Name: Marc Novakouski Email: email@example.com Game: Homeworld 2 Guide: FAQ/Walkthrough Date: 9-28-03 Version: 1.0 Homeworld is copyright Sierra Entertainment. This guide is not in any way associated or endorsed by Sierra or Relic, the developer. Copyright 2003 Marc Novakouski Anyone can use this guide (or parts of it) for public or private use, as long as said use is non-profit and proper credit is given to the author. Approved Hosting Sites www.gamefaqs.com Version History 1.0 - all missions complete. Planned Updates -If I get a significant amount of interest I may play through the game again to refine my strategies. Contact Info Any serious questions for this game may be directed to the above email. Note I expect you know how to play the game, so I will not respond to questions which may be answered within the tutorial or the manual. The purpose of this faq is to provide strategies on how to overcome the situations in this game; not to teach you how to play it. I will also not bother answering anything I specifically answer within the body of the faq, any insults, flames, or intentionally stupid questions. I Will answer requests for clarifications or specifics on my strategies, if it is not clear below. Put simply, don't waste my time and I won't waste yours. I. Purpose. The purpose of this guide is to provide winning strategies for the single player missions in Homeworld 2. Specifically, I plan on focusing on what I call the "Brute Force" method, and how I used it to get through the game. What is the brute force method? It has to do with what has been come to be known (on the gamefaqs message boards, if not elsewhere) as the "dynamic difficulty" inherent within the game. Now, what is this "dynamic difficulty". Basically, instead of including a difficulty setting, as was provided in Homeworld : Cataclysm, Relic (the developer) decided to try to scale the difficulty based on the results of the player. If the player did well in a mission, the next mission would be harder. Now, in theory, I'm fine with this feature, but let me speak for a moment on the problems with it's implementation. (Rant warning, skip this if all you want is the strategies). Dynamic Difficulty within Homeworld 2 is implemented in 2 ways. Both are determined by your fleet at the end of each mission. The first has to do with the size of your fleet. Basically, the larger your fleet is at the end of a mission, the larger the fleet is that you will face in the next mission. The second has to do with the makeup of your fleet. As you have surely noticed, the different ship types within the game operate with a fairly simple rock-paper-scissors method-in simplest terms, meaning ship A is strong against ship B, which is strong against ship C, which is strong against ship A. It's a bit more complex, as each ship WILL damage each other, but the effectiveness is reduced if you don't have the ship type advantage. Therefore, what the dynamic difficulty does is to look at the makeup of your fleet, decide what type of fleet would be most effective against yours, and builds that fleet for the next mission. Therefore, what the Dynamic Difficulty ends up doing is at the end of each mission, it evaluates your fleet, and builds one for the next mission that is Larger, and the most Effective possible against you. My issue is that A. this is not realistic in any way and B. you can exploit this. In terms of realism, basically this assumes that the Vaygr have some sort of advanced recon on you-how else would they always have the perfect foil for your fleet? Change your fleet around in makeup as much as you want-they'll always have the advantage. If they had somehow implied in the game that they had this inside info, I'd be more OK with it, but otherwise I can't justify it. However, as for the fleet size, I'm fine with it, as the Vaygr did lay waste to hundreds of Hiigaran outposts-they've GOT a massive fleet. The odds are against you. End of story. Except. for the exploit. If you KNOW about the dynamic difficulty, all you've got to do is Fake sucking at the game. What this means is that in missions where you've got time before the mission ends, retire all your ships except those you need to finish the mission and the carriers (& shipyard, though I don't know if you can retire that thing). In missions where you've got to last X amount of time, what you can do, if you've got enough resources, is Right before the mission ends, pause the game, and scuttle all of your non-essential ships. Voila-the enemy for that mission have virtually no ships, and if you've got the RU's, just rebuild your fleet at the beginning. Of course, not only is this an unfair exploit, but it's once again unrealistic. If you hyperspace into a Vaygr stronghold, guess what- you're Going to meet heavy resistance. But that's enough words on why that's wrong. Now for a few about how to use it to have fun. The Brute Force Method: so what is it? Basically, it's maintaining the largest fleet possible at the end of each mission so that each following mission involves Ridiculous opposition, and plowing through each and every ship the computer throws at you. Why do I like this method? Well, think about it. You've got say 20000 RU's left at the end of each mission after Mission 4 or so. 20000 RU's is enough to build 10 destroyers, or 5 Battlecruisers, or about 40 bombers; you get the point. And later on the game, you reach RUs available in the 100,000 range. With that many resources, you can (hypothetically) build a fleet that would be ludicrous in size. But you can't, because of unit cap limits. Obviously the unit caps are there to save your computer's processor & video card; but we're talking real life here, not what can be simulated virtually. If I'm the commander in the field, my Homeworld is under attack by an enemy that has an enormous fleet and I've got the resources to build a fleet to counter that-guess what I'm going to do. I may not group all my ships together, spreading several armadas across the galaxy perhaps and bring them together when they're needed, but I'll be DAMNED if I'm not going to build as many ships as necessary to save my Race. Now, the only in-game explanation I can come up for the unit cap limits is the lack of manpower available on the mothership to control each ship. Which makes sense, except for the fact that if you spend ships like money, as this method requires you to do, you never run out of enough people to man the ships up to the unit cap. But we'll ignore that ;} Suffice to say, you can have X number of ships. If I'm the commander (and you are in this game, you're essentially Karan S'jet) then I'm going to build as many ships as I can to try to survive the Vaygr forces that are repeatedly thrown my way. Meeting a superior Vaygr force is pretty much expected from the storyline; therefore by this method, you end up in galactic battles between Armadas that are enormous in size, which is pretty much what you expect from a conflict on this scale. And besides, ain't it fun to build enormous fleets, and successfully crush superior fleets with them? II. Strategies Section 1: General Strategies - USE THE PAUSE BUTTON. I cannot emphasize this enough. The ability to pause the game, take a second and think about the 30 fleets that just showed up in all directions is CRUCIAL to success in this game. If you think it's cheating, AND you can successfully get through the game using the brute force method without it, well then, you're a frickin' god at this game. Go off and make some other game your bitch and leave us mere mortals alone. As for justification of why it's OK-one person on the message boards suggested it's fine, due to the fact that you're pretty much taking on the role of Karan S'jet as fleet command, who is pretty much a computer as she's hooked up like she is, and has ridiculous reaction time. (Whoever posted that, if you want credit, email me a link to your post.) Secondly, my own opinion is that you've got a fleet controlled by thousands of people-I doubt that not a single one of them is going to raise a finger to defend themselves and protect their homeworld unless they receive orders from fleet command. Your ability to pause the game simulates the ability of a military command to effectively run it's fleet where each piece does the best thing for the whole. But that's just my opinion. Feel free to disagree. Do not feel free to argue with me or flame me as I don't really care if you disagree or have opinions about the fidelity of my mother, so don't waste your time with email I won't read. - Use mixed fleets. My general fleet, once I have the resources to support it, is thus: 13 bombers, 1 scout (for sensor ping), 6 gunships, 6 pulsars, 4 flak frigates, 8 torpedo frigates, 8 ion frigates, 1 marine frigate (if the mission requires it, otherwise just another ion or torpedo), max carriers (I think 4), max destroyers (5), max battlecruisers (2). Ships I don't use: Interceptors, (after « into mission 3) as gunships & flak frigates are just as effective against fighters and last longer. Minelayer corvettes, as it goes against my general strategy of meeting the enemy head-on and beating them at their own game. I will concede that properly used, they can be very effective against enemy frigates & cap ships; however I don't find this kind of tactic to be very entertaining, thus I'm perfectly happy to leave them to those of you who like to bait the enemy and whittle them down. Defense Field Frigates, as they are too expensive (at least in relation to the other frigates), the defense field doesn't last long enough, you can only have 2 of them, and those few situations where they might be useful (other than the one mission in which they are required) are in the later missions, where the firepower of the Vaygr destroyers and battlecruisers is too powerful anyways. Marine Frigates, and I'm really pissed about this too. Homeworld & Cataclysm were both all about capturing enemy units, and they made it near impossible, and useless, to do so in this game. Basically, whenever you try, the enemy targets them immediately, so you don't even latch on. Even if you do, say on a destroyer, the ship can Still fire upon them. And then, if Somehow you manage to make it through the entire status bar showing percent complete of the capture attempt, then most likely you won't even get the ship, as capturing ships can no longer (at least in my experience) take you past the unit cap for a particular ship. This isn't that big a deal, though you get piles of times that you Should be able to capture enemy carriers; and it just Doesn't happen; the game doesn't let you-the status bar will finish, the marine frigate will detach, and nothing will happen. Cheap as heck if you ask me. There is one destroyer you can and should capture, and that's in mission 4; other than that, don't worry about marine frigates unless they're necessary for objectives. Gun and Ion Platforms, though I do use them rarely-I generally build 4 or 5 and send them to a resource cluster the enemy is attempting to mine, and have them harass the collectors. It's great fun to watch. Probes, as they become useless once you have sensor ping. They can be somewhat useful in the early missions. Proximity Sensor Probes, as the single player campaign never uses cloaked ships (except for when they say the Keepers disappeared, at which time they specifically state that it isn't known cloaking technology, which means they probes are useless anyways. Sensors Distortion Probes, as this seems to be a multiplayer thing. Once again, doesn't seem to have a use in single player, as the computer cheats outrageously. Now the REASON I use mixed fleets is twofold-it's the most intelligent thing to do in reality (be prepared for everything) and to mitigate the Dynamic Difficulty I discussed above. If you come into a mission with 20 flak frigates, the computer is going to nail you with ion frigates, putting you at a severe disadvantage. If you come into a mission ready for anything, then the computer will also have a relatively mixed fleet to counter, and thus you're at least on a much more level playing ground, in terms of fleet makeup, if not size. - ATTACK IMMEDIATELY. If you're following my method and come into a mission with a full fleet, then take advantage of being ready for battle and attack. The dynamic difficulty may stack the starting fleet against you, but nearly all Vaygr missions have shipyards and carriers ready to build a fleet as well. The longer you wait, the more ships you'll have to face in the end. If you can cut through the starting opposition fleet and ambush the shipyards in their early stages, the mission will be over before it begins. This strategy also means knowing where to strike, making sensor ping a must, or alternatively, playing through the mission a few times to find out where the enemies show up ;} - REBUILD YOUR FLEET ASAP. Once you get to mission 8 or 9 and beyond, Especially for the infamous mission 12, the brute force method Ensures that you'll lose a PILE of ships. Get used to the "Frigate Lost" notification. Therefore, in order to press the attack, especially where the computer has a ridiculous fleet, you need to be as close to full strength as possible for as long as possible. What I did, for the later missions when I had the money, is to have all 4 carriers, the mothership, and shipyard (when you get it) building Constantly, even if the unit cap was reached. The way I did it was to have 1 carrier have 8 ion frigates in the queue, 1 with 8 flaks, 1 with 8 torpedos, and 1 building gunships and bombers. The mothership I had building destroyers, and the shipyard was left for building battlecruisers if necessary (if available), but since I never lost a battlecruiser in the single player campaign, I also used it for whatever else I might need. Once you've got the ships queued up, make sure the carriers, mothership & shipyard are following right behind the front lines, so that any ships they produce can be brought up quickly. Turn on the event notification (toggle with V), and whenever you see a unit production event, pause the game, click on it, and bring all new units up to the front. If you start all production at the same time (by pausing the game and setting the queues) this makes it so you can have 3 frigates come out all at once every 20 seconds or so, which is a very useful way to reinforce your front lines. Use of this method was the ONLY way I survived the insanity of mission 12, and it cost me 110,000 resources through the course of the mission to pull it off. Luckily, as I ended up destroying a Ridiculous Vaygr fleet in that mission, I had just about exactly 110,000 resources available for collection when I finished the mission, putting me right back where I was. - Use tactics wisely. I generally almost always use aggressive tactics, so that my fleet attacks everything without micromanagement. However, when you have a target you want to save (such as the mission 4 destroyer you want to capture, or the mission 12 base that I came within about 2 pixels of life of destroying), the way you STOP autofiring on a target is 1. pause, 2. tell the units firing to STOP (give the STOP command (S) ), 3. set tactics to passive, 4. give units a move order or an attack order for another target. - Don't over micromanage. In the first missions, it's fine as you've got a limited stock of units, so I generally put all alike units into individual control groups. However, once you get cap ships (destroyers & beyond), I've found it's most effective to make mixed strike groups (bombers, corvettes, frigates & cap ships) in the frigate line formation and tell them to attack a group of enemies (ctrl-multiple select). The AI for your ships is good enough that each individual ship will recognize what it's going to be most effective against and attack that target. Micromanaging in 3D space is too much of a nightmare once you get into armada size fleets. Let the computer handle the details; it does it well enough. - When appropriate, split your units into 2, or multiple, groups. Homeworld & Cataclysm allowed you to generally group all your units together to form an uber-armada and crush the enemy one by one. Homeworld 2 has multiple missions in which it's your advantage to split into even strike groups and attack 2 or more targets. I'll identify the situations within the individual mission walkthroughs. This is aside from the individual situations where it's advantageous to send a group of bombers to knock out a target; I'm talking about full strike groups, of the mixed unit variety I mentioned above. - Use strike groups, specifically the frigate line, in late game. What this does is make your frigates the #1 target for the computer. This means you lose your frigates real fast, but it also means that you DON'T lose your dreadnaught and battlecruisers. By distracting the Vaygr destroyers and battlecruisers with frigates and destroyers, you end up keeping your biggest ships while losing frigates and the Vaygr end up losing their biggest ships and keeping frigates. So when the initial clash is done, you're out half or more of your frigates, sometimes all, and the Vaygr only have frigates. Take a dreadnaught, 2 battlecruisers, and maybe 3 destroyers, pit them against nearly any number of Vaygr frigates-you're going to win. Plus, frigates build fast if you've got them queued up in your carriers, so by using this strategy you should almost never lose any super cap ships. Section II: The Single Player Campaign Mission 1: Tanis Overview: The mothership has just been completed. You have to do some tests similar to the original Homeworld first mission, and then the Vaygr attack. Fight them off until the real Vaygr fleet arrives, then flee. Walkthrough: This is a very simple mission. First you have the collector pick up the resources. Then you build an interceptor. Me, I built as many as I could (at least 3) before I attacked the drones. Once the drones are destroyed, a small Vaygr force attacks. When this happens, you get an extra group of interceptors to control, so you should be up to at least 4 groups of interceptors. Between now & the end of the level, I tried to get myself up to 6 groups. In any case, when the first wave of bombers are done, more come. Kill them with the interceptors, while you build at least 2 groups of bombers, and take out the frigate with them. Then hyperspace gates show up, which warp in more Vaygr bombers. Target the gates with your bombers, kill the Vaygr bombers with the interceptors. Once you've fought off the 3 waves, the real Vaygr fleet should arrive. You may want to try to dock, but I think the game does it for you. The mothership will hyperspace away. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: Did I really just get an extra group of interceptors? A: Yes. The first wave of Vaygr causes a group to be launched from Chimera which comes immediately under your control. Q: Could I take the Vaygr fleet, if the mothership didn't run? A: No. They've got 2 destroyers, and if that isn't bad enough, 2 battlecruisers. At best, if you use ALL of your RUs, you can have 6 interceptors and 2 bombers. You're toast. Q: Is there any way I can get more time on this mission to prepare my forces for the next mission? A: No. The only breather you get is before you kill the drones. Since the Vaygr don't attack your fighters in this mission (much, I never lost any at least), you shouldn't need extra time. Mission 2: Angel Moon Overview: Pick up the mothership crew from Hiigara. This involves defending 6 crew transports from Vaygr bombers, disabling (by destroying the fighter facility) and later destroying a single Vaygr carrier, and letting Captain Soban destroy some Vaygr frigates that join the fun. Walkthrough: Mission begins with 2 lines of transport ships coming towards the mothership. There are 3 in each line, and they are staggered so that enemies can't fire on both at once (well, not the enemies at this point in the game). There is a Vaygr carrier directly between the 2 lines. First thing, send your 2 bombers at the carrier. Order them to destroy the fighter facility. They won't succeed until after the first wave of additional fighters are launched, but should before the second. After destroying the fighter facility, you can have them dock back with the mothership for repairs, or continue attacking the carrier, since you'll need it destroyed eventually. Also as the game begins, there are Vaygr fighters attacking the transports Bishop 1 and Bishop 2. Send your interceptors to destroy the ones harassing Bishop 1. You should have 2 groups of 3 (or so) at this point. Have both groups take out the ones around Bishop 1. Once that's done, have one group head to Bishop 4, which should be under attack at that point, and have the second group attack the ones around Bishop 2. The job of the first group is to take out the bombers around Bishop 4, Bishop 5, and Bishop 6, in that order (though you may cripple the carrier before it can launch the ones attacking Bishop 6). The second group is to protect Bishop 2 and then Bishop 3, and then provide any needed support on 4, 5, and 6. Eventually, Vaygr frigates will warp in. Don't worry about them. Just keep shooting at the fighters. Shortly thereafter, Captain Soban should warp in and handle the frigates for you. Yay for useful computer allies. At this point, the carrier should be retreating, or shortly hereafter; once all Vaygr fighters are destroyed via your interceptors, turn all firepower on the carrier. Around now, you've probably got the elite bombers and elite gunships; feel free to turn them loose on any remaining bombers. Also, you should be able to build gunships, so do so if you need them. Once all Vaygr forces are destroyed, wait until all the crew transports dock, while building up your forces as best you can. Mission complete. FAQ: Q: But if I destroy the fighter facility on the carrier, can't they just build another one? A: Apparently not in this mission. I've never seen them do it, and as it's a specific mission objective, I don't think it can. Q: Can the bishop transport ships be destroyed? A: Absolutely. You'll get notification any time one of them gets low. The key here is to take out the bombers ASAP and the fighter facility ASAP so that you limit the number you have to deal with. As long as you pay attention, you've got plenty of time to kill them. You've even got enough time to dock your interceptor groups after you take out the first couple groups if you feel you need to fix them. Or you could just build gunships to deal with them. Q: What should I build? A: At this point, I went with the 6 interceptors I had from the first mission, built an additional resource collector, and in preparation for the next mission, built as many bombers and gunships as I could. The elite units you get here if all the ships survive are also very useful. Q: Why does the game tell me "Bishop X is safe" when there's still Vaygr around it? A: Because the game is stupid sometimes. Whenever you get a "Threat Eliminated" message, visually check on it to see if it's true or not before you move your ships on. Q: Is there any way I can get more time on this mission to prepare my forces for the next mission? A: Finish off the Vaygr quick, and you've got all the time it takes for all of the transport ships to dock. Unless you build a whole bunch of collectors, you won't be able to harvest everything you need, but it should be plenty of time. Mission 3: Sarum Overview: This mission essentially involves protecting a shipyard from 3 waves of Vaygr assault. Walkthrough: Mission starts with the shipyard under fighter attack. Take all of the fighters and gunships you have and attack them. Should be easy, as they're attacking the shipyard instead of you. While this is happening, you should have a good number of resources from the auto-collect on the last mission, so use them. Research everything that you plan on using (I stick with attack ship upgrades on the ships I actually use for now, i.e. not the interceptor or the armor/speed upgrades for the collectors and mothership). Also, take the time to build up a full wing of bombers (14 of them). You should have that mostly done before the second wave comes. Build enough collectors that you have at least 4. Have 2 mine the close resources, have 2 mine the resourcing operation location. Send the mobile refinery there, have the mothership as the drop-off point for the close resources. Retire your interceptors. They have no use until the final mission at this point. Dock your other ships if they need to be repaired. Don't bother repairing the shipyard. It will do that on it's own. Destroy the enemy probes. One will show up around the mothership, the other around the shipyard, and the third at the resourcing location. If you destroy all 3, you get a significant amount of extra time before the Vaygr attack. The key to the second wave is being prepared. The second wave comes in the form of a hyperspacing carrier which shows up directly to the east of the place you're supposed to establish a resourcing operation. Looking on the sensor map, the carrier arrives directly to the east of the resourcing operation location, given that 000 degrees on the sensor map is north. It arrives pretty much right on the 000 center line. Move what ships you have available there after you destroy the probes, and you should be able to ambush the carrier. Have the bombers attack the carrier itself, and the gunships attack any fighters. You should make mincemeat of them. Don't forget to destroy the resource collectors the carrier launches. Once this is all done, move your ships back to the shipyard. Around this time, the shipyard should complete repairs on it's own, and give you a carrier. Use it to start building flak frigates. Build as many as you can before the third wave arrives, and keep building after it does. I also recommend building an extra group of gunships (3 or 4 groups of them, or as many as you can finish) as bomber escorts for the third wave. The third wave involves infiltrator frigates, fighters, and 3 carriers that show up. Fight off the fighters and frigates with all your forces. The bombers should make short work of the frigates and the flak and corvettes should work well on the fighters. Once the carriers show up, take the bombers and attack them. You should have 14 bombers at this point. Take them all and target the carriers, ignoring all other targets, switching to the next carrier as soon as one is dead. Have your extra group of gunships attack the large number of fighters that will target the bombers. You may achieve an impressive amount of fighters following your bombers, trying to stop them, but with the cover of the gunships, the bombers should be able to crush the 3 carriers. During this, put a large number of flak frigates in your carrier's queue, and defend the shipyard with your flak frigates and main group of gunships. These 2 groups should be enough to hold off the Vaygr capture attempts on the shipyard. I've personally never lost the shipyard, so you should have no problems. I recommend attacking the left carrier (left, if you were standing on the shipyard looking at them) first. Go from there to the middle and right carriers. Sometime around the death of the second carrier, you'll notice that the fighters are all attacking your bombers, thus leaving the shipyard alone. Leave the flak frigates to handle the remaining infiltrator frigates, and send all your gunships as support for the bombers. You may start running low on bombers at this point, but between them and all of your gunships you should be able to easily clean up all remaining fighters and the last carrier. Once the carriers are done, mop up, building replacement units as necessary while you do so. Finish up all Vaygr craft. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: Why do you get a "resourcing operation reporting enemy contact" message near the beginning of the mission? A: I don't know. There are no enemies there. Your collectors are taking no damage. It's the computer being stupid again. Q: Does killing the probes matter? A: Yes. You get a Significant amount of extra time before the second and third waves if you destroy all three before the 2nd wave shows up. Q: Can I use the shipyard to build things? A: No. You can however dock there to fix your ships. Q: I'm running out of money by building so many ships! A: Yes, even with 4 collectors going in 2 different locations money can get tight during the third wave. However, I was able to build 3 flak frigates, 12 bombers (to add to the 2 elite ones), and 9 gunships (to add to the 2 elite ones) before the third wave shows up, and that's all I needed to finish off the Vaygr. Feel free to come up with another build order; this is just worked for me. Q: Should I build marine frigates in case the shipyard is captured? A: No. I've never lost the shipyard so it's a waste of time and resources. If your attack on the carriers with your bombers and gunship support fails, then you'd best reload the game instead of look to defend the shipyard until you can rebuild. Chances are a heavily cheating computer with 2 or more constantly producing carriers is going win at this point. Q: Where does that carrier warp in again? A: Open up the sensors manager. Tilt it so that you can see the numbers that are all around the map. Move it so that the 000 number is at the top middle of the screen (so that it's farthest away from your perspective). The mothership should be on/near that big horizontal middle line on the left side of the screen. The shipyard should be on/near that big horizontal middle line on the right side of the screen. Now follow the vertical middle line down until directly to the left of where you're looking, is the place where you're supposed to set up a resourcing operation. RIGHT THERE is where the carrier warps in. If you're still not sure, send your forces to hang out at the resourcing operation place. They'll be close enough to where the carrier warps in that you'll still be able to get a decent jump on them. Mission 4: Ghenna Outskirts Overview: This mission involves destroying hyperspace inhibitors, taking out a Vaygr command base, and destroying a fairly powerful Vaygr strike force. Walkthrough: Build max bombers. Build a mixed fleet of frigates, gunships, and pulsar gunships immediately after to bolster your standing forces. Send the bombers first up and to the right. Roughly between the center and right hyperspace inhibitor locations, around that group of minerals, you'll find a carrier. Destroy it. Flee if ships chase you. Destroy them with massed forces around your mothership. Once the way is relatively clear, send your bombers up and to the left of the mothership, approximately halfway between the left and center hyperspace inhibitor locations. Roughly in that area, you'll find a second carrier. Destroy it. Crush all remaining resistance with the rest of your fleet. At this point, you won't be attacked for a while, so take your time getting ready for the rest of the mission. When you've got a fully functional mixed fleet of flak & torpedo frigates, gunships and pulsars, and a full compliment of bombers, as well as a marine frigate, go to one of the hyperspace inhibitor locations. Destroy any resistance you find, and capture the hyperspace gate with the marine frigate. Getting close to the gate will trigger a small Vaygr fleet to warp in. Destroy it. Once the gate is yours and the fleet is destroyed, destroy the inhibitors. Move on to the next location and do the same thing. Do the same thing for the third, EXCEPT do not destroy the inhibitors. Once you've taken care of all resistance and the hyperspace gate has been captured, get your fleet fixed and ready. Warp through the gate. DO NOT bring the marine frigate along initially. You'll find on the other side 3 carriers, a destroyer, and maybe a fighter group or two. Once you've fully engaged them, bring your marine frigate through. Have your bombers take out the destroyer's engines and damage it a bit. At this point you should have the destroyer's attention and should be able to dock the marine frigate with it. You should be able capture it. If not, it's really not that big of a loss. In any case, capture/destroy the destroyer, and destroy all the other units. If you wish to return your units back to the mothership, you can do so via manual drives, or you can capture one of the gates on This side and use it to warp back. Make sure, if you've destroyed one or 2 of the gates on the other side, to capture the one you came through. Fix, rebuild, and prepare your fleet. At this point, when you destroy the final hyperspace inhibitors, the mothership short jumps right to the main base that you need to destroy. The problem with this is the fact that there is a huge Vaygr strikeforce waiting for you right in front of where you end up. You've got 2 choices: 1. Head on, my favorite. With 8 flak frigates, 8 torpedo frigates, and the destroyer, plus full corvettes and bombers, you can take them with few difficulties. You'll lose some ships, but you get a ton of resources at the end of this mission so don't worry about rebuilding. 2. Try to draw them out. To do this, save the game. Destroy the inhibitors and jump to them. If they are there, and ready to attack, reload the game. Sit and wait a while. Camp the resource clusters near you. Resource collectors should eventually show up. If you harass them, the Vaygr force waiting for you should start moving to protect them (real intelligent). Wait a while. Save the game. Destroy the inhibitors. Jump. If they're still sitting there, then I'm not sure how to draw them out. If they're no longer there because they went off to help the collectors, then go ahead and toast the shipyard and carrier that should be close by (looking directly at the base, from where you jump, the carrier should be on the left side, a little behind it; the shipyard should be to your left somewhere. There should be objective markers telling you at this point where the remaining Vaygr forces are as you have to destroy them all). Feel free to destroy the base as well, but keep in mind that you can keep it damaged for as long as you want if you want to take time to rebuild your fleet for the next mission. In any case, the Vaygr force should be somewhere between you and where you jumped from. They'll turn around and make all speed to attack you. This makes it easier because they don't move as a strike force doing this, so you get to destroy their fighters without interference from the frigate group. The frigate group will still be hard, but with the destroyer to help you and without the fighters to harass you, it's a whole lot easier. Either way, destroy the fleet, destroy the shipyard, destroy the carrier, destroy the base, destroy any other remaining units. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: So if I take out the 2 carriers the Vaygr will stop harassing me in the beginning? A: Yes. The only forces you'll see will be if in destroying the carriers you manage to get too close to a gate, thus causing that fleet to come through, and a random fighter group or 2 that might come harass you. The constant siege will stop. Q: You didn't mention harvesting resources. Should I not? A: Correct. You should have enough auto collected from the last mission to cover nearly all your expenses. Since striking fast and hard is the most effective tactic in this mission, do so and you shouldn't have to rebuild until after you've fought the frigate fleet at the end. If you feel you need resources, feel free to go ahead and harvest, but only after you've taken care of the 2 carriers. Otherwise they'll harass your operation there's no reason to defend that operation when you'll get the RUs in the end anyway. Q: The giant frigate fleet is destroying me! A: Look at the walkthrough for a method of drawing out the fleet. Capture the destroyer (again consult the walkthrough) for significant extra firepower. Barring either of those, building 14 bombers, 6 gunships, 6 pulsars, and 21 frigates (flak and torpedo) should be able to defeat the fleet regardless. If it's a close battle, pause the game as soon as you lose your first ship and queue up some frigates and pulsars in your mothership and carrier. Keep pumping them out as the battle drags on, and your superior numbers will almost certainly win out. Q: I destroyed the frigate fleet, the base, the shipyard, and the carrier, but the mission won't end! A: Bring up the sensors manager. There should be objective markers (circles with little arrows pointing at them) on the map somewhere. These should be the locations of the ships you still have to destroy before the mission will end. Mission 5: Gehenna Overview: This mission involves securing the "oracle" from an asteroid. You'll try to destroy 3 Vaygr garrisons before they're alerted to your presence, and take out a reasonably defended shipyard production facility before you can finish the mission. Walkthrough: There are 3 garrisons to destroy. There is one for each "branch" of the dust cloud area. Hopefully you replenished your forces before finishing the previous mission. If not, I recommend loading the previous mission and doing so. Make sure you have room for at least 6 more frigates. When you begin this mission, split your forces into 2 evenly distributed strike groups. This means each group should have a relatively equal number of frigates, corvettes, and bombers, with equal distribution of each type. Form the strike groups so that they move together. One group, which should include the destroyer you captured in mission 4, should move up the middle path towards the center garrison. To move in the dust cloud and not leave it, you can either very carefully set the path, or simply select your units and right click on the asteroids in the direction you want to go. You may leave the dust cloud briefly, but it shouldn't be long enough to alert the Vaygr. Anyways, move the second strike group (the one without the destroyer) towards the strike group on the right side (down the path that Doesn't lead to the oracle). While your strike groups are moving, build ion cannon frigates. You should get at least 6 or so to give your armada balance. The center garrison is heavily defended, but with the help of the destroyer you should be able to take it without too many losses. The right garrison should fall with few losses. Immediately return both strike groups to the mothership and combine your forces once again. You should make sure you replenished any lost ships as your forces return, and if necessary send your resource collectors to fix your frigates. Once your forces are fully rebuilt (hopefully quickly) move them all along the left branch of the dust cloud. You should be able to destroy the third garrison with no problems, especially with your entire force. Now move your forces towards the asteroid containing the oracle. You'll find a shipyard. The computer will tell you you've been detected. At this point don't worry about leaving the dust cloud. There is a large number of gun and missile platforms protecting the shipyard and carrier, but with your full forces you should have few problems. The carrier may run (for whatever reason) so track it down with bombers or whatever is convenient. Once all Vaygr forces are defeated, rebuild your forces to maximum and fix all your ships. When you're ready, build a marine frigate and have it dock with the asteroid containing the oracle. All this requires is selecting the frigate and right clicking on the asteroid. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: What happens if I don't take out all 3 garrisons? A: Eventually probes will be sent by the shipyard and will reveal your presence. All garrisons will attack. Q: I can't destroy the middle garrison! A: Then make the attack group you send there have a few more ships than the one that goes to the right garrison. Or attack it with everything you have, come back, attack the right garrison, come back, and wait for the probes as they should be coming soon. Fight it out. Q: Don't bother resourcing here either? A: Nah; the resources right near your starting point can't hurt, but it's a waste of time and effort to go after any other resources. Focus on killing the garrisons quickly which will give you a jump on the shipyard. Doing that will keep the enemy collectors from collecting much, if any, of the resources. Auto collect the resources at the end of the mission. Though if you're really hurting, feel free to collect all the resources on the map once the Vaygr are all dead, and take your time rebuilding the fleet. Q: What happens if I leave the dust cloud? A: You get somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 or 40 seconds to get back in it before you're detected. I only left it once so I don't know if that resets or not. Mission 6: The Karos Graveyard Overview: This mission involves fighting off 3 waves of an infinite supply of movers while the mothership moves in 2 short jumps and then slowly toward the wreckage at the other end of the map from where you hyperspace in. Walkthrough: Mission starts. You've got 8 minutes before the hyperspace core recharges. At about 7:30, movers start coming out of the hulk to your right. Kill them. They seem to be very fond of corvettes, so you can either bait them with the vettes or just try to plow through them. I found that flak frigates are reasonable effective against them. Eventually the timer gets low enough (I don't think it actually gets to 0 seconds, though) and the mothership jumps. Before it shows up again, finish off the movers from the first hulk, they won't spawn more after the mothership has jumped. Move all your ships to the area between the next 2 hulks; this is where the mothership will jump back in. Fight off 2 infinite streams of movers for a while. Here you'll have the change to salvage, with a collector, a mover derelict. Do so, and distract the 2 movers guarding it with bombers (or at least, bombers worked for me). Research anti-mover weaponry. This will effectively reduce the total armor of the movers, making them easier to kill. Eventually the mothership will jump again, to the last 3 hulks. Go run to it and spend a good while killing lots of movers as the mothership slowly inches towards the hulk at the tip of the debris field. Eventually it'll get close enough, the oracle will communicate with it, and the movers will shut down. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: What's the most effective unit against the movers? A: They're classified as corvettes, so technically anything anti- corvette. Bombers seem to work well, as well as flak frigates. Torpedo frigates I suppose are the technically best weapons, but my experience is that they get killed far too easily. I recommend simply keeping your fleet up to full strength by rebuilding ships as they are destroyed, and just keep on firing on the movers. Since they target corvettes ridiculously, you may want to dock your elite gunships, if you still have them. Q: Harvesting? A: Feel free, but it's not necessary. Mission 7: Derelicts Overview: This mission involves getting mover technology, using movers to destroy the wreckage around the map, and fighting off 3 groups of Vaygr. Walkthrough: Build a probe. Send it off to one of the hulks. Build a mover construction module. Build 10 movers. In the mean time, make sure your fleet is completely full and ready for action. Split it up into 2 strike groups. Each should be evenly distributed with all ship types. Once the movers are complete, start building destroyers. As soon as the destroyers come off the line, add them to the strike groups; though this likely won't be until you engage the Vaygr. Eventually a Vaygr probe will show up. Destroy it. Once your fleet is split into 2 groups, have one sit at the mothership pointed towards approximately 300 degrees (by the sensor manager reckoning) from the mothership. Move the other strike group close to the small cloud with one small hulk it which is at about 45 degrees from the mothership. DO NOT let your normal fleet go into the dust clouds, they will die very quickly. As soon as your movers are done, have them destroy the hulk in the small cloud at 45 degrees, and move south (assuming 000 degrees is north) along that side of the map destroying all of the hulks. Be careful as some of the hulks, mainly the ones that are marked as objectives, have 3 movers protecting them. Otherwise it's cake to destroy them. Soon enough, the first Vaygr will hyperspace in, at about 300 degrees, and arrive within the dust cloud (stupid shielded carriers). They will mass a reasonable attack force and attack you. When I played the mission, I had resource collectors at the large resource group to the southwest of the mothership, and they went after that. If you don't bother with resourcing perhaps they'll just attack the mothership. In any case, have your first strike force stomp them. BE CAREFUL as they run back into the dust cloud if they're about to be wiped out. Do not follow as you'll just lose far too many ships. Fairly soon after the above battle is complete, a second Vaygr carrier will hyperspace in at the hulk I told you to destroy first, where I told you to leave your second fleet. If you had your movers destroy the hulk, they carrier is thus unprotected, and you can immediately ambush it. Even if you don't have a destroyer in this group yet, you should be able to take the Vaygr down fairly quickly. After each of your two strike group's battles, replenish their forces ASAP. By the time the second battle is done, your first strike group should be in pretty good shape again. Hopefully by now your movers have successfully taken out all hulks on the right/eastern side of the screen (again assuming 000 degrees is north), so move your first strike group to the group of resources that are at 90 degrees from the mothership. Move your second strike group to your mothership, replenish them, and have them guard against further attacks from the first carrier (which shouldn't happen in force, but there may be a frigate or 2). Sometime while your first strike group is moving towards the resources, or if you move fast perhaps shortly after they get there, a Vaygr shipyard with a destroyer will hyperspace in right there. Ambush them and destroy them all. By this time you should have reached the unit cap for destroyers (5) so don't bother capturing the destroyer they bring (though feel free to try if you do need it). Once this group is destroyed, move all your ships back to the mothership for fixing and rebuilding. While all the Vaygr battles are going on, keep destroying hulks with your movers, though leave at least one hulk specified by an objective marker until you want to end the mission. I recommend going around the dust cloud in a vaguely clockwise manner, so once you've destroyed all the hulks while traveling south on the right side of the map, start on the hulks on the left side from the bottom up. By the time you've crushed the second Vaygr carrier and the Vaygr shipyard, you should almost have made your way up to the hulks surrounding the first Vaygr carrier. When you've successfully replenished your entire fleet and are ready to finish off the Vaygr, have your movers go in and destroy the hulks around the carrier. Don't worry about the Vaygr frigates, as they cannot destroy your movers fast enough to stop them from removing the cover. If they do, just build more. Once the 5 hulks in the vicinity of the carrier have been destroyed (and I don't mean the really big one to the left of the carrier, you can't attack that so don't try) the way to the carrier should be clear. Destroy it. When you've rebuilt your fleet to your liking, have the movers destroy the final hulks marked by objective markers. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: How do I build movers? A: Send a probe at the beginning to one of the hulks marked by an objective marker. You'll see movers. You'll gain the ability to build a mover construction facility/module. It's under the corvette menu on the mothership. Build it. Movers are then available to be built in that same menu. Q: Do I have to destroy all of the hulks? A: No. Just the ones marked by the objective markers. However, destroying the ones on the right side where the Vaygr warp in is extremely effective in allowing you to ambush them. Q: Are movers good to use as regular ships? A: Somewhat. As corvettes, they have low armor, but high firepower. They're basically corvette bombers. I generally have them guard the mothership in case a fighter squadron gets past the front line and decides to attack it or my carriers. The good thing about movers is that they're fairly effective against anything other than fighters, and they seem to have a low priority on the computer attack routine, so they're generally left alone, making them good defense. Q: Resourcing? A: It may be useful on this mission to give the first carrier's fleet a target to attack. However if they attack the mothership, that's ideal in terms of not having to chase them down, so it's worth trying not having them out. In my last game, I started this mission with 60,000 resources, so you certainly don't Need the resources to succeed in this mission. Mission 8: Dreadnaught Berth Overview: This mission involves securing the dreadnaught from the keeper, and using a nearby power station to neutralize the keeper so that you can escape. Walkthrough: Q: Send a probe to verify dreadnaught location. Go pick up the dreadnaught with movers. Cover your movers with your fleet, as the drones are really nasty. Attack the keeper when you have a chance. The movers will bring the dreadnaught back to the mothership where it will transfer crews to it so that you have control. After this, you'll be told you must activate 3 nearby power modules to trap the keeper. Find the power devices with probes. Send movers to pick them up, cover them with your fleet. Once the 3 power modules are in place, the keeper is entrapped and your fleet escapes. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: Where are the power devices? A: It may vary. In my game they were at the location closest to the power modules. Once you find them you don't have to send any more probes out (i.e. they're not necessarily the last place you look). Q: I'm trying to attack with the dreadnaught and I can't. A: Correct. The dreadnaught is barely online. Most systems are off- line, including weapons. You won't be able to use it to attack until the next mission. Q: The drones/the keeper are/is killing my movers! A: Flood the area with your fleet. As long as the drones and keeper are occupied with the rest of your fleet, your movers should be fine. I didn't lose a single one until I tried to pick up the power devices without cover. Mission 9: Counter Attack Overview: This mission involves destroying an armada of Vaygr that come at you in several waves. Walkthrough: Mission starts. Your dreadnaught is under attack & in bad shape. Fix it and destroy the Vaygr attackers. It will take a while to fix. In the mean time, fight off Vaygr. Eventually the shipyard will show up. Dock the dreadnaught with it. If you do a sensor ping, what you'll find is that you're surrounded. There's a shipyard near a resource location, but that's the only static Vaygr forces; the main threat is 8 hyperspace gates, 2 in each cardinal direction from the mothership. You'll notice that the Vaygr are coming in all directions. For the rest of this mission, I recommend dividing your forces into 2 equal groups to fight off at least 2 waves at once. When you get a brief break in the action (use ping often to determine where you are at) I recommend sending interceptors or preferably bombers to the gates to destroy them. However, you're pretty much playing a defensive action at this point. It'll take about 15 minutes to fix the dreadnaught. In that time you'll have 3 carriers warp in around you, then 2 more carriers. Use your 2 strike groups to take these out as fast as possible. Obviously use your carriers to replenish your forces as you need them. Hopefully before the dreadnaught is completed, you'll have an opportunity to go crush the shipyard, which shouldn't be too tough, as long as you leave a strike group to defend the mothership. Finally, the dreadnaught will be complete, and a final group of Vaygr will warp in, led by a battlecruiser. As you'll find out, battlecruisers are no match (at least alone) for your dreadnaught. Use your strike groups to wipe out the final group of Vaygr. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: They're coming from everywhere! A: You need to destroy the 8 hyperspace gates. Within the local area of the mothership you should be able to see 4 of them; as you do your defense you should be able to take out each one in sequence. Sending bombers when you've got a second will work, or even the movers. Once the 4 close to you are destroyed, send movers or bombers to take out the other 4. They are essentially in the same directions as the first 4, but farther out. Use a sensor ping and you'll find them easily. Q: They keep coming! A: Take out the gates, and eventually they'll stop (or the dreadnaught will complete). Just play a waiting game by constantly replenishing your strike groups and you'll be fine. Don't wander too far from the mothership & the shipyard unless you've got an opening. The first chance you get to take out the Vaygr shipyard you should take, but make sure you leave a strike group for defense. Mission 10: Keepers of Sajuuk Overview: This mission involves surviving the attack of about 4 keepers until the Bentusi fix your uber cannon on your dreadnought, and then get around to saving you from the keepers. Walkthrough: Fairly simple. You'll be attacked by keepers that do a great deal of damage, so attack them with everything you've got while you rebuild anything you lose. Eventually the Bentusi will tell you they'll fix the cannon on the dreadnaught. Send the dreadnaught over to them, fight off the keepers. Wait until the cannon is done, fight off the keepers. Wait a while, fight off the keepers. Eventually the Bentusi will self- destruct their own ship to kill the keepers. FAQ: Q: Is there any way to destroy the keeper ships? A: Not that I know of. This is a survival mission. Q: Is there anything you can do to stimulate the Bentusi self-destruct so the mission ends? A: Not that I know of. I remember that they were close to the Bentusi ship when the event triggered, but it's probably time-based instead of location based. It's possible that it might be based on the number of ships the keeper kills. Mission 11: Sacrifice Overview: This mission involves fighting off 2 groups of Vaygr as you attempt to secure the pieces of the hyperspace core. Walkthrough: The objective of this mission is to retrieve the 3 pieces of the Bentusi hyperspace core. First thing you have to do is send a probe to one of the core pieces, NOT the Bentusi ship (though that's a good place to have a lookout when the Vaygr show up). Once you've gotten the ability to research the advanced shielding, research it, and build 2 defense field frigates. However, while you're doing this, the Vaygr will likely show up. Now, assuming you can beat the Vaygr to the core fragments, what you need to do to get the cores is this: Move 2 defense field frigates and a collector close to the brightly colored clouds surrounding the individual pieces. Pause the game, order one to turn on it's defense field, and order it and the other frigate to move to the piece. Order a collector to grab the piece. Resume the game. The collector will move in to the piece and, assuming it stays close enough to the frigate (the field is clearly visible, so you'll know) it will be protected by the defense field. The piece of the core will be grabbed by the collector, but if you watch the bar on the frigate, the life of the defense field will likely run out before your collector can exit the cloud. When the lifebar of the defense field has maybe a 5th left, turn on the defense field of the 2nd frigate. That should give enough time for the collector to exit the cloud as well as your frigates. Once all 3 are out of the cloud you are home free. Now, for the complication. Some time while you're researching the defense field upgrade, you'll probably get a notification that the Vaygr have shown up; "Enemy ship coming out of hyperspace" or something. What happens is that 2 groups of Vaygr have shown up on the map, and are competing with you for the core pieces. The first group is based around a shipyard, and with the mothership as a focus, is located at about 350 degrees, somewhere to the right of the resource group that is between the center and left core pieces. The second group is located at about 35-40 degrees, a bit below the middle vertical plane, a bit to the right of the resource group that is behind and between the center and right core pieces, and is based around 2 carriers and a bunch of ships. What I did, and what seemed to be fairly effective, is to split your forces into 2 groups and assault both groups immediately. Likely you won't be able to get off your attack (thanks to the speed of the dreadnaught and your new battlecruisers) before the Vaygr get the middle core piece; however what happens is that the core piece is moved to one of the Vaygr carriers at the 2nd Vaygr base, and you're given somewhere around 5 minutes to retrieve it before it hyperspaces out. There's a timer at the bottom of the screen so you know where you stand. Now, when you go after the carrier, you'll be told you need to "disable" it to retrieve the core piece; don't be fooled, blowing it up works just as well. I mention this because I thought "disable" meant using a marine frigate, as that's the message you sometimes get when a marine frigate finishes a capture but doesn't get the ship. So don't worry about that and just blow it up. I recommend taking your dreadnaught to the 2nd base, as they are the more strongly defended. If you launch a 2-pronged assault with 2 equal (except for the dreadnaught) strike groups as soon as you're ready, which hopefully should be soon with 4 carriers, the mothership and the shipyard to help, then you'll go through a significant and lengthy battle with each Vaygr group, but should win out in the end on both. This approach also keeps the enemy from getting many of the resources, and attempting to pick up either of the other 2 cores. Simply attack in strike group formation to keep all your ships together, the Vaygr will commit all of their resources from each of their groups to battle, and with a carrier or two trailing each strike group for reinforcements, you should eventually come out on top. Once that's done, feel free to take as much time as you want to prepare for the next mission, as this mission does not end until you've collected all 3 pieces of the core. You shouldn't actually need to collect resources at this point as you should have a considerable cache available for all the shipbuilding needs you might have, but as you have all the time you need feel free to do so. In any case, fill out your forces to maximum; you'll need them for the next mission. That is, if you plan on using the brute force method. In any case, make sure whatever ships you do bring are battle ready. Collect the final cores from the radiation clouds or the destroyed Vaygr ship debris. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: How do I get the core pieces from the radiation clouds? A: Use the defense field frigates to protect your collector as it salvages it. See the walkthrough for specifics. Q: I move the defense field frigate to the radiation cloud but it still dies! A: You need to turn on the special defense field ability. The easiest way I've found to do this is to do the shift-right click and hold method, special menu, defense field. It doesn't last long so bring 2 frigates so you can use the 2nd one to leave the cloud. Q: How do I get a core piece back from the Vaygr if they've taken it? A: The objective marker for the core will continue to show up on the map even after they've taken it, so when you get the message that it's been loaded on a carrier, the objective marker will tell you where the carrier is. To get it back, all you have to do is destroy the carrier. Of course then you have to have a collector go and pick it up, but the countdown will be gone. I highly recommend destroying all Vaygr in the area first. Mission 12: Thaddis Sabbah Overview: This mission involves the phase "Frigate Lost." Seriously. This would be the mission in which I dubbed my strategy "Brute Force". By constantly attacking and replenishing your forces, you can indeed successfully run right over the Vastly superior force you face in this mission. The actual objectives include destroying all the Vaygr in the area (and as you can infer, there's a LOT) which includes the first appearance of Makaan's mothership (which of course you can't destroy, only chase off), and when you're done with that (or during, up to you) you must rescue Captain Soban from the military base in the middle of the map. Walkthrough: Mission starts. You're told to assault the Vaygr outpost. Easier said than done. Group all of your units into one strike force, put all of your ship producers right behind your front line. I started this mission with approximately 110,000 resources. I used 100,000 of it with the following strategy (or, as some might say, lack thereof) so I recommend using other strategies if you don't have sufficient resources. In any case, the strategy is exceedingly simple. There are 4 regular unit producing groups; 3 shipyards, and a carrier. One shipyard and the carrier are between you and the outpost, 2 of them are beyond. Your first objective is to fight your way to the shipyard and carrier and destroy them. Your second objective is to fight your way to the other 2 shipyards and Makaan and destroy them and send him running. Once the Vaygr are done, your final objective is to save Captain Soban. Best of luck on the first 2. You will be assaulted by somewhere around 2 groups of 10 destroyers in the early going, as well as countless bombers and assault craft, never mind up to 4 battlecruisers at a time. And that's just the static defenses that are present when you warp in. The way one survives this is to keep building units. Queue up the units even if the queues exceed unit caps, because your frigates will die Real fast with that many destroyers and battlecruisers. I set 3 carriers to frigate production, one for each type (flak, torpedo, and ion), and the fourth for gunships and bombers. The mothership did destroyer replacement, and the shipyard did resource collector replacement and was available if I lost a battlecruiser (which, surprisingly enough, I never did). If you move your unit producers close enough to the front line, you should be able to avoid getting flanked, but I kept the 10 movers guarding the mothership just in case. That's pretty much it. About halfway through the slaughter Makaan will show up, giving you another target. I recommend taking out the shipyard and carrier between you and the outpost, ignoring the outpost and continuing on assaulting the shipyards and Makaan. Be careful as you pass the outpost, as you can accidentally destroy it with your battlecruisers and dreadnaught if they're on aggressive (and maybe even defensive). If you accidentally damage it enough to get the message to send in a marine frigate, I recommend putting all your forces to passive and micro-managing attack orders until you move far enough away from the base that you won't attack it. In any case, if you manage to survive a straight out fight with this many ships, the screen will soon fill with Vaygr wreckage, and eventually you'll get through to Makaan. Hit him enough and he'll retreat. Finish up whatever Vaygr are left (which really isn't that bad, the first several waves of Far too many destroyers is really the worst part, but surprisingly somehow survivable). When you're done with the Vaygr, make sure the base is below half strength, and send in a marine frigate. The base seems to launch strike craft, so keep a few gunships around to shoot them down if necessary. Very quickly the marine frigate will be done, and Captain Soban should be released from the base in his own ship. He'll dock with the mothership. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: How do I survive all of these destroyers!!! A: Group all of your units together, don't attack until you've got max units, and build replacements while fighting for the whole mission. See the walkthrough for more detail. Q: Is Makaan tough to fight? A: No. He's just another shipyard. He brings a couple of battlecruisers with him, but by the time you get to him you're pretty jaded about just a couple of them. Q: I don't have enough money for replacing my units! A: Either don't use the brute force method, or before finishing mission 11, exploit the dynamic difficulty and retire a bunch of ships. That should significantly reduce the standing forces on this mission. As for other strategies on this level, there are a couple of good ideas involving gun platforms and minelayers you can find on the gamefaqs message boards and the other faq posted. Q: I managed to destroy the armada using this method, but I've got no money left! A: End the mission and auto collect the resources. I actually ended up with More resources on the mission than I started with-120,000 Vs 110,000-simply due to the Enormous amount of wreckage I left in my wake. If you fought through the same armada that I did, regardless of the amount of asteroid-based resources the computer managed to harvest, there should be More than enough in the way of debris to bring you back to a reasonable level of resources. Mission 13: Balcora Gate Overview: This mission involves fighting through the initial Vaygr strike force, and successfully engaging and destroying at least one of the Vaygr fleets attacking the gate power system. It ends when all Vaygr have been defeated. Walkthrough: Not a particularly complex mission. Basically there's an attack force of battlecruisers waiting for you. Fight through them and destroy one of the Vaygr groups attacking the power subsystems. It'll be rough taking on that many battlecruisers (10 in my game), but with the help of your battlecruisers and your dreadnaught it shouldn't be too bad. The most difficult part of this mission is getting past them to the forces assaulting the power subsystems before the power subsystems are all destroyed. I recommend attacking immediately, regardless of the state of your fleet after mission 12. Rebuild your fleet during that battle, and hopefully one or more of the power subsystems will still be alive by the time you're done. I Just managed to save the one on the middle left. I recommend sending bombers to harass whatever group you chose to focus on, and ignoring the other ones. It seems like the group on the middle left are the slowest, so that might be your best bet. In any case, if you can get through the battlecruisers to one of said forces, and get them to turn away from the subsystem to you, you're pretty much in the clear, as they don't turn back once you're shooting at them (with your main ships). Even if you're hurting, constant fleet replenishment via carriers should keep you in the battle, and since they've only got frigates and fighters in those strike groups you should win out. Once the other 2 groups are done with their subsystems, they'll come down to join the fun. However, once again it's only frigates and fighters, so you should be able to win out in the end. There's a shipyard close to the middle left subsystem, but I recommend leaving that and all associated Vaygr ships for the end, as the real threats are the battlecruisers and the forces attacking the subsystems. Once all Vaygr craft are wiped out, and assuming at least one subsystem is still functional, Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: How do I survive that many battlecruisers??? A: After surviving the last mission, this should be a piece of cake. Just attack with everything you've got (except maybe the bombers you sent to harass the subsystem forces) and rebuild as the battle goes on as usual. For whatever reason the Vaygr (i.e. the computer) doesn't really attack your battlecruisers and dreadnaught. This may be due to the fact that I use the Frigate Line strike group so that the frigates die but not the super cap ships. You pay for that advantage by hearing "Frigate Lost" enough to lose your mind, and lose quite a few destroyers as well, but the compensation of winning the battle is certainly enough. Q: All the power subsystems keep getting destroyed! A: Send bombers, or maybe even your gunships, to one of the groups of Vaygr assaulting the subsystems. Hopefully they'll harass the Vaygr enough to buy you the necessary time. Another idea would be to send a bunch of scouts in and do an EMP pulse a bunch of times. I have no idea if that would work, but it's theoretically sound. Q: Should I take out the shipyard? A: This mission will be over before the Vaygr can really build anything useful from there. The real threat is the battlecruisers and the forces assaulting the power subsystems. Once you've beaten them feel free to slaughter the shipyard and any remaining Vaygr. Q: Should I bother collecting resources? A: I don't see why. In the limited amount of time this mission lasts you won't have the opportunity to collect much and you'll get it all anyways via auto collection. My recommendation is to use the collectors to fix your frigates and cap ships as they fight. Mission 14: Balcora Overview: This mission involves stomping 4 groups of Vaygr, including Makaan & his dreadnaught. Walkthrough: Mission starts. A group of Vaygr approach you head-on from Sajuuk (which ends up just being some massive spaceship, but whatever, this is a Space RTS, the god of the series might as well be a death star). Do a sensor ping. You'll see this group, a small group to the left of your ships, a shipyard to the left of Sajuuk, and Makaan on the other side of Sajuuk from you. Group all of your ships together (I just made one huge strike group). You'll easily crush the initial assault, and once that's done, turn to the left to destroy the small strike group coming at your flank. Immediately assault the Shipyard once that's done. Since there's no more than destroyers in each of these groups, and not many (like in Missions 12 & 13), you should have no issues. Once the shipyard is dead, prepare your fleet. Make sure every ship is ready, put yourself into a strike group (I specifically recommend frigate line) and go for the frontal assault on Makaan. Now, he's got a dreadnaught, at least 3 battlecruisers and 2 destroyers, as well as frigates and strike craft. By putting yourself into a frigate line, you direct the attention of his ships to your smaller ships. You'll lose a ton of frigates, but that's not really a surprise at this point. In any case, once you're full engaged, make sure to focus Your dreadnaught with at least a few destroyers if not another battlecruiser on his dreadnaught. Having survived so many Vaygr battlecruisers, they shouldn't be an issue unless Makaan's dreadnaught becomes one, so make sure it dies quickly. With your dreadnaught and some heavy support it shouldn't be an issue. Once that task is complete, focus on the battlecruisers and you should be home free. Destroy Makaan's mothership. Mission Complete. FAQ: Q: This seems easy. A: It is. Small groups of Vaygr you can eliminate one by one at your leisure? Please. After billions of destroyers and 4 shipyards on Mission 12 this should be a walk in the park. Q: The frontal assault on Makaan is failing! I lose my dreadnaught! A: That's why you put ALL your ships in a frigate line to direct the cap ship fire on your smaller ships. If you still have trouble, then just focus EVERY ship you have on the dreadnaught. If you survived mission 13, and you had to have in order to get here, then a few battlecruisers shouldn't be an issue. Take out Makaan's dreadnaught and you should be fine. Q: Any other advice? A: Keep doing what I've suggested for every level-continually build ships. If you're not doing so when you attack Makaan he *might* be able to gain the upper hand through attrition, but only if your own dreadnaught is damaged and attacks stupid targets. Q: Resourcing? A: Waste of time. Mission 15: Return to Hiigara Overview: This mission requires you to completely destroy the Vaygr force assaulting Hiigara, destroy planetary bombardment missiles as they are en route to Hiigara, and destroy the platforms that are launching the planetary missiles. Walkthrough: Mission starts. Take all your forces and attack the main Vaygr line attacking the Hiigaran defense forces. With Sajuuk, which has a Ridiculous range, you should be able to wipe out all of the ships in that line. You'll have a carrier or 2 to destroy along the line, and that should complete the first objective marker. You'll notice 2 other objective markers showing 2 other groups of Vaygr. These are both shipyards. Once the first line has fallen (and with a full armada that shouldn't take long), 3 planet killer ships will warp in. They are only susceptible to Sajuuk. I recommend jumping Sajuuk to each of them to destroy them, as Sajuuk moves really slow on regular drives. To jump Sajuuk, select it and either hit (J) or click the hyperspace button on the menu bar on the bottom of the screen. Select a location to jump to and off goes Sajuuk. In any case, I recommend taking most of your forces and stomping either one of the remaining shipyards. However, you will also need to take a few strike craft and form 3 groups. Each of the planet killers do their planet killing thing by sending missiles toward the planet. You need strike craft (interceptors, bombers, and movers will work-scouts will NOT) to shoot down the missiles before they pass the line of asteroids in the middle of the map. The missiles never vary in direction of attack; they simply go straight at the asteroid line. Simply put your strike craft on aggressive and shoot down the missiles as they come near. This may be a bit difficult while the shipyards are still active, so you may need to micromanage a bit to ensure that your ships do not attack normal Vaygr craft, but the missiles are very easy to shoot down as long as your 3 groups are in the right location. In any case, use your normal ships to take out the 2 shipyards (I did one at a time, you might try 2 strike groups) and use Sajuuk to destroy the planet killers by hyperspacing close to each one (although again, Sajuuk has huge range, so you don't have to get That close). Once you've destroyed all Vaygr and the planet killers, Mission (and Game) Complete. FAQ: Q: How do I hyperspace with Sajuuk? A: Select the ship and hit either (J) or the hyperspace button on the menu bar. A standard movement selection overlay will appear. Sajuuk will jump to wherever you select. Q: Do I have to stop ALL the missiles? A: No, but it's a good idea. I wasn't ready so I missed one. When the planet killers show up, they give you a population counter-180 million on Hiigara. One missile getting through knocked that down to 100 million or so. So screw up and you lose nearly half the population. This suggests you may be able to get by with letting 2 or maybe even 3 by, but somehow I don't think that's a great idea. BTW, an entire planet has less population than the USA? That's a pretty small number, in my opinion. Perhaps Hiigara's population has been whittled down by the Vaygr to this point. In any case, before you attack you should split off a few strike craft for the express purpose of shooting down the missiles. Keep them behind the lines until you need them. Q: Where did the planet killers come from? A: No idea, the game mentions they're similar to Bentusi technology or something; but that's about it. My guess would be that freeing Sajuuk freed something else which was the source.