******************************************************************* * TheOne's guide to dominating Homeworld 2 * ******************************************************************* * Copyright notes: You may distribute this file in its * * entirety only without changes or additions. You may * * quote parts of it as long as you cite it properly. This file * * is property of TheOne (email@example.com) * ******************************************************************* General Game Notes: ------------------- About Dynamic Difficulty: -HW2 features a self-adjusting difficulty level. However, in reality it is based on a very simple model. The AI itself will always act the same way and no damage or armor modifiers are introduced. Basically, Whenever you finish a mission; the game will examine the size/power of your fleet and the Veygr will have a fleet of a size proportional to your own (to ensure that you will ALWAYS be at a disadvantage). -Also, note that the nature of the Veygr fleet will be a reaction to your own. Meaning, if the brunt of your force was anti-capship. The Veygr will start the next level with an overwhelming fighter-based force, and vice-versa. -You may consider this cheap, but remember that you have the ability to replay the level (the CPU doesn't have the same advantage). However, combined with many other aspects of the game that I discuss later in the guide, HW2 comes out as a strictly hardcore, extremely difficult RTS. -Thanks to a good friend of mine (Blackwolf), the thing to keep in mind about this game is that it has been designed in such a way that the only technique that has a realistic chance of finishing it is power-player style (aka "Hoarding"). In other words, quick hit-and-run style ("hotdogging" - WC4) will most likely fail. You really do have to harvest every last RU, build every last possible unit and kill every last enemy unit to make it to the ending. Scripted Events: Automatic sequences (think of them as videos, except that they are built using the game engine) which when triggered (either via a certian timer, action, or objective completion) begin to take action without you being able to control it (because it has been pre-written for the level). Most of these you can skip by hitting the Esc key. Fleet Carryover: Like HW1, this game continues the welcome tradition of bringing along all your units from previous missions to your current mission. This adds a tactical aspect, because you can't simply just attempt to win a mission but instead you have to do so with enough grace to support your next challenge (getting to mission 12 with no RUs and no BCs is simply a ticket to restarting your game from scratch!) Units (and abbreviations) that I usually rely on, the reasons behind it, and the max # of units you can have of each: ------------------------------------------------ scout: with enhanced sensors, these guys can see way farther ahead than anyone else. Moreover, you may use their sensor ping ability to temporarily locate enemy units (ever wonder where the heck is that carrier that keeps spewing frikkin fighters at you constantly? ping her ass!) bombs: Bombers 14 fast, agile, hurts capships withouth them being able to retaliate much guns: Gunship Corvettes 12 can shoot everything all around them torps: Torpedo Frigates 21 when upgraded, hurts fighters, corvettes AND caps. Also because you can have a HUGE army of them MS: Mothership because I have no other choice BC: Battelcruiser 2 because - like I said in my HW guide - they are such beautiful things D: Destroyer 5 fairly fast, packs a punch and eats frigates alive DN: Dreadnaught they are cool to watch in action Units I usually don't use, and why: ------------------------------- ceptors: Interceptors Because I would rather use all my fighter limit on bombers. Plus it is somewhat easier to use other units for defending against enemy fighters. pulsars: Pulsar Corvettes Because I would rather use all my corvette limit on gunships. Pulsars are originally designed as an anti-corvette/frigate weapon. But I find other units better suited for each. miners: Mine-Laying Corvettes Albeit interesting in concept, strategies involving the use of miners would (IMO) contradict the highly on-the-offence nature of this guide. flaks: Flak Frigates Although excellent against fighters, they're pretty much useless against anything else. Plus I'd rather use up all my frig quota on torps ions: Ion Frigates Excessively vulnerable. Those things fall like flies. Even anti-fighter weaponry can seriously damage ions. And being the slowest unit in the frigate class doesn't help either. Also my strategy leaves only the frigate class to cover against fighters/corvettes thus making it impossible/illogical for me to use such a strictly anti-capship unit from the frigate class. dff: Defence Field Frigate I feel sorry for including this one in this section. This is due to the fact that (theoritically) this unit can have great strategic potential. However, the amount of micro-management needed to guide it, plus the extreme shortness of the life of the field makes it not worth it to dedicate so much attention to driving it around your fleet. mf: Marine Frigate (#$%$!$%#^&@) (excuse my French) Huge disappointment is all I can say. Those of you who have read my HW guide know that capturing was a major strategy for me. Your ability to capture enemy units in this game has been nerfed to the point of being absolutely useless. This is a result of the following main factors: 1. Capturing used to be done via corvette class ships, making it relatively easy to at least latch on before you start being in extreme danger. 2. Capturing used to be a way to circumvent the unit cap in HW. This is no longer the case (i.e. you cannot capture a unit if you already reached its unit cap) 3. The AI in HW2 has been designed to leave whatever it is doing and concentrate all fire on any nearby MF. Thus hugely decreasing your chances of a successful capture. 4. Salvage vettes used to be so cheap (270RU) that if you were to lose a couple in the process of getting a BC, it would still be so much worth your while because a single BC used to cost 3700RU in HW. In HW2 however, a single MF is 700RUs. Combined with its lack of speed and the AI's tendency to rape any incoming MF makes for a very costly capture that nullifies the need to do it in the first place. 5. Many units in the single player campaign are not capture-prone per se. As a matter of fact, the only units (worth the trouble) that I have been successful capturing are destroyers and even then, it is so costly to do so that it makes no sense. NOTE: In mission 4, there is a single destroyer that I found useful to capture ONLY because it shows up long before you have the ability to build your own. And let me tell you this, Veygr Ds are EXTREMELY slow! Things to note about this guide: -------------------------------- 1. This is not a complete guide. It is simply for those who are fairly familiar with this game but still find it unusually difficult (and rightly so). It will not discuss in detail unit stats or multiplayer tactics etc. 2. This guide is designed to reduce spoilers as much as possible. However, be careful when reading it as names and capabilities of certain units will be discussed which may allude to some parts of the story. 3. To maximize the use of this guide, you will need to go through each level at least once to be familiar with the scripted events. I will not be describing the course of those within this guide (unless necessary) General Strategies: ------------------- 1. Always have the maximum possible number of units from each unit type. Use the "I" key to display your fleet stats and fill them accordingly. Most missions expect you to do something specific so as to end the mission. Try to keep at least one objective "alive" so as to allow you to take your time in building your fleet before ending the scenario. 2. In the heat of battle, it is always useful to hit "pause"... zoom in and pin out that single enemy frigate that is nearly dead and tell all ur close-by units to finish it off. Boom, one less gun shooting at you. 3. Again, the "pause" key is your best friend. Use it from time to time to go out into your sensor view, get an idea about what's happening in each of your battles and switch plans accordingly. 4. No, this is not cheap-play. Remember, you are dealing with a CPU opponent that: 1) cheats (sees all your units all the time) 2) Can multitask so much better than you can that the 30 secs you spend in pause mode while planning is nothing 3) has no unit cap (you heard me. While you're limited to 2 BCs, the Veygr can have as many as 8) 5. If things are really hot, and you notice that a certain unit type is getting reduced on regular basis, try to fill the production queue on all your production ships with that unit. This is to help keep your fleet at max unit per type at all times. 6. The above rule has a very interesting (and useful) side effect. HW2 unit production is designed to automatically "pause" if the unit being producded has been completed by another production ship and has reached its unit cap. So basically, if a similar unit gets destroyed... you already have a replacement that is nearly ready!!! Imagine the amount of frustration of your enemy when (just as he succeeds in killing one of your destroyers) he sees a replacement emerge within seconds! 7. Remeber to always pause the game, go back to your production site and bring all the newly made units to the frontlines. 8. Unlike in HW, HW2 allows you to move your MS! This is a major advantage because you are no longer forced to have two fronts whenever the AI decides to get smart and attacks your MS. As you will see in the individual missions, I personally generally recommend setting your MS on a course towards the mission objective as soon as the mission starts. Moreover, by keeping both your MS and carriers at the frontlines, you can constantly replenish your forces without the need to wait a long time before those newly born units move up to the battlefield. NOTE: There are certain situations where this may not be a good idea. For instance, you may not want the MS to move right in the middle of a BC fight because (unlike losing a BC) losing your MS ends the game! 9. The AI will always attempt to harvest the resources available in the level (However, I do question the fact whether the AI really needs them. Given the cheating nature of HW2's AI, I wouldn't be surprised if it can build units infinitely). It is in your best interest to cut the AI off by ruining all his attempts at it (seek out and distroy all his harvesters, refinaries and carriers) 10. Since harvesting is done automatically at the end of each level. It is better (and more economical) to have the max number of harvesters at all times auto-repairing the largest of your ships. This will lower your expenditure dramatically (one BC is 4000 RUs in this game, so losing one is a BIG loss). In other words, you generally will not have any need to actually manually harvest RUs. ***************************************************************** * Mission Walkthrough * ***************************************************************** Note: I will use asterisks (***) to rate the level of difficulty for each mission. 5 being the hardest in the game (which means that to the average gamer it is EXTREMELY difficult) Mission 1, Tanis Base (*): -------------------------- Nothing much to say. They are basically holding your hand through it. However, here are some recommendations: 1. Don't make too many fighters. 3 groups should be about enough. 2. Make as Many bombers as you can. 3. I highly recommend not losing any groups here. Mission 2, Angel Moon (***): ---------------------------- You may need to replay this one a couple of times to get the hang of it. Here's some tips on how to deal with the Veygr threat: FYI: Saving all crew ships is possible and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I would reload my saved game the moment I would lose any, simply because it is really worth it. Saving the 5th and 6th crew ships causes an Elite gunship and an elite bomber groups to launch from the MS. They pack a punch and live longer than their normal counterparts (plus it is a matter of pride! lol) 1. NOTE: each supply ship will be attacked ONLY ONCE. Meaning, once the attackers of any of the ships are removed (triggering fleet intel to announce that it is safe), that one ship will not be attacked by any additional reinforcements. 2. TACTIC: It is much harder for fighters to hurt an enemy fighter group once it has been reduced to 1 or 2 units only. As such, it is best to go for attacking bomber groups when they are complete. Once reduced (thus becoming much less of a threat to the crew ship), turn towards enemy fighters. Otherwise, if you were to completely ignore the fighters, by the time you move on to defend the next ship your fighters would have suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Veygr's. 3. Enemy forces are attacking the supply ship closest to you. send everything you have to it. 4. Once done, send your bombers (and one fighter group for support) towards the carrier in the middle of the map and have them knock down the fighter facility. Have the other fighters move on to the supply ship further ahead. *NOTE: the carrier in this mission will NOT rebuild the fighter facility. You don't have to worry about that once it's down. 5. By now there should be at least 2 crew ships under attack simultaniously. Divide your guns and work on both. 6. Enemy frigs jump into the fray. This is your cue to move away your fighters (otherwise they'll be shredded tres-rapide). 7. Once Captain Soban arrives, begin preparing for the next mission. If you're the paranoid type, you may have your bombers remove the carrier engines (making it a sitting duck). *NOTE: IMO, this should be the last time you would ever have ceptors. Retire all of them and use the resulting RUs to make bombers and gunships. one-to-one ratio is ok 8. Mission ends once the last crew ship docks with the MS. Mission 3, Sarum (**): ---------------------- Having completed mission 2 as described, you'll arrive into this one with a force capable of keeping it very well under control. Try to max them out during the course of the mission through gathering some of the nearby RUs. This mission is entirely event driven. Here's how: 1. Go ahead and clean up around the shipyard. Should be a piece of cake. 2. An alert about a couple of probes will occur, one of them is near the shipyard and the other is halfway between it and the MS. Have someone waiting in both general areas. Kill them! 3. Shortly after, a carrier appears in the general area around the secondary objective (the forward resourcing op). Have bombers and gunships waiting. 4. In a few minutes, ahead of and above the Shipyard, 3 carriers will arrive. 5. Here's my recommendation... Knock out the two carriers that have fighter facilities ASAP. This cuts off the constant fighter threat. 6. Having done so, the situation freezes. As you will be able to easily kill every capture frigate the 3rd carrier will be able to send at you. 7. If you have completed mission 2 as described. You should be at a point where you have very little RUs left. Start harvesting and use what you get for maxing out all your ranks. 8. Once done... kill that last carrier and away we go. Mission 4, Gehenna Outskirts (****): ------------------------------------ There is two ways to do this mission. I rated it as 4 stars based on only one of the two methods (the other is more like 3 stars). - METHOD 1 (the way THEY want you to do it) Here's the deal, you are supposed to destroy that huge starbase that is very far from your starting position. To do so, you are expected to kill the three groups of Hyperspace inhibitors. Thus allowing the MS to perform a tactical jump bringing it (along with your fleet) VERY close to the starbase. BUTTTTT... here's the catch: A very large fleet is sitting just around the spot where your MS will materialize. I have attempted this before and I can assure you that doing the mission like this is a HUGE mistake. You may be able to survive the onslaught, but your losses will be so severe that you might as well pack up and leave anyways! Moreover, you will discover 3 jump gates near each of the inhibitor sites. They all lead to a spot where a Veygr Destroyr is sitting waiting to be captured. Going through the tactical jump sequence before doing so causes that D along with her escorts to completely disappear from the map. - METHOD 2 (my recommendation): 1. There are two Veygr carriers patroling the routes between each of the inhibitor sites. Locate them with a scout then clean them out. 2. Capture one of the enemy jump gates (not all, for doing so makes them a target for the AI and losing all of them at once may not be convenient for you. 3. Send a scout through it first, have it fly straight up above the enemy forces (to avoid getting hammered) so as to provide recon. 4. Go in with fighters first, try and maneuver in such a way that forces the D to turn away fromt he jump gates. 5. You will need at least 2 MFs to make a run for the D once it is looking away. Chances are you will lose at least of of them. 6. After killing everyrthing that is still standing, gather your forces (including your new D) and head for the star base. After that the mission becomes a no-brainer. Just kill whatever you encounter on your way to the starbase. Once there, wait until you have rebuilt your forces to full power and then ruin her shit! Mission 5, Gehenna (***): ------------------------- This is a straight forward mission. It is also reminiscent to a mission in HW1. Basically, the MS is standing in the middle of a dust patch. The patch forks into three arms of dust clouds roughly going NE, N, and NW of the MS's starting position. at the tip of each of the branches there is a "garrison" (basically, just an assortment of Veygr ships) idling. The idea is, if any of your units strays outside of the cloud, a count-down from 1 minute begins and if complete before your ship(s) get back in the cloud, all garrisons will move towards your MS simultaneously. Thus making your life miserable. Also, you will be warned of an enemy probe. Failing to destroy it within a short while will also trigger the AI to abandon posts and attack you. There is one thing to keep in mind as well. Eliminating any two of the three garrisons will trigger the third one (along with the forces surrounding the dig-site itself) to attack you (i.e. the cloud stops making a difference. Odd! since theoritically the cloud should continue to hide you even if the enemy is alerted... but then we're forgetting that we're dealing with a cheating AI... GRRRR) I personally recommend dealing with the garrions at the NE and NW first. I say that because in reality we are dealing with 4 garrisons, the 3 indicated ones and the one defending the dig-site itself. Once the Veygr is alerted, the garrison directly ahead of you will attack from the same direction as the defenders will. This is good, because (say) if you were to kill the 2 right-most garrisons first, the third one will attack from the NW while the defenders attack from the N, being attacked from 2 different vectors (ask any military general) is a BAD THING. If you have managed to capture the D from mission 4 it will really help in this one. Once done with the defending groups, you will have a very quiet, safe break where you can rebuild your forces. Once done, send a MF to the site and grab "The Oracle" (whatever that is). Mission 6, The Karos Graveyard(****): ------------------------------------- Here's the lowdown on this mission. I'll keep it simple and point-format: -Torps are your main weapon against movers -the MS will perform a short hyperspace jump twice, once landing right in the middle of the map and the second time will land it right in front of the derelict that is all the way at the end of the map ahead of the MS -"anti-mover defence tech" basically lowers movers' armour from 5000 to 1000, Nothing more. -movers are specially interested in vette-class ships and will eat them up very greedily so keep them docked at all times if you can afford to do so! Mission 7, Derelicts (**): -------------------------- This mission is relatively simple (if you do it right). You also should end up with a HUGE amount of RUs after completing it, and with time to regroup and rebuild to boot! There should be three enemy "bases" if you will. More on that in the tactics section. NEW UNIT: MOVERS (again!!, but this time they're yours): Movers are basically bombers (in the sense that they fire the same projectile and they are not turret-based) but with the speed and maneuverability of a vette. Their somewhat limited speed comes as an advantage, however. As it allows your group of movers to annihilate a frigate in only one pass (they aren't fast enough to pass by the frig before actually killing it). They also have the special ability of being able to go through radiation clouds undamaged (more on that later). The bottomline is, once they become available you should immediately start having a full group of them (10) as they are extremely useful and fairly durable and cheap. Mission Tactics: As I mentioned earlier, this mission (with the following tactical info) will prove to be a walk in the park (oddly enough, it can be a very difficult mission otherwise). The enemy carriers will show up in three locations. NOTE: you will encounter one of those fleet intel messages that warn of a probe. That probe will fly straight from the eastern side of the map westbound and will eventually pass directly north of your MS. Just have a scout group sitting somewhere along that path and you will be able to handle the probe. The first carrier (and the most difficult to deal with due to it sitting in a radiation cloud you cannot completely remove) shows up near the huge derelict directly west of your starting point on the sensor map. I recommend simply to ignore it till the end of the mission. Just make sure that you have some units (I personally used my entire capship and frigate group) to watch for forces coming out of that carrier and deal with them. The second and third carriers appear conveniently close to each other. Basically, the second carrier appears withint the cloud surrounding the tiny derelict that is sitting by itself a short distance Northeast of your starting point. While the third carrier is a short distance south of the second one. The idea is, once you have your movers ready, go ahead and destroy that derelict. That way, once that carrier arrives you'll already be expecting (and seeing) it. proceed to immediately handle it with all your bombers and vettes (to take care of its fighter escorts). In the mean time, have your movers start working on the derelicts farther south one by one. Note that you may encounter groups of 3 movers guarding some of the derelicts. You should deal with them BEFORE destroying any such derelicts (otherwise they may cost you a couple of your movers). Eventually, you will expose the last carrier and by then your bomber and vette groups should have been done with the 2nd one so just move on and assist your movers in taking care of it. The rest is easy, keep clearing off the radiation clouds (by destroying the derelicts) until the way is clear enough for your Ds to take care of the first carrier (about time) and then continue to clear the derelicts. *Note about the derelicts: There are many more derelicts than the ones required to end the mission. It is in your best interest to destroy as many of them as possible since they leave behind RU patches when destroyed (thus maximizing your RU collection at the end of the mission). Try to leave one of the mission objective derelicts standing till the end (to allow you to rebuild). Once done, kill it and mission successful! Mission 8, Dreadnaught Berth (**): ---------------------------------- This mission can be relatively hard if you didn't bring your whole fleet closer to the hulk. Basically, bring your MS and everyone else towards it, this makes the trip very short for your movers to bring the DN to dock with the MS. special briefing, THE KEEPER (aka that piece of shit mofo ship that looks like it has eyes and a mouth): -The Keeper(tm) is pretty much invulnerable. He has a (kinda like) Ion beam turret plus golden coloured pulsars that cause some serious damage to anything it touches. He also releases (periodically) a band of little drones that are very tough to kill and cause bomber-type damage. The only way to deal with it is to keep the drones busy (or kill them) while continuously repairing your capships from his damage. Once the DN docks, just send your movers to the little debris patch North-East of the 3 power generators. Just hang in there and finally the game will allow you to salvage the 3 pieces. Try to have more than one mover targeting each piece (that way, if one dies another will countinue the journy right away). Have fighters cover the mover group and soon the mission with be over. Mission 9, Counter Attack (*****): ---------------------------------- IMO, this is the most difficult mission in this game. Everything here has been setup in such a way as to give you a control-nightmare (in a RTS, this happens when you have to handle too many tasks at the same time while each of them requires a great level of attention by itself). The mission starts with a minor clash with a couple of Ds and their escorts. You then have to wait until the Shipyard Nabaal joins you (and yes, it will henceforth become part of your fleet) and then have it complete repairs of your newly acquired DN. Once done you are required to eliminate the enemy forces. Basically, you are surrounded by carriers and jump-gates that keep spewing fighters and frigs at you. They have been specifically placed in opposite parts of the map to make it as hard as possible to deal with each of them (since you would be moving away from each of them when trying to nail another). Also, a number of Ds (and eventually a BC) will be happy to join the fray as well. the key here is to play the mission one time and find out exactly where the Shipyard appears and then restart then tell your fleet to move towards that location immediately when the mission starts. That way, once they start attacking you will be sitting there waiting (instead of having to divide your forces). The way i did it (aside from what I said above) is that I had my main force protecting my "concentration" while a special task force (a couple of Ds) goes around and tries to eliminate each of the enemy threats. I used the bombers to take care of the jump gates once they became visible as well. NOTE: leave one jump-gate alive to postpone the end of the mission (when no one else is standing) so as to have a breather and rebuild before moving on. Mission 10, Keepers of Sajuuk (****): ----------------------------- This is a true survival mission. Meaning, you are faced with a power that is infinitely superior to you, you have no means of stopping it and the only thing you can do is stay alive while the clock ticks! Anyways, all I can recommend is, make sure your slow-ass shipyard moves ahead with your fleet. all of you sit by Bentus and wait. Make sure your harvesters are hard at work repairing your big guys. Basically the only measure of how good you finish this level is by calculating how many RUs did you spend replacing stuff. Mission 11, Sacrifice (***): ---------------------------- Ok, the three core fragments are shown on sensors view. Don't worry too much about retrieving them before disposing of the enemy forces first. There will be three enemy "bases" if you will that are close to each of the 3 fragments. special briefing, THE DREADNAUGHT: -Let's begin by saying that it can eat BCs for breakfast. It has a range fairly longer than that of a BC, fires off little blue pulses that are very painful, and has a cannon that runs across it's entire hull that fires at a slow rate but causes damage equivalent to one third of a BC's life everytime (not combined with the damage from the blue stuff). -You must realize that it will refrain from using the cannon at anything smaller than a D. It also has to be forced to move in range to its target AND have it pointing towards it before the Phase Array Cannon will work. Mission Tactics: -Ignore sending a probe. Instead move your entire fleet towards the fragment closest to the right edge of the map (assuming you are looking at the 3 fragments with the MS being at the bottom of the screen). -Once you're close enough, you will trigger the scripted event and soon enemy forces will emerge from hyperspace. Try to go through them from right to left and eventually you will have cleaned the map off of them. NOTE: be careful in navigating your fleet as they will stupidly pass through the radiation patches (the ones surrounding the fragments) if they lie in their way. -Once done, replenish your forces and prepare to capture the fragments. NOTE: About Salvaging the Fragments: The way I did it (possibly the easiest way) requires careful micromanagement including extensive use of the pause key. It will guarantee success without losing any units in the process. Bring a harvester and a DFF within close range to each of the cores. Have the DFF move as close as possible to the fragment without being within radiation range. Once done, set the harvester in such a way that forces it to pass right by the DFF while on course to grab the fragment and then send it to do so. The moment the harvester is just about to cross the DFF, turn on the DF and order the the DFF to move closer to the fragment. Stop once you realize (using the sensor view) that the fragment is well into the DF (i.e. deep enough within it to guarantee that the harvester will not move out of the DF while maneuvering to grab it). Once the harvester touches the fragment, Order the DFF to move away. However, order it to stop once it has turned away (don't allow it to start moving away and put the harvester in danger). By now the harvester should be starting to move towards the MS, order the DFF in the same direction and in the worst case the DF will run out in time for your DFF to barely be scratched by the radiation. Repeat the process for the other fragments, and you're home free! Mission 12, Thaddis Sabbah(****): --------------------------------- This is one of the toughest missions in this game. In addition to an already large number of BCs present, there are 3 shipyards hard at work making more. Also, there is a significant number of carriers (plus the station itself) pumping out all kinds of annoying little fighters. Mission Tactics: -This is a mission that (IMHO) emphasizes the advantages of moving your entire fleet ahead (including your MS). Set your MS, carriers, and shipyard on course to the resource patch straight ahead the moment the game starts. Make sure your capships are all in formation and moving together with your frigs in close persuit. -Ensure that your MS queue is full of Ds and your shipyard queue has a couple of BCs (although I would consider it a huge shame if you were to lose a BC in this mission). All your carrier queues should be bogged with frigs and bombers/vettes -You may send your bomber and vette/mover group ahead to create an earlier encounter. This will (in the least) give you an idea about the locations of your next enemy. Preferably, have your single scout group pass high and far ahead of your frontline to have an early warning of incoming ships at all times. -By the time your main force reaches the resource patch, you will probably be just about to encounter the main Vaygr BC force. Remember, concentrate all your fire on one at a time. Make sure your harvesters are on repair. Good luck. -Once you make it through those guys, you will shortly watch the Makaan Sequence. He prompts his forces to go for your MS. However, by now your MS should be so close behind you that defending it will only be a brief interruption. -When done, it is now time to ruin the Veygr's life (by killing all their silly Shipyards). There are 3 of them as far as I know (excluding Makaan). One should be in close proximity to the station. One slightly farther and to the right of it. And finally, there is one that is a good distance beyond the station and to the left. The Veygr will continue to build Ds and BCs to stop you. Make sure you eliminate all shipyards. -Take care of Makaan! -This is it. You now have a chance to rebuild and regroup. Make sure you have repaired and rebuilt all your capships and frigs before sending the MF to save Captain Soban. You may want to keep your vette group close to the station as it is able to (and will) build fighter squads. Once done, grab Soban and that's it!!! Mission 13, Balcora Gate (****): -------------------------------- What makes this mission difficult is that it begins with the power generators already under attack (i.e. the attacking forces are already in position and firing as you emerge from hyperspace). Between you and them lies what may be the highest concentration of enemy vessels ever witnessed (including a set of around 5 BCs!!!). There is also a Shipyard and possibly a couple of carriers (and again, the usual assortment of Ds and frigs). Basically, the 3 groups attacking the power generators will continue to do so until each of the three is down. Please note that they will NOT attempt to help each other (i.e. if one group is done, it will not move to assist one of others). The rest of the enemy ships are intent on taking care of YOU. Only one generator is required to win this mission. Mission Tactics: The method that worked best for me was to select one power generator (the top one in my case) and place all my hopes on it. Send all your fighter/vette class ships there and have them systematically terminate the ships that will continue to fire at the generators (yes, some of them will turn to try and kill your fighters and vettes). Continue to send in your newly made replacements (you will be continously losing some since some of the attackers are assault frigates). On the other hand, move your main force towards the shipyard. Make sure once you encounter that huge group of BCs to concentrate your fire on one at a time. Veygr BCs tend to love smoking your frigates first (a very good thing, since you should have about 20 of them, which will take a long time to take care of while you continue to pound those BCs). Once one generator survives and you finish off the shipyard it will be over. NOTE: This mission tends to end abruptly (i.e. when you're not expecting it) so try to ensure that your BCs survive at all times. Mission 14, Balcora (***): -------------------------- This mission is fairly simple in the sense that you will get a chance to regroup before it is over. You begin by taking care of a welcoming party consisting of a bunch of Ds and frigs right ahead. Once done with that there is also a small task force coming in from the west-top of your MS starting position. If you were to follow that direction with a scout you will discover a shipyard, 2 carriers and various defences. Take them down and you may now rest and rebuild. Make sure you are back in full power before going after Makaan. He has a couple of BCs and a DN to boot (plus your usual assortment of Ds and frigs). Chances are you will have no issues disposing of them. Mission Complete. Mission 15, Return to Higaara (**): ----------------------------------- Special Briefing, SAJUUK: Abilities to note: -It is capable of performing Hyperspace jumps (yes, you can teleport to wherever you wish instantly... well... almost at least) -The main Phase Array Cannon has such a long range that you may fire it at targets that are (by AI standards) out of range of detection. -Sajuuk has a pair of what you can think of as pulsar cannons but they pack such a serious punch that they may toast a BC within less than a minute (yes, without using the main cannon at all) Recommended use (major capship rapist): Have Sajuuk set as its own strike group. Use the jump feature to land just outside of the firefight you would like to join. Then use the main cannon to toast the enemy capships while far from harm. Mission Tactics: Begin by moving your entire force towards the front lines. I personally use the attack-move command so as to allow my forces to engage whomever they find while I concentrated on using Sajuuk to smoke the capships from behind (heheh) Shortly after, you will watch the sequence where the Planet Killers arrive. Special Briefing, THE PLANET KILLERS: They are huge, Octopus-looking things that fire missiles that supposedly destroy a planet's atmosphere, and consequently resulting in mass-extermination of the inhabitants. I have not yet attempted attacking them with conventional weaponry so I cannot confirm or deny fleet intel's claim that they are invulnerable to such weapons. The missiles - however - are very easy to kill. Note that they are faster than corvette class ships so do not attempt to "chase" them with such units. I have finished this mission twice, once with no missile impacts and once with a single one making it. I have not seen any indication of the game punishing you for the slip-up. For fun, I have allowed the missiles to go through and if I remember correctly it took about 6 of them to exterminate the Higaarans (and thus losing the mission) Mission Tactics (ctd.): Once the Planet Killers arrive, I continued to pound the enemy capships with Sajuuk. In the mean time, move your bomber team to an intercept position of one of the side Planet Killers and your vette team to the other. Continue to dispose of the missiles as they come in range. be careful not to have your units get busy fighting off enemy units and forgetting the missiles. The missiles coming in from the middle will be taken out by your main force if you have been following my lead. Sajuuk has such a huge reach that if you were to jump right in the middle of 2 planet killers, you will be able to finish off one and immidiately start on the other without any significant moving (except for the time it takes to turn around) When done, jump in position to shoot the 3rd one then mission accomplished!! ************* * GAME OVER * ************* Final Thoughts: --------------- Did I like HW2? Hmmm... I would probably say that HW1 (with HW2's engine) would have been more fun. I am not sure why, but I feel as if in the effort of maximizing the strategic part of HW2, they have lost some of the fun of HW1. Was it much different from HW1? Not really... It is prettier for sure (I reinstalled HW1 just for fun... loaded the game and was horrified lol). But the game itself is essentially the same (albeit somewhat bigger scale). Lots of annoyances from the original game have been eliminated which is good. Overall, it is a fun, intense experience that I recommend to any hardcore RTS gamer. As a departing note, and as I mentioned earlier, this game can be discouragingly difficult for some people. But trust me, the feeling you'll get when you end it is worth it (and the ending scenes too). Good luck and enjoy!