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Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 5:42:01 AM   
Ceorl

 

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Joined: 6/11/2014
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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 >
Post #: 1
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 11:13:08 AM   
Nanaki

 

Posts: 306
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1. This is wrong. Pirate research potential primarily uses the same calculations as empires, BUT populations of independant and empire controlled worlds with pirate bases/fortresses are also counted.

2. I am sort of less bothered by this, especially considered the current uselessness of pirate raiders. Also note that pirates generally pay reduced maintenance on their ships/stations compared to empires.

3. I think this is due to AI stupidity more than anything else. As an empire, usually when I start with a pirate neighbor I usually build a defense base first thing, the defense base finishes much sooner and easily fights off the initial pirate raids.

As for your suggestions.

Overall, I disagree with most of your ideas, if only because I feel that any additional development of pirates should focus on the diplomacy aspect. Pirate diplomacy is almost completely nonexistant and it is rather silly, as it screws over mercenary/smuggler playstyles whom would rather enter a symbiotic rather than adversarial relationship with empires.

1. Disagree. Max base size limitations should always apply unless you are building over a colony you own.

2/3. I agree pirate facilities are too easy to destroy, but your suggestion might be more DW2 material than anything else. I would easily settle for just fixing the smuggler/mercenary defense bonus not working and probably boost up the defense forces a bit.

4. I am not sure about this. If pirate bases/fortresses start to give more than they take, then there would be no reason for empires to want to get rid of them at all, unless they belong to a hostile entity. I do agree they should provide something to the planet, though.

5. Agreed.

6. Why? Your supposed to be able to train your own troops at that point.

7. Disagree. The whole point of owning a colony as a pirate is that you can build construction ships, colonize planets, and build troops to invade planets just like every other empire.

8. Agreed.

9. Disagree, see 7.

10. There is a revolt intelligence mission that does just this, but I never used it so idk. Usually by late-game I aim to transition my primary source of income away from pirate bases/fortresses and to owned colonies.

11. This is already the case, IIRC.

12. Indifferent, but I see nothing wrong with the suggestion.

13. I disagree. Pirates not being able to utilize research locations is one of disadvantages I am OK with.

14. I think you can already do this?

15. Not sure if I agree with this. The whole point of freighters is that they are incognito working as independants, that generally seems to work against the idea of control.

_____________________________

I ate the batter of the bulge at Hans' Haus of Luftwaffles

(in reply to Ceorl)
Post #: 2
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 4:14:57 PM   
Ceorl

 

Posts: 20
Joined: 6/11/2014
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quote:

1. This is wrong. Pirate research potential primarily uses the same calculations as empires, BUT populations of independant and empire controlled worlds with pirate bases/fortresses are also counted.


Nope controlled worlds are not counted instead only pirate facilities only add to research potential, I tested this to conform. I built research stations with a stable control % and my research skyrocketed every time I completed station. Try for yourself and see, besides which what faction should have access to 12k and rising research potential? My understanding is standards top around 10k.

quote:

2. I am sort of less bothered by this, especially considered the current uselessness of pirate raiders. Also note that pirates generally pay reduced maintenance on their ships/stations compared to empires.


Think about game breaking this can be? Once a pirate researches planetary shields he can make every single world he own have 999999999999999999 troops and be immune to ground invasion. He can build as many troop transports as he can afford and stuff them with free soldiers and conquer even the Shakti homeworld with no problem. Its a bug pure and simple.

quote:

3. I think this is due to AI stupidity more than anything else. As an empire, usually when I start with a pirate neighbor I usually build a defense base first thing, the defense base finishes much sooner and easily fights off the initial pirate raids.


If you can complete the defensive base before the first pirate fleet arrives please tell me how. Each test I've run has a pirate ship showing up long before the base is completed. Further, it would be almost impossible for an unshielded and unarmored base to defend against a pirate supply ship and escorts. A human controlled empire couldn't defeat this zerg rush let alone an AI controlled empire.

Thanks for reading the suggestions, I'll just make a few comments:

quote:

1. Disagree. Max base size limitations should always apply unless you are building over a colony you own.


Starbases over independent are the ONLY place where size limitations apply. Pirates can built unlimited size starbases ANYWHERE else. This request comes after significant testing that the only reliable method to defend pirate facilities on independent world is starbases. The AI sure as hell won't leave a fleet garrison and will often times pull away any fleet I left to patrol for refuel or refit and then clear their mission leaving the world exposed.

It is micromanaging hell to continually reassign fleets to protect these facilities and cost-ineffective. Worse, the AI will often simply bull rush the planet and deploy raiders regardless of my defensive fleet. I've watched a 20 sized AI fleet simply jump in, land raiders under fire from the small spaceport and then depart with 5-6 destroyed ships while I lose a 100k Fortress. The only reliable means to prevent this is either a fleet and small starbase (and this is still subject to the AI problems) or a large starbase against which even the AI won't try a suicide drop.

quote:

4. I am not sure about this. If pirate bases/fortresses start to give more than they take, then there would be no reason for empires to want to get rid of them at all, unless they belong to a hostile entity. I do agree they should provide something to the planet, though.


Only pirate bases would provide a positive benefit. Fortresses would be purely negative and a hostile act by the pirate. Further, bases cap pirate control at 50% and the pirate can easily begin to exert greater control through other actions resulting in higher control % and a negative effect on the empire. My idea was to have pirate bases provide the possibility of a symbiotic relationship which currently doesn't exist, but one that is easily subject to abuse similar to how Forces of Corruption had corruption act as an initial positive modifier which quickly gives way to danger.

quote:

10. There is a revolt intelligence mission that does just this, but I never used it so idk.


This overthrows the empire's government which leads to random revolts identical to the coup event. However there is no way to control this and I believe the operation is low %. My suggested op would be higher % and target specific planets. Mind you this only triggers a revolt, a large garrison would make this op pointless.



< Message edited by Ceorl -- 7/6/2014 5:19:24 PM >

(in reply to Nanaki)
Post #: 3
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 5:55:18 PM   
Vardis

 

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There's an "incite rebellion at colony" mission. It does exactly what you're asking for.

< Message edited by Vardis -- 7/6/2014 6:56:01 PM >

(in reply to Ceorl)
Post #: 4
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 6:39:57 PM   
Ceorl

 

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Yup you're both right. An "incite rebellion at colony" mission is listed in the manual and is available in game. What confused me was the mission is not listed in the galactopedia.

(in reply to Vardis)
Post #: 5
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 7:41:38 PM   
Airpower

 

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Joined: 7/2/2014
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ceorl

Think about game breaking this can be? Once a pirate researches planetary shields he can make every single world he own have 999999999999999999 troops and be immune to ground invasion. He can build as many troop transports as he can afford and stuff them with free soldiers and conquer even the Shakti homeworld with no problem. Its a bug pure and simple.


That does seem pretty broken... Not to mention completely illogical.

(in reply to Ceorl)
Post #: 6
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 7:52:54 PM   
Nanaki

 

Posts: 306
Joined: 6/4/2014
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1. Your wrong there... my human empire game I have 1600K research potential, and that is a fairly old game where I made a lot of stupid decisions.

2. Yes, its a bug, and it should be fixed, but even then it is likely that pirates will pay less maintenance for troops.

3. Pirates dont use their supply ships in combat, and pirates only start with 1 escort, even if they build an additional escort and destroyer it wont be enough to destroy the defense base. Defense bases are enormously tough, even the early game ones.

Also, I have no problems finishing a defense base before pirates show up.

4. Thats a bug. Pirates should not be able to build unlimited size starbases unless it is over colonies they own.

As for losing your pirate bases/fortresses, imho, I always considered them a temporary early-game source of income. You eventually want to transition over to owned planets with their own infantry and proper defenses.

5. Its too much a change. At the moment fortresses are simply upgraded pirate bases, and the AI treats them accordingly. What your asking for is more DW2 material than DW1.

_____________________________

I ate the batter of the bulge at Hans' Haus of Luftwaffles

(in reply to Ceorl)
Post #: 7
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 10:34:00 PM   
Keston


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Joined: 5/7/2010
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Troop Maintenance: When pirates control a planet, do they reform administration and clean it up or continue their old habits? Some armies have been strictly prevented from exploiting civil populations while many others have fed, quartered, and enriched themselves on the locals. I suspect smugglers would tend toward more efficient administration while raiders and mercenaries would remain true to type, but either approach can be rationalized. Clearly large conventional forces need to be provided for, whether from above or below.

2. When talking about requirinig intelligence missions, bear in mind that some empires might have to get by with just one agent at a time, usually best committed to counterintelligence. Maybe in DW2 there could be an option where pirates and their bases on a planet seek to conceal their presence rather than work on extending influence over the planet.


5. It depends on the organization and political systems of an Independent world's polities and the anture ofthe threat whether they would cooperate in mutual defense. Pirate raids would be localized, and even a military conquest by an empire could be facilitated by local allies. So strong garrisons might not make much sense. The Criminal Netwrok might be the first unifying structure that an independent world has - so, against anyone else as an invader, it would make sense for it to boost local defense even if the pirates themselves are officially neutral businessmen.

15. The empire or player doesn't know who the independents truly belong to, but freighters and trade activiity should create some influence, if the participants are working towards building influence rather than just the financial bottom line. Warships intimidate, trade can subvert - both build influence.

Other:

Agree that pirate diplomacy is surprisingly limited. And missions against others are awkward to locate and set up - have to check each site to see if a mission is possible.

A protection agreement is an acommodation to the pirates and legalizes their activities, so the base development should be unimpeded and if anything cost less to complete.

Do Pirates increase corruption?

For bonus purposes, it appears that Pirate factions are mono-racial. Does that change when planets are acquired or is it fixed?

I don't credit the idea of pirates building research faciltiities - they simply pirate the research of others, or capture bases if they want them.

Selling stations to empires sounds interesting, in the event the empire wants the station or location, fighting would not be required. The prices would indeed have to be more reasonable than those offered by empires to each other.

(in reply to Nanaki)
Post #: 8
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/6/2014 11:11:05 PM   
Nanaki

 

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To emphasise my point on pirate diplomacy... at the moment there is only one possible relationship between empires and pirates, and that is the protection agreement. You cannot even set up the amount of money you ask for, it is automatically calculated based off the empire's income. Empires also tend to break them a LOT and the more powerful/aggressive empires generally will not sign them at all. An empire you do not have a protection agreement can be considered a state of war, especially since the empire will attack your facilities and bases relentlessly.

The final insult to injury is that the money you get from protection agreements is not even a whole lot. It is awesome early game for funding those initial pirate bases but once you own a colony (or three) it is chump change. I tend to play smuggler so my goal is to basically be able to smuggle without having my stations or planets attacked, but I have no way of actually getting a reliable non-agression pact with those empires.

The lack of alliances also sucks.

quote:


Do Pirates increase corruption?


Pirate bases increase corruption by 20% and Pirate fortresses increase corruption by another 10% to 30% total.

quote:


For bonus purposes, it appears that Pirate factions are mono-racial. Does that change when planets are acquired or is it fixed?


Pirate racial bonuses are both complex and broken. For the initial race pick, most racial bonuses do not function at all, only a few (ship size, intelligence agents, character probabilities) are affected at all. As a result, theres only 3 decent pirate races, Ketarov for the intelligence agents, Haakonish for intelligence agent + 15% military ship size + Colonial Administrator, and Gizurean for the immortal pirate leader that never dies.

However, pirates can get racial bonuses from assimilated races... but... this is rather extremely bugged. See my bug report thread for details.

quote:


I don't credit the idea of pirates building research faciltiities - they simply pirate the research of others, or capture bases if they want them.


I disagree, I play smuggler and I tend to do both, steal techs and research my own. But I do not have any external research bases, too much of a liability, and scientists are extremely difficult for pirates to get their hands on.

_____________________________

I ate the batter of the bulge at Hans' Haus of Luftwaffles

(in reply to Keston)
Post #: 9
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/9/2014 5:22:21 PM   
Keston


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With assault pods on almost all the ships, capturing and retiring ships is a key source of technical advances.

(in reply to Nanaki)
Post #: 10
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/9/2014 6:16:27 PM   
Nanaki

 

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I play with 960K research costs... retiring ships gives very little tech advancement for me. I also play smuggler which is discouraged from seizing ships with a 25% boarding strength malus.

< Message edited by Nanaki -- 7/9/2014 7:16:47 PM >


_____________________________

I ate the batter of the bulge at Hans' Haus of Luftwaffles

(in reply to Keston)
Post #: 11
RE: Pirate Bugs and Suggestions - 7/10/2014 4:27:01 AM   
Keston


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Your smuggling probably is a more cost-efficient strategy. I played Balanced and since smuggling missions are passive my energy was largely into fleet management and capturing ships (to warm any pirate's two hearts).

Maybe capturing is not the best long term strategy - I was not able to estimate what the relative cash and other benefits of destruction/capture and retire were with the cash balance rapidly changing due to various events. I realize there are some unresolved bugs for pirates and reconciled to the interaction with other pirates and with empires being very circumscribed for now.

Do you happen to know of collected info regarding the specific mechanics and effects of raids, capture and destruction for pirates?

(in reply to Nanaki)
Post #: 12
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