A Homeworld Play guide vr. 1.9 (3/16/00) Played in the 'C' key, fifth measure. Written, directed, edited, starring in, and catered by; Conskill (firstname.lastname@example.org). ---------------------------------- Table of Contents: Introduction Updates What's New Corvettes, and Strike Crafts, and Frigates, oh my! General Rants Level specific rants. Contributor information Disclaimer ---------------------------------- Introduction: Welcome to a completely genuine, artificial FAQ. Browsing through GameFAQs the other day, I noticed a rather stunning lack of anything Homeworld oriented. Given it is a rather complex, hot new game, I figured someone with far more free time then I would have written something up by now. Apparently of all people, I have the less of a social life. That being the case, this completely unprofessional and highly opinionated FAQ should suffice. I'll probably be taking it down once someone that actually knows how to write one of these things gets off their behinds and does it, so enjoy it while it lasts. Like most FAQs, I will fail to answer any questions, no matter how frequently they've been asked. Instead I'll give strategies for each level, my personal tactics, and a other myriad of stuff you probably don't really care about. Also note that I am writing this as I go along. Do not expect completely enlightened tactical advise from a Kushan sage on the mountain. ---------------------------------- Updates: 1.0 - FAQ created 1.1 - And on the .1 day, he rested. 1.2 - Numerous spelling errors corrected. 1.3 - Numerous grammar errors put in. 1.4 - Added Tenhauser Gate and Galactic Core levels, fixed a few spelling and level name errors (Hiigara, not Higarra, Hiigara...) 1.5 - First batch of reader contributions added, as well as a What's New section for stuff I can't put to bullet point. 1.6 - More reader contributions added. Minor change to Salvage Corvette listing. Major change to What's New (yes, this is a hint). 1.7 - Updated Ships, Kharak System and Outskirts of Kharak System level. 1.8 - Updated Ships, General Tactics, and Great Wastelands (part 2) level. New large helping of reader contributions put in. 1.9 - Added remaining levels. ---------------------------------- What's New: This has been a fun quarter-of-a-year since I last wrote this. Finals, a few riots around here, general family dysfunction. The usual. Now that my finals are over, I have time to finish this up. I will still accept contributions, however I just now have been able to get into the mindspring mail box (don't ask) in about two months. It'll be at least a few days before I build up the mental fortitude to try and sort through it. If my head doesn't explode, implode, or any other nasty word that ends in 'lode', I'll start making additions to this as needed. ---------------------------------- Ships (or; Used Starship Salesmen's Bluebook) The Taiidan aren't *that* bad. Despite what I've said earlier, I realized why the Taiidan Mothership was horrific to the eye; whoever paints the Taiidan fleet should have a serious discussion with the business end of a Ion Frigate. Given custom colors, the Taiidan fleet types look pretty neat, all told. However, since I'm playing the Kushan fleet at this time, I'll only list those. Submissions are accepted for Taiidan craft and 'third party' (Guardian, Raider, ect) that can be captured. FuSchnick reminds: "The size of the "effect" area for field frigates, grav-well generators, cloak generators, and proximity sensors can all be seen with the tactical overlay (CAPS-LOCK)." For the hex-nerd in all of us, Warith gives: "Want to change your ship colours directly? Get a good hex editor like Hex Workshop (shareware) and load up your save game file. Offset 212 (0xD4) contains the 3-byte RGB code for your ship colour (and exhaust trails) You can even enter in 00 00 00 and your ships will be dark grey, with NO exhaust trails! Pretty good for stealthy multiplayer games. Offset 224 contains the stripe colour, once again in standard 3-byte RGB format. Note: I've only tried this on Single Player saved games, but I would bet money the structure for every type of save game is practically identical." Scout: Scouts are fairly decent fighters, stricken with two majors blows. First, their special ability ("Afterburners") seem to have absolutely no effect. Second, Interceptors cost only 20 more RU, and are ready 7 minutes into the game. Scouts never have the time to shine before something better comes their way. Interceptor: Something better. It's slower then the Scout, but not by much. In raw speed's place is more firepower and the ability to survive being hit. Even to this point, the Interceptor remains a backbone in my fighting forces. Defender: I tried to like this craft. Really. I'd group 'um, have them guard various ships in various formations. This way, they looked kinda pretty when doing nothing. I tried using it as a heavy pointblank interceptor. This way, they looked kinda pretty when running out of fuel. These things have to stretch their engines just to outrace a Destroyer, and that's a bit too slow for practical application. Attack Bomber: Aside from it's depressing tendency to blow up, the attack bomber is a fairly decent craft. While in later levels the sheer flack running around makes using them for heavy assaults expensive, given sufficient cover they are able to take down Destroyer and smaller capital ships by themselves. The slow speed of building (compared to other fighters) makes replenishing them after the battle a pain, though. Light Corvette: The Scout of the corvette family. Heavy Corvette: The Interceptor of the corvette family. More useful then the Light version, but only until the attack bomber becomes available for purchase at your local Mothership-Mart. On a related note, these are nice targets for your attack bombers. FuSchnick gives a better (and bigger) opinion of the Heavy Corvette: "Good against cap-ships because they have a decent punch (more than the piddly fighters) while still being decently mobile (enough so to avoid most cap-ship weapons). Corvettes in general are better against cap-ships because, unlike fighters, they can actually "hover" in one spot or in circles around their target, whereas fighters make "passes" (I don't know why, being space ships and all, they shouldn't HAVE to move forward all the time). A big squad of corvettes set to "evasive" tactics will actually circle around a cap ship that they are attacking, like Indians around a circle of wagons. The cap-ships have a hella hard time hitting them back. Heavy corvettes are only so-so against fighters... they have a hard time hitting them, but they have a LOT more armor, so they survive a long time against fighters. Corvettes are also susceptible to the grav-well generator's effects." Repair Corvette: Am I the only one who never used these? By the time I had the pressing need to keep my strike craft in long battles, the Support Frigate had already made it's way into my heart. Aside from it being replaced too early, it would be useful if a strike craft had a dire need for a drink, though refueling entire squadrons from one would be impractical. Salvage Corvette: Far, far to many people to credit offered me suggestions on this one. Alright, I was wrong. In fact, almost stupidly wrong. Many people have come forward to remind me of one insanely useful thing for the SCs; they can capture most any enemy craft, no cost, adding it to your fleet. Ripped from the readme file itself, here are the number of corvettes needed to capture each thing that needs more then one: Any Frigate = 2 SCs Any Destroyer = 3 SCs Heavy Cruiser = 5 SCs Carrier = 5 SCs Multi-Gun Corvette: I have them available, but I have yet to play with these to a serious degree. Koensayr offers the following; "The cool thing about multiguns is their guns can actually hit enemy scouts and interceptors, whereas the slow-arse rate of turn on your assault frigates means they are only really useful against opposing corvettes and capitals." FuSchnick agreed and expands on the concept: "These are great against fighters, because they can track multiple targets at once, and have good coverage. The Multi-Guns do much better than heavy corvettes against fighters, but do slightly worse against cap-ships, because they have slightly less total firepower." Minelayer Corvette: Ditto. Mark Harrison's opinion on the Minelayer: "Minelayers are deadly. Five minelayers will generate a field (after 5 minutes) that'll anihilate at least 4 assault frigates." Assault Frigate: I actually like these better then Ion Cannons. Though that isn't saying much. Whenever I needed extra punch, I brought one of these along. The extra coverage (compared to it's bigger, energy based brother) means it has a chance against a wandering scout looking for some fun. Ion Cannon Frigate: Better, in terms of firepower, then the Assault Frigate. However it is extremely simple to destroy. There's no denying that they're fun, though. It's like a nice toy; fun to use, but impractical. Support Frigate: Until the day you're blessed with a carrier, this is as close to a mobile base that you'll get. Plop it down a small distance from where you want your strike craft to go party, and have them refuel. It is not a craft to take into battle, though, unless you're looking for a sacrificial lamb to throw onto the fire. Drone Frigate: In the mid/later levels, if I want to use a Frigate, I use a Drone Frigate. It's all around better then the other offense minded ones, except for cost. Does anyone know what those drones do, by the way? The manual claims that it gives 'superb protection against fighters', though my drone frigates tend to burn just as easily as my Scouts. Mark Harrison informs: "The drone frigate basically has a buncha-defender guns in sphere formation. they mince small fighters." Destroyer: The first cap ship I started taking seriously. Once you have two or three of these, you can almost keep your fighter bombers at home. Twin lasers, and more then enough conventual firepower besides. As long as you keep their skies clear, they'll take care of other cap ships themselves. Missile Destroyer: Impressive, if a tad unwieldy. A full salvo attack will utterly destroy most frigates, and even bug another destroyer. Keep these to the sides instead of the rear, though, you can (and will) hit your own ships with those missiles. This is also great to use against swarms of strike craft. FuSchnick adds: "These are ABSOLUTE death to strike craft. Fighters and corvettes absolutely cannot maintain any kind of assault if there is a missile destroyer nearby. They are fast enough to flee from it, and that is about their only option. The missile destroyer is not really powerful enough to assault other cap-ships on its own (it isn't bad, but other ships are a lot better). The missiles themselves do not do a great deal of damage, but the tracking ability makes them much more likely to hit fighters than other cap ship weapons, and the damage is high enough to down interceptors with just two or three hits. The missile destroyer will track multiple targets, and fires 4 missiles at a time roughly every 0.5 seconds or so, until it depletes its reserves, then it spits them out at about half that rate. Grav-well generators do not affect the missiles." Carrier: Mini-Mothership. These take a insane amount of time to build, but is worth every second if you plan on taking actions away from your Mothership. Serving as a Resource Controller, a huge Support Frigate, a manufacturing plant, and a nice slab of armor. A Carrier under a few destroyer's escorts can head to a pocket of resources, mine it dry, cannibalize it's collector, build it's own assault fleet, and obliterate a target handily. Mothership: It's about as graceful as a orca (or, for Taiidan version, a autistic speech giver), and just as fat. Extremely impressive armor, but it's firepower comprises of a few pea shooters Fleet Command fires when she is bored. Don't count on her defending herself, but she is able to absorb quite a few ion blasts before exploding. Mark Harrison found he was unable to capture hyperspace inhibitors (which show up as Motherships). I'm willing to bet this is a trait common with all Motherships (sadly, the joy of having mobile, expendable Motherships must be reserved for multiplayer only). Resource Collector: I can't say much sarcastically about such a vital thing. It would be like trying to insult my foot. They're defenseless, but relatively strong. They scoop up galactic litter, and as a bonus can serve as a re fueler. Resource Controller: A absolute must for the impatient among us. An even better re fueler, and a place for resource collectors to drop off their ill-gotten gains. For the fastest possible mineral recovery, try having a controller for every collector, and having each controller guard a collector. Probe: The penultimate sacrificial lamb. Aside from going really, really fast, it does absolutely nothing special. However, it is cheap, and the speed allows it to quickly trigger those events that result in death of the thing investigating. Grav Well Generator: Fun toy. With it you could almost totally forget ever making strike craft again. When it's special is activated, all enemy strike craft in range lose control, momentum (except for their inertia), and firing control. Add a destroyer or Missile Destroyer for spice, and you'll be taking out squadrons easily. Note that when the generator goes down, it stays down permanently (retire it), and it effects your craft just as well. Proximity Sensor: If you want to probe something, use this instead. Being actually reusable helps. Slower then the probe (but tying Scouts as second fastest craft), but it can also detect cloaked ships. Research Ship: Not as totally vital as it seems. Most research projects get learned through the course of a level even if you have just one of these. Still, it allows you to speed up the process, and adding more makes it a viable slab of armor. Heavy Cruiser: Simply huge. They take a insane amount of time to build, a huge amount of RUs to build, and you come out with the largest fighting machine available to you. There's no doubting the sheer firepower on the thing, however the cost is sometimes a bit too much. If you want them, you might be better of trying to capture yourself one (or two, or four...). Jon Lauridsen gives a warning about trying to capture Heavy Cruisers: "Enemy Heavy Cruisers apparently has a built-in fear for Salvage units, because as soon as they spot them they drop anything they're doing and begin fireing it's rather deadly and precise beam-wepons. It can in a matter of seconds turn your mighty salvage-fleet into something quite pulpy and redish. And this piece of advice should also go with the notion that a Heavy Cruiser doesn't really turn THAT slowly. Even if attacked from the side it might still be able to turn towards the Salvages." Multi-Beam Frigate: It's not Kushan, but you might start adopting them into the family once you see them. They combine the power of four ion-beams into one (relatively) small ship. The set back is that they are relatively inaccurate, 'raking' the lasers instead of the pinpoint action of the Ion Frigates. Webrunner found a good use for the inherent weakness of the frigate: "Multibeam Frigates even work against *fighters*... they essentially end up 'combing' the area and raking up some dead things." Field Frigates: It's a Taiidan ship, so I haven't touched it. However, yet again proving that he should be writing a play guide about this game instead of me, FuSchnick gives the following. "A field frigate has a protective sphere around it, in which about 80% of small arms fire gets stopped. Small-arms mainly includes fighter and corvette projectiles. It does not stop missiles, ion beams, or mines. The field frigate itself has no weapons, it is only a support ship. The biggest problem with it is that it is really hard to get it into a formation where it actually keeps a few other ships within its sphere. If the field frigate is in any kind of formation with other cap-ships, it will barely keep two other ships at most within the protective area (you can see the size of the area with the tactical overlay, hit CAPS-LOCK, it ain't big!). A field frigate may increase the lifespan of one or two destroyers vs enemy strike craft, but won't help much in a cap vs cap battle." ---------------------------------- General Tactics (or; Mutually Assured Destruction for Dummies) Before going on, realize these tactics are extremely blunt. I'm not the person to ask for when you want a graceful, tactical domination. I follow the Zapp Branagin method of combat: When confronted with a hoard of rampaging killbots, send wave after wave of men until they reach their kill limit. That said, for the first half of the game my attack force was pretty much consisted of twenty interceptors and twenty bombers, with needed support. Though it seems relatively base, having your interceptors intercept and your attack bombers attack really does work. Heavy Corvettes are suitable replacements for bombers in the early levels. Since the Mothership tends to attract enemy capital ships like a hick to a broken down car, I keep most of my heavy hitters with her until such time as I need them. I've found that the times the Mothership has been swarmed with fighters, my interceptors were close enough in hand to act as a mob up squad. Once you get the destroyer, you can start actually orchestrating cap ship battles that don't end in costly replacements. Even better is your Gravity Well generator. So long as you keep a carrier close by to buy you replacements, you'll never have to worry about a squadron of annoying flies bugging your beautiful things anymore. Most of the time in Homeworld, a offensive shield is your best defense. If your opponent is busy trying to stave away your thrust, they won't have time to do one of their own. However, certain scripted events cause this to go flat (level 4 comes to mind in sharp, bitter detail). Remember that you can repair cap ships with a support frigate. Even in combat. Also remember that most ships will gun after the biggest ship present in the melee. This makes bringing along your carrier, with three green-beam spouting support frigates in tow, a interesting bait. The most important tactic I can give you, though, is to keep your liquid resources high. Each situation is different, and will require different ships and means. This isn't to even mention the embarrassment of not being able to pay for a Bentusi tech advance. Some levels you'll desperately need that fourth destroyer, other times having anything larger then a corvette in the air is anathema. Be prepared to change tactics, and keep your 'core fleet' (the group you always have with you) light and diverse. There are also two exploitable bugs in the game that you can use if you feel particularly sneaky. Both of these happened in my version (1.0), and are not guaranteed to work, as I can not be sure what celestral alingment causes them to always work; A- The AI tailors your opponent to your level. "Return to Kharak" is the best way to test this. Jump in with a small fleet, and you'll only face two frigates. Jump in with a armada, and you'll face four. Note that I believe this only goes by your fleet size, not your RUs. B- Mines seem to be lost in save games. If your stuck trying to go through an inpenterable mine field, save and reload. The minelayer corvette (if it's still there) should be sitting in a void. Warith has a large group of opinions about the use of strike craft. In order to preserve sanity, I present the entire below, no trimming down: The best formation for strike craft in general melee dogfighting is the X- formation, this allows both for concentrated firepower and maneuverability. I also usually go for evasive tactics in a dogfight, as your fighters will split into two-man teams, which allows them to deftly weave and dodge through capital ship fire like nobody's business. The best strike craft assault formation (for taking out a single target) is the Claw, with Aggressive tactics. This makes a deadly cone-shaped kill zone in front of your group, which focuses on your target. Don't use more than about 30 fighters in this form though or it becomes too enlongated to be effective. My favourite strike force is a carrier with a sphere of proximity sensors, with the carrier set to guard my wall formation of capital ships. I like to keep a half dozen repair corvettes docked inside my carrier. Any of your capital ships get in the yellow, pull them back to your carrier, release the RCs and let em loose. As soon as I get missile destroyers, I completely dispense with fighters except for special high-speed hit and fade attacks. ---------------------------------- Level specific tactics (or; From Here to Hiigara) My rants, thoughts, and advise pertaining to each level. Spoiler alert, kiddies. For my own ease of writing, I will fail to do any alerts and such if it helps get a point across. Don't read beyond what you think you need. Kharak System: Nice enough introduction sequence, though the starting fleet is ghastly small. Do everything Fleet Intel tells you, and you'll do peachy. One word of advise, however; don't use 'Aggressive' when testing tactics. For some reason the scout pilots have a tendency to slam into the drones when they're blood lusting. (Note- Replaying through this level a few times, using 'Aggressive' on all of them, I didn't suffer any Scout losses these times. Anyone want to take a swing at why it happened?) Outskirts of Kharak System: This is a fun level. If you do it correctly, you can more then triple your current fleet and suffer the loss of only 2 craft, given probability is on your side. Get your harvester harvesting, and scrap your scouts. Do not send a probe to the Khar-Selim. Eventually, your harvesters will trigger the event, and by that time you'll have built up a fleet to your desires. Given my pro-fighter outlook on life, I quickly constructed my wing of twenty interceptors. Grab a second harvester, and a few more salvage corvettes while you're at it, and wait. Fleet Intel is not kidding when he says that the raiders are inferior to your craft. Given that, their small numbers, and the fact that most of the mission they're focusing on craft other then your strike craft, you should be able to mop the floor with very few casualties. Despite what Fleet Intel says, the cap ship here is a Mothership, not a Carrier, thus can not be captured (though it says 'insufficient craft' when attempted, makes one wonder...). Nor should you try to blow it up, it's simply way to big at this point. Be content with destroying the ones arrogantly try to blast your salvage corvettes. Warith advises a more economical way to start the level: "Build a bunch of interceptors to complement your scouts. I never retire anything unless desperate for cash because the money you get from retiring your scouts won't give you enough money to build enough interceptors to replace the collective firepower of the scouts." Return to Kharak: Double-fun. Actually, I think the entire moment would have been better if Fleet Intel yelled out the obvious in his rather aggressive voice instead of Fleet Command's annoyingly apathic voice. Any who, you have a few hundred thousand Kushan frozen-treats to save. Immediately scramble your fighters to engage the Taiidan. Chances are you won't save all 600,000, though I'm fairly sure a good player should be able to score 500,000 living and freezer-burned Kushans (just noticed...kushan...cushion?). Get cranking on another salvage corvette and a few light corvettes if you've been procrastinating. Chances are your fighters themselves will not be able to down the attackers. Just like last level, when your salvagers make the grab, keep up enough pressure to let them get home. This time it might be harder, since his friends are so close in hand. Sclover shows that you can save all the frost bitten Kushans: "I managed to save every one of the cryo trays (6) by sending my force immediately out to the trays as soon as they started launching (while the briefing was running), and immediately attacking the middle of the three frigates (that was the one that would always pull off to engage us). I had also moved my two SCs out near the trays, but just far enough that they wouldn't get fired upon. My force of scouts and corvettes destroyed the first frigate pretty quickly, and while they were fighting the next one, my two SCs came in and grabbed the last frigate. The SCs had him about halfway back to the mothership before my force destroyed the last one. The tray that they had been firing on was smoking after all was said and done, but I still got it." Great Wastelands: Kushans, meet the Bentusi, the most highly advanced cowards in the galaxy. Take Intelligence's advise; create a controller, and ship it off to the center of the minable resources. Have fun. Bring some back up, just in case... Whoops. Once the attack comes (from on top of you, not to the 'north', for those still getting used to the sensors), keep your interceptors intercepting. But start cranking out one or two heavy hitters. You know, just in case... Whoops. The Mothership won't go down easily, but unless you have something to take down those ion cannons, it will go down eventually. Once you've taken a chunk out of the ion frigates, go for their carrier. Am I the only one that saw that, despite this mission being there to 'gather a fleet', I ended up losing more craft then I made? Many people (Koensayr, Zack Parfile, ZooL) recommended the following alternate way to finish up the level: Use your salvage corvettes to capture as many of the attacking frigates, then use those to destroy the carrier. Not only killing two birds in one stone, but also collecting more hardware for the fleet. Warith found a interesting loophole in this mission's script: "The raider attack won't come until you trade with the Bentusi. Use this to your advantage by delaying the trade until they're about to leave. This will allow you more time to mine and build up your fleet." Great Wastelands (prt2?): This level, when done correctly, is pretty much nothing more then a series of ever-increasing brawls. When done incorrectly, you end up bull-baiting an entire Taiidan fleet into attacking the Mothership in unison. Tread carefully in the resource branches. Do as Fleet Intel says and launch the probe. Send harvesters out if you wish, but make sure you have some strike craft going along as escorts if you do. If you can stand the boredom level, it's safer to simply wait until mission end to harvest here. If you nuke the Taiidan harvesters as soon as you can, you'll have virtually the entire level's resources to yourself. This be the great west, greenhorn, we're talking nearly 10k RUs that is all yours. Chances are even if your entire fleet is destroyed, you could replace it with much change to spare. Chances are nuking the harvesters has resulted in one or two wings of Taiidan frigates to notice you. Unless you want to face off against the entire Taiidan fleet right now, your best bet is to flee back to the Mothership. The frigates will (slowly) follow you. Destroy them at your convince once you're sure the battle won't spill over to the Cruisers. Once almost every Taiidan has became a attractive debris ring, the Cruiser with Destroyer escort will attack you directly. You should pretty much know what to do from here. Sablotnik recommends going the next step further and stealing the entire basket: "If you have taken away the enemy´s collectors, start stripping him from fighters. If you work carefully, it can be done step by step, attack by attack. He will end up with no fighters and no resources to build new ones. Then start taking away the frigates. You have heard all this before, yes. But why use these frigates to destroy the carrier? Try to keep the carrier busy with evasive fighters and meanwhile salvage him. It takes five salvage corvettes to move the carrier,so better have six ones at hand if one get´s lost." Warith recommends: "Immediately send a fighter wing out at about 2 o'clock from your mothership so you're within striking distance of that mineral vein, so as soon as you're told they have a resource collector, you can smoke it, which means more resources for you at the end of the level. What I generally did on this level was patrolled with my fighter wing, engaging small targets, and drawing larger targets back to the mothership to get smoked by the small fleet of Ion Frigates I am building up. Eventually though, they stop coming to you, so when this happens gather your whole fleet and whallop any targets left." (Note that as I wrote above, I've always had every target come at me once a certain number of Taiidan had been nuked. As Warith's tale shows, your milage may vary) Diamond Shoals: My tip for this level. Can every cap ship you have on you before hyper spacing to this level. You'll thank me for it. Beyond that, I don't really have much advise. Thanks to the 3D space, it's hard to tell just what asteroid is going to pass through where. Interceptors are a gold mine here, defenders will get crushed just as easily as your cap ships would. Don't let any ship 'assume holding pattern' here, unless you want to build more of them. Zack Parfile suggests a similar, but completely opposite tactic: "Keep your caps, anything behind the MS is safe, or if you've been collecting Ion Arrays just drop them below and in front of the MS to take out asteroids. Concentrate their fire and they knock the asteroids out quickly. Fly your frigs straight up or straight down and they'll be safe above the asteroid corridor. I kept all my fighters docked until I was clear, didn't lose anything." Sclover expands and collaborates on that tactic: "If I remember right, I had something like 1 destroyer (5 finger discount from Great Wastelands), 4 assault frigates, 9 ion frigates, and 1 support frigate all grouped in wall formation, and then some fighters and heavy and light corvettes. I grouped all those guys together and had them all basically hit one asteroid at a time, which they would rapidly blow to space dust for my resource collectors to gobble up. The only thing I lost on that mission was the support frigate that I stole from Great Wastelands, which I should have just parked behind the mothership. I honestly don't think even one rock hit the mothership the whole time. Other people I know just squeeked by with their mothership smoking... I think that destroyer really helped, but the ion frigates were really putting out some juice." Sablotnik goes into detail about harvesting in this level: "If you have firepower to spare, try to destroy every asteroid you can (if you salvaged them before, destroyers are mighty welcome in this mission, due to their greater firepower and higher speed, compared to the frigates) and let the resource collector get it. Second: if you do so, remember: the asteroid field is moving away from you and soon after you are clear of the asteroids, you will get out of range, which means your destroyers won´t go for too distant targets and your collector refuses to collect them. So, to get more resources in this mission, a second collector may be helpfull, if you manage to destroy more asteroids than only those which are in your way - during the passage through the field as well as afterwards (start at least as soon as you have received clearance and try as long as your collector goes for the goodies)." The Gardens of Kadesh: I find this level fun. Get your interceptors and bombers ready, forget about building any of your new toys (destroyers) yet. Start collecting resources, look completely innocent, and wait. Now, while you're pondering why the Super Zealot Flower Hippies didn't blow the Ambassador straight to the Great Nebula's Hell-equivalent, get cranking. Capital ships are almost useless here, due to the large fighter concentration. Stop harvesting for a bit, and bring the collectors back to base, and most of all keep your fighters moving. Due to the scripted events, I'm not sure if you can succeed early by causing the zealot's mothership to go bye-bye, or if you have to meet the Inhibitor. If it's a requirement, it's also the most dangerous point in the level. Expect a fair number of your strike craft to get nuked while you're getting them out again. Target their mothership for termination afterward. Once everything is clear, send out your collectors to finish your glorious defiling of the nebula, and rebuild your fleet. Next step is a harsh one. Warith reveals that you can't bypass the script here: "The first time I played this I made the mistake of nuking the hippy mothership before the 8 minute hyper-drive countdown was up. The mothership retreated, then a minute later a fresh one popped into existence and I had to kill it all over again." The Cathedral of Kadesh: The most defensive oriented level I've yet played. You jump into the heart of the nebula, and are about to get attacked three different ways before your fighters have even totally lined up. For this critical moment, keeping your head clear is the major thing. Keep your bombers bombing big targets, your interceptors intercepting. So long as you keep everything busy, you should win the war o' attrition. Striking back at the three Hippy Motherships can be hard, since it's rare to find a time when your Mothership isn't being attacked. However, generally the tides of battle will shift your squadrons towards one. When it's in sight, nuke it. You could try using destroyers to help destroy the Motherships, however it is not advised. The cannons on the Hippy Ships are designed to bust capital ships, and can barely scratch a fighter. So long as you have time, a force of twenty interceptors and twenty bombers can down a Mothership, by themselves, with only one bomber lost. Once you managed to down two of the Motherships, you get a breather. Send a force /w support frigate to clear out the large concentration of resources, then have your collectors go wild. This is one of the richest places you've seen. Before you can say "Luke, I am your father!", Fleet Intel's theory about the Kadesh is confirmed. Don't let that stop you from killing them to a man, however. You're the space hero guys, remember? Webrunner proposes a much easier, profitable, and sneakier way to deal with the Motherships: "Capture the Multibeam Frigates. That's all there is too it. Don't destroy them capture them. It takes two volleys from six of them to kill a Protector mothership.. by the end of the level I had *ten*." Zack Parfile adds also: "Destroy or salvage the fuel pods to leave the little swarms of fighters high and dry, they seem to need to refuel after every other attack run. The Fuel Pods are worth RU's to retire, useless to keep." Sea of Lost Souls: If someone didn't comment on my glaring lack of brains on salvage corvettes, they gave some advise on this level. Since most of them are much better then what I offered, I'll let them have the show. Zack Parfile recommends: "Don't bother giving a cap ship to the Ghost, just swarm it with fighters and bombers. MGC's on evasive can be brought in to circle it once the other ships are distracted trying to nail the fighters. Defenders can be useful here as well since they seem to have better range than the fighters. I had a small group just sitting there peppering the Ghost with fire and they were completely ignored by the enemy ships." Zareh Aratoon gave this story and strategy: "I had 1 Destroyer, 7 ION Cannon Frigates, 7 Attack Bombers and 10 Interceptors at the beginning of the scenario. The first thing I did was to send in a probe, as I was following the probe I noticed among the ships a Missile Destroyer. I grouped my Destroyer with the ION Cannon Frigates, and moved towards the ghost ship. My first target was the Missile Destroyer, because the Missile Destroyer would render my Attack bombers and Interceptors useless. I quickly destroyed the Missile Destroyer with my attack group, but suddenly I lost control of my Destroyer and 2 ION Cannon Frigates! I realized what was going on and quickly retreated with my remaining 5 ION Cannon Frigates back to the Mother Ship using evasive tactics. Since I had eliminated the Missile Destroyer, I could easily use my Strike Craft now. I quickly built up my Attack Bombers until I had 30. I began to move towards the Ghost Ship, I noticed that all of the possessed ships were right below the Ghost Ship, so I decided to attack it from above with my 30 Attack Bombers, by the time the slow moving capital ships got moving it was too late. The fight took 15 seconds, I lost 2 Attack Bombers." Willis Yonker offers yet another strategy for this level: "I had a bunch (you could do it with 1 if you have the patience) ion frigate. Keep it just out of range of the ghost ship (this will take trial and error) and target the derelicts. You can take them all out without loosing a ship. Then send in a group of fighters to take out the Ghost ship. I did it with a few scouts and a couple of hours at the movies. Zero loss but zero gains also." Super Nova Station: Is it just me, or is it nearly impossible to keep to the 'safe paths', especially near the station itself? Since the long-range sensor screen is overlaid on your normal screen, the obnoxiously bright supernova is still there, making it hard to see where the dust clouds stop and end. (Zack Parfile assured me it was just me, "It's just you. While I did have to keep moving the sensors view around and zooming in and out to keep track of the dust paths I was able to do it.") This level is almost entirely about patients and trying out new toys and tactics. As much as it pains me to admit, the sending wave after wave of men tactic is no longer viable. It's time to embrace new technology. Build yourself a carrier, a handful of proximity sensors, a few gravity wells, and a decent force of Destroyer/missile destroyers. The lovely thing about the carrier is that it can stand up to the radiation areas very easily. Have it blaze a trail to one of the two heavy resource concentrations, build and then cannibalize a collector after everything is gathered. If you do this to both areas, you should have more then enough resources to finish up. Notice all the red dots on the map? You want to get rid of some of them. Specifically, the one closest to you, and the two closest to the objective area (and, eventually, the three in the objective area too, but let's not be picky). The others are mine layers, which can be taken out at your convenience. The first dot is a squadron of fighters. Bad, bad Taiidan! You have two ways of dealing with them; clean and efficient, or sadistic and fun. Clean: Bring in a gravity well and one missile destroyer. Disable the entire squadron, have fun. Sadistic: Same as before, but forget the destroyer. Instead, use the gravity well generator to lure them out into the radiation, and keep them there while they blow up. The best way I found of getting around the map is to use way-points, made by your proximity sensors. You can scout out your safe areas, then run your fleet from one sensor to the next safely. The second dot that I hit was a group of five assault frigates. Grouped together like this, they can be nasty. Keep a few support frigates on hand to repair whatever gets dented. Where they sat is a excellent place to muster the fleet for your next attack. The third dot is the nastiest, aside from the station itself, a Heavy Cruiser (something you don't have) with two destroyer escorts. I was able to destroy them without losing a single destroyer, however. The key is to keep a wall formation, concentrate your fire, and love support frigates. When assaulting the research station, watch out for the carrier. You do need to nuke it, and relatively quick. Other then that, it's cleanup. Zack Parfile gives a much more simple and profitable solution: "I went towards the station with a carrier, 3 destroyers and the missile cruiser from Sea of Lost Souls. Smashed everything until I bumped into the HC and 2 destroyers, then I switched to evasive and kept most of my ships from firing while my cruiser spat out the dozen or so SC's it was carrying. In the end I blew up one of the destroyers and had captured the other along with the HC. The SC's had to run them all the way hell back to the MS which took a while, but they stayed in the dust path. I cranked out a couple of replacement SC's for the carrier, shot a probe towards the station then captured the escaping carrier when it came at me. Wiping out the station after that was cake. Missile cruiser to wipe out the defenders and the destroyers made short work of the station." Warith's method: "If you take the left route from your mothership, you can completely avoid the minefields. I have finished this level without ever seeing a single mine. If you are going to plow through the minefields, I suggest taking along a few drone frigates with drone clouds deployed.. if you travel in a wall formation, the drones project just enough ahead of your fleet to attract the mines, sparing your expensive capital ships." Mesh's method: "Instead of going the direct way you should go around and attack from behind the station. That way you can easily deal with the fleeing Carrier and then the station. Remember not to launch your SC's but have a Grav Well disable the enemy's SC's, you might need more than one Grav Well, and then use your Destroyers and Assult Frigats to take out his cap ships. You should have at least one Support Frigat for each Destroyer. Set the Support Frigat to guard a Destroyer and it will auto-heal it when it takes damage, nifty feature. Don't send in your Carrier, but have it stay a away from the battle, keep any extra Grav Well's at you Carrier and send them in as needed. Forget about using SC's here, their low armor ensures that they get toasted before doing any good, for some reason they won't always stay in the dust patch." Warith also provides a more economically sound solution then the one I put up: "Mining on this board is a totally different operation than other boards. The approach I used was have a carrier guard two resource collectors as they headed towards an asteroid cluster. Whenever the RCs hit yellow, I had them dock with the carrier to repair before continuing. This is longer and more tedious than building and retiring them on site, but saves money overall." Tenhauser Gate: More a show then a level, it's fairly easy to get through this without loss of a single ship, barring strike craft. On the flip side, this place is almost barren resource wise. After watching the Bentusi get used as a punching bag, scramble your forces. Like the last level, you have the benefit of initiative here. And since they're concentrating on the Bentusi, they probably won't even start trying to zap you until after you're well into the fray. My only serious recommendation here is a reminder to keep your missile destroyers above or below the Bentusi ship. As always, missiles strike any craft it hits, and since most ships are on the other side of the Bentusi vessel, combined with the fact the Bentusi make a fairly large, fat target... After you save them, you're treated to yet another long sequence, filling in a lot of plot. A tad sudden for my tastes, but it works. Your collectors should be done by now (only enough resources here for a little over 2 trips), so hyperspace out to greener pastures. Mark Harrison recommends grabbing another ship for the fleet here: "Open fire with the two cap-ship groups, targetting the destroyers/anything that comes near. Ignore the cruiser, it'll carry on firing on the Bentusi. Fly a carrier en-passant to the cruiser, and as it passes, scramble the salvage crvs - capture cruiser." Galactic Core: Or maybe not so greener pastures. Like the last level, it's a fairly small area and a constant battle from the get-go. If you don't have any, get a few proximity sensors on the construction line, and have your cap ships target the grav well generators for destruction. Now you have a situation much like the Cathedral level, only a bit more nastier. After a little bit, you'll get the event trigger for the defector. To be honest, I'm not sure if you actually need to save him or not. Almost my entire fleet was off doing various things at the time I got this, with only a few frigates to spare. Yet he still survived despite my almost total nonintervention. This level's main difficultly seems to be the surprise element, one after another. Like most of the game, as long as you keep on the ball you shouldn't have any problems. The one other surprise that pulled me for a loop is the introduction of cloaked vessels. You'll need your proximity sensors to detect them. On a happy note, they know that too, and will do nothing else but attack proximity sensors if some are around. Having a small hoard of them circling the Mothership is a nice way to keep a cloaked frigate busy until you can whomp it. Warith gives his general tactics for this level: "This level can get confusing and hectic.. make sure all your Ctrl-groups are organized. You get rushed from two different angles with grav-well and cloaked ships, plus the idiot defecting captain you have to save all of a sudden. I just used a fighter wing on evasive to harass the pursuing ships for a minute giving the defector a little bit of a gap... then it was a simple matter of slicing and dicing the pursuers when they got within range of my main battle group which was busy mopping the floor with a huge battle centred around the mothership. This is definitely a close to home level." The Karos Graveyard: This level is purposely designed to whack you upside the head in many, joy filled ways. First off, check out the background. Yesh, what ship is *that* large? The insanely large hull fragment can (and, in my case, did) screw with your size perspective. Getting to the Junkyard Office is a fun task. The auto-guns in the junkyard will annihilate any strike craft you send, the proximity sensors will detect any cloaked fighters you send (see the first part of the sentence for result), and the Junkyard Dog will annihilate any capital ship you send. The Junkyard Dog, as far as I can tell, is invincible. After watching my entire capital ship fleet whomp on it before and after it captured one of my ships, it's engines didn't even begin to bubble. It does have a key limitation, however; it relies on proximity sensors as well to see cloaked craft. A destroyer with a cloak generator defending it should be all you need. The absolute best way to deal with this level is to take your destroyer, generator, and a single cloaked fighter outside the junkyard and around it. Using the Mothership as 'down' and the Office as 'up', if you go along the edge of the junkyard and don't enter until you are to the left of the Junkyard Office, you will only have to deal with the proximity sensors around the Office. If this is to boring for you, build two more generators and blaze straight down the middle. Three generators, working one at a time, can give you an almost unending cloak. Your goal with the destroyer is to knock out every proximity sensor that you see. You *will* take damage when you destroy them (from getting in their sensor range, and then until you re-cloak), but it is a tiny amount compared to what a strike craft would get. The hardest part is at the Office itself. Two sensor posts overlap each other on top and below the Office. Chances are you will lose your generator (or, one of your generators) in annihilating these two. Once they are gone, pull the destroyer out of the junkyard as quick as you can. It's now a simple matter of retracing the destroyer's steps with a fighter. Once the fighter has docked, the level is over. Bridge of Sighs: I'm looking for alternate means to win this level. The way I detail below is long, painful, but almost free. You are totally on the offensive on this level, unless you send to many ships over, and cause them to call in reinforcements. If this happens, you have a long fight ahead of you, with two of the hyperspace portals being on the wrong ends of the sphere. The sphere itself is a huge defensive net of ion frigates. These frigates can (and do) move to help each other. Chances are you do not wish to attack openly. Cloak, anyone? The true, some would say awe inspiring, power of the cloaked fighter is shown here. The main thing that they forgot was any sort of way to detected cloaked fighters. Two squadrons of twenty cloaked fighters each should cover it. Set a support frigate as close to the sphere as possible without attracting attention for refueling, then fly towards the target. Take a moment to appreciate the sheer size of the array. The Mothership could fit into this with room to spare. You should be able to take out at least one, most times two, inhibitor pylons every attack run. Once you get dangerously low on fuel, bring the squadrons around and refuel at the support frigate. Rinse, repeat, until you have your hole into the Hiigara system. Chapel Perilous: Short, brutal level. Diamond Shoals with that Taiidan twist. My main complaint here is that the Hyperspace Inhibitor thing is getting old. If I was Fleet Command, I'd be getting a bit annoyed at having to disrupt my waveform every few feet. You will lose a lot of strike craft on this level. There is simply no time to attack the asteroid's escorts. Simply bring all craft to attack it, and hope that the escorts don't destroy anything vital. Unless you have a deep desire to whomp, hyperspace out as soon as you are able. Hiigara: Alright, can someone tell me what happened to Fleet Command? That cut scene was simply bizzare. Take a moment (a brief moment) to appreciate the map. Realize how large of a distance it is between you and the Taiidan Mothership. You are most definitely on the defensive right now, simply because you can't mount a coherent attack at this distance while defending. Your survivability will be based on the amount of support frigates you have. You will be overwhelmed. There is simply no way you will be able to fend off the attacking fleets before they destroy the Mothership. Thus your need for quick, efficient repairs of the Mothership en masse and in combat to compensate. If you are able to survive the first fleet, you have the ability to win the level. Resist the urge to try and intercept the fleets before they get to the Mothership, you need your defenses at home for when another fleet comes from another angle. Your main advantage is that everyone is going to be aiming directly for your Mothership, except for accidental fire, even an obscene number of support craft won't even be scratched. The defense phase of the level ends with the music change. Mop up any remaining Taiidan craft attacking you, then join the march against the Taiidan Mothership. Let the ships you can't control go first, and soak fire. How you finish the job is your choice. You can either whomp the defensive craft while they are busy (be sure to attack their support frigates first) , or you can join in and annihilate the Mothership before they can react. Either way, Hiigara is yours. ---------------------------------- Contributing: Have something to flame me about? Disagree with me? Have some pathological desire to add to this disgrace of a FAQ? You can mail me at email@example.com with your suggestions, ego strokes, and other assorted things. I will credit it to whatever name the mail is signed under, unless specifically asked otherwise. I will *not* give out email addresses, again unless asked to. I keep all rights to decide what goes in and not, though chances are if it's coherent enough for text, it's good enough. Also note that I am trying to keep the vulgarity of this thing down to at least the level of 'Hell' and 'ass'. If you feel I have misquoted your email, or otherwise have a complaint with how I handled your suggestion, feel free to email me and it will be fixed ASAP. A quick and dirty list of all contributors to this FAQ/play guide, and my heartfelt thanks to each: Koensayr Webrunner Zack Parfile ZooL Zareh Aratoon Willis Yonker FuSchnick Sablotnik Mark Harrison Sclover Jon Lauridsen Warith Mesh ---------------------------------- Disclaimer: This FAQ is a disgrace to FAQ-kind. It's intended that way. 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