Obviously there's going to be cool changes to diplomacy and I've made lots of suggestions already. But I'm going to suggest some miscellanous ideas here too, hoping some might be considered.
We all know that normal speed for multiplayer is too slow. Fast speed can sometimes be too fast if there's a lot going on. It would be nice to have a third speed setting somewhere in between.
Would it be possible to see the position of known and suspected Artifacts on the starmap? For instance, on the zoomed-out starmap, they could appear as tiny icons just above the gravwell circles. This way, you get the big strategy view of where things are. It would give players a better visual guide.
Fleet Logistics: scale back
Another poster suggested this and I now appreciate its wisdom. Sometimes your empire can take an unexpected beating. Whether you're tag-teamed in multiplayer, or ganged all at once by all the Comp players, your fleet and your income can disappear fast.
Therefore, it would be nice to scale back the cost of your Fleet Logistics upkeep when you're in dire straits.
Every time a colony ship successfully colonizes a planet, it should disappear. Two reasons why. First, in real life, the colony ship would release all of its passengers, all of its supplies, and its hull would be designed to be rapidly deconstructed for materials. This would stop a lone colony ship from hypothetically colonizing every single one of your conquests (and yes, I've done that once before, making only 1 CS the entire game).
Second reason, this would make colony cap ships even more important. While they are popular, technically only the Vasari Egg is an essential ship due to its durability. The TEC colonizer cap ship on the other hand is not essential at all, and the other TEC cap ships are far more useful. For instance, my first two caps would be a Kol and Marza or Sova. And I would just use colony ships to settle worlds.
Pirate Base, Pirate Cap Ships
It's kind of a let down once you trash a Pirate base. Yeah, you eliminated a nuissance and leveled up some cap sips in the process. But there's no real reward. It would be nice to get hold of the Pirate's treasure! I say - colonize a pirate base and you get their treasure hoard worth 2500 to 4000 credits. Or how about a cool pirate artifact like a super surveillance scope? When used, it could give you vision of one gravwell, anywhere in the solar system. The device would use AM, have a cool down, etc.
We'd all love to see Pirate cap ships. There should be a carrier type and a battleship type. First, there should be one present at every Pirate base (randomly carrier or battleship). Second, after about 45 minutes into a game, there should be a small but increasing chance that a cap ship will accompany a pirate raid. This could make pirate raids actually an exciting, fun challenge.
While I do the multiplayer thing more often now, I still usually only have time for singleplay (saved game) sessions. I try to stack the Hard AIs against me. It can be a challenge and they may attack, but they only tend to really turn on vicious aggression against me when allied with each other (strength in numbers, dog-pile scenario).
According to some new magical algorithms, a lone AI should sometimes assemble a fat fleet, select an enemy objective (human- or AI-controlled, and just go for it a bit more often.
I'm still not sure about this idea, but I'll give it a shot. While some multiplayers might specialize in this area and prove me wrong, planet-busting seige frigs on the whole are not popular for a reason. While it can be a good risk investment to make a small team of seige frigs to speed up bombardment, it's certainly not necessary because your caps can ultimately do the job. Personally, I'd rather pour resources into maximizing cap ships because they can bomb and defend themselves well, instead of virtually defenseless seige frigs.
Technically, if your opponent's planets are not really fortified, you can go without seige frigs. Therefore, they are not built that often.
The fix? Slightly reduce the bombardment damage dealt by caps. Not a big reduction mind you, but perhaps a reduction of 15%. This would stimulate the construction of seige frigs.
New Planet Types
There's all sorts of ideas to make new types like Forest, Swamp, Steppe, and so forth. But technically these are just Terran worlds. A new world type must be both physically/scientifically different and offer something different in game terms as well. So the differences can't just be cosmetic. Instead of suggestions, here are my questions and thoughts.
Toxic: How could a Toxic world be fundamentally different than others? Given the game engine we have, I don't know, aside from having a low population cap and a Toxic colonization requirement. Could they possess Rare Elements? Precious Materials? Would these offer extra credits?
Oceanic: Same thing. Aside from an Under City requirement for colonization, how would it be different? Would water be precious? Offer extra credits?
The only absolutely unique one I could think of would be this:
Huge planet: A Huge (or Giant) planet is a big barren wasteland. Its mass is so considerable that over millions of years it has sucked in most nearby asteroids. Therefore it only rarely has an asteroid upon which Extractors can be made. However, due to its overall land mass, with enough development, it can eventually support even more population than a Terran planet. It also has deep craggy pits and catacombs that can be expanded to make excellent underground fortifications.
Game terms -
1. Randomy zero or only one asteroid
2. +1 additional slot for infrastructure over the Terran limit
3. +1 additional slot for fortifications over the Terran limit
4. +1 additional slot for Explore Planet over the Terran limit.
5. Large gravwell
New Game Types
Normal conquest is fun and will always remain the most popular type. however, there has to be different ways to win this game. There should be a 'Game Type' option. Here are some examples.
1. Destroy Homeworlds. Bomb the enemy homeworld to oblivion and you force a surrender.
2. Cultural Supremacy. Gain a certain level of cultural mastery and you win.
3. Strategic Control. Some new maps should have a handful of highly valuable strategic areas. These are visible on the starmap, each of the gravwells depicted with a special icon. Build SBs in 2/3s of these gravwells, hold them all for 5 minutes, and you win.
4. Capture the Flag. The flags in this case are ancient alien vessels or devices, randomly distributed in neutral gravwells. Some new maps would have a handful of these alien vessels drifting about. You capture them by sending in a Colony Ship. Once boarded, each alien ship must slowly be escorted back to your Homeworld. Capture all 5 and you win.
5. Advanced Opponent. This is not so much of a gametype, but a kind of setting given to an AI computer opponent. If you want more of challenge, click on what kind of AI type you want and select Advanced. An Advanced AI starts the game with...
- all its homeworld extractors already built
- its Cap Ship Factory already built
- two Scouts already built
- depending on the race, either 5 Cobalts, 5 Disciples, or 5 Skirmishers already built
- all of its tier1 and tier2 technology upgrades already researched