Part 21: Turns 120-140
Memories of a better time - Let's Play Sword of the Stars as the Hiver Imperium.
Update 8. Turns 120-140
In which SPACE DOLPHINS occurs
A turn or two after I resume playing, I get my first "A swarm of many vessels approaching, my Queen."
The Liir are not content to wait for us to attack them, it seems.
Because I dropped two fleets on them, the options button appears - I can use this to pick which fleet takes to the field.
I actually sortie the older ships of Lambda Fleet first, against this many ships, we are going to take casualties, and Hiver planetary defense involves waiting for them to come to you, so their slower drives aren't going to cause much inconvenience.
One aspect of planetary attacks - the AI always targets your deployed gate first when you're on defense. I move the command ship back, and mass close to the gate.
I also rearrange the reserves so that my warships will be called in rather than the support vessels. I don't have to change orders. The default in SOTS1 is for ships to turn to face their target. When I click on the enemy ships, my cruisers will do their best to point at them on their own.
Fusion power, Shields Mk 1 (the blue fields around some of their ships) and Projectors. Not the worst they could've brought.
And we get our first look at projectors. As well as some shitty shooting from our cruisers. Projectors are the solution to the eternal problem of "I just don't shoot enough shots with Plasma/Fusion/Anti-matter cannons. They take a mission section to mount, and shoot a whole bunch of cannon shots at their target. They are a pretty solid weapon all around.
After we trade a few cruisers, I decide it's time to re-establish local space superiority and blow up their command ship. I may have mentioned this before, but it is often worth not destroying their command ship straight away in order to reduce the rest of their fleet. Especially when your ships are better in close quarters than theirs. Since the Liir aren't running many shields, their ships are relatively weak, thus I could take out a second cruiser at the same time.
We continue to exchange starships. The last of our Fission warcruisers dies as we contine to bombard the Liir. Also, now that we have AP drivers, our Mass Driver shots are red. Because they go faster I guess.
In a move that will surprise no-one who has played SOTS1 much, the Liir have Biowar ships. I suspected they might, which is the OTHER reason I destroyed their command ship.
While the previous one had launched already, this one still has its 4 Biomissiles loaded. If you hit them early enough, you can actually destroy the missiles before they launch when you hit the middle section of the enemy ship. The AI launches as soon as the ship takes damage though, so it can be tricky. We manage to keep most of them away for now though.
The Liir aren't our only enemies though.
Luckily, while I was fighting at Tunguska, I was also building more cruisers. Since the other battle is currently off the Gate network, I send all these reinforcements to meet the incoming fleet.
I'm going to guess that the Uulani class is their Biowarfare design.
Your ships will fire every weapon they have at Bio-missiles if they are in range though.
Of course, because Mass drivers inflict a lot of vector changing on hit, some of the Bio-missiles end up a long way above the combat plane.
Refinery cruisers explode mighty big. Luckily our ships are well repaired, so the explosions aren't going to seriously inconvenience our Cruisers. Destroyers would die to a blast like that though.
Another thing of note - the Liir have Anti-matter engines already. You can tell by the purple engine tips.
Without Microfusion drives, our missiles are actually pretty bad at hitting bio-missiles.
Checking the colony, and it looks like the Liir only had basic plague warheads on their fleet, which is a small mercy, Plague, and the vaccine, are quick to research.
Since we've cleared the skies at Tunguska, I order some of the ships there to reinforce our cruisers already at Chytoket. This will prove to be a slight mistake.
The Tarkans have brought a fairly homogenous fleet compared to the Liir.
It also looks like they didn't get point defense weapons.
Their ships aren't half as good as the Liir ones were. They appear to be running mostly missiles, which our PD can thin out fairly well.
In fact, their ships are so inferior, we manage to clear them out in a single battle.
Remember my slight mistake? Oops!
Fortunately, our colony is able to contain the outbreak quickly.
It isn't until all the civilians are dead that Tunguska contains its plague. And remember this was just the basic plague that hit us!
Thankfully, once we research plague, we unlock access to research the vaccine. Fun fact - while researching plagues, or their vaccines, you can get outbreaks of them on your colonies!
We also get access to another Terraforming technology that we can research later. I'm going to start colonising more crappy worlds, so this will help save some spacebux.
Also, since Tunguska had its population savaged, it can't currently support as much trade. So lets look at transferring freighters.
You can double click on the trade sector to open its fleet view, which shows all the freighters you have in a sector. to transfer them, you select the ships you want and add them to a new fleet.
Then you want to switch to trade view. It can take a bit of looking, but once you find the sector you want, you just move the freighter fleet there. I am fairly sure it takes until next turn regardless of the location of the freighters, but it could just be Hiver Magic.
Also, I built some refinery ships, and send a fleet off to attack/explore Liir space. In hindsight this fleet is lacking some things, but I'll get to that at the end of the update.
A second Liir fleet closes on Tunguska.
Since I'd spent all my money (again) I didn't want to field both fleets to Tunguska, just in case I needed another fleet to defend my other colonies. I was fairly confident we could take out the Liir. And we're immune to their Plague warheads anyhow, so we should be fine.
Well, unless the Liir have Phasers. That is unfortunate, and improves their close combat ability a bunch.
And point defense phasers REALLY cause problems. This means that every missile mount we have might as well be empty. So our medium defense platforms are completely ineffective. As are our support ships if it comes to that.
PD Phasers are absurd, that one cruiser there can cheerfully clear an entire wave of missiles. For Morrigi, they're worse, because they do the same thing to drones.
And the Liir decided to answer my Blazer ships with their own. So we're going to take fairly heavy cruiser losses here.
It's about now that I realise the fleet's weakness. To explain - My command ship has just lost its mission section. This means I no longer have a command ship in system. So I can no longer arrange my reinforcements for this battle, and I go from being able to field 6 cruisers (a command ship and 5 others) to 2 cruisers. I won't be receiving reinforcements for the rest of this fight. If I had a second command ship, even in the reinforcement queue, I could still manage reinforcing and once another command ship joined the battle, I could restore my fleet to full power.
I lose my first cruiser that I can't reinforce. My firepower superiority seems to be slipping away.
Even worse, the Liir destroy my command ship. So any further battles we fight will have me fielding a mere pair of cruisers, and I cannot pick which ones. And when you consider that my Repair cruisers have no weapons they can even hurt the enemy with thanks to phaser PD, welp.
This is the post battle situation. 4 Warcruisers, a gateship, and 3 repair ships. against 15 Liir Cruisers.
Oh also, Pirates. They are a lot less annoying than in SOTS2 though.
Somehow I managed to hold off the first Liir wave. You better believe I focused their command ship down. Hey look, my Gate ship even survived. Kind of. Barely. With luck, the Liir are down to support vessels and can't mount a serious attack on the gate. If it can last 2 more minutes I can drop reinforcements on the Liir and hold Tunguska!
Our Missile defenses also manage to take out a Biowarship's mission section before it can launch. Always nice to see.
Sadly, that isn't going to happen on their main thrust. 1 Blazer and 3 Biowar ships. I can maybe hold the gate if we can take out the Blazer fast.
My cruisers are kind of brutalised, and I lose one taking out the main guns of the Liir cruiser. Our efforts against their Biomissiles weren't too good either.
Unfortunately, they have particle beams. And I did NOT get my other warcruisers as reinforcements.
That isn't the bad news though. And I do something here I should've done last turn. Send away the repair ships. That would have guaranteed I got the warships in for this turn.
There is worse news - the Liir have stronger bioweapons. They have the strongest even. The Liir used ASSIMILATION plague missiles on my planet. Which, as the name suggests, mind control the population into slowly turning to the enemy empire. FUCKING SPACE DOLPHINS.
The Liir are firm believers in Overkill. I had tried the only tactic that might work, and charged them. Unfortunately we didn't have the firepower to stop the biomissiles adding to our pain.
We do take revenge on their starships. Now they only have refinery ships left.
I call my repair ships back so they can top off the fleet's health, and we begin attacking our former colony.
Naturally, since they've just arrived, the game gives me my repair cruisers to fight with. Well, maybe they don't have great PD still.
Though since we had Combat Lasers, we were able to win 2v1. Even if the blast took out one of my ships!
Another refinery ship decided to come say hi too.
Even 1 repair ship is enough to patch up my ships. Since there are so few. I am unsure if in hindsight I should've held off calling in the repair ships.
Also, since the Liir have rendered missiles useless, I re-design my medium defense platforms and support ships. At least AP drivers can do actual damage.
While I'm on the screen, I design some destroyers to show off destroyer swarming. Though I can't use these against the Liir for obvious reasons.
These guys have 4 missile mounts.
We clear Tunguska of traitors and seafood.
But the world is going to be a long time before it can resume its status as a shipyard.
I had, meanwhile, sent my old destroyers to re-establish a gate around Giedi Prime. They found a bunch of Liir cruisers in orbit.
Colony cruisers, to be precise.
The Liir crisers are more than a match for our aged destroyers. After losing a few, I order them to stand down from combat.
Especially when I see they have weapons even bigger than the particle beams. I think that's a tractor beam or something, it's been a while since I've used energy weapons.
Fun fact - you can't colonise a planet if there are hostile ships present. So while the Liir refuse to engage, my destroyers can hold the system. Sort of. Since we have a gate set up, I'm going to drop cruisers on them.
I check on my attack force.
Well. That's not good. That fleet alone is nearly as large as my entire cruiser force. I've only got 17 ships, I'm not entirely sure I could even hold the gate for the turn necessary to reinforce.
I decide to double check our offensive target and sweet merciful Cheesequeen!
While I am staring in disbelief, I also see they have a pretty neat zoomed in UI. Showing things like time to target, as well as refuel and repair.
Just. Just. AUGH. So thread, I ask you. Do we fight them over their world against their doomfleet. Or do I pull back, build more ships and hit multiple systems at once to try and avoid such an absurd buildup.
Also, I should discuss this fleet's current weaknesses. Specifically, it only has a single command ship and a single gateship. As we saw at the Second Battle of Tunguska, a single command ship leaves the fleet vulnerable to losing its control systems and being at the mercy of the RNG as to which ship comes next (actually I think it's based on age or time of joining the fleet). And if the AI sees your command ship, it can choose to attack it. And often does - it's a legitimate strategy to slow the enemy down, after all.
A single gateship means that if we lose the gateship, we're cut off. Not AS big a problem as only one command ship, but it could cause trouble since planetary defenses, and enemy fleets will try and destroy it.
I mean, the worst that really happens is I lose a fleet or two. And fleets ARE expendable, ultimately.
As for the Liir using bioweapons - that actually fits with their lore. In SOTS1 Lore, the Liir fought a rebellion against their enslavers - the Suul'ka, and defeated them with a virulent plague that actually wiped out both the occupying forces, and any other trace they could find of their empire. Then they stole and reverse engineered their Stutter drives and went out to seek the rest of the Suul'ka to kick their ass. So if they detect you being hostile, they think you might be the Suul'ka. And better safe than sorry! So will declare endless war on you. And have no problems using bioweapons on your innocent civilians.