Update: Something was really weird with the presentation of text in my last thread, so hopefully its better now.
To start off, the fact that I care enough to post this should be seen as a tribute to the new expansion. I honestly stopped caring about GCIII for a long while, but the expansion has brought it alive for me again, and the fact that these things "bother me" actually showcase that the new expansion has brought the game back to life for me.
It would be easy to create a massive list of 20 things I love and 20 things I hate, but I'm trying to stay very focused. What are the biggest, truly big, pain points that I see in the game? Not the things that need polish, the things I think are "silly", but the things that truly need some attention as a first priority, things I can't get address with advanced gameplay. So after a lot of culling down, here is my short list.
1) Resource Acquisition Rates are too low
There are a number of things I would like to rebalance around resources, I think their sell price is too low, the amount of create starbase modules too high, etc. But again I can forgive those things. The issue that can break the game, sometimes certain resources barely exist in the game.
In one example I was playing on a normal medium size map. There was no durantium….none. I could not buy it in the market, couldn't find it, no one had any to trade.
Even on abundant, resources don't appear that often. If the resources are increased, it partially deals with a number of the other side issues I mentioned above.
2) Money Balance is off
On the one hand, money can too tight early game. Several games I feel like I have to build entrepreneurs just to stay afloat. Trade Routes are anemic, so you don't have a lot of early game ways to keep cash around other than survey ships. And because the amount of anomalies is much less than in previous versions, that money runs dry.
On the other hand, once Tourism takes off it becomes crazy. You can make 1000s of credit with tourism alone once the party ramps up.
I will say that I love what money can be used for, I am pretty happy with the cost of most things in terms of credit, I just want to see the acquisition be a little smoother.
3) AIs need to stop taking planets that immediately flip
Honestly, this is the weakest of my list. In terms of gameplay, quite frankly this one is not a major deal. So why do I bring it up? The simple answer....is optics, a corporate term that literally means "perception is reality". I know AI is very difficult, we can spend entire forums dedicated to the subject for just this game. But as a founder, I have been with the game since its inception....and this has been a problem for as long as I can remember. So when I start up the expansion, and one of the first interactions I have with the AI is it dumbly settling Mars, giving me a free planet 2 turns later, my reaction is....
The AI has not been touched in 4 years.
We all know that is not true, there are I'm sure a huge number of AI improvements. But its hard to believe it when the AI right towards the beginning of the game does one of the stupidest things it could possible do. It does it every game, and its literally been doing it for years.
Each expansion gives you a chance to show your fan base a fresh new take on the same old game... or to convince them that nothing really has changed. Because this comes so early in the game, and is so obviously stupid, it shows a very bad optics to your players...and that is why I think its important to get right.
4) The Invasion system is far too weighted towards the Attacker.
We all have our nitpicks about combat, everything from broken parts to just areas we don't like. I have a good list of those myself, but again, what do I consider the truly most crippling part? And that would be invasions. The fundamental problem with invasions right now is they are 100% attacker favored in almost all cases, and they require a trivial amount of effort to exercise a serious gain.
Let compare the differences:
a) Immediately has 10 legions at their disposal with PI, +5 if they time a general with the tech.
One transport can hold 5 legions, and the transport cost is trivial.
c) With just 1 legion, I can take planet after planet. If the planet has no legions guarding it, I lose a trivial amount of soldiers. Neutral planets = immediate full population worlds with full infrastructure, at the cost of clicking a transport onto a planet. Way...too....easy.
d) If some of the planets actually do have defenses, you still can clean up all of the planets that don't.
a) In order to have garrisons, I must get legions. But then, I have to build the garrison project time and time again to put down a decent number. That may be a trivial cost in your homeworld, but on the fringe worlds where you are likely to be attacked, that is a real cost. In my last game it would have taken 15 turns to put down 3 garrisons. How long does it take for an attack to load 3 legions in a transport?....not even a turn (you can still move after loading).
An attacker can see which planets have garrisons on it. All they have to do is when the weak planets to strike. Garrisons cannot be everywhere, it takes way too many legions to do that. Meanwhile, the attacker can always concentrate their forces on a single planet to win.
c) Resistance is a stat no-one goes for, because of the weaknesses I've already mentioned. Its a stat you get "just because" of certain actions, but you never intentionally go for it. And even if you do, again I can pick off the less defended planets very easily, resistance or no.
So on this one I have a few suggestions to offer. I wouldn't do all of these, but one or two would help.
a) All planets automatically have 1 garrison. Whenever you invade a world, you must leave 1 legion behind as a garrison automatically. This both ensures all planets have a little protection, and ensures that invasion has a cost (minimum 1 legion). I think this is the best idea for the AI, since you get some automatic protection against the greatest abuses with a minimum of change.
Garrisons are as easy to move as legions. By default when I send a transport of legions to a world, I can automatically make them into Garrisons immediately. No time delay.
c) An alternative to b. Make the Garrison project have 0 cost and time. If I want to spam 5 legions on a world and turn them into Garrisons, let the cost and time be negligible.
d) A more exotic proposal. Remove the soldiering techs. Instead, sprinkle in the soldiering bonus into the defense techs (example point defense gives +10% solidering, or something). This has two benefits, it makes spreading out your defense techs more appealing, and gives a natural bonus to the defender...which they need to have to compensate for the fact that an attacker can just pile in legions wherever they wish.
5) First Artifacts can be too imbalancing
I love the new artifact system, but it can be incredibly imbalanced to your start. Getting the artifact that boosts your ship production can give you an incredible edge in the land grab early game. Getting the 10,000 influence artifact early, and its quite possible to eliminate a race with influence right at the start of the game (especially the human!)
So I think a nice soft way to address this, just tie in the first artifact buildings into a tech. That way it takes a little bit of time before someone can activate the "abuses".
So that's my short list. I hope that is useful feedback to you. For anyone else who wants to post on this thread, again, I know it can be very easy to nitpick every issue you have. But this thread is meant for the meaty stuff, please only consider the issues you truly feel are important.