So I wanted to take some time and dig in on the new changes and features in supernova, to give my thoughts on how well they are working. I am going to focus on how well I think the fundamental mechanic "works", rather than the actual balance (which I will cover in other discussion threads). In other words, I don't care how powerful the mechanic is per say, its more about is it providing the experience that the devs are looking for.
Note: This is based on Version 1.51 of the Insider's Edition.
I think the new system is heads and shoulders better than the previous one. The tree is much more engaging now, and no where near as influenced for your expansion speed. The biggest issues:
- It would be nice to know what the base costs for each policy is, so I can see how much I'm saving with my discounts.
- The discounts are a little "flimsy". Does a 27% discount actually save me a point versus a 13%? It might be worth having a progress bar for each tree, and when I hit 100%, the number resets and I gain a "-1 point cost to all policies of that tree", or something like that.
- Its easy to forget to spend points and let them build up. I wish I could mark a policy to buy, and then its purchased as soon as I have the points.
Leader Tech Prereques
Now commanders and factions are unlocked with tech. I can respect this for commanders, which are powerful military weapons, but I think its a mistake for the faction bonuses. Sometimes I have extra leaders to spare and can't do anything with them, I want the factions open Turn 1. Frankly their bonuses aren't so strong that I think that its a problem, they don't tend to get really strong until later in the game anyway.
I think the concept makes sense, though there is still much work to be done here. But the idea of integrating the ship roles (which have always been a bit vestigial and dodgy) into the ship classes themselves makes a lot of sense to me. Towards that end....the ship roles should die in a fire. From now on, its should be pure ship classes. Frigates target Cruisers first, then fighters, etc etc no more "support then assault then XYZ:"
Further, I want the classes to be truly distinctive. For example right now I can put siege on a "siege ship" but I can also put them on a cargo ship.... bleh. If there is a siege ship, by gum make that the vessel that you put siege equipment on. If your going to go for classes, they should be truly distinct from each other. As soon as you start muddying the waters you lose the very benefit the classes are meant to provide.
New Research System
At the end of the day, this is just a rehash of the previous system, and doesn't really address any of the core problems. I do think its prettier than the previous system, but I still can't just find the tech I want, click it, and then have the system go through all the techs I need to get to it. At the end of the day I still either get lucky and get the key techs I want quickly, or have to slog through slower times because my RNG wasn't great.
I am mixed on this one, I've noted before that the previous change was a lot cleaner, and so we have gone back to the much more nebulous, and "clunky" version. But ultimately the problem with the previous version was it didn't have a clear purpose and niche, whereas now it is more distinctive again. I just feel like there is more to do here.
Planet Bonuses adapted to planet stats
The notion here is: "A high manu planet will naturally have more manu bonus tiles, so you don't get a planet with lots of blue tiles but no research"
I am glad that the devs are looking at the problem but I think they are missing the actual issue. The problem is.....the planet tiles don't change what I build.
Before, I just felt bad to put a bunch of factories on blue tiles in a high manu planet. Well now I just put a bunch of factories on red tiles on the high manu planet, so yeah I get higher bonuses and that's nice....but it doesn't change the fact I'm carpeting the planet in factories.
Instead, I think you need to triple down on "off bonuses" to make them attractive. Say for example, I have a high manu, low research planet. However, imagine I had a triangle of +3 level research hexes all together..... wow! Ok suddenly I stop and go "hmm....maybe I will sprinkle a bit of research on this planet."
Or maybe certain tile types give +.1 technology when I build a lab there. So now I can make a low res planet a higher res one if I build in the right spots.
You have this neat system of adjacanies and building levels, but ultimately its not creating interesting decisions, its making the decisions for me. The goal is to add wrinkles that make my stop and consider other options because of XYZ reason, not just make it even easier for me to carpet a planet in a single building type and call it a day.
This is MUCH improved, orbital slots are now an interesting part of planet development and a good money sync. My only notes here:
- I need something in the planet UI that tells me how many orbital slots a planet has before I settle there.
- The "orbital refinery" type slots are questionable, as it seems like all they do is replace the land based refinery I could build on a given resource. Yes they build much quicker, but I also can't upgrade them like I can land based ones, and ultimately that's a pretty precious slot to be giving up.
While there is clearly work to be doen here, the concept is great, and really embraces the kind of future thinking your team is known for. Chat GPT type things are here to stay, and integrating it into a game is a way to stay competitive.
New Invasion System
Overall I do like this a lot, a good improvement. I really miss though that military starbases can block invasions, that was one of the key ways to make those starbases useful and prevent a lot of silly colony world snipping.
My only beef right now is that its possible for a planet to increase its defense to the point where siege is now impossible, but the fleet doesn't automatically stop sieging, so it can literally just stay there indefinitely and do nothing.
Survey Unit Changes
I think this change was an overcorrection. You are right that before it got nuts in the later game where you could build like 20 survey ships and had modules are all of them, etc etc. However, now it feels like this part of the game is just an afterthought, you send your flag ship out, get some bonuses every so often, and move on.
I would suggest a middle ground:
- Allow ships to adapt survey modules as before (costing pop and/or modules as appropriate).
- Only flagships and commander ships can acquire special modules.
This will still allow civs to invest in surveying if they want, but keeps the special module ships "special", so you aren't spamming 20 of them. It allows you to maintain a small fleet of "elite ships" while still creating a survey fleet should you wish to invest in that.