Author Topic: Limburger vs the Angry Gods  (Read 9683 times)

Offline tadrinth

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Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« on: June 05, 2014, 12:37:19 AM »
Inspired by this reddit thread, here's my attempt to get the Double Godlike achievement (double diff 10 with no handicaps) despite my general lack of skill via copious, nay, ludicrous amounts of Lobby Limburger.  If this works, it'll be my third win at Diff7+.  To keep things honest, I did not consult the hivemind before attempting, so this is all based on my own guesses.  When I mentioned this attempt in another thread, the recommendation was a 10 planet map with 8 homeworlds, which I tried and then was immediately killed by a Core Raid Engine.  Lets go back to Limburger instead of doing a Cage Match.  Also, I will be installing beta updates as they come out, which with Keith aiming to make Diff10 mostly-unbeatable could cause some abrupt spikes in the difficulty of this match.  It'll be !!fun!!. 

I'm currently at 4 hours on the game clock (rather a lot more than that in actual time), so this will start out recapping the early stuff.

40 planets: the lobby tooltip suggested any lower could actually be harder. 
X map: clearly the style of choice for shenanigans
Seed:  725387157
Double diff 10, double Bouncer.  I thought about Chivalric but decided I was scared of CPAs, a mistake in retrospect. 
Complex ships, but no Swallowers, Dire Guardian Lairs, or CSGs. 
No AIP auto progress.  CPAs will keep me honest, I think.
Minor Factions:
  • Human Resistance Fighters 10
  • Zentih Traders
  • Dyson Sphere 10
  • Neinzul Roaming Enclaves 10
  • Golems Easy
  • Spirecraft Easy
No plots.
One homeworld (to maximize the superweapons).
Starting ship: Protector Starships.  Almost picked Railpods or Lightning Torpedo Frigates, but Protectors seemed the most fitting for my tactical style.

And the final piece of cheese, which has done by far the most work so far: Eight, count'em, *eight* champions. 

Spoiler alert: the first champion nemesis exo is 50% charged where I'm at now, and it's making me nervous. Especially as when I started this game, I don't think champion nemesis exos existed. 

I reduce the fog of war until I can make sure the AI homeworlds don't block me from reaching any nebula; I want battleships before the first homeworld assault, and I would have restarted had I needed to to ensure this.  Didn't need to, as it turned out.

So, I dive right on in.  The map has a tiny northern arm, a small western arm with *four* nebula, and large east and south arms.  I elect to start next to one of the nebula, the southern spoke of the western arm.  I scout the adjacent system and discover a Superterminal.  That's... probably not ideal.  The next system out is the hub, and it turns out to have an ARS, but is Mark IV, with a Translocating Command Station, a Raid Eye, and 14 guard posts.  Nope.  Nope nope nope.

Lets try again on the next spoke, I can still start next to a nebula and have the hub be two hops out.  New game, same settings. I scout.  First adjacent planet has a coprocessor, this time the Superterminal is on the hub along with a Missile Command Station and a pile of guard posts. 

Restart *again*, in the northern spoke.  I start next to the hub, which prevents it from being a Subcommander system.  My new homeworld is Michigan!  I save immediately upon game start.  Some quick scouting with Mark II and III scouts unlocked assures me that there's nothing too scary in my arm; one Mark IV world, one ARS, a Core Missile Turret Controller, a cursed golem on Salem (just west of the central hub), and lo and behold, the central hub has a Core Needler Turret Controller, a Botnet Golem, a Regen Golem, and a ZPG.  The RNG has blessed me this day!  I plan to clear all the nebula in my arm at a nice low 10 AIP, then grab the middle, the ARS, and the cursed golem in some order to be determined.  I reload to get back the knowledge I spent on Scout unlocks and begin *actually playing*. 

First unlocks: MkI Spire and Zenith Starships, MkII Enclave and Protector Starships, MkII Harvesters, Mark I Heavy Beam/Grav/Tachyon turrets. 

I neuter a few nearby systems to get my champs all the way to level 3 before the first nebula.  I discover the AI has Microfighters and Gravity Drains, which I am completely not worried about, Munitions Boosters which means future pain, and Eye Bots.  *shakes fist at RNG* Good thing I unlocked tachyon turrets without even thinking about it.  I have a feeling I'll need Counter-Missile Turrets eventually.

First nebula: Mining Consortium.  One champs runs defense with antilight modules, another specializes in killing the enemy cruisers via lasers, and the rest go for missile modules and a variety of basic modules to go kill the opposing starbases.  Everyone has MkII modules in all slots since they're level 3.  This is extremely effective, since with 6 champs on offense I can just throw down shadow shields as needed to tank the starbases, and the missile modules tear them to shreds.  Cake.

Second nebula.  Dimensional Prisons.  I discover that I can't just pop all of them and survive, even with 8 champs.  Reload, pop a couple at once early.  I remember I'm supposed to try to build up a big friendly fleet and then pop a bunch at once at the end, so I try that... and then realize that the friendly ships are faster than my shadow frigates.  I can't stop them from suiciding into the enemy ships. I think I popped maybe three prisons at once.  Oh well.  I still get Destroyer hulls! And the Neinzul hull, which is kind of eh.

At this point, I think I actually start running out of energy, due to the starships and nebula rewards.  Easy enough solution, I'll just go take Salem, start working on that Cursed Golem, and neuter the future CHOKE-MID.  I slap down a bunch of turrets and mines on Salem to kill any Roaming Enclaves that wander in, but go ahead and gate raid to keep waves pointed at my HW for max salvage.  I also realize that 8 champs means the rewarded alien Modular Forts have ship caps of 8... holy cow.  Those'll be useful, if I can spare the energy.

1:15: I start clearing toward the western-most nebula.  I put this one off because it's behind two subcommander planets, Mark III and IV.  Notice a Teleport Raider fab on Frankfort, the Mark IV, but pay it no mind (spoiler: I later realize I might need this).

1:40: I finish up the western most nebula, Shattered Pillar.  Zenith destroyer hulls, awesome! Also Acid Jet modules, which I eventually realize have bonuses vs Drains, Eye Bots, and Munitions Boosters... Excellent. 

Popping a warp counterattack guard post sends 1000 AI bombers to Salem and my precious Cursed Golem. Meh, I'll park the fleet there, they're only MkII. 

I then realize that the Zenith Trader is on CHOKE-MID, my first sighting!  Then I consult the forums and confirm that if I start building a ZPG, I can capture a second ZPG and end up with two at once.  I have supply on CHOKE-MID from Salem...  A frantic rush ensues, as I throw champions and fleet ships into CHOKE-MID and frantically put down a ZPG with basically zero support and a bunch of enemy ships in-system, right as the Trader departs for foreign lands.   A few shadow shields and champions providing fire coverage and the ZPG is protected!  I then cap the system and fortify the heck out of it, to serve as a second wave target and general choke.  This later turns out to be a TERRIBLE idea, as while the ZPG is on the wormhole leading back to my arm of the map, the Needler Turret Controller, which I completely forgot about in my greed for the Botnet and ZPG, is way up on the north side of the gravity well.  I wind up having to cover it with forcefields, put mine trails to it, and generally muck up my carefully planned defenses; same for the Regen Golem.  The botnet is next to the ZPGs and my command station, so it's fine, at least.

Then the warp counterattack shows up.  This almost goes really badly when the massive pile of bombers decides to bail out before actually hitting my defenses, and flees toward Choke Mid. They exit the wormhole directly onto my pile of Trader goodies. I don't lose anything important, but it's a close thing before the pile of turrets that they walked into burns them down. 

At some point in here, I built some spirecraft attritioners and translocators.  No idea what I'm doing with spirecraft, never used them in a serious game.  I wind up adding some siege towers later. 

1:50: I finally get around to doing the nebula next to Salem.  This turns out to be the Ravenous Shadow.  I swap all but one champ over to Zenith Hulls with shields, missiles, and paralyzers.  Last champ has a pile of Doom Accelerators.  With four ravenous shadow, I make a token attempt to save the Mourners, but mostly focus on burning down the Shadows as fast as possible.  I think maybe one Mourner makes it out.  Hard to remember exaclty how this went, but I think I was down to one or two Shadows by the time they stopped chasing Mourners and headed for the small starbases.  Frantic Shadow shielding and pounding on the Shadows kill the last shadow when I had only a single champ left with shadow charge and the first attacked minibase at something like 1% health.  So, this is pretty tightly tuned! I think this is when I unlocked Bomber Bays; frustrating, as I would have used them in that fight if I had them. 

Status of the galaxy: I have 3 planets, with a captured ZPG, broken Botnet, Regen, and Cursed Golem, and another ZPG in the works.  55 AIP.  All nebula in my arm cleared.  I've basically used nothing but my champs on offense. 

You may remember that there was an ARS in my arm of the galaxy.  You may be wondering why I didn't capture it yet.

That would be because it offers Gravity Drains by default, which I could design download, and Lightning Torpedo Frigates as a hackable option.  All hail the RNG! For without it's blessings, surely we would be lost!  I'm going to hack that ARS.  But, not until I have my champions as ridiculously pimped out as I can manage beforehand. 

Unfortunately, a wild CPA appears and distracts me. 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 02:16:32 PM by tadrinth »

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2014, 02:06:00 AM »
Ohhhh, this CPA.  This CPA involved a lot of reloading. 

Btw, if you look at the screenshot of the CPA announcement, you may note that there are 2 wave warnings, both scheduled for *exactly* 8 seconds out.  I have never had waves arrive farther than 30s apart, and frequently they arrive at exactly the same time.  First diff 10 game, so maybe that's normal, but man is it evil. 

A Minor Faction Walks Into a CPA

Various saves and reloads to make sure the CPA spawned on the far side of CHOKE-MID (they always did, but I'm not sure how the carriers decide where to appear from).  Various saves and reloads as I built up my defenses on CHOKE-MID to levels that I hoped would be enough.  Getting my fleet positioned just-so on the planet, withthe translocators behind the forward turret cluster, but not inside the force field, with my spire siege towers behind them, and my protector starships spread out for maximum coverage while hiding under force fields. 

Roughly 2600 ships coming in from the south, 2000 from the east.  Happily, their arrival looks like it'll be staggered, so I don't have to fight the whole CPA at once.

Then the first carrier hits the adjacent southern system, Bismark, where I have no turrets because coprocessor.  The minor faction ships go berserk.

Err, I may not have mentioned, but the remaining ships from the last nebula I'd done had been patrolling back and forth between Salem and Choke Mid.  IMT has about 50 ships, and there's 150 human resistance ships patrolling too.  That's a fair amount of minor faction firepower that I really don't want to lose.

However, I also *really* want the salvage from those 4000 AI ships.  Trying to repair golems with three planets worth of economy is not going well, esp with their raised repair costs.

First try, I send in the champs to cover the minor factions with shields until they die or I run out of shadow charge, planning to fall back to my choke to finish the CPA.  Enemy carriers partially deploy, but the CPA runs out of ships before I run out of shadow charge.  Huh. 

I still want that salvage, dammit.  I decide I want it more than the minor factions patrolling; they get killed by waves anyway.  I let them charge in, figure they can suicide, and i'll mop up the remainder on my choke.  Turns out carriers won't deploy if there are no human ships present.  With no munitions boosters in the air... the carriers run out of ships before the minor factions do.  Guess they weren't suiciding after all.  In fact, I think I actually lost MORE of the minor faction ships when I was shadow shielding them, because the shadow shields would go down when hundreds of munitions-boosted bombers all fired at once.

Okay, fine. No salvage. I send in the entire fleet, translocators, and siege towers to support the minor factions, plus champions to spam shadow shields.  2600 ships worth of CPA evaporate. I do the same thing to the other half of the CPA coming from the east.

Speaking of minor factions, I now have 16 Roaming Neinzul Enclaves camped out on my homeworld. Every time an opposing Roaming Enclave dares wander into one of my systems, it is promptly shredded by turrets and minor faction ships, resulting in delicious salvage.  Waves at my homeworld often pause halfway to my turrets to duke it out with the horde of youngling spawns.  So far, this is the second cheesiest lobby option I've got on, because it requires basically no effort. You just get a bunch of homeworld defense for free.  The friendly enclaves are even smart enough to hang out under force fields! 

Back to the important stuff: clearing nebulas until I get cruisers, so I can do my first big hack. 

I clear my way up to the nebula at the end of the tiny northern arm.  Finally, the nebula I've been waiting for: Dyson Gatlings.

All champions switch over to Human Shadow Destroyers with MkIII Laser modules, plus MkIII Shield Modules, except one champ that I elect to put in a Zenith Hull with three bomber bays and a shield.  I'm up to level 26 by this point, so I have tons of points to spare.

I repeatedly massacre my way through Dyson gatlings, shielding the allied units and my destroyers.  Once I get too far out and the Dysons and allied ships get too spread out to cover, I retreat back to the allied starbase, replace shield modules, and let the dysons roll in closer.  Then I push back out with a fresh batch of allied ships and nice clustered dysons to laser my way through.

Victory jumps me all the way up level 35 and grants me what I've been waiting for: Cruiser Hulls!  Also, Spire hulls finally, along with tasty Photon Lances.  I also get 25 Dyson Gatlings for my trouble. 

2:50, AIP 18.  I did a lot of data center raiding! AIP is still 55, but I have -40 reduction, putting me at the AIP floor of 18. 

Now that I have cruisers, I take stock of the galaxy. 2:50

The eastern arm has 3 planets in a row with tasty, tasty things, right next to CHOKE-MID. Europa has an Armored Golem and Advanced Factory.  Then Pennsylvania has a Laser Turret Controller and an ARS which has Armored ships by default and the option for Zenith Reprocessors.  CHOKE-EAST has (inevitably given the map layout) a Spire Archive.

A bit more scouting reveals the Dyson Sphere is on the south-western spoke of the eastern arm, sharing a planet with the Flak Controller.   

CHOKE-SOUTH has the jackpot.  Sniper turret controller, an ARS which grants Vorticular Cutlasses by default, a broken Hive Golem, and the other Spire Archive.  It also has an OMD and a Mark V Ion cannon, which I vow to capture intact (eventually).  Cutlasses may not be too great since the AI has two different gravity ships, but the other options are Space Planes (which I'd design download if I wanted them), and Railclusters, which are redundant with the Spirecraft Translocators.

The Road Not Traveled
Here is where I made two foolish mistakes.  I was up to 4:05, with 8 planets controlled, the Dyson freed, and 115 AIP when I decided to rewind back over an hour. Oh, and I had died in there.

The first mistake is that I took Europa and Pennsylvania, and didn't Research Redirect hack Pennsylvania for Zenith Reprocessors.

The Lightning Torpedo Frigate ARS is on Providence, which is south of CHOKE WEST, which is the planet sending waves at my HW.  South of Providence is Oklahoma City, with a Core Missile Turret controller.  Right as I was setting up for the ARS hack, I decided (late at night, as I recall) to take Oklahoma city, since I was going to gate raid it anyway and I wanted the Core Turret Controller.

Then I realized that if I gate raided Choke West to prevent waves from hitting Providence, that would stop waves going to my homeworld.  Given the huge pile of Roaming Enclaves at my homeworld and the amazing 50% salvage ratio, I really wanted to take waves there, as they went much smoother than taking them at CHOKE-MID, with the Core Needler Turret distracting waves and nearly dying a lot. 

Then, the epiphany!  Warp Jammer Command Stations!  I could use a warp jammer to stop waves coming to Providence while keeping them headed to my homeworld.  And, once I had them, well, you get 5 of them.  If I put one on chokes MID, EAST, and SOUTH, I could cap both spire archives, completely block off AI movement between the spokes, and still have a jammer left over to take a core world or hold an AI homeworld after taking it.  No more awkward waves at CHOKE-MID, either, and maximum salvage. 

I unlocked warp jammers, stared regretfully at Oklahoma City which I could have ignored instead of paying 20 AIP for, and grabbed CHOKE-EAST.  Freeing the Dyson and having a friendly planet 2 hops away triggered a flood for Dyson spawns to my chain of planets: Salem, CHOKE-MID, Europa, Pennsylvania, and CHOKE-East. 

A black hole machine on a Rude Gesture planet blocked me from the outer planet of a spoke.  Some sneakiness with saving, scouting, and reloading allowed me to discover an ARS hiding on the far side.  I figured I'd clear this out and tackle the two nebula in the east arm, to avoid CHOKE-SOUTH's OMD+Ion cannon combo for as long as possible.  Then I figured, hell, why not pop a counterattack guard post or two and reap the salvage?

"Why not?" turned out to be because the Abominable Intelligence decided to synchronize two waves with the first counterattack guard post.  All to my homeworld.  Including a wave of 2000 MkII Eyebots, and a fair chunk of MkIV Eye Bots in the counterattack, which dodged most of my defenses.  *shakes fist at RNG for the inclusion of Eye Bots*  This game is just up and down on the RNG, I have to say.  Did I mention the first pair of AI ship unlocks was space planes and etherjets? *more fist shaking* At least I can design download space planes now, and the AI hasn't yet gotten Warp Gate or EMP guardians. 

Anyway, that counterattack wave was how I got my first "YOU HAVE LOST" message of the game; not even sure what killed me, but I assume eye bots since I had champion force fields covering my home command.

Oddly enough, losing gives you complete map visibility.  I took the opportunity to check out the AI homeworlds.

Southern HW: Core Raid Engine, Core CPA, Teuthida.
Northern HW: Core Raid Engine, Wrath Lance.

At last, I have reaped what I have sown.  The RNG has taken its vengeance upon my Lobby Limburger.  At least there's a teleport raider fab available to assist with the Wrath Lance, if needed.

Oh, and a Champion Nemesis exo is charged to about 64% by this point. 

A second attempt lets me survive the triple wave, by making sure my ships are focused on killing MkIV eyebots rather than getting distracted by other things.  I clear some more nebulas without too much trouble; cruiser hulls and ludicrous numbers of high mark missiles make mincemeat out of starbases. 

Then I realize that the Special Forces are camping out on Choke South, resulting in a ludicrous number of ships there... and OMDs are immune to force fields and can one-shot my champions.  I've only managed to get a Cursed Golem online.  My only ship unlocks are Protectors (OMD vulnerable), Lightning Torpedo Frigates, and Armoreds (ion cannon vulnerable).   I start wishing I'd hacked for Zenith Reprocessors, which have massive bonuses against Munitions Boosters, Gravity Drains, Eye Bots, and Bombers, and are delightfully immune to instakill.

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

Well, about this time is when I take a break for a few days, during which time Keith releases the long-awaited, very-much-anticipated Turret Cap Rework. 

This seems like a good time to go back in time a bit and correct my mistakes.  I jump from 4:05 all the way back to 2:49.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 05:53:33 PM by tadrinth »

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2014, 03:26:22 AM »

I update to 7.033 and load up the latest save which doesn't have any critical mistakes in it (ie, from before I capped Pennsylvania). 

I am greeted by a lovely Energy Brownout notification.  Apparently I have -125,300 energy.  Oh, and there's a 377 Gravity Drain reprisal wave aimed at my homeworld, so I have 7 seconds to get my defenses back online.  Let the culling begin!

I scrap all Core Needler turrets everywhere but my HW.  I also scrap the mod fort I was building; who needs a Neinzul mod fort when I can build a *Spire* mod fort, and line it up so that the beams cover the incoming wave path?  The spire fort can wait until I have energy and metal.  I cull most of my other turrets, especially from CHOKE-MID. 

By 2:52 I have unlocked warp jammers and redirect all waves to my HW, fixed my energy issues without needing additional matter converters, and taken Europa, giving me an advanced factory (which grants me no units, as I have only MkI triangle ships!).  I gate raid Providence and prep for a Research Redirect Hack.  SInce I have supply, a force field to cover the hacker and Core Laser Turret Controller seems wise, plus some engis to hang out underneath it, and as many turrets as I have energy for (which turns out to be very few). 

Unlocks at this point are ScoutII, EngiII, HarvesterIII, Warp Jammers, MkI Zenith and Spire starships, MkII protector and Enclave Starships (btw the protectors have seen almost no use, I just use the champion pile for offense), Hardened Force Fields (though I should have gone mkII FFs for the fortress module unlocks), and Decloakers.  MkI Heavy Beam/Grav/Tachyon turrets, as well.

I still haven't gotten MilII or MilIII command stations, or higher mark gravity.  I did move most of my Riot starships to my homeworld to provide engine damage.  AIP is up to 40 again.

First Hack: Zenith Reprocessor Redirect
The research redirect hack on Pennsylvania goes quite smoothly, between the turrets, the massive horde of nebula bonus ships, the champions, and the engineers. There is exactly one snag, which is that the final pulse decides to spawn four MkIV raid starships.  I see them and go "oh dear".  Then they go next door to Europa, murder the econ command station, and then kill the Advanced Factory before I can get any units over to stop them. Oops.

I reload, throw down gobs of turrets to protect against the raid starhips (though I forgot to swap to a Milspec command station). This time, the final hack response decides to spawn... a bunch of Gravity guardians.  Umm.  That's a bit anticlimactic, honestly, comapred to four MarkIV raid starships.  Oh well.

I gleefully unlock Zenith Reprocessors (one of my favorite units, btw, even though the reprocessing bit has never been very noticeable) and immediately unlock all four marks. 

I rampage over, clear CHOKE-EAST (which has that hilarious subcommander that uses nothing but Command Shield guard posts in a giant ring).  Warp Jammer, force field over the spire archive. 

Dyson, How We Miss You

I free the dyson using the champs, and briefly cap the system to grab the Flak controller.  A counter attack guard post gets killed along the way; 1,400 cloaked ships.  I bring all mobile forces home, it turns out to be entirely eye bots.  My fleet intercepts and does't get distracted and I take them out without too much trouble. 

Then I discover that the dysons self-attrition to death as soon as they enter an AI-controlled planet.  *headdesk* A side effect of the great Division by 100.  Oh well, Dyson 10, you'll be awesome again as soon as Keith fixes you.

Redirect Hack the Second
I do another research redirect hack on Providence.  Again, with all the nebula units, spirecraft, Cursed Golem, and champions, it goes smoothly.  Raid starships take out the entirely-unimportant Salem Command station, then die to the turrets there.  By this point I have my second ZPG built (thank you, Trader and home-command-salvage-from-waves), so I have a huge energy buffer. 

Golem progress: Cursed online (and kicking butt), Botnet 7%, Regen 25%, Armored at 92%.  Sadly, the armored is going to get put on the back burner for a while, because I unlock all four marks of...

Lightning Torpedo Frigates!  ...and my economy promptly keels over and dies under the weight of their massive 33k metal cost per mark, with a ship cap of 8. That's 2.64 million metal for a full set. Zenith Reprocessors have the same cap, but cost only 4k per mark; I think that works out to cheaper than fighters per cap, another reason to love Reprocessors.  One LTF is 75% of a freaking Neinzul Enclave Starship, despite being 4x the cap. It'll be worth it, but trying to build LTFs makes me want to do silly things like pop counterattack guard posts.  Also, I make a mental note to never, ever lose LTFs on AI planets with guard posts remaining; the salvage reprisals for those things would get painful fast.

Nebula Blitz

I blitz through the two nebula in the eastern arm; for the Colony Ship one I split my champs up.  One defends each side, and each side gets a group of three to go on offense.  The other nebula, I send one ship to defend the southern side, one to defend the north, and the rest go clear the northern bases, then everyone flies south to take out the remainder.  Afterwards I am level 44.  That gets me four more production facilities; it'll take a while to build those ships since my economy is halfway through the LTFs.

By the way, the Suspend Spending option for control groups has done some serious work this game.  All the big projects go in group 9, which is set to 1.9 million.  Whatever project I want done next goes in 8, which is set to 1.7 million.  My main strike force is in group 1, which was set to 500k but recently got upped to 1 million, so that I always have a buffer to drop down turrets in a hurry.

WTB Shieldbearers
I'm sitting on 8k knowledge.  I'll probably get MkIII protector and enclave starships as soon as I find and capture an advanced starship constructor; I think there's one in the southern arm, but I'll have to deal with CHOKE-SOUTH first. 

There's one last thing to do first.  Past Missouri (which is the Rude Gesture planet with the Black Hole Machine and 13 MkIII sniper guardians) is an ARS with Shieldbearers.  I figure with nebula units, shield bearers, reprocessors, and LTFs, I can take CHOKE SOUTH without killing the Ion V or the OMD, allowing me to capture both. 

I forgot to mention, but in my previous attempt (before the time warp) I did a sabotage hack to remove the Black Hole Machine.  I cleared it by having champs and neinzul enclaves and the few LTFs i'd built sit just out of range of the pile of enemies on the command station and just spammed drones until everything died.  Hacking it costs 5 HaP instead of 5 AIP, which seems like a *really good trade*.

I'm debating how to repeat that now.  The champion exo has announced, but I'm only at 51%.  If I hurry, I might be able to wrap up the whole game before that sucker launches.

I could rush in with everything I've got, use Scout Starships to block the Sniper Guardians, spam Shadow Shields to soak the Arachnid Guard Post shots (there are two such posts), and then the Siege Towers and Champions will wreck face. Requires a lot of micro, might require a few tries before I can manage it without losing anything important.  And nothing can leave until I go in and sabotage hack the BHM. This seems like the best strat, but I wrote up this AAR instead of trying it. 

I could also just throw a mkI Martyr at the problem.  I built 3 as a backup for that first CPA; vastly paranoid, as it turns out.

Or I could repeat my drone spam, which would be safe, but slow.

And now we're up to date! The first save of this game is all the way back on 4/28, so I've just written up over a month of action!

3:49, 105 AIP, 51 floor, 51% champion exo, 1 golem online, 7 planets controlled, Dyson freed, 7 nebula complete, lv44 champs, 26 friendly Roaming Enclaves. 

AIP Rant

While I'm thinking about HaP and AIP... 

What the heck is the point of the superterminal in a game like this?  If I take out the coprocessors, that's going to give me 60 AIP, plus two more planets I want to cap gets me up to 205 AIP, raising the floor from 51 to 78.  Then the AIP drop from the coprocessors, which I believe is still 120 even though I'm diff 10, drops me basically to the floor. 

Then I'm going to assault the homeworlds, and every guard post I kill is going to raise the floor by 10.  Well, I'll already be *at* the floor.  At the end of the first assault, the floor will be 165.  I could take additional planets, but any AIP gain will further raise the floor.  I'm effectively getting a 2/3rds discount on AIP at that point, but I have a feeling that by then, I'm not going to want to gain AIP, even at a 2/3rds discount.  I might take a few, especially that teleport raider fab if the wrath lance proves problematic, but I'm pretty sure I'll still be at the floor.

Given all that, there's no way I'm going to spend HaP on a dangerous ST hack.  I can get basically the same effect from killing coprocessors, with no HaP cost and no risk (except that one of the coprocessors is on an AI homeworld where I can't easily reach it).  There's no point in doing both, since the the AI HW assaults raise the floor by so much.  I guess a small ST hack might be useful for buying me some breathing room before the first HW assault, but then afterward the floor will be that much higher when I'm riding it. 

I realize this is an extremely atypical game, I'm just bothered because I haven't actually done a ST hack yet.  I was looking forward to it, but it doesn't seem worth bothering with this game. 

Salvage Distortion
The other thing that seems weird about this game is how much the salvage mechanic is driving my decisions.  Blowing up completely ignorable Warp Counterattack posts for more metal, even though that sometimes kills me? Weird.  I'm deliberately driving not just some waves, but ALL waves to my homeworld, just for the metal.  That makes the waves twice as large (so well over twice as dangerous), I'm up against Eye Bots which can waltz past my defenses and murder my home command right through forcefields, and I get much less frequent feedback on how my defenses are keeping up with the AIP because the waves come so rarely.  And I still can't imagine sending the waves anywhere else.  It's a huge boost to my economy whenever a pair of waves hits, I can *see* the progress in whatever big project I'm working on.  Less critical in some ways now that I have enough planets for a decent economy, but more critical now that I'm trying to get bigger projects going (armored/botnet golems, modforts, trader goodies). 

I'm wishing I'd turned on the 2x wave multiplier option in the lobby.  I think I'd be having an easier time right now.  Twice the salvage from waves, the waves already sync so I'm not upping my risk of unexpectedly getting two waves at once like I would be on Diff7, and I'd get feedback on how my defenses were doing more often.  It might eventually be a problem, if I didn't have time to rebuild between wave pairs, or if i hit the point where I need warheads to stop waves. 

If I was doing an Ironman game (no reloads if I die), then I probably never send waves to my homeworld.  Tactically, it makes no sense to deliberately goad the AI into throwing the largest possible waves directly at the single most vulnerable point in your empire.  Utter madness.  Given the option of reloading, though, I'm going to ride that 50% salvage rate as hard as I can.  At least until the waves get large enough that I can't spare the resources to boost my defenses enough to handle them. 

The salvage mechanic has a disproportionate influence on Diff 10 games, as well, because AIP increases hurt more, leading to a starved economy due to capping as few planets as possible, and then the waves are larger which generates more salvage. 

I may completely change my opinion and strategy once I get up past 150 AIP, mind you.  And I'm basically committed to staying under 200 AIP until the final HW assault, after reading in other AARs about what the Reinforcement => Wave conversion can produce. 

I love the turret rework.  Oh my goodness is it nice to be able to just throw down some turrets on every planet without taking away from my whipping boy and without having to capture gobs of Core Turret Controllers.  And being able to stack MkI and MarkV turrets feels so much cleaner and more powerful.  Before, I basically wanted to capture at least one CTC immediately, regardless of which one it was, just to get some distributed defense, plus a few more later to be sure.  Now I want to capture CTCs based almost entirely on their effectiveness vs the AI unlocks; I'd have gone to extreme lengths to get Core Laser Turrets, which are the best counter to the Eye Bot plague (grumble missile immunity grumble).  Part of the motivation for the time warp was that I no longer wanted to capture the Missile CTC; as distributed defense it's a great turret, but it isn't that great vs the waves I'm worried about.  I think this more closely matches the situation with fabs, where some fabs you always want, but most fabs you grab if you need them this game. 

The energy costs are... intense, though. If I didn't have two ZPGs I'd be at -300 energy right now.  The energy costs feel too high, but I think that's mostly just the irresistable desire to put down at least half a cap of every turret on every planet, because I can. 

At some point I need to run numbers on the relative energy efficiency of turrets vs fortresses of various types.  Is there an easy to way to check a unit's strength in game?  It'd be nice to have an easy way to ballpark how powerful things are, to compare their relative energy efficiency, and the game already has such a measure.  Also, if the AI uses strength comparisons to decide if threat should attack, it would be nice to be able to see at a glance how much strength you have on a planet. 

« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 06:56:44 PM by tadrinth »

Offline Peter Ebbesen

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2014, 05:33:09 AM »
Hah. This sounds really fun. So cheesy, but then, that's the point! Keep up the good work. :)

Ps: Are you going to build all the mod forts on your homeworld? I'm trying to imagine the hilarity of something like 8 Neinzul mod-forts with Insanity Inducers zombifying incoming waves.
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Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2014, 11:36:38 AM »
It's been pretty hilarious.  I'm not used to the AI throwing that many ships around, so it's a bit nervewracking at time, but as long as ships run into either my fleet or my defenses, it usually goes fine.  Except, you know, Eye Bots.  My previous two diff 7+ wins were with just VotM enabled and then just base game, so this is the first serious game where I've turned on all the expacs. So many fun toys to play with!

I seriously doubt I'll build all the mod forts I have available.  24 mod forts is a staggering amount of energy, considering they're what, 100k energy for the fort and then more for every module? Also, all the mod forts on my HW have to be perfectly aligned along the axis between the wormhole and the Home Command station, to ensure that incoming Carriers stay on the trail of mines and to ensure the Spire mod fort beams are lined up right.  I think the ranges work out such that I can put forts behind my command station, but I'll have to check.

I'll probably put at least one modfort on each of the choke planets I own (so MID, EAST, and SOUTH), for CPAs and Exos and to protect the irreplaceables on MID and SOUTH.  The rest that I build will probably be on the homeworld, though, unless I have to add another whipping boy to keep the waves reasonably sized.

I haven't tried out insanity inducers much, but yeah, that could be pretty effective.  I'll have to see how they do compared to acid jets.  That'll probably be my next mod fort on the HW.  Gravity Drains are immune to reclamanation, but those aren't very scary waves. 

I have a feeling this game is going to get hard as time goes on.  Not just because of higher AIP, but if I keep up with Beta patches, Keith is going to keep making Diff10 harder.  I also wouldn't be surprised if the sheer level of cheese wound up triggering some nerfs, even though obviously this is not intended to be a fair match at all. 

I meant to talk about the MVPs so far:
These guys are doing basically all the neutering and most of the clearing.  I only bring the full fleet in for really stubborn planets *cough Rude Gesture cough* or for hacks.  Nebula bonus ships comprise most of my mobile fleet.  I haven't built too many mod forts yet, but they could easily wind up being the vast majority of my defenses if I can spare the energy.  So far the nemesis spawns are not particularly scary, they go down quickly under fire.  They've never built up to the point where they think they can take my defenses, due to fortified chokes and distributed turrets.  Of course, there are like 120 nemesis frigates on each homeworld, and that nemesis exo has me very nervous (I'll easily have battleships by the time it arrives).

Roaming Enclaves
Homeworld defense from the friendlies and free scrap from the hostiles!  I'm up to 26 or so friendlies camped on my HW.  I suspect they could put a very fair dent into Choke South, if not take the entire planet themselves.  They don't care about Ion cannons or OMDs.  I'd just need to lure out the SF... good thing there's a ST planet next door I can use to sucker them in. 

I wasn't that impressed with how many younglings they dumped, until I realized from skimming patch notes that their younglings are 4x as strong as younglings of equal mark.  That's a lot of firepower, but not enough that the hostile ones do much damage before they die, since I only ever encounter them individually and I have adequate turret coverage.

I think the AI-ally and independent enclaves could use some buffs, since they don't tend to accumulate to as high a level as the Human-Ally enclaves. They might have been fine before the turret rework, but now you can just put enough turrets to handle them on every planet (if you can spare the energy).  They'd be vastly more effective if they coordinated rather than dying one-by-one as they spawn.  The AI-ally ones would probably be a lot more dangerous if they acted like threat; you'd have to hunt them rather than killing them as they come in.  A friend also suggested having them build their own version of Raid Engines if they get bored or accumulate to high numbers, which would launch Youngling waves at adjacent planets.  If the AI SF tended to head over to whatever planet the Independent Enclaves were launching waves at, this would be an interesting distraction for the player to take advantage of.  (Friend should be credited as Taravassal if this goes in). 

Warp Jammers
These are doing so very much work.  By putting them on the hubs, I expect to save something like 80 AIP by the end of the game.  Redirecting waves to my HW gets me gobs of salvage.  Easily worth the K, given that they let me cap the Spire Archives with ease. 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 06:59:15 PM by tadrinth »

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2014, 07:02:45 PM »
Clearing the Eastern Hub

I update to 7.034.  Welcome back, Dyson Spawns! They no longer self attrition in seconds on AI planets, meaning they rapidly clear the threat off the AI planet between the Sphere and CHOKE-EAST, and then begin patrolling my chain of planets.  They should build up to about 250 spawns over the next half hour of game time.

I decide that 28 Roaming Neinzul Enclaves is enough to be allowed to go out to play, so I tell them to feel free to assist attacks and to attack independently.  They go clear some ship accumulation off some planets, then resume camping out at HOME.  I don't think I'll have to worry about ship accumulation anywhere they can reach every again... though they may be pretty busy. 

Now that I've cleared the Eastern Hub's nebulas, there's just that Rude Gesture planet with the Black Hole Machine to deal with.  I send in the champions and scout starships first, to clear the hubs and provide coverage against the 13 sniper guardians.  Then the cursed golem and everything that's immune to insta-kill, including 15 LTFs.  The human resistance shows up, which provides a useful distraction allowing my drone spam to put some damage into the pile of shields over the command station, but they don't last long.  For some reason Arachnid Anti-starship Guard Posts will shoot at them, even though I wouldn't think they're large enough targets, and there's two covering hte command station.  I park everything just outside max range of the pile of stuff on the command center, and then bum rush in the champions.  A bunch of frantic shadow shielding keeps the Arachnids from killing my champions (though a few shield modules do go down), and then the torrent of drones, cursed golem shots, and champion fire clears out the guard posts.  I leave the warp counterattack posts alone... I'm not greedy enough to pop them right now. 

A quick sabotage hack takes out the Black Hole Machine, getting me access to Arkansas, which has an ARS, a data center, and another broken Cursed Golem.  I clear the planet, take it, and gate raid the rude Gesture.  The ARS could have had Zbombers or Impulse Reaction Emitters, but I take the default Shieldbearers.  I immediately unlock all marks and start building them.

While those are building, I decide to clear out the last few unneutered planets and barracks that I hadn't cleared out.  That's pretty much one more planet on the eastern arm, and two barracks. 

I realize I could build some Spire Scouts and get a look at the eastern AI homeworld. Seems like a good idea. I build a pair of Mark IIs and send one in (no forcefields in the way, I checked building them, still think these could be forcefield immune).  Then I am greeted with the first attached screenshot.  That's 125 shadow frigates patrolling around the Homeworld.  I can barely see the guard posts past all the frigates.  Turns out the Wrath Lance is waaaaaay over on the western edge of the system.  That's probably bad, it has enough range to be hitting the single wormhole.  Core Shredder Drone guard post appears to be the third brutal pick, along with the Core Raid Engine.  I'm hitting this homeworld second, since the other has a coprocessor and no wrath lance.   

I've yet to find an artillery golem, not that it would be useful this game since everything big that I need to kill is a guard post with radar dampening.  I guess maybe the MkIII fortress would be vulnerable. 

I take a look at Choke South.  2700 ships, roughly.  A lot of that is Special Forces, which will rally to defend the Super Terminal.  I'll also have to deal with 10% of the strategic reserve at the same time.  Then everything that's OMD and Ion immune will head into choke south, probably assisted by suicidal champions. 

State of galaxy: 4:11, 8 planets, 120 AIP, 60% champion nemesis, ~200 friendly dyson spawns.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 07:06:34 PM by tadrinth »

Offline Peter Ebbesen

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2014, 06:44:31 AM »
I decide that 28 Roaming Neinzul Enclaves is enough to be allowed to go out to play, so I tell them to feel free to assist attacks and to attack independently.  They go clear some ship accumulation off some planets, then resume camping out at HOME.  I don't think I'll have to worry about ship accumulation anywhere they can reach every again... though they may be pretty busy. 
A quick question: Is this rhetorical fluff, or are there in-game commands to control allied Neinzul Enclaves? And if so, where are those controls? :)
Ride the Lightning - a newbie Fallen Spire AAR - the AAR of my second serious AI War game. Now completed.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2014, 08:09:01 AM »
I decide that 28 Roaming Neinzul Enclaves is enough to be allowed to go out to play, so I tell them to feel free to assist attacks and to attack independently.  They go clear some ship accumulation off some planets, then resume camping out at HOME.  I don't think I'll have to worry about ship accumulation anywhere they can reach every again... though they may be pretty busy. 
A quick question: Is this rhetorical fluff, or are there in-game commands to control allied Neinzul Enclaves? And if so, where are those controls? :)
There actually are commands you can issue through the chat window to influence the behavior of allied Roaming Enclaves.  They're on the wiki page for the Enclaves (with more in the actual patch notes linked there).

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2014, 06:28:32 PM »
Yeah, I'd love a better interface for controlling the Roaming Enclaves.  The chat commands are better than nothing, though.

Also, it turns out that I can easily take a wave of 3000 bombers if the Roaming Enclaves are home, but not if they are out roaming.  Having 130x4 Mark12 Younglings charge waves is extremely effective at tying them up.  I'll be keeping them at home until I get some more defenses built.

I reloaded back to just before the sabotage hack, and popped three of the Warp Counterattack Guard Posts over about 7 minutes, then headed home to defend.  The waves were easily handled, and the resulting massive salvage influx let me get my Armored Golem online, plus repair the Botnet up to 34%, even after building all the LTFs and shield bearers.  I also redid a bunch of defenses after I unlocked MkII Forcefields and squeezed another Mod Fort into my home planet's defenses.  I finally had my first Threat Shadow Frigate attack, which wiped out Choke East temporarily, but I'd already finished the Spire Archive, so that wasn't a big deal.  I moved the command center, upped the number of turrets, and added a mod fort, since it will likely be repelling CPAs here in the near future. 

120 AIP, 13k CPA incoming.  But, 2 golems online.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 06:30:23 PM by tadrinth »

Offline Peter Ebbesen

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2014, 06:44:35 PM »
I decide that 28 Roaming Neinzul Enclaves is enough to be allowed to go out to play, so I tell them to feel free to assist attacks and to attack independently.  They go clear some ship accumulation off some planets, then resume camping out at HOME.  I don't think I'll have to worry about ship accumulation anywhere they can reach every again... though they may be pretty busy. 
A quick question: Is this rhetorical fluff, or are there in-game commands to control allied Neinzul Enclaves? And if so, where are those controls? :)
There actually are commands you can issue through the chat window to influence the behavior of allied Roaming Enclaves.  They're on the wiki page for the Enclaves (with more in the actual patch notes linked there).
Thanks for the help.

Some of those details - or at least a reference to check the wiki for commands - really ought to be in the Roaming Enclave description if this is part of ordinary gameplay. The game itself gives no indication that any commands exist at all as far as I can see.
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Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2014, 12:07:51 AM »
I went ahead and got MkII FFs and Gravity turrets, and then told the Roaming Enclaves to go have fun.  I'd rather have them roaming and beef up my defenses with unlocks as needed, rather than having them be the lynchpin of my defense. 

Second CPA: 13,438 Ships
I went around and popped all the Barracks I could before this launched, then positioned my forces at Choke East.

A handful of threat on the eastern HW and the planet next to the Dyson Sphere, 2000 threat on the eastern Core World, and the rest spawned in the southern arm.  Only 2k MkII ships got freed, and 7k of the ships were from the Strategic Reserve. 

I wound up having to charge my fleet into the eastern Core World before the CPA launched, to avoid my minor faction allies suiciding into a core world.  So that was a Core Raid Engine wave, plus 30% of the strategic reserve, then 2000 threat ships rolled up.  Between the Cursed Golem shredding them as they came in and the Armored Golem and Champions taking point, that all went down pretty easily. 

I then moved everything over to Bismark, just south of Choke Mid, to intercept the main body of the CPA rolling in.  There were about three different groups of carriers that rolled up slightly spaced apart.  I wound up chucking two Martyr IIs in, which took out about 4k ships of 10k present at the time.  The rest got shredded without too much trouble. Botnet up to 80%, then a Reprisal 1 wave launches 5000 missile frigates at HOME.  Pretty sure the salvage from that finished the Botnet.

Choke South
A fairly annoying planet, made worse by my stubborn insistence on taking it without removing the capturables and without losing too much fleet. MkV Ion and an OMD prevented me from using my usual tricks. 

Just getting to it required getting past the SuperTerminal. The CPA had just drained the Strategic Reserve down far enough that there wasn't enough to spare for defending it, so I just had to deal with the flood of MkII Special Forces that had been camping out on Choke South.  They got melted as they poured in.

Getting in wasn't too bad.  The Armored Golem is now so beefy that it basically laughs at OMDs.  I sent it in first to take out the guard posts and especially the Spider Guardians camping the wormhole.  Once that was clear, I pulled it back and sent in the Nebula bonus units.  They're all immune to instakill, are too small to trigger the OMD, and have infinite engine health.  I used those to get enough of a beachhead set up to take out Spider Guardians as they flew in.  Then I brought in the Shieldbearers, Reprocessors, and the Lightning Torpedo Frigates.  That was more than enough of a fleet ball to clear most of the system.

However, the Translocating Command Station covered by two MkIII FFs and a massive pile of guard posts (munitions boosting, multiple lasers and needlers, widow, and arachnid) and Plasma/Spider/Beam Guardians proved a bit tougher.  Just sending in the Armored Golem didn't work; most of the guard posts had ultra-heavy bonuses or were arachnid.  I reloaded and sent in the fleet ball, which worked, but I lost all the higher-cap nebula bonus units doing it, and those take forever to rebuild since you can't send engineers to help.

I reloaded again, and this time I took long enough to clear the system and think about means of attack that the Roaming Enclaves finally arrived to help.  All 34 of them.  The resulting horde of extra-beefy Younglings charged the command station, but they still weren't enough. 

Then I remembered that Neinzul champion hulls have radar dampening and cloaking.  I couldn't remember if OMDs ignored radar dampening (they do, it's in their description, but I didn't see it at the time).  Turns out they do ignore radar dampening, but they won't shoot at champions that are cloaked.  And, while powered-down champions will not produce drones, powered up champions with nothing in range to shoot at will not decloak as they produce drones. 

I reload again, reset all the champs to neinzul hulls with MkIV bomber bays, and bring them in to support. They get there shortly before the roaming enclaves.  I lose one to the OMD, since they have to fly through the SuperTerminal planet which has a tachyon command station, but the rest happily spam drones while cloaking. 

Between the bomber drones, the Roaming Enclave younglings, and parking the fleetball out of range of most of the guardposts to pour in assisting fire and lightning torpedos, I finally finish clearing Choke South with minimal losses. I did lose all my MkII Lightning Torpedo Frigates, I think to the two Missile Guard Posts under the force field, but that's not enough to trigger a reprisal, and now that the Botnet is up I have economy to spare. 

I plop down a Warp Jammer command station.  This gets me Vorticular Cutlasses, a Spire Archive, the Core Sniper Turret controller, a Hive Golem, and access to all the spoke planets of the southern arm, including the final two nebulas. 
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 12:19:37 PM by tadrinth »

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2014, 12:44:47 AM »
The End of the Middle

The Roaming Enclaves immediately begin the process of neutering the spokes of the Southern Arm. I send it some ships to assist and accidentally trigger a one-shot Raid Engine.  Whoops.  The fleet and golems head in to intercept the wave, and then the Botnet arrives just in time to mop up the tail end. 

I rather foolishly decide to pop a warp counterattack guard post while I'm in there, which costs me about 10 minutes as I redirect the fleet and golems and champions to HOME.  Some regular waves show up as well, but since the regular waves have finally desynchronized, and neither wave lines up with the counterattack guard post, none of it proves problematic.  The champion Tachyon Pulse ability really helps by decloaking Eye Bots at extreme range.  Also, I have a botnet this time. 

Time to clear the last two nebulas.  I flip all the champions back over to Zenith hulls, each with two missile, two shield, and two bomber drone bay large modules.  They each get whatever small modules they've specialized in.  I head into Nebula #8 off Choke South.  Four-way battle; I split the champs between the two fronts, with 3 on offense and 1 on defense in each group.  Then the defenders join the attack, as I have so much firepower that I need no defense. It's over very quickly. No particularly interesting modules. 

I use the champs and golems to clear over to the final nebula.  Same loadout.  I try splitting some champions off to go around and defend, using the remaining four for the assault.  I decide to pop the nearest isolated small starbase, then charge into the middle and take out the four large starbases.  If there are no large starbases, killing small starbases doesn't seem to spawn the counterattack units.  I discover two things: four large starbases is enough to give four champions a lot of trouble unless you are very careful with your shadow shield spam, and the defending champions are totally not needed.  I reload and send all 8 champions on a charge straight to the middle.  It turns out the bomber drones are VERY attractive targets for the opposing nebula ships; they almost all go for the drones, leaving a few to go on the attack.  That's why I didn't need to defend.  The pile of missiles and drones means I make quick work of the four large starbases, shadow shield spam keeps everyone up, and then I just go in a circle and clear out the remaining small starbases.  Way too easy.

For some reason I got four Mourner reward production facilities, though I checked back a while later and three of them had despawned.  Super weird.  Oh, and Battleship hulls! I swap upgrade all the champs.  Everyone gets 2x missiles, 2x shields, and 4x bomber drone bays; that seems like a good loadout both for the champion nemesis exo that's now 90% charged, as well as the homeworld assaults.  Missiles for force fields, shields to not die, and bomber drones to soak fire and be bombers. Now that I have all the modules I'm going to get, I spread out the small module specializations a bit more.  I go pretty heavy on lasers, since the AI has a number of nasty refractive units and I want the anti-heavy bonuses for killing nemesis frigates.  Laser/Needler, Laser/Paralyzer, Laser, Laser/MLRS, Laser, Laser/Acid, Laser/Impulse, and MLRS/Needler.  Whew! I discover that Battleship hulls have enough health to survive an OMD shot.  That may come in handy. 

I finish scouting, neuter all the remaining non-core planets, and use Spirecraft Scouts to get coverage of the southern Core planet and Homeworld. Popping two data centers cancels out the AIP increase from taking Choke South, keeping me at 120 AIP. 

Turns out the southern homeworlds third brutal pick is a AI Core Neinzul Melee Guard Post.  That could be rough; it has radar dampening, so I can't shoot it down before it engages, and it ignores force fields.  Happily, I'll be going in packed with Laser modules on my champs, which have bonuses vs Close Combat hulls. 

Turns out there's an ARS down here with an artillery golem and Chameleons!  There's also two ASCs, one with an armored golem.  I'll probably grab the ASC and then unlock MkIII Protector and Enclave starships.  The Arty golem is probably not worth it, and I doubt I need the Chameleons enough to justify the K or the AIP to get them. 

I may build some more spirecraft, as well; I should at least get some more Siege Towers and Translocators.  And I may end up throwing some Martyrs at the Nemesis exo, though I'm hoping some carefully placed mines will wear them down; if they go straight for HOME their path will be extremely predictable.  If I unlock Area Mines, I can replace all the mines on HOME with those and then put about 100 area mines and all 294 regular mines along the nemesis exos paths from the AI homes to my home. 

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2014, 01:58:54 AM »
Let's Talk Defense

I want to go through my defensive setup and maybe get some feedback on obvious improvements.

If you check out the overview, you can see that there's five big components. The Mines, the forward turrets, the midrange turrets and modforts, the home command and its forcefields, and then the rear turret and OMD.

Lets start with the the trail of mines from the wormhole, with full GravII coverage.  There are some key things going on here, due to the fact that the waves are deploying largely in carriers at this point.  Immediately upon the wave spawning, the loose ships either immediately spread out (missile frigates in particular seem to do this, I think they're having trouble deciding on targets) or charge in along with the carriers.  Keith mentioned that usually carriers lag behind the loose ships, but in this case everything is under gravity turrets the entire time, so they all come in at the same speed.  So far as I can tell, carriers are three mines wide, but maybe they could hit four mine trails if I shifted things around slightly.  Unfortunately, the wormhole is a bit close to the home command station, so I have a much smaller mine trail than I'd like.  Price of getting 40% salvage, I suppose. 

Next up is the forward turret array.  I've redone this sucker multiple times; I had to move it forward when I got MkII FFs, rest minor tweaks.  The current version has a Decloaker at the very center, to provide tachyon coverage all the way up to the wormhole.  Then there are three Riot Control starships, to provide even more slowing on top of the Grav turrets.  I'm not sure they're doing much good, might pull them to bring to the HW assaults, or I may unlock Riot IIs to bring with my fleet.  I have two FFIIs, each offset a bit from the path from the wormhole to my Home Command.  That way, carriers come in and (ideally) get stuck on the slight indentation between the two forcefields, effectively trapping them out of range of my home command's FFs.  Works most of the time, sometimes the carriers get spread out and bounce off the sides of the forcefields, eventually getting around.  If they get stuck, they usually wind up shooting at the midrange turrets. I also have an extra MkI forcefield covering the forward Tractor Turret blob, which is placed so that it has enough range to reach just outside the MkII forcefields and grab ships that bump into the forcefield.  There's a full set of MkI Flak/Lit turrets, plus all my mkV Flak turrets.  Unfortunately, the AI has very little that the Flaks have bonuses against, but I got them for free when freeing the Dyson Sphere. 

The midrange turret blob is pretty much the lynchpin of my defense.  I'm pretty sure the Spire Modular Fortress is doing tremendous amounts of work.  The instant the wave materializes, the fortress itself and the four MkIII Photon Lances open up with the giant beams of doom.  Since the fortress lies exactly on the path between the wormhole and my Home Command, and the carriers follow that path exactly (at least until they hit forcefields), every shot deals full damage to the entire stack of carriers, and when the loose ships bull rush the home command station as well, they also take full damage since they're stacked on the carriers.  I've seen anywhere from 3-7 carriers, depending on the wave ship type.  That's a hell of a lot of damage output.  Then about halfway through the mine field, the Impulse Reaction modules open up.  Pretty sure carriers use enough energy to put these at max damage output. 

A Neinzul mod fort provides Acid Jet modules (bonuses against Bombers, Munitions Boosters, Etherjets, Eye Bots, and Gravity Drains), plus four MkII Shield modules to cover the pile of turrets.  I have MkI Needler/Laser/MLRS turrets all covered by the modular force fields, which don't reduce damage output.  Carriers melt through those shield modules fairly quickly, but it buys the turrets some uninterrupted DPS time even after the carrier gets in range.  I also have all 12 MkI Heavy Beam Cannon turrets in there.  The real beasts are the full caps of Core Needler and Core Laser turrets, both of which have bonuses vs Carriers.  I got super lucky in getting easy access to both of these.  The biggest annoyance here is that there's very little room between the Home forcefields and the forward force fields, so the turrets and mod forts are packed in pretty tight. I had to move the forward turret ball forward both when I got FFIIs and again when I added the second mod fort. 

The Home Command station is covered by four MkII FFs.  Hiding under the shields are a bunch of low-mark attritioners, which don't appear to be doing any work whatsoever.  If they have any effect it is totally imperceptible.  There's never more than 2000 loose ships, so that's 27*2000=56k dps.  The Spire Modular Fort's Photon Lances are doing 72k*4/3=96k dps. There's also a finished Black Hole Machine (because I hate when Etherjets flee and turn into threat).  I'm working on a Radar Jammer next, then probably the Armor Booster.  There are also three captured MkII Munitions Boosters hanging out; they're part of why I didn't bother with Military Command Station unlocks.  110% boost is even more than a MilIII.  I have one tucked up next to the Neinzul mod fort to reach the forward turret array. 

The rear line is the full set of MkI Missile and Sniper turrets, plus the full set of Core Sniper Turrets I got from Choke South, plus an OMD.  It took me FOREVER to realize that OMDs would shoot at Carriers; I should have build it as soon as I started getting carriers in waves.  Of course, 48k dps is actually... not all that impressive, really.  Especially given the price tag, which is 2x that of a Mod Fort.  Costs almost no energy, though, so well worth it; even with all the nebula bonus production facilities that provide energy AND two ZPGs, I'm still running two matter converters. 

Planned improvements include GravIIIs, area mines, another Spire Mod Fort, and/or higher mark Laser turrets, plus the Radar Jammer and Armor Booster. Maybe Counter Missile Turrets if an Eye Bot wave kills me, and maybe Spider Turrets. I may also hack some of the other Core Turret Controllers.  If things ever get really bad, I'll move the Botnet home; I'm not sure he'll do much vs the MkV ships on the AI Homeworlds. 

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2014, 08:27:02 AM »
Holy jeez the southern Core World is a pain.  It's a subcommander planet, not sure what type, but it has 11 sniper guard posts and some implosion guard posts.  OMD and Ion cannons, of course.  It's also populated almost entirely by guardians (mostly plasma and sniper), because the last CPA stripped it of fleetships and it hasn't been alerted since.  It's next to a raid engine and the SR shows up to defend it.  Oh, and the OMD is under a FF.  Command station is munitions boosting (+100% boost to *all* AI ships in the system).

I tried popping in the armored golem; if it's in system for more than 10s, the implosion guard posts drop it's health to almost none and then the second OMD shot kills it if the nemesis frigates don't get it first. 

The eyebots I've reclaimed can't kill the OMD in one volley (and they don't get a second shot).

The OMD can two-shot my champions; I could use them to help but they'll die and probably trigger salvage reprisals.  Might still work, but I want them for cutting through the SR and raid engine wave.

I lose nearly all my nebula units if I try to take the system with just them and the insta-kill immune fleetships (shieldbearers, protector starships, and LTFs).  I can't keep scout starship and shieldbearer coverage over the entire fleetball well enough, and there's just too much damage coming in.

At this point, I think my best option is to build a spire penetrator, have the Armored Golem lead and soak the initial OMD/Implosion volley, and then have the penetrator snipe the OMD, then have them both flee before they die. Rams would also work but would need a delivery mechanism.  Once the OMD is down, I can probably use the cursed golem and champions. 

Or I could unlock higher marks of Raid Starships, I guess.  Seems less efficient; the only things I need raided at this point are OMDs. 

Or I could repair the broken Hive golem, let it fill up, and then have it pop in, unload, and hop back out. 

Beachheading the system with a counter-sniper turret and sniper turrets of my own might work, but would be a huge pain with all the long-range firepower getting thrown around. 

So yeah, I don't know what subcommander that is, but it's really rather nasty on a Core world. 
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 08:33:17 AM by tadrinth »

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Limburger vs the Angry Gods
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 09:15:50 AM »
The easiest solution to the Core World turned out to be zerging the OMD with my champions.  It was under a force field, but near the edge.  I lost a few champs doing it, and triggered a 15k Tachyon Microfighter reprisal wave.  I used the remaining champs to clear out the Implosion Guard Posts (which have 30k range and are not on the wiki), then brought in the golems and main fleet.  After that, clearing the system was fairly straightforward.  The reprisal wave didn't even take down any forcefields at home; I think the Roaming Enclave fleet might have been at home to assist. 

I took a stab at the AI homeworld.  A few problems: there's a Core CPA guard post.  As soon as I walk in the door, it triggers a CPA for 30s out.  The CPA grabs all remaining ships, then drains the entire strategic reserve, then frees up all the special forces, and it still doesn't fill out the target number. I think it generated about 8k ships freed, mostly mkII, divided up evenly between the two arms of the galaxy (so they'd have to hit my chokes).  However, that also triggered the champion nemesis exo to synchronize with the CPA and launch a minute and a half later.  I did not realize nemesis exos were among the exos that sync with CPAs.

I didn't make it long enough to see the Nemesis Exo launch.  The 120 nemesis shadow frigates wiped out my fleet before then, with the help of a Core Booster Guard Post (global attack boost) and the railguns on the Teuthida.  I did take out a Core Beam Guard post and a Core Neinzul Melee guard post; the latter is vulnerable to SC Translocators.  The frustrating thing about those is that once I go into the homeworld, I pretty much have to kill both of them ASAP, which then starts the 10 minute exo timer. 

I ran some numbers; it would take 5 MkII Martyrs to kill off that many shadow frigates, assuming they have one FF module each.  AI Homeworld assaults are *definitely* the time to play trump cards, so I think I will back off and build enough martyrs to clear the shadow frigates, maybe a few extra to blast through the strategic reserves.  Adding in a few Shieldbearers would give my fleet some longevity, as well.  I'll probably go ahead and capture an ASC while I build those, so I can get higher mark Protector and Enclave starships.  I might even build a jumpship and some Rams; I'd really like the Teuthida out of the picture ASAP to get rid of those railcannons (which I think have just short enough range not to count as sniper shots). 

Of course, I really should try triggering the champion nemesis exo just so I know how many extra Martyrs I'll need to deal with that. 

In the future I will try to remember not to level my champs until the AIP gets a bit higher. 

My best bet might be to poke my head in the door just enough to take out the OMD and trigger the CPA and the nemesis exo, then come back later once I've cleared those.  Or I could wait until the nemesis exo triggers on its own, deal with that, then trigger the CPA and deal with that, then clear the HW.