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Games => AI War Classic => Topic started by: contingencyplan on April 12, 2013, 04:39:51 AM

Title: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: contingencyplan on April 12, 2013, 04:39:51 AM
From my understanding, the main purpose of energy is to limit the amount of "things" you can build at any given time. Additionally, it makes it easier for the AI to kill the player if the player lacks the energy buffer to maintain their defenses, hence the role of Matter Converters.

In the case of fleet ships, the caps provide a secondary limitation --- in the limit, to prevent the player from building a metric ton of ships for homeworld assaults. Furthermore, caps on auto-build-able ships prevent accidental energy exhaustion by telling the Dock when to stop.

However, I was looking at the modular fortress with its ship cap of 1 (and at fortresses in general) and got to wondering: given their high energy cost (ModForts at 100k, Forts at 90k, 120k, and 180k resp.) and the fact that they are must be manually placed rather than auto-built, what is the balancing purpose of having a galaxy-wide cap on their usage? By building them, I've already said that the system's defense is worth most of the free energy I gain from it (more than that in the case of FortIII), so why does the cap limit exist? What cheese is it preventing?

The main thing that I can see is the player putting a Fort on every border world, but at that point, shouldn't the energy costs --- in principle, I haven't crunched numbers --- cause a handicap on the amount of other things I can build, especially the ships I need to take the next planet / the AI Homeworlds?
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on April 12, 2013, 07:58:35 AM
I think it must be the idea that having a lot of forts is just ridiculously silly. It's probably also a factor in multi-homeworld games and effectively if the forts had an unlimited cap you would be able to basically trade matter converters for them.

Also why would you ever unlock higher mark forts, unless they're more energy efficient?
Regardless I'm still kind of intrigued by the idea of having lots of forts at the cost of energy as a "global ship cap"
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: _K_ on April 12, 2013, 09:37:52 AM
Quote
What cheese is it preventing?
The most common (and efficient) strategy right now is chokepointint. And with enough planets behind the chokepoint, you will have enough energy to build way more than the current cap. So right now if you want more forts than the cap, you gotta unlock MKIIs.
Also, if you get MKII or MKIII fort and have no cap, you will have pretty much no reason to build lower marks at all. The highest mark forts are the most efficient per energy spent.
MKIII = triple strength of MKII, only double its energy cost.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 10:26:54 AM
The galaxy-wide caps are to maintain at least some relationship between "amount of K spent" and "total buildable power".

It would be ok to have a new high-energy-cost low-per-planet-cap defensive unit, though.  The "miniforts" are just that in... well, miniature.  Sure, some folks can afford to put miniforts everywhere and thus get a fairly ridiculous total power return for K cost, but most people won't have that much energy to spare, and even if someone does it's not like miniforts everywhere is anything like being able to concentrate them all on one planet.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: ZaneWolfe on April 12, 2013, 11:41:07 AM
A possible idea, just because it randomly came to me after reading this. You could make the Forts a per planet cap, like the mini forts are now. This would increase the viability of multi-ingress point setups, by giving you access to even more defensive power, while keeping the soft cap via their ridiculous energy costs. Probably go with something like 3 for MKI, 2 for MKII, and 1 for MKIII. You could still stack up forts on a choke point, but you couldn't do something like 5+ MKIII forts on the same world even if your econ could afford the energy cost. (Cinth I am looking at you.) This does nerf chokepoints a bit, but not overly much, at least IMO. (Though I would imagine that someone like Cinth would feel this more than your average player)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 11:45:11 AM
I don't see the value in reducing the caps on the existing forts as outweighing the cost of "nerfing without cause" those players who rely on forts (there's more than just one of them, appearances aside).  If we wanted per-planet-cap forts, we could add per-planet-cap forts.  If we did then we might make them 1-per-planet and take 1 away from the normal fort cap of the same mark and possibly alter the K cost accordingly (it's possible they could stand to cost more K per unit, dunno).
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 11:46:49 AM
You know... If you mention my name 3 times in the same post, your CPU will start to melt :)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: RCIX on April 12, 2013, 11:50:10 AM
Cinth Cinth Cinth *sssssss*
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 11:51:22 AM
As a counter point, I think Forts are the worst abusers of chokepoint theory.

They are very expensive.

They are very energy intensive.

But if your empire is based on a single chokepoint, these negatives are counteracted by their massive damage.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 11:53:08 AM
Cinth Cinth Cinth *sssssss*

Watch out for the purple smoke... once you see that, the magic is leaking out.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: TechSY730 on April 12, 2013, 11:56:20 AM
As a counter point, I think Forts are the worst abusers of chokepoint theory.

They are very expensive.

They are very energy intensive.

But if your empire is based on a single chokepoint, these negatives are counteracted by their massive damage.

And is that a problem?
It's a unit that works very well for certain types of defense models, and that's fine IMO.

I guess the problem is more that there is no equivalent "very effective" unlock that gives more return the more distributed you make your defenses.
The mini-forts do this somewhat, but aren't really strong enough to be the "distributed defense" equivalent in terms of how much better they get the more you "push" that defensive layout.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 11:59:24 AM
Quote
And is that a problem?
It's a unit that works very well for certain types of defense models, and that's fine IMO.

I guess the problem is more that there is no equivalent "very effective" unlock that gives more return the more distributed you make your defenses.
The mini-forts do this somewhat, but aren't really strong enough to be the "distributed defense" equivalent in terms of how much better they get the more you "push" that defensive layout.
Well, do you folks want a per-planet-cap all-up fort?  Would that actually help with distributed defense?  Or would it just cause additional fist-shaking at your depleted energy counter?
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 12:00:44 PM
Depends on what the caps look like :)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 12:04:14 PM
Quote
And is that a problem?
It's a unit that works very well for certain types of defense models, and that's fine IMO.

I guess the problem is more that there is no equivalent "very effective" unlock that gives more return the more distributed you make your defenses.
The mini-forts do this somewhat, but aren't really strong enough to be the "distributed defense" equivalent in terms of how much better they get the more you "push" that defensive layout.
Well, do you folks want a per-planet-cap all-up fort?  Would that actually help with distributed defense?  Or would it just cause additional fist-shaking at your depleted energy counter?

Well, when no one. No. One. Can dispute that the chokepoint theory trumps all defensive theories, I feel anything that nerfs this in return to benefit other defenses is inherently not bad.

I mean, if we had this logic, then we couldn't have changed strategic reserves to be static.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: TechSY730 on April 12, 2013, 12:05:40 PM
I'd like to see the existing forts remain the way they are. (in terms of core mechanics of how they work, cost changes and dps and health changes are fine)

If we need more defensive options that get more effective as defense gets more distributed (note, not defense in general, just that option(s)), I'd rather see a more "radical"/interesting type thing than a "distributed fort" or a larger version of the minifort.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 12:07:24 PM
Maybe a good time to go with the Riot Fortress.  You know the one, the one everyone hangs out with.  :)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 12:14:40 PM
Quote
Well, do you folks want a per-planet-cap all-up fort?  Would that actually help with distributed defense?  Or would it just cause additional fist-shaking at your depleted energy counter?

Well, when no one. No. One. Can dispute that the chokepoint theory trumps all defensive theories, I feel anything that nerfs this in return to benefit other defenses is inherently not bad.
I don't think chokepointing could be made non-optimal without some pretty crazy changes.  AI EMPs and Nukes and other stuff that hits the "lead" planet really hard, or making waves and such scale massively up when detecting only a single entry point... and even stuff like that just encourages a chokepoint behind a few throwaway human worlds.

So, no, I don't dispute it and I don't think anyone really can unless we make this into a pretty different game.  Generally speaking, making "concentration of force" not optimal in a psuedo-military simulation (using that word loosely) requires some pretty directed rules to that effect.

But making alternatives more attractive is possible, and they generally have the benefit of being applicable in situations where chokepointing is either impossible or so unfeasible as to be non-optimal.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 12:18:03 PM
But making alternatives more attractive is possible, and they generally have the benefit of being applicable in situations where chokepointing is either impossible or so unfeasible as to be non-optimal.

Where good ol' Diazo when you need him?  That is something I'm sure he would weigh in on.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 12:22:21 PM
Maybe a good time to go with the Riot Fortress.  You know the one, the one everyone hangs out with.  :)
Ok, so:

Per-planet cap of 1.
K-cost maybe 2x the minifort.
M+C and E maybe 4x the minifort (so 2x cap-vs-cap)
Weapon like the riot's laser cannons (probably without the ED-floor) but with a lot of shots per salvo.  Not likely to kill much, in any event.
A lot of fairly long-range tractor beams.  Possibly even paralyzing tractors (a la the widow golem) but that could be a bit much.

Not going the modular route because there's no interface for placing templated types, iirc, and don't want these to need extra attention per unit given the per-planet nature.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 12:22:53 PM
What I meant, Keith, is that simply saying "things would be harder if we things that benefit from the most efficient defense strategy no longer benefit from this" would cause "fist shaking from a mechanic" well, isn't that the point?

Low AIP games are the most efficient way to beat AI Wars, and making strategic reserves constant to resist this tactic would cause problems to energy (from having to use all offenses, including both fleetships and starships). Does that inherently make that bad? My point was this isn't bad.

So if we make forts planet based in general planet caps, and someone decided to make forts everywhere, why can't they? Why should we fear making the single greatest defense that exploits chokepoints the most problemic for general use precisely because they have a mechanic that is exploitable (energy).

I think we should not. Forts are balanced, in a sense, but their balance skews the best current defensive strategy even more strongly. For long term balance, this is not good.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 12:28:31 PM
Low AIP games are the most efficient way to beat AI Wars, and making strategic reserves constant to resist this tactic would cause problems to energy (from having to use all offenses, including both fleetships and starships). Does that inherently make that bad? My point was this isn't bad.
Said rule change (strategic reserves being constant) is optional, so if a player finds themselves shaking their fist they can just turn it off for the next game.

In general I don't mind nerfing the most effective stuff it's short-circuiting too much of the challenge or just totally dominating such that the altenrative choices are meaningless.  Or if there's a consensus that it should be nerfed.  But in this case I wasn't currently on an anti-chokepoint campaign and so didn't want spend time arguing with folks who don't want their fort caps nerfed :)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 12:30:52 PM
But in this case I wasn't currently on an anti-chokepoint campaign and so didn't want spend time arguing with folks who don't want their fort caps nerfed :)

I understand, but I only wonder: How many of those players don't already use chokepoints?

If you don't use chokepoints, it is almost impossible that you can afford a full cap of even mk I forts to defend one world efficiently.

EDIT: For those players who use them as "threat" control, they wouldn't be nerfed at all. If anything they would benefit. The ONLY group who would be nerfed for making forts in general per planet capped are chokepoint users.


The mechanic proposed is neutral to many, a buff to some, and a nerf only to the currently the most OP mechanic already. Is that a bad thing?
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 12:42:11 PM
The mechanic proposed is neutral to many, a buff to some, and a nerf only to the currently the most OP mechanic already. Is that a bad thing?
It depends on how much energy one has left to argue ;)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 12:43:23 PM
Chem: Would you be willing to absolutely destroy someones preferred method of play to get this kind of change in?
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: KDR_11k on April 12, 2013, 12:47:18 PM
I certainly love miniforts because I go for pretty distributed planet captures, I don't have the turret caps to get even baseline defenses up on every planet to prevent it from falling to a few stray fleetships. The miniforts are great for that because of their per-planet cap, I can get some basic defenses on EVERY planet. Also they're nice repair bays when you need those. I just wish they had shorter build times, that's probably the biggest annoyance with losing one of them: They're not pricy but they take minutes to make anyway and since they die so fast they get rebuilt a lot.

Though I have to say I rarely even use MkI forts, especially now that Champs can find free mod forts, fortifying my 2-3 high value planets (Home, FacIV, perhaps something of strategic value) works fine with even their low numbers. Of course that means I have power to spare but it's more the K cost that's keeping me away (one of these days I should get used to hacking stuff, perhaps that could make up for it...).
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 12:49:20 PM
Chem: Would you be willing to absolutely destroy someones preferred method of play to get this kind of change in?


Considering I already did when I asked for static reserves to be static AIP, I feel boxed in  :(
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 12:53:48 PM
Chem: Would you be willing to absolutely destroy someones preferred method of play to get this kind of change in?


Considering I already did when I asked for static reserves to be static AIP, I feel boxed in  :(

Thing about the reserves though, is that you can drain them off.  They don't kill low AIP play, just make it take longer or make you want another planet or two worth of firepower.

Changing the fort caps to much would kill my ultra crazy high AIP play.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Hearteater on April 12, 2013, 12:55:58 PM
I'm against per system caps on Forts.  Choke vs non-Choke really feels like it should be two separate lines of research.  A stack up unlocks above Mini-Forts that got very strong, costing the right amount of K, could give people two options.  Choke Point players wouldn't really want to spend that much K on stuff with a 1-2 effective cap limit (since they only one planet to put them on).
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 12:58:37 PM

Changing the fort caps to much would kill my ultra crazy high AIP play.

Well, for me, high AIP games do the same, except I have to ensure. Have. To Ensure. That my high AIP games have to a chokepoint. Having them per planet helps alleviate the necessity of choke points.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: TechSY730 on April 12, 2013, 12:59:18 PM
If it helps any, I use a multi-chokepoint approach. I try to aim for 2 chokepoints, though I may go for 3 if the map geometry is tricky.

It is worth mentioning that if the map geometry leads to a very natural, very well placed single chokepoint (aka, a planet in a good place that will form a single barrier from AI to my space), I will use it. But I rarely gate raid to get me down to a single chokepoint. I will gate raid to get me down to 2 or 3 chokepoints.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 01:01:03 PM

Changing the fort caps to much would kill my ultra crazy high AIP play.

Well, for me, high AIP games do the same, except I have to ensure. Have. To Ensure. That my high AIP games have to a chokepoint. Having them per planet helps alleviate the necessity of choke points.
Depends on what the caps are. 

And I'm pretty sure I'm one of the few players who would consider pushing 9.8 to MK III (or IV) tech through AIP :)

Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 01:06:42 PM
Chem: Would you be willing to absolutely destroy someones preferred method of play to get this kind of change in?


Considering I already did when I asked for static reserves to be static AIP, I feel boxed in  :(
If someone's preferred playstyle were destroyed by said rule, they can turn it off.  They're getting a situation that may simply be too easy if they don't compensate with other settings, but they're not stuck with the static reserves.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: orzelek on April 12, 2013, 01:31:06 PM
I would like additional per planet fort idea. As I would like anything per planet that can help with distributed defense.

Proposed for idea for this is a bit.. strange for fort. It would need to be either very durable (to actually hold that enemies) or have some dps. Without dps it will be next thing to rebuild after it gets wrecked with enemies repairing their engines slowly.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 01:38:17 PM
Proposed for idea for this is a bit.. strange for fort.
It was just a response to the mention of a riot fort :)  Riots don't kill much.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 02:02:29 PM
Maybe a good time to go with the Riot Fortress.  You know the one, the one everyone hangs out with.  :)
Ok, so:

Per-planet cap of 1.
K-cost maybe 2x the minifort.
M+C and E maybe 4x the minifort (so 2x cap-vs-cap)
Weapon like the riot's laser cannons (probably without the ED-floor) but with a lot of shots per salvo.  Not likely to kill much, in any event.
A lot of fairly long-range tractor beams.  Possibly even paralyzing tractors (a la the widow golem) but that could be a bit much.

Not going the modular route because there's no interface for placing templated types, iirc, and don't want these to need extra attention per unit given the per-planet nature.

Don't know how I missed this, lol.

It would need to be fairly beefy HP wise since your probably going to have it camping a wormhole, and it is going to have a bunch of POed AI ships dead in the water close by. 
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 12, 2013, 02:19:53 PM
As a Fallen Spire player who is trying out non-X map styles (I'm currently working on a cluster with two entrances, after having failed badly at getting three chokepoints in a 'simple' map), I don't find Mini-forts too amazing (and I have them, in every system) -- they just don't deal with anything at 800 AIP. Not even counterattack guard posts waves (which are one of the things that, in the past, chokepoints didn't protect against).

What I think I would find very useful would be a per-planet high-HP "tarpit" fortress that would slow the AI down enough for my fleet to arrive and defend.

Something like a riot-control fortress, yes, but it needs to stall about a thousand mark-3 fleet ships and a starship and a carrier for a few minutes.

I think it wants a lightning weapon that does a bunch of engine damage, and about sixty million HP, and radar dampening equal to its weapon range, and some paralysis to help it out. The paralysis should be for slightly less than its reload time so it doesn't completely stunlock the attackers.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 02:28:37 PM
If it has RD like the Mini, then it should have 23k range and RD to 15k.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 12, 2013, 02:43:25 PM
If it has RD like the Mini, then it should have 23k range and RD to 15k.
Yeah, maybe.

But if it's a major electric paralyzer with significant engine damage, 8k might be too far to expect the enemy to be able to drive.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Diazo on April 12, 2013, 03:03:15 PM
Heh. Don't worry, I'm around, this thread is just moving fast.

I'm not actually sure I have a suggestion on this yet, expect to note that we have kind of drifted from forts back to the "how required should chokepoints be?" conversation.

Also, I want to note that if you have exo-waves on, chokepoints are mandatory.

To actually change this situation is going to require coming up with a superweapon counter that is different and can be dangerous to both single-ingress and multi-ingress player empires.

At that point you are redoing a significant chunk of the game.

The thing is, forts are designed for chokepoints and chokepoints are the optimal defensive strategy (arguably required for end-game exo waves) and the fort is really the only thing in our toolkit that is really designed for chokepoints so I don't want to mess with them.

What would I like to see for multi-ingress defense? A better way of dealing with threat. Because I know I can't fort every system I have a response fleet for dealing with waves. I need to bring my main (offensive) fleet back to go threat hunting though.

In my current game I'm looking to have 10 adjacent AI systems so when I go threat hunting, I'm starting to get annoyed by the 4th or 5th system and by the 9th or 10th system a grind is the only way to describe it.

Off the top of my head, something like a warhead that reduces the systems firepower to zero for the purposes of the AI deciding to attack so threat comes through to me? Would cost AIP like all warheads. That would give me a way of killing that 400 threat on a planet with 1500 units without freeing any the 1100 units that are currently not threat onto threat.

So yes, as my games progress it is more often then not threat that kills me. Not waves or a CPA, just the threat hanging around builds up until I can't stop it because I have so many ingress points.

Not sure how much that helps the discussion, but chokepoint is going to be optimal (or required for exo-waves) and we can't change that without breaking the game. (If changes go in to make chokepoint not the optimal strategy, it could still be fun but it would not be AI war any more.)

D.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 03:17:07 PM
If it has RD like the Mini, then it should have 23k range and RD to 15k.
Yeah, maybe.

But if it's a major electric paralyzer with significant engine damage, 8k might be too far to expect the enemy to be able to drive.

More like the RCS Laser weapon with a huge volley.

D: Welcome D! I figured you might have some game experiences to share that would relate to the general topic (chokepointing vs broader defensive lines/multiple border planets).

Have you tried to use something like a beachhead in a defensive configuration?  Don't know how useful something like that would be (don't know your economic situation), but if you had some turrets to spare, you could have a small setup to handle threat (at the cost of alerting the neighbors).  Might be useful enough for out of the way systems you would rather ignore (and don't have significant connections). That's practically what I use, though I use it in a chokepoint configuration.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Toranth on April 12, 2013, 03:30:02 PM
The thing is, forts are designed for chokepoints and chokepoints are the optimal defensive strategy (arguably required for end-game exo waves) and the fort is really the only thing in our toolkit that is really designed for chokepoints so I don't want to mess with them.

What would I like to see for multi-ingress defense? A better way of dealing with threat. Because I know I can't fort every system I have a response fleet for dealing with waves. I need to bring my main (offensive) fleet back to go threat hunting though.
Random idea:  Make Fortresses able to make Wormhole jumps - but only if in Supply.  If they were unable jump out of supply, you'd still be able to move them around your systems, and even advance them a bit for use in clearing out threat, but they wouldn't be able to actually be 'offensive' units.



Off the top of my head, something like a warhead that reduces the systems firepower to zero for the purposes of the AI deciding to attack so threat comes through to me? Would cost AIP like all warheads. That would give me a way of killing that 400 threat on a planet with 1500 units without freeing any the 1100 units that are currently not threat onto threat.
I'd love more support-type turrets and buildings out there.  A "Deception turret" that does what you suggest, or "Fake turrets" that add lots of FP to the AI's calculations, but don't actually do much.  "Fake Buildings" like faked command centers or FacIVs, so the AI can be confused and split its forces within a system, wasting time and firepower to deal with decoys.
Warheads would be acceptable, I suppose.  I'd prefer something more reliable, since the AI's decisions are so random.  It'd be a shame to use such a warhead, gain AIP, then watch the AI threatfleet go wander off somewhere else.

Quote
per-planet caps on Fortresses
Remember, a single system with 10 Fortresses is much more powerful than 5 systems with 2 Fortresses each.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Diazo on April 12, 2013, 03:31:22 PM
I do sometimes setup a beachhead to handle stuff like that, but it's rare.

I'm more typically faced with something like this:

(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=12832.0;attach=6979;image)

My HW is the green circle on the right, I'm going to capture the 3 worlds in the green on the left, giving me a 4 planet empire by about the 3 hour to 3hour 30 minutes mark.

I am then going to stay a 4 planet empire for the next 3 hours of gametime while I hammer scouts out and reveal the majority of the map.

The next planets I take will be somewhere in the middle with an Adv Fac in them, but scouting that far out is going to take a while.

That leaves the 8 pink circled planets on alert for ages and its 8 planets for threat to sit on. I can't beachead that many planets, not if I want to spend K to unlock most of my Mk II and a Mk III fleet ship.

So ya, the bottom line is that once I get a few planets captured and so have the energy base to build everything I have access to, I fear threat the most up until I'm looking at attacking the AI HWs.

Waves? Easy to deal with as I know where they are going to hit. CPA? I pull my main fleet back to deal with that.

Random threat from my offensive actions and the survivors from waves that run away that survive to launch no warning attacks later on against any of my systems? Freaking dangerous.

And the best tool I've found for dealing with threat is Riot Is with tractors to pull them through in the tractor beams. But as the AI's unit count goes up Riot I's die before they can transit back and Riot IIs can't mount tractors.

At that point my offensive fleet turns around and I have to do a brute force clean out of all units in all adjacent systems to get the threat count back down.

I'd really like a better way to deal with threat (costing K or AIP as appropriate) because that is what loses me most of my games these days.

D.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 03:42:18 PM
A small one might help you out on yarr to the south of your HW, but Savdis would be alerted.  Once you had a battle plan to work out those CSG planets, you would know where you would have permanently alerted planets (and have good candidates for beachheads.  You know what your doing there (better than I do ;) )

@ Toranth: An exo made of 1 million FP is much stronger than a system with 10 fortresses :)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Diazo on April 12, 2013, 03:47:11 PM
Remember, a single system with 10 Fortresses is much more powerful than 5 systems with 2 Fortresses each.

But assuming the game has no exo-wave sources (like mine), 5 systems with 2 fortresses is a much better tactical decision then 10 fortresses in one system.

My example game above with 4 planets under my control? All 4 of those planets are staying exposed to the AI the entire game, lattice map simply has too many connections to make gate raiding worth the AIP.

Now we are coming back to different playstyles and the fact that while I'm not far enough out to call my playstyle an outlier, I am on that outer edge of the 'different playstyles' cloud.

D.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: contingencyplan on April 12, 2013, 03:48:03 PM
Holy hell this thread is moving fast. :)

As a Fallen Spire player who is trying out non-X map styles (I'm currently working on a cluster with two entrances, after having failed badly at getting three chokepoints in a 'simple' map), I don't find Mini-forts too amazing (and I have them, in every system) -- they just don't deal with anything at 800 AIP. Not even counterattack guard posts waves (which are one of the things that, in the past, chokepoints didn't protect against).

That's one of the things that led to my question; I figured it'd become intertwined with the ongoing non-chokepoint strategies discussion, but I at least wanted to understand the point of having both limitations (power and cap) on a static defense.


For me, Mini-Forts are cute, and I've unlocked them in every game since they came out (which isn't that many games, really), but in terms of defense on their own, they don't really do much (though I need to see how they match up against hostile Enclaves). Granted, I play more "Sherman march to the sea" / "WWII European theater" in that I tend to have a mostly connected chain of planets to the AI HWs, as opposed to the "Island Hopping" / "WWII Pacific theater" approach that I know is popular. But I just don't see the "couple of AI fleetships" come into my border planets (i.e., bordered by the AI, but shouldn't get waves due to gate raiding) that the Mini-Fort addresses. If something comes into a border planet, it's either going to be the threatfleet, the Champion Nemeses (which the Mini-Fort is useless against), Exos or something similarly "non-trivial."

Is that others' experience as well, or an artifact of my playstyle, or me just not paying attention?


And to be clear, I'm not suggesting that Forts be changed --- I know that a lot of playstyles (e.g., Cinth's) depend on them. However, I do like the earlier suggestion of two separate research lines: one for common / galaxy-wide buildings, one for per-planet buildings. I remember Keith mentioning having per-planet turret lines during one of the Crystal alternative discussions; I don't see any reason why we couldn't just fold that idea back into here for regular resources, given that Crystal is looking like it'll be changed to Hacking (an idea I love).


If I had to say something specific that I wanted, it'd be this. Previously, nemeses spawned at the hour mark, meaning that I had an hour to try to build a buffer around my HW and put down enough defenses so that the nemeses (for 3 champs) would stay out. A complete chokepoint wasn't possible on that map (Simple layout), meaning that my defenses were stretched so that by the time the 3 Exos showed up at the 3 hour mark, it didn't matter where they came through at, they were going to reach my HW. Now, nemeses will spawn a little later, giving me time to set up my position better, but the core problem of having to stretch my defenses too thinly will remain. I'd like some way of dealing with this --- it doesn't necessarily have to be more firepower, but something.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 12, 2013, 03:51:45 PM
Well, on the game that ultimately became my second victory, I had this one planet...

(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=12832.0;attach=6981)

I left it under AI control, so the AI would still send reinforcements there, but I took the planets around it, so the AI had to send its threat ships past a spire city either way to get at it. Occasionally, the AI would send threat ships through my planet to the southwest to try to rescue the system. They generally didn't make it. (This was back in 6.009)

You'll note that there is a full fortress there, and a cap of bulletproof fighters (Mk5, because I had a fabricator). They are necessary to maintain control.

(there are two neutral planets on the map; the southern one is the Dyson sphere, the northern one is a planet where I think I accidentally self-destructed the command station and didn't notice for a few hours)

Oh, and apparently I don't have Mini-Forts, "everywhere," because some of my backfield is uncovered.

This is the map where I learned that letting the Botnet golem play with the exo-waves gets the botnet golem killed. It is not as good as 100,000 firepower of normal ships -- 3,000 of the old (6.009) Spire Starship Mk1s (30 FP each) would be far more useful (if it weren't for the fact that they'd consume 30 million energy and thus not only black out my entire empire, but also the empires of the players of the nearest ten or so OTHER GAMES OF AI WAR. 60 million energy and twenty other games after 6.013.)

EDIT: Embedded image. Thanks Diazo.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 03:56:25 PM
RF: Attach the image to your post, then edit your post to include the img (with the tags and all).

contingencyplan: I think the turrets with the planet caps is going to come up again come expansion time.  The only thing I can suggest is to choose a map that you know you can play on.  I choose maps where I can choke 1 or 2 planets early.  Anything more than that, I won't risk it.

Diazo: You and me both, bud, just on opposite ends of the spectrum ;)  Probably why I enjoy your AARs so much. 
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Diazo on April 12, 2013, 04:02:07 PM
{img}how do I embed an attachment?{/img}

To do the attachment trick, you need to post the message with the image attached, then click on the picture at the end of you posts and copy the ULR from the window back into your post by modifying it.

So

Code: [Select]
[img width=800]http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=12832.0;attach=6981;image[/img]
will get you

(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=12832.0;attach=6981;image)


Now, on the multiple ingress thing, what about something like this (probably code intensive, sorry Keith):

As an increasing unlock, so costing more and more K, you get a percentage of turrets galaxy wide cap as a per-system cap.

IE: The 100 (technically 98 I know) turrets you have at game start don't ever change, they can be put down anywhere. However, if this is unlocked, they count towards both the galaxy and system turret count.

So no system could have more turrets then it currently does, but unlocking the Mk I level of this upgrade which gave you 10% per system cap would mean you could build 10 turrets in every system even once the 100 turrets are built in a fortress system.

Erm, perhaps explaining it as when this is unlocked you go from 100 galaxy wide turret cap to 90 galaxy wide cap and 10 per system cap. Then a second rank (costing more K of course) takes you to 80 galaxy wide and 20 per system cap.

The point here being to give the player a "multi-ingress" specific unlock(s) that he can spend K on if he chooses.

D.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 12, 2013, 04:47:52 PM
For FS, I really think I need to be able to deal with exo-waves on every front. This means that at each entrance, I need to be able to either:
* Generate a force concentration that can repel its share of exo-waves, in addition to the threat fleet
OR
* Have a tarpit that will stall the attackers and provide enough of an edge that my fleet can put out the fire before it spreads

I think my proposed Riot-control fortress might do the latter; per-planet turrets might help do the former.


---

More on FS: The first FS game I lost was this one:

(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=12832.0;attach=6983)
Red: Vanilla 7, Blue: Starfleet commander 7

I put the cities on the outlets of the wormholes, not the inlets, so they couldn't stop the AI's advance.

Once I built the galactic capitol, the AI smashed through my feeble attempts at chokepoints and crushed me in its vise. The massive threatfleet may have helped.

The second was this:

(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=12832.0;attach=6985;image)
Red: Vanilla 7, Blue: Starfleet commander 7

The neutral system to the north is a Superterminal. The rest is places where the AI ultimately kicked me out. That isolated red system is one I eventually nuked. It didn't save me.

The AI just kept hammering me, and my economy never kept up. I could never advance except by popping a CS and slowly killing off the ships that remained.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 12, 2013, 05:29:22 PM
Off the top of my head, something like a warhead that reduces the systems firepower to zero for the purposes of the AI deciding to attack so threat comes through to me? Would cost AIP like all warheads. That would give me a way of killing that 400 threat on a planet with 1500 units without freeing any the 1100 units that are currently not threat onto threat.
Hahaha, a "Somebody Else's Problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somebody_Else%27s_Problem)" field-generator warhead!  Turns the entire system hot pink, so the AI assumes that dealing with the stuff on it is somebody else's problem, and therefore ignores it!  Brilliant. 

But, as much as love warheads, I think this would make better sense as a hack.  Basically you'd "hack your own planet", causing great confusion in the AI's feedback mechanisms and causing it to think that said planet was "Mostly Harmless".  Because it detects hacking there, however, it would also send a hacking-response attack in addition to whatever threat decided it could go through.  Hilarity would most likely ensue, but as long as hacking response wasn't too high and you weren't biting off more than you could chew it would probably work out in your favor.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Hearteater on April 12, 2013, 08:28:19 PM
I think my proposed Riot-control fortress might do the latter; per-planet turrets might help do the former.
Another version of the "Riot" Fortress. (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12747.msg140267.html#msg140267)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: LordSloth on April 12, 2013, 08:35:18 PM
The thing is, forts are designed for chokepoints and chokepoints are the optimal defensive strategy (arguably required for end-game exo waves) and the fort is really the only thing in our toolkit that is really designed for chokepoints so I don't want to mess with them.

I don't really see Fortresses as designed for chokepoint defenses. They may be ideally suited for that role, but only because of their immense firepower, but most of their other traits are irrelevant. Put them up close as meatshields, lose the radar dampening. Put them out back for ranged support, why bother with that hp? You've got better things to repair with. It's not like they'll agro anything or seal up a wormhole.

On the other hand, I see the intended role of chokepoint defense as going to turrets and mines, although the balance for that role is less ideal than ever due to 90 million health Heavy Bomber Starships, other Starship changes, Carriers, etc. In theory Heavy Beam Turrets could compete in the raw damage category, but when you're facing some of that crazy (good) HP, Turret's immobility and limited range starts to count against them.

I've had previous co-op games provide very satisfactory results to lightning turrets up to mk3 acting as crowd control on a wormhole.

Where I see the intended role of fortresses is a sort of forward operating base, supported by missile turrets, snipers, miniforts. Put down in AI territory, you get full use out of the HP, repair, regen, range, dampening, and agro, not just the firepower of the thing. It's a beautiful tool to support an early MKIV ARS hack, securing the center of one of the X's on an X map that you cannot take and you KNOW that patrols will pass through while you're operating in another wing, fighting off zenith bombards, etc.

I'm not proposing any specific changes to forts here, but I'd say I wouldn't mind shifting the focus of chokepoint defense to turrets. Theoretical arbitrary numbers and concepts: add a fourth mark of standard turrets, keep the cost at 5000 K, so... 500/1500/2000. Buff damage output and fire rates where appropriate (lightning turrets?), give player anti-superweapon tools, some sort of turret capable of grinding through 54,000,000 health (MKIV bomber starships are very common system defenders against a Mad Bomber), a sort of Arachnid, and buff Oribital Mass Drivers to at least Arachnid guardpost levels.

I'm currently okay with the current chokepoint balance... but if we were doing a sweeping overhaul of choke, turret, and fort balance? I feel we should aim for a different balance of power. Need to balance the Fallen Spire campaign? Don't shift the duty to forts, shift it to (new, defensive?) spire only buildables. Weight hard golem/spirecraft and exo-galactic strikeforces in the thematic direction, and if the golems given to you aren't sufficient counter, then perhaps they are scaling up too heavily.

On the other hand, if we were going for incremental change (because really, who knows where the balance will be by the time we reach the next expansion and it's totally new ships), well don't fix what (fortresseses) is still working, until it stops working.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 08:50:05 PM
Using the Mini- Fort as a starting point.

10 - 15 M HP  (Fort I has 20M) (Mini has 2M)
40K E
2-2.5K  Knowledge

Riot Control Laser
23 k range  1k damage x 30  6 sec reload

RD 15k range along with the rest of the bonuses and immunities like the Mini-Fort.

I don't think we are going to get much beefier than that and fit this:
Quote
Per-planet cap of 1.
K-cost maybe 2x the minifort.
M+C and E maybe 4x the minifort (so 2x cap-vs-cap)
Weapon like the riot's laser cannons (probably without the ED-floor) but with a lot of shots per salvo.  Not likely to kill much, in any event.
A lot of fairly long-range tractor beams.  Possibly even paralyzing tractors (a la the widow golem) but that could be a bit much.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: LordSloth on April 12, 2013, 09:03:07 PM
Disregarding the name of the Riot fort, I would say increase the cost, give it a very slow reload anti-starship weapon, enough to take down a lone starship before it takes down a shield or two, but not much more.

From my test runs with Mad Bombers and Starship commanders, I really want a micro-free way to handle lone starships threatening my side systems that does not require pulling my fleet or spare starships off duty. MK1s don't currently fit that role with the increased HP on starships and the fact that I'm currently still adjusting to the increased guard post threat and more fleet wipes than I should be getting, due to unfamiliarity.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 09:19:35 PM
That piece wasn't designed or intended to kill anything.  It's a utility piece and has been since the idea was first tossed around. 

All I did was flesh out something based on what Keith posted on page 2.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: TechSY730 on April 12, 2013, 09:57:40 PM
You guys do realize that Mk. I turrets, like Mk. I fleetships, are supposed to stink if used on their own for anything past the early game, right?

I guess part of the problem is that some of the turrets are so weak, that either their Mk. II versions still stink, or that their Mk. II versions grow in ways that aren't really helpful for their role.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 10:08:37 PM
To me it's what the AI throws at you that makes some turrets better than others.  When you need to get rid of big stuff, the turrets that do best against the big stuff shine brighter.  When was the last time you actually needed your MLRS to kill swarmers??
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: TechSY730 on April 12, 2013, 10:13:07 PM
To me it's what the AI throws at you that makes some turrets better than others.  When you need to get rid of big stuff, the turrets that do best against the big stuff shine brighter.  When was the last time you actually needed your MLRS to kill swarmers??

When the AI I am fighting in my current game has managed to unlock Z viral shredders, cutlasses, and laser gattlings...
These are actually causing me some trouble, especially when trying to defend my more remote planets...
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 10:18:15 PM
To me it's what the AI throws at you that makes some turrets better than others.  When you need to get rid of big stuff, the turrets that do best against the big stuff shine brighter.  When was the last time you actually needed your MLRS to kill swarmers??

When the AI I am fighting in my current game has managed to unlock Z viral shredders, cutlasses, and laser gattlings...
These are actually causing me some trouble, especially when trying to defend my more remote planets...

And here I was thinking I was being smart by plugging swarmers (you remember Faulty's thread) lol. 
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Toranth on April 12, 2013, 10:25:23 PM
You guys do realize that Mk. I turrets, like Mk. I fleetships, are supposed to stink if used on their own for anything past the early game, right?
Mk II turrets cost as much as Mk II Fleetships, plus there are 8 types of turrets to unlock, vs 4 fleetship types that start at Mk I (assuming 1 HW).
And because turrets aren't mobile, the fleetships or starships are frequently the better chocie for 2500K.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 10:26:01 PM
To me it's what the AI throws at you that makes some turrets better than others.  When you need to get rid of big stuff, the turrets that do best against the big stuff shine brighter.  When was the last time you actually needed your MLRS to kill swarmers??

When the AI I am fighting in my current game has managed to unlock Z viral shredders, cutlasses, and laser gattlings...
These are actually causing me some trouble, especially when trying to defend my more remote planets...

Gravity + Shields +flak sounds good to lock down. Military stations tear them up really bad too.

That said, MLRS and flak turrets feel alike. Maybe too alike.

Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: TechSY730 on April 12, 2013, 10:28:50 PM
You guys do realize that Mk. I turrets, like Mk. I fleetships, are supposed to stink if used on their own for anything past the early game, right?
Mk II turrets cost as much as Mk II Fleetships, plus there are 8 types of turrets to unlock, vs 4 fleetship types that start at Mk I (assuming 1 HW).
And because turrets aren't mobile, the fleetships or starships are frequently the better chocie for 2500K.

Yea, I think I stated (indirectly albeit) that I think the knowledge costs need to be looked at.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 10:29:40 PM
MLRS > Flak everyday of the week.  The ability to get that first strike in and possibly a second strike before the enemy gets in range is huge.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 10:32:04 PM

Mk II turrets cost as much as Mk II Fleetships, plus there are 8 types of turrets to unlock, vs 4 fleetship types that start at Mk I (assuming 1 HW).
And because turrets aren't mobile, the fleetships or starships are frequently the better chocie for 2500K.

Pretty much this. The total K cost is over 5 planets just to upgrade the turrets to II's. It is more K then getting Flagships, Zenith and Spire starships, plus 4 fleetships to II.

Also, since the turrets don't have that stellar bonuses, even picking one type of turret to counter the AI in a specific way doesn't act as a game changer.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 10:34:00 PM
MLRS > Flak everyday of the week.  The ability to get that first strike in and possibly a second strike before the enemy gets in range is huge.

I agree. Plus it has no negative bonuses.

I really, really think the flak needs to be much tankier, and its explosion radius wider, then it would have a role. An upfront, in your face, beefy CC unit.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 10:39:27 PM
I agree. Plus it has no negative bonuses.

I really, really think the flak needs to be much tankier, and its explosion radius wider, then it would have a role. An upfront, in your face, beefy CC unit.

Add lightning turrets to that as well.  Being stuck in melee range doesn't help these 2 at all.  If I decide to use these, they usually sit as the last line of defense.  That's how little I think of them (if something breeches the main line, I've probably lost anyway).
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 10:41:37 PM


Add lightning turrets to that as well.  Being stuck in melee range doesn't help these 2 at all.  If I decide to use these, they usually sit as the last line of defense.  That's how little I think of them (if something breeches the main line, I've probably lost anyway).

Lightnings do have a few benefits. Their changes in targetting makes it easier to take full advantage of their damage. And their very, very high refractive bonus DOES shut down enemy units. Hard.

That said, if flaks got the HP boost, I'd give lightnings more bonuses. And make both not cost so much energy.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 10:50:59 PM


Add lightning turrets to that as well.  Being stuck in melee range doesn't help these 2 at all.  If I decide to use these, they usually sit as the last line of defense.  That's how little I think of them (if something breeches the main line, I've probably lost anyway).

Lightnings do have a few benefits. Their changes in targeting makes it easier to take full advantage of their damage. And their very, very high refractive bonus DOES shut down enemy units. Hard.

That said, if flaks got the HP boost, I'd give lightnings more bonuses. And make both not cost so much energy.
Maybe so, I find the lack of range hurts both.  I don't want anything sitting on a wormhole that is going to be streaming exo waves. 
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: chemical_art on April 12, 2013, 10:54:00 PM

Maybe so, I find the lack of range hurts both.  I don't want anything sitting on a wormhole that is going to be streaming exo waves.

Both flaks and lightnings don't have the range to engage outside of shields, I agree.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 11:03:13 PM
Now, I'm just saying that they don't fit in with my defensive schemes.  I'll say that just so I'm clear about why I don't like them. 
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: TechSY730 on April 12, 2013, 11:18:56 PM
I don't mind short range units. Up close combat has a place, and is a way to give a ship/structure "character".

However, it needs to either have enough HP to be able to make up for it, or enough damage to glassify as a "glass cannon", or some balance of those two. Right now, the flak turret has none of those. The lightning turret is fairing better, but it still needs a bit of help, or at least the lower marks do. (Also see, that other thread that is about turrets)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 12, 2013, 11:34:51 PM
I don't mind short range units. Up close combat has a place, and is a way to give a ship/structure "character".

However, it needs to either have enough HP to be able to make up for it, or enough damage to classify as a "glass cannon", or some balance of those two. Right now, the flak turret has none of those. The lightning turret is fairing better, but it still needs a bit of help, or at least the lower marks do. (Also see, that other thread that is about turrets)

Agree on all counts.  I don't think you could make a good change so they fit well with my setups, and not completely change what they are or the character of the two.

I saw the other thread ;)  Talking of balance on the unit scale has far more impact on the 1 HW games than it does on mine, so I try to not detract from what sometimes ending up being a good discussion. 

Heh, yeah, this astrotrain has been derailed.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: contingencyplan on April 13, 2013, 12:21:53 AM
Heh, yeah, this astrotrain has been derailed.

Eh, I wouldn't say that. The question I asked got answered; past that has been brainstorming on things related to the implications of the answer, which in particular is related to ways of making non-chokepoint strategies more viable --- and I'll agree that would be a better approach than trying to nerf chokepoints. You can't fight the strategy used at Thermopylae, but that strategy's not always possible or viable.

However, if a new thread to continue the discussion would be better, let's start by figuring out exactly what specific, high-level question(s) we want to address. The turrets are already being discussed, and I'd agree that changing how existing Forts work would be too disruptive, especially given that K cost makes it easy (up to development time :) ) to add units / strategies.

IMO, our question of "make non-chokepoint strategies viable" is too vague, as people have many interpretations of what that means, plus different options have a heavy impact on it. Worse, our answers (mine included) tend to be too low-level in requesting specific changes to mechanics or units.


But, as much as love warheads, I think this would make better sense as a hack. 

This raised a question on hacking that I've asked here (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12812.msg142586.html#msg142586).


I'm currently okay with the current chokepoint balance... but if we were doing a sweeping overhaul of choke, turret, and fort balance? I feel we should aim for a different balance of power. Need to balance the Fallen Spire campaign? Don't shift the duty to forts, shift it to (new, defensive?) spire only buildables. Weight hard golem/spirecraft and exo-galactic strikeforces in the thematic direction, and if the golems given to you aren't sufficient counter, then perhaps they are scaling up too heavily.

As a "you know what would be COOL?" question, since some of the discussion is with respect to non-chokepoint Exo strategies, maybe have structures that get unlocked (or in the case of Spirecraft, that are buildable from asteroids?) when these superweapons are obtained (or enabled?), kinda how the Nebulae unlock additional ModForts.

Especially in the case of Golems, though they are powerful, they 1) cannot stand alone against an Exo (I know they're not supposed to, but they should form the bulk of the wall against them, though I don't think that's really the case at higher AIP) and 2) are very limited in number, which means that you can't make effective use of them to counter Exos coming in from multiple points. Spirecraft are similar, as their hulls seem to be made from wet tissue paper at times.

Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Cinth on April 13, 2013, 12:43:08 AM
First off, i think you need to narrow the scope, as you mentioned.  What specific problem(s) are we trying to hash out here?
To be a little broad (and use Diazo's recent game as an example), it's threat build up, border aggression, and minor incursions made by the AI.  There isn't mush you can do about reinforcements building up on neutered  worlds except to personally handle it with your mobile fleet.  Border aggression and minor incursions, however, can probably be addressed reasonably.

So we have taken something broad, and narrowed it down somewhat.  Now, what kind of tools would be appropriate to handle this kind of problem that is not already available to the player?  What could be added to the players toolkit that would add stability and help shore up defenses in this situation?  What additional utility do you need?
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: KDR_11k on April 13, 2013, 01:56:09 AM
Huh, did lightnings get a range nerf recently? Last time I've used them they had quite respectable range, at very least far exceeding that of the flak.

Miniforts do their job. The fact that you aren't seeing single ships stray into your systems is because of them. Without MFs you'll see single frigates or such come into your systems and snipe your undefended CS.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 13, 2013, 11:40:13 AM
Wouldn't a low-DPS tarpit-type fortress help clear out threat?

You put it in a system with no other damaging defenses, some of the AI threat sees, "ooh, squishy!", and comes in to squish it. Your fleet shows up before they can escape, and you have a fight.

---

Huh, did lightnings get a range nerf recently? Last time I've used them they had quite respectable range, at very least far exceeding that of the flak.

Miniforts do their job. The fact that you aren't seeing single ships stray into your systems is because of them. Without MFs you'll see single frigates or such come into your systems and snipe your undefended CS.
I always use military command stations. I don't think lone missile frigates are going to pop them.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: KDR_11k on April 13, 2013, 11:43:05 AM
Then make it a lone railcluster or something else that can't be translocated.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Diazo on April 13, 2013, 02:22:54 PM
Yes, the AI is tricky in that way, they'd come in, translocate your mini-forts away and kill your command station.  :-[

Was an unpleasant surprise when I was trying to test them out. I have to give the AI points for it though.

D.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 13, 2013, 04:24:29 PM
Then make it a lone railcluster or something else that can't be translocated.

I wasn't even considering translocation. I was just considering HP and DPS.

A railcluster is stronger than the command station, but the frigate isn't.

Also, what determines immunity to translocation?
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: KDR_11k on April 13, 2013, 05:32:33 PM
Unit size and some arcane magic.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Radiant Phoenix on April 13, 2013, 06:15:33 PM
Unit size and some arcane magic.
That should really go in the tooltips for ships.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: ZaneWolfe on April 17, 2013, 10:47:07 PM
I don't see the value in reducing the caps on the existing forts as outweighing the cost of "nerfing without cause" those players who rely on forts (there's more than just one of them, appearances aside).  If we wanted per-planet-cap forts, we could add per-planet-cap forts.  If we did then we might make them 1-per-planet and take 1 away from the normal fort cap of the same mark and possibly alter the K cost accordingly (it's possible they could stand to cost more K per unit, dunno).


Once more my inexperience with AI War shines though. I just realized I cut the caps down to about 1/3 - 1/2 what they are now. ~faceclaw~ Still, its not a terrible idea, though I have heard several better ones in this thread (Riot Control Fortress? GIMMIE!!) Right now the existing caps on forts are 5/4/3, so why not bump the K cost up some and then make them per planet cap rather than galaxy cap? I have heard multiple times that forts are REALLY good for their K cost (I'm more fond of Mod Forts personally, but probably because I like the other modular toys like SPIRE!) You could easily give them a decent increase in K cost to move them over to per planet caps. This way, you don't nerf chokes while still allowing multi ingress points another tool. And given their costs, NOBODY is going to put even 1 of each on every single world they have.... Well, there is probably at least one person who has that much energy, but I still doubt it would be done. (Cinth, Cinth, Cinth. HA! Nothi- Wait... What is that soun- OH CRAP!)
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Zeyurn on April 17, 2013, 11:57:52 PM
1 fort per planet per type would be too little in my opinion.  2 per (like mini-forts) would be fine with a 1 per for mk 3s, and the energy cost is already extremely prohibitive to even think of doing that.

In our 10/10 game I was desperate to have forts everywhere I could and I actually ran out of energy and couldn't place them all with the normal 4/3/2 cap, so if I can't even place the normal cap around the galaxy when I'm not doing crazy 'let's not care about AIP' maps I think it will only hurt people playing on diff 10 (probably 9 too) to be stuck at only 1 fort of each type on a planet.

I do like the idea of per-planet defenses, quite a bit.  It's why mini-forts are always unlocked immediately just like metal/crystal harvesters.  Especially in multiplayer just having a minimum amount of defenses at every planet at the start is better than the extra fleet I could have got.
Title: Re: Question: balancing purpose of caps on high-energy defenses?
Post by: Faulty Logic on April 18, 2013, 12:08:02 AM
Is there a mantis for the per-planet riot-control fortress?