Allright this is it, the final battle. I have decided to neuter the toughest homeworld first (Dark Spear) and then quickly destroy Meredy.
First I had to neuter the coreworld Commander, which has an AI eye on it. Attritioner in and out, 2 martyrs ready and goodbye enemy ships. There were a few heavily shielded guard posts so I figured it would be faster to just kill the AI eye itself. Moved the rest of my fleet in after the job was done and now they're just defending the place.
Meanwhile I'm constantly getting waves from the Core Raid engine. The black widows can paralyze 600 ships in total, so I'm doing just fine. But having to deal with waves constantly is a pain in the butt so that Raid engine has to die.
First I tried to attack it head on with just my 3 black widow golems. They succeeded in destroying the raid engine, but they all died. Plus it triggered 2 EMP guardians to attack so that was a quick savescum for me.
I realized the best thing I could do was kill one core guard post at a time and slowly move my way to the core raid engine. Had to retreat a couple of times to deal with a wave (my fleet alone would get shot to bits without the help of the black widows) and after destroying about 5 or 6 waves I finally succeeded. The core raid engine and the OMD that was next to it have died. One of my black widows almost died because of the mk III fort, but thankfully they all made it through alive. Repairing and finishing up now.
Allright, Dark Spear has been neutered mostly. All guard posts are dead, which means the AI eye had blown up too (good). I left the mk III fort alive for now, I want the other homeworld destroyed as quick as possible first.
Exo is at 99% and I got some defenses up... I will reload to a save from right after I killed the raid engine in case I can't beat the exo without my fleet. But I will see how far I can get.
The exo wasn't too hard to kill. 3 out of 5 enemy groups wanted to kill my black widows, which was of course a foolish attempt. One of them went for my homeworld, which was also silly. They would have defeated me if all groups came to my homeworld, but a single group had no hope.
The last group managed to kill my Advanced Factory. That's a bit disappointing but it doesn't matter much. I don't think i need it to win the game.
Time to get to the second part of the endgame. No nasty structures at the second homeworld so this part should be easier.
No AI eyes and raid engines means I can just march right through nearly everything. I have to repair my black widows often, but mk III engies are awesome for that.
Bombers and black widows to destroy the fort III and the homeworld Meredy falls. Repairing and quickly moving to destroy Dark Spear. I don't care if a CPA warning shows up now. I'll have won the game before it hits anyway
A wave of 438 bombers at 504 AIP... The AI is getting pretty desperate. You'll need to do better than that to break my turretball.
I decide to just storm the last fort III with my whole fleet for giggles. Only about 200 ships die and I won the game
Finally I have beaten the crosshatch ^^ 4 new achievements as well. First time I got dif 9 achievs and I got them without even abusing the dyson sphere or botnet golem (I had neither in my game). The endgame actually took slighty less than an hour and still no sign of a CPA. I find that odd though it was quite lucky for me.
A few notes:
Resources were hardly ever an issue in this crosshatch game. The biggest issue I had was caps limit. There simply weren't enough turrets around to keep me protected. I set up a nice turretball, but my other planets were very weakly defended the whole game. This is exactly why I've been keeping threat so extremely low the whole game.
Black widow golems are extremely useful. They're not overpowered in any way because they die fast and don't have ridiculous firepower. But their ability to paralyze so many ships at once is extremely useful. The regular ships at the core and homeworlds posed 0 threat to me. I only had to deal with the guardians and structures.
Warp Jammers were probably the most important thing in my victory. I don't think I would have been able to pull it off without them. They actually allow you to capture coreworlds or worlds bordering coreworlds without any serious consequenses. In a map with many connections like crosshatch they're probably overpowered. I'm wondering if the caps should go to 4 or 3 perhaps.
This was a pretty solid game in general. Didn't make too many mistakes and neither did I use much cheese. The AI was very challenging but not overwhelmingly so. I'm now confident that I can beat 9/9 random AI type games in a realistic map. But I'm done with the crosshatch for a while lol. Had enough of it, time to go back to regular games =)
End time: 19 hours and 8 minutes
Final AIP: 605
Total kills made: 78,476
Total Losses: 12,651
Kill to Loss: 620%