Author Topic: Insanity of Difficulty  (Read 5340 times)

Offline Wanderer

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Insanity of Difficulty
« on: January 01, 2012, 05:16:43 PM »
So, there's a challenge out there, Fallen Spire, 2x10AIs, and 8 homeworlds.  I'd been warned it was going to be a bit tough.  Needless to say, that was a bit of an understatement.  However, I'm still fighting and I've gotten the first stage done.

First things first, I knew I needed to dig in somewhere, somehow, while I dealt with a bunch of waves and the FS Exos.  So, I spawn myself up a nice map on Maze C so I can get a number of different options for chokepoints.  I get pretty selective about homeworld position instead of ships, so that I can store a number of FS cities behind what chokepoint I decide to use.  My opening options are pretty lightweight, Dyson Sphere and Human Rebels.  My first attempt got off to a bad start using random AIs because I couldn't consolidate the homeworld region before they started waving me in places I wasn't quite ready for yet.  I fire up the AI using Turtler and Shield Ninny (which bites me later, but not as hard) and get to work doing some speedy consolidation.

So, the base map:


The worlds outlined in purple are the homeworlds. Those outlined in red are worlds I purposely didn't take to allow for FS city expansions.  The yellow dot is going to eventually become my whipping boy.  First thing's first, I get my homeworlds connected (except for the one in the SE corner there) and send a raid group up the eastern 'protected' arm to clean out warp gates, to force the Exo's to come in the front door.  Then I build out a nice core fleet ship cap.  I fire up the first survey ship and get the first piece of the shard in play.  With no waves from the AIs I'm pretty much able to work as I please here, and start neutering the protected eastern arm without killing off the command centers.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get a shard to spawn in the 'back'.

It works, and my next shard is spawning up in that arm.  Now's a good a time as any to clean up the backfield so I work on capturing those systems.  I move my survey ship to a single planet off and get myself down to the whipping boy with my main fleet.  I put in a token set of FFs on the inbound gates (I hate when waves escape to haunt me later), some grav turrets, and a FF set to make sure they don't get past me.  My fleet of 3k+ ships are just waiting for the enemy to dare to try.  I've got a few research ships auto-researching in the back and they're feeding me a bit of research.  I let the survey ship loose and they find the shard, it's the upper right hand red-encircled system.  I start moving it back to the nearest home planet.  Then the exos hit the front door, and they hit HARD.

Good grief.  I'm barely able to slow down the first of the waves when the second one is already pouring into the main gate.  The third one trashes the whipping boy system and most of my ships.  It pours into the backfield and it's game over.  Hm.

Save scum myself to right before I sent in the Survey ship and back off for a second.  Obviously I'm going to need a serious turret ball.

About this point I'm realizing that not only are standard fleet ships having rediculously higher caps, but so are my starships, which I just started building.  Well, WOOT!  A rediculous volume of Raid ships at my disposal?  Rock on. Add to that a nice turret collection with higher caps and maybe I have a shot here.

So, we try it again with full caps of turrets and ships.  Needless to say, it took a while to build.


(I think I got that pic to finally behave itself.  If not I'll edit and try again.)

One thing about that Whipping Boy is that it's SMALL.  It's a really tight path to try to contain everyone in.  the other thing you can't see is that underneath those ships are a few Fortress Is.

I'm able to hold the line for the next batch, and it takes ~20 dang minutes for that shard to eventually get to my homeworld.  Yeesh. Got the achivement though.  Massive turret rebuilding, ship replacement, the works.  I'm able to hold the line though and get a few tech 2/3 fleet units into play, on top of my bomber and raid starship army.  I'm doing some micro here but not a tremendous amount.  Mostly I've been holding the raid ships back and using them for pin-point strikes on lead ships, since they can pound them pretty easily.  I don't want them lost in the fleet fights though, since they'll get thumped way to easily.

When we got done, it was pretty nasty there on Broken Ridge:


So, I get the shard home and start building the subspace receiver.  About this time I start doing some deeper scouting and getting some pickets out there.  The two worlds off my turret ball are spawning massive reinforcements and keeping me pretty heavily under constant fire (or major threat).  This needs to stop, it's time to do a bit of neutering.  I go out and hit the south one, and the western planet sends in 1500+ ships while I'm down there.   Reverse course, and use the fleet and the turret ball to deal with the threat.  Head south again and clean out the local guard posts (but not command center or warp gate).  Repeat the process on the western world and get into the backfield building up support units and micro'ing my scouts into different picket points.

And I'm still getting 1200+ units hanging off my turret ball.  Wha?!

Remember that shield ninny I thought would be 'nice and easy'?  Yeah.  At 3 wormhole guardposts PER wormhole, they still had 9 and 12 guardposts for the south and west respectively.  Cripes.  I need to do a full nerf and clean those out.  Back to work, and get in there, cleaning out the systems entirely, including those guardposts.  *huff huff*.  Okay, finally get things cleaned up and about this point my scouts are done with the universe.



The yellow world (Craps) has a Dyson sphere and had (past tense) a Factory IV on it.  I figured that needed to be my next primary target.  Get the dyson's troops involved in the perma-alert it was causing and let it handle itself. 

The other target was the red-circled world, Neverending Story.  That's where the next shard was going to spawn.  However, I had a few other conerns.  First, though, the dyson sphere.

The sphere was having some trouble un-blocking itself from the locals.  Most of the surrounding systems were at nearly 1000+ ships and were reinforcing the one it was in.  It was eventually making a bit of headway, though, so I got a little concerned about those neutral dyson ships making my life difficult while I tried to save it.  I got my raid ships down there and popped the local command center, but didn't do much else.  I retreated in short order and waiting until it was friendly only.  I ended up on the run from the enemy dyson's so I popped down a system, which I'd need for support on research vessels and the local Fact IV, and started doing raid-attacks against them instead.  I cleaned up the command center which let loose most of the ships right into dyson territory.  Hah, take that!

I was able to quickly clean up the local guard posts after that with 40+ raid starships and then sent them home.  I dealt with a wave or two and started working my way up to Neverending Story with my main force to handle the nerfing of that system, while I shipped via transport a few colony ships and my research team to Irian.  They self-destructed at Craps but they were able to self travel the rest of the way there. I pop up a station for a half-second in Craps to get control of the Fact IV and then destroy it, but I got what I needed before any enemy dysons spawned.  I get control of Irian and start producting Tech IV ships, and first are the scouts.  I need to know what's going on in the world.

While my scouts are working, I'm dealing with some decent waves starting to hit me, and they're tech III now.  I hadn't noticed really that the AI buffers were so much lower for AI 10s previously, so I've been fighting for air at Broken Ridge a bit, since the majority of my fleet is up at Neverending Story nerfing it in preparation for a shard pickup.  The last thing I'm going to need is significant local reinforcement as well as the exos.  I decide I need to knock down some of the AI Progress, so I start deep-striking every AI reducer I can find.  By the time I'm done, I've got 5000+ threat because I was deepstriking... and missed ONE raid starship in the back who was just sitting there aggravating the AI.  Great.

I get about half my raid starships out alive and proceed to deal with the necessary cleanup this major threat spawn caused.  I lost my FactIV in the middle of this, unfortunately, figuring the dyson could handle local minor incursions and a FF could keep it alive long enough.  Nope.  I have to go find a new Fact IV now.

I'm 50/50 if I want to go aggravate the AI and grab some more worlds.  I'm research stuck at 500 points, but that's partially because of the fact that I've locked the front door and am loathe to take anything else because of the spawn rules for shards.  The last thing I really need is more grief due to AI rage.  So, I'm prepped and ready to rumble, now I just need to pull the trigger.

Oh.  My.  God.  The running fight wasn't TOO bad while I was getting the shard back but once I fell back to my Whipping Boy it started to fall apart.  They're sending massive golems at me and I've got nothing for this wave of the Fallen Spire ships to rely on for defense.  They're crashing through my fleet which can't rebuild fast enough.  Part of the issue here is how dang long it takes for those shards to travel anywhere.  It's like waiting for molasses to move in winter.  I just don't have the firepower to really hold the front line here, no matter how hard I try.  What I'm probably going to have to do is hook the dyson up to my homeworld collection by taking out Three Kings and Green Lantern.  That will also give me a bit of research breathing room, allowing me to possibly get in more fortresses or something on the homeworld, as well as another tech III ship.  Add to that I go get a Fact IV again and can produce my Tech IV defender ships (there's one in Miasfall along with a Warbird Fabricator that looks useful) and I might be able to hold the line long enough.

More to come...  :D
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Coppermantis

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 05:25:59 PM »
With those settings, you must be a demigod to have gotten this far. Good lord.
I can already tell this is going to be a roller coaster ride of disappointment.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2012, 10:00:40 PM »
Demi-god?  I doubt it.  Remember I'm fighting two AIs that won't use waves on me.  It can take longer to deal with some things because of it, but it leaves me with breathing room.  My biggest problem has been power.  I can barely keep my fleet powered up with all the higher caps.  I finally got the traders to visit so I'm building off a bunch of Z-generators, but they're taking their sweet time getting online.  I'm really hoping they don't care about power reductions...

I did actually finally get the refugee camp built, and I'm able to get 32 of the first frigates up.  This is niiiice. :)  Between them and the raid starships I should be able to pin-point kill any heavy ships, and then let the rest of the mob clean up the rest.  I'm currently defending from a 1600+ ship Counter III against my turretball (lucky win there!) and a tech III CPA for about 1600 ships.  AIP is ~185 (I lost a Z-generator, grrr).  I know where my next shard is, and it's down in the same arm I was debating on taking for the FactIV and Warbird manufacturers.  I've popped the two intervening systems between the Dyson and myself, so I should start getting some dyson defenders up to my Whipping Boy too.  The CPA just landed and wrecked Irian (shocking, that... not) with mostly teleporter units.  I'm just glad I've got a few systems running Logistics IIIs so they have to die with the rest when they hit the real areas.  I'll handle these waves and then look into the strategy I want to employ to shard hunt.  I'm tempted to not take the FactIV until I've got the next shard in place, since I've only got one Tech III combat ship atm (the Blade Spawners), and at 6k/ship, it'll take 4-6 systems before it's really worth the bump to Tech III AI, and there's a few things I still need to research first.

I'm hoping destroyers and the massive frigate ship cap will be able to help me survive the round after that.  I should be able to survive this next shard unless I really foul it up.

But, demigod?  No.  Two easy AIs and I'm 5:30 into the game already.  It's rather grindy.  My big conern is that at around 7:00 to 7:30 I'll be getting a rebelling colony that I'll have to go save.  Where it is and what happens from there could be a real pain strategically.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 03:14:34 AM »
... Seriously?!  G'damn!  I survived getting the shard home but WOW they get righteously miffed when you build a hub...



I should probably mention there were 12 H/K II/IIIs in this batch.  Need to rethink the defense strategy.  Was all good until my resources went to building the hub, and couldn't keep replacing units.  Might just need to 'bank out' a full 1 mill of each so I can build it in high-speed.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 03:16:43 AM by GUDare »
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 09:45:59 AM »
heh, gl with that :P
if you already get 12 h/k's early game, I'm curious to see what the AI would throw at you in the end :P

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 11:41:55 AM »
Haha, the first word of the thread title says it all ;)

Congratulations getting the achievement; that is the only FS-specific achievement that requires Diff 10, etc.  It's basically a puzzle to figure out how to survive that long and either get the shard home before you die or somehow actually kill the chase spawns.  I didn't expect that players would actually keep playing past that point.  With 8 HWs you get pretty insane caps and thus if you can actually get your spire fleet up it can be pretty fearsome (to your cpu as well as the AI, potentially).  But exo budgets are multiplied by your number of HWs, and further multiplied by 3 on diff 10 (it's 2 on diff 9, 1.5 on diff 8, 1 on diff 7, < 1 below that).  Multiplying anything but the very smallest exos by 24 is... really unhealthy ;)  I'm a bit surprised you weren't seeing Mothership(s) instead of just H/Ks.  I don't know for sure which is even the more dangerous, though.  Motherships give you more time to deal with them, so perhaps the H/Ks.

Seems like I may need to add more achievements ;)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 11:44:42 AM »
And I don't know that you actually need to care about the human colony rebellion from a challenge perspective: AIP doesn't drive FS exos.  Granted, threat tends to leak through and cause problems and that gets worse with AIP, but I'm not sure if 100 AIP is worse than putting everything out of joint to rescue that colony and try to hold it (or periodically recapture it), etc.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 10:33:26 PM »
Haha, the first word of the thread title says it all ;)
Muahahah.

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Congratulations getting the achievement; that is the only FS-specific achievement that requires Diff 10, etc.  It's basically a puzzle to figure out how to survive that long and either get the shard home before you die or somehow actually kill the chase spawns.  I didn't expect that players would actually keep playing past that point.
Sanity is not my strong suit.

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With 8 HWs you get pretty insane caps and thus if you can actually get your spire fleet up it can be pretty fearsome (to your cpu as well as the AI, potentially).
My CPU hates me, this is barely considered a 'modern box'.

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But exo budgets are multiplied by your number of HWs, and further multiplied by 3 on diff 10 (it's 2 on diff 9, 1.5 on diff 8, 1 on diff 7, < 1 below that).  Multiplying anything but the very smallest exos by 24 is... really unhealthy ;)  I'm a bit surprised you weren't seeing Mothership(s) instead of just H/Ks.  I don't know for sure which is even the more dangerous, though.  Motherships give you more time to deal with them, so perhaps the H/Ks.
Probably in the next wave.  I did finally beat these puppies, see below. :)

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Seems like I may need to add more achievements ;)
Working on that...

So, where was I?  Oh, right, I left off prepping for the next shard yank down at Aver.  Well, I started off with picking off Three Kings and Green Lantern to get the Dyson's troops involved.  That was easy enough, but really... pointless.  Well, kind of, let me get back to that.  The Dyson though is pretty harmless except for dealing with some bleedthrough from Aellaudo.  It can't defend Irian for anything and really is just a nuisance to anything I really care about killing.

I take my fleet, and super-nerf the entire star arm with Aver in it (the one with 4 planets east of Three Kings).  No warp gates, no wormhole guardpost, nothin' left by the time I'm done.  I get up about 6k in research and beef up my troops a hair.  In particular, I pick up some Basic II Turrets for helping out with small time point defense on the outer systems, some Fortress Is (I lied earlier, sorry.  Those were the mobile repair stations I opened early, not fortresses) for additional 'stupid' firepower, and beef up something to tech II (sorry, I forget).  My fleet ships are nothing special, all things considered, and I realized I never mentioned them.  Shield Ships, Space Planes, Tachyon Microfighters, Zenith Bombardment (first woot), Sentinel Frigate (alright, prefer snipers), Zenith Paralyzers (fine for small work), Acid Sprayers (yay?) and Blade Spawners (second woot).  My spawners are at Tech III, most of the rest at Tech II/I.

I try to get fancy and break into Camel (west of the Whipping Boy) and lay down a massive minefield, doing the same for Green Lantern and Three Kings.  I've only got basic mines but hey, they're cheap, energy free, and everything I can do to help myself, right?  I also build off 2 fortesses in the Whipping Boy and get my fleet maxxed off.  I then spend 2 hours waiting for all my Z-Generators to come online so I can feed the beast.  I beat off a small 2100+ ship CPA and realize my mines in Camel are causing me all sorts of alert havoc and I've got threat pouring out my ears in Camel, coming in WITH the CPA... They were already free.  Ugh.

Well, I blow up my invasive minefield and handle the wave of ~4000 ships.  No big deal, really, and I'm feeling pretty sporty.  My Raids and Bomber Stars are dealing nicely with their 'big' ships (a few zenith starships and a couple of spire starships), and it takes me little to no time to rebuild the fleet.  I'm feeling pretty good about myself.  I'm dealing with the rare incursion down in the southern area when necessary, and it's getting annoying.  I take the fleet down, super-nerf Canopus and Syphon to get them to stop giving me grief about border aggression, and get ready to snag the first shard.

I take the fleet (a little shy of 3800 ships) down to Aver and flip on the survey ship.  I bring 5 with me in a transport, and reload 4 of them in case of stupidity... or teleporters.  Which was good, because a reinforce hit and blew it up, so I pop out another one and finish the survey. 

Shard spawns, and the fleet starts moving with the shard.  I'm expecting a 50/50 split between what's going to chase my shard and what's going to hit the homeworlds at the Whipping Boy.  I was wrong.  Other than a few token forces coming out of the south, almost everything is trying to get at me from Camel.  Moving at speed 8 we get nowhere fast, and they're pouring in faster than my non-fleet'd whipping boy can handle things.  They break through and pop the homeworld at Thorev faster then you can say 'soft candy middle'.

Okay, not good.  Reload the save and split the main fleet.  I leave my range units behind (spawns, wanna be snipers, bombards) and half the rest of the fleet ships.  All starship+ ships to remain at the whipping boy.

Repeat process, with just the 'token' guardians of ~1600 ships guarding the shard.  Well, this worked better, but not well enough.  I do get the shard through to the Whipping Boy before it falls this time, and my 1600 ships are desperately needed to hold the line at this point.  They've crushed off all 20 of the aggression gate defender FFs, have battered through about 10/20 of the homeworld facing gate.  I'm down to roughly 1200 ships and no turrets when the defenders get there.  The shard moseys its way across the Whipping Boy as we fight this defensive action.  The shard gets to No Way Out so I can finally breathe a sigh of relief...  Then another wave hits, and it's just one too many.  They crash the party.

Hm.  Houston, we have a problem.

Alrighty then, let's get Dangerous.  I realize if I'm going to get through this I'm going to need to take care of a few things.  First, the shard is going to have to travel solo.  That means I need to take the Fact IV/Warbird system and Aver.  At that point, I might as well just take the entire arm, get the Microparasites at the tail in Arc Royal and the ARS in Twycross, and get the research too.  12,000 research points could make/break this fight, and I need the extra troops.  I crash through the arm with my primary fleet like they were butter and then back off.  I build out 2 fortresses in Green Lantern, and another 2 in Three Kings.  I beef out the Whipping Boy with 5 Fortresses and get my rebuilders more intelligently organized (like hiding under forcefields).  My new econ helps a bit with the offset (nothing amazing, but 160ea x 4 helps) and I let my two Ion Cannon IIIs (courtesy of your local Zenith Traders) finish up.  I'm REALLY tempted to invest in 8x Ion V's, but well... yeah.  No.  90 mill each, yeesh.

I beef up my bombers to Tech III so the Fact IV can feed me a nice set of the Tech IVs as well.  I want to make sure I don't have to deal with anyone hanging a left turn at Albequerque, so I leave ~1300 ships with the fortresses in Three Kings, harassing and abusing the 'light' exos coming from the south as they go through the minefield and fortress area.  This will help lighten the load on the main Whipping Boy and make sure I've got an immediate reaction force before they decide to eat my Fact IV.

The map now looks like this:


The Blue area is where I've left some Warp Gates.  You'll notice I had a BIT of time on my hands, too, and renamed a few things.  I name planets after whatever you can build on them for easy reference, or notable features, and moved them around a little so I could read the names easily.  Dyson in the middle south is next to Speed Boost on its left/west.  In the Southeast, the blue circle is where the majority of the light waves come from.  I didn't want to deal with full neutering them for the AIP expense, there's nothing worth ever hitting down there.

The red circle is the Factory IV, and it's just east of Three Kings, where the 'light force' is operating.  No Way Out is now carrying 5 different base space docks to feed the front line (I haven't started getting Mercenarys going yet, they're my fallback last resort).  The Large Yellow Region west and then north of Whipping Boy One is where the majority of the Exos will come through, figure 70-75%.  In Green, I highlighted the two AI homeworlds.  They're already at 1500 each for the Homeworld and the coreworld, and I've never even been near them.  Great.  Just figured I'd point that out.

You may have noticed I haven't finished my scout picketing yet.  You'd be right, I'm just not that worried about it and it annoys me sometimes.  There's about 5 ARS's out there I haven't tagged yet, and 4 Data Centers that are WAY to deep for your average deep strike... but I'm gonna need to hit them eventually, I'm just trying to be wise about it.  No SuperTerminal to abuse for me.  Rats.

Well, the fight here goes just fine this time.  The majority of firepower on the whipping boy and all my units involved in the fight is enough to derail the assault.  Picking up Impulse Reaction Emitters (Damage based on energy usage) helped a lot for the bigger ships.  These little guys are pretty bad assed.  I would try to keep between 1200-1700 units sitting down in Three Kings, and if I hit 1200 I'd pause, rebuild the Main Fleet (Ctrl-1 fleet), hit L till I had between 400-500 ships, and FRD them down to Three Kings to keep the support up.  With my docks in No Way Out feeding in units as fast as they could produce, we were good to go.  Shard's home.  I do a quick save and build off the colony ship, thinking I'm golden now, there's 5/6 ships inbound and my defense is tight.

There were a few wise guys who tried to get to Warbird from Three Kings, but nothing severe.  I did however build out a line of FFs between the Warbird and Whippin Boy gates just to make sure that the shard would stay protected through Three Kings.  It took a beating though in Whipping Boy.  It got to No Way Out with only 67% left.  I'll have to think about that.  I may give it a permanent escort of all my shield ships next time, particularly when it gets near the Whipping Boy.

So, Colony ship built, I send it up to start the hub on Hub 1 (top area of my homeworlds), and proceed to get duly thumped into oblivion by a massive anti-hub wave that I just didn't realize was going to happen.  Yikes.

Well, I've got a save to work from luckily so I pull back and re-analyze.  What do I need?  Well, I'm going to need my entire fleet for starters, so I let the econ go to work and start building out my full fleet (~4500 ships).  In the meanwhile, I start getting my mined paths cleaned up so I don't have 'wasted' mines.  I figure if they haven't blown up yet they're not going to.  I get a few more fotresses down in Green Lantern(2) and Three Kings(4), but really they're just there to be like the mines, softeners.  I don't expect them to do a lot of real work on their own.  Understand, we're talking 20k+ ships coming in, and the silly things tend to get hung up on bombers.  I build out 11 fortress Is in Whipping Boy, and feel pretty good about my fleet.  I also produce off caps of Fleet Starship Is and Antimatter Bombers, figuring I'll need the firepower.

I take a quick save and send the colony ship on up to Hub 1.  I wait for a maximum econ so it'll build in nothing flat with my 40 Engi III's on it, and wait for the abuse.  I sick all my 'big' ships on the H/Ks for priority, and I use my 64 bombers to alternate between Artilleries and Siegecraft, depending on who's bigger at the time.  I get about 11-14 H/Ks in the full wave (hard to count).  They break out with me having a good half my fleet left with only a few token H/Ks and some siegecraft, but it's enough.  Soft Candy Center.

Fine, there's one thing that stops H/Ks cold.  Armored FFs.  Have 50 of them.  I proceed to build out 50 FFs on the gate to No Way Out.  Same tactics, a little more micro keeping the Impulse guys on the 'big' targets, cleaning out the siegecraft and artilleries pretty nicely (in hindsight I should have simply split them between the two for preferences and micro'd something else), and I choke 7 H/Ks up on the final FFs, who slowly but surely get whittled away.

I've got 6k in research I can use now as a backup plan, which will probably go to Tech II Hardened FFs for the Second Hub waves, and am currently building Spire City I.  If I can win this game, it's going to have to be via Citadel.  I'm 11 hours in and barely made any 'real' headway in the campaign.  At current speed, one shard/6 hours, I'm going to be getting border aggression from the AI Homeworlds.  There's no way I'll be able to crack them.

That's okay though.  This is becoming 'epic'.  I like Epic.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 10:47:44 PM by GUDare »
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 12:52:56 PM »
Wow, you're actually making headway :)  It may not feel like a lot of progress from one perspective but remember that you personally don't really need to crack the AI homeworlds or even get to them if you "complete" the FS progression.  Though honestly I'm not sure how that fight would play out on 10/10 8HWs.  Actually, you might still get flattened at that point, because I don't think the allies will scale (if so, I need to fix that).  Of course, with DNs of your own, there's not a lot that you can't find a way to kill through cleverness/luck.

But c'mon, winning a 10/10 game? ;)  With the no-waves AI types it's not as bad as it sounds, but generally when we hear that someone's figured out how to beat diff 10 we file it with the bug reports :)

Either way, fascinating to read and see the rabbits you're pulling out of the hat.  IREs and (lots of) Hardened Forcefields to help against H/Ks, not bad :)  If you had spirecraft, Implosion Artillery would be great against the big stuff, but IREs have a distinct taste for them too.

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That's okay though.  This is becoming 'epic'.  I like Epic.
Indeed.  If any humans survive, they'll likely make songs about it.  Sounds like a good backdrop for some RPG heros to pop up and play Space Rangers in there somewhere.  Of course, at least half the time that leaves the human governement holding the bag when the heroes mess up.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 04:22:03 PM »
Oh, another rabbit you could try to pull out: A full 8-homeworlds cap of Riot Control Starship MkIIs with tazers.  Concentrated into a small area they can indefinitely paralyze any number of non-paralyze-immune enemy ships in the radius of effect.
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Offline Solarity

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 11:29:13 AM »
Good going, whats the seed?

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2012, 08:49:11 PM »
Seed is: 1801244893 120 planet Maze C

Wow, you're actually making headway :)  It may not feel like a lot of progress from one perspective but remember that you personally don't really need to crack the AI homeworlds or even get to them if you "complete" the FS progression.  Though honestly I'm not sure how that fight would play out on 10/10 8HWs.  Actually, you might still get flattened at that point, because I don't think the allies will scale (if so, I need to fix that).  Of course, with DNs of your own, there's not a lot that you can't find a way to kill through cleverness/luck.

But c'mon, winning a 10/10 game? ;)  With the no-waves AI types it's not as bad as it sounds, but generally when we hear that someone's figured out how to beat diff 10 we file it with the bug reports :)
There may actually be a bug.  One of the Generators for the Hub is able to provide power to 4 Starship construction units and the Habitat.  The difference on the first hub is 4 vs. 2 Starship builders, but it does double the resulting Spire Fleet to 160 Frigates, 32 Destroyers, and 16 Cruisers, instead of the 96/16/8 you'd normally have at that point.  However, the Exos due to me building a hub seem to be scaling with either the # of Spire Capitals built or with AIP, instead of based on # of hubs, so that is probably evening out.  My guess is for some reason the generator is considering my 'cap' of starship constructors to be based on my homeworld count, so it's *8'ing it.  I don't have a second hub yet though (and probably won't) so hard to confirm.

Quote
Either way, fascinating to read and see the rabbits you're pulling out of the hat.  IREs and (lots of) Hardened Forcefields to help against H/Ks, not bad :)  If you had spirecraft, Implosion Artillery would be great against the big stuff, but IREs have a distinct taste for them too.

Yeah, 80 FFs in the Whipping Boy might be considered overkill, but well... yeaaaahhh. :)

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Indeed.  If any humans survive, they'll likely make songs about it.  Sounds like a good backdrop for some RPG heros to pop up and play Space Rangers in there somewhere.  Of course, at least half the time that leaves the human governement holding the bag when the heroes mess up.
Yeah, or Babylon 5.  Any time I watch the Spire Fleet just rip through the enemy forces I can't help but think of the Vorlons.

RE: Riot 2's... not a bad idea, actually.  I'm actually currently ~16 hours in and finding myself in need of defensive firepower.  On normal, we ruled with air power. Here, on WTF, we need defensive power!  No, seriously.  Continuous 150+ 'large ship' waves are taking their toll on my outer defenses, particularly when I have the spire fleet out galavanting.  I'm currently plotting out how I'm going to defend myself when I go smack the AI Homeworlds, but I'm getting ahead of my next installment. :)
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Offline Solarity

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 02:45:18 AM »
Tbh its been a while since I was able to play last, what is the current best layout for the spire cities / buildings and distances to enemy worlds to get the most Spire ships etc?  Sorry OP, I might be slightly derailing your thread here...

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2012, 03:39:42 AM »
So, how did things progress from the final blockade?  Rather nicely so far, but I'm hitting another impasse.  We'll get to that.  At around ~9 hours in I got the hub online and it took about 20 minutes to rebuild the front fleet.  Meanwhile I get the hub going for 4x starship constructors, a habitat, and a generator.  I look at the ship volume I can build for Spire Ships and my jaw about hits the floor.  160 Frigates, 32 Destroyers, and 16 Cruisers.  Holy crud.

Alright, this gives me some options.  I decide to spend my 6.25k in research on a few new toys for my new friends.  I pick up Heavy Beam Cannon Is for the firepower (I figure to heck with sniping, KEEEEL!), Standard FF IIs for some protection.  Well, that's 4k right there and my next buy was going to be spider cannons for the 'sniper fill' slots on the Cruisers and to add to the anti-bomber I wanted up and running in the softener systems.

So, I get everything settled down and I send my Engi III's up to Hub 1 to start building out the spire fleet.

I'll fast forward the next TWO HOURS it took to get the entire fleet built...  Fleet's ready for business around 11.25.  Note to self: Put in a few ideas for power units and/or resource constructors instead of weaponry on the FS hub secondary builds in Mantis.

At first the Exos started coming in pretty lightly.  Honestly, the first two were 12 ships.  I pointed at the screen and actually laughed at it.  I withdrew my main fleet off to the sidelines and let the softeners and the Whipping boy handle the work, less expensive to rebuild.  The Beam Cannons were working nicely... all 85 of them.  I scattered a few near the Three Kings and Green Lantern bases to help with bomber incursions at the base.  They were working nicely for the occassional wandering PITAs that the Fortresses (that I had to rebuild, the Artillery guys were chewing on them pretty heavily) couldn't take down because of polycrystal armor.

The next exo in was 26 ships.  Hrm, alright, let's see what the Whippin' Boy can handle on its own.  No problem.  Next was 40 or so.  Wait, wut?  I'm doing nothing but solidifying my defenses here, what's got the AI in an uproar?  I figure it's got to be responding to the # of Spire Capitals I'm building.  Alright, this could get interesting.  By the time the fleet's ready I'm getting hit with 100-120 Large Ship Exo waves.  Handleable of course, but my softeners (in particular the gate out to Warbird) is taking up a decent amount of my micro and resources.  The next shard's on Jet.  It's 4 worlds away to the west of Whipping Boy One, what I've taken to calling 'deep space'.  This is not good, but, it gives me an opportunity to see how well the Whippin' Boy can handle the waves on its own and I can go see just how naughty I can get with the Spire Fleet.

I had about 2500 threat hanging off WB1 in Camel, and they chewed through them with only a single frigate lost.  *blink*  Um, hm.  Wait, maybe I CAN take out the AI Homeworlds.  WOOT!  Well, first thing's first, let's neuter everything between me and Jet, in case I want to bring this shard home.  I wander myself up and clean out systems like they were butter.  I run into an Eye that starts swarming me and I just sic the entire fleet on the EYE and watch it melt, and anything between the fleet and the Eye melts with it.  They were going down within 30 seconds of being in rage.

*blink again* I bypass Jet and head to Marlboro.  5 worlds out.  Deepstrike complaint and the Threat meter's practically rolling like the millisecond hand of a digital clock.  Back up BACK UP!  I pop Jet completely to test a theory (and fire up a counterstrike as well) and try Marlboro again.  No deep strike.  Cool, neutrals count.  But, now I've got to run my fleet back to Meander (upper right corner of the home world area) and protect against a counterstrike.  Meanwhile I've got 3500 threat and another exo threatening to show up.  Just for an idea of occurrence and speed of strikes, when I'd see 50% pop up I had 10 minutes to be in position.  The % meter was almost visible to watch it increase, and usually by 7-8% per update.  Large Exowaves are no longer an 'event'.  They're a continuous way of life.

Well, the front fleet holds down all comers but my softeners on the edges are taking a beating.  The Spire fleet handily thwacks everything in Meander, and heads back for the front door.  My Raid starships took a huge beating defending the gate in Three Kings for Warbird, but otherwise we go out pretty intact, but a bit low on fleet ships.  I let the Spire Fleet handle the heavy lifting in WB1 while they get themselves rebuilt.  The Warbirds and Fact IV ships in particular pretty much leveled my economy, so this took a bit to get things back in action. 

To give you an idea of the defenses that I left behind at this point in Three Kings and Green Lantern, here's what they looked like:
Green Lantern:


Three Kings:


Taking a shot of Whipping Boy One at this point would be futile unless I showed you about 10 images at close-up.  Otherwise it's just a giant green blob of stuff.  I'm not sure even the close-ups would do it justice though.  Ignore the CPA.  That's literally just an annoyance at this point, utterly ignorable.

So, I'm at about 13 hours in when this all gets completed.  I decide I'm going to go smack a homeworld to see what happens.  I've already tagged Jet so let's head for the one in the NW, Miksador.  The savvy among you may have realized I missed a step.  I didn't realize it till I got there.  Hold that thought.     :-\

So I smack every 4th system and completely neuter, for the giggles of it, everything between me and Miksador.  I even gut the coreworld next door.  I had to pop a black hole generator along the way as well, but figured +10 was better than +20.

So, right now, we're looking at this (There's about 7300 ships/turrets on WB1).  You may have noticed I used an Core Shield Generator map here instead of the 'standard'.  You're about to laugh your arses off at me...


The yellow dots are the worlds I popped the command centers on to make sure I didn't fire up a deepstrike.  The Whipping Boy is holding its own as long as I occassionally head back and micro my raids around to deal with escapees from the main 'line' they usually take.  Primarily I end up defending the station in Green Lantern a lot.  My guess is that's where the AI chooses if a ship will break off from the main 'flock' or not.  I decide 'Let's do it!' and head in to Miksador... and realize my mistake.  The CSG's are still active.  D'OH!

... aaaand retreat back to WB1 while I formulate my plan.  I've got 400 AIP at this point and I'm going to need to hit 3 more systems, minimum, to deal with this issue.  The reason my econ's in the dirt is I decided to try to build an Ion V at WB1.  That's just a mistake. 129,000,000 in resources.  I think I've gotten it up to 5% at the moment.  All of the CSG A1s are sitting on ARS's as well, not that uncommon.  Hm.  Two birds one stone, I can live with it.  Also, I can sneak some extra reesearch out of them.  Niiiice.

I figure I'll hit the one in the SW first (Fenfujo), then work on the upper two (Decoy and Star Bomber / Acid Spray).  Speed Booster off Dyson is starting to become a problem again and it's time I just eat the SW corner, or at least enough of it that maybe I can get some breathing room down there.  I've basically abandoned Irian (south of Dyson) at this point.  It just wasn't worth the headache for the slight resource boost.

I head down and smack my way easily through to the one in the SW.  Dyson was exactly 4 away so it worked nicely to avoid the deep strike problem.  That'll come later, when I head for Decoy.  I eventually get some colony ships down that way (had two false starts due to my own lack of attention) and grab the system.  I get some local extra science stations up, give them a token defense to harass the locals with, blow the CSG, and head for home.  I did get my 3k out of the system in knowledge, but I think it lasted an entire 10 minutes without fleet support.  That's okay, I have absolutely no other use for that arm of the universe.  The way to the other homeworld goes over and around it.

Next batter.  I head up for Decoy (due north of Whipping Boy, roughly) and when I hit its neighbor, Blade Spawn Alpha, I'm firing up a deepstrike.  I do a quick beeline for Decoy and immediately go after the Cmd Center... which is protected by a counterstrike... dangit.  Pop them both and kill the deepstrike threat build, and nerf the two systems.  I head back to deal with the Counterstrike on one of the homeworlds (I forget which now) and eventually go back and steal Decoy and its knowledge.  I repeat the process with Star Bomb/Acid Spray, but this one I give some reasonable defenses.  On my way home, Green Lantern has fallen and Three Kings is whining.  Great.

I rustle up some Spider Turrets to assist in the defense of those worlds (50 each) and get to work on defenses for my Star Bomber factory.  I nerf the planet on the east of my new acquisition and head home to deal with the waves that are starting to give WB1 a hard time.  AIP is now 455.  Eventually I have to send up a bunch of Warbirds to help that last planet keep its defenses up.

A note about decoys.  They're nice and all, but that's WAYYY to expensive on power to ever bother building them once you're looking at tightening up your belt energy wise.

Get the local defenses built, get some additional firepower on the softeners with the spiders, and head back up to Miksabor once everything settles down and the fleet's fully rebuilt.  No reason to take chances, right?

Well, I get there, and I forgot about another joy that the FS campaign does when you tag a homeworld.  The Mothership spawn.  Not just ANY mothership spawn, but one with 16 H/Ks and about 30 of each for siegecraft and implosions.  I'm so glad I saved right before I invaded.  The attempt at taking down the mothership with that monster fleet hanging off it and all the homeworld defenses let me take it down to around 40% HP left before the entire fleet was wiped out.

No beuno.  I get a little cagey about it.  I send in two frigates to trigger the spawn and back 'em up right quick.  Here they come.  When they get to the gate I sick my fleet on the implosions first, since they're glass cannons compared to the rest, and then start wailing away on the H/Ks until the fleet just crumples up and dies.  I get them down to about 7 H/Ks, 10 or so siegecraft, and the mothership at full strength.  Not my best work but not bad.  I figure meh, why not.  Let's play this out.  Start rebuilding the Spire Fleet while this monster traverses 14 systems to get to me.  Let's see what we can do.

When they reach me, I've got maybe 20 or so frigates rebuilt.  The rest is all core fleet.  An exo wave was already floating up from the south but I just ignored them for the moment.  Either I stopped this or I could help micro the south.  The H/Ks took forever to die, probably because the Mothership wailed away on the easy killers of them.  Was hard to track but the IREs pretty much splattered like bugs on a windshield.  The mothership though never got off my aggression gate.  I think it ended up in a forcefield trap.  You know how when you layer 2+ FFs on an inbound gate sometimes the ships just trap in a little 'fold' in space between the two?  I think that's what happened to the mothership.  Of course, there's 20+ ffs there, so the chance was a bit higher for it.

What that did though was leave it directly in the killing grounds for Every.  Single.  Turret.  The H/Ks really didn't make much of a dent in the final FFs, but they took *forever* to die.  The Mothership died before the H/Ks.  *blink*  I survived?!

WOOOOOOOT!

So right now I'm at 16:30.  I've got a massive Exo coming in (~170 ships at start, I think) and I'm looking into ways to beef up the 'homeland security' before I head out to smack the AI Homeworld again.  One of the big problems is power.  I'm most likely going to end up turning off the less useful ships and scrapping them, researching Fort IIs (2x firepower for 1.33 the energy), and beefing up the IREs to Tech III (and thus IV).  I'm also probably going to build off the Star Bomb IVs before I lose that planet and the fabricator with it.

Then, I figure I'll take Camel and add some defense in depth to the front door as well, so that the Whipping Boy only gets the leftovers on both fronts.  If that works as planned, I should have a nice easy sucker punch waiting to hit the AI Homeworld.  It'll take a bit of time to set that up so that should let me rebuild the Spire Fleet in the meanwhile.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Insanity of Difficulty
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 03:40:51 AM »
Tbh its been a while since I was able to play last, what is the current best layout for the spire cities / buildings and distances to enemy worlds to get the most Spire ships etc?  Sorry OP, I might be slightly derailing your thread here...

No worries.  They can't be on a homeworld, you need to control all surrounding systems (for habitat), it needs to have at least two wormholes, and can't be within 2 jumps of another hub.
... and then we'll have cake.