They’re just too predictable, too similar, and operate too much like standard AI empires. And unless they arrive next to your core worlds they don’t move fast enough, or with purpose, to actually end the game. Worse still, after a few games they’re easily countered and beaten.
I’m 1100 hours in and I’d like to see some changes to the End Game Crisis:
- More unpredictability. Use the Jump Drive to reach targets beyond the front. Hit a system and jump again. Not being safe anywhere is a real crisis. The meta of citadels at chokepoints would be thrown out the window if Crises would just use the jump drives they have.
- Target the trigger. The Unbidden should swarm toward sites of Jump Drive use and Jump-equipped fleets. The Contingency should drive toward the most tech advanced empires. The Scourage should basically ignore uninhabited systems and focus on the most populous planets. In most cases this will be the player empire anyway.
- Change up the weapons between fleets so you actually have to encounter them to devise a strategy. Give different fleets within the Crisis different weapon profiles and ship variety so you can’t just build a perfect all-purpose counter. Better still: let them redesign their fleets to counter ours. Oh, you’re doing the all-BS meta? Here’s a fleet of corvettes.
- Scale their strength to beat the strength of players and AEs on the day the Crisis spawns, rather than rely on the initial settings. New players likely aren’t completely prepared (which is fine), but seasoned players have probably spent a century or more in preparation and have no trouble taking out the Contingency with the tech they got crushing Fallen Empires in the early 2300s.
- Chaotic side effects. A galaxy besieged by hundreds of massive fleets consuming worlds should cause widespread panic as they get nearer. The nearer a Scourge fleet or Unbidden anchor is to a world, the more happiness/stability should plummet there and pops try to flee. Piracy should rise too, everywhere, pulling ships from the front lines to address and destabilizing economies.
- Add more, make them different, and make their trigger conditions random. How about one that doesn’t conquer by sending waves of ships, but by infiltrating and converting the populations of worlds? Or makes hyperlanes degrade (slowing travel) until they become impassable, countered with fleets of specialized science vessels?
I strongly disagree with the idea of scaling it to what the player has personally. It’s too easy to game a system like that, and it doesn’t feel good to be punished for doing well. Players would be incentivized to intentionally develop their economy poorly so that they can fix it after the crisis spawns, since it’s easier to increase your economy quickly if it’s poorly optimized. It also would ruin some types of playthroughs like a 2250 endgame start date playthrough, because if it’s just going to scale the crisis down to whatever you have then a 2250 endgame start date playthrough wouldn’t really be any more difficult anymore.
Personally, I think the biggest thing the crises are missing are a reason to fight them before you’re able to beat them. As it stands, the optimal strategy is basically always to ignore the crisis until you have a fleet big enough to beat them, and once you do have a big enough fleet to beat them the war is a foregone conclusion. Once you can beat one of their fleets you can beat all of them and it’s just a matter of slogging it out. I’d like to see the crisis have more variation in its fleets – I’d much rather them have something like 1 slow moving doomstack that’s very difficult to beat but gradually wipes out well defended points, and a bunch of smaller roaming fleets of varying sizes that harass stuff that are easier to beat but will quickly cause havoc if ignored to force people to actually fight the crisis instead of just ignoring them because you can build your economy up faster than the crisis takes your territory.
Original Link – Continuation of discussion