Hi Apheirox, out of curiosity, do you have a save game for when this 24k steal happened, and if yes could you please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
? If there are players who build up so much cash we indeed have to cap the maximum amount stolen / sabotaged.
From my played / observed multiplayer matches so far I'm personally quite happy with the effectiveness of espionage and how it plays. However, we definitely have to improve the AI's infiltration skills, lower their infiltration frequency (though they do consider standings and scores for infiltration) and tweak some more numbers.
In general the espionage mechanics are received fairly controversial, will see if we have to do some more radical changes.
With regard to that 24K case, I was going for the economic victory. The only way to win economic is to build up a huge pile of cash - and with your espionage mechanics having no ceiling on how much can be stolen at a time, it is perfectly possible that one would steal 24K credits (or more) against a player aiming for this victory.
This 24K is a really extreme example, but even a 'normal' case of spying against a player that is perhaps more advanced than oneself can provide a huge advantage thanks to your 'no ceiling' model. Stealing the entire 1000+ research pool from a player might provide a full technology while denying a tech for the target. Again, I get that you want espionage to be rewarding and I agree with that; but there are so many implications to your system you simply don't seem to have thought through and I have no idea how you can feel it works well for MP... Example: What if said two players are at war? The attacking player simply needs to have his army in the opponent's territory next to a city, and the defending player can then do *nothing* to prevent spies swarming in and stealing *all* credit/research output every single turn... So, a player losing a war will now be losing it even faster thanks to agents completely draining his treasury/research pool every turn... and Pandora arguably already suffers from the problem that once you start losing a war, there is very little chance of recovery, making things rather one-sided. Another example would be how, when conquering a city, enemy agents can now start stealing at full efficiency from the city that was their own just one turn ago, which seems absurd... * Hopefully concerns such as those I raise here are clear? To me it seems obvious that there are massive problems with espionage but apparently we somehow see things very differently when you have released the expansion in this state and can be happy with how it works and has performed in your MP test.
void wrote:Alright guys, these are our planned changes:
- Only agents (and units with a detection device, will be added) can see, block and attack other agents.
- Agent movement is reduced to 2.
- To infiltrate a city, you first have to kill all agents or units with detection stationed there.
- Agents no longer have a success chance for orders, but orders always succeed for a constant base value modified by the infiltration power and +/-25% variation. So e.g. stealing credits will have a base of 80 credits, is with +50% infiltration power increased to 120 credits, and then randomized to 90 - 150 credits.
- Destroy building order is removed, order to reduce effectiveness of defense buildings is added.
Please post your feedback and concerns now, otherwise implementation will begin tomorrow!
Difficult to judge without having played it first hand but here are my initial thoughts:
-This may be overkill. While agents are clearly much too powerful in current build, this may be too much of a nerf. Like you say yourself, managing to infiltrate has to be rewarding and a blow to the opponent (just not a 24K credits blow or a 1500 research blow, if infiltrating remains as easy as currently).
- Stealing 80 credits sounds like it might be on the low side, but I can't properly judge this without better understanding how risky it is to send in a spy. What you have to consider is the cost of the agent, also - an agent probably costs several hundred credits, so if their success chances are very low 80 credits isn't much. Optimally, you want to hit a balance where if a player can regularly succeed in slipping in agents, then agents should be very
cost-effective. With efficient spy defense, agents should be much less cost-effective or even not worth building. Best gameplay would be to have a constant espionage arms race where you are constantly trying to build agents powerful enough that they can outperform enemy countermeasures. Same as with the defensive wall buildings giving the defender an advantage over the aggressor, counter-espionage should have the upper hand against offensive espionage if both players are equally developed.
- If only agents can attack/interact with other agents it means agents can be used to scout out enemy lands, which I like. You still want the Satellite scan to be an important tool for scouting, though, agents can't be allowed to fully replace it. As such, it should probably be quite easy for counter-agents to eliminate agents in their territory when detected. A good way to ensure this is to reintroduce flanking bonuses to agents
, but only with/against agents (two of your agent units can flank an enemy agent if properly positioned but they don't provide flanking bonuses to regular military units).
- I would suggest there is some sort of mechanic introduced that provides a bonus when conducting espionage against a more advanced (tech) or richer (credits) opponent. The point of espionage in most 4X games is it is a tool for a weaker player to catch up with stronger players and I believe Pandora should be the same. A very advanced Togra player should have relatively little benefit in stealing from a backwards Divine Ascension player (the game already has this to some degree, but I still feel it is too worthwhile to spy heavily against weaker players currently... and if you also have more advanced agents due to higher tech level, the backwards player can do very little to stop you). In short: Bonus to espionage for weaker players
. For the leading player, gameplay should be mostly about defending against agents, not 'attacking'.
- If you do choose to go with this invisible agents idea, I suggest adding new spy-detector buildings
which can detect agents in a larger area than detectors on units. This would be a cost-effective way of detecting agents so that you don't need a large number of units with detectors. Agents could then be given a new device which reduces detection chance/range
- It is unclear to me what the rules are for whom the AI suspects at having conducted espionage but my experience with the current build has certainly felt like the AI 'magically' just knows you are the perpetrator, even if you position agents so it looks like they are being sent from another player. I don't mind if the AI receives a little 'help' with counter-espionage (perhaps based on difficulty level) but it is frustrating if the AI just automatically identifies the infiltrator.
- Agents being able to reduce city defenses sounds like a a great idea, it makes sense that espionage could play a role in a war effort. On that note, I would suggest that if an agent unit is stacked on the same hex with military units, the other side's agents can still attack the agent without having to fight the military units
- otherwise, it becomes too easy in a war to defend your attacking agents with military units.