What do you look for in a challenge?

I really wish there was a way to sort by Enjoyment and not just Difficulty. I’m surprised that feature hasn’t been included. Here’s my list:

What I Look For
Original Challenge Taunt
Original Fleet Setup (curse the blocks of spam!)
No or low supply limits
No more than two spatial anomalies
…and lately, if the creator has played and beaten their own level
What I Enjoy
Look hard, play hard, but possible to defeat. I can handle trying a strategy or two and losing. I don’t go over 5 tries. Each attempt earns 1 star D
Close battles that result in 1 or 2 ships left at the end. Usually earns a 5 star E
Original strategy or something unexpected (one of my favorites is by Hannibal)
What I Wish Would Die
Levels where I can’t kill a single ship - Automatic 5 star D and 1 star E and I won’t attempt the challenge again.
Blocks of ship spam - usually 1 star E but possibly 2 max.
Foul language or close approximations - It’s a weak admiral that uses words instead of his fleet to offend.
Spam retaliations - I REALLY wish there was a weapon that did group damage.

I’m with you on this one all the way. I have enough ship designs that I don’t want to add or modify simply to satisfy a particular challenge. Personally, I don’t care if you use the same ship design, just don’t put them all up in a spam wall. I confess to posting a spam retaliation to a spam fleet, but I have since seen the light and refuse to fight refuse with refuse.

Agreed on the supply limits issue. I don’t mind so much if three or four limits lock out a ship design or two. Having supply limits that fill up the whole screen and give me one cruiser option from my dozen or so designs is not fun.

Also, does anyone make small-medium challenges anymore? Two cruisers, half a dozen frigates, couple squads of escort fighters - that kind of size? I’ve kind of cooled on the giant super-sized battles because a) I can’t follow what’s going on and b) my computer becomes unhappy very quickly. And since the video becomes choppy, it makes it hard to watch the battle, which is what I want to do in the first place. And the “here’s my cruiser, put it up against your cruiser” challenges have gotten old for me too (most of my designs are intended as part of a small battlegroup, not solo ships).

good to c others who like smaller battles…

small challenges are a specialty of mine… i gotta make a few soon…

u want me 2 send u a personal challenge?

Now just a second. I generally run such a “wall of cruiser missile spam” and decided on my particular fleet build after a lot of careful deliberation. If i send my fleet to you as a retaliation, it means I think you have a weakness your fleet needs to address. And no, it won’t be that “OMG! Lots of ultra-long range ships can kill you!” it’ll be something about how your fleets are spaced, the orders they’re given, or the actual ship builds.

But then, i don’t do the generic taunt either.

EDIT: At RamCat, I have a slightly different take on that. i’ve been playing games like AE and SoaSE for a while, and have come to the realization that the ships you build for system defense and your active fleet are TOTALLY different. For instance, I will be running my standard missile wall-of-battle as my offense, but i’m working on a system defense fleet that will let me do ~2-2.5 times as much damage as it takes, AND do maximum damage to ships it doesn’t destroy (ie, keep moving, not co-operative, and not vulture) Every enemy ship that’s dead or has lost armor, damage weapons/shields/modules is a loose end, and i am VERY eager to see how Cliff will handle that in the campign mode.

now it just needs to hurry up and get released for mac’s!

That is a very interesting idea. I have the most hours, besides cliffski, in the campaign, and I think your idea has some merrit except for a couple of issues. Hmmm… not sure cliffski would want those details revealed yet either. There are a couple of places I think I could make use of this thought. I can tell you it won’t work in as many systems as you would hope it would, unless you have engines in all those ships.

I can also tell you there are some natural “fortress” worlds/systems, that holding them is critical and they are easier to hold than to take.

(About names: I know I capitalize the “C” in cliffski (not in this post). I have done that out of my ‘english’ speaking/respect model. Otherwise I try to case names like the forum member has done. Personally I believe all names should start in a capital letter but I know not all people are english speakers or agree with that standard. If you see me capitalize the first letter of your forum name, realize I do that out of respect. For me, I like “Ramcat”. Thanks, and no harm done. :))

My apologies, I’ll be sure to use the single capital in the future.
If your defense ships lack engines, it becomes possible for your enemy to sit JUST outside your range and wipe you out with missiles, or to to charge in knowing you can’t keep distance up between your fleets. Thus, both defense and causality-causing fleets should have engines

Wouldn’t you be able to fire missiles right back? Are their racial missiles with greater range?

For the most part I agree with you, engines are required. I liked SoaSE but never saw the need for defence ships, maybe I didn’t play the game well enough. And it has been a long time since I played (I played right at release time before they had the bugs worked out). I’d like to see your ship designs. Matt the Merciless has shown us a truely defensive fleet that can deliver awesome damage. Is your approach similar to his? I have yet to replicate his results…but I have been busy testing the campaign.

I’d like to take some of what I’ve learned from the campaign to this discussion on Lethality vs Survivability
. It sounds like you could contribute as well…

I’ll post my actual content reply in the Lethality v Survivability thread

I look for a challenge that won’t crash the game. I have identified and implemented a number of “necessary” mods, but there are still challenges that lock up the game and can only be corrected by going the CTRL-ALT-DEL route. It would really be nice to change the useless taunt field (how many times do I need to read “tremble before my mighty space fleet, human”? to something more meaningful, as in “must have this mod to play”. Examples of this are #4621355 and #4621356, both of which crash immediately upon my hitting “download”.

A great many of the challenges with zero attempts and victories also have this problem, which could indicate that it is a fairly widespread issue.

Hey, do you guys have pictures and text explaining what’s in them? (pointing out what weapons and armors and shields etc. is equiped in each desighn, how you positioned them next to eachother and what you’ve ordered them to do…

It’ll allow us to compare strategies much better!
And the rest of us to gain more suggestions, to actually acquire some sort of technique!