Balance of Power Review

Balance of Power Mod; showcase and support/discussion/questions/suggestions/reviews

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The_Nighthawk
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Balance of Power Review

Post by The_Nighthawk »

BoP, BotF the way it should have been. Well, as close as you can get without an open source. ;)

Gowron's mod, while not being able to fix the bugs of the game, takes most (if not all) of the broken aspects of the game's design and re-works them into a more balanced system.

For instance, ships remain the same price when they upgrade, so no longer are you building your worst ship and upgrading for the extra cash and hoping no one attacks you while you do so. Instead you are always building your most technologically advanced ships.

Also, combat has been toned down so it lasts longer than 2-3 rounds allowing some real tactical battles.

Outposts are removed and instead there are 5 levels of Starbases. And starbases are the combat monsters they should be! While not indestructible, you'll need more than 3 cloaked K'vort's to remove them from orbit.

Industry has been toned down, an money made more available, so building to scrap for cash isn't as necessary to survive as in vanilla. Buildings and ships in general have seen an overhaul to be more useful and balanced overall through all the tech levels.

And finally orbitals and ground combat has been strengthened so you can't bomb out a whole system quickly, or overtake it with only a few cover ships and a couple of Troopships. A serious investment is required for planetary conquest.

Overall, the mod deals with all the major issues of game balance, and most of the minor ones too, and what's left is an far more playable and balanced version of BotF.
Playing BoP whenever the wife allows!
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Post by Martok »

Well put, Nighthawk! I couldn't have said it better myself. :D

Balance of Power is little short of brilliant, and has truly breathed new life into this old game. Almost everything about it just "feels" right, much more so than in vanilla BOTF. I've been playing the game almost as much as I used to when I first got it, and I have Gowron to thank for that. (Also, I must give a shout-out to Nikpalj for directing me to this wonderful mod!) 8)
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Post by Ovarwa »

Hi,

Things *do* feel very different, and better.

A few things:

1) The game crashes every now and then under xp.

2) The AI still likes to keep attacking the same sector, even when overmatchd.

3) I've been playing with the Ferengi, whose money now does what it's supposed to. I started at tech level four (setting 3), and my Marauders are outfighting the Romulans, ship for ship. I like that, as Ferengi, but probably wouldn't as the Roms.... I suspect this is because the Romulans are overdue for a ship upgrade; some races still have "dead zones" where their ships aren't that great for a given tech level.

4) I like the Marauders a lot, but find the Raiders less useful.

5) There I am, at war with the Roms, and for some reason they haven't been able to ping me with offensive Intel; I'm producing a little over 100 intel/turn.

Mmmm. The game definitely feels different.

Anyway,

Ken
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Post by The_Nighthawk »

Hi Ovarwa! Glad to hear you're enjoying the mod too. :)

I thought I'd address a couple of your points even though I'm no authority on the subject. ;)

Point 1 is pretty much a given for every version of the game. Point 2 is unfortunately out of Gowron's control as it is the AI's programming.

Point 3 is interesting. I agree you've likely caught the Rom's with a weaker Warbird. And as the Ferengi, you have the advantage of your ships being the most up to date at any time since there are only two ship types. Everyone else has at least three, so upgrades for each ship are slower. Remember the AI is dumb too, and a human opponent may use those Warbirds more effectively.

Point 4 is true for all races I find. Cruisers are always more powerful per upkeep, but have the higher buy-in.

Point 5, couldn't say without more info on systems the Roms have and tech levels. But the general catchall 'The AI is stupid' may be the best answer. ;)
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Post by Ovarwa »

The_Nighthawk wrote: Point 3 is interesting. I agree you've likely caught the Rom's with a weaker Warbird. And as the Ferengi, you have the advantage of your ships being the most up to date at any time since there are only two ship types. Everyone else has at least three, so upgrades for each ship are slower. Remember the AI is dumb too, and a human opponent may use those Warbirds more effectively.
Of course, the Ferengi ships aren't very *good*.... but I can buy lots of them!
Point 4 is true for all races I find. Cruisers are always more powerful per upkeep, but have the higher buy-in.
Yes. I wonder what the consequences of restricting each side to a few ship types, and then giving them an upgrade every level.
Point 5, couldn't say without more info on systems the Roms have and tech levels. But the general catchall 'The AI is stupid' may be the best answer. ;)
:)

Anyway,

Ken
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Post by RSE_Dissy »

I did not like this mod.

No variation in ship types, no added "jazz matazz" to original vanilla, and many tout that this game keeps the vanilla feel: I strongly disagree.

The races also seem abit unbalanced on lower tech levels, and I do not like the 5 classes of one ship etc...

....not for me this mod.

Longer combats also mean more likelihood of a crash in multiplayer.

Sorry to place this negative feedback, but in all honesty I had expected more...
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Post by sean_west »

Vanilla combat is too quick, turn 1 all hell breaks loose, turn 2 capitals finsih of, turn 3 normal finish.

BoP battles are great in sp. I have not tried it in MP, but so far (touch wood) I have not had a tactical crash yet.

Now I have said it, it will happen tonight...
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Martok
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Post by Martok »

RSE_Dissy: You may have a point about BOP not being great for multiplayer. To be honest, I suspect Gowron created the mod primarily with singleplayer in mind, and that MP was not his main priority. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, Gowron. :) )

I know that for me and my friends that play BOTF , the overly-short combat in the vanilla game was enormously frustrating -- it drove us nuts that that most battles lasted only 2-3 turns -- and it's pretty obvious that we weren't the only ones bothered by it.

As for the simplified shiplist, I agree that's somewhat regrettable. I admit I miss the Romulan R'derex-class CL, their R'tan-class SC, and especially the Klingons' K'vort-class HC. (Heck, I even miss seeing the Ferengis' unspectacular-yet-dependable Goront-class WC. :P )

However, by "slimming down" the shiplist(s), it essentially forces the AI to construct their best vessels -- you no longer see the other empires fielding fleets consisting of only destroyers and light cruisers. I'll happily admit that for me at least, that's worth sacrificing the more varied ship rosters of vanilla BOTF. 8)
Last edited by Martok on Thu May 29, 2008 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by RSE_Dissy »

Yes I can understand that, is a problem to get past and you've found a solution. I think I was abit hasty. I should try it in single player for a long game.. (didn't play for that long ..as missed the variation)... but I agree it's so frustrating the klingons dont build kvorts..

Again, I think I was abit harsh... last night!
Hmm..It's this other gaming community I play in there all such a bunch of cynical gits..I think it's rubbing off on me abit...
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Post by Army40 »

I'm gonna give a try to this mod....see how it works with my computer and if it crashes after a certain amount of time in tactical combat.
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Post by Badbru »

I actually really like this mod. I have a few issues with it, like scouts not scouting, really shits me
Playing the Klingons you basically need to get a minor race ally to get ships with scan 2. Feds work great though.

But beyond that I like the ship list. I don't know if it's the reduced weapon damage or the total rebalance and slimming down of the list itself but it's now actually worthwhile to build mixed ship fleets. I don't loose all my destroyers on turn one of a battle so it adds to the tactics within each battle.
I also love that a new upgrade doesn't make ships redundent. I used to hate in vanilla that you could hold your own against the AI ships with same grade vessells but as soon as theirs upgraded you needed to upgrade yours too to stand a chance. What I mean is the difference between class 1 and class 2 ships is noticable but minimal and thus not overpowering and game breaking.
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Post by Ovarwa »

Hi,

So after playing this against the AI for a bit, some thoughts.

The reduced ship damage is great.

Strike Cruisers still don't seem especially awesome for planetary assault--they don't fulfill the role described in the original BOTF manual. Unless I'm missing something, the optimal ship for taking a planet would have lots of shields and hull but not much else. (Planetary assualt deserves a rethink anyway. What if there were no orbitals? No more annoying ship reordering (which can be a real pain on larger attacks.))

The Ferengi economy is truly a monster! Every colony quickly contributes to the whole. Rapid expansion is easy and yields increasing returns. No one else grows like they do. In vanilla, I liked the Cardassians because they could found a colony, and then quickly get 100 science and intel from it; the Romulans could get an extra 50 science but at a much steeper energy cost that wasn't worth it. The mod's special structures that add a small percentage to overall intel or science don't have the same wow factor; 80 energy for a 5% bonus will only be better than a manned intel or science facility late in the game. This change is obviously deliberate, yet the structures are hardly worth building now; the game may no longer be in doubt. But the Ferengi *play* like Ferengi. They wallow in money and enemy ships always keep getting away.... :) Maybe a much lower energy requirement? Or *no* energy requirement but a much lower bonus? IE, a Phoenix Facility provides a 1% bonus, consumes no energy and costs 100; Fed and Rom Subatomic Simulators provide 2% science, others 1%....

Scouts really ought to have a scan range. Otherwise, why bother, except in tech 1?

Some races have a great ship mix at any starting tech level. Others, like the Romulans, are really hurting. And their strike cruiser, which doesn't move at 2 until very late.... ugh! Maybe an arrangement so that every race has a cruiser or other heavy ship current at each starting level.

Are structures that provide negative morale worth building?

Overall, I like the way this plays much better than the original.

Clustering good stars near each home system makes a big, big difference!

Anyway,

Ken
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Post by Gowron »

Many thanks for your feedback, it will all be considered :)
I'm currently working on a new version of BoP that will implement some important new discoveries, so stay tuned :)

I'll just comment a fwe things, while for others (like the scout issue) I want to refer to the BoP documentation. But of course I've read them all :)
Martok wrote: Please correct me if I'm wrong, Gowron. :)
OK, you were wrong ^^
BoP has been optimized for MP mode. A lot of things that had been causing balance issues in vanilla BotF (and there were plenty) have been changed.
Ovarwa wrote:Strike Cruisers still don't seem especially awesome for planetary assault--they don't fulfill the role described in the original BOTF manual.
That's true. They never did. Strike Cruisers are not suited for orbital bombardment until all orbital batteries have been destroyed.
Ovarwa wrote:In vanilla, I liked the Cardassians because they could found a colony, and then quickly get 100 science and intel from it; the Romulans could get an extra 50 science but at a much steeper energy cost that wasn't worth it. The mod's special structures that add a small percentage to overall intel or science don't have the same wow factor
The Phoenix facility (and intel in general) will probably be a bit stronger in the next version. I just don't want it to be the same no-brainer as in vanilla BotF where you would just plop down phoenix facilities, subatomic simulators or theoretic simulators everywhere. Players should actually be faced with the decision if those buildings are worth their price in the respective situation.
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Post by Ovarwa »

Gowron wrote:Many thanks for your feedback, it will all be considered :)
I'm currently working on a new version of BoP that will implement some important new discoveries, so stay tuned :)
Cool! The big one for me is that each faction should be balanced at each starting tech level. A development progression that is balanced overall might never actually be playable, being unbalanced at every tech level. (For example, playing Ferengi at tech 3 is made of win, but quite problematic at 4 or 5.)

Anyway,

Ken
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Post by jaif »

I'm curious, have any of you played this mod in MP yet? Any thoughts on racial balance? For that matter, is the AI better at any one race over the others?

The reason I ask is that my group of friends and I have been looking for a multi-player game we can play, and this may be the ticket. If we do play, none of us are going to be very experienced, so if there any balance issues, or if the AI is better at one race over the other, it'd be good for us to know.

-Jeff
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