« on: November 19, 2012, 04:18:13 AM »
9/9 vs. 9.6/9.6 is a HUGE difference here, even in the early game. Some of it's due to me picking maws instead of something that constantly (and comparatively uselessly) went head to head with massive numbers of tanks (reprocessors), but yeaaaah, I'm floating in Econ on 9/9 and I'm in the middle of assaulting a MK IV after punting a MK III out the window.
Hell, I was able to defend the homeworld with a handful of gravs, 20 snipers, 20 LRMs, and 25 basics from both 'introductory' waves. My fleet was able to go out and do stuff in the beginning.
Needless to say, that's not something I'm all that familiar with anymore.
At 50 minutes or so I had 2 worlds and most of the whipping boy built, along with a few warp gate pops to single-entry the homelands.
I didn't have any significant issues until I'd blown up the raids, was rebuilding a bit of fleet after stuffing it into a system and eating ions, and was still finishing up the final turretry on the WB.
At about an hour, I purposely drew out the SF. They were measly targets.
These two planets are a 4/4 and a 0/4 taken for strategical reasons, and I've ignored a 2/1 and an 0/1 as easy borderworlds and only took the III/IV. I'm getting 440 mats from the first and 220 from the second, and homeworld's a 6/6 so 660 there. Had I Econ III'd I'd have those two up getting 320/world (+ energy) and only 240 off the homeworld from the harvesters. I'm purposely ignoring the base econ from the structures for this. I also don't have the energy crunch I'd usually have as I'm not relying on every blasted thing I can possibly build at this point. I'm waiting for an AIP 73-75 wave to come in so I can try to discuss recovery calculations. I've just started to bring the mini-forts online. I'm really having no issue keeping my econ flowing (averaging at ~200k/300k) but I've yet to famine when it wasn't my own doing.
The waves are SLOW. Wow.
1 hour in, the fifth (maybe fourth, I really need to clear my logs) wave finally gets around to showing up. A mere 394 ships. I lost... 'eh... 20 Basic Is? Negligible losses.
In my opinion, the majority differences about the economic viability/overwhelming value of Harvesters is coming from the diff levels and expectations of use and loss, which Wingflier mentioned but it depends on where you want to balance for 9k in econ boosts vs. having MK IIs of the triangle + bonus ship (give or take 1k). Econ IIIs (with a bit more worlds) are roughly equivalent of 3/3 worlds, which are above average unless you're hunting for them. Balance off the starting harvesters and add-ons on the homeworld and even early game wouldn't really notice the difference.
Although, I personally agree with my first sentiment to this discussion. If you think spending most of your starting K in economy and being able to (more) easily bank for refleets is too powerful, crank up your difficulty. My personal preference is to throw 4 or 5 MK I fleets at a planet in the same time it'd take to build off the entire MK I/II fleet and use that (it'd be more but you have more defensive rebuilds with the multi-fleets). However, the MK I/II fleet is probably more effective in the long term, though devastating to rebuild when waves are crashing the gates of your whipping boys.
At this point it's a design decision. What should 9000 in research K actually DO to an empire? That's 3 worlds of K. I personally don't feel the econ rate is overpowered for the price.
Looking over the numbers, however, I need to retract my earlier comparison between Econ Stations and Harvesters, but not for the reasons that you're losing other stations. Only 6 of the Econ stations are important. I'd actually prefer to see MK III Econs get uncapped so the IIs aren't underwhelming when you bring Mil/Log IIIs online. The rest are either fillers in huge empires or they're additional bonuses if you can't find any decent starter worlds nearby in the early game (3/3+ that you can take). So, are MK III Harvesters overpowered compared to MK III Econ stations. Well, yes, if you don't care as much about strategical positioning as you do about building your econ. But mostly because of usage. A rebalance of the howeworld resources would get rid of any other early game advantage.
To explain why I don't think they're THAT far off each other however, to utilize the 9k I've spent on harvesters effectively to AIP, I need to leave two AI worlds with access to the homeworld, or I soak 40+ AIP for minimal econ gains. Econ stations allow for more strategical access to roughly equivalent econ, but take up space from something else more 'useful', depending on its location in your supply chain.