Author Topic: Game phase changes? (Sneaky win option?)  (Read 1606 times)

Offline Diazo

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Game phase changes? (Sneaky win option?)
« on: October 03, 2016, 04:09:27 PM »
Alright, I'm not 100% sure where I'm going with this post, but if we're going to update AIWC, I at least want to touch on what I feel is the weakest part of that game. Forgive me while I ramble a bit, but I think I have a point in all this.

For me, the end-game homeworld assaults were probably the biggest "meh" part of AIWC. These underwent a lot of changes towards the end of AIWC's patches and expansions, in my opinion because I think a lot of the community felt the same, at least in terms of the homeworld assaults being not fun.

I'm really thinking the start of this was the Core Shield Generators, but it ended up being a lot of things including the Strategic Reserve, the nasty Core Guard posts, and so on.

Now, the underlying problem I see that all this was trying to solve was that up until you start the homeworld assaults, the game was about being strategic and sneaky. You hit where the AI was weak, or at least weak enough to make the losses taken worth it for something like a Backup or Core Shipyard that got you new units.

Then you turned to the Homeworld assault and all that sneakiness and strategy goes out the window and you are just dumping ships into the Homeworld and hopefully grinding out a win. (The game phase change I'm referring to.) Of course it's not that straightforward, but Core Guardposts and such are nasty enough that it boils down to "how big a fleet do I send to die to take out this structure?"

If you'd played well up to then and correctly judged your fleet as being stronger, you'd grind out a win anyway. If you judged wrong you'd suffer several fleet wipes and then go back and build your strength up some more.

I suppose what I'm saying is that blowing up the AI Home stations is a perfectly valid win scenario, but could we get something besides a direct combat option to just blow it up?

I will not argue that AIWC was working as intended before all the Homeworld assault changes started happening, building up your forces and cloak-sneaking your entire starting fleet into the AI Home system and blowing up the Home command station at the 30 minute mark should not be a valid win method, but all the changes did at the end of the day did was make the homeworld assault more and more grindy, not fun.

Tying into this, should there be a mid-game phase where there are distinct and notable gameplay changes? (This overlaps significantly with the other thread in this sub-forum about the AI evolving over the course of the game.)

Lastly, this is all based on AIWC, I'm not sure how much of it is applicable to AIW2, but I'd love a win condition that was sneaky and something besides "kill it with (more) fire".

Also, keep in mind I am a fan of the low (or super-low) AIP strategy. I never personally did the "bum-rush the homeworld without capturing other systems" strategy, but more then once I did start my homeworld assaults with only 6 or 7 systems under my control (single HW start, 80 planets). That is going to be a very different game then a lot of you all play.


« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 04:13:39 PM by Diazo »

Offline x4000

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Re: Game phase changes? (Sneaky win option?)
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 05:12:36 PM »
Oooh, very intriguing concepts.  I really like this line of thinking, although I'm not sure I can address it in the short term.  But as a post-1.0 thing this could be a really huge new staple of the game in my opinion.
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Game phase changes? (Sneaky win option?)
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 10:36:13 PM »
Ya, this is not ver 1.0 material, why I posted in this sub-forum.

I suppose what I'm trying to say here is that the final homeworld assault got too grindy in my opinion in AIWC and I'm trying to brainstorm ideas. The "destroy it with fire" will remain the default option, but I'd like to have other ways to win also.

Note that several of the AIWC expansions did add mechanics that fit this criteria (or pretty close anyway).

Yes, AIWC homeworlds did need buffing because you could bum-rush it in the early game too easily, but it scaled too high in longer running games and turned it into a long grind where there weren't really options to be clever in most games.

As devastating as it was, I actually like the Wrath guardpost (the laser-cross that spun and hit the whole system) because it is something different, just not more DPS in a different attack type.

However, in terms of actual mechanics, the only ones I've thought of are:

Upgrade to your own Home command station that allows it to sneak in and dock to the AI's home command station. Then you can hack it to send a panic signal that causes all mobile units in the planet to run away to an adjacent system with a surviving AI command station. Once this signal is sent you then tow the AI home command station away for recovery.

However, 2 minutes later the AI realizes what you have done and sends ALL surviving units from ALL systems to the AI homeworld under an Attack-Move order (so attacking any units of yours it comes across).  Note that the cloaking on your own Home Command Station stops working at this point so the AI can now see it. 5 minutes after the last mobile unit arrives in the AI homeworld planet, the AI gives up and pulls all its units out of the galaxy. Your own home command still alive? You win!  This option is probably too map layout dependent though, but it shows what I'm thinking about.

The other though was tying the mechanic to scouting somehow, scout over 90% of the systems to unlock it? Have active scouting on all systems within three hops of the AI homeworld? More of a prerequisite then a mechanic itself, it would unlock the real game-winning option rather then being one on its own.

Another unlock mechanic would be seeding decoy buoys of some sort through the galaxy to enable the alternate win mechanic.

« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 10:46:54 PM by Diazo »

Online tadrinth

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Re: Game phase changes? (Sneaky win option?)
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2016, 01:34:36 PM »
How do you feel about Showdown Devices and Nomad Beacons?  Those are sort of similar to your suggestions.