Generally, upgrade modules uses resources this way:
blue= elerium (beam attack&defense)
red = durantium
yellow = antimatter
others = variable.
However, there's an exception with point defense modules that are yellow yet use elerium instead of antimatter.
Was that intended to be (working as designed) or a simple mistake on the part of the developers?
Right now, elerium always seem to be in shorter supply than other resources. Prometheon is barely not required in star bases, only for some ships special modules. Elerium is required for any advanced beam weapon, meaning I'm always lacking in this resource to do both and it seems the AIs I can trade with do not have a lot of this resource handy either. My choice is to upgrade the star base, or make beam ships. Since doom ray beam ships with an increase beam range module can destroy adversaries before they even have time to shoot, I find these weapons particularly useful
Yet, my star bases do serve some use too, and I'd like them to at least resist an AI attack by a single barely armed ship...
I play with abundant resources and abundant nebulas, yet I strugle to find elerium in most map. I've played only 2 games since patch 4.01, my previous games were 1-1.5 years ago. Both of these games I never had enough elerium to upgrade all my starbases and they're already so weak...
I guess I'm not supposed to upgrade them all, and I generally don't, but during the middle of my game, I was at war with 4-5 races and had a very extended front due to some allies surrendering to me, so it was necessary to keep some of my star bases alive for as long as possible against the enemy's onslaught toward my drones while never knowing if it wouldn't wake up and destroy that juicy cultural star base right next to its border
Still, I lacked elerium, but had ample anti-matter and durantium, either by mining or by trading techs for it.
If the point defense modules used anti-matter instead of elerium, I feel things would have been balanced a little better.
They ain't powerful enough. Even with a military base nearby to protect them. I feel they were okayish on that aspect in the early game, then they became impossible to kill, then they became as weak as they are now.
Since humanity does not have any kind of mining, economic, military or cultural star bases yet, we'll have to rely on science-fiction for apt comparisons as our researchers have been kinda lazy compared to what science-fiction writers of the past imagined for us , I'll have to rely on, well, science-fiction, to compare the Galciv star base to what I think they should be.
I think my two favorite sci-fi shows of all time where Babylon 5 and Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
These star bases were both commercial hubs and military outpost as time went by. And as we saw at various point during the show, they were sufficiently upgraded to withstand an attack by multiple ships and old out on their own for a while until reinforcement arrived.
With 100 hit points, paltry defenses, just a few attack, by late game, our Galciv bases are insufficiently armed to take on a single ship at equal tech level, let alone a moderate fleet.
I tend to envision a star base, especially a military one, as a very powerful station that could defend itself for a while. And I know military base increase attack and defense of nearby bases, but that's still too little. I really like that idea that a nearby military outpost will help in the defense of a commercial outpost, it seems quite logical to me, but it's not enough to prevent utter and total destruction by a single enemy ship. It's the sci-fi equivalent of DS9 being destroyed by a singe single Klingon Vor'cha class attack cruiser. Or Babylon 5 getting hammered by one Earth destroyer. Babylon 5 would have fallen to a single Vorlon or Shadow ship that were milleniums ahead in term of technology, but not to a single ship of their current tech level.
In my latest game, ennemies lagging way behind me in tech, one of their typical fleet would have the following stats:
A typical star base would have the following stats:
Fully upgraded military star base (same stats as above):
Notice how both types of base are identical in stats for defense, attack and hit points. That's the earth equivalent of having a US destroyer the same armament and hull strength as you average cargo ship traveling through dangerous zones like the Somalia coast. Even if they are better armed than a ship traveling the St-Lawrence seaway, I can't imagine a single destroyer being as lightly armed as an oil tanker. There's also the matter of precision of the weapon, with modern warships having auto targeting vs a couple of gunners on the bridge of a tanker/cargo shooting at everything in sight. Pirates are likelier to attack a cargo ship than a NATO nation's destroyer cruising the same waters because they know it will be an easier prey due to less armament. While you can create a lot of damage with a suicide boat attack on a war ship, you are unlikely to succeed in sinking it in a single pass and only by attacking in surprise could you hope to do some real damage.
Now let's see what happens if an inferior enemy attacks one of my base.
Here's a fleet, so far, preoccupied with the drones of my planet, but it could theoretically attack my base:
My enemies are much weaker than me, the difference in tech level is about the same as the First Nations encountering their first French, English, Dutch and Spanish colonists in North America. Yet, if we look at their stats, with 207 of beam attack, they would inflict 207-44 defense (assuming I got that right and other defenses do not prevent any damage at all against beams), meaning 163 points of attack. My base has 100 hit points. Boom, it's gone, don't even need to fire missiles and mass drivers.
Meanwhile, my base would hit with 44 beams and 44 missiles, possibly only the missiles as they are longer range than the beams. The enemy fleet has 40 combined defense, but each individual ships has less than that. As their bigger ships have about 177 hit points, I assume my star base would prioritize the biggest one (capital ship with most armament) and counting 20 defense for it, that would leave 24 beam, 44 missile, 44 mass driver in the first strike. 112 damage, the ships has 65 hp left for the second strike if needed, but I expect my base to have been vaporized with the first combined strike of all ships. If not, it's gone by the second. And this is with a very weak enemy. Try to imagine at equal strength, or even a little bit better if you are playing the higher difficulty levels.
Which means that, in the absence of the AI bug targeting drones and mostly nothing else, a smart AI could just go around vaporizing all my star bases, crippling my economy, my influence and my resource gathering preventing me from mounting a successful counter-attack.
In other words, as soon as you enter war, star base are practically useless.
Now, what happens if my base is defended by a military star base? First of all, I need two of them to cover one another, else the AI could just prioritize the military one first, which has the exact same strength as the others, than attack my economic/influence/mining one.
Also, the stats do not show in the main window:
I assume the bonus provided by my military base next to it would be calculated only during combat. Though it would be nice seeing the effects on this window.
Here is what I would suggest, and always open to discussions with other players and devs:
[*]When you built the defense modules (Starbase defense, advanced Starbase defense, omega Starbase defense), increase hit point as following, per each module: +100 hp, +200hp+500hp. It makes star bases reach 900hp, by end game.
[*]To balance that increase and avoid any player, AI or human simply upgrading the defense module, an increase in costs and resources would be warranted. Possibly x1.5 for advanced, x2 for omega? Again, open to suggestions, it might too much. I might be willing to test it for myself if someone were to tell me where in the game files I can find these settings and adjust them myself to see how it plays.
[*]A military star base could be granted a supplemental module like "starbase defense upgrade" that would further increase the hitpoints, attack and defense of any starbase under its protective umbrella.
[*]maybe some techs could be added that deal with starbase defenses? Researching this line of research would give bonus to your military bases to protect others? Maybe even more military protective modules for your bases?
[*]Increase the attack and defense points given by modules. Let's say we look at the past: guns in a fortress were usually bigger versions of the field guns transported by horses to the front. Mortar pieces used in siege by 18th century armies were much bigger than field guns, would shoot farther and stronger than other cannons, but be extremely hard to move compared to a cannon on wheels. If you have weapons and defense modules on a star ship, mass is critically important as the heavier it is, even in space, it will require bigger engines to get it moving, where as in a fixed base, you preoccupation would be about the size, not the weight. You don't have to move the base (at least not frequently and not quickly, unlike a ship), but you need room for living quarters and other specialized places. Theoretically, a gun in a base should be bigger than its counterpart in a battleship and pack more of a punch. Yet, what we see now is the opposite: the guns on a star base are puny compared to what we can fit on a ship, even the default, non customized ships.
[*]About the previous point: I think at least doubling the value of the two latest modules in each branch would be sufficient. Again, I'm willing to mod it for myself if someone tells me where and report on my finding later this month. Bases would still be destructible by a decent fleet, but they would be able to carry their own weight and maybe even defend themselves against the first assault until reinforcements can be sent.
That's about it for the bases. I'm still thinking about other aspects of the game and I'll write later on.
I do not expect this to be changed in a regular patch, but it's something that could come combined with another DLC, or expansion pack, if any more are planned.
Worst case scenario: something to consider for Galciv IV .
What are your thoughts?