First of all I love this game, been playing it for a little while but so far am finding plenty of reasons to keep firing it up in place of Galciv 2-3 or Distant worlds, which means you guys are doing something right.
However, over the course of the past 20 hours of play there have been a few areas I have noticed need some serious love regarding fleshing out underlying mechanics, additional depth and overall polish. The most glaring one being the very thing that drew me to this gamei in the first place; CoNQUEST AND COMBAT
This was a big one for me, mostly because reading about it actually was the final pitch I needed to sway me into buying the game, and probably for that reason, turned out to be my biggest disappointment. The entire process of capturing planets involves eliminating the defending forces, selecting the planet and issuing a siege, then watching the fleet awkwardly park itself right on top of the planet (ships clipping with the planet and all) and silently waiting for a few numbers to go down hoping one runs out before the other.
In other-words.. boring and uninspired.
Therefore here is a list from order of importance of ways this can be handled
1. ACTUALLY HAVE THE SHIPS GET INTO A CIRCULAR FORMATION AROUND THE PLANET!
This... If you guys take one thing from this post in lieu of everything else TAKE THIS. This single-handedly can significantly improve the way sieging planets looks right now! Like you could put them in a circular, slow flying pattern around the planet or have them all surrounding the planet motionless facing inward, idc, just have them look like they are actually performing a siege of some sorts! Really I just want to be able to look at a fleet of ships on top of a planet and immediately tell whether they are trying to grind down the souls of its inhabitants or just stopping by asking for a cup of sugar.
2. Siege effects
While the first one definitely takes precedence over this, it would still be greatly appreciated. Dropships flying from the support ships and mother ship to the planets surface, the occasional shot or two from a support ship, anything to make it look like all those supplies are going towards something, especially the dropship part. Would really help the immersion and daydream factor of imagining vast battalions making it planetside and causing hell, which actually takes me to #3.
3. Marine forces and planetary garrison
If the first two on this list doesn't seem enough this will certainly put the icing on the cake! And shouldn't be too hard to implement either since really it would just involve buffs and boons to planet loyalty depending on what ship subsections you have and the buildings built on the planet. Basically ships with large portions devoted to troop occupation and combat vehicles will give the ship a small boost to the fleets ability to decrease the planets loyalty, and the more ships you have and the larger their troop subsections the better! Maybe encouraging the construction of fleets which specialize in planetary conquest to go after them heavily entrenched worlds. Which btw, planets would be able to construct buildings like super bunkers and troop barracks to help counter a massive, well equipped invasion force, basically just adding significant boosts to the planets loyalty. Which makes sense, because large numbers of bunkers, military bases and troops wouldn't just bolster defenses but also be rather suppressive to the population therefore "increasing" their loyalty, lol.
Ok, this list will be a little shorter since right now the fleet battles are pretty good as-is but just needs a few enhancments to make them really stand out
Everyone playing this game is either a Starwars, Star Trek, or Battlestar Galactic fan, and if they tell you they aren't, they're lying. Cause admit it, the main reason we play these games is to relive and retell those epic battles, whether its purely from the admirals chair in a strategic sense or through actually watching the action unfold and just taking in the glory and drama of the scene. And most would agree that the most intense of all these usually involve the small yet significant actions taking place between the one-man fighters and bombers scuzzing about between our destroyers and cruisers. While seeing huge titans slugging it out with incredible fire power has its own kicks, there seems to be nothing compared to that along with the addition of a bunch of little fighters and bombers doing thier thing amongst it all. It truly adds to the scale of the fight and makes it look far more busy, even if they are just aimlessly flying around shooting for effect.
You guys already have carriers, so just finish those last few yards and get fighters in there somehow, Even if they are just tiny, low-detail sprites buzzing about, it would really help those fleet clashes come alive.
2. Cleaning up effects
Small complaint, but I kinda think the beam spam is a bit much. If the size of the sprite and duration of the beam could be toned down a bit I think it would make them far less visually overwhelming, especially when beam ships make up 90% of your fleet. I like lazors and pew-pews as much as the next guy, but they could use a bit of a clean up and the textures and sprites themselves be thinned up a little.
Besides overall combat there are just a few other things that kind bug me
1. Increase planetary body sizes
I know a mod does this fairly well but this needs to be a vanilla thing. I just think it looks significantly better without changing the actually gameplay much besides forcing larger distances between stellar bodies.
2. Colonization requiring cash for building the ships and make the ships fly in varied groups of smaller ships and with larger gaps of time between each group leaving the source colony (So that instead of a colony train it looks like infrequent waves of colony ships) PLUS different colony ship/freighter models for each ship pack (and the ability to mod them too for added shippacks of course)
This would slow down expansion a little bit, and take longer to colonize a planet too making it a commitment rather than a quick fix. Plus it would make colonization a little easier on the eyes.
3. There should be an option to make your first planet (homeworld) be special and have a far larger population and development without the need for passing propositions in the senate or a bunch of extra planets supporting it. It's your homeplanet and should be a special, valuable thing from the get-go.
But beyond all that, this is a great game, just needs a bit more work before I can consider it perfect, especially in the areas I pointed out above.
Thanks for the read!