Hi! I'm really enjoying the game, and I'm extremely glad to see the shift to "less but more involved/important" planets/cities. It's something that I've been wishing for the genre to do for many years. So big kudos for that! Alright, here are some notes and feedback from about 40 hours of playing 0.77a/b:
- There's no way to see the Deceptive/Persuasive/Intimidating stats.
- Asteriods don't have decay, so it's always better to send them to core worlds.
- It would be nice to show planet class on uncolonized list.
- Extended reinforced hull on survey ships can be taken over and over, it's a bit OP due to the % to HP.
- Sometimes the battle previewer gives very wrong odds, like "Moderate casualties" and all your ships are destroyed.
- Resourceful didn't increase mine output.
- You can build designs from prototypes, making them better and repeatable.
- Pirates/precursors/monsters should form fleets instead of spamming the map with units, which makes them easier buy annoying to deal with.
- Would be nice to see which map resources (durantium, etc) are being extracted while on the map icon mode, it's hard to find the ones you are not extracting yet.
Here are two "issues" I'm having regarding the design of colonies and starbases, which I feel kinda go against the core idea of eliminating pointless busywork:
1) I don't like how resources extraction work on colonies. From what I could gather from dev posts, the idea is to make a core world a decision based on many factors like distance to other planets and which ones will support each core, and that it's not the idea to make it on every 20+ planet you come across. The thing is that until late in the game (when you can make extraction a "colony upgrade") the only way to extract luxuries/resources from planets is by making it a core world and building the extractor. Many times you might not want to make the planet a core world, as it might redirect a lot of colonies that are better for another planet, or it's right next to another "core worthy" planet, etc. So you have to leave the resource un-extracted for a long time. The thing is, you can do a tedious process of assigning a governor, rushing the mine and firing him and get the extraction early, and then repeat the process every time you unlock an upgrade. Personally, I think that extractors should also be colony upgrades and unlock at the same time, kinda making the planet a "mining colony". Give it an upkeep to balance, of course, maybe even make it 2 credits. I think it can streamline the process a bit and remove "degenerate gameplay" that you feel you have to do to get an advantage but it's not fun to do.
2) I think the way starbases work are a bit stuck in the previous paradigm, with a lot of tile counting which is made worse by having a circle as reference and on top having to take into account ranges that do not exist at the time of placing the starbase. To be more clear with an example: Most of the time you place starbases to extract resources, so you try to place them in locations in which you can get most of them. The first issue is using the circle to represent grid distance. There are several situations in which you just don't know if the target tile is inside the range or not. To make matters worse, there's a common upgrade that gives +2 range, which is not visible when placing the starbase, so you also need to calculate that blindly. Not saying these are HUGE issues, but I feel they detract from the experience, as I prefer the choices to be more of a strategic matter (like which amount of resources I want to invest to obtain something) rather than tile counting.
Plus on top I feel the starbase gameplay suffers a bit from the issue of doing the same actions over and over again, and having lots of instances to manage. There are resources all over the place, so there's a lot of mindless choices and management when placing starbases instead of less but more important ones. Of course, complaining like I'm doing is easy, finding a solution might be hard, and heck, maybe a lot of people like them as they are. In any case, here's a bit of how I play with them:
- I place an economic one near core worlds, no question about it.
- I place military ones near the entrances to sectors, or on borders with aggressive neighbors.
- I place influence ones mostly as "extractors" and in case I want a particular planet.
I guess my core issue is using them over and over as extractors. When I have an strategic goal for them is fine, but place a huge amount just for extracting resources feels like a lot of busywork, and they become noise when I have to do consider upgrades once a tech adds something to them that might be useful. I just wonder if it might not be better to make the miners as extractors, especially if you add a button to automate them, since right now it's also a chore to send them one by one to clusters, but at the same time you'd need to place a starbase to have control over the area if planets are not around... Maybe their range could be bigger, maybe even making it a permanent, consistent range and changing the range upgrades to other upgrades (like freedom granting more influence instead of range). So you can cover more area with less of them, plan their placement better and they become more prominent features on the map.
In any case, they are small pet peeves that don't detract that much from the overall experience. Keep up the good work and I wish you all the best.