I cannot agree with that assesment. If you hate your government hard enough, then it shouldn't matter how diplomatic an invader is, if they offer you a better life, in exchange for you fighting for them.
That's a valid point. IW is solely based on the defenders morale = which reflect the peoples regard for their own government in terms of exploitation (tax rate) or social projects (morale improvement). At 100% approval IW nets 0-0 defectans.
Okay. However, I just realised that there is one issue with this approach: races not mentioned in the RaceConfig.xml won't get the penalty. For example, the Jagged Knife and all the other Minor Races will be unaffected. I'm not sure how big of a problem this is (those races usually don't last that long in my games), but I thought it worth mentioning.
MinorRaces are specified in RaceConfig.xml as well, so they can be included.
It could even be a different value to find a better balancing. Although we buffed some of the racial stats of MinorRaces I still find them quite weak. All of them get a bonus to the economics-ability which actually should raise the funds which could potentially fed to spies by some margin. The question is if we want them to have more spies or less.
On one hand they commonly have an overflow of unused funds, and in my games I usually drain them of these funds every 8 weeks. They could use that for spies instead. However, the way how AI uses spies is idiotic - they simply keep them in their reserve initially in order to nullify potential future attackers - which may not happen since MinorRaces usually don't have a lot precious techs to offer or are of any danger anyway.
Only later when one faction arises as a leader (= strengths of graphs in stats) AIs are willing to drop spies on enemy planets stiffling a potential winner. However, at that time most Minors will be gone taking all their spies to the grave with them. Thus, it would perhaps be a good idea to even increase the espionage-penalty for them so they would have more money - which they could use to delay a war from an aggressive extorter.
As for the Jagged Knife, or any other event that spawns another MinorRace somewhere - I find it even beneficial if they get spies more swiftly because all other factions most likely do have a headstart of several years.
Also, I really think we should take another look at the starbase modules. They are quite imbalanced in several areas.
I understand that my design to fix the overall weakness of the starbase defenses made them way too powerful. It makes perfect sense to me that that design was scrapped and something else was tried. I did the same in Autumn Twilight 2.0, after all. However, the current design is not an improvement, in my opinion.
Not only did the max attack and defense values get reduced compared to the vanilla game (CU attack 56, defense 21 vs. Vanilla attack 65, defense 51 (or 63, if the bonuses from Battle Stations Mark II-IV had worked)), but the amount of techs required to unlock even basic defenses got massively increased. For example, in the vanilla game you only needed to research 5 techs to unlock the basic modules. In the CU, you need to research 46 techs to get to the same level. Granted, the attack rating got raised to 8. However, I don't think that makes up for the huge amount of time and money you need to invest in order to unlock those modules.
This gets even worse with the next tier of modules, which requires a whopping total of 82 techs to unlock. While those modules are stronger compared to the vanilla ones (attack value 12 and defense value 16 vs. vanilla attack value 10 and defense value 10), they are also the final ones (not counting Battle Stations Mark II-IV). In the vanilla game, you could still unlock several more modules. Especially to further raise the defense rating.
All in all, you're better off using fleets to protect your starbases. While that was also true in the vanilla game, the defense modules were more than capable of keeping your starbases alive in the early game (all the way to some point in the mid-game).
The problem is that the AI is not going to use fleets to protect its starbases, so a player doing so has a tremendous advantage. I feel that tactically a player has this advantage anyway, there's so many things you can do like circling harmful AI fleets, or picking at resource bases, but that is not something that can be fixed by xml-changes.
IMO SB should be tough to fight against bcause this is going to make it harder for the player. However, if we do it via the defense-way then you/the AI can build invincible SBs which will soak in all weapons-fire, destroy enemy fleet, repair back swiftly, gain add HP by levelling up and become gradually more and more invincible. This is a huge problem because I've observed several testgames were a suicidal AI did throw large parts of their armies against such a base in a senseless fight and drained itself from MMR. Because of this strong SBs can onlybe achieved by increasing its attack - but reducing its attack likewise. If you simulate a fixed amount of ships going either against a ATT+100 DEF+0 SB or a ATT+50 DEF+50 base you'll see that, in many cases, the offensive-designed base will always loose hitpoints and its only a matter of time until its destroyed while the pretected one survives infinitely against weaker attackers. That means that IF an AI invests a number of MP to fight against a base it will get rewarded at some point and the fight ends. But if they only throw a tiny amount of ships both designs will still survive.
The current distribution of SB modules in the techtree is somewhat balanced to tie into the status of weapon/defense-research - because SB strength needs to be balanced against that (actually, also against Minitaurization and ESPECIALLY Logistics because these 2 stats also significantly increase fleetstrength...). Granted, its unintuitive & boring, and I actually did like the vanilla random chaotic placement a bit better. There's also the problem that some AI never research defenses on their own (in a game w/o techtrade) (or, at least, not until being finished with weapons), so the vanilla approach was a tad better at that as well. (you see there's a definite logic in it to keep certain things chaotic if you have 4 different AIP that do things differently as well....)
The cost of these modules seems quite low compared to the benefit they provide. Especially the Thalan-specific ones seem extremely cheap (300BC for +16 to the beam, MD, and missile rating of all ships in the area? Sign me up!). Also, in the vanilla game, the defense-assist modules only provided a max defense-boost of +3 to all three categories, while in the CU it's +16. This makes the tactic of using fleets containing only tiny ships with one weapon/defense module even better.
I agree. In one way Evil got nerfed by this. On the other hand the assist-modules are more or less a player-only feature - the AI don't really utilize MSBs. Sometimes they drop a MSB here and there, but most hold no modules at all. Reducing the number of potential modules, but increasing their strength could solve that.
CultureThe Interstellar Embassy module currently provides a bonus of 60%.
That's almost as high as the combined bonus of all 5 diplomacy-based culture-modules (62%). It also gives all the races who don't have access to Advanced/Extreme Diplomacy (primarily the Drengin, Korath, and Yor) an advantage, compared to the vanilla game. Changing that value to 22% would make more sense.The new values for the Krynn-specific modules seem a bit high. Especially considering that their design seem to suggest that the main-source of influence for the Krynn is supposed to be their planets (all of the Krynn improvements provide an influence-bonus). I would suggest to change the modules back to their original values.
I've got the impression that the diplo-tree holds these modules only as a side function, and I like it that even diplomatically crippled factions can build a semi-strong Influencer-base. Fact is that the races you mentioned basically have very little chance to flip planets via bases, but the AI will still erect these bases wasting constructors + paying maint for virtually no purpose.
However, the AI uses 2 different sets of behaviour - one is placing IB in foreign systems near planets, or, if own planets are threatened by foreign influence there. So at least, with a single strong module the last option may be effective to keep own planets from revolting. We could perhaps split that module into 2 or 3, and attribute to techs which all races do get. [Xeno Ethics or Government...]
Generally I think that esp. the modules steming from the influence-branch are borderline OP. Once you muster the production it's so easy to flip complete systems with a single base. Not that the AI would use this tactic much...
Mining ModulesFactory-users: vanilla 34%, CU 25%
Drengin/Korath: vanilla 27%, CU 15%
Iconians: vanilla 25%, CU 16%
Korx: vanilla 44%, CU 35%
Thalan: vanilla 30%, CU 35%
Yor: vanilla 25%, CU 15%
Do I even need to say what's wrong here?
I've stressed this problem before but request denied. It's even worse because in vanilla factions that had unique modules could use the generic modules as well. I considered that actually a feature and not a bug, because many of these races (Yor/Thalan) are severely restricted in the techtree and therefore this a potential compensation.
The highest TA MV game played by Gaz was strictly based about getting resource-mines up to 60% (he used Thalan-tree), if you find a map with a lot of military, economic & morale-resources these will directly translate into score. It would just be fair if that option is retained in the game. Furthermore, I think that esp. resources are there to have a huge impact on the strength of civ on a galactic scale, 15%-16% are rather lackluster considering that the game truncates so many numbers.