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Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:52 pm
by nelson2208
I'm sure this topic has come up before and I read everything I could find online. I have beaten the game with the Ashdar Colonials and Yoral on Hard so I decided to try Humans. I tried multiple times to find a good starting point and finally got a good game going. So I thought. I made peace with neighboring Yoral but the Haduir are right against me. Their main fleet is around 20 ships with 4 carriers and 4 heavy cruisers all with deflector screens. I am one away from deflector screens and two away from Heavy cruisers much less building all of that. Btw the Yoral also have a 20 ship fleet with their tiny frigates. While not tough ships, that volume is more than my 7 ship fleet.

I feel my expansion was similar to other games I won. That 3-4 turn start at beginning until I get a colony cannot be that huge. I have the best planets compared to Haduir and Yoral but that's it. I can't out expand them because they are already ahead and there are no good stars within reach to east (they are in west).

How can you win with Humans on hard?

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:50 pm
by Arioch
Humans are meant to be more difficult than the other factions to play. Unless they happen to get a really favorable start, they will often be behind the 8-ball in the early and midgame.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:45 am
by nelson2208
I get that and read that elsewhere but how I am supposed to overcome two enormous fleets on my doorstep? Will these fleets not expand? Won't they just be even larger by the time I get Heavy Cruisers? They can obliterate me any time they want. I have made peace with them but it seems the likelihood of ever overcoming them is unlikely. I guess the path to victory is hope to maintain the peace so they never attack and hope my fleet (while never actually to defeat them in battle) is at least impressive enough on paper for diplomatic victory??

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:16 am
by sven
nelson2208 wrote:I get that and read that elsewhere but how I am supposed to overcome two enormous fleets on my doorstep? Will these fleets not expand? Won't they just be even larger by the time I get Heavy Cruisers? They can obliterate me any time they want. I have made peace with them but it seems the likelihood of ever overcoming them is unlikely. I guess the path to victory is hope to maintain the peace so they never attack and hope my fleet (while never actually to defeat them in battle) is at least impressive enough on paper for diplomatic victory??

The current AI is actually fairly bad at teching up -- they tend put most of their resources into their military, even when they're at peace. That's something you can turn to your advantage, if you can secure a peaceful border through diplomacy, and then tech aggressively yourself. The AI is also less than perfect when it comes to routing its ships during war time, so you can often manage to defeat a superior enemy force in detail with a little luck and/or tricky maneuvering.

AIs will also tend to fight among themselves, which can create windows of opportunity to expand into the territory of one of your neighbors once they've already committed to a major war.

So while hard mode humans are certainly hard -- those games generally shouldn't be impossible.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:43 pm
by nelson2208
Thanks for the responses. Most battles especially early on, I am able to win with smaller fleets. I only autocombat when I have a dominant fleet so I minimize losses. I did start another game because I think I made too many mistakes early on the tech tree. This start does seem luckier because there are 2 x 18 size planets only protected by small pirate fleets. Thanks for the advice/direction and hopefully I'll win my first game soon with Humans!

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:31 pm
by nathanebht
The problem is that the human race's stats are too low. Compare their stats to the Yoral's stats.

The delayed start and then the low stats are too much of a hit when playing on hard difficulty.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:48 am
by Dragar
I'm engaged in a pretty epic Hard game as humans on a huge (88) star map. It's mostly turned into the two Haduir factions versus everyone else.

I've been sure I was done for a number of times, but human assault transports - especially cloaked - are pretty wonderful at stealing both tech and Ashdar battleships. I have stolen many.

My first fright came from a whole load of those bad boys armed with railguns - while I was still on RF lasers. It didn't get better when I met a cutting edge fleet armed with force lances and forcefields! Queue rapid refitting to sad armour modules instead of shields.

It's still very much in the balance, but I think I'm winning the war of attrition... Slowly.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:01 pm
by zolobolo
In my opinion the real downside of playing humans are the
1. Lack of meaningful options in the early game (need a lot of time to build up a planet and metal mining to a level to even start building ships (giving them assault troops from the start could help this as we could go around santching ships)
2. Human pops do not have any advantage over any other pop type (even minor ones). Their only bonus is the increased moral when city building but this almost never comes into play. Their stats objectively makes them the worst pop type around and it is never wouth having them over the others. Increased base reproduction rate for Humans would give a reason for havign htem around as well as enforce the feeling of them being the cockroaches of the galaxy

Both of the above would also resolve the issue some might have playing them on harder difficulties

Generally though I follow the same strategy on harder difficulties no matter what faction I play as - that is why I do not play on this diffculty except for testing (its always rapid tech-catch-up and cheesing the AI)

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:14 pm
by evil713
Ooh idea for new human mechanic "Come Home" human ships begin appering randomly every 10 turns for 100 turns, then every 25 after that. Small random groups of ships, with random techs in each.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:07 pm
by Dragar
I'd like human terraforming expanded a touch. They seem to get almost nothing out of those techs.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:29 pm
by zolobolo
Dragar wrote:I'd like human terraforming expanded a touch. They seem to get almost nothing out of those techs.

Goo idea: terraforming benefits to a faction. Either enable terraforming for them earlier (or from the start) via the next update, or enable unique terraforming options to them: Human Haven which would cause Human and only Human pops to increase at double rate (accounting for migration to these havens from around the galaxy)

This would then also make human pops valuable in mid-late game where such haven-planets would crop up as you could only take full advantage of them via human pops

It would probably also not need new planet types: just add a new biome to the planet (though graphical represenatation is of course welcome like always)

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:48 pm
by evil713
See I don't like the idea of early terraforming, pop gen is important I know, but what we are talking about is a racial feature.

The thing that needs to make them better needs to A: be a defining feature that no other faction can use, or use to its fullest and B:Defines humanity as a race and a playstyle.

Each race has something that that is theirs and theirs alone (in some cases like the Yoral specific projectile weapon been removed, hopefully to come back some time in the future), like access to the mercenary exchange, or gunships, or the tinkers forge. Some things just lead into end game tech and that's ok. In those cases it gives an early edge and defines that races playstyle as much as their ship design.

Humanity requires something that gives them an advantage in that one area in the early game, and is still useful in the late game.

All of humanities current advantages are researchable by any faction, without the need of acquisition through warfare. This is the issue, they are harder but for no benefit.

Yes they get a battleship at the beginning, but its not well armed, or well teched. It can be stronger but only on easy mode. It is still very killable. If it was a unique ship that would be something but its not. Hell if the starting station was unique that would of been a plus. Everything else is just early access to some techs allowing colonising to catch up to other races.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:04 pm
by Dragar
Regarding terraforming, I only mention it because it's an absolute ton of research points that allows for a tiny amount of extra population - it's an absolute trap for humans in particular, who seem to benefit less than anyone for the same amount of research.

I really don't think humans are in as bad a shape as is suggested.

They have some weird stuff - a beam research affinity but a battleship with dedicated torpedo hardpoints and extra munitions? what? - which makes me wonder if I should have gone harder into torpedoes, carriers and (of course) boarding, with beams only for PD. But overall they are fine as a 'hard' faction. It's a nice quirk humans are the scrappy underdogs.

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:40 pm
by zolobolo
In most cases the faction unique tech is avaialble to all via end-game tech (repair module, cloacking, siege gun, carriers or energy torps) and I think that is fine. I would prefer to see all unique features being reseachable in the end (even if it is only a nerfed version like in case of repair module) - it lends a breath of authenticity to the Galaxy: all races advance in their owne way but have access to everything theoretically)

But I agree that in hte beginning it should be unique and fit the style of the race

For this reason terraforming might suite Humans as:
1. It is already endgame tech (so generally unique for them for at least a while)
2. Giving them a Human specific biome (haven) would give Humans an edge over everyone else when using this function
3. Fit their style check: Having a race that has been denied a planetary home for so long, they might be inclined to settle down and do some terraforming (this is already reflected in their morale boost when building cities" + all the scattered Humans would love to unite with their brethren on a dedicated biom: home at last. But also increased pop growth would fit with the overall theme: Humans are a plague on the Galaxy as far as the others are concerned. Building their own Bioms (reducing viability for all other races) + reproducing like rats fits the perception of other races of them

Unique starting ship and base is also fine but less prelevant over the game. Its either a single ships (and they already have unique ships like all other races) or a single base. If Human bases would have some sort of benefit over all others that would be a different thing (increase planetary resources for example)

Re: Humans on Hard Difficulty

Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:20 pm
by Gilmoy
I won on Orthin Hard, then Orthin Brutal. Then I read the Humanity thread on Steam, tried Humanity Brutal Huge (88), and won on my 5th attempt. So I tried to duplicate that method, and started a Humanity Brutal 99. On turn 1311, it's an utter crushing win; I have 42 votes and the #2 AI has 16. Basically, as soon as I deign to force alliance with either the Phidi/Phidi coalition or the Imperial/Yoral coalition, I win on votes. Or I might just go conquer #1-miltary Orthin, and win on votes by myself.

Yes, Humans start out wimpy, and cannot fight an early war. Yes, you get outraced to every nearby system, Tyr/Gaia, and Ephelos. Yes, you're way behind in population and productivity. Play the long game, and win anyways.

My general approach is:

1. Appease your 2 nearest neighbors. Do whatever it takes. Overproduce food and metal, and always cheerfully accept every disaster-plea they bring you. If they want your system, give it to them. If 2 of them want 3 of your systems, give them up. (It's OK to cart away as many pop as you can and raze every slot before you accede. You can even accept the war, counterattack their nearby system for 1-2 turns, and wait for them to invade, take the planet, and auto-truce.) You're playing to be strong around turn 200 and win by turn 280, and 1 early system isn't worth your worry.

Corollary: If a neighbor AI declares an outright war on you early (and it doesn't want 1 system), that's game. Quit and restart. That's how I lost the first 4 attempts. So now I put early appeasement as the #1 priority, trumping absolutely everything else.

2. Remain neutral as long as you can. The AIs are actually at the mercy of the pitiless Global Event Generator (gasp), which yanks, jerks, and kicks them around. They can't hardly go four turns in a row of galaxy-wide peace before some event forces them to recall ambassadors, which quickly spirals into wars. When they invite you to join wars, say no (and take the diplomacy hit). Let them beat each other up, chase each others' fleets around, reformat each others' planets, etc., while you produce things and keep all of your production in play.

3. It's perfectly viable to have only 5 blah systems, in a long skinny chain, for 150+ turns. As long as AIs are too busy fighting each other to fight you, you're safe. Later on, systems will open up (see below). When you finally do join a war (that you're ready for), you can beeline straight to an AI's systems and capture them like popcorn, and never fight its uber-fleet. So you'll have 4-6 blah systems for a long time, and then pow, you'll have 10+ systems, and be even stronger for the next war.

Having your neighbor AIs friendly to you is crucial. Buy their approval every single chance they give you. (It's only a few turns' worth of metal, you can make more.)

4. Go for +population and +infrastructure (food, science, labor, metal). You cannot out-fleet any AI (ahem), but you can out-plan them. Around turn 150 or so, I'm just getting to be #1 in every metric except military. I typically get Cloning for the awesome +100k pop per planet per turn, then finish the infrastructure tree for tier 2 mines, labs, and factories, then go back for Habitat Domes, then Fleet Base + Space Habitat for 2-pop 2-science orbitals.

5. Build just enough ship and weapon tech to not-suck. I get to Advanced Turbolasers, Fusion Torpedos, and Battleships, and basically stop there: I win the game before I ever need to go back for more weapons (and so I've never actually researched anything past those). You can eventually beat AI fleets just with turbolasers. Other weapons may work equally well, so do that if it works for you.

There is a bit of a learning curve to judge the proper pace of building combat ships in the early game. You can't spend all of your early game building colonizers, outposts, and slots. At least one planet should go for Space Station moderately early (after it finishes its slots, of course), and thereafter build your heavy cruiser type non-stop, just so you'll have a few of them in play when an inevitable skirmish arrives. I eventually have at most 1 Shipyard of my own (not counting the ~6 or so I've captured) + 1 Space Station, and those two planets build Battleship / Heavy Cruiser non-stop, while all other planets build transports for trading, or troopships to overwhelm early ground defenses.

Gradually, you can amass one single fleet that's moderately big -- large enough to crush neutral Marauder bases, or small Star Harpy infestations. You will not have two fleets, and so you cannot defend anything, but you can attack and invade 1 system. It's perfectly fine to be dead-last in military strength for 150+ turns; that's normal. (I also play Endless Legends on Endless/Normal vs. 7 AIs, so I'm used to being last place in every metric, and winning anyways. Human growth is a parabola, AI growth simply isn't.) In fact, I remain at only ~33% to 50% of the #1 military AI essentially all game long; I can win a crushing victory on empire size and votes and still only be #4 in military. (I tend to win efficiently, when I do.)

6. Bide your time until one of the inevitable wars presents you with a juicy target.

- In my H.B. 88 game, Gremak AI somehow antagonized about 5 of us at the same time -- and then declared war on a sixth :lol: . I joined that war and sent my 1 fleet straight for its systems, and conquered 5 planets in 4 systems, including its homeworld, without fighting a single fleet. (I don't count a 2-ship skirmish, where the AI promptly retreats, as a fight against a fleet. Gremak's big fleet had ~20 ships, but it scampered around the warp lanes and never fought anybody.) In earlier games, I didn't appreciate overproducing troopships, so I was not ready for this situation when it arose; and so I learned to do that.

- In my H.B. 99 game, around turn 160, Imperials 2 (Kairullin?) demanded a system adjacent to its sector of space. I underestimated AI's (near-infinite?) command range, so technically I misjudged its response time -- but I figured I could dogpile its home systems before it even captured my 1 system. So I said no, swiftly counter-invaded, and sure enough, I wiped it out by taking all of its planets before it ever fought me for the 1 system it wanted. Soon thereafter, Colonials (Yunki), #1 in military (tied with Orthin's Gunships), declared a real war, and again I went straight for its planets and took 4 of 8 systems. I finally arranged a showdown battle -- my first big fight all game, my 31 (4 BB, 8 HC, bunch of captured ships) vs. its 59 (4 Fleet Carrier, 17 Escort Carrier, others). I blew up all 17 Escort Carriers in 3 rounds, lost 4 small ships total, killed or captured 54 (and later got the other 5), and won that fight. Which basically rebooted Yunki to 0 military presence (from #1 to last), and so now I get the rest of its systems at my leisure. And I was #1 in every metric before this little war, so I'll be around 60% of votes after I digest it. 211 turns is just about long enough to build up one fleet to that size, and then decent human tactics will always kick the AI around in any dogfight. I still don't have a 2nd fleet anywhere, so the rest of my vast empire is basically naked.

This was actually the largest fight I've ever seen in StinSh (so far). Other threads on Steam complain of carrier spam, but evidently 59 ships isn't spam. No other AI in this game has a fleet that large, nor the infrastructure to build up to it (before I take N-1 of their planets away, hehe), so there probably won't be another 30-vs-50 fight, even if I choose to drag the game out. I'll be a zookeeper, leave them all with 1 planet each (and periodically nuke them from orbit), and finish the tech tree for that achievement. I've never researched (not counting Ephelos loot RNG), nor faced an AI who researched, anything in the entire Force Field/Super Dreadnought column of techs, nor ever colonized a gas giant, nor seen even 60 ships in one fleet.

And that's Humanity Brutal 99, and it worked twice in a row. Try this on Hard, and it'll probably work the same, but somewhat faster.