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Surviving exo waves

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I'm having trouble with the Alt Champ Nemesis exo waves. The first one was fine, coming just after building the Fallen Spire refugee settlement, so the four Spire frigates dealt with the nemesis exo nicely. The second, though, seems to be a game-ender. My best attempt still had 23 enemy champions active when my home command station blew. The entire fleet, plus the homeworld's full turret cap, plus grav turrets from the wormhole to the command station, plus a modest minefield, plus two spirecraft (mk2 translocator and mk2 siege tower) made a dent in the exo wave but didn't come close to beating it. It's hard to tell with such fast ships, but I think the full exo was a bit over 30 champions.

So how does one survive that? (And the next one, and the one after that...). Should I have been able to build the first FS city by the time the second nemesis exo arrives? I tried for that shard but it wasn't close to being successful - need more ships, which means more metal, which means lots more time. Or I could revert to a save before I bought the ZPG from the Trader, in which case I'd be fine on metal but couldn't afford the energy to build mk2 fleetships...

Not sure if there's a way to salvage that game, which is unfortunate given the time invested in it (started that particular game 15 months ago  :P).

Next game would probably be OK, lowering difficulty from 8 to 7.3, and dropping Alt Champ Nemesis from 5 to 3 (Alt Champ Progress stays at 5). But finding a valid starting position is incredibly tedious...  :(

In my experience, Champ Nemesis waves are barely noticeable, but that's with fairly ridiculous chokepoints and on 7/7.
Without knowing the map you're playing on and your specific situation it's hard to give accurate advice, but in my opinion having defenses on your homeworld is too little and too late, heavily fortifying a chokepoint that is on the path is much safer and you can put more nice toys in it (such as a black hole machine and a spire city).
Also you have a champion that's much faster and stronger than average units, when you expect a nasty attack bring him in to help: I've had mine clear out almost a thousand ships inside carriers during a wave, and that's with "very low" stack size.

Yeah, I eventually got past the exo wave by going back to a save from an hour earlier. Took an extra planet, which brought the Alt. Champion Progress to the first mod-fort. And also spent quite a bit of knowledge on various defenses (mk2 laser, needler, sniper, HBC turrets, and forcefields). Not sure the tech upgrades actually mattered, but since I read ahead further about how the FS campaign works at least they'll be useful going forward. And I picked up and completed an OMD from the friendly local trader.

Probably the biggest change was the obvious-in-hindsight realization that a forcefield over the wormhole leading to my homeworld would both delay the ships and break them up. With 31 champions stacked on top of each other, I had to do about 2.3 million damage before starting to kill any ships, so breaking their formation was a huge help. And even with all that five badly damaged champions still reached firing range of the home forcefields for a few seconds.

My own champion is a destroyer hull, but 1 destroyer is helpless against 31 frigate hull champions. With a mod fort, OMD, four Spire frigates, etc., they got the job done at least. This time.  :P

But I suspect the Spire City will take care of things going forward. I like that Black Hole Machine idea too, may as well take complete advantage of this chokepoint being on the trade route. :)

I'm definitely starting to see how different FS is from a regular AI War game. I had been worried about spending so much knowledge on static defenses, but with Spire shipyards coming along, I'm not sure how much a normal fleetball adds compared to those ridiculous photon lances! And there's always beachheading to use those turrets offensively (that helped a lot getting the city shard home).

Still, it's weird to me how wildly different exo waves are. FS exos are total nothingburgers (so far); even the wave triggered by starting to build the first city was substantially weaker than the Alt Champ Nemesis exo. It will probably take having 2-3 cities before the two types of exo become comparable, if I understand FS wave scaling correctly...

Adding to this thread rather than starting yet another new thread...

I'm getting very frustrated by the surprise difficulty spikes in this game.  :( The latest issue is the chase for the second Fallen Spire city shard. I had figured it would be somewhat tougher than the first city shard chase, but compensated by my nice Spire fleet from the first city (said fleet had just torched a CPA+FS exo combination without the slightest difficulty). Instead I faced literally as many ships in the chase as I'd faced in the entire game previously - 30k. Which I know because I got the "killed 30k ships in one game" achievement early in the chase. That was ... not survivable, let's say. Spire ships are good, but not that good, especially when stuck escorting a speed 36 shard for a substantial distance.

Having seen many other threads just casually assume the acquisition of Spire cities at will, and some such threads advocating building the first one as hab + 5 reactors from the start (which I agree is a desirable end state for a chokepoint city, but how the heck you could ever get the second shard without shipyards at the first city is baffling ???), this was quite unexpected. Given the scale of opposition, I don't see how to move forward. Beachheading is just throwing a snowball at a supernova at this scale, as is teching up some fleetships. Lots of warheads would probably work, but is every city really supposed to cost 6ish AIP?! Five mk1 forts might help, though that's a lot of resources (including matter converters to power them).

Do people normally lay waste to the entire region around the system the shard spawns in, so that the chase happens entirely in friendly territory and all the AI spawns have to travel several systems just to reach the shard? I wasn't planning on expanding in this direction until City #4, if then... Plus I'm not sure how Fallen Spire calculations care about AIP - seems to say that these chase waves don't include AIP at all (which is also my understanding for FS exos), but on the other hand I have quadrupled my AIP (from 20 to 80) since the first city chase and the severity seems about 4x worse, so maybe the wiki is outdated here as in so many other places.

Is the Fallen Spire transceiver victory considered significantly more difficult than a regular victory? Aside from lingering worries about the scaling of Alt Champ Nemesis exo waves, I'm reasonably confident that I'd win by stopping at one Spire city and proceeding toward normal homeworld assaults from now on (though that's really not what I had planned for this game). It's super-weird that attempting to take the next step toward the alternate victory results in nearly instant death.  ???


--- Quote from: Worblehat on December 10, 2018, 10:42:11 pm ---FS exos are total nothingburgers (so far)
--- End quote ---

Famous last words, rofl.

But how in the world did you get 30k ships to chase you at the second shard, with such a tiny AIP?
I'm seeing CPAs near that size at 900 AIP against 7/7 Chivalric, are you sure you didn't give the AI players a massive positive handicap or set the fallen spire intensity to something ridiculous like 9/10?


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