Campaign balancing needs a serious overhaul...

Am I the only one finding campaign mode a little annoying? I have seen other threads saying that it is much too easy… I disagree, the thing that really annoys me is the fact the the opposing fleet was not created with survivability in mind, and that brakes the balance in my mind. I can win, sure, but I will suffer heavy looses to a fleet made by some kid somewhere with the sole purpose of knocking out all my frigates, but not actually winning the round. This online mode is indeed a lot like Spore in that sense, you run around having fun until some giant penis runs in and brakes your eggs…

End rant.

The mode as it is has a lot of the room for improvenment. One of the major weakness was in majority of encounters Frigates are useless. Fighters swarms can take out half and seriously damange the other half my frigate fleet despite armed them with anti fighter missiles. Crusiers with some degree of armor and OR firepower can wipe them (thats two dozen of the types) off the screen in a minute…

If there werent places on the map requires frigates, one can forget about them all together.

Frigates need at least 13 average armor to survive fighters.I use them in a support role to my cruisers and they work fine.

The campaign system randomly downloads fleets from various popular challenges, excluding “spam” scenarios, to field a fleet against you. The size of the fleet is determined by factors such as the difficulty level at which you are playing, the number of battles you have fought in the area recently, whether you have won or lost, the size of the fleet you have been maintaining next to the enemy as a garrison, etc.

So that fleet that seemed perfectly designed to destroy yours? Just a coincidence. The size? Possibly related to your own deployment decisions.

A good reason to deploy a more generalist fleet and pay more attention to where you station your fleets and how quickly you move through a sector, however.

I find frigate useless in campaign. The most stable fleet would be plasma/beam cruisers with 0.2 speed to retreat, and fighter spams. Both can handle most situation and can retreat upon facing it’s obvious hard counters.

It is not really the fighter spam that bothers me, I just quit if I come up against one and reload the game. It is the fact that you have to preserve some of your units for later battles where as the people creating the challenges, do not. So if the game matches you up with a challenge of equal cost and sum of pilots you are at a disadvantage from the the start, since the other fleet will have the advantage of suicide ships, e.g. the rush tank cruiser that draws all firepower and rams into the center of your formation of cruisers and then blows up doing a fair amount of damage. Now that cruiser would be very expensive to build and me playing the campaign cannot afford to use tactics like that in every battle.
I would suggest that the game only takes opposing fleets from other players campaigns, and to build that database, pit the players against a few different pre-made fleets at the beginning of the campaign where you have to diversify and then save those player fleets into an online database to pit against other players.

As a side note, I really love this game, I think it is superb, balancing issues aside. It reminds me of the old Europa game where you had to build a robot and program it to fight other bots on the floor, and I always hoped someone would make a more advanced version, and ta-da! GSB is created :slight_smile:

I know the feeling. I mean, I know the programming would be hell, but I would love it if whenever I destroyed a huge enemy fleet, it actually stalled the AI. Considering that it takes me at least a dozen or so turns to build up a new ~100,000 point fleet (my standard fleet size, since having a several hundred thousand point fleet stationed at your borders stiffens the resistance), having an AI fleet designed not to actually defend a system but instead to simply cause as much damage as possible is… aggrivating. It’s similar to the fighter swarm problem, in fact.
Simply put, it’s as if the AI isn’t planning to win (and in fact, I’m not entirely sure how you would, or can, for that matter, ‘lose’), but merely to cripple your fleets without a thought to survivability.

At least some of the fleets are not from challenges, but rather from other players campaign fleets. According to the game description "GC will constantly download the fleet and ship designs of other players to fight as your opponents, whilst uploading some of your fleets to fight against everyone else". I have occasionally run into fleets including a few ships from more than one race, I can only imagine these would have to have been captured in earlier battles by whatever player fielded them.

PS: I have not found frigates to be useless in the campaign either.

I love using frigates, in my mind they are the most fun because you can use them tactically for a lot more options than the cruiser or fighter. One thing is to use a frigate as a timer, have it fly into a certain range with a few other frigates running formations with it, and when it blows up the runners will then start their attack making it possible to time attack waves by events.
It does annoy me though that there is no “quit without saving” button, for when you come up against the really annoying fleets, I force quit when that happens, and then reload, I know some people would argue that a feature like that would make the game too easy as people would just quit if loses got too high. Sure, but I do it anyway with the OS command so why not make it a built in feature until the balancing issues have been figured out? And just to make something clear, I do not quit when I am simply out-smarted, I love getting my butt handed to me by a superior fleet or by some cruel and cunning strategy, but the penis-made-out-of-fighters-fleet… alt-cmd-esc, force quit…

I always thought the fleets were taken from other people who play the campaign, so not from challenges. Are you sure they’re taken from challenges?

They can’t be taken from challenges, for the simple reason that they don’t use the same maps.

I believe that fleets can, in fact, be downloaded from challenges. They need to be scaled up or down based on the size of the fleet that the planet is supposed to field at the point of combat, so deploying them on something other than the map for which they were originally created shouldn’t be too difficult.

If you look in the campaign files, you will find references to what appear to be challenge numbers that are used to identify fleets. Also, the composition of fleets in the campaign appears to more accurately reflect what would be deployed in challenges, as opposed to the campaign.

Finally, of course, I think that Cliffski at some point actually said that fleets for the campaign came from challenges, screening for spam fleets and looking for challenges with high approval ratings.

I just bought the campaign and I must say it can be quite tricky to get used to the enemy fleets thrown at you. the game needs some kind of scouting unit (or you could just send 1 fighter over to check 1st I suppose)

My favourite breakthrough frigate combo is 1 beam and 2 ions. and then some shields(or armour depending on the hull) and lots of speed to intercept. Ions can shoot fighters going at average speed, but have trouble with the really fast ones

The problem with the Campaign Mode is, that you can’t save each turn via an in-game-mechanism and retry.

Could you please add the ability to save each turn and maybe add a “Retry” Button at the end of a battle? (Sometimes I only needed to change orders and placement…)

I play at normal difficulty level and find it extremely challenging: one lost battle means that I have to start over again: and I it’s almost impossible to win more than a dozen encounters in a row (- e.g. after 20 turns I own 6 systems - and that’s my best savegame after trying maybe 20h during the last days).

Since the game has a paper-rock-scissors style I need a balanced fleet in order not to end up with a 50/50 chance in each encounter.
(Your chance not to lose in a row of 4 “50/50” encounters would be 1/16…)

But even with a balanced fleet I run into problems after conquering around 5 systems: then I need to go through a system with “Spatial Anomalies” that require me to build a new fleet tailored for that, while defending 2 fronts at the same time: the enemy is getting more ships every turn while my defending fleets have to sit and wait: I can’t split my reinforcements, because I want my new tailor-made ships to go one way (in direction of the “Spatial Anomaly”-system which I made them for), so I constantly have to re-balance the rest of my fleet over 2 fronts (with more than one jump/turn in between of course) with each arriving (tailor-made) reinforcement…

[i]I started to make save-games after each successful turn “manually”:

The saved progress can be found here:
C:\Users\YOURNAME\Documents\My Games\GratuitousSpaceBattles\campaignprogress[/i]

P.S.: I agree that frigates are not worth the money most of the time - I only need them in said “spatial anomalies” when either cruisers or fighters are not allowed.

If i send enough fighters, even 13 armor isn’t enough. After a certain point, there’s enough fighters that anti-FT frig’s just can’t handle

Frigates are useless. I’ve had success with fighterspam and a single cruiser, or all cruisers. Moderate success, mind you. I can’t seem to get past turn 15 or so, I just lose too much.
Also, two planets passing each other by and attacking one another’s planets… that is severely retarded. Why can’t there be an auto-intercept battle in the middle of the warp lane?

I haven’t had any luck with frigates either. In theory there are the armored-nomad frigates, but by the time I can get 0.8+ speed, 15 armor, I only have room for like 2 ion cannons which is laughable firepower relative to the cost of the ship.

When I first started playing Id use the Weapons Platforms with 7 plasma launchers(frigate), ok shields and a bit of armor. However, a frigate plasma launcher deals 1/2 the damage at slightly slower reload speed and less armor penetration relative to the cruiser version. So cost-wise, I really wasn’t doing any better than going with a cruiser which has much thicker shields and better armor mitigation.

For those who are still trying the campaign, give yourself a boost and download the UniTy, Union, and Unity Viral races in the mods section. It takes a good deal of honor to unlock it all, but all 3 races give you a distinct advantage which makes the campaign more doable.

Unity Viral - basic ship components, but a vast number of hulls. Can make a ‘tribe-like’ MWM cruiser and put a universal tank in front of it as a damage soak, and other strats that you normally couldn’t do. Their fighters are freaking awesome due to inclusion of special weapons like the frigate anti-fighter missile, and the corvette torpedo.

Unity basic - Lots of hulls, tho many are filler for scenarios. All weapons are modded to be double range, firing rate, or damage for 50% more cost,weight,etc. Can make some seriously strong fighters, good corvettes, and they have some very large hulls available.

Union - Fewer hulls. Able to make strong but very expensive fighters/corvettes. Frigates are lumbering monsters with crappy frigate-based weapons. Cruisers run from small cost-effective to enormous dreadnaughts, and cruisers have a full line of overpowered ship components and advanced weapons.

The biggest thing for me: I don’t understand why the “AI” is allowed to conjure massive hard counter fleets from the ether at the drop of a hat. I’ll win a couple battles, then encounter a fleet FIVE TIMES the HPs of anything I could have created up to that point. On CADET?

There has to be a way to tone this down.

Welcome to the forums Fusillade.

Yes there is a way to “tone down” the AI in the campaign but it would require a little text editing.
(something i have yet to try)

Thanks. Yeah, I just discovered the .ini editing trick. I was reluctant to cheat, but it’s that or quit the game entirely. Just giving myself a bit more money (50k vs 30k) and some more pilots has already made a HUGE difference.