The Ashes strategy thread

By on December 1, 2015 6:53:18 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Like many of you, I've been playing RTS games from the start.  Dune 2, C&C, Warcraft, Dark Reign, Total Annihilation, etc.

I loved Starcraft so much that I made one of the expansions to it (Starcraft: Retribution).  Yep. that was me.

I was "this close" to licensing the Total Annihilation engine from GT Interactive (who gained the engine after Cavedog died).  

I bring this up so that people who are hard core strategy gamers feel free to bring up other games into this discussion.

Now, in the Alpha (And sometimes people forget, this game is still not in beta) you win the game by cranking out a bunch of low level units to capture resources and repeat. Which is fine as far as it goes but not exactly deep strategy.

What we need to do is make sure that there are multiple strategies and counter strategies that are valid depending on the circumstances.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss features we, as a community, would like to see added to the game by 1.0 (ideally) or as future DLC.

0.70: More Factory Types and the first Orbital

For 0.70 (which comes out next week) we are doing two particular things:

1. The Factory is being broken into a Frigate factory and a Cruiser factory. This way, players will have to start making some strategic decisions on which direction they want to go.

2. The first Orbital will go in called the Orbital Fabricator. If you build this, you can two global abilities: Call down engineer (25 quanta base) and Incursion (100 quanta base). I say base because each time you use an ability, it costs a bit more to use it again.

The player will start out with 100 quanta that you can use to increase your logistics right off. But another ineresting thing we've discovered in MP is that you can really punish someone who has spammed out engineers to capture lots of regions quickly. 

If you see your opponent spreading really quickly you know they are spread thin. So you can build the orbital fabricator and call down an incursion. An incursion can go anywhere you have vision. It beams in a Nemesis, a Zeus and some Archers and Brutes to the target location. Not enough to destroy their seed by any means but enough to ruin them if they've spread themselves too thin.

The downside of this is that if you do this, you won't be building up a big conventional army early since you;ll have gone through your metal stores and the loss of quanta means you'll need to build up that quanta from relays.

Strategic Directions
The above is one example of adding new strategic options for players. But there are plenty more we need to do and our tools come from structures (mostly the orbitals and the techs).

In Starcraft, for example, at the start I can try harassment, I can try to fast expand, I can rush, I can try to tech up fast, etc.

In SupCom, when you went for a T2 factory or a T2 metal extractor was a key skill.

In our build (I'm not sure if it's in yours) we have the Power Amplifier which doubles a region's output. Super expensive, not an early game tool. 

Where I think we still have our work cut out for us is in the areas of Teching up (there is no research Stim equivalent in ashes) as well as developing viable unit composition differences.

For instance, in Starcraft, you can have fast (bio) or slow mechanical. Do I go with MMM (marine, marauder, medvac) or do I go for siege tanks, liberators, and thors?

What we want to do, especially for 1.0, is flesh out our units further to make them potentially do different things based on what you've invested in back at your base. 

Possible Feature discussion

Since you guys joined early access, welcome to the sausage factory. We've spent years designing and making this game which means we've spent years playing it in various forms. As a result, we've had many ideas that looked good on paper but once in didn't seem as fun as we thought.

Here are a few things that we're currently considering:

Fixed artillery piece. Built by engineers. Expensive. Good for securing an area.

Tech that allows Frigates (T1s) to ignore the engagement speed penalty.

Tech that allows the Fury to hit ground targets

Orbital that lets me overcharge a power generator to quadruple its output for N seconds.

Orbital that lets me order things constructed and have them appear at that orbital (proxy teleporter)

T3 upgrade that lets units it orders to join it be teleported to its current location

Your turn.

 

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December 1, 2015 7:44:01 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Countermeasure systems.

 

You've said there wont be shield bubbles, which is fine, but there are no countermeasures for siege weaponry.  One of the things that made Supreme Commander great was that attack and defense both had countermeasure capabilities, making extremely powerful long range weaponry balanced by inclusion of said countermeasures.

 

There is no counter to long range bombardment, you simply take it if a tier 3 siege ship starts bombarding you from outside range, your only possible response is to go on the offensive, or use your own tier 3 siege ship to combat it.  As these ships rapidly destroy large masses of tier 1 ships, and even tier 2 ships, from outside their range, it makes them an extremely effective offensive and defensive unit so long as you keep radar coverage.  Systems to mitigate the damage would greatly aid in preventing what would otherwise be ineffectually small numbers of units, from destroying massive quantities of opposing forces.  The unit counter system, which should allow the other tier 3's to close ranks with and destroy the artillery ships, doesn't work because they either have to leave the safety of their repair bays to get to them, or attack into those repair bays.  In either case, they take heavy losses outside of visual range, from ships that do their heaviest damage to the more powerful units, while still doing enough to rapidly mow down the tier 1's.  They achieve visual range with their forces already decimated.

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December 2, 2015 12:10:00 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Some suggestions  (Mostly for mid to late game strategy. Being a macro strategy oriented game, I think that late game strategic options are more important. For single player matches, most of the game players will not be concerned with options that let them save a minute or two on their first T2 unit):

- Transport options to get units to the front line faster. Either teleportation, specialized transport units, mobile factories etc. And there should be some way for the enemy to disrupt this too - shoot down the transporters, dstroy mobile factories etc. Using only orbitals makes it impossible for the other player to disrupt reinforcements.

- Some way to break through late game defenses that use a lot of sentinel turrets. A few sentinel turrets backed up by 1-2 repair bays are extremely hard right now to break through. Damage done by missiles is repaired by the drones quickly. And sending in appolos to take out the drones is tough since appolos fall in one hit from a sentinel. Maybe a late game orbital that fires an EMP burst would help.

- Dreadnought customization. Not for each individual dreadnought as that would get too complicated, but for each type. Maybe seige dreadnoughts can have tech upgrades to specialize in anti-unit or anti-building. And hyperions can become more offensive or have enhanced repair capabilities.

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December 2, 2015 8:20:38 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Artillery barrage. A prioritized area where any unit in range will shoot in priority any time a target shows up in it. It could have a cost to maintain and a bonus to accuracy.

It 'b be some kind of mobile static defense. Maybe extended to air forces with ground capabilities but only for one run so they don't fell into a trap.

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December 2, 2015 9:06:47 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums
I hope this thread opens a can of worms, in a good way!

To be honest, there is a lot more strategic depth in the current game than people realize, and the plans you've already outlined deepens it more. I think many people are confusing "playstyle" with "strategic depth". Sure, we cannot sit in base, turtle up, and hope to have a chance. Sure, we have to create a lot of units because that's the only viable way to fend off a lot of units. Both of these are built-in design decisions, and they are never going to change (I think).

But there is plenty left:
  • What units do I build? Part of this is army composition. If I want to push aggressively into enemy territory, I need speed and firepower, but not so much resilience. If I want to hold an area the units can be slow, but need range and staying power. If I want a well-rounded force, I can make a mix of units. THIS is how you need to differentiate units!

    Another part of this is "cheap unit spam" vs "powerful unit rush". I have been creamed by the AI by churning out Frigates then being surprised by the enemy T2 or T3. Many times I just surrender when this happens instead of preparing myself for a long uphill battle (though those long uphill battles can be fun from time to time). Adding another small barrier to T2 units with the cruiser factory is an excellent idea to make cheap unit spam a little more viable. On the flip side, adding veterancy to T3 units is a great way to make a dreadnaught rush more viable.

    A third aspect is "land" vs "air". Early game air is barely a consideration, beyond scouting. Right now you don't ever need to build an early game squad of fighters to fend off an air attack, because Hades aren't really viable until much later in the game. A cheap but weak fighter-bomber is a perfect solution. Turning fighters into bombers might also work, just make sure it's strong enough to be worth it if well executed, but not so strong that it's the only choice. For example a group of fighter-bombers should lose a close battle to an equally-sized group of enemy pure fighters.

  • What regions am I going to staunchly defend? Much of this comes down to map design. Turinium nodes are a given, but so are regions that, if lost, would cut off the resource stream of other regions. Lose a node that is the critical junction for a third of my regions and I lose a great deal of income until I can get it back. Each static map is going to have some regions that will always be critical regions. Where the depth comes in is maps where some critical regions can be chosen by the player.

    This is a crazy idea, but what if the "connections" between regions weren't static. Currently your maps have a lot of nodes and a lot of edges. What if you had a lot fewer edges to start. Then there would be a lot of ciritical regions. A player who wants to be less susceptible to losing the game by losing a critical region could invest resources to create new edges. The choice creates strategic depth.

  • What enemy regions am I going to target? (See the "staunchly defend" bullet above).

  • What orbitals am I going to build? So far we only have an idea of a couple planned orbitals. Strategic depth requires that the abilities be impactful, but also counterable. Balance is a large part of this equation because if abilities have too high a chance of gaining an advantage, they will always be used. If there are only one or two ways to counter an ability, then that restricts decision making by the other player. Think of gambit openings in chess. They are used to gain early initiative, but if properly countered the defending side usually ends up with the advantage. Gambits cannot be win-draw decisions, or they wouldn't be gambits. They have to be win-lose decisions (not loss of game, just losing results in a disadvantage). 

  • What techs am I going to research? Unlike some others, I like research in my RTS games. And I like the unlimited research methodology you guys are going with. Do I spend my precious radioactives on more quantum relays, or do I spend it on more advanced units/buildings? Do I spend my quanta on cool abilities, or do I spend it on boosting my units, buildings, and econ. There is already depth there.

    I think we need research options to be able to scale up defensive structures as the game progresses. The enemy can create an ever-increasing number of units giving them ever-increasing firepower. But space limits how much defensive firepower you can have in a particular area, which means defense does have hard limits. Eventually the former wins over the latter, which makes building the defenses less attractive to begin with.
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December 2, 2015 7:16:37 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

- Intel as a resource: scouting and reacting to your opponent is one of the most important aspects of high level play. There should be a decision that you make in how much resources you spend on scouting vs the expected pay-off. For that matter, some way of defeating radar systems would greatly increase the need to scout. 

 

- soft secondary win conditions: everyone loves to crush his opponent with an overwhelming force but for this to happen the losing opponent needs to stay in the game long enough.To keep the losing player in the game you need to give him an incentive or a sliver of hope. Dota does this by punishing an abandon. In starcraft there is always the possibility of a micro fail and a subsequent upset. In SupCom there are multiple targets in various stages of the game that are relatively undefended and function as secondary win conditions: ACU snipe, power snipe, anti-nuke snipe etc. In ashes right know you know that you are going to lose 20 minutes before the game is over but I dont feel like there's a possibility for a comeback or wacky scheme. As a result, you dont finish the game but end early, depriving the winning player of his wel earned moment of glory. Perhpas make certain critical structures volatie enough to not be placed in the main base and thus a possible target. 

 

- Sim city defenses: its not my playing style, but i feel that the non-vocal majority of RTS players really enjoy just building up defenses and making an impregnable wall of different artillery etc. Could help sales to have this option open as a (non competitive)play style. 

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December 3, 2015 4:56:56 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting ,
Fixed artillery piece. Built by engineers. Expensive. Good for securing an area.

More tactical buildings are always welcome. Combining ranged attacks with elevation should be an important part: Using mountain "ranges" as barriers (delay an enemy raid against the artillery), and slopes as mechanisms to favor high altitudes over lower ones.

Quoting ,
Tech that allows Frigates (T1s) to ignore the engagement speed penalty.

Tech that allows the Fury to hit ground targets

The first sounds somewhat shady (it's an "almost-hidden magical upgrade"), while the second sounds rather okay (still an "instant" upgrade, but very apparent/transparent).

Quoting ,
Orbital that lets me order things constructed and have them appear at that orbital (proxy teleporter)

T3 upgrade that lets units it orders to join it be teleported to its current location

Wouldn't these be VERY powerful? Building one such "proxy teleporter" somewhere on the map would then bring my entire production force to this location? Cruisers and dreadnoughts could be streaming out of there like nothing. Or will there be a "cost" per teleportation, or a limit?

Quoting eviator,
What techs am I going to research? Unlike some others, I like research in my RTS games. And I like the unlimited research methodology you guys are going with. Do I spend my precious radioactives on more quantum relays, or do I spend it on more advanced units/buildings? Do I spend my quanta on cool abilities, or do I spend it on boosting my units, buildings, and econ. There is already depth there.

I think we need research options to be able to scale up defensive structures as the game progresses. The enemy can create an ever-increasing number of units giving them ever-increasing firepower. But space limits how much defensive firepower you can have in a particular area, which means defense does have hard limits. Eventually the former wins over the latter, which makes building the defenses less attractive to begin with.
 
Since I'm one of the "others", let me reply to this:
 
First, isn't your reasoning about "scaling defensive structures" kinda backwards? You say space limits the amount of defensive firepower one can have in a given area-- but isn't this true also for units? (Assuming the engine prohibits overlapping.) What makes defenses weaker over time is exactly upgrades for units!
 
More generally on upgrades:
  • The "good" kind of upgrades are the realistic and transparent ones, like adding turrets to buildings. (I would even argue against these, since they tend to make the game more "micro" than not.)
  • The "sort of okay" kind of upgrades are non-realistic but still transparent, like adding turrets/shields to all units instantly. (Very "magical", but as long as it is clearly apparent that units have these upgrades, fine.)
  • The "bad" kind of upgrades are the "stat tweaks", since they are not at all apparent, and can have many (in Ashes an "unlimited" amount of) levels/variations. They make it much harder to understand why certain tactics work and others don't, because they introduce many "hidden variables" to the (tactical) equation.
Hence, I would like to see Ashes focus more on:
  • Geography (slopes, elevation, mountain ranges as barriers etc.; physically penalize bad placement of units and structures)
  • Variability in units (but having most units "unchangeable", fixed stats)
  • Even more variability in tactical structures (direct/indirect, guided/unguided, radar respecting geography, shields (not necessarily bubble-), anti-radar, radar locators, radar "fakers" etc. etc.)
  • Advanced topology-modifying mechanisms (true pathfinding-integrated automated teleportation (stargates), building and destroying bridges and tunnels, etc.)
  • Advanced unit-controlling mechanisms (ferry systems, advanced production and base management (no sub-AI though), etc.)
  • And perhaps T3 (and certain buildings) to have upgrades ("extensions"), as long as they are well discernible and realistic...

 

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December 6, 2015 1:33:14 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

-Its really important for me to secure an area after taking it, so its a must need to have some defenses, so make it ala COH, build the region amplifier and on top of it will get a defensive tower at least it need to take down a minimum of 6-T1 units or 1-T2 unit before it get destroyed.

-I think Tech in the game need to be very important and with a lot of research and addons to units and structures, that's what makes the game fun.

so you can play fast small map games with nearly no research by spawning default units or if you want to ca just start a big long game map, and start researching to be better and more powerful, and it may take you more then an hour to get all the Tech or advanced Tech out there on the map. 2 ways to play the game.


-Orbitals are really fun to use in big maps, so try to get at least 10 different fun Orbital powers, Buffs are ok but, try to give us some Offensive units, Defensive Structures, and new powers lie mini nukes, bombardment, some kind of an air support that comes from outside the time destroy a location and leave, there is a lot of RTS Games that use Some kind of orbital powers.

I recommend having a Transporter Structure before enabling teleportation, and if you don't have it build then you units need to move to get to the meta Units. And give the teleporter some kind of timer and a max number of units to teleport.

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December 7, 2015 5:16:00 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

 

 Some times no need words, watch ...it says exacly what i feel and think about top strategy.

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December 8, 2015 5:25:36 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

yeah these videos are absolutely amazing but I've found that they require some explaining. 

https://forums.uberent.com/threads/anybody-watch-this-forged-alliance-channel-on-youtube.68882/

 

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