The Let's Play Archive

AI War: Fleet Command

by RockyB

Part 19: Not crashing a freakin' planet into it

Yeah, Vengeance of the Machine is less than a year old and Destroyer of Worlds has only been out two weeks. Kinda surprised they didn't throw Ancient Shadows in though. Anyway, even if you get the game for $0.01 (and remember, AI War is entirely DRM free) you can get every single expansion for something like $7 on the arcen games site if you like it.

Quite cool that a fairly well respected site like RPS still considers the game good enough to recommend even now. I think it was their 2009 christmas number one, as well.

Anyway, now that I understand what what the beacon does it turns out that, strategically, taking it at this point in the game was a bad move. So, we need to defend it. Heavily. Especially as it's roaming around the galaxy, miles away from our friendly planets and hence is impossible to keep out of the way of waves etc. This calls for more forcefields.

Mk III forcefields, excellent. Except I don't have enough knowledge for them, at least without taking another planet. I do, however, have enough knowledge for Mk II hardened forcefields.

1/6th of the health but heavily armoured, meaning most ships without armour piercing can barely touch them. I believe armour reduces any damage up to the armour level by 80%, so a bomber (attack 196) will have its damage reduced to 39. A spire starship, attack 9,600, will have the first 5,000 attack reduced down to 1,000 and then the rest of the damage applied as normal for a total of 5600 attack. So these are pretty decent against swarming ships, but not brilliant against starships. Still, for 2k knowledge it's worth unlocking them and shuffling some of the forcefields on my other planets around.

P.S for those who really, desperately want to know how many forcefields I have on each planet after the rebalancing, see above. Generally those are pairs, so 1 hardened and 1 normal forcefield.

Another big problem with the nomad of course is that the wormholes don't necessarily show up in the same place all the time. So that means we can't focus any mines or tractors on the wormhole exits. I'm actually quite tempted to move one of the Spire mod forts over here, but we'll hold off on that for now.

What I really need is knowledge. I could do with unlocking Mk III military command stations (which cost 5,000 knowledge), and even after unlocking Mk II hardened forcefields I still wouldn't mind getting Mk III forcefields. Knowledge will also help level up our champion, and hopefully unlock another set of modular forts. So let's look at our most obvious next moves.

Well, the two ARS planets are going to need to be taken in the near future, and will net 7,000 knowledge between them. However Diafrwa has been somewhat unfairly overlooked in the past. It's the only active enemy planet connected to Sucje and it has an artillery golem on it. As such we can stop waves from hitting Sucje, get some knowledge and a fun new toy all in one fell swoop.

Location: Zivu

Oh, hey, the champ unlocked a new minor faction starbase. In Memoriam Terra come with their usual small supply of starships and +300 metal/s. That's an extra 1 ½ matter converters! Honestly, would have been useful if at least one of these three had shown up on my second homeworld.

Location: Diafrwa

This is Diafrwa. It has a troop accelerating command station, which means when the AI sends reinforcement waves to this planet it gets more ships. Really I should have noticed that earlier and made an effort to neuter the place. For some reason it also has two warp gates, which is annoying as it means this planet will actually cost us +25AIP to take rather than the usual +20. Other than that though, nothing too unusual.

The fleet are present, and the botnet is making friends with the locals. Reprisal level one, but I'm not overly worried about that. This place has lots of spire shield guardposts, which take a while to chew through.

Soon enough the command gets blue, the planet goes white, and reinforcements stop.

Location: Durxuha

Blasted mimes are at it again. This time they appear to have bought a load of teleport raiders and cutlasses to the party, who promptly run away. The botnet golem gives chase.

Location: Juro

One advantage of neutered planets, if threat escapes to them it's easy to hunt down. After leading us on a merry chase through Zarvo we manage to lock down the threat on Juro. Here they are facing off against our botnet lead hunting squad. Note the vengeance generator at the bottom of the gravity well, that's likely to spawn a fair few ships during this battle. And it'll also sympathetically spawn those ships on other vengeance generator worlds … most of which are in AI hands. Threat goes back down under 500 ships, and we leave a good 400 zombies behind to carry on the good fight.

Location: Diafrwa

Now that the threat distraction is out of the way, command station goes up on Diafrwa. And I get a mysterious message...

Huh, well that's new. I think it's the new sub-plot introduced in the latest expansion:

I'll let the destroyer of worlds expansion keep its secrets for now, I think. Buy it yourself if you want to investigate further!

Of course, typically, the next reprisal wave of 3,200 missile frigates is also heading to Diafrwa. I should probably get some forcefields up around that artillery golem.

The majority of the defences are still being built when the wave hits. But with the combined might of the botnet and regen golems, honestly those missile frigates didn't stand a chance.

In the end I have almost 1,300 missile frigates. About 800 of them appear to be zombies. Bottie is certainly earning his keep. So is the regen – she went down to 15% from resurrecting any friendly ships that went down on the planet.

Location: Nomad One

Nomad One keeps rolling on, which makes it a very handy scouting platform. A single scout sent through any new wormhole can get us info on planets we'd normally be completely unable to bust through to.

Niiiice, that's a super-terminal and data centre both within striking distance. In fact, given that I can build intra-galactic warp gates here...

Location: Sother

Champion takes out the tachyon sentinels between Kinzupde and Sother, opening the way for our assault transports. Judicious scrapping of fleet ships over in the main empire has given us a cast of ~1,000 to play with. Operation drive-by-hacking is a go.

We're fortunate in that Superterminal hacking doesn't require the presence of an AI command station, so clearing this planet is going to be considerably easier than Nomad One. Very first order of business is to remove that command station, to make sure the special forces don't show up.

Here's another reason to get rid of the command station – the superterminal world is protected by the strategic reserve. A pool of ships which are primarily concerned with protecting the AI homeworlds, a proportion can also be deployed onto other strategic worlds. Here we've got about 10% of them assigned to the superterminal world, or around 300 Mk V ships. Fortunately once the command station pops they have no reinforcement warp gate to come from. Unfortunately, the command station has external invulnerability.

One champion, one cloaker starship. One dead command station shield guardpost? Nope, 'cos there's a forcefield in the way. Now we could send in our 500 cutlasses to do the job, as they can crash through forcefields. Or we could send in spirecraft rams, which would be massive overkill for such a piddly little guardpost (and at two per reptite asteroid, they wouldn't exactly cost us much). However they have a 0.01 modifier against command grade, so that option is out. We can wait for our raid starships to get rebuilt, but that'll take a while.

Oh hey, we have 7 Xampite on Nomad One. Penetration time it is then. The champion is here for moral support, to help cover the escape, and to pop the command station.

You may have noticed that this planet has three ion cannons, and so far I haven't killed a single one of them. That's intentional. As soon as I capture the planet, those cannons will flip to me. Which will be rather useful when the Super-Terminal starts chucking out hundreds of ships. In fact, what I'm going to do before unloading any of my fleet ships is have the champion roam around and kill any guardposts which are in range of the ion cannons.

The champion and his escorts take out the last worrisome guardpost, and the fleet (including civilian ships) is in position to drop a command station next to the Mk V ion cannon. It's go time.

Next time, on AI War: The drive-by hacking commences