Author Topic: Polaris Sector - Anyone has any thoughts on it?  (Read 1687 times)

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Offline shalis

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Polaris Sector - Anyone has any thoughts on it?
« on: April 08, 2016, 12:38:33 PM »
Just ran across a review for it while looking up some trailers for Stellaris, and was curious if anyone here has tried it.  If so, what are your thoughts on it?


This is the review on YT:
https://www. youtube. com/watch?v=lV4lKq0gC24
 

Offline Vandermeer

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Re: Polaris Sector - Anyone has any thoughts on it?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2016, 03:53:26 PM »
I played it for some hours until I realized that the AI is completely inane. If things would actually play out like in the tutorial, where you have interesting fleet battles in which you need to focus tactics, it would have been attender for most amazing 4x of year or more.

The triangle tactic premise here is brilliant, and the weapons so well balanced that it really works as it was intended:
- Missile ships are laughably easy to block by any half decent PD ship. Even a carrier with spare capacity focused on PD is basically immune against missile strikes
- However, PD ships are of course weak in matters of range and actual DPS, so an anti-ship ship with cannons and bombardment disposes of them in mere second, and probably even without counter
- These anti-ship ships are of course now weak in the PD part, and depending how much they really let go of defenses, they might fall to fighter swarms or missiles like nothing.
(missiles are really interesting here in that you fire about swarms of 40-60 from one ship, but normally all get blocked by little PD. If only about 3 of those torpedoes hit however: Instant-Kill! They take over your dedicated Joker ship role with which you punish all too focused designs. You can in theory not get to paranoid in placing anti-missile equipment{you even have flares in this game  :) }, because they are frightening as hell)

Fighter also have a similar dynamic, where there are laser armed anti-fighter/PD-aid fighters, who are still decent against ships. (tested load of 80 destroys one weapon platform before getting destroyed)
Then amazingly stronger anti-ship, but still acceptable anti-fighter fighters with cannons, who just rip through tides of enemy anti-ship and missile ships. (tested load of 80 destroys 3 weapon platforms of same type before failing)
Finally torpedo bombers which should be your main way to use missiles if you bother. The salvo density you can put out with those is uncontested, so you can probably even punch through PD ships with this if you get a good synchronous shot out. They only get one though, and then have to rearm, making them also the most wasteful, and one trick pony weapon.
Should you ever see some monstrous capital ship though, here is the joker that kill a single unit of everything for sure.


I really like that if you attack one of those weaknesses, it isn't just a neat bonus, no, it completely obliterates the enemy. If you can set up many of these situations, and field the right ship against the right enemy, then retreat back in battle lines etc., you can essentially win huge fleet battles with just a small force, and you really feel like a genius Admiral when that happens. (just so happens that I watch "Legend of the Galactic Heroes" when this came around, so I had much inspiration to vent in this regard  :) )
Outmaneuvering and speed over armor, and good fleet composition pay out most, the salvo density over endurance... . All things you also learn from Aurora, and very realistic.


Now the problems: All this never happens ingame. >:(

On low difficulty the enemy doesn't even seem to bother to build any fleet whatsoever. You see some platforms and fighters around them, but the only ships in the galaxy are pirate corvettes, which you learn to beat fairly early, so they are just nuisance.
On hard difficulty (turn pirates of for this, as it is ridiculous), the enemy does produce lots of fleet, obviously cheating crazy. But what does he produce? Hundrets of corvettes, and here and there a single frigate.
...This is not the balanced battles you wish for. In the tutorial you get the illusion of small to mid-size encounters. A cruiser clash here, a frigate border patrol there, and maybe sometimes a well mixed combat fleet to defeat. But all you get is massive compact car crashes on the highway.

Also, as the ship triangle mechanic, and the fighter triangle mechanic basically play out the same, yet faster ships are always an advantage on the battlefield, ..guess what that results in? ...Only viable capital ships type: Carriers.
They overwrite everything. Couldn't lose a fight since I had frigates with freaking 100 size hangar bays, which is humble 10 times of what the corvette carriers could field.
You don't have to care about that triangle thing from that point on either, because other than ships, fighters stack like photons. You just end up throwing 1000-2000 beam fighters on singular ships or stations, who now all fire pretty much at once, and just mill through it in a second like apocalyptic locusts no matter if it was a PD ship or not.
...And it is not like you could play without them deliberately either, because the only way to really counter a somewhat strong advancing fighter force is not a PD ship, no, those don't stand a chance. It is other fighters, because only fighters kill fighters. The biggest fighter force shall win.

I created other ships for fun, but I can only get away with it, because the AI is so weak. The most efficient strategy really is fighter spam, and that is a shame.


Then there is this traditional problem of many sci-fi games how to achieve balance between different sized ship classes. Why build a larger destroyer if the frigate already does everything but faster? You could make the destroyer be more economic, or it could hold components that smaller ships simply can't field. In one game I have seen mechanics that make them slowly more immune against the smallest ships, so despite being more expensive per gun, at those situations they would excel through natural math functionality.

Most games fail in this regard by either generating "bigger is better" where all fleets ridiculously are bound to one day only consist of huge battleships and nothing else. Some others favor very small ships, mostly when there is no real advantage of building the very same thing, just larger. Polaris Sector however is somewhat weird in that the Frigate is actually the best hull, which is only second smallest. Technically they are still in the last faction however, and the only reason you need to scale it one up is simply that the corvette is too unfortunately laid out, so that the hangars don't quite fit in. ...If we could just "paint" hangar space freely instead of having an arbitrarily sized hangar-component, they would be just as good.(actually somewhat better, as they could flee faster when fighters should run out)


So all in all: Good premise. Nice system that with the triangle, and also feels very realistic in the battles.
Ruined by no AI, and enormous fighter dominance, which is on top of that quickly boring to play out.("yeahyeah, go there, eat everything, whatever")
playing Aurora as swarm fleet: Zen Nomadic Hive Fantasy
 

Offline shalis

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Re: Polaris Sector - Anyone has any thoughts on it?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2016, 11:37:16 PM »
Thanks for the detailed review Vandermeer.  Its unfortunate that it doesn't live up to its potential :( and considering its high price I guess i'll pass.


Cheers!
 

 

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