I've been having fun with the pirate faction (fyi THIS is how SW Empire at War: Forces of Corruption SHOULD have done) but there a number of issues. Some are bugs that need to be fixed, others are ways of improving play. Obviously my improvements should be judged subjectively, but the bugs seriously need to be looked at.
Bugs: These are gaping flaws in game balance and should be addressed.
1. Pirate Research Potential is determined by the total # of research stations in operation. My 1 pirate faction with a controlled world of 3677m has a research potential of 11,154k, sorry 11,614 as I just completed another research station, sorry 12,064 another one got built. This is NOT how the manual states potential research is designed to be calculated, destroys balance and needs to be fixed.
2. Pirates do NOT pay troop maintenance. My one pirate world faction has a 19 infantry with a negative cashflow of -13,486, sorry 22 infantry and no change i cash flow. Free soldiers is immensely imbalanced and needs to be fixed.
3. More of an exploit than a bug, but if you want an easy win as pirates keep reseting the starting spawn until you get a standard empire neighbor. Immediately send your fleet to their homeworld and reinforce. Raids ENDLESSLY to keep their troop #s and population above the 100% threshold. For apparently bugged reasons your pirate bases will build VERY quickly and easily thanks to your enormous income. Construct a criminal network and boom you've taken the homeworld and given yourself an almost unstoppable starting advantage.
Suggestions: Not related to the bugs, but ways I see of improving the pirate faction experience.
1. Allow pirate bases and stations to generate control %. Remove the maximum base size limitation over independent worlds (this really makes no sense since I can build a large spaceport on the orbiting moon but not the colony itself?). Plus its annoying to keep a single ship under manual control and have to constantly double check it to make sure it’s not floating off in space or moved by the AI because of a retrofit order.
2. Currently it’s far too easy to destroy pirate facilities and the AI is relentless is trying to root them out. Allow the Pirate Base to remain visible during construction but once completed become invisible unless a faction's intelligence agent successfully completes a steal operations map mission or a random event trigger which reveals the location temporarily. Once revealed the Pirate Base may be destroyed by a raid, invasion, bombardment or destroy base operation.
3. Allowing Pirate Fortresses to remain vulnerable during construction but once completed Fortresses may NOT be destroyed by raiding, although a large enough raid should certainly be able to breach the planet defenses and make off with loot, and may only be destroyed by invasion, bombardment or destroy base operation. Once completed, that Pirate faction cannot raid the world and its garrison will assist an independent militia against attacks. Pirate Fortresses may NOT be built on empire planets which have a protection agreement with the pirate faction.
4. To better explain 2 and 3, the income and research bonus should apply to both the pirate faction and planet owner. I believe the former already does and the latter should be limited to the research potential generated by that planet. My thought is that Pirates Bases should represent a relatively benign symbiotic relationship between the planet and the pirate faction. It’s difficult to assess because the reports provide so little information but, ideally, pirate bases should provide an increase income to both the pirate faction and the planet’s owner. Sure the owner loses some tax money and research, see below, but the bonuses generated by the base more than make up for it. However, a pirate fortress represents an invasive takeover since 100% of the planet’s income and research will now go to the pirates. A pirate wanting to take this last step cannot do so invisibly as it can currently; the pirates must announce its intention and prepare for retaliation.
5. Allow the independent worlds to deploy larger garrisons based upon tax income measured by population as currently they are offer tokenistic resistance to any raiding party or invasion force.
6. Significantly increase the garrison generated by the Criminal Network. This is now the pirate homeworld and needs a corresponding defensive capability from invasion especially given below.
7. Pirates may NOT recruit troops. Instead pirate troops generate solely from the boarding pods and base defenses. Remove or heavily modify the existing raider type to better reflect pirate race soldier characteristics and +% tech modifiers. Boarding Pod raids onto planets will be proportionally based upon the pirate's tech research. So, assuming all branches are completed, the AI will generate upon landing a new unit that maintains say a 50% infantry, 40% armor, 10% special forces ratio.
8. Replace the pirate raider base defenders along the same lines. Further, I think the +% pirate faction code needs to be looked at as the Smuggler factions seem to receive little additional defense help compared to Raider faction pirate facilities.
9. Remove the colonization tech tree but allow pirate passenger ships to send colonists to 100% controlled independent planets and empire planets with a protection agreement. This allows pirates to grow their tech %, see below, but keeps the emphasis on the fact that pirates are principally space based empires. Leave the colonization game to the standard empires and milk off their efforts.
10. Create a pirate only intelligence mission that significantly increases an empire planet’s unhappiness. The idea being that the planet will revolt, become independent and subsequently much easier for pirates to control.
11. Calculate Pirate Total Research Potential based upon Control % measured by each planet’s population and development level. Pirates who want to move up the tech tree will want to establish Pirate Fortresses to protect those worlds and allow their development levels to rise; ideally by trading with that pirate faction. Raiding inclined Pirates will only want to build Pirate Bases whose garrisons will assist the raiders but not endanger the base.
12. Remove the tech steal from raiding missions or significantly boost the result. Pirates raid for money to sustain their empire generally over smuggling and an insignificant tech increase is actually counter-productive.
13. Allow pirates to build research stations at potential research locations. Since potential research should be calculated by population and development, building a large # of stations without population and development won’t help the pirate faction unless . . .
14. Allows pirates to sell stations and bases to empires that are located within that empire’s zone of influence. Sales made this way will cost significantly less than similar empire to empire diplomacy transactions, although still substantially more than if the empire built the facility itself and paid the resource cost and be paid gradually from the empire’s income rather than as a lump sum.
15. Increase the control % caused by freighters, particularly if the ship is engaged in an independent or empire assigned smuggling mission. As is the % is negligible and fades after only a few minutes.
< Message edited by Ceorl -- 7/6/2014 6:43:06 AM >