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Spying needs adjusting
11-14-2015, 07:52 PM (This post was last modified: 11-14-2015 07:52 PM by Janster.)
Post: #1
Spying needs adjusting
It's a very poor and limited mechanic to have such power now, it completely rips empires apart, and there is nothing you can do, there is only one spying leader, and to have such a limited mechanic just become such utter force of destruction isn't working well.

I suggest, each successful operation should make the next harder, thus forcing you to let down on the pressure or loose tons of spies.

As it stands now you can loose 30 building in 10 rounds, that's game over for most .

I recommend also that spies blowing up building are lost too.

Thank you
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11-14-2015, 08:31 PM (This post was last modified: 11-14-2015 09:07 PM by Sanbi.)
Post: #2
RE: Spying needs adjusting
i'm not against a nerf, but let me add some context to the game. I had charistmatic, cloaking device, x, fuel cell II, 4 scif ships, and a ton of spies. Your traits included slow as sloths and repulsive so I knew you couldn't keep up with the production easily, even though your population was double mine. Also, when you won cerebrum you switched to more research and less spy production, and then spent a bit more on colony ships than me. (My contact rating was hovering around 6o%, and you needed way more spies than you were buildimg.) When I won x my contact rating instantly shot to 100%, which proved to be a death sentence on a massive map where leaders dont expire. By then it was too late for you to build enough spies, because I could build more spies to keep the gap from widening, (partly because I was raiding your gold.) Also, you didn't switch from civil tech to military tech early enough to get colonial security facility when you needed it.

It might be useful to bring colonial security facility a little down the tree though, because the science builds struggle, and whoever gets cerebrum tends to go science and can be raided by spies as it is. Or make x only give a 25% spying bonus, and/or not apply until he is stationed at a planet. Players usually aren't prepared for the sudden jump in spy effectiveness when someone who already has a lot of spies wins x.
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11-15-2015, 12:39 AM
Post: #3
RE: Spying needs adjusting
Spying was boosted in the last patch because prior to that, it was a poor investment and wasn't something people could use as a major strategy to win. It could need tweaking, but let's put it in context.

If your opponent shows up with a large fleet early in the game, prior to you developing any military technology or building a fleet, do people say that industry builds are too strong? No. They blame themselves for not countering their opponent's blitz.

If your opponent shows up with ships that vastly out-tech yours, do people say that science builds are too strong? No. They blame themselves for letting a science build alone too long.

If your opponent take a heavy investment in spying, and you do nothing to counter it, and they proceed to have positive spy events that destroy your buildings, do people say that spying builds are too strong? Well, right now, yes. It is kind of odd.

Here's the thing about spying: you need to have a SCIF landed (not in-flight) somewhere near enough to be beneficial. When you make first contact with another empire, and see that they have charismatic as a trait, then assume that full-on spying is their strategy. Under zero circumstances can you let them win Leader X.

Also, underlying all of the bonuses to spying is a base mechanic that limits it. The formula I believe is still ATAN(#SPY/30)*40. You can easily enter this into a spreadsheet, and fill down, with #SPY being another column with the number of spies. Basically, the first spy is worth 1.33 spies. Spy 10 has a marginal value of 1.21 spies. By 20 spies, the effectiveness of adding an additional spy is only 0.93. By 33 spies, the overall average is parity (i.e., 33 spies has a base spy value of 33, or 1:1 ratio). By around 50 spies, each additional spy only adds about 1/3 of a spy value - you need 3 spies to do as much as one spy. By 100 spies, each spy is only adding around 1/10 of a spy value. Not cost effective. 100 spies have the spy base of 51, 150 spies have the spy base of 55, 200 spies act like 57 spies.

Lessons here: don't build more than around 75 spies. If you have 10 planets, and can build 10 agent training centers, you can pretty quickly build up your defensive spying ability. Around 35 spies should really put a dent in any spy build.

And don't be passive. Attack! With real ships. Push away their SCIF ships. Go low-tech (so there is no tech to steal) and take over their planets. It is hard to build spies when you need ships. If you are a research build,
get colony security 2, which nullifies cloaking.

One of the most important things to do in any game is to learn about your player so you can counter their approach. First contact provides you a wealth of information on their intent. Figure out what their build says about their strategy (taking into consideration the map) and start countering it early.

If you don't like spying in general (or leaders), you can always choose to play without. Just let the other person/people know that you are setting up a game with spying not allowed.
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11-15-2015, 12:42 PM
Post: #4
RE: Spying needs adjusting
I got more than 70 spies, and it sure as heck isn putting a dent in anything.

Problem is more than this, a spy build seems to need to be countered early, even before contact, as on contact you will get the hurt put on you, I literally can't keep ships alive to even hunt for ships.

I don't mind the spying as a mechanic, but it can't be a game ender in itself. In the game mentioned earlier I failed at stopping you from getting mr X, so I knew it would be bad, but it's counter is impossible to build anything, you are almost completely locked down.
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11-15-2015, 04:08 PM
Post: #5
RE: Spying needs adjusting
You need to be prepared for the possibility of spying even as you consider your racial traits before the game has even really started, just like you need to consider the possibility of an industry blitz if you decide to go science.

Start by getting rid of their SCIF ships. If you can't do that, you might need to evacuate your border colonies to get out of contactable range or at least limit it.

GC ID: anthee999
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11-15-2015, 05:24 PM
Post: #6
RE: Spying needs adjusting
Well with the game over it says my spies in defensive mode cost 48 gold per turn with charismatic, (and no cheaper defensive spies tech), but my spies cost less so its more than 48 spies. So I probably had about as many spies as you did, but the cloaking and x mulitplier make them 4x more effective, plus charistmatic = 3 spy events most turns. I was still getting a 90% to 96 % spy rating at the end.
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11-15-2015, 05:44 PM (This post was last modified: 11-15-2015 05:45 PM by rocco.)
Post: #7
RE: Spying needs adjusting
If you'd like you can submit this game as a bug report and write in the description referencing this thread; I can look and see if anything bug worthy was happening.

In general, I agree with Anthee & Diebo; the upgraded spying is a new threat people are as yet not accustomed to dealing with. People will either learn adapt for it, or the server stats will show that spying needs a nerf (and subsequent nerf will follow).
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11-16-2015, 03:21 AM (This post was last modified: 11-16-2015 03:23 AM by Janster.)
Post: #8
RE: Spying needs adjusting
If spying is going to be this strong, it needs more fully featured mechanics, modules like security stations for ships would be nice, a mammoth shouldn't go down as easily as a frigate, defensive spies should maybe die more often, but at least have a shot at blocking at maybe cost of more dead spies per round . Mr X should have some buddies so that he doesn't become the wild card he is.

I've done a few games against spybuild now, it feels like fighting a rabid dog, and that's fun, but the cost/efficiency ratio is very high, and that's were I'm at


Thank you

Edit : iPad autocorrect likes to replace game with fame, no clue why
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11-16-2015, 04:25 AM (This post was last modified: 11-16-2015 04:26 AM by rocco.)
Post: #9
RE: Spying needs adjusting
(11-16-2015 03:21 AM)Janster Wrote:  Mr X should have some buddies so that he doesn't become the wild card he is.

Since you haven't mentioned it, I feel I should mention Fve Bgeep as a defensive measure against espionage. Complete immunity for a system, the fleets in orbit about that system, and any leaders stationed at that system (your stuff, not your allies).
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11-16-2015, 04:30 AM (This post was last modified: 11-16-2015 04:35 AM by Sanbi.)
Post: #10
RE: Spying needs adjusting
I would like to note that spying is even more useful in large FFAs with multiple opponents, than in one on ones (where an opponent can try to counter it.) I mean, only one person can win X. Plus there's usually a beginner with a research build going civil, or a money build who builds no spies, and the spies can loot him of everything, in effect capturing the resources of a second empire/homeworld, which no one without spies has access to.

I played a small ring galaxy (no alliance) FFA like that, where I alternately looted the two research empires on both sides to give them time to recharge, (they didn't attack me), and then when they were attacked, I built a tech fleet to steal the prize from the victor, and keep going with the help of the large spy army I had built. (Granted FFAs tend to have random outcomes depending on who appears next to you, and who chooses to attack and when.) In a FFA situation like that, spying might be the only optimal build at first (followed by diversifying.)
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