idea for a fourth race:
I dont know if this would be satisfying or not, well... i am guessing cool at first, and perhaps a little frustrating later on, but if the 4th race, was in fact this "whatever" that is chasing the Vasari, it could be like the Pirates, i mean only the AI plays them.
From a player standpoint what might be interesting is to "not know" what technology, what kinds of ships, what kinds of weapons this fourth race posesses. It might be cool to go into a battle not knowing what kind of trick or ability or whatever the 4th race ships will pull out of their hat.
Later of course i can guess that people would want to "play" this race, to have all the cool stuff they have and fight against the others.
what might make things interesting in "playing" this fourth race, might be that if we choose it, we automatically get at least a side-sided AI, like Tec/Vasari or Tec/Advent or Advent/Tec naturally as the opposing side.
In such scenarios playing them, the AI might automatically get more resources, cheaper ships and tougher hull/shields and upgraded weapons. In other words, if we want to play the SUPER race that is coming after the vasari, then we get the chips stacked against us.
In playing the regular races, like the Tec, Advent or Vasari against the 4th race AI, then we "have" to form alliances and co-ordinated play with the other races just to survive.
That would mean no playing a single race against them, or losing our socks,
Either that or we can mod it so we can, but if we really do that, then we lose the whole purpose of the 4th race, which would be the Killer race that trumps everyone, except if we band together.
Even then, the AI might have a limit, by that i mean that opposing forces against the 4th race AI "can't" win, with less than 2/3rd's of the map covered by lets say endgame. Or a number as in it will take 500 ships to overcome the 4th race.
In addition to their obviously superior power over the other races, their might be a blatant flaw, like phased ships cannot be seen, are not attacked, or are ignored by the 4th race.
This could lead to some "new" extended phase technology that is currently not available, like phasing a ship for extended periods of time, or only certain ships, lets say only caps. Which would make all lower level frigates and cruisers next to useless, because in any match with the 4th race, the frigates would be simply wiped out in quick order.
What might be interesting to consider also, is what if frigates became upgradeable? what if they could level? what that might mean is creating lower level frigates and cruisers and keeping them out of the 4th races sights long enough to get them to a level where they can survive the 4th races assaults. Making ships and then having to baby-sit them isnt very battle hungry, but it might be cool from a strategy point of view, where i keep my resources hidden until i can get enough research under my belt to effectively go against the 4th race.
This would probably involve "unlocking" the Capitals, so that the ability to get them isnt so restricted. Right now we can deal with this because frigates do most of the heavy battle work in our fleets and they are pitted against approximately even enemies.
Against the 4th race AI this wouldnt be the case, we would quickly lose entire fleets because the frigates would drop like popcorn and the capitals by themselves wouldnt be in enough numbers to effectively battle against the 4th races fleets, which may be just a few ships, but be so very very powerful, that we couldnt hope to overcome them without a dozen or more capitals concentrated on them.
With levelable frigates we might also want to see, hopefully in a Sins2 sequel, that their are now "dozens...? or more?" abilities that are added to the mix, and in addition, are now "slottable", i guess what i mean by that is that the abilities can be loaded and unloaded into ships. We prepare a fleet, we plug in certain abilities for those ships and go to battle. A way of checking this might be to only allow changing out abilities in the home gravity well, but to be hones a on-the-fly ability change would be super cool and really really throw the game into a state where anything could happen.
Which might be a very very cool thing.
In addition to 4th race weapons and abilities and ships, we might want to look at the 4th race being able to "co-erce" ? is that the word? the other races. A little like Domination, except that in domination the ship is converted right there and immediately starts firing on the enemy, and get shot by the enemy as well. With the 4th race co-ercion? those ships would still say Advent on them, or Tec, or Vasari, which ever race they belong to, but perhaps when they get back to the homeworld, they allow "planet vision" of that homeworld. Or their presence in gravity wells tends to have the local population begin a rebellion.
What might be very very cool, is if we dont even know which ships have been "infected" and we can't tell.
Also, and this may sound silly, as if the rest of what i have already said doesnt sound too silly enough, is what if each of the ships made now are somehow distinguishable. I guess what i mean is right now i make a dozen scouts and they all look alike, they all have the same name, they all have the same abilities and so i cant really tell one from another. Like the Capitals have names, it might be cool if ALL ships have names, different names so that we can tell them apart.
Reason being lets say that a battle against the 4th race goes very very badly and only 5 or 6 ships make it out alive, out of say 60 or so ships sent in. Three of these a scout, and two lights were infected without us knowing about it, but we notice, almost immediately that rebellions start on our own home planet when they come back. With names we could say, "You know... ever since the Talon and Berserker and Comrade and those three other ships returned things have gotten out of hand". So what do we do? Do we line up the returned ships and destroy them? Or send them out one at a time or in small groups to see what happens on the planets they visit? Because if an infected ship goes into an enemy gravity well, the population there will begin to rebel, in greater and greater numbers and degrees the longer that ship is in the well.
So do we line them up and shoot them? haha, that would take a new kind of coding to allow friendly ships to kill their own ships, or we simply have the player scrap them using the scrap button in the game which is already there.
But that is not too bad if we only have 6 ships come back, we shoot all 6, or spend time trying to figure out how many and which ones, because it wouldnt show. And lose 3 good ships without knowing it. But what if we have fleet come back from a slight brush with the 4th race? An entire fleet of say 50 ships? And strange things start happening, perhaps not just rebellions, but perhaps engine failures, weapon failures, or shield failures on ships, or planet modules start blowing up randomly, So we have an entire fleet we have to consider sending to the firing squad. Oh my!!!
Anyway, another cool "tech" or ability for the 4th race might be, something along the lines of the super planet weapons the races have now, like an ability that is used once and then takes like 30 minutes before they can use it again, but something like lets say they "black hole" a planet, but we dont know it, there is no "visible" way to tell, except that every ship that goes in the well disappears. Every one. So that means in the beginning of the game when planets are unknown and not yet discovered, that jumping whole fleets becomes a scary thing. Do we want to jump a hundred ships into a planet well, only to have them disappear?
Later in the game of course the 4th race can still use this, so maybe we get used to creeping around in small groups and only invading in strength when we see the ships dont disappear and other ships are there as well.
It changes how we play the game.
What might also be interesting to think about with the 4th race, is if they have the ability to call in more than one front, I guess what i mean is the Vasari have returning armada, and all the rest of us, have to have fleets made and scattered on other worlds to be able to call in a helping fleet. But what if the 4th race could bring in two fleets from opposite sides of a gravity well and attack? what if... haha, this is an idea, what if there is this huge battle going on right? And suddenly the 4th race ships start disappearing? We blink, but then start to see our own ships disappearing, Oh Shoot!!!!
I guess what i mean is, wouldnt it be cool, if the 4th race could "sacrifice" their own ships in a well to hit it with their you know super weapon? Instead of running away, instead of battling it out where superior numbers usually mean whoever has those numbers takes the planet or takes the game, we have a wildcard out there that throws things completely into left field. Meaning a game isnt finished and "won" until we actually get that last ship on that last planet.
I know it would make for even longer games than now, but if things are up in the air so much, it might make it very very interesting, because my superior numbers "may" not be able to pull it off.
Not only that, but lets say we are in a alliance with the Vasar and the Tec and those races of course come into and out of our wells all the time, and we start having rebellions and ships failing and planet modules exploding, or even say population count drops (as if something is going on down on the surface of the planet?)
Who do we shoot then?
If we are a single player and the AI is both our allies and also the 4th race bad guy, then we "could" possibly have control to scuttle those ships, oh my!! but at what a cost? how many are we scuttling and killing that are perfectly fine ships, only we dont know it and we panic and slaughter all of them?
But in online games? Or even multiplayer lan games with friends, and your planets start suffering from "infection" how do you convince your buddy to kill his ships because you think its his ships that are infected? And he is saying "Its not me!!" And we are saying, "It sure the heck is!!" What kind of co-operation between alliances are we getting then?
And what if the 4th race can "bribe" us? I mean, they say, "I will pay you x amount of credits/metal/crystal if you get late to a battle where your ally is battling the 4th race?
Or what if the 4th race "bribes" our ally?
Or what if the 4th race says, "I will let your ships on such and such planet live if you provide us with credits/metal/crystal"?
haha, well... enough of this, but im getting carried away, but just some things to think about for a Sins 2 sequel.
Take care and Keep Modding!!!