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Pirate Tips! - 8/23/2014 11:25:10 PM   
Tanaka


Posts: 2872
Joined: 4/8/2003
From: USA
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I had to repost this here from the steam forum because it is just so good! All credit goes to the original poster nephilimnexus: http://steamcommunity.com/app/261470/discussions/0/35220315653423363/


#1: STEAL EVERYTHING! Put boarding pods on everything you build, even civilian ships and mining bases. This not only makes your ships resistant to enemy boarding attempts, it lets you capture the buggers who are trying to attack you automatically. Free ships are the best ships! Also, did you know that you can capture unaligned (neutral) NPC freighters by right clicking on them? Even a single 300 size frigate with just 4 boarding pods and a tractor beam can grab one of those easy - you'll never have to spend your hard earned cash on freighters at all if you play like a real pirate. Oh, and don't forget the med bays - they speed up the regeneration rate for your boarding troops. It's a must have, and luckily you start with the tech.

#2: Defense Matters! Never, ever build a station that does not have weapons of some kind, preferably fighters, as they have the longest effective range of any weapon in the game, hands down. And don't forget the boarding pods on your mining stations to give would be raiders a nasty surprise when they go to run.

#3: Maxium Range for Exploration Ships. Forget weapons, explorers are supposed to run, not fight, so if you have to put any kind of weapon on them make it an ion weapon - that can halt an attacker in their tracks and give you time to jump away (and maybe even disable the hyperdeny gear that advanced enemies use... sometimes). All an explorer needs is decent shields, a lot of fuel and good sublight speed. That's it.

#4: Layer Your Station Designs. When starting off money will be a serious concern, so you'll want to build the cheapest mining bases possible. Use the "make from copy" to upgrade instead of overwriting old designs outright. This let's you make tiers of mining bases, each one larger & more powerful (although more expensive) than the one before it. That way later in the game when you just need to get a base up now you don't have to spend the time or money to construct one of your mega-bunker mines every dang time... at least not right away. Oh, and right-clicking instead of the "upgrade" button gives you many more options - and it's how you make this system work.

#5: Roaming Miners are Key! Right off the bat you'll want to get at least six mining ships out there, preferably two gas one four rock miners. They will prove far more useful in the beggining than just trying to put mines up everywhere (hint: because you can't) and those mobile mining ships are far harder targets for the enemy to try to destroy (hint: they move). If you're low on something and can't afford or defend a mining base to get it, that's when the mobile mining ships come to the rescue again... and again... and again. Yeah, that happens a lot so be prepared - stock up on mining ships today!

#6: Denial of Service Attack!. Taking a lesson from the US 8th Airforce in WW2, the first thing you want to do is monopolize the Caslon (and later on, Hydrogen) market. An enemy who can get fuel isn't going anywhere. Therefore, whenever targeting a system for invasion, the first thing to do is check to see if there is a gas giant there with Caslon and build a fortified gas mining station there first thing. If one isn't availble in system then at least grab the closest one to that system.

Likewise, if you wish to secure a region better it never hurts to target all the fuel planets as your main priority for reinforced gas mining stations. It won't keep them out completely, but it certainly slow them down... sometimes literally.

#7: Automate Defense!. Now here's the disclaimer: I keep all the automations off by default, but I've developed a system that I really can't live without in this one realm. Let's say that you've found a nice little planet that you want to spread your vile influence upon. Now you can micro-manage a fleet to hover over the planet all day, but I've found a better way to do it that pays off in droves.

First, design a decent frigate sized ship with an emphasis on defense over offense and don't forget the boarding pods (you'll need those, trust me). Don't worry if they're not impressive - even a 300 size ship can hold it's own at this at the game's start. Just make sure it's got long range weapons (a single fighter bay, a couple missiles, and set to Stand-Off against strong, All-Weapons against weak).

Next you'll want to move your main hand-controlled fleet into the target system and raid/hover until you get your first 1% - that's all you need to get the ball rolling. Once that happens you'll notice that the planet now shows up in your colonies tab on the right, and when you go to the fleet menu that planet now shows up as an option for a fleet's homeworld even though you don't own the planet... yet. Keep this in mind.

Next you go to your shipyard and tell it to cracnk out 4+ of your little "system defense ships." Now pause the game, because when you go into the ships tab (at the top) you'll notice that even your ships under construction are available here - which is good, because you can set everything up now while they're still cooking. Sort by "fleet" and "military ships" and pick out your orange highlighted ships-to-be and assign them all to a new fleet (naming is optional, but in the late game naming ships after the system that they're assigned to really keep the brain from overloading. After about ship number two thousand I start to feel like the Borg. Anyway...) Now head back over to the fleet menu and rename your newly christianed fleet to the name of the system to wish to assign them to (example: "Sol Defense"). Make sure that you chose the fleet's home planet - make it the planet that you are targeting for influence takeover.

Finally, go back to main screen and check the fleet tab on the right. Click the blue spiral arrow for "automate" and... you're done! Well, almost. One final thing to do: Click the buttons on the fleet standings until it is set to "attack" and "system only." Ok now you're done. You can unpause the game now. But wait, what exactly did you do?

I'll explain what you have created: As these ships roll of the assembly line they will each head straight over to their home planet and defend it by attacking any enemy that trespasses within that star system. The way the AI is set up, whenever this fleet is not directly engaged in combat it will move to it's home planet (i.e. your target) and hover/follow it forever... or at least until they need fuel, which they'll take care of automatically too.

Naturally all that time they spend hovering over their home world (i.e. your target) will slowly but surely increase your influence, reduce enemy influence, and when the enemy shows up they'll automatically blast the crap out of them.

Oh and remeber what I said about boarding pods on everything? If you want to actually check up on them once in a while and hurry things along you can tell your defense fleet to raid the planet and give your influence a nice little push (as well as extra profits, natch). This is also keeps them from building up a garrison to push your Hidden Base out before you can afford your Pirate Fortress.

#8: We Do Not Sow! Research bombard weapons early on for taking down the actual enemy empires a notch. Clear their home system of targets and then move in bombers and rain nukes on them until their "planet quality" drops to around 30. Be careful not to wipe them out entirely! Once their planet quality drops low enough you'll notice that their income turns negative. That's not a type - they're now having to spend the entire sum of their GDP cleaning up the radioactive fallout that you're still pouring down on them, and as you know recovering planet quality takes a long time. So instead of having to send your reaver fleets back every five minutes to take down yet another wave of building attempts, you can nip all that in the bud and just nuke them once, long and hard, and forget about them for a long time. Also, inluence growth rate is based on population - larger populations take longer to control, smaller ones go quicker. Wouldn't it be nice if you only had to absord half the population, then?

Hey, don't look at me like that. You're the one who wanted to play a bloody pirate!

#9: We are Microsoft. Resistance is Futile. Now this may seem obvious, but personally I don't design my freighters by ship size. In fact, they're all the same size. What I tweak is the speed/cargo ratio. For small freighters I have them designed to carry small cargo very quickly. Large freighters carry x3 the cargo but obviously much more slowly.

The main thing is that cargo capacity is vital when taking Smuggling Contracts, as you get paid by the unit delievered. Deliver 100,000 units of something and you're rich! And how to get the choicest smuggling contracts? See #6, above. Monopolize a commodity under your corporate banner and soon the whole galaxy will come to you begging for that exact same commodity.

#10: Riposte! Now once you get Long Range Scanners (you'll want to learn that tech early as possible) find a way to cram one onto your scout ship designs and watch as enemy facilities reveal themselves all over the map. Blow the crap out of them... but those home bases might prove to be a tricker target, especially with all those ships defending it. What to do?

We wait... for the opportune moment!

Watch your galaxy map and when you see a high swarm of enemy ships come zeroing in to one of your hapless mining bases don't go rushing your main battle fleet over to defend it. Instead, rush your main battle fleet over to their home base while it's still undefended! You lose a mining base, they lose their home. A pawn for a queen is always a good trade.

#11: Bring forth the Holy Hand Grenade! So combining two of the above concepts it's easy to get past one of the main weaknesses of pirates, that being puny raiding troops that suck at ground combat against enemy infantry.

The solution is, of course, to never actually fight any enemy infantry.

So let's take a tiny ship, even a 300 size, and put on 2 boarding pods and 2 nukes. That's only one tech more than you started the game with. Instead of trying to drown the enemy planet in raiders, just nuke the stupid thing until all their ground troops are dead (this does not take as long as you think, either). Once the last heroic defender is a radioactive pile of ash, you can waltz your raiders in with impunity and completely loot a planet with as little as four guys.

Orbital bombardment can also destroy enemy Hidden Bases and sometimes even Pirate Fortresses, which is a bloody lot easier than waiting until you build a Criminal Network, train soldiers, build troop transports, invade your own planet and only then get the option to attack the enemy base on foot.

But wait, you say, even basic raids have a chance to destroy a base! This is true. Pile up dozens of units together and raid six or seven times and you'll likely eventually take out that base, depending on luck. Or you can just nuke the planet while drinking a Slurpee. Both are totally luck dependent, but my way is a lot less work.

#12: Zaibatsu Inc. If you're not careful you'll blow far too much on "buying goods." What is that? When you go to build something and you don't have the right gas/minerals in stock, the game places a little invisible buy order for that item and a neutral NPC freighter is dispatched to bring it to you. When those goods finally arrive you pay for them. Think of it as a minature, hidden smuggling contract to the background characters.

This is important because if you check your "expansion planner" you'll notice that in a 250 star galaxy there will be, on average, maybe half a dozen planets total that produce things like Carbon Fiber & Polymer, and later on you'll add Dilithium to that list of rare minerals that you simply never have enough of.

Get a jump on that problem before it starts, then. Grab at least one source for those two critical elements right away, and eventually target them for monopolization & big profits.

Essentially, your goal isn't to have tons of crap that you don't need (unless you're playing the Smuggler angle). Instead try to focus on at least having enough of every element in the game, so as to avoid having to blow money on NPC merchants.

#13: Empire Worlds pay out a high amount of revenue for your influence, due to their higher populations. The downside is that they will continually try to break out of your blockade, will spawn troops to try to remove your bases, they take a lot more effort to get any influence (though bombing helps - see above) and, worst of all, you can't build there until you completely take over through either a Criminal Network, or later through regular ground trooper invasion & conquest.

A good plus, however, is that once you break them they'll constantly try to make new Construction Ships. This is very useful, especially when you've blockaded them with a fleet of "Harpoon" ships designed around ship capture (blasters, tractor beams, assault pods). This will quickly net you easily half a dozen or more unfinished (barely started) construstion ship hulls left floating in space. Of course getting them running again will prove difficult & time consuming, as you will need to design/build a Space Station as an orbital drydock (1 construction yard, 1 of each fabricator, little else). The good news is that if you skip on on non-essentials you can make such a structure for less than 2000CR with less than 1000CR maintenance - which the planet itself can easily pay back. Once that is built you then have your constructor repair the captured ones and send them to the drydock for upgrading into an actual FTL ship (otherwise those captured ships are useless). They'll be out of fuel and moving at a speed of >5, so they'll take their sweet time getting to the drydock, and they'll need to refule once they get jump drives installed.

Why go through all this hassel? Ummm, free construction ships? Having five or six constuction ships as a pirate is something you won't normally see until year 20+. With this system you can have this many in under five years, and that will give you a serious advantage in the long run - especially if you're a Smuggler.

Remember to get Pirate facilities onto these worlds ASAP, as even keeping a small fleet in permanent orbit will not be enough to hold 100% influence once their population gets too high. You'll also want to conquer and/or Criminal Network one of these first, so as to get them to stop struggling. Luckily with their high populations the money hit from the changeover won't be bad (more on that later).

When the time comes to expand past the first Empire conquest you won't be able to use the Criminal Network a second time. Instead you'll just have to invade with regular ground troops like a regular schmuck Empire. Luckily, through the liberal use of bombers, you'll never need more than about eight infantry to take any world. That's important, because ground troops are stupid expensive to maintain. Which is why other than your actual dropship invasion fleet you should have zero garrsion troops. Rely instead on orbital space ports and Pirate Fortresses for all you anti-raider defense.

#14: Independent Worlds have lower populations than Empire worlds, which has the advantage of making them easier to Influence but the disadvantage of giving less revenue. However, in many ways they are actually better than Empire worlds as targets.

Firstly, they don't fight back. This includes ground forces, so the only threat to your Pirate facilities comes from enemy raiders - which you should be blocking by having a small fleet of about four ships in permanent orbit until your base gets built.

And that's the other advantage... bases. You can actually build orbital bases over these worlds without controlling them first. Now I'd suggest that as soon as you spot one of these planet that you start designing a new type of Small Space Port just for this purpose. Make sure to swap the Gas Extractor for a Mineral Extractor (meaning don't just use the original Gas Giant base design that you start the game with). Fortify it as much as possible within reason; remember, "small" is just a name - you can actually make it any size you want so long as you can afford the cost. Try to keep it under 3000cr in maintenance and the planet itself, once you've got Pirate facilities on it, should pay for the base itself.

For >3000cr maintainance you should be able to fit 40 fighters (10 bays), 4 functional construction yards (with support fabs), 3000+ shields, some assault pods & tractors (good for capturing fools that try to attack this thing) and 5 of each type of lab. In other words, something far superior to your starting base. In fact, once you get 2+ of these planet bases you should just ditch (scrap) that original gas giant base entirely, as it's draining money and giving nothing back. The planet bases, in contrast, are helping keep these planets under control and are parked over a source of (now) permanent income.

Later, once you've got a Criminal Network someplace and can build colony ships, you should target these worlds for colonization but do not do this until you have a Pirate Fortress on the planet first! Why? Because once you colonize a planet you can no longer build pirate facilities there - only regular "empire" facilities. So if you don't already have your Pirate Fortress built before your colony ship sets down, you never will.

Why bother? Check your research screen - every Pirate Fortress is something close a 250% increase in your research output. Within three Independent planets, each with a Small Port in station over them (5 labs per station) and with a Pirate Fortress on each you will soon be racking up new technologies very, very quickly - and it only goes up exponentially from there.

#15: Total Self-Reliance. Redesign your construction ship template to include one or two bays of fighters, set tactics to Evade/Standoff, retreat to Shields at 50% and add one each of the Mining Engine and Gas Extractor.

This has several advantages. First, sighting a measly space slug will not cause your ship to abandon what it's doing and go scampering off. Instead it will circle around the pest until your fighters kill it, then get right back to work. Ditto for enemy Exploration ships, though your fighters aren't likely to kill it, the point is that they'll get sent running instead of you.

The second and far more important advantage is that your ship can now extract all of it's own resources if need be. This comes in very handy as a time saver for when you are building a project and get hit with the "Insufficient Whatever" alert. Normally when this happens your construction ship will just sit there like a useless lump until a freighter finally gets off it's lazy butt long enough to bring you the goods so that you can continue.

Or you can just go fetch it yourself, because you can do that, now. I cannot count the number of times I've found myself stuck because I was short 20 units of Steel or something equally trite. I thought to myself "Waitaminute, the planet that I'm building this mine at has steel already! Gah!" Well now when that happens I just switch modes for a minute or two and get the dang steel myself. Compared to the 15+ minute wait times that freighters often take, even if you have to go to the next star system over, it's faster than waiting for a special delivery.

So yes, increased functionality is always good. Focus military ships into a single purpose, but multi-task with the rest. The other advantage of this type of constructor is one that you'll hopefully never have to use, but here it is anyway; if you're ever backed into a wall and have lost all your bases and ships except for a single, lone constructor..... well, given long enough, that one ship can eventually mine enough stuff to build you a new base entirely on it's own.

Oh, and if you're really into micro-management, putting a gas extractor on an Explorer effectively means limitless range. Think about it.

#16: Hire Private Eyes. Why build actual state funded monitoring stations when you can just incorporate Long Range Scanners into your mining stations? Let the private sector pay for that crap, man!

#17: Scam the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s! Explorer ships can be profitable, as later in the game once you rival pirates start making some money of their own you can negotiate with them for profit. At 30,000cr per Secret Location this can be pretty lucrative, especially for one that is filled with death traps. Also, there is no reason not to sell the locations of Independent planets that you've already taken over (base + fortress) as the knowledge won't do them any good, and each time you do that's another 20,000cr you can use to further fortify your position with.

#18: Personelle Management, Right clicking on any ship, structure or planet gives you an option called "transfer character here." This is the only way to relocate Intelligence Agents off of that obsolete starter base that you want to scrap. Good to know! It's also good to highlight (in some way) any ships that have Captains or Admirals on them, so that you don't accidentally Retire the ship with them still on board (which is fatal to said person). An asterisk or even naming the ship after them works, depending on how much work you want to put into it.

If you ever get someone with Inspiring Presence then make sure that you keep them bunked with as many other people as possible, in particular your Scientists and Intelligence Agents. Later in the game, once you start to take the technological lead, your counterintelligence operations will become the most important use of your spies, and getting free points in that skill between enemy attacks is a very good thing.

Likewise, anyone who is Demoralizing needs to be isolated onto a ship by themselves or, better yet, used for suicide missions. Again you can use the right-click "transfer character here" function to get people into places that they won't normally go on the regular Character Screen menu. So yes, you can put a particularly horrible scientist with all negative traits onto a suicide bomber ship and send it against an enemy base to get rid of the bum.

#19: Read the Fine Print. For some reason the description of Raiders and their actual stats are backward. It says their focus is on making bases, but they actually suck at it. For base building take Mercenary or, better yet, Smuggler. Why this is I do not know. Personally, Balanced is probably the easist style to play, as it allows you to change your strategy at any point in the game and thus adapt to an ever changing environment easier. You won't excel at anything, but you don't take any penalities, either.

#20: Stay here, I'll kill you later. It is interesting to note that since you can no longer build Pirate Facilities on a world once you've colonized it, that means that any colonies that you make with your own colony ships are basically screwed. As shown above, you're much better off either colonizing an Independent planet that you've subjucated (Pirate Fortress already present) or simply conquering an Empire world that you have likewise already subjucated (again, Pirate Fortress present).

For this reason if you really want to maximize your potential (not to mention save on garrison troop expenses in the long run) then you need to let one rival Empire (or even another Pirate) survive to colonize planets for you.

Then you just take them from them like the piratey ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s you are.

You can theoretically farm this "last survivor" until every planet in the galaxy has been properly set up with Pirate Fortresses like they should be.

They key is to start off building as many ore & gas miners as you can right at the opening, so that you're not beholden to static mines. Yes, actual mines work better in the long run but as a pirate that wallet is ticking down from the moment you hit start and until you get a postive cash flow (something Empire players take for granted) then trying to get a mining network together is impossible.

It pays, however, to make sure that you customize all your ship designs, most especially your mobile miners and freighters. A good 300-size mobile miner should have 10 cargo bays, 2 extractors and (important) no luxury extractor. See, the AI for "private sector" Pirate ships is sadly the same as it is for Empire ships, which means if left to their own devices your miners will wander off to go extract luxury goods which you have absolutely no use for because you have no planets instead of getting useful materials. The solution, then, is to deprive them of this ability entirely and keep them focused on what matters.

Next you'll want to make designs for "mini-mines." That's the smallest, cheapest mine that you can design: 1 command center, 1 commerce center, 1 small fuel cell, 1 basic reactor, 1 power collector, 1 extractor, 1 docking bay, and 5 small cargo cells. The whole thing should cost less than 600cr to make. Of course it's totally vulnerable and yes you'll want to upgrade these as soon as you can afford it. However, when first starting off your location is still secret and your main goal is simply making sure that you've got at least 1 mine for each rescource type. Since the mini-mine itself takes very few rescources, you can quickly spam them all over the very same planets with resources to make more-mini mines in short order.

So the steps are: Lots of mobile mining ships (x2 as many ore as gas is a good ratio), followed by mini-mines, and then follow those with regular size 600 mines (with an emphasis on defense systems).

Never, ever buy freighters. Steal them from others. Your main ship right off the start is a "Harpoon" frigate. That's a basic 300-size ship with a tractor beam, about 4 blasters, and 2 assault pods. When you make little fleets of 2 or 3 of these to patrol planets that you want to Influence, you can also use them to snag the literally dozens upon dozens of freighters that go to business with those worlds. In one game I managed to accumulate well over 100 small freighters... and never bought a single one.

You will also want to get as many Hidden Pirate Bases planted early on as possible, preferably on Empire worlds that will someday have high populations and income. Aplanet may only show 2K of income right now, but someday it may have over 30K. The sooner you get those bases down there to siphon off that money the better.

There is a huge hurdle players will face mid-game; it's what I call "The Transition" phase. That's when you finally build your criminal network and can actually start taking over planets like a regular empire. The problem with this is that, for some reason that I do not fully understand, a conquered planet only pays you a fraction of what it did before when you were just leeching off it with your bases. So as your pirate empire grows from just a smattering of orbital dockyards and hidden bases into an actual flag color on the map your income will nosedive and your wallet will start huring in a big way.

Overcoming this means planning ahead and carefully picking only the choicest targets, preferably the richest planets that you know will keep paying out good no matter what.

Here are some examples of good starting pirate stuff:

Mini Mine
1 x Command Center
1 x Commerce Center
1 x Life Support
1 x Hab Module
1 x Docking Bay
1 x Mining Engine or Gas Extractor
1 x Fission Reactor
1 x Standard Fuel Cell
5 x Standard Cargo Bays

Total Cost: 396 for Ore, 383 for Gas
Upkeep: 70 for Ore, 69 for Gas

Materials Required:
(Ore) 12 Silicon, 11 Gold, 14 Polymer, 34 Steel, 5 Aculon, 6 Iridium, 9 Helium, 4 Lead.
(Gas) 12 Silicon, 11 Gold, 17 Polymer, 33 Steel, 6 Iridium, 9 Helium, 4 Lead.

As you can see, if you start off nailing 1 Gas MiniMine on Helium and 6 on the ores, you'll quickly have the ability to produce an infinte number of more mini-mines. Later you will want to upgrade all of these, naturally, but it's a proof of concept; a bare-bones system to get you started quickly.

Pirate Builder (Size 900)
1 x Command Center
1 x Gerax Hyperdrive
2 x Standard Armor
26 x Standard Cargo Bays
1 x Construction Yard
1 x Energy Plant
1 x High Tech Plant
1 x Weapons Plant
1 x Docking Bay
2 x Energy Collectors
10 x Standard Fuel Cells
36 x Proton Thrusters
20 x Thrust Vectors
11 x Life Support
11 x Hab Modules
1 x Standard Fighter Bay
1 x Gas Extractor
1 x Mineral Extractor

Set tactics to Evade, not Flee

Though a relatively expensive refit for just starting out, it's well worth it as soon as you are able to afford it. With a cruise speed of 22 and a 21 degree turn rate, it's still fast for it's size. It has enough cargo bay to hold the materials to build nearly anything, even late in the game. It's got enough energy collectors to not waste fuel while building, and 650 fuel points give it excellent range. It's fighters can kill off space slugs and scare away rival exploration ships without interupting your work. Most importantly, however, it can gather all it's own materials if need be. As stated above, this is a blessing when freighters take forever to do deliver supplies that can often be found in the very same star system that you're building in.


Pirate Civilian Ships

Freighter 300 Template
1 x Command Center
1 x Gerax Hyperdrive
1 x Energy Collector
2 x Fission Reactors
4 x Life Support
4 x Hab Module
1 x Covidian Shields

For Small...
5 x Standard Cargo Bay
5 x Standard Fuel Cells
18 x Proton Thrusters
8 x Thrust Vectors
1 x Standard Armor

For Medium...
10 x Standard Cargo Bay
5 x Standard Fuel Cells
12 x Proton Thrusters
9 x Thrust Vectors
1 x Standard Armor

For Large...
15 x Standard Cargo Bay
4 x Standard Fuel Cells
7 x Proton Thrusters
8 x Thrust Vectors
4 x Standard Armor

So even though they are all technically the same size (300) they all have distanct roles. Smaller ships move less cargo faster, larger ships move more cargo but more slowly. The choice is yours.

Mobile Miner 300 Template

1 x Command Center
1 x Gerax Hyperdrive
2 x Fission Reactors
1 x Energy Collector
1 x Corvidian Shield
4 x Life Support
4 x Hab Module
5 x Standard Fuel Cells
5 x Standard Cargo Bays
4 x Standard Armor
13 x Proton Thrusters

For Ore Miner...
10 x Thrust Vectors
2 x Mining Engine

For Gas Miner...
8 x Thrust Vectors
2 x Gas Extractors

The advantages here over the stock designs are obvious. First, you have two extractos per ship, so you'll harvest twice as fast. And you have more cargo room to hold it in, and more range. Most importantly, however, is that we've ditched the luxury extractors entirely. Why does a pirate with no colonies need luxuries at all? Yes, there are smuggling missions, but frankly by the time you are accepting smuggling missions for luxury items you should have actual mines in place for those things and not relying on the random whims of AI controlled ships to make sure that you actually have enough supply to make such a contract feasible. What mobile miners are for is essential materials, not luxury items. And these do a very good job of that. They are, of course, more expensive than the stock designs (about 1300 each) but well worth the price.

Pirate Combat Ships

Now this is what you've been waiting for, right? Here are some templates to get you off to a good start.

All ships assume...
1 x Command Center
1 x Energy Collector
5 x Standard Fuel Cells
2 x Fission Reactors
1 x Gerax Hyperdrive
4 x Life Support
4 x Hab Module

Harpoon
2 x Assault Pod
4 x Maxos Blaster
1 x Tractor Beam
5 x Corvidian Shiels
12 x Proton Thrusters
4 x Thrust Vector
5 x Standard Armor
Set tactics to All Weapons/Point Blank

Hornet
1 x Standard Fighter Bay
2 x Maxos Blasters
11 x Proton Thrusters
5 x Thrust Vector
6 x Standard Armor
Set tactics to Evade/Evade

Archer
4 x Concussion Missile
13 x Proton Thrusters
4 x Thrust Vectors
4 x Standard Armor
Set tactics to StandOff/StandOff

Of these you'll be wanting more Harpoons than anything. These are the heart of your operation, able to capture cilivian and enemy ships with ease as well as conducting planetary raids. To this their AI combat strategy will be to tractor beam targets into themselves, lay into them with blasters until their shields drop, and then board them. When large hull designs open up you'll naturally want to add a hypewave deny system.

The Archer will be your second most common ship, good for annoying the crap out of your enemy as your circle around them launching missiles from outside their own weapon range. Do not underestimate the power of a dozen of these things working together to trash an enemy base. Weak point is enemy fighters, as they have no point defense. You'll want to change that when you get bigger hulls.

The Hornet mini-carrier is the least effective but still useful. Use it augment other fleets with the longest range weapon of all - fighters. Four fighters isn't much, of course, but the template leaves plenty of room for easy imporovement as large hulls open up (read: more room for more fighters). Eventually you'll turn this design into a dedicated Carrier class, trading the blasters for actual point defense weapons.

Originally posted by DireEpidemic:
for pirates i feel the a.i. makes huge mistakes for some examples, you should only play them manually.

-pirates never use their colony ships even if they capture them-

Ah, but you can! Sometimes you get lucky and nab an abandoned colony ship. This can let you quickly bypass the entire "Criminal Network" hurdle entirely.

The best way for a pirate to use a colony ship is, of course, to colonize a Independent planet that they've already build a Pirate Fortress on. That way you get extra starting population, the race diversity bonus, and you get to keep your pirate base bonus - all in one package.

Originally posted by DireEpidemic:
-they never work to secure the resources they need, you'll be stuck because you'll never get a resource (your ships will stay at stations the whole game due to lack of resources for refiting-

That is why the first thing you build is mobile mining ships, not mines. The AI for those actually does work (most of the time), because it uses data from the "by priority" screen; meaning that they go out to find whatever you have the most demand for. If you're short a lead mine, for example, you'll probably notice your mining ships going out for lead for more often.

Just make sure too not put luxury extractors on mobile miners, for reasons explained previously.

< Message edited by Tanaka -- 8/24/2014 9:11:16 AM >


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RE: Pirate Tips! - 8/24/2014 4:47:13 AM   
tophertzu


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This is great! Thanks for the info.

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 8/24/2014 4:32:37 PM   
CaptainBipto1

 

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Nice post! Bombardment ftw.

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/2/2014 5:05:11 PM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Let me add a few more:

Order of Operations

You may not have noticed this yet, or maybe you have, but station componenets get constructed in the exact order that you designed them. This means that the order in which you have selected the components in your design is that same order that they will be used when building the item in question, be it a ship or a station. For ships this has little bearing, but with stations this matters a lot - especially since the AI is psychic and will always try to attack your stations while they're still being built (all the more reason to cram some Fighter Bays into your Construction ships, but that's another point).

So let's say that you've got an idea for a station with 12 shield generators and some other parts, like a reactor, fuel cells, and energy collectors. Good, now make sure that you add these items first when designing your station. Specifically: Command Center, 1 Reactor, 1 Fuel Cell, 3 Energy Collectors, 12 Shields. Now let's say that you're at the building level where you are assembling 3 components per "tick" so that means your first tick will be the CC, the Reactor, and the Fuel Cell. Therefore on the very first tick you've got your power running, at least potentially (though you probably still don't have fuel). Your second tick will get the energy collectors running and ta-da, you're station now has power. Your next four ticks will all be shield generators, and since your base already has functioning power, your shields will begin charging up immediately. So six ticks into it's construction and your station is already raising it's shields.

Your next items should probably be weapons, followed by armor, and then the actual function gear (mining extractors, cargo bays, docking ports, etc) should be the last things you want to add. Remember, survival is the most important trait. If the enemy kills your base before it's finished then it's all a wasted effort anyway.

Gaming the System

The beauty of Independent Colonies is that you can build small space ports over them without controlling them. While I mentioned this before, this is the key to raking in maximum profits off the poor sods, namely through two kinds of pirate contracts: Smuggling and Defense.

Defense is obvious. Independent worlds in fear of being raided or invaded will routinely post defense contracts to protect themselves. Well looky there, you've already got a little fortress already orbiting that planet already! So you take the contract, smug in the knowledge that your fortified space port can hold off any random raiders that show up. Then you just wait two years for the contract to complete and collect your cash.

Smuggling is even easier when you've got a space port over that world because any of the required goods located on your orbiting space port are instantly delivered, no freighters needed! Yes, the same "space elevator" mechanic used by Empires and their space ports work here as well. And if you've got Ship Scanning technology mounted on your space port then you can spot and vaporize any rival pirate smuggling ships trying to muscle in one your little monopoly.

This can even be applied to Empire worlds, but a little less effectively. Once you've got an Empire planet smacked down and have a few garrison ships patrolling it (to make sure they never get any construction ships or star ports built, destroying all as soon as they start construction) then they'll probably get desperate and put up smuggling contracts for supplies. Well by all means accept them! You'll sell them supplies, they'll use those supplies to try to build a new starport/construction ship, you'll blow up the ship and then (drum roll) they'll need more supplies so... time for another smuggling contract!

Halliburton would be proud.

Deep Ka-Ka

The single best use of Intelligence Agents is to find one with the Concealment skill, then bunk them with another character with Inspirational Presence until that skill gets up to at least 40% to 50%. Why? Deep Cover is the hardest feat to pull off, but also the most powerful. When you've decided that you really want to take down a rival pirate faction, this is by far the single most effective and essential thing to have - an agent buried in Deep Cover within their faction.

If you can pull it off, you will have permanent intel on the location of every single one of their ships and bases. From there you simply go around and systematically kill off (in order) their space ports, their construction ships, and then finally their resupply ships. Then you just have to remove any of their bases from any planets that remain and they're gone. History. Out of the game entirely.

Best of all, once an agent has successfully begun a Deep Cover assignment (without getting caught) their Concealment skill will continue to grow until they day you either pull them back or you wipe out the target faction entirely. Which means that the next time you send them out it will most likely be a sure win for that agent.

Research Priorities

Your style may vary, but I've found that starting off my first Weapon Tech is Bombardment, but only the first block (it's all I need for a long time). After that I alternate between better Missiles and better Fighters. All the ground combat stuff I skip until the very end of the game, with exception of Logistics to bring troop costs down. Since I always nuke away any defenders before invading, adding more points to my attack/defense rating is somewhat moot.

For Energy tech I vary but the main thing is that, as a Pirate, building colonies is counter-productive. You can't put bases on your own colonies so the only use you'll ever have for colony ships is to colonize Independent Worlds, and for that you could just as easily invade them instead. So point being I pretty much skip all of the colonization tech entirely.

For High Tech the main thing is getting to Repair Bots as quickly as possible. These are the most wonderful, magical thing you will ever add to a ship. Oh and once you get them be generous with them. Adding a repair bot is good, adding multiple repair bots is better. No, it doesn't make you repair faster, but what happens if the one component that gets damaged... is your repair bot? So redundant repair bots is good, so in a worst-case-scenario they can repair each other. At least two on ships and four on stations is a safe bet.

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/2/2014 5:20:46 PM   
NephilimNexus

 

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It's mine, all mine!

So you've found a Debris Field or, better yet, the World Destroyer. This is where I actually found a use for Defense Platforms. See, you can build those things anywhere, even open space, and this is exactly what you're going to do. Design a platform with 5-10 fighter bays (20-40 fighters), within your size limit (even 900 can do this easily) and hopefully less than 2000cr upkeep.

Now plant one of these suckers slap dab in the middle of the area first thing. Once that is done your construction ships can do their repair work in peace and, more importantly, any enemy construction ships that go into the area will get the crap blasted out of them.

For extra profits don't even try to repair the abandoned ships at all. This takes a little more work (and risk) but if you swap most of the fighters with regular guns, tractor beams and boarding pods you may find yourself slowly accumulating a nice collection of warp-capable construction ships that used to belong to your enemies. Best of all, the idiots never learn. You can keep farming their builders unto infinity if you'd like. They... just... keep... coming... back.

Once you've repaired & claimed all the ships you can scrap the base.

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 9/2/2014 6:21:01 PM >

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/2/2014 8:58:18 PM   
CaptainBipto1

 

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Wow. Own I will prioritize space ports over indies. Really cleared that up for me.

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/4/2014 1:03:21 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Education is the Future

As a new, starting Pirate faction you may have more technology than the pre-warp Empires, but that base you start with only has 30 point of research per category. In the long run, the Empires will outrun you very easily, especially since you cannot build research stations of your own until you actually control at least one planet outright (Criminal Network, colonization, invasion, etc).

See, Empires can build research stations at gas giants and whatever, to get those nice bonuses they offer, and you can't. This can be a problem, but luckily there is an answer. Now first you need to understand a key game mechanic about research: Only the highest research amount per type of station counts. Furthermore, in your case, this pretty much limited to Space Ports and Research Bases.

Now before you own a planet you can most certainly add some research bases to your space ports, but remember here that redundancy gets you nowhere. If you have a spaceport design that gives you 500 research points then building multiple spaceports of this time accomplishes nothing. You only get the 500 research for the first spaceport that you build. The rest add nothing, so you'd only be wasting money on maintaining all those redundant labs for no reason.

So here is a better stratagem: Prioritize that first planet conquest and break out of this situation ASAP. Save you credits and get that Criminal Network build as soon as you can, even if it means taking every smuggling mission that comes up and puts all your other construction on hiatus. Or find/steal a colonization ship. Either works.

Once this is done you will have a new option: Medium spaceports. This is important. Now you can leave your standard, planet occupying small spaceport design completely free of research labs and instead pile all of them onto your one, solitary medium spaceport that will now serve as your headquarters over your first planet. See how nicely that all fits together? Of course, this will be expensive, so I'd suggest targeting an Empire world with a high enough population to support such a structure as your target, otherwise this gets unpleasantly expensive.

And speaking of expensive but worth it, once you've got about 20,000CR of positive cashflow, you should seriously get started on your ULTIMAX Research Center. WTF is that? Well it's like this: You can't get bonuses from location-specific research centers (as you can't build those) because you can only build them at colonies that you own. So if there is no bonus, why bother with multiple research centers?

Instead just build one really... really... really... big research station at your capitol. It's class doesn't matter because you will be adding all three types of research labs to it anyway. It's huge, it's expensive, and it's worth it. So what does a 20,000cr upkeep station get you?

How does 15,000 base research in every department sound for a start?

And then you multiply that by all the bonuses that you get from planting Pirate Bases on every world that you see (in this case, I'm to +1900% for about a dozen planets with Pirate Fortresses on them) and what you get is pretty darn amazing.

You'll pretty much be at tech level 7 in under a decade, and laughing to yourself as you continue to get notifications of Empires finally discovering warp tech. You've pretty much won the game at this point; from here it's just a matter of time.

And once you've researched every tech in the game you can just scrap the thing.

Another plus is that it's very existence will cause new Scientists to appear in your Faction constantly. Expect to have six or more at your disposal by the time you've completed the last project in the game.

Once you've researched everything and no longer need it, then it's time to design a Large space port for your final HQ design. This is easy: You're just throwing out all the labs and replacing them with more weapons & defenses. In the end the cost & size should not change much.

Vacation Fun!

An interesting use for Resorts, as a Pirate Faction, is as a substitute for Space Ports. Once you own a planet their income drops for some reason, so that formerly Independent World that is now part of your Pirate Faction may not be producing enough cash flow to justify having a Space Port in orbit any longer. Even a small one can run you over 3000cr in upkeep, while these planets rarely generate over 2000 of income. However, for 1000cr or less you can build a Resort over the planet. Why even bother? Because you want something in orbit to fend off rival pirates from raiding the planet, and to keep Medical and Recreation facilities over the planet. A Resort does this job adequately enough and who knows? Maybe you'll actually get some tourists to visit and offset some of the upkeep as a bonus?

Also on the plus side is that limiting the number of actual Space Ports avoids a lot of resource shortfalls that will come to plague you as you expand. Sure, you may have mines for everything, but your idiot freighters keep shipping it all to the wrong places, and your idiot construction ships keep going to the stations that are out of stock to load up, and they never tell that you're short of something they need until they're already at the construction site.

This is frustrating.

Much easier, then, to centralize everything into as few Space Ports as possible; even a single one if need be. Yes, this means longer travel times for your construction ships as your Faction expands, but the savings in sheer frustration can be worth it. By keeping all of your mines feeding into one location, and making sure that your constructions ships always load up from that same location, means never having to read those "material shortfall" messages again.


< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 9/10/2014 11:12:00 PM >

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/7/2014 7:46:01 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Bug Control

Due to a bug in the game if a ship with multiple Assault Pods is interrupted for any reason between the time of the first pod launching and the final one launching it will permanently lose a number of pods... or until you retrofit the pods off and then back on again (requiring two designs and costing you credits).

Example: You have 8 assault pods on a ship. It goes to capture a mining post. 5 pods are launched when his idiot wingman blows the station up entirely. 3 pods remain... and 3 pods are all that ship will ever have again. Those 5 pods that launched will never regenerate unless you retrofit every last assault pod off the design and then, with a second retrofit, reinstall them all.

Simply put, this sucks and I don't see a fix coming any time soon. However, there is a simple workaround: Less pods, more ships.

In other words, instead of making 1 destroyer with 8 assault pods, make 8 escorts with 1 pod each. Since you can never launch less than one pod, no amount of interruption will ever cause this bug to occur. Remember, interruption is counter per ship, not per pod. So if you have 12 ships with 1 pod each and you get interrupted after 8 are launched it won't bug out on you because 8 ships did their job without interruption and the other 4 never started.


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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/7/2014 11:38:43 AM   
Nanaki

 

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quote:


An interesting use for Resorts, as a Pirate Faction, is as a substitute for Space Ports. Once you own a planet their income drops for some reason, so that formerly Independent World that is now part of your Pirate Faction may not be producing enough cash flow to justify having a Space Port in orbit any longer. Even a small one can run you over 3000cr in upkeep, while these planets rarely generate over 2000 of income. However, for 1000cr or less you can build a Resort over the planet. Why even bother? Because you want something in orbit to fend off rival pirates from raiding the planet, and to keep Medical and Recreation facilities over the planet. A Resort does this job adequately enough and who knows? Maybe you'll actually get some tourists to visit and offset some of the upkeep as a bonus?


Pirate Resorts are currently bugged in that destroyed resorts are not properly removed from the game, which means that they will continue to cost you maintenance even though it is no longer making any money.

I highly recommend visiting this bug report page which contains a list of bugs, most of which are relevant to pirates.

< Message edited by Nanaki -- 9/7/2014 12:40:37 PM >


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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/10/2014 10:10:18 PM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Looks like the Pirate bug list is longer than the rest of the bug list combined.

I do hope they have plans to work on this. Especially that inability to build pirate bases on worlds once you own them. That one bug alone is game breaker, forcing an entirely different (and agonizing) playstyle for no good reason.

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/8/2014 6:16:11 AM   
johanwanderer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tanaka

I had to repost this here from the steam forum because it is just so good! All credit goes to the original poster nephilimnexus: http://steamcommunity.com/app/261470/discussions/0/35220315653423363/
...
#12: Zaibatsu Inc. If you're not careful you'll blow far too much on "buying goods." What is that? When you go to build something and you don't have the right gas/minerals in stock, the game places a little invisible buy order for that item and a neutral NPC freighter is dispatched to bring it to you. When those goods finally arrive you pay for them. Think of it as a minature, hidden smuggling contract to the background characters.

This is important because if you check your "expansion planner" you'll notice that in a 250 star galaxy there will be, on average, maybe half a dozen planets total that produce things like Carbon Fiber & Polymer, and later on you'll add Dilithium to that list of rare minerals that you simply never have enough of.

Get a jump on that problem before it starts, then. Grab at least one source for those two critical elements right away, and eventually target them for monopolization & big profits.


This is easier said than done (or I just completely suck at this), but even when I have all the resources, I still seem to bleed so much cash on them it's unsustainable for me in the late game (see attached screenshot). Basically, I had to sell information / research / etc. to get enough cash to sustain the drains. Obviously that is only doable in early game, because in late game, everyone already knows everything there is to know about the galaxy, and some researches are just too valuable to sell. Also, as you edged out the rival gangs, they no longer have enough cash to buy stuff.

quote:


There is a huge hurdle players will face mid-game; it's what I call "The Transition" phase. That's when you finally build your criminal network and can actually start taking over planets like a regular empire. The problem with this is that, for some reason that I do not fully understand, a conquered planet only pays you a fraction of what it did before when you were just leeching off it with your bases. So as your pirate empire grows from just a smattering of orbital dockyards and hidden bases into an actual flag color on the map your income will nosedive and your wallet will start huring in a big way.

This is because the corruption that originally helped you leeched that fund is now counted against you. I tested and built regional capitals on my biggher colonies, and incomes do go back up to the 100's K per colony. Of course, you can only build 2-3 regional capitals yourself, so I also prioritize planets with regional capitals on them for invasion.




Edit: now that I read this through, I realized I had too many boarding pods in my designs (I have 2-4 per ships) and I do run into the stuck pod bugs so often that most of my fleets became useless at rading. That's something that I'll have to rectify in the next game.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by johanwanderer -- 10/8/2014 7:23:01 AM >

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/11/2014 10:38:14 AM   
johanwanderer

 

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quote:

#15: Total Self-Reliance. Redesign your construction ship template to include one or two bays of fighters, set tactics to Evade/Standoff, retreat to Shields at 50% and add one each of the Mining Engine and Gas Extractor.

One interesting side-effect of having mining engines on a constructor is that the constructor will slowly fill up its cargo holds while building a station. This can become very bad if the constructor lacks some resources to build said station. Freighters will try to dock with the constructor to fullfill its resource requirements. However, the freighters will not be able to complete the transfer because there is no room.

When that happens, you can order the constructor to go mine something. It will attempt to do so, figure out that it is full, then go to the nearest spaceport and dumps all of its cargo. Once that is done, re-issue the build / repair order.

I think that partially explain why my pirates buy so much resources. Every freighter trip is paid for, but never received. The constructors will keep on ordering new materials, and run the economy right down the drain.

Now I have to figure out if the risks outweight the benefits and decide if I am going to redesign my constructors. Maybe the thing to do is to have mining engines on just a few of your constructors early on. Once things get going, then remove them from the constructors and rely on freighters instead.

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/14/2014 4:08:56 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Another often overlooked pirate advantage is that since board pods are standard issue on so many of your designs it is fairly easy for you to capture rival pirate ships. While they tend to be worthless as anything but scrap materials each one that you capture does have a chance of revealing the location of their hidden base. This can be easier than trying to find it with spies or long range scanners. Which brings me to...

Counter Pirate Tactics for taking out your rivals. I already mentioned long range scanners and the power of Deep Cover agents, and just now mentioned capturing enemy ships for possible intelligence as well. For the most part, however, you just need to remember how the AI thinks. First, AI pirates will never build space ports over planets that they do not own outright - and most of the time that's just whatever planet they manage to get their Criminal Network on. This means that they'll still be using gas giant bases until the universe itself dies of old age. So that's where you're going to be looking.

The first thing that you will want to do is put the squeeze on them. Caslon (and later Hydrogen) is where they will be putting these bases, obviously, so you'll want to lock down and occupy every one of those planets you find with your own mines (specifically, very well armed gas mining stations) to deny those access points to them. You will also want to keep an eye on nebulas, because once you've shoved them back far enough that is where they will retreat to next.

Nebulas are somewhat of a pain to put gas mines in because, having no stars, energy collectors are practically useless in them. This means that a nebula mine will constantly be eating up the very fuel that it's mining. This means that you will end up having to make two different types of mine later in the game just for nebulas, as a station that has a Hydrogen burning reactor will fall inert if you put it in a Caslon cloud because it can't get any fuel (aside from freighter deliveries). Thus you will need to have one gas mine design that still uses Caslon, even after everything else you use has switched over to Hydrogen, just to occupy the Caslon nebulas. Which is a pain and - this is the important part - requires you to ensure that "auto-upgrade" is turned off on all your gas mines so that they don't end up "upgrading" themselves to the wrong kind of gas mine when you're not looking.

Once you have long range scanners in all of your stations, however, the thing you will want to do is periodically pause the game and check those triangles hanging around to see if any of them are Resupply Ships. Never let an enemy resupply ship survive! When you spot one grab your fleet and take it out fast. Knocking out their resupply ships forces them to fall back to their bases which are farther back (otherwise they wouldn't need a resupply ship, right?). Key to this is zooming in on the target beforehand and making sure that it has Deployed itself on a gas giant first. That means it will be locked in place for at least 30 seconds after your fleet jumps them, ensuring certain destruction.

Total Destruction: The bad news is that there is no force in the game that can actually remove an enemy Criminal Network short of invasion, and doing so borks your ability to ever put your own pirate facilities on that planet. Which means that unless you want to live with that your only recourse is to use orbital bombardment to completely annihilate the entire population. Incredibly a Criminal Network can survive even after you've destroyed the prerequisite Pirate Fortress. So as I said, you either have to nuke the planet bare or invade with ground troops and live without pirate bases of your own.

Dealing with the Empires: If you've played with good strategy you can leverage the tech bonus from your bases into a massive technological advantage over the Empires, who are capped at a level bases on their population. You have no such restrictions and your tech limit is simply derived from the number of pirate facilities you have, including those on worlds that you don't properly own (including the enemy for that matter). Selling off non-military tech is a good way to make money in a hurry. If you can get a few million credits for selling a copy of something like "enhanced cargo holds" then by all means do so. It's not like the enemy is going to shoot at you with bigger freighters, after all.

Meanwhile, you already know how that there are certain technologies that only specific races can develop. While you can't research those techs yourself you most certainly can steal them. For that reason it may be a good idea let the Kaidans and whatnot to survive a little longer so that you can steal their stuff. Once you've got their exclusive tech go ahead and finish them off.

Taking out Empire worlds can often be more trouble than it's worth unless done right. While it may be fairly easy to overrun one of their new colonies and get pirate bases on to them they will still send ships and troops from their core worlds to try to remove your pirate bases from them very quickly. For this reason when you decide to take on an Empire you need to go full Pearl Harbor and drive straight to their homeworld has your opening move. Destroy their main space port and use orbital bombardment to knock that planet down to 10% environment, then go after their colonies. By crippling their homeworld you prevent them from sending hordes of ground troops to try to knock back off those colony worlds before you can finish building you pirate bases there.

Once you do have a pirate fortress, however, waste no time in occupying that planet with your own ground troops and taking it over, even if the population is low and the planet is unprofitable. Due to bad gameplay mechanics even a low-population world will try to spam up troops to attack your bases, and even if you've got enough instant-spawn defenders to stop them there is still a chance that they'll destroy your very expensive bases with every attack. This sort of crap gets old very quick and frankly it's easier to just take the financial hit from owning a low-income world than it is to have to rebuild your bases every six months. Note that this is not try of independent worlds, which will never try to attack your bases. In that case you can just leave them like that forever if you want, and make more money while you're at it.

Another strategy which is difficult and chancy at best is driving an Empire world into becoming Independent. If you raid a planet constantly, bomb it on occasion, and generally do everything you can to drive their Happiness into the red for long enough (agents doing Rebellion missions can help here) there is a chance that the people will overthrow the government and the planet will become Independent. This is a Very Good Thing when you're a pirate, as you no longer have to hover around waiting protecting your claim and can now put a space port over the target without having to invade first.

Author's Disclaimer: If, by some miracle, the developers ever get around to fixing the cornucopia of bugs that infest pirate gameplay then large chunks of this guide may become irrelevant, incorrect, or even counter-productive. For example, if they ever fix it so that you can place pirate bases on a planet after conquering it then the entire core of pirate grand strategy will be reversed entirely. Or if they ever fix the economics so that your own bases don't count against you once you own a planet, that too will bring about major strategy changes for pirates as well.

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 11/17/2014 5:41:43 AM >

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/14/2014 4:15:16 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Johanwander, you have too many ships. Like hundreds too many. You should never need more than two dozen top-tier vessels at any point in the game. Remember, one large ships is more effective than two small ones. Get rid of them and put that money you save into stronger space port defenses.

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/14/2014 5:49:17 AM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

Nebulas are somewhat of a pain to put gas mines in because, having no stars, energy collectors are practically useless in them.

Based on the Guide to Energy and a quick test I did in game, this would appear to be incorrect. Gas clouds appear to have a large enough amount of the radiation that energy collectors gather to power a mining station while not in combat as long as it has a relatively normal number of energy collectors installed upon it. It's not as good as at a star system, but it's more than adequate for the station's normal operations.

quote:

Thus you will need to have one gas mine design that still uses Caslon, even after everything else you use has switched over to Hydrogen, just to occupy the Caslon nebulas.

Or you could just double up on the reactors. Or shell out for more energy collectors and toss an Energy to Fuel Converter on it, though that's not a component I would normally use or even have access to.

quote:

Remember, one large ships is more effective than two small ones. Get rid of them and put that money you save into stronger space port defenses.

With the boarding pod bug, it's debatable whether or not that's true for raiders and boarding vessels. It's also debatable whether or not it's more valuable to be able to hit more targets or have more concentrated firepower.

quote:

Get rid of them and put that money you save into stronger space port defenses.

I prefer my military assets to be mobile rather than fixed. It's much less expensive to set up camp, it's much less expensive to replace when I lose something, and it's much less expensive to relocate when the location where I need the heavy stuff changes. One or two heavily fortified bases in good locations isn't a bad idea, of course, but given the choice between paying for static defenses that do nothing for me most of the time and mobile warships that can earn me money and research by raiding planets or capturing or destroying ships, I'll take the ships in most cases.

It's also more survivable if something ever comes knocking that I cannot face - ships can run away, stations cannot.

quote:

Once you have long range scanners in all of your stations, however, the thing you will want to do is periodically pause the game and check those triangles hanging around to see if any of them are Resupply Ships. Never let an enemy resupply ship survive! When you spot one grab your fleet and take it out fast. Knocking out their resupply ships forces them to fall back to their bases which are farther back (otherwise they wouldn't need a resupply ship, right?). Key to this is zooming in on the target beforehand and making sure that it has Deployed itself on a gas giant first. That means it will be locked in place for at least 30 seconds after your fleet jumps them, ensuring certain destruction.

If you can manage it, capturing the Resupply Ship is better, as it gives you a "free" (but somewhat used) resupply ship for whatever purposes you want to use it for. Personally, though, I'd tend to place a higher priority on hunting Construction Ships than on hunting Resupply Ships. Construction Ships are less likely to be able to successfully face down your fleet in the early stages of the game, and removing them from play (or capturing them) is better for preventing your opponents from recovering from base destruction.

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Post #: 15
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/17/2014 5:48:44 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Recently Discovered Exploit: So you know how you can't build spaceports or anything else over an Empire controlled world, right? Actually... you can! Well, anything except a space port per se, but you can build mines, space stations and defense bases over Empire controlled worlds after all.

The trick is to find a construction ship (yours) that is already working on another project. This is important because if the ship is not already building something then it won't work! While it is in this state you can select the ship and then right-click on the target planet. Now you still won't see a build menu but if you look at the very bottom of the options list you'll notice "Queue Next Mission" is available. Select that and ta-da! The option for mines, space station, defense bases and even research bases are all available! Pick the one you want and as soon as you're builder is done doing their thing then sure enough they will indeed go to the target planet and build whatever it was you wanted.

Needless to say, being able to build a cheap, size 900 defense base (with under 1000cr upkeep) on top of an Empire controlled world does wonders for keeping it locked down forever, and you won't need to keep any garrison fleets anywhere in the system afterward! What more could you want?

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Post #: 16
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/25/2014 1:44:57 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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More on that recently discovered exploit (and why it rocks!): So you don't even need to be building anything after all. As long as your Construction Ship has any orders then the right-click "queue next mission" option will appear. Since I arm my Construction Ships, as well as give them mining gear, I can actually just tell it to attack a planet, then right-click menu to build a defense base there, and then cancel the original order (all while paused). The ship will immediately get to work.

Breaking enemy Empires has never been easier. So long as I can knock out their starport one time I can dominate the planet. The only caveat is that my Construction Ship must have good shields and the defense base design is set to get it's own shields up & running ASAP (see above tips for how to do that). This is because the empire planet will keep trying to rebuild it's starport, and when it explodes that does a lot of damage. If your construction is interrupted by this (read: shields penetrates and hull damage occurs) it can bug the whole thing & you have to start over.

So now the new grand strategy is simple: Send in a force of ships to knock out an empire star port. This can be tricky at first but gets easier as the game goes on. Once it's down I pause the game and grab a construction ship. I then tell that construction ship to build a Defense Base over the target empire world. A solid defense base will cost you less than 2000cr upkeep (which is less than two measly warships) and will lock down that planet forever. Every time they try to build a starport, construction or colony ship the Defense Base will instantly vaporize it. Yes the population can grow and they can make ground troops, but they are stranded & will have completely lost the ability to produce warships of any kind from that planet. Moving in your own ships to actually take the planet is now something you can put off until whenever you dang well feel like it.

Do this to an Empire's capitol at any point in the game and you have effectively broken them entirely. Their colonies will be unable to muster any significant resistance and you can gobble them up quickly after this.

And yes, you can even do this to Independent worlds and planets controlled by your enemies. Lock them down and take them out later. Like I said, a defense base capable of fending off 10+ ships at a time costs you less than even two warships in upkeep. If that's still a problem, well, just use the command to build a mine instead and let the non-existent private sector budget take the hit instead (though mines are not as aggressive, so are best only used on smaller worlds).

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Post #: 17
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/27/2014 4:01:13 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Recant of Raiding to Remove Enemy Bases: This actually does work but you have to game the system just right to make it work. Let's say there is a planet with a rival pirate base on it and you want it removed so that you can put your own base there. That rules out invasion with real troops, as we've already established that game play mechanic is broken & never will be fixed. So you will just have to raid it until it's destroyed. Now the logical thing to do would be to send in one giant force of raider pods & overwhelm them, destroying their base entirely in one sweep. And if you've been playing pirate for any length of time you know that logic does not apply to anything we have to deal with, so that's not going to work.

The reason this doesn't work is that pirate base destruction has nothing to do with "breaking the line" in ground combat. When your raiders win then you get a looted planet message and they vanish, while you have to wait for your raiding ships to recharge their boarding pods. Meanwhile, the enemy base likewise gets all their defense troops regenerated instantly as well. Which means that you don't want to win.

Pirate base destruction is actually just a random event that happens while ground combat (of any kind) is still ongoing. This means that if you want to remove a rival base with raiders then you need to deliberately drag the battle out for as long as possible. So you'll want to micromanage the number of drop pods that you land so that your ground strength roughly matches the enemy, perhaps with a slight advantage. You want it to turn into a drawn-out battle that last for a month or two because, as stated above, it is ongoing raider battles that destroy pirate bases, not ground victories. Naturally this does not apply to empires using real ground troops - this is just how raider mechanics work.

So what you'll end up doing is parking your raider fleet over the target and dropping your pods down one by one until you've got an even match. Then you'll kick back and watch for a while (or do something else) until the pirate bases are destroyed over the span of a month or two of fighting. Only when the enemy bases are removed will you want to flood the enemy planet with your own raiders to finish the job and break their line to end the rival's presence entirely.

In fact, chances are that while this was happening your own influence might have crossed the 50% line and you might be able to start building your own pirate base while the battle is still going on. Feel free to do so, as do to game logic loopholes it can't be damaged or destroyed by the ongoing battle (at least I've never seen it happen, and I've done this hundreds of times so far).

Still no cure for enemy Criminal Networks other than total annihilation of the planet, sadly.

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 11/27/2014 5:02:43 AM >

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Post #: 18
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/27/2014 4:17:18 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aeson

I prefer my military assets to be mobile rather than fixed. It's much less expensive to set up camp, it's much less expensive to replace when I lose something, and it's much less expensive to relocate when the location where I need the heavy stuff changes. One or two heavily fortified bases in good locations isn't a bad idea, of course, but given the choice between paying for static defenses that do nothing for me most of the time and mobile warships that can earn me money and research by raiding planets or capturing or destroying ships, I'll take the ships in most cases.

It's also more survivable if something ever comes knocking that I cannot face - ships can run away, stations cannot.


While your points about mobility being an advantage are valid, there is still the cost to consider. Credit for credit, a defense base (or any other static structure) can pack in a lot more combat capability simply because is does not need to spend any space (or credits) on moving. No hyperdrive no thruster units of any kinds are needed. All that extra space (and cost) can be devoted entirely to weapons and defenses, instead. Because of this I have found that a well designed defense platform costing no more than 2000cr of upkeep can easily fend off up to six AI enemy ships of comparable technology - which probably costs the AI 10,000cr or more in upkeep.

Once you've got a tech advantage (easy to do against AI) then that number increases exponentially whilst the cost does not. By around the typical midgame I've found that a 2000cr upkeep platform can easily vaporize fleets of a dozen or more enemies with ease. The only time I ever have any trouble is when they bring in their salvaged ultra-tech ships to bear, but then those ships would defeat a mobile fleet just as easily, too (as they all have hyperdeny systems). Eventually even the ultratech salvage ships will just be "meh" compared to your own tech and then you can literally just ignore any "base under attack" messages that come in.

I've won entire maps as a pirate while never having more than 20 mobile combat ships to my name, split into only 2 fleets - one for straight combat to wipe out all resistance in a system, the other with boarding pods to do raids & bombardment as their follow up. A single, small non-fleet transport ship with 8 infantry to conquer worlds once they've been softened up completes my template. That's it. This means that my fleet upkeep costs are kept very low, which is always important when playing pirate & money is always your biggest concern.

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Post #: 19
RE: Pirate Tips! - 12/11/2014 9:30:31 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Blue Collar Blues

One problem facing early game pirate players is that you only have one construction ship and lack the ability to build any more. Or do you? In reality, it seems that any ship can be a construction ship so long as it has all the right parts. So why bother with construction ships at all? Size limits - they can be built up to your base size, whilst regular ships are limited to regular ship size. Which means that during the opening game your construction ships can go up to size 900 but you regular ships can only be size 300, which makes it impossible for them to be builders.

So here's how make that impossible size 300 builder:

1 x Command Center
1 x Construction Yard
1 x Energy Collector
6 x Proton Thruster
6 x Thrust Vector
4 x Life Support
4 x Habitation Module
1 x Gerax Hyperdrive
1 x HighTech Plant
1 x Energy Plant
1 x Weapons Plant
2 x Fission Reactor
2 x Standard Fuel Cell
5 x Standard Cargo Bay
1 x Docking Port
1 x Maxos Blaster

Top Speed: 12
Cost: About 1000
Upkeep: About 250

Now keep in mind that this is very limited in what it can do. It has no shields or armor so it is helpless against attack. It only has a range of about 2 sectors, and with a tiny 2500 space cargo bay it's not suited for building anything big.

What it can do is build mining stations and space ports anywhere that you've already established control, and - most importantly - can itself be built cheaply, quickly, and in large numbers if need be by your starting Space Port. SO if you're tired of being stuck with only one builder, or worse, have lost your only builder, here is a crutch solution so that you don't have to give up entirely.


Medic!

Technically this is a downgrade, since your starting resupply ship is actually larger than what you can build at the game start (how does that work, anyway?). However, this change can be worth it; it's a cheap retrofit of the starting resupply ship.

1 x Command Center
2 x Energy Collectors
1 x Construction Yard
20 x Proton Thrusters
12 x Thrust Vector
1 x Gas Extractor
2 x Standard Fighter Bays
11 x Habitation Modules
11 x Life Support
1 x Gerax Hyperdrive
3 x Fission Reactors
1 x Resource Profile Scanner
20 x Standard Cargo Bay
12 x Corvidian Shields
10 x Standard Fuel Cells
4 x Docking Bays
2 x Maxos Blaster
16 x Standard Armor
1 x HiTech Plant
1 x Weapon Plant
1 x Energy Plant

Top speed: 12

Now this has a bit less firepower than the original, so why do this? Well, for one thing, you shouldn't be taking resupply ships into combat in the first place. The main thing is that we've added the ability to repair ships in the field. Now it still can't build ships (that's hardcoded} but yes, it can certainly repair your damaged military ships when far from home... albeit slowly, as it only has one construction yard. Can also theoretically be used as a builder, but is a bit slow & expensive for that - that job is best done by other units (see above).

Still, the ability to move a resupply ship into a hostile system right behind an attack fleet and being able to patch up your damaged ships right there, instead of sending them all the way back to home base, can make you a much happier pirate I would think.



< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 12/11/2014 10:59:56 AM >

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Post #: 20
RE: Pirate Tips! - 12/11/2014 10:07:48 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Here, let's make this easier for everyone:

Pirate Starting Kit

This is a collection of ship designs & retrofits (using standard artwork) to help aspiring pirates get off to a good start. Just put in your Documents/My Games/Distant Worlds Universe/Settings folder and load it into your game when you first start.

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Post #: 21
RE: Pirate Tips! - 12/17/2014 3:04:55 PM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Dealing with the Boarding Bug: Usually bigger is better, except that the boarding pod bug can completely screw up your boarding ships - especially if the AI is ever allowed to do literally anything, because it loves to blow up targets in the middle of boarding operations & bork your pod count. Now normally bigger is better, meaning that a single size 600 ship is more powerful than two 300 ships. This is because the latter each requires their own separate fuel, engine and command components whilst the former only needs one. Considering just how much space all that takes up the difference becomes very apparent. However, due to the boarding bug, packing a lot of boarding pods onto one ship increases the likelihood of the bug occurring.

The workaround that I've found is to keep all boarding pod ships in a separate fleet that is kept just outside of a target area until needed. Only once your primary fleet is done destroying everything that needs destroying, then move in your boarding ships to attack just the one target and - important - immediately have them all withdraw back outside the system boarder once all their pods are launched.

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Post #: 22
RE: Pirate Tips! - 12/17/2014 5:51:17 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

Now normally bigger is better, meaning that a single size 600 ship is more powerful than two 300 ships. This is because the latter each requires their own separate fuel, engine and command components whilst the former only needs one. Considering just how much space all that takes up the difference becomes very apparent.

It's a relatively minor quibble, but the ratio of size dedicated to main thrust (and, to a lesser extent, maneuvering) engine components to total ship size is constant for a given speed and engine component. Whether you want two size-300 ships to move at speed X or one size-600 ship to move at the same speed, you'll require Y main thrust components of type Z, and maneuvering thrusters behave similarly. You may have some issues where the size-300 ship would require 2.5 engine components to move at speed A while the size-600 ship requires 5 engine components to move at speed A, leading to either 4 or 6 engine components on the smaller ships and 5 on the larger ships, or some such thing.

Fuel cells may also behave similarly, depending on if you design for range (in which case it's usually essentially the same number of fuel cells for the size-300 ship as for the size-600 ship) or combat time (in which case it depends on what you put on the ships, but the size-600 design will most likely require more fuel for a given amount of combat time than the size-300 ship will, potentially more than the size ratio would suggest, but on the other hand as a more powerful design it may not need to be designed for as much combat time as the smaller vessels).

Hyperdrives, command centers, repair/damage control components, countermeasures, targeting sensors, and (frequently) energy collectors are certainly 'extras' that you pay for if you take two size-300 ships instead of one size-600 ship, and size-600 ships can also often cut back on the total number of defense components, as, say, 8 shield generators on one ship is probably better than 12 spread across two ships. Main thrust and maneuvering engines, however, mostly don't have a scaling issue if you're designing for the same speed and turn rate on both sizes.

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Post #: 23
RE: Pirate Tips! - 1/4/2015 8:15:12 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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During a particularly large & lengthy game I tested and confirmed that Pirate Bases on worlds that you control outright hurt you income (lost to Corruption) even when the bases are your own! I went through a map where my gross income was less than 50K per year and scrapped all the pirate facilities on worlds that I had taken over through conquest and (holy crap) my income more than doubled when the next financial quarter came in.

So here is the conundrum: Pirate facilities increase your research capacity, which lets you build that ultra-max tech station that pushed you into tech 7 in just a few years. They also provide a bit of "free" last ditch garrison ground force in case of enemy raids or planet invasions getting past your space ports & defense bases. Except that they're not free - they're sucking away 30% of your planet's gross income and tossing it all into the nearest black hole.

To get an idea of just how bad that is look at it like this: You have a planet with 100K gross income and a 25% tax rate, that should give you 25K per year, right? But with a pirate fortress (your own!) that gross income drops to 70K, which at the same tax rate would reduce your net to 17.5K per year. But wait, it gets worse! That corruption is also reducing your planet's happiness, which in turn shows how much "Compliance" the population has with your taxes. Non-compliant people give you nothing. In other words, that base may well be cutting your income in half or more!

Ahh... but without enough bases you lose your giant research bonuses! What to do? Well this is where you're going to have to micromanage things a bit. What you will want to do is keep just enough bases to keep you research potential just a little bit over whatever your ultramax research station is actually producing. After that, scrap them! They're just a drain.

They good news, however, is that this means you can now officially forget all about trying to max out your number of pirate bases and putting them on every world before invading. Once you've got your research bracket in place you can now just skip placing more bases entirely and skip straight to the good old ground invasion and permanent takeover. This really REALLY speeds things up in your favor, as you don't need fleets of boarding pods running back and forth to shovel money at every new little upstart colony that appears on the map. In fact, you could (theoretically) do away with planetary raids entirely at this point and just go for blitzing the enemy's worlds with ground troops as fast as they can plop down colony ships.

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 1/4/2015 9:15:30 AM >

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Post #: 24
RE: Pirate Tips! - 1/6/2015 6:09:23 PM   
GenBelasarius

 

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What is your ship design philosophy? I don't really understand it!

I'm not really sure how pirates work, but couldn't you just build one criminal network to become a "normal" empire and after that take over worlds without corrupting them to increase your research potential?

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Post #: 25
RE: Pirate Tips! - 1/10/2015 12:46:05 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Yes, you most certainly can and that's a valid strategy. In fact, once you've got your criminal network built and start conquering planets you'll want to not put pirate bases on them first, as they hurt income.

However, pirate bases still serve two purposes: Research limit increase and siphoning funds off planets that you don't actually own. As stated above, with a dozen pirate fortresses scattered around on independent worlds (best places for them, actually) your research cap will climb so high that making a research base with two hundred and fifty labs becomes a viable strategy. No empire can match pirates when it comes to tech development if you play it right.

The funds siphoning is essential in the early game, too, as that is the only way you're going to have any kind of stable income to maintain your fleet with. As a regular pirate, turning a planet into your own will cost you 250,000cr once all buildings are counted. You start the game with less than 20,000cr and a negative net income to begin with, so at first getting pirate bases everywhere is very, very important.

Once you actually own the planets then you'll want to scrap the bases to get your income back. But here's the catch: You don't always want to actually own the planets. Independents are a good example, as they never try to destroy your bases so there is no real reason to try to invade them. Their population (and your income from it) will grow over time, but they'll never "rebel" against your presence there leeching their income away. They also periodically post defense missions, which pay good, which are automatic wins once you've got a space port or defense base built over the world (see "gaming the system," above).

As for ship designs, it's pretty simple: Heavily shielded "banzai" ships with tractor beams & assault pods for raiding,capturing neutral freighters and enemy mining facilities (much cheaper than buying your own - never buy what you can just steal). Combat ships are designed around long range and "stand off" tactics, such as missiles and (later) fighters. There really isn't much more to it than that, really.

With freighters I make them all the same size but give them different roles: "Small" freighters will be built for speed, "Medium" for range and "Large" for cargo capacity. So the smalls keep a small flow of resources constantly flowing in, the larges deliver more stuff but have to stay closer to home (and safety), while the mediums tend to handle the smuggling missions because they've got the fuel capacity to go the farthest.

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Post #: 26
RE: Pirate Tips! - 1/16/2015 5:57:53 PM   
NephilimNexus

 

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So in conclusion (I hope), my new map winning pirate grand strategy for pirates is actually pretty simple:

1) Empire Worlds (small population): Park a defense platform over the planet and build pirate bases to leech enough income to pay for having that base there.
2) Empire Worlds (large population): Orbital bombardment until all defense units are dead, then promptly invade. Never need more than eight good infantry, honestly.
3) Independent Worlds (small population): Build a mine or, for key locations, a small spaceport (with harvesters) above the planet. Milk it for the defense & smuggling contracts for easy credits. Also, build pirate bases.
4) Independent Worlds (large population): Can go either way with pirate bases or invasion & conquest. Depends on location & predicted income loss due to distance from capitol (corruption). If close to home, invade. If too far away, leave with bases.
5) Research: One gigantic research base over our homeworld (first planet to get criminal network) and that's it. 250+ of each lab type. Easy.
6) Build & Burn Economics: Build pirate bases on planets in early game to get enough income to make the Criminal Network transition to pseudo-empire play. After that, remove all pirate facilities from conquered planets, including the Criminal Network itself. Don't worry, you won't lose control of the planet. All you will lose is the 50% income loss due to corruption that it causes.
7) Minimal Fleet: You should never need more than 20 military ships at any given time to dominate the game.

This should stand as is until (if) developers ever fix the issue of your own pirate bases hurting the economies of planets that you own. If that ever happens, then go ahead and leave them, but as it stands right now once you've invaded & conquered a planet you'll want to scrap all of your own pirate facilities as they only hurt your income - and pirate income is nerfed bad enough as it is.

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Post #: 27
RE: Pirate Tips! - 2/21/2015 7:15:43 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Updated the "Pirate Starting Kit" file for better tweaking and a few minor bad parts fixed.

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 2/21/2015 8:16:55 AM >

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Post #: 28
RE: Pirate Tips! - 2/21/2015 8:40:55 AM   
NephilimNexus

 

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Take what you can, give nothing back: So you built a mining station in someone else's territory because pirates ignore borders and screw those guys, right? But now you need a quick cash infusion and you don't want to sell anything of real value to the enemy, like technology, but you're all out of secret locations to hock. What to do? Well you may have noticed that you have the option to sell them those stations that you built in "disputed territory" ... and for quite a bit of cash, no less. Tempting, but do you really want to part with one of your precious mining stations so easily? Wouldn't it be better if you could get the cash and keep the mining station, too? And you already know where I'm going this, don't you?

Ok for those who didn't jump ahead I'll spell it out for you. First move your fleet of Harpoon ships into orbit around the station. Then go to the diplomacy screen and sell it the enemy empire for quick cash. Then immediately go right back to your Harpoon fleet and capture that station right back from them. There, all you lost was some shields and you made a few hundred thousand credits for pretty much no effort.

Best part is that the AI is too stupid to ever figure it out. You can keep repeating this scam pretty much forever if you want to, or until they run out of money.


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Post #: 29
RE: Pirate Tips! - 3/4/2015 1:25:27 AM   
bbenham

 

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LOVe that pirate starting kit. Thanks!

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