How can jumpships be made fair?

General discussion for the game Anacreon
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Fri May 08, 2015 6:18 pm

Jumpships are so good that they pretty much render every other strategic consideration moot.

The original Anacreon had:
  • Disruptors, constructed space stations which reduced hostile jumpfleets' speed inside their radius to starship speeds
  • Self-replicating mines that damaged jumpfleets trying to move through their zone of space. These could only be destroyed by starships (there were no gunships in old Anacreon)
  • Initiative balancing combined with a turn-based paradigm, where the attacked player could always see and respond to jumpfleets (maybe not very effectively unless they had other forces positioned properly, but still: see and respond) before being attacked.
  • Range limitations imposed by fuel demands- in jumpfleets consumed trillum and had to carry it with them in transports if they wanted to travel long distances.
None of these are present in the current Anacreon. As the most recent war demonstrated, something should probably be done to tone down jumpships so that big empires can't be destroyed overnight.

One possibility would be to reimplement fuel consumption, but only for movement outside of a player's territory.

Another would be to make attrition proportional to fleet size, so that big jumpfleets can't stay together very long.

A third possibility would be to impose some sort of cooldown on jumpship movement- say, a certain period after a jump or an attack in in which jumpfleets couldn't be given new orders, or something similar after a certain number of distinct actions within a period of time (like four actions- movements or attacks- and then a mandatory 24-hour cooldown).

Planetary defenses that are more effective against jumpships and some Capacity to automate the reinforcement of planets with starships would help.

Fixing the trade hub bugs and having resources get stockpiled on consuming planets rather than the producing ones would keep empires from immediately collapsing within minutes of jumpship strikes on trillum extractors, etc.

Making gunships cheaper and lowering their attrition would help. They're intended to be anti-jumpship units, right? Their attrition is too high for them to be viable garrison units right now, but they aren't sufficiently better than jumpships for them to see offensive use in preference to jumpships.

Toning down missile defense or changing the missile/cannon/protection dynamic somehow is really needed. Right now missiles are just not effective enough.

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Fri May 08, 2015 6:53 pm

These are all great suggestions, and I totally agree that jumpships are overpowered.

I think the main issue is the vulnerability of an empire. An empire should be able to survive a jumpship attack long enough to reposition starships. A couple of ideas:

1. Revolution should take external attacks into account. If an empire is attacked, worlds should be less likely to rebel, even if they lack resources. Perhaps they can even, temporarily, increase their production. Rebellion should be a factor only if the war drags on.

2. Conquering back a planet taken by force should be a huge boost to social order of the rest of the empire.

3. In general, jumpships should be able to take territory quickly, but they should find it hard to hold on. It should be easy to take back one of your planets conquered by just jumpships [though I'm not 100% sure how.]

4. Perhaps jumptransports should have certain limitations on the kinds of troops they can carry. E.g., perhaps they cannot carry exotroops.

That said, all the other ideas are still valid. For instance, I think we need to introduce disruptors, mine fields, and other anti-jumpship defenses. Perhaps citadels need to be stronger also.

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Fri May 08, 2015 8:07 pm

While speed is an issue, I think the broader issue of defense is the reason that they are OP (and am very exited by the talk of defensive megastructures being added to newAnacreon :D. Don't forget Gates! Never forget Gates!). Not just the raw stats and numbers of defense but how empires can organize too. This thread was prompted by the utter destruction of the ancient (200+ cycles iirc) empire of Dogeland by a sneak attack from the second and fourth most powerful members of the Barricade Pact Alliance in less than a cycle. This success wasn't because Dogeland was weak but rather because they hadn't consolidated their forces in a while. Watch TV and catfighter were able to roll up all the small pockets of space and ground forces and when they took unreinforced sector capitals many worlds with starships rebelled and joined them.

I'm pretty sure they didn't run their jumpfleets into any of Dogeland's Gorgos, because that would be silly. If Dogeland had their Gorgos and other starships spread in sensible garrison forces, a few thousand on resource worlds, 10k on important planets like jumpyards and academies, 50-100k on the capitals it would have been a whole different story. The Pact might have been able to take a lot of lesser worlds but even then the casualty rate would have been much higher. I understand the lack of reinforcement though, it takes me over 1000 individual actions to fully reinforce my empire with Gorgos and it's organized to the point of OCDness. I can only bring myself to do it about once a week.

It's been asked for before, but the ability to import ships/troops to a world to a settable level would be an enormous improvement. That whole 1000+ action reinforcement thing(which I should really do every day to stay at max defense potential) would be reduced to just a few trade route designations.

Oh, and Gates would make attacking with starships a more valid option while also encouraging more limited wars (you can only gate starships to places you have in gate range). Not to mention the possibilities of galaxy spanning gates networks being taken over by aggressive upstart outer rim barbarian empires. Come on, we all want that to happen at some point. Maybe a way to balance megaconstructions in general would be to have them consume resources in order to function or go dormant (then new empires could potential "awaken" "ancient artifacts" long abandoned by their builders.
george moromisato wrote: 4. Perhaps jumptransports should have certain limitations on the kinds of troops they can carry. E.g., perhaps they cannot carry exotroops.
I strongly dislike this idea. Why wouldn't they be able to carry them? Although I like that this implies that normal transports would be added (and they totally should be!) I just don't think that jumptransports carrying exotroops is a problem. Exos are already very difficult to make, taking up by far the most worlds to produce out of all units. And if this was changed, most people would just switch out their exo production to Law&Order caps, maybe a bit to extra transports. And then what? No imperial guard on jumptransports? No troops at all?

A small change that would make a decent but not OP improvement to citadels would be to remove the light jumpdrive requirement to make jumpmissiles. I know, I know, where is the jumpdrive for the jumpmissiles coming from then? But hear me out! If it was set up like this it would be a little easier to build citadels at your borders (i.e. just out of range of your trade hubs) as supplying them with basic resources is easier when you don't have to worry about the logistical problem of messing with your normal jumpship production chain to get a surplus of light jumpdrives that you then move to the border-citadel. Individual supply chains for light jumpdrives is inefficient and, in the case of border-citadels, adds additional weak points making them a generally undesirable defense option currently. Couldn't hurt to lower their attrition rate a bit too. A barren/greenhouse citadel could have max 100,000 instead of 60,000ish. This would also make it easier to establish citadels in enemy territory, a lesser form of aggression. Right now it's all out total war or nothing.

Anyway, the election results are in and my countrymen decided to vote for another 1000 years of darkness, so I need to go play some Toribash and drown my sorrows with cider and the blood of noobs.

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Fri May 08, 2015 9:28 pm

One possibility that immediately suggests itself is to add gunship- or starship-speed transports and make jumptransports be like 10x more expensive to build than jumpships (either through higher labor costs or by having them consume multiple heavy/advanced jumpdrives for each unit).

I like the idea of entire planets defecting, but maybe it should only happen for planets which are already inside the zone of control of one of the attecker's capitals, or should happen over time rather than all at once, or only trigger 36 hours later once the new administration structure is completed. Yards could still have a chance to defect under any of these models, but it would allow some leeway for the other player to respond before it happens. For the attacked player, sending units into the former zone of control could decrease (but not eliminate) secession risk for all affected worlds ("the Empire is coming to save us!"), and removing units to regroup or reduce the chance that they'll be lost could increase the secession risk ("the Empire is abandoning us!").


I agree that citadels could be more self-sufficient, but rather than removing the need for light jumpdrives, they should instead be able to autobuild a jumpship autofac as a non-primary structure. This would let them build jumpmissiles on their own, but be more efficient at it if externally supplied in keeping with broader themes in the game. Making "citadel" an available designation for planets even outside the zone of control of sector capitals could create all sorts of silly drama with people building citadels in other player's territories and I'm aways in favor of that sort of thing.

A few days ago, I suggested in a ministry post that citadels also be able to build some sort of low-cost, unusually strong non-transportable infantry unit (giant death robots?) using the light missile launcher component. This would also give much-maligned basic infantry a new role as citadel-busters since they have some degree of missile protection.

I agree with RoR about shipping troops and maybe even ships around, although there might need to be some sort of trade-off involved.



I would have been totally comfortable committing my jumpfleets against Gorgos but there was no point in the war that I ever needed to. Dogeland's real weakness was having a lot of superfluous undefended sector capitals. I hit one fortified sector capital with gunships and took a couple undefended capitals with small jumpfleets, and between them enough shipyards and ramjet yards defected that I was able to take out three two more fortified capitals with defected Minotaurs and Cyclopses.


His army was much stronger than mine but it was so spread out that in each academy invasion I gained troops from garrison surrenders and had to start leaving them behind because I hadn't brought enough transports. If the academies had been shipping their troops elsewhere this couldn't have happened. It would totally still have been doable with only armored infantry, since transports are available in basically unlimited numbers from Mesophon anyway.

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Fri May 08, 2015 11:11 pm

Wayward Device wrote:It's been asked for before, but the ability to import ships/troops to a world to a settable level would be an enormous improvement. That whole 1000+ action reinforcement thing(which I should really do every day to stay at max defense potential) would be reduced to just a few trade route designations.
Yeah, I agree. This is all in the vein of making empires more robust (without micromanagement). We need features to both automatically move ground forces around (to friendly worlds) and commands to rally space forces to a particular point.

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Sun May 10, 2015 2:06 am

Didn't jumpships run out of fuel in the old game? Maybe fuel constraints can solve some of these problems. Wouldn't jumping use a lot of fuel and/ or make them refuel every 3 to 5 jumps according to their range ex ; 50 light yr can travel only 150 light yrs then must refuel or wait for fuel from a transport and/ or fuel transports in the fleet need one or two cycles to refuel all the ships.
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Sun May 10, 2015 4:21 am

All the speculation seems to be geared toward slowing the jumpships down so far that nobody will use them anymore except to reconquer planets within their borders. I think they should require fuel, but stopping at any of your own planets or conquering an enemy planet with trillum will instantly refuel them to at least make them usable in a war. Cooldown is nice and all, but I think an entire cycle will slow down wars far too much and only allow people to conquer two or three planets per day. I guess as long as we get gates and/or warp links to let people get their ships back again...
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Sun May 10, 2015 5:00 pm

The one-cycle cooldown as I envision it would just be for each individual fleet; this would encourage the player to split their jumpfleet to conquer more territory rather than only taking one or two planets a day. Split jumpfleet = higher casualty rate for each individual engagement.


A big problem right now is that large jumpfleets take almost no casualties if their space forces rating is >2x the opponent. With cooldowns, the choice would be between rapid expansion that exhausts your jumpfleet until you can rebuild it, or overwhelming attacks that preserve your fleet intact but make picking high-priority targets critical.

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Sun May 10, 2015 5:23 pm

Fair enough. But how in [insert long string of cusswords] are we going to explain all of this to newbs? It makes my head hurt trying to understand this at 9 in the morning.
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