Dev Diary #4 - Restoring The Balance

#21

Oops Didn’t mean to target you with that… more a recommendation for IDA

And yeah after I wrote it I felt more like I waste my time having a go… Its a really complicated beast… and I dont envy the devs the challenge to do it…

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#22

It’s understandable that the devs wish to avoid the unstoppable ball of death, yet it strikes me that they already have the solution implemented in the form of olzine and limbalt, or logistics.

If energy weapons would become dependant on olzine to function, and missile weapons on both limbalt and olzine. And also you nerf free warp to a crawl, but allow a fuel efficient cruise speed mode below max speed, you have all the ingredients you need to make war far away from home a very daunting endavour, especially with your humongous ball of death that eats fleets of olzine and limbalt, per hour. And makes your ball of death stoppable by intercepting its supply lines.

I’d like to repeat my plea for getting rid of max fleet sizes here, this time in the context of the downsides of pooling all your ships together when you make logistics a thing. Such a concentration of fleet will deplete local resources in a hurry, meaning you will have to fly it in, meaning you have to spend olzine to get olzine, and etc. March divided, fight united.

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#23

Yeah it is, for sure.

That is why I spent a couple weeks looking at everything and balancing everything based on future tech, future abilities they said each race would have, as well as what each race is fundamentally/inherently good at. Also trying to push themes for each race. With the way this game works, you have to take into account a lot of factors each time you decide to balance something.

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#24

Fleet Upkeep, as well as soft limits on planets and fleets will be good enough to curtail this from happening. Or at least curtail it enough that one person won’t be powerful enough to take on alliances by themselves.

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#25

Been reading this thread and the well thought out responses with great interest.

The thing that strikes me is that thus far the main concern of the discussion was “How to balance the Uber killing power of a late game player”

A perfectly valid point but begs the question: So late game is just galactic space PvP war eh! if that’s all it is then you have already lost the Balance/Fun argument as what you are saying is there is no point in anything but bigger guns and the means to deliver them.

Instead if the game contains events/competitions/leagues that gather a player prestige in some way that is not wholey reliant on epic mass battles with other players I feel you can maintain the interest longer of those that enjoy space themed games for reasons other than pure warfare.

Yes some of the ideas to moderate late the late game Juggernaut are very well made and greatly to be desired, but simply not the entirety of the problem. I would be interested in perhaps a more bellicose NPC race that seeks out ultra powered players to keep them occupied a little bit without boredom forcing them to roll over their lower powered neighbours. Does anyone else remember the “Thargons” that started showing up in Elite by way of ancient example? Visitors from another galaxy type event Like the Uzzan Vong of the Star Wars extended universe or the Andromedans in the Star fleet battles table top game?

Just ideas

Another thing that doesn’t seem to be in the game is the concept of “Friction”. What I mean by that is that the simple fact is the bigger an organisation gets the less efficient it becomes, right now we can set planets up and they can be tweaked to cruise effectively by themselves. This is great and encourages lots of planets and thus big star empires. It also means player invasion interference is the only thing that can disrupt this, reemphasising the need for “War war war!”.

I wounder why there is nothing like a simple random planetary event occurrence that crops up every now and then than would force a player to either build in some slack to their planets resource production or require them to take direct control of it and make appropriate measures:
Examples are in other games already E.G.the Simple “We want X resource” that you see in say Civilisation adding that to an empire their boosts a city for a while or in this case prevents them rioting.

Planetary disasters, Political or religious uprisings etc could all be used now and again to create interest and spice and if handled “correctly” provide a small bonus to the attentive player. But if left unchecked these planets would slowly break down and revert to effectively NPC worlds.
If a particularly “Bad” one of these was introduced that he community felt too strong or too advantageous they’d be easily swapped out of the list of potential events

The concept of slow but definite planetary breakdown if left unattended, I feel is important because inevitably people will stop playing and yet if they look “Big scary tough!” Active players will avoid their abandoned shells unnecessarily. I am sure we have all been in games where alliances keep inactive but high ranking players on the rosta just so they keep their position on the league of power…? Well I am not saying prevent that : its a valid tactic, but I would like to suggest something ; a game mechanic, where a slow advance of entropy takes down the power of in actives so that even their parent alliance would eventually want to drop these folks for newer active players.

Naturally in such cases a returning after a long absence player should be able to reconquer lost territory faster than normal. But they should accept an absence of months will be disadvantageous to them!

Still having a way to cycle older and long absent players back is I feel a good way to prolong the life of a Galaxy especially the interesting concept of the “Perma Galaxy” discussed above.

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#26

While I agree with some of your post, a lot of games generally stray away from RNG, which is what would be needed for these random events. The reason being is that they tend to not actually be random, they strike some people once, or not at all, and others hit after hit, because while they do come out to a random average, RNG usually hits in patterns.

Also, you didn’t even suggest positive events, which would really be the counter to this. Good things do happen.

If they were to use this idea, then I would suggest instead of RNG for when you get hit, the WHEN is predictable, based on a combination of unhappy people, corruption, and pollution. You get a negative/positive meter, and eventually everything you do ticks up or down. Those that don’t want to deal with trying to go one way or the other (playing like you don’t give a shit, or playing super conservative) they can math it out, or bow out and just be more a neutral entity with relationships to their own Kingdom and just not do events. Where the RNG would come in is what random event you get when the meter tops out to 100% in one direction or another. Then the meter would start back out again at 0 after a 24-48 hour delay while you deal with the situation that popped up, good or bad.

This also gives the impression of the slow planetary breakdown (or those being vigilante in not letting it happen).

Also, I made a major suggestion that kind of battles some of the things that you brought up here:

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#27

I really like some of these ideas. Not quite as fond of the latter half of your post, but I like the idea of events and competitions that are short-lived with a clear cut leaderboard of the winner(s).

I also would like to see the strength of the pirates more closely be in line with the strength of the player, so that late game players have a challenge when they encounter pirates. It is all to easy to beat them once you are at a T3 level now and will be even easier in the future. I feel they should closely guard the asteroid belts making them a real challenge to try and mine and continue their random visits to systems.

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#28

You are quite correct I didn’t mention that there should be some good with bad. My mistake, consider the idea so amended!

Also the idea that to some degree bad things could be predicted yes I can see your point. That could also be allowed for certainly.

For example if a world was 100% happy all the time there is an argument that the workforce could become a bit complacent maybe - lowering production? Challenging them in some way would quickly re set this “Predictable event”

Purely random stuff could be kept to an absolute minimum and would include “Good” events every so often as well, just to provide spice.

My point I feel remains; there should be some “reward” for actively managing your worlds even if its only occasionally. The ones you leave alone will try and drift from the ideal of your empire mirrors reality and acts as a balancing mechanism. If you can put the time in your good; get slack and maybe you need to scale back a bit? Hmm food for thought :slight_smile:

Thanks and I completely understand nobody could enjoy the feeling that there hard work would just up and disappear, maybe I wasn’t clear enough.

I am simply saying a mechanic that causes folks to fade from prominence if they are not actively playing I feel is a needed one. If you play even semi regularly then it would not apply to you. If you came back after a considerable absence then recovery should be a bit easier than starting from scratch. But I feel your time away should have in some way taken the edge off your Mighty Empire that you will have to rebuild?

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#29

I quite agree with the notion of friction, as in things getting harder to maintain the more you grow. (diminishing returns). Part of that, rather than just increasing upkeep costs for planets and what not, can be more derived processes like for example transport overhead. i.e. An end-game high tier shipyard could require the resources of half a dozen systems to keep rolling, whereas the starting shipyard can sustain itself on what a planet can produce.

Likewise, having many different races could require compromises to keep them happy, where one race is getting happiness from luxuries, whereas the other disdains such decadence and wants arena’s to proof their honor, accommodating both will require you to dedicate resources to both, once more increasing costs for the same result.

One can think of many such ingame systems where sheer size and diversity leads to having to sink more resources into many avenues that are simply not relevant to a smaller less diverse empire.

Allthough of course, the payoff for such things should be worth it over not doing them. i.e. That endgame shipyard better produce better things than the combined power of all those starting shipyards that you could have otherwise. Likewise, purging all races but your own could be possible, but then you just tossed out a ton of population (also a resource), so the cost of keeping them happy in their own diverse way should be lower than that.

So you might observe that if it has to be worth it, than it can’t be a diminishing return, because it’s better than the other option. Well no, not neccesarily, it can be worth it, but simply not pay off as much as earlier options that didn’t involve such systems. The payoff can very well decrease comparatively.

On the topic of inattentiveness, I’d say you do not neccesarily need to punish players for not paying attention, rather you can reward them for paying attention. (This tends to happen quite naturally too, as not doing anything does not yield you anything) You can either drag down the inactive player, or elevate the active player, for the same results in their power balance.

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#30

True enough. I think there is a general consensus about the concept of “Friction” but the how it could be implemented is, as usual, being somewhat lively! LOL

I guess a concern of mine is thinking to the future I really would not like to see BD littered with abandoned accounts that were still on paper as strong as they were when their owning player was actively administering them. Yes I know it IS weird to be talking about that at the games opening but if you don’t have the procedure ready from the start then its has to be done on the fly and that in my experience is always worse…

If new players come to the game as we all hope they will, the last thing I want them to see is the shell of large empires that are gone or nearly gone; which in other games I have seen was off putting, as it made the new guys jump from the current Galaxy to the “new server” and then the process repeats ad nausiam with server/world/galaxy merges being the “Norm” to clear out the dead wood that in my view could have composted down more organically within the games declared framework. See Operation New Earth for details of that ghastly “solution”.

In my view an ever present application of Entropy ,be it via occasional random events, or actions that a rival player could ferment (A player sponsoring some kind of Rebellion on a rival world would be an interesting option maybe? The game play page does mention “Proxy Battles” so I wondered what that might mean) just seems to me, a logical and predictable way of doing it without the need to reset or merge ageing Galaxies.

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#31

Yeh, I love the idea of having these ruins of old and long dead civlisations scattered about the galaxy. The ruins of inactive players.

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#32

Exactly my point. If a new guy could be fairly sure it WAS a ruin they’d feel “Safe” picking on it. Of course there would always be the risk the player would come back and then the fur would fly!

But with the possible exception of their home-worlds: via active player depredations or by some kinda Entropic balance these abandoned empires would fade away keeping the Galaxy full of viable worlds for New players to claim.

Anyhoo 'nuff said I think I shut up now! :smiley:

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#33

I totally agree with that, when creating massive ships and structures the requirements should be massive and require some planning, of course with automation of some of the transportation this is easily achieved but when 10 planets deep mining are needed you can only run that shipyard level on 1 in 10 systems… Then you’re looking for more resource so further expansion, wreckage from battle…

I do feel that beta needs to hit the mark in restricting credits and deep mining, it was too easy to build ship, 1 due to too much deep mining being too generous too quickly and credits were almost not even a thought after 2 weeks… I mean Happyworld even wrapped the long int… There must be a place they are aiming for… something like a planet can only support x number of y type of ships, maintenance costs are part of that and form a harder kind of cap, rather than a softer cap by introducing the building that limits fleet numbers.

as an aside, if credits were limited then trade becomes more valuable and important. those rare items that can be made and found by a unique native race or player race could command high value if they are rare enough… player roles would be created, a ship builder player could build ships and sell to the market for credits. A syntis farmer might sell resource for credits and buy PR ships from a nearby player…

In the end game you’re at capacity regarding the number of planets you can mentally/timewise handle (friction), you’re looking to refine your empire not expand it… building the newest content hulls and replacing parts of your fleet, ship by ship… Something I’d like to see is new content that introduces new versions of old hulls… an old red radiance hull that has been re-engineered that uses more and different resources… even new resource types like a luxury element that cant be mined only found… in some asteroid field or some new content type… or a new race… the 13th race and they can mine small amounts… needing trade routes. or a base native race that learns how to make something… so only players with that native race can make it… (kick yourself for wiping those native races now eh)… There are many possibilities… endless maybe…

For me deep resource and credits are currently too high, regardless of other balances this must change… Forcing players to become more creative

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#34

Ive mentioned several times that i enjoy the freedom to choose my own paths in games. the more options i had, the more i enjoyed it. I really hate to bring up starcraft, but i think this game serves many relevant examples.

In starcraft the most basic troop in the game is the marine. he shoots his gun. doesnt do too much thats special but he is a ranged unit which neither zerg nor protoss have as their basic units. later in the game, the marine gets an upgrade that many players dont really utilize. The stim pack allows the marine to shoot down the reaver’s scarabs (the equivalent of shooting down an incoming missile) and spider mines before they can hurt anything which is to say they have impressive reaction times which allows them to do things other troops simply can’t do. While the marine is relatively weak and small throughout the game, it still has a useful role, so you wouldn’t want to mass produce them, but having a handful handy isnt a terrible idea. you might ask, so who cares? well, its not always easy to design something new that is counter-able by something already in the game but this makes balance easier to achieve. each starcraft faction is radically different than the others, but each have their own unique and multiple ways to deal with any problem.

I feel like going about a rework the way we are, bigger will nearly always be better. I have seen several times mentions of DPS, dodge, and miss rates but these things dont add to a well built complex game. I would rather see a game where synth (as they rely less on their eyes) have a better ability to detect cloaked ships but never attain the ability to cloak themselves. they would be brutes in a straight fight but rather easy to trick up by hiding a fleet in an asteroid belt or anything else slightly outside the box. i envision the humans who appear to be at the center of all spectrums to have some ability to do what all the other races can, but not as skillfully. i imagine the ripchee to have better stealth and speed (being feline qualities) as well as stealth detection, but not the most deadly in a straight fight. these qualities would make each race extremely unequal, but fair. It would also serve a balancing role if smaller ships were more difficult to detect and had better turning rates.

As for the resource issues, If korvani’s concepts about different ways to assault planets were added, we could also use an alternate method of upgrades. each building could be custom upgraded to have certain resistances vs orbital bombardment or cyber attacks as well as being able to mine/build faster, or resist being temporarily knocked out. Each assault type would naturally have its own success chance, but upgrading the building in certain ways would make a building on that planet more resistant vs that type of assault, but each upgrade will cause all further upgrades to cost more, this can be called build creep or resource creep. if every upgrade costs 10% more resources than the upgrade before it, and each upgrade only increases the resistance by 5%, then the 85 to 90% upgrade would cost 489 beron and 3058 credits per berom mine which doesnt include making it a deep mine. maybe that upgrade would be 10% for every 1 resource mined per hour.
Build Creep

having each building being able to be upgraded individually would probably not only be hell to code but also difficult to develop a system that a player could understand, so instead a player would upgrade every structure of that type to be identical per planet. possibly each planet could have a different order per structure they could edit to change how each would advance?

Sry if this seems a bit dated, I wrote it when there were only 22 posts in this thread and just now finished it up.

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#35

On the concept of friction, I like to play these games to fight, if friction or the random events arent easy to deal with, I forsee them becoming a real impediment considering this game is being designed for me not to have to be around a lot. I intentionally did not add a reset command when I posted my idea about waypoints and orders because otherwise I could literally log out for a year and come back with a chance my civilation might still be standing. Without full automation, feets will slowly stop flying. I am perfectly OK with a slowly increase cost to maintain ships. Maintenance cost goes up by 1% per ship we have in service?

As far as players who are being held onto for the visuals, if their leaderboard standing deteriorated by an increasing % per day they are inactive after the first week or so, players would get quickly dropped.

I would also like to propose an idea to pirates that I think could solve a handful of issues. If pirates actually commited piracy, the game might be more interesting. Pirate fleet goes out and kills your transport fleet, that fleet not only gets the hull (replace storages with makeshift weapons and armour?) But also uses the resources for upgrades. Maybe the pirate fleets start combining after t2/3 and start hunting down your military fleets?

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#36

Pirates could do with an overhaul. Pirates should steal resources and capture ships but not really destroy them. Players get a time window to intercept and get them back otherwise like your brilliant idea, the pirates upgrade ships or add new ship bought from black market.

If that upgraded fleet is took strong would target stronger player.

When you fight a pirate if game thinks its a fair fight then you battle. If the game is sure you will without loss then game gives you other options. Like doing a deal with pirates to harass another named player. You would configure what you would like for the surrendered option in advance

Pirates could be given clans. Kill a clan too much and they come after you bigger and badder. Each pirate clan could be unique. Pirates are easy when you know how… But if some clans use ordnance weapons and you failed to scan them then you might get a bit upset.

I would prefer a dynamic and varied game. Laziness should not benefit as much as a diligent player. No select pirate and wait for res… There should be surprises if you fail to scan and analyse

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#37

This, should be the games “Mission statement” Well said.

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#38

We need NPC’s to fight, it’s a training mechanism as well as fun in the beginning of play.

We also need NPC’s around asteroid fields to prevent them from becoming just another “system” to get res from by perma mining facilities. If not “pirates” then something else.

I’d like to see them more free running, willing to attack any attack fleet with an close ability to fight back, than they are now where they focus on lower level ships with a weapon. They rarely attack a real fleeet and the way they are now, not capable of taking anything out if it is T3 (unless a single ship).

I disagree with using pirates to deal with other players, alliances should do that.

Also the strength of the pirates should vary more, we should need to analyze their ships and they shouldn’t be as predictable as they are now.

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#39

I believe early pirates should be a little easier and predictable. No one wants to be harassed out of the game by the computer and the t1 pirate ship is about as strong as a t1 human scout which is the only thing the humans start off with. Beyond that, i think t2 pirates are about par since the players are still learning to play, but beyond that, yes I think the pirates could use an upgrade of some kind.

Also, I vaguely remember in another game, you could actually produce pirate ships and well, commit piracy. It wouldnt take a genious to figure out that your neighbor was the one attacking you since the pirates would pretty much have a much stronger spawn rate on one side of your territory, would match your race, and wouldn’t act like a computer. Also, the pirate’s ability to ignore mines should be removed.

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#40

I would agree on your first point. Early players shouldn’t have to deal with pirates until they’ve finished their first destroyer tech on the tech tree. Then they should be slightly under par with the destroyers that player can build, but gradually increase in strength to where they are on par with the player by the time they reach the completion of their T3 tech.

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