some time ago I decided to take this game for another spin. I've tried to extensively test most of the features of the game, and was positively impressed. The state of the game is infinitely better than it was some two years ago. However, there's still a number of quirks and annoyances that would be mostly visible in multiplayer games. Please don't take any of this as bashing or negative criticism - this is certainly not the intention. Also, if I just got something wrong feel free to correct me and explain how the feature really works. I have to admit, everything written here is purely from the perspective of a multiplayer fan (me and my friends have countless hours spent in sots prime), so I won't say a thing about AI, which is the common source of complaints here (we usually play with 0 AI, 0 randoms etc). I have no illusions that anything I say here will be implemented, knowing the legal trouble situation between you and the publisher, however I still have hope, I buy your other titles and wish you all the luck in resolving any legal business. But I still have to get this number of quirks and suggestions for improvements off my chest. I tried to filter every suggestion through the "easy to develop" filter, however some of them are more... massive. I will edit this post whenever I have any other ideas or suggestions instead of creating new ones. So...
- Probably it has been said multiple times, but pre-combat battle manager is essential for multiplayer. Especially for Loa.
- (Likely the biggest suggestion in terms of development time on that list) After pressing the end turn button you are blocked from any UI, including overviewing your empire, making designs etc. A sots prime-like system would be good enough, however an even better thing for multiplayer would be a system where the "end turn" works essentially like a "ready to end turn" flag. This means that even if you press end turn you could still do absolutely anything with your empire, and whenever all the human players press the end turn button, only then the clients exchange turn data with the host.
- (minor) An ETA on detected enemy fleets (like in sots 1) would be really nice.
- (minor) A button on the fleet panel to expand all trees.
- (minor) A ruler to measure the distance between systems (like in sots 1) - clicking and dragging from one star to another
- (minor) There is a line on the security slider that corresponds to 0 corruption losses. However, during the game the security spending sometimes goes off that line. Would it be possible to fix the security spending on the white line (so that it would adjust itself to the line automatically every turn)
- (minor) When you select a fleet and try to issue a mission for it through right-clicking on the fleet, in the resulting UI overlay the camera focus is somewhat random, making it confusing to find the system where you wanted this fleet going. It would be nice if when issuing commands to fleet that way the camera would initially focus on the system the fleet is stationed in
- There is no possibility atm to reorder items within an issued invoice, making it necessary to delete everything and create the order anew. This is quite time-consuming.
- (major) So far there is no possibility to access the combat resolution screen except direcly after the combat. A sots prime-like system where you could view the damage of different weapons and the destroyed ships from the message in the message log would be amazing.
- Trade seems to be eating up an enormous percentage of planet's production capability for very modest returns. For example, practically maximising trade (as morrigi) to the point when 80% of the three starting systems' production was blocked yielded me only 30% of my planetary income. Maybe even without going to the sots1 extremes (where as morrigi I usually had 50/50 planetary/trade distribution by turn 60 and 20/80 by turn 120 even in the most combat-intense multiplayer games) something could be done to make the investment in trade more appealing. From the top of my head I think that 4 times the number of trade goods for the same production would work well, making the trade more restricted by your station infrastructure instead of blocking ship construction almost completely. The returns also do not seem to be much larger from trading with independents. By the way, I love the current trade stimulus system, removing the need to micromanage building freighters manually. Maybe this could be moddable or made a game setup option?
- I don't get colonization stimulus. After civilians colonize something the message is "Colony XXX wants to trade with you for 0 turns. They offer the following incentives: (empty list)". Is this the intended behaviour?
- Station management is a bit painful at the moment. What could really help is the capability for systems to build and upgrade stations without a construction fleet, using their own construction points. The construction fleets would still be useful for establishing forward outposts etc., but the current system makes it quite essential to have and manage at least two-three construction fleets, given the huge times required for construction/upgrade missions. Also, the automatic build order for the civilian station should build docks first in my opinion.
- Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like exceeding the energy/supply capacity in ship design has no effect (e.g. building a ship with only energy weapons and without any additional reactor modules). It still shoots just as well. If I get the idea correctly, one needs to carefully design the ship to the requirements, mixing and matching different kind of weapons to stay within the limits. Is it working?..
- The diplomacy system is great, however some of the treaty costs are incredibly high. Generating the 200 points for incorporating a protectorate is a very huge investment, that could take 30-40 turns even with a noticeable amount of stations. Add to that the station building/upkeep costs, the research costs and the fact that diplomacy stations take precious station space, and it seems like that simply glassing everything and colonizing manually is the optimal path everytime if one wishes to play competitively. Maybe with the costs slightly lowered going the diplomacy+colonization stimulus way in multiplayer could also become a viable and competitive strategy?
- It would be very convenient if one could select a new rebase target for a fleet at any time during his mission, especially during the return trip
- It seems like one needs Drone satellites to be able to build Missile defense platforms. Is this intended?
- System defense boats seem integral to the gameplay, yet they are buried deep within the tech tree and not guaranteed. In my opinion they should be a core tech, available for research from the start of the game.
- Mega-strip mining seems to be required to provide the option of accessing mining stimulus. However,it's not a core tech. Maybe a better way would be to enable mining stimulus right from the start, and then the mega-strip technology would only increase the efficiency of the stations? Making it a core tech would also work.
- I think that the admirals' statistics (especially the reaction and loyalty) should be clarified in the manual in terms of game effects. So far I still completely fail to understand how the patrol mission works and how is it related to the admirals' scores. Maybe someone could direct me to the answer, but I think this should be explained a bit more clearly in the manual. I could even write the corresponding sections and send them to you, provided I understand it myself. The explanations of different missions in terms of game mechanics are very important in my opinion
- I love the graphics. The game looks like a work of art. There are only two minor things IMO:
- Cloaking works as a giant FPS hit for some reason
- The emitter line animations are subpar compared to every other effect in the game. I think the sots1 animations for the emitter line looked much better.. Is there a possibility to just use them instead?
Well, so far this is pretty much it. Some other things may appear after more testing (I will edit the post), and the opinion of other players may differ from mine a lot. But IMO, implementing even the first two items on this list could make this game nearly perfect.