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Eco damage.. good??

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  • Eco damage.. good??

    So I was stuck in a stalemate against the Hive (as Lal) today, 8-4-1*2 era technology, and I got a mineral "boom" at my homebase suddenly that sent my eco damage skyrocketing into the 30s. I didn't have any more eco damage alleviating structures to be made (and I don't cheat by destroying/rebuilding them) so I went ahead and spammed empath/trance rovers to defend myself against the worm onslaught and hope that Yang would also be stopped by the sudden flood of fungus and worms.

    Well it turns out I got so much energy from just defending myself - a few hundred every turn compared to my 30ish base income - that I was able to easily just buy Yang out.

    I am wondering if this is ever a strategy? Is eco damage "worm" farming overpowered? Since the worms stack up and the stacks are destroyed all at once, it can't be that hard to get enough empath/trance units to have a fairly secure base even with extreme eco damage. Is this overpowered? It seems against the spirit of the game to WANT ecodamage. And I see nowhere in the alpha.txt to change the "planetpearl" rewards for killing worms.

  • #2
    Worm farming is definitely a known legitimate strategy. Ironically, it works a lot better the higher your Planet rating...
    AC2- the most active SMAC(X) community on the web.
    JKStudio - Masks and other Art

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    • #3
      It feels OP though, those empath/trance rovers are cheap, and if you're making enough ecodamage to spawn worms you'll have the minerals to make a lot of such units.

      I just read the part in your patch post that can change planetpearl rewards, ima go ahead and set that to 0

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      • #4
        Just remember not to have bunkers - if you get a pop on a tile with that, you'll have to kill them one at a time.
        With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

        Steven Weinberg

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        • #5
          As said before it's definately a known strategy, particularly for factions like Morgan running Free Market.

          If you have 0 Planet, you should set about plopping a base or taking over the Manifold Nexus. Even on a waterworld it's beneficial to track it down and toss a base there. Instant +1 Planet which helps in offensive techniques.

          Units: There are 1-1-2 Empath Trance rovers (I usually go with 1-4-1*2 Empath Trance, as they become even cheaper and make useful emergency defense units), there are empath artillery units (just give them a impact rifle or something, they don't need much), there are empath needlejets, and using your own mind worms. You won't capture any of them because they're sent by Planet in response to eco-damage.

          For SMAC-X, 6r-3r-2*2 Empath Trance rovers are perfectly viable, and are wonderful when Elite. Add a sensor and inside a base square, and you're well guarded against Planet Cult's (Fungboy) mind worm rages. He'll get a maximum of Elite (Demon Boil), +40% Planet and that's about it, while as defending you'd have +25% (base), +50% (Elite), +50% (trance), +25% (resonance armor) and +25% (sensor). Add those up and you have 175% defense against 90% offense bonus. (Make sure he doesn't get the Dream Twister and/or Neural Amplifier SPs.) If you have +1 Planet by reason of the Manifold Nexus, you'd have +10% (+1 Planet), +50% (Elite) and +50% (Empath) which is sufficient to counter-attack.

          EDIT: A little eco-damage is necessary to exploit the mineral bug with tree farms of course. Two fungal pops before the first tree farm is done is sufficient. Otherwise, a little -1 or -3 Ecodamage at a couple bases won't hurt anything.
          Last edited by 551262; April 7, 2014, 10:54.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Buster's Uncle View Post
            Worm farming is definitely a known legitimate strategy. Ironically, it works a lot better the higher your Planet rating...
            How so? Isn't a bad rating better?

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            • #7
              Something like 30 turns in, generating enough mins to cause fungal pops isn't much of a problem, and the higher Planet rating gives your units a considerable bonus to combat for the ones you don't just capture. NL is much poorer at capturing for some reason, but thus better for EC harvesting.
              AC2- the most active SMAC(X) community on the web.
              JKStudio - Masks and other Art

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              • #8
                Worm farming is what I'd call a 'short-term' income strategy. It's not bad, and it can make you money, but honestly, there's LOTS of ways to make money. Early on, sure, you've got a high mineral base, and you trigger a fungal pop, and MOP it up with a few rovers. You're some number of ECs richer, and you plough those resources into a few empath rovers and formers to do cleanup. But with every fungal pop, your threshold for eco-damage rises. So in order to keep getting fungal pops, you've got to keep adding minerals to this one super base. That means you need to build more crawlers, and form more mines or boreholes or whatever to keep the eco-damage gravy train going. Those costs come directly out of your income generated by the worm farm to begin with. At some point, the limiting factor in you worm-farming starts being land-use: You simply don't have enough squares that are suitable to slap a mine or borehole onto to crawl back to bug-farm central. And that's where the premise of the worm farm as a income scheme falls apart. Now matter how much cash you get out of your mindworm-cow, you would have gotten more with just bases, nutrients and specialists. There's also the question of what you're DOING with all those minerals you truck home. A base with infinite minerals still can only produce one facility or unit per turn. Yes, if you're making a facility, the overflow goes into energy, but at a net economic loss (1 energy per surplus mineral, compared to the 2 energy to buy a mineral). If you're making units, the most you can use per turn is the cost of the unit. I guess you can make uber crawlers or absurdly overpriced super-units, but at some point, you'll just wind up paying upkeep on a bunch of junk you don't really need. So, sooner or later, you're stealing land and rocks from bases that can use them to farm worms at a base that, at some point, won't be able to make the best use of the rocks you're trucking in. And you still would have been better off if you'd just built more bases, especially in terms of winning the governorship and scoring victory points.

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                • #9
                  There is the old idea with Svensgaard where you Planet Buster everything in sight and then laugh maniacally as the world is drowned. That gives huge amounts of worms to farm as a side effect. But it strikes me that you'd almost require control of the Council to do that (both to repeal the charter, and to stop Launch Solar Shade from spoiling your fun) and if you've got that you might as well just spam Melt Polar Caps. Anybody gone this route and have tips on it?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by magic9mushroom View Post
                    There is the old idea with Svensgaard where you Planet Buster everything in sight and then laugh maniacally as the world is drowned. That gives huge amounts of worms to farm as a side effect. But it strikes me that you'd almost require control of the Council to do that (both to repeal the charter, and to stop Launch Solar Shade from spoiling your fun) and if you've got that you might as well just spam Melt Polar Caps. Anybody gone this route and have tips on it?
                    I've never done it, and it seems.... questionable in terms of its effectiveness. For one thing, planet-busters aren't exactly the most cost-effective unit in the world, and this plan might win you the game, but it won't be winning any scoring titles, as your sea level rise will necessarily drown millions if not billions of your future subjects. I've always considered PBs as something of a lark, rather than a legitimate strategic choice. You might build one or two and lob them at an enemy base to see what happens, but I've found that investing the same resources in a handful of probes, artillery and assorted troops will result in a lot more conquest, properly managed.

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