[FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

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[FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Xenon_Slayer » Wed, 3. Apr 24, 12:12

Info
With latest build the Existential Crisis is available to be tested. This is a new system that evaluates player progress to then activate and manage the Crisis, creating a new late game challenge. We would like for you to have a gander and give feedback on it.

As of Beta 6 the way the Crisis activates has been adjusted. You still need to reach around half a billion in assets, most of which should be military, but now when you are about 3/4 on the way to that you a new research item will become available. Completing the research will allow the crisis to be activated once that threshold is reached in full. The threshold is based on construction cost, so not the monetary value you see in the Empire Menu. Boso Ta contacts and guide players through the Crisis.

Image

Testing Notes:
  • General Feedback on the crisis system as a whole
  • Feedback on the way the crisis is activated
  • Feedback on the strength of the Crisis or individual ships
  • Feedback on how relevant the location is for the player, where the crisis appeared
Known Issues:
  • N/A
Come watch me on Twitch where I occasionally play several of the X games

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Xenon Crisis Mission - Feedback

Post by xant » Thu, 4. Apr 24, 19:38

As requested here, I'll give my first impression on the crisis:

- Feedback with regards to when the crisis starts (player readiness for example)
I have almost all of my stations set up in Asteroid Belt, each entry/exit (there are 3, two accelerators and one gate) is protected heavily by a rather excessive defensive station, with 75 defensive modules each, and each of them with the maximum loadout of L and M sized turrets. That's what, 500-600 L sized turrets and maybe 1k M-sized turrets? Per station. My fleets were patrolling the outer boundaries of the system, as the Kha'ak stations like to spawn there every now and then.

Upon loading the game, I was greeted by a message from Boso Ta, that I am to investigate some Xenon activity. When I looked at Asteroid Belt, I was greeted by the sight of a Xenon I and Xenon K and several smaller Xenon ships standing in the middle of the system. They bypassed all defended entry points and spawned right in the middle of the system, it left me a bit confused.

My feedback is that it feels kind of wrong. I understand it is supposed to simulate a sudden crisis situation. Yet I was prepared and entrenched in a very secure position. I feel that a simulation should bind both the player and the AI to the same rules. That includes no jumpdrives, no surprise spawn of capital ships in impossible locations. Especially since it happens without explanation or warning. If you want to spawn those ships in, they should spawn where it makes sense, and then make their way towards their goal.

Same for the Kha'ak, they also spawned all over the entire system and started attacking. Now, unlike the Xenon, the Kha'ak do have some kind of jumpdrive. But the Terran sectors are supposed to be protected from jump technology. It feels like an artificial challenge, to break the game's rules just to screw over the player as much as possible.

- Feedback on the strength of the Crisis or individual ships
I had the... pleasure of meeting the Kha'ak Ravager. My understanding is that there is no ultimate weapon, that every weapon choice comes with advantages and disadvantages. For example, beam weapons are long-range and precise, but weak. Graviton Turrets are low to mid-range, slow projectiles, but very strong. Plasma is extra slow, but long-range and strong. You get the picture.

The turrets on the Ravager were able to quickly melt through a wing of heavy Kalis fighters. Each has around 6k shields and 3.3k hull. For a beam weapon with almost 100% precision and instant hit, the damage is way too strong. It feels as if it is the perfect weapon, no drawbacks, it has it all: high range, instant hit, high damage.

I understand that the Ravager is supposed to feel threatening, but - and I come full circle to the first point of feedback - having it spawn right in the middle of a secure sector, without warning, a sector that lore-wise is supposed to be secured from jumps, it just feels like too much.

- Feedback on how relevant the location is for the player, where the crisis appeared
Well, it did happen right where I have most of my assets. So yes, it hit the relevant location for me. If that was the intention, it worked. But again, based on how it played out, it felt as if it broke some conventions previously established by the game.

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by mr.WHO » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 08:49

Hey Egosoft - maybe consider dynamic scalling for Crysis using rudimentaty player asset multiplier as a factor (more player military asset, the more enemies are spawned by crysis)?

In my normal game I have 6 battleship groups and like 15 carrier battlegroups, so as it is, crysis won't be a challenge for me, it won't even be a speed bump.

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Re: Xenon Crisis Mission - Feedback

Post by mr.WHO » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 08:53

xant wrote:
Thu, 4. Apr 24, 19:38
The turrets on the Ravager were able to quickly melt through a wing of heavy Kalis fighters. Each has around 6k shields and 3.3k hull. For a beam weapon with almost 100% precision and instant hit, the damage is way too strong. It feels as if it is the perfect weapon, no drawbacks, it has it all: high range, instant hit, high damage.

I understand that the Ravager is supposed to feel threatening, but - and I come full circle to the first point of feedback - having it spawn right in the middle of a secure sector, without warning, a sector that lore-wise is supposed to be secured from jumps, it just feels like too much.
Khaak cpaships were always very effective and dangerous against fighters/corvettes.
They are a bit oppsite to Xenons which were always more dangerous to capital ships.

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Re: Xenon Crisis Mission - Feedback

Post by xant » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 10:06

mr.WHO wrote:
Fri, 5. Apr 24, 08:53
Khaak cpaships were always very effective and dangerous against fighters/corvettes.
They are a bit oppsite to Xenons which were always more dangerous to capital ships.
Maybe, but then the Ravager completely stripped an Osaka from its shields and bit out sizeable chunks of hull out of it. It had to retreat, while a group of destroyers arrived and dealt with it.

Another Ravager kept pace with my player-flown Rattlesnake, did basically the same damage to me that I did to it with all my main batteries and turrets. I finished it at less than 20% hull. It had higher range than the Rattlesnake, was faster than me, every shot hit.

Again, it's about established norms of the game, there shouldn't be anything that comes without drawbacks. Terran ships had practically no drawbacks in X3AP, so they were nerfed for X4 for the sake of balance. So no, a turret with high range, high firing frequence, perfect precision and the damage of a destroyer main battery simply doesn't fit in the balanced approach with ships and weapons. It's opening the box of Pandora, if they break the game's rules so blatantly.

Is it a challenge? Yeah. But so would be randomly blowing up your ships, or spawning in 10 Xenon I at your HQ, or giving you an hourly chance to die of a heart attack. The game needs to follow its own rules, there's nothing worse than the feeling that your opponent doesn't play by the rules, or worse, cheats. A cheating opponent is a challenge, but it's not fun.

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Ragnos28 » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 11:59

I am temted to "bribe" my way out of the Existential Crisis. :gruebel: (presuming that is the way to be opted out of it).
I use M ships patrols to defend and patrol my stations/sectors, and those things just get annihilated by the Kha'ak capitals. Same for my usual tactic of using S torpedo bombers.
Now, the Kha'ak invasions are a destroyer only "sport", and we all seen destroyers in action, especially in low attention. :|

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Harpya » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 14:00

Could someone please briefly explain the progression of the crisis:

I opted in, now I get waves of random xenon and Khaak in my HQ sector.

1. Will this go on forever or does it eventually end?
2. When it is over, will that be it for the rest of the play through or can we have it as a recurring option later on?

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Quellcoder » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 14:12

After several waves Boso send me to an unknown ship and after that i unlocked crisis averted.
it seems so the waves stoped for now, but the unknown ship is protected from beeing destroyed entirely and will escape and probalby start a new crisis.

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by The-Gizmo2 » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 15:27

IMO the Ravager main weapon is too powerful. Does too much damage for how fast the ship turns and how quickly its main weapon cooldowns to fire again (seems to have a similar cooldown to the Boron Ray main weapon).

I'm not saying the main weapon should be weak, just that its cooldown should be longer or such.

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Re: Xenon Crisis Mission - Feedback

Post by LameFox » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 16:17

xant wrote:
Thu, 4. Apr 24, 19:38
My feedback is that it feels kind of wrong. I understand it is supposed to simulate a sudden crisis situation. Yet I was prepared and entrenched in a very secure position. I feel that a simulation should bind both the player and the AI to the same rules. That includes no jumpdrives, no surprise spawn of capital ships in impossible locations. Especially since it happens without explanation or warning. If you want to spawn those ships in, they should spawn where it makes sense, and then make their way towards their goal.
I realize a beta is probably too late for this kind of suggestion, but I had really hoped these would come from somewhere. I imagined some hidden Xenon sector with a gate (hub?) in it that, once you opened the gate to the sector, would start pouring out hostiles and threaten not only you but the universe itself. And also, potentially allow people whose long term saves lack any Xenon to let them start taking back territory and become a faction again. Maybe something similar for Kha'ak even, where you open it and they start to spread out from there making Bigger, Better Installations that spawn their more dangerous ships.

And while that's maybe not as technically difficult for the player as if they just drop waves on your industrial systems, well... it would feel like it belonged to the game universe at least? I will see if I can ramp up my military assets enough to trigger this and see how it goes, but if it feels as artificial as it sounds, I honestly don't imagine it's something I'll use again.
***modified***

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Re: Xenon Crisis Mission - Feedback

Post by euclid » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 17:43

xant wrote:
Fri, 5. Apr 24, 10:06
.......................
The game needs to follow its own rules, there's nothing worse than the feeling that your opponent doesn't play by the rules, or worse, cheats. A cheating opponent is a challenge, but it's not fun.
I do sympathize, however, every end game needs some sort of "Boss" fight and they are per se beyond the rules the player has to follow. What I do miss, and this is somehow related, is the strategical component: If you are attacked by an overwhelming force then it is just sound to locate the resources, where they mine and build, and then cripple those to cut off any reinfocrements. Imho there should be a hidden sector, heavily defended, so the player has the chance to end the crisis (for now).

Cheers Euclid
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- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Metaphysical Foundations of the Science of Nature, 4:470, 1786

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Harpya » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 17:58

Quellcoder wrote:
Fri, 5. Apr 24, 14:12
After several waves Boso send me to an unknown ship and after that i unlocked crisis averted.
it seems so the waves stoped for now, but the unknown ship is protected from beeing destroyed entirely and will escape and probalby start a new crisis.
Thank you.

Did anyone from Egosoft specify somewhere, whether this is a one time event or recurring?

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Re: Xenon Crisis Mission - Feedback

Post by xant » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 18:01

euclid wrote:
Fri, 5. Apr 24, 17:43
xant wrote:
Fri, 5. Apr 24, 10:06
.......................
The game needs to follow its own rules, there's nothing worse than the feeling that your opponent doesn't play by the rules, or worse, cheats. A cheating opponent is a challenge, but it's not fun.
I do sympathize, however, every end game needs some sort of "Boss" fight and they are per se beyond the rules the player has to follow. What I do miss, and this is somehow related, is the strategical component: If you are attacked by an overwhelming force then it is just sound to locate the resources, where they mine and build, and then cripple those to cut off any reinfocrements. Imho there should be a hidden sector, heavily defended, so the player has the chance to end the crisis (for now).
That's what I mean by "playing by the rules". Ships, especially not capital ships, shouldn't come for free, spawned right at their target out of this vacuum.

If they build strong ships, they ought to need resources, logistics, they need to make their way to their target, and they need some weakness. But we have an L-sized destroyer with a main cannon half as strong as the Asgard battery, with high-range beam turrets that hit like plasma, and shields stronger than most normal destroyers. They're fast too.

Nothing should ever come without drawbacks. The Xenon M0 is a perfect example, it's a planet killer, but it needs escorts. The Asgard has a powerful beam, but it's vulnerable against swarms. The Raptor deletes swarms, but is slow and vulnerable against anti-capital weaponry.

The game is about making choices, about economy and logistics. Having all-powerful ships spawned in breaks everything the game stands for. There's a reason why I don't touch mods like VRO.

That aside, the challenge VIG represents is well-made. They have logistics you can cripple, their ships can run out of ammo, you can counter them with great effort, or circumvent them. That's a challenge that is well done. I hoped the crisis might be about increasingly strong waves of enemies coming from a "crisis sector" so to speak, with its own strong defense, economy and output. That would present us with choices and options.

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Arisaya » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 19:07

So, I tried this out in an existing built-up save where I owned most of the north section of the map (having reclaimed it from the xenon who had reduced both split factions to a pair of systems each)

The initial event took place in a border system (Tharka's ravine XVI) that contained nothing but some passing Free families trade traffic & a defense outpost I had tucked into a corner (along with the fleet protecting that outpost). As a result the xenon and kha'ak mostly fought each other and the passing traders. They ignored the defense outpost and its fleet entirely. Since this sector was right next to one of the few remaining xenon sectors, I figured that this would be buffing up the xenon and they'd be sending waves out from their systems. Well.. no. Instead they just seem to be teleporting into random sectors instead?

The next locations (after opting in to see how it plays out) so far:
1) True Sight - a formerly holy order system (the one that connects to second contact) that had been wiped out by the xenon and argon already. I basically ignored this system since there was nothing of value to defend here and simply let the xenon and kha'ak battle it out to see if anything would happen. (The ravagers eventually jumped out of the system but the smaller kha'ak ships remained. The Xenon fleet got wiped out)
2) Second Contact II Flashpoint which was mostly populated by argon and antigone stations, and had a large semi-permanent xenon presence near the bottom of the map where the xenon liked to park ships on top of the highway to disrupt trade traffic. I did own the system though, and had a well defended outpost way up in the 'north' of the sector. This sector was already swarming with argon defenses though due to the existing xenon threatening their assets in the area, so they handily repelled the kha'ak with the help of my defense station's fleet. The Xenon fleet that spawned in decided to go and camp in the trade lane with the other xenon, till I spotted a new Xenon H there too and I went-IS to go and snatch it, which involved killing off the xenon fleet so they wouldn't kill the H after I stole it.
3) Family Zhin, which I owned and was host to my 'northern shipyard' and a pair of large factories. This system was swarming with my standard anti-kha'ak defenses (just L miners equipped with anti-fighter weaponry and small anti-fighter stations) but I was able to pull in some asgards from nearby borders to go and keep watch on that system, which worked pretty well, but the ravagers killed some of the miners annoyingly quickly (like, faster than my erlking could get over there to delete them) because their main weapon basically acts like its on a turret when in low-attention (even when technically IS, but out of high-attention range). Also since I had a shipyard I was able to just print out fresh ships to replace all the losses faster than I was taking them and nothing important was actually lost here, just expendable defense miners.
4) Tharka's Cascade XVII, which had only defense stations and patrolling fleets protecting the miners from the normal kha'ak spawns. Currently fighting the battles here.

Is it a crisis? Yeah, I can give it that, mainly because when RNG picks a system that I have mining operations in, it threatens to impact my internal economy.
Is it an existential crisis? No, its more of a micromanagement-heavy speedbump.
Is it fun? Unfortunately not really - some of the IS combat moment-to-moment can be fun, but thats more of a compliment to the IS combat systems, the crisis itself is just really crippled in design due to the choice to have it select a random system, and then spawn in enemies on top of existing assets. The normal Kha'ak spawning in on top of miners was bad enough, this just doubles down on those issues and is even more annoying. The issues as I see them with the current mechanics are:
1) There is no strategic counterplay. It picks a system, and you just have to hope you can get fleets there in time if its a system that is important to you. The normal fleets you will typically have behind the lines are either nothing or just anti-khaak forces to protect your mining operations, and since I just spam L miners with different loadouts for that, they wont fare well against the Ravagers. I mainly got lucky that they selected systems where I either had an actual fleet nearby or in the system already.
2) There is no tactical counterplay either. The Kha'ak just drop ravagers on top of some random asset in the sector every so often
3) The pacing is too random. There can be large lulls in activity followed by a frenetic amount of spawns happening all at once (also leading to "Kha'ak are jumping into the system! Kha'ak are jumping into the system! Kha'ak are jumping into the system! Kha'ak are jumping into the system!").
4) Making the summoned spawns more powerful would be even more annoying - because there is no real counterplay to it, you're forced to just take losses.
5) Its called the 'xenon' crisis, but really the Kha'ak are the crisis and the xenon are just.. there. Until a couple ravagers spawn on top of them and delete them with their insanely OP low-attention performance.

How I expected it to go, and what I think would be a more reasonable and fun system that provides time and room for actual counterplay:
1) Xenon get a few very tall sectors that connect to the gate network in several new locations. Baseline production limits on Xenon ships are greatly expanded (possibly even removed but I'm not sure if thats possible with how the AI jobs system works? I haven't modded it myself so I only have second-hand knowledge of it.), so they can keep printing Is and Ks even if they have already been wiped out from their starting sectors. Maybe they can even get some new equipment for the K or I to make them a bit more of a challenge to counter, and maybe a bunch of H escorts who can help de-turret gate-camping defense stations with their AOE cannon.
2) Xenon AI detects (I'm fine if it just suicide-runs a T through the gate and then uses a script behind the scenes to actually figure out what the T was supposed to see) when a powerful force or station is camping a gate and prepares an appropriate fleet to punch through
3) As the Xenon take systems, Kha'ak begin showing up in systems the xenon are contesting - this means that they aren't going to just randomly select some system that might be effectively indefensible, but rather will be showing up ideally in a place where you are going to be concentrating your forces and will be moving at the rate of the xenon incursion, which is.. a reasonable speed to work around considering that the xenon ships aren't all that fast and the xenon also stop to claim systems (usually).

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by As25 » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 19:43

Haven't run the beta. I just wanted to say, please don't nerf the Khaak capital. The Asgard has a stupid beam that one shots everything. But because most players are enemies with only the Xenon and the Khaak, and they use that beam themselves, no one complained. Now it seems we got a powerful enemy ship, and people are already calling nerfs.

Same with the ability to spawn right next to player's stations. Players can build overlybig defense platforms right next to gates in any sector and obliterate anything that comes through with 0 counterplay for the AI. Khaak with their non gate jump drive are the only race that can counter that.

Idk where is stated that Terran space is protected from jump drives. If it is an assumption based of x3, in x3 you couldn't jump into Terran space because jd needed a gate to lock onto. But Khaak use a different jd that can jump into any point in space they want. They completely bypass gates.

Xenons shouldn't spawn right on top of player assets though. They are not Khaak.

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Y-llian » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 19:44

For what it’s worth, I second everything that xant noted above. Having ships spawn in, completely divorced from the mechanic that really makes x4 special - that things are produced using resources - makes the crisis shallow. It is essentially, a pew-pew fest, which is fun, but doesn’t really permit strategic thinking beyond the obvious, protecting your assets.

Like Xant, I was really hoping for a deep crisis - one where you had to figure out where your enemies logistics are. What your approach might be to cripple them etc. And once you have this intelligence, then figure out what you need to do logistically to counter the crisis… How do you stretch your supply lines, do you move ship production closer? Etc.

Regarding the Ka’ak… Personally, I have no issue with them jumping into my sectors. There’s well established lore here going way back to X3 and the destruction of President’s End.

Re Xenon, I too would prefer that the Xenon restart somewhere - if they’ve been wiped out. Perhaps there’s logistics ships kept deep in those Xenon asteroids or hidden on planets… Also, make it harder for the player to find their Shipyards when they remerge, put them way out in sectors, maybe even way above or below the ecliptic. If they are still in the game, take the shackles off and let them produce, increase the allowable jobs so they flood into space.

I’ve made this suggestion before but permit the Xenon the special ability to “jump” between their clusters using those crystal pillars the Kha’ak like so much. This way, they’re a true threat and can appear anywhere…

All that being said, I’m loving the new enemy ships… I’m reserving judgement on whether the Kha’ak capital is over powered. Right now, I’m throwing fighters at it to figure out a possible strategy… Does bring back lots of fun memories (and fear) of those Kha’ak capitals from X3!

I’ll report back more later as my crisis continues… :)

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by xant » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 21:01

As25 wrote:
Fri, 5. Apr 24, 19:43
Idk where is stated that Terran space is protected from jump drives. If it is an assumption based of x3, in x3 you couldn't jump into Terran space because jd needed a gate to lock onto. But Khaak use a different jd that can jump into any point in space they want. They completely bypass gates.
It's lore provided by the books, and was translated into X3.

The basic idea is that the Terran USC, since Terrans understood how to build gates and since they did develop a working jumpdrive, wanted to protect the system from jumps into it. So they surrounded Sol with a net of micro-singularities, that isolated them. You could still do in-system jumps, but the connection from Sol to the outside was severed. Only that one gate was left open.

That's why part of the plot in the book was to send a self-replicating Xenon drone physically into the system, which took years to reach them. That was done by the Yaki btw, who got the assignment from the Argons. That led to the war in X3AP, and that is why in X4 the Terrans still hunt the Yaki.

So yeah, having jumps into Sol breaks the lore.

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by Viper185 » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 21:22

The crisis is happening right in one of my production sectors, the enemy ships literally appear right next to my stations, which is super frustrating if you have defenses built on the gates, it doesn't feel very immersive either. I hoped the crisis would provide more tactical/strategic depth e.g. that the xenon/kha'ak come over the sectors like a kind of flood from one/several more or less random starting points. Additionally, special missions along with generic "please help us, the Xenon are attacking us" missions would be great. Furthermore, depending on how it progresses, the crisis could affect the relationships between races

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by rudi_pioneer » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 21:26

Crisis feels like a MMO raid (lots of mods, few high powered bosses) that needs high values to pass.

I was hoping for something more X4-like, where maybe initial crisis spawns somewhere far away, and then builds and sends units my way (bonus if they send scouts trying to find me). With this crisis, my location, defenses, etc don't matter.

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Re: [FEEDBACK] Existential Crisis

Post by castleberger » Fri, 5. Apr 24, 22:53

I am really enjoying the Khaak mega-raids. I had one spawn right in the middle of my auto traders hauling stuff to my shipyard and lost a bunch of my Wyverns/Sturgeons/etc. It felt great that the enemy could finally react to my mass logistics, even if the sheer quantity of L traders/miners eventually wore down the S and M ships. It did require a personal reaction to kill the Khaak Ravager.

The Khaak Ravager is nasty. I quite like it. I can solo it with rattlesnakes armed with L Paranjd plasma cannons. Without equipment mods I tend to take some hull damage. The Ravager annihilated 1 Odysseus E out of 8 that I sent against one fleet, so that was neat.

I had a few Ravager fleets spawn in Family Nhuut, the mining patch. I had about 120ish S/M ships point positioning from a nearby carrier. I lost about 40-50 to maybe 3 Ravager fleets. Felt to be the right difficulty.

I think the Xenon initial intrusion before they summon the Khaak (kinda like the Yaki and the Xenon before the amplifier is destroyed) is really cool looking but mostly useless. They tend to attack a station and die, or kill it and then die to the next station.

Overall I think the Ravager and its fleets are perfect. You can't just throw a random Dragon Raider at it and win, but a small reaction force of 2-3 destroyers can easily kill them.

I did have a hard time targeting individual subsystems on the Ravager, I am not sure you can or maybe I was just clicking the wrong places.

I will try to report back with an experience with a new save. This current one was from 6.2 where I have assets worth about 9 billion. I expect I'd have a much harder time dealing with these fleets at 500mil.

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