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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:01 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
The "max number" of orbitals allowed is a display issue, not a meter issue. In my proposal it does not effect the meter in any way.
Assume 5 tech levels of orbitals. At TL 1, the max is 20, TL 2, max: 40, at TL 5 max: 100. The number of individual orbitals that the current value represents is not relevant to how the meter works. The player could be totally ignorant of the max number of orbitals which can be displayed around a planet, and the progress of the defense meter would make just as much sense, and act just like any other meter not tied to population.

I'm (clearly) confused. Is there no practical purpose to the tech levels you propose, in that they would only change how the strength of orbitals are displayed? If you impose a limit of 20 orbitals at tech level 1, as suggested, then what happens if a player gets an orbitals meter of 21 without discovering the tech that lets them produce Mk. II orbitals? Do you display 20 orbitals, and have the extra just hidden?

Quote:
...oddities like 20 smallish orbitals suddenly changing to 10 medium sized ones when you get a new tech.

This doesn't really worry me, and doesn't seem like a sufficiently big problem to warrant tracking individual oribitals for each planet as suggested... It's effectively a realism argument about how something is displayed, so not especially compelling. Also, any such change in visible orbitals would take a turn to occur, which we can assume is about a year of game-universe time, which could be said to be enough time for a switchover to occur.

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Geoff the Medio wrote:
If there were shields and orbitals, then each could function at a different timescale.
I still don't see a way that would be useful. Is spending multiple turns shooting at helpless shields fun?

If all we did was have shields that generally take a few turns to knock out, then their only real benefit would be to give a counterattack fleet time to arrive.

However we'll probably also have ground troops that can be dropped through the shields, long-term blockades of systems you can't or don't want to actually take over, and various yet-to-be-defined forms of alternative warfare that can exploit the situation of having a fleet in an enemy system with planets you can't / haven't yet actually captured / destroyed.

And all the above will be compatible with there being planetary defense orbitals that can be fought and destroyed during a single battle (and which do fire back, as that's their purpose).

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:arrow: Still my strongest argument is: The space defense of a planet is not so important that it needs 2 meters, especially when i've explained a way to get the majority of strategic value into a single meter.

I don't think having distinct defensive and offensive strength to planets is excessive. Presumably most ships will have separate values for both (if not more), and there are a lot more ships than planets, and the latter are a lot more important individually.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:19 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
The "max number" of orbitals allowed is a display issue, not a meter issue. In my proposal it does not effect the meter in any way.
Assume 5 tech levels of orbitals. At TL 1, the max is 20, TL 2, max: 40, at TL 5 max: 100. The number of individual orbitals that the current value represents is not relevant to how the meter works. The player could be totally ignorant of the max number of orbitals which can be displayed around a planet, and the progress of the defense meter would make just as much sense, and act just like any other meter not tied to population.

I'm (clearly) confused.

Ok, my last explanation was bad.
I had written out the start of a long explanation, and then lost it. Hopefully this will work.
Assuming 5 Tech Levels of orbitals:
TL1 the defense meter max is 20,
for each additional TL the max defense meter increases by 20.

Everything else i've said may be considered a display issue. It's how the defense meter is visually interpreted onto the screen. It emphasizes or echos what is happening with the Tech levels and meter growth.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
...oddities like 20 smallish orbitals suddenly changing to 10 medium sized ones when you get a new tech.

This doesn't really worry me, and doesn't seem like a sufficiently big problem to warrant tracking individual oribitals for each planet as suggested... It's effectively a realism argument about how something is displayed.

My motivation has nothing to do with realism. I want to make it obvious what is happening with the orbitals, and converting the whole batch behind the scenes to different numbers/models of orbitals does not help. As a bonus what i've described can give a little more uniqueness to each planet's defenses and perhaps show some of it's history.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
However we'll probably also have ground troops that can be dropped through the shields, long-term blockades of systems you can't or don't want to actually take over, and various yet-to-be-defined forms of alternative warfare that can exploit the situation of having a fleet in an enemy system with planets you can't / haven't yet actually captured / destroyed.

As i've explained, all the above is perfectly compatible with the orbital-only scenario i've described. You only attack my orbitals if you want to take over planets with ships. Otherwise, you can use alternative attacks, or simply attack the ships and leave the planets alone to control the system and blockade the planets. Ground troop landers that go through orbital defenses are just as easy to code as ones that go through shields.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
Quote:
:arrow: Still my strongest argument is: The space defense of a planet is not so important that it needs 2 meters, especially when i've explained a way to get the majority of strategic value into a single meter.

I don't think having distinct defensive and offensive strength to planets is excessive. Presumably most ships will have separate values for both (if not more), and there are a lot more ships than planets, and the latter are a lot more important individually.

Ships aren't really a useful comparison, because if anything has been decided in this thread, it's that planetary defenses should be much simpler to deal with than ships.

    (A) My single meter can provide 85-95% of the strategic gameplay value.
    (B) If we double the number of meters, (as you describe) we get 15-5% more gameplay.

    I think it's pretty clear that this project has been built by generally choosing options like "A".

Honestly, i think you just really like the idea of planetary shields— which is fine, but not a compelling design consideration.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:35 pm 
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You know, you could just have one meter for orbitals and shields*. You may have to have one unified tech tree for both but that's not a big problem.

*when I say shields, I mean shield generators. The meter wont track the current strength of the shield, only if you have a level 1 or X generator.


And I would be opposed to ground combat ignoring orbital defences, you should have to blockade them intostarvation or attack the orbitals head on to conquer a planet.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:10 pm 
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Tortanick wrote:
You know, you could just have one meter for orbitals and shields*. You may have to have one unified tech tree for both but that's not a big problem.

*when I say shields, I mean shield generators. The meter wont track the current strength of the shield, only if you have a level 1 or X generator.


If you can propose a way that a meaningful single meter controls orbitals and shields, i'd love to hear it, but i doubt it is possible.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:46 am 
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After playing around with ver. 0.3.1-RC 6, I think I have a few ideas about how to conduct combat with non-ship objects.

First off, I like utilae's idea of the player defining some defense plans or packages that can be applied to their planets. I think it would give a excellent amount of decision to players, but it would be a lot less micromanagement than having to construct all the defensive installations one. at. a. time. per. planet.

I also agree that planetary weaponry should not have a long range (as in no planet-to-planet firing). They would be limited to be a means of counter-attack during a fleet-mounted assault.

However, I had a question, would an offensively advancing player be able to do planet or system-hopping. (As in, would I be able to send my fleet past a star system in a star lane choke-point that consisted of heavily-defended planets without engaging them, and be able to steamroll a more vulnerable system that was on a star lane on the other side of the heavily-guarded border system. All the while, the victim's empire's fleets were elsewhere.)

I don't think there should be a meter for planetary shields and orbitals. There could be a small icon right next to the planets that have orbitals. Clicking on the icon would open up the list of the orbitals that are around the planet. The list of the orbitals could be arranged like how fleets are arranged. This lets players know that they are going up against a planet with orbitals, and if they are curious, they could find out which model(s) of orbitals are being used without cluttering up the GUI.

Shield generators and other ground installations might do well to be lumped together as part of their own on-planet icon.

Here's my idea about how shields should work: the power level of the shield generators are added together to make up the planetary shield. When the orbital bombardment commences, the planetary shield blocks damage up to equal its power. If the bombardment is just as or not as strong as the planetary shield, no damage occurs. However, if the bombardment overpowers the shield, the damage that is not blocked goes through and causes damage to whatever is the highest in the target queue until it is destroyed, and then damages the next highest enqueued target, and so on. The shields then regenerate for combat in the next turn. (If the generators were not destroyed in the previous onslaught.)

As for balancing out the reward for researching better orbitals, why not pseudo-apply the cube square law in terms of power and cost of building/upgrading. Yes, the player could build two Mark I's but they would only match a Mark II and the two combined would be slightly more expensive than a single Mark II and so on. In other words give the larger/more advanced orbitals slightly more “pow for the production point” than a just-as-powerful swarm of weaker individuals. I agree that there would need to be a total number limit imposed by a logistics tech in order to encourage players to research the better orbitals.

Another thing that might shift favor to more advanced orbitals would be to enable attacking fleets the option of combining their fire to attack the weakest orbital at a time. I think orbitals should not be allowed to self-repair (at least significantly) while an enemy fleet is in the same star system or within one turn after an enemy attack. A fluff reason would be that the mostly civilian construction ships would not be able to service objects out in planetary orbit while a battle is going on. The shield generators might be repairable if they weren't destroyed.

If I may suggest, there could be a basic defense meter based on things such as racial bonuses, research technology, and general focus and universe adjustments. This may essentially be how well-built or organized things such as local militias, law enforcement, and planet-wide national guards. Its purpose in large battles is to stack the odds success in the favor of defenders. This would prevent large, established colonies or home worlds from being taken by a single troop transport, but you would probably need an attachment of ground units or a fighter base to counter more organized offensives.

[edited by Chaz Turbo for length and topic relevance.]


Last edited by Chaz Turbo on Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:41 am 
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Chaz, welcome to FreeOrion. :)

I appreciate you enthusiasm, but putting all your ideas in a single post is not the best way to get them across. ;) This thread is about a specific subset of combat (see the first post), which doesn't include (for instance) ground combat. So in effect you are obscuring ideas which might be seriously considered with ideas which won't (in this context).

Also in a design thread such as this, it's generally not very compelling merely to describe the features you would like. Much more convincing is to describe how the feature enhances gameplay, how it meets the general design goals of the project, and why it's simpler and more fun than other proposals.

FO is quite a large and complex project, you may want to check the link in my sig for new contributors, to help get the feel for things.

Chaz Turbo wrote:
However, I had a question, would an offensively advancing player be able to do planet or system-hopping. (As in, would I be able to send my fleet past a star system in a star lane choke-point that consisted of heavily-defended planets without engaging them, and be able to steamroll a more vulnerable system that was on a star lane on the other side of the heavily-guarded border system. All the while, the victim's empire's fleets were elsewhere.)

SLs (StarLanes) are intended to create choke points. This aspect hasn't been entirely finalized, however, there's a strong consensus conquest of the planets isn't necessary to control a system and travel further. Defeat of the defending fleet is normally and perhaps always necessary.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:17 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Planet defenses wouldn't be invisible, but just would not treated as distinctly controllable ship-like objects. If we didn't attempt to give each individual orbital specific properties related to how powerful it was, and just generate a small swarm of some appropriate number / appearance of orbitals at the start of a battle, then we can show them blowing up or shooting to animate the planet's damage or attacks during the battle. In partciular, you wouldn't keep track of how poweful an individual orbital's weapon was, or how damaged it was, but would instead animate an orbital blowing up whenever the planet was sufficiently damaged to reduce the orbitals meter enough to warrant showing one blow up. The frequency or power of planet weapon shots would similarly adjust with damage.


So you could see the orbitals after all, nice to know. Could this kind of a system still have those orbitals exploding, which have been taking the most damage from enemy fire? So that there wouldn`t be situations where orbitals that have not been fired upon would just suddenly explode, because some other orbitals, possibly on the other side of the planet, are being shot at.

I also agree that there might be some new strategic/tactical options for the player if we would also have a strong planetary shield in addition to the orbitals, although I still am rather sceptical about having increased amount of ground combats. However could it be possible to make this kind of a two meter system compatible with a possible defensive focus? Now I of course realize that this thread isn`t about a defensive focus, but since I would very much want to give the player as much control over the planetary defences as easily possible, this might be worth considering. So could the planetary shield meter be made so important that the player might want to focus it instead of the orbital meter? Or could these two have a combined focus in some strange way?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:24 pm 
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It seems to me that having planets involved in battle would give the game more realism than otherwise. That being said, the features of planetary involvement in combat should be geared towards enriching the player's experience with the secondary goal of enhancing realism.


I propose an system involving both orbitals and planet based weaponry. This planet based weaponry would be housed by a single planetary defensive base, which has customizable weaponry much like ships, as well as special planet-only equipment such as planetary shields or planetary cloaking devices. Construction would involve a one time construction of the base itself as well as several optional add-ons to increase it's capacity for equipment, weaponry, and troops.

The player would have the option of constructing these add-ons at any time after the base has been built. These add-ons would be like increasing the size of a ship. The number of add-ons would be limited based on the technology of the player's empire. The weaponry itself could be updated in much the same manner as refitting a ship. This style gives the player a greater feel of control over planetary defense.


Naturally the player could have only one of these facilities per planet, otherwise the limit of size increases would be ineffective. However, if planets are to have moons, each moon would be able to have their own base. (This, IMO, should be the only way the planets are distinguished from their moons in terms of development and infrastructure.)

Players attacking the planet should perhaps be able to choose what they target on the planet, i.e. specific buildings, housing areas, etc., but only if it can be managed fluidly within battle. Possibly a pop-up if you click the planet giving you a list of the on-planet targets that you have the technology to detect. (Blue with two columns of white text seems cool.) In this case, the planet wide cloaking device will continue to cloak individual buildings and keep them from detection long after the planet itself has been detected. If no buildings can be detected, the attacker would have the option of shooting blindly with much lower chance of damaging buildings.

The option of targeting specific buildings would support more variations of combat goals in the form of surgical strikes on a specific type of building. For example, if you want to damage another empires research capabilities, you make a few small strike forces and send them to destroy the enemy's research labs. Or, if there is a capitol-like building like in MoO2, one could assemble a strike force and attempt to destroy it. Naturally, the player would choose to defend his capitol more thoroughly than other colonies, giving way to interesting strategic scenarios.


The next point is orbitals. This one is tricky. It should (and no doubt will/has) receive great care and thought. My thoughts have led me to these ideas:

Planets can have a number of orbitals in relation to the size of the planet. This makes sense in terms of strategy because a large planet is more valuable and more likely to be besieged than a small planet. The presence of a moon subtracts 1 from the number of orbitals that can be made. A moon is not to be seen as a disadvantage because of it's effect, but an advantage, as the base on the moon is capable of greater weapons storage than an orbital. This makes a colony with a moon preferable to a colony without a moon, thus causing more opportunity for strategic colonization.

Orbitals should be have different options for size and shape, similar to ships, and be customizable. However, a given orbital should have less storage capacity for weapons and equipment than a ship of the corresponding size, even accounting for the exclusion of engines. This is so that orbitals will be seen as lesser defense mechanisms than ships, so players will be encouraged to defend colonies with ships as well as orbitals. Orbitals, however, must be made considerably less expensive than ships so that players won't abuse the system simply by defending with ships, ignoring the idea of orbitals all together.

This type of orbital system will give the player reasonable control over system defense and allow the construction of specialized orbitals for specific systems in which the field of battle may require special strategy to obtain an advantage, while maintaining a fairly simple and understandable system.


The final point is ground troops. This is very important, as this will probably be the main means by which colonies change hands. I suggest that troops be able to be teleported or landed on any planet without a shield. If a shield is present, it must be disabled before ground troops can be sent to the surface. If a troop transport vessel is in combat, the player will have the option of "boarding" the planet in the same way they would board a ship. The difference is that the combat will take place after the battle.

If the battle is won by the attackers, all troops in the attacker's fleet will engage all troops (that weren't in the destroyed weapon base) on the defender's planet. Troop barracks would have heavier armour and be more difficult to detect than regular buildings to avoid abuse of the selective building targeting system. If the battle is won by the defender but the attacker still managed to land troops, the troops that the attacker landed will fight all troops on the planet. If the attacker wins in this situation, space combat reconvenes immediately with the captured planet fighting the enemy forces. In this case, bases on moons are considered ships and will fight against the planetary forces.

This system avoids excessive confusion while providing several opportunities for strategic combat.


This pretty much covers planets involvement in combat. There is, however, the consideration of other non-ship objects such as asteroids and nebulae. As far as asteroids are concerned, I think they should just be immutable obstacles, or even just be part of the background. Nebulae should have the effect of eliminating shielding (possibly counteracted by technology) and massively increasing the stealth statistic of all objects in the area. This makes a planet in a nebula a very interesting strategic position. (Perhaps other empires can't tell that you have colonized inside a nebula without proper sensor technology? Stealth bonuses on the map screen for ships in a nebula?).

These are my ideas for non-ship objects in combat. I hope they are made useful. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:14 am 
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IMHO orbitals and planetary defenses are both necessary and far more simplistic for overall defense, and here is why:

The current structure of the game is set so that I do not fully see all of the systems or their layout, which is fine. But when I go about defending my system exactly how many ships will I be required to build in order to defend that system. I'd rather go through the trouble of setting up shields, an orbital defense platform (or star base), and a ground cannon or two (heck, even just a flak cannon system to repel invading ships of marines set upon destroying my shield generator).

Without orbitals, when combat starts I need to make sure to have a ship protecting each system, and of course it would be nice to have a few ships to be able to actually attack someone. Now mind you I'll still leave ships at critical planets even if there are planetary defense systems.

I understand that realism need to be set aside, but lets face it, it would be so unrealistic not to have them as to be ridiculous. Every 4x game I've ever played has had them to some extent and allowed the planet to fire upon oncoming ships. Are we to believe that my empire will be protected by only the ships I can produce, thus requiring me to make sure I give a lot of research points toward tech for the building of ships, when I could potentially be spending less on ground defenses and spending the extra on things like better production, espionage, trade systems and so on.

I understand that the can be a bit of a pain in their creation, but the beauty of them is they are make and forget. Give them the ability to be upgraded at a later date en mass and then its not such a burden. And as always its optional to just not build them (And create a monster fleet).

As to a proposition, I would like to see a little more detail to them than just simply a meter specifying that there are defenses. Maybe their range wont be as good (overcoming gravity and that pesky atmosphere), but they should have the opportunity to fire back at ships should it be necessary. And it could potentially be done using systems that start out with a simple construction that can be upgraded as you go that act as a system rather than a single building or weapon. Whether you can build it there would depend on the level of colony and upgrading would depend upon your current tech as well as colony level.
For example: The first level may be the Planetary Security System that includes only flak cannons and ground guns usable only against troops. (Possibly only one for the first system) The upgraded model (Planetary Defense System) gives it a system of missiles it can fire only once every 3 or 4 rounds in addition to the previous (based upon your current missile tech as well as the level of the colony, giving it a built in upgrade system...build and forget). The next could have cannons or PD weapons or whatever, but in all cases they upgrade automatically. This way you get the realism of ground cannons and the like without all the hassles of actually maintaining them constantly every round.

Also i hate to think of millions of people running around in random directions screaming with no way of fighting back. Those poor people. At least give them bomb shelters, or Temples to pray in before they're vaporized! :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:58 am 
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J.Monster and BigJoe5, welcome. :)

I haven't the time yet to carefully read what you've written, but i thought it would be good to get in a few quick clarifications.

* Ground Combat is not on topic in this thread, except as weapons might prevent ships from landing on a planet and initiating ground combat. Ground combat is scheduled for much later in the roadmap.

* Moons have not been included in FO, and are unlikely to be added later. Though many of us like the idea, an implementation which adds more fun than micromanagement couldn't be thought up.

* While you can build things on planets, this will be quite different from MoO2,3. "Buildings" are relatively rare, specialized and powerful, much more like Civ's "Wonders" Not the kind of thing that would be built on most planets as a matter of course.

* FO is a pretty large and complex project. See the link in my signature (if you haven't already) for some stuff to help you get up to speed.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:15 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Assuming 5 Tech Levels of orbitals:
TL1 the defense meter max is 20,
for each additional TL the max defense meter increases by 20.

Would the idea be to have just 5 techs that can alter the defense meter max, each of which gives +20, and no other effects that alter the max defense meter? If so, this seems like an unnecessary level of design restriction at this point, in that it would seem to prohibit any other factors from modifying the max meter.

Or are there various other defense max meter-altering effects that would actually cause the max meter to grow, but there would be a separate limit on the max meter dependent on the tech level? So you could have +30 to defense from various effects (other techs, specials, buildings, etc.) but would be limited to a max of 20 if you only had the first tech level? If so, this seems needlessly complicated and different from how other meters work (in which effects determine the max, and there aren't any other limits other than the absolute limits on all meters).

Independent of their effects, if any, on max meter levels, we could have a few techs that alter how the current meter value is translated into individual orbitals in a battle, so having the ratio of meter value to displayed orbitals change isn't dependent on having additional fixed limits on max meter value, or on having only a very small number of defense max meter-altering techs (and nothing else that alters the defense max meter) in the game.

Quote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
...oddities like 20 smallish orbitals suddenly changing to 10 medium sized ones when you get a new tech.
This doesn't really worry me, and doesn't seem like a sufficiently big problem to warrant tracking individual oribitals for each planet as suggested...
I want to make it obvious what is happening with the orbitals, and converting the whole batch behind the scenes to different numbers/models of orbitals does not help.

If it ends up being confusing or distracting, then we can worry about this later, but for the initial version it don't seem important.

Quote:
You only attack my orbitals if you want to take over planets with ships. Otherwise, you can use alternative attacks, or simply attack the ships and leave the planets alone to control the system and blockade the planets. Ground troop landers that go through orbital defenses are just as easy to code as ones that go through shields.

My problem with this arises from the fact that planetary defenses, at least in the form of orbitals, are supposed to be relatively weak. They were justified as a way to provided a basic level of self-defense for planets and systems so that the player doesn't have to constantly maintain a garrison of ships at every colonized planet to prevent relatively minor attacks from wreaking havoc while the player's attention is focused on more important large fleet engagements elsewhere.

Consequently, planetary defenses will be insufficient to stop any non-trivial fleet, so any such fleet will be able to easily crush them and take over the system. In this case, it seems that, if there are just orbitals that are easy to destroy, there will rarely arise situations in which it is desirable or necessary to park a fleet in a system and using various alternative forms of warfare to ignore or bypass the orbitals. Instead, it would be easier to just take out the orbitals and have complete control of the system.

However, if there are planetary shields though, which are significantly harder than offensive orbitals to disable or destroy, or which just take more than one turn of battle to destroy, then there is a much greater freedom to promote the use of such alternative forms of warfare or non-military influence over planets.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:48 am 
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Any more on-topic comments? Is anyone convinced by my reasons to have both shield and planet offensive / orbital meters, or does eleazar's preference for just one meter seem more reasonable?

I'd like to finalize this particular point soon...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:52 am 
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It still seems strange to me that both your planetary defense ideas consist of only shields and orbitals.

But, overall what is one extra meter. How are these meters going to be conveyed to the player? Is it really going to be a headache to deal with two meters as opposed to one?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:06 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Any more on-topic comments? Is anyone convinced by my reasons to have both shield and planet offensive / orbital meters, or does eleazar's preference for just one meter seem more reasonable?

I'd like to finalize this particular point soon...

After having become more aware of the meter system and the general game concepts, I've decided that having two meters is a good idea. Having planetary shields can help equalize the militarist strategy with all the other possible ones, so if it takes a few turns to break through a planetary shield, a less militaristic empire will still have a slight chance to fight back.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:32 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Any more on-topic comments? Is anyone convinced by my reasons to have both shield and planet offensive / orbital meters, or does eleazar's preference for just one meter seem more reasonable?


My opinion to this planetary shield and orbitals or just orbitals question might be already clear to you from this quote:

MikkoM wrote:
I also agree that there might be some new strategic/tactical options for the player if we would also have a strong planetary shield in addition to the orbitals, although I still am rather sceptical about having increased amount of ground combats.


However just to be sure I am going to post it here in little more detail. I think that it has been successfully pointed out that having a strong planetary shield together with orbitals can add interesting strategic options to the game. I am also not so worried about having two meters instead of one, since FreeOrion meters so far have been quite easy to deal with.

So this kind of a system seems acceptable to me as long as it is possible to destroy the shield by using some sort of shield breaking space weapons or normal space weapons in addition to ground troops or possible spy tactics. Using those weapons to destroy the shield might of course take some time, but the important thing, at least to me, would be that there are other alternatives to destroy the shield than endless ground combats.

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