There has been a lot of discussion about WotS in several threads lately. For a good balancing discussion that can be easy followed by the Developers I think it would be a good idea to have it together in one place.
So what do we know about Wail of the Sacrificed?
- It requires 7 temples of harmony to get access to its research.
- It requires an owned planet with a temple of communion on it.
- When activated it kills your planet but it does instantly deal 20 damage per killed population point to all adjacent gravity wells, be it planets, phenomena or stars.
- Currently there is a possible bug with it, that makes the Enduring devotion upgrade ineffective, so you loose the planet, no matter what.
- It deals reasonable amounts of damage on dwarf, vulcanic and ice planets and tremendous damage on desert or terran worlds, it is however entirely useless on asteroids.
- It does not harm own or allied ships or structures.
It has the following advantages:
- No warning, no escape... you hit the button and the enemy ships in adjacent gravity wells either survive the amount of damage or they all die.
- Its "one devastating hit" damage type will usually get hostiles with their shield mitigation at minimum, drastically improving the actual damage received.
- A terran or or desert planet at a good spot can threaten several gravity wells
- Damage of dwarf planets is enough to kill most early game fleets, keep that in mind when attacking an AR in the eco spot.
- Population research or planet bonuses can increase the damage potential, so can TEC envoys.
- Can buy you some time even against capital only fleets, as they are considerable damaged with the effect. They probably wont be so eager to attack because of that.
- If you own several high population worlds around a star you can make the star itself a zone of total death. Multiple wails will wipe out about anything, especially if you wait a few seconds between them until shield mitigation is low again.
- Can be used to support your fleet by decimating the enemy before entering firing range or as a last resort to turn the tide of the battle. Although effectivity depends on overall enemy shield mitigation once the battle is joined.
- Can be a last resort defense. When you are nearly defeat in a team game and the enemy would normally wipe you out with brute force in no time leaving your allies alone, they are going to be a lot more hesitant in steamrolling you when your capital is wail capable. They will either ignore you, allowing you to support your allies longer with money or send fewer ships to you. Those fewer ships will take longer to kill you, meaning that those fewer ships are not something your allies have to worry about for some time. Or they underestimate you and "forget" about it because they are certain of victory... well there is nothing like wailing their main fleet with your homeworld as a "passing gift"...
- Can be used to level up your titan quickly. Depending on the circumstances a few more levels on your Titan may easily be worth a terran/dessert planet and you can use it on fleets where it normally would stand no chance alone, so no lost experience to some capital ships.
- Is often basically free as you would have built a ToC anyway.
Of course there a some disadvantages too:
- Without a high population world in the right spot, it is totally useless.
- Is is costly, not only you loose the entire planet with all upgrades (possible bug with enduring devotion) but you are also loosing considerable amounts of tax income. While trade is the main income in later stages of the game, unless you are already winning money is often going to be still an issue.
- It can only be used in long intervalls. Not only that you have to recolonize and reupgrade the planet, but population grows quite slowly. So it takes a very long time until wail is on a damage dealing level again... time in which your foes probably will try to take the planet from you, denying any future use. And so it wont work well on highly contested planets that change owner every 5 minutes...
- Capital ships will usually survive it and there is nothing that stops the surviving capital ships from destroying your temple of communion or bombing your planet back into the stone age. .
- A hostile Titan can and will destroy your temple before the main fleet jumps into range, unless the gravity well is heavily fortified, but that is money that you wont have in your fleet.
- Enemies will simple move their fleet in groups... making the use far less interesting.
- TEC Novalith will kill keep your population level too low for wail to be effective
- Kostura Cannons and phase stabilizers technology make it so that Vasari are never in the need to enter any dangerous gravity wells Not to mention they can easily kill the planet and the temple.
- Even the UP Advent Loyalists have a last resort... with their Titans Repossesion the threat is immediatly gone.
- You have to see the enemy fleet either with scouting or Eyes of the converted and even more important, you have to see them in time... You wont get any attack messages like TEC with a Red Button Starbase would... you have to see the enemy forming up, something that depending on map and current game pace can be easy to overlook.
- Wail does not do any damage to its own gravity well (It would be insanely op otherwise) so once the enemy is there you have lost.
- It needs an expensive level 7 research in the harmony tree, something that you dont usually get to quickly.
My balancing suggestions:
First off a warning: It is not going to be easy. Make it to powerful and it is op, but make it to weak only by a slight margin and it is totally useless
Second, the effect could use a bit tuning. Instead of instantly working, there should be a VISIBLE shockwave travelling at the phase lanes. That would END all screams of cheating from newer players. Depending on the speed of the shockwaves, an enemy would have at least a bit of time to rescue his fleet, making the use of wail more risky. Right now you can use it the moment the enemy tries to jump out, doing maximum damage and maximum weakening of his fleet should he invade you.
Perhaps the damage on large population planets could be lowered but in turn the damage from low population objects increased. Or what about giving it a secondary ability... like disabling enemy ships or what about a modified version of repulsion? All surviving ships of the (weakened wail) are moved closer to the planet.... ruining fleet cohesion and increasing the time for an attack again.
That are my thoughts, what are your?