View Full Version : So whats the downside to Satellites?
November 16th, 2000, 04:47 AM
I've been playing nonstop since I got the game and forming my own data set as I go. I'm a real stickler for play balance however and hate to see 'no brainer' decisions.
So far, we (my local gaming crew) have been unable to really come up with a 'downside' for Satellites for use as defense. They can carry a fair amount of firepower, are reasonably cheap and require no maintenance. I think this is the real killer. They have the same weapons and components of a Ship, but dont require the hideously high upkeep. Why is that?
Obviously they die in droves to a well balanced fleet, but for the cost, you cant beat em. Any planet that isnt busy building something else can be busy building satellites. The most successful we've seen are just missile platforms and they flood the battle with flights of missiles.
Are we missing something or are satellites like they are to convey the 'defenders' advantage. Actually, they kind of make other forms of static defenses almost unnecessary. Weapons Platforms are limited by Cargo Space and Bases require upkeep.
November 16th, 2000, 05:12 AM
Even the larger sats lack the space to hold all the components available to ships at higher tech levels. They also can't mount the larger Versions of weaponry, which are much more effecient in terms of space/damage than their smaller brothers.
Probably the most important drawback though is their lack of mobility. Who cares about the satellites if you can just circle the planet and waste it from the other side? Let the sats carry on guarding the ruins if they want!
That same lack of mobility makes them pretty useless for guarding warp points as well, although they can be used to bolster other guardian forces. Unless the enemy forces at a warp point can force you to close with them, you can click End Turn 30 times and proceed on past.
BTW, here's a tactical tip for fighting against satellites. I've not heard much about the use of repulser beams, but they are marvelous for knocking those sats away from the planet they're protecting. If you pack enough PD cannon, armour and/or shields onto a ship so it can close with the sats, a repulser can shove them right out of their useful range. Oh, and an emergency booster is a great addition to a ship design like that which needs to close as quick as possible!
November 16th, 2000, 08:12 AM
The major drawbacks to Satellites are no manuverability, pd weapons kill them easily, and the biggest drawback is that they can't be upgraded. They definately are useful as a quick defence for border planets and they are great for letting you know what is happening in a remote system if you drop a few at the warp points. So I do use them but to me ships will still rule. However a few satellites with missles early in the game will make your planets almost impregnable till your opponents research point defence. I usually have backwater planets turning out mines troops and/or satellites and then when they are full I build transports to bring them close to the action.
November 16th, 2000, 06:34 PM
Yeah, I forgot about the no-upgrade thing! I guess if you play with a high tech start, that wouldn't matter as much, but I don't. Research is a big part of the fun! http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon7.gif
Come to think of it, even if you do start with all the tech, I'd think you'd still be altering your designs for maximum effectiveness against whatever your enemy is using. I know that my ships go through numerous tweaks and Versions (adding or subtracting PD, shield-piercing weapons, and so forth) to try and counter what the enemy is packing.
There was a message (somewhere around here) saying MM is considering ways to refit units but that it is low on the list because of the amount of reworking that would be needed to add the feature. Or at least I think that's what it said. http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon7.gif
November 16th, 2000, 07:06 PM
You guys bring up some good points, but the issue still remains in my mind. I mean, Who CARES if they cant be upgraded? You arent paying for them once they are built. So there are tons of outdated satellites floating around...so what? And even level 1 Missiles can soak up point defenses in a battle.
I think there should be at least some residual upkeep cost on them. Something to give a player pause about flooding the skies with them. Personally, I always have tons of excess resources so I build things like satellites or I end up losing the resources anyways. I still dont see a downside to building them en masse rather than losing the unstorable resources.
Side note: Is that the purpose of the 'Maximum number of units per player' setting? If so, it seems like a VERY artificial way to control them. We set this (and the ship setting) to 500 so that its the resources and not the 'units' that dictate strategy. Perhaps thats why we view this as an issue.
Any chance of being able to edit Satellites and add a 5% or 10% upkeep cost to them?
Thanx for all the input so far!
November 16th, 2000, 07:45 PM
Maybe satalites could have a life expectancy. Some number of turns before they are non-functional?
November 17th, 2000, 12:22 AM
There is a better way to "soak up" the wasted resources. Just build some storage units early in the game to hold those resources. The AI almost never goets into my home systems after the early game so those satellites are mostly wasted resources themselves at least for me. I use the resources stored in the early turns while I have a small fleet to buffer myself while I build up some resource producing planets and then build some good sized fleets. These being mobile and upgradable are far superior at least for my style of play. Yes I use satellites but I use them only in the border systems where they are actually usefull. A hundred satellites sitting where they will very rarely be used is useless for me. Now if you build enough transports to bring them to the front lines that is a different story but then for me at least they will sit on warp points and mines may even work better for that. So for you satellites are overpowered for me they are just a small part of my strategy.
For those of you that think they are overpowered They do have another advantage also the large mount weapons on medium and large satellites are not larger the way they are on ships. I E-mailed Malfadore Machinations about that and they said that was as intedned because of the small size of the satellites. So for instance a large mount Depleted Uranium Cannon is 45KT on ships but on satellites it is 30KT the same as a normal mount.
[This message has been edited by Tomgs (edited 16 November 2000).]
[This message has been edited by Tomgs (edited 16 November 2000).]
November 17th, 2000, 12:29 AM
Satilites are most useful for remote mining and recon IMHO.
I AM Canadian.
November 17th, 2000, 07:18 AM
Tomgs et al:
Oh dont get me wrong. I dont think they are 'overpowered' per se, but I am very cautious about items that dont require upkeep. Maybe my play style is different than most, but I couldnt hope to store all the resources I make (and dont care to...I seem to always have plenty until LATE in the game when I've pretty much stopped the all out colonizing).
I just wonder what it is that causes them to not have upkeep. Troops and Platforms take up cargo space, so that is their 'check'. Satellites just accrue ad nauseum in orbit...the more the merrier.
Ok, well, I'll just chalk it up to different strokes for different folks. I was curious if we had perhaps missed something in the way that they operate. I have already made some modifications to my data set to make them seem a less attractive option to flood space with. http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ubb/images/icons/icon7.gif
Thanx for all the input!
November 17th, 2000, 10:04 AM
Sat's weakness's are offset by their lack of mantiance cost. The weaknesses can be pretty glaring, esp. if you defend a planet only with them.. and it gets blown away without the sats firing a shot.
November 17th, 2000, 11:15 AM
Also remember that if an enemy only has Satellites and Platforms you can still blockade their planet without even engaging in combat with them. Just stay on the edge of the map and keep hitting end turn till the battle is over. This will really hurt them if you do it to their homeworld.
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