Autocannons vs. armored satellites and battlestations

General discussion for the game Anacreon
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Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:06 am

Are autocannons better than their more advanced variants because their shots can't be blocked? For example, Eldritches will easily destroy armored satellites and battlestations while taking no casualties because of their missile defense, whereas autocannons can at least hit them back. Although, missile-based satellites are better for taking down gunships. Right now, I'm only building autocannons and plasma towers, as I think missiles are relatively underpowered in general.

Yes, I'm still playing Anacreon even though UED was abdicated. On the alpha server where there's lots more space the Imperium of Man is quickly expanding. I want to see if its possible to take every single world on the server.

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Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:20 am

It's definitely a counterintuitive upgrade since autocannon satellites are described as being intended for use against transports while armored satellites seem aimed at gunships. Likewise autocannon satellites require more trillum than hexacarbide while armored constellations are the opposite. Missiles definitely have issues right now but hypersonic missiles have utility when they are used in conjunction with other defenses.

The big issue as I see it is that players are able to assemble and retain these really gigantic jumpship fleets which effectively have total immunity to missiles; smaller jumpship fleets of <100,000 or still have some vulnerability against planets with mature defenses. If jumpships had faster attrition, players would have more incentive to aggressively go after jumpyards, jumpship autofacs, and other infrastructure targets using gunships, since once a player's resupply of jumpships got cut off their gigantic invincible jumpfleet would quickly lose effectiveness from attrition. As it stands right now a big jumpfleet remains dangerous for a long time before it has to be reinforced.

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:21 pm

With the way things currently are, planetary defenses aren't worth it for a whole bunch of reasons. Apart from the fact that any empire that can deploy a decent sized fleet will just blow right through them as Watch TV has already explained, they are also costing production that could be put into either starships, jumpships or ground units (which can be used to both effectively defend worlds AND attack stuff.

If you have all the worlds in a 40 world cluster set to spend 15% total production on planetary defenses that's the equivalent of 6 worlds worth of production. You could just not make those defenses and have some starshipyards+autofacs instead. That way you get an arguably better defense and also have a strong (if slow) offensive fleet. The only downside is having to deploy starships , lots of micromanagement.

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:31 am

The only reason I still build defenses is to dissuade newbs from trying to take less important worlds, since they usually can't muster enough forces to take out hypersonics and plasma towers without chronimium. Beyond that, eldritch and gorgos all the way.
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:24 am

Yep, what's funny is that a single Gorgos can park in orbit and wipe out the defenses of the most secure world in the galaxy. Unless that said world also has Gorgos.

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:57 pm

Since most disruptive first strikes use jumpships, it might be worthwhile to build really gigantic numbers of low-tech defenses like Autocannons and HEL cannons. Two autocannons will kill an eldritch for 1/3d the industry and a fraction of resources needed to build a plasma tower. They will take a lot of losses in an attack but might actually inflict more against the jumpfleet, which is important for breaking a jumpfleet blitz's momentum. I will set up two identical worlds with one only building autocannons and the other only building plasma and we can test which is more effective.

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:01 pm

Let me know when they're ready and I'll be happy to supply the jumpfleet. I can offer Eldritchs and Hellions of course but I also have about 250,000 Stingers knocking about if you want to test against lowtech as well.

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Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:16 am

Thanks, I appreciate that. It may take a while but depending on the outcome of the first tests we might want to repeat with a 50/50 mix of jumpships and jumpcruisers to see if that changes the outcomes. I have plenty of undines and can build adamants too if someone wants to set up two planets of their own in the same way. The crucial thing is to start with no existing defenses, start building the defenses at the same time, and make sure that approximately the same amount of labor (in units, the little number on the structures tab, and not % of labor pool) is going to the parallel defense structures.

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Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:38 pm

*Incoming Combat Test Data*

I decided to go with a weak attack for he first test, so it will be easier if you want to do a second set of overwhelming attacks.

Battle 1

Experiment World 1 (4,700 Plasma Towers, 30 GMD silos, Space Forces 15,283.7) vs RoR Test Attack Fleet (14975 Eldritch Jumships, Space Forces 8,235.2)

Eldritchs win with 3977 remaining (approx. 74% casualties). The towers put up a good fight against the forces they technically outpowered but fact that the Eldritchs clump as a fleet meant that it was always their max firepower vs a low % of the towers. This clumping advantage only works with these small scale fleets that don't take up a whole orbital ring.


Battle 2

Experiment World 2 (32,000 Autocannon Satellites, 40 HEL Cannons, 70 GMD Silos, Space Forces 7,708.3) vs RoR Test Attack Fleet (14957 Eldritch Jumships, Space Forces 8,225.3)

Edlritchs win again, 7175 remaining (52% casualties). Oh well, guess it was an overwhelming attack after all. I get the feeling that both of those would have shredded a similar or greater group of Stingers thanks to the range advantage. With the equal 10/10 range of Eldritchs/Plasma Towers/ Autocannons Satellites the defenses will always have a disadvantage being spread over the whole planet.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:22 am

Huh. Of course, the plasma towers probably require a lot more "back end" labor to build (chronimium needs labor and trillum and all) but seems like they were more effective in this single small-scale test. I'll build defenses back up to a much higher level and we can repeat the test.

I feel like the inflicted casualty rates might have been reversed in favor of the autocannons against Adamants or Undines since the stronger attack of the jumpcruisers would take out the towers faster but should only be able to take out the autocannons at the same rate as the Eldritches. Dunno whether they would have been more cost-effective in either case.

In both cases, discounting resource costs, the cost of the attacker's casualties was greater than the labor cost of the destroyed defenders (2:1 for Eldritches, 3:2 for autocannons). Since the labor cost of an Eldritch is at minimum 50% higher than the stated amount when resource costs are factored in whereas defenses have quite modest resource costs, the real numbers may be even better. Of course it's harder to estimate the labor that vanishes when production is split between defenses and a planet's primary function, relative attrition rates, etc. etc.

The consumer goods supply to the plasma world got interrupted at some point, otherwise there would have been slightly more towers.

The real elephant in the room is that players with multiple jumpyards can always assemble a jumpfleet that's overwhelmingly stronger than any buildable defenses of comparable maturity and overwhelming fleets tend to take very few casualties.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:36 am

[quote-"Watch TV, Do Nothing"]The real elephant in the room is that players with multiple jumpyards can always assemble a jumpfleet that's overwhelmingly stronger than any buildable defenses of comparable maturity and overwhelming fleets tend to take very few casualties.[/quote]
One of the things that could be considered a balance issue, hehe. Every player with a decent eldritch jumpyard(s) could effectively kill any other player in one night with a few days-worth of ships if they had the time and were deceived into thinking that they could withstand all the resulting opportunist eldritch attacks afterwards. I tried on Alpha: three day's production of eldritches destroyed the strongest empire in the galaxy with less than 5% total casualties in around twenty minutes, even after breaking into five smaller fleets. (the jumpyard was at a sucky 89% efficiency at the end of three days)

As I said before, the conqueror's bread and butter are gorgos' and eldritch. So dang OP.
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Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:33 am

I don't think games are intended to last as long as this one has, so keep that in mind, too. Fleets of the sizes we're seeing would never appear if there was a new game started every month rather than dragging on for an entire year like this one has.

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Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:36 pm

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:I don't think games are intended to last as long as this one has, so keep that in mind, too. Fleets of the sizes we're seeing would never appear if there was a new game started every month rather than dragging on for an entire year like this one has.
I'm not sure what to think about that. Part of me agrees, but on the other hand I love the idea of a giant persistent galaxy with hundreds of "years" of player created history. As a current example of what I mean, Bismalia has finally abdicated, allowing the survivors of the failed state the Terran Dominion (Imperator) to try and resurrect the lofty name of the Imperium of Man. Only, unlike all the other vagabond upstarts that have sought to achieve this feat since the close of GalWar1, this new revival has the remnants of Bismalia's Starship Fleet, which though wracked by attrition in the decades since the war still outguns most mid sized empires. There are interesting times to come in the Utter North West.

As I've been writing this and doing the Helion vs Undine test it occurred to me that with all the discussion of the problems of large buildups of military power what we are basically talking about is one of the biggest problems that small empires have establishing themselves, i.e. unless they are lucky they just can't beat the bigger empires hogging all the territory. Then it got me thinking about how important diplomacy has been in shaping the current galaxy. Many of the mid and large powers that are present today got a start because a big established empire helped them out and GalWar1 was a glorious clusterfuck of treachery, misinformation and unbreakable (and not so unbreakable) alliance loyalty. While raw numbers are a huge part of any game (and this game in particular) the players behind those numbers are just as important.

I checked the (otherwise excellent and amazingly comprehensive) Gameplay Guide for a diplomacy section but there is none. Since it seems that diplomacy, intelligence and knowing how to work out the political state of the galaxy is really important to actually getting an empire going in a crowded map (not to mention fun when you actually know what to do), I suggest some sort of addition to the Guide. Even some basic stuff like "explore the whole map and send messages to other empires when you find their capitals. Talk with them and ask them things, make deals and stuff" would help. I see too many failed empire abdicate because they either attacked everybody in sight in order to expand and got crushed or just thought "@#$! it, I can't do anything" when in reality if they just asked plenty of people would help them get started.

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Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:27 pm

Would you be willing to contribute a diplomacy section to the guide?

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Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:56 pm

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:Would you be willing to contribute a diplomacy section to the guide?
I'd be happy to! I'll pm you a draft sometime over the next few days.

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