Part 19: Turns 77-100
Memories of a better time - Let's Play Sword of the Stars as the Hiver Imperium.
Update 4. Turns 77-100
In which I get new toys and make new friends.
Right. Now, what was I doing.
Oh right, the Liir. We're 3 turns out and have some other exploration ships entering their cluster. Lets see what the vote said.
Sushi it is!
Looks like I'm not the only one with scouts out. (No, the ship/fleet isn't invisible, I just hit print screen while it was faded out)
And the VN show up to destroy one of my gates.
The space dolphins are just scouting with a solitary ship. Given that it's how I scout with em, I can't complain. I have them slightly outnumbered though, which is nice.
Because Hivers are slow and Liir are not, he plays Ring around the Rosies with my gate ship and my fleet for a few minutes. Also, those yellow tips tell me he's running fusion engines.
Also emitters. If I was using boarding pods, I'd be screwed!
Mecron has said the counter to Boarding Pods in SOTS2 is Emitters and PD. Despite boarding pods having more than enough hp to survive a barrage from them then steal your fleet before they can fire again.
And the fact they require research to get while everyone starts SOTS2 with boarding pods unlocked.
In SOTS1, they make a passable poor man's point defense if you don't unlock PD straight away.
Eventually she has an unfortunate encounter with the FRONT of our ships.
As our other gate ships approach, they too find fleets in orbit of their targets. I'm hoping they're just single destroyers.
Worst comes to worst, I can pile on one gate and stretch out from that.
And they send another lone ship to scout our cluster. Going to war was the right choice.
We also picked up another alien scout ship, and I open diplomatic negotiations.
They can't say no to our robot armed DJ!
Just look at that screen. It's nearly everything you want from a diplomacy screen.
You get your current intel on them up the top.
Then tech knowledge based on what you've seen. The only thing it's missing is WHY their attitude is changing. Even proposing treaties is a sinch. you click the little yellow arrow, bam, you can select what you want.
Well, it was just one destroyer at Ymar. And what a find. First planet, and we can throw up a colony on it.
Assuming that fleet doesn't cause trouble. Luckily, since it's 2 turns away, we can erect a gate this turn, then bring in a fleet of our destroyers the next turn to try and hold the system.
Looks like everybody's got their scouts out. We can build a second gate in the Dolphin cluster too. And call in some friends.
The Liir have cruiser technology. And fusion power. Suddenly my destroyers feel a lot less adequate. My biggest worry here is that they'll destroy my already damaged gateship and strand my destroyers here.
Of course, turns out they didn't bring warships.
This is a Dolphin colony fleet. Since the AI didn't bring colony ships of its own, it scatters its fleet, and sets a peaceful stance. If both parties go for peace, the battle ends. But I want that colony for myself, so kill all dolphins!
In preparation for getting cruisers, I get medium mass drivers.
I am pretty happy to get both of these techs unlocked too. AP rounds are critical for fighting races that get armour technologies. Like the Tarka. And stormers are just good fun. Why fire once when you can shoot a whole bunch?
I looked into getting Fusion before I get cruisers, but that's a bit longer than I want to spend under-equipped. Destroyers vs Cruisers is kind of brutal.
With medium drivers, the last tech we need to research then is Orbital Foundries. Cheaper ships and Strafe are just bonuses. This tech is the direct precursor to cruiser research.
We still have ships to clear out at Ymar.
Once we take out a few more colony ships, the Liir cruiser takes to the field. Lucky for us it's just a refinery cruiser.
I think we made it mad. Also in the background, the other half of our fleet beating up colony ships.
When we blew out its mission section, all the fuel it was carrying exploded. And destroyed the other 4 attacking destroyers. The main squadron has finished with the colony ships though, so we have more on the way.
While it cost a few destroyers, Ymar is ours.
Orbital foundries also completes, which gives access to cruisers, and hull reinforcing. I actually tempt fate and grab polysilicate alloys first, since then I can make every cruiser a little bit more durable.
So of course cruisers eventually goes over-budget.
A Tarkan scout-fleet heads towards one of our colonies. The Cease Fire we negotiated only means that our warships in open space won't shoot at each other. If they approach a colony, they're fair game.
Finally, we get bigger ships.
Look at all those technologies we get access to.
i hold off building cruisers for a bit to research heavy beams. I'm kind of expecting the Liir to respond with deflector shields at some point. I also considered particle beams in the energy tree, since I don't have Heavy Drivers yet. Heavy Combat Lasers sound cooler though.
Our scouts find ANOTHER set of new friends. I'd been so focused on cruisers that I hadn't even noticed we were approaching the glamordragons.
Fortunately, we still win 2v1. Unfortunately, the Morrigi also tell me that I'm going to need AP drivers sooner rather than later. I get a fair number of deflected shots during this fight.
When the Tarka colonise a world in my cluster though, I feel compelled to eject them from my space, and declare war.
Ever since Pax Imperia, I get VERY territorial about bases inside what I consider to be my borders.
One fun thing that the destroyer era especially shows off, is starship pinball.
When fighting with destroyers, concentrated mass driver fire pushes ships up and down the vertical axis. Normally fights in SOTS1 happen in 2 dimensions. Except when Mass drivers are involved. It's kind of cute.
Less so when you accidentally shove the enemy out of range of your guns, but eh, details.
Close and Attack doesn't let your own ships chase up, but pursuit does.
Anyhow. Once that's done, I resist the urge to hold off for a few more turns while I get ANOTHER combat technology, and start building cruisers. I did still wait to get Data Synergy for Cruiser command vessels, which was actually naughty of me.
In a turn, I can build half of the fleet at homeworld in a single turn. In hindsight I should've built a 7th Zero equals Infinity, just because it would've taken the same time, and you should always bring spares.
As for why it's naughty. their scout fleets have already shown they can get 1 turn out without warning. Thus I have no time to actually build a fleet to respond if they attack in force, I have to use what is on hand. My destroyers have already shown they can barely handle a single support cruiser, so as soon as I had cruiser hulls, and doubly when I had heavy beams, I should have been making a fleet or two of battle cruisers.
Whenever your frontline ships aren't effective any more, don't wait for tech if you can make something that can fight on equal terms with the enemy. SOTS1 has no retrofitting, but still, this fleet is entirely expendable. Once I get fusion engines, they'll be obsolete anyway. Their job is to make sure I don't lose colonies until that happens. They didn't need a command cruiser for that, I could've used a destroyer in the meantime.
I got away with it this time. But one of the biggest mistakes plenty of players make (including myself!) is to hold off building until their new great tech is researched. Then someone comes in with old ships they actually have and murders them.
Ahem. On a positive note, lets look at why the Homeworld is still super-great at being a shipyard. And why people voted to allow me to roll back getting Heralded.
These are my top 3 production colonies. While they're not completely developed, both of my next best colonies are a long way short on production compared to my homeworld. That extra 100 infrastructure and 1 billion imperials counts for a LOT. I still could've managed without, but it would have been slower and more difficult.
This is also why you don't wait on building new ships. I could be meeting this with my own cruisers.
We don't actually manage to get in range of the enemy ship all fight. Curse you fission!
Next turn, it's party time at one of our colonies. Both the Tarka and Liir have arrived in system at the same time.
I have cruisers. And I need to get a different style of bridge, my ships are showing the traditional Hiver weakness of poor Point Defense arcs. My command ship has a Battle bridge since it mounts one more missile than Hammerhead style.
The most dangerous part about these multi-empire battles is that one of the fleets spawns off to the side. Normally planetary fights have you facing the enemy fleet. Which is where all these missiles are going.
The other ship spawned a long way off to the side. If it'd been a more dangerous ship than a destroyer, it could've caused a lot of damage. Especially if it was, say, a Bio-warfare squadron.
Thankfully, as it's only a scout, our defense platforms can handle it.
Now that I have cruisers, I'll flick my fleet around dealing with scout squadrons until I have fusion. Then it's murder time!
Playing Hivers especially involves a lot of slow building up followed by bludgeoning the enemy to death with your fleets. Also, not shown: Me building a ton of freighters. At 40k for the hull, then 500! maintenance, freighters are important. Since I can still do most of my fleet building at my homeworld, every other world gets to go maximum tradeland!