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Greetings,

Draco is now coming up on three years old and I thought a review was in order.

 

The first turn of Draconis ran on September 17, 2015 and we have now run approximately 90+ turns more or less since the start.  You can do the math.

At this point I want to take a look at the way the game has gone thus far or at least from my view. In addition, I want to take a look at the specific changes from Andromeda and if they have had the desired effect from a player perspective.  First off I will just go through the flyer announcing the game start and the changes that would be implemented, discussing the pro’s and cons as I see it.

These opinions are primarily my own however, they also reflect many of the players I have associated with and communicated with in game. Others may have differing views.

The goal of this exercise is to determine if there is anything that needs to be changed or adjusted and I hope that RTG will take the comments and suggestions that are sure to come in that light.  As the playing community we are the ones who need to derive enough enjoyment out of the system to continue to support it.  Doing so continues our participation, failing to do so will see a decline in participation.

Some of my opinions will be influenced by my experience in Andromeda.  As of this writing I am still running a couple of positions in the region and have done so since the start some 15+? years now.  With those positions, both huge and ancient, it affords me a unique perspective of how empires will grow and develop.

I have a broken down my review into a number of topics and will post them one at a time here on the board in coming days,

 

Stay tuned.

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An obvious place to start is something completely new that was added to Draco and that is the Death Machines.

 

1)      Draco is more dangerous and has death machines, DMX forces.

a.       In my view this probably one of the best additions to the region.  They are everywhere and they are a pain.  Almost any player will have a target to beat up on without it being another player and some really like that as they are really nice guys and would prefer to be friendly to anybody they run into.

b.       They seem to be tough enough at first and certainly help to trim the number of explorers. I can speak from personal experience about losing explorers, scientist and even Emperors to them.

c.       While they seem to be tough enough at first they also seem to be like navigation hazards, once you know where they are you just avoid them.  They seem to move once in a while but I would really like to see them move more. 

d.       DMX ship design is what it is, but it lacks in variety.  It would be nice if there was more variation with some being heavily defended with DEF systems and less offence, and not all CIDS, and others with a wider variety of offense and defensive systems etc, etc,.

e.       Recently the nature of encounters increased and the DMX force jumped from a Heavy Cruiser to a Battleship.  This was a bit surprising and unexpected.  One would assume a more gradual increase in numbers and sizes of ships rather than jumping from 400k to 3M +.  If this sort of trend continues then DMX forces may be something more than a navigational hazard in the future.

f. One downside or unknown is what if any spoils are to be had for the effort of defeating the dreaded DMX forces.  It does take serious effort to kill off a large DMX force and there should be something in return beyond eliminating the DMX ships.  With a player one would expect booty in the form of pop, goods, colonies and the enemy HW.  If there is nothing programmed with the DMX than perhaps there should be such as captured ships, stockpiles if they have a pop group or a tech bump on the "alien" tech.

 

On the whole, the DMX forces seem to be working to liven up the universe and make it a much more dangerous/interesting place.  I would place this in the successful category.

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1a - I agree that this was a welcome addition to Draco. The neutral pop groups in Andro were not well developed and usually not worth it. The DMX forces make things a lot dicier for unarmed and defenseless ships like most scouts.

1b - I have lost ships to them and am working on building armed scout ships. The only drawback is those 'scouts' are now limited to 1 AP since I need a fair amount of tonnage for weapons and armor/shields.

1c - This might be an earlier setting since they were 'asleep' and player actions are waking them up. Pete did say that since a mother fleet was recently destroyed, the others would take that into account so future engagements will probably be tougher.

1d - They do lack in variety but I think that has more to do with saving Pete time in creating them and getting them out there. This might change now that the DMX is rousing from a deep slumber.

1e - BBs existed earlier than the recent changes. Probably a change in their aggressiveness since we upstart meatbags are starting to fight back and they are responding. If big jumps like this are going to be typical then I agree they could become a major nuisance.

1f - I agree that there should be more rewards than just eliminating the nuisance of a mother fleet pumping out DMX warships. In Andro, Pete hinted that ships could be captured but I haven't heard of anybody that has captured a ship. The DMX forces do have some interesting ship components that I would love to get my hands on. I suspect the mother ships are the DMX versions of Pop Groups and their mining shuttles are their mines. I would love to have their shipyard tech.

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Next on the list 

2)      Lack of Neutrals

The idea the DMX have exterminated all the neutrals doesn’t work for me.  There should still be neutrals.  They were never worth anything EVER except to develop the pop group into a viable colony.  In that regard they could be very important to a poor colonizer or somebody on an extreme end of the temp scale.  I think this should be changed, at least for the newer parts of the universe if that is the best that can be done.

This should also be considered a money maker for RTG as without neutrals there is much less incentive to scan planets looking for them.  More scans is more orders and more orders should be better for the bottom line as well as for play-ability.

Edited by hobknob

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I agree with this point on Neutrals. I want the galaxy to be full of life, some players, some NPCs. Some planets should even be pre-NPC and have flora and fauna you can choose to leave alone, harvest, or tame (botany, zoology, etc.). The galaxy in the early game is more empty than I would like. The first 1-1.5 years of the game should be players actively interacting with NPCs of various types, not just Death Machines. NPCs could also act in the early game as a way for players to prepare for player contact and possible conflict, experimenting on a smaller scale with lower risks. Let new players experiment with concepts of trading and conflict with NPCs before they start to encounter player empires.

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I'm on the fence about Neutrals. In Andro, the only really good thing was the colonizing effort mentioned by HobKnob. But any halfway decent race design coupled with installations can colonize just about anything anyway so that's not a really big reason for me. My guess is that the DMX replaced the Andro Neutrals. And if Neutrals did exist, once the DMX found them they would nuke them since they are squishy fleshlings. It would be a race against the DMX to find these Neutrals, DIP them into your empire, and protect them enough from predation from the DMX and fellow players. I'm not missing the Andro Neutrals in Draco. Yes, it could mean more orders by players but I'm not sure if that's a serious enough bump in the order count. Once I get to systems x jumps from my homesystem, I don't really do a lot of planetary scans. This is due to having enough orbits across multiple systems that I can colonize eventually. With the loss of UGs, WHGs, and the 8 AP cap, moving population is painfully slow. But that's another discussion.

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Time for another one.  

 

1)      Start with Robotic Shipyards

a.       This is great but is a two edge sword.  Ships cost more in Draco due to many factors so bigger ships cost more.  Building the minimum sized ship to picket a wp and be a target wastes a tremendous amount of resources.  I would rather be losing 12k ton pathfinders to DMX forces rather than 25k ships.  On the other hand it is one less thing to research and it reduces the number of really small targets by some amount, possibly large.  Along with this I would like to have seen the ship categories adjusted so that a Corvette was up to say 125k and everything else bumped up a lot.  A BB should be 10M or more in my view.  This is just an aesthetic thing and has no real game impact but would be nicer to see IMHO. 

b.       Also while I am here I have noticed that too many designs default to Auxiliary due to % of mass devoted to engines or some component.  This isn’t awesome or useful in my view.  I like to play with different ship classes but by the time you get to a ship big enough to have a few weapons and a bit of armor and still go 2 AP you are up to 300-400k tons and have passed a large number of ship classifications.  Again, this has no impact on playability and is primarily a gripe after years of everything being a Nova Dreadnaught in Andromeda.  I think the size classes need some real inflation so when you show up with a BB it is something to be impressed by.   

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1a - The minimum size limit was implented, at least partially, to limit the size of screens since that was a major problem in the first part of Andro. I think RTG wants us to go with fewer bigger ships rather than swarms of small ships (numbered in the 10s of thousands for some). Especially since each ship had a separate DB entry. You are partially right about ship costs in Draco. For ships with ingredients using normal level items, they are actually cheaper than in Andro. If they are using improved level items, then they are the same cost as Andro. And if using ingredients at the advanced level, then they are more costly than Andro. I do agree with that the ship categories tonnage ranges can be increased significantly.

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Next...

1)      NWTX Planet Cracker removed

a.       So many things are being removed that help an empire feed itself and grow.  This one is quite complicated and should be reinstated.  There is little way to abuse the system with this and all you get out of it is an asteroid field with yields in the 5000 range (Andromeda numbers here) and even then a good number of them wind up with high radiation and harder to colonize afterward.  I would push for this coming back, but if all MDD’s go with the BOMB order then it might need a new tech path. Can’t think of any reason it was removed except to limit empire growth.  Three years in and I have to say that is not a good reason from my view.

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Next...

1)      Rankings in various categories appear from time to time. 

a.       These are great when we get them.  However if you aren’t one of the oldest positions it does not seem likely that you get them.  Also, if you aren’t on the list you don’t even know there is a list to be on.  This will only get worse as time goes, positions get older and bigger and more new positions are started.

b.       I love them.  However, I think some of the information should be made public.  We need bragging rights and we need to get some info on our neighbors.  This could be one of the ways to get some additional info.  None of the details are actionable, but knowing someone colonizes a lot or shoots at every DMX will mean something to a neighbor.  In addition, I think it would be nice to list the top 50 or so of each category so that you know on turn X you are ranked 45th and on turn x+5 you are ranked 43rd and now know that you have risen on the scale.  This seems like it would be much better than just a statement that “your empire attacks the DMX at every opportunity”.

c. I also like the idea that you get something for being top in any category, similar to the original supernova where you got planet scan or something if you were a top worshipper of "Yamal the Lawgiver".  In this case it could be something like a research bump, mining bump, boost to LC chances etc. etc.

 

 

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Sure why make thing easy for people it should be hard a even playing field all the way around . Since you want them you might as will put ice back in and unvers gate or what it would make it just like andor and that what it not to surposed to be

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