I'm on the surface again after lurking, and my goal is to shortly share my playthroughs on 18.104.22.168-14. I play every race on all normal average starting-level settings, new empires can spawn, standard goals in 20 years, both stories activated, standard automation with some personal influence on research and colonization. It will be a subjective review of their relative strength based on how long it takes an average gamer like me))) to achieve a victory. My comments and ideas born in the process will also be posted here.
Ranking table (ORIGINAL IDEA: Arcatus)
Teekan victory date - 2770
Ikkuro victory date - 2777
Zenox victory date - 2780
Ackdarian victory date - 2784
Shandar victory date - 2789
Ketarov victory date - 2791
Ugnari victory date - 2792
Haakonish victory date - 2795
Naxxilian victory date - 2796
Mortalen victory date - 2813
Atuuk victory date - 2830
Atuuk victory date - 2830, on 3rd restart. Two previous were destroyed by S***, even so several reloads were necessary. On the 3rd restart, the S*** arrived at the last planet available, but the thing was, that was my Silvermist test site))). Anyway, the S*** were eaten by Silvermist, and I reconquered the planet soon after. Brand new Palace of Eternal Darkness = 200% economy boost = win in the next three years.
problems and solutions - best weapon against Silvermist - carriers, not ion cruisers; rail guns = fail in the state that they are now, in the first two playthroughs my fleets were PT from extreme range; Atuuk limited science goal is next to impossible to achieve, even though I tried role-playing.
Opinions - either railguns or engines require a boost, you need a combination of both to use rail guns effectively. Bakura requires a cut, it influences the early game too strongly; maybe a 100% instead of 200% speed boost, maybe moving it further down the tech line, maybe both. Atuuk feel the hardest to play in comparison based on other games not mentioned here.
Teekan victory date - actually 4 years early.
problems and solutions - none, a peaceful and quiet game. Just a little bit too peaceful for my taste.
Opinions - an idea for DW2 - multiple terrain planets; the availability of suitable terrain may have the main influence instead of planet quality of DW1. An interim idea for order of colonization:
All races start at a native terrain; the further they get away from it, the more it costs to research the next terrain type.
Ugnari victory date - 2792, 1 reload when Silvermist ate my homeworld. S*** arrived 3 years ago, limited to two planets. Had one serious war with a Sluken empire, resolved by ganging up on them with neighbors. Victory came when the rating jumped 6 points to 83 through completing the HighTech branch requirement. I was hard at war against Silvermist, so missed the moment))).
problems and solutions - Acquired space port traffic jam (80 ships under retrofit\construction in an acquired small SP in asteroid belt - too close to the battle lines.) - port scrapped.
Opinions - ports should be allowed to be taken apart by construction ships for resources and research, or be mothballed. Maybe world destroyers too))). Looking on the planetary influence idea, I think it should be taken further, allowing cultural exchange in the way of research, immigration, cultural pressure to turn sides. Also, taking the private\government division so well applied by this game further, there may be private research branches that may influence your and other empires. And again, a planet can have an ion cannon as a building, why can't it have a fighter base and a torpedo launch system?
Zenox victory date - 2780, 1 restart due to CTD, although that was a hard game. The other was quite easy, an early war with the Boskara was pretty one-sided due to technological advantage; that war quite handily disrupted two of my racial objectives, but a lot of master scientists including an early ultra-genius boosted my research through the roof. No S***, maybe because I absolutely refused to touch a certain beacon)).
Problems and solutions - some traits on characters should be given only with time, and not from the time they spawn. Research was something that got my attention this game. For one, the retrofit requests is something that bugs me almost every game. When a request comes up with several new components, I'd prefer to chose which I want on my ships. Having my Advanced Phasers retrofitted to Lv2 Rail Guns along with new quality shields is a bummer. One solution to this is have retrofit messages either component by component or as a checklist. Another, an idea in itself, is to have ships with several main weapon types, i.e. 5 Phasers + 3 Rail Guns.
Opinions - I think that a shielded Colony Ship should not run away from 1-2 frigates or destroyers on its final colonization run, It bugs me to revert to manual every time this happens.
Haakonish victory date - 2795, a straightforward game that lasted longer than expected, because of poor leaders and low population growth. The big break came when a 007 of mine stole the Galaxy Map of the Guardians, including the locations of the BIG 3 resources. It all went downhill from there. No S*** in sight, and me being at war almost constantly with 1-2 other empires, but I haven't found the beacon too.
Problems and solutions - for about 20!!! years!!! I have been assaulting the Wekkarus homeworld by using purely ground troops, no bombardment, just a single assassination of the Wekkarus troop general. The population fell from 10 bln to 10 mln in that time, while the armed forces from 2 mln to 1.2 mln. Narn - Centauri, anyone? Seriously, that area of the game would love some spicening up. For instance, having the researched weapon, shield and armor techs reflect themselves on ground troop strength. Or having fighters count as ground troops as long there is at least one unit down on the planet, and no enemy ships in space. It's like my units were armed with type 3 Shatterforce blasters and theirs with type 2 Maxos PPG, and yet I took greater losses? Something is wrong with this picture, Stalingrad it ain't.
Opinions - This game was strongly focused on intelligence agents, they having played a key role in my victory. Although I had about 5-6 ia, and almost all of them were quite strong, It was only by the end of the game that one AI had surpassed me by successful agent missions, and only because I had grown lazy and bored. Also, 1!!! intercepted agent mission led to me having 100% in that requirement - another AI problem? Balance check, anyone? Oh, and something I call the Macarthur Manouver - If your ground force is losing, reassign your general to the nearest planet of yours, and have him\it make a comeback. Just make sure the planet isn't too far away, the time calculation rule will keep him at the planet until the very last day of reassignment, and that may kill him.
Mortalen victory date - 2813, a hard game lasting several evenings. The S*** arrived very early, 15 years into the game and had managed to control around 15 planets. By that time I was at war with a chosen target, yet found it next to impossible to achieve my racial objectives. Three races one after another have held the lead in troops destroyed, and keeping alive my admirals and generals throughout constant war proved impossible. Subjugation was hard to achieve and was kinda irrelevant. So the victory in the end came through the S*** storyline, and at the time a Gizurean empire held the lead ahead of me. This game was one of attrition, me throwing fleet after fleet at their planets, because their fleets were nigh invulnerable. Two dumb unsupported jumps into the Utopia system right into the arms of a waiting defence fleet took care of their WDs. I think the AI reacted that way because the homeworlds were less than 2 sectors away. In the end, the Guardians took care of most of their shipa, while I nibbled away at their planets.
Problems and solutions - as a possible bug, after capturing the S*** homeworld, a message appeared announcing their arrival (again) in the very same system. But nobody appeared, and the victory screen came up soon after. A question I also have is how a multiple sided ground combat is resolved? How the fight goes, who gets the planet (it seems who landed the largest force), so on, so forth.
Opinions - As was noted in other topics in these forums, the attack warning is obnoxious. However, let's look from another side at the problem - during full-scale war, there are too many of the warnings themselves. I propose a filter for attack warnings, limiting them territorially, once every two game weeks per territory (system, sector) and to non-civilian targets. In the same vein, I request a "colony under siege" warning message, so that I wouldn't miss whenever my planets are invaded, or vise versa. Several other points have to be made about ground and space combat. Isn't there anything like a lifepod or an evacuation shutlle? There should be an average, trait and exp-based chance for a general or an admiral (or any other character) to survive a lost battle, and a small chance to die during a battle. Also, I think that planet quality should fall during long ground combat.
Naxxilian victory date - 2796, played it out slowly, but it was kind of a drag, an example in coming real close to an objectives victory. The points of interest were
1) encountering a Silvermist around the 12th year, which (to my great relief) proceeded to disappear for the next 10-15 years to areas unknown. Heck, I've even colonized the surrounding area almost totally. Then my 6th Fleet, just after destroying a pirate base in a nearby empty system, came under attack of 4!!! of the dusty buggers. Unfortunately for them, all 4 were in a relatively undernourished state of development, while the Fleet had 200 fighters and AM bombers. It was all over in two game weeks, myself losing a just a single Carrier and having three other ships damaged (the heroic fighter pilots, of course, unsung and unknown). Half a year later I found the last of them in a gas cloud nearby. Beats me why they weren't their usual aggressive selves. A theory I have is that pirate bases kept spawning in the cloud, keeping the Silvermist lightly fed and well distracted.
The point 2) of the game, of course, was the arrival of the S***. I was 2 points away from a OV, full through the first storyline, and their area was pretty isolated by then, most of the good planets taken. Victory came as a small surprise after the second storyline kicked in, the S*** isolated to two planets, me in the process of destroying of one of their PD's, and their planet nearly empty of troops. But I won through objectives, could've done it faster, but...
Problems and solutions - the "Stop attacks" message problem kicked in yet again. I didn't order atacks per se, so it seems the problem is linked to former pirates that surrendered to me in the process of the game, or, rather their former orders. I hate getting my rep down from admired to diabolical in three years.
Opinions - I think that debree fields within an empires territory should be off limits to construction ships of other empires. You shouldn't waste time and rep on chasing them away by force in such cases. Your territory, your WD project. Another thought I've had was on having more interaction with pirates. I know, I know, diplomacy isn't very good currently in DW:L, but the relations with pirates (and, possibly, Independents) is part of that.
Shandar victory date - 2789, the first victory where a special wonder was the end of the game. Although, frankly, in 1-2 years I would have had the rest of the points. 4 Silvermists were hunted down, but not before I lost 2 Ackdarian colonies to them. The S*** arrived 5 years before the end of the game, grabbed an extra colony and camped. I held the core of the galaxy, 2 of the special resources, and both of the special governments (could've had 3, if there were any, was the first to the Temple, Archive and the end of the storyline), and had a lot of colonies set for colonizing. Oh, and no less than 3 disasters were averted by the Shandar special ability. The game wasn't hard. No, really.
Problems and solutions - Two things I noted that might be bugs: first, my colony governor at the homeworld had Colony Ship Construction as a skill and throughout the game he raised levels in it twice, but it never went above it's original -4% "bonus". And no, the traits did not modify it. Secondly, the Guardians declared war at me while being at "Friendly". And that relationship did not drop during the war. I have no idea why.
Opinions - When you are offered an end to a war with you, you should have the option to negotiate, not just subjugate or end. Reparations should be a reality, and who asks, should pay the highest. Also, continuing the topic of colonization technology, here's an idea that is easier to achieve through current mechanics - home terrain colonization tech for a race should have a 95% discount.
Ikkuro victory date - 2777, the first victory on 22.214.171.124, might have been even faster, if it wasn't for the policy bug. Two wars, no S***, excellent luck with rare resources (L and 2 Ks, in fact the latter within 2 systems of each other), storyline done, and the Imperial Archives found, although 2 years before the end. The Temple of ED was found by the Dhayut - how appropriate. Yet only the fourth place for them. Also had 2 events that improved planet quality by 1% - is that an Ikkuro only event? Another funny thing was that two random ship find events hit the area of the same gas giant - seems they do float. In retrospective, this game was hilarious (see below)!
Problems and solutions - I was hit by the policy bug. Playing on Windows 7 with a different language setting, more than half the game (year 2770) passed without me noticing that all my ships were unarmed. I even managed to win a couple of wars by invasion. The AI didn't notice a thing. But the pirates did. In fact, they faithfully copied my weaponless designs and didn't bother me until the end of the game. For probably the same reason my brand new admiral did not want to join the 1st Fleet. Seems his survival instinct kicked in... Please fix this issue, anyway.
Opinions - Alright, the colony list second column (and maybe other places as well) - if you write the planet type, you don't need the word "planet" again there, now do you? Also, another traffic jam led me to request to rethink ship retrofitting AI and, optionally, a "close port" button, that would lead to reassignment of all ships and projects to other ports. Another thought about the Ardilus - can they be altered to have a ranged attack that destroys only generators, shields and fuel cells as key sources of energy? And, in 126.96.36.199 the ship graveyards have been seriously dumbed down, which makes the gameplay less fun, especially when you can just turn them off. What I propose is to make them all, including Devast**** and random ship events, broken and in need of (prolonged) reconstruction, but not toothless.
Ketarov victory date - 2791 I restarted once, because of accidentally failing the roleplay "no war starting" requirement. The Ketarov might be quite powerful, but IMHO the -20% to civilian ship size intentionally hurts their economy by limiting turnaround. That's what kept them down and let and let a Teekan empire take the lead for a good two thirds of the game, reaching 70% out of 80%. But then disaster (for them) struck: two consecutive years of plagues cut short their population boom. Those same plagues hit three of my colonies, but with little consequences. Back to the regular secrets. No S*** invasion, and only one Silvermyst in the endgame. I didn't have time to deal with it. Several racial events spawned, pruning from my character list several low-quality characters. Now THAT was in tune with their theme.
Problems and solutions - One way I could've won the game earlier was if the 4th racial requirement triggered. But the AI was extremely lax in using their agents. In fact, there was only 1 (!) mission against me in the whole game, in the very beginning, and it was successful. Therefore 5 VP's just hung in the air. Espionage, and probably diplomacy, needs a serious boost.
Opinions - I request that when an offer for refit to new techs comes, it would be a list where you could choose what to upgrade and what NOT to upgrade. For example, I had Top Phaser Lance and forfeited an upgrade to Massive Passenger Compartments, because it came along with Heavy Rail Guns. Disgusting, that. Another idea is that planetary and cosmic disasters would come in MOO1/2 form - you must divert research and\or production for solving the problem to race against the clock (and consequences).
Ackdarian victory date - 2784 This was supposed to be a pushover, especially after finding the D*** Z***, the I******* A******* AND the D**** R** as a bonus within a single year. The end of the storyline was very soon after that. Oh, and the Bakuras, of course on top of their native bonus.
And yet the game stalled. Although these guys are fast researchers, close to Haakonish and Quameno in efficiency, (1) I neglected the economy techs. Another thing, (2) many of the planets I colonized were under 70% quality. (3) The Ugnari as neighbors might have also contributed, as well as (4) me getting only 1 special resource, and then late in the game. The rest of the sites were taken, 2 by Zenox, 1 by Ugnari (they beat me to it). Also, to compensate for the early luck, (5) the RNG offered me 4 horrible Leaders out of 5. These factors, in my opinion, led to the reason I couldn't get the last 4-5 % for about 8 years.
In the end, the S******* arrived (landing smack in a system I had already colonized, and within a half sector from my homeworld to boot) and started The Great Spat. Within two months of that galaxy shaking event, I've won . Things to note in the game was one S********* infestation which failed to spread, 3 Resource Exhausted events and 2 found - a rather high amount, and 2 Shandar Hidden Chambers, one of them on a neutral world already settled by Gizurean - bugs and lizards, two for the price of one, anyone ?
Opinions - I think that the storyline should be fleshed out with more events and made to rely upon the game setup parameters. Exploration alone should not have so strong an effect. Since Shadows should be seen (if I understand correctly) as a prequel in the timeline before the rest of the game, new twists in the story would be welcome. Also, do the Ackdarians have a reputation event like the rest of the former members of the Alliance? If not, they should.
Problems and solutions - Nerf Bakuras! Seriously. Two - I think that the amount of wonders per planet should be limited to ONE. Seriously, every time the S******* arrive and build all of the high rank ones on their homeworld, which BUGS me to no end. Besides, having so many development bonuses on ANY one colony is just dumb. Other solutions that entail restructuring of the wonder system might be welcome, because of the rift between Bakuras, First Research and the rest of them. Besides, the late game wonders come in too late for my taste. In a slow research game, however... naah, the same problem.
Ackdarians done, Quameno are next. I know, I'm slow, but real life and other games can also happen...
Will be edited further, stay tuned.
< Message edited by Gareth_Bryne -- 1/19/2013 5:30:38 PM >
"Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts," - Londo Mollari