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Author Topic: Challenge/restricted run  (Read 2671 times)

Sir Scarfalot

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Challenge/restricted run
« on: December 29, 2020, 10:30:28 PM »

So, I got back into Starsector after many years, and wew! So many improvements!

Thing is, though, I noticed that I ended up in a routine. It's just too effective to grab a Dram, give it SO/Injector/cargo and tag derelicts for obscene cash right out of Ancyra. Get millions, build colony, set up battlestation, buy Tempest, nab ruins until Paragon/Astral blueprints, and boom that's the endgame.

Now, obviously that's a perfectly valid way to play, but I found that I simply never used anything other than the Tempest/Paragon/Astral in combat, ever.

After watching some Nuzlocke pokemon runs, I got the idea that I could challenge myself with a ruleset that prevented me from just going straight for the cheese. With that in mind, I think I'd like to share my 'challenge run' idea here.
Starsector "Scarflocke" rules:

  • Legitimate ironman, backups only acceptable in case of unintended out-of-game failures like a power outage or something.
  • The only things you can buy outside of your own colonies are supplies, fuel, and crew.
  • You are not allowed to buy anything else, including commodities other than the 3 staples, weapons, blueprints, ships, etc.
  • You are not allowed to sell anything at all outside of your own colonies.
  • You are not allowed to refit or repair outside of your own colonies.
  • Abandoned stations are considered your own colonies for the purposes of the above rules, and are totally unrestricted.
  • You are allowed to interact with worlds in any other way. Bar events, decivilized world interactions, delivery contracts, raids, bombardments, aid packages etc. are all acceptable.
  • If using Nexerelin, agents are not allowed to procure ships, but otherwise their functionality is unrestricted.

That way, you can only use ships that you outright start with, scavenge, or build from blueprints. I'm having a lot of fun with this, and it's showing me a lot of the game that I was otherwise quite ignorant of. Pirates are still fodder of course, but they're a source of ships that you need, and aren't that bad if you're smart with using them. Meanwhile the Path could be absolute monsters if they had the sense to play their mobility to the hilt and withdraw when necessary, and with the player's engineering (read: remove those 'ill-advised modifications' via a restoration) their ships can be just incredibly dangerous. I'm sure you all knew that before, but if I hadn't pushed myself with this ruleset I honestly would never have figured it out and just kept bullying them with hard-counters and never found out their real strengths.

Has anyone else done something similar? Are there better challenge rulesets that I should know about? I'd enjoy learning some other players' playstyles  :)

Incidentally, I originally tried to run a ruleset that just said "no docking at colonies that aren't yours, keep your starter ship alive", but pulling together 1000 crew with that restriction in ironman was just beyond my abilities. I spent a solid week of runs desperately gathering up crew from garbage fights and decivilized worlds... but my best run only ended up with 300 before I finally derped into a Hammer and lost. Still, that was a fun challenge in its own right, and I might go back to it eventually.
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Serenitis

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2020, 01:58:49 AM »

Mobile Faction / Littlest Space Hobo / Hungry Locust Fleet / Quarian(ish) Cosplay
  • No buying anything other than essentials - supplies, crew, fuel
  • Not allowed to use non-player storage of any kind
  • Not allowed to build a colony until every planet is scanned
Difficult choices all over.
Starts hard, get easier. Industry helps.

Jaghati Khan Likes To Go Fast
  • Every ship in your fleet must be equipped with Safety Overrides
  • Yes, even if you have to militarise it first
  • No, you can't use (most) capital ships
Can get a bit hard later on as your limited PPT starts to become more of a liability.

Perfectly Plentiful Pila / Carpet Curiosity / Abundant Autonomous Artillery
  • Every fighting ship you have must be capable of mounting medium missiles
  • Every ship capable of mounting medium missiles must fit a Pilum launcher in that slot
  • Yes, even large mounts
Not especially difficult, but changes how you need to approach battles.
You'll finally have a use for all those cautious and timid officers though.

I Am Fortifying This Position
  • Found a colony in Duzahk on any available body as soon as you are able to do so
  • Colony must survive
  • Difficulty is RNG dependant
Can be fairly straightforward if the procgen did anything interesting for Duzahk III.
Somewhat more difficult if all you get is Druj and Aka Mainyu with terrible resources.
Or alternatively if you're into masochism...

Whiskey Outpost
  • Found a colony in any already inhabited system on any available body as soon as you are able to do so
  • Colony must survive
  • Difficulty is yes
Hard.
Only tried this a few times, most of which didn't go well. No, that's a lie, none of them really went "well". But some were better than others. Not all systems are equal.

That Looks Good, Give Me That
  • Found a colony in any red beacon system as soon as you are able to do so
  • Use only the products of your own colony to liberate the system and place it in more responsible hands: Yours.
S A T I S F Y I N G

The vast majority of every playthrough I've done for the past 2 game versions has been some variation of the Mobile Faction. I really like that "just about managing to get by" feel you get by having to use what the RNG gives you, no matter how optimal it may (or may not) be.
I might just be one of those fruity outliers tho.

Pirates are still fodder of course, but they're a source of ships that you need
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 02:02:52 AM by Serenitis »
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Flying Birdy

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2020, 08:19:44 AM »

If you enjoyed this kind of experience, you would most certainly enjoy a pure pirate run. Use console commands (mod) to set all faction relations to -75 (including with independents), set pirates and LP to -100 right from the beginning. And if you ever have relations rise with any factions, use console to lower them to -75 again. Also, change the game setting file to remove the galatian academy stipend. The horrible relations forces you to be transponder off, make ample use of go-dark, and resort to constant piracy to make money. You'll also be forced to colonize on sub-optimal planets in the core, due to the insane accessibility penalties you face from being hostile to everyone.
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Sir Scarfalot

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2020, 06:23:38 PM »

I love it, those are some really cool ideas Serenitis! I'll make sure to try those later.

As it is, I've went ahead and started a modified version of your "duzahk colony" thing, and this is the result:

Spoiler
[close]

It is every bit as glorious as I had imagined :D
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 06:30:58 PM by Sir Scarfalot »
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pedro1_1

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2020, 09:47:20 PM »

As much as I think this is a fun challange it still fails at two things: Stopping the cheese and being a true -locke challange.

For the cheese part because there is noting in there that says you can't get a Dram and use the survey contracts to make the money for a colony, you will need to grind for the ships until you have Heavy industry up, which would not take long after the colony is up, since the chalange encorages HI rush, probably as the first industry you build.

For the true -locke part, it's because it does not punish mistakes anywere near the levels Nuzlocke and Super Smash Ultimate Lightlocke do, losing someting important will set you back quite a lot of time, the main reason is because it allows for ship building, which is probably the stronguest power move in game as of now.

For a rundown of some of the rules which I think are interesting:
  • The only things you can buy outside of your own colonies are supplies, fuel, and crew.
  • You are not allowed to buy anything else, including commodities other than the 3 staples, weapons, blueprints, ships, etc.

Those are redundant, but the second one is better, just a justification of the staples would make it good as the only rule there.

  • You are not allowed to sell anything at all outside of your own colonies.
  • You are not allowed to refit or repair outside of your own colonies.

Those could be merged.

  • If using Nexerelin, agents are not allowed to procure ships, but otherwise their functionality is unrestricted.

If you are using mods you shoud know that Industrial.Evolution also has this type of feature on the structure called Requisitions Center, which would matter in this case.

Now for my challange:
Starsector Fleetlocke:
  • True Ironman. No backups unless needed.
  • Name clause: Each ship must recive a diferent, non-serial name.
  • Ship death: Ships of the fleet that are destroyed in battle can't be recovered.
  • Loss clause: If the fleet is wiped the game is over.
  • Low free ships: Maximum of 6 ships built per year.

Some extras:
  • Decreased passive income: Maximum of 3 colonies, including stations from Terraforming and Station Construction
  • No free ships: Can't build ships
  • Go shopping: Can't use Industrial.Evolution's Requisition Centers and Nexerelin Agents to get ships.
  • Officer death: Officers on ships that blew up can't be used.
  • Scavange hunt: can't build or buy ships.
  • Damage repulsion: Can't buy or scavange ships that have D-mods with exception of the Legion(XIV).
  • No passive income: Can't build colonies.
  • Map explores: can't found a colony until the sector is fully explored.
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Serenitis

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2020, 12:22:28 AM »

I don't think I could call it a challenge as such, because it's not in any way difficult. But not building Heavy Industry until you can support it (aka; you have a running refinery with a mine to support it, and food/organics to support the population supporting that, all with zero imports) does slow down the massive power jump enough so you can roll around in the trash for a quite a while if so inclined.
Military bases without Heavy Industry only ever get "base" level ships, like Venture, Buffalo II, Hound etc. Which sounds terrible, but in reality is not much weaker than "normal" as the autoresolve of other fleet battles doesn't really care about that as much. Hence the not-really-a-challenge nature of it.

But it is "fun" if you like extending the feeling of the earlier parts of the game.
The side benefit to this is that you can learn blueprints immediately so they don't hang around, and you can sell off duplicates without a second thought. Which itself plays into the whole give pirates stuff so you can recover it from them deal.
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sqrt(-1)

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2021, 08:13:08 AM »

I completely agree with the OP. I was just about to write how vast portions of the game are spoiled by the possibility of (not unlikely) luck to obtain overpowered ships, like the Tempest, or large fleets via lucky finds early on.

The skill based challenge to overcome/avoid superior enemies is one of the most entertaining aspects of any game. Fundamental challenges like the progression of the skill to pilot the flagship, navigating the fleet through star systems, commanding the fleet and to wisely equip ships are undermined by the pure chance of finding high price loot early on.

I have read and watched multiple times how new players were catapulted into the mid- to late game within 2-3 hours after trying the game.

My suggestion to effectively avoid this issue and to improve the gameplay experience is to implement military force licenses.
Just like in real life, random people wouldn't be allowed to cruise around with high tech fighter jets.
Factions should hunt down a player who potentially threatens their existence with high tech/powerful ships and large fleets in their systems, if they didn't build up a certain reputation and have acquired a sufficient level of military force license.

Acquiring such licenses could involve story missions or meeting specific faction requirements, which would be a great basis to expand game content and depth.

IMO: I think that those who claim to have the greatest fun by defeating every enemy with OP fleets (particularly with imbalance mod's) are a very loud minority here. Those people are typically the same who "enjoy" playing games with cheat codes/exploits and should not be considered when considering the fine nuances to make a game great.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 08:21:36 AM by sqrt(-1) »
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Megas

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2021, 11:02:34 AM »

With the way Starsector is, I would not want military licenses (because the execution would probably be like a patrol scan that results in a fight if you do not comply.)  All that means is I use clunkers longer or avoid the core worlds (except the likes of Magec where there are no patrols) until my faction can accumulate enough resources then take revenge by sat bombing the core worlds to oblivion later for making early game miserable.  That would push fun further toward endgame when player can finally enjoy the most of the content of the game instead of living like a pauper or a junk pirate by using demo or shareware level content.  Besides, major factions already do this annoyance of sorts by sending expeditions just for making a few extra spacebucks.

This would be like telling your typical fantasy adventurer "No, you can't have weapons of any sort other than farming tools or eating utensils, and don't even think about farting sparks or carrying a stick before signing up with the government-approved registration act for all magical beings."

I like playing overpowered characters.  No, I do not use cheats because I do not need to waste time playing a game with no rules (or rather, rules broken) just to say "I WIN".  The fun is to acquire then wield overpowered or at least high-tier stuff provided by the game.

I do not use mods lately because Starsector is kind of a long game.  Unmodded Starsector takes long enough to play.

Quote
I have read and watched multiple times how new players were catapulted into the mid- to late game within 2-3 hours after trying the game.
I would say that is a good thing (at least for the player).  Players do not need to waste too much time before getting somewhere.  Also, they would keep up with scaling bounties instead of falling behind if they really get good stuff early.  Also, finding great out-of-depth stuff occasionally feels great, and breaks the boring predictable treadmill.

Games are not supposed to be a life or a boring grind, unless the developer or player is getting paid for it.
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zymi

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Re: Challenge/restricted run
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2021, 10:49:40 AM »

Hegemony lawful challenge run:

- Never use black market.
- Never attack "innocent" fleets.
- Never use AI cores.
- Never pick up or sell any illegal trading goods.
- Always help in fights where Hegemony is involved unless its a guaranteed loss.
- Always hand in found AI cores to Hegemony.
- Only use faction neutral or Hegemony ships and weapons.
- Always be in a positive relation with Hegemony.

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