Part 6: Turns 88-100
An endless sea of bugs (spawning inside the sun) Lets Play Sword of the Stars 2: Hiver Imperium
Update 6. Turns 88-100!
And now, the continuation
Remember how I was all "I've got their boreship, they'll go home now?
Boy was I wrong. This fleet is another of mostly Mercons Folly, with an older Armour in it for numbers.
But, this is also the battle I figure out how to get them to use their Combat Lasers properly! It was for the dumbest reason, too. Not that that's a surprise at this point.
Ahem. Sorry, I was glorying.
Right, in the previous battles, I'd ordered my warships to close an attack. Except support ships who were ordered to use their missiles to stand off. Missiles + stand off is the reason my support ships carry missiles, in spite of their higher supply usage. Anyhow. I figured close and attack would order my ships to charge in, and point at the enemy ship since their orders are to face the enemy. This battle, I saw them closing in and not firing, so I changed the order to Pursuit.
Within seconds, they pointed their noses right at the enemy, and started unleashing beam-based death.
With everything firing, our superior hull strength and all of our firepower gave us enough power to destroy their ships a heck of a lot quicker.
Only lost a single ship. So the attrition from previous battles also helped. Well, and the fact they only had half their fleet left.
Still, I'll take it. I am feeling much better about our offensive strikes now, at least.
Also, we learned something about our ships!
Thankfully, I didn't have to go to the wiki to try and find out what it does. It shows up in the ship design page. Though the Hivers naming something after a human ship bugs me.
I wish Online Retailers would stop that.
I mean, next up they'll want the downloads they distributed to users to not get over-written by the Steam version. They're so fussy.
I think it's just the AI launching an exploratory strike before sending in a survey fleet. So it's not completely unreasonable in context. It's just nerve wracking considering they won't sign a Non-Aggression pact!
Speaking of our counter offensive, on turn 91, our gatefleet has almost reached the Merak system. sensors show 1 colony, 2 fleets. Thankfully neither fleet is at full strength.
Also, since his CP are /66 I know he's expanded his fleet sizes via Combat Algorithms technology. I really must research that myself.
In a bit of poor planning, both my Gate fleets arrived on the same turn. Though since Aditi is undefended, we should still be able to win both fights. As Hivers ideally you want to hit systems one at a time so you can bring your full navy to bear on each target.
Speaking of bringing all the firepower onto a single target, once I've set the support ships to stand off, and the Armors to Close and Attack (or Pursuit, I don't remember. Both work for the wider firing arcs of their mass drivers and heavy drivers), I reselect the whole fleet so they kill each target as quickly as possible.
This is quite effective.
The attack on Aditi is fairly unremarkable. Flipping a couple of Armors upside down gives the fleet more than enough point defense to swat planetary defense missile fire.
And the drones from the defense satellites.
The fleet's solitary repair ship can even put everyone back together again.
Also really must remember to press the random names button.
The other fleet, not so much. I'll call in a reinforcement fleet to fight the next battle, and let them return to base to get fully repaired. Planets and starbases produce a LOT of repair capacity, and cycling fleets like this is one of the Hiver's big strengths. A Hiver fleet rarely has to fight for more than 2 turns before it can be cycled out.
Unfortunately, we are having trouble figuring out how to establish Protectorates.
I'm also doing some reconnaissance and setting up gates in Morrigi territory. I considered changing the fleet's desination here to try and find an system, but let them continue after I remembered they've been surveying my systems, so gating theirs sounds fair.
At Merak, there's a slight problem. I hadn't had enough time to capture the sectors near my gateship. The reinforcement fleet does have one though, so even if they destroy it, I can set up another one next turn.
Which may turn out to be necessary at this rate.
The presence of UV lasers tells me that this is our first appearance of our Point Defense cruisers!
Their ships don't last long against the fleet.
Right. So, the Working Audio Point Defense cruisers.
I debated for more than a few minutes on the central ring being point defense guns or lasers. I eventually went lasers for shooting down more stubborn targets. And I did remember to replace the back missile launchers with mass drivers. Though given the probable weapon arcs, missiles pointing astern wouldn't be completely worthless.
Oh, and those 3 centre rings - they rotate, so even if a turret gets knocked off, the ship is still mostly good at its job.
Fleets now will tend to have a mix of these and the Mercons Folly blazer cruisers, so they can get in close and murder Canadian Space Roos.
I haven't fought a full battlefleet with them, but these should still help to get our other ships in murder-range.
Anyhow, we are again fighting across two systems. And Kerberos dropped a fleet on Aditi that I didn't notice, so there is only the fleet that established the gate there. Which doesn't have a spare. They lay into it while the fleet breaks orbit from the planet and shoot off its nose.
The one thing though - the Suul'ka fleet attacking is a Colony fleet. The AI doesn't really like taking things on with its colony fleets, so they move off to the side to lob missiles in.
This gives the Gate a chance to defend itself. From directly ahead, the point defense guns mounted on the engine section couldn't target the missiles. When they come from the side though, it can shoot back.
Also, I need point defense lasers - they show up a lot better in screenshots.
That said, the fleet has a slight problem. It can't put its engines to full power yet because it has to clear the orbital defenses. It could have, I guess, but at maximum engine power, their weapons turn off.
Our ships are able to destroy the platforms in the way without having to stop completely. But don't actually reach attack range for the battle.
The point defense guns are able to keep the Gateship intact to fight another day though.
In an unsurprising move, I throw all my repairs onto the gate.
It's going to take a while.
I'm able to find another good admiral to lead a fleet.
I possibly have too many point defense ships compared to murder ships. But I am still wary after the previous slaughter.
And in another great design decision, after you create a fleet, you can open the fleet manager.
This doesn't close the Admiral manager though.
Also, we've almost uncovered the secrets of the enki!
Hopefully we'll get Protectorates soon too. Though I guess I shouldn't complain too much since we did breakthrough Expert Systems last update.
Next turn, we have 3 fights. The colonisation fleet is the same one that tried to kill our other gate.
Since it was within 1 turn's movement, I didn't even think that they'd go for the next system. So well played Kerberos.
There are two battles at Aditi because while I brought in a second fleet to help, I also kept the othhr fleet there for extra repair strength to help with the gate ship. Since there are two combat fleets in the same system, they get two battles. You can actually deploy your fleets differently too, so you can have one fleet clear around the gate in the first battle. Then have another set up next to the colony for the second.
Not much left to happen this update, so lets look at our newest addition to the fleet.
A respectable volley of fire.
Anyhow, we clear out the colonies at Merak and Aditi, but lose Tunguska gate.
Finally, this happens.
No, that's not a breakthrough researchers. Not a breakthrough AT ALL. At least it was well timed.
So NOW lets check the independents screen of diplomacy.
We can talk to them! The UI is clearly well designed, as apparent by their empire name being in the factions box instead of over their government.
We offer them a Protectorate treaty, which I didn't get a screenshot of. For some reason, it has a duration. I leave it at the default of 0 and hope that means it will last forever. Instead of lasting for no turns. With this game, I would not be surprised either way.
Also, in the last battle, we got some more salvage.
Since we're done with special projects for now, I move the budget into Salvage research. Asroc is the quickest, so I go with that.
The enki accept, and we get a sweet protectorate. I'll keep an eye on them, but so far they've actually STAYED a protectorate, so 0 does equal infinite. This time.
Our salvage research completes, giving us the ability to research Disruptors. I hadn't actually run the feasibility study on these yet, so I am okay with this outcome. Salvage projects are always feasibility studies of technology, so they're kind of useful. Especially if you get screwed out of something super important like point defenses.
Finally, lets see where our empire sits on the government scales after 100 turns.
We are socialists apparently. Our government seeks to bring Bugs to every citizen!
The tl;dr version is we get less tax and production, increased chances of crappy ship attributes. But more morale from peace treaties and more population and research growth.
I wonder if that province that extra provincial planet works. Hmm. I'll have to test.
So not too shabby overall. Anyhow, next time, we beat up Kerberos. And probably get war declared by our neighbours.
I should check how the voters wan me to deal with the magical space dolphins for SOTS1 too...