Hi CaptScarff, thanks for your excellent feedback!
The Borg are still very much a WiP, and getting them to provide a completely different and still interesting style of gameplay, has been an adventure. There are a lot of details, a lot of exceptions and specific code for them, in pretty much any aspect of gameplay. I'm having some trouble handling some of the issues you mention below, which I'll try to address as best as I can.
True, but their starting conditions are just a placeholder. It's useful for testing stuff without having to edit the XMLs and having to keep track of changes. But you're right, it's probably time to scale it down. I might just add the AI code for assimilation (while I'm working on system assault AI) and then change that.So my initial thoughts are the Borg start off way too strong in this setup compared to the other empires. The ships that they have starting out can almost conquer the galaxy in the setup I was playing. By 40 turns in I had added two more Cubes and a couple of Probe ships to my fleet. I was unstoppable at that point. I had assimilated the home worlds of the Federation and Romulans and completely wiped out the Klingons. If I think of the other empires and the ships that they would need to compete it could take over 200 turns in order to build up the empire to output the required number of ships to defeat the Borg fleet I had in 60 turns as I would need a lot of systems with Dilithium, Deuterium and Duranium. I noticed that the Probes alone can defeat minor race fleets that had 4 ships without ever losing their shields
One of the items in the ToDo list for the Borg is place their homesystem in the upper right part of the DQ (when they're close to being fully implemented), to give the empires a little more breathing room. Notice however that in smaller maps the Borg will be much more of a problem than in bigger maps.
I'm still trying to solve the problem with the CivilizationType of the Borg - Special or Empire. There are a few issues with that that I haven't yet been able to fix. Maybe you can help with that, come to think of it.
Re minor race fleets, that's another problem that will need to be addressed at some point. Since ships stats are static, they eventually become useless. I have plans to change that, at least for the minor races, but haven't managed to get the time for it. I did add an experience bonus (which affects accuracy and damage control) to non-human controlled ships as a sort of placeholder difficulty level to make the game a bit more challenging. The Borg do not get such a bonus BTW, they're good enough as it is.
I don't like #1 either. They're the Borg!Some suggestions:
Reduce the strength of the Borg ships - Don't really like this idea
Reduce the number of ships the Borg starts with - Probably a better starting point. Maybe just a Cube so they can assimilate worlds slowly
Reduce the resources the Borg starts out with. Instead of 200 Dilithium, 2000 Deturium and 5000 Duranium, make it enough for a Probe or 2. E.g. 30 Dilithium and 600 Duranium. Not sure if the Borg ships even cost any Deturium to build and if they do, it is not listed.
Reduce the cost and time it takes the other empires to build ships (something I would like to do anyway). Would love to have fleets of hundreds of ships battling it out in general
Stop the Borg from earning credits so they can not buy structures. I had 200K credits and didn't really need to buy structures much anyway
Allow Minor Races to build more ships so they can stop the probes. E.g. 6-8 ships
#2 sure, I agree. The shipyard output and bonus might still need to be tweaked.
#3 definitely too, they're also placeholder. These last few days I've been thinking of how to generate resources for the Borg. Still need to add the rest of the Production Facilities too, though Research and Intelligence will have no use... The Borg are a nightmare to code BTW, ships do not cost Deuterium to build, it is only spent when they move (well, they kind of do, since their tanks are filled when they get built if there is any available).
#4 hmm, that'll produce all kinds of nightmares - logistical, UI, etc. Notice that you can increase the shipyard's output by not building anything in the planetary build queue - the Trade Goods income will be "converted" to ship production; this will only work in systems with a positive net dilithium production though, can't recall if there is any other condition.
#5 that's not that straight forward. I mean, the change is actually very straightforward, anyone can mod that, all you have to do is change a value in the tables folder, but Credits are also used to pay for the maintenance of fleets, so they need them.
#6 is easy enough, I just need to double the current limits
One of the plans for them is to have them dormant at the beginning of the game and only "unleashe" them after a number of turns - that number depending on the size of the galaxy, and maybe on starting tech level.
Well, that was a tough call, between not showing the order or adding the warning dialog. The former was easier to do, but I thought that people might not realize that you could actually assimilate systems and think the Borg implementation was crappy... with a reduced starting fleet as discussed above, you will most likely not be able to assimilate any system in the beginning of a game (except Pacifist minors and such). Without the order and the dialog, you will not know that you need more ships for the order to become available, unless you RTFM - which is not yet done. Should be easy enough to change though, if we decide so.Other quality of life improvements suggestions
When in a hostile system, do not provide the option to Assimilate the system until the orbital defenses and garrison are low enough
Eventually when terraforming is needed to maximize a system's population, the Borg will need a terraforming ship unless terraforming is not going to be required for the Borg
There are no plans for the Borg to terraform or colonize planets. Not sure it makes much sense? They expand by assimilating, not colonizing. But I see your point, with assimilated minor race systems which usually only have the homeplanet terraformed. Making assimilated systems not be restricted by terraforming should be easy to do.