Author Topic: Worthwhile Lone Fleets Mod  (Read 1817 times)

Offline ArnaudB

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Worthwhile Lone Fleets Mod
« on: November 10, 2019, 05:57:05 am »
I have made a somewhat simple mod that change Spire Lone Fleets, Golems and Arks fleets to be much more compelling to use. The current vanilla incarnation is straight up a deterrent to take their planets, as they're terrible, move horribly slow, cost too much of the precious AIP resources, trigger counter-attacks and overall aren't worth it.

The most straightforward change is that none of the fleets have an AIP cost anymore. The only exception is the Botnet golem with a 10 AIP cost. All flagships will also gain a mark from the SpireCore tech. This can serve to max out your fleets or get them past Mark One where they are easily killed.

Spire Lone Frigates have been changed to feel considerably better to use. They now work as the fastest unit (2900 speed) around that you can use as a late-game raid unit. Their beam does twice as much on individual target and will deal with stacks much more easily, the Beam ideal (maximum) damage is the same but it's much more consistent against smaller groups. They have a defense cannon that help them against stragglers surrounding them, and against high-health units like Royal ones. Finally, they have planetwide Tachyton Coverage to give a proper counter against AI-spamming cloaked units. Overall they perform well against world from mark I to IV, but will struggle against larger worlds till leveled up (or warden fleet show up). Babysit them on enemy planets able to counterattack or you'll have problems.

Golems overall have better damage output to make them somewhat capable of matching a single line fleet cap. A number of them have higher health and shield, and in a few cases some pronounced abilities like with Black Widow. Again, no AIP cost and they can gain marks from SpireCore tech, making both them and the tech more valuable. They are also universally faster to make retreat easier and make travelling with main fleets less problematic (they can still get crippled on travel, it's less of a constant thing though). You can now take Golems without feeling like you're handicapping yourself or straight up helping the AI kill you.

The Botnet has received pretty good buffs to make it fonction like a mobile super-citadel. It doesn't have turrets but two weapons with increased damage. Due to targetting issues and recent changes to Zombificaiton (that nerf it), it no longer has 0x multiplier against high-tons units, which in testing looks like it's glitching its damage output. It's twice as tough as before, though it'll still die if you throw it alone at Mark I against the Warden fleets on any decent mark level. Beware Mass Driver too because it's still deadly to it. Finally, the Botnet cost four times as much for a total cost of 8,000,000 metal. This also make counterattacks from it getting crippled on an uncleared world raise to about 250 Strength, which can be bad. It's still powerful and considerably better than the utterly useless and outright detrimental vanilla version, so try it.

AI Golems have received no change at this time. Descriptions for all ships haven't been changed, though the tooltip will reflect the change to weapons and stats accurately.

I am still looking for some way not to have the "Internal Name" referred twice issues on startup. This has no effect on gameplay. If you know how to solve it, then please share your ideas.

To install this, unzip the mod in: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\AI War 2\XMLMods" So it show the WorthwhileLoneFleets in the XMLMods folder.
Then go to : "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\AI War 2\PlayerData" and open the XMLLoadingOrder.txt file with the text editor of your choice. Add a new line below "_Vanilla" and type "WorthwhileLoneFleets" without the  " " then you're all set.

This mod current version was made for AI War 1.007 on 10/11/2019.

Do share feedback, or use the mod to make a better version. Both are fine with me.

Offline Democracy? Democracy!

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Re: Worthwhile Lone Fleets Mod
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2019, 08:08:20 am »
Admittedly i haven't played with the mod yet, but just looking at the changes to the lost spire frigate, that makes it a game winner. No units can catch up to it, and any that somehow miraculously manage to do so probably can't even scratch it and will get torn by the point defense. it rips stacks apart already in the base game and out ranges most things. The ability to have it reposition itself with its now insane speed would be game breakingly powerful. The whole cloaked units thing are also supposed to be a counter to units like the lost spire frigate. Agravic pods and Autocannon minipods are supposed to counter them as they do dire guardians. If the AI had this ship (which it could in classic via Spire Hammer AI type) there would be nearly no way to counter this unit now. With proper micro management, these modded Spire frigates would crush nearly anything in their way. Mass drivers would maybe be able to stop them, but they can just use the sabotage hack to get rid of them if they can't outright kill it.

Golems i do agree, are kinda meh right now. They have the highest target priority in the game iirc, so the AI tends to mob them to death first thing. I think they could use a little move speed buff and a moderate health pool buff, but not any more pronounced abilities. In terms of their gimmicks, they are fine as is. Something I have noticed though, are many people say that golems are not worth their cost relative to their power level. But I find relatively good success with them, when i use them specifically for defense, sans artillery golem and regenerator golem. Golems are really powerful on defense, and you can level them up through defending and then bring them in to attack once they reach level 3 or so.

Spire frigate i think realistically would only need a speed buff, but not to the extent of being the fastest ship in the game, natch Daggers.

Golems i agree with the speed, health and shield buff, I think they don't need any more pronounced abilities. Instead of upgrading with spire core, they should have their own tech, something like "zenith biology", so that way spire core doesn't become a win if you control lots of golems and some spire frigates.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but these changes just make it basically a scramble to grab spire frigates and maybe golems and be done with the game. In classic, even if you did have golems, you still weren't in the clear. If you want me to discuss stuff I'm open.

TL;DR: Spire frigate is now way overpowerd and golems are now a good bit overpowered.

Edit, played around a bit with the mod, and artillery golem is really broken. 5x damage to stacks with AOE? This thing will just straight up eat clusters of ai units the moment they spawn from a wormhole. Damage to stacked units is intended to be a compensation for less units to hit, not as an actual balancing tool. Otherwise people would just set stacking npc units to max, and use tesla, beam or grenade related weaponry all the time. And if they got auto bombs? Thinking about it, this thing actually out damages the AI overlord, which balance wise, is game breaking. The whole point of an artilery golem from a balance and gameplay standpoint is to have it damage a single target for high damage. Not multiple.

Speaking of tesla, when booting up the game, i get this error message What this is trying to say is you have a tesla weapon, that has a range of 8,000, but it can only damage anything in range of 2,800. So I now have a weapon that fires itself, but damages nothing, unless there are nearby units, which the widow golem with its tractors will never run into. Maybe it'll hit cloaked units but i always bring along a sentry frigate.

Hive golem. Oddly nothing has changed except slightly bigger hp pool, adding in an additional shot and i think a damage buff. The hive golem buff is good.

Same with regenerator golem. nothing changed really.

Botnet golem. If i'm reading this right, you're actually NERFING it. you got rid of how much it zombifies and increasing the reload time. This is kinda removing the whole point of the botnet golem. The base botnet has 80 multishot with 2 second reload. Your's is 40 second multishot with a 4 second reload and an additional weapon. While yes the zombifying weapon can kill easier, it can't zombify units as fast. The botnet auto targets units which are not ready to be converted to zombies, so it won't waste shots on units doomed to become zombies. Yeah it can zombifiy guardians now, but parasites can do so as well.

Armored golem: This thing is now an artillery golem. It's sabot weapon one shots mk7 guardposts. With a reload of 2 seconds, it has an effective dps of 750,000 when targeting high mass units. This actually outperforms the artillery golem's primary weapon. What.

I haven't gotten to the spire frigate yet, but will have to see
« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 09:52:13 am by Democracy? Democracy! »

Offline ArnaudB

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Re: Worthwhile Lone Fleets Mod
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2019, 03:14:06 pm »
Wooh, I have a few things to do there.

Spire most likely need to take the hammer a bit. I built it for a few updates ago, when rebuild on friendly planets was glitched and it could take minutes before you could send flagships out. It was also when Velocity flagships were still a thing, so its speed was present to encourage using that custom flagship.

I found that the Spire frigate could die quite a bit in Diff7/8. I got multiple times crippled there, in particular before they got experience. I toned down the Point defense cannon a bit. I might reduce their speed and do some more calculation to see its damage. More real-game tests would be good though, which is why I haven't hammered them down yet. The PD cannon is going to lose either DPs or its bonus against shields, I will see.
I did want Tachyton here as a counter and because I wanted to rework the frigate into a fast-scout for the Spire Fleet. It felt like it made much more sense than the horribly slow firing platform from before. I don't to take them down too much though, because you often need to assault mark VI or higher to get them, so they need to be worthwhile even "late" in the game.
I also want to test out how the Spire Frigate fare with today's addition of the Deepstriking fleet.

Tech-wise and Core, I made a Human Cores before for the Ark then decided against it for now. I want a better feel for tech costs in the game, which I tend to find too high, especially for the defense stuff. I also made a Turret tech upgrade like for hull as another mod, so I'll see how that goes. I might want to combine some tech (like command station) because otherwise the Tech tree is going to start being quite crowded.
I also feel that splitting Alien Core for Spire Frigates and Zenith for Golem would make the Tech very often worthless because RNG can generate only one Spire Frigate per galaxy. That would make Alien Core really expensive for a single flagship. On the other hand making the tech cheap could cause... issues when you end up grabbing all three spire Frigates.

Stacks damage is odd and I haven't a full grasp on it. From the XML Artillery golem can damage at most 15 units with its siege, so that should cap its output which is how I balanced it. Do you know well how this Stack multiplier and max damage work? I calculated it against a Siege frigate cap, so it shouldn't be that crazy, or it's that siege are still too strong.
Anyway artillery has low rate of fire and vanilla (ie, low) health. I haven't gotten around playing with it yet so I'll see. If the Max damage work properly it shouldn't be too broken.

Tesla issue was solve in my initial version but I forgot to fix it again when updating the new version. Done. (and thank for pointing it out)!

Botnet Zombi weapon DPS is actually twice as high as vanilla. The secondary weapon is meant to finish zombified target, so it shouldn't slow down zombification. However I must point out that Botnet got a stealth-nerf during the last update. Its value for zombifi was "Major" and now it's "Botnet". It has a multiplier of 5 when Parasite Bomber have 10 and parasite have 20. It doesn't help that the targetting for Zombifi looked bugged due to the multiplier, making it apparently prefer to hit high-tons target it did 0 damage to when it had the chance.
Essentially Botnet need a test drive before making further change. It ideal DPS (when it has enough target to shot at) is much higher than vanilla, so I am reluctantly to crank it without testing.
Also, the zombifi (Insanity Inducer) doesn't fire slower? It has 2 second like in vanilla.

I don't how you calculated numbers for Armored Golem but it has 75,000 dps with the Sabot, not 750,000. It is less than artillery which has 83,000 dps against high mass. Armored's sabot can probably take a hit to its DPS, but the difference isn't as bad as what you have written.

I will test it out some more. Here is a version with the tesla thingy fixed for those who want it.

Offline Democracy? Democracy!

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Re: Worthwhile Lone Fleets Mod
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2019, 11:46:56 pm »
Again sorry for sounding critical and mean, but from a game play perspective, i'm trying to make sure this is actually balanced. Admittedly i made some terrible math mistakes, specifically adding an additional 0. but If I'm reading this right though, the armored golem's sabot weapon has 30,000 damage, multiplied by 5 is 150k, and mark 7 guardposts have effectively 600k total hp, so only 4 shots are needed at mark 1. Armored golem's sabot vs Artilery's primary weapon is  30,000 x5 /2 = 75,000 dps for armored, and 500,000 x1.5 /9  = 83,333 so while the armored golem's sabot weapon isn't quite as powerful as artillery golem's it's still a close second. Armored golem should not be packing this much heat , it wipes the floor with standard guardians, especially nucleophilics and pikes which are it's 2 counters, and can even take on a dire nucleophilic and come out on top. Remember this is mark 1.

haven't played the updated one but i did try the new spire frigate. Spire frigates i find are not suited for offense on heavy worlds until they level up a bit, and from what i am seeing, it looks like people just throw them by themselves against an ai horde and expect it to survive. Of course they'd need escorts to perform their job well. This one can just... zip around the map and dodge anything the ai sends. nothing catches up to it. it's only weakness is mass drivers, which can be resolved with a cheap hack by another flagship. Like i predicted, the PD system shreds anything that can even catch up to it like raiders and it outranges most things anyways. it just kited an AI armored golem to death. admittedly it took awhile, like 5 minutes of micro (speedboosted), but it's possible.

Using the new botnet golem, i don't notice as many zombies being made compared to classic or at least that's what it feels like. While i can get the ability to kill stuff faster to zombify faster itself, this weapon often ends up killing stuff before it's zombified, when supported by additional fleets.

Stack damage bonus is intended NOT as a balance tool (ie designing units specifically to deal with stacks), but as a compensation for certain units that would loose out on attacking fewer targets due to stacks.

New techs, i'm not 100% sure myself, but it was necessary when playing around with the sleeper mod. otherwise spire and the sleeper units would become to powerful.


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