Before I begin, I just wanted to say that I immensely enjoyed this mod, and I appreciate all the hard work that Corey and the team has devoted to building this mod! With that being said, I have a few ideas, suggestions and recommendations for 2.2 version of ICW.
Before I start, I just want to mention that I always play multi-era GC's, and I always play on the hardest difficulty (Admiral difficulty)Galactic Map Suggestions:
One of the issues that I noticed in 2.15 is the slow pace of AI attack on the galactic map. Even when they do attack, they always consistently target a few planets.
Typically, after a while, I can figure which planet the AI will attack, even if they have multiple options to attack other planets that I hold. Basically, they're not really optimizing their options of attack, and I will end up leaving a large defense fleet at one planet, while leaving other planets on the frontline somewhat exposed. The AI never seems to go after those exposed planets. On a related note, I noticed that even with the 2.15 patch (Which re-enables the minor faction AI's), those minor factions never attacked anybody.
Another problem I noticed is that the AI does not tend to build up it's forces. I regularly check the "economy" tab, and I always have the lowest curve for my faction. My understanding of the economy chart is that it shows the number of credits available in the treasury of each faction. Typically, other displayed factions have 5x-6x the amount of credits and economy ratings. On the military tab, they have low ratings, significantly lower than mine. My understanding of the military chart is that the game simply compiles the unit count and shows that on the chart. As such, why doesn't the AI build up it's forces significantly? All of my planets are fortress world with full (10 unit) garrisons. I notice that the AI will fortify frontier worlds, but once you "break out", the worlds behind the borders are thinly defended. Why not spend some of their huge credit reserves to bolster defenses on their inner worlds? Basically, I would like to see the AI spend the credits that they're hoarding on building much more military units and significantly upgrading their ground defenses on their worlds (Like having full garrisons, instead of 1 unit defending a planet).
Another problem is the pathing of units in the galactic map. Fleets will not always take the most optimal path from one planet to another, and they must be manually adjusted. From some of the previous forum postings, Corey (?) mentioned that the issue seems to be hard coded. Is this a problem that could potentially be solved for 2.2?
Also, would it be possible to increase the ground garrison size from 10 units to 12 units? (I really like to leave large garrisons behind to ensure a strong planetary defense force)
A suggestion that I have is to re-introduce ground and space commanders (From the original game) I really like the idea of commanders leading my forces (and granting the bonuses to the corresponding army/fleet). Furthermore, with the introduction of the diplomacy system and the possibility of hiring bounty hunters to neutralize diplomats, these commanders give the bounty hunters additional targets to hunt for (Instead of just diplomats)
Speaking of the diplomacy system, from what I understand, each planet is assigned to a sector. Would it be possible to visually show on the galactic map which planets belong to which sector? I saw a forum post by Corey showing the new galactic map background. I would simply like some sort of visual representation of which planet belongs to which sector. (Instead of having to refer to a list of planets)
I would really like to see the introduction of non-military space stations back to the game. As this forum topic mentions, these civilian space stations would open up more options for the game (more income?). And there's no need for golan space stations in a secure sector. Some alternative space structures that I would like to see return include the sensor tower, and the gravity well generator station. It would also be really cool to have the ability to build Cardan class space stations (From the original game). My suggestion is to have the ability to level up the station (From 1 to level 5). The bonus that these stations provide is decreased build time per level of station on the galactic map, and provide garrisons on the space battle map. http://thrawnsrevenge.com/forums/index.php?topic=5826.0
Lastly, I know that the team is working on new GC scenarios. In the past, I would always pick the GC with the highest number of planets, because I would like the feel of an epic game. To that end, I basically began to combine all the planets from all GC's onto one map. (I edited the files to add all planets together onto one map). However, it was difficult to decide which introduced planet to give to which faction and to work out the hyperspace lanes. Would it be possible for the team to generate a epic map with all the planets and factions onto one GC? This would help those who want to have a epic and long game. On the space/ground battle map:
One small issue that I noticed is that some factions tend to avoid building certain units. Despite playing this game for hundreds of hours, I have yet to see a Lucrehulk-class battleship. The AI just doesn't seem to build them, and they have never appeared in a raid fleet. It would be awesome if the AI had a more diverse military composition that took advantage of the full range of military units available to them.
Another minor issue is during battle, some units will not respond to a stop movement order. This especially happens in space battles, where a ship is positioned perfectly, and I try to get it to stop, but it just keeps on going forward. It is extremely frustrating that they don't stop immediately when ordered.
A related minor issue is the radius of the super-class ships. The game does not allow players to jump in ships on the same layer next to super class ships (e.g. jumping in a ISD-II next to a executor, sovereign, etc) It allow reinforcement to jump in either directly in front or behind. It would be great if the ship radius was decreased so that it would be possible to jump in ships on the same layer next to super class ships. Also, irritatingly, when you order a super class ship to move to a new destination, and they turn, the turning speed is much faster than if you ordered a direct turning order. (e.g. you order a executor to go past a asteroid cluster, the ship turns quite fast, but if you right click on the ship until the green arrow appears, and issue a turn order, the turning velocity is much slower compared to the movement order).