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Allow me to Illustrate the Star Lane Debate


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Omega_Weapon #41 Posted 01 April 2016 - 09:59 PM

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View PostRedshirt4Life, on 01 April 2016 - 11:34 AM, said:

If we are classifying MOO 1 & 2 as free movement I am cool with that system, though I want to note that ships were not able to move outside of stars and they were additionally limited by range, so it was still a very limited system. Limited to the point where I don't consider it free movement at all really. That said, I do like that system.
 

 

That system of free movement means you will occasionally be limited in your movement options because you lack the fuel range to go where you want to. The key difference is that the problem is not permanent. Capture a planet, build an outpost, establish a new colony, build ships with extended range fuel cells, research a new fuel type, or make an alliance with another race and use their systems as supply points. Any one of those options gives your ships more reach to go where you like. In that way there are not really choke points with free travel, just temporary obstacles that can be overcome in many ways. In a starlane game, even with all the techs maxed out, I still need to go where the lane tells me to go, and defeat the opponent who holds the choke point I want to pass through. So compared to that, MOO 1 and MOO 2 are easily described as free movement models.

Redshirt4Life #42 Posted 01 April 2016 - 10:03 PM

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View PostOmega_Weapon, on 01 April 2016 - 09:59 PM, said:

 

That system of free movement means you will occasionally be limited in your movement options because you lack the fuel range to go where you want to. The key difference is that the problem is not permanent. Capture a planet, build an outpost, establish a new colony, build ships with extended range fuel cells, research a new fuel type, or make an alliance with another race and use their systems as supply points. Any one of those options gives your ships more reach to go where you like. In that way there are not really choke points with free travel, just temporary obstacles that can be overcome in many ways. In a starlane game, even with all the techs maxed out, I still need to go where the lane tells me to go, and defeat the opponent who holds the choke point I want to pass through. So compared to that, MOO 1 and MOO 2 are easily described as free movement models.

 

Hey man, its all good. I'm sorry for the confusion and absolutely see where I was wrong. I got a little caught up in my galcivphobia, and lost sight of what was actually being discussed.

Edited by Redshirt4Life, 01 April 2016 - 10:09 PM.


Stelar_7 #43 Posted 01 April 2016 - 11:06 PM

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View PostAndruski, on 01 April 2016 - 08:57 PM, said:

Yellow made a mistake. No doubt about it. Normally I help people out from those sorts of goofs but if I remember correctly, he was a veteran player who knew better, and also my #1 threat. So in the words of Napoleon, Never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake. On the subject of Yellow's ship and its relation to MOO, he does have a limited range; the die roll. Range would be a vital component of a more 'free' movement system (as it was in Moo1/2) So, his range was really only 1-6 spaces from his home territory of Kamchatka (again, partially represented in the top left corner, sharing the zone with Alaska).


As to advocating a less restricted movement and not 'free' movement, you're right. I want the movement of Moo 1 & 2, not GalCiv (which was also just mentioned above). Using the term 'free' was convenient instead of saying 'non-starlane movement', but it is true, Moo 1/2 was not truly a free movement system, and the term caused undue confusion. apologies. 

 

Edit2: Want to throw out there that I really appreciate Redshirt's above post. In particular, how things like choke points were naturally occurring due to range/speed, and did not have to be artificially forced through arbitrary lanes. I am not anti-choke point; I DO want to have my own '300' moment in my games, just not one followed by another and another and another because i am forced to follow a limited pathway. 

 

Just first off, all rules in all games are arbitrary. It would be arbitrary with or without star lanes. Arbitrary is a null word, but lends emotional weight against whatever is so labeled. It is the same for the word limited. 

 

What we are talking about is how much freedom should an attacker have, how much ability to fortify should a defender have?

 

I may have been unclear when I stated that we both advocate limited movement. Range would be a way to limit movement, but it's not conducive to a defender, it places the initiative in the attackers hands. With range, there may be times when a single system is all that can be reached, however the norm will be that multiple systems can be reached by most attacking forces from a single starting system. Lanes function like the borders of the territories in your game. Your boats allow for some interesting, though I would say frustratingly random, maneuver away from the lanes of these borders, but only situationally (needs water), and only for small forces. No more than 30 armies can ever move by sea, and with the die rolls the odds of arriving as a cohesive force in a timely fashion are remote. It's a raiding ability, not a strategic thrust.

 

Your boats and map didn't remove the lanes, they increased the number of them. 

 

When I play MOO2, I play a very defensive game. I will expand where I can early but as soon as the computer is ranging about I'll have defensive buildings and fleets and hold back while I tech up and develop my planets. When I have the right tech, then I push out. I leapfrog over the systems on a border and hit the strategic systems in the rear. Most campaigns begin with me taking the enemy races home system away from them. 

 

In NewMOO I avoid the Spiral galaxy games. The unstable warp points provide both, too good a natural choke point and too much of an advantage to the first race to develop that technology. It's not fun.

 

On a circle galaxy there are no single choke points. Attacks can come from multiple lanes on the right, left or center of the map, and that is late game when the player holds 1/3 to half of the galaxy. In the early game a player likely has multiple lanes in contact with each of the other empires.

 

So on a circle galaxy the map is like your Risk game, an attack can hit multiple front line systems, but can't hop over them for a deep strike. On a spiral map there are 8 known choke points that funnel contact with other races and turn the galaxy into 5 Australias.

 

Removing star lanes, eliminates the warp point location for fights in a star system, and lets an attacker leapfrog past the first star systems into the second. Not with a small raiding force, but with the main attack force. I think that makes life too easy for the attacker and removes a lot of defensive game play options we currently enjoy.  

 

Additionally in MOO2 the defending fleet was at every planet and had the option to meet the attacker in the outer system if the attacking force didn't hit a planet. New MOO sets the exact system location of fleets. Take away the warp points and you remove depth from the fight for each star system.

 

I would be ok with additional warp points, or a means to circumvent the defense at a specific warp point. I'd be ok with a stealth, or warp tech that let an attacker get a raiding force into an enemy's rear. However that can be done right now, if the defender is at a planet and not a warp  point, it's possible to crack the warp point and move past the planetary defenders. It is also possible to send a force around to the rear of an empire.

 

Basically, take away the star lanes, and levels of existing game play that I enjoy go away with them, and what I get in trade is a little more flexibility on attack, and a lot less on defense. Bad trade in my book.



Omega_Weapon #44 Posted 02 April 2016 - 02:18 AM

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Stelar_7, getting rid of starlanes does not give an advantage to attackers. It levels out the battlefield so that attack is as viable as defense. The current system puts all advantage on the defender's side. If my blob of death fleet isn't bigger/stronger than the defenders, I'm not getting through their choke point, I pose little threat, so why even try. Without strategic options game play stagnates. It becomes a simple production and research race and when one side has enough advantage, they crush the other side by math not skill. Free travel means I can still out think my opponent and strike in unexpected places even if my fleet isn't as powerful head to head. That makes for a deeper and richer game, instead of simple and contrived like the current starlanes provide. And free travel has other benefits besides just attack flexibility. One can explore in whatever direction they chose, and colonize in whatever direction they chose. What my empire grows to become is dictated more by my decisions than if I just follow the random space roads where they tell me to go.

Francois424 #45 Posted 02 April 2016 - 03:05 AM

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That board of yours also have Antarctica ????    How much point does the continent yields?

 

* Wants something like that even more *



Lucian667 #46 Posted 02 April 2016 - 03:28 AM

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View PostOmega_Weapon, on 02 April 2016 - 02:18 AM, said:

Stelar_7, getting rid of starlanes does not give an advantage to attackers. It levels out the battlefield so that attack is as viable as defense. The current system puts all advantage on the defender's side. If my blob of death fleet isn't bigger/stronger than the defenders, I'm not getting through their choke point, I pose little threat, so why even try. Without strategic options game play stagnates. It becomes a simple production and research race and when one side has enough advantage, they crush the other side by math not skill. Free travel means I can still out think my opponent and strike in unexpected places even if my fleet isn't as powerful head to head. That makes for a deeper and richer game, instead of simple and contrived like the current starlanes provide. And free travel has other benefits besides just attack flexibility. One can explore in whatever direction they chose, and colonize in whatever direction they chose. What my empire grows to become is dictated more by my decisions than if I just follow the random space roads where they tell me to go.

 

^^This!^^ The fact that some people - especially the MOO 4 devs - seem to have such a hard time grasping this simple, obvious, self-evident concept is a source of continual amazement.

Ilserrad #47 Posted 02 April 2016 - 08:43 AM

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I disagree. In free movement games, the defender always has the mobility advantage in their territory. The only time it doesn't boil down to Death ball vs. death ball is:

a) brain dead human player

b) Stealth fleets

c) Having such a huge technological advantage that you can outmaneuver your enemy in their own territory

 

None of which substantially changes when starlanes are added.



Omega_Weapon #48 Posted 02 April 2016 - 02:15 PM

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View PostIlserrad, on 02 April 2016 - 03:43 AM, said:

I disagree. In free movement games, the defender always has the mobility advantage in their territory. The only time it doesn't boil down to Death ball vs. death ball is:

a) brain dead human player

b) Stealth fleets

c) Having such a huge technological advantage that you can outmaneuver your enemy in their own territory

 

None of which substantially changes when starlanes are added.

 

Except with the starlanes the enemy knows where I am coming from and can mass all their fleets at a single point, press guard and not even pay attention anymore. With free movement there are many more points that can be attacked. The player needs to pay careful attention and defend well or suffer major losses. A large empire cannot be protected from multiple threats by a single blob of ships. Even instant travel star gates (which I'm not a supporter of) do not give a huge blob of death the flexibility required to fight multiple threats at the same time. There are times when the all or nothing blob tactic is fine, but smart players understand that simple tactic can be defeated in a free travel environment. In a starlane environment it works fine because smarter tactics are not allowed.

Edited by Omega_Weapon, 02 April 2016 - 02:15 PM.


Stelar_7 #49 Posted 02 April 2016 - 03:33 PM

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View PostOmega_Weapon, on 02 April 2016 - 02:18 AM, said:

Stelar_7, getting rid of starlanes does not give an advantage to attackers. It levels out the battlefield so that attack is as viable as defense. The current system puts all advantage on the defender's side. If my blob of death fleet isn't bigger/stronger than the defenders, I'm not getting through their choke point, I pose little threat, so why even try. Without strategic options game play stagnates. It becomes a simple production and research race and when one side has enough advantage, they crush the other side by math not skill. Free travel means I can still out think my opponent and strike in unexpected places even if my fleet isn't as powerful head to head. That makes for a deeper and richer game, instead of simple and contrived like the current starlanes provide. And free travel has other benefits besides just attack flexibility. One can explore in whatever direction they chose, and colonize in whatever direction they chose. What my empire grows to become is dictated more by my decisions than if I just follow the random space roads where they tell me to go.

 

Your response is dependent on an oversimplification of the game. Your exploration is always limited, either by lanes, or range. Since all nearby systems will be linked though possibly at one system removed, you can still explore in any direction you want. To claim otherwise is to ignore the situation of the game, for the situation of the turn.

 

Similarly the idea of a single star lane providing access to an empire is absurd. Exactly one situation, a system with only one star lane, can cause there to be only one access point. In all other circumstances there will be other ways to attack such a turtled empire. You may have to work out a movement treaty with the targets neighbors, or plow them under, but there is always multiple access points to any multiple system star empire.

 

This second point is telling, because the people talking about how horrible star lanes are, almost universally, reduce the equation to a single choke point, and that does not represent the game's reality.

 

I'm all for increasing the options to flank an opponent, I am not ok with the complete removal of static defenses, and requiring nodal, mobile fleets, to defend territory.

 

When you claim that removing the lanes doesn't help the attacker, then say it "levels" the playing field, you admit that it does shift power away from the defender, to the attacker. So you agree with me that the lanes, vs no lanes, discussion is really a talk about the ability to defend vs the ability to attack. Please criticize star lanes based on their actual implementation, and not a false hypothetical with only one access point to conflict.



Vahouth #50 Posted 02 April 2016 - 03:48 PM

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In my experience so far, I never had a situation where only one access point to conflict was possible.


InadequateCash #51 Posted 02 April 2016 - 04:13 PM

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just make a option to turn starlanes on or off

 

or mabey just have a few starlanes dotted around and you could also go through space but starlanes would be faster

 


Edited by InadequateCash, 02 April 2016 - 04:16 PM.


Vahouth #52 Posted 02 April 2016 - 04:50 PM

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View PostInadequateCash, on 02 April 2016 - 06:13 PM, said:

just make a option to turn starlanes on or off

 

or mabey just have a few starlanes dotted around and you could also go through space but starlanes would be faster

 

 

This is how it's done in Star Wars Empire at War.


Munashiimaru #53 Posted 02 April 2016 - 05:18 PM

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View PostIlserrad, on 02 April 2016 - 03:43 AM, said:

I disagree. In free movement games, the defender always has the mobility advantage in their territory. The only time it doesn't boil down to Death ball vs. death ball is:

a) brain dead human player

b) Stealth fleets

c) Having such a huge technological advantage that you can outmaneuver your enemy in their own territory

 

None of which substantially changes when starlanes are added.

 

You can as you said get stealth fleets. If you went tall instead of wide, you should have a technological advantage or you can focus on engine tech at the expense of other tech to get ahead.  If you overexpand you're much more likely to be outmaneuvered as well making what's currently overpowered (wide strats) more risky.   Having options and advantages and disadvantages to different things is called strategic depth... and is good for a strategy game.



Munashiimaru #54 Posted 02 April 2016 - 05:20 PM

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View PostVahouth, on 02 April 2016 - 10:48 AM, said:

In my experience so far, I never had a situation where only one access point to conflict was possible.

 

I've never had a situation where more than two were available and almost always only one is really viable (massive detour on the secondary).

Munashiimaru #55 Posted 02 April 2016 - 05:25 PM

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View PostStelar_7, on 02 April 2016 - 10:33 AM, said:

 

Your response is dependent on an oversimplification of the game. Your exploration is always limited, either by lanes, or range. Since all nearby systems will be linked though possibly at one system removed, you can still explore in any direction you want. To claim otherwise is to ignore the situation of the game, for the situation of the turn.

 

Similarly the idea of a single star lane providing access to an empire is absurd. Exactly one situation, a system with only one star lane, can cause there to be only one access point. In all other circumstances there will be other ways to attack such a turtled empire. You may have to work out a movement treaty with the targets neighbors, or plow them under, but there is always multiple access points to any multiple system star empire.

 

This second point is telling, because the people talking about how horrible star lanes are, almost universally, reduce the equation to a single choke point, and that does not represent the game's reality.

 

I'm all for increasing the options to flank an opponent, I am not ok with the complete removal of static defenses, and requiring nodal, mobile fleets, to defend territory.

 

When you claim that removing the lanes doesn't help the attacker, then say it "levels" the playing field, you admit that it does shift power away from the defender, to the attacker. So you agree with me that the lanes, vs no lanes, discussion is really a talk about the ability to defend vs the ability to attack. Please criticize star lanes based on their actual implementation, and not a false hypothetical with only one access point to conflict.

 

You can get a movement treaty through another empire... and then spend 20 turns traversing it to the other heavily defended choke point and now your fleet is undersized and unteched because you sent it 20 turns ago and easily outmatched because your opponent likely saw you coming 10 turns ago and adjusted their defenses...

 

You don't remove static defense you just make it so there are strategical options to bypassing them.  Fuel range and later warp interdictors handle making static defense important. 



Vahouth #56 Posted 02 April 2016 - 05:37 PM

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View PostMunashiimaru, on 02 April 2016 - 07:20 PM, said:

 

I've never had a situation where more than two were available and almost always only one is really viable (massive detour on the secondary).

 

Then maybe you're doing something wrong.

Edited by Vahouth, 02 April 2016 - 06:37 PM.


Andruski #57 Posted 02 April 2016 - 05:43 PM

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If we want to be productive, lets put a bit of a leash on the philosophy and focus more on the practical. 

 

Lets bring back that Classic Risk/Moo connection map:

 

It is true that there are rarely the 'Australia' situations with a single access point as a choke for your entire empire, but (for the sake of argument) there are quite often 'Africa' situations, when you may have a single point to one empire, and maybe a couple points to another (though usually you can still use a single Star System to defend, if not a single Star lane). Since you are usually only at war with one empire at a time (though honestly, as they work on the Diplomacy options, having a joint declaration of war like Civ could help the AI vs players). This means that in practice, you still have very few direct access points; perhaps just the one. So unless your opponent in S. America takes the time to go through N. America then Europe just to reach Africa (which would not only be prohibitively long, the AI wouldn't think of it to begin with), You have the choke-point and Blob-of-doom-encouraging gameplay. 

 

Now, the pro-lane group is, in fact, correct that there are more than one approaches to Africa, especially with open boarders (not allowed in Risk, but not really utilized by AI in Moo either). So we can count up the total and say there are 6 lanes into Africa. The anti-lane group responds that there are only 3 territories they go to, and depending on whom you are fighting (since unlike risk, you're not at war with everyone all the time), there are only 2 or 1 territories to defend.

 

What I believe is happening is we are really looking from two different viewpoints. What the anti-lane person is really against is not that my one territory only connects to one/two other territories, instead he is looking at the whole region (ALL of Africa) vs another whole region (ALL of S. America -or- Europe -or- Asia)... and there is only one way in. When I consider that I have 6 territories in Africa, but only need to defend 1 from S. America, or 2 from Europe/Asia, the other 4 or 5 in my region can rest secure for the entire game so long as I hold the one territory. No reason to put defenses on the territories behind that line, everything goes on the front. Its all-or-nothing.

 

Now, Consider this:

 

At the beginning of a Moo game (any Moo really), players usually find a natural sense of their own 'region'. They usually have it fairly established (in their minds at least, if not yet completely colonized) by the time they meet another empire. So Africa is colonized and S. America is colonized. When they do meet, there usually is some point of contention, usually the closest points between them (the more valuable the location, the more potential for conflict). The difference between Moo1/2 and NewMoo is that if there is conflict, it starts small, but grows over the game to involve the entire region, while in NewMoo with the current lanes, it will always be focused on one, or at most, a handful of connections. 

 

In Classic Risk, the two closest points between S. America and Africa are the only connection (Red circle 1), but ignore the connections and imagine as the game progresses (Orange circle 2), S. America has researched better fuel cells and now can reach two of my territories (and even could open up an entirely new front vs Europe, impossible in Classic Risk, but possible and even likely in my custom Risk). Its true, I can likely defend both with a single blob, but it's something i'll have to actively be vigilant of, which I didn't have to do when I knew all game long would be that single point. Additionally, we all know that the AI gets bonuses to ship production in the higher difficulties, so It likely could attack both at once, making me split my defense. As we progress, we reach that third range (Green circle 3) and now virtually all of my empire may be reached. Now if I dare to stay grouped in a blob of doom, I will be hard pressed playing 'whack-a-mole' since they can hit me anywhere. I will be better off splitting my defenses and investing in speed and scanners to help with my response time. Yes, I can still successfully defend (wouldn't be a game if I couldn't) but it is not the same as when I defended that single star lane. It is an active defense, one that requires my attention and focus of my resources. 

 

Lets presume that despite skirmishes the borders remain the same (unlikely with current '1 and done' battles). In the end, though all 3 stages are S. America vs Africa, as the game progressed it moved from a single point, to a local area, to the entire region. That sense of progression and growing scale is exactly what we had in Moo1/2 and what many people want in NewMoo. My custom Risk game does something similar with its ships. Initially you need to stay close to home to reload troops (and have fewer ships total), but as the game progresses, and you increase your 'range' (by taking bases, usually islands, to strike from), and you increase your hitting power with more ships, the enemy is less and less able to focus his defense on a singular point.  

 

Now, is such a system even possible? Are the game systems too far along at this point? 

 

Well, the designers have suggested they are looking at ways to expand the system (likely through tech) so there is that. And let us consider; we are all advocating star lanes. One group wants the limited lanes we have now, another wants less-restricted-but-still-limited-by-range lanes where every star can potentially reach every other star. By saying 'free' movement we are not saying GalCiv, we are trying to say Moo1/2, which really wasn't free but was certainly less restricted (thanks Stelar7 for pointing this out). To accomplish this seems like it would actually be quite easy (from my non-programming perspective). Make lanes invisible, have every star have a lane to every other star. and then implement range restrictions on using those lanes. Initially, only the closest of stars are reachable, but as range is researched, and outposts made, more options open up. 

 

What about this giving too much advantage to the attacker?

 

Lets not forget that the defender may have more counterattack options now as well, since he can go around the choke point. But also, most Moo games are single player experiences. It doesn't make for much of an experience when the AI has no hope of attacking you because you have a blob of doom on the choke point. I want to be attacked from all sides. I want to be put on the defensive and feel like David vs Goliath. I want to feel threatened and need to change tactics, to be forced to sacrifice a planet for the survival of the rest. Aside from the 1-and-done big blob battles choke points force on us, there is no drama to the story of my empire. Yes I will go on the offensive too, and I would hope that the AI can defend against my expanded options of attack as well, but when I play the harder difficulties, I expect it to be a fight for survival, 'very hard' should mean the AI is on the offensive, and I really don't have the luxury of going on the attack.   


Edited by Andruski, 02 April 2016 - 05:55 PM.


Munashiimaru #58 Posted 02 April 2016 - 09:49 PM

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View PostVahouth, on 02 April 2016 - 12:37 PM, said:

 

Then maybe you're doing something wrong.

 

Sounds more like you're doing something wrong. I'm generally doubling the next highest races score by turn 100 (on very hard).

Edited by Munashiimaru, 02 April 2016 - 09:51 PM.


Vahouth #59 Posted 02 April 2016 - 10:29 PM

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As do I. My last game was Meklar (Me) 13446, Sakkra 6689 by turn 100. And I never had less than 3 entries to my enemy's empire.


Edited by Vahouth, 02 April 2016 - 10:30 PM.


Munashiimaru #60 Posted 03 April 2016 - 12:23 AM

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View PostVahouth, on 02 April 2016 - 05:29 PM, said:

As do I. My last game was Meklar (Me) 13446, Sakkra 6689 by turn 100. And I never had less than 3 entries to my enemy's empire.

 

So what if the computer was unable to utilize the defensiveness of them properly?






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