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Sutopia

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For a long time, ground battle seems extremely out of place to me.
It rarely interacts with the rest of the game, the combat is uninteresting.

As such, I think it's proper to stop trying to "fix" army and ground battle altogether, but use space force to capture instead.

The idea comes from Command and Conquer: Generals. In that game, the primary way you capture enemy building is via the basic infantry unit.
For Stellaris, we can do the same: let our combat vessels capable of capturing planets.


Attacking Force
"Selective" bombardment stance now includes a capturing effect.
A new core component "landing pod" becomes available. You can leave it empty to save resource or fit the pod with army types you have unlocked for taking over planets.
Landing pod components have energy, mineral or food upkeep when installed, based on the army type.
Every landing pod in the fleet provides a per-day capturing progress toward the colony it's targeting, and has a cap proportional to planet size.

Defending Force
The base amount of progress required to capture a planet will be directly associated with how well developed the planet is. (One of the main factor is pop count)
Aside from that, the defense army should go away. Instead, defender use defensive buildings.
Defensive buildings are separate buildings from the existing 12 building slots, but share the same building queue.
Similar to how building slots work after 3.0, you get defensive building slots from capital building and gain additional from each fortress.
Planetary shield is now a defensive building.
Fortress no longer gains FTL inhibitor automatically, but needs to be built as a unique defensive building.
There are other ones that either slow down the capturing or deal damage to fleets in orbit.
These different buildings can allow for defenders to organize more interesting defending strategies other than making just huge "swamp" planets that attackers need to chew through.
For the upcoming unity rework, the capturing difficulty may also be adjusted based on sprawl, representing local population resistance to invaders.

Miscellaneous
  • There are some traits that tailor toward army damage, such as strong. These no longer apply to attacker, but do apply to defender capturing difficulty via increasing / decreasing the progress required to capture.
  • General is no longer a thing. There can be a few new admiral traits that tailor toward planet capturing speed or planetary defensive weaponry damage reduction.
  • New espionage: destroy defensive buildings
  • Repeatable techs now become increase capturing speed and increase capturing difficulty. In addition, there can be a new repeatable that explicitly increases planetary defensive weapon strength, as such weapon probably should not benefit from existing weapon repeatable techs.

This would not only greatly simplify the system but also add more meaningful strategic decisions to the game.
Thoughts?
 
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Commander Tobe

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Interesting concept. I never played C&C Generals so I will watch a let's play video to get a better idea of it. But at a glance it sounds good to me.

Would you need to have a new transport module on your ships or be able to integrate trooper vessels into your armada?
How would the ground combat screen look like and what tactical options will there be the steer the battle?
 

Commander Tobe

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Also I kinda like my generals and I think they could still have a purpose for defending planets. I always found there is way too little incentive to have a general on your planet but your idea could make it more viable.
 

Sutopia

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Interesting concept. I never played C&C Generals so I will watch a let's play video to get a better idea of it. But at a glance it sounds good to me.

Would you need to have a new transport module on your ships or be able to integrate trooper vessels into your armada?
How would the ground combat screen look like and what tactical options will there be the steer the battle?

Basically I want to get rid of army and general altogether as they’re rarely used. As such, there is no dedicated transport ship, but every ship can be one. “Core components” are listed on the right side of your ship designer where engine, reactors and such resides.

One thing I dislike about ground combat is defender not having much options. Especially the defending army, unless you explicitly recruit standard army and send them back, you have little say on the defending army composition.

As my suggestion, ground combat is no longer a thing. It becomes a simplified capture bar. To capture, invader need to equip with the landing pods and they take up additional upkeep; For defenders, new defense options are available and potentially threatening to the invader, such as ground based heavy batteries that can deal damage to ships in orbit. One thing I’d like is to stop auto including FTL inhibitors on fortress buildings as they create extremely cheap defensive swamp trapping invaders.
 

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I honestly would be okay with scapping ground combat entirely. It could be retconned that planets are captured by marines launched from a blockading fleet or something like that, but from a purely strategic perspective, there is no reason why a planet should have the capability of holding against a dedicated invasion fleet. Since the game is a purely strategic one with nothing tactical whatsoever, ground combat will always boil down to a slog that takes attention away from the rest of the game and eats resources. And honestly, the number of times where an invading force has been repelled is so low that defending forces are really more of a speed bump than anything important right now. If we want capturing planets to not happen instantaneously, then make it so that a certain amount of devestation is needed, based on the level of the planetary capital and/or number of pops. This makes the Planetary Shield building interesting as it delays the capture of a planet by reducing the amount of devestation dealt by bombardment. Replace both the soldier and the enforcer jobs with a single specialist job, the armsman or something like that, that reduces crime and provides fleet cap.
 

guiskj

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I really like the army pod on ships idea! My take on it is that it would equate to a single army unit, which gets auto deployed to a planet and initiate the existing army combat.

This would have the benefit of reducing the army micro (building, transporting and deploying armies) while minimizing yet another system rework.

There are other aspects of Stellaris that I would prefer to get attention, so a solution to ground combat that takes the approach of a small change aimed at making ground combat not suck is preferable, to me, than a big costly change to try to make ground combat fun. It's just an opportunity cost thing for me when it comes to the Custodian Team's time.
 

Cordane

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I can understand a generalized idea that "the current mechanics for armies and planetary invasions suck" and the desire to insert another system - ANY system - as a preferable alternative. However, this reminds me of the trope Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale, with regard to how large vanilla Assault or Defense Armies actually are. I've covered this before: Armies of these types are likely on the order of 800,000 to 900,000 human-analogues, plus all of their equipment, planetary vehicles, supplies, ammunition, surface buildings/fortifications, transports to/from planetary surfaces, etc. You aren't tucking these into the corner of your basic warships.

Stellaris is a game and it has the totally whacked perspectives on the relative values of planetary versus space-based projects (or more often civilian vs. military projects) that you would see in a game (and that's not necessarily a bad thing). Warships, regardless of how technologically advanced they are, are not at all big (miniscule, in fact) compared to building an entire District of a planet, but even the smallest warships are somehow given a resource value comparable to a District (after converting Minerals to Alloys). Similar to that, Armies are not seen as being as valuable as a warships, and so Armies keep the same undervalued Minerals resource as planetary & civilian projects. An Assault Army is probably as resource intensive relative to the cost of a District as its resultant output relative to the District, but when comparing it to the resource costs of a warship, it seems like the Army is insignificant when it isn't at all from a realistic perspective.

Because of this game resources discrepancy, Armies will always be viewed as something that can and should be spammed as much and as fast as possible. And that relative worthlessness causes people to think they can just be handled as something quick and dirty.
 
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Sutopia

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I can understand a generalized idea that "the current mechanics for armies and planetary invasions suck" and the desire to insert another system - ANY system - as a preferable alternative. However, this reminds me of the trope Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale, with regard to how large vanilla Assault or Defense Armies actually are. I've covered this before: Armies of these types are likely on the order of 800,000 to 900,000 human-analogues, plus all of their equipment, planetary vehicles, supplies, ammunition, surface buildings/fortifications, transports to/from planetary surfaces, etc. You aren't tucking these into the corner of your basic warships.

Stellaris is a game and it has the totally whacked perspectives on the relative values of planetary versus space-based projects (or more often civilian vs. military projects) that you would see in a game (and that's not necessarily a bad thing). Warships, regardless of how technologically advanced they are, are not at all big (miniscule, in fact) compared to building an entire District of a planet, but even the smallest warships are somehow given a resource value comparable to a District (after converting Minerals to Alloys). Similar to that, Armies are not seen as being as valuable as a warships, and so Armies keep the same undervalued Minerals resource as planetary & civilian projects. An Assault Army is probably as resource intensive relative to the cost of a District as its resultant output relative to the District, but when comparing it to the resource costs of a warship, it seems like the Army is insignificant when it isn't at all from a realistic perspective.

Because of this game resources discrepancy, Armies will always be viewed as something that can and should be spammed as much and as fast as possible. And that relative worthlessness causes people to think they can just be handled as something quick and dirty.

I guess you prefer a whole warship section or even ship class dedicated as transport, then? It is also very dangerous to assume army requiring that many manpower if at all. As the 6th gen fighters demonstrated, autonomous war machines are the future.

Bottom line, what is to be considered first is the gameplay, not lore or even how “realistic” it is. If a game mechanics is not engaging it should go away.
 
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Billy Graham

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This is an interesting discussion: Scrap a system that holds for an idea that could be interesting if implemented correctly, but for not is trash, or hold it, redesign it, and make it thrive, at the cost of time and resources.

The important thing to know about planetary invasions is that they could be vary easily compared to medieval sieges. the planets are so huge with so many defensive options, hiding spots, and resistance opportunities that without simply blowing the planets surface to smithereens the only option you really have is to break the peoples will through terror, cutting off supply lines, and military threat. Given this, you would actually have an easier time taking a planet that relies on trade versus a more rural one that is self sustaining.

The real solution would be more oriented around dismantling the central government of the planet to "take control of the planet" but then having to deal with resistance for a long period of time trying to retake the planet. given this you might have an easy time taking a planet during war, but in peace you still have to deal with planetary stability and fight off resistance, else you might lose control of the planet back to its owner.

I think for the initial take over ground combat works well, as the forces there act as the governments forces. for ultimate control of a planet you might have a resistance strength/moral bar, and you might have to deal with resistance fighters spawning, events describing terror attacks, or free espionage assets given to others. You can use either military strength, buildings, and planetary decisions - like propaganda or shows of force - to reduce resistance moral.

I think this system would make planetary conquests feel more real and dramatic and have more of an actual impact on the game. Also, armies on the defensive - regardless of initial purpose - should be way better than assault armies, as they can make use of so many more strategic assets than the incoming force.

If you want to simply remove planetary battles as has been proposed, I would be disappointed but would also understand, I think your idea has a lot of merit to it, but I think simply utilizing the hangar ship design slot for this could be a great additional use of that ship slot.

Regardless of whatever system we get, planet to space weapons should definitely be a thing.
 
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GhostDanny

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I would also love to see no resistance, if the new government treats everybody better than the old government.
If a conqueror gives you a better living standard, would you really want to rebel?
 

Billy Graham

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I would also love to see no resistance, if the new government treats everybody better than the old government.
If a conqueror gives you a better living standard, would you really want to rebel?
Depends, if it was a very united country, weather they had high living standards or not, they might rebel out of what they consider principle. Also, if propaganda from the original empire was extremely high that could carry over into animosity towards their new conquerors. Spiritualist pops might rebel still if they feel like the new empire is morally wrong.
 
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Cordane

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I guess you prefer a whole warship section or even ship class dedicated as transport, then? It is also very dangerous to assume army requiring that many manpower if at all. As the 6th gen fighters demonstrated, autonomous war machines are the future.

Bottom line, what is to be considered first is the gameplay, not lore or even how “realistic” it is. If a game mechanics is not engaging it should go away.
There's a big difference between a mechanized force and an automated force. The Armies as stated in the vanilla rules are implicitly, if not explicitly, composed largely of "soldiers" (airmen, sailors, marines, "espatiers", etc.) of the empire's population, such that physical strength of the soldiers is seen as a major contributor of their effectiveness (or physical weakness being an issue). I don't agree with that idea of army composition, as mechanization is already a huge component of RW American military capability, with training being the next biggest piece. The technology used by an Army should have a much larger contribution to the final numbers of its capability.

Automation of military units is an entirely different matter, much closer to Stellaris' use of Robotic Assault Armies, but not even that far. Just because the weapon system itself is automated doesn't mean that all repair, supply, command & control, etc., have been handed off to AI control. Even limiting a military force to AIs isn't going to eliminate the need for bulk robotic troops for population pacification, materials for droid/synthetic maintenance, or virtually any of the other requirements I listed in the previous comment. Defensive armies might be able to get away with more automation in their forces, as they're not looking to pacify any attackers while invaders may very well wish to keep the planetary population for their own uses rather than just destroy them all.

If a gameplay mechanic is not engaging, it should be replaced with one that is - taking something that is so ubiquitous to science-fiction and making it "go away" is not a useful solution.
 
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Sutopia

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There's a big difference between a mechanized force and an automated force. The Armies as stated in the vanilla rules are implicitly, if not explicitly, composed largely of "soldiers" (airmen, sailors, marines, "espatiers", etc.) of the empire's population, such that physical strength of the soldiers is seen as a major contributor of their effectiveness (or physical weakness being an issue). I don't agree with that idea of army composition, as mechanization is already a huge component of RW American military capability, with training being the next biggest piece. The technology used by an Army should have a much larger contribution to the final numbers of its capability.

Automation of military units is an entirely different matter, much closer to Stellaris' use of Robotic Assault Armies, but not even that far. Just because the weapon system itself is automated doesn't mean that all repair, supply, command & control, etc., have been handed off to AI control. Even limiting a military force to AIs isn't going to eliminate the need for bulk robotic troops for population pacification, materials for droid/synthetic maintenance, or virtually any of the other requirements I listed in the previous comment. Defensive armies might be able to get away with more automation in their forces, as they're not looking to pacify any attackers while invaders may very well wish to keep the planetary population for their own uses rather than just destroy them all.

If a gameplay mechanic is not engaging, it should be replaced with one that is - taking something that is so ubiquitous to science-fiction and making it "go away" is not a useful solution.
Hence the suggestion is not just whining and asking for army to be removed but providing an alternative that is mostly based on existing systems. There are already ship components that enhances bombardment efficiency why can’t they also do the landing? Ground battle have ZERO correlation with space battle which is the very reason why it’s not engaging. The game is about space warfare after all. If you want to play more ground maybe go for CK3 or HOI4?


I have no intention in arguing over what a unit of army means unless you can find official document or reference. The earth in Stellaris is not the earth we know thus noone can ever give an accurate estimate of how many actual lives are involved that count as one “pop”. The ratio of military personnel varies by tech level and it only goes lower the more advanced the tech is.
 
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Ground battle have ZERO correlation with space battle which is the very reason why it’s not engaging. The game is about space warfare after all.
weird I thought this game was about epic space empire management, including space combat and ground combat, science and culture, ethics and edicts, exploration and populace?
 
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Hence the suggestion is not just whining and asking for army to be removed but providing an alternative that is mostly based on existing systems. There are already ship components that enhances bombardment efficiency why can’t they also do the landing?
(snark) What I love about your OP suggestion is that you're saying Stellaris shouldn't use infantry to capture enemy property, but should instead do something like Command & Conquer: Generals that uses infantry to capture enemy property. (/snark)
For a long time, ground battle seems extremely out of place to me.
It rarely interacts with the rest of the game, the combat is uninteresting.

As such, I think it's proper to stop trying to "fix" army and ground battle altogether, but use space force to capture instead.

The idea comes from Command and Conquer: Generals. In that game, the primary way you capture enemy building is via the basic infantry unit.
For Stellaris, we can do the same: let our combat vessels capable of capturing planets.
Again, you're still advocating for an "army" to be carried by a warship (which is still expected to fight space battles where it's supposed to try to Evade enemy fire, while carrying 10's to 100's of thousands of population-based troops or their robotic equivalents, AND all the stuff they need), and then that "army" will land on a planet and fight... buildings?

And the best part of this for me is asking this: so how does the "Offending" force ("I'm terribly sorry if I have offended you to death"?) hold onto the planet when the ground fight is done? Do the warships just stay in orbit of the occupied world? Do they get to fight other space battles but lose the ability to invade other planets while their "army" is occupying a planet? What happens if the defending "buildings" are too tough for what's been brought so far by the "offending" force - do the "landing pods" go offline or have reduced capability until they're "repaired"?

What's additionally funny is I'm actually in support of both less restrictions on defensive buildings per planet and damage to orbiting fleets during bombardment or invasions, but you've soured the entire suggestion for me with the "do everything" warships and the BS justifications for why they should work, both thematically and via game mechanics. I'm just reminded of the caption for basically the Stellaris Wiki page image for Land Warfare, that says, "Although secondary to space battles, ground warfare is a vital aspect of many wars," and how your OP suggestion basically says, "Nah, doesn't mean jack."
 
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(snark) What I love about your OP suggestion is that you're saying Stellaris shouldn't use infantry to capture enemy property, but should instead do something like Command & Conquer: Generals that uses infantry to capture enemy property. (/snark)

Again, you're still advocating for an "army" to be carried by a warship (which is still expected to fight space battles where it's supposed to try to Evade enemy fire, while carrying 10's to 100's of thousands of population-based troops or their robotic equivalents, AND all the stuff they need), and then that "army" will land on a planet and fight... buildings?

And the best part of this for me is asking this: so how does the "Offending" force ("I'm terribly sorry if I have offended you to death"?) hold onto the planet when the ground fight is done? Do the warships just stay in orbit of the occupied world? Do they get to fight other space battles but lose the ability to invade other planets while their "army" is occupying a planet? What happens if the defending "buildings" are too tough for what's been brought so far by the "offending" force - do the "landing pods" go offline or have reduced capability until they're "repaired"?

What's additionally funny is I'm actually in support of both less restrictions on defensive buildings per planet and damage to orbiting fleets during bombardment or invasions, but you've soured the entire suggestion for me with the "do everything" warships and the BS justifications for why they should work, both thematically and via game mechanics. I'm just reminded of the caption for basically the Stellaris Wiki page image for Land Warfare, that says, "Although secondary to space battles, ground warfare is a vital aspect of many wars," and how your OP suggestion basically says, "Nah, doesn't mean jack."
Land warfare being “vital” is only because it’s the only practical way to conquer another empire’s colony most of the time. You’re completely missing the logic: beggars can’t be choosers.

You’re also pretty much just trash talking about the CnC part. The infantry in CnC is comparable to corvette in Stellaris. The point is they are combat capable but also are the very unit that can capture buildings. Can your army or transport ship fight other spaceships?

As the title suggests, the post is about getting rid of land warfare and army as a stand-alone unit, if you really want that to be clarified and preventing more nonsense arguments. Suggestion also doesn’t need to go into the details since Paradox is not just gonna copy paste suggested ideas, so instead of trashing the post why not give your take on how the ships should behave when they are capturing? As a reminder since I don’t think you summarized the idea correctly, the whole idea is to remove land warfare and simplify the whole thing into a capture bar with certain values the attackers need to fill. You fill the bar with ships doing something in orbit. Once it’s fully filled the planet changes ownership.
 
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Land warfare being “vital” is only because it’s the only practical way to conquer another empire’s colony most of the time. You’re completely missing the logic: beggars can’t be choosers.

Yea, you can. throwing your hands up and giving up is not an acceptable direction to take the system. Period. Stop being lazy and demand the system actually be better.
 
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Land warfare being “vital” is only because it’s the only practical way to conquer another empire’s colony most of the time. You’re completely missing the logic: beggars can’t be choosers.

You’re also pretty much just trash talking about the CnC part. The infantry in CnC is comparable to corvette in Stellaris. The point is they are combat capable but also are the very unit that can capture buildings. Can your army or transport ship fight other spaceships?

As the title suggests, the post is about getting rid of land warfare and army as a stand-alone unit, if you really want that to be clarified and preventing more nonsense arguments. Suggestion also doesn’t need to go into the details since Paradox is not just gonna copy paste suggested ideas, so instead of trashing the post why not give your take on how the ships should behave when they are capturing? As a reminder since I don’t think you summarized the idea correctly, the whole idea is to remove land warfare and simplify the whole thing into a capture bar with certain values the attackers need to fill. You fill the bar with ships doing something in orbit. Once it’s fully filled the planet changes ownership.
Can a planetary naval Battleship conquer a land-locked city or nation? A stellar Corvette (or Destroyer, etc.) isn't designed to take control of planetary assets (i.e., not just blow stuff up) - it's designed to fight stellar warships and other space-based assets. How are the designs of the stellar warships in this new paradigm changed in order to make orbital pacification of surface assets and population possible? Is it the "landing pod" with the apparently not-army in it that doesn't take any real room, and that's supposed to defeat the not-armies on the planet?

The whole idea is to give up on trying to fix the mechanics of the movement of transport fleets and their coordination with combat fleets, and replace it with something that has no real correlation with an actual planetary invasion. Did I summarize it correctly this time?

Sure, we can make this thread about my suggestions, so you can then gripe about me hijacking instead of posting in my own thread. If I was wanting to stick as close to vanilla as possible, my first suggestion would be to have transports act intelligently in combat situations. Transports lack defensive weaponry (they don't lack defensive utilities) and they mill about like dumbasses, just waiting to get wasted by a skirmishing enemy fleet. Independent of an escort force, they should either run away (e.g., emergency FTL) or run to their target planet (and "land" to avoid ship-to-ship damage). Better would be to integrate an escort force that stays behind while the transports run.

Next up would be to integrate bombardment capability into the invasion fleet. Including that capability in the same ships that are transporting the armies creates an opportunity to consolidate all of the costs into a single value, but then you're having to officiate how the separated army on the surface is handled when its mothership has to run from a reactionary fleet, or how the mothership "repairs" the army when it's left behind or defeated. If the transports are kept as fully land-able, then you have to have a third type of military craft (or integrate it into the escorts) that has the bombardment capabilities. Bombardment-focused warships would be much better at those tasks than a stock combat fleet, but would be weaker in escort capability (and certainly in any ability to defeat a sizeable enemy fleet on their own). If the bombardment is kept separate from both the transports and the escorts, then those ships would follow a similar strategy to the transports, in running when approached by enemy fleets - if they still have some ship-to-ship capability, they would only run when a legitimate response force arrives (i.e., not one naked Corvette).

Transports and "bombards" would be designed and purchased almost identical to warships, with core components capturing the army species, quality of their equipment and planetary vehicles, etc., along with escort vs. bombardment weapons. I'd love to add more aspects to the above suggestions, but those would require a major refiguring of costs and priorities, and I'm definitely not dragging those through someone else's thread.