Author Topic: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request  (Read 6150 times)

Offline wyvern83

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Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« on: August 30, 2012, 12:12:27 AM »
Despite having owned Light of the Spire since its beta, I have never achieved the alternate win condition in the Fallen Spire campaign and would like to. I've tried a number of times before and twice with a friend but the exo-strike waves always overwhelmed and crushed any defense I could make despite heavy preparation after maybe the first or second city.

Past attempts have been a real grind and I've since moved away from taking lots of planets in general and I don't play often so I would appreciate any friendly advice on how I should best approach it as this may be the only time I actually play FS all the way through. I'm just looking to beat it at least once so I don't care how "cheesy" or "too easy" the strategy or ideas are with the following limitations:

- 7/7 AI's with no negative handicaps.                         (I want there to be stuff around to see when I win.)
- Complex ship types with nothing disabled.                (Diversity keeps things interesting which is important in a potentially grindy campaign.)
- No wave modifiers unless strongly recommended.     (See above, replace diversity with light activity.)
- No cheat codes

Anything else is fair game. I own all four expansions so any available map type is an option to me. Would a larger or smaller map size help more?

Multiple homeworlds? I'm against the multiplier penalty this incurs but if you can make it work well I'm open to hearing how.

Some other settings I'm already considering:

- 300% positive handicap for myself
- 0/30 Auto AI Progress
- Golems Easy
- Spirecraft Easy
- Human Resistance Fighters at 10/10     (Not sure it will help, I'm 7 1/2 hours into a game with that setting and have yet to see them, period.)
- Dyson Sphere 10/10                              (seems like it might help, it does a bit in my other game but not as much as I would have expected for it being at 10/10.)
- Zenith Trader                                         (Items they provided figured heavily in all of my previous attempts, and they felt essential every time.)

Offline Varone

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 04:16:42 AM »
My only suggestion is try playing it on an X map. You might find that the favourable layout allows you to build multiple chokepoints and concentrate your defence against the exo waves.

Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 04:55:57 AM »
Yes, an X map is a good idea. This one is particularly well suited: lets you put 5 cities behind one choke. 109270564

Aside from that, I recommend:
unlocking Heavy Beam Cannon turrets: they are excellent both on defence and spire capital ships
using spirecraft rams: plenty of reptite to replace them, and kill enemy golems (don't use on HKs, though)
various golems: the best for this being artillery, cursed, and hive
focus your k unlocks on turrets (this also lets you use neinzul drones)
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« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 05:38:00 AM by Faulty Logic »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 10:43:07 AM »
Concentric map worked pretty well for me to play it through on 7ish, without spirecraft or golems on.  It was more challenging because I had to hold 2 chokepoints against constantly forming threatballs (cross-planet-waves) and periodic exos, but that was part of the interest of it for me.  1 chokepoint is easier but when you never really have to shift around defensive assets that can make the game less interesting.  Still, if getting-it-done is more important, an X map that can fit 5 cities on your quadrant's side of the central world is probably ideal.

A few specific thoughts:

- Unlock mkII and mkIII forcefields, the non-hardened kind (though the hardened ones may be helpful to include), because the spire capital ships and modular city structures get higher-mark shield generators as a result.  Though the early capital ships can only use mkII, iirc.

- Similarly, unlock mkII and mkIII laser turrets so your capital ships and cities get stronger versions of their laser cannons, though you may also wish to investigate railcannons (spider turret research) for those light hardpoints.  Same deal with the early capital ships not using the mkIII versions, though, so no particular rush on the mkIII unlock.

- There's also mkII through mkIV heavy beam cannons, for the heavy hardpoints.  You may also wish to investigate the Plasma Siege Cannons (based off Plasma Siege Starship research) for the heavies (I think only some of the heavies can mount them), but I'm not sure how good they are on defense, and on offense you probably have plenty of firepower with a capital fleet anyway.  Same deal on the early capital ships being limited in which marks they can use.

- Remember that the pop-cap provided by the Shipyards is galaxy wide: if you have 1 or 2 cities that actually face attacks, and 3-4 that never see the enemy, you can pile all the shipyards on those "internal" ones and stack the "external" ones with only shard reactors and hab centers.  Shipyards have a photon lance too, but they don't get the modules, so the reactors/habs have way more defensive oomph.

- If possible, have two cities between you and the enemy, so if your outer line is breached you have a secondary defense to fall back on.

- When planting a city that will be handling significant attacks, be sure to place it so that the city shield generators will cover the wormhole that leads into the rest of your territory.  With six city structures all mounting shield generators overlapping the wormhole, it can take an enormous attack force to even think about breaking through.

- During most of the game the city's shields will probably not be enough to hold off enemy firepower, so don't hesitate to pile a ton of normal human forcefield generators on top of the wormhole to provide extra blockage.  This will apply the -75% attack modifier to your stuff that is under those forcefields (spire shields do not have that penalty), but if you have your capital fleet on hand and other turrets covered only by the city's shields and not by the forcefields then you should have enough firepower to kill the enemies before they punch through.

- Once you get a galactic capitol you can research the max tier of the shield, laser, HBC, etc modules (if you have the next-lower one already unlocked, of course).  The final city shields can be strong enough to hold without help from the human forcefield generators.  The highest HBC module is a thing of terror to the enemy.  And of course, here you research the BB and DN hulls.  Once you have those, the AI won't have much that can stand against you.

As for surviving the final part of the campaign to get the alternate win condition... stall :)  If necessary, glass several planets out from your territory (remember to pick up the knowledge) and put logistics stations on them, just to slow down the enemy.  Ambushing enemy forces with engine-damage will effectively take those ships out of the equation.  You've only got to hold for about half an hour, so turn on the cheese! ;)
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Offline wyvern83

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 05:47:43 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, you gave me a lot to go off of.

I think I'll go with the X map seed Faulty Logic provided with the Electric Shuttle planet possibly as my starting planet. If not a X map seed like it. If I beat it and like it I'll try a Concentric map sometime.

Using Reptite Spire Rams against golems and such is a great idea, I've always thought of them as anti-structure weapons before. Neinzul enclaves in conjunction with the turret unlocks also sounds like fun.

Another question though, where does the Galactic Capital and the transmitter go when you build them? I'm hoping you can build them on the homeworld.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 05:48:14 PM »
Despite having owned Light of the Spire since its beta, I have never achieved the alternate win condition in the Fallen Spire campaign and would like to. I've tried a number of times before and twice with a friend but the exo-strike waves always overwhelmed and crushed any defense I could make despite heavy preparation after maybe the first or second city.
Here's a secret fact that changes the wy you should play the campaign:  The timed Exowaves advance in strength MUCH faster than the event waves.  By the time I plant my 5th city, it's not unusual for the timed wave to be 10 times as strong as each event wave.

So, planning advice:  Kieth covered most of it, but here's a few extra tips I've found useful.

A good idea is to advance to the refugee output, then stop for a while. 

Plan out where all your cities are going to be (I usually do this before I even start the game, back when choosing my initial homeworld).

Using your fleet plus the few extra (mighty powerful) frigates, claim enough systems to completely secure access to all your city sites.  Don't worry about Core Shield Generators, though.  Ignore those.
Unlock Fortresses.
Unlock Fortress Mk IIs.
Unlock Modular Fortresses, if playing AS.
Unlock Military Stations Mk III.  This gives anti-cloak and +100% damage to everything.

Fortify the heck out of the one system that all exo waves are going to come through when attacking your homeworld.  This should have a Spire City on it (eventually), and preferably a long distance between the wormholes the enemy will use to enter the system and the exit to you interior space.

Forify your defensive system some more, using Zenith Trader goodies if you can get them.  The Armor Inhibitor is a must, the Black Hole Machine and the Armor Booster good.  Everything can be skipped.  Superfortresses may look nice, but they are too expensive and die easily to the sorts of things that will be coming at you late in the campaign.

K-raid.  You need at least 24,000K saved up for unlocking stuff at the Galactic Captiol (city 5).  Make sure you keep a buffer for emergency turret or ship unlocks.

Finally, once all your preperations are done, do not walk, RUSH through the shard retrievals.  The faster you get through them, the better.  Remember, the clock starts ticking as soon as the first city is built.  Every second wasted means both the timed exowaves and the final defense get stronger.

After 5 cities, pause to build up your Spire Capital fleet.  If can do so safely, place a few more cities.  Otherwise, sit tight.

Once your fleet is ready, investigate the final signal.  At this point, if your defenses are even in the slightest bit stressed by what's been going on, give up on the alternate win condition.  If you still feel secure, then go ahead and start the final phase.  Kieth's advice is 100% correct - stall.  Sacrifice anything and everything if it helps.  Fac IVs, fabricators, golems, other systems - doesn't matter any more at this point.  Only your homeworld matters.


Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2012, 06:16:53 PM »
Finally, once all your preperations are done, do not walk, RUSH through the shard retrievals.  The faster you get through them, the better.  Remember, the clock starts ticking as soon as the first city is built.  Every second wasted means both the timed exowaves and the final defense get stronger.
Not necessarily: each city structure adds to the amount of exo progress per minute, and to the max exo threshold.  The threshold starts at a much lower value and goes up (along with the time between exos) by about 20% per exo, yes, but once it hits the max it won't get any bigger until you add more city structures.

That said, I wouldn't wait around with 4 or 5 cities built.  But waiting after getting the first or maybe second cities up probably won't cost you much in terms of the thresholds being much higher in the last phase.
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Offline wyvern83

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2012, 06:37:31 PM »
Thanks for your advice! I hadn't realized that time figured into the non-event exo-waves. Nice to know it's capped though.

Securing the initial five city sites in advance wasn't something I'd thought of either. I completely agree on the Zenith Trader stuff. I'll focus on the three you mention at the front line site; z-power generator naturally will go somewhere far in the back if I get one.

Will the 24k reserve fund of knowledge cover all city research up to and including the Galactic Capital stuff or just the stuff at that level?

Also if the Galactic Capital is the fifth city where do I want to put it in relation to my defensive lines and my homeworld?

I going with a new seed, 515358861, (X map, complex ships, all 4 expansions on) and I'm planning on the Zenith Seige Engine planet, Aidvin, at the bottom for my single planet start. For city sites it looks like the raptor, infiltrator, shield bearer, deflector planets, and one of either acid sprayer, bulletproof, or munitions booster worlds for the fifth city site is the best arrangement that can be had. Quonjiro (deflector) will be the front line and Wolea (raptor) the second with 3 planets in between them for delaying action.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2012, 08:32:35 PM »
Also if the Galactic Capital is the fifth city where do I want to put it in relation to my defensive lines and my homeworld?
The Galactic Capitol is another city structure you can built at any Spire city hub once you've founded 5 cities.  It allows you to research several very useful Spire-improving technologies.  In itself, it has no defensive purpose, and should be built as far back from the front lines as possible.  It does NOT replace a slot for any other building, however, so you can add it on to an already full city from earlier.

Will the 24k reserve fund of knowledge cover all city research up to and including the Galactic Capital stuff or just the stuff at that level?
The 24,000K will cover most of the useful techs made available by the Capitol, but not the precursor stuff.  Unlocking the BB and DN hulls in 18,000 by itself.  Shield Mk IV, HBC Mk IV, and the rest are a few thousand each as well.  Again, you must also already have unlocked the lesser turret types.  So, go ahead and buy the Mk III forcefield (NOT HFFs, they don't count), the HBCs, the Spider Turrets, Mk II and III lasers and use them to fortify early.  You'll be buying them anyway by the end, so get some use out of them ASAP.

I going with a new seed, 515358861, (X map, complex ships, all 4 expansions on) and I'm planning on the Zenith Seige Engine planet, Aidvin, at the bottom for my single planet start. For city sites it looks like the raptor, infiltrator, shield bearer, deflector planets, and one of either acid sprayer, bulletproof, or munitions booster worlds for the fifth city site is the best arrangement that can be had. Quonjiro (deflector) will be the front line and Wolea (raptor) the second with 3 planets in between them for delaying action.
Looks solid. 
However, I will correct myself on one thing I said before - When I said "Secure" your city sites before, I did not mean always capture the system.  Completely neuter, kill the warp gate, and regularly clear out reinforcements for these systems.  For example, before you build your city in the Shieldbearer system, don't capture all the adjacent systems.  But do clean them out.  Exowaves spawn from Warp Gates, so if you destroy all the warp gates inside your defenseive perimiter, you can control where the Exos will arrive from.
Be careful, though - Before your Spire fleet gets going, AIP will matter as much as it does in any other game.  Once you've got a city or two down, however, your Spire fleet can begin to compensate for the larger waves.

Personally, I love this sort of balance, and play the FS campaign for most of my games.  I hope your game goes well - If you feel like, consider posting a report in the AAR subforum.

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2012, 09:57:23 PM »
Just want to mention, the Radar Jammer II is probably the single best thing the Trader sells.  It makes choke point defense massively easier.  Just make sure to take advantage of the enemy's reduced range.  If you set everything up on the worm hole you waste the advantage.  So paired with a Black Hole Machine, you can set everything further back and get tons of damage in while the enemy ships can't even fire back.  Just make a nice lane of Gravity Turrets and watch the AI melt.

Offline wyvern83

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2012, 12:20:10 PM »
Gotcha, prepare and patrol the sites and immediate neighborhood but don't take them until you need them.

I'll might put the Galactic Capitol on one of the side cities then, preferably down the furthest wormhole off to the side. I'll have to double check which one that would be if I go that route. Almost sounds like 50,000K overall isn't out of the question. I doubt I'll be able to hoard it long enough to get the knowledge hoarder achievement though.

I'll definitely consider making an AAR. I'm still working on my current game so it might be a few days before I get started on this one.

Thanks for Radar Jammer tips and the reminder about the grav turrets, Hearteater. With there only being two wormholes for all but one of the 5 worlds in the approach corridor it will be really easy to that setup.

Offline Winge

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2012, 07:05:22 PM »
Also if the Galactic Capital is the fifth city where do I want to put it in relation to my defensive lines and my homeworld?
The Galactic Capitol is another city structure you can built at any Spire city hub once you've founded 5 cities.  It allows you to research several very useful Spire-improving technologies.  In itself, it has no defensive purpose, and should be built as far back from the front lines as possible.  It does NOT replace a slot for any other building, however, so you can add it on to an already full city from earlier.

Not entirely true...the Galactic Capitol is like the Shipyards in that it cannot build modules, but still has a beam weapon.  Small detail:  the Capitol has 2x the HP of a shard reactor (minus shields, of course), and its beam is 8x as powerful as the other city structures (3 million dps...).

I ended up placing the Capitol on my 'main' defense city.  I never lost it (not even sure the AI scratched the paint...).  That said, I had a Radar Jammer, Armor Booster, Armor Inhibitor, Ion Cannon I, Black Hole Machine, Orbital Mass Driver, Superfortress, HBC IV, and about half of my turrets on that one world...such a handy chokepoint.  Oh, and my entire Spire fleet hung around for the exo waves.  As such, I can't necessarily say that the Capitol was doing a lot  ;)
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2012, 12:07:22 AM »
Also if the Galactic Capital is the fifth city where do I want to put it in relation to my defensive lines and my homeworld?
The Galactic Capitol is another city structure you can built at any Spire city hub once you've founded 5 cities.  It allows you to research several very useful Spire-improving technologies.  In itself, it has no defensive purpose, and should be built as far back from the front lines as possible.  It does NOT replace a slot for any other building, however, so you can add it on to an already full city from earlier.
Not entirely true...the Galactic Capitol is like the Shipyards in that it cannot build modules, but still has a beam weapon.  Small detail:  the Capitol has 2x the HP of a shard reactor (minus shields, of course), and its beam is 8x as powerful as the other city structures (3 million dps...).
Really, now.  I never noticed it had a weapon.
As an interesting and amusing aside, you can actually build 1 Galactic Captiol per 5 Spire Cities you build.  So if you build at least 10 cities, you can currently build 2 GCs.  And IIRC, the game will let you build them both on the same city.  On the front lines, hmm...  Boom?

Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 06:57:58 AM »
It would never be worth the extra city hub worth of exo-strength.

Still amusing, though.
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Offline lemons

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Re: Fallen Spire campaign setup and strategy advice request
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2012, 01:06:02 AM »
It's worth keeping in mind that AIP is pretty much irrelevant at the high end of a Spire game. The largest normal wave is barely a blip on the radar standing next to the 5th spire city onslaught (at least, assuming everything is going through your choke, which is pretty much an essential assumption). As such, once you get a few cities feel free to raise the AIP whenever you feel like it if it will give a substantial benefit against the exo waves.

Every Attritioner in the galaxy ready? Heck yes, I'll take an effective +20% damage boost. Have all the martyr's you can as well. A lovely short respite for when your lines are in danger of being breached.

Advanced Factories in the universe all beyond your choke point? Who cares about AIP, unlock those Neinzul Enclave Mk IV's. A 5 city spire fleet won't even blink at the AI wave size increase.

Golems? Heck yes, take any of them that you want. An Exo wave is one of the only things in the game that can give a fully loaded Hive Golem a run for its money. It won't go the whole way near the end of the campaign but it's still a huge respite while you furiously rebuild what you've lost. On the other side, Botnet golems can work at near 100% efficiency while safely under a force field, which is awesome. It can also work the entire game to amass an invincible zombie fleet which you can save for the final onslaught (Arguably an exploit, but I did it for a 10/10/10 16 HW game). Other golems are pretty much chaff, to be used the same way the Spirecraft chaff is.

Personally, I keep everything at the front instead of having a conventional second line in Spire games. Want to know what my second line is? A cap of missile silos next to the wormhole with a cap of engineers ready to spit out warheads on FRD. There is no overkill in Spire Defense.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 01:19:51 AM by lemons »