So I pull the fleet out of homeworld trying to bait in the threat ball. It works, and it's a BRAWL. ANOTHER 157 ship wave announces to attack homeworld during the final phase of the cleanup aroudn 1:26. Alrighty then. turrets should handle this.
I decide to drop a Logistics I into Center 6 this time. It will help, at least, with me being able to get a response force there in time. I'll also be dropping a countersnipe turret or two on the primary Turret Batteries. The eventual power requirements for my fleet with the golems require me to have a couple of strong reactor cores. I'll have to behave myself.
Found a core-world at SE 4. That means HW should be SE 8. Hm. There's 3 golems I haven't mentioned bordering the core-world chain, looks like those are non-options for a bit. Meanwhile, I go to pop the counter III on Center 8. 191 MK III to homeworld in 14 minutes. I'll have to head back there in time. Meanwhile I continue post cleanup on Center 8 for eventual domination.
I drop in another 20 MLRS and 20 Laser Turrets to Center 6 to assist in defenses while I have a bit of spare resources.
1:37 Center 8 is captured and is building up. AIP is 54, it's probably time I started hunting down a few data centers I've seen. I'm also firing up the HoneyComb builds. Research will bring Frigate IIs online and then the last 1k I'll sit on for a future upgrade for Raid II starships.
That AIP is seeing me get 600+ waves. Next one's going for homeworld. Fleet WILL be required for that one. In the meanwhile Center 8 starts getting itself a bit of a turret buff. 20 Laser/20 MLRS/20 Snipe/20 Basic Is. A reasonable start. The wave is stopped pretty cold but 166 threat is now out there from escapees. The Honeycombs did well for themselves. I jammed them into the wave and hauled back a bunch of troops to the short range turrets parked around the cmd station while the rest of the fleet stayed on offense. These have some value if I can micro them well enough.
Counterstrike in 4:40 when I'm done screwing around... I decide to wait... will give me time to bring the Frig II's online/built so it works. They're done building out at around 1:45 with 2:20 left so I just park it. good time to finish renames and check out the map. By the way, do these names really help any or is it visual map or nothing?
Counterstrike was stopped with reasonable ease due to good range and letting them 'split' enroute. A couple of escapees but that's expected.
There's a Data Center in South 2 that would help with wave volume right now so I send some scouts down to 'light it up' so I can get my Raids in there without suicide. 241 units, heh. Well, the Raids get the job done and AIP is 34 again, and the fleet eats the backwash coming into Center 8 from the attack. They were pretty well dug in there.
A huge threat chunk + Marauders got into Center 6. The fleet is heading back to help them out now, but 28 Marauder ships are going to be brutal. Wasn't too bad actually, since I ran into the middle of the fight I got to flank both at once. Just had to drop in some LRMs to deal with an unsnipable Marauder Frigate. Threat's down to 134, which is where it hovers a lot lately.
That's better, got the waves down to 430. Center 6 attack too. Wonder if it'd hold... doubt it. 40 MLRS, 20 Laser, 20 LRM, 10 Sniper and 10 Basics, and 1 FF... vs. 430 ships. I'm gonna have to go with no. Well, at least the fleet's local at the moment.
I keep the fleet in another planet so the enemy will commit instead of immediately fleeing for the wormhole. All the threat that was building up? Half dumped in with the raid.
I decide to do a little house cleaning and open up some paths to more Data Centers before moving forward. Happily, one of those paths has a nice ARS along it. Of course, it's also MK IV and for no good reason had 400+ ships on it. I'm going to have to whittle that down. Need to be careful of the EMP guardian tho'. To be a wise-guy, though, I decide to try employing my shiny new honeycombs. That... didn't work. The snipers INHALED the honeycombs. There are 69 of them at MK IV sitting on this dang planet. Will need to break the tachyon and get scout SS in there to sniper flare.
2 False starts and I'm able to clear the Tachyon post on the entry. I've lost my bombers though so I need to head home for reinforcements. I've drained off about 100 ships so far though. I took a pretty heavy beating there, actually. I've just brought Siege and Bomber SS online to assist the main fleet's firepower for anti-guardian. I also swap my Scout II for a Scout I on that planet now that I don't need to boot-shove them in.
It's now 2:15 and I'm debating on if I really want to go toe to toe with this MK IV world... and realize I kind of need to, it's got my ARS. I send a Science II up to see if I really care. Default is Raptors. Cutlass/SSB as secondaries. Oh, that's a nice one. There's a Grav Drill planet I've been avoiding that could really give me a nice econ boost. With Raptors, I could nab it. It'd make an awesome whipping boy. I'll have to think on that. In the meanwhile, oh yes, I wants me my Raptors.
At 2:25 I've rebuilt and hammered down another borderworld to the homeworld out of annoyance at the pathing going through one planet in one direction and a different one returning. Clearing 'em both. With the Siege Engines attached they Go REAAAALLLLYYYY SLLOOOOOOOOWWWWWLLLYYYYY... and the siege engines get sent back home. You wouldn't think 44 vs. 36 would be THAT much more painful, but... yeah... it is.
A marauder raid hits North 9 while I'm in there so I break for North 5, the ARS I've been working on. Between the dual Ions and the mass of MK IV, they don't last long and I fleet wipe. However, I do manage to pop that EMP Guardian before they die and open up a little more pathing for my Raids to get in there and do some work. The fleet, however, is obliterated.
I grab the Raids and a cloaker and head for North 5 to see if i can get those ion IIs down. It's working, if a bit slow, however a 450 ship raid is heading for Center 6 and I really don't have enough fleet to back them right now. One buzz too close to a MK IV set of troops and the Raid SSs are dead. But they got the Ions.
Another wave, 650 this time, for Center 8. Ugh. AIP is 38, wtf? I ship the Sniper Auxiliaries that have rebuilt to Center 6 to assist while the fleet continues to rebuild. I blow a captured distribution node to assist in the rebuild speed.
Of course, the MK IV threat I just released hits Homeworld during all of this. There is nothing on 6 or 8 I can't live without, they're mostly econ right now. I can't defend everything, Triage. We're defending the homeworld. I pull back the auxiliaries. I do however drop 50 Lightning turrets against the grav-well edge of the Center 8 defensive point. I don't expect it to survive, but that should help with what I have to cleanup after.
Center 6 (borderworld) held reasonably well on its own, but there's only so much it's going to do against 40+ shield bearers, particularly once the sniper counter-turret falls. Center 8, on the other hand, held reasonably well with the Lightning additions. It got a little dicey when the mob of Frigates got involved but they got pushed off. Because Center 6 never lost supply, the rebuilders kept working on putting the turrets back up. Minimal turrets vs. Shield Bearer war is kind of amusing, actually.
On a side note, keep in mind this is 39 AIP. I'm getting 600 ship waves. I'm becoming convinced someone nudged the abuse meter. Time: 2:40. Fleet status: Still rebuilding. Since those Lightning Turrets worked so well on close-approachers, however, I split them between Center 6 and 8.
All rebuilt at 2:43 and we're ready to take another run at North 5, the MK IV, which is down to 223 ships now. Out of spite, a 213 ship announcement to Center 8 is announced. Oh, right, this is the MK IV with the Inter-P Booster... no wonder it's rediculous. I'm making headway, but it's small. The sniper flares on the starships are weak and apparently don't cover much area. I'm getting sniper hammered constantly. The wave on Center 8 is actually getting pretty damned feisty for being a smaller wave. The 600 died a lot easier. Odd. It might be the shield bearers making a huge difference there, though. That assault dragged off another 80 or so, bringing down North 5 to 133 units. A marauder assault chasing the Wave on Center 8 may finish what the wave couldn't, particularly since the long range guys are snipe immune and I didn't have LRMs built on Center 8.
I send off what fleet I have to try to protect it but they're gonna be late. Hunh, Bomber SS can't hit Marauder Frigates? Not cool. However, logistics saves the day and the fleet rams into the marauders, cleaning them off before final kill... and another wave announces for here, with all the turrets down. It's a small one at least (127 ships).
2:57, still only 3 planets. I've been wailing away at this MK IV for an hour now. Making progress but it's SLOW. Retreats and defenses all over the place are costing me too. I add some flaks to the lightning defenses... because my negative econ needed MORE of a drain. Finally I just turn off starships until the fleet's up and running again.
AIP 41, 732 AI ships to Center 6. Seriously. The Turret wall at Center 8 is almost finished rebuilding at least, and Center 6 I can respond to with the fleet if it gets too hairy, but yikes. It's now 3:03:30 when they land. The last couple of waves have been on short-haul Wormholes, too, so the LR stuff doesn't really come into play as long as I'd prefer. This is another one.
200 Frigates, 140 Fighters, 83 Bombers, 280 Raiders, 2? Shield Bearers and 2 Snipers... and a leech and a starship. Yeesh. The sniper auxiliaries show up to try to assist. The wave hits the lightnigns and break off. It was quite funny. I could actually picture the look on the pilots face. "Oh, just some LRMs, STAY ON TARGET..." Lightning storm shatters reality in front of him. "RETREAT!!!!"
With the majority of the wave having been eaten due to chasing the snipers who ran for homeworld, the snipers return when it's mostly just Frigates left. Those AoE turrets are very effective in bulk against light ships. This is done by 3:06 and the fleet's mostly rebuilt, just waiting on the tail of bombers/frigates to finish buildout.
I usually try to base the defenses against a friendly wormhole, to keep escapees from harassing back systems. Because of the defensive spread I actually WANT that to happen now, so my bases are way up against the edge of the system in tight clusters for counter-sniper. This is... different for me.
With the fleet rebuilt we head for North 5 again, after turning the starships back on. Snipers went in first however and got wrecked by a mini-threatball. Primary heads in to do some more damage. Stupid Inter-P on a MK IV lousy son of a razzlefraggin' beetlesnatchin... Heh, NOW the scout flares work... More consistency would help.
This run found me trapped by a grav guardian and not being able to punch through a FF in time, lost the main fleet again by 3:14. A 250 ship wave against homeworld was ignored. However, this run took a lot of defensive cold-storage units out and got all but 30-40 ships off the planet. Next run should seal the deal.
At about 3:22 I decide I'm going to Transport-Scout some Scout I's into a picket point. Well, this fires off an EMP III guardian on that wormhole that heads for Center 6. *facepalm* SERIOUSLY? My luck is getting to be a BIT inane... the fleet heads over to help and more marauders.
Well, that was fun, I WAS almost rebuilt... Next run at North 5 at 3:30 goes well. The planet gets cleared of most of its offensive firepower and we pop the remaining guardposts, absorbing reasonable losses, though the snipers took a pretty hard beating. I may hook some Riots up to them with FFs to help them surive longer.
Even without having a Golem, Exo fires up at 3:30 to 50%. Another 370 ship wave is also heading for Center 6, the borderworld. I'm going to see if they can hold their own without me, I'm busy.
Now, decision. Do I ever want to deal with this MK IV again or do I pop the Cmd Center now even though I'm not really in the position I want to be in to control it? Screw that, this took me an hour, it's not welcome to rebuild. POP.
Of course ANOTHER wave is threatening Homeworld, for 681 ships. Back to back waves? Good time to pop it.
Lot of things going on at once here. Watching one wave get deflected while I bring the fleet home for the second wave defense. Meanwhile a transport and raids head to North 5 to build out while raiding a nearby Data Center eventually (need base turrets for backwash up first). About 200 ships from the Homeworld escape to support the Center 6 wave leftovers (shield bearers, frigates, and starships). They don't make much of a difference. I put the fleet back together and send it up to North 5 while Raptors start construction. I start a new dock for them so the first doesn't overload on me.
3:38 and the defenses start going up on North 5. The Raids hit North 3 and pop the Data Center, but die to a grav guardian and being blocked off by awakened defenses. Nice fat threat ball just waiting for me, too. I move the fleet to push them off system to bait the threat in once the FF goes up on North 5. Only 37 ships, nothing huge, just a lot of guardian. I let the defenses go and see if they can hold with the fleet just off the wormhole. AIP is back at 43.
This area's going to need heavier defenses if I want to hold it. Any wave that comes in gets Inter-P boosted. What works elsewhere falls here. Hrm. Eventually I bring in the sniper auxiliaries to help with a gate guardian that just wouldn't die.
That completed and AIP still at reasonable levels at 3:45, the Exo's at 55%. I figure I should probably get a golem or two to help with that. There's an artillery over at East 6 I could get, an armored or a hive over in the west, and an armored + ARS in South 4 I could get, but that's got an Eye and is a MK III planet. I build out some Riot Is for Shields for the Snipers (2x shield, 4x MG) and inspect my options. I also bring Raid IIs online and start construction.
That artillery golem has a CSG-E on the same planet, and if I really want to do some 'eye popping', an artillery golem's the way to go. It's 3 planets off the homeworld though, has a Fort I, 2 heavy Ions, and there's a MK IV between me and it. Said MK IV (East 5) has 258 units. Hrm. It's a great Econ planet however, but it's WAAAAY da hell out there. Maybe I'll cloaker/Transport a rebuild team in another system nearby and just let it die a lot. Oh, yeah, to annoy me East 8 (which borders the path of East 4/5/6) has a SF Alarm post on it, just making life even more fun.
3:51:03: 309 CPA in 10:57. Well, until that actually lands I'm going to be goofing off with clearances because I don't want to get caught in the Ozarks if it does something inane. I think I'll clear the path through South 1 to South 4 (ARS + Armored), since that needs to happen eventually anyway and leaves me right off Center 8 for return trips/reinforcements.
Breaking the post here simply to keep it from being a few years in length.