AI War - Using Older Ships
What Do I Do With My Older Ships?
Q: In other RTS games, I am used to only building the highest-level units possible once I can. In other words, once I can build t2 ships, I wouldn't still be building or using my t1 ships. AI War seems to be different, but I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
A: One of the unique things about AI War is that it makes you continue to use your older, weaker, technology -- this is counter to most RTS games, but it is very much like what a real military commander would do. Even at the very end of a campaign of AI War, when you are primarily creating Mark III and Mark IV ships, you'll also usually still be needing to maintain a large number of Mark I ships.
These Mark I ships are probably best used for planetary defense, or as mixed into larger fleets of higher-tech ships. At worst they are cannon fodder to draw the fire away from your higher-level ships; at best they are a significant increase in your total firepower.
The population caps in AI War are per-ship-type per-ship-level. This means that having an ongoing stable of lower-level ships can only serve to enhance your fleet (as opposed to other games, where these would be taking up valuable slots in the central population cap -- there is no central population cap in AI War, so that's a non-issue). You won't win many wars with just Mark I ships, but having Mark I ships to augment your larger fleets can give you the critical edge you need in tough situations.