OK, I talked myself into this... I'm creating a "Manual Thread" for the devs so we don't get stupid questions like "how does bounty work?" "Why doesn't my phase inhibitor work?" quite as often. The below consists of what I've gotten so far, people do me a favor and point out what else I need! (I'm considering including a section on common complaints / suggestions, too)Please note that I am only a fan and beta tester, in no way officially affiliated with Stardock or Ironclad Games. This is purely my knowledge and opinions, leavened with information and ideas others might give me. They are not in any way responsible for any part of this work, other than (hopefully) slapping a "sticky" on it. Until such a time as they give it a sticky, feel free to help bump it by posting any ideas / suggestions you have for it.
I can't do internal hyper links ATM, but so far I have included the following headers (use your browsers "search" feature to jump to them):
Phase Jump Inhibitors
Defenses -- Includes description of units and uses, suggested defensive patterns, common mistakes and fun tricks
Strategy and TacticsUI "tricks"
Alt key: You can use this key to display range information for all friendly units. By highlighting a unit, you change the color of its range circle so you can tell which is which. Also allows you to view enemy weapons
ranges, but not enemy repair ranges for repair centers (presumably a bug) by highlighting enemy units.
Ctrl + Shift + Z: Temporarily hides the UI to allow for screenshots
Shift Key: By default this slows down the zoom rate, however if you modify the "zoomMult" and "slowZoomMult" settings inside Setting \ camera.setting, you can change this.
Unit AI controls: If you want to change the way your individual units act, there are (currently) two controls. This is scheduled for change "eventually", but as of this writing the "Move" and the "attack" button can both be right-clicked. The move button selects between ships jumping as individuals (note that pathing will still assume jumping out as a group, calculating the exit point for the aggregate mass of all units selected rather than by-ship) or as a group (if group is too far spread apart, some units will end up jumping out early as there is a 30 second limit on how long they will wait). The attack button controls the attack range
your ships will use. Gravity well means they will move to attack enemy units in the entire grav well, local area means they will engage the enemy if he comes within approximately 1/4 of the grav well from their position, and hold position means they won't move to engage the enemy, though they will still fire on him.
Guard: If you tell units to move to another unit, they'll stick with it and act as guards -- doesn't sound important, but you can use this to make your flak frigates stay with high-profile targets like capitol ships, rather than running off to engage fighters, and not being in position to actually protect anything.
Groups: You can use control + a number key to create a user-defined group of units, the same as with most RTS's. However, you can also use the "shift" key to add selected units to the group, and you can use the shields that appear at the top of the empire bar to set a system's rally point to the fleet (more accurately, any units constructed will be given a guard order for a given unit in that fleet, and join any fleets its in). NOTE: While it is possible to double-list units in multiple groups, odd behaviors can result -- I frequently keep a "primary" fleet and a "capitol" fleet group, but even when my rally point is set to the primary fleet, units end up guarding a capitol ship and joining both
: Other than data files / executables, the game doesn't store its files inside the install directory, but rather inside a Microsoft mandated folder as follows:
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\
Be aware that some of the folders in question are "hidden" from the user, and you have to select "see hidden files and folders" to access them.Racial Diversity
Sins of a Solar Empire uses a semi-unique system to diversify the available races. Unlike many RTS's which create superficial diversity by giving each race different units with radically different stats and varying unit roles, or SupCom's unit stats tweak, they've come up with a new system. Since combat in space restricts unit options anyways (you need certain roles, and you can't really fiddle with that much) they've made that into a powerful strength for their game, by diversifying their races using some minor stat tweaks, and massive
research, unit power and ability differences.
Now, most people on hearing that go: "Hey, wait, thats back to the 'good old days' of Warcraft 1 / 2! Thats old, so out of date!" However, they fail to look closer, at the implementation in this game. In most games, any unit that had "energy limited" abilities was designed to use them judiciously
, at exact the right moment. Thats not
how Sins does things. Instead, units are designed to spam
their powers as quickly as the (usually short) cooldown comes due (circumstances permitting at least -- stuff like HP regen may not be needed again for a while if it got reinforced by a shield boost). Some unit powers break that mold, of course, (Armistice, Antorak's Phase Gate...) but many more follow it. The initial cap ship abilities, and the researched "add ons" to your fleet creates a smaller degree of diversity early on, that grows, fast, as you research add-on powers and your cruisers (which, unlike other units, aren't
even close to mirrored between races in roles).
In short, you start with the races acting and playing very similar
, then they break outwards from that mold. "Easy to learn, hard to master" is the idea the devs ran with when making this game.TEC Design
The TEC, for the most part, are designed around a bigger hammer and economy design. Their technologies give them superior economy, and their ships work very well in a "bigger hammer" role.Vasari Design
The Vasari, on the other hand, work best from a mobility and intelligence perspective. Don't try and go toe-to-toe (if you can avoid it), instead raid the heck out of the enemy. Later in the game, use an Antorak Maurader of level 6 to bypass enemy defenses and create a phase-gate in their back areas and really have a raid. Other tricks will assuredly be developed as we get a better handle on this race.Bounty
: Bounty is a system to allow for a new, mostly anonymous form of economic warfare. When you place a bounty on an opposing player anyone who destroys that players units get a portion of that bounty (exact numbers displayed when you mouse over a unit) until that bounty is reduced to zero. In addition to the incentive this provides, this also attracts pirates to that player, resulting in bidding wars when a pirate raid is announced as "imminent". Be warned, however, that pirates will prioritize trade ships over bounties, and have been known to travel away from their target as a result.
Whenever bounty is placed on an AI player, it responds by spamming all players with a message about it (randomly chosen from several variants, based on the idea that whoever placed it should come out and fight like a man).Pirates
: Pirates are a neutral force in the game, spawned from special planetoids connected to the stars (one for each star in game). They build up ships in their local planetoid until they have "enough", then launch them against the player with the highest bounty. They then launch all or most (conflicting data points on this) of the built up ships against that player, usually taking the shortest path to reach him, ignoring all other ships on the way -- though they will fire on anything close enough to their transit path, they don't stop and fight. They will vary their chosen path to reach their victim, as well as which planet they attack, including going through the space of that victims allies, and enemies. Generally, once the pirate force arrives it will split up into 3 groups: one will engage any defenses present in the system, another will scatter and raid any trade ships (and trade ports / refineries), and if any "Pillager" units are present they will move straight for the planet and bombard.
Please note that according to the Devs "trade > bounty" for attracting pirates, so simply having a larger bounty doesn't mean they will always go for that person.Phase Jump Inhibitors (PJI)
: This unit has been changed from prior patches. It used to prevent all
outbound enemy phase jumps, but now only blocks them from traveling towards friendly planets. As a result, enemies must destroy the PJI before they can continue deeper into your space during a conquest attempt, preventing capitol raids and the like.Defenses
: You can build defenses in grav wells whose planets you own, using the planetoid's available "tactical" points, upgraded from the planet's menu.Gauss Cannon / Missile Launcher
: Your basic turret unit -- two names, but same general idea. One is a long-recharge, heavy hitting gauss cannon, the other fires swarms of missiles at targets. Limited range requires careful placement, or the enemy can just fly around these (unit AI sometimes makes this difficult for the opposing player). While the cannon's can't be placed far enough out to cover the jump point itself, large fleets sometimes have units jump in deeper into the grav well, potentially in the range of these cannons.Hangar
: Supports 2 squadrons of parasite craft, either Fighters or Bombers. This provides a method of area denial, as the parasite craft can cover the entire system. Be warned that flak cannons, or heavy enemy fighter coverage, will quickly destroy your hangar's squadrons.Repair Center
: A vital
structure, this building will repair battle damage on ships and buildings in its range. This building can repair during battle.Phase Jump Inhibitor
: Once placed in a system, this building prevents the enemy from jumping to other connected systems from within the system in which its placed. It does not
prohibit warping out to neutral systems, or their own. (Note: Need to test specific situation: Player 1 has inhibitor, player 2 jumps in, can player 2 jump to player 3's planet in a FFA game)TEC Specific Units
: This shield will absorb a percentage of all bombardment done against a given planet. This is useful against the only known super weapon, as well as siege-frigates that sneak around your defenses somehow.Vasari Specific Units
This is the
Vasari technology. A phase gate in a planetary grav well allows all ships in that grav well to travel directly
to any other grav well with a phase gate, ignoring normal phase line connections. Only counts for "in system" planets, no inter system connections available
Which is to say, for your ships only
any two grav wells in the same star in which you have a phase gate act as if they have a phase lane between them for the purposes of travel (but not loyalty reduction and culture).Nano Weapon Jammer
This causes enemy vessels to have longer weapon cool downs, effectively reducing their damage out put. Has an upgrade to increase the number of ships it can jam.Defensive Patterns
: There are two common defensive patterns (that I've seen): One is to place gauss cannons wherever needed, usually "walls" at each of the phase line entrance points, and additional cannons covering mining asteroids and the like. Add a PJI near the planet, and hangars as desired. Some players add repair centers near the gauss cannon "walls". This has obvious advantages, as a player will generally have to take out the walls to enter the system, unless he spends the time to crawl around them, and the "local" cannons will guard the mining asteroids / building clusters from one ship raids. Note that its possible to fire on the front ranks of larger fleets as they jump in (Kols and the like get places "ahead" of carriers and the like), but I consider this a bug and exploit as it is contrary to the devs stated reason for limiting the building points for gauss cannons: to give ships breathing space as they jump in.
The other one is the one I prefer, with your defenses tucked up tight against the planetoid. Hangars and the PJI in the center, two rows or so deep, with two repair centers on the "wings", and then a ring of gauss cannons around the entire thing. I usually try for at least 4 guass cannons, and adjust the hangars as needed -- the 2 repair centers are "locked", and I generally don't bother with a shield generator. If I did need a shield generator, I'd take out a hanger for it. The advantage to this is that its very
difficult to take out this defense. The repair centers, once upgraded with both repair upgrades, can repair the defenses rapidly enough that a fairly large fleet is needed to reduce the planet (at least as long as their anti-matter holds out). The gauss cannons prevent anyone from walking up to the hangars / repair centers and just blowing them up, while the hangars provide a system-wide area denial power. If the enemy brings Flaks and LRM frigates, this defense is going to fall, but they have
to bring both flaks (or a lot of fighters) and the LRM frigates if they want to take it without exorbitant losses. Please note that on larger planetoids, its possible to sneak the siege frigates around the planet, bombarding it from out of the range of your defenses -- either have a shield generator, or mobile backup, or just hope you can get reinforcements there in time. You can add some guass cannons in a ring around the planet, but they tend to be a lot more vulnerable, and diverting points to extra repair centers covering them can weaken your central defense node.
I'm experimenting with combining the two techniques, using my "primary" one and placing odd gauss cannons near mining asteroids, (I usually place my buildings inside the repair radius of the defensive node when possible) but I can't speak for its effectiveness yet.
NOTE: Screen shots of each idea incoming, as soon as I get around to taking them.Common Mistakes
: So far, the only really common mistake I've seen is forgetting repair centers, and placing defenses only
at jump points without any backup. Both are fairly minor, though potentially critical.
Although this may not be the right section, I will mention one other mistake: Failure to follow up. Unless your own ships are damaged badly enough to make continuing the fight impractical, don't just let your enemy leave the grav well when they quit. Follow them right to the edge, killing them all the while. Try to jump out and follow them if they aren't going to an enemy system, or maybe even if they are. Failure to do so not only leaves the enemy with more ships, but it leaves the tactical situation under his
control. He could choose to turn around and skirt the grav well, heading for your mining bases, or just sit on a phase point and pick off trade ships until you get your ships back in motion to kick him out. This is incredibly vital when facing a Sova, as its "embargo" ability is crippling
on smaller maps, especially if it hits your capitol. Once upon a time, I attacked an enemy planet and gave up trying to destroy his forces, instead retreating to the grav point. He decided to let me do so... and instead of jumping out, I let my Sova "wait" at the edge of the grav well, ready to jump out, until he went ahead and resumed his counter-offensive. While I would have beaten him anyway, the economic damage I did with that trick crushed his ability to resist. It took me a while, but that was the "moment" I won the game.
The basic concept of following up can also be applied in other places, keep looking!Fun Tricks
: So far, I only have variations on a few tricks. Specifically, if your fighting inside your own grav well, whenever possible
try to fight with your ships inside the range of a repair center. This greatly increases their longevity, making the enemy's job harder. Please note that this isn't always possible -- the enemy makes them stooge around the edges of the system, attacking mining asteroids or sending in missiles / fighters from a distance.
The other "trick" boils down to an old precept: The best defense is a good offense. Learn that, learn that well, and never ever forget it.
I'm serious about that. It applies in more ways than you know. In the game I mentioned above, my defenses were pathetic
, a gauss cannon and a repair center in each system, and that was about it. It never mattered though, because I kept my enemy on the defensive and he never tried to attack me as a result. However, at once point (after the above "moment" where I won the game) he could have slowed me down for a while, maybe even turned the tide. I'd destroyed most of his fleet (but not his capship) when I moved in on his Ice planet in Close encounters. He quickly rebuilt the cobalts as I bombed the ice planet, and he counter-attacked with an inferior force against my prepared forces
. That was a costly mistake, as he lost all his cobalts (again) without threatening my forces seriously. If, instead, he'd taken his cap ship and a few cobalts (add in a siege frigate for the terror factor) he could have forced me to call off my attack in favor of countering his own. He could have then swept in and picked off the siege frigates with a relatively few number of cobalts, while his cap ship (and any supporting vessels) could have easily evaded my efforts to defend the planet. It helped that he failed to scout me, but as I've mentioned elsewhere, similar tactics can still be effective even against a defended planet.Logistics buildings
(AKA economy building): Most of these buildings purposes that focus on peaceful pursuits such as construction, research, and mining. That isn't very exact, as several of these lead into military matters (constructing ships and researching weapons) but its a useful description until I come up with a better one. Please note that these are "cloned" between both Vasari and TEC, and presumably Advent when released, with different names for the different races but the same basic functions.Crystal and Metal miners
: You mine crystals and metals with these. Crystals tend to be rarer, but as of the new beta (and many of the pre-set maps having lots of ice planets) occasionally they can be in far greater supply than metal.Ship Factories
: These makes ships. There are two versions, the lighter version for frigates and cruisers, and a heavier one for capships only.Research Centers
: Coming in two flavors, military and civilian, these enable various research items. Research will have its own section.Trade Ports
: These buildings automatically build trade ships, which will travel between trade ports, creating credits for you with a bonus based on distance traveled. The trade ships are automatically routed by an (undisclosed) internal process, which is supposed to avoid enemy systems, but doesn't.Refinery
: These buildings automatically build refinery ships, which travel to mining asteroids, collecting unrefined resources and returning them to the refinery, where they are turned into useable resources. This occurs even when the asteroid has been depleted, displaying as "0" resources, allowing an effectively infinite resource collection. Asteroids will only be visited so often by refinery ships, as they gather up the unrefined materials. The amount currently on an asteroid is a hidden value.Culture Center
: This building generates culture, which has many effects, not all documented. Each broadcast center creates a certain amount of culture, and multiple centers stack (I don't know how, if it's linear, geometric, or something else).
Culture transmits itself down phase lanes, and is displayed by coloring phase lanes with the color of the player whose culture is dominant. The further away from a broadcast center, the weaker its effects get, with planets taking a larger amount of power from it that traversing a grav well.
Culture helps improve the allegiance of planets, reducing the income loss from capitol distance by 10%. It also increases repair rates of vessels in friendly culture (not sure by what amount) and if your culture is strong enough enemy planets will flip to your side. (As a result of that last piece, in one of the recent patches you are no longer supposed to be able to colonize when an enemy culture is so strong as to flip your planet instantly).Fleet Units
: Please be aware that most fleet units revolve around specific roles. Frigates and cruisers don't specify size or armament, but rather the role the unit plays. For the most part, frigates are your attack units, cruisers your support units, and capitol ships are your flagships, the core of your fleet (but requiring the support of frigates and cruisers). However, these roles are far from "locked" and are in fact quite loose.
Ships have several stats, some of which are not immediately obvious. HP is hull points, the amount of damage a ships hull can take. SP is shield points, how much damage their shields can take before collapsing. Antimatter is energy for special abilities, and is drained by phase jumps.
Shield mitigation is a more interesting idea, however. This is a percent value that increases as your ship comes under enemy fire. As long as the ships shields are intact, shield mitigation negates its percentage of each incoming shot. When shields go down, it ceases to effect damage however.
Armour, on the other hand, helps absorb incoming hull damage. The equation (1-(Armor/100))^4 is an approximation of the formula for percentage damage negated. However, the actual equation used by the devs is, currently, unknown.Frigates
For the most part, frigates have been "cloned" amongst the races -- slightly different stats and costs, but all the same "roles" and roughly the same abilities.Scout Frigate
: Name says it all. It has the ability to automatically fly to planets, exploring and scouting them. Click on it to trigger an automatic routing to an appropriate planet, right click it to make the frigate automatically repeat that command as appropriate. TEC can upgrade it via research, allowing a remote drone to provide scan data after your ships leave and to give it the ability to blow up enemy buildings.Cobalt Light Frigate
: The workhorse of your fleet, the basic combat unit is a vital part of your fleet. TEC can upgrade it with an anti-antimatter ability, making it a deadly capitol ship killer, while Vasari can give it a self-repair power to use between battles.Flak Frigate
: This vessel is designed to kill fighters, and that's what it does. And boy does it do it well! If the enemy has too many fighters, just use these to blow them up.Long Range Missile Frigate
: This vessel is lightly defended, but packs a decent punch in the form of a long range missile barrage, out ranging other units and defenses. If your enemy's defenses are too tough, bring a few of these in pound it to rubble from outside of its range. There is an upgrade for it to give it an AoE attack.Siege Frigate
: This unit is purely to take out enemy planets, bombarding them from orbit. The tactical AI gives this unit a very high priority. Be careful when jumping these units into planets, they are very careless about running straight for the enemy planet, ignoring all defenses in its way. TEC can upgrade with a "fallout" ability to reduce enemy population growth for a time.Colony Frigate
: This unit is to colonize, and gets a high priority from the tactical AI. If its in the system, it will
die ASAP. This can be abused if properly used, use your imagination. This seems like it should be a cruiser instead, as its role is more of what cruisers do in this game.Cruisers:
Cruisers are where the two races really begin to differentiate. Carrier Cruiser
: This unit supports a squadron of parasite vessels, either fighters to take out other squadrons, or bombers to engage enemy vessels and buildings.Heavy Cruiser
: This vessel has heavy weapons and armor, think of it as a tank and you won't be far off. TEC has a researched "afterburner" ability that lets it close with enemy vessels quicker, while Vasari have a researched ability to slow down enemy units instead. This vessel would seem to fit better under frigates, IMO, as it follows closer what frigates tend to do.TEC Specific CruisersHoshiko Robotics Cruiser
: This unit can repair friendly vessels, and has an upgrade to let it disable enemy frigates. The offensive power is generally considered a waste, and left unresearched. If researched, I highly recommend you place the power on manual control until tactical AI is improved for it. This unit is very powerful, and should be included in large numbers in your fleets for its repair ability.Cielo Command Cruiser
: This unit can restore the shields of any friendly vessel whose shields have been dropped, and can be upgraded to help damage enemy vessels with a "designate target" power that increases damage dealt. Again, the defensive power should be kept on manual to prevent misuse by the AI, however it is very useful -- the problem is bad unit selection and the antimatter drain. This unit should be present in large numbers in your fleets as well, for its ability to restore shields.Vasari Specific Cruisers
This unit can increase the armor and give a temporary boost to max HP of friendly units, and with research can see, and with more research interfere, with enemy reinforcements jumping in.Stilakus Subverter
This cruiser can interfere with enemy shields, increasing the chance of phase missiles bypassing them, and reducing the mitigation they give. With research, the ability to do in-grav-well micro jumps to a unit, then somehow weaken or disable it, becomes available.Capitol Ships
Here is where the two races really
distinguish themselves. In addition to varied stats, the powers vary wildly
, and in some cases the roles themselves don't match up.TEC Capitols
: This is one of the nastiest ships in the game, with heavy weapons and armor. It can deal out a beating, and take it too. It has a direct damage ability thats so-so powerful, a flak burst that really isn't that great at clearing fighters, a nice shield ability which ups its ability to take damage, and its final ability. Its final ability is called "finest hour" and grants the Kol increased damage, repair rate, and
an AoE attack.Sova Carrier
: My personally preferred flagship. This vessel combines a powerful main armament with a fighter-heavy approach, giving it a unique position amongst the capitol ships. Its powers are equally unique, and each one has a distinct and powerful use. It can drop off a missile satellite, which will fire barrages of missiles at enemy vessels in its range, even after the carrier has left the system (not sure about its duration). It can also increase the strength of its embarked squadrons, increasing their attack power by up to 30%. Its final ability is supposed to give it the ability to instantly construct fighters, as well as increasing the construction rate of everything else in the grav well (in combat, there is a "locked" extra duration between fighter constructions that this doesn't bypass). And yes, I forgot to mention one of its base powers: Embargo. Embargo is the
greatest power in the game. When triggered in an enemy system, it reduces the build speed of ships and buildings in that system, steals a percentage of that system's income, and (in any grav well) will block the ability of trade ships to jump out, leaving them highly vulnerable to destruction from the Sova's squadrons of bombers (who travel really fast compared to frigates and trade ships).
A nice trick to play with the Sova is to raid an enemy's system (especially their capitol) while their fleet is busy elsewhere. On smaller maps, if you hit their capitol they'll have no choice, they'll have
to kick you out if you embargo their capitol. Additionally, even if your assault force is beaten, if your enemy doesn't bother following up and attacking you all the way to the jump point, it's quite possible to just have your entire force "sit" on the phase limit, while your embargo keeps going. When the enemy gets around to coming after you, then
you jump out.Dunov Battlecruiser
: A support ship, this vessel's greatest power is its shield restore ability, which allows it to restore the shields of nearby vessels. I don't use it enough to do this entry off the top of my head, more data will follow later. Do not
underestimate the power of a Dunov -- while it may not be as potent in direct combat as other vessels, as a support unit it is peerless and very, very potent.Akkan Battlecruiser
: This is another support ship, a colonizer with (limited) combat utility. Its ion bolt disables enemy vessels for a short time, while it has a special power that increases the range and damage of nearby friendly vessels. It can also colonize, and its final power is to enforce a cease fire on all units in the system. The final power must not be set to auto-cast!
If you do, it will trigger way too often, and usually uselessly. Save that final power for when you need to retreat from your foes, and let it protect you then.Marza Dreadnought
: Supposedly a long range combatant, at the moment the Marza is the big gun platform, with more firepower than even the Kol, all of it directed forward. It has a radiation bomb, which does AoE damage, a "raze planet" power to aid in orbital bombardment and the ability to grant its shots a damage over time component. Its final ability is an AoE barrage that hits anything near it, useful for dealing with cobalt fleets and the like.Vasari Capitol Vessels
: Note that unlike the TEC vessels, the Vasari capitals really want to be "in the middle" of the enemy -- their firepower is distributed, to a much larger degree, in a 360 degree area. Not to say that the TEC don't have some weapons on each side, but thats more true for the Vasari, mostly.Kortul Devestator
This vessel is a direct combat monster, with powerful weapons and defenses. Even more so than the Kol, its a ship killer. Power Surge grants it increased rate of fire and shield regeneration, while disruptive strikes slows down the weapons fire of enemy vessels that it hits. Its Jam Weapons ability counters fighters, and its final Volatile Nanites increases the damage taken by a given enemy vessel, as well as causing its death explosion to do damage to anything near it.Skirantra Carrier
Despite both being carrier craft, this vessel is nothing
like the Sova. The Sova stays way back by preference, this vessel wants to be in the thick of things. Repair Cloud repairs fiendly units near it, Scramble Bombers launches an extra bomber squadron, and its Microphaseing Aura helps fighters hit the enemy and avoid being hit in return. Its final Replicate Forces creates temporary copies of friendly frigates, increasing your fleet size.Jarrasul Evacuator
The "colony" capitol ship, this vessel is slow and relatively poorly armed, but has some nice tricks up its sleeve. Nano-dissasembler allows it to deal damage over time to an enemy (at level three that power alone can kill a Kodiak frigate!), Gravity Warhead slows down enemy vessels and stops them from jumping, and
it can colonize. Its final Drain Planet ability allows it to suck resources off an enemy planet, damaging (frequently "to the death") the colony in the process.Antorak Maurader
The TEC has no equivilent to this ship, a fast raiding vessel. Phase Out Hull allows you to temporarily disable enemy vessels by making them unable move, damage, or be damaged, Distort Gravity grants jump interference immunity, and subversion reduces build rate (AKA: increases build time) for ships and structures in the system. Its final allows the Antorak to act as a temporary phase gate, allowing you to gate ships deep into the enemy's empire from anywhere inside your own (that you have a phase gate at). Do not
underestimate this vessels power, it is a capitol ship, and the sheer strength that implies allows it to survive deep into enemy territories even in the late game, and its final ability then allows a massive fleet to fly directly for the heart of that empire, far behind the defenses at the front lines. It is, however, lightly armed and armored compared to most capitols, making it very much a hit and run vessel.Vulkoras Desolator
A heavy weapons platform, this ships Phase Missile Swarm hits a number of targets at once, while its Siege Platform can bombard an enemy planet independent of any other actions this ship takes, and Assault Specialization allows it reduced cooldowns when targeting structures and planets. Its final, Disintegration, dismantles an enemy vessel and uses the resulting resources to repair the Desolator itself. Research
: As you play the game, you can build research centers to improve the civilian and military aspects of your empire. Note that even though the results may seem
small, the combat upgrades are all quite useful and powerful. I'll touch on a few of the "important" techs here:TEC Techs
: This technology generates "pirates" out of the civilian ships in enemy empires. Don't research when playing an AI, they can't cope.Development Mandate
: Grab this one ASAP -- it gives you 4 extra logistics slots on all colonized worlds per tech level (2 tech levels available). 8 logistic slots is nothing
to sneer at.Vasari Techs
Research this to provide unmatched (defensive) mobility to all units in a star system. This building is something to research ASAP if possible.Returning Armada
This ability is slightly bugged -- when first researched, you'll find your fleet points plummeting
past 0, as it ignored fleet point requirements when it triggers, creating small penny-packets of units across your empire where you have phase gates.Phase Missiles
Not just one technology, but a string of them, these technologies allow your missiles to bypass enemy shields and do damage directly to a hull. It sounds cool, but in the current patch it hasn't been balanced, and can actually weaken
your offense because the enemy can regenerate both shields and hull while your wearing down the crafts shields, instead of just shields. As a result, this tech works best when the enemy has lots of shields (either through mitigation, regeneration, or just numbers) and lower hull, and works best when you have large numbers of missiles flying to maximize damage output.Strategy and tactics
: These are opposite sides of the same coin. Tactics is the small, strategy the large. Strategy is your goals, tactics are how you achieve them. Strategy is the long term, while tactics is the now. I'm not saying this very clearly, but it isn't a very clear subject.
The difference between the two -- and skills at both of them -- is the study of years. You need to learn to understand the difference between the two, and always remember to subordinate tactics to strategy.
Take, for example, one of my recent multiplayer games. The map was Close Encounters, and both my opponent and I had three planets colonized. I managed to use superior tactics -- I had my ships take out his light frigates first, then pound on his Kol -- to drive him out of his ice planet system, then proceeded to bombard the planet back to the stone age. To achieve this, I was wide
open defensively, with barely any defenses to protect my planets. When my opponent rebuilt his cobalts, he sent them and his Kol right back into the ice planet in question, before the Kol had even finished being repaired. This was tactics -- he had to defend his worlds! Strategically, it didn't matter if he had his ice planet, or "mine" -- and had he withdrawn to take that ice planet, he may very well have taken both. Since I was defenseless there, if he'd gone the other way and attacked my ice planet I would have had the choice of either loosing it, or stopping my assault on his planet in favor of saving it. Heck, a few cobalts and a siege frigate would have been a "cheap" assault force, capable of taking the planet (only a single gauss cannon, easily avoided) and requiring me to respond -- which would have drawn down the forces I had in his ice planet, allowing his fleet to counter-attack there successfully. Moral of the story: the best defense is a strong offense (when possible).
OK, I'm going to follow the current segments by pointing at some successful strategy and tactics I've seen used.
Anyone think there's something else I should mention? If so, speak now!
(or forever hold your peace