Now let's crack on to business shall we.
Exceptional job bringing the old races into the modern age with 3d models and great voice actors. Here's a few things that concern me.
- Lack of government types: I understand the change, sticking a few race stats like -50% research, colonies without barracks suffer -20% moral (old MMO feudal government) makes it hard to balance but It would be nice to state your races government type when making custom races (even if it doesn't do anything).
- Setting your playstyle: In the old game's you selected or customised a race around a certain playstyle. psilon's had farming/production/research penalties on non-low Gravity worlds so tended to only colonise a few and grow in technology quickly to counteract those flaws, conversely sakkras and klackons tended to fast expand due to their population growth, subterranean or large homeworld specs. Currently psilons seem really broken because nothing is stopping them fast expanding AND gaining a large technology lead. Sakkra's do eat less food giving them a slight increase in population growth BUT due to the removal of freighters they can't quickly export that population to colonised planets OR support new colony's with food from their homeworld. I'm seeing a lack of design along playstyles in the game and that simply makes this into a generic 4x game. Each race is meant to feel unique, not be slight variations on the same theme.
- I've also noticed the bonuses from high gravity don't exist anymore. surely if a race is from a high gravity world they would have a combat bonus on normal and low-G planets. This added depth to race planning and gave those races an actual bonus as without it they only maybe might gain a very small bonus if they find a good high gravity planet early in the game .
- Humans have always had an issue as the diplomacy skill only works on bots, sure this can be fixed with custom races but they could have some benefit from planetary trading at least, maybe throw them a money generating bonus too?.
- Terraforming and gravity generators should shift the planet to the same biome and gravity as the race's homeworld (until a gaia upgrade of course), this made the race feel more real and impacted enemies if they captured a high gravity planet they then received a penalty on and had to invest to change the gravity to their own people.
- I like the idea of a starting tech for each race but what might also impact playstyle design is if the races started with a building from that teck already built on the homeworld. ie psilons start with the research lab from government tech while humans start with the government support facility. sakkra could start with hydroponic farms already built ect.
- by removing the racial traits like X race produces more food and Y race produces more industry there is less of a drive to capture workers for your own plans, would like to see this added back into the game as it added a very interesting strategy (you could even make espionage races be able to mass kidnap a population to use on their own colonys)
- The new research tree seems great, aids in clarifying where you are in each branch, I do think technology are researched too quickly however, having the option to set research speed before the game starts would be a great addition to custom games.
- I'm sad to see the removal of creative (you get all the tech's from a single research branch eg fusion beam + fusion bomb at the same time) from the game, this was really well balanced in MOO2 as you could research everything but lacked the industry to get everything you had researched built until late game. It would be a nice addition to custom races.
- More split tech decisions would be welcome. They help define playstyle and have the player make gameplay decisions on what they're playstyle will be. It adds depth and replayability to the game, for example make players pick between displacement device and proton torpedo, do they want a high damage weapon or the ability to hit and run. If all of the tech is this freely available I see little reason for anyone to invest in espionage tactics once there added into the game.
- Add more tactical combat options to the tech tree, we have beam weapons, missiles, fighters, then computers for beam accuracy, anti-missile rockets/jammers, point defence. makes for diverse approaches to combat, then we have displacement device letting beams get in fast or missile users fire and run, shield and repair devices to stay alive, why no cloaking devices for stealth ships or cloaking tech for fighters/missiles. more on this later as I think ship combat needs a good bit of work too.
Real-time or turn based? why not both, seriously some people have all the time in the world to play and some don't, so we need the option in the game creation screen to pick one or the other.
As it stands real-time combat is FAR too fast. with fleets rushing at each other all guns blazing, this leaves very little time to make tactical choices.
- Slow the real time combat down to half of what it is.
- We need fog of war in tactical combat, allow players to organise their ships a little before the enemy see them.
- Put gas clouds, asteroid fields, planets nebula into the combat field and make them effect the battle, players with large ships get slowed down in asteroid fields, you can hide behind planets and in gas clouds, if a ship enters a nebula its shields get cut off, this kind of thing.
Large ships seem to be made of paper, maybe its just the speed but I didn't expect my massive sized cruiser to blow up after a single barrage from a few small ships.
- Needs more animations, maybe troop pods flying down to the planet's surface, explosions, firefighting along the ground, players seem really detached from the action of invading a planet
Really great job on a simple and straightforward user interface and hud, the game looks really clean, crisp while playing. With that in mind a few alterations could go a really long way in cutting down player time in menu's, lowing the amount of clicks required to do the same thing and adding a bit more information for veteran players to look at.
- Cant see number of pop on strike from each planet individually, need to click on each planet individually, this is tiring and makes management a pain.
In a post yesterday I covered the build menu's needing an update, this is the current build menu.
And this is the Improved Build Menu
As you can clearly see the refined menu doesn't require you to keep clicking in and out of it and avoids the frustration created when wanting to change your build order.
- Colonies are missing a money focus option.
- Allow us to click and move multiple colonists at the same time like in mmo2
- Allow players to create their own build queue presets like (new colony, ship building focus, research focus), as the autobuild is horrible at selecting the right building. A player can simply pick a precreated build menu and if some buildings aren't currently researched they get skipped. This makes handling a large size empire far easier come mid-late game.
SHIP DESIGN MENU
Again a slight change to the menu and display removes frustration in its use, its easier and faster to customise a ship, Heres the current menu.
And the new and improved version
The only other changes needed are as follows.
- The ships max name size needs to be at least 15 characters long.
- You should be able to go over the total space used but not hit the done button if your still over by the end of designing, it's frustrating to want to add a component but you first need to remove others just to make room.
- researching new tech and auto updating ships removes your current build, this is a horrible experience, if you've updated armor and you have enough space just change that part of a ship design, not the entire design altogether.
PLANET MANAGMENT MENU
I really like the change from colony management screen to seeing an actual planet however managing buildings from this screen can be a pain, users are missing a control menu. This should solve that issue
If a colony has hit max pop or you're redesigning it for another task you need to be able to clearly see and destroy unwanted buildings quickly.
- Needs an option to sort planets by colonised or not, this is a useful method of finding the next planet you want to take early.
Only slight changes needed here, these would be purely optional (you can turn them off) for veteran players who want as much info for planets as possible at a glance. (Yes I know you can hover over them but this is a slow process.) We also need the option to name planets/systems we take over. I miss they days when I could take an enemys home system and rename it "muck"
When selecting the fleet we go through a long zoom in zoom out effect and only after it has ended do we get to see the ships in the fleet in a menu at the bottem left of the screen.
- Please change this so we can see the ships earlier, it makes it easier to find the right fleet rather than going through 3-5 zoom animations
- maybe add more detail to the ships menu so we know how large they are, what ships are in each.
- Ability to name fleets would be welcome.
DEALING WITH SLAVES
My final suggestion is the handling of enslaved races, due to the removal of racial traits covered earlier there is less reason to enslave an alien race to gain an advantage, with this in mind can we have the option to work them to death for those of us that value progress more then ethics . also why would you allow a slave to go on strike??
Not sure if these are bugs or simply how the game is designed.
- If you wipe out a population on a planet you can't colonise the world and take the buildings for yourself.
- some of the on strike population readouts are false
- lack of clarity to the player on how to fix an upcoming epidemic (like sun going nova)
- please remove that horrible ka-ching ching noise that plays when selecting anything in the menu, god that's annoying.
- we need WASD navigation controls for galaxy and space combat please.
- sometimes a super fleet looks like a colony ship in the galaxy view.
- races AI don't seem to live op to their race lore, ie humans wanting to go to war all the time ect.
- GNN headlines could be added to the info bar (bottom right side of screen) (the bots voices are really annoying, pauses in conversation make the whole think sound like your playing separate bits of recorded files to make a sentence, (which if you are is very poorly hidden))
- Monsters dont act any differently, I remember space dragons protecting rich ass colonies and space eels reproducing to cover half the playing map, we need more monsters that force players into alliances to deal with or reward a daring player strong enough to challenge them.
- more random events, I have yet to find a lost colony or enslave a tribe from an undeveloped world.
Any and all feedback and questions on this post are more then welcome