I'm of a mixed opinion about the harvester upgrade. The lower K cost version is definately better to my personal taste, but I'm still debating.
I know where you're trying to go with this Keith, but it's not what I'd expected. See, I always pictured harvester upgrades as the 'first' upgrade you'd want, and eventually in mid/late game want to get Econ II/IIIs once you had secure borders.
As this stands, it's still inverted. No, I don't have a fix in mind but I'll think on it.
Edit: After going through the rest of this, because of Homeworld overload on harvesters, this is now true.
The ratio also seems off, even though I know you're comparing to Econ II/III. It's 4000 K to get a 150% econ boost. It's another 4500 K to get another 220% (roughly) econ boost. If you're not going to III, I can't see buying II. Econ IIs for 3000 give you roughly 100% on 6 planets.
Also, I wanted to confirm your '2 harvester' math, so I understand where you're coming from. So at 12 planets with an average of 1 metal and 1 crystal each, these should roughly compare to 12 Econ II/III stations in bonus, correct?
So with Econ III producing 320/s and Econ II producting 160/s, over the base of 80/s, that's 80/s*6 + 240/s*6 = 1920/s worth of boost for 9000 K (and 12 planets to drop them on). That equates to .213 (1920/9000) of income/K for both types.
Now, taking the new values, with 2 harvest nodes (1 metal/1 crystal) on average, you'll go from 20*2*12 m+c (480/s) to 73*2*12 m+c (1752/s). That's 1272/s increase. That's 4000 K for tech II and another 4500 K for tech III, coming in at 8500 K. That's 0.149 worth of income/K if you bring both types of harvesters up. Where's my math gone wrong? Only by adding in the 12 resources nodes on the homeworld do you get this function: ( (53*2*12) + (12*53) ) / 8500 = .224.
Does it seem odd to anyone else that homeworld owns at least 1/3 of your harvesting resources after taking 12 planets?
Take this to a more common scenario where economy is more of an issue, particularly heading into the midgame. You've usually taken your wrapper planets (or wrapping threats, pick your poison) for 3 planets and another 3 staging/ARS planets. That's 6. That gives you a mere set of Econ IIIs.
6*Econ III + Homeworld Station + Homeworld Harvesters + Captured Harvesters = Net Econ
( 320*6 ) + 600 + (12 * 20) + (24 * 20) = 3240/s
Comparison to 8500 K on both sets of Harvster MK IIIs, assuming using only Econ Is:
(80*6) + 600 + (12*73) + (24*73) = 3708/s
Use Mil/Log Is on those other planets and you merely remove 480 in income (and some power), bringing it to 3228.
These ARE now equivalent, even in midgame, and perhaps even slightly more powerful, if the average holds true. But again, it's mostly because the homeworld forces it up. Taking a look at the 9 through 10 map, resources (9.6 game, I've *'d the worlds I controlled at end of game):
|*Camel (Fact IV)||4/2|
|Ceasar (Fact IV)||3/1|
|Pox Aurelia||0/3 |
|Llama ||3/4 |
|Hacker ||0/1 |
|Davion ||3/0 |
|Liao ||2/1 |
|Blackstone ||4/0 |
|*Batman ||3/4 |
|Hotstar ||1/4 |
|Krupp ||4/2 |
|Tau ||1/2 |
|Three Kings (Coreworld)||2/0 |
|Riker (AI HW) ||4/8 |
The reason I bring this up is to illustrate how the deviation is kind of wonky, and can lean a little heavier towards preferred targets. This is a completed game. Assuming noone without a significant strategy will setup an econ system ON one of the AI Homeworlds, my actual harvester count with 11 planets (including the homeworld) was 26/24, for a total of 50 harvesters. Take out the 12 on homeworld and that's 38 harvesters on controlled planets, averaging to 3.8/planet. However 2 worlds (Batman and Camel) are doing a LOT of that heavy lifting (13 harvesters alone on those), and weren't picked up until mid-late game.
Assuming they were 'average' I ended up at 25 + 4, 29 harvesters. Even then it's 2.9/planet average.
That might be why the numbers seem a bit high. However, any lower and I wouldn't bother. I certainly will ignore Harvester IIs, they're just not worth the K by themselves.
For those curious, an 8*HW game will be disgusting economically with these things. 8*12*73 = 7008/s, and is only 3 HW worth of research to bring online. Though it's somewhat compensated for by the fact that you *usually* don't take many more planets in a multi-HW game and thus won't be seeing much other economy, it's still an intense value. These will break
10/10 for multi-HW. Even triple-HW (a much easier scenario to setup defensively and about the 'best choice' for what I've seen so far for unit caps) is monsterous, at 1752/s income off the homeworlds (+600*3 for the cmd stations) for ~3500/s.
Answer: Change mineral distrubution. Homeworlds are overloaded with harvester sites. Reduce homeworld harvesting and get MORE harvesters 'out in the wild' to encourage planet conquering.
Exo Shields - I'll still probably never open them. Oh, they're a lot better, don't get me wrong. I just don't care about harvester sites that much. Your comment about whipping boy tactics makes some sense, but meh. It's not enough. It's all about the K baby.
Mines: Oh lord did they need a hand. This looks tasty. However, one of the 'boosts' for the AoE mines was they could hit mine immune things. Does this still count?
Is it possible to lower rebuild times without lowering build times? In general you need a MASS of mines for them to have any significant effect. Though with the health boost I'm not sure of the impact.
Can the same ship hit the same mine twice? Is it a single collision detection? How do they really work under the hood? That might help them be more effective in our hands.
Warp Jammer stations: I might actually open one of these up now. There's some power there. Not as much as I'd like to see because you're still in significant danger from CPA floatillas, but a heck of a lot better.