I've tried my hand at the 10/10 challenge recently.
50-planet realistic map, 29394838 seed
10/10 tank AIs, no handicaps
only Zenith expansion enabled
minor factions: colony rebellions, resistance fighters, marauders, zenith traders, zenith devourer, broken golems hard
ai plots: 2xAvengers (I am almost certainly going to regret this; my last game had them on and I didn't check before I started this one)
Disabled ship types: teleporters, parasites
Default AI Progress increase is 1 AIP/hr. Game's gonna be long and grindy, I'd rather not get stomped too badly.
I picked munitions boosters as starting ship because, while they may not be my favorite bonus ship, they're probably the best, at least in the base game + zenith expansion. Being able to literally double your attack power right off the bat for 2.5k knowledge is amazing. The map itself is pretty good too. Homeworld is easy to defend, and you only need to take one planet before the map opens up and you have a choice of routes out (or planets to knowledge raid)
I picked Tank AIs because I was reading the wiki and stumbled across a very interesting set of numbers. If I'm reading the numbers
correctly, Tank AIs send half-strength waves and reinforce only 30% as much as other AIs. I'm not sure whether that page is still accurate, or what the rationale is for tank being so easy, but I went with it because hell, the challenge is to beat 10/10 with AIs that send waves. >_>
A bunch of other people are playing these games, so as a rough comparison: at beginning AIP waves hit the min cap sometimes or were generally < 90 ships. At 30-50 they ranged from low 200s to 300s, and now that I'm up around 80 I'm getting high 500s. If this is half as hard as it should be… oh well.
So I've taken the first couple planet. Priest's Pity was mk. iii or iv, can't remember. Munitions boosters made it not hard. There was a fort, but it did me the favor of killing all the munitions boosters I sent down with my bombers… except for one, so my bombers still had 1.7x attack. Take that.
The next planet, Pontifex' Seclusion? Had an ARS. No idea how to use Vampire Claws though. They just seem to die. This seed was exceptionally kind to me, as Brennan's Triumph held a second ARS. But I won't get to that one for a while. The problem I ran into is that I started trying to knowledge raid immediately. On difficulty 10 that is rather hard
, as many people have discovered. It turns out that the game spawns (difficulty*numberOfResearchStations) ships every (11-difficulty) seconds. And the spawns are 1 higher than the default tech level, which is already II…
I replayed the beginning of this map several times, actually, trying different combinations of knowledge unlocks. Do I want fortresses? How many? Is Mk. I sufficient, or do I go up to II? Do I want Engineers Mk. III? Can I get any fleet ships besides munitions boosters up to II? How the hell am I supposed to power multiple fortresses off of 3 planets' worth of reactors and still have a fleet?Tips on Knowledge Raiding on 10/10
, trial-and-error edition
At first, I tried just dropping two forts and 50 snipers. Forts are powerful, surely they can do the job? Then I got my engies to work on two research stations and sat back and watched. Wow, that's a lot of ships. But look at my forts go. These ships are gonna… wait? They take multiple hits to kill? but but butttt---
And that was where I learned that the spawn rate is proportional to the number of research stations you set up. Tip #1: only put up one station. Then I tried three forts. I had to power off my fleet to have the energy, and I had almost no turrets as a result. That went better, but I still lost.
In the end, I took a fourth planet. Family Rhonkar had A: a data center, and B: a black widow golem. For the resources to build the fortresses at all, I hit up Mk. III Economic stations and plunked those down.
Black widows are really good now. The paralyzing tractor is perfect for this kind of thing. The range on those is huge, around like 12k, so you grab and paralyze the ships just as they get in range of your turrets, but before (most of) them are close enough to fire. The final setup was: max cap of basic turrets mk. ii + 50 missile turrets mk. i + near-max cap of snipers + 2 forts + black widow. Also typically threw in some more turrets, was about 50 lasers at first but 5.25 got released and so I switched to hbcs mk. I later. The turrets were all at +100% attack courtesy of some munitions boosters, although the golem and forts are immune afaict. I'm positive this was somewhat overkill, but I couldn't say how much or what the actual minimum is. The fortresses actually seemed to be doing less damage than everything else, although they probably get a lot more vital when you don't have a black widow handy 3 systems out.
So how did this go? pretty badly. You may remember that I had marauders and resistance fighters on. That was a very bad decision.
You are looking at 3 -- yes, three
-- resistance fighter spawns. Initially this appears to be a good thing! Appearances are deceiving. Their presence draws enemy ships away from your turret ball, lowering your dps. They do not do nearly enough damage to compensate. And when they kill your fighters? You get hit with 2-300 extra ships that you can't handle. gg.
Marauders, meanwhile, just spawn behind you and wreck everything. I did some heavy savescumming to try to manipulate the spawn away (since it takes half an hour of sitting around doing nothing to gather the resources for two forts, and the turrets are practically worth another fort by themselves), but it didn't work. Ended up having to wait to initiate the raiding until after my fleet butchered them. And then of course when I hit 2k knowledge from that planet, they spawned again. Thankfully I capped it out before they wrecked me. They do seriously insane damage to forts…
In the end, I let the AI spawns deal with them. When the AI looked to have an overwhelming advantage, I stuck my black widow's head back in the system and gathered up 200 ships and brought them back out to my waiting fleet. Dragging that fight out was fun
Here's what the map looked like three hours in. P9s are ARSs (three within 4 hops is really nice, thanks rng). The P5s are planets with something interesting, but I ended up not taking either. Note: that 503 wave is actually a really really small CPA. That more than anything else makes me think using Tank AIs is cheating and doesn't count. =<
To control reinforcements, I spent a lot of time neutering every system connected to one of mine. Well, it was a lot of time before I got the black widow golem. With a little bit of micro, the widow can take on whole systems by itself rather easily. Ultimately, its main danger was from Raider Guardians. They do 1-2% hp of damage each salvo, and repairing the golem is expensive. And they have radar damping, so they always get at least one salvo off. And the golem has a long reload time, and it always seems to fire its salvo at everything besides the raider just before the raider gets in range. So the raiders get 2-3 salvos each.
The second ARS gave me zenith bombards, hell yeah. I also captured an ion v in the system, so I spent some time fortifying it to make it a kinda lame whipping boy. I haven't gate-raided all game to save the AIP, instead just figuring that I won't mind losing any system besides the one guarding my homeworld. But the ion v is a good enough asset that it's worth defending.
And that planet's only been hit by a wave once so far. =(
At around the 4 hr mark a broken golems exowave hits. Yeah, the same exowave that dropped everything to dance around after a lone scout in an enemy system. The wave was small in terms of numbers, only about 100 ships, but it had an artillery golem (the new ones are fucking scary, 1hko a starship every 8 seconds), a bunch of high-level starships, and fleet ships of assorted marks. A lot harder than the exos I'm used to seeing on diff 7. I end up chasing it into its planet and lose 3/4s of my 500+ ship fleet (for something that people keep saying is squishy, that golem took a solid minute of focus fire; probably should've taken out its fleet first), but I pull out with the win.
Taking the next ARS planet (the P9 that isn't mine) was time-consuming, since I had to neuter 4 planets (that planet itself and the 3 connections) before finally popping the command station. But when you have a ship with 200 paralyzing tractors, its gonna get done. I got snipers for my effort. hell yeah, another good unit. I grouped the snipers and bombards together and used them as a mobile turret collection back in my home column.
Knowledge unlocks up to this point:
Mk. 2 Scouts, Fighters, Bombers, Missile Frigs, Munitions Boosters
Mk. 2/3 Engineers
Mk. 2/3 Economic Command Stations
Basic Turrets Mk. 2
Heavy Beam Cannons Mk. 1
Fortresses Mk. 1
I'm loath to spend 2250 knowledge on scouts when I have perfectly good mk. ii scouts lying around, but getting them any further is going to require more micro than I feel like using. So at this point, the only thing to do is carve out some tachyons. That reveals two more ARSs, a superterminal, a couple other golems and the remaining datacenters.
Since I've passed the halfway mark in terms of planets I've scouted and portions of the galaxy I'm essentially done messing around in, I ignore the ARSs for now and head off for a planet with a cursed golem and a shield generator. It can't resist a black widow and my fleet. Of course, my fleet has to immediately run back to stave off a wave, but it can't be helped. I then build a spacedock over there that churns out only scouts, and once the cursed golem comes online I send them out to hit the datacenters and neuter some systems on the way.
In the process that carves more scout paths, which lets me fill in the map. Yeah, I'm still missing one planet, but we all know what it has to be.
P9s are planets that have, or had, an ARS. Yes, that last ARS is right next to a core world, ugh. Amusingly, it has a broken botnet on it, which would have been really nice 3 hours ago. The P8 is the superterminal. I have the core shield gen overlay on, so planets with B-secondary shields have factory ivs (there's two, CS-B1). P0s are the 4 co-processors.
Planets seem to be averaging around 200-300 ships or so right now. That's pretty low, but AIP is low and I'm spending a great deal of time neutering any planet that goes on alert. And there are a lot of those, which siphon reinforcements away from everything else. That planet up at the top with 105 ships? It's been at 105 ships for 2-3 hours, hasn't been reinforced once since I've had a scout there. And I just blew up a bunch of guard posts in the top-left cluster. Waves are getting troublesome; static defenses aren't up to holding off 600+ bombers, so my fleet ships are all back home fending stuff off. I want that AIP further down, but I've already hit the data centers. =/
I'm nearing the end of the middle game, and most everything is scouted, so it's time to sit down and think about how to clear off these core shield gens and what remaining planets to get.
I've taken out the E network. D is annoying; only two planets have it and neither of them are worth taking. Gonna have to decide which to take soon. The superterminal world has a C, so that's taken care of. B is advanced factories… do I want one, or two? And I only need one more A, so I could conceivably skip the core-world-adjacent ARS and its botnet if I wanted to.
The next thing to do is pretty clearly to get the non-core-world-adjacent ARS two systems away. It also has an artillery golem on it, which I'll pretty much be relying on to solo the avengers with its ridiculous dps (why did I leave those on, argh). After that, though? I'll be at 100 AIP, so it's probably time to hit up the superterminal. I don't know how bad the spawns will be unfortunately, so I'll have to go all-out and have a giant-ass turret ball, 2-3 forts, and a couple golems there. Hopefully mark v ships can still be paralyze-tractored! Will probably need to wait until the zenith power gen finishes building on my homeworld. Silly traders didn't visit until like 3.5/4 hours in. =(
I also have to ask myself how far to go with the superterminal. IDK if I'll be able to hold it forever, but hmm, what would be the optimal point to quit with it? I'm looking at a minimum of 3 more planets taken, so that's 60. I'll hit the bottom homeworld first, and that's about when I should get the last co-processors, so -60 for that. The homeworld itself will be… +110 or so. If I negate that and bring my AIP down to a saner level, which is probably -30 or so from the current baseline… I'll need about 140 aip reduced with the superterminal. Which would put the floor up 14, which would leave me at around 40-50, where I want to be.
Except I don't know the spawn algorithm, and 140 seems… let's say a lot. That would involve leaving it on for 35 minutes. That turret ball is gonna have to be big. I'll just go for as long as I can and see where I end up.
From there I knowledge raid some more. How much? idk. I probably want mk. 3/4 bombers at least, but if I want mk. 3/4 everything that's gonna take a while. =/
And then beat the game. It sounds so simple when you write it out like that.
Hopefully I'll have this game done in the next 2-3 days. I'm cautiously optimistic.
The bottom homeworld went on alert for a bit right after I initially scouted it, and I have no idea why. I only sent scouts, no transports or anything. Could resistance fighters have spawned in response to my scouts dying or something?
The names of the two AI homeworlds: Patriarch's Keep and Perpetual Sin.
What determines the AI floor normally? Is it 1/10th of total positive progress or something?
And most importantly of all, I thought Mk. 3 Engies teleported? Why aren't mine teleporting =(( oh wait I turned teleport units off, hahahahahahaha awesome. I bet the botnet wouldn't actually reclaim ships even if I did grab it, then, since I also turned parasites off. get punked. yeah, I'm skipping that ARS.