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Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/20/2015 9:13:15 PM   
MegaGrubby

 

Posts: 19
Joined: 1/20/2015
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Got about 80 hours of DW:U under my belt. Enjoying it but also getting frustrated. Taking into consideration the age of the game, I am assuming it's working as designed (or...is not going to be patched). That said, I also heard rumor they may be working on a DW2. Finally, the game has a massive interface and it could be that I am doing things completely wrong.

So...here are my topics. I can break them into separate threads if it improves the discussion.
* Empire Settings seem to be "guidelines" more than they are settings. For example:
- I turn off the "harass enemies with attacks of opportunity" option but my fleets continue to harass my neighbors. No War. Just "furious" neighbors. I spend a lot of time getting my fleets out of neighboring territory. This portion of the AI has ruined my "respectable" reputation multiple times.
- I set the minimum number of troop units per colony to 5 and many colonies have way less troops (most have 1, 2 or 3)
- "War & Attacks" is set to suggest attack targets but my fleets are running around attacking tons of things I have not approved or set myself.
* I saw an older post about Fleet Posture. I thought, "wonderful". I tried it and the DW AI overrode my posture settings in about 15 seconds. My impression, which may be wrong, is the AI/automation is supposed to obey the settings. My experience is that it does whatever it wants. If it's working as designed, settings along the bottom of the selection panel should be disabled if (A)utomate Ship is selected. When empires get large, I do not want to manage 50-80 fleets but it seems it's that or let the AI run the show. Right now I play in a hybrid of the 2 and it's not working very well.
* Fleet AI is crazy. They fly 1/3 the distance of the galaxy to refuel. They choose to attack targets far away while passing enemy fleets that are attacking local targets. I'd prefer they work in smaller zones (because fuel, repairs and targets are all nearby). Again, looks like I need to go completely manual in times of war.
* Choosing to "Refuel and Repair Fleet" from the Selection Panel often causes ships to get dropped from the fleet as the first step in executing the command. I've seen 15 ship fleets become 3 ship fleets because of this.
* It seems much easier to play combative/aggressive than peaceful/friendly (because of items I've listed above). There does not seem to be much penalty for having an evil reputation. Evil empires can still group up and terrorize the galaxy. The most successful (or previously successful) empires in my galaxy were all, to some degree, evil.

Suggestions:
* Have each window remember it's last "state". It's very clunky to spend time scrolling through windows you just scrolled through.
* If something is in the selection pane and you open a window that is relevant to the selected item, automatically select it in the window. e.g. if you have a troop ship selected and you open the ships window, automatically select that troop ship in the ships window
* For each ship type, create an "always join a fleet" option. I see no reason troop ships should be flying around alone.
* For many of the pop up suggestions, create a "don't suggest this action against this empire again". For instance, I am not ever cancelling trade of Korabbian Spice and Zentabia Fluid with the Ikkuro Dominion. They are my only hope at surviving this game.
* Allow the UI to be modded. It's how you are supposed to code anyhow (visual layer separate from the "business" layer).

Finally, I've been streaming much of my latest game. If you want to see anything I can try and locate a highlight for you. If you want to join me on stream and fix what I'm doing wrong that would also help. Or just type below...

Post #: 1
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/20/2015 10:21:27 PM   
Bingeling

 

Posts: 4969
Joined: 8/12/2010
Status: online
Some replies...

You seem to fight automation quite a bit.

I don't automate my fleets, but I am surprised at your harassment. I have seen the diplomatic AI suggest doing this, is diplomacy automated? Did you approve it? I would figure the empire policy would be whether the diplomatic AI would use harassment, but I have never tested it.

5 troops per colony is a lot, depending on how many (and how rich) colonies you got. For a rich colony 5 is not a lot, but for most colony it is way more than what is sensible. It is very possible that the AI disbands troop to save money. Also, troops on ships should not be disbanded (at least not if the fleet is on manual), so if you in addition have a lot of troops in fleets it could be a high need to save some maintenance.

Fleets will act according to their posture setting. The AI messing with postures is some automation somewhere (war and attacks? Fleet formation? You seem to have automated fleet formation)

If a fleet travels a long distance to refuel, it is because there is not enough fuel closer to that. Or it is a bug :) A very large fleet require a lot of fuel at its fuel destination (enough to fill all tanks from zero to full). A gas mine will typically not have enough, even if it could cover the actual fuel need. You could manually deploy resupply ships in the areas where your fleets should operate, they will give a refuel point.

For some of your automation woes I can not comment, due to lack of automation experience with military ships and fleets. When watching the AI on fully automated, fleet management clearly shows some room for improvement.

Reputation is a modifier in diplomacy. You can see the effects there. If you have lots of trade, good past dealings, and such, it may not be very significant. Also, if you are very powerful, it is unlikely the AI will declare war on you even if they hate you. As for previous successful empires being evil, I would say they were not that successful or they would not be "previous". If previous in the same game, that is. Conquest is "evil", so any big empire is likely to struggle with reputation. The way to improve reputation is to kill pirates, and the human player may be quite good at that.

As for the suggestions: I would not put troop transports in "normal" fleets, which is where the AI puts them. They just end up killed. They are better at entering once the main battle is over. Single, automated, troop transports are good at travelling around and load troops until full, at which point they will sit idle. As long as no enemy arrive in the system they ended up in, they wait around until assigned to a fleet again.

"Don't suggest this again" could be handy indeed. I usually have diplomacy on suggest, and I get quite good at ignoring the entries on that top right list. You don't have to click them unless you plan to accept the suggestion.

The UI could be improved, but that is not for a patch of this game. Of course, something minor could happen, but no mods for UI behavior. In a successor? Anything can happen, but I would be surprised if UI will be fully mod-able.

I don't find manual fleets that bad, but I see some that use postures to keep control of the "rear parts" of the empire in later game. My games are played with no storylines and end when I feel that I have won, which is before the need for a high number of fleets arises. And if attack warnings from pirate actions are lost during the spam of war, I find it refreshing. Not being able to pay attention to every little thing at all times seems the right way to play for me.

(in reply to MegaGrubby)
Post #: 2
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/21/2015 12:25:10 AM   
MegaGrubby

 

Posts: 19
Joined: 1/20/2015
Status: offline
Oh FFS...this forum is frustrating. I had a link to my posture problems and it wiped my whole response.

Take Two...

Thanks for responding so quickly! Here are some responses to your feedback/suggestions...

Diplomacy is set to "suggest". I was neutral w/ all empires my fleets were harassing (no negative or positive policies in place). We were "furious" with them. I had the settings set as defensively as I could get them.

I most frequently lose planets via ground invasion. And I get no warning before the invasion. I go crazy when there are 1.5 billion inhabitants and 60k defenders. The enemy often invades w/ 500k-700k. I see no other possible defense. Also, why have the setting if it is not enforced?

I tried setting all the postures and the AI changed it all. I'm pretty sure the game works different than when the posture post was written. I don't see any settings that should be making the AI override posturing. I have a highlight up on twitch (which it won't let me link). Channel name is MegaGrubby and there are only 2 highlights.

re: refuel...I select the fleet, choose refuel at closest and turn on automation. Seems to work fine. AI needs to learn to wait (or take into account travel time). I saw no settings that let me change refueling behavior.

My reputation was ruined by uncontrollable and unapproved AI harassing. It was like herding cats and something of a mini-game.

Many of my solo troop transports are not carrying troops (and I already posted about the AI not creating enough troops). It is tedious to manually load up all the troop transports.

I can create video/stream highlights for any of my problems if they would better show my challenges.

< Message edited by MegaGrubby -- 1/21/2015 6:55:27 AM >

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 3
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/21/2015 7:56:08 AM   
Bingeling

 

Posts: 4969
Joined: 8/12/2010
Status: online
I think you need 10 posts or something like that to post links. It is spam prevention, I guess. You can probably obfuscate a link a bit, but your twitch stuff is not hard to find.

As for not enforcing troop amounts, the automatic troop recruiter should try to avoid sending the empire into bankruptcy. It is hard to say if this is the problem without seeing the economy stats (and this won't show the reasoning of the AI either).

Defense against ground invasion? Realize that only the large population high quality planets are really important for your economy. Protect these. A number of troops on ground, space defenses, defensive fleet. The AI will usually (or always) attack among the colonies close to their area. The attack will usually come from their larger colonies (or possibly a gas mine or resupply ship). You can have a decent garrison on your important colonies, a good fleet as protection, space port and defensive bases. If you line up a long range scanner on the approach from your enemy, you should be warned about attacks crossing its path. If your colonies are close and you got the long range scanner, a fast jumping fleet (quick windup time) could potentially protect multiple colonies.

The above does probably not work all that well with automated fleets :)

Another way to win the war, is to just protect the key ones, and invade the small stuff faster than your enemy.

Automating fleet formation should also automate postures.

No, the AI does not seem clever with refueling. All your enemies are AI, and you can keep this in mind during war.

An automated troop transport will load troops as long as there are some to load. Garrisoned troops will not be loaded. Do you have available troops? Is the transport automated and not full? It should not sit idle for long if that is the case.

When I play, I can automate a lot of stuff but will have no automated military ships or fleets. Postures defensive and minimum range to avoid them taking off with an idea of their own. The only non-fleeted military ships will be resupply ships and automated troop transports that are loading (or have loaded) troops. Not losing anything during war can be very hard to achieve, not losing anything of decent value can require some micro management. The key to stop proper attack is to have a decent garrison, and a fleet present that focuses on shooting down troop transports. A fleet won't come up with the idea to focus on troop transports on its own.

(in reply to MegaGrubby)
Post #: 4
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/22/2015 12:45:49 AM   
MegaGrubby

 

Posts: 19
Joined: 1/20/2015
Status: offline
During peace, the cash situation has been pretty good and at times I sat on as much as 500k cash. Yes, most of my troops are garrisoned (by the AI). I have a ton of empty transports and they're all automated (I only seize control when a need arises and not for long usually). Seizing planets via troop invasion is way too easy and hard to defend against. Even my largest planets only have 60k troops on them (volume selected by the AI). Invading forces are way larger (and I know the population will provide some troops). I think you were saying that if I make the garrison too large the AI will trim it down anyhow...

Games will be much longer with fully manual fleets. Not really the style I wanted to play.

The manual should be updated to better describe the fact that many settings are guidelines instead of hard and fast rules.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 5
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/22/2015 8:23:44 AM   
Bingeling

 

Posts: 4969
Joined: 8/12/2010
Status: online
When balancing the economy the AI looks at cashflow, not so much cash on hands. Once in a while it will build ships if there is excess cash.

So you could have 500k on hand, -10K cashflow that means nothing due to bonus income being higher, and the AI would still feel a need to be careful since you are "in the red".

I am not fluent in troop strength, but higher strength troops help. Recruit from the stronger races you have available, since the cost is the same. Upgrade troop tech. And if you are in the "same ballpark" as an attacker, things like defensive structures and space control can be what decides the outcome. If the battle is not very uneven, you may also have time to unload troops from nearby troop transports.

(in reply to MegaGrubby)
Post #: 6
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/23/2015 4:28:57 PM   
MegaGrubby

 

Posts: 19
Joined: 1/20/2015
Status: offline
Biggest surprise in this game is that the AI is always first unless it's off. From reviews, I got the impression that you could balance between what you wanted and what you wanted to let the AI manage. Instead, it's more of what AI allows you to do and the rules are hidden away. I can see this frustrating a lot of people considering that in most other games, if you set it, it happens.

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 7
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 1/29/2015 2:38:48 PM   
Efaferal

 

Posts: 45
Joined: 6/4/2014
Status: offline
I generally play the game as 'Grand Strategy' so I tend to automate about 80% of fleet operations - mainly defensive, repairs etc. and I never see the AI change postures when the Automate Fleet Formation is off. The 'Harass' settings only apply to nations at war or when you have a particularly low relationship score with them or their reputation is very low. Simply being in the neighbors territory is not considered 'Harrassment' by the ship control AI.

The key to fleets/AI is keeping their Area Of Operations to a minimum and making sure you have local refuel points.

Rule 0 - Turn off Automatic Fleet formation. For whatever reason if I leave this on I find that my other automation choices can be overridden by the AI at any time, but most likely at the worst possible moment.

Other tips
1) ALLWAYS have a home base assigned.
2) NEVER set area of operations to 'Anywhere'
3) Avoid troop carriers in with combat ships, but can actually be interesting if you have lots of boarding pods ( station grabbing )
4) Avoid letting the AI auto retrofit ships. ( just overloads your bases and often pulls ships off defensive duty ) Remember that after assigning the fleet to retrofit turn the auto setting back on and a defensive fleet will return to station once the retrofit is complete, Offensive fleets may require the target setting to be restored.
5) The AI rarely respects borders - it especially likes to refuel at other nation's bases - so you have to work hard to keep the Blue circles out of enemy territory, unless you don't care what they think.
6 ) Don't set any fleets to offensive until you have a conflict, and when you do make sure they have targets set so they don't wander around aimlessly.
7 ) I form a few 3-5 ship escort fleets set to defensive with sector coverage and base them at border mining stations and they tend to chase down organics and pirates and cause diplomatic problems, but it pretty much guarantees an early warning on impending invasions and allows for a swift counter attack which will draw the invasion forces back home.
8 ) The best way to hold planets is to build defensive platforms/bases and have ships ready to intercept. If you have a key planet park a lot of firepower on it and set range to System or Target and the AI will go elsewhere. Garrisoning enough troops to stop invasion is usually cost prohibitive.
9 ) when operations are critical, I.E in the middle of a conflict, always manually refuel your ships. The AI often has difficulty realizing when a station has enough to refuel the fleet.
10) Put resupply ships with escorts in their own fleet and always set to defensive and range to target only otherwise hilarity will ensue.

The AI is a terrible attacker so I perform all invasion and base clearing operations manually in order to avoid triggering the auto-refuel trigger. But if you must attack using AI, just remember to keep assigning targets to the fleets ( When I assign a strike force to attack a colony and set range to System, the AI realizes it can't successfully invade so it then starts attacking bases ... sometimes. It usually just impales itself on the colony defenses first, retreats then chooses other targets ) . A fleet on offensive without a target will go rogue pretty fast.




(in reply to MegaGrubby)
Post #: 8
RE: Let's Discuss DW:U - 2/1/2015 4:01:07 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

Posts: 194
Joined: 9/2/2014
Status: offline
What is this "automation" that you speak of?

(in reply to Efaferal)
Post #: 9
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