Author Topic: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7  (Read 4721 times)

Offline kasnavada

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Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« on: April 10, 2013, 05:15:37 AM »
Sooo... there are people around here not playing at 10/10 and willing to restart the game 40+ times to get to pass the first hours.

Point is, in all my games I'm stopped dead in my tracks when I hit the 350 / 400 AIP mark. After a while the reinforcement spawn hit the roof on every planet around my territory and I get constant *just over suicidal* boring attacks by said reinforcements, to which I need to send part of my forces to. This usually leaves me with litteraly next to no time to mount any attack on anything, much less on a core planet. Said core planets usually gets over 1250 lvl 5 ships which leaves me little room but to make suicidal attacks to kill a single guard post (stealth won't work as there are tachyon microfighters and sentinel frigates), which, under the conditions above, mean taking about an hour / an hour and a half to rebuild my forces while responding to reinforcements for each attack I make.

Waves and cross wave attacks and CPA and whatever the thing with golems and spire ship is called are completely inconsequential at that level, compared to the threat of 200 to 1000 lvl 3 or 4 reinforcement coming 4 or 5 times as often (compared to waves of 600 lvl 2 ships with 3 minute warning on heavily defended worlds).

Basically, I know that I'm not doing the greatest job of defending my world and so on, but come on, it's a 7/7 game. I should not have to resort to cheesy tricks to win that kind of games, should I ?

I keep in mind that the AIP scale is still around 200 for lvl 2 ships, 600 for lvl 3, that would mean that 400 is kinda good for mid-game, and that for end-game it should be around 600. That's what was written on the wiki a while ago. Is the point I make maybe from on that point ?

Also, there seems to be little to no difference between the reinforcement of a high level world from a low level world. If I have no lvl 3 or 4 world around my borders the reinforcements seem come as often, yet they are much much weaker.

In turn, there seems to be little points to use all those shiny level 5 fabricators since if you cannot go to 400 AIP... there is, due to core shield generators, at least a dozen planets to be taken, to which we must add a dozen to carve a path to the AI Core planets.

Conclusion :
- is 400 supposed to be the "level of AIP that must not be reached" at 7/7 diff ?
- are you really supposed to have only a border of one or two systems only at that level ?
- are waves, CPA and so on supposed to be next to not threat compared to, well... threat ?
- isn't the regular game (not the hardcore 9/9 game) supposed to be play at around 400 AIP first AI / 600 AIP second AI ?
- is there a mechanic I'm missing ? (one that will stop / reduce those reinforcements...) Note that I use the jammer station but with 5 stations only on a lattice map, it's nearly useless. Also, the jammer stations do get attacked by threat, rendering the point moot : unless you litterally cut the AI territory in half, reinforcements will still come to those planets, so blocking their spawn is kinda useless.

PS : I'm not looking for more effective ways to defend / attack, they are all over the forum and I parsed some already.

Offline _K_

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 05:49:37 AM »
Yeah, with no superweapons (spire toys/ golems) and no chokepoint, at 400 AIP 7/7 does become quite a problem. Complaints about stalemates at this point are actually quite common.

If threat is your main problem, then you should probably just grab your armada (you have an armada, right? 400 AIP usually comes with alot of K), and just clear some of the more populated low-mark AI systems. Even at 400 AIP, you SHOULD be able to kill considerably more ships than the AI gets as reinforcements. Unless you are up against double turtle, but you are not.

Cleaning those planets should give you some time to do actual productive stuff, like clearing the AIHWs.

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Said core planets usually gets over 1250 lvl 5 ships
This IS a big big problem and also the reason for the whole "Never set AI home systems on alert" thing. This is also the reason you clear out the low-mark border systems - that way you ensure the reinforcements dont overflow to AI homes.
You could try smuggling a bunch of lightning warheads in there, it seems to work for Faulty Logic every goddamn time. Needs some micro though.

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one that will stop / reduce those reinforcements
Nope, no such thing exists. The reinforcement rates depend solely on AIP (and AI type). You can only change where these are spawned by setting planets on alert.

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I'm not looking for more effective ways to defend / attack, they are all over the forum and I parsed some already.
Okay, but if you ever feel like giving up, just try doing the ultra-low AIP approach. It makes 10/10 winnable, and 7/7 easy as cake.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 05:58:59 AM by _K_ »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 06:12:43 AM »
If threat is your main problem, then you should probably just grab your armada (you have an armada, right? 400 AIP usually comes with alot of K), and just clear some of the more populated low-mark AI systems. Even at 400 AIP, AI shouldnt be reinforcing them nearly fast enough to compensate for the losses you can inflict.
Cleaning those planets should give you some time to do actual productive stuff, like clearing the AIHWs.

I tried this, but it's useless after a while, as soon as you actually do something else the threat starts skyrocketing again. Also, I'm at a loss to choose what to attack since, with a lattive map, I got a frontier of 20+ worlds just to make a path to one AI. Clearing a system does not mean that I get attacked less often unless I actually get them all, which, ressource wise, is not really doable.

I could reduce the number somewhat by replacing all warp jammers, but it'll still be a pain. Also, by attacking other systems you trigger "guard posts threat", which can annihilate your ships, unless you go for more AIP, which can also annihilate your ships.

What I did was creating a few "weak link" world with next to no def, that the AI attacks repeatedly, and my fleet just goes back and forth clearing whatever attacks there 75% - 90% of the time.

I got golems in that game but it does not make the situation any better, since the repair costs for golems are nearly as high as the cost of rebuilding of a fleet... I'd rather use the fleet. Golems are a huge deterrent for threat attacks, having them sit still somewhere guarantees that it will not be attacked with the weak link strategy above.

Anyway, this is beside the point - I want to know if that kind of situation is intended. I could get out of that situation by playing better and thinking harder (after all people are winning 9/9 games) but those 7/7 games were meant (at least IMO) to be more relaxed games, where you could try stuff, capture things and do not have to overthink everything. Also, basically, danger of reinforcement and threat > every other mechanic in the game.

PS : also, seeing the last patch, the addition of core shield generators and the "AI floor" mechanic, it would seem that the ultra low AIP tactic is not what is intended... I wouldn't count on it being a permanent way to play the game.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 06:23:36 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2013, 09:03:58 AM »
Basically, you've lost the game, and the AI isn't doing you the courtesy of finishing it.  I remember my first successful game I had nearly 300 AIP, no choke or front at all, and threat coming from everywhere.  I could barely hold off waves and get myself built back up.  I finally won by just going all out against the homeworlds and racing against a CPA timer.  I won with like 2 minutes until it landed.  Looking back at that game, the systems I took, the tech I unlocked, and how I laid out my defenses were all pretty bad and contributed to my problems.

- is 400 supposed to be the "level of AIP that must not be reached" at 7/7 diff ?
No, but I wouldn't want to go that high if I didn't have decent experience at winning.  Somewhere someone did the math that converts AIP to diffculty, so 400 AIP 7/7 might be something like 100 AIP 8/8.  I can't recall the thread sadly.

- are you really supposed to have only a border of one or two systems only at that level ?
You can have more, but you need to know how to defend a wider border.  That means knowing when Warp Jammers are best used, how to lay out Fortresses and turrets to discourage threat, and how to clear out and manage existing threat.  It also involves controlling reinforcements so they go where you want.

- are waves, CPA and so on supposed to be next to not threat compared to, well... threat ?
Your threat is so high that to hold that off, you are able to stop normal waves.  CPAs actually are just threat.  X ships are released to threat.  That's all a CPA does.  So CPAs are probably just topping off the threat forces you have to deal with.

- isn't the regular game (not the hardcore 9/9 game) supposed to be play at around 400 AIP first AI / 600 AIP second AI ?
At 7/7, 400 AIP is a little steep.  For your first win, under 200 AIP is ideal for when you kill the first homeworld.

- is there a mechanic I'm missing ? (one that will stop / reduce those reinforcements...) Note that I use the jammer station but with
5 stations only on a lattice map, it's nearly useless. Also, the jammer stations do get attacked by threat, rendering the point moot : unless you literally cut the AI territory in half, reinforcements will still come to those planets, so blocking their spawn is kinda useless.

Yes, there are several methods of controlling what the AI does, as well as techniques of dealing with the AI efficiently both in resources and time.  A lot of it requires practice, which is why a 400 AIP 7/7 wouldn't bother me overly much, but a at 300 AIP 7/7 I barely won on a lucky all-in when I had no idea what I was doing.

You may not believe it yet, but you've actually learned a lot about the AI from this game.  In future games you'll do things differently and although you may find yourself at 400 AIP again, you'll be having a much easier time of it.  It'll take time to figure out what you're doing different.  I still even have my save from my first win somewhere and last time I looked at it I was like "WTF was I thinking!"

Offline _K_

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 09:23:01 AM »
- is 400 supposed to be the "level of AIP that must not be reached" at 7/7 diff ?
No, but I wouldn't want to go that high if I didn't have decent experience at winning.  Somewhere someone did the math that converts AIP to diffculty, so 400 AIP 7/7 might be something like 100 AIP 8/8.  I can't recall the thread sadly.

Uh, i did that. But the conversion ratios are very rough, i basically only used wave sizes for comparison. Like "The waves you get at X AIP with 7/7, you'd be getting at Y AIP 10/10". AND i also used a very rough approximation for the whole exponential part of the multiplier you get at 8+.
The planet reinforcement mechanics are not on the wiki and i am too lazy to go dig em up at the forums.

But anyway, if you use this method you get diff 7 AI at 400 AIP = 218 AIP at 8 = 155 AIP at 9 = 58 AIP at 10.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 09:28:36 AM by _K_ »

Offline KDR_11k

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 10:29:35 AM »
I would suggest trying to destroy guard posts on planets near your territory. The fewer guard posts there are on a planet the fewer units the AI can position there and the overflow threshold (when they start simply becoming threat) is fixed so a planet whose unit cap is below that threshold cannot produce border aggression anymore.

Now alerting a core world is bad as has been mentioned, you may be able to de-alert it by replacing the adjacent command station with a warp jammer.

For the future, carving a path to the AI homeworlds does not necessitate capturing the planets along the path, just breaking all the guard posts and regularly patroling them makes AI owned planets pretty much safe territory, such a neutered planet does not give an AIP increase. Of course you will need to capture a few planets, if only because going out further than 4 planets from the nearest owned planet triggers a massive AI counterattack.

If you have the Dyson Sphere in your game it can be worthwhile to build a highway (in this case of captured planets) to its position and liberate it, that makes the friendly Gatlings patrol your territory and frees you up from defending.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 10:33:46 AM »
Then...

What's the point of having an AIP scale that goes to 1000 if the only way to play the game is to stay below 200 ? With tech tresholds to 730 and 1130 ?

Shouldn't reinforcement and wave scale according to each other instead of one skyrocketting while the other becomes completely useless ?

Also I played from 7 to 8 diff recently and wave are never a problem. I suppose I could go a bit higher and still not find them challenging to block. Reinforcements, however...

I'd be interested in the reinforcement mechanics too, to see how they work in detail.

Finally, I've been playing for something like 2 or 3 years... far from full time, a game now and then. I'm experienced with strategy games in general, even if I rarely bother to master each one I play, prefering to change game often. When I started playing at 400 / 600 AIP for each AI kill on 7/7 was perfectly doable. Was the difficulty change expected ?

@KDR_11k  : thanks for the tips, yet, that's not the point I was trying to make of this thread. I can (and did) look the forum for them ;).
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 10:43:58 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Diazo

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 10:46:18 AM »
Welcome to the forums.

From the sounds of it, I am going to have to agree that it sounds like you are backed into a really hard corner.

AIP 400 is getting really high for a game without Fallen Spire enabled.

I'm not going to flat out say you've lost without seeing your actual game, but you are in a really tough position.

Conclusion :
- is 400 supposed to be the "level of AIP that must not be reached" at 7/7 diff ?
Conditionally, yes. There are circumstances where AIP that high is not an automatic loss, but in general 400 AIP is getting really high.
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- are you really supposed to have only a border of one or two systems only at that level ?
Realistically? Yes. I noted you are playing a lattice map and that is making things significantly worse. The outlier maps, so lattice with so many connections, and maps with so few connections (such as snake or vine) are not officially balanced and are provided to give us players more variety.

I am a fan of lattice maps myself, but they make the defensive part of the game magnitudes harder then even realistic-type maps.
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- are waves, CPA and so on supposed to be next to not threat compared to, well... threat ?
Threat, and the ThreatFleet mechanic are there to keep you on your toes. Threat is designed to give the AI means to harass you in response to your actions without having to send a whole wave at you. (See ships being freed from guardposts when you attack, etc.)

The issue is that AIP has gotten so high that ships disregard their orders to become threat if you so much as breathe in their direction so ships are just piling onto threat. While this is not really their intended function at this high AIP, it works well enough that I don't think changes are currently planned to it.

Note however that the lattice map type is once again making things harder for you. Even a realistic map would have probably half the number of systems exposed to the AI that your current game does.
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- isn't the regular game (not the hardcore 9/9 game) supposed to be play at around 400 AIP first AI / 600 AIP second AI ?
This is subjective to the player and game settings. I'm probably one of the worst players to ask about AIP levels as I pretty much the define ultra-low AIP playstyle. (I once started attacking the AI HWs at an AIP of 20. I ultimately lost due to my fleet being too weak but their is a reason I enable CSGs in my games these days.)
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- is there a mechanic I'm missing ? (one that will stop / reduce those reinforcements...) Note that I use the jammer station but with 5 stations only on a lattice map, it's nearly useless. Also, the jammer stations do get attacked by threat, rendering the point moot : unless you litterally cut the AI territory in half, reinforcements will still come to those planets, so blocking their spawn is kinda useless.
I can't think of anything you've missed. Really I think the biggest thing is the lattice map type is what is ultimately causing your problems.

Even the realistic map type, which is the map with the most connections after the lattice map type, would make your defensive situation so much easier as you'd have at worst only half as many border systems exposed to the AI, if not fewer.

Depending on the other game settings, I personally rate the lattice map as adding an extra half, if not a full, level of difficulty to what you actually select in the lobby.

A couple other notes from your opening post.

Core Shield Generators: You need to take 8 worlds to destroy these, not a dozen like you mention. I suspect you know this already and were not being exact when posting, but I just want to make sure.

The wiki saying 400 to 600 AIP is okay: I just found that page and ouch, that needs updating. That comment is from early 2010, there have been 2, if not 3 expansion packs released since then and the game has changed significantly.

Other then that, I'm not sure I have any other advice to offer. 400 AIP is high for sure, but you mentioned golems so it might be possible to punch through it, but the lattice map is going to make it easy for the AI to flank you.

Good luck.

D.

edit: You posted while I was posting. I will say that I think over time the 'acceptable' AIP level has certainly decreased as changes have been made to the game.

Just in the past couple weeks this has been commented on (see the AIP Restrictive at high levels thread) and things like the Lazy-AI option which just got added last patch are at least partially intended to address this.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 10:50:23 AM by Diazo »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 10:57:21 AM »
@Diazo, again, thanks for the tips... and I've been there for more than a year. Still, I'm not looking to salvage this games. I probably could given some time and effort, but that's not the point.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 11:00:10 AM by kasnavada »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 10:59:52 AM »
Also, I've seen that thread but from what I've read, the lazy AI is intended to keep the situation as-is, which is, very restrictive (1130 scale possible, but around 400 considered high / very high ???), and to add a layer of "more" to the hardcore fans.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2013, 11:00:38 AM »
Alright, hope I helped some anyway.

I also went in and made a note on that wiki page about current AIP progress levels and that 400 (before attacking the AI homeworlds) is not really desirable any more.

http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_AI_Progress#When_To_Worry

For the changes I made.

D.

edit: We keep posting across each other.

Also, I've seen that thread but from what I've read, the lazy AI is intended to keep the situation as-is, which is, very restrictive (1130 scale possible, but around 400 considered high / very high ???), and to add a layer of "more" to the hardcore fans.

Erm, there's actually quite a debate about AIP going on right now. In my opinion, there's been power creep on the AIs side because the low-AIP playstyle has been so popular, so the AIP's response at low AIP got buffed to compensate. However this means the AIP's response at higher AIP scales as well, but as the game was more even before at the higher AIP these changes also make higher AIP's harder.

Therefore the changes you can disable with Lazy AI were implemented to try and make the low-AIP games harder without making high-AIP games harder. I realize I was unclear, I was referring to the changes made that Lazy AI disables, not playing with Lazy AI on.

I'm hopeful that as game balancing continues we will see enough mechanics go in making only low AIP games harder that the high AIP response can be scaled back some.

We'll see what happens.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 11:06:25 AM by Diazo »

Offline Histidine

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 11:09:45 AM »
Maybe the AIP tooltip needs a "danger, do not go past this level unless you know what you are doing" value that's estimated from difficulty, map types, AI types, handicaps and minor factions (particularly FS).

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2013, 11:11:45 AM »
The basic problem is you don't get anything from having 400 AIP that you didn't get by 200 AIP, but the AI is twice as hard.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2013, 11:14:27 AM »
The basic problem is you don't get anything from having 400 AIP that you didn't get by 200 AIP, but the AI is twice as hard.

10 planets worth of knowledge is nothing?

There should also be at least a few fabs in those planets (on most maps anyway).

Now is that worth 200AIP? That's up to the player and the map/game settings.

D.

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Nearly impossible to attack at 400 AIP and... diff 7
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2013, 11:35:23 AM »
The basic problem is you don't get anything from having 400 AIP that you didn't get by 200 AIP, but the AI is twice as hard.

10 planets worth of knowledge is nothing?

There should also be at least a few fabs in those planets (on most maps anyway).
Yes, 10 planets worth of K is nothing, because I've already unlocked everything meaningful.  Nothing, not K or Fabs, can give me enough power to match doubling the AI strength.  I already end 9/9 games with ~5-10k  Knowledge unspent, and I'm doing 10-12 planets.