From: Arlington TN U.S.A
I got to thinking and decided that it would be helpful to pass along some observations regarding Legends. So here they are!
Your race is the most important factor of all, deciding what advantages and disadvantages you will have. For example, you should carefully note such things as what character types are more or less likely to appear, and things like the Teekan warships being smaller or the Naxillians being denied armor. A good all round race to play is Humans until you know the ropes. I played a Teekan for my first empire (abandoned), but will be playing humans for my second.
Your Leader is extremely important! Take careful notice of your Leader when you start a game. Assign your colony governor to your home world, and set your spy to counterespionage. When you get a diplomat send him to your problem empire when you get contact. Assign your admirals to fleets and your generals to troop fleets. Be very hesitant to dismiss a character, generally you can shuffle one who looks bad to where he does no harm.
Your initial conditions are also extremely important, lack of good steel mines, aculon, carbon fibre, polymer, and of course the fuel caslon and hydrogen in your home system or very nearby are (for me) no show game starts. I reject games without at least 17 of the 19 mineral resources within the explored territory at game start for a young civilization. I save starts where the home system has at least 13 different minerals and at least three luxuries, then when I get about twenty saves, I choose the best. A home territory with two different races of independent colonies is best, indicating that you are at the border between two sets of independent colonies. Try to get ocean and swamp independent races since polymer and carbon fibre are critical resources to be gained from independents able to quickly build a spaceport.
As I noted in another thread, the more AI civilizations in the galaxy, the easier it will be to make money by technology trading. Once you start trading technology with two or three other empires, it becomes profitable to crash research techs for resale at ten percent or better of market price. Tech sells for less in Legends than in RotS, so if you are used to getting twice the number of technology points in cash for the first sale, it will be a surprise. Speaking of trading, you start relations poorly due to your "strange alien ways", but that disadvantage slowly reduces over time. My rule of thumb is to immediately give military refueling and mining rights plus about 600k worth of technology sold by giving gifts to the AI empire then getting the cash back. Keep them relatively poor compared to you, but not flat broke. Always negotiate package deals, and trade your empire map for the first three to four years. Never trade your galaxy map and always buy theirs. I don't know if it is a feature now, but I got contact by clicking on systems in the newly explored territory when an AI empire traded its galaxy map to me, provided there was some property of another empire in the map. So meeting one AI can reveal several if their territories are close together. If an empire has a racial tech, buy the first level but don't buy the later ones unless you have a couple dozen techs to sell them. That way if they learn a non racial tech you will have something to trade for it. They start to trade racial techs at about +32 or so of happiness, friendly or delighted. Do not conquer an empire until it has sold you all of its racial techs and built any racial wonders.
Speaking of wonders, other than the shipyard you don't really need to get them all. Let the AI empires build them on their home worlds, then conquer the home worlds (evil laugh). If you buy a wonder and somebody else builds it, you get technology points for about the same number as the cash you spent.
I tried out the 15x15 map and did not like it due to the long distances between empires set for average distance. If you play the 15x15 map be sure to set up pirates to plentiful and nearby, otherwise you will have difficulty getting enough reputation to conquer more than two independent colonies per game year without a nasty reputation. If you play the 15x15 map it is essential for you to have at least four steel, lead, gold, iridium mines and plenty (8-10) of fuel gas mines within the first three years, otherwise things will not get built, including mines. Mining engines need steel and aculon, so be sure to get an aculon mine ASAP. Gas extractors need steel and polymer, so be sure you have polymer! Colonization modules need lots of steel and hydrogen, and hydrogen fusion reactors are MUCH more fuel efficient than Caslon reactors… Engines will be requiring carbon fibre and aculon as you learn technology, in quantity, so be sure to have plenty. Did I mention that steel is essential? lol
Money is created by population, where revenue = population * (planet quality - 50%) * (planet development level) * (1- corruption as a fraction) * (1 + bonuses as a fraction) / scale factor.
Scale factor is determined at game creation by the difficulty setting, with more difficulty generating less money for you and more for the AI players. Of course if you manage the AI empires through trading things you get their money regardless, so perhaps a setting of maximum difficulty would generate more galactic economy than on normal. I have not tried that out...
Population grows faster when luxuries are high and taxes are low. Population growth rate is doubled as you learn colonization techs, see the high tech tree. The upper limit for population at a planet is determined by both planet size and planet type (continental…volcanic). I have only reached maximum population at my home world and a volcanic independent Shandar moon colony, but generally speaking you should tax at 14% or less to encourage population growth. Taxing at zero percent if you can manage it is much faster population growth than at 14%. Taxes affect colony happiness, and happiness affects troop recruitment rate. Taxes have all sorts of bad effects, so tax only if you MUST. By letting the civilians have the cash, you get it back when they buy ships, THEN you use it to buy empire things. So if you did not tax at all, you would get the money anyway PROVIDED your empire is expanding quickly. More to come on taxes below…
Planet Quality is critically important, with a 90% being twice as good as a 70%, and a 70% being twice as good as a 60%. Watch out for disasters which lower planet quality. A nice improvement to game play is the terraforming facility to restore lost quality. If you see a low quality planet, consider colonizing it only if its resources are very valuable. Then once your spaceport is built, build a custom design starbase with mining components to get the resources mined faster. The rate at which resources are mined is determined by their abundance percentage and the number of mining units multiplied by the rate per mining unit. The construction tech tree allows you to learn tech to mine much faster, so learning that tech should be a high priority. Planet quality has no effect upon the rate at which you mine resources, just on revenue. As a quick note on mine design, you should have cargo bays of size sufficient to hold all of the mined resources from six months of operation, since freighter visits may be rare. As your mining rates increase, the cargo bays per mine need to be increased. I custom design everything, but if you let the auto-design do your mines, it should get a good ratio cargo to mining rate. You also need enough docking bays to shift all that cargo, generally six to nine.
Planet development level is based upon population size up to a maximum of 50%, luxuries up to 50% for ten, special racial luxury bonuses, ruins and wonder bonuses, leader bonuses, colony governor bonuses, empire wide bonuses etc. In general the higher the development level the better. The super luxuries Loros Fruit, Kobabbian Spice, and Zentabia Fluid increase development level by 30 percent as soon as they are in cargo. For other luxuries your rate of increase is about 19 development points per year, provided the luxuries are in stock to raise your level above the current one. Development level can be reduced by government change or invasion. Government change also kills off ten percent of population in RotS, but I haven't changed government in Legends to verify that it does the same.
Corruption is based upon population size, distance from the capital or a regional capital, and total empire size. It is better to have four tight groups of large high quality colonies than a dispersed empire. So as a little hint, look for clusters of AI empires near each other and plan conquest to hit the biggest clusters first, nominal friend or foe regardless. Starting a war costs about the same reputation as invading an independent colony. A good rule of thumb is that you need four times the number of troops on a colony plus twenty good troops in order to win a battle in a reasonable amount of time. Be sure to put a couple thousand shields and a shield area recharge on your troop transports. I built the troop transports with ten and sixteen massive troop modules at size 800 in my last RotS game…
Bonuses are primarily an empire wide bonus from your leader, and a colony specific bonus from your colony governor. If both increase your income, that's GREAT! I have heard that there is a character trait of famous or some such, which attracts new characters faster, but have not seen one yet. If you get a game start with a famous leader, it is definitely a start to consider playing. You also get a bonus on income from having certain races in your empire, especially Teekan.
The Free Trade and alliance agreements create money out of thin air, but it has never been higher than 200k for me, so although the alliance of 30% versus 20% is nice, I generally just have free trade agreements. As discussed in another thread, resorts provide income too, but I never got more than 200k per year despite high hopes, so build a resort for mining the special high value (named gold and dilithium) asteroids and let it go at those.
Money is destroyed forever by construction and maintenance fees, maintenance being 1/5 of build cost at current resource prices. Maintenance fees can triple or worse due to inflation of resource costs if you create a shortage by building too many ships, bases, or mines at one time. The expansion planner often says that there is a shortage greatly in excess of your actual demand (cargo reserved column), either due to a flaw in its logic or due to an estimation of your future supply needs far in excess of your current ones. As SOON as inflation raises the cost of a resource above 0.8, start working on fixing the problem. It can't get worse than 2.5 but you can still make the entire galactic economy grind to a halt by building too much at once. Your civilians buy one miner, one gas miner, two large, four medium, and five small freighters and a passenger transport or two for every colony in your empire. So if your spaceport queues are backlogged two or three times the number of yards, STOP invading planets and colonizing! Always build a spaceport, but put just the essentials on it and start off with a small one unless you blew up a home world spaceport, in which case rebuild with a small one and upgrade later to a large one. The size of a spaceport should be based upon how well supplied with resources a system is and the density of spaceports and resources developed nearby rather than population size.
The best defenses for a colony are the facilities fortified bunker, giant ion cannon, and planetary shield with plenty of clone troops, not a super fortress spaceport. Maintenance for clone troops is less than for elite troops, see the high tech tree for the cloning facility. Clones recruit at the same speed as troops and CAN'T be of less strength than your maximum strength troop at the time they were recruited, PROVIDED your maximum troop was at a colony rather than on a troop transport. Maximum clone strength was in the neighborhood of 400, or 30000 (depending on which number you look at) in RotS.
Speaking of troops, invade with as many as possible simultaneously by using move to colony of system rather than attack colony. Once all of your troop ships are in position use pause and tell their fleet or each ship to attack planet colony. That way you get the maximum troop experience per invasion, and your troop fleet just keeps on getting stronger rather than being bogged down in long conflicts. You lose about four reputation points per independent colony invasion. Destroying a pirate base yields about two reputation points, QED… You want to destroy lots of pirate bases. In RotS the maximum reputation you could get is Heroic +33 with the Guardians, but I don't know what it might be in Legends since I just invaded another independent as soon as I got a few plus points. Do NOT put ANY type of bombardment weapon on your troop transports, it will cost you in reputation AND lost population and planet quality…
Money is destroyed forever by crash research and corruption. HOWEVER, if the galactic economy can stand it, crash research using money gleaned by trading technology to other empires can be very effective IF you do it on productivity enhancing technologies, especially mining under construction and commerce centers under high tech. Commerce centers create money out of thin air in the same manner as trade agreements, and for a heavily industrialized galaxy can be about 1/4 as significant an income source as revenue. Troops may be a drain on your economy as noted in the Galactopedia, but I never was able to recruit so many that they were more than 1/4 my total expenses. Troops are far more effective for colony security than heavily armed spaceports. My troop transports laughed and landed on enemy home worlds defended by large upgraded spaceports, but inadequate troops. So how many troops are enough? My rule of thumb is five per billion population, minimum five, maximum 60. Since you should have colonies in clusters near a capitol, then troops can be loaded from nearby colonies and sent to reinforce if someone dares to invade. Speaking of invasions, if you attack the Guardians, they never will negotiate to end trade sanctions or a war. To take their home world, assemble a fleet with 200+ troops and tell it to move to their home world. Once in place, THEN you attack. Otherwise you will be stopped far away from their colony, being dropped out of warp by their defenses, and massacred by their home fleet and nearby warships. I managed to land 128 troops on their home in RotS year 9, but gave up on that game at six months into the invasion. It seems they had some loaded troop transports squirreled away waiting for just such a contingency, not just the troops on planet. lol
It is FAR more effective to crash research when you are researching at your full potential than immediately at the start of a game. As soon as your constructors have loaded supplies for their first project, build a custom starbase to do 100k/100k/100k or more research, incidentally adding extra docking bays and mining your home world according to your preferences. Speaking of constructors, examine your empire resources being mined at start of game and determine what that first project set should be VERY carefully! In some cases you might want three steel mines, in others one steel, one aculon, and one polymer etc. But DON'T let your constructors do work until you have analyzed your situation. This of course assumes that you micro-manage constructors like I do, and design your own mines. I can tell you from painful experience that failure to manage strategic resources and having shortages early in the game can prevent your constructors from getting their SECOND assigned projects done after two years of waiting for supplies. If your spaceport has supplies which your constructor lacks, you can tell the constructor to stop then do a repair on the mine, at which point it will go to the spaceport for supplies. BUT if the spaceport never has supplies because it spent them all on civilian ship purchases due to your conquering independent colonies too quickly, causing the civilians to buy ships, then the constructors can't GET any supplies to build the mines needed to get the supplies for building the spaceports at the conquered independent colonies. See my point? Furthermore, independent freighters will shift mined resources from independent colonies defended from pirates by your warships, but NOT from your colonies until they build a spaceport. So moderate your lust for conquest, and colonize the non-independent colonies, letting your troops conquer just one or two independents per year until your economy is up to speed. Those independents should be the ones who supply strategic resources, let the luxuries be delivered from the others by independent freighter.
So you have lots of money, and decided to expand your military? Think twice! Depending on your situation, you might not HAVE the resources for building both the civilian ships and new military for expanding your empire. My rule of thumb is that every colony should have a heavy firepower destroyer or free cruiser to defend it, fast enough to chase down pirates. If you don't have enough to do that, then maybe you should not conquer or colonize so fast and just build constructors and do mining for a while. IF there is ANY backlog of civilian ships waiting to be built in spaceport queues DON'T buy empire ships! There are seven supply depots / strategic reserves in the galaxy. Find those and build military there, about 7-12 big ships per zone spaceport. Or send a constructor to repair ships at a debris field where you have a spaceport built at a colony nearby. DON'T compete with the civilians for build queue time, you'll regret it!
In every cluster around a capital of your empire, have at least two and preferably four ships armed to the teeth for destroying pirate bases. There is a chance that another pirate faction will join your empire every time you destroy a pirate base. At nine years into my RotS game, I had 30 such former pirate bases. Whenever a pirate faction joins, immediately select its bases and do a fighters upgrade. Then check the military ships list for the last ships to find all the former pirates on auto. Send them to the nearest former pirate base, NOT to a colony system. It turns out that former pirates can scare off civilian ships, either through a design feature or a code bug, and I have had warships of other empires fire upon former pirate ships, causing friction in relations. If you already have a good ship guarding a former pirate base, then scrap the pirate ships at the base to get rid of them. Soon a freighter will arrive to pickup the recovered resources. Former pirate bases are an outstanding asset! By clicking on explored systems on the sector map, you can locate pirate bases not yet flagged as known. It also helps a LOT to have long range scanners or deep space arrays at all your systems, and cycle through your planets at least once every 19 days in the sector view to see if there are any incoming pirate ships. Since they fly directly from their base to a colony or mine, it only takes a couple of minutes to find the base where the vermin originated…
What's with the 19 days mentioned twice now? It turns out that technology is learned and troops are recruited on a 19 day cycle. It looks like revenue is collected every second 19 day cycle, and civilians buy ships on a 19 day cycle. Just another mystery to ponder, and subject to change without notice. 19x19 = 361days, maybe that is relevant.
Your empire corruption can be determined by looking at a small colony in the same system as a capitol, for which all of the corruption is based on empire. Once your empire corruption reaches ten percent it makes sense to take a breather from conquest and colonization and develop your existing empire. To keep the AI empires busy as you gather your strength, sell all of them your galaxy map so that they can colonize the crumbs. When you are ready to take your first cluster of AI empires, or think you are, check the situation as determined by your victory conditions. Do they contribute the most population, or number of colonies, or revenue? If not then check somewhere else. This assumes that your victory conditions are something like having 80% of all three of those…
If you supply fuel enough, then AI empire's freighters will flock to you in large numbers, bringing with them sorely needed supplies and luxuries. If you don't have fuel resources at a system, then DON'T build anything bigger than a two yard spaceport, since it will constantly be running out of fuel for new ships. Try to colonize all of the continental and marshy swamp planets in your zone of control, keeping temptation away from AI empires. Try to colonize based upon resources rather than potential taxes at the late game stage, since those colonies will never get large. In the early game definitely go for high quality planet colonization and high population conquests.
Well, typing this up took eight hours, so I'll just end by saying HAVE FUN!
Lonnie Courtney Clay
Live long and prosper!
Lonnie Courtney Clay