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In my opinion...

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Hello guys, first you are doing a great job with crying suns! Hope you can forgive my mistakes but I'm not a native English speaker.

I've played the two last versions of crying suns (the last one I'm referring to was uploaded on October 23), and got hooked on the game. I'd like to share my point of view on some aspects that I found that could be improved.

1) Exploration

1.1) Exploration should be faster or it should have some more meaningful options than continue or retreat. Maybe having some options reflecting the lieutenant skills. The way it is paced it gets boring after a couple of times. I've never retreated, finishing it always seems more profitable.

1.2) You shouldn't be forbidden to launch expedition with fewer than 10 commandos, it's riskier but it’s your choice. I've yet to see if you can lose a lieutenant on an expedition, the farthest I got was only one commando alive and the lieutenant. 

1.3) Expeditions the way they are now are always a good choice, I draw my progression on the star map based on the existence of expeditions along the way since they are by far the best rewarding events. Even if you lose all the commandos, the expedition is still rewarding enough to be undertaken.  Maybe you could make something like you get half the total scrap for finishing the expedition and 5% more for each commando alive at the end (maxed at 100%) so it would mean something sending more troops. For the expeditions that reward you with weapon or a hero something like if you score a 85% rate or more you get a weapon or hero from a certain rank if you get less than 85% but still complete the mission you get a weapon or hero from a lower rank, or something in these lines.

2) Combat

2.1) Combat is interesting but hardly challenging after you get your 2nd hangar dock, positioning a cruiser behind a fighter unit almost ensures your win every time if you correctly deploy them after enemy squadrons start to move. To finish the job, you just have to decide if the enemy squadrons are strong enough to endanger yours, if so fire a couple of laser beans on their cruiser and the job is done.

2.2) Enemy ships that have weapons that damage only squadrons should have a backup ship damaging weapon. Those are the most boring fights, after dealing with the enemy squadrons you can recall yours to protect them and wait for your lasers to refill to finish the enemy.

2.3) Squadron movement should be changed:

2.3.1) Once given a command to move from A to B the squadron stops if it fights an enemy before reaching its destination. If focus points are used to issue an order the order should be resumed even after a fight. Maybe the used focus point on the order could be locked until it is complete, or the unit destroyed, so giving an order would feel more like a commitment. The way it is, in a battleground without obstacles, I can send my squadrons to the enemy ship knowing that they will eventually stop to fight and that after the fight I'll be able to redirect them as I see fit. 

2.3.2) Waypoints in squadron movement should be allowed in some way with a reduced focus point cost, I'm thinking in something like pressing shift after selecting the squadron and then selecting the desired locations, for each 2 waypoints after the first the focus cost should be raised by one. In the actual version avoiding asteroid fields is not doable due to the high focus cost and its best to use squadrons defensively, and after finishing the opposing squadrons you can send your squadrons one by one to attack the enemy ship. I think waypoints would permit more strategy to the combat, by introducing planned "feints", and tactics like hitting the enemy from behind.

2.4) Strategic bonuses should be implemented, like flanking, etc.

2.5) Shortcuts to access the deployed weapons and squadrons would help a lot.

2.6) Enemy ship life is concentrated in a single bar and they only have one vulnerable hexagon to attack, while your ship has 4 of both. The most dangerous moment in the combat is when you lose a full health bar, at that very point you might get multiple critical negative effects that may hinder you until death. If you didn't take measures to counter an attack before the loss of a health bar you might expect the loss of a second one or even the destruction of your ship. I like that, but it feels the enemy ship is way better than yours since he won't ever have those kind of problems and have less room to be attacked.

2.7) The meteor shower and turrets were nice additions and could be improved, I’m thinking in effects that could hinder everyone like strong magnetic fields, solar winds, space junk and others.

2.7.1) Turrets make the fight a lot easier since AI doesn't fight them well, in one fight all the enemy squadrons were wiped out by the turrets while mine navigated between them without problem. I really can't find much of an explanation to why those turrets were deployed in space firing at everything and think that if you can't build upon the idea it should maybe be taken out, mainly because of the difficulty reduction they incur on the fight.

2.7.2) Meteor shower are unpredictable and can cause a lot of damage to squadrons and ship. Because enemy ships have only one vulnerable spot it is 4 times less probable that they'll be hit by a meteor and even if it makes things harder for the player, I don't find it nice. One of the few times I lost a combat in Crying suns was during a meteor shower that hit 2 spots of my ship and doomed my fight.

2.8) Surprise attacks are also another nice addition.

2.8.1) I just feel that the Odysseus is too easily surprised, at least a half of the fights I find myself in disadvantage.

 2.8.2) But even surprised I just need to deploy my squadrons nearer my ship to win easily like I would do in a normal fight.

2.8.3) Just once or twice I found myself surprising the enemy and even so it was an easier fight, I found myself firing the already ready weapons but keeping squadrons docked since fighting enemy squadrons from close to mid-range from your ship is ways better to keep them alive.

3) Focus Points

3.1) Focus points are the main resource during a battle and I feel it needs improvement. Having a larger focus pool surely helps, although it may seem that you can use a larger array of higher rank weapons, it’s only true for a few shots, after a short while you get limited by focus point recharge rate. At that point having weapons that are more focus point draining reduces your fire rate substantially. Even if your DPS is the same, which I think using higher rank weapons after focus point depletion is not, strategically firing more often is better.

3.2) Even though I find the idea of focus point interesting I find it limited in other ways. Like why is firing a 20dmg laser less focus consuming than firing a 35dmg laser? The effort to fire similar weapons should be almost the same, I could generalize even more saying that firing any weapon should be the same, if there is a difference it should be felt by the ship systems not by the admiral.

3.3) Focus point recharge rate could be variable. Some upgrades could hasten it, maybe having too much weapons, heroes and squadrons active could slow it down.

4) Ship & Upgrades

4.1) Improved expedition shuttle carrying capacity is useless if the chances of expedition failure do not increase or if the idea in 1.3 or if something similar is not used.

4.2) Sensor range should also restrict all information on systems that are out of range, like I said earlier I chose my route according to the presence of expeditions and those are visible from the very beginning. Arriving on a new star map should trigger an event (influenced by your team skills) where you could gather information on that map, for example: star system A, E and K have merchants, B has an expedition, P and M are crawling with enemies. But you would have no info on the other systems. That way sensor range would help a lot, even so I think expeditions shouldn’t be detectable from more than 1 jump distance. Improving sensor level could give you information on more distant systems, but farther the system less information you should get. So, having long sensor range could help planning the best course but wouldn’t transform it in a 100% predictable trip, at least not from very far away.

4.2.1) Sensor level could also help avoiding surprise attacks and maybe increasing your chance to surprise.



Lastly, I think there is a minor correction to be made on the October 23th version, on the screen where you have your ship description, at the very start of the game it says that the starting laser is "Piercer laser MKI" 20dmg but starting the game you get another one that deals 15dmg.

There are more things that could be improved but I guess I’ve written too much already.

The game is great! Congratulations.

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