I’m back! After a relaxing, mandated month away from the forum, I’m back and wanted to share some thoughts on the current state of the game; and more pointedly, some of the recent changes that have occurred over the past few weeks.
In the interest of keeping any discussion directly on-topic, I’m going to post my thoughts in a few separate posts, organized by topic; this one will be with respect to war.
Part 1 of 3 - Alliance War
This is what I care most strongly about so I’m putting it first. The intention of the defense bonus is, of course, to give some safety cushion against having your entire corner of the map blocked off. I think this is a great way to help out less active alliances and also addresses teaming in a very fair way. However, the current system fails to allow for fluid war activity. More specifically, the problem is that the ‘ramp up’ is way too steep at the outer edge. Nobody is making it through sectors that have a staggering 50% defense boost.
Functionally, there is no difference between a sector 2 tiles from the HQ and a sector 5 tiles away from the HQ. The current system treats HQ bonused sectors as a binary “can not capture” distinction. It doesn’t put gradual pressure the closer you get to an HQ, it creates a near-impenetrable wall 5 sectors from every HQ, completely limiting the play area to the few dozen sectors in the center of the map.
Currently we go +150, +100, +75, +50. Again - the problem is not the huge bonuses near HQs. The problem is that we go from 0% to 50% instantaneously. If it sounds like I’m being repetitive, it’s because I don’t want the point to be missed. What should be happening is that once you get within 5 tiles of another HQ, you start to feel a slight disadvantage against the defending team. As you push closer, that disadvantage ramps up, until it’s no longer feasible to push without facing a severe battle point deficit.
A system that would address the issue much more intentionally would be +100, +50, +25, +10. Any sectors within 3 tiles of an HQ are still virtually unbeatable. But now there is more room to work with on the outskirts. Come on guys, this one is so frustrating to me because the HQ bonus is such a clever mechanic that could have offered so much more strategic freedom to wars. But the current system feels like it was thrown together with numbers out of a hat with no plan of how best to accomplish the goal. (Further supported by the fact that the HQ Defense Boost improvement gives a pathetic +5%, which makes little sense in the context of the existing base-level bonuses)
A necessary evil I guess. I didn’t like when they were introduced and I still don’t really care for them. Improvements took a simple, great, straightforward game mode and convoluted it with weird nonsensical rules, loopholes, and workarounds.
I can’t help but feel deep down that HQ improvements exist solely as a vessel to smokescreen the implementation of the Surprise Attack mechanic and make AW a profitable game mode via the gold expenditure required for scouting. Is my tin-foil-hat on too tightly? Perhaps.
Overall, I can live with it. With the aforementioned ridiculously high HQ defense bonuses, it gives us at least something to play around with while we wait for shields to drop on the handful of middle-map sectors that everyone is forced to fight over. Not my favorite addition to the game, but one whose existence I understand is required to facilitate Alliance War’s justification from a profit standpoint.