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Starsector 0.96a is out! (05/05/23); Blog post: Colony Crises (11/24/23)

Author Topic: Feedback after playthrough  (Read 458 times)


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Feedback after playthrough
« on: August 19, 2023, 08:15:36 AM »


I've been lurking on the forums for some years. I'd like to post some feedback about my latest playthrough. I'll mention the parts I liked, as well as the areas where I feel some improvements could be made.

First, Starsector is fun to play. The battles are satisfying, and there's a lot of variety in how you can build your ships. It's simple enough that you can pick it up after a few days without worrying about forgetting what you were doing. There isn't a lot of "state" to track.

There is a clear sense of progression. Starting from stratch, you gradually become more powerful, both in ability and with respect to the quality of the fleet that you command. In my last game, I had the objective to build a large powerful faction, and the game lets you do that, with some caveats.

On the plus side, it's fun to see your colonies thrive. Growing the population to the maximum size is neither too short nor too long. It's great to see fleets going back and forth your colonies and the core worlds. At the end, you clearly see that you dominate the economics of the sector.

The part that I liked less is the colony threat system.


The game gives you goodies like special items and alpha cores, but it punishes you for using them.

For the pirates and the luddites, you have three options.
1) Fight them non-stop. By the end game, I had +78 threat progress per month. To keep the threat counter down, I would have to bust fleets and stations constantly. This gets old fast.
2) Pay off the pirates and give WMDs to the Luddic path.
3) Do doing and watch your colonies suffer.
In all three cases, you are successfully being bullied by the bad guys. They win, you lose.

The other factions keep sending "disruption" fleets frequently. Even if your worlds are strong enough to repel them on their own, you still regularly lose reputation for doing so, to no fault of your own. They win, you lose.

The Hegemony inspection fleets are the worst. You have to tediously fight them off manually, at a large reputation loss, or else you lose your precious story points, or your AI cores. They win, you lose. Also it's newbie-unfriendly to steal AI cores from the player without warning.

Overall, it seem to me that the fleets that my colonies spawn have little effect. They apparently do nothing for shipping disruptments and do not meaningfully deter anyone from attacking my colonies. At best, they negate the lesser of the downsides of the disruption fleets.

Starsector is about combat. I suggest to convert the continuous stream of attacks against the colonies to a threshold-based system. At first, you are Lando Calrissian that avoids attention by keeping the operations small. As you grow into power, you can develop your empire further. The more profitable your empire gets, the more attention you receive. The fleets being dispatched against you become larger, and you must pass the test. If the invader fleet wins, you are forced to scale back your operations. If you win, then everyone else is deterred, until you either grow your empire again or a very long time passes. Basically, you don't have to do recurrent, risk-free housekeeping.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for making Starsector!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2023, 08:21:40 AM by seerdecker »


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Re: Feedback after playthrough
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2023, 08:26:46 AM »

I don't have exact numbers or changes to the colony threat system, but rest assured that Alex is working on polishing that system and making it less annoying. It was just introduced this patch so no wonder it still lacks a bit more work, next patch is rumored to be a polish one, so hopefully it will improve what you found unsatisfactory (and not take 2 more years).

Keep an eye out on the forum, we'll probably get a blog post about the colony hostilities changes soon™.
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Re: Feedback after playthrough
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2023, 08:23:50 PM »

I wholeheartedly agree, but just fyi, you can make hostile activity less annoying by messing with config file, and for p.3 I highly recommend installing Nexerelin mod.