Guard Fleet Review: Its a hot mess

This is a hot mess!

  • Obvious problem: 3LY radius is not enough

Why?

Game Mechanics: Fleets on Guard mode will rally in a planets orbit and then move from there to intercept any fleets moving at warp speed, yet the in system speed is so slow compared to the warp speed that the guard fleet adjust the heading so often that they actually never reach the edge of the system and therefor never start flying at warp.

  • Fleets on Guard Mode will chase till THEY fly passed the guarded area ignoring the position of the intruding fleet, therefor they will chase fleets that are long gone.

  • Fleets on Guard Mode are not being attacked by other Fleets on Guard mode!

  • The Guard Fleet Control building can spawn true Guard Fleets randomly!

Also: Not sure i like the fact that guarded areas are visible to all other players.

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I think we can state this as a fact by now as everyone seems to be saying the same thing. Unless the AI fleets have a significant speed buff then the radius is too small. Even if you increase the radius then everything except a warp boosted corvette fleet will be ran around in circles by a human invader with a warp boosted corvette fleet.

This is something that has bothered me long before this guard feature. Why does it take so long to go from system - warp, is this a balance thing? If not then please increase system speed, at least 50% I would say. Either by increasing the actual speed or by reducing the huge distance you have to fly before going to warp, or both.

I think it is good for several reasons. One is that it will be the first step for you to establish a visible border and, related to that, second that you can actually see where people are. Biggest issue I see with player interaction is that you don’t know where people are and you cant meaningfully interact with people who you know are “out there” but no idea how big their space is. You have to send scouts and do the horrible click on each planet in a system, which everyone hates.

You know this bug has actually shown me how much better generated guards are than your own fleets. They travel at warp 9, does not seem to run out of fuel, don’t cost anything if they get farmed and get respawned if they die.

Now if instead of the game setting these fleets up, how much better and useful would not this guard feature be if, when you click on the shield icon, the game uses that target fleet as a template to generate X nr of AI fleets which cost nothing and leaves no loot. Now that would be a proper deterrent if you know that your enemy has 3-10 DN fleets, moving at warp 9 and costing no resources, guarding his planets. Now that is what you could proper offline defense.

OP? I don’t think so because we are talking about AI here. A human player is infinitely more clever so it would be balanced. Besides, a powerful empire can easily muster up 20+ DN fleets to wipe out those AI fleets, it just wouldn’t be a stroll in the park as it is now when attacking an offline player. Attacking should always cost more than defense, that is a universal warfare fact. Even Sun Tzu mentioned that in his Art of War which was written thousands of years ago.

But I think that is all wishful thinking on my part as the devs seem to be much more conservative in their approach. So we need to keep in mind that this is the first iteration of this major feature and hopefully it will be improved. I am concerned though that the devs don’t seem to realise that AI vs Human is a huge lopsided affair in favor of the human so you can’t have a system where the fleets are equal. The AI controlled fleets need buffs.

If in system speeds were adjusted to be faster you would have little time to react before someone moved through your system. There is a balance to be maintained.

Automatically generated free fleets remove battles of attrition, or more accurately in our case, wars of attrition.

I do not agree that any fleets should be free, and I struggle with the idea that fleets should be generated like this: (farsuA + credit * B + zyril * C + Limbalt D)/E = time to generate fleet because while you can still have a battle of attrition, fleets are produced out of literally nothing, not even a SY. If these fleets had a credit/upkeep cost, meaning they are mercs, then I can certainly find the situation more agreeable.

They just gave the defender free fleets… Idk how thats conservative, and a freely generated fleet certainly does not need any buffs. In fact, if I had any idea the structure would have gifted free defensive fleets, I would not have been so quick to say that 100k pop was too much. How long does it take 100k pop to generate the resources and credits to produce a fleet, forget the shipyard…

I agree it does and for online gaming it would be OP. I was strictly talking from an offline gaming point of view where the AI will most likely lead your fleets into an disadvantaged battle where you lose more than you will gain. Hence why generated fleets would be much more suitable as they could neither give nor lose any resources and would fill the role of offline defense nicely.

However the devs seem to not make a distinction between offline and online gaming, when it comes to guardian fleets, and hence why I said it was wishful thinking on my part to have them generated.

I like the idea of paid merc fleets though, that would certainly add a new twist to the current rather lackluster implementation.

This is most likely a bug as there is no mention of them and they only spawn sporadically. I only got them in one of four fleet buildings I built.

For the current implementation even 32k is too much. You are basically paying to have the AI control your fleets, without any buffs, which means any fleet you put in guard mode are throw away fleets and you would be stupid to give AI control of an expensive Dread fleet full of BS/Cruisers. That is why it should be next to free because you are paying to give your fleets to a mentally challenged AI which is a huge gamble as no clever player is ever going to get caught by a warp 3 AI controlled fleet unless they want to and you are basically giving free intel by allowing your best fleets to be guardian fleets. I would be overjoyed if I found someone using 18/18 fleets as guards as I could farm them for easy warfare points and resources.

The only good use the current implementation, I can think of, is for corvette fleets to potentially catch some scout trespassers while you are offline and 32k population is imo not worth that. Possibly the minefield protection could be worth it but even then people can just lay minefields anywhere in-between your cargo routes so not that great either.

All in all, imo, the first iteration of guard fleets is a dissapointment. Expensive, short range, no buffs all kind of makes it sort of meh.

What do you mean? It cuts both ways. If someone wants to invade/attack my system and it takes shorter time for them to reach my planets, due to faster system speed, it will take equally shorter time for my fleets in nearby systems to come to its defense.

In what scenario would a shorter time to reach planet, inside systems, be disadvantageous for the defender only?

You have to find and deploy fleets to counter. Have fun trying to determine what is incoming, find or setup counter fleets and then intercept them. Large amounts of fleets in a system would be a pain to keep track of during large scale battles as well.

You took that statement out of context. That statement was with the specific assumption that the automatic guard fleets are intended.

All this means to anyone is that we know theres a bug, not which case is the bug, though regardless, I imagine the devs took at least a short moment to question which “bug” to fix lol.

The fact that fleets more often did not spawn than did, could be because the bug is quite pronounced. The devs have somewhat frequently left out some detail of their additions although, to your point, this would be a big detail to leave out.

Having to commit more fleets offensively means more fleets to get stuck in an interdiction field. This situation magnifies all defensive possibilities, which also magnifies offensive strategies since it will free up defensive fleets for attack.

In Vega conflict, in order to enter a planet’s orbit, (commonly referred to as in/on planet: IE get on planet) you would need to get near it, and then warp into the planet. During this short 4ish second phase, your fleet was somewhat vulnerable as anyone who targeted your fleet could engage with 0 chance the attacker had to react. The 4ish seconds is basically irrelevant except that in VC, there was a delay to enter and leave the planet creating a tactical situation all its own, for example, you had to be 4 seconds ahead of your enemy in order to flee into orbit safely, or if your opponent was just flying past, you would have to make up at least 4 seconds (assuming he responded right away) to catch him. The time to leave the solar is more or less the same, albeit quite different.

Besides that, if fleets zipped through the solar as fast as they do the galactic map, you wouldnt see which planets they arrived at as they would have moved too quickly.

Doubt a couple of minutes is going to help either way in that case. Atleast on Awaken server, no idea how that works on Main.

It seems fixed as my phantom fleets are gone :cry:

There is no interdiction fields in the game and hopefully will not ever be. Time sinks is an ineffective way to deal with offline defense as you cannot control how long you are offline, assuming you have a job and RL to attend to. So all interdiction fields will do is to make online combat more frustrating by adding even more timesinks.

I dont think anyone is suggesting to increase the system speed to such level that you cannot see where the fleets are so this is a non-argument. All I am asking for is for the system speed to be adjusted so it is a bit faster to travel inside of systems that it is between of systems which is most often not the case when travelling from system to system (again only talking about Awaken server) or, in this case which sparked the whole conversation, for guard fleets to intercept its target.

Simple fix: Guard fleets ignore stars gravity well and propelled to instant warp. That would also explain the huge infrastructure cost.

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My response was bracketed to respond to all forms of “faster” since you neglected to give any kind of definition, and being that it only takes 2 minutes (presumably 12 to 30s or less on ATD) to reach a planet, it can still be pretty easy to miss by a distracted player.

As most of the time @Lady_Aura, your suggestions are excellent! :ok_hand:

And you steered a discussion being steered into all kinds of weird directions back to the point. Guard fleets and the problem they have intercepting fleets.

Thank you. :blush:

I had this idea about fleet controller stations:

Guard fleets would have special modifications to their warp engines, that allows them to enter warp inside gravity wells. But, ship computers don’t have enough processing power to safely operate these modified engines, so they rely on planet based infrastructure.

And, lets say technology is only advanced enough to maintain undelayed communication within 3ly, so ships with modified engines cannot go any further, because their warp engines would destroy the ships.

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Could also reason that an array of devices littered across multiple planet surfaces or orbits could project gravity wells together to nullify the warp interference specific to your guard fleets.

If instead it’s the engine itself to overcome interference, what’s to stop enemies from using that same tech for their engines after seizing one shipyard in-system?

Requiring a system majority to apply this tech allows an explanation for limiting the number of guard fleets and helps stall system-wide invasion.

just make it so the guard fleets dont rally in a planet orbit but rather stay in interstellar space, problem solved, not much coding involved…

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I assume that in the future the guardian fleets is going to auto-refuel and re-arm. Not possible if they are floating in space. Then there is the question of exposing your guardian fleets so the enemy knows exactly what, and how many, guards there is which makes it easier for them to farm them and/or plan an attack.

@Lady_Aura suggestion is better and it should not require much coding for guard fleets to go instantly to warp instead of going the huge distance they have to now. Something which I see as a design flaw for all ships but that is another discussion.

Seeing as guard areas are visable might as well have space station outposts the fleets launch from. Could have 4 equally spaced around a system that need to be taken down before being able to enter the inner planets. The guard stations could even be part of a system wide energy shield.

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