Why does the defender move first?

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Arioch
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Why does the defender move first?

Postby Arioch » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:16 am

faijeya wrote:I still don't get why if I'm attacking, the enemy starts the battle, but if I'm defending, I move first.
I believe, it should be vice-versa.

We changed it a little while back so that the defender moves first, to reduce the significant extra advantage it gave to the attacker (who already has the advantage of deciding where and when the battle takes place). Why do you think it should be vice-versa?

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby JohnnyW00t » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:12 am

Arioch wrote:Why do you think it should be vice-versa?

I agree with this change strictly with regards to this game's play. Historically in warfare, though, I can see how it doesn't feel right. Element of surprise and all that. Usually the defender's first hint of an attack was the bombs, artillery and/or parachutes falling. Maybe who goes first could be worked into the technology tree or the racial advantages? Best scanners goes first or whatever. Just make sure the player knows why it is happening.

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Arioch
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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby Arioch » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:05 am

Except that there isn't any surprise, in this case. The defender can see the attacker coming from several parsecs away.

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Gilleous
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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby Gilleous » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:34 am

I agree with Arioch.

The feeling that the attacker should go first is a 'habit' and not even a realistic one. Many will be surprised at how much Hollywoodisms affects are preconceptions, which then is reinforced by conventions.

The concept of the defender being flat-footed stems mostly from dramatic flair. Even historically it only happened because of limited knowledge of the enemy's movements, which was more common long ago. This has significantly decreased with the advent of radar. It still happens today because of response time to rapid attacks (surprise air strikes) and tactical level deployments can still surprise the enemy (this is the major advantage guerilla warfare still has). However, it's hard to sneak a major invasion anymore. Just look at the U.S. and Russia, they know exactly how well we are 'excercising' each other's military. Major strategic deployments are very hard to sneak by.

As early as the Napoleanic Wars there was documentation of the defender waiting for the attacker, and starting the attack as the attacker was still managing their ranks. Actually, there are older ones than those. Scouting became very important for both armies because of this. This is why we obsess over Stealth technology today, even the U.S. is working on Stealth Tanks and radar deceiving naval warships.

As mentioned, you see the enemy coming from several parsecs away, I assume a turn is a considerable amount of time as well. So defender is waiting if the invader decides to engage.

This does raise question, will we have stealth in the game and how will it play out in both strategic operations and tactical combat?

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Arioch
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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby Arioch » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:36 am

Gilleous wrote:This does raise question, will we have stealth in the game and how will it play out in both strategic operations and tactical combat?

There will be a device called the Distortion Field, which reduces the range at which a ship can be detected at the strategic level, and makes the ship harder to hit at the tactical level.

True stealth allowing for sneak attacks would be, I think, unbalancing in this kind of game. You really can't afford to keep a large fleet at every star system, so you need to be able to see the enemy coming to have any chance of mustering a decent defense.

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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby enpi » Fri Jun 12, 2015 6:37 pm

you should introduce a initiative value for each ship depending on a mix of size, computer, speed or whatever like MOO2 had. Thats still the best solution for such a tb tac combat system. The problem is when you make a strict IGOYOUGO system the bigger (number of ships per side) the battle is, the more advantage has the side which begins. It means that I cannot attack with my 50 dreadnoughts his 50 dreadnoughts because 25% of my ships are always dying in the first turn. Which then always lead to unequal battles where the attacker is forced to have a qualitative or quantitative superiority to have any chance to win. Its a game balancing problem and not one of "realism".

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Arioch
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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby Arioch » Fri Jun 12, 2015 6:59 pm

Having individual ship initiatives, and requiring players to alternate moving units many times within an individual turn, is in my opinion an over-complication of what needs to be as straightforward a system as possible. Turn-based movement systems are, to a certain extent, inherently unrealistic, and so unless one is willing to turn the tactical combat system into a detailed pause-able real-time tactical simulator in the model of the Total War series, then one must find trade-offs between realism and gameplay and accept that some elements must be abstracted in the interest of playability.

The two counters to first-move advantage that we currently have in the game are, first: the opposing fleets start far enough away to that it's usually not possible to damage the opponent on the very first turn. Second: unfired weapons on the ships of the player who is not currently moving will automatically fire at targets that move into range on the moving player's turn. So it's usually not possible to move your ships into optimal range and attack the enemy without taking at least some return fire. The current over-reliance on missile weapons reduces the effectiveness of both of these counters, but these are things that we will continue to attempt to balance out.

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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby Hanekem » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:32 pm

The problem, I am seeing with the system as presented is that a ship can retreat one turn and still hang around the contested system.
As it stands it is impossible to get rid of non combat vessels because they will always retreat in their first turn if you attack them.

Perhaps you should introduce some sort of chance of retreat? meaning that retreat might take more than one turn or retreating, under certain conditions, would randomly destroy a retreating vessel? or of course, after retreating force the ship into another system...

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Arioch
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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby Arioch » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:29 pm

We're going to change things so that retreating ships will automatically withdraw to the nearest friendly system, or if already in a friendly system, will have to spend a turn in hyperspace. So at least there will be a cost to retreating, and ships can't hang around indefinitely in contested systems.

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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby Hanekem » Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:45 pm

Arioch wrote:We're going to change things so that retreating ships will automatically withdraw to the nearest friendly system, or if already in a friendly system, will have to spend a turn in hyperspace. So at least there will be a cost to retreating, and ships can't hang around indefinitely in contested systems.


That is interesting, sounds good enough, but I think there should be a % chance of being destroyed if in a friendly system and retreating, not to punish the player, but to make raiding feasible. I mean if you manage to reach the soft underbelly of an empire, well, that attacker should have some sort of advantage.
Alternatively making certain classes of ships take longer to retreat (being non combatants would make them unable to match the specs of warships, or their capabilities)
As it stands, the current system leaves too much to exploitation by the players: As an attacker you would be able to move second, but it is enough to disengage with barely a wound. disengaging should have some sort of cost.

Maybe making that an optional rule? that in case of combat disengagement, there is a chance ships would be destroyed instead of retreated (taking it as a further strain on their FTL drive), not unlike what MoM did for their civilian units (ai, Settler) if you tried to retreat there was a chance the unit would be destroyed/killed

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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby sven » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:42 pm

Hanekem wrote:Alternatively making certain classes of ships take longer to retreat (being non combatants would make them unable to match the specs of warships, or their capabilities)


Yeah, if the AI leaves an undefended transport or colony ship in a system, you really should be able to destroy it using just about any military ship. And under the current rules, you often can't, as it will just retreat before you can close to weapons range.

I think saying that that civilian designs (i.e., transports and colony ships) require an extra turn to retreat is probably sensible.

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Re: Why does the defender move first?

Postby Lithari » Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:14 am

I personally see it as a chance for the defender to do something besides watch their fleet die.

I remember playing Master of Orion 2 and i was slightly more advanced then the AI i was attacking and since i had phasers with shield-piercing, their higher tech shields meant nothing, so i effectively one-shotted them, they never got a chance to move.......and they had 4x as many ships as me.

So, the defender going first is better overall.


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