You describe some issues, I want to pick out 2 and elaborate on them.Update on the spire for me:
I've been working the fights up to the first boss. I've only tried the catering part once and accomplished it, though I thought it was irritating. If you're going to cater and spend the "goods/supplies/money then just do it. Why make it annoying.
So I've fought each time it's been available since it's come out, partly to let the FS I'm in know of my findings and to make suggestions. I've stopped at the first boss each time. and yes, it's too expensive above the first boss by a long shot.
Since I'm fighting it, I just look at the catering costs and shake my head and click fight.
Now as far as fighting, I'm actually loosing few troops in the overall picture, but I'm a fighting freak and pretty damn good at it.
Straight fights are fairly simple. I scout, then place my troops. I fight manual in the spire and manual when I have the time in the tourneys but autofight is getting used more and more due to time. I hate the way the AI moves my pieces when I auto fight after I start a tourney encounter. I'm almost screaming at the screen, what the hell are you doing that for... so I can only imagine what is happening on a straight autofight.
So, spire... Straight forward encounters are not quite the problem, losses I see can be high and especially for a city not set up to fight and rebound afterwards. That said, it's the multi wave fights... If you set up for the obvious first round, the second or third will often pummel the snot out of you because you can't change your match-ups. So a wise person tries to think ahead and place a more varied setup to counter the future waves. I've been pretty successful at this, but still, the losses do mount up.
I've pushed into the second set of fights and found the fighting noticeably harder straight off, so much so that I backed off before I damaged my tourney prospects for that week.
Upon looking at the prizes in that whole next section up to the frog, I found the prizes to be very similar to the first round and for the overall cost of doing that next round to the boss, I feel INNO has an imbalance to address.
For those that do enjoy the spire and the tough of it, I'd say, stick to the first round and whenever you are faced with multiple waves, try and varry your troop placement a little to counter potential threats. You can kind of read into where the AI is going to go by seeing what kind of troops are being used.
Look at what blend is being used against you and know you'll need to blend too.
I've managed to get all of the moonstone set except the gate... multiples of the small pieces. It's nice having it... It's far from a fire bird, but I'm glad I don't have to work so hard to get CC and spell fragments, and the few thousand scrolls for me is a nice little perk.
Conclusion: To the first boss... ignore after the spire afterward, and have your fire bird fed, and other fighting building boosts up and running for best results.
It will take a while but you can get all the pieces of the moonstone set within the first section.
Blessings to all, rock on!
First, you say you scout ,so I assume go in on manual with some rangers to look at the terrain, back out, choose units and go back in. Great, except it takes a lot of time and with some of the opposing units having a real high initiative it means taking losses just to take a look. Also, it is something one cannot do when using the app, so even the scouting is out for players on mobile devices. And for players in lower chapters just taking damages to take a look is not an excellent way of playing.
Secondly, you state that you do most of the fights manually. I find the fights are do-able manually, even though the losses are high due to the sheer amount of troops involved. But you mention the same problem I found as well. The AI already isn't great, but it has absolutely no clue on how to handle multiple waves and will sacrifice right at the start of the first wave units one would want to keep for the second or third wave.
Not only that, but the game changes the setup of your units in the next waves. At the very least a player should have the ability to choose the setup again before entering the fight in the next wave.
All in all, it means that the Spire is pretty much out for anyone playing by app, unless one wants to negotiate most of the encounters. This is a great oversight on Inno's part since more and more people are using the app. Making a game lose a lot of the functionality will not exactly encourage new(er) players.
And though some people praise the new library set, I'm completely unimpressed. Yes, they create some nice decaying sentient goods (for me in chapter 14), but at a rate it hardly even registers. For lower chapters it generates some supplies and goods, but again not exactly at a spectacular rate.
Considering the effort needed to get them, I feel the prizes are just not even close to being worth the effort. Or rather, I think the buildings are just fine as a reward, since finally there are some buildings that do not overproduce goods, but the effort to get them is completely out of sync with their performance.
The spell fragments and the CC-spell on the other hand are very great additions. Though finding 3 or 4 of those in 1 chest at the first fights seems a bit overmuch. That could be reduced a bit, but then again, the whole reward system needs a thorough looking at.
The Spire could be made easier with pretty much the same rewards for the first round up to the boss, then harder on the second time through with better rewards and then again harder and better prizes for the 3rd time. And for those who really are into it, why not make it an open-ended system?
Round 1 should be do-able with some effort even for players who are serious about it but still in chapter 3. With squads maxed at the regular squadsize.
Round 2 should for instance have a 25% increase in squadsize for the players army, but 33% for the AI. And an increase in the negotiation-cost to reflect that as well.
In round 3 that increase could be added again, ad infinitum. Of course, the value of the prizes should reflect the increased effort.
And yes, that would make it easier for more advanced players to get more and better rewards, but that is not so different from the tourney. A player in chapter 3 will probably not do much more than 5 provinces, where an advanced player can easily do 25, thus gaining more and better rewards. There's nothing wrong with that.