Okay, so I've been playing a large game since Entrenchment's release and been attacked by pretty much everything (sometimes by 2 AIs at the same time, same planet) to arrive at the conclusion that the Advent defenses with all the Entrenchment changes are a bit *too* powerful.
There's little bits and pieces that, on their own, don't pose much of a problem. But when you add all of them together, it becomes incredibly difficult to knock out fully built up Advent defenses.
The little bits and pieces:
- Hangars grant 750 shields and 4 hp/sec shield restore.
- Beam turrets grant shields per nearby turrets to another +1000 total.
- Beam turrets now have increasing shield mitigation (hangars keep at 15% base)
- Shield tech research and culture research increase max mitigation by 10%.
- Transcendia's Mass Disorient/Meteor Storm combo.
- Research for +10 tactical slots per planet.
- Reduction of all ships' damage against MODULE armor.
When you combine all of this, you basically have 20-30 (depending on how many hangars you want) beam turrets, each with mitigation reaching upwards of 70% and 1750 shields (not to mention ~3k or so hull and fairly high armor) and shield restore of 4/sec and hp restore of 30/sec from repair bays. You then have Transcendia's Meteor Storm which outranges even the Ogrovs.
That means the new designed counter is not very feasible. An Ogrov does 900 damage per shot. At 70% mitigation, a turret will take 270 damage. The more Ogrovs you bring, the more damage they do but those guys all die after 3 meteors (or 2, when rank 2 is fixed to deal 750 damage instead of 500). The hangars' shield bestow range is large enough that they can be kept out of reach of Ogrovs/Adjudicators and still provide 750 shields and the shield regen. The Adjudicators do much worse, because they're designed as a constant rather than burst DPS and even though they can attack 5 structures at once they will take much longer to destroy them. Both the Ogrovs and the Adjudicators become nullified by Meteor Storm since they can't attack outside its range.
And with the turrets being as sturdy as they are now, a fully build up defenses cluster can survive an incredible amount of punishment. I've only lost 2 Transcendias in my current game. One was at a wormhole and I noticed too late that the enemy fleet had 11 Ogrovs, and the Meteor Storm was auto-casting on heavy cruisers up front instead of them. I noticed when it was down to 5k hp and no shields, and if I noticed earlier it probably would've survived because they all needed one more meteor toss to all die. The second was when I was attacked from two sides at the same time by two AIs and could only throw meteors at one side. The starbase was eventually overwhelmed by bombers, but the beam turrets were holding everything off until I built a new cruiser, flew it 3 jumps, rebuilt the starbase, and upgraded it with meteor again (first upgrade). At that point, there wasn't enough of either enemy left to put up much of a fight.
Thus, the *only* feasible late-game counter to decked out Advent defenses is a mass of bombers covered by fighters. Their hangars take a lot of tactical slots and starbases need their meteor upgrade to beat back defense busters, so fighter cover is their weakest point. But with bombers alone it takes an incredibly long time to kill everything, which just means more time for the defense to get there.
So, solutions. I'm not going to propose anything too drastic, because it's no one thing that gives the Advent this huge advantage, and so I'd rather make a few adjustments in a few places:
- Drop the max mitigation on the beam turrets so it caps out at about 40-50% with research (so, 30-40% base).
- Decrease the range of hangar shield bestow, so they have to be built closer to the front turret line and thus be in more danger from defense busters.
- Possibly drop shields gained by beam turrets to a max attainable +500, for a total of 1250 with hangar, down from 1750.
- Increase the cooldown on Transcendia's Meteor Storm to allow for more balanced fleets keep up their ships longer. Longer cooldown means more time for Hoshikos to throw repairs on Ogrovs. Vasari Repair Cloud for their ships and Advent's AE shield restore will also have a bit more time to patch up their ships.
I'm not suggesting increasing or decreasing the damage of anything, especially bombers/defense busters vs MODULE armor, because shield mitigation and high shields are what gives the Advent this rather unique but huge advantage. TEC and Vasari defenses go down much, much easier so I don't want that thrown out of whack and made even faster to die.