Release notes here!
The main change this time is definitely the removal of Shields (forcefields from AIWC), the rationale and discussion is too voluminous for this post, but if you’re curious the main discussion was here and here. (Edit: sorry, I was writing this in a hurry, and I forgot something very important: Thank you for all the feedback!)
Many of the other changes between 0.712 and 0.714 (0.713 was an internal version) were to adjust to this post-shield universe, and the result has been a lot of fun in testing. Here are a few of those changes:
* Snipers no longer have infinite range. Instead, they have about 50% longer range than anything else. So instead of shredding your unshielded missile corvettes instantly upon your arrival, AI snipers will have to wait for you to get in range. If you send in the corvettes expect heavy losses, but once you close the range the corvettes can do a decent job of killing the fragile snipers. Alternatively you can let the corvettes hang back and send in the fighters and bombers to do clear the way.
* To facilitate such “fighters go to point A, bombers to point B, corvettes to point C” tactics, the [ and ] keys now cycle through quick-selecting each of the types of units you have on the planet. So you can “press ], right-click A, press ] again, right-click B, press ] again, right-click C”, or something like that. And if you then see a bunch of fighters bearing down on your bombers, press [ to get back to the bombers and pull them away from the fighters.
* The planet area has been increased yet again, so there’s more room for you to keep the enemy away from key targets.
* Tractors are now much more powerful; again to make it easier to keep the enemy from getting in range of things you don’t want it to shoot.
* Tractors, Gravity generators, and Tachyon arrays were generally overhauled to provide obvious paths for upgrading your defensive setup’s ability to stop the enemy from getting places you don’t want it to go.
And here are some other highlights:
* Several metric tons of voice work!
* A bunch of new space backgrounds.
* You now start with a Flagship. It’s weaker than the normal ones but this way your early battles aren’t lacking the basic sorts of support you’ll normally have available later in the game.
* Your initial neighbors are much easier to conquer (you’ll get chewed up if you simply blob-roll the whole thing, but you’ll generally still win the battle).
* Unit counts have been doubled.
* A bunch of bugfixes, and some more balance work.