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RE: Pirate Tips!

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RE: Pirate Tips! - 3/27/2015 5:03:08 PM   


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Glad you like it. I find it saves a lot of time.

(in reply to bbenham)
Post #: 31
RE: Pirate Tips! - 4/10/2015 9:31:25 AM   

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Is there list of currently known issues/exploits/bugs regarding pirates?

I thought there was, but can't find anything.

(in reply to bbenham)
Post #: 32
RE: Pirate Tips! - 5/22/2015 11:35:49 AM   


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Another correction: Those of you who downloaded the "Pirate Starting Kit" probably noticed that it includes a small, size 900 weapons tech research station design in the list. If you check the specs you'll also notice that it's not purely weapons research - it's actually balanced out across all three branches, as far as lab count goes.

This is because using the "queue next mission" trick will actually let you build a research base on planets that you don't even own. What's even stranger is that, in this one case only, those bases actually stack. Meaning duplicate bases will actually continue to increase your research output, instead of just giving you the "highest of the herd" as with every other other situation.

There is, of course, still one catch: You are still capped at your faction research limit, which as a pirate mostly means how many pirate facilities that you have placed on various planets.

So that's good news: You don't actually have to wait until you get your Criminal Network built to start doing tech research after all. Once you've got a planet picked out that you want to be your homeworld someday (I seriously suggest having an adjacent starport for defense purposes) then you can go ahead and start doing research right away. Just make sure that you actually have a few pirate bases planted first, however, otherwise the faction cap will still keep you locked in the dark ages.

Timing is important!: There has been an ongoing, still unfixed bug wherein if you launch raiders onto a planet where the AI is currently trying to remove your pirate base via ground troops, your raiders will end up helping the wrong side and actually join the attackers trying to blow up your precious base. What's worse, I swear the AI knows this and exploits it. Many times I've had the AI launch it's attacks against my bases right as my raider ships arrived on sight with orders to raid the planet, causing me to end up destroying my own base. For this reason it is a good idea to not send your ships with raid orders over any length of distance. Instead just tell them to go to the planet and wait in orbit for further orders. When they arrive double-check to make sure the AI hasn't started an attack yet, cross your fingers and only then launch your pods.

Bug or design?: While it is certainly possible to acquire the base tech level of unique, race-specific techs be reverse engineering (read: retiring) captured ships of that race, to date I have never gotten a single tech point past that towards the higher levels of those techs via that method. Meaning that if I capture ships armed with Shaktur Firestorms I can learn the 1st level of that unique tech from disassembling said ships, the next two levels past that remain unlearnable - and yes, the race itself had already learned that entire branch of the tree. Spies, however, still had a chance to learn these higher levels but their chances seem to drop geometrically with every level. Meaning if the first tier of, say, Holographic AI could be done at 90% success with a spy, the next level dropped to 45% with the same spy. Obviously this makes acquiring these super-techs via spies a bit expensive due to high casualties rates amongst your intelligence branch.

Just thought I'd mention that before anyone else ends up wasting their time trying to capture dozens upon dozens of ships to try to increase their tech knowledge for the race-specifics. After the first block it just stops working.

You'll pay for that!: Sometimes, despite your best defenses, the AI will send a fleet massive enough to take out one of your starports or defense bases. Fine, while they're doing that send your fleet over to their homeworld and blow it off the map. That'll teach 'em. Even if you do not have the troops to conquer the planet or the money to build bases there, it is always worth your time to nuke the crap out of any Empire world you find, if only to hamper their growth.

Stealing the Shaktur Firestorm tech really makes this work well, as you don't sacrifice space-to-space combat ability to make way for bomb bays. Instead you now have one weapon that can destroy both the spaceport and the planet below. Remember, it's not always about conquest. Sometimes just exterminating someone from orbit and recolonizing later is the most efficient option. This is especially true of any Empire than manages to steal your territory map via spies, as they will mobilize to attack your homeworld and starports the second that they figure out where it is. In such as a case you need to beat them to the punch and prioritize everything into bombing them back into the stoneage and then finishing them off, pronto.

(in reply to MatBailie)
Post #: 33
RE: Pirate Tips! - 5/22/2015 11:48:29 AM   


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Inspiring Leader: Anytime I get a character with that trait I send them to my homeworld, or nearest secure spaceport if I haven't got that far yet. Then I make sure to station all my intelligence agents with them. This will cause my spies to level up their skills even when doing nothing. Bunking such a character on a research base with scientists likewise results in rapid level gain, which is awesome.

The case for the harder part: Generally speaking, when planning a target for your Criminal Network, it's far easier to get it plopped onto an Independent world than any Empire world. However, there is greater profit in grabbing an Empire world as your new homeworld... provided that you can pull it off. Unlike regular conquest which simply kills Characters, when you take over a planet via Criminal Network you inherit any Characters that were on that world. By this means you can acquire a few extra intelligence agents, generals (while Pirates can naturally generate Generals, it's rare), scientists (always a plus!), diplomats (useless to you, as you can't actually use them) and - most importantly - Planetary Governors, which are a character type that Pirates cannot gain any other way. Pirates do not naturally spawn Planetary Governors of their own, ever. This is the only way to get them, and they are very valuable to have.

Correction of the Above: Turns out there is still a very slim chance to get colony governors the old fashioned way - by landing a lot of colony ships and hoping the dice roll in your favor. However, my luck with this so far has been about one colony governor gained per roughly thirty planets colonized. So while possible, it's certainly isn't probable. So don't count on it happening. Stick with the above method if you want a sure thing.

Jackpot Planets: Add this to the case for letting Empires grow a little before wiping them out. While any one faction can only create three Regional Capitols per game, there is no such restriction on how many such gifted planets that you can actually own. Meaning that even after you've maxed out your limit (and you will, because Corruption quickly becomes your worst enemy once you start taking planets over for real) you can still freely capture Empire planets that they built Regional Capitols on and you get to keep them!. Which means that you can, in theory, get an extra three Regional Capitols per enemy race in the game... given enough time. You still have to wait for them to grow enough to even want to place them, and sadly you can't tell them where to place them. But hey, free RC and having a Corruption of 0% on any planet is a good thing, right?

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 6/27/2015 2:53:23 AM >

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
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RE: Pirate Tips! - 6/11/2015 11:21:53 AM   


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I double MatBailie question. How much of bugs mentioned in this thread have been fixed already? Can you still research all seven levels by magic of one big research facility and spamming of pirate bases? Is it still feasible to place extractors on a construction ship?

< Message edited by Kastor6767 -- 6/11/2015 12:43:26 PM >

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
Post #: 35
RE: Pirate Tips! - 6/27/2015 1:50:38 AM   


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A few bugs have been fixed, but not many. I've tried to keep it up-to-date. When in doubt, go with what was written last, as I've been adding new things as I've discovered them.

More specific to your question, yes: The One Research Base to Rule Them All method is still the best method. Extractors on construction ships is still a Highly Advised strategy, especially in the early game when you're constantly running out of supplies.

One thing that has changed in recent patches is the economics, and not for the better: Every civilian ship and base has it's upkeep taken straight from your main (and only) credit wallet. So it is now important to not build very many bases, freighters or mining ships early on. Likewise, stealing every civilian freighter in sight is no longer advisable either, as their expenses skyrocket very quickly (AI designed ships are inefficient both in terms of utility and cost effectiveness).

Spamming pirate bases is still a good idea for any Independent worlds that you find, but for any Empire controlled worlds you really just want to move in as fast as possible, bomb away all the defenders and invade with about 4-8 infantry afterward (that's all it will take to hold them down for a little bit once their troops are all bombed to dust. Once their morale penalty from being conquered eases up you can safely withdraw your troops and move on to the next target).

(in reply to Kastor6767)
Post #: 36
RE: Pirate Tips! - 7/9/2015 10:28:16 AM   


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Destined for Greatness: For those who've been following this thread, and the AARs of giant systems systematically conquered entirely by pirates, I must confess that how you set up the game makes all the difference. The ideal conditions for ultimate pirate victory are as follows:

1) Road Warrior - The normal, default gameplay settings starts pirates at a slightly modified tech level of one and everyone else at prewarp. Don't change that. Starting off an enemy Empire at a higher tech level puts you in a seriously bad starting position. There is a reason the devs took the Mechanoids out of the pirate gameplay path, after all. So leave it alone and double check to make sure that you haven't accidentally made any of your rivals high tech or random. This may require adding opponents manually.

2) Bigger is Better - Generally speaking, the larger the map the better. Why? Because you start off with Gerax hyperdrives whilst the Empires don't even have warp bubbles. That speed and range advantage is your friend, as it isolated rival empires farther apart (fewer trade treaties & alliances early on) and, more importantly, isolates you from other pirates, who are your only real threat/enemy at game start. Any galaxy shape can work but Clusters are ideal, as you can probably focus everything on securing one local group before expanding outward.

3) And Stay Down! - Turn on "Pirate factions do not respawn." Again, rival pirates will be your main enemy for most of the game, and if they just respawn anew when finally defeated then you've just become Sisyphus. It wasn't easy getting that deep cover agent in there and systematically wiping out all their bases, constructors, resupply ships and colonies. Make it actually mean something.

4) Ye Ole Dark Ages - Crank research costs all the way up to Very High. This is the single most important tweak for ensuring a pirate victory. First, it means you'll have a lot more time before Empires start expanding; time which you can use to secure a few valuable income-generating pirate bases on Independent worlds before having to deal with them. Second, as stated many times before, the only real advantage to playing a pirate is the virtually limitless research potential that you'll have once your operation finally gets some traction. Those 30,000RP research stations that I keep talking about? Well, getting to tech 7 in five years doesn't do a lot of good if all the AI Empires are going to do the same by year six, now does it? Cranking those research costs up ensures that once you get that ultramax research base with the 900+ assorted labs finally built that you will stay in the scientific lead for the next century. Plenty of time to clobber the crap out of all your rivals before they've even finished half of the tech tree. It's one of those classic situations of "Yes, it hurts me, but it hurts the other guy a lot more." This also gives you more time between needing to upgrade everything, which is good because you have to pay for even civilian upgrades out of your money pool. Meaning that while Empires make money every time they upgrade their freighters and mining bases, you lose money. So you don't want to have to do it too often.

5) Pavlov's House - If a conquered planet is generating at least 3K of income then go ahead and put a cheap starport on it. Nothing fancy, maybe 4 construction yards and minimal defense, preferably under 2K of upkeep. That should keep enemy scouts away. The important thing is to rely on better, high-tech weapons than sheer numbers, here. I have found that, for less than 5K of upkeep (and most planets of 80%+ quality will pass that many times over), one can easily design a base with 20 Advanced Fighters Bays, 50 Meridian Shields, 4 Repairbots and 12 Area Transit Singularities can stop... well, anything, really. No missiles, no lasers, no ion cannons. Just fighters and ATS. How does this work? Anytime anything gets anywhere near your station the ATS lashes out and freezes them in their tracks. With a dozen of them you can blanket a 360 degree circle, blocking attacks from all directions at once effectively forever. Since your fighters seem to be magically immune to the effects of this neat little device, they will methodically shred all attacking ships one by one until none are left. I have watched starbases built on this principle casually slap away 40+ attacking ships at a time without so much as losing shield integrity.

Resort Base Tips: As a pirate you can really profit Resort Bases far, far easier than Empire can. Why? Because they show up on the map as Neutral/Smuggler. Until/unless they hit you with a spy or Trace Scanners to realize that it's actually yours they will never attack it (just like all of your freighters and mining ships). This means that you can totally skimp out on pretty much all the defenses, and that means lower upkeep costs. Also, as a general tip for resort base design, remember that a single "unit" of tourists is only 20K beings. A single Passenger Transport module can fit well over 100K+ beings. Which means that even your ultimate, mega-busy Disneyworld of resort bases will probably never need more than even 4-5 Passenger Transport modules to house every tourist in the galaxy.

What does all this mean? You can (and should) most certainly design Resort Bases that have an upkeep of under 1K cr. Which in turn means that you can (probably) afford to spam them pretty much everywhere without worrying about going bankrupt. Also remember that the tourist rule applies to Passenger Transports as well. Yes, giant transports that can move 150M people at a time are great for migrants, but a tourist yacht really only needs a single passenger module. And again, as a pirate, you're flagged as neutral/smuggler (though a Jamming Device never hurts) so again you can completely skimp on all the defense crap for these ships. Crank out scores of 200cr upkeep skeleton boats with 1 passenger module each, set your Tourism Priority to High and watch the money roll in.

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/8/2015 9:50:35 PM   


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Yet Another Neat Exploit: Once you have a finished pirate base on an Independent world, you can have your Troop Transports yoink any neutral infantry that they have on the planet. Once loaded, they will not show up on your ground forces spreadsheet (read: no upkeep cost!) until you land/redeploy/invade with them someplace else. At that point they do join your official list of ground forces, gaining experience and costing money.

Still, the point being that if you are having trouble making the Criminal Network transition and you've got a lot of bases on Independent worlds with large enough populations to start spawning infantry (this usually takes a while; at least 5 years in game normally) then you can just conscript all of those neutrals onto a transport or two and then invade something. Bam, now you've got a planet to call home.

Updated Pirate Starting Kit: Unpack and put in C:\My Documents\My Games\Distant Worlds Universe\Settings. Mainly I changed a few tiny design flaws, removing some unneeded parts from a few ships. Most drastic is that the resort base now costs less than 500cr of upkeep because all the defenses were stripped off. Eventually I noticed that pirates get smuggler neutrality on resorts, so the odds of them ever being attacked are nearly nil. Same for most other things - stripping them down to the bare essentials to save on costs. After all, money is the main issue for all starting pirates. Why waste money?

This should give new pirate players a needed edge, especially since the base designs... well, suck. Be sure to turn "Auto Upgrade" to OFF on everything except freighters and mining ships.

Some notes on what is included:

"Planet Lockdown" is for subjugating Empire worlds. Build it over their homeworld right at the start and you can move ships elsewhere & ignore them entirely until you're ready to conquer them properly. Every time they try to build any orbital structure or construction ship then this Defense Base will instantly vaporize them. They're going nowhere.

"Ultramax Research Center" sounds cooler than it really is. Point being that you can actually build the dang thing before establishing a homeworld, giving you 300 points of each research type per base. That is obviously far better than the pitiful 30RP you get from your starting space port. Once you get a homeworld you're going to want to move research to there and redesign this thing to be as big as you can afford (as planets have no size limit for bases).

"Mini-Dock" is for when you capture enemy Construction Ships that don't have hyperdrives and thus need to refit them in the same system they were built in. Also good for when preparing a big attack on an Empire - build this in the next system over to speed repairs of your damaged ships. Cheap, quick to build, and utterly disposable once the job is finished.

"Speed/Range/Bulk Freighter" are all size 300 - you can't build bigger, after all. However, each has a purpose (hint: it's in the name) which lets you decide how you want to build your infrastructure. Mining ships do not have luxury extractors, which is good - they'll actually do something useful now.

"Striker" is a generic attack ship, good for fighting enemy ships. "Kashin" is a long-range missile ship set to standoff meant for destroying enemy orbitals (especially star ports). "Harpoon" is your raiding/capture ship. "Hornet" is horribly inefficient way to get a single fighter hanger into the the field, but as with all ships it can be easily upgraded once you've got the tech-size for more.

"Military Engineer" is proof that you can make a construction ship without using the construction ship title. This is good if your one construction ship gets killed and you don't want to quit the game & start over. Since this is technically a warship you can build as many as you want.

"Builder" is your construction ship. It is now armed. No more will you have to abort a mission just because there was a space slug in the area. Screw that. Let your fighters swat the bugs while you build in peace. It also has a single gas & ore extractor, for when you inevitably are 1 unit short of steel and don't want to fly all the way back home to get it.

"Small Space Port" is not a replacement/upgrade for your starting port. Rather it is meant to be placed above Independent planets, and/or your new starting HQ port once you get yourself a proper homeworld.

"Space Base 900" is mostly just a proof of concept. I've never found any real use for deep space ports when playing as a pirate (at least, never anything more than a Mini-Port does). Or rather, I've never been able to financially justify it.

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 9/8/2015 10:51:37 PM >

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
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RE: Pirate Tips! - 9/10/2015 7:09:39 AM   


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ORIGINAL: NephilimNexus

"Military Engineer" is proof that you can make a construction ship without using the construction ship title. This is good if your one construction ship gets killed and you don't want to quit the game & start over. Since this is technically a warship you can build as many as you want.

Just a note about doing this.
Construction ships which are not based on a construction hull have some pretty serious limitations, the biggest of which being they cannot build things that move. And by 'move' I mean orbital motion.

Well... Technically they can build things, but there's a bug/feature which prevents it from being useful.
Any structure built by a 'military' constructor at an orbiting body will when completed become detached from said body and sit motionless in space at the exact location it was completed, forever useless.
So you can't build anything at planets/asteroids with them. And repairing also counts as building, so if you repair a damaged station with one of these ships the station will become detached and useless.

On top of this (if it weren't enough) any station which becomes detached from a body will be taken by the game to still be at that body, even if it has been destroyed/scrapped. You (or the AI) will not be able to build anything other than forts there for the rest of the game.
So by building a mining station at a planet using one of these ships you are effectively removing that planet and its resources from the game.

They are not useless though.
'Military' constructors can be used to build things that don't move, like anything in a gas cloud, at a star, or in space.
But most importantly they can be used to repair ships and claim derelicts, which frees up your actual constructor(s) to build infrastructure.

If your original constructor is lost, you can not rely on these ships to replace them. Your only options at that point is soldier on and wait for the 'mercenary ship' event (and hope it gives you a constructor), or restart.
Just be aware is all.

< Message edited by Serenitis -- 9/10/2015 8:19:24 AM >

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
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RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/2/2015 10:08:17 PM   


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Now You're Just Showing Off: Alright you made it this far so you know enough to become a successful pirate empire. Now I'm going to show you two tricks to really rub it in, or give yourself some challenge back. Either way, this will require a little work. The first trick is mostly just a role-playing "completionist" thing. As you know, once you actually own a planet your own pirate bases end up working against you, increasing corruption (and lowering your income) by 30% per Fortress right off the top. For this reason it is advised that once you properly conquer a planet that you immediately ditch all any pirate facilities you have on the planet. But, since we're just showing off, now, let's say that you're playing a game where you've vowed to have pirate fortresses on every planet in your empire. The catch is that since you can't put them on planets that you actually own, you have to wait for the AI to settle every world first. Colony ships are useless to you.

Or are they? Let's say you found a world with 100% quality (yes, this happens) near your territory and you don't want to wait five centuries for the moronic AI to get around to colonizing it. But you also want your pirate fortress on it, too. What to do? Easy: Build a colony ship and colonize it like normal. Now raise the taxes to 100% and wait. Within a day the planet will be in minor rebellion and within a month or two they will have completely rebelled and become an Independent world. Now you can raid it and place pirate facilities on it, ta-da!

That trick is also a useful cost-saving measure in general, because as you know developing colonies have a negative income. It usually takes at least 1.5 billion citizens before you start seeing any positive cash flow from a planet. However, Independent worlds experience population growth just like any other, so if a planet is close to you and far from the AI, then it actually makes financial sense to force a colony to rebel Independent and then just ignore it for a few decades until the population is high enough to actually be worth owning, again. Then you just conquer it like normal and start collecting money right away.

The second trick for the big show-off is what I call "Leader Collecting," and it has benefits that border on being total exploits. Now as a Pirate, you've got your Pirate Leader, who gives your entire regime his/her bonuses so long as they're lounging at a Space Port (preferably a well-defended one). In this function they compare to regular empire Leader characters, of which every Empire gets exactly one (at any given time). Now you make sure to place your Criminal Network on an Empire world instead of an Independent world (which is more work, but also has more rewards - see as follows) then when that building hits 100% completion and the planet is taken over, you will snag their Leader and any other characters on that planet. This effectively gives you two characters both filling the Leader roll and yes, both give their bonuses. You can also swipe Intelligence Agents, Scientists, Generals, Colony Governors and even Ambassadors doing this (though Ambassadors are literally useless to you, as you can't do anything with them). Now that's quite a prize, right? Oh but it gets better!

As the overly-upward-mobile pirate with an extra 200,000cr or so to burn on ego tricks, why not repeat this process? Meaning target another Empire's capitol, send in your fleet to blow up everything like normal, bomb them and then raid them to get yourself up to Pirate Fortress level on the planet. So far pretty routine, right? Only now what we're going to do is go to our own Homeworld and demolish our Criminal Network there. Don't worry, you'll still control the planet. Other than changing ownership of a planet, the Criminal Network really does absolutely nothing but raise the corruption and lower income. It's kind of dumb that way. But you know that whole I just mentioned about using the Criminal Network planet-steal thing to grab all of an Empire's major characters? Yeah, you can do that more than once. In fact, you can do that to every Empire in the game. And when they rebuild a new capitol somewhere else, you can steal their planet via Criminal Network a second time. And a third. And a forth. There is no limit to the number of times a Criminal Network can be rebuilt - the only rule being that you can only have one built (or under construction) at a time. Yet there is nothing stopping you from building it, stealing a dozen characters from an Empire, then knocking it down and building another one someplace else.

Do this enough times and you can have, no joke, over a dozen Leaders. A score of Scientists. A horde of Colony Governors. More Generals than you'll know what to do with. All it takes is a little patience and a lot of money.

(in reply to Serenitis)
Post #: 40
RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/8/2015 2:04:45 PM   


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Have you tried using raiders rather than bombardment to weaken garrisons? 20+ raiders will do a good job of killing off most of the garrison and allow you an easy conquest without hurting planet quality. I build two varieties of 'dropships'- one an assault dropship with heavy shields/armor and 10-12 boarding parties and the other a planetary dropship with 20+ boarding pods but little in the way of defense.

Once you have space control over an enemy colony send in the dropships to raid the planet hopefully killing off most in not all of the defenders. After that then you can use minimal troops to actually conquer the planet-and do so without hurting the populace and planet quality nearly as much as nuking the planet into the stone age. Might help with your income issues as well since you will have more people left to pay taxes.

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
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RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/11/2015 11:51:22 PM   


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I have tried raiders but there is a limit to how well that works. Once a garrison dips below a certain strength then raiders win the battle without any fight. For example, if they have two infantry and I drop 20 raider pods, there won't be a battle because I've got overwhelming numbers and they'll just surrender. Meaning those two infantry will never actually take any damage.

Now two infantry may not seem like much of a problem but they can be, because the defense strength of a plant isn't just it's troops but also it's population. Meaning that a planet with 14 billion people on it can put up a heck of a defense even with just 2 infantry, because their hidden population bonus will be simply huge.

Furthermore, planets conquered by pirates always take a huge happiness penalty at first, and thus are highly prone to rebellions. And I don't mean just the "not paying taxes" kind - I mean the kind where they instantly spawn a bunch of free infantry and try to overthrow your control. The amount of free infantry they get from this again based entirely off their total population.

In the long run I've found it's always easier to just knock a planet to under 2 billion before invading or otherwise attempting to take over. A small population doesn't put up as much of a fight and is less likely to rebel. This means that I can load my troops back up and leave for the next target instead of hanging around for years afterward to keep an eye on things. The population will recover... eventually.

Plus I like to spread people around, and this gives my passenger transports something interesting to do: Moving people from my high population core worlds out to these newly acquired planets. By end game most of my planets have at least five different races living on them. I think of it as creating vacancies.

(in reply to artuitus_slith)
Post #: 42
RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/18/2015 2:03:17 PM   


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Showing Off, Part Two:

So now you know of two "show off" tricks that you can use against Empires. The first is waiting for them to build a Regional Capitol and then capturing that planet. Because while tech limits and rules say that you can only build three of them, nowhere does it say that you can only own three of them. Let the AI build them for you and capture theirs. On a prime planet (high ratings, big population) the difference between 80% corruption (the worst) and 0% corruption (i.e. a Regional Capitol) can be easily well over 100K credits of income per year... for one planet.

The other trick is to scrap and rebuild Criminal Networks on Empire worlds where their Characters, in particular Leaders, are stationed so as to capture these vital figures for your own. I cannot emphasize enough how useful this is, especially the Leaders, which cannot be acquired by Pirates any other way. In fact, collecting enemy leaders is such a powerful trick it borders on exploitation.

Why? Because they stack. Now that does not mean than two leaders with 10% of the same skill will give you 20% of that skill. What I mean is that if Leader A gives you 10% savings on Military Bases and Leader B gives you 10% savings on Civilian Bases then you get both bonuses. What's the big deal about that, you wonder? Empires can't do that. Huh, what? Empires can only have one Leader at a time. If their current leader dies or is replaced by revolution/coup/election/assassination/whatever, then the game will generate a new one for them in a little while. But then never have more than one. This limits their potential to give bonuses to their faction.

You, on the other hand, have no such restriction. You, my ruthless pirate friend, can collect enemy Leaders like baseball cards. Now here is the fun part: Pile them all on your homeworld with one or more other characters that have Inspiring Presence. The free gain to their skills will be slow, but steady, and they'll all benefit from it. Bonus if it's one of the Leaders themselves that have the trait. On a long enough timeline, you can - no joke - get leaders whom, between them, have the skills of Civilian Ship Savings 100%, Military Ship Savings 100%, Civilian Base Savings 100% and Military Base Savings 100% ... plus who knows what other shamelessly overpowered bonuses they happen to roll up.

But wait, how the heck does that happen? After all, Leaders aren't immortal. Wrong! They aren't immortal until you capture them. See, as a Pirate, you have a special Pirate Leader character functions as both a Leader (when dirtside) or an Admiral (when in space). As you've probably noticed, the life expectancy of Pirate Leaders can be painfully short, wish coups having every time you blink. That can be frustrating when they've got good skills, too. Now in Empire gameplay the same crap happens with their Leader characters, dying off to elections/coups/revolutions, etc on a regular basis. This is where the near-exploit comes in.

A captured Leader is completely immune to the hazards of government change. Your Pirate Leader may get replaced in a coup every few years, and enemy Empire leaders may rotate around off camera like normal. But the former Empire Leaders that you've captured are nearly immortal. They only way that they can die is if A) The planet they're on is captured by ground invasion or destroyed outright, B) They're assassinated by enemy agents or C) You deliberately transfer them onto a ship and dive it into a black hole. So far, I've never seen any of these things happen. Ever. Which is how a Leader can survive long enough to get the skill all the way up to 100%... even if it takes them 300 years to do it. Old age isn't a thing in this game, apparently.

If you want to spread your captured Leaders around you can... within a certain limit. They can be transferred normally to any Regional Capitol that you happen to own. This includes captured enemy Regional Capitols as well. You don't have to do that, but the option is there.

Technology Theft Updated: So I think I've finally got the formula for quick & easy tech theft. The trick is to prime it by one successful Agent mission to get the tech bar started. After that you just need to successfully do Raids on worlds with a high population, usually around 5 billion or so usually works. Recycling captured ships, as mentioned before, never works past the first block of a technology, so I don't even bother with that any more. Now it's just swoop in, bombard away their ground troops and raid them. It still takes several tries on average, but eventually I'll get the tech. Most importantly, I'll get the whole tech block at once, instead of just tiny little pieces of it the way Agents do. As with everything else here, this can be considered a type of "showing off" because it requires letting an enemy Empire build up enough to actually learn these special technologies themselves, first.

In case you wondering, I'm not referring to regular technologies (see earlier posts - a Pirate should always be in 1st place for regular tech). I mean the "exclusive" racial technologies that certain factions get, such as (and most importantly) the Shakur Firestorm. The fast engines, maneuver jets, etc, that only certain races can research can most definitely be stolen & applied to your own designs. Resistance is Futile.

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
Post #: 43
RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/23/2015 1:24:27 PM   


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I've been playing normal empire games for a while now.

I'm now trying pirate games. But I'm doing something terribly wrong I think, because the AI can get to pirate base #9 by the time I'm building my second one. I've downloaded your designs (very helpful btw).

I think I basically don't what to build and when.

Could you share your initial moves when you first start a pirate game? how many ships/stations do you build, how many military ships do you send per indy planet, do you always keep your controlled planets at 100%, etc.

many thanks!

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
Post #: 44
RE: Pirate Tips! - 10/29/2015 10:47:47 AM   


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I am having some trouble with pirates, both the starting kit Nephilim has so helpfully provided (thanks, man!), and some mysterious unknown stuff.

When I have a construction ship fitted with extractors they are constantly on as long as I am near a planet, given that most bases I built are orbiting planets, this means it is almost constantly mining while building. The problem is that this eventually leads to a full cargo hold. I've found if it isn't the resources needed that are aboard a construction ship with a full cargo hold it will place an order on resources repeatedly without getting any closer to finishing construction; this has on multiple occasions caused my entire economy to plummet into a black hole of 'Resource Purchases'.

I have found not using extractors on my builders to delay my inevitable demise to some dumb accountant or whatever using all my money on resources - so far it has eventually ended up happening without fault, regardless of whether I actually have a significant stock of every type of resource.

Another problem I have had have been negative incomes (I would post an image, but my account is too young, if you really want to see my economy screen for yourself there is a post about this issue on the Distant Worlds subreddit).
This has prevented smuggling from being profitable at all, in fact, I actually lose a tiny bit of money for every delivery I make. This seems very much like a bug, but it is a problem that has arisen eventually and consistently for every pirate game I do, and no one else anywhere seems to have been having this issue. This has prevented smuggling from being profitable at all, in fact, I actually lose a tiny bit of money for every delivery I make. This seems very much like a bug, but it is a problem that has arisen eventually and consistently for every pirate game I do, and no one else anywhere seems to have been having this issue.

Edit: Fixed some copy/paste issues.

< Message edited by Hurrikane -- 10/29/2015 2:30:36 PM >

(in reply to jadelith)
Post #: 45
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/25/2015 12:06:43 AM   


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Addressing Issues: Alright, I'll address the negative income issue first. The chief cause of this, I have found, is when you own planets - particularly when you first take them over. Remember, pirates do not have a private sector nor a private sector budget. Everything comes off your main credit pool. When you first take over a planet they are probably going to be out of (or at least short on) nearly every material in the game. They will try to rectify this by placing orders for all of those materials, and this includes luxury items - which are something pirates are usually low/out of. Plus, with a state financed freighter service, you won't have as many freighters operating as a normal Empire would. The result of this is that your planets end up sending most of those requests to NPC independents, whom all charge you money for the materials. Thus a sudden spike of spending in your "mining" row of expenses, as they try to buy everything that your regular infrastructure could not provide quickly enough. This is why you probably don't want to conquer several planets in quick succession unless you've got money to burn. Generally, though, larger & more established colonies are more likely to have their basic needs in stock and won't be as expensive to stock as smaller, easier targets.

The second big killer of funds is upgrades. Again, with no private sector every upgrade for every freighter, mining & passenger ship comes off your main wallet - along with every mining station. Unless you've got enough savings to bulwark against this then you need to turn off the "auto update" option in all of your civilian designs. While we're here I should also mention that in your Policies screen it is also a good idea to set your Capture/Upgrade rules to reflect a Pirate lifestyle. This is to say you want it set so that your ships never attempt auto-capture (the leading cause of the boarding pod bug, see above). You also want it set so that any ships that are captured are immediately scrapped unless they contain a new technology that you can potentially steal through disassembly. One thing you definitely do not want to leave is upgrading of captured ships, as this can cause a massive credit dump when you wipe out an Empire and all of their leftover ships decide to upgrade themselves at once.

Now as for opening moves: As I mentioned previously, how you set up your game is the most important factor when playing a pirate. Generally the larger the map the better, and place yourself in the Center area when starting. AI pirates almost always start out in the fringes, so this will keep you from having to deal with rival pirates at all for a good while. Also, a central location is essential to avoiding excess corruption, because it is always based on distance to your capitol (or, later, you nearest Regional Capitol). You will want to make sure to manually assign AI Empires as well to make sure that none of them start off at high tech levels or already expanded. You want everyone to be at Pre-Warp with one planet (note: this is perfectly lore friendly, by the way, and the default setting unless you screw it up somehow). Most of all, you want the one race that is the same as your Pirate faction to be listed as "Same System" at the start of the game. So if you're Human, you want the Human Empire to be listed as "Same System" as you. They probably won't end up in the same system, but will be close enough to be on the map from game start and you can attack them immediately.

That is exactly what you are going to do. Now for my Pirate Strategy: Opening move is to PAUSE the game while I think & plot. First, pick five or six techs to research. You don't have much RP but that's no reason to let them go to waste. Next I load my "Pirate Starting Kit" and delete/obsolete all the original designs. Then I manually right-click order my two Explorer ships to "Explore this Sector" whatever sectors that occupied planets happen to be in - usually one Empire world and a few independents in another nearby sector. Then I set them to "automatic" so that they'll go back to their regular routine once done. Then I send in my Construction Ship to retrofit and set build orders for 2 ore mining ships and 1 gas mining ship. That will occupy my 4 build slots for a while.

Next I send my Resupply ship to attack that nearby Empire world, destroying their Starbase before it even gets half built and opening with raids. Though difficult to build control against, that Empire would will pay a lot more to control than it would just trying to extort them under Protection. If there is more than one Empire in opening range I may extort the other Empires, but that opening target planet never even gets the offer. I just move straight in and start raiding. This will also solve a lot of early supply issues, as stealing from them gets a lot of materials. My 2 frigates I will send to hover around & raid any Independent worlds that are nearby and build influence on them, as well.

Once this gets going I make my next batch of ships all Harpoon class, so as to get more and more boarding pods into play - which is important because the two pods on the Resupply ship won't be enough to make much headway against that Empire world. So I move the Harpoon in and lay down the hurt on them. If I discover any more Independent worlds I'll build and send out a lone, non-fleet Harpoon to hover each of them as well. I do NOT sign any protection agreements with rival pirates, by the way. That only gives them permission to raid the worlds that you're trying to claim. The ships in the Starting Kit can easily pulverize twice their number of NPC pirate at this point, so I've nothing to fear from them.

I continue this pattern and build pirate bases as needed to boost my income. This is a bit of juggling act, as pirate bases are expensive and take a while to pay for themselves. What I'm mainly looking to do is raise the 250,000cr I will need to put a Criminal Network down on that Empire world as quickly as possible. Note that you may get a lucky break and find an abandoned colony ship while this is going on, in which case you can skip all this and go straight to making your own dang home planet instead of stealing one.

As for my builder, I will make one size 900 research base at a good spot if income allows it. But the first thing I am going to build is a gas mining station in that Empire world's system (and there will be a fuel producing gas giant in every Empire's home system - it's hard coded in). This provides easy fuel for my garrison ships, and will also pay off later as when that plant becomes my homeworld I'll have a fuel source in sublight range for rapid delivery.

The main thing here is that all efforts are going into getting a proper homeworld of your own. Once that hurdle is cleared things get much easier. I generally set all my taxes manually (heck, I do everything manually). 10% for newly acquired world won't upset them too much and help offset their expense, while 20% on an established world with real income is more than enough to pay for their Spaceport and keep everyone happy. Now you can set the taxes higher without causing revolt but here is the catch: Taxes effect immigration/emigration. Meaning that populations look for two things - high world quality and low taxes. By keeping your taxes low and building a few anonymous "neutral" Passenger Ships you can (and will) routinely steal the populations from rivals without firing a shot. By endgame it is possible to make such Passenger ships that can carry 150 million plus passengers per trip. That adds up fast, kids.

Next I build my main research base at my homeworld, or upgrade the Starport to a class that has research labs (your pick) and up the pace of my research. If I build pirate bases on other Independent worlds I will make sure to build a Defense Platform (a cheap one, never more than 1000cr upkeep) to keep rival pirates and, more importantly, Empire colony ships away from it. Independent worlds are you primary source of Pirate Contract income, by the way. First, smuggling to them never hurts your own position of power in any way. It's not like they'll use those goods to build ships to attack you with, after all. Second, they constantly spawn Defense Contracts. Well, if you've already got a Pirate Fortress planetside and a Defense Platform in orbit, of course you're going to take the contract. It is literally free money at that point, no further effort required. Just click accept and cash your check in two years. When you're taking 8+ contracts per year that adds up fast.

Of course eventually the population on those Independents will get high enough to make a proper takeover worthwhile, to build a Starport if no other reason. Ah yes, I forgot to mention this. I do not build Starports over planets that I don't own if I can help it. Why? Because Starports, while useful, have space limits. They can only hold so much stuff and that is based of how many Cargo Bays they have. Cargo Bays cost money, both to build and in upkeep. Planets, on the other hand, are nearly limitless and a Starport over a planet can instantly transfer cargo as needed. This means that if you own a planet (not just pirate bases but ownership) then your Starport will never need more Cargo Bays than your largest freighter (so they can unload it). If my largest freighter is 50 cargo bays then that's all my Spaceport needs, too... so long as it's over a planet that I own.

This is the problem with the starting Spaceport - it runs out of room, and quickly. All those materials you steal during raids gets teleported to the nearest Spaceport, but if there's no room, it gets tossed. Being greedy, I want to keep all of it (even if I don't need it) so I want to make sure it ends up going to my planet, not my Spaceport. Only one way to do that.

Also, go easy on the freighters. You should never need more than two per mining base. Also, don't overbuild mining bases. As always, their upkeep comes off your main wallet, and you can easily throw yourself into debt by over building. Build only what you need, and try to maximize your intake. What do I mean by that? On every map there is always a few planets that have all four of Steel, Gold, Irridium and Lead - all on one planet. This is where you build a mining base. Do not bother building on the planets that do not have all four of these elements. Likewise, there will be gas giants that offer four elements as well - look for the one that has Krypton, Argon, Helium and Tyderios. That's the planet you want. Eventually you'll stop needing Caslon and switch over to Hydrogen, and when you do scrap those Caslon bases or, better yet, when looking for fuel sources look to the planets that have Caslon and Hydrogen together so that you needn't change base locations at all. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a single volcanic world that has Aculon, Nekros Stone, Osalia and Emeros Crystal all on one world - though personally I'll settle for 3 out 4, as these can be rare. Finally, Dilithium should always be accompanied by Polymer when looking for planets to set up a mining base on. Silicon, sadly, is a pain because it's rarely accompanied by anything you can't get elsewhere.

Still, if you do this just right you can get at least one source of every strategic element in the game with only six mining bases total. Likewise, I have never needed more than three fleets, composed of no more than 24 combat ships total, and 8 basic infantry units to dominate even the largest maps. To a Pirate you have to constantly trim the fat off everything you can to keep your income in the black. That means no auto-anything if you can help it. Like I said, the only thing I ever leave on autopilot is my Exploration ships, and even then I'll manually take over from time to time to sniff out abandoned ships to recycle for tech points.

That should be everything you need to get established. I hope this helps.

Tech Theft and Power Economics: There are two alien technologies in the game that are easily overlooked as being pointless, as both are easily outclassed by other items in the general tech tree available to everyone. These techs are the Quameno Fusion Reactor and the Ackarian Efficient Engines. At first glance you can see that the basic HyperFusion reactor can outperform the Quameno version: 260 output, 560 storage and a 2.52 fuel efficiency at top level, while the Quameno only has 192 output, 375 storage and a 2.00 fuel efficiency at max. Likewise, the standard VortexEngine can put out 2340/1370 thrust @ 8/4 energy while the Ackarian only puts out 2150/1325 thrust at 5/2 energy.

But here is the thing: Power output at that level really matters for military ships that need it to power their weapons and charge shields quickly. For civilian ships, however, that's not a concern at all. You only need enough power to keep your engines working, nothing more. I've tested this and found that when you pair the Quameno fusion power plant (which gets fuel economy) along with the Ackarian engines (which get better energy economy) the end result is a massive increase in the gas mileage off any ships that use this combo. So for freighters, passenger ships, mining ships, Construction Ships and, most importantly, Explorers, having these two techs make a heck of a difference. Explorers, in fact, can effectively double their operational flight time over their higher-power but less economic variants. That means more time exploring and less time spent limping along on an empty gas tank to refuel. Same goes for any other non-combat ship that uses them.

You can technically do the same for bases, but since any sensible base design is static powered entirely by Solar Panels, it's kind of a moot point and you may want that extra power for weapons should you get attacked. But it's your call on whether you want more firepower or more credit savings.

Of course for combat ships this all goes out the window. You combat ships need to be V8 war machines all the way, so steal the Sluken Starburners while you're at it just for them. Yes, they will suck fuel, but hey, it's the military. Performance is your main priority here.

< Message edited by NephilimNexus -- 11/25/2015 1:18:03 AM >

(in reply to Hurrikane)
Post #: 46
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/25/2015 3:32:33 AM   


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A Note on Smuggling: While this can be an easy way to raise quick cash, keep in mind that it can always backfire - especially once you start owning planets of your own. The reason is that when you take a smuggling mission your freighters will grab as much of the product as possible and deliver it. They will not stop to consider if you need that product yourself. For example it is entirely possible for an early game player to take a few Caslon smuggling missions and then find their own ships are now unable to refuel, because all of their Caslon was taken by their own smugglers. Likewise, building projects can come to a crashing halt when your smugglers completely empty your entire supply of materials needed for building.

Most damaging of all is what can happen to transitioned Pirates that own planets, as the planets will try to recover from resource shortages by (are you sitting down?) paying out the nose for independent AI freighters to deliver materials to them. Namely, the exact same materials that you're smuggling away. The purchase of these replacement goods will, to no surprise and much aggravation, cost you far more than you made off the smuggling contract. So what you end up with is taking a smuggling mission to export, say, Yarras Marble to someone at what looks like a big profit, only to have the planet your exporting from freak out and try to make up for their sudden absence of Yarras Marble by placing a gigantic order for Yarras Marble with the AI independents - an order that costs way more than your poor smugglers are going to make from their runs.

So keep that in mind before deciding to take up smuggling. It can still be quite profitable, especially if you are a Smuggler "government" type Pirate faction that gets a cash bonus. Anyone who wants to take up smuggling as a primary income means needs to remember a few things.

1) Make sure you have far more mines, freighters and mining ships than you would normally need. Like, twice as many, at least.

2) This is one of the few playstyles that benefits more from having Spaceports over Independent worlds than regular mining bases or defense bases, provided that said Spaceports are fitted with mining extractors. So long as you don't officially own the planets you're not risking causing the above problems.

3) Likewise, dedicated Smugglers can also benefit greatly from using Star Bases. Put them near Neutron Stars or other places where no one else would bother to look, and then kit them up with nothing but plenty of Cargo and Docking bays. Their whole purpose will be nothing more than supply depots to feed your freighters. Make sure to keep these depots between your Homeworld and everyone else, so that your smuggling ships come here first for supply instead of your planets. Also, since Star Bases can be placed in empty space they have a turnover advantage because they don't orbit anything. It's much faster, I've found, for ships to dock with a non-moving Star Base than it is to try to line up a docking with an orbiting Starport.

4) As a true Smuggler faction, your endgame is going to be very difficult. The devs never got around to actually adding those pirate base defense bonuses, so you're dirtside presence is not going to be as resilient as you'd like. The trick to survival is to be more mercenary than the actual Mercenaries. What does that mean? It means that you're going to want to grab at least a few easy (read: no real combat involved) defense contracts with the Empires. Why? To get your relationship with them into the positive numbers and keep it there. Yes, you can gain points through attack missions, but that ends up hurting relations with someone else. Ideally you can pick up a few defense missions for mining bases or whatnot that never actually get attacked.

Keeping positive relations is the key to keeping those Empires off your back. Your less likely to be attacked and, interestingly enough, your ability to collect protection money from Empires is also very dependent on this. Another much easier way for starting Smugglers to do this is to sell Secret Locations to Empire at very favorable prices (read: cheap) to Empires - charge 20,000cr on a pit of intel worth 30,000cr, example. This will give you the "favorable trade" positive modifier early on.

This is important because you don't actually gain any relationship points for smuggling (which is anonymous), so your trusty salesmen can't help you here. Ideally, if you can stay positive with everyone - or at least everyone left alive (hey, things happen) - then you may still be a viable power even in the late campaign. Or at least alive, which a pretty impressive accomplishment for a non-violent Pirate.

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
Post #: 47
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/28/2015 6:00:22 PM   


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Tech Theft and Power Economics: There are two alien technologies in the game that are easily overlooked as being pointless, as both are easily outclassed by other items in the general tech tree available to everyone. These techs are the Quameno Fusion Reactor and the Ackarian Efficient Engines... Likewise, the standard VortexEngine can put out 2340/1370 thrust @ 8/4 energy while the Ackarian only puts out 2150/1325 thrust at 5/2 energy.

I'll add a caveat to this. The only basis upon which the TurboThruster is worse than the Vortex Engine when both are fully upgraded is the per-component basis. For the size and resources invested and for the power required, the fully-upgraded TurboThruster is better than the fully-upgraded Vortex Engine. For example, a size-500 ship that is to have a cruise speed of at least 30 will require 12 TurboThrusters (84 size, 36 Aculon, 12 Carbon Fibre, actual cruise speed 31.8 with 24 power, sprint speed 53.3 with 60 power) or 11 Vortex Engines (88 size, 44 Aculon, 22 Carbon Fibre, actual cruise speed 30.1 with 44 power, sprint speed 51.5 with 88 power).

It may not look it at first glance, but the fully-upgraded TurboThruster is the second-best* drive thruster in the game as far as performance goes. It's also an excellent thruster at least unlock even if you're not going to develop it any further, as it is the least resource-intensive and thus cheapest thruster in the game and even the initial version of the thruster is competitive with mid-game high-performance thrusters for the size and power required to attain a given performance.

*Technically, third-best, but both better-performing thrusters are upgrades of the StarBurner.

< Message edited by Aeson -- 11/28/2015 7:07:43 PM >

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
Post #: 48
RE: Pirate Tips! - 12/8/2015 5:58:01 AM   


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Looking for clarification on a few points that seem contradictory:

1. One of your tips is to put Long range scanners on Private ships as a way to benefit from the tech/component without paying upkeep but later state that all pirate costs/upkeep come from the same account. So is there really a cost savings by gaming the mining station builds or are all expenses paid by the public side of the pirate faction. I could believe either statement is true but one seems to contradict the other and from what I can see neither statement looks patently false/true.

The Empire Summary screen has always shown a tally of "ship maintenance" that is much less than the sum of "Military", "Other State" and "Private" categories below. In fact I can't really find a way that those three categories combined to give the total ship maintenance. I realize one is a year-to-date summary and the other a forward looking yearly estimate but in a game with #10 sources of every strategic resource, upwards of 100 freights and no build orders these numbers vary 2 to 3 fold which is very unexpected.

2. In post 46 you use the term "Starport" when talking about a base over colonies and reference a difference in storage capacity based on what is build on a colony. The game(at least the version I have) doesn't have anything called a 'starport' and I'm confused. I have a "starbase" and a "spaceport". Do you mean a "starbase" that is built with all the mandatory components of a spaceport? Can you clarify these terms/issues please? Which type of base benefits from practically limitless colony storage?

3. In regards to #2, which bases, and on which colonies do I need to have mining engines, and which ones provide resources already?

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 49
RE: Pirate Tips! - 12/13/2015 8:40:34 PM   


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If you are playing as an Empire then long range scanners on private sector units moves the cost to the private sector, which always has more income than your state unless you can somehow manage a tax rate of over 50% without going into rebellion. This used to be true of pirates in early versions of the game, because their private sector expenses simply vanished, but in later (and current) versions the private sector expenses where changed to come out of state budgets. So both statements were true at the time, and if you're playing an Empire it is still a good idea to shift that expense to the private sector.

Have you factored in the pirate government type into the ship costs, as well as leader modifiers?

Yes, when I said "Starport" I meant Spaceport and not Starbase. The only use I've found for Pirates to build Starbases is for Smugglers to put storage depots in places where the AI will never both to look for them (read: neutron stars with no tourist bonus).

You do not need mining engines to extract from a planet that you own, as they produce their resources at a steady rate entirely on their own. However mining engines might speed the process up. If you have bases on a planet but do not own it then mining engines are probably still required. The mechanics of all this are still uncertain, at least to me. I have noticed freighters picking up resources from planets with just bases, but I don't know if they are considered part of the "pirate tax" or if you have to pay for those like normal.

(in reply to ManticOre81)
Post #: 50
RE: Pirate Tips! - 3/25/2016 3:06:52 AM   


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OK get ready to laugh everyone, because I did some testing recently using the Editor to change variables and discovered something hilarious. Forget everything I said about capturing Leaders because they do absolutely nothing. I am recanting that whole part because it turns out to be meaningless.

I noticed something seemed to be odd when I had a Leader who had +40% to population growth and yet I was still seeing planets barely at 2% growth. So I took an old save from a game that I'd already won and fired up the Editor, changing around various character stats to see what I could learn. What I learned was this:

Leaders (blue icon) do absolutely nothing. It doesn't matter what their bonuses are, they don't work. The only thing I found to work was if, by some miracle, you got one with Inspirational Presence then they'll help skill up others in the same space (reverse was true for Demoralizing as well). 100% bonus to Colony Income? Nothing. 100% bonus to Espionage? Nothing. 100% bonus to Population Growth? Nothing. 100% bonus to Colony Corruption? Nothing. None of it works.

But wait, it gets better, because it's just not DW if Pirates don't get their own special brand of bugs as well. Remember how the game says that a Pirate Leader functions as an Admiral while in a fleet and a Leader when at your HQ? Well, that's true... in the exact sense as the fact that they function fine as Admirals in do absolutely nothing as Leaders. I found this out when, during the same tests, I used the Editor on my Pirate Leader as well. Normally I've always all but ignored that characters, since their life expectancy is measured in days to begin with, but now I was interested. Sure enough, 100% to Reduce Military Ship Maintenance? Didn't do a damn thing. In fact I made a Pirate Leader with 100% to Military Ship, Military Bases, Civilian Ship and Civilian Base upkeep as his four abilities. My outlay on upkeep did not drop by even a single credit.

Oddly enough Colony Governors, when you could find them, did seem to be working... somewhat. I can confirm that the Colony Governor power of Colony Happiness does seem to be working properly, as transferring them to very rebellious worlds seemed to have an overall positive effect. I could not be sure they were effecting Trade income in any way, however, and giving them upkeep reduction naturally does nothing. I did not see any Colony Corruption Reduction when giving them that skill, however.

Sadly, due to the game's age, it's far past getting time allocated for patching bugs, so this is something we'll just have to live with. Oh well.

(in reply to NephilimNexus)
Post #: 51
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/9/2017 10:35:57 PM   

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Kudos to the many folks who've posted tips for playing as a Pirate Faction, since it really is a very different game. The biggest issue I had in every game (lots of restarts) was trying to maintain a positive cash flow. In the early game it's difficult but doable, however it gets much worse as you begin to expand. It was extremely frustrating, since I was following all the tips and using NephilimNexus' excellent Pirate Starting Kit (see post #28), but the one critical expense I could not control were the "Resource Purchases".

Just look at johanwanderer's example below (posted earlier in this thread). He was experiencing over 300K of resource purchases per year, which is just insane. In my longest running game, this expenditure line had reached 88K per year, and that was with only 4 Independents under my control. Your economy simply can't generate that level of income through normal pirate activity, except by selling information to other pirates and wealthy AI Empires. That does work for a while but it's not a sustainable strategy for the end-game, plus it feels kind of gamey.

The good news is, I FINALLY figured out what's causing the problem - Space Ports. For whatever reason, all space ports EXCEPT the one you start with generate resource orders of 15-20K per year. EACH. The more space ports you have, the worse it gets. As a test, I went back to my game with the 4 Independents and destroyed all 4 space ports at the end of December (not the starting one, just those positioned above the Independent planets). By the following December the "Last Year" to "This Year" comparison showed a "Resource Purchases" cost reduction from 88,000 to 400. Not a typo. Instead I put Defense Bases over those planets - they do not generate ANY resource purchases, but still provide the necessary defense.

Anyway, the takeaway is that you CAN keep "Resource Purchase" expenditures from spiraling out of control simply by keeping your Space Port count down to a bare minimum.


ORIGINAL: johanwanderer

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.

< Message edited by Kull -- 11/10/2017 5:10:22 PM >


(in reply to johanwanderer)
Post #: 52
RE: Pirate Tips! - 11/10/2017 2:24:03 PM   
Hattori Hanzo

Posts: 716
Joined: 3/21/2011
From: Okinawa
Status: offline
never palyed DW:U as pirate, but when finally I will decide to try this challenge I will use your really precious hint Kull

(in reply to Kull)
Post #: 53
RE: Pirate Tips! - 1/4/2018 8:00:27 PM   

Posts: 1818
Joined: 7/3/2007
From: El Paso, TX
Status: offline
A few comments from a long-running Pirate game. Still only at the mid-game point, but my position is far from "comfortable" which is great - at this point, most "empire games" are in the bag and the management is getting tedious. Anyway:

1) After some additional experimentation, I can confirm that spaceports are only a "resource purchase problem" (see post #52 above) when you build them above independent planets (and, presumably, unconquered empire worlds). Put them on a gas giant or in an asteroid belt and no problem. A new space port will initially generate heavy resource purchases, but that's just until they stock up. After that, it tails off and you don't get the never-ending drain that happens when they are sitting above occupied planets.

2) I went the "Criminal Network" route using a large independent planet, but within a few turns of competing the CN, the planet rebelled. This is a problem because you only have 1 or 2 of the previously independent troops, and unlike when defending against raids, your Pirate Bases contribute NO DEFENDERS! Bad enough that the rebels quickly wiped out my defenders and took control of the planet (making it independent again), but the real nightmare is that your Pirate Bases are still present, but they DON'T BELONG TO YOU (or anyone else). Which means the planet is now completely useless, since it's impossible to destroy them and start over. To saying nothing of the 380,000 pirate base investment that was flushed down the toilet AND having to start over with a different planet.

3) The solution (and there is one) is to collect a sizable force of "independent troops" and have them poised above the planet, so the instant you finish the CN, you can unload them as defenders. Some very interesting things about independent troops:
- Any pirate ship with troop-carrying capacity can load troops from any independent world (which just builds new ones to replace them).
- The maintenance cost of these troops is always ZERO.
- Even after you build the CN and transition towards an empire-like existence, your ships can continue to collect these troops which are effective "no cost" defenders for any planets that you conquer.
- However you CANNOT use them to conquer independent planets. If you unload them onto an independent world, they "raid" it and then stay behind as a large force of defenders. Not sure what happens if you unload them onto an empire world. Do they "raid and vanish"? Conquer and transform it to independent? No idea.
- They never appear on the "Troops" screen (unlike raiders who appear and then vanish after the raid) and CANNOT be given the "garrison" setting. That means you should not mix them with "regular" troops on your "recruitment planet" (the source of your invasion troops), as otherwise it's impossible to separate them out when you are loading up an invasion force (and they always load first).
- You can design a small & cheap (1200/400) troop ship with 8 Troop compartments. Two of those fully loaded should be enough to keep your CN world from rebelling (or at least winning the battle).

4) When it comes to base designs, the "obsolete asterisk" is your friend. Maintenance cost is IMPORTANT when you are a pirate faction, so I like to have 2 versions of almost every base design. For example, the Pirate Kit has excellent designs for Gas and Ore mining stations, but I created alternate "Lux" versions that include a Luxury Resource Extractor. Those designs are marked obsolete until a mining station is built on a planet with luxury resources, at which point I "un-asterisk" that version and upgrade to it. Likewise, repair stations are expensive, but some "frontier" worlds see a lot of action and accordingly I have a "repair" version of the defensive base ("planet lockdown" in the pirate kit) which I can upgrade to, but only in those specific locations. And in all cases, once the upgrade is made, just mark that version as "obsolete" again and it won't clutter up your build queue window or be available for an accidental upgrade.

< Message edited by Kull -- 1/4/2018 8:03:43 PM >


(in reply to Hattori Hanzo)
Post #: 54
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