Author Topic: Fatal refleeting.  (Read 6118 times)

Offline x4000

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Fatal refleeting.
« on: September 12, 2016, 04:18:52 PM »
From a larger discussion about basically how refleeting is boring, we get this:

Refleeting is an indication of player strategic failure.  Don't make refleeting easier, make it fatal!

I envision a balance where metal is like hp with regen: if you have tons of it, you can be reckless, throw your fleet in big battle and push forward; if you're low you need to be cautious and not loose your fleet (even less throwing it in a big fight). If you're out of metal, then it's like being 1hp and the AI should finish you off mercilessly.

I think that this is a point worth discussing.  Generally speaking, when the forces of an army are defeated, the enemy pushes the attack and defeats them.  In AI War, this was never the case.  But if you tried to pull that mess in Starcraft, you'd be dead in a few minutes unless it was a mutual destruction.

There are a few problems here, though:

1. We'd need some sort of "AI Opportunism Meter" (or whatever) that causes the AI to want to kill you even more when you are down.  That's going to lead to lots of death spirals, though, likely.

2. The player seeing that meter go down has two options: retreat and heal up, or crank out the new ships as fast as possible.

3. In a lot of respects, neither option really interests me all that much.  Both encourage "watching the speedometer rather than the road," so to speak.

But this is an interesting discussion.
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 04:27:31 PM »
Refleeting is terrifically boring, but it's not necessarily the result of a loss. It can just as easily be the result of a win-but-barely, or an outright victory.

If you send out a fleet and lose it without inconveniencing the AI you've committed a tactical error. If you send in a fleet and and an Armored Golem and lose the fleet while the Armored Golem takes the system, did you commit an error or did you find a use for a bunch of Mk 1s?

It's much better to have a system's defenders go on the attack if you lose a certain number of ships in a system, and have the AI convert a certain percent of defenders on nearby planets into attackers for a joint raid.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 04:32:32 PM »
Oops, I replied in the old thread. Sorry.

In terms of making the refleeting period fatal, that could be done, and I like the idea on the surface, but how do we determine what the criteria are for the AI to pounce and kill you, and how is that communicated to the player?
I imagined something like nearby shipyards would be allowed to slowly bleed into threat while the players' "total required metal for full refleet" is below it's current metal storage. Also, the threat would be more cocky, not only doing backstab when there is nobody home, but more willing to engage player's incomplete fleet. Within minutes, all frontiers would fall, the fleet can't rebuild fast enough to contain the lurking/probing threat, and the player(s) loose by invasion.

That wouldn't be the massive AIP death where all your complete fleet on your best defended world cannot stop bajilions of carriers, but a smaller force taking advantage of even smaller defending fleet. The players must to be really stressed and scared of loosing when at 0 metal and half-fleet.

Also, if the fleetwipe was brutal enough, the big reprisal must have already wreaked at least one frontier world in which the lurking, vulture-like threat would join in.

It could be a sort of state with a condition and a warning.
"Your lack of metal for efficiently defend your territory is luring the AI to attack" for the conditions of "required metal > stored metal" and the effect of nearby shipyards bleeding vulture-mode ships and decreasing the go/nogo threshold for threat invasion.

Just that plus reprisal would be enough to achieve a bad situation, but would be rather easily countered by a victorious-yet-damaged fleet.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 04:39:28 PM by Pumpkin »
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 04:53:59 PM »
I always saw the defenses in AI war as "more efficient", in term of what they could kill, than the "active fleet", which is offense. To make refleeting fatal, the AI has to crush through the player's defenses, in the absence of "offense".

How is it going to do that ? I've seen defensive set-ups on the forum capable of holding stuff I could barely believe when I started playing - like when people go for the 110 planet achievement. From my other "AIP" thread, people don't seem to want those gone.

How is the "AI counterattack" going to be as stronger than defense, but not than defense + offense ? I agree there's a gap here. But is it big enough ?


Quote
I envision a balance where metal is like hp with regen: if you have tons of it, you can be reckless, throw your fleet in big battle and push forward; if you're low you need to be cautious and not loose your fleet (even less throwing it in a big fight). If you're out of metal, then it's like being 1hp and the AI should finish you off mercilessly.

I'm ok with the concept, but, wouldn't that just make the player wait until the coffers are full, instead of "just" until the fleet is rebuilt ?
What mechanic, exactly, would make the player empty his coffers AND put his fleet in danger at the same time, once he knows how the game works ?


I'm ok with making the AI much more aggressive, so coffer-emptying happens more often, but maybe other ideas ?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 04:58:43 PM by kasnavada »

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 04:57:43 PM »
How is it going to do that ? I've seen defensive set-ups on the forum capable of holding stuff I could barely believe when I started playing - like when people go for the 110 planet achievement. From my other "AIP" thread, people don't seem to want those gone.

You mean a full cap of all turrets mk 1-3 (two caps of some), one cap of Heavy Beam Cannon 1-4, two caps of Fortresses 1-3, a superfort, and a handful of primarily defensive units (flagships buffing turrets, force fields, etc)?

That chokepoint was so impenetrable it didn't even need periodic repairs.

Offline Minotaar

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 05:12:36 PM »
I'm not sure we're getting at the right problem here.

It has been my experience that if I take my fleet somewhere I shouldn't have and it gets wiped, it was probably because I ran into some honeycombs powerful enemy ships. Those ships then go up on the Threat counter, and are free to come hurt me wherever it hurts the most. If that happens to stack up with anything else bad happening at the time, you get *FUN*.

I think Threat mechanic is really freaking cool and leads to a lot of the "AI impresses the player" moments, and has been an integral part of the game since forever. So if for some reason it's not working as well as it should (too passive? not enough enemies? too easy to manage?), I think we should look into fixing that instead of creating a new thing that is like the old thing, but more blunt.

If we're talking about an even battle that ends in mutual destruction or the player using several waves to take down a fortified position - I don't think it's fair if the AI goes out of its way to kill the player for it, either. The downtime may well be boring in these cases, but it's really hard to patch that with a specific mechanic because a) it has to be something you wouldn't do the rest of the time and b) have marginal fun utility higher that Youtube.  :D Maybe I'm just used to playing in such a way that this isn't an issue, so would be cool to hear specific scenarios where this is a big problem. Maybe it turns out that the economy allows you to build up a lot of stuff over time, but not replace it. Maybe it's a problem with specifically high-power setups where your resources are tied up in bigger stuff, etc.

For some concrete suggestions:
1) check if Threat is still a threat in moderate amounts, if not - maybe something along the line of Captain Jack's suggestion of drawing extra units from nearby systems would work. Or Special Forces packs beelining to ongoing battles and joining threat. Or adding entirely new and evil behaviours to mess with players who have been perfecting their defensive strategies for years. Point is, this is a strong, core mechanic and there are a bunch of knobs to tweak there, with potentially wide-reaching benefits
2) make sure we are somewhat balancing the Metal costs with the upcoming Fuel costs, so that the player can't get themselves in a huuuuge time hole just by losing their fleet. But we really know nothing about what the economy will be like at this point.
3) don't make tactical defeats game-ending! That just leaves "reload and don't mess it up this time" as the only way to proceed, and I don't think the game will be better for going in that direction.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 05:34:54 PM »
3) don't make tactical defeats game-ending! That just leaves "reload and don't mess it up this time" as the only way to proceed, and I don't think the game will be better for going in that direction.
Sometimes, in my experience, it goes this way. I try something, get wiped because of something that I could have foreseen (9x MkV self-destruct guardians on a core world, lately), insult myself, reload and try to figure a way (AoE-immune missile frigates, maybe?)
And it's fine, IMO. Well, if the failure is blunt enough with a complete fleetwipe and minor damage in the ranks of the AI, even with no big-reprisal-blam-you're-dead, I reload. 9x MkV self-destruct guardians on my whole fleet is not a "tactical defeat", that's a flat-out death-sentence. :D

Your ideas are interesting, nonetheless. I tend to keep what currently is in the game (fleetwipe-level-reprisal) and make the threat smarter at deciding when to call the game's end. My idea was a bit artificial, indeed.
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Offline Minotaar

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 06:00:25 PM »
3) don't make tactical defeats game-ending! That just leaves "reload and don't mess it up this time" as the only way to proceed, and I don't think the game will be better for going in that direction.
Sometimes, in my experience, it goes this way. I try something, get wiped because of something that I could have foreseen (9x MkV self-destruct guardians on a core world, lately), insult myself, reload and try to figure a way (AoE-immune missile frigates, maybe?)
And it's fine, IMO. Well, if the failure is blunt enough with a complete fleetwipe and minor damage in the ranks of the AI, even with no big-reprisal-blam-you're-dead, I reload. 9x MkV self-destruct guardians on my whole fleet is not a "tactical defeat", that's a flat-out death-sentence. :D

Your ideas are interesting, nonetheless. I tend to keep what currently is in the game (fleetwipe-level-reprisal) and make the threat smarter at deciding when to call the game's end. My idea was a bit artificial, indeed.

Sure! I'm not saying reloading and general trying of stuff should be discouraged, it just doesn't need to be forced when a mistake like this happens. I feel like it should at least be possible to just accept it and move on, for people who are into that. :)

Sometimes, though, you do go in expecting serious or complete losses. I would dread to get an objective done at the cost of the whole fleet, and get destroyed by the Game Is Over Now Department as a reward.  :) This kind of mechanic also needs to be explained in advance to a new player, or, well, you know.

There is also another quibble I have with this whole idea of a "coup de grace" from the AI - namely, if this is a thing that can happen, why didn't it happen before the start of the game? The justification in AIW has been that the AI could do it, it just didn't care. Why does it suddenly care now? What is different in this new world that makes this possible?

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 06:05:24 PM »
I think that if refleeting is boring a player is then the existing mechanics need to be refined, not that yet another death mechanic is in play. For me, such a mechanic is just yet another number I must juggle that limits my options. I don't feel like it would assist my games at all. It would force more save summing and an overall culling of my strategic options.

In  my games the losses of refleeting are already hard enough. I do not die from them because on a strategic level I time them to be appropriate.
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 07:55:18 PM »
I always saw the defenses in AI war as "more efficient", in term of what they could kill, than the "active fleet", which is offense. To make refleeting fatal, the AI has to crush through the player's defenses, in the absence of "offense".

How is it going to do that ? I've seen defensive set-ups on the forum capable of holding stuff I could barely believe when I started playing - like when people go for the 110 planet achievement. From my other "AIP" thread, people don't seem to want those gone.

How is the "AI counterattack" going to be as stronger than defense, but not than defense + offense ? I agree there's a gap here. But is it big enough ?

Well, normally the AI has to keep planets defended because you've got a mobile fleet that could hit them in several places. If the AI sees your fleet get wiped out, why can't it release a whole pile of ships on the border and come charging in? It's got time to rebuild those ships for defense while you rebuild your ships for offense, so there's effectively an opening for it to attack for free. Those attacks could be major in scope, worse than what would happen when it has to hold ships in reserve to defend against you.

Also, a new game means a chance to rebalance the defenses some. I think defenses should be strong enough to repel a typical wave if built well, but if you have no fleet to keep the AI on the defensive, why wouldn't it shift to an all-out assault?

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 07:57:51 PM »
Agreed with the general sentiment.

We already have mechanics in place that are either supposed to or easily be extended to help with this, but for some reason are currently falling short of what they are supposed to be doing (making the AI "go for the kill" when you have both "annoyed" it and you are seemingly vulnerable). The big one is threat (especially threat fleet). Also special forces could gain some new roles in this vain (currently it is almost exclusively used for defense, but I could see it being used for offense as well if the AI thought you were "vulnerable").

Also, there are ideas involving things like the "shark" plots becoming core, mandatory mechanics.

Maybe tweak these existing mechanics; figure out what their shortcomings are that are causing them not to do their intended job (or be extended naturally to fill this job), and fix those, before adding a potentially new cryptic "gotcha" mechanic.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 08:31:04 PM »

Also, there are ideas involving things like the "shark" plots becoming core, mandatory mechanics.


Don't remind me. Hated that plot with a mild passion.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2016, 08:39:12 PM »
w is the "AI counterattack" going to be as stronger than defense, but not than defense + offense ? I agree there's a gap here. But is it big enough ?

Well, normally the AI has to keep planets defended because you've got a mobile fleet that could hit them in several places. If the AI sees your fleet get wiped out, why can't it release a whole pile of ships on the border and come charging in? It's got time to rebuild those ships for defense while you rebuild your ships for offense, so there's effectively an opening for it to attack for free. Those attacks could be major in scope, worse than what would happen when it has to hold ships in reserve to defend against you.

[/quote]

Didn't threat do that already to a point? If you have a fleet stationed to actually defend a world then that fleet is removed then the fleet attacks. The idea it didn't reserve ships was because it is hard to define what is a "wipe". I can already imagine cheesing out the AI to force them to waste ships because they "think" I am wiped when I did not. So I don't think this really solves anything. It just makes things that more convoluted.
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Offline Vinco

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2016, 09:31:06 PM »
I don't see refleeting as a need for death.  If I have enough fixed defenses to absorb what the AI throws at me before I have enough mobile defenders up and running again, then I've made a strategic choice to weaken myself for a time to destroy an AI fleet or other objective.  That's a viable strategy.  My playstyle is to push and HOLD all territory.  That means that I'm going to push into heavily defended mark 4 worlds at some point.  If it takes me two tries to get that fortress down, so be it.  Make the AI reprisal function toothy, but let me spend my resources as I see fit.

Ships are there to be used.  Turrets and Forts are there to hold the slack while ships get rebuilt or relocated.  If I can't afford to risk my ships on offence while trusting (perhaps wrongly) my defense to hold long enough to get reinforcements ready, what the point of my defenses in the first place?

Offline skrutsch

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Re: Fatal refleeting.
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2016, 10:02:36 PM »
If you send out a fleet and lose it without inconveniencing the AI you've committed a tactical error.

Agreed, but that wouldn't cause a "refleeting" because you've still got some/much/most of your ships still alive, and you can play with them while your factories churn out replacements.

I think this thread is discussing what happens if you send out THE (whole, more or less) fleet and lose it without inconveniencing the AI.