Author Topic: Whatever doom befalls the galaxy, swallows the AI first: a newbie 6/6/6 campaign  (Read 498 times)

Offline Lystraeus

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Standard rectangular galaxy. Just fresh from the tutorials me, and one taunting 6/6/6 AI. Random easier strategy. Cloaked starting fleet - which would prove to be the star of the show  ;)

Began in the bottom-centre of the map. Rapidly expanded into 3 neighbouring planets, to secure the homeworld approaches. AIP got close to 110, so the stealth fleet kicked into action. It was tense, and a lot of fun. Sniped a few servers, brought the AIP down. With it, I extended my pocket to roughly 6 planets, with 3 single-lane approaches. Heavily defended with focused turret fire. Included was two fleets, and a GCA.

Now came the war of attrition. I didn't quite have the force to defend another pocket. So I surfed from planet to planet, destroying fleets and guard posts, hacking outguard beacons and fleet extenders. The stealth fleet was a godsend - sending it ahead to camp wormholes, then aggro-ing the sentinals, mopped up a tonne of threat. Would have felt sorry for the AI, burning it's encampments  8)  if it wasn't for the taunts!

With my AIP headroom, I extended my pocket three systems to the right. That netted another GCA, and two Economic stations. Defensively, every border had a Logistic station, backwaters had Economic, and planets with destroyables (GCAs) had Military. In my tutorial games I'd used Military as frontiers, but found them not much better than Logistic, with a massive economic hit.

By now I'd banked 20,000 science. I examined all possible fleets, ARS, hackable techs, and the AI ship set. I invested in Technologist, Disruptors, Medium hull, and a bit of Sentinels, Forcefields, and engineers. With the power jump, I pounced on an AI processor system in the top-left corner. It was a tough fight, but the system would be easily defendable with two exits. Adjacent were a couple of Arks (Black Widow and Artillery) and a fancy battlestation. I secured the systems, then filled my fleets.

I ran a final lap around the galaxy. Unfortunately, there was a lot of hackable Concussion tech, but almost no Concussion ships! I re-rolled one and got the fourth Technologist level  :P  I came across the Spire system, defended with a Plasma Eye and Tesla Guardian. I swamped the planet in a massive battle with aid from 3 Outguards. I used the science to buff Generalist weapons to level 3.

I was almost ready to fight the Overlord. I had wanted to capture one more system - a critical T-junction in the centre of the map, with a Rejuvenator factory. Leading both to my pocket - and the ONLY way from the left side to the right, besides traversing my pocket. But capturing the Arks had given me AIP, which the game didn't inform me of beforehand  >:(  So I was capped on 103 AIP, as low as the base allowed, without ever breaching the 110 threshold.

Up I trudged to the Overlord's doorstep. I brought everything: battlestations, mobile factory, fleets. Victory over the high Mark and Eye defended planets grew my confidence. By this time I had War Harvesters on every frontier, and turret defence 5x larger than any AI wave I'd seen. I fortified - without capture, didn't want AIP - the system adjacent to the Overlord. Ambush turrets, tachyon arrays, tractor traps. I positioned my combat factory near the wormhole, ready to reinforce and heal retreating transports. I was ready.

It was then that things got... interesting. Followed by exhausting. Followed by desperation.

My plan was to flood the system, build a turret beach head, snipe the guard posts, and guillotine the King. It rapidly became apparent that despite what the Help recommends, beach heads are a non-starter. The turrets barely started constructing before being reduced to remains. Luckily I had 10 spider capacity, so snuck them off to the side, despite being level 1. I called in all possible Outguard, including a squad of War Harvesters. They - together with the Spiders - would become critical; but I wouldn't know it 'till later. For the moment, space was filled with brilliant flashes of light. Human resistance raiders fought side-by-side with veterans. 30,000 ships destroyed, the game announced. A guard post quickly fell. Then a second.

A counter appeared in the top-left. AI reinforcements. I'd have to eat them, as the battle was taking a while. 100 strength, 200, 300. Up and up it climbed. The Battlestations got crippled; I cycled them out for repair, then sent them back into the fray. An Ark got crippled; it retreated for repair. My metal ticked down: 5M, 4M, 3M, 2M.

The second Ark arrived for repair. 1M.

The stealth ship needed repair. 50k.

It was then I started worrying. Two AI reinforcement fleets had arrived. The battle was dragging on. 3 guard posts were still up. I glanced at the Threat.

800.

I'd never seen it go above 60.

I ran out of metal.

I scrambled a last ditch rush on the Guard posts. No budget for full repairs; battlestations and Arks would now be repaired to 15% at most. Finally, the last post fell. I pulled all forces out and checked the Threat.

2k.

My eyes almost popped out. I was so close to reloading, but - hey - how bad is it really? I slowly waited for my metal to tick up and my fleet to rebuild. It was agonizing.

Suddenly, a MASSIVE fleet appeared on a border world. It was like nothing I'd ever seen. I summoned all the Outguard, and it retreated... to be avenged with another fleet, three times the size. It cut through my layered Mark 5 defences like butter.

I knew I had to upgrade Metal Harvesting to get any chance to survive. I needed 4,000 science yesterday. I glanced back at the Overlord's system. Amazingly, the Spider turrets and War Harvesters held a death ball of AI ships in check. I realised that Harvester metal output was critical. I pressed all forces into battle, destroying the Overlord's shields.

I was spent. No metal; no science; no fleet. My border world fell. Then another; then another. The AI blew up the GCA; the AI gained a Mark level. My homeworld was next.

I rushed everything to the homeworld. Barely 40 ships had regenerated. The AI circled to flatten the other side of my pocket. There was nothing I could do. Just as hope seemed lost, the AI drained out. They were heading for the top-left pocket.

The stealth fleet kicked into action. First they raided the Marauder blocker. Next was the Nanocaust.

I had no idea what would happen. EXTREMELY HIGH IMPACT, yelled the tooltip. I just hoped whatever doom befelled the galaxy, would swallow the AI first.

The science went to Metal Harvesting. Meanwhile, my other fleets fought a desperate battle to reclaim my pocket. I struck out and captured the T-junction system. I needed the science, and AIP didn't matter anymore. The second factory would also be essential if my metal recovered, since my factories were largely wasted. "How can you wield a fleet, if you can't build ships?" chirped the AI.

The fleets crossed the galaxy, back to the Overlord's former border system. I captured it for the science and metal, then sent all fleets to capture another two systems. By now the AI had wiped the top-left corner and was heading back. Reconquering the T-junction system, I fought a rearguard action just to earn enough science for Metal Harvesting 3.

It was then that a pale yellow appeared in the galaxy.

The AI had wiped my top-left pocket, but was having difficulty securing it. Maruaders were raiding planets I'd cleaned in the midgame, and the AI was forced to divert. The Nanocaust, when it arrived, swept up my former pocket.

The galaxy had descended into chaos. I was still metal starved, and only the appearance of a Marauder band prevented the AI reconquering a former Economic planet. I finished off the stragglers and retook my homeworld pocket. The T-junction system was out-of-bounds, with hostile fleets cruising this way and that. As I clawed out of metal starvation, the AI gained another Mark level.

I had to snipe the King before it was over.

Fortunately the Intel Objective highlighted it's system. Unfortunately there was no way to tell where in the chaos it was heading. What followed was cat-and-mouse, as my fleets arrived just as the King left, with *another* seemingly free wave of Praetorians in every system. Finally, the King headed back to it's former home planet. I was about to head it off, but got delayed by Praetorians and a black hole machine. It retook the worlds, destroyed my turrets, and charged for my home pocket.

It reached Noctua, the closest border planet to my capital. The Nanocaust was right behind, having eaten the entire left side of the galaxy. I delayed attacking until every fleet, every battlestation, was at 100% health. Then I committed.

The last fight wasn't too bad, to be honest. The King fell, taking Noctua's defences and a third of my ships. The victory screen flashed. I may have let out a little smile. Of course there's ZERO chance humanity would survive. The Marauders would have been a tough fight in their growing top-right pocket, let alone the yellow-grey goo lapping around humanity's pocket.

It reminds me of that old train bridge building game. As long as the train clears the valley, you win - even if it finishes upside-down  :D


Post-game ideas & nitpicks:

  • Spending science to upgrade a station feels... dull? Wasteful? I spent 1000 on my home station, as it was a good investment. But without number crunching, I forgot that mechanic existed. Seems like a meta-game button, than something I'll enjoy using.
  • Doomstacking. I liked the planetary defenses that activated after a certain # of fleets. But it was nearly always better to lump my fleets together. Besides the stealth fleet, none of them had use for the character I built with their ship loadouts.
  • Fleet experience. Not a fan. Didn't appear to do anything (no ships got mark upgrades; didn't see any damage multipliers or whatnot). I don't get it, I'm rewarded for using fleets already by... them accomplishing what I used them for. Unless it's purely flavour - "hey, this fleet's been through so many battles, it gets a special name!" If that's the case I'd love a more detailed breakdown in the end screen. Expanding on the "fleet lithium got special commendation". A list of major engagements?
  • Weird H1 or F1 yellow flags appearing on certain planets, above my force counts, in galactic view. No tooltip, didn't do anything, couldn't remove them.
  • The intel priority tab. Should just say beat the AI, the scout more planets should be in beginner's tips.
  • The Nanocaust. Releasing them should have added a second victory condition (if they're meant to be beatable); or the eventual doom of humanity noted in the victory screen (if they're not).
  • Transport types. I wish I wish I wish I could get more types, upgrade standard ones to cloaked or agile. Is there any way to get cloaked transports if you don't start with one? Am I supposed to string cloaked ships between systems if not?
  • Player-owned outguard, like War Harvesters, not coming with a transport. Didn't much mind, a QoL feature to avoid losing them.
  • Battlestations felt a little pointless. Beach heading only worked when I could clear space for the turrets to build, without fire. And if that's the case I don't need beach head turrets  :-\  At least they repaired quickly. The Arks took far too long and far too much metal to repair.
  • Battlestations shouldn't auto-build engineers if you have auto-build engineers on.
  • Am I supposed to counter AI ships? Because after figuring out the AI strategy, and doubling-down on a weapon tech line, I can't swap ships on-the-fly. In Age of Empires, if someone builds a load of priests, you build chariots to counter. They're good at countering even without upgrades. In AI War 2, the AI may decide to flood Ship X, but *welp* the counter Ship Y isn't in your weapon tree. So you're out of luck. There's all these cool stats like albedo and engine size, but no way to capitalize on them. Or am I supposed to use exclusively custom fleets?

Despite the gripes, I loved the game. It's infinitely easier to nitpick  :D  For my next campaign, I'm thinking two 7/7/7 AIs in a civil war, plus Marauders. Tooltip says it's harder than 2v1, but they're distracted, right? Unless they earn each other AIP...

Offline BadgerBadger

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That sounds like an epic war! Very fun to read.

Keep in mind you don't have to start the game in civil war, you can always trigger a civil war with multiple AIs during the game by sniping some structures (you won't see those structures w/o multiple AIs in the game). Note that once you trigger the civil war the AI is likely to use Extragalactic War ships against eachother (and you) in a way that probably didn't happen in this game.

There is some discussion on fleet experience here https://steamcommunity.com/app/573410/discussions/0/2263565850596582190/; short story is I think Chris intends to remove it.

With the Nanocaust, they are definitely beatable (though perhaps not for you under the circumstances). However, winning the game is about beating the AI. I believe there is an objective about defeating the nanocaust though.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 01:53:41 PM by BadgerBadger »

Offline ANGRYABOUTELVES

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Quote
I was almost ready to fight the Overlord. I had wanted to capture one more system - a critical T-junction in the centre of the map, with a Rejuvenator factory. Leading both to my pocket - and the ONLY way from the left side to the right, besides traversing my pocket. But capturing the Arks had given me AIP, which the game didn't inform me of beforehand  >:(  So I was capped on 103 AIP, as low as the base allowed, without ever breaching the 110 threshold.

Up I trudged to the Overlord's doorstep. I brought everything: battlestations, mobile factory, fleets. Victory over the high Mark and Eye defended planets grew my confidence. By this time I had War Harvesters on every frontier, and turret defence 5x larger than any AI wave I'd seen. I fortified - without capture, didn't want AIP - the system adjacent to the Overlord. Ambush turrets, tachyon arrays, tractor traps. I positioned my combat factory near the wormhole, ready to reinforce and heal retreating transports. I was ready.

[...]

A counter appeared in the top-left. AI reinforcements. I'd have to eat them, as the battle was taking a while. 100 strength, 200, 300. Up and up it climbed. The Battlestations got crippled; I cycled them out for repair, then sent them back into the fray. An Ark got crippled; it retreated for repair. My metal ticked down: 5M, 4M, 3M, 2M.

This is the singular major mistake you made: you were so scared of the AI mark level going up that you didn't take a military system right next to the AI overlord to prevent Reserves from spawning in and to provide an additional 3 factories worth of reinforcements. The AI mark level is going to go up anyway as soon as you kill the guard posts, and AIP won't matter at all after you win the game.

Raising the AIP is always a tradeoff and you have to be sure that what you gain is more than what the AI gains, but winning the game is technically worth infinity AIP. You don't have to be scared of AIP increases when you're setting up to deliver the finishing blow in just a few minutes.