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Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:23:38 PM   
Icemania


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All:

In this Extreme Difficulty Distant Worlds Universe After Action Report I'll provide strategy descriptions intended to help other players. Due to real life getting in the way this After Action Report will take a little while to complete so please comment or ask questions in between batches. Feel free to challenge my methodology as I would like to improve my Strategies as well!

The settings are:

• Normal Empire Age of Shadows
• Irregular, 1400 Stars, 10 x 10 Sectors
• Pre Warp Expansion, Extreme Difficulty, Difficulty Scales Near Victory
• Unstable Aggression
• Very Many Strong Pirates, Nearby Distance, No Respawn allowed
• Many Space Creatures
• Expensive Research
• Normal Colonies and Normal Independent Life
• 2 Sector Colonisation Range Limit
• Quameno Technocracy
• Excellent Homeworld, Starting, Pre-Warp, Normal Corruption, Centre
• 19 Empires, Excellent Homeworld, Pre-Warp
• Victory Threshold 80%, conditions increased to 50% for Territory, Population and Economy


< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/28/2014 11:24:19 AM >
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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:32:18 PM   
Icemania


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The following Weapon Research Order was set: Improved Assault Tactics, Armour Plating, Improved Ground Assault and then a Torpedo focus. The intent is to support a ground army for future invasions and then focus on one weapon type.

The following Energy Research Order was set: Energy Collector, Space Construction, Enhanced Construction. Energy Collectors are fast to research and provide fuel when stationary while getting to Size 300 is a priority early as it allows vastly stronger military ships, high range exploration ships and improved private economy ships.

The following HighTech Research Order was set: Enhanced Resource Exploration, Transport Systems, Medical Systems, Advanced Medicine, Biological Workshops (enabling Advanced Medicomplex). The goal here is to support Exploration by improving sensors, ensuring Troop Transports can be built for future invasions, then a focus on Medical research to optimise population growth as priority.

A custom Starting Ship and Base Designs file was loaded and other designs made obsolete. The Design files are important as I don't particularly enjoy micromanaging ship designs in every single game but the benefits of custom designs are massive.

A very small Energy Research Lab is built first. Only 4 Energy labs to get research going quickly and any scientists will be transferred. Next will upgrade to 12 Energy Labs and then upgrade again to 16 Energy, 4 High Tech and 4Weapons (or whatever is needed to ensure all research potential is needed).

Tax was increased until happiness was +2 to maximise cash flow.

Disbanded any existing troops as at this stage they are just a drain on very limited resources.

It's always useful to orbit a gas giant as a start can be made mining Caslon quickly i.e. since Pre-warp travel speeds are low. An early source of Steel is also very useful.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:48:37 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:36:47 PM   
Icemania


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Pirates show up and I immediately pay them off. There is no way to defend against them at this point. As soon as they leave my home system, I cancel the protection agreement, as it's very expensive to maintain at this stage of the game.

If you allow technology selling, an investment in Empire Contacts through Pirates can be high value early game. Unfortunately, these Pirates are not aware of any other empires.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 6/1/2014 2:58:44 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:39:28 PM   
Icemania


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After building a custom small Medium Spaceport and 2 Super Speedy Explorers (16 Ion Thrusters for 53 Speed) exploration of my home system commences. Construction Ship building commences. Energy Collectors are now available and 33% through Space Construction to provide increased ship sizes.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:48:14 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:41:13 PM   
Icemania


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Space Construction (Size 230 ships) completes. A custom Size 230 Ship and Base Designs file is loaded and other designs are made obsolete (includes Energy Collectors). The existing Research Station and Spaceport is upgraded.

A Construction Ship is on the way to build a custom Gas Mining Station (3 Extractors and extra Cargo Bays and Docking Bays) as a priority. Extra fuel early is key to optimising expansion.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 6/1/2014 2:59:34 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:42:15 PM   
Icemania


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Recovered the nearby derelict frigate and set to retire. The Gas Giant has a really good +29% Energy Research Bonus. I'll hold on building a Research Station for the moment.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:47:56 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:43:19 PM   
Icemania


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Investigated the Warp Field Precursor ruins. Warp Field Precursors, Hyperdrive, Fusion Ignition and Accelerated Construction added to Energy Research Build Order. Enhanced Construction at 35%.

Once my third Construction ship is complete I'll upgrade to a custom Large Spaceport with additional Construction Yard and Docking Bays to help with future expansion plans.

I only build Mining Stations very nearby as it's faster to wait for Warp Field and upgrade than build in the distant parts of my home system.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:47:47 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:44:31 PM   
Icemania


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Enhanced Construction (Size 300) completes. A custom Size 300 Ship Designs file is loaded ready for Warp Drive once available and other designs are made obsolete. Enhanced Resource Exploration almost completes which vastly increases sensor range of Exploration Ships.

Started to build two Size 300 Military Ships (to defend against the Giant Kaltors which arrive when Warp Field is researched) and six Size 300 Exploration Ships. The existing two Exploration Ships are set to retrofit.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:47:35 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/26/2014 3:46:03 PM   
Icemania


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Large Spaceport complete. Various ships are waiting for Warp Drive, but built a bit too early at only 25% through Warp Field Precursor Research! Armour Plating and Improved Ground Assault are complete (partly due to the retired derelict Frigate that was recovered).



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 6/1/2014 3:05:20 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 9:36:11 AM   
towerbooks3192


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Nice AAR. We need a lot of them these days and hopefully people from CK2 and EUIV who writes AARs back in paradox would do the same when they get distant worlds.

I have a question. Would you mind sharing the pre-set designs you have loaded up? I always have trouble knowing when it is alright to build a ship in shadows start as I try to get the basic classic parts (gerax, standard fuel cell,shield, armour, engines, etc.) before I even dare building one. Hope you will continue with this and give some tips along the way



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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 9:56:57 AM   
Icemania


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Thanks towerbooks. Yes I plan to continue and add as many useful notes as I can as we go.

Very happy to discuss ship and base designs (apologies I'm a little "precious" about sharing the full design files). At this point those designs are very basic. They have no shields, no armour, and everything else is Tier 1 technology. I place a higher priority on getting Exploration going much faster even if it means quite a few of those extremely weak ships are lost.


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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:39:19 AM   
Icemania


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Transport Systems is complete so loaded my Size 300 Designs for Passenger and Troop Ships ready for Warp Field to be installed when available.

The same Pirates turned up again so I paid them off and cancelled again when they left.

Otherwise it is quiet waiting for Warp Field which is at 65% complete.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:47:10 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:40:42 AM   
towerbooks3192


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Icemania

Thanks towerbooks. Yes I plan to continue and add as many useful notes as I can as we go.

Very happy to discuss ship and base designs (apologies I'm a little "precious" about sharing the full design files). At this point those designs are very basic. They have no shields, no armour, and everything else is Tier 1 technology. I place a higher priority on getting Exploration going much faster even if it means quite a few of those extremely weak ships are lost.




Ok I respect that you would not share your designs. I want to learn basic functional and optimal designs especially for early stage ships and I also don't have any experience with advance components other than the ships I find on graveyards.I hope to learn the basics and optimal designs from this AAR. I will be using this AAR to learn more about the game and I am more of a reading person than a video person so I prefer this over LPs

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:41:52 AM   
Icemania


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Warp Field is now complete, all ships designs upgraded and orders to retrofit with Warp Drive are given. After those retrofits, exploration of the 10 nearest systems starts and Construction Ships are sent to build other Mining Stations around my home system.

There was a new Scientist event but as he was a Foreign Spy (which helps other empires steal research) he was immediately dismissed. Better Scientists will spawn in time.

My only fleet, with 2 ships, takes out the Giant Kaltors.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:46:32 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:42:57 AM   
Icemania


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Encountered some new Pirates and purchased an Empire Contact.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:46:23 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:43:55 AM   
Icemania


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With that Empire Contact I sold Armour Plating for 62k credits which to say the least is extremely useful at this stage of the game. Most experienced players don't play with Technology Selling for exactly this reason but I would prefer the pricing was reduced (at least on higher difficulty) in a patch.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:46:10 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:44:59 AM   
Icemania


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In a stroke of luck the initial wave of 10 Explorers finds two abandoned colony ships in the first system explored!

One colony ship will be retired. New colonies consume significant resources in a Shadows Age game (e.g. Pirate Protection) and take a long time to develop so a higher priority is placed on technology improvements.

However, the other is a Gizurean colony ship which allows Volcanic Planets to be colonised, which normally cannot be done until later in the game. I'll keep this in reserve to colonise a Super Luxury Planet as soon as possible.

Exploration is being done using "move to" and moving again once resources are known as this is much faster than "Explore" and massively faster than the Explorer AI. At this stage I ensure all resources in all systems are known to help plan future mining stations.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:45:35 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:50:08 AM   
Icemania


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Hyperdrive Technology is now available as a result of a technology boost from the retired colony ship. All Ship Designs upgraded and another 10 Exploration Ships are underway.

My Energy Research Station is upgraded to 12 Energy Labs, 12 HighTech Labs and 8 Weapons Labs to rebalance research distribution.

Fusion Ignition is the next Energy Research Target. This is a Quameno Special Technology that provides the efficient NovaCore Reactor but which also uses Hydrogen rather than Caslon. The use of two fuels assists with the minimisation of resource shortages when expanding quickly.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:51:57 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:52:33 AM   
Icemania


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As there is very little Steel in my home system this resource will be a top priority for Construction Ships but had to destroy some more Giant Kaltors first. This ship only just made it out alive!

The next 10 Exploration ships with Gerax hyperdrive starts exploring. Most of the first 10 are being retrofitted. Another batch of 10 Explorers starts construction.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:52:47 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:54:02 AM   
Icemania


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Encountered some new Pirates and purchased two more Empire Contacts and then sold those Empires technology for 180k in profit. Those funds were then used to crash current research (3x speed) in all three fields. And to help fund 30 Explorers with more to follow ...



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 12:54:12 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 1:51:18 PM   
Icemania


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Spidey

You're doing pretty well, Ice, but there are two questions I'm left with after reading that AAR.

1) You don't put labs onto your mining stations? At least I didn't notice you saying you did. To me, doing that is an essential way of keeping my state maintenance costs down while making mining stations even more useful while drawing a bit heavier upon that massive chunk of money the civilian sector is going to sit on anyway. For that reason, long range scanners end up on mining bases too and never on any state bases.

2) You're specializing your research bases? What I tend to do with them is 2 of each lab on all three of them. This way, my super-geek scientist with +% in all three skills (assuming I have one) can keep on providing his bonus in the two weaker schools until I've actually found and built a base on a better bonus. I'm using the first space port for ratio manipulation very early on and then reduce gradually through retrofits as mining stations go up.



I call it an Energy Research Station but it's really a Mega Research Station with all Labs and all Scientists in one location at my home world. The bonuses from those scientists stack as well. The benefit is that it's faster to build and upgrade (as you can see I've upgraded a couple of times already) as compared to waiting for construction ships and mining stations to build. That may well change as the game progresses though e.g. use of bonus locations.

The reason I don't integrate them with a Spaceport is to get research going quickly without waiting for all those docking bays, yards, plants and so on to build. Also building a Research Station sometimes spawns a new scientist which can be very handy early game.

Good point on state versus private maintenance costs; however, the Maintenance Cost of the Mega Research Station is only 3K.

< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 2:53:19 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 3:13:43 PM   
Spidey


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Your energy research station makes sense, Ice. And now that I'm less sleep-headed, I see that you're actually describing in detail how it's not specialized. Bad reading on my part, and I apologise for that. That said, you actually do get the bonus from the moment the labs are built rather than when the entire thing is built, but I'm not sure you can send your scientist to an unfinished build and a space port certainly won't trigger an extra scientist. That's probably worth the extra upkeep of a command center, a reactor, and some energy collectors.

And regarding upkeep, I guess your labs aren't really that big a drain at 3k, though it's still another few ships you can't have. Personally I tend to zero tax like crazy and skip the growth wonder, going for Bakkuras and the Bazaar and hoping to reach ~24-25 b homeworld population by that time. The timing of my approach is questionable and it gets a bit hairy if I can make it that far without going into red while also scouting as much as I want, but racing for a wonder becomes obsolete by design before 2115 feels odd. And it's actually surprising how long you can keep it going with the right invasions and some resort base luck. That being said, I'm pretty sure your growth is still going to edge out mine. I tend to reach 20 billion around 2110 and with a growth rate of beyond 10%, the max pop is reached pretty soon after that.

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 3:33:33 PM   
Icemania


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My first Research Station build has only 4 labs ... when that build completes I immediately upgrade to build more labs and send the scientists.

Your population growth will likely be better as in this game I didn't get an Empire Contact until 2104 so couldn't milk technology selling any earlier in order to fund 0% tax.

The strategy here obviously varies a lot depending on race. Which race do you play? Quameno growth rates are fairly weak so part of the reason I go for Biological Workshops is to make up for that weakness.


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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 3:36:10 PM   
Icemania


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In this particular game I have an Intelligence Agent that has Espionage skill. He has just succeeded in stealing a Galaxy Map that has revealed the Securan Homeworld. It's very easy to lose Agents so I start on easier missions to build skill up. However, now that contact has been made with some Empires I will try to steal some of their Research where possible. Missions against Empires have a better chance of success than the Ancient Guardians or Pirates ... I only attempt if the odds of success are above 80%.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/27/2014 4:36:33 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 3:37:33 PM   
Icemania


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Building another 20 Explorers which will make a total of 50 when they are complete. The micromanagement for the Explorers really changes the game at this point as I check every Explorer every 15 game days to optimise their routing. It's the part of the game that I enjoy the least given the weak Explorer AI but the benefits are worth the effort.

Set 0% tax on homeworld. The cashflow is clearly not needed anymore after selling some more technology and probably could have set it to 0% earlier!

The Intelligence Agent has succeeded in stealing Shields from another Empire.



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< Message edited by Icemania -- 6/1/2014 3:04:59 PM >

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 4:22:18 PM   
Spidey


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I actually tend to be Quameno as well. Their racial victory conditions are very easy to satisfy and their 90% research bonus is impossible to match. Those reactors are something else as well, being so efficient that it's actually not necessary to divide up your fuel consumption.

Their growth rate isn't that helpful and other races can definitely reach max pop faster, but even the Quameni gets there eventually. My goal is to non-stop zero tax at least until 2110, at which point I'm well beyond 15 billion people, possibly billions beyond depending on immigration and starting population. With medical and rec facility, I'm seeing 16% homeworld growth rate on quality 100 planets and 15% on quality 90, which I think is "fast enough". It's not quite Gizurean, but it gets the job done.

And if I can be anywhere close to 24-25 billion around 2110 (with "close" meaning "within a few billions" and "around" meaning "before the end of 2111"), then I think I'm doing quite well. I'm way ahead on population, and once I get the Bakura down, I can produce colonizers (once I get them researched) way faster than Ackdarians. And once I get the Bazaar done, I can even afford doing it. With invasions going on and with all the ocean worlds getting colonized in short order, leading to a boom in civilian ship orders, I'm making very good money and can afford to zero tax the homeworlds I'm (hopefully) invading, which then leads to them also getting to the fun population sizes before the other far-away AI factions do. At which point I've got at least 3-4 times the population of everybody else.

It's not quite as deliberate as your approach, and very many very strong pirates generally are a pest since I can't afford adequate pirate protection fleets nor can I go offensive until I've teched up quite a lot and have long range scanners to tell me where to go, but aside from that it seems to work out well enough and not be affected too much by game difficulty.

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 10:16:28 PM   
Grotius


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I'm learning a lot from this AAR. Please keep the posts coming! Thanks for your work on this.

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/27/2014 11:15:35 PM   
FireLion1983

 

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You seem to be lucky with the pirates! I'm surprised they didn't just come and kill you off after dropping your protection agreement.

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/28/2014 12:25:21 AM   
lordmoore


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Excellent AAR and very informative.

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RE: Extreme Difficulty Universe After Action Report - 5/28/2014 6:51:16 AM   
Icemania


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quote:

ORIGINAL: FireLion1983
You seem to be lucky with the pirates! I'm surprised they didn't just come and kill you off after dropping your protection agreement.

Whenever Pirates attack I pause the game and set a protection agreement up.

At that point I keep watching though. If the Pirates keep moving to attack then the agreement didn't stick and I'll set the protection agreement up again.

And repeat if required until they go to warp, then cancel that agreement.

< Message edited by Icemania -- 5/28/2014 7:52:20 AM >

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