based interaction.  Others want less of that, in the sense of just wanting big modular ships to throw around in an otherwise unchanged (or nearly so) game.

Or so I recall.  My memory isn't so good ;)

The concrete ideas that have come to mind (possibly through what others have said, it's been a while) for me, in no particular order and not particularly mutually-exclusive to one another:

a) Add more direct use abilities, like conical-aoe or travelling-aoe attacks that fire in the direction of the mouse cursor.  Possibly more buff/debuff abilities.  None of that is particularly quick to code so I'm not wild about it, but I suppose that is the can of worms I opened.

b) In most (possibly all) nebula scenarios, add beacons you can drop to help coordinate with your allies.  Like an "Attack" beacon that makes all spawns from the nearest ally base target the nearest enemy base, a "Defend" beacon that makes all spawns from the second-nearest ally base go after the stuff attacking the nearest ally base, and an "Escort" beacon that makes all spawns from the nearest ally base attack whatever's attacking the player (or the player is attacking, probably prioritizing within that joint set by what it's best at killing).

c) Add a lobby option that lets you have champions without nebulas of any kind, and they just gain xp by killing AI stuff.  Possibly that would be too grind-oriented, so perhaps they just gain xp when you gain AIP ;)  Possibly new hull/module unlocks come alongside new ship types from capturing or hacking ARS/AdvFact/Fab stuff.  If it's just an alternate mode I'd rather not add new types of things to go after for those purposes, but just focus on minimum-fiddliness.

Other ideas, and thoughts on these, are welcome as always :)
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Wingflier on March 28, 2014, 07:26:35 PM
What about making Champions something like what you would expect from an RPG or like any other large resource in the game:

I.e. If you lose them the AI goes absolutely insane trying to kill you while the Champion slowly respawns. It's just an idea I guess, maybe tie it to the "Hunter" plot. I'd use it anyway.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: TheOverWhelming on March 29, 2014, 07:11:53 PM
While I only have about 40-50 actual real-world playing time under my belt I feel like Champions should be more of a micro thing (so more abilities or choices)

Currently a 'Normal' player is about macro, building up, killing the AI (I haven't really done a 'stealthier' playthru yet) and controlling vast amount of ships without a ton of micro (in my current game I rally point to an enemy planet sometimes in case I lose ships).
Champion players are all about one ship with its 1-2 abilities and flying about making choices.. most of which are (for me): do i get lasers for the next nebulae or something else to counter the armor types there.. but it's so far so do i run a balanced champ.
Or.. do I deep strike by myself and place a shield over every wormhole I go into just in case of health-based weaponry in order to get a bunch of AIP reducers or assassinate that planet

Mind you, once you get Photon Lances in Nebulaes it becomes vastly easier to do all of them otherwise it can feel quite grindy on some nebulaes
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Furret on March 30, 2014, 05:46:18 AM
Part of the challenge is that there's not so much a consensus on what needs to be done as at least two different camps who want very different things from champions.  Some want more direct-use abilities and in general more skill-based interaction.  Others want less of that, in the sense of just wanting big modular ships to throw around in an otherwise unchanged (or nearly so) game.

Perhaps add in a few more radically different module types?

For example: A control module.

Your options are:
Complex Manual Control Module
- Installing this module would allow your ship to install more 'skillshot'  modules like aoe damage projectiles, or delayed explosions
- Assuming the player controlled their champion correctly, this module would allow for the most dps
- Most or all of these abilities would not be able to be used without explicit instruction from the player, so unless handled properly, this type of champion would be relatively ineffective

Simple Manual Control Module
- Installing this module would allow your ship to install some of the micro-intensive modules such as force-fields or instant damage/repair
- This module would require the player to control their champion to reap the full rewards of this module, but most of the abilities/weapons wouldn't require deep thought or planning
- The abilities/weapons would be equally effective in most or all circumstances, but would still require player control to be fully effective

Simple Automatic Control Module
- Installing this module would allow your ship to install the basic weaponry currently allotted to champions
- This module would not require any player control as all of the modular weapon systems would use the game's current targeting code
- The weapons would be slightly less effective than a well controlled Manual Control champion, but would be more effective than a poorly controlled Manual Control Champion


I actually haven't played too much with champions because I get too caught up in microing them so I may be totally missing something already implemented.

Lastly, an idea for an ability: A massive magnet.  It would work similarly to tractor beams, except allowing other AOE damage to be much more effective since enemy ships would be clustered around the unit using the magnet.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: doctorfrog on March 30, 2014, 02:40:14 PM
This might be off the wall, but what about an indirectly-controlled champion, that you partly "program" by selecting its upgrade path, or parts? Like, it could self-select which enemies it wants to fight against based on the weapon mounts (it probably already does this), but also based on this, it can go on fairly unsophisticated "missions" that you pick from a simple menu.

The idea is that it would be less of a direct-control unit that you have to choose to either practically abandon the rest of the game to control, or just another starship, and more of a dark horse or special ops kind of unit. Or an excitable pet, even.

For example:
1. The champ sits idle on your home planet. You click on it, or otherwise activate it.
2. You are presented with a simple menu of available "missions" based on what the champ knows about on the map. Maybe it's "Engage a Special Forces base on Murdoch," or "Explore nearest wormhole and engage as needed." You don't pick the missions, it does. The last mission is just "Play a Support Role in My Largest Fleetball."
3. There's an option where you can let it pick its own supplementary forces. "How much support can I bring?"
4. This time, let's have it Engage a Special Forces Base (never mind at the moment if that's a terrible idea or not, let's pretend it's a great idea), and let it take along 300 other ships of its own choosing.
5. As it goes along its business, you send in your own fleetball to take care of other business on the planet.
6. As the champ gets close to dying, it flees with the remainder of its fleet back to the closest friendly planet. It prefers not to die and warp back.

This is just an example, and not a terribly well-thought-out one, but I want to stimulate some thought around making the champion an indirect-control unit. You see, I have been playing Majesty HD lately...
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 30, 2014, 03:05:55 PM
This might be off the wall, but what about an indirectly-controlled champion, that you partly "program" by selecting its upgrade path, or parts? Like, it could self-select which enemies it wants to fight against based on the weapon mounts (it probably already does this), but also based on this, it can go on fairly unsophisticated "missions" that you pick from a simple menu.

The idea is that it would be less of a direct-control unit that you have to choose to either practically abandon the rest of the game to control, or just another starship, and more of a dark horse or special ops kind of unit. Or an excitable pet, even.

For example:
1. The champ sits idle on your home planet. You click on it, or otherwise activate it.
2. You are presented with a simple menu of available "missions" based on what the champ knows about on the map. Maybe it's "Engage a Special Forces base on Murdoch," or "Explore nearest wormhole and engage as needed." You don't pick the missions, it does. The last mission is just "Play a Support Role in My Largest Fleetball."
3. There's an option where you can let it pick its own supplementary forces. "How much support can I bring?"
4. This time, let's have it Engage a Special Forces Base (never mind at the moment if that's a terrible idea or not, let's pretend it's a great idea), and let it take along 300 other ships of its own choosing.
5. As it goes along its business, you send in your own fleetball to take care of other business on the planet.
6. As the champ gets close to dying, it flees with the remainder of its fleet back to the closest friendly planet. It prefers not to die and warp back.

This is just an example, and not a terribly well-thought-out one, but I want to stimulate some thought around making the champion an indirect-control unit. You see, I have been playing Majesty HD lately...
You would ally yourself with the AI?  Do you not remember what happened in the first war?
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: LintMan on March 30, 2014, 03:13:43 PM
As I see it, right now there isn't enough involvement/interaction/"stuff" to make champion-only play very interesting, but at the same time, the nebulas are way too fiddly for normal+champion.  I'm not sure that can be balanced to be equally fun/interesting for both cases.

I usually stick to normal+champion and find the main game grinds to a halt as it is while I do the nebula stuff.   I'd generally prefer spending less time in the nebulas, especially since I usually feel like I get my butt kicked in them.   

A more micro-intensive champion would likely mean a more powerful champion - at least for those with the time and the skill to do the micro management.   Then the micro-ers find it too easy and want more challenge.  Things then get made tougher, and the non-micro-ers have a harder time.

A "passive" champion sounds appealing in some ways, but I do like the nebula missions; I'd just prefer they were shorter and less intense.  I'm guessing that if a totally "passive" option existed to get the nebula rewards without actually doing it yourself, people would expect to get better rewards for doing it themselves or worse rewards for those who passively did it.  And then I'd feel obligated to do them to get the better rewards, since they already feel somewhat meager.

Of the options Keith mentions, a and b aren't appealing to me at all.  Option c might be interesting if it could avoid the grindyness he mentions.

Overall, though, the only thing I really think needs fixing for champions is the tech/leveling curve: it leaves you subject to the whims of the RNG as far as which techs you get early (or at all) and you get too few points to give you any flexibility, locking you in to early choices.

Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Vinraith on March 30, 2014, 03:39:13 PM
Of the options Keith mentioned, I think option c is the only one I might actually play with.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Labfiend on March 30, 2014, 03:54:53 PM
I concur on option C.  That sounds up my alley.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: chemical_art on March 30, 2014, 07:49:48 PM
I like C
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: TechSY730 on March 30, 2014, 08:16:17 PM
Here is an extremely cynical, negative option.

How about scrapping all champion stuff all together, all features related to that (AI response to champions, etc), and give everyone who bought the 4th expansion a PARTIAL refund (partial as the features that were non champion related would remain), and reprice and re-describe the 4th expansion as a "mini-expansion" like the children of neinzul.

I would not like this, as I actually do like the champions. But honestly, with how much trouble they have been to get it to a state that both new and veteran players like, it almost seems like it is not worth it wasting time trying to tweak them anymore.

Then again, I'm feeling really uncharacteristically negative and angry right now, so, maybe I shouldn't be posting right now...


EDIT: I would like to point out that I don't seriously think this is a viable option.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Coppermantis on March 30, 2014, 10:07:41 PM
Yeah, that doesn't really make sense, since, if people don't like the champions they can, you know, not play with them.

In terms of what Keith proposed, I'm supportive of a and b, though if a proves too troublesome I wouldn't mind dropping it. I'm actually fond of Champions in their current state, but the allied AI in nebulae has proven frustrating. Letting them be directed opens up new tactical options and would make the nebulae an overall less painful experience.

c seems like a good option in terms of ease of implementation and satisfying the people who object to Champions' current state, but I'd also like to see b, at least.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 31, 2014, 03:19:42 AM
Yeah, that doesn't really make sense, since, if people don't like the champions they can, you know, not play with them.

In terms of what Keith proposed, I'm supportive of a and b, though if a proves too troublesome I wouldn't mind dropping it. I'm actually fond of Champions in their current state, but the allied AI in nebulae has proven frustrating. Letting them be directed opens up new tactical options and would make the nebulae an overall less painful experience.

c seems like a good option in terms of ease of implementation and satisfying the people who object to Champions' current state, but I'd also like to see b, at least.
C is kinda demoting the champions to just super strong ships that you can keep rebuilding instantly.  I just wish they meshed with the main game better.  When they are in the game, the main story gets kinda easy on offense due to them as you are never afraid to lose them.  If there were more risk involved, and the AI were more proactive at countering them, without throwing said counters against areas without the champions, I think they'd be more interesting overall.  Right now there's just little outside of nebula they need to worry about.  Even dire guardians don't hold a candle to more than 2 of them.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: RockyBst on March 31, 2014, 03:27:15 AM
So, might the solution to suicide championing be giving them a massive salvage value when dying on an AI planet?
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 31, 2014, 03:33:22 AM
So, might the solution to suicide championing be giving them a massive salvage value when dying on an AI planet?
Salvage is based on the cost of the unit.  Since the cost is used to determine how much it is to repair it, this would be a major nerf to them even in the nebulas as they would take forever to heal at a large starbase.

I just think that the AI should get some sort of emergency reserve it could deploy when champions come around.  Maybe a percentage of the strategic reserve just to harass them, or make the shadow destroyers they get part of a new reserve that automatically deploys in their presence, and allow them to ship rank up to the next hull or two later on.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Toranth on March 31, 2014, 04:29:42 AM
So, might the solution to suicide championing be giving them a massive salvage value when dying on an AI planet?
Salvage is based on the cost of the unit.  Since the cost is used to determine how much it is to repair it, this would be a major nerf to them even in the nebulas as they would take forever to heal at a large starbase.

I just think that the AI should get some sort of emergency reserve it could deploy when champions come around.  Maybe a percentage of the strategic reserve just to harass them, or make the shadow destroyers they get part of a new reserve that automatically deploys in their presence, and allow them to ship rank up to the next hull or two later on.
There's already the anti-Champion Dirty Tricks budget and AI Homeworld reinforcements.  It's just that at the moment, the only Dirty Trick the AI knows is "Buy a Nemesis Frigate and add it to the SF/Threatfleet".
This does make the Threatfleet massively more dangerous, as a group of 20+ Frigates can toast most normal game defenses without issue.  That's like 3-4 H/Ks worth of firepower.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 31, 2014, 05:39:54 AM
So, might the solution to suicide championing be giving them a massive salvage value when dying on an AI planet?
Salvage is based on the cost of the unit.  Since the cost is used to determine how much it is to repair it, this would be a major nerf to them even in the nebulas as they would take forever to heal at a large starbase.

I just think that the AI should get some sort of emergency reserve it could deploy when champions come around.  Maybe a percentage of the strategic reserve just to harass them, or make the shadow destroyers they get part of a new reserve that automatically deploys in their presence, and allow them to ship rank up to the next hull or two later on.
There's already the anti-Champion Dirty Tricks budget and AI Homeworld reinforcements.  It's just that at the moment, the only Dirty Trick the AI knows is "Buy a Nemesis Frigate and add it to the SF/Threatfleet".
This does make the Threatfleet massively more dangerous, as a group of 20+ Frigates can toast most normal game defenses without issue.  That's like 3-4 H/Ks worth of firepower.
That's precisely my point.  It's aimed not directly at the champions in question, but at everything else.  A proper counter should be aimed and fired directly at enemy champions.  Preferably when they are in AI territory.  Maybe more when over 2 hops out.

It's like retaliating by blindfolding yourself and firing a shotgun.  You rarely hit what you intend to, but you certainly hit everything else.  It pretty much makes any players picking champions punish other players who didn't, while giving them a large tactical advantage when spreading out.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: RockyBst on March 31, 2014, 02:24:56 PM
I was thinking more custom logic to give the champion a disproportionate salvage value, but as the dirty tricks fund is already there let's go with that. I do prefer the idea of direct response anyway.

How would something like 'every minute a champion is on an AI planet, assuming dirty tricks budget allows, an AIP appropriate anti-companion ship is warps in and joins the threat fleet' suit you? Still allows raiding (in that one minute initial period), but discourages strikes too deep or too long.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 31, 2014, 03:58:37 PM
I was thinking more custom logic to give the champion a disproportionate salvage value, but as the dirty tricks fund is already there let's go with that. I do prefer the idea of direct response anyway.

How would something like 'every minute a champion is on an AI planet, assuming dirty tricks budget allows, an AIP appropriate anti-companion ship is warps in and joins the threat fleet' suit you? Still allows raiding (in that one minute initial period), but discourages strikes too deep or too long.
As I said, threat fleet threatens people with homeworlds.  If a player only has a champion, this is not a direct counter to him, it's like the AI says "If you don't leave me alone, I'm going to kill your friend over there."

I'm ok with there being some dirty tricks like that, but currently that is the only dirty trick it ever uses.  Most of it's responses need to be directly aggressing against the champions themselves.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 31, 2014, 04:03:53 PM
In the past I've found that players don't enjoy situations where "you get cool toy X, and the AI gets cool toy Y as a direct counter right in its face".  Like when player golems used to trigger huge reinforcements on an AI planet they were on.   Golems were very seldom used back then.  That felt like a treadmill situation, and people seem to much prefer "get exos periodically thrown at my empire, in return for my having this big gun" to "the AI reinforces hugely as soon as I show up with this big gun".

I'm not 100% sure that would be the situation with champions, but I suspect it wouldn't be great.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 31, 2014, 05:05:00 PM
In the past I've found that players don't enjoy situations where "you get cool toy X, and the AI gets cool toy Y as a direct counter right in its face".  Like when player golems used to trigger huge reinforcements on an AI planet they were on.   Golems were very seldom used back then.  That felt like a treadmill situation, and people seem to much prefer "get exos periodically thrown at my empire, in return for my having this big gun" to "the AI reinforces hugely as soon as I show up with this big gun".

I'm not 100% sure that would be the situation with champions, but I suspect it wouldn't be great.
What I am suggesting would be something that grows in proportion to time spent in AI territory and depth into AI territory, with a bonus for important systems.  Spend 5-10 minutes in their territory next door to your world and they will politely request you get out.  Try to deepstrike and shorten the response to 1 minute.  The longer you ignore their polite requests to leave, the more forceful they make their requests, until the champions either have to leave, or will die.  The response levels will drop quickly over time, but will not result in 0 response simply by destroying a command station.

My biggest beef is the challenge for destroying guardposts on a world with ONLY champions is very low compared to using fleet ships.  The biggest challenge for a champion comes not from the threat fleet, but from special forces, which barring the existence of certain ships inside, the champions can "Benny Hill" or turtle their way through.  Even if there are problematic ships in there, they can usually outrun the AI's special forces long enough to destroy all guard posts and command station, and be back in time to kill any AI response before they become an issue.

No, I think the AI's response should be more directed against stopping champions before the damage is dealt.  A growing chance of response, and attempt to push them back out.  I think the following dirty tricks should be added to make things more challenging in the normal game for champions:

Chance to replace reinforcement waves with ships that counter/harass champions well, chosen from currently unlocked ships.  Will give examples below.
As above, but if selected ship type has been corrupted, attempt to spend budget on core versions.  If it hasn't been corrupted instead make sure it spends it on at least the mark level of champion ships' highest level module.
(The above are reinforcements, and will not leave the planet and join the threat fleet unless normal conversion conditions apply)
AI makes specific purchases from the Trader to prevent champions from passing through/leaving etc.  Only valid if trader is in system.  Possibilities include sudden decision to place Black Hole Generators, Orbital Mass Drivers, Radar Jammers, and Super Fortresses.  (This will discourage champions from attacking when the trader is in the area.)
Retaliation wave:  Normal wave strength wave consisting of shadow vessels using normal wave destination logic, or directed at the system champions are located.  Will be announced as normal, but successive waves during a span of time where the champions have not reentered friendly territory will have shorter and shorter timers.  (20% for each wave)
Finally give the AI a chance to improve one of it's shadow vessels up to the next hull type, capping out at the player's shadow hull type.  This is per champion the players bring with them.

Furthermore, I think that nebulas have been around long enough for the AI to take notice of them.  I think it's high time the AI starts having some response to champions making contact with others isolated in said nebulas.  The AI has shadow vessels right?  (This should be restricted to games with 2 or more players however as it could be overwhelming for a single player)  Also threat of this should end the moment a mission is won/lost.  The AI never cries over spilled milk.

Responses will occur beginning and during missions in any nebulas connected directly to AI systems or their immediate borders.  Responses will begin at closest command station with a warp gate, and attempt to fly into the nebula, and then immediately target the closest friendly base and try to destroy it.  They will be announced with 30 seconds to 1 minute timers, will consist of half #of player champions in strength rounded down, be the same size as the player champions, and can be intercepted before they enter by normal fleets.  However this is more and more unlikely the deeper into AI territory you go to get to a mission unless you somehow have a standing fleet there able to survive there.  Note:  This behavior either should be disabled for Core AI worlds/Homeworlds or logic should prevent nebulas from spawning on those worlds.

Doing this part will discourage champion players from simply deep-striking wherever they can to perform all their missions quickly and gain massive amounts of power that the AI cannot combat until very late in the game.  Deep-striking now would provide severe risk that the players would not be able to finish a mission due to AI shadow reinforcements.

Here is a list of ship types that aggravate/annoy the heck out of champions:
Zombards
Sentinel Frigates
Bombers
Electric Bombers
Speed Boosters (in combination with other ships like Bombers)
Armor Rotters
Blade Spawners
Yng Tigers (not usually used in reinforcements, this is a special case)
Vampire Claws
Viral Shredders (really anything shield immune)
Raiders
Tackle Drone Launchers (Only with other ships and Only if drones are used by champions)
Gravity Rippers (and the other kind that slow down nearby ships)
Snipers

Plasma Siege Starships
Heavy Bomber Starships

Sniper guardians
Spider guardians
Enclave guardians
Disassembler guardians
Plasma guardians

Summary:  Give the AI tools that it can use to oust these invaders effectively.  Don't make them use the tools right away, instead make it more likely to use them the longer they stay in enemy territory or the deeper in their territory they go.  Give them a cool down ramp so that champions can't just duck out or destroy a command station to reset the aggression level.  Make the AI challenge a champion's ability to do wormhole missions in all but the safest locations, requiring assistance outside the wormhole to allow the mission to go without interference.  This way you place limits on what champions can do against the AI without simply directly countering them at every move.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Toranth on March 31, 2014, 06:20:15 PM
In the past I've found that players don't enjoy situations where "you get cool toy X, and the AI gets cool toy Y as a direct counter right in its face".  Like when player golems used to trigger huge reinforcements on an AI planet they were on.   Golems were very seldom used back then.  That felt like a treadmill situation, and people seem to much prefer "get exos periodically thrown at my empire, in return for my having this big gun" to "the AI reinforces hugely as soon as I show up with this big gun".

I'm not 100% sure that would be the situation with champions, but I suspect it wouldn't be great.
Well, the original anti-Champions counter was the additional multiplier to the AI.  That got a little unbalanced, and resulted in the current much-improved system.
Now, I started playing too late for the anti-Golem stuff, but I know that if bringing a Golem along resulted in the AI getting an instant equal-or-near-equal-strength counter to it, then I'd say why bother?  Something like an Exowave can be dealt with in other ways, leading to flexibility and efficiency: counter the counter with your strength, and use your Golem at the AI's weakness.
It's the immediate, direct counter bit that sounds bad to me.  And indirect effect, even if larger than it would be otherwise, matches my preferences too.
You could do the same thing for Champions, I suppose.  Get an Exowave with budget based on the number and hull-size.  Champions Easy and Champions Hard 4/10?


What I am suggesting would be something that grows in proportion to time spent in AI territory and depth into AI territory, with a bonus for important systems.  Spend 5-10 minutes in their territory next door to your world and they will politely request you get out.  Try to deepstrike and shorten the response to 1 minute.  The longer you ignore their polite requests to leave, the more forceful they make their requests, until the champions either have to leave, or will die.  The response levels will drop quickly over time, but will not result in 0 response simply by destroying a command station.

<snip suggestion list>

Summary:  Give the AI tools that it can use to oust these invaders effectively.  Don't make them use the tools right away, instead make it more likely to use them the longer they stay in enemy territory or the deeper in their territory they go.  Give them a cool down ramp so that champions can't just duck out or destroy a command station to reset the aggression level.  Make the AI challenge a champion's ability to do wormhole missions in all but the safest locations, requiring assistance outside the wormhole to allow the mission to go without interference.  This way you place limits on what champions can do against the AI without simply directly countering them at every move.

While I agree I'd like to see a more targeted response to the Champions, remember that the players with Homeworlds also get rewards - Modular Fortresses, Nebula ships, and a minor energy/resource bonus.  So there should be some negative to them as well, as they receive those rewards.

Some of your suggestions are interesting, but somewhat indirect.  They also all impact normal ships/players, and some of them could be almost game breaking (Dropping a SuperFortress?  Large waves?)
I also would strongly oppose getting the AI involved in the nebula, unless there is a major reworking of those scenarios.

I'd prefer to see something similar to the current Nemesis system.  Allow large hull types for the AI, but greatly reduce the number/strength allowed.  This could be the anti-normal player response.
For the directly Anti-Champion response,
Have a group of these that act similar to the Special Forces (never attack Human planets) but instead target Champions in AI space exclusively.
Have a building on the AI Homeworlds that spawns a slow moving missile that tracks Champions.  When it gets close enough, it detonates, doing an immense amount of damage (instant kill) - but only to Champions.  Higher mark versions could move faster, have a large radius, come with a gravity drain and a BHG effect - or even be cloaked.  Stealth boom!
Have a spawn of a bunch of small, fast moving units (Neinzul Shadowspawn?) appear that will rush to and harass Champion units where ever they go, even if they leave AI space.  But make them incapable of targetting anything other than Champions.
Have an H/K variant that acts similar: can only target Champions, but relentlessly tracks them through AI space.

All sorts of stuff that could be done, but I would hope to have it all be stuff that ONLY works against Champions.  That way we can still keep the two player modes mostly separate.  Mostly, because when your ally's Champion supporting your fleet suddenly does a runner because the missile appeared, your fleet still has to deal with the consequences.


All in all I like the Champions, and would love to see option "a) more of the same but with SPECIAL POWERS!" implemented.  But I understand that I'm in the minority there.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 31, 2014, 06:50:28 PM
My main issue is there is little to no feedback as to where you are biting off more than you can chew with a champion until it's too late.  This makes champion players over confident, and irritated at non-champion player's insistence on waiting, building defenses, and planning conquest.  As someone who plays with another person who insists on using champions almost to exclusion, I get to see this in extreme.

From the champion's perspective:
If I could burn 14 worlds right now and still not be hampered by the AIP myself, why should I not?  If those worlds are on the way to another nebula mission, even better.  I get stronger, and the homeworld players get stronger right?  I still can hold off what the AI throws at me.

From the homeworlder's perspective:
I have sixteen systems already because of overexpansion from the champions, and I'm too busy dealing with AI aggression to get defenses up quickly, and the champions want to kill more systems because they get no reward for helping with fleet ships beyond being able to kill more systems faster.  At this point, I need to figure out how I can stabilize my position, while keeping the champion player from taking too much for me to defend.

The issue here is the huge disparity between champions and normal fleet ships, the AI's response to champions and how it's used, and the fact that champions can scale up rather fast, while AI response does not.  This means that champion only players can affect the tactical game far more than other players, but have no real feedback from it.  Add to the fact that they gain experience only from guardposts and command stations outside of wormholes, and now they have incentive to just screw everyone else over.

Another idea I have now is for experience gain be removed from guardposts and command stations, and instead applied to shadow champion kills, with greater amounts given for larger hull size.  Then you can make the AI spawn shadow frigate strike forces periodically to seek out player champions based on the strength of fleet ships killed by a shadow champion.  Just remember though, Shadow champions are never a hard counter to player champions, as players have extra abilities and tactics at their disposal which give them an edge.

If you do this, the more champions stir up trouble in enemy territory, the more trouble comes to look for them in response.  They then have a choice, fight them here, and challenge them in glory, or retreat to friendly territory and fight them with help when they can.  A shrewd player might deliberately spawn more hunter fleets to gain more experience, but it shouldn't be done with no regards to safety or it could easily get out of hand.  Also this way it does affect both kinds of players, but since it's specifically targeted at the player champions, it shouldn't directly strike at the homeworlder.  That is unless there are so many that they don't see any reason not to enter friendly space to get at the shadow champions, they wipe, and respawn at the homeworld... drawing the fleets >:D  Then they are let known directly that they were the cause.

Edit: Also, as for the sudden superfortress, this can already happen, just as a natural course of events.  The AI can and will buy stuff from a trader while under attack, and superfortresses are on the list of valid items for the AI to buy.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 31, 2014, 06:55:29 PM
I guess one problem in that case is that the champion player doesn't seem to see "because of what I did, my team's defenses were overrun and we lost" as the champion player's problem :)

Ultimately I think champion-only and champion+normal (including champs run by other normal or champion+normal players) will probably just need different responses.  The latter just wants to add new toys.  The former just wants that particular new toy.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon on March 31, 2014, 07:08:36 PM
I guess one problem in that case is that the champion player doesn't seem to see "because of what I did, my team's defenses were overrun and we lost" as the champion player's problem :)

Ultimately I think champion-only and champion+normal (including champs run by other normal or champion+normal players) will probably just need different responses.  The latter just wants to add new toys.  The former just wants that particular new toy.
Even if you have 2 players that have champion + normal, it usually devolves into one person uses the champions, while the other sees to the defenses in most cases, just because the gameplay between the two is so much different.  Champions can do so much more, but require special attention to be effective, while one player needs to make sure the defenses aren't getting overrun.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 31, 2014, 08:25:32 PM
Right, I wasn't very clear.  I mean basically having a toggle between "has nebulae, gets against-the-champion responses" and "no nebulae, growth through normal game process, against-the-empire responses".  Or something like that.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: tadrinth on March 31, 2014, 08:37:55 PM
It seems like champion players should be focused on neutering systems, not taking them.  Maybe command stations shouldn't give XP, only guard posts, so the champ player is motivated solely to neuter systems while clearing a path to nebulas. 
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: LintMan on April 01, 2014, 12:13:56 AM

I'd prefer to see something similar to the current Nemesis system.  Allow large hull types for the AI, but greatly reduce the number/strength allowed.  This could be the anti-normal player response.
For the directly Anti-Champion response,
Have a group of these that act similar to the Special Forces (never attack Human planets) but instead target Champions in AI space exclusively.
Have a building on the AI Homeworlds that spawns a slow moving missile that tracks Champions.  When it gets close enough, it detonates, doing an immense amount of damage (instant kill) - but only to Champions.  Higher mark versions could move faster, have a large radius, come with a gravity drain and a BHG effect - or even be cloaked.  Stealth boom!
Have a spawn of a bunch of small, fast moving units (Neinzul Shadowspawn?) appear that will rush to and harass Champion units where ever they go, even if they leave AI space.  But make them incapable of targetting anything other than Champions.
Have an H/K variant that acts similar: can only target Champions, but relentlessly tracks them through AI space.

All sorts of stuff that could be done, but I would hope to have it all be stuff that ONLY works against Champions.  That way we can still keep the two player modes mostly separate.  Mostly, because when your ally's Champion supporting your fleet suddenly does a runner because the missile appeared, your fleet still has to deal with the consequences.

That sounds a good bit like something I suggested a year ago: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12521.msg136399.html#msg136399 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12521.msg136399.html#msg136399)

It needs to be kept in mind that not every player might have a champion.  Sending typical exo-waves against planets places the burden of defense mainly on command-station players rather than the champion players.  The champion players are what we're trying to balance here, so that's where the focus should be.

Some ideas:
...
* Champion Slayer: The AI creates one of these PER CHAMPION PLAYER after the 3rd, 6th and 9th nebula missions, entirely focused on making life hell for any champions that venture into AI territory.  It is extremely fast, with high health and devasting attack damage against champions.  The Slayer partly exists in the Shadow realm and so is invulnerable to non-champions, but it also is unable to damage non-Champions.  The Slayer is non-repairable, so a Champion can eventually take one down.   They also spread out, avoinding having more than one Slayer on any planet at any time (to avoid ganging up too badly).  Whenever the AI spots a Champion in its territory, it will send immediately send the nearest Slayer after it, which will track down and destroy the Champion wherever it goes (even back into player territory).  When the targetted Champion is killed, the Slayer retreats back to AI space until a Champion is again spotted.  This repeats until the Slayers are all dead.


I think something like that would add challenge specifically to the Champion player in an interesting and different sort of way.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: TechSY730 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: DrFranknfurter 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Toranth 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 (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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: keith.lamothe 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: keith.lamothe 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Fleet Unity 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: keith.lamothe 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Fleet Unity 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: TIE Viper 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 (http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=11654)
That way players wouldn't be completely locked into their earlier path choice.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Toranth 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 (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...
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Chthon 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: Bognor 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 (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.)
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: TIE Viper 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.
Title: Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
Post by: brammel on May 26, 2014, 03:13:37 AM
hi there,

kinda scared of asking this since I'm sure its out there somewhere (i just wasnt able to find it), and I'm kinda against making a new threat for a question like that

but what was the core idea of a champion in the first place?

my initial expectation was that its there to attract players who arent much of the "strategy" type, but do like to be a soldier in a larger picture.

especially with them being an option for a solo player, i expected them to be more blunt instruments, as compared to the whole "this counters that" mechanism for strategists.
a large slow spaceship with the firepower and defense of a fully capped fleet and the speed of a cruiser kinda. the abilitys would just be an added bonus.

basically: i play with a few friends (some who like direct action and arent rlly into strategy, some who like strategy and less direct action)
1) as part of the strategists, we generally discuss a while on the overlay map (with all the nodes) to discuss what we are going to take/do.
    generally, the action guys tend to alttab during this time, or attack while we are discussing. afterwards, we join in on the combat.

2) the direct action guys tend to like the strategy thing, just not the part where they throw in their 2cents. as in:
    they like the part of, "heres a giant, well constructed plan. your job in it is XXX". (only the last part interests them)
    i guess they like the feeling of "being part of something bigger", without actually knowing or caring exactly what it is.

in general, the ideal solution would be someone else managing there base, gifting them units that they use to attack.
however, this seemed to be not the way it was meant to be:
control groups do not work well with with shared control of units, and invoking "helper" players takes the combat part away from the initial player.
(theres many other things that just feel "off" if you try to go for this approach)

thus i assumed champions where the solution to this.
but in actuality, no one wants to play them since they tend to feel "weak" compared to the homeworld+army thing, and get boring rather fast.
while in fact, gifting 1 of those players a rlly strong golem like the botnet golem, generally satisfies them. (untill he loses it)

making him both carefull in not losing it, but giving him a large presence even compared to lategame armys (with the large zombie network)
champions are different than this, so it made me wonder:




what is the initial idea behind them? what spot are they supposed to fill but dont? (assuming this since theres many threats about it)
so i can join the discussion about them.
and does anyone have a practical solution to the thing i described, as it tends to get hard to round up the #2 guys to play this game.
(they basicallly only wanna play if we load up a save where they each get their own golem, or 5 mins before a rlly big battle (like exo's)) rather then enjoying the "whole" game



and I'm srry if this isnt the correct spot to post this, i dont use forums alot so feel free to move this to wherever it should be.