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Draco Review

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Next,

1)      ICE is gone

a.       I will miss ICE as it makes some things easier and quicker.  However it was pretty unbalancing.  It was a bit of an equalizer between colonizers and those that can’t.  On balance it is better to be gone, but I can only hope that some of what it did do to raise yields will be picked up by something else.  There were also some ground combat traits that will be missed.

 

 

2)      Research changes and good scientist boost have been reduced.

a.       I find this to be a bit of a mixed bag.  The scientists are much less valuable; over 6 scientist hits on a tech only moved the bar one slot closer to being completed.  However, with all the stuff that has been removed there are fewer choices.  I think that the removal of the random completions will be better in the long run.  As for now it is still early to see the impacts, especially with those willing to put large numbers of RC’s toward a single tech.

b.       The idea that this will make older fleets relevant longer does not pan out in my view.  Between the DMX forces and focused research the difference I see is in breadth not depth of research.  Other changes to limit empire size also have an impact on when an empire will need high level techs found in Andromeda so an emphasis to research these has been reduced.

 

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Next,

1)      Ship AP no longer provides missile defense and missile/torpedo damage has been reduced a bit

a.       This sounded very good coming from Andromeda where just about any ship worth anything is more than 8 AP.  Now ships are not routinely more than 1 AP and I think it could certainly be useful.  On balance I think the bonus should come back in part so that a ship that is 3+ AP would get some bonus, perhaps not as much as is Andromeda, but some bonus, especially considering how much tonnage has to be devoted to get a ship to 3 AP.

b.       I am not certain how much missiles and torpedo damage has been reduced, but that balancing was probably a good thing.  On the flip side, with the other changes there are many who have embraced fighters/drones so there are also just as many who have really gone heavy with CIDS which pretty much makes torpedo/missiles look like poor seconds.

 

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Next,

These next few are changes to specific orders.  I will list them all even if I don’t really have anything to say about them.

1)      ALLG

a.       Good move for the reasons given

2)      Bastions can’t be scrapped, or subsequently given non Z orders or locations changed etc.

a.       This was a great idea and I believe has really stemmed the practice of starting several positions and dropping one to be absorbed. 

b.       The Bastions are actually pretty tough and do very well as a base to build on for planet defense.  As a result I think there has been much less pressure to quickly find a position so it can be taken out.  It now requires a serious force to take out a HW.  If the news is any indication of actual events and not “Fake News” then only one has fallen thus far and that was probably a drop.  Good stuff! (original review was written prior to recent HW’s falling)

c.       The always on Zulu bit I find a bothersome. For the most part I have allies sooner or later that plan on helping defend as needed.  It is hard to defend an ally when they shoot you down instead.  So, my first order of business when it is feasible is to have my ally kill off my Bastions so I can build forts that I truly control and can tell what to do. 

d.       There seems to be a trend to limit or eliminate joint operations with allies.  If that is the purpose of the Zulu only ROE for a Bastion, then it works.  I think it is something else, but it still works to keep allies apart.

e.       I have not tried to scrap a ship from the same fleet as a Bastion, but that is all to the good as I won’t accidently scrap something and lose any fighters or drones that are also in the fleet.  Otherwise it seems simple enough to move the ship you want scrapped out to a new fleet.

3)      BOMB order is off line     

a.       This seems a permanent thing.  At this point I think it has been over 5 years since it has worked.  Might as well admit defeat and get rid of all the stuff that is now useless.  I have no idea what the issue was beyond wanting more automation.  Having used it in Andromeda it could vaporize a planet and take out pop before they could be gated away.  Without gates there doesn’t seem to be any point for Draco and the spoils can’t run away.  It does give a significant advantage to the better ground pounders as they can sit on a planet and give the finger to the massive fleets of whimps overhead.  That is a fair bit unbalancing if you asked me.

b.       One can assume that the DMX carry MDD’s for a reason and should the order be restored then it could mean more DMX action, else how could they obliterate the life forms.  This too I would be in favor of, but only if there were like targets of DMX that I could return the favor on.

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NExt,

 

1)      Changes will be made as they are needed to correct things as required

a.       I suspect that many of these changes are not visible to all.  If somebody finds a bug or a problem and it gets fixed Pete has not really been in the habit of announcing it.  Then there are some changes that do get announced for game balance purposes.  I recall a change to some weapon costs, engagement orders, CIDS function and a few other items that were changed.  All of these are to the good and I commend RTG for making the changes, for whatever reason they saw fit to make them.

b.       Along the same line I hope that more changes will be made in the future and as a specific result of this review at the 3+ year mark.  We are now in the system far enough to see how the wind is going to blow and what might still need to be fixed or tweaked.  I realize that there will always be pain when we players are already using a system, however I think most will agree that change for better game balance outweigh any minor inconvenience that may turn up.  Fortunately, RTG has demonstrated a great deal of creativity and I am sure many of the areas that I and others think should be adjusted could be done so with little negative impact on the player base, or could be done with a “new” tech that could be researched cheaply or otherwise.  In Andromeda there were a number of changes that were never fixed because they were already in use.  I hope we can get past that and make changes that need to be made.

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Next,

Getting close to the end now, only a few more to go...

 

1)      Minimum ship AP reduce to 1

a.       With engines being what they are I guess I can see that 2 AP would be too much to give away, but 1 AP is dead useless.  I don’t know any other way to say it and I can’t think of a single way to justify the need.  It just makes things slower in an already very slow universe.  This doesn’t work in my book and is not good for game play.

b.       I know a couple of players who like it, but only a few.  Even for them I am unsure if they like it or just dislike it much less than I do.  I can find no one who has said “this was a much needed change and are so glad it has finally been made.”

c.       Easy fix, probably a single entry in the database for default AP. One AP should be reserved for stuff without engines at all.

 

2)      GATK attacks everybody

a.       I don’t get it.  I have had plenty of battles with multiple parties on both sides and they worked as near as I could tell.  It makes no sense at all.  What this means is that if somebody lands on a contested world, my allied forces can’t ever kick them off without killing off each other.  I don’t get it and have never heard any reason why this is the case.  This is especially important in Draco with Imperial Reforms.  I would really like to hear why this was such a needed change, or better yet, just put it back the way it was, in both regions please.

3)      One Empire per player

a.       This seemed to work as intended and has since been lifted.  I myself play several empires and at some point I hope that they will connect, but given the challenges in long distance travel even something as close as 15-20 hops might be too far away to be of any value.  In any event this has probably worked as intended. 

4)      PAP proposals limited to No Agreement, War or total Alliance

a.       This change draws a stark line in the sand, you are either a total ally or an enemy.  I don’t think that goes with the idea of allies and trading partners.  If the intent is to foment more war then it works but that is not the only way to play and not everybody wants to be a warlord. 

This has been adjusted with the addition of Yankee.

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Next,

 

1)      ROE settings  limited to Q, R and Z

a.       Depending on your viewpoint this could work just fine, however in my view this does not work.  It has subsequently been changed to include the Yankee setting which now makes it possible for allies to roam together and still attack everything they find without attacking each other.

 

2)      Scientist research point hits reduced

a.       This was discussed above a bit, however, if the desire was to slow things down then it works.  It is very challenging to catch up if you get behind.  The scientists were a way to catch up a little bit, but really only worked really well if you were also devoting a number of RC’s to the effort.  Sometimes it pays to be lucky and it would be nice if there was a bit of random involved that would give the occasional random hit that was meaningful.  You currently need to get several hits on a tech before the bar will move.  Most likely these increases are in fractional points of research.

b.       It is nice to know that your effort to research something is not lost.  That said it would still be nice to get an occasional random hit that is well above the norm.  It would also be nice if spies could also garner some hits if they are out spying on somebody.

 

3)      SCUT order removed

a.       This order was not really used that much so it was not missed.  After 3 years we know about imperial reforms and we will likely need this order.  This is due to a hard limit on ships.  To suggest that you would need to rescue an ancient explorer just to get it to a shipyard, or a handy DMX fleet/enemy, in order to free up the ship slot seems a bit excessive.  I don’ t have any way to know if Imperial Reforms was a done deal before Draco started, but I can see a need for this order in the future.

 

4)      Installation cost reductions

a.       All of these seem to work. Some things like Advanced Cities were always really expensive to build and now are reasonable.  To that end they all work and are primarily needed for colonization.  Included in this are some changes to other installations that boosted output or use.  All very good.

b.       If the intent is for just about any lifeform to be able to colonize, at least marginally on any planet excluding a GG, then this goes a long ways towards that but still leaves a significant number of planets out of reach for many if not most lifeforms.  If you find yourself in the middle then you can get to most with what we know.  I would hope that there are still more installations that improve upon the installations we know about though.  It would be a shame if most all the “good” stuff has already been reached with 3rd or 4th generation planetary science and engineering.  This would mean stuff beyond that found in Andromeda since there is little of value on the high end in Andromeda.

 

5)      Slot 1 capped at 2nd Level (now raised to level 3)

a.       I think this was a great leveler and should have been maintained forever.  However, we all like the Santa points and that is a way to make course corrections.  The down side is that it eliminates the advantage that you might have gotten by early planning, saving, sacrifice or dumb luck. 

 

6)      NPC’s will act more like players. 

a.       One assumes this is referring to the DMX.  This has been discussed above, but if this refers to other yet discovered NPC’s then they have not been found as far as I know.  I really like the idea of the DMX moving around with some sort of purpose.  I am also pretty sure it is not in the RTG business model to have the DMX forces wipe out the players.  So, they make life interesting, they prune back weak explorers and otherwise force players to defend themselves.  In Andromeda I am aware of players that even after 15 years have not really had to build a war ship.  This changes that and provides even the most non-aggressive types an opportunity to test designs.

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Next,

1)      Planetary resources improved

a.       I am aware that a number of players contributed comments on this change to RTG prior to the start of Draco and there has been some speculation on the outcomes.  The observed results of the changes made seem to be primarily in two areas; asteroid fields now are much more likely to have very good (1000+ range) iron,  light metal and crystal yields while overall yields on HW’s seem to have been raised a bit.  In addition to this it has been observed that the lower end of the yields seem to be higher with a lot less of those yields in the single digits that I found so common in Andromeda.

b.       It may be that there has been other changes to which we can’t see well from our vantage point.  I will say that in Andromeda, with ICE available, I was never really too worried about how high the yield was since it would grow.  The most important thing was to have the yield in the first place.  This is all to the good in my view.

c.       While we are all extremely grateful for the changes that have been made I don’t think they have gone nearly far enough.  The way it sits now you just look for the asteroids and go there.  If you are a hot based lifeform, too bad, you may never get there.  This is great for iron and crystals, but there isn’t much else there.  After a lot of planet scans and GEO’s I can’t say that I have seen a single hot planet that would rival an asteroid for resources or a single terrestrial planet with awesome lumber yields.  It will likely be said that they are out there and they probably are, but in three years with my own positions and that of friends and neighbors to glean data from they are yet to turn up.  This seems to be an oversight and could be fixed.

d.       Each empire will need resources to grow and there are really only a couple of ways to get more resources and mining colonies are one of them.  Mining colonies are good for a bunch of reasons and high yields will entice players to go to the effort to get them.  Then the enemies will try and take them away.  All this gives reason to continue to explore planets and is good for the bottom line.  There comes a point where it is just not worth going to the effort to colonize a planet several hops away in a universe where average ship speed is between 1 & 2 AP.  To make it worth our while the reward has to be worth it.  For me a yield of 400 more than 1 away is not worth it for most things, maybe for shenn stones if I have no other option.  If I look further the yield has to go up to entice me.  Others may have different thresholds but we all have a limit.  So, yields still need a shot in the arm in my view.

e.        From a long term look at empire management I offer the following view.  A starting empire has an industrial power of about 100M give or take.  At this level you can mine just about everything in your home system and not be close to having too much or even enough of the stuff you use most.  This encourages colonization and more mining.  As time goes on your industrial base will grow much faster than your mines, so even high values such as 1800 are very small for an industrial base of the growing empire.  Starting yields do appear to be a bit higher, but they could be increased by a factor of 10 and still not be near enough to support growing empires.  We will never have enough resources.  That is probably part of the plan to keep empires small.  Is it a good thing, I don’t think so.  I think it would be better to look and find planets of good yields and not just asteroids.  These will then become important, worth protecting, worth fighting over and valuable in their own right.  I will also add that huge planets or super dense planets should have huge yields.  It makes no sens that a planet with diameter 165000 has less stuff than a planet with diameter 2354.  There should be planets with yields in the many thousands.

f.        Changes can be made even now.  I am sure Pete could tell you if a planet has ever been surveyed or not and even if he can’t, I would be willing to send fleets to do it again if there was a chance yields could have been increased by a factor of 10.  At this point it would then be a race to get the colonists in place to take advantage of the find.  Would this be a good thing, certainly and it would be really fun and exciting, as long as it was spread around and not just on the asteroids so all could participate.

 

 

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And the final batch... Hurray!!!!!

1)      Stable Wormhole Construction removed

a.       This seemed like a good thing to prevent players running all over the place.  It has worked in that regard as is probably a good thing and not likely to change.  However, it could also make a universe of very slow ships more playable.  I think they are a bit of a pain to build, setup, maintain and to use but they do work.

 

2)      System Beacons don’t stop unless destroyed. (update, new tech destroys beacons if you don't want them)

a.       This is excellent.

b.       They are still very underwhelming.  I would suggest that they provide a fleet sighting or at least notification that something has come by at a minimum.  Given the nature of movement it is challenging to actually “patrol”, mostly you park and wait to be run over.  That is not fun.  Beacons that report back that an intruder has passed should be the norm.  Currently they are not of much use.

c.       I would also find them marginally better if tailored messages could be used and changes as needed.

 

3)      Various changes to galaxy resource allocation

a.       There is likely much more here than meets the eye as this is behind the scenes stuff and I have offered my opinion above.  I would like to add that it would be better in my view if some stuff was predictable.  Really large planets with high gravity should have higher yields of metals and heavy stuff.  It never has made sense to me that a heavy gravity world with a size of 180,000 has less iron than a moon in the same system that is 3400 size and virtually no gravity.  In the same vain other sensible stuff should apply rather more than what appears to be a random generation on many occasions.  Not always of course, or everybody would just make a beeline for planet X, but there should be exceptional planets.

 

4)      Change to tech prerequisites and output

a.       This is all to the good.  The tech tree needed some new twists so the veterans from Andromeda don’t have all the answers.  Some of the new techs are awesome and the changes of most everything I have seen are good.  Could there be more?  I hope so, but I am sure the intent was not to reinvent the tech aspect, just nudge it.

b.       I am still looking for the energy sapper creature knowledge….  It never showed up in Andromeda.  Will it turn up in Draco?

c.       The change to standard, improved and advanced materials is good.  It hurts a fair bit more to build advanced materials but it is a nice hurt.  It is also nice to have some other basic stuff cost less.

 

 

5)      Other stuff not mentioned

a.       This area is hard to gauge since we just don’t know.  I hope it is working as expected and desired but who knows.  So far the new tech I have encountered seems good. 

b.       There are plenty of things we won’t know about for a long while yet.  I hope that when we get there they work as expected.  If they don’t I hope they get a fix.

 

This is pretty much everything that is new or different in Draco.  On the whole many of the changes are good.  In the other column are some of the changes that are not good or are turning out to have collateral issues in my view.  Your opinions will certainly vary, however if/when we reach a consensus on an issue it is my hope that a change can be made and that RTG will be receptive to this review.  At the end of the day it is their game and we will just choose to pay to play or not.

 

That's it.  Hope you enjoyed it or that my opinions really make you mad.  

 

:cheers:

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That was a good read Hobknob. 
there was one item I’d like to see eventually as well. It’s listed on everyone’s starting RTD but in all my years of playing have never seen one much like that energy sapper creature. Has anyone ever seen a ‘Special Religious’. Apparently it’s a type of ground unit which would fit right in with The Fremen Hordes. 😈

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I have never seen one. In andromeda my armies number in the 100's of thousands and millions of divisions and I hve had loads of religious zealots involved but never has a special religious ever shown up.

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  Returning to the Production/Strip Mine idea above:

 

  The file is something I did a bunch of years back for Andromeda.  Comparing the Resource Returns with a "static" amount of Pop.  And varying the number of Extractors and Strip Mines Used.

 

  Explanation:

  Green Cells -- data that is variable based on your Empires.  It assumes there is an efficiency modifier for both Industrial Complexes and Strip Mines

  Yellow Cells -- The Resource Potential you wish to see the returns on

  Everything else is computed. 

  As loaded the file shows the returns of a Resource with a 500 Potential.  2500 Pop gets the maximum return on the Resource.  The Return Per Pop is 250 (half the Potential).  The Return for RAW is 20 Per Pop, but requires investing 5 Pops to achieve that return (Industrial Capacity of 250 -- base no improvements, Strip Mine Production of 1000, means 5 Pops to get 100 of any Resource.  Ergo 20 Resource Per Pop).

  That will be our static Pop Level.  The table shows as we reduce the number of Extractors (in groups of 5), what the return will be for Strip Mine/Industrial Complex Groups and Improved Strip Mine/Improved Industrial Complex Groups.  The far right columns (in gray) show the totals.  The columns in between show Production/Pop (Extractors only), Total RAW Production for both Strip Mines and Improved Strip Mines and the Production/Pop (Extractors, plus RAW).

  The table shows the best production is a combination of both Extractors and RAW Producers, with the most efficient returns highlighted.  Obviously this is all of one type or the other of RAW Production, and does not model a combination -- I leave that as an exercise for other, smarter minds.  What it does show is the cut off point where its more efficient to use RAW Production rather then pore more Pops into Extractor Production.

  This also got me to thinking about the best use of a whole system.  My conclusion is that rather then pore Pop into a planet to get the Max Production for a particular Potential; is is more efficient to determine the Max Production/Pop for the highest rated Potential for each Resource; either System wide or Empire wide.  Then only exploit those Resources that can achieve that return at what ever level, and ignore the rest.

  Here are a few other interesting levels:

  Using half the Max Pop returns 75% of the Max Production (two planets with the same Potential can thus return 1.5 the Production of just one planet that is max'd out, with the same Pop investment).

  One Third the Pop returns 50% of Max Production

 

  Thoughts?

 

 

ProductionStudy.xlsx

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ThisProductionStudy.xlsx resource seems unavailable. I would say that you are correct their are mathematical formulas that give the best bang for the buck. There are people that slice it down to the resource and pop point. There are minimum amounts of pop they will drop. Luckily, everything in the game is dependent on your play style and your knowledge resource base. 

My inefficient method is to add every pop possible to a planet. I also mine every resource even coal. I then begin to drop colonist for industrial complexes to refine material before it goes back to my home planet. 

I commend anyone who is more efficient in the game. However, I will still be colonizing my home system for years to come. 

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On 2/19/2020 at 3:39 PM, hobknob said:

Next,

1)      Planetary resources improved

a.       I am aware that a number of players contributed comments on this change to RTG prior to the start of Draco and there has been some speculation on the outcomes.  The observed results of the changes made seem to be primarily in two areas; asteroid fields now are much more likely to have very good (1000+ range) iron,  light metal and crystal yields while overall yields on HW’s seem to have been raised a bit.  In addition to this it has been observed that the lower end of the yields seem to be higher with a lot less of those yields in the single digits that I found so common in Andromeda.

 I also approve of enhanced yields on asteroid fields but......

By its very nature an asteroid field cannot support the Population a planet can support.  A moon should not have the Pop capacity than a planet etc... I advocate some form of population capacity limit based on a planetary bodies diameter.

I feel if Asteroids are to be mined there should be a Pop Capacity of 100 max and a tech tree opened up to develop and build asteroid mining machines.

Assuming that isn’t practical for the powers that be, then shouldn’t an asteroid at least require subterranean cities instead of the cheap and ineffective Domed Cities? Is an asteroid field really the place for an exposed domed city?  The extra cost of building cities inside the rocks is at least some effort to make asteroid mining more expensive than a planet and be some form of economic population control.

BTW is there ever a reason to use subterranean cities instead of domed cities.  Why pay the extra price?

 

 

 

 

 

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 Subterranean cities reduce losses more that dome cities depending on the situation. Two of my empires in Draco have max growth and I have noticed limits to growth even with medical centers etc. One grows 2/3 faster than the other one.  I am reaching the max use of my industrial centers and need higher tech industrial centers in my first empire in Draco. I no longer need raw resources which just keep stacking. I am seeing that there is a limit to how much you can grow versus how much you can mine. A asteroid takes lots of pop and reduces your industrial base to use those materials. 

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All city types are stack-able so you may need all of them to offset attrition.  I should also add that they are much cheaper in Draco so are much easier to use.  

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