Fleet Control

One of the goals for the next version of is to improve the way you give orders to your fleet. It’s a delicate balance – the orders you give should shape the battle, but spending too much time looking at the map and giving orders detracts from the experience of flying your flagship.

The original (and as of the latest release, 0.34a, current) version of the fleet control interface was very RTS-like. At first glance, it seemed like a good idea – why reinvent the wheel, if there’s an already widely-known way to control multiple units? Unfortunately, as the combat gameplay took shape, it became more and more clear that the RTS model is a bad fit for Starfarer.

Why, you ask? There are two main reasons.

One, it set the wrong expectations for the level of control you have over your ships. RTS units are typically instantly obedient drones. Starfarer ships, on the other hand, have to be smarter than that to make interesting opponents in direct combat. The trouble is, it’s hard to make them obey orders to the degree that’s suggested by the RTS control scheme. Either they obey immediately and possibly get killed for their efforts, or they take their time and carry out orders when the tactical situation allows – and appear to be ignoring your commands in the meanwhile.

Two, it allows – and sometimes requires – too much micromanagement. You can keep track of every fighter wing and order it to go to a carrier for repairs any time it takes too much damage (they do so on their own, but sometimes an earlier, explicit order ensures a wing will survive). You can manage the composition of groups in detail – possibly getting a little more efficiency in the process. You have to manage the groups to begin with, when you deploy the fleet. To play optimally, you have to keep going to the map to evaluate the situation and give orders here and there several times a minute.

You can do well just giving a few general orders, but knowing that optimal play requires more micro than enjoyable is hardly ideal.

So what’s the solution? First, let’s rephrase the problem – in the RTS control scheme, you tell your units how to do things. Go here, shoot this, group with these other units. The units have no concept of your larger goals. Instead, why not tell your ships what to do, and let them figure out the details? If you were the commander of a fleet, that’s exactly what you’d be doing – delegating, and reserving your attention for the things that matter.

Now, let’s dive into the gory details.
The core new concept is an “assignment” – a goal you’ve set for your fleet. Some examples are:

  • Capture a specific objective
  • Rally a carrier group at a given location
  • Perform a strike (say, a bombing/torpedo run) against an enemy ship
  • Escort a specific friendly ship

There are quite a few more of these – 12, all told – and it’s easy to add more as we add to the gameplay.

You can only have a few assignments active at a time – the base limit is 3 for now, and will go up based on your Command skill. Comm Relays are more useful now, too – they let you have an extra active assignment.

So, at the start of a battle, you pick which ships to deploy  - no more battlegroups – just select the ships you want on the field. Then you create a few assignments – for example, “capture” two nearby objectives, and “assault” one in deep enemy territory. Once the assignments finish transmitting – takes about 10 seconds – your ships will decide which gets tasked with what. In our example, a few faster ships will capture nearby objectives, while the bulk of the fleet will join in the assault. As assignments are fulfilled – i.e., the objectives are captured – ships will be tasked with other active assignments – in our case, the faster ships sent off to do the capturing will join the assault when they are done.

You might be sceptical – what if the ships don’t organize themselves just the way you want? It seems inevitable. The answer here is twofold – one, that’s the breaks – you’re the commander, and sometimes your subordinates let you down, or simply do things their way. On the plus side, the way assignments are made is predictable – so after you get a feel for it, there won’t be many surprises.

The second part of the answer is what we’re calling “direct orders”. As the commander of the fleet, you can’t oversee every little detail – but you can personally handle the crucial ones. Direct orders let you:

  • Assign a specific ship to a given task
  • Order a ship to engage the enemy at will and not be given any assignments
  • Order a ship to retreat
  • Order a fighter wing to land on a carrier for repairs
  • Rescind any direct orders that were given
  • Order the use of certain important ship systems (such as a self-destruct) … just as soon as those are implemented

The number of direct orders you can give is limited per battle – starting at 5, with a bonus from the Command skill and Comm Relays – so you have to make them count. It’s not something you can use for extensive micro, but you can still tweak the details that are truly important.

I debated about adding a screenshot of the new UI in action – there are still a lot of placeholder graphics – but in the end decided to include one. I think seeing it will really drive home how the new system works.

You can see that there are assignments to capture the Nav Buoy and assault the Comm Relay – the arrows from the ships indicate which ones were give the assignments.  The lovely grey shield icons behind the objectives are meant to indicate the type of assignment, and will be replaced by some actual graphics soon.

The ISS Van Rijn is selected, and is about to be assigned a light escort. A context menu like this one shows up when you select an objective, too. You can also create “waypoints” anywhere on the map by right-clicking, and attach assignments to them – for example, if you want a fire support group set up in a particular spot, you’d use a waypoint to do it.

There are a couple of items in that screenshot that weren’t mentioned in the above.

The “Full Retreat!” button lets you order, well, a full retreat. This is necessary because ordering individual ships to retreat uses direct orders, which you probably won’t have enough of. “Standing Orders” lets you permit/forbid the use of strike and fire support weapons. In the future, it will also include the use of some ship systems – not important enough to warrant direct orders for their use, but not something you want ships to use completely at will.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 at 11:51 am and is filed under Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

33 Comments:

  1. Sounds like a good change. Should make it much easier to manage large fleets, and will allow for more direct control of your flag ship.

    Can’t wait to try it out!

    by Philip Radavn
  2. I fully agree that the original system was confusing, it drove me to the edge of madness (I was treating it like TA or C&C, and those old habits are hard to break). This new system looks more interesting, less derivative and more in keeping with the strategic nature of being in command of a flagship. Sounds great!

    by Shane H.
  3. Ramming speed! I want to self destruct after wedging my ship’s keel directly into the soft underbelly of a carrier.

    by Trylobot
  4. I’m love the idea of the changes, definetly right in line to what I felt should change. Right now hard battles are won by me simply microing all my ships into a classy ball at whatever territory I could nab quickly and hold. This feels much better, take away that ability to micro and make the AI better at doing it to give the player more fun at controlling the flagship. I like it all.

    What I would recommend for the skills/orders thing is make certain orders cost some kind of command points that refill at a rate based on those skills instead of a set number. It makes it more believable and allows players to act without fear of running out in the future while still preventing the mass of commands all the time.

    by Adam Ca
  5. Brilliant. Forcing reliance on AI is so rarely tried because it takes courage and insight to pry the player’s hands off their toys or delay their input. When I’ve seen it, though, it always improved not only the other aspects of play but the perceived quality of every enemy. I hope the design and community let you hold to this, and that it works out in the end.

    by Hypocee
  6. Place holder graphics? But it already look amazing!

    by Horrigan
  7. Glad you guys like the new approach!

    @Adam Ca: Funny about refilling orders – I’d actually tried this a while earlier, for much the same reasons you outline. It was hard to find a sweet spot for the rate. Either it was fast enough that it wasn’t enough of a limitation, or it was so slow that it might as well not be there. It was also aggravating to have to wait for “just one more order” to set a plan into motion. In addition, if you have a maximum order pool size, you’re encouraged to keep giving orders to avoid maxing it out – so that you don’t waste orders that could potentially be regenerating. If you don’t have a maximum pool size, it’s again hard to make sure the rate is low enough so that you don’t find yourself with virtually unlimited orders a few minutes in. In the end, it seemed overcomplex and artificial – not to say that it couldn’t be made to work somehow, but my attempts at it did not produce satisfactory results.

    I really like the fixed number of direct orders – it makes them valuable strategic decisions, instead of something you can do throughout the course of the battle and not have to worry about. Since the overarching goal here is to have less micro, more limited (but more important) = good. It’s also simpler, which is usually a good sign.

    @Hypocee: Thanks! Good point about “perceived quality”. I think that ties into the larger theme of putting the player into the shoes of the fleet commander, rather than an omnipotent RTS-style presense over the battlefield – and getting them to accept their underlings’, and their own, limitations. In the end, overcoming limitations is what makes for an interesting challenge, and facing a capable enemy makes success more satisfying.

    @Horrigan: Hah, thanks :) Not everything in that screenshot is a placeholder, but a bunch of the new stuff certainly is.

    by Alex
  8. On a second reading, I became confused by two apparently conflicting meanings of “assignment”. For those with the same mental error as me, the cruiser in the shot discussed is not being *given* a new individual assignment for free, but *set* as the target of a third assignment.

    At the near-certain risk of suggesting something you’ve already considered…Mana pools are indeed difficult-to-impossible to balance in a satisfying manner. However there is a middle ground if you do wind up needing to retreat for any reason from a fixed number of direct orders.

    We’re up against our old friend Ludonarrative Dissonance here. The question at hand is “Seriously though, I’m the commander of a big future space fleet, I can’t get a radio call through to one of my corvettes because I called five guys ten minutes ago?” The current answer is “No, because I say it makes a better game and you’ve asked me to make this kind of judgment.” That’s an entirely valid response and I hope it works.

    The other, more wily Dungeon Master way is “Of course you can, but you generally shouldn’t because X will happen. Your adjutant is spending time playing switchboard operator rather than passing information, your subordinates get confused and pissed off at being cut off from their soldiers, the recipient has to immediately deal with conflicting orders under pressure, your pilots learn that their orders may be countermanded at any moment…” Thus: a graduated penalty, either multilevel or a continuous multiplier. These tend to self-tune to the player and the avatar with much less design work. A bar-watching subgame is already a major USP of Starfarer, so the stuff generated/depleted by direct orders would be quite easily described in context as Fleet Flux. If it’s a down-to-failure bar it might be called chain-of-command integrity or confidence; if up-to-failure, confusion, disruption, etc. If it were me implementing it I’d have a special extra bonus lamp that turns off the instant it’s non-zero/non-max, for that lip-biting nega-ding experience. For better and worse, the sky’s the limit on what you could have it affect. Of course it could still be crap in practice and I hope it stays irrelevant.

    You may also benefit from stea…looking at some of the things Achron’s developers are doing. Panther’s wargames aside it’s the only modern game I’m aware of that’s tackling the same problems as you’ve just bitten off.

    http://www.achrongame.com/site/blog-main.php#attackbehavior
    http://www.achrongame.com/site/blog-main.php#hierarchydemo
    http://www.achrongame.com/site/blog-main.php#lgtactics
    http://www.achrongame.com/site/blog-main.php#advhierarchy

    by Hypocee
  9. Hmm, very interesting.

    Game mechanics are always an abstraction of any reality the game represents, so I don’t think a disparity between rules and reality is an issue – it’s guaranteed. If anything, a good set of abstractions is what sparks the imagination by leaving some blanks to be filled in.

    Both the current “direct orders” mechanic and the “graduated penalty” mechanic you outline are different level abstractions of the same thing – not being able to give unlimited direct orders, for various reasons. They’re both subject to similar questions from the player (“but why can’t I do thing X to impact mechanic Y?”). But then, every abstraction is.

    I think the key is to have a similar level of abstraction throughout each portion of the game. For example, adding a meter for “chain of command integrity” (really like this concept, btw – very evocative!) might lead the player to question why there is a hard limit on the number of assignments they can give, or why they can’t risk some incremental penalty to deploy extra ships beyond the fleet point limit.

    After all, chess is about a medieval battle – but noone questions why the knight can’t just try really hard and move in a straight line. They might if other pieces had dissimilarly detailed movement rules, though.

    So, I think harmony within the rules is crucial to preserving the perceived (and it is only ever perceived) harmony between the rules and the reality they represent.

    Thanks for the Achron links, btw – hadn’t checked up on it in a while, so all this stuff was new to me. Excellent point about assignment being a bit confusing here – it bothered me a bit too, but better nomenclature did not spring to mind.

    by Alex
  10. It’s been a while since I last screamed in your direction. How goes the game? Would like a look at the latest version and see if we can give it a capture.

    by Venn
  11. Heya Venn!

    It’s going well. You can check out the latest released version here. There’s another thread alongside it with changes for next version.

    Shoot me an email if you want to talk about something specific.

    by Alex
  12. Looks really nice. I look forward to trying it out in the next build.

    by Rubberduck
  13. Well I really like the idea (as I understand it) of assigning primary, secondary and tertiary objectives and then relying on the AI (with direct order tweaks) to get on with the job.

    However I have a couple of comments:

    The post by Hypocee is really interesting. I am not totally against this very hard, artificial 3 objective, 5 command limit but I’m not totally for it. What makes more sense to me is the penalty system suggested by Hypocee. It may be a cliche but – A good commander doesn’t change his mind, plans for the unexpected and doesn’t give 50 extra orders to units in the middle of combat and so on. On the other hand why not let the player be able to be a bad commander butpenalise the player by making the unit(s) more prone to retreating and/or less able to combat effectively on a sliding and probably exponential scale? As long as the player can actually visually see that a unit is confused (one way or another) a system like that should work.

    My second comment (which relies quite heavily on the penalty system) is about maverick units. These are units that go (needless to say) rogue. They might defect to the other side or stay with the player as a rogue unit. The required conditions for a unit to go rogue might be met when a commander has given them too many commands, or that a commander has fielded too many units based on the players skill base… or perhaps because the unit itself is just too good…

    In the final scenario I would call the unit a “rogue hero” unit. Once a unit has gone rogue the unit would be enhanced over a similar non-rogue veteran unit, but a bit (maybe with enhanced A.I.) ignorant of player orders so the player has to take a gamble when fielding this type of unit… maybe…. unless their “command ability” was very high… Again there would have to be visual cues that the unit was a bit of a maverick.

    I agree with your comments about chess Alex but people WOULD question why a knight can’t just try really hard and move in a straight line if it actually looked realistic, the “board” looked like a map and altogether it looked like medieval combat. As it is.. well chess (sorry chess lovers) is just a board game but your game looks a bit like a space sim and will probably make the player feel a bit like a commander :)

    Well just a thought :)

    by Tubs
  14. Hmm. This got me thinking (though possibly not in the direction you meant – such are the perils of thinking!). The result is further streamlining of the direct orders & assignments system. I will expand and clarify in an upcoming blog post :)

    As to maverick units, something of the sort is quite likely – expressed as a unit that has a chance to not follow orders and goes off on its own, based on the personality of its captain.

    by Alex
  15. Hi, this is my first post on any of the site’s boards and just want to say that I have enjoyed most of what I have seen so far. Most of my frustration has been from what you, Alex, and others have already discussed: its a bit to RTSy, making it hard to focus on your flagship and make it do what it needs to do.

    I’ll just throw in my support for what Hypocee suggested. I graduated the Air Force Academy in May 2010 and spent my four years there learning about the theory (the practice isn’t necessarily there yet) of command, and all the advice I’ve ever heard matches really well with Hypocee’s suggestions. Well, the advice I got from school and Ender’s Game. Ha!

    On a side note, since I’m sure this isn’t necessarily the correct place to post this, I have a degree in Astronautical Engineering (rocket science) and work in a planetarium on the weekends. So, while the focus of my degree is far from the beautiful sci-fi world you have created, and there may very well be more qualified people offering to help, I would be more than happy to help with any astrodynamics or astronomy issues you see crop up. (I’m sure everyone playing the alpha has read/watched enough sci-fi to have some input on what you’re doing, ha!)But, while I’m not sure how realistic you’re looking to make the dynamics of the game, especially when you add on the sandbox portion, there are a few basic laws that it would seem every space game (ok, every game) should follow, but in the past developers have shied away of them in favor of a few static polygons representing a planet or a station. I’m not saying you have to code up the two-body equation of motion and have a numerical non-linear differential equation solver running in the background, but one would have to admit that putting “real” solar systems in the game would look good, and add a nice touch of realism. I’m talking about using a star that matches actual star statistics and classifications (i.e. no green stars) and a planetary system that is believable (note: we have found a confirmed 563 planets outside our solar system, exoplanets).

    I hope I’m not overstepping my bounds, as you guys are the ones doing the actual work here, but I feel like I die a little inside when I crack open a fresh game and see that the world is a bastardized version of all that we know know in the universe. I would think that just because you have good art direction doesn’t mean you have to ignore reality.

    Regardless, I look forward to following (and playing) Starfarer as development continues. Thank you for all your work!

    by Orion
  16. Hi Orion!

    Well, as I think I mentioned, I like the concept of the integrity of the chain of command – as well I should, because the new system is an abstraction of it :)

    Picking a level of abstraction that works well with everything is the tricky part, and at the moment I’m happy with how it turned out – with the caveat that it’s already changed a bit compared to what’s outlined in this post.

    Thanks for your offer of help – I appreciate it. Hopefully, though, Wikipedia can fill the role of “technical consultant”. If it doesn’t, that’s probably a sign the design is going overboard with the realism. Not that I’m against it – I just think that to have a good game, you need to strike the right balance between realism and gameplay. Abstractions help, because then you can imagine the realism being there without having to actually deal with it as a player – which can be a drag.

    by Alex
  17. Thanks for the quick response, Alex. If you’re going to use Wikipedia then you’ll have plenty more info than it seems many people use. As I said before I look forward to following the game’s development!

    by Orion
  18. I have to say that I’m somewhat perturbed by the artificial limits to the order system. A good commander doesn’t try to micromanage, true, but at the same time, a good commander needs to be able to react quickly and effectively to an unexpected situation. When a fresh force pops up on his flank and starts to cut his force apart, he doesn’t start cursing because he’s already given out three of his five direct orders, and he can only give two more.

    Not only is that an artificial limitation on gameplay that I am HIGHLY dubious of, but it also doesn’t even make sense from an in-character perspective. I’ve always been a stickler for supporting gameplay with writing and vise versa, and I can’t even conceive of the mental gymnastics required to make such a system make sense.

    And let’s be honest. AIs always, ALWAYS screw the pooch somehow.

    by Ben
  19. Hi Ben! Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and concerns).

    As far as an in-character perspective, I think it’s actually rather simple. “There is a limit to how many detailed orders you can give over the course of a battle”.

    If you start digging down deeply into the details of a mechanic (in this case, “why can you run out of orders”), you will always find that it doesn’t match up with reality.

    Still, it’s a valid point that the situation you describe where the player is out of orders might be frustrating – we’ll just see how it plays out, and address it if it is.

    I do want to say that you’re far from helpless once out of orders (“command points”), so you still *can* deal with problems as they come up. It’s just that in the latter stages of a battle, it’s more likely to be through personal exploits and not feats of command. I think that’s actually rather realistic.

    Unless, of course, you save a number of command points for a a masterful maneuver in the end – or simply have a ton of command points due to investing into the right skills.

    So I wouldn’t say it requires a lot of mental gymnastics to have it make sense, so long as you don’t go below the level where it DOES make sense. I mean, if we’re going to do that, literally everything in every game ever made that makes any pretense of representing reality can be picked apart :)

    As for the AI making mistakes, direct orders should address that by giving you detailed control when it does.

    by Alex
  20. Have you considered having a regenerative pool rather than a strictly-decreasing one? That neatly dodges the whole ‘I haven’t given an order in five or ten minutes, why can’t I now’ issue, as well as opening things up for the future.

    A given point pool might be fine for the situations you’re designing right now, but a regenerating pool (with skills affecting regen speed instead of pool size) lets you tune things based around a pace rather than a set total. A short, sharp battle might leave you with vastly more command points than you need in a fixed pool, and a long, drawn-out battle might consistently leave you bottomed out and wanting for more.

    by Ben
  21. Yep, did. It does sound like a good idea, and it was my initial inclination to do it that way. See my first response in the comments for details.

    by Alex
  22. Ah, I /had/ missed that, thanks. On a personal level, I don’t mind it being somewhat sluggish, but a regenning pool just strikes me as far more flexible with regards to battle length and complexity. I do largely approach it from a writing perspective; as a writer that’s my first thought when I look at a gameplay system by and large.

    That’s actually one of my biggest pet peeves with many games, the lack of integration between gameplay and writing. Either the writing makes sense and the gameplay doesn’t, or the gameplay is finely-tuned, but the writing to support it just isn’t there. If you’re trying for immersion, having an empty and unrefilling command point pool for the last half of a long battle would certainly be an immersion-breaker in my case.

    by Ben
  23. I see your point. It’s important to me that the game tell a story (not a canned one, but one that unfolds naturally through game mechanics, and you imagining what’s really behind them). A side point is that, imo, higher levels of (dare I say it again?) abstraction lead to more interesting stories, as there’s more to imagine.

    As far as the fleet control mechanics “making sense” storywise, I think that’s where playstyle and character builds come in.

    If your character is a poor commander, then the latter parts of battles (especially large ones) devolving into chaos seems rather in-character – they’re simply beyond his capabilities to manage.

    On the other hand, a good commander would be very unlikely to run out of command points if they used them somewhat judiciously.

    In addition, there /are/ some ways to regain them. For example, capturing objectives gives you 1-2 points – so if the battle is a long, back-and-forth affair, you’re likely to see a good number of those.

    If you want to think of it that way, it’s regeneration based on the pace of the battle, still, just that pace is expressed in terms of events, and not time. That makes it easier to balance – for example, things like map size and average ship-vs-ship engagement lengths don’t come into the picture at all.

    by Alex
  24. That’s better from a gameplay perspective, but…okay, picture your admiral on the bridge of his command ship, saying the following words.

    “We have to capture that objective so I can turn on my ship’s radio and issue an order!”

    It hurts your mind, doesn’t it?

    That’s my part of my goal as a writer, to reduce the number of times the reader (or player, in this case) is forced to roll their eyes to the minimum possible level.

    by Ben
  25. But why would I *want* to picture that? It *does* hurt! :)

    I’d choose to picture “we’ve captured an objective, and our forces have regrouped and are awaiting further orders”.

    Besides, the only case you’d actually get more points out of a capture than you put into ordering it would be for a Comm Relay, where the admiral saying something similar makes sense.

    To throw fuel onto the fire – another mechanic is that Nav Buoys give a top speed bonus to your ships. Now, clearly, your engines did not suddenly develop an extra 50 meganewtons of thrust because you control a buoy. You can certainly take it literally and hurt your mind, though :)

    … while we’re at it, what’s with this pesky top ship speed? In what appears to be an otherwise-accurate representation of Newtonian physics, it’s quite the rule-breaker. And immersion-breaker, if you let it be one.

    I think it’s all rather subjective – which interpretations we tend to gravitate to first. Personally, when I play games, I try to find explanations that are satisfactory, rather than ones that aren’t. I think you might reasonably argue that the literal interpretation of the rules lends itself to nonsensical explanations. To that, I’d reply that the mechanic is abstract enough that it clearly shouldn’t be taken literally. But again, that’s very subjective.

    by Alex
  26. I just wanted to add one more thing. You said:

    That’s my part of my goal as a writer, to reduce the number of times the reader (or player, in this case) is forced to roll their eyes to the minimum possible level.

    When you’re engaged in imagining what the mechanics *really* mean, you, the player, are the writer.

    by Alex
  27. That’s certainly true. On a subjective level, though, I want my readers to be writing a story in their head, not writing excuses for frustrating game mechanics.

    And yes, that does give me trouble when I’m GMing /certain/ game systems… ;)

    Hmm….actually, an idea popped to mind that’d be a great compromise option AND that makes somewhat more sense. In a given radius around the command ship, direct orders are free. OUTSIDE that radius, relaying orders properly is more difficult, whether because of electronic warfare effects or just some other abstraction. That way the player never has to suffer through the immersion-breaker of being surrounded by their own fleet and unable to give them orders, but at the same time there’s a resource that has to be managed with regards to commanding fleet units at remote locations.

    As an added bonus, it also makes comm relays even more sensical (yay for stripping off prefixes!) as a source of command points, as they’re powerful communications centers that serve to amplify your signals.

    by Ben
  28. Do you see the players of a game as “readers”? If so, I think we simply have some philosophical differences.

    I hope you don’t get too down on the command mechanics without seeing them in action first. I don’t want to create something frustrating any more than you want to play it – but there’s only so much I say to try to convince you that it works gameplay-wise, without actually showing the goods :)

    by Alex
  29. To a point, I suppose. The writer sees the as readers first, the coder sees them as users first, the designer sees them as players first. All a matter of the lens you’re looking through.

    And I’m certainly willing to see how it works, but my brain is supplying situations where the system as planned could break down, so I’m concerned. Time will tell, of course.

    by Ben
  30. Once you have played many a board game and so many computer games you learn to suspend belief and work with the system that the game provides. I found the initial build a bit frustrating until I played it as a RTS then I was able to be effective in my tactics. I look forward to this new build and the new play dynamics it will create. Thanks for the look at the future of Starfarer.

    by The Old Farmer
  31. I think a per-ship confidence value might be a neat way of handling this.

    The first order is free, orders that interrupt existing plans drain confidence, the closer the ship is to completing an order, the more confidence will be drained until they simply refuse to switch focus.

    by Cerus
  32. Sounds interesting but what is the point of restricting the amount of direct orders you can give? If some players WANT to micromanage why not let them?

    by mike
  33. Because the scope and effect of orders are being balanced with the fact that they’re limited in mind. Plus, the limit makes giving orders a more thoughtful process, as opposed to a chore you have to perform to babysit your fleet.

    If you wanted to, you could build your character so that you have the ability to give lots of orders – so the player still has that choice, but it’s a meaningful choice with trade-offs (i.e., skill points not spent elsewhere).

    by Alex