Author Topic: 10/10/10 Win AAR  (Read 1474 times)

Offline Astilious

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10/10/10 Win AAR
« on: November 24, 2019, 04:30:47 AM »
Map: Large Clusters size 80 starting on Fantasy Monsters Jupiter (seed 540783570)

Player: Bomber fleet, shield defenses, overloader factory.
AI: 10/10/10 One way doormaster with kite master fleets.
Human Resistance Fighters: 5 (these were super irrelevant against diff 10)
Zenith Trader

All options on default

Started in patch 1.007 I think. The bomber nerf came in shortly after I started. Finished in patch 1.010. Warning: this is all written off memory, so there's a possibility of some details being off.

Basic Plan

Goal was to win without letting AIP hit 70 (at least, before AI HW phase 2). Started with the bomber fleet because, particularly before the nerf, these were OP. Used science on fusion only, plus medium hulls (eventually) as I wouldn't get enough to upgrade many weapon types. Took fleets with fusion ships, fusion ARS lines and doubled fusion ship lines. All planets used logistics stations as the speed and intel they give you is great. Double FF is nice too. I never took or hacked any GCA, doing all defense with mobile fleets.

Opening

The AI started with quite a bit of threat that I had to deal with. The warden fleet also decided to camp the only wormhole out of my home world (Jupiter). I was quickly forced to upgrade the first 3 levels of fusion tech just to get the strength to move out. I had a lucky find on Core (2 jumps out) in the form of a fusion tech vault, which I immediately used to get the last fusion tech. I was only just able to pull off the hack while also holding off the AI. With that done I took Blitz (the planet next to Jupiter), which had a frigate fleet. I'm not a huge fan of frigates (AI has too many things that counter them), but that's all the seed gave me until pretty late in the campaign.

Early Game

With my HW secure I moved out neutering (i.e. killing all guard posts but not warp gates) every scouted planet without an alarm or raid engine on it, as well as grabbing any distribution node and spending my hacking points on doubling my strikecraft lines. At some point I also hacked ARS that gave me a second parasitic fusion bomber line and a pulsar punk line, though I don't remember exactly when this happened. You can basically assume I went through this process immediately after taking any planet, right up until late game. I also constantly attempted to keep threat as low as possible, <30 if I could manage, as well as cull the wardens. Hard to do, as diff 10 spawns threat and wardens FAST, even when you don't let waves escape.

I fought off the first CPA (~100 strength IIRC) then tool Lightning Bird for another frigate fleet. Things were pretty hectic at this point as I was over 50 AIP with a fairly small fleet and no AIP reducers visible. I solved this by hack scouting till I found a DC, savescumming and revealing only the DC planet. Dodgey, but I'm not above it  >D. Around this point a bunch of AI ships glitched onto my HW due to course processing not blocking them on the Blitz forcefields, forcing a savescum. After that I turned off course processing for the rest of the game.

Took Earth Element (frigate + hydra fleet) and ended up in exactly the same situation again, so another savescum scout to get a DC. Since I was clearing everything this all took a while, so dealth with some more CPAs during all this. Most of them hit at about 150 strength. In general the AI's offense was pretty strong, and often killed some command stations, but I was usually able to reclaim all my territory before they could take another. Naturally, as my AIP stayed around the same all game, defense got easier as time went on.

Mid Game

After grabbing another DC I was able to take Great Seagull and its major DC. It also had a fleet on it, but not a very useful one to me as everything it had would remain mkI for the whole game. The major DC kept me at the AIP floor for the rest of the game, to the point where I no longer even cared about the other DC I saw. Dragon had the strikefleet IGC, so I definitely wanted that. I tossed up taking the planet for an easier and cheaper hack, but in the end I hack scouted the planet next to it (Minicoid) and found another frigate fleet to take instead.

At this point my focus was on how to get to and kill the AI HW. I knew it would have to be in the north cluster as that was farthest from my HW (I assume that's a thing like it was in AIWC?), so I hack scouted up there to check things out. I was able to plan to take Samael at this point. Samael had nothing useful on it, but I needed a world to use as a staging area for the HW assault. I savescummed for now to get the hacking points back, then did my last preparation for the final assault.

I did the IGC hack, which was particularly costly due to the Magnifier on Dragon. It took me a long time to rebuild after that with my threadbare eco. I took Druid, the only planet I'd seen till now with a fleet with two lines of fusion ships, giving me fleet strength I'd definitely need. I spent the rest of my hacking points (except those I'd need to hack scout Samael) doubling fusion strikecraft lines. I'd grabbed both medium armour techs some time ago by this point, so most of my fleet was mkVII.

End Game

Hack scouted to Samael. I moved in and took it without too much trouble, revealing the AI HW and the core worlds. I decided to save and test the waters to see how hard this was going to be. The AI HW only had about 200 strength to my 250, so it didn't look too bad...

The moment I entered the AI HW threat shot up to >600 as all the dire guardians of the core worlds rushed in, while the HW started spewing out ships like crazy. This was going to be harder than I'd hoped... Loading the save the obvious thing I'd have to do was neuter every core world. While doing this I'd have to continuously beat down the wardens, praetorian guard and threat fleet, as all of them were being fed by the AI's wave budget now. This was easily the hardest part of the campaign, and about 90% of the savescums I did in the entire campaign happened during this when I accidentally let too much of my fleet get killed. I had to trade well or the AI forces would grow out of control to the point I couldn't deal with them. Oh, and another CPA came in during all this.

Based on suggestions from Democracy I grabed Metal Generation and 2 levels of Engineering to help me keep up with the AI. By popping in and out of Samael, never letting the AI bring its full force to bear on me and sniping stragglers constantly I was able to trade well enough to wear the AI down. Eventually all the core worlds were clear and the praetorians, hunters and wardens were reduced to a tiny fraction of their initial strength hanging out on the AI HW. Even then, the HW had a ton of dire gaurdians. I did a breif attack on the AI HW to grab their attention, then retreated and repeated my tactics of picking off stragglers. Sadly though, a large part of the force stayed together, forcing me to sacrifice my whole fleet to engage them head on.

At last the dire guardians were dead. I was then able to rebuild and bring up 50 strength of frigate fleets I'd been using to defend against threat on my main planets till now. The final HW assault was comparatively manageable. While the AI spawned ships almost as fast as I could kill them, it was only ALMOST, letting me snipe the gaurd posts. I popped the AI HW and started phase 2. Phase 2 spewed out ships (including dire guardians) ridiculously fast, but my full fleet was able to focus it down with only 119 strength left and a starving eco.

Thoughts

AIW2 is definitely a great follow up to AIWC. I had a ton of fun with this game, and there were plenty of interesting strategic decisions to make. It's a little more rough around the edges that AIWC (with stuff like the course processing issues), but I guess that isn't a huge surprise given it's just released against the many years of AIWC dev. I'm still a fan of having fleets with transports at their core, and I like the hacking mechanics, which feel like a much more fundamental part of the game. I like that my strategic choices are more flexible, and aren't basically set by where the CSG spawn.

Diff 10 was hard, though I'd say less so then AIWC. I don't know if a win on my setup counts as a bug, but it does seem like I shouldn't be able to win without hitting mkII. The most obvious issue to me was that the diff 10 AI's defense didn't seem that much stronger than diff 7. It had a stronger warden fleet, but not by that much. The only defense that gave me trouble was the AI HW, but that probably shouldn't have even been possible with a fleet as small as mine! If the AI had had better defense it would have been much harder for me to keep threat low, and to make progress at low AIP. So diff 10 was buffed, that would be where I'd suggest. Having a higher AIP floor at higher difficulty (i.e. 0.3X at diff 7 scaling to 0.5X at diff 10) might also help keep super low AIP play in check.

Oh, didn't mention it above by the AI spawned 2 instigators on unscouted planets, the first of which was sitting there for hours. I'm lucky it didn't do an AIP one. Not a big fan of that, feels too RNG.

Future

I'm looking forward to experimenting more with factions and higher AIP now. Maybe a 2 AI diff 9 with all factions set to 9? I'm open to suggestions too.
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Offline Strategic Sage

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Re: 10/10/10 Win AAR
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2019, 07:18:03 AM »
Quote from: Astilious
The AI HW only had about 200 strength to my 250, so it didn't look too bad...

This sticks out to me.  AI HW on Difficulty 4 for me had 214 strength.  That means it isn't scaling much on higher difficulties in terms of their reinforcements, which I think is a definite issue for improving the resistance in high-level play. 

Offline Ovalcircle

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Re: 10/10/10 Win AAR
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2019, 08:03:16 PM »
Quote from: Astilious
The AI HW only had about 200 strength to my 250, so it didn't look too bad...

This sticks out to me.  AI HW on Difficulty 4 for me had 214 strength.  That means it isn't scaling much on higher difficulties in terms of their reinforcements, which I think is a definite issue for improving the resistance in high-level play. 

The amount of Guard posts is based on the amount of Metal deposits on the planet. This explains why AI Homeworlds fluctuate wildly in strength.
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Offline Astilious

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Re: 10/10/10 Win AAR
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2019, 01:52:04 AM »
This sticks out to me.  AI HW on Difficulty 4 for me had 214 strength.  That means it isn't scaling much on higher difficulties in terms of their reinforcements, which I think is a definite issue for improving the resistance in high-level play. 

Yeah, the standard reinforcement rate didn't feel that much higher than diff 7. I don't know how much crazier it gets on higher AIP, so maybe if low AIP play is nerfed the problem will go away naturally. Otherwise I think it needs a BIG buff (like 3-5X more than it is currently).

The only time the AI defense was a challenge was when it started pouring all its budgets into the HW defense near the end. Keeping up with that so that the HW didn't become too strong for my fleet while neutering the core worlds and killing the HW dire guardians was tricky.

The amount of Guard posts is based on the amount of Metal deposits on the planet. This explains why AI Homeworlds fluctuate wildly in strength.

Yeah, I did roll a pretty weak AI HW. Though the challenge of the AI HW was mainly the dire guardians and the wave budget redirection. The dire guard posts were comparatively easy to deal with, much weaker than the monsters in AIWC. Though AIWC didn't have phase 2...
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: 10/10/10 Win AAR
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2019, 01:58:27 PM »
I've also bumped some numbers up for the ai defensive strength at higher intensities.

Offline Astilious

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Re: 10/10/10 Win AAR
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2019, 06:01:44 PM »
I've also bumped some numbers up for the ai defensive strength at higher intensities.

I'll be sure to test it when 1.011 is out.
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Offline I-KP

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Re: 10/10/10 Win AAR
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2019, 05:45:18 AM »
Just to lob some more anecdotal evidence into the pot, in my recent 7/7/7 win the AI HW had a strength of 470 (8 hours total game time; AIP never allowed above 100; Threat never allowed above 100 until the final HW attacks). This was without allowing Instigators throughout and not allowing the AI HW or satellite worlds to become alerted right up until I launched the final attacks.

470 was well beyond my combined fleet power and it took two deliberate provocations of AI counter-attacks and three assault waves (plus several stealth raids) by me to bring that place down. (I probably only needed to do one counter-attack provocation because I was unlucky during the reinforcement phase on my first poke and it gave the AI time to recover entirely.) Phase 2 was one system away from being a loss too.

The reason I mention the above is because this seems to be another example of how wildly random the game is thus talk of widening the gamut of possible outcomes concerns me a bit.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 05:47:51 AM by I-KP »
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: 10/10/10 Win AAR
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2019, 02:19:23 PM »
Well, my change only would make the AI harder on 8-10.

And puffin's change should decrease the range of possible AI homeworld defenses; previously it have between 3 and 8 dire guard posts, now it can have only 5-8. So you won't see any weaker homeworlds anymore.

I think I need to give the AI a mechanic to counteract the significant AIP reduction from holding major data centers; that much AIP reduction is too powerful without a downside.

Edit: I've added a mechanic where owning a Major Data Center will cause the AI to build up Exos against you on AI difficulty >= 7, lets see if that increases the challenge level.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 05:00:25 PM by BadgerBadger »