Assault armies should be created by jobs instead of being formed from minerals like some kinda DnD monster

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Jeffreyteciller

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Land warfare seems to be that one thing pretty much everyone seems to agree isn't that good; you just buy a buttload of armies, send them to the planet you want to invade, then watch as NUMBERS happen. There's not much of a strategy, you just buy enough armies(but not too many, because that could cripple the economy), send them over, and then you win.

Another thing that is kinda strange about armies is that soldier jobs can only help you defensively in land warfare, not offensively. Instead, armies kind of just... are built out of minerals, with the number of armies created being limited by the number of pops in your empire, regardless of their job. In my opinion, this makes armies feel disconnected from the rest of the game, kind of a relic of the past.

To remedy these things, I suggest making it so that assault armies are created by soldier jobs. I have worked out a system that does this, while also changing how armies operate(hopefully for the better)

The vision

This suggestion is focused on making land warfare more interesting, but unlike most other suggestions of this type, this is not done by trying to improve invasions themselves. Instead, it aims to improve everything surrounding it, how you create armies, how you manage them and so on. The idea is that being good at land warfare should be achieved by building up a powerful military infrastructure, and not just by buying armies from the army buying menu.

The suggestion would also, by necessity, include a revamp to the way armies move. Instead of transport ships, they would move more like how leaders move, but with a few differences. Admittedly, this system might be a bit less intuitive, but it would also make the game a bit more strategic.

How to create armies

Jobs that create defense armies now also create some assault armies, with the exact values being adjusted by some ethics and policies. For most empires, enforcers produce one defense army and one assault army, while soldiers produce two of each, with the ability to swap one army over to the other type through a policy. The type of assault army created depends on the pop in question, with robotic pops creating robotic armies and so on.

Moving armies around

Assault armies are now bound to a planet, and instead of moving around in transportation ships, they can instead be assigned to do a certain task(invade planet, complete a mission, etc.), and will then go to do that task. This works similar to moving leaders, with the army taking more time to start the task the further away the planet is.

During peacetime, armies will automatically move back to their home planet when they don't have a task to do. They will be unavailable until they return.

During war, you can freely move armies from one planet to another, provided there is a free line of non-enemy territory from one planet to another. When an army is killed, it will eventually be brought back on the planet it came from, provided the job is still intact and the planet hasn't been invaded.

Upgrading armies

While on their home planet, assault armies can be upgraded to more advanced variants(gene warrior armies, psionic armies, battle frame armies, etc.), assuming it's an appropriate type(can't turn robots into psionics and whatnot). This will have an upfront cost, as well as an upkeep cost, which should ideally be more creative than just mineral cost and energy upkeep. Armies can also be demoted to their "base" form if one wishes.

If an upgraded army is killed in battle, it retains its upgraded status when it's recreated by its associated pop.

Special armies(clones, event armies, zombies, and so on)

This system works well for regular armies, where armies are recruited from the populace, but some armies in stellaris don't work like that. These will have to work through some slightly different mechanics:

Xenomorphs and undead armies are generated by either necromancers(for the undead), or a new xenomorph-specific job unlocked by its relevant tech.

Clone armies could kinda keep the old mechanics, what with them being recruited by just buying them.

Event armies could also work in a similar way to clones, but with their current "only X of them can be recruited" rule.

Slave armies could be generated by just having enough battle thralls on a planet, with every X battle thralls giving you one slave army.

How to handle "overflow armies" and draft dodgers

This section is for discussing what to do if, say, a pop working for a soldier job stops working for that job. During peacetime, we can assume that it just deletes the associated assault army, but what if there's a war going on and that army is off invading a planet? In these instances, your army will become "over-capacitated", which means no armies are able to regenerate health until the number of armies in service is less than or equal to how many armies you're "supposed" to have. This is to simulate a lack of reinforcements.

Additionally, when an army leaves its home planet, it will "lock" its associated pop into its current job, preventing it from losing its job through promotion or being replaced by a better pop.(They can still lose their job if the building is destroyed)

I am aware this system could cause some inbalance, with an empire ending up with the wrong composition of armies by the end, but personally I think this is a better way of handling it than by having armies just poof out of existence when they stop being supported, or having every army be assigned to a certain pop.

The benefits of this system

- building an army would be made more interesting, since it's now more about creating military infrastructure, rather than just buying them outright.
- would make armies feel more distinct, because they can now be created in different ways(jobs, upgrading, or sometimes just buying them)
- would add another layer of strategy, because invading another planet would now also leave your own planet less guarded.

This would hopefully make land warfare more interesting, but it should probably also be paired with some more improvements, like more interesting combat, but that is for someone else to fix.
 
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Cordane

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you don't need to train cannon fodder very well for them to be effective see my Korean War China Analogy. you don't necessarily Trust the Slaves but ultimately if they rebel they die, and everything they care about dies so they are adequately motivated to fullfill the role you send them into battle to do. Soviets let their slave armies man artillery Too and used them to great effect, if a soviet conscript stepped out of line or even so much as tried to retreat they would be killed, its not pretty but its effective.
OK, conscript doesn't mean slave, it pretty much means the same thing as draftee, like American G.I.'s in WWII. The Soviets problem during the Germans' Operation Barbarossa was that their forces were spread out - they had recently fought Finland and that didn't go well, and a large contingent was far to the east in anticipation of a Japanese invasion which never materialized. The Soviet conscripts between the German army and Moscow were very reasonably scared witless because they didn't have enough arms and ammunition to outfit all of their troops, never mind armor or air support, so the commissars had to threaten (or carry out) executions to force their conscripts to fight (and die in droves) to even slow down the Nazi advance. The Germans were able to take over many western Soviet cities and came just short of taking Moscow, but the brutal tactics bought the Soviets enough time. Once their reinforcements arrived and their manufacturing capacity ramped up (along with lend-lease support from the United States), the conscripted soldiers did quite well in retaking their western cities, repelling the Nazi armies, and invading Germany itself.

The Chinese army in the Korean War was not a ragtag bunch of farmers with rifles shoved into their hands either. They had just gotten done fighting a bloody civil war, ending with communist forces in power (and had fought against the Japanese prior to that). The North Korean army at the start of the war was 1/3 to 1/2 Chinese units (largely ethnic Koreans born in China), was experienced and well equipped, with armor and air support. The Chinese reinforcements that arrived after the largely-US counteroffensive, were also quite capable, showing fantastic discipline, tactical expertise, and combat prowess, not simply numbers.
Seals also don't often operate mechanized units either, against a tank division Seals would get their Butt handed to them on a platter, superior training makes for better Covert Operatives that can strike behind enemy lines, on the front lines they would be little better off than normal infantry. Seal Training plus a little selective gene based recruitment just wouldn't produce the results the gene warrior armies are providing.
SEALs are special forces - of course they're not going to go toe-to-toe with armored units, especially not a SEAL platoon (typically around 50 troops) going against "a tank division" (6,000 to 25,000 troops or equivalent). A SEAL platoon, however, would wipe the floor with anything its size at modern infantry capability. Applying a similar investment per soldier that would be provided to a SEAL, even if not in the same training areas as a SEAL, into a full army would result in capabilities probably in line with a Gene Warrior Army (for that type of unit, I would probably increase their regular/morale damage and reduce their health, but otherwise comparable).

Beyond a certain point, super-soldier capability doesn't mean much as weapons, equipment, vehicles, etc., play a much larger part in overall capability, not the ability to punch or throw a shield. If you'd said an army full of Iron Man or War Machine wannabes, then I'd have to give that more credence.
 
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GOLANX

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OK, conscript doesn't mean slave, it pretty much means the same thing as draftee, like American G.I.'s in WWII. The Soviets problem during the Germans' Operation Barbarossa was that their forces were spread out - they had recently fought Finland and that didn't go well, and a large contingent was far to the east in anticipation of a Japanese invasion which never materialized. The Soviet conscripts between the German army and Moscow were very reasonably scared witless because they didn't have enough arms and ammunition to outfit all of their troops, never mind armor or air support, so the commissars had to threaten (or carry out) executions to force their conscripts to fight (and die in droves) to even slow down the Nazi advance. The Germans were able to take over many western Soviet cities and came just short of taking Moscow, but the brutal tactics bought the Soviets enough time. Once their reinforcements arrived and their manufacturing capacity ramped up (along with lend-lease support from the United States), the conscripted soldiers did quite well in retaking their western cities, repelling the Nazi armies, and invading Germany itself.
i feel like this is a little off topic by now, i count the conscripts as a slave army exactly because their directive was fight or die, they didn't have any freedom to make that decision, even if you don't count the conscripts as a slave army the concept is the same cheap Soldiers produced at the drop of a hat barely trained sent to fight in large numbers to make up for the lack of well trained armies and armored divisions.
The Chinese army in the Korean War was not a ragtag bunch of farmers with rifles shoved into their hands either. They had just gotten done fighting a bloody civil war, ending with communist forces in power (and had fought against the Japanese prior to that). The North Korean army at the start of the war was 1/3 to 1/2 Chinese units (largely ethnic Koreans born in China), was experienced and well equipped, with armor and air support. The Chinese reinforcements that arrived after the largely-US counteroffensive, were also quite capable, showing fantastic discipline, tactical expertise, and combat prowess, not simply numbers.

SEALs are special forces - of course they're not going to go toe-to-toe with armored units, especially not a SEAL platoon (typically around 50 troops) going against "a tank division" (6,000 to 25,000 troops or equivalent). A SEAL platoon, however, would wipe the floor with anything its size at modern infantry capability. Applying a similar investment per soldier that would be provided to a SEAL, even if not in the same training areas as a SEAL, into a full army would result in capabilities probably in line with a Gene Warrior Army (for that type of unit, I would probably increase their regular/morale damage and reduce their health, but otherwise comparable).

Beyond a certain point, super-soldier capability doesn't mean much as weapons, equipment, vehicles, etc., play a much larger part in overall capability, not the ability to punch or throw a shield. If you'd said an army full of Iron Man or War Machine wannabes, then I'd have to give that more credence.
yeah i did say that Captain America would likely make a poor soldier, but iron man makes a poor example of gene warrior, there are more examples of super soldier projects in Sci-fi. either way i would prefer Special Forces be created as a Seperate army type and gene warriors take the role of super soldiers.

you know i don't exactly know where you come down in the debate here though, i dont even know if you agree with the OPs main idea, and what ideas you have in terms of special army types
 
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Jeffreyteciller

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Kind of like a lot of the ideas, the change to Invasion gameplay would be... interesting, but might make more sense than the current system. But I do so like managing to catch a transport fleet that was unguarded to save a planet from invasion, which wouldn't be possible (but I also understand there's not exactly a 'protect convys' directive for your fleets right now either to avoid that from happening to you).
I do understand the appeal of intercepting an army like this, but I honestly was never sold on the idea of this being done with, like, space-related ships. After all, it kind of just highlights the fact that land warfare is insignificant compared to space warfare, that you don’t really need to be good at the former if you’re good at the latter. I think both should be helpful in combat.

So while I do agree that there should be some way to intercept coming armies, I don’t think the current system, or any system where armies are assigned to ships that can be destroyed in space warfare, is really the best way to go about it.

One idea I had was to make it so armies could be sent to starbases, allowing you to attack your opponents sooner(because the armies would hopefully be closer to the planet you wish to invade. These starbases could then be attacked and such by enemy fleets, but unlike the current system this would be a case of drawbacks and benefits, because you don’t HAVE to move an army onto any starbases, it would just make things easier.
 

Aspiretothestars

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There shouldn't be assaults armies or defense armies. Just armies. Garrisons to planets should be able to assigned from your armies pool. (there should be tanks whatever, but that gets into a different topic which fleshes out land warfare into a mini game I digress). There should be a policy were you draft from the Civilian population during a time of need to create a civ draft army (that should be a special thing though) based on pop. Fleeing should happen where animations of small ships leaving to space should be a possibility (which no real ship you can direct). A roll chance of refugees to your nearest planet of remaining civs (- any that die along the way based on travel) which give more meaning. Planets do not feel alive when it comes to combat.
 
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Kiwibaum

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I like the idea of generating armies from bildings but I think if then all armies should be generated this way. If for example slave armies could just be bought instead they would probably be the better choice since you don't have to sacrifice building slots for them.

I don't like the transport idea. One Idea i have regarding that would be to have modules with army slots for space ships. When orbiting one of your planets with armies on it you can load those up. The armies on the planet will the slowly start to refill. Now you have your transport fleet basicly merged into your military fleet if you want to and don't have to annyoingly take care that the transport fleet isn't falling behind or anything.
This would possible incentives to go back to your planets to refil armies at some points and make decisions on which planets you take armies from, since emptying your border planet from armies might backfire if the enemy is able to sneakily take it.

This would also make the revived armies civic more interesting as it is now, since it can refil your armies on the front to some degree.
 
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Aspiretothestars

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I like the idea of generating armies from bildings but I think if then all armies should be generated this way. If for example slave armies could just be bought instead they would probably be the better choice since you don't have to sacrifice building slots for them.

I don't like the transport idea. One Idea i have regarding that would be to have modules with army slots for space ships. When orbiting one of your planets with armies on it you can load those up. The armies on the planet will the slowly start to refill. Now you have your transport fleet basicly merged into your military fleet if you want to and don't have to annyoingly take care that the transport fleet isn't falling behind or anything.
This would possible incentives to go back to your planets to refil armies at some points and make decisions on which planets you take armies from, since emptying your border planet from armies might backfire if the enemy is able to sneakily take it.

This would also make the revived armies civic more interesting as it is now, since it can refil your armies on the front to some degree.
Army slots when it comes to spaceships? That's a neat idea.
 

GOLANX

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I like the idea of generating armies from bildings but I think if then all armies should be generated this way. If for example slave armies could just be bought instead they would probably be the better choice since you don't have to sacrifice building slots for them.
This would be too much without dedicated military building slots, armies just aren't going to be worth slots on their own. Having strong limitations on the number of military building slots could work well without adding needless
This would possible incentives to go back to your planets to refil armies at some points and make decisions on which planets you take armies from, since emptying your border planet from armies might backfire if the enemy is able to sneakily take it.

This would also make the revived armies civic more interesting as it is now, since it can refil your armies on the front to some degree.
Iirc they devs said in their last AMA that they didn't want to attach them to warships, while I can appreciate the thought I wouldn't expect it, if you set the transports to aggressive stance they do a good job of following your fleet around and invading planets as long as you don't leave them behind its great.
 

Kiwibaum

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This would be too much without dedicated military building slots, armies just aren't going to be worth slots on their own. Having strong limitations on the number of military building slots could work well without adding needless
I think the military buildings could function as something else at the same time. For example cloning vats could still produce bio pop construction while also giving clone armies.


Iirc they devs said in their last AMA that they didn't want to attach them to warships, while I can appreciate the thought I wouldn't expect it, if you set the transports to aggressive stance they do a good job of following your fleet around and invading planets as long as you don't leave them behind its great.
Interesting, did they state why? I honestly don't see much of a downside to it despite development time. It would remove the unessary hastle with transport fleets and make the whole thing smoother. While at the same time enable more interesting things for space ship design and possible even space combat if they would ever decide to make boarding a thing.
 

Cordane

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Having a designed "ship" for an assault army is fine enough, but I do not agree on the "just orbit a planet, re/fill your troops" idea.
  1. Army-equipped (war)ships would need to have their army type (including species, see #3) specified before production would start, probably as part of their "ship" design.
  2. Warships are produced at Starbases, and I would expect assault armies to also be produced there, ready to ship out, and not have to still travel to a planet to load up. That would mean that the armies would load up initially at the Starbase where they were produced.
  3. Assault, Slave, Gene Warrior, and Psionic Armies are all limited to their species - one army per Pop of that species. I would expect an army to have to be orbiting the Starbase in a system that has at least some of that species' Pops.
    1. I'm not sure how Undead Armies work, as the Wiki calls them "biological", but would that actually impose a limit? Do they have a building requirement?
    2. Clone Armies used to require Cloning Vats IIRC, but now that those have a different function, is there any building requirement to produce them?
    3. It does look like the Wiki is showing a Slave Processing Facility requirement to create Slave Armies - is this accurate?
  4. Army ships would probably need to recover their numbers in line with their build times, with bonuses/penalties to recovery times based on where they are.
    1. In orbit of a planet/Starbase, stationary (but not in orbit), on the move
    2. Own territory (including vassals?), friendly territory, neutral territory, occupied territory, hostile territory - in decreasing order of recovery rate
    3. The species "requirement" above can be more of a bonus/penalty situation, where the bonus only applies if you're in one of your own systems that has that species (I don't think you could apply any bonus if you're in an unrelated system that happens to have the same species), and you're at a low base rate if you're not there.
  5. The ONLY way I would be in favor of some sort of "refilling bar" for armies is if the above "own species" requirement is based on not having previously exhausted the available military reserves for that species. For example, a backwater system with small numbers of Pops of the needed species would quickly run out of any reserve amount, and any remaining recovery would be at the much lower rates.
  6. If you were to have a designed army ship, I think it would make it hard to justify having a new kind of army transport that clearly shows the better utility slots, thrusters, FTL drives, etc., all at no increased costs as technology advances. I think better army ships should cost more, because an army that gets to an invasion target faster and having taken less damage should be valuable. If you were to apply that same logic, I could see other modules on the army ships that make it more likely to pass through any anti-shuttle fire (better shuttles and/or escort fighters).
  7. If a designed ship is what's used to move around assault armies, do the ships disappear ("land") while their armies are on a planet's surface or do they stay in orbit? If they're in orbit, can they be chased off or destroyed? What happens to the armies if that happens?
 

Kiwibaum

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Army-equipped (war)ships would need to have their army type (including species, see #3) specified before production would start, probably as part of their "ship" design.
Not really. They could have an empty army slot, that can be filled by any army.


Warships are produced at Starbases, and I would expect assault armies to also be produced there, ready to ship out, and not have to still travel to a planet to load up. That would mean that the armies would load up initially at the Starbase where they were produced.
This would indeed mean that the ships have to still pick up armies from planets after construction if you want to use them for landing armies and not just for space combat.

Army ships would probably need to recover their numbers in line with their build times, with bonuses/penalties to recovery times based on where they are.
How armies heal is indeed an interesting question. Either they do as now and magically replenish even in enemy territory, they have to orbit any owned planet or they have to orbit a planet that has this specific army type and it switches with the full one of that type and the not healed one will slowly regain health on the planet.

If you were to have a designed army ship, I think it would make it hard to justify having a new kind of army transport that clearly shows the better utility slots, thrusters, FTL drives, etc., all at no increased costs as technology advances. I think better army ships should cost more, because an army that gets to an invasion target faster and having taken less damage should be valuable. If you were to apply that same logic, I could see other modules on the army ships that make it more likely to pass through any anti-shuttle fire (better shuttles and/or escort fighters).
Linking it to the ship designer would cause just that. If you put in better modules you pay more.

If a designed ship is what's used to move around assault armies, do the ships disappear ("land") while their armies are on a planet's surface or do they stay in orbit? If they're in orbit, can they be chased off or destroyed? What happens to the armies if that happens?
They would stay in orbit and could be chased of. In that case the armies stay on the planet and maybe very slowly deteriorate due to lacking infrastructure



I am not sure you were replying to my added suggestion, but I answered that way just in case.
 

Rodmar18

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I do understand the appeal of intercepting an army like this, but I honestly was never sold on the idea of this being done with, like, space-related ships. After all, it kind of just highlights the fact that land warfare is insignificant compared to space warfare, that you don’t really need to be good at the former if you’re good at the latter. I think both should be helpful in combat.

So while I do agree that there should be some way to intercept coming armies, I don’t think the current system, or any system where armies are assigned to ships that can be destroyed in space warfare, is really the best way to go about it.

Troop transports:


Any system where (assault) armies are just teleported to the planet to invade or to reinforce would be so simplistic and odd, while not achieving anything as regards to what you want to enhance about army generation.

Stars are light-years afar from each other, and you need ships to rally them. Either they are full models (as currently), graphic sprites (as landing shuttles and strike craft), or not actually displayed (as liners and trade vessels), but ships are needed. This means that instant teleportation (as with relocated pops and reassigned leaders) would be boring and immersion-breaking for me.

To the least, troop transports could use the experimental hyperspace navigation that is used by science ships (with leader) once the corresponding tech is researched, and also by reinforcement fleets (with no tech required?), but only a limited version of it. Indeed, they would have to use their sublight drive to exit a system's gravitational well before engaging FTL flight. Likewise, they would emerge at the edge of their destination system (this time, much like science ships and reinforcement ships), and have to move in orbit of their target, all the time being vulnerable to interception. Their behaviour would be changed (no more silly circling), depending on their stance, and their speed would be then their main asset (as currently).
This would work whatever the kind of transport (either as currently, or designed military ships with army slots).

Yes, transport ships should stay in orbit when their armies land, the same way corvettes never land. Perhaps there could be another building at starbases, allowing to dock (and house) a number of empty transports. And given that transports are more or less the size of a colony ship, this number would be severely limited per building.

One thing that is also very "puzzling" is that assault armies cost only minerals, while they include a fully FTL-capable starship of decent size! If I'm not wrong, a single corvette costs around 100 alloys, and it's far from being able to transport a full division. Let's remove some hull and armor, and say that 100-150 alloy could be enough to house and protect a brigade or a division, packed in cryopods and storerooms. Remember that if warships are allowed to get transport modules, their cost in alloys (say for a cruiser) is much, much higher!

Likewise, is there any sense when a single-system empire without any shipyard can buy assault armies and invade a planet left undefended in another system? I don't really care if newly bought transport ships should appear at the local shipyard or directly on the garrison planet's orbit, but a shipyard should be necessary to build a transport and load an army on board (or link it to an army).

Assault armies:

If there's one change I am eagerly waiting for, it's the influence of habitability on troops' ability to fight. Each army would inherit its parent species' planetary preference and the empire's adaptation technologies. There could even be more technologies specifically aimed at increasing the climatic adaptation of assault armies, and elite forces would be more adapted than conscript forces. Currently, it's so weird that basic desert dweller armies can fight against oceanic denizens on their ocean planet with no penalties. But enough with ground combat, as it is not the topic here.

The question of special armored (tank) armies is just about asking for more diverse assault armies, as it is true that even a slave army would be armored and mechanized to a level. I for instance use a small mod that allows to build ranger, normal, elite, spec-op assault armies instead of just the base one (without changing anything to clone/psi/gene armies), and I understand that the elite assault force is more armored and more mechanized than the ranger assault army.

If transport ships are to be bought with a fair load of alloy, then armies could be trained prior to build the ships. Until there are transports docked at the local starbase or in orbit, the embark button would stay grayed out.

Defense armies could be converted to the most basic assault armies at a cost (and time) less than a genuine creation's (then they would slowly reform as when after a planetary bombing).

Currently, defending assault armies are targeted first by orbital bombing (making your general, if any, likely to be killed after the first army is destroyed), just because they come on top of the defenders' list. It would be good if the actual target depend on the intel level the enemy has on you.


War exhaustion:

Currently, with pretty costly assault armies and cost-free defense armies, it makes sense that exhaustion is only increased when attacking armies are lost (whatever their type?), and that defending armies can be slaughtered without impact (without speaking about motivation), but what about grounded enemy assault armies that defend their land? I'd have defending assault armies also count toward war exhaustion, as true as it is that whiping out the main enemy invasion force while they are surprised at home should be very bad news for their empire.

Beside normal war exhaustion, I'd see another impact on pops from the loss of assault armies. When an empire tends to exclusively (ab)use the same species (or caste: slaves) as cannon fodders, i.e. to have much higher losses in assault armies levied from this given species, this unbalance should be reflected in a temporary negative pop happiness modifier for this species. Well, this is an idea to further explore.


All these ideas and suggestions are independent from how armies are actually built, as discussed in this thread, and how ground combat could be improved, as discussed elsewhere.
 

GOLANX

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Troop transports:

Any system where (assault) armies are just teleported to the planet to invade or to reinforce would be so simplistic and odd, while not achieving anything as regards to what you want to enhance about army generation.

Stars are light-years afar from each other, and you need ships to rally them. Either they are full models (as currently), graphic sprites (as landing shuttles and strike craft), or not actually displayed (as liners and trade vessels), but ships are needed. This means that instant teleportation (as with relocated pops and reassigned leaders) would be boring and immersion-breaking for me.

To the least, troop transports could use the experimental hyperspace navigation that is used by science ships (with leader) once the corresponding tech is researched, and also by reinforcement fleets (with no tech required?), but only a limited version of it. Indeed, they would have to use their sublight drive to exit a system's gravitational well before engaging FTL flight. Likewise, they would emerge at the edge of their destination system (this time, much like science ships and reinforcement ships), and have to move in orbit of their target, all the time being vulnerable to interception. Their behaviour would be changed (no more silly circling), depending on their stance, and their speed would be then their main asset (as currently).
This would work whatever the kind of transport (either as currently, or designed military ships with army slots).

Yes, transport ships should stay in orbit when their armies land, the same way corvettes never land. Perhaps there could be another building at starbases, allowing to dock (and house) a number of empty transports. And given that transports are more or less the size of a colony ship, this number would be severely limited per building.

One thing that is also very "puzzling" is that assault armies cost only minerals, while they include a fully FTL-capable starship of decent size! If I'm not wrong, a single corvette costs around 100 alloys, and it's far from being able to transport a full division. Let's remove some hull and armor, and say that 100-150 alloy could be enough to house and protect a brigade or a division, packed in cryopods and storerooms. Remember that if warships are allowed to get transport modules, their cost in alloys (say for a cruiser) is much, much higher!

Likewise, is there any sense when a single-system empire without any shipyard can buy assault armies and invade a planet left undefended in another system? I don't really care if newly bought transport ships should appear at the local shipyard or directly on the garrison planet's orbit, but a shipyard should be necessary to build a transport and load an army on board (or link it to an army).
Devs don't want to put a ton of effort into ground armies, either they leave in the old system of transports or they replace it with a quick'n'dirty like teleportation, seperate buildable transports are almost certain to be rejected.
Assault armies:

If there's one change I am eagerly waiting for, it's the influence of habitability on troops' ability to fight. Each army would inherit its parent species' planetary preference and the empire's adaptation technologies. There could even be more technologies specifically aimed at increasing the climatic adaptation of assault armies, and elite forces would be more adapted than conscript forces. Currently, it's so weird that basic desert dweller armies can fight against oceanic denizens on their ocean planet with no penalties. But enough with ground combat, as it is not the topic here.
While a neat idea I don't think it would fit in well with Jeffery's idea, as armies are tied into jobs and buildings it could really mess up balance to have habitability apply when you can't just pick which species are your soldiers
The question of special armored (tank) armies is just about asking for more diverse assault armies, as it is true that even a slave army would be armored and mechanized to a level. I for instance use a small mod that allows to build ranger, normal, elite, spec-op assault armies instead of just the base one (without changing anything to clone/psi/gene armies), and I understand that the elite assault force is more armored and more mechanized than the ranger assault army.
More army types are limited by building slots in this rework and the upgrade interface.
If transport ships are to be bought with a fair load of alloy, then armies could be trained prior to build the ships. Until there are transports docked at the local starbase or in orbit, the embark button would stay grayed out.

Defense armies could be converted to the most basic assault armies at a cost (and time) less than a genuine creation's (then they would slowly reform as when after a planetary bombing).
I don't think defense armies should be a thing in this rework, at least you wouldn't see them outside of special circumstances, it would be better if most armies created by jobs were just assault armies so they can go anywhere and not tie down half your armies defending planets that don't need the help. Sadly I am not @Jeffreyteciller I would update the OP with my more refined thoughts, as you can see we had a robust conversation on the first page.
Currently, defending assault armies are targeted first by orbital bombing (making your general, if any, likely to be killed after the first army is destroyed), just because they come on top of the defenders' list. It would be good if the actual target depend on the intel level the enemy has on you.
I think you get strong intel when you capture the system. I don't think the espionage system would have a effect outside of creating specific operations.

All these ideas and suggestions are independent from how armies are actually built, as discussed in this thread, and how ground combat could be improved, as discussed elsewhere.
Independent suggestions should go in their own thread, leave this thread for discussion about Jeffrey's idea
 

Rodmar18

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Devs don't want to put a ton of effort into ground armies, either they leave in the old system of transports or they replace it with a quick'n'dirty like teleportation, seperate buildable transports are almost certain to be rejected.
Devs certainly don't want to put efforts into ground combat, and it's a different matter. I would be fine with current system of transporting and landing armies if only armies would cost alloys, just because of ships. Any other ships require alloy. A teleportation-like system wouldn't preclude this, it would be only a way to render these ships. What I suggest is a middle ground, I think: for a kind of invisible travel like reinforcement fleets (hence not instant travel like leaders), against the materialization of transports directly in their target's orbit (or at the local starbase). I understand that if transport ships return back to the Ship Designer and shipyards (hence costing alloys), Devs would have to put some efforts to balance army costs, and alter current embarking and landing animations and UI.
While a neat idea I don't think it would fit in well with Jeffery's idea, as armies are tied into jobs and buildings it could really mess up balance to have habitability apply when you can't just pick which species are your soldiers
Currently, defense armies are tied to jobs, as far as species are regarded (an army's species is the same as the pop's species in the job that creates the army). I'm not so sure about assault armies (or whether you can recruit any species inhabiting the planet). But in the end, armies belong to a species, except if they are robotic, and species get clear planetary preferences that impact their outcome and happiness. Only end-game elite forces (full-tech, or gene warriors) and machines should be able to wage war efficiently on low habitability worlds (to them) against armies that are very well adapted to these worlds. It should be simple to implement and balance: just adjust one or several army stats (damage, morale, health) according to the planet and species.
If OP's system ensures that you can't pick which species are your soldiers (as opposed to current system, when you buy them), or if species are not tied to employed pops that are best fit for enforcer or soldier job (as opposed to current system, at least for defense armies), then I'd say it's a bad idea.

However, I can see an issue when a job elects a pop. Currently, strong species are preferred for such jobs, hence/because resulting armies have better stats. If stats are also to depend on local climate, it would be only logical that local planetary type is taken into consideration when the system elects a pop for a job, with current system (just to have the best defending armies). Now, if an alternate system removes the possibility to choose which army to build, this would mean that you'd need e.g. a desert planet inhabited by desert dwellers to train your desert soldiers, and not only desert dwellers on any random planet.

More army types are limited by building slots in this rework and the upgrade interface.
If this rework allows to buy armies at some point, a mod will do, just as currently. I mean, are gene/psi/clone/xenomorph armies really going to be created by corresponding buildings and/or jobs? And cost only their upkeep?

I don't think defense armies should be a thing in this rework, at least you wouldn't see them outside of special circumstances, it would be better if most armies created by jobs were just assault armies so they can go anywhere and not tie down half your armies defending planets that don't need the help.
Don't forget that these "half your armies" are currently virtual and are produced at no cost, so it's not an hindrance. I'm not against merging defense armies and basic assault armies, but remember that current ground combat and trait systems give heavy "modifiers" to defense armies, not to defending armies. This should be rebalanced.

Sadly I am not @Jeffreyteciller I would update the OP with my more refined thoughts, as you can see we had a robust conversation on the first page.
Jeffreyteciller is free to update the OP, of course, but really, your conversation is fine as it is, and you were entitled into posting refined thoughts about another person's suggestion (see thereafter).

Independent suggestions should go in their own thread, leave this thread for discussion about Jeffrey's idea
No, this forum hasn't worked like this for long. Suggestions are made publicly, and then they are discussed by other players, criticized, amended, countered, enriched. It would be silly to duplicate threads about the same topic just for some ego sake. The same with bug reports, by the way: someone submits a report publicly, for others to comment, contest or help. In this case, OP proposes to change how armies are built without changing ground combat. Fine. Then transportation, or rather teleportation, comes on the table, and this would definitively change how invasions can be countered. So, I feel like entitled to comment on transport ships and assault armies, without commenting on the actual army building (main purpose of OP) and ground combat. When I say that these ideas are "independent", it's because they could be adapted to both vanilla army building and ground combat, and Jeffreyteciller's building.
 
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GOLANX

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Devs certainly don't want to put efforts into ground combat, and it's a different matter. I would be fine with current system of transporting and landing armies if only armies would cost alloys, just because of ships. Any other ships require alloy. A teleportation-like system wouldn't preclude this, it would be only a way to render these ships. What I suggest is a middle ground, I think: for a kind of invisible travel like reinforcement fleets (hence not instant travel like leaders), against the materialization of transports directly in their target's orbit (or at the local starbase). I understand that if transport ships return back to the Ship Designer and shipyards (hence costing alloys), Devs would have to put some efforts to balance army costs, and alter current embarking and landing animations and UI.

Currently, defense armies are tied to jobs, as far as species are regarded (an army's species is the same as the pop's species in the job that creates the army). I'm not so sure about assault armies (or whether you can recruit any species inhabiting the planet). But in the end, armies belong to a species, except if they are robotic, and species get clear planetary preferences that impact their outcome and happiness. Only end-game elite forces (full-tech, or gene warriors) and machines should be able to wage war efficiently on low habitability worlds (to them) against armies that are very well adapted to these worlds. It should be simple to implement and balance: just adjust one or several army stats (damage, morale, health) according to the planet and species.

If OP's system ensures that you can't pick which species are your soldiers (as opposed to current system, when you buy them), or if species are not tied to employed pops that are best fit for enforcer or soldier job (as opposed to current system, at least for defense armies), then I'd say it's a bad idea.
OP's idea was primarily that assault armies would be created by soldier jobs and armies could not be created ala Cart as they are now, while you could use military service species right to pick which species could fill that job you can't force them to fill the job and weights like what you said in your next paragraph would come into play, which may result in armies that don't match habitability with the target world, and you may not have them in the numbers you need to win, in more extreme circumstances this could prevent an assaulting force from winning a war as they could not occupy enemy planets. I really do like habitability mechanics being added for soldiers but assault armies would need a skip on that. Maybe slave armies could use that mechanic, maybe clone armies, but that depends on wether you would go with my or Jeffrey's ideas on those army types, I think slave armies should have the current recruitment mechanic while clone armies have corresponding jobs in the clone vats.

Gene Ascension and Synth Ascension would as you suggest be able to ignore the limitations of habitability but that leaves the red headed stepchild of psi ascension without the ability to ignore habitability in armies.
However, I can see an issue when a job elects a pop. Currently, strong species are preferred for such jobs, hence/because resulting armies have better stats. If stats are also to depend on local climate, it would be only logical that local planetary type is taken into consideration when the system elects a pop for a job, with current system (just to have the best defending armies). Now, if an alternate system removes the possibility to choose which army to build, this would mean that you'd need e.g. a desert planet inhabited by desert dwellers to train your desert soldiers, and not only desert dwellers on any random planet.
Yeah that would certainly be an issue, it's why I don't think that mechanic would mesh well with this rework
If this rework allows to buy armies at some point, a mod will do, just as currently. I mean, are gene/psi/clone/xenomorph armies really going to be created by corresponding buildings and/or jobs? And cost only their upkeep?
He suggested and I agreed that gene/psi/battleframe armies would be upgrades of the assault armies created by jobs. As I said before I feel like clone armies would also have an associated job, maybe from clone vats, maybe from gene clinics. I'd kind of like to tie in the idea of splitting up Supremacy and clone armies would become available after picking a Tradition tree about a quantity over Quality military. Xenomorphs would come from quality over Quantity tree (I think of them as Kaiju) and would also require a job from a similar structure.
Don't forget that these "half your armies" are currently virtual and are produced at no cost, so it's not an hindrance. I'm not against merging defense armies and basic assault armies, but remember that current ground combat and trait systems give heavy "modifiers" to defense armies, not to defending armies. This should be rebalanced.
Bonus modifiers could be given to defending armies its another part where seperate military building slots would be handy as you could have a fortification building that would improve defending armies. Ultimately part of the point is to limit the number of armies you can field at any one time which can slow your roll on always overwhelm your enemies with armies.
 

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I was discussing assault armies with another on the den tday and our idea is three fold for armies: armies are designed in the ship designer by adding components and possibly unique required sets to transport ships to determine the army and transport ships are like a PD/small/missile only weapon slot that uses carrier stance (safely in the back), but part of the main fleet and build at shipyards. Generals are no longer recruited, but generated by planets based on variables such as pops, buildings, etc and admirals have special "general" traits with localizations that describe the trait as a general assigned to the admral's command. this is just our initial ideas. I may even make two separate mods of this at some point time and interest willing.
 

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How to create armies

Jobs that create defense armies now also create some assault armies, with the exact values being adjusted by some ethics and policies. For most empires, enforcers produce one defense army and one assault army, while soldiers produce two of each, with the ability to swap one army over to the other type through a policy. The type of assault army created depends on the pop in question, with robotic pops creating robotic armies and so on.

I'd go with having enforcers create only defensive armies as they are essentially peacekeepers or as previously suggested give them a collateral damage reduction modifier instead. Policemen are not army grunts.

What soldiers create can be managed by policy: (Defence-only: 6 defensive armies/Mixed: 3 Defensive and 2 assault armies/Assault-focused: 4 assault armies)
Maybe introduce a 'militia' unit which is a weaker defensive soldier and spawns depending on number of pops, their happiness and the planet's stability.

For slavers, you could have all slaves spawn a weak army for every pop regardless of their job or create an actual 'battle-thrall' job to spawn your slave armies. I'm honestly more in favor of spawning a weak slave army for every pop so long as there's a 'slave processing facility' on the planet. Also potentially make it possible for those slave armies to turn on you in the event of a slave rebellion. (> maybe triggerable trough subterfuge) Another idea for slavers is to introduce a decision to 'sacrifice' slave pops in return for 'slave armies' which might be the most realistic option since you just take your slaves away from their forced labour and toss them onto the battlefield as cheap, poorly equipped and reluctant but numerous fodder. This could result in spawning a large number of slave armies for the price of losing a few slave pops.

Finally, introduce a 'conscription' decision for autocratic empires (with a long cooldown / penalties for the planet when enacted) - creating a weak 'conscript' army for every 2 pops (+/- a % depending on stability?) which can be used in both offense and defence while non-autocratic empires could instead have 'volunteers' which will spawn automatically when the planet is under attack without the need for a decision and won't impose any penalties for spawning (or influence cost to enact it) but can only be used defensively and will depend on the respective pops' happiness instead of the planets' overall stability. (If your workers are all unhappy and ignored due to low political weight, they obviously won't spawn any volunteers) Empires that are neither autocratic nor egalitarian may be able to enable conscription trough policies? Or species' rights? (Egalitarian Xenophobes could still conscript aliens when it's in the species' rights instead of the policies..)

With those in place, every aspect of your empire can be militarized in a time of crisis in different ways depending on how your empire works - giving a more immersive experience and ensuring AIs also have a card or two to play to fight back in a ground invasion (because really, they never defend their worlds in any serious capacity with the current army system)

Moving armies around

Assault armies are now bound to a planet, and instead of moving around in transportation ships, they can instead be assigned to do a certain task(invade planet, complete a mission, etc.), and will then go to do that task. This works similar to moving leaders, with the army taking more time to start the task the further away the planet is.

During peacetime, armies will automatically move back to their home planet when they don't have a task to do. They will be unavailable until they return.

During war, you can freely move armies from one planet to another, provided there is a free line of non-enemy territory from one planet to another. When an army is killed, it will eventually be brought back on the planet it came from, provided the job is still intact and the planet hasn't been invaded.

Having the soldiers embark on a pre-selected destination in non-controllable transports would give the option of intercepting them, which really ought to be possible. but it would also remove the very fun ability to hyper drive jump armies into enemy territory.

Having them go there in the background works too but pushes invasions even more into the background. It does offer an opportunity to make subterfuge count by introducing a partial interception chance / attrition damage of travelling armies depending on intel level. High piracy or patriotism in occupied territories could also cause army attrition with this mechanic.

A third idea is to load them up into military fleets (give your military ships the ability to carry those armies to the world you want to invade, possibly add a 'ship-to-ship boarding attack' while you're at it.)

Upgrading armies

While on their home planet, assault armies can be upgraded to more advanced variants(gene warrior armies, psionic armies, battle frame armies, etc.), assuming it's an appropriate type(can't turn robots into psionics and whatnot). This will have an upfront cost, as well as an upkeep cost, which should ideally be more creative than just mineral cost and energy upkeep. Armies can also be demoted to their "base" form if one wishes.

If an upgraded army is killed in battle, it retains its upgraded status when it's recreated by its associated pop.

I would instead go for a % of your available armies to be upgraded, exact percentage determined by a policy which may result in increased upkeep or fewer but higher quality etc.. multiple good choices for what policy is desirable in regards to military recruitment. Feels like something your factions may have something to say about too.
 
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GOLANX

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I'd go with having enforcers create only defensive armies as they are essentially peacekeepers / policemen not army grunts and manage what soldiers create by policy: (Defense-only/Mixed/Assault-focused)
Imo Defense Armies is kinda pushing it, cops don't make good soldiers I'd rather they provide more of a role in protecting the populous.
I would instead go for a % of your available armies to be upgraded, exact percentage determined by a policy which may result in increased upkeep or fewer but higher quality etc.. multiple good choices for what policy is desirable in regards to military recruitment. Feels like something your factions may have something to say about too.
That would probably end up feeling pretty arbitrary without adding more depth to combat. More policies is a fine goal but they probably won't add enough spice on their own.
 

Zoroastra

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Seal Training plus a little selective gene based recruitment just wouldn't produce the results the gene warrior armies are providing.
> Ever play Dawn of War 40K?

My idea of Genetic Warriors is the Space marines, or even better their predecessors - the Thunder Warriors: Hulking brutes in absurdly heavy armor with unreasonably big weaponry, a penchant for ultraviolence and a bad attitude problem.

Their reduced collateral damage suggests the stellaris version to be *slightly* more disciplined, but shush!
 
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jmpveg22

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I think The amount of assualt armies buildable should correspond to the number of soldiers you have in your empire, as well as how many military buildings you have.

Eg:
10 assault armies per soldier.
10 assualt armies per military academy
10 robotic armies per roboticist
10 robotic armies per robotic factory
 
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Pancakelord

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I like the premise but I think it gets a bit overly complicated, trying to hit too many issues at once with a single overhaul - and I appreciate the OP was written before situations came about - but there could be a middle ground by breaking it up a bit.

Army limits linked to resource Upkeep

It is possible to set scriptable limits on the construction of units (in the past - in my sig - I've used this to setup per-class limits on ships) it works slightly differently for armies [there isn't going to be a dynamic "army capacity" tooltip as with naval capacity in vanilla], but essentially you can do the following:
  1. Define a new resource, 'Army Capacity'
  2. all soldiers now produce (say for illustration) 5 army capacity each
    • Other things like battle thralls can passively produce them, or a "penal batallion" building producing 1 per N slaves on the planet.
    • Military academies (and equivs) could multiply army capacity output by (say) +20%.
  3. Armies now have a monthly consumption of army capacity - simply done by assigning it in the cost and upkeep slot.
  4. you can not build an army (scripted limit in the unit) if net army capacity income <=0 [a custom fail & success text string can explain this].
  5. A special situation fires (like with other resource deficits) that causes armies to desert or whatever when < 0.
This would, by being a resource, also generate modifiers, and be affected by output modifiers. More advanced armies could consume more army capacity per month when active.

E.g. a slave army consumes less than an assault army, which consumes less than a mega-warform.

That would implement at least the spirit of economic/job-linked army limits. And with reasonably little effort. Army upkeep reduction modifiers can be offset with triggers, to prevent limit use from falling alongside resources use.

By making armies cost upfront cap too, you can drag out re-build times, also, possibly making it less wise to spam waves of cheap men at enemies (more below).

Retune army costs and power.
With new limits comes the need to re-evaluate what armies should do, and this their costs and upkeeps (both in terms of limits and resource Upkeep costs).

Personally I'd take inspiration from ck3, and have
  1. trash units (zombies, slaves, conscription armies etc) that cost little and eat up little limit cap.
  2. basically space Men At Arms (sMAA) (warforms, advanced assault armies and so on) that cost a lot, use a lot of limit cap, but do a lot too.
I'd generally aim to tune costs so that sMAA are more powerful and not that common, whilst trash armies are also less common than they currently are (no 70k army power stacks)

Key army death to colony stability?
Armies can scope to their parent pops on death, from there you can scope to the planet and set a -stab effect.

Or every time an army dies increment a hidden decaying counter, after a certain number of deaths in X period, anti war situations start firing off.

This would exist to encourage the use of space sMAA, over endless waves of trash armies.
 
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