What did Sins I / Rebellion get wrong?

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 By WHIPperSNAPper2008 In Sins of a Solar Empire II

We all love the game and have heaped praise upon it, but to make a better Sins-2, we need to identify what Sins-1 / Rebellion got wrong.  This thread isn't intended to be about what additional features we might like to see, but rather about problems Sins-1 suffered from that we would like to see fixed for Sins-2.  They could be persistent bugs that were never addressed or design flaws.

My viewpoint is from the perspective of an online Team PvP pro player who plays in 5 on 5 games (aka "5s").  I'll probably add more items to this list in this post as I think of more.

* Stability.  By far the biggest complaint is game stability.  The original game crashes ("minidump") often and the ICO server can also disconnect players.  (When most of the players in a 5s minidump crash it's a megadump.)  It sounds like Sins-2 has a fix for this problem by allowing players to rejoin games if they get dropped, which is already a huge improvement over Sins-1

* Overlapping Gravity Wells.  It's difficult to manage ships or to get them to jump properly when planetary gravity wells overlap.  It also makes constructing structures more difficult.  This happens sometimes in the standard Random Maps.  (5v5 games are played on the Huge Random Single Star Map.)

* Ships flying out of the Gravity Well but not Phase Jumping.  Sometimes corvettes and other ships can fly past the edges of gravity wells and keep going into outer space as though they were traveling somewhere on regular impulse power instead of phase jumping.  This is annoying and could potentially be exploited for scouting purposes or merely to lure away a larger small enemy fleet chasing it, such as 10 corvettes chasing down 2 corvettes, essentially removing a net of 8 enemy corvettes from the game until the owner notices them and orders them back to the planet.  It can also occur when jump orders are given but instead of phase jumping, the ships just head out past the boundaries of the gravity well on impulse power.

* Z-Axis.  It may not be an issue for people going against AI, but in PvP games the Z-Axis can be abused and may be difficult use and adds an unneeded layer of complexity.  It might also "break" the game in various ways such as being able to move ships over starbases that cannot fire upward along a vertical axis.  In my view, the Z-Axis should be eliminated as it is completely unneeded and would add an unnecessary layer of complexity to the game.  Alternatively, at the very least a toggle to turn the Z-Axis off is needed.

 * Accidental Scuttling or Mis-Scuttling.  Important planets, structures, and ships can sometimes be accidentally scuttled.  Suppose you thought you had selected a frigate you wanted to scuttle, but instead you didn't actually click on it and instead your home planet has been selected.  You click scuttle without realizing that and 1 minute later receive a notice that your home planet has been lost and you think to yourself, WTF?  This can also happen to capital ships, starbases, and titans.  This could be fixed with a quick pop-up warning box asking if you really want to scuttle an expensive unit or important planet.

* Built-in Map Creator was very difficult to use.  If you want to create a "custom" (user-made) map, you have two choices:  Galaxy Forge or the in-game Map Creator.  Including a simple Map Creator that will generate game maps with just a little bit of user input was a good idea, but no matter how much I messed with it, I always found it very difficult to use or get right.  Oftentimes the phase lanes ended up being too long resulting in phase jumps that took forever to traverse (or maybe it was just that jumping them was very slow for some reason; it's been a long time).  The end result was that most Map Creator maps were unplayable.  Unfortunately because the game lacked auto-download for Galaxy Forge made maps, it was pretty much the only option for people who wanted to host games with strangers on non-standard maps.  (Auto-download is you join a game room and if you do not have the map the game host selected, it automatically downloads for you.)  I suspect that many casual players might want to play on maps whose parameters they define but don't know about Galaxy Forge or wouldn't want to take the time and patience to make a map in it and figure out where to put it, so they would be left to use the in-game Map Creator.

* Vasari Loyalist Titan as Faction Capital and Dragging out the End of the Game.  This probably isn't an issue for people playing AI, but in Team PvP games it could potentially become annoying.  As a standard rule, the game can be forcibly ended by the winning team by bombing out all of the enemy planets.  Proper 5s etiquette is for players on the losing team to concede and say "gg" and quit the game when it is obvious their team can no longer win.  This prevents the winning team from having to go through the boring and mechanical motions of bombing out every single enemy planet when the game is no longer interesting or competitive if someone on the losing team does not leave (or did leave but the game thinks they are still connected resulting in that player being "bugged").  This etiquette prevents "dead" games from getting dragged out and allows for a new game to be started.  However, sometimes a player on the losing team is AFK or a jack-ass (or even bugged) and refuses to "gg" forcing the winning team to just declare victory and quit or bomb out every planet.  However, some smart ass Vasari Loyalist jackwagons might make a Vasari Loyalist Titan and research the ability that allows it to serve as the faction capital, allowing the game to continue even if every single enemy planet on the map has been bombed out.  This can be fixed by either allowing a game setting toggle to turn off that ability on the Vasari Loyalist titan and/or creating a "Declare Victory" condition where under certain circumstances the winning players could have a vote to "Declare Victory" and if certain conditions are met, the game ends with the Victory screen for them (and the Losing screen for whoever is dragging things out on the losing team).

* Planet Selection bug.   Sometimes for whatever reason when you are focused in on a gravity well, you lose the ability to click on the planet so as to issue build orders to factories or to place structures and have to fully zoom out to click on the planet.  It's annoying.