A Combat Overhaul Essay.

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

V-Metamorph

Colonel
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Feb 7, 2019
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Introduction and Disclaimers

Lately i've seen a recurrent topic on the forum, things like "Ships outdated", "Combat system improvement" or "Crisis is too easy".
Those questions are delicate, and it's not rare that those topic get out of control, thus I wanted to give a try, with compelling and efficient Arguments I hope, on how we could improve current Combat system. I toke the liberty to not put this the Suggestion (it's a sub-forum, if you asked yourselves what it was you'll understand why I made this disclaimer), as I feel those kind of post must be seen by the maximum amount of people, including potential modders, although I doubt modders could achieve to the same degree the ideas below.

Also please for the love of Steve have an open minded stance on what you're about to read, do not take everything I say for the absolute truth, tweaks and little change here and there are bound to happen, just get the general message.


( English isn't my main language... So prepare yourselves.)

When it comes down to current Combat system, I think it's "meh", the main reason is because of how one dimensionnal it is. You make corvets, you attack, you win/loose, you unlocked Destroyers?
Slap some Medium Destroyers in what you already have and you do you. Cruisers now? Go ahead.
Battleship? Of course you make them. There is a problem tho, once you unlock the new hull, you have no reason to build the older ones ever again, and there is 99% of the time no reason to use different layout (Like when you have L Battleship, why bother with anything else save for PD/scoutwing?), with the exception of "Torpvets", the missile variant of corvets. To quote a friend, current late game looks like a rock-paper-scissors, with Corvets countering Battleship, Battleship countering Cruisers, and Cruisers countering Corvets and Destroyers being a meme Psionic niche (which is the only real entertaining interaction in current combat stellaris). Not only that, but this statement has a flaw, most players do not even think Cruisers are good (which is wrong btw, they're quite efficient against corvets, but only early/mid game), and they're right when it comes down to late game (way too weak to L battleship), so it's not really Rock-Paper-scissors but rather Rock-paper-scissors"that dull over time and rocks are turning into avalanche".
Furthermore, the "meta" shaped around very specific Weapons, especially later on.
  • the Neutron launcher,

  • the X weapon,

  • Autocanons,

  • and Torpedoes and disruptor in niche situations.
All the others weapons are only used because it just happened to be the highest weapon tier you possess. So what do we do?

Our problems are the following:

  • Limited efficient weaponry (beyond gameplay issues, this is very sad for a galactic scaled strategy game)

  • Obsolete hulls over time.

  • One sided snowball (if both player use the same thing but one happens to have integrated another empire before, the other empire is unlikely to have a chance).

  • Limited approaches to a war.
And those problems can all be resumed by ONE : Lack of diversity.

According to my experience in strategic games, the bigger a games get, the less likely you'll achieve real balance. So, again, what do you do? In such a game as stellaris, for me the best approach would be you flood the game with enough diversity, enough counter measures, enough relevant mechanics (I insist on relevant) to get the player engaged, make them transcend the "Rock-paper-scissors"that still dull over times and rocks are turning into avalanche"" for a "Rock-paper-scissors-Lizard-Spock-etc..." that relies on counters and flavor to hook the player, without discarding the obvious “more shit counter less shit” (again a quote) which is your usual defacto win condition in strategy games (4X especially)

You still following? Good let's get started then:

Introducing Crews, Empire interactions and identity, Drones, Automation, Super Shield, New Environnemental Hazard, New support slot, New "weapons" and fleet stance.



Crews are the core of a ship, a ship can not operate without a crew. Crews have their own health that decrease in 2 steps depending on the damage the armor/Hull suffer, there are permanent damage that requires the crew to be docked to a starbase or a special Utility slot in order to regenerate, and there are non permanent damage that can heal overtime, and could roughly be interpreted as a combination of both physical and moral injuries, and thus will affect the ship capabilities as it goes down, those 2 bar can drop at the same time. It would look roughly like this.

https://forumcontent.paradoxplaza.com/public/530521/upload_2020-2-4_15-44-3.png

You will note however that the designation "Crew" includes automated systems. Ships do not get experience by themselves anymore, it is their "crew" that improves over time.

Crews will be a great assets in order to drasticly increase the flavor and diversity of the combat
overhaul, by adding a new front to look for in battles. Now I know more mechanics does not equal more overall fun in most cases, but I felt like in Stellaris this feels just right.

their specialization and traits are defined by the empire "Identity" and their respective species traits. Crew can be customized in a dedicated tabs by their composition (The 100% xenophobic crew, or the mixed xenophile crew with 40% of a specie and their 20% and 40% allies) in a pie chart composition. Crew templates are then attributed to ship designs. Depending on how the mods/dev feel like, a crew doesn't have to be dynamic, for performance sake.



Species Traits will affect the ship overall capacities for exemple we could go with

  • Ingeneous improve the energy weapons of their ships

  • Industrious improve the kinetic weapons of their ships

  • Strong/Very Strong, Resilient and Weak complete the crew's power at deflecting Boarding parties.

  • Sociologist have increased efficiency with and against environnemental Hazard (Biological Boarding, Mass poisoning).

  • Engineer give a passive hull and Armor regeneration

  • Physicist have increased shields.

  • Fast learner and Slow learners affect the crew experience ratio.

  • Communal, Lithoid and Enduring Increase the crew's HP.

  • Agraryan and Intelligent are already strong as it is, but the former could have Crew regen while Intelligent could be soft boost to the 3 "Science trait" mentionned before.

  • Special Lithoid traits halves the cost of the ship special ressources.

  • Talented increase Tracking


But what about Machines you may Ask?

  • Drilling Claws makes for dreadful boarders, especially the "Shredder" version. (we'll get to that later)

  • Super Conductive both affect Energy Weapon and Shield, but leave the crew weak to EMP attacks (or in contrary give a bonus to Weapon/Shield if hit by energy weaponry?)

  • Efficient processors is an all around minor boost.

  • Durable have increased health

  • Mass-Produced and Recycled have increased regeneration

  • Logic engines is the Intelligent equivalent.

  • Enhanced Memory increase tracking by twice the amount talented would

  • Learning algorithm... you get the point
And the more "Exotic ones" ?

  • Robust would drasticly increase the health

  • Erudite would be a buffed up Intelligent

  • Cybernetic would increase range and crew damage

  • Synthetic would increase range further, crew damage=Cybernetic.

  • Psionic would keep their Evasive tendencies.


Naturally any antoganist Traits would have the reverse effect.



Ethics can not be enforced on crews, unless you happen to be autoritharian or militarist. Egalitarian can not enforce crews, but their and pacifist ones make up with bonus that are situationnaly better than the other ethos.

As far as "Empire Identity goes", it's just a global term to define "Ethics" and some extra Perks:

  • Pacifist Crew have increased retreat capabilities and Fire rate in their territory.

  • Militarist have increased overall fire rate, and some extra perk I suppose.

  • Egalitarian have an Even better fire rate than Militarist, but only in total war or Liberation war

  • Autoritharian would have bonuses against weaker empire or rebelling vassales.

  • Materialist will prefer keeping their "technological jewel" safe and thus have increased ship/armor

  • Xenophile will make the most uses out of a diverse crew and will enhance their traits

  • Xenophobic will have increased Fire rate against xenos but a criplling debuff if fighting their own kind

  • Spiritualist are zealous but do not give anything on their own (event based!)

  • Indentured Crew are both available to Xenophobic and Autoritharian depending on their policies, and makes for great fodder by having reduced War exhaustion penalities upon death.
A crew not sharing ethics with the empire it serves has an overall debuff to its stats.
A crew sharing a fanatic ethic does not have increased stats however, but they're more likely to show up without enforcement
But this is where the fun begins. In additions to the regular crews, that entirely relies upon your ethic attraction (if this god damn system is fixed!) or could be enforced by Autoritharian/militarist (Maybe dictatorial and Imperial even?) empires, there are "secondary" identities that can be enforced regardless of your ethics if the conditions are required. They can either complement the ethic or act as totaly independant trait.

  • "Media conglomerate" crews have fire rate bonus depending on the relative war exhaustion between the 2 sides.

  • "Purifiers" crews have, you guessed it, an absolute hatred for everything and have the stats to back them up.

  • "Barbaric Despoiler" can replenish their crew lost health through abduction and by docking on ennemy starbases, they make a more open use of the "Pirate" Fleet stance with little to no penalities. They would typically require “dynamic crews” to work, but it's unlikely anyone would go through the trouble.

  • "Criminal Syndicate" crew have a "smuggle" fleet stance. They can smuggle fleets in ennemy position and have them ready before war.

  • "Naval Contractors" crew make for slightly cheaper ships, but switching government will cost you direly.

  • "Feudal fleets" are a soft version of the stratapies fleets of the great khan. They build up overtime depending on the Overlord economy and belongs to the subject as long as they do not rebel.

  • "Police state" Crews make quick work of Piracy.

  • "Hiveminded" Crews are cheaper in naval capacity

  • "Machine Empire" Crews have better tracking, and are resistent to most boarding methods.

  • "Warrior Culture", "Strenght of Legions" and "warbots" both affect crews boarding and defensive capabilities

  • "Zero Waste Protocols" are less likely to take "permanent" crew damage (one that requires healing)

  • "Determined Exterminators" have their genocidal bonuses.
The Following are "special crews" that do not have any link to ethics, and are either unlocked through events, Ascension perk or tech

  • "Brain crew" are unlocked through Autonomous drones tech, gives considerable fleet power but are weak to boarding.
  • "Automated crew" are invulnerable to most boarding methods, and have decent bonuses.

  • "Shrouded crew" gives the fleet a fleet stance that will make it warp in anywhere by going through the shroud, getting considerable bonuses but loosing all control upon it.

  • All spiritualist crews have increased bonus in a system with a worshipped celestial body, but there is also a specific and limited "Guardians" one that make formidable defenders in said system.

  • "Nihilistic Crew", gained through nihilistic acquisition, are a sad sight to behold and honestly i've no idea what bonus I would give them, so let me know if you have any ideas.

  • "Metal head" crew would make a fine easter egg.

  • "Arrogant" is the crew type of fallen empire, and typically rarely retreat.

  • “Levianthan”, “Events”, every critters of the galaxy, they can all be customized through that.
Regardless of your empire type, when it comes down to Flagship,Titan or Dreadnough. crew can be chosen for their ethics if they happen to be shared with the Empire ethics.
After this whole section of me basicly throwing a stupid amount of ideas, one could ask "but why tho?".
  1. Well first crew bring a whole new layer of customization and thus flavors.
  2. Second, currently when it comes down to "late game" L battleship spam is the most dominant form of warfare, to counter this, weaknesses and counter measures must be made.
Boarding could come in many form, Ships with a dedicated utility slot ( even small range teleportation device, Spore Artillery?), a new kind of missiles or hangar. They would also come in Different flavor, but most of them would cost the Crew's own health to be used “up to a certain treshold”.

  • "Shredder boarding" designating boarding typically done by ravaging drones, dealing damage to hull but also heavy damage to automated systems.

  • "Regular boarding", with basicly "armies" trying to get the better of their opponent, reducing the ship capabilities while the boarding is ungoing.
  • "Biological Boarding" with specialized Armies that would deal increased damage against Bio crews.

  • "Psionic Boarding" Where the ship quickly become grounded as its crew "first" life bar depletes very fast.

  • Etc
All this might seem a bit confusing, but it could be resumed by "if as a Synthetic overlord, you see a wave of boarding pods like current torpedoes going for your battleship uncontested, you should be worried". A Ship loosing its crew to boarding can also turn on its former owner, although much weaker given the likelyhood of having a small crew manning it (unlikely to happen if you have enigmatic engineering). Following this concept, ships that failed to be taken control of would provide a better bounty of tech when reverse engineered.
Also, let us ask ourselves one thing: “Does it makes sense that because some fancy xenos in his battleship amongst other battleship has a fleetwide bonus to fire power because he just happened to have some cybernetic implant?”. With a crew system, Admiral could be redesigned, their species trait being attributed to the crews, they could have something else instead, perhaps expanding on the amount of trait they could get?

There could also be notions like “Flagship” introduced, with hulls of Cruiser size or above could generate auras for their fleet. This could also be expanded upon quite easily aswell, scaled down version of what the incomming “Dreadnough” will achieve. “Flag ship” could have increased stats, but be empire limited aswell.

Back to crews, the Idea behind this mechanic, beyond just flavor, is to allow "weaker" empire to be somehow able to slow down their assailant by inflicting "True damage" to them, damage that should be avoided at all cost on a conquest war, and to provide an additionnal mean to hit hard on larger ship composition. Some may say it's too similar to the role provided by Torpedoes, and I do agree, then again didn't it came to anyone minds how the idea of torpedoes happened? They're just regular missiles but hit harder, while regular missiles themselves are not that good at dealing with smaller fleet comp. In a system involving Boarding, it is actually quite likely torpedoes no longer have their place, except for taking down real behemoth like Titans, Dreadnough, Leviathan and Colossus. It is something to take into consideration, I know some people love there devastator just as I do (Edit : I think i've an idea, more on it latter)
On their own, not much. Even if more weapons, ideas or mechanics were created, on their own those would change nothing. In stellaris there's always been a "dominant" build, one "paradoxal" (ahaha) phenomenon, and as long as every build have access to the same possibilities, creating counter measures will prove meaningless, if as long as one (or 2) of those builds would just "make more stuff". So in order for those changes to be meaningful, there should be different "path" with different "opportunities".
Yeah, so this is the part when we touch a sensitive topic about the game, so keep your safebelt attached.

In current stellaris, there are "5 build" that can be differencied, 2 of them picked at the very start, the 3 others being Ascension, and a "6th one" that is kinda special.

Those are "BIO","SYNTH","PSY","MACHINE", and "HIVEMIND", (the 6th one being regular empire that decided to not go down a path for whatever reason, mostly economic? I guess?)





When it comes down to raw "power" and how they interact with each other it currently roughly looks like this.

With Machine capable of going for Conquest from the get go (which is absurd btw) with almost uncontested efficiency

Hivemind and Psi hitting peak efficiency at roughly the same time (but hivemind has more pops and

does not grant anything for Psi if a war would happen)

Bio hitting slightly latter, overall the weakest in term of power, but has a valid reason to attack a hivemind

and Synth, hitting the last, but with an absurd power peak that essentially translate into "Gg".



Wherever you like it or not, this is roughly how the game looks at this moment.
The Dominant build here is "SYNTH", but "MACHINE" is not far behind.
"SYNTH" have access to the flesh is weak, which on its own is almost equivalent to the entire 2 other finished Ascention path, why you ask?:

-Growth across the board (Robots + Habitability)

-Efficiency across the board (habitability)

-Can safely research Synthetics with no issue of an AI rebellion backfiring.

-it's gated by a Tier 2 (?!!) tech

Now mix that with Synth ascension and you get... Basicly all the Bonuses that makes "MACHINE" as good.. (yeah and remimber that absurd growth? It gets bigger).

Honestly, present this to any new player and they'll be "Why".

And they would be right, why in a galaxy with so many choices, so many opportunities, would it come down to "did you synth ascend" or "did you pick Machine/Mechanist/technocracy" on the empire screen?

Dev could fix this... But then you know what will happen? The next big thing will be Bio and/or Hivemind, that for the sole reason they're capable of "making more" will be able to crush the competition. And it will all start over. Again i've nothing against the "making more" statement, except when it's about a galactic scaled game with Communist litteral bird praising their overlord and Flesh eating Fungoid, then you need something else, it can not be the reason alone.
My Proposition is to give weaponry, utilities and other gimmicks to all of those 5 build, through the form of increased weight toward given tech, and decreased toward others, but also events.

Synth would remain "THE BIG GUN", they'd still hit hard late game

Machine would become the "Track bois", and have an edge over small/medium hull based fleets.

Psi would expand on their evasive, and dirty trickster identity

Hivemind would finally become massive swarm

Bio would be your typical dream team of race(s) striving for their survival, hardly predictable by gestalt.



Thus we'd get this.
Synth Overwhelms the Machine through gun and knoweldge over their ennemy.

Machine and Synth are straight up "better" version of their fleshy counter part and thus have an edge as "metal empire"

Hivemind overwhelm the Big guns through shear number of overall smaller fleets.

Psi are unlikely to land their deceptive tricks of the mind upon litteral Gestalt, but can easily do so on Bio and Synth, the latter who likely broke things in the shroud and thus enraged its inhabitants.

Bio do not have weaknesses exploitable by gestalt, and their more unpredictable behaviors compared to the "shroud manipulated" and "efficiency seekers" are much harder to counter than gestalt.

This is the reasonment I have with this.

With current system however, several "arrows" are missing.

Hivemind do not have the edge of the number against synth.

Machine are too powerful economicly wise and will proceed to kill everyone if they so desire.

Psionic have niche usage against Synth bigger guns through usage of High evasion small fleet, which can be countered quite easily and is also heavily Rng driven, but are also left in the dust economicly wise with no other mechanic to back it up.

Bio is overall weaker to everyone, hivemind included, by being in an akward middle, unable to pull cheesy effective strat like psi, and unable to keep up with the 3 others economy, having to go the extra step to make up (like hivemind, but worse, atleast they can use conquered pops instead of livestocks)

And if as a regular empire you decided to go for neither, you'd basicly be "discount" Bio, except you loose your niche as Hivemind killer (we'll get back to that latter). We won't talk about the various "Rush" build out there that totaly discard all the aboves statement, for our interest is more oriented towards the Mid-game combat (The introduced techs are for the most part Tier 3+, which is rarely reached by rush build)

Thus most new mechanics I will explain in this second part will mainly help Bio, Psi, and Hive in order to keep them somewhat "competitive" even in a struggling situation. Naturally, Economy will have to be taken into consideration aswell, and thus the "Synth" should always be a little step ahead of everything else (because it hits late and support an overall high risk high reward playstyle).



Some people are scared of this word, but they shouldn't. Although I believe it's wrong to turn the game into a competitive mess, I believe imagining it as such can allow to think of ways to fix some crippling gameplay holes.

Right now Empire flexibility, Flavor, and “RP” are decided on the empire screen. But those choices are meaningless, if you're ultimately drawn to a single most potent build. You will always have this bad taste in the mouth “man if I went this everything could have been smoother”

I believe the alternative is to add a “second layer” of defining mechanics, and because the one I'll propose happen to be combat related, I toke the liberty to explain my point of view on the subject of empire ever since “Le guin”. I believe this second layer would finally allow “niche” empire, no matter the balance patch, to still be relevant in a game.

No one wants to play a game where your empire is set on a path despite the choices that were given to you, but look at the game now, and before aswell, we're already on said path. With this new layer, the 5 path will always remain relevant, as long as those changes were done right. Also bear in mind this is no 1v1 game, alliances, shady deals, and all this fluffy stuff are part of the deal

Ok, let's assume it is the right thing to do for Stellaris, where do we start?

We could give each "build" technologies that would only be accessible for the others through reverse engineering, or Research agreement (because of the poor associated weight). Those technologies, beyond setting those build on their own "playstyle", would prove efficient at countering the strenght of 2 of the other build, and exploiting their weaknesses. Because we're talking combat overhaul my main concern will be weapon and other space related features. Of course we could also add traditions in the mix, but that is another topic. Crew, a mechanic we introduced earlier, will play a very interesing part in this.



Hivemind

Being the nemesis of both Synth and Psi, hivemind must be helped in order to take down Big ships and evasive squads, through number and shear Damage.

  • Techs, and boon, related to the usage of Smaller hull, Hangar, Missiles and Boarding mechanics

  • Giving more “supressing methods” in addition to the previously mentionned Boarding, through the New fleet focus mechanic (more on that later) focusing fire on Propulsors/Weapons, respecting the following order in efficiency ( Hangar>Missiles>Small>Medium at focusing down ships component) (note that every empire would have those, hivemind just happens to have an edge on Hangar and Missiles)
  • Techs related to increasing the amount of ships a hivemind can muster.
Machine

Being the nemesis of both “light/medium” composition, Machine will receive boon at efficiently “removing the pest” through tracking bonus and overall utility vs Smaller Hull.
  • Techs, and boon, related to the usage of medium/heavy hull, medium guns, drones, missiles, and computers, resistance to most boarding methods.

  • Drones would be in short “Cheaper hangar” heavily focused on utility and defense, they would basicly be an expanded version of current scout wing.

  • Techs and Computers dedicated at taking out the “small fries”.
Synthetics

Typically the result of an empire having a lust for knoweldge/power/anything really, Synth will make an heavy usage of large weaponry and large fleets, which is exploited by Psi and Hivemind, who will attempt to bypass those issue through smaller/more evasive vessels and eliminating the crew directly. They will however punch through the more regular fleet composition that Bio and Machine would offer them.

  • The absurd current growth and Eco casted aside, Synth would remain quite similar to how we know it, a Juggernaut of a late game, but with a rather fragile mid/early game, with their “combat” tech being unlocked quite late.

  • Their crew would tipically be the weakest in the game until they can get their hand on others tech.

  • Although I've little ideas on how to make them different to what we currently know, the best bet would be to increase the weight for new Hull.
Psi

With dominion over the mind and behaviors of single minded entities, and with the shroud backing them (willingly or not?) against the synth betrayers, Psi will elude common sense by the usage of rather light composition and will privilege cunning approaches to a conflict before dealing the finishing blow. Most of their superchery won't work on gestalt however.

  • With the less amount of eco related boost, Psi make up by having access to a rather large pannel of posibilities when it comes down to designing their fleets, and various ways to engage a fight.

  • They are much more likely to unlock “Teleport Boarding”, bypassing PD/Drones and deals significant damage to the first Bar life of ennemy crew, crippling the ship direly.

  • Psionic crew can man an unique assets of weapon, utility and even shield, most notably the “Super shield”.
Bio

Bio are your typical dream team of Alien leagued against a greater threat, or some twisted dominator redesigning the galaxy to their image. If any of the above would be deemed “standard”, it would be the Bio. If finding differences between machine and Synth wasn't hard enough, the one between Bio and hivemind is even worse. They should have access to their own traits, which hivemind won't have access. To be entirely honest it is hard to find them fitting mechanics, but your best bet would be enhanced PD, a large arrey of utility and access to several Gestalt disruptive mechanics, such as dedicated “Hive disruptor” weaponry for exemple.

  • They would typically have strong crew, while still being weaker to psi on this matter.

  • Their fleet composition would be Medium/Heavy.

  • Large utility assets for their fleets, PD included
Non-Alligned.

Non Alligned empire decided to not go down any of this path for whatever reason, perhaps because they transcended them all, but still have to fight. Maybe they uncovered relic related weaponries, perhaps they found out about a way to unite all 3 other path. To not let those empires feeling casted aside, new situationnal AP, something along the lines of “if has said relic, or if has 200 minor artefact or if has 1 Psi 1 Bio 1 synth pop” then they'd have access to different opportunities. They could be jack of all trades, master of none, or litteral unpredictable empires.

So what's new? While I had many ideas on the topic, it would take too long and probably not be relevant for a sizeable amount of them. So here is a compiled version instead.

Beam Weapons : The following “Beams” requires target's shield to be down in order to work.

Bio Beam → Designed to focus Bio crew before the ship, does not affect shield.

Psionic Beam → Designed to quickly deplete the first health bar of a crew, effect weakened against gestalt

Purificating Beam →Designed to deal consequent damage to synth crew, reduced damage against Hivemind and 0 damage to regular crew but may swap the ethic of the crew of Bio to spiritualist (they have no effect!)

Neutron Beam → A dreadful lategame weapon that make quick work of any Bio crews.

EMP weaponry → not as efficient as Bio Beam, but get the job done vs Machine crews.



Boarding Pods and a dedicated tech tree.

(From your “average” boarding to your “Xenomorph” boarding)

Regular Missiles will require an overall to better fit the new array of possibilities.

Biomissiles → a Direct hit on the hull and the Bio crew's health

Fix a certain bug that involves hangar and pd... you know which one...
Just like S M L is a thing

G and XG could also become a thing. Torpedoes would finally make sense, Neutron launcher could maybe fit back in there? Their purpose is to take down even bigger ships, while regular missiles will hardly matter against bigger ships than Battleship.

Reintroducing Bombers, Strikers and add Drones. Strikers>Drones>Bombers

Strikers and Bombers are essential tools for Hivemind and Bio, (except Bio would happen to have better access at strikers while Hive would have a better access at bomber)

Strikers are better at attacking smaller hull and hangar related shenanigans, but do not have the same efficiency at taking down bigger ships and focusing fire on great hull part than Bombers.

Drones are a cost efficient mean to deal with bombers, and have additionnal utility, they're mostly machine related.

  • Repair Drones

  • “Scout Wing Drones”
(Strikers are not meant to deal with missiles, but they're a good middle answer to either bomber or ennemy ships, drones however, can deal with missiles).

  • Shield nullifier

  • etc...

the previously mentionned “Super shield” would act as a third layer of protection for the ship. It must be manned by psionic crew and has only 1hp. Every incomming damage will be reduced to 1.

Very expensive in power, those shields would be an answer to the “Big guns”.


Fleet Orders
This one has been asked a lot. Fleet Orders as I see it would decline in 2 “orders”, a Fleet stance, and a Fleet focus.



Fleet stance could potentially replace the rather outdated “War policies” and be directly applied to fleets. Hit and Run, Defense in depht, Rapid Deployment, No Retreat would be included, but there would be others like

  • Holy Guardians (Significant bonus while in a system with a consecrated world, spiritualist crew only)

  • Search and destroy (For machine, Additionnal damages against smaller hull),

  • Rogue Fleet (A fleet that pretend it went rogue and ignore borders, the bigger the fleet, the more likely a negative event would happen),

  • Plunder fleet (for Barbaric despoiler, it's Rogue fleet but with a greater amount of allowed ships)

  • Smuggled, that we talked about earlier, making a fleet jumping into FTL to a location on the map until war happens.

  • Etc...
Fleet Stance would be harder to switch in order to stay a minimum true to what “War policy” attempted to achieve.



Fleet Focus on the other hand, are specialized, often combat related, commands. They can be changed at any moment, except during the beginning of a combat.

  • Overwhelming (The fleet will not bother stopping its course through smaller fleet (in size) composition and will just fire while passing by, dealing extra war exhaustion to the opposing side)

  • Full Retreat (The fleet switch all power to Shield and Drivers and will ignore fights, increasing war exhaustion upon loosing ships)

  • Aim for the Guns ! (The Fleet will focus fire the heavy guns of the ennemy, decreasing their ability to shoot with them. Efficiency increase according to the weapon used to do this)

  • Aim for the Propulsors! (Self explanatory)

  • Acquisition (Fleet will cease any non boarding methods)

  • Focus fire (Fleet will be even more likely to take down targets one by one)

  • Stealth manoeuvers (If equipped with the “Stealth” utility slot, ships do not fight while stealthed)



Spiritualist has always been this weird child. In this system, it would be a perfect opportunity to give them volatile crews, ones that will gain bonuses for a while by seeing a meteor, or loose some at the sight of heresy. They do not have bonuses per say, but they have events that may trigger, and will affect all spiritualist crew in the System (for performance sake). They're also twice as weak if the empire does not have spiritualist ethic compared to the other ethics.



The current utility slot is quite limited. Let's fix that

  • Clone vats. Crew doesn't have to back up to a starbase belonging to the owner, it will instead regen on its own. (BIO and HIVE are more likely to get this)

  • Spawning Pool (cheaper Clone vats for HIVE)

  • Small Assembly. Robotic crew can be replaced, but the process is slower compared to clone vats, and it requires to dock on a mining Station (Alloy/minerals)/be in friendly spaced

  • There could be Modules for the drones to enhance them.

  • Anti Boarding Slots like reinforced doors or something.

  • The Aforementionned teleporters, that passively sends crew directly to the other ships. could also unlock building for planetary defense ?

  • STEALTH, Starbases dismantlers, every cunning and deviant means to deal damage vs a greater threat



Come to think of it, it would be a nice addition to the game, but i've already seen some mod out there fitting for this. Not a priority by any means, and I'm pretty sure everyone has an idea on how much environnemental hazard beyond a mere “Black hole = Less Retreat, Nebulae = no vision, etc this game could have in order to enhance combat.

Who decreed so? What if the dev gave both of them the opportunity to “ascend” aswell, and those ascended version would fit better “BIO”, “SYNTH” or even maybe “PSI”? What if they went down the “Non aligned” path, and found Absurd precursor weaponry?

It is worth considering scaling their health up, or just increasing their overall resilience, to make better flagship.

Well then make it its own DLC, and leave the people with vanilla I guess? The thing almost feels like a mod in its simplicity, but the outcome and what it could bring to the table is DLC worthy.

With this many possibilities open, Crisis can certainly gain in difficulty from that.
Crisis could become sufficiently strong and difficult to counter in order to compel people into harnessing enough of the other builds tech to take them down, through alliance, shear tech output or reverse engineering.

A 4th crisis, one focused on crew (hmmmm hello hunters?) could also spawn from such idea.

Conclusion.



To me, this seems like killing 2 Battleship with 1 Boarding pod.

  • It's a perfect opportunity to introduce a wide variety of flavor related mechanics, and an insane one for modders out there to customize many aspect of warfare.

  • The “Counter” based mechanics will make for a great safebelt in case some build become excessively strong, and people will be safely able to play whatever they want without being “guess i'll die”. Naturally everyone will have access to most other tech eventually, but a sizeable amount of them will be under conditions of what you decided to be. It will also bring challenge in SP, as you spawn next to one empire set on the path to become your nemesis, will you take him out before he reach his "killing tools"? will you ally yourself with its own nemesis? will you directly ally him and take care of his nemesis?
Truly the only limit to this is performance, if poorly executed this could get messy with a whole new crew system. But I believe it's fairly manageable, and will make for an overall healthier combat system than our current “pop based” one.

The amount of weapons and others gadget I showcased is rather low, but once you apply such basics to the combat system, truly only imagination is your limit there.


Of course I didn't bother looking more into the details, number, and everything, just the concept. I'm not a full-time dev ^^.

Last but not least, if I could resume this gigantic amount of words by a meme it would be

Comming back here after checking that megathread on Reddit about "The Fault in our Stellaris", and i'm pleased to say my proposition above solves many of those issues.
 

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BlackUmbrellas

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This seems overcomplicatwd, and you never did fix the issue with your bizarre ascensions-vs.-gestalts "balance".
 

t_b

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Seems quite good although I don't have the time to read through it all now. I had a similar crew idea although I'm not sure traits are necessary as they make it more complicated . I do agree that crews would be better place to have xp, this could possibly also allow starbases to have xp as they could have crews. I do however think your thoughts are slightly disorganised and it's slightly confusing what is what.
 

V-Metamorph

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. I'm not sure traits are necessary as they make it more complicated.
They :
  1. Add flavor, your rocksoldier "very strong resilient" will not behave like your average human/weak fungoid
  2. Are a wonderful opportunity for modders
  3. Are needed to keep more often certain trait into relevancy by giving them a second use beyond sheer economy.
Traits on crews are a door to a realm of possibility so vast, and for so little extra coding time (i think?) Discarding it would be just shameful. They're certainly not difficult either, it's a pie chart ship component.

I do however think your thoughts are slightly disorganised and it's slightly confusing what is what.

Well I did my best, I do think the [spoil comment] helps this side. Eventually I spent so much double checking things that i didn't muster the time to organize the whole essay more, despite being very organized already for the subject it is treating.
What confused you here?
 

Soulcatcher357

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Not a bad post, I am new to the game though. I've played through a few games and game progression seems random base don where you start and the empires around you. Computer ninja's your surveyed worlds all the time.

I felt the combat was heavily slanted to who has bases and sources of alloy because you really need to build up a sizable fleet.

The combat could be drastically improved by adding tactics similar to HOI4s land tactics where the leader selects the tactic mostly automatically, but the player can select certain enabled tactics. I would totally suggest mining tactics from other space games (note some of these are overlap as stances or formations):

Overrun(Alpha Strike/Salvo, DPM Short Range)
Oblique attack (Alpha Strike Hit and Run)
Koffman Retrograde(Sweet Spots for better ranged weapons)
Eagle Claw (lots of seeking weapons)
Zerg
Boarding Actions(with or without escorts)
Formations (Eschelon, W, Line, Abreast, Combat Spreads, Doomstack (Z-limit?)
Starcastle (like the game, sit, power shields and turning)
Wild Weasel (distract seeking weapons and targeting for a short while)
Battlegroups(smaller ships within fleets grouped into units of 6)
Carrier Groups(strike or standoff with escorts)
Mine warfare/satelites/asteroid bases
Scatterpack Shuttles/ External Weapon Racks (1 time boost to seeking weapon attacks - x6 - x10 once)
Probes, weapons of last resort (all weapons destroyed)
Ramming/special drives/devices/boarding pods
Skin Dancing (smaller ships, blind spots on big ships)
Slug Ships (mostly armor and engines few weapons designed to take the brunt of an attack)
Fire At Will (additional attacks to smaller ships for more energy)
Overloads (more energy for more damage, shorter range, longer cooldown)
Tractor/Anchor/grapping/immobilizing/engine disabling
Non-Violent Targeting (less Crew)
Mizia Attack (fire weapons in ripple fire mode or shotgun or smaller salvos- makes it harder to hit return fire, makes more critical hits, Shields and armor of small ship targets more effective)
3D Shape(Cube, Sphere, Formations)
ELINT
Active Countermeasures
Terrain effects (Black hole, pulsars, nebula, asteroid fields, ion storms, rifts, novas)
 

V-Metamorph

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Not a bad post, I am new to the game though. I've played through a few games and game progression seems random base don where you start and the empires around you. Computer ninja's your surveyed worlds all the time.

I felt the combat was heavily slanted to who has bases and sources of alloy because you really need to build up a sizable fleet.

The combat could be drastically improved by adding tactics similar to HOI4s land tactics where the leader selects the tactic mostly automatically, but the player can select certain enabled tactics. I would totally suggest mining tactics from other space games (note some of these are overlap as stances or formations):

Overrun(Alpha Strike/Salvo, DPM Short Range)
Oblique attack (Alpha Strike Hit and Run)
Koffman Retrograde(Sweet Spots for better ranged weapons)
Eagle Claw (lots of seeking weapons)
Zerg
Boarding Actions(with or without escorts)
Formations (Eschelon, W, Line, Abreast, Combat Spreads, Doomstack (Z-limit?)
Starcastle (like the game, sit, power shields and turning)
Wild Weasel (distract seeking weapons and targeting for a short while)
Battlegroups(smaller ships within fleets grouped into units of 6)
Carrier Groups(strike or standoff with escorts)
Mine warfare/satelites/asteroid bases
Scatterpack Shuttles/ External Weapon Racks (1 time boost to seeking weapon attacks - x6 - x10 once)
Probes, weapons of last resort (all weapons destroyed)
Ramming/special drives/devices/boarding pods
Skin Dancing (smaller ships, blind spots on big ships)
Slug Ships (mostly armor and engines few weapons designed to take the brunt of an attack)
Fire At Will (additional attacks to smaller ships for more energy)
Overloads (more energy for more damage, shorter range, longer cooldown)
Tractor/Anchor/grapping/immobilizing/engine disabling
Non-Violent Targeting (less Crew)
Mizia Attack (fire weapons in ripple fire mode or shotgun or smaller salvos- makes it harder to hit return fire, makes more critical hits, Shields and armor of small ship targets more effective)
3D Shape(Cube, Sphere, Formations)
ELINT
Active Countermeasures
Terrain effects (Black hole, pulsars, nebula, asteroid fields, ion storms, rifts, novas)
I have nothing against this, but most of the above are just flavor, they don't bring much in the powerbalance, i don't know how you would implement such complex thing in stellaris.
 

Derp

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horse+on+ren+and+stimpy.jpg
 

mergele

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This is to much for me to read all right now, but let me say on a meta level about the way the post is formatted in general:
These kinds of suggestions should be structured in
1. This is the problem
2. This is what I want to achieve
3. These are the ways I think this can be achieved
You start out with the problem but then you go into detailed changes with crews etc. while at this point the reader has no context what the goal here even is. I would suggest moving the "How we could fix it" section further up.
 

V-Metamorph

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This is to much for me to read all right now, but let me say on a meta level about the way the post is formatted in general:
These kinds of suggestions should be structured in
1. This is the problem
2. This is what I want to achieve
3. These are the ways I think this can be achieved
You start out with the problem but then you go into detailed changes with crews etc. while at this point the reader has no context what the goal here even is. I would suggest moving the "How we could fix it" section further up.
Well I felt like it needed context for the crew before jumping to my reasonment, otherwise, it would have been a rent for quite a while in something you had no idea what it was.
At first this was supposed to be a "crew" suggestion, then after reasoning around how crowded the weapons techs would be, the whole thing evolved into an overall. It doesn't seem too confusing to my taste
Tldr:
  1. this is the problem
  2. This is how you d fix it
  3. This raises a question
  4. This is how I would answer the question
  5. Capitalizing on my previous reasonment to introduces stuff.
 
Last edited:

t_b

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They :
  1. Add flavor, your rocksoldier "very strong resilient" will not behave like your average human/weak fungoid
  2. Are a wonderful opportunity for modders
  3. Are needed to keep more often certain trait into relevancy by giving them a second use beyond sheer economy.
Traits on crews are a door to a realm of possibility so vast, and for so little extra coding time (i think?) Discarding it would be just shameful. They're certainly not difficult either, it's a pie chart ship component.

Sorry, I may have misunderstood are the traits on an empire scale or a fleet scale? I think an empire scale set of traits could work.

Some suggestions for additional weapons:
  1. Psionic Mind Probe: M/L size. Deals moderate damage to shields and crew.
  2. Mini-Drones: Strike Craft. Deals significant damage to crew but is vulnerable to PD.
  3. Mind Control Agent: Large size. Extremely small range. Deals large amounts of damage to crew and if there is no crew left on board gains control of the ship for the remainder of the battle.
  4. Gas Torpedoes: Missile. Deals small damage to crew and has high evasion and speed.
 

V-Metamorph

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Sorry, I may have misunderstood are the traits on an empire scale or a fleet scale? I think an empire scale set of traits could work.
It's a ship component made in a pie chart actually.
You can design it and slap it on all your ships thus becomming empire wide,
or you could be a xenophobic isolationist, use crews of your main specie only in your space, while your harassing ships could be indentured xeno crews that cause little damage to your exhaustion.
Species trait are fleet scaled, ethic trait however, have a chance to happen on a crew depending on the representation of said ethic in your empire + weight on your empire governing ethic, or can be enforced still as a pie chart component if you are militarist/autoritharian.
The result is a glorified ship component that will make for excellent flavor and promote the usage of niche traits/ ethics.

As to how dynamic this should be, it all falls upon the dev/mod depending on performance to choose.


Your weapon suggestion are pretty good, I had to remain light on that part tho.
 
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