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Author Topic: Mid-game (early-mid?) length  (Read 3448 times)

IDCS

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Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« on: August 23, 2019, 04:57:15 PM »

Not sure if I am missing something but feels like early mid to mid-game is very short before player ends up in late-game. For instance it takes very little to hit lvl 30+ and bounties are leveled up to 200k+ after doing a few 50k tier bounties, involving multiple hits on capital ship fleets that require an equivalent fleet right after the player has been just getting started with frigate wolf packs.

Similar thing for colonies. Getting a fringe mining operation with size 3 running involves regularly defeating pirate armadas with 10 atlases. It feels like the game is rigged against the player who wants to RP and wants to avoid metagaming to break the barrier after which it all gets repetitive anyway. Seems like the jump from getting some small fleet going with some mining operations to scouring through station after station, planet after planet, conquering everything in sight is a very steep but short one.
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Morbo513

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2019, 01:14:15 AM »

100% agreed. With the scaling of bounties (and lack of it for anything colony-related), you're railroaded into growing your fleet exponentially. Over the course of a few hours' playtime you go from a handful of frigates just about getting the job done to needing an onslaught or two to have a chance at getting that next paycheck. It feels like system bounties are rarer than they used to be too, which certainly doesn't help. When you throw in additional systems and associated factions added by mods, you have to constantly chase the ever-growing carrot of personal bounties - and that necessitates expanding your fleet and expenditure way faster than what feels like a natural curve.

Relevant:
Obviously it would be fun to have more options of things to do, regardless of fleet size, and these sound like good suggestions. I think a big part of the problem is that there is no limiting factor on how fast you can grow your fleet. The only real limit is money - which once you understand trading and using the black market really isn't a factor since you can easily turn your starting money into 1 million+ in the first hour of game-play. I think this is an inherent part of the problem since you are strongly encouraged to become as strong as you can as fast as you can. I first learned about this game by watching Robbaz's stream and he compared it loosely to Mount & Blade: Warband... which I can get some similarities for sure.

In M&B: Warband, you can not simply pick up an army of 300 mounted knights from right out of the gates and start stomping on everyone, regardless of whether you have the money. There is a leadership skill & a renown system that determines how many troops you can have in your army at any given time. This leads you to be limited to fielding a rather small army early on as you build a name for yourself, but it steadily grows over time as your raise your renown and allows you to feel a very strong sense of progression as your build your army and character. In the next update it sounds like story points are going to be a big part of the player's incremental power growth.

To me, this seems like a great opportunity to use it to implement a sort of fleet size limit vs the current flat 30 ships limit. The fleet size could start fairly low with bigger ships taking more fleet size and steadily grow over time as you level up, earn, and spend story points. This way you can grow your fleet over time and feel a stronger sense of progression as you build up your fleet.

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sqrt(-1)

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2019, 04:51:12 AM »

Totally agree. Its unfortunate to watch people trying to fix this with mods on Twitch because it means that most people will let go of the game after those few hours.
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Megas

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2019, 05:40:44 AM »

With ships and colonies more expensive in 0.9.1a, while scaling has not been touched, it is easy for the player to fall behind.  I need to use cheese (like edge-camping, Reaper Afflictor abuse) to win those lopsided fights.  I think 0.9.1a is the first release where normal scaling (from bounty kills) is too fast, due to increased expenses to prolong the early and mid game.

Similarly, game shoves ten capital spam death fleets at player, while peak performance remained the same at 0.6a when the biggest endgame fleet at the time with HSDF or lone 200k bounty equivalent.  PPT was to stop endless kiting (back when enemy AI was aggressive and rarely kited at the time, instead of playing coward since 0.8a) and prevent a single player controlled Hyperion or Tempest from soloing an entire fleet, not burn-out cruisers and even capitals half way through an endgame fight!  Such huge endgame fights are highly sensitive to map size, and given how big fights get, nothing less than 500 map size is sufficient.  If fights stay this big, with capital spam and all, not only PPT needs to be raised for all, but also maximum map size raised so that player can deploy more than a few big ships.

Also, I delay building most industries until nearly the very end thanks to punishing expeditions.  Most of the fun of colony building is more like a reward for winning the game, not part of game progression, at least not if you do not want to see your colonies burned down.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 05:47:15 AM by Megas »
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IDCS

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2019, 11:15:59 AM »

With ships and colonies more expensive in 0.9.1a, while scaling has not been touched, it is easy for the player to fall behind.  I need to use cheese (like edge-camping, Reaper Afflictor abuse) to win those lopsided fights.  I think 0.9.1a is the first release where normal scaling (from bounty kills) is too fast, due to increased expenses to prolong the early and mid game.

Similarly, game shoves ten capital spam death fleets at player, while peak performance remained the same at 0.6a when the biggest endgame fleet at the time with HSDF or lone 200k bounty equivalent.  PPT was to stop endless kiting (back when enemy AI was aggressive and rarely kited at the time, instead of playing coward since 0.8a) and prevent a single player controlled Hyperion or Tempest from soloing an entire fleet, not burn-out cruisers and even capitals half way through an endgame fight!  Such huge endgame fights are highly sensitive to map size, and given how big fights get, nothing less than 500 map size is sufficient.  If fights stay this big, with capital spam and all, not only PPT needs to be raised for all, but also maximum map size raised so that player can deploy more than a few big ships.

Also, I delay building most industries until nearly the very end thanks to punishing expeditions.  Most of the fun of colony building is more like a reward for winning the game, not part of game progression, at least not if you do not want to see your colonies burned down.

Yeah it is especially interesting capital spam is such a big part of the play now given how the lore missions make having or sinking just a single Onslaught seem like such a big deal... Then you have to causally deal with 5-10 of them or their equivalents 3 hours in.

Also having colony building as a 'reward' simply does not make sense to me. I mean the game punishing you for not having the means to defend a booming colony that rivals a core system planet? Sure.

Game punishing you for running an outback tech-mining operation that nets you barely anything above your expenditure with supplies with your fleet of a couple freighters and some frigates? With pirate armadas spawning merely 2 in-game months in? This is what made me stop playing until I can at least find how to mod it to fix it.
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IDCS

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2019, 11:27:21 AM »

Also going from the M&B Warband quote, another part of what made progression seem natural in Warband was the game world did not railroad the player into growing at such a massive pace. It was fine to get defeated, lose everything, start all over again because the world did not get overtly hostile at the player in an artificial way like it happens with the bounty scaling or expeditions or pirate revenge fleets and armadas appearing everywhere.

The world did not grow at a pre-defined pace and ruin a play for not keeping up the right way which is just cheesing it. Player could stay a small-time mercenary or raider as long as they wished. Or they could take risks after a certain point and see if paid off. If not, try again. As opposed to missing that window of opportunity to get some battlecruisers meaning a miserable campaign for the rest of it.
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Grievous69

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2019, 11:43:43 AM »

Not sure if I play much differently than others but I find the pace to be decent. I don't get all these ''game catapulting players into late game'' complains. It's a sandbox, no one's forcing you to buy the biggest ships or plop colonies as soon as possible. You're free to play as you please, although I agree bounties kinda go nuts after you complete some. But there still is a wide selection of them, so what there's a 5 cap bounty fleet, there are cruiser sized bounties and weak lvl 1 pirate bases. Also if I'm not mistaken, colonies aren't really meant to be an early game thing.
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Megas

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2019, 11:48:17 AM »

Colonies are already not an early game thing because player does not have the money to build them that early.  Structures and industries cost about as much as a capital each.

I doubt colonies are meant to be built safely only at endgame when player can kill everything without much difficulty.  Currently, first expeditions from majors are mid or late game strong, then quickly escalate into ten capital deathballs.

The biggest problem is scaling is too fast.  It starts out reasonable, but progresses faster than player can upgrade, unless player began at endgame power.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 11:49:55 AM by Megas »
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Igncom1

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2019, 11:58:26 AM »

I suppose one thing that catapults you is failing to tip toe around the invisible barrier that turns your little colonies from humble farming communities for some spare cash, into industrial juggernauts needed to defend themselves from massive death fleets and pirate armadas.

Sure I COULD just ignore my colonies and go about my business as they get raided and bombed, but after a couple mill investment? At risk of having my special stuff stolen that I had to traverse the sector to find and collect?

Nah, in my current game I've sat for in-game years waiting for my colonies to mature so I know they'll be safe when they get attacked. But I'm still tied to them whenever I get a -3 stability -50 accessibility hit from a random pirate base spawn, something that will NEVER go away unless I lug myself over there to deal with it.

Something that should be a back burning kinda thing, where it slowly progresses and grows while I do whatever in the core worlds/outer sector instead becomes the games main focus because if I DON'T focus on it then I'm just destroying my own progress and time by doing so.

Something that is supposed to be largely automated instead becomes totally hands on because it can't functionally work without me there to make sure it doesn't self destruct every 6 months or so. Which is will if I don't babysit it until it can kill the biggest fleets in the game by it's self..... and even then I still have to drive back there whenever a pirate base pops up.

Good luck colonising in the corner like me if you want to do stuff on the other side of the map, you know like where all the missions spawn because they ALWAYS spawn away from the player rather then anything dynamic. I know that it's to get you to travel and not camp in a single area which is fine.... if I didn't have a literal camp.

I've never played M&B, but from what I hear you basically either become a lord with a castle, or you invest into money makers in someone else's town. I suppose the equivalent here is getting a commission, which isn't exactly great when you want colonies of your own.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 12:00:09 PM by Igncom1 »
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sqrt(-1)

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2019, 12:35:23 PM »

In my own playing experience and from observing others, its the blueprints, Nanoforges, Synchrotron Cores (and AI cores) with which one can easily earn an everything annihilating fleet withing just a few hours of game time.
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IDCS

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2019, 12:47:36 PM »

In my own playing experience and from observing others, its the blueprints, Nanoforges, Synchrotron Cores (and AI cores) with which one can easily earn an everything annihilating fleet withing just a few hours of game time.

If one rushes those then yeah, it is easy to stay stronger than anything you can encounter. But if one messes around for a few hours first before trying that, trying out mining and farming colonies, commissions, trading etc. it becomes much harder.
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Ragebrew

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2019, 12:55:41 PM »

In my own playing experience and from observing others, its the blueprints, Nanoforges, Synchrotron Cores (and AI cores) with which one can easily earn an everything annihilating fleet withing just a few hours of game time.

If one rushes those then yeah, it is easy to stay stronger than anything you can encounter. But if one messes around for a few hours first before trying that, trying out mining and farming colonies, commissions, trading etc. it becomes much harder.

Not even hours. I started a game, took an "Scan research station" mission, salvaged the station, and found two Alpha cores inside, plus a capital ship blueprint. I returned, and went from a handful of frigates to three Ventures and an Apogee with support craft, and just snowballed from there.

And really, space exploration isn't that hard if you have a quick ship and low sensor profile. I dip and dive in high danger areas all the time, provided my burn speed is 10. Not that hard to do early on, since militarized subsystems exists. Getting a small swarm of Shepherd drone tenders makes exploring and never getting into fights a breeze.

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Megas

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2019, 01:10:33 PM »

Player does not even need to rush.  All that is needed to attract majors is high enough production.  Even if heavy industry and the like is avoided, farming and mining can attract them if planet resources are high enough (+2 or so) or colony is big enough.  (Player probably wants a garbage rock to minimize production.)  Also, no Industry Planning 2 for keeping low profile.
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Offensive_Name

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2019, 02:58:32 PM »

There should be no scaling at all, from the beginning to the end there should be small medium and large bounties and the same in terms of faction fleet composition. 
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Mid-game (early-mid?) length
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2019, 04:49:47 PM »

I think all of the faction worlds should have population increased by 1 or 2, so the player colonies always feel like colonies and not massive worlds on the same scale as the largest in the sector. This would also make it harder for the player to bother factions with production.
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