ilitarist

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About ilitarist

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  1. Entertaining. I hoped for Sagas to be small scaled campaigns. Maybe set of scenarios. Like those campaign DLCs. Because you know what was my best TW experience? Rome 2 Tutorial. You have some freedom there, it's just several turns, but each battle feels special. You are not allowed to autoresolve and you don't see small armies you'd want to autoresolve. Of course it's very easy but it works. So when I hear about simplified campaign mechanics I am optimistic. But then you say it turns into a sandbox map painting again. That is sad. WIth Warhammer they came very close to return to a good formula: simple economics, straightforward happiness and internal politics, strong RPG elements with generals and governors spilling into diplomacy. But they didn't give any proper traits to characters and places so it didn't repeat the success of Rome 1. Maybe they'll do that in Three Kingdoms, but if they failed to do that for more than 10 years since Empire then I don't have much hope.
  2. Episode 432: BATTLETECH

    This is often a problem. It's great when you talk about a game you're all familiar with so you get into deep right away, but quite often - especially with some complex wargames - it's hard to grasp something beyond a theme of a game.
  3. Episode 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse

    In regards of storytelling engine - yeah, this makes a lot of my nitpicks invalid. But this is not the way they're going. Wiz seem to want this to be a real strategic strategy game. Hence the removal of many starting options. Few games succesfully sit on both chairs - roleplaying and strategy. I think Master of Orion 2 and Total War Rome 1 was there, those games generated stories while being a decent strategy games, and EU4 is maybe there. Stellaris is stuck in a limbo between those two chairs. It's not just a story generator because it has real victory condition and, most importantly, an existencial threat that doesn't care that you're pacifist xenophobic tall empire so whatever your intentions are you need to have a fleet of certain size by the crisis date. It's not Crusader Kings 2 where there are many ways to expand and get stronger or interesting combination of events and traits can give you strange results. 2.0 certainly makes the game more strategic but it still feels like there are not so many strategic choices, most of my actions are straightforward or insignificant.
  4. Episode 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse

    About fleet design: if you have a ship of certain design you can only upgrade it to that specific design. If you have auto-best design and then you decide you want to make manual changes then you'll have to build new ships for that. At least this is how I understood it. I'm sencere when I say there are not so many ways to play. I think all Paradox games have this problem as there's some sort of optimal play but you have to change it depending on geography and geopolitics. What you chose in traits and civics doesn't really change the way you play. Some things make you unable to pursue diplomatic alliances and trade (though you can still trade with Enclaves, I understand), but apart from making you more or less war-focused there's not much difference. You will always go to war. If you have nowhere to expand and you're not in war you're doing something wrong whether you're pacifist or not. And you wage war in a very similar manner, exterminators have armageddon bombing but it's extremely slow and ineffective. Some nations genocide those they capture but I don't see much point in it apart from adding difficulty (can't colonize many planets). There are numerous things that look like they give alternatives ways to play but they appear too late in tech tree or do not really work. Like there are vassals. There are traits that make vassals more useful but still not to extent to be viable as a tactic while in EU4 using vassals wath an interesting trade-off (economically worse than annexing those lands but they have their own army, if you ever lose a war they'll probably become independent), here they're fringe mechanic. A choice between having multitude of species in your empire and single species looks like an interesting one, but there's clear answer - many species are better. If you're xenophobic then you get some boons that compensate your loneliness but you'll be limited in colonization and... Oh wait, you just build robots and that will mean that there's bigger percentage of energy producign buildings and lower percentage of food production buildings in future. There are ascension paths and they're slightly different, like psionics sometimes giving random buffs or debuffs. And interestingly enough there's a difference there, biological ascension doesn't give you better leaders the way psionics and cyborgs do!.. Only wait, they fixed that in a patch and now biological ascension gives you better leaders too. Every choice feels insignificant. You may be an always-war faction or you may not be an always-war faction, but in any case you'd better always be in war. And see my comment higher up about Endless Space 2 robots. This is obvious, simple change they could do: make robots much more useful but you have to build them in the same build queue as buildings so you have a real interesting choice. Nope, can't have that, have your robots that are as similar to organics as they could be. No wonder AI robots try to buy food from you.
  5. Always nice to hear Bruce greeting you. Also his revelations about PC gaming. Interesting discussions, thanks.
  6. Episode 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse

    Meanwhile the ship designer part itself is greatly reduced in 2.0. The game actively hated when I tried to make design of my own, I couldn't figure out how to upgrade other ships to that design. You make an interesting point. It's similar indeed. And just like with ship designer I'll be damned if I notice any differences between slapping various versions of tier 3 weapons (I do see those in Endless Space 2 though). Perhaps people are indeed happy to see that some of their decisions give them a unique event or research sometimes even if it affects nothing in a grand scheme of things. Still it doesn't explain EU4 or CK2 popularity. Here factions are both predefined and have no personality. Of course, gameplay varies much more: European Horde is more different from European Trade Republic than any 2 spacefaring civilizations in Stellaris. But they're much more faceless than Cravers or any other faction, those German duchies or some Finnish craven greedy count are random noise. I also remembered a good example of how Stellaris fails to add any alternative strategic problems to a mix. When you play as a normal civilization you have to balance food production so that you don't have starvation and energy production so that buildings do not get turned off (in theory there's also mineral balance but it's rarely goes into red). Then you can play as robots, totally different gameplay! Except no. Robots are built with minerals and they eat energy. For normal people to multiply you have to produce farms from time to time which eat energy. The difference is the amount of micromanagement, exact balance of spent energy and minerals, plus you have an easier time colonizing. Meanwhile see Endless Space 2 robot faction. You have a single build queue so while other factions build and grow at the same time you have to choose. They also colonize planets in an unique way giving them an edge in later colonization efforts. Different strategic consideration, different problems to solve, not just slightly different balance of resources.
  7. Episode 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse

    As long as you build an empire that expands in the same way as any other, builds 95% of the same buildings, has exactly the same economy (OR is robotic and doesn't use food), has exactly the same diplomacy OR has almost no diplomacy, lays claims like everybody else, researches anomalies in the same way, have almost the same tech - then you can embrace the uniqueness of diplomacy greeting options and being able to get non-military techs 10% more often if you're a pacifist. I'm puzzled by that reaction. Even fans of Stellaris acknowledge it has a lot of problems. Still they like it. But when people discuss, say, Endless Space 2, in the end I hear something like "well it's not a perfect game after all and AI could have much more work and the balance is off" while Stellaris is being praised as definitive 4X while being broken in so many regards. Is that the beauty of ambition? ES2 and other strategies do everything they want to do out of the box; with Stellaris you had a list of plans sitting there on release. Perhaps people who think about Stellaris praise the game it will become in their dreams.
  8. Episode 426: Into the Breach

    Evan mentions Chris Avellone - in case anybody doesn't know him he's the guy behind Planescape Torment writing and also participated in Obsidian RPGs like Neverwinter Nights 2 or Fallout New Vegas. That episode had further convinced me I'll have to get into Into the Breach some time in the future. I've waited with FTL and was rewarded with Advanced edition.
  9. Some 4X avoid that pacing problem by making games much shorter. Endless Space 2 is designed to end around turn 200 (score victory comes at turn 300 by default but it's hard not to win in some way by that point). It's a very dense experience. Something is always happening and there are a lot of ways you can tweak your economy even if nothing happens. There are also sort of single-player 4X like Thea: The Awakening.
  10. Civ4 does look more like a simulation and you can see it in many design decision. For example, in Civ5 almost every building is used to give some sort of specific benefit. Library gives science based on the number of citizens. Theater gives culture (and maybe allows storing art that gives culture/tourism, can't remember). Civics have a specific purpose, each one is labeled for what it does (tall, wide, war, religion, city-states, science, culture+exploration, money). The effects are straightforward. Civ4. Library gives science... and culture. Because why wouldn't library give both? Courthouse lowers maintenance (in Civ5 it removes penalties for conquest) and also gives you some espionage points. Broadcast tower gives culture but also happiness in some cases. In Civ5 you only get some of those interactions through cultural civics. And those are different in Civ4. You get Mercantilism - you don't have foreign trade routes or corporations anymore but you have free specialist in your cities. You get Theocracy and no foreign religion can come to you AND also you get bonus experience for units. One more thing: there are events. Having libraries may trigger an event or give you a quest for getting even more libraries. Civ4 has more complex picture of a city in the end. Maybe it's not as dependent on terrain, also buildings have no maintenance so the only penalty for building something you don't need is lost opportunity of building something better. Still it feels much more like simulation because everything has more effects than just primary functions.
  11. Episode 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse

    Another small point about this boring mid-endgame: it often feels like you've already won and for the most of the game you're mopping up. However on normal difficulty you are decieved. Even if you're hegemon and have a huge federation and can wipe the floor with anything in the galaxy there's still crises. In my only game of 2.0 it felt like I was trolled. For a 100 years I do whatever I want because no one is a match for me, I build space habitats because why not, I build space stations, I conquer some systems. It feels like I'm playing Civilization and trying to entertain myself after I've already won but the actual victory won't come in dozens of turns. And then crisis arrives. And it turns out that even though you've got all the traditions, your tech choices are all boring +5% to shields/+10% food, your only way of spending resources is building habitats and wormhole gates - it's still not enough. You actually had to be prepared for something twice as big as the whole galaxy and now you've lost. Crisis strength doesn't depend on difficulty. Thus there's a paradoxical thing: the game is actually harder on low difficulty. Your federation friends are behind you in tech so research agreement is useless. Your enemies are behind so you gain nothing by stealing their debris. Yeah, you can become bigger but you have no intencive. Sad!
  12. Episode 425: Stellaris 2.0 & Apocalypse

    I think I've figured out ideological problem with Stellaris. They've embraced familiar mechanics from EU4 and made the game even more, so to say, granular: your ships really fly through all this space, you capture each system individually. There's less random stuff here, you don't get to colonize a planet that will add 5 rich systems to your empire. Space becomes more systemic and thus boring. As TJ had said by the dreaded midgame you have uniform blobs bumping into each other. Some blobs may be bigger, some smaller; some have a lot connections to each others, some don't. And when you have 70 systems you don't see other empire special systems as special. Someone mentioned craving enemy's black hole system for physics research. But why would you if an empty space on any of your planet with any POP on it will produce more research? There's nothing special when everything is so big. I fought wars to get systems with enclaves and access to Leviathans (both added in DLC) but even that doesn't help that much; some of your inner factions become happier. Strategic resources are roughly equivalent to being one step in research ahead and you get plenty of those. Getting new planets and species is hard to notice, that unrest doesn't really affect you. You may use new species to colonize more but your 21st planet is not that exciting anymore and requires too much involvement to get your empire's productivity raised by 4% or something.So the ideological problem is this: Stellaris doesn't have midgame. It only has endgame. First there's initial stage: you note how starlanes go, you settle first colonies and really get into managing them, you throw pops around, you manage resources. But then immideately comes the endgame. There's no grand battle for deciding the fate of the universe, it's all feels determined when it happens. It feels like mopping up. You already have most of interesting inventions and traditions you really wanted; now you get whatever is presented to you. It's like Civilization after turn 400 when everything is decided and you just have to click end turn to get your spaceship to fly - only you'll have to do it for most of the game and you might not even win. You research future tech and mop around, you fight wars where 90% of the action is capturing systems of an enemy with 0 ships and you still have to manage armies to capture planets. Unlike Endless Space 2 there's species-wide story but... We're all psionics, we took 2 ascension perks for that. Wow, our researches now produce whole 10% more of science and admirals have another 10% bonus - that's a whole new game!.. Really nothing feels like a significant change. Even your relationships with resources are the same - even after 250 years of play you will struggle with energy balance and will be able to use any amount of minerals in a day. It switches from the early game wonder to late game clicking through turns while most 4X like Civilization have a middle game where everything is actually decided, when it's fun to play. Meanwhile in something like Endless Space 2 the game evolves; by the endgame the way of interacting with most mechanics completely changes, you stop caring about one type of resources at all while you need some others and they seem worthy of a galactic-scale war. But Stellaris is balanced even though it's random. All the unique anomalies and special resources are within strategic sane boundaries. They're all there to allow you to balance things out, see if you rather want +5% food or +10% speed of energy weapons. It's granular and lifeless. You will never see enemy hold system that you have to fight for.
  13. Episode 424: Command Ops 2

    This was a nice podcast. I'm somewhere with Troy when he explains how RTS lost him: historical and fantasy strategy games where easy to understand. Those guys shoot, those guys hack, those ones have anti-cavalry spears. And maybe those guys throw fireballs. But with those modern settings you really have to get into it to understand what happens. It's like Football Manager! I look on those screenshot and see a lot of units. Each units is some dudes with rifles and machines. Some units have more and better armored machines with bigger guns. Some have far shooty mortars. But they're all more similar than Spartan hoplite compared to Cretan archer. Though this indirect control does look compelling.
  14. Episode 417: 2017 in Review

    Wait, did you really added ********* to censorship blacklist?
  15. Episode 409: Field of Glory II

    So this is on sale. Did it stood the test of few month time? Would people recommend it now?