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Have the patches/will rising tide fix Covert Ops?

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Eji1700, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    105
    I played a game yesterday after not really touching BE since before the patches, so it's possible this has been fixed and I just screwed it up, but one thing that bugs the hell out of me is that spying feels like a system that was put in to be "real", as in something you could legitimately focus a branch of your civilization on, but is then hobbled by poor balance. Again this could just be player error at this point, but my understanding of the system is something like this:

    1. Rushing spying seems difficult. This is one area where I'm sure i'm doing a whole lot wrong (i'm still not certain where all the spy quests are), but given the position of those that I do know i've yet to find a good path to "maxing spying" or balancing it out.

    2. The early skills are balanced strangely. I've ended multiple games pre patch (and yesterdays) by ignoring my energy economy and just relying on siphon energy. I has -200 a turn but was floating 3000+ at times. Compare this to "maybe steal a tech" or "maybe get some science" and i feel it's not even close. For that much energy I can just buy cities and science buildings for more gain that I'll likely see from those skills. Of course dedicating myself to an energy economy also yields better returns, but I don't think the science/tech returns are good enough that I can "ignore science" and just rely on my spy yields, whereas I can absolutely do minimal energy management and still be fine thanks to spying payouts. Oh establish network gets points for being what it should be an actually feeling like more than a formality(although more on that later).

    3. The mid/late skills are also a mess. Recruit defenders is a great option in my eyes. This one skill allows you to do a heavy science focus for a spy build and get away with fewer cities spending time building/buying military as the stuff you steal seems to be related to your tech level vs theirs (although the units will be of their affinity if they are at the point where it's giving them unique units?). Hack satellites is something i've never ever used, but that's basically because it's waay too difficult for something so niche, and the AI is abominable when it comes to the orbital layer (I invaded an enemy territory riddled with laser sats, and only realized this 3 turns after I took most of their cities because they never once used them...)

    4. The actual late skills all suck terribly? First because there's a building that can be built to just flat out stop you from ever being able to get above 3 intrigue, and it's not even unique or that hard to get. If you flat out rush spying you can get a few coups in, but i've never gotten a dirty bomb or a sabotage hit off when it mattered simply because having 11 affinity points takes so long that they'll all have the "3 intruige max" building by then. Siege worm is a special kind of bad in that it basically only exists for killing weak players in a fun way, as even if they ignored the intrigue and you got it off, many civ's can easily defend the attack, and supporting the worms is of questionable value (i've never felt they tipped a fight I couldn't have already won.

    5. Intrigue builds awkwardly. I forgot to test, but pre patches spamming establish network built intrigue faster than anything else by miles. Even if that's been fixed the complete lack of any real weighting on the intrigue amounts promotes spamming lower level and more successful operations. Even then I tend to struggle to get above a 4 vs the AI, and that's when I rush (although poorly).

    So it's more than possible I just suck, in which case i'd love for someone to help me flesh out a good spymaster strat. If not, given that RT is changing the diplogame so heavily I'd love to know if they've mentioned any future changes to covert ops.
     
  2. Gritf

    Gritf Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    89
    I'm my experice:

    1. I usually rush Computing after reseraching the other tier 1 branch techs: Ecology, Chemistry, etc.

    2. Steal energy is flat op, science can be exploited by swithching research and steal tech is like lottery, you might get a tier one or a tier 3 tech. When CivBERT comes out it will be more powerful because branch techs will also give affinity.

    3. Hack satellites would be useful if the AI used more the lasercom sat or any other yield oriented sat. It is also useful because it requires less time to go off and build much more intrigue than the others, so you may cup the city later.

    4. Dirty bomb is really good, and the animation is fantastic (I once did it twice to one civ, reducing them from 24 pop to 6. Sabotage depends on how much developed is a city, wich the AI tends to suck, but then again, sometimes they spam terrascapes ;). Calling Siege wurms is bugged, because the turn after they spam they just flat out dissappear, and not by being killed.

    5. Currently, establish a network doesn't build intrigue anymore. The other ops give more intrigue according to their level, but they are also more risky. I´ve noticed that it is easier to get intrigue playing in higher difficulties and when the more civs out there the better, since they will be busy attacking other players with their spies rather than defend.

    For changes ahead in the future, recruit defectors and steal tech are being swapped. and the surveillance web will only prohibit cup d'etats (except for the ARC, who can now do ops one level earlier).

    And then again, I hope the covert ops screen won't keep turning black, I've already scrapped around 20 games only because of it. I just can't stand to build my own troops.
     
  3. aguliondew

    aguliondew Prince

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    447
    Location:
    Tennessee
    To get spys before turn 80. Use the Electromagnetic sensor(Reveal artifacts around the map) it is a bonus from sid starships. You can edit your game files if you do not have that game their is a post about starship unlockables somewhere on the forums. After that get the science from artifact virtue in knowledge and the increase intrigue in might. The amount of science you get form a few artifacts is enough to get your spy agency up around 70-80turns. The other way to get a spy agency early is to go to war with the aliens and get science from aliens.

    Stealing science is based off of the percentage of the tech you are researching (15-25%). Before you complete steal science swap to a higher tier tech to get more science. Otherwise you end up getting less science then you normally produce. Stealing technology tends to be broken with the types of techs you can steal. You can get 3rd rings techs that would normally take you 20-30turns at mid-game or get a large affinity boost early. It is best not to save up energy when you can improve your newer cities.

    They are changing how covert ops work in RT not sure of all of the changes. Some covert ops are swapped around, so they can be used early like recruit defenders. The surveillance web in RT will only reduce max intrigue by 1 instead of 2. ARC will still be able to Coup D'etat at 4 intrigue with their new RT bonus (Cover Operations complete 30% faster and require 1 less Intrigue level to attempt). Also, ultrasonic fences will not completely stop aliens from going into your territory in RT. It will act more like a deterrent, so Summon siege worms may be effective now, then again with leashing you may just give you enemy a new army :p.
     
  4. Halbbruder

    Halbbruder Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
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    387
    There's no error in the point you are making, although keep in mind of the chance mechanism in spying. Still, covert ops does need to be reviewed further in this expansion. They have nerfed surveillance web (reduces max intrigue level by 1 instead of 2) and they have switched a few things around to make it easier to steal science and recruit defectors, but the system lacks the following:
    - exact percentages of success/failure for both the mission and survival (SMAC covered this easily).
    - more counter-intelligence info when you put a spy in a city that you suspect has an enemy spy in it.
    - Are the affinity spy operations still the same or are they more accessible?
    - Spy quests are too random. You might just get 1 or you might get 3. If you get 3, and you complete them, that's +3 spies right there.
    - bug concerns when a spy is in a moving sea city. Have they ensured that spy remains in city once it moves?

    What concerns me now is that RT will be released in about 3 weeks and they've only covered the new sponsors (but one), sea cities, spread of artifacts, environment/terrain changes, alien AI behaviour and MP (the combined science in team games is NOT a new feature!). They need a livestream that covers every single other aspect that has changed and such, something that covers as many knowledge gaps as possible.
     
  5. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
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    Awesome thanks for all the responses. The web nerf alone should make the affinity unique options much better as they won't be impossible by the time you get them (even if siege worms are still a very questionable investment). Arc being able to do everything one level earlier should also help reinforce their covert op nature and not make them feel hard countered.
     
  6. ShaggyCan

    ShaggyCan Warlord

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
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    In all the Firaxis lives streams they have never touched on Covert Ops at all. I hope they have integrated some of the new features into covert ops.
     
  7. Amrunril

    Amrunril Emperor

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
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    1,150
    As others have said, they're at least making minor changes to some of the missions' intrigue requirements, which should at least make the affinity attack missions more accessible. I'm also hoping that, either in the expansion or in a future balance patch, they'll adjust the science/energy stealing yields to correspond the target city's output (and make tech stealing only steal techs known by the target civ). This would add strategy to spy placement, could serve as a means of toning down the powerful early missions, and would just plain make more sense. (Here are some more detailed thoughts on the subject I posted a while ago: Covert Ops in Beyond Earth: Flawed Execution of a Strong System)
     
  8. Zenstrive

    Zenstrive Ocean King

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    Covert Ops should have total overhaul.
    If I may suggest:

    1. Siphon energy: use now or invest. If you chose invest, pick reduced time, increased chance of success for next covert ops of stealing science or tech, or random city sabotage (energy reduced for x turn, production reset, etc).
    2. Steal science: use now or invest. If you chose invest, pick bonus for science (bonus 2% for each steal success, cumulative) or bonus for stealing tech success rate or random city sabotage (0 science for x turn, energy reset, etc).
    3. Steal tech: use now or invest. If you chose invest, pick gain next tier tech for known tech easier (up to 15% reduction), reduce virtue requirements for next 2 virtues, etc.
    4. Hack Satellites: pick gain all satellites view and yields for next 5 turns or down all satellites.
    5. affinity ops: call swarm of natives to destroy six improvements adjacent to city, dirty bomb that delete five random buildings in cities except wonder, or sabotage that makes city useless for the next 7 turns (akin to having riot).
    6. Coup-de-etat: add increased chance of success for next coup-de-etat 5% for each cities taken of same sponsor.
     
  9. Gokudo01

    Gokudo01 Emperor

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    Yes but some quests give +X energy and free maintenance (autoplant, genegarden, LEV plant ) although the Free maintenance isn't in the tooltips ...
    I don't just understand why they didn't generalize it :(
    it feels like they have just dashed off this part of the game.
     
  10. masda_gib

    masda_gib Warlord

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    Yeah, took me quite a while to notice that +1 Energy in this quest includes free maintenance. Which makes it basicly +2 Energy compared to before the quest.
    And +1 Prod / +2 energy is okay
     
  11. 4N4C0ND4

    4N4C0ND4 King

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    Wow, never knew that! TIL a new thing :)
    Sad an energy strategy à la CIV diplo isn't really possible in BE...
     

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