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Old 10-11-2006, 11:59 PM   #1
wedge2211
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Pathfinders and transports in fleet combat

First, I want to shout out to Petroglyph: while Empire at War wasn't necessarily groundbreaking, it created the foundation on which they could build Forces of Corruption, which looks like it's an order of magnitude deeper and better than EaW! Now, on to the main topic for discussion here...

Space combat in the FoC demo has a much different feel than in vanilla EaW, particularly thanks to the new pathfinder slot in fleets. I have two questions/issues here:

- Minor point: Do defensive fleets show up all at once, or do they have to wait to be called in as reinforcements and just the pathfinder shows up initially? I think it'd make sense for a good chunk of the fleet to be in play already if they are defending a planet.

- I've noticed that ground transports no longer appear in space (unless for some odd reason you were to call them in as reinforcements). What motivated this decision, and doesn't this change the gameplay dynamic quite a bit? Ground forces are vulnerable in space, and you can do significant amounts of damage to an enemy attack force if you can punch through their combat units and hit their transports. Keeping the transports back in hyperspace essentially elimenates this tactic, and elimenates the need to protect your noncombat forces. I think transports ought to appear in the battle despite the pathfinder feature. Perhaps they should hyper in automatically when more than a certain number of reinforcement ships is deployed, so the pathfinder can still scout the area, but the transports still come in with the assault fleet.


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Old 10-12-2006, 12:13 AM   #2
Darth Ablett
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I always liked that ground transports were visible/attackable in space combat, did this not happen in the demo?

If so, then bummer. The fleet pathfinder is pretty grouse though, maybe they just couldn't reconcile the two.


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Old 10-12-2006, 04:47 AM   #3
Darth Windu
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Personally I am very pleased if petro have made sure transports don't appear in space battles. After all there were a few times where I had a large combined fleet of Mon Cal Cruisers, Alderaan Cruisers, and ground troops. When my fleet popped out of hyperspace, there were a few combat ships about about 10 transports. Not only is that militarily stupid, it also made my attack force weaker.

No military commander with an ounce of intelligence would send transports into a battle.


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Old 10-12-2006, 07:38 AM   #4
Darth Anarch
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The transports won't show up among the attacking fleet, provided you remember to use the Pathfinder feature. If you don't stick a ship in the Pathfinder box, a balanced selection of your ships will appear as in vanilla EaW (at least it happened to me in the demo). Now, a defensive fleet, on the other hand... I think that if you're defending a planet and have ground troops in orbit when someone attacks, those transports will be there for the attacker to shoot at. Which makes perfect sense, in my opinion; no one with half a brain would send unarmed transport into a space battle if they could help it, but if you're the defender and have no way of knowing the attack is coming, then tough cookie.


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Old 10-12-2006, 11:36 AM   #5
wedge2211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Windu
Personally I am very pleased if petro have made sure transports don't appear in space battles. After all there were a few times where I had a large combined fleet of Mon Cal Cruisers, Alderaan Cruisers, and ground troops. When my fleet popped out of hyperspace, there were a few combat ships about about 10 transports. Not only is that militarily stupid, it also made my attack force weaker.
Uh...Every time I have attacked a planet with such a fleet in Empire at War, the initial fleet has consisted of enough combat units to completely fill the population slots, and all of my transports. It looks pretty much like the transports do not count towards the unit cap.

Quote:
No military commander with an ounce of intelligence would send transports into a battle.
It is true that no military commander would want vulnerable transports to be attacked before they have a chance to deploy their troops. However, there are two things to keep in mind here:

- A commander might certainly send transports into a battle, and that doesn't reflect poorly on his intelligence. How do you think the troops got to the beaches on D-Day? Some of those LSTs were certainly blown up before they reached the shore, but that doesn't mean that the commanders were stupid. In fact, in some situations, exposing transports to enemy fire like that might be unavoidable.

- We're talking about a gameplay element, not sound military strategy. Having the transports appear in the battle changes the tactical options available to both players. I like the tactical situation presented with the transports in the field rather than without them, personally.


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Old 10-12-2006, 08:16 PM   #6
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Some pretty valid points by both Anarch and Wedge. There really is no advantage in having your transports tag along with your assault force because the only thing that can happen to them is that they get destroyed. They have no value in combat. Personally in GC I never brought along ground forces when invading until space control was achieved. Its one way of avoiding getting your transports shot up...I do like being able to destroy transports but I also like being able to protect them by managing them correctly. But Anarch is right about getting caught with your pants down with a force of unprotected transports... Happy days!

The pathfinder ability gives so much more control and flexibility im surprise it wasn't in the original. This is a huge change and is going to be VERY useful.
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:53 PM   #7
popcorn2008
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I have to say the pathfinder slot is by far one of my favorite new additions. It's suprising how something so small can be so useful. I can tell this is really going to be a great feature in multiplayer GC games.


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Old 10-13-2006, 02:18 AM   #8
Darth Windu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wedge2211
Uh...Every time I have attacked a planet with such a fleet in Empire at War, the initial fleet has consisted of enough combat units to completely fill the population slots, and all of my transports. It looks pretty much like the transports do not count towards the unit cap.
Ah, my bad. That's probably what happened and I wasn't paying attention.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wedge2211
A commander might certainly send transports into a battle, and that doesn't reflect poorly on his intelligence. How do you think the troops got to the beaches on D-Day? Some of those LSTs were certainly blown up before they reached the shore, but that doesn't mean that the commanders were stupid. In fact, in some situations, exposing transports to enemy fire like that might be unavoidable.
D-Day was different. The commander wasn't sending the transports into a battle between Allied and German warships. Instead, the fire was coming from the beaches - land installations - and so was unaviodable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wedge2211
We're talking about a gameplay element, not sound military strategy. Having the transports appear in the battle changes the tactical options available to both players. I like the tactical situation presented with the transports in the field rather than without them, personally.
True enough, and I agree that at times gameplay must be more important than realism. However throwing realism out completely is unhelpful, as in this case.


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Old 10-13-2006, 04:27 AM   #9
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if you have a ground unit in the pathfinder slot... when you launch a ground invasion... does that unit land first...



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Old 10-13-2006, 12:02 PM   #10
Darth Anarch
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Yep, that's how it works. Although when launching ground assaults in vanilla EaW you can also choose which unit lands first. All you have to do is zoom in on the planet with your forces in orbit, choose one unit from your ground troops and drag it down to one of the ten garrison squares on the planet. Hey presto, that unit will be standing on the reinforcement point when ground combat begins.


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