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Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/27/2015 8:05:49 PM   
avamk

 

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Hello,

Just wondering how people decide if and when to cancel pirate protection arrangements? I started at pre-warp and have arrangements with all pirates I've met, but my advisors keep telling me to cancel them and I am not sure if I am ready for their attacks? What are some metrics to tell if my empire is ready?
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/27/2015 8:31:09 PM   
Bingeling

 

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It could explain your budget deficit ;-)

If you are over-extended cancelling them could hurt a lot. If you are not, cancelling all of them would probably hurt as well. I prefer to never pay them, apart from any attack before I got a shielded spaceport. The optimal way is probably to keep them for a short time at the start. And it depends on how much you pay. If there is only one group, a cheap protection deal is cheaper than having ships to defend your mines again them, for instance.

If you can muster a decent fleet, think 40 ships, and know where their bases are, it could be time to take them on one by one.

Given your last post: Those 40 ships should be at least somewhat functional ;-)

(in reply to avamk)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/27/2015 10:07:18 PM   
Aeson

 

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Personally, I disagree with Bingling on the size of the fleet; I tend to feel that around 10 size-300 ships is an adequate force to begin busting up pirate bases, but you'll probably want them to be armed with long-range weapons (missiles or torpedoes), preferably set to engage at standoff range, and you'll want to be careful not to engage a group of pirate warships at the same time as the pirate base. That last bit can best be accomplished by jumping to a point in the target system which is away from the pirate base so that you can see what's there and wait for any pirate warships to be drawn out to your fleet and destroyed away from the station, then hitting the station; this may require some micromanagement, and if you're not interested in doing that then a larger, more powerful fleet would be well-advised. Also keep an eye on how the battle is going, and don't be afraid to withdraw the fleet if things start turning ugly.

Another thing which can help deal with pirates is to try to keep your mining stations together. A small fleet (say, three to five ships of size 200-300) can defend a single system fairly well against the smaller pirate raids, especially if there is a refueling point within the system, and if you give them a boarding pod each they can reclaim any stations the pirates steal from you, as well as potentially capture raiding pirate ships. Be aware, however, that sometimes pirate factions will have been successful enough to build up fairly sizable fleets and conduct raids with those fleets; this tends to happen when they're paid off for a long time (especially if it's one of the more expensive protection arrangements; ~1000 credits per month can pay for a fleet of about 12 size-300 ships, which is more than enough to overwhelm any reasonable defensive fleet; if you're being raided by more than 5 or so pirate ships at once, bring in a battle fleet and start hunting bases, or start paying the pirates off, or write off the mines and forget about protecting the colonies in the area until you can do one of the other two things) or if they control a relatively large number of colonies, in which case you'll probably need to think about building up a relatively strong battle fleet and actively hunting the pirates, rather than relying on defensive fleets.

One last thing: Planetary Shield Generators, unlocked by Massive Shield Projection after the final upgrade to the Corvidian Shield Generator in the Energy and Construction tech tree, completely protect any colony which completes one against pirate raids. The shield generator will not prevent the pirates from gaining control (which allows them to build Hidden Pirate Bases, Hidden Pirate Fortresses, and the Criminal Network), nor will the shield generator protect orbital structures or other things in the system, but a colony with a completed Planetary Shield Generator cannot be raided. That's 20,000 credits up front and 2,000 credits annually, but it generally takes at least 3 infantry units (at ~1000 credits per year each, unless you're recruiting from a species with reduced troop upkeep or have some of the logistics techs) to fight off raiders, and space-based defense setups easily cost as much or more (3-5 size-200 to size-300 ships at ~500-1000 credits annually apiece to fend off light pirate raids of a couple of ships, or a reasonably powerful space station which probably costs in the neighborhood of ~1500-3000 credits annually to do the same, though the ships at least can defend other assets in the system).

< Message edited by Aeson -- 5/27/2015 11:08:12 PM >

(in reply to Bingeling)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/27/2015 10:54:53 PM   
avamk

 

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Thanks for your quick responses. :)

Since I think my ships are slightly overpowered based on your responses thus far, I sent in about ten ships (including a capital ship that my explorers picked up) to see what happens if I break a protection arrangement and attacked a pirate base. It worked!! And your tactics for attacking the base was very useful.

I never thought about Planetary Shielf Generators, need to consider that.

The most annoying thing right now is that pirates are building tons of bases on my planets, and have even completely taken over one of my colonies and the orbiting space port!!

I tried to attack the pirates on the ground at one colony but failed multiple times, including when my advisors suggested it. They seem to be extremely entrenched. I am afraid that they will eventually take over all of my colonies? How do I prevent those bases in the first place, and now they're there what's the most effective way to eliminate them? (right now I have troops on auto and have zero experience with ground combat)

(in reply to Aeson)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 12:27:09 AM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

I tried to attack the pirates on the ground at one colony but failed multiple times, including when my advisors suggested it. They seem to be extremely entrenched. I am afraid that they will eventually take over all of my colonies? How do I prevent those bases in the first place, and now they're there what's the most effective way to eliminate them? (right now I have troops on auto and have zero experience with ground combat)

Pirates can build pirate bases on your worlds only if they have more than a certain amount of control (which, unfortunately, you can only see as a pirate player; standard empires cannot see this). It's 50% or more control for a Hidden Pirate Base, and I think it might be 100% for a Hidden Pirate Fortress (though I don't remember; it's been a while since I played a pirate empire), and each stage requires the previous facility before it can be constructed. Pirates acquire control of a colony by having ships in orbit (smuggling ships will do, but they don't work particularly well; large groups of warships work better), by raiding a colony (preferably successfully), or by having a station in orbit or in close proximity (say, on the colony's moon), and the rate at which they gain control is dependent on the planet's population, with higher population worlds being more difficult to control. If you can establish control of the local space, pirates cannot gain control of your worlds, though existing bases will prevent control from degrading below a certain level (50% for Hidden Pirate Bases; I forget exactly what for Hidden Pirate Fortresses, and Criminal Networks are special in that they flag the world as belonging to a pirate faction rather than simply allowing the pirates to draw income from it the way the control mechanic does). A colony with a population in excess of ~3 billion or so more or less cannot be controlled by pirates sufficiently for them to build a pirate base upon the surface without extensive raiding, planetary bombardment, or a pre-existing base or fortress, and any world with a population in excess of ~1 billion more or less requires a significant permanent fleet presence or heavy raiding to obtain enough control to build a pirate base upon it. If two or more pirate factions are fighting over a world and neither is really gaining the upper hand permanently, it's possible that neither will be able to hold a planet long enough to establish enough control to build a Hidden Pirate Base/Fortress, and even if they do, there's a possibility for Hidden Pirate Bases and Fortresses to be destroyed by the raids of other pirate factions. Might be a reason to stir up trouble between some pirate factions, if you don't have the fleet forces available to go after them yourself.

5 infantry units is typically adequate to remove a Hidden Pirate Base (though be careful if the pirates have space control, nearby ships with raiders who can be deployed to reinforce the base, or a bonus to ground combat on that planet type). If your troops are among the lower-quality troops (so Atuuk, Teekan, Shandar, Ketarov, Ugnari, Securan, mostly), you might want additional troops or a high population to back them up (Atuuk and Teekan trooops especially; these guys are roughly two thirds as strong as the Shandar, who are the best of the group I've listed and themselves are roughly two-thirds the strength of the best normally recruitable troops (Mortalen, Naxxilian, or Boskaran); as such, with Atuuk or Teekan troops against a completed pirate base, you might want ~10 infantry units. Note that troop strengths are not an empire characteristic but a unit characteristic; an Atuuk empire that recruits Naxxilian troops from a Naxxilian colony it invaded or acquired by some other means will have high-quality Naxxilian troops available, and a Mortalen empire that recruits Teekan troops will have the bad Teekan units rather than its high-quality Mortalen units. Using armor or special forces may help, but that requires research and special recruitment facilities and might require you to shuttle them in on troop transports (which would be at risk if there are pirate ships present); it's probably easier just to locally recruit ~5 infantry units.

I will also add that if you have troops available and you see a pirate facility under construction, it is usually easier to remove the base before it's completed than afterwards. This does depend somewhat on the amount of troops you have immediately available, on their current condition, and on whether or not there are nearby pirates, however.

< Message edited by Aeson -- 5/28/2015 1:29:03 AM >

(in reply to avamk)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 6:34:20 AM   
Bingeling

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aeson

Personally, I disagree with Bingling on the size of the fleet; I tend to feel that around 10 size-300 ships is an adequate force to begin busting up pirate bases, but you'll probably want them to be armed with long-range weapons (missiles or torpedoes), preferably set to engage at standoff range, and you'll want to be careful not to engage a group of pirate warships at the same time as the pirate base. That last bit can best be accomplished by jumping to a point in the target system which is away from the pirate base so that you can see what's there and wait for any pirate warships to be drawn out to your fleet and destroyed away from the station, then hitting the station; this may require some micromanagement, and if you're not interested in doing that then a larger, more powerful fleet would be well-advised. Also keep an eye on how the battle is going, and don't be afraid to withdraw the fleet if things start turning ugly.


You will probably find that the number of ships needed depends on a lot of things. Some important things in addition to ship size are:

- How suited the ship design is for pirate base busting.
- The relative tech level between pirates and your empire.
- Having done Pre-Warp or not, at which research speed setting, and with what number of independent colonies.
- General pirate strength settings in the galaxy.
- The size of the spaceport and relative strength of the pirate crew in question (to other pirates).

If you have similar designs to the pirates not optimized for base busting, slightly lower tech level, a strong pirate crew in question, and large pirate base... I would not expected 10 ships to get very far. But some 40-ish assorted smaller ships would possibly get the job done.

(in reply to Aeson)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 8:18:29 AM   
Spidey


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quote:

Just wondering how people decide if and when to cancel pirate protection arrangements?

Every cent I pay them is a cent they use to build more ships to extort me further and another ship that I will have to kill at some point. Consequently I prefer to pay them as little as possible and I never buy info from them. Early game I don't have a choice but to pay for protection but I cancel those treaties once they leave my system. Sure, it may piss them off but then they're still not getting paid until next time they drop by and it is only a matter of a few years before I tech up to the point where I can fight them off.

quote:

The most annoying thing right now is that pirates are building tons of bases on my planets

Research some troop tech, build 12-16 units of armor (which also happens to be a fairlt decent invasion force early on), and ship this force from planet to planet, killing each pirate installation in the process. This will clear your worlds of pirates and it will build up your invasion force's veterancy. This is more efficient than trying to build every pirate base killing force locally, using regular infantry, assuming low population colonies, and further assuming that you also have hidden pirate fortresses in the mix.

quote:

If you have similar designs to the pirates not optimized for base busting, slightly lower tech level, a strong pirate crew in question, and large pirate base... I would not expected 10 ships to get very far. But some 40-ish assorted smaller ships would possibly get the job done.

Another reason why torpedoes are awesome. If you have to get to close range in order to make railguns or lasers effective then you either need a lot of ships or you'll need some serious brawlers with crazy high emounts of shield. If you use long range weapons instead, your ships can simply hover well outside the radius of most of the weaponry on the base you're attacking.


< Message edited by Spidey -- 5/28/2015 9:23:38 AM >

(in reply to Bingeling)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 9:21:36 AM   
Bingeling

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Spidey

quote:

If you have similar designs to the pirates not optimized for base busting, slightly lower tech level, a strong pirate crew in question, and large pirate base... I would not expected 10 ships to get very far. But some 40-ish assorted smaller ships would possibly get the job done.

Another reason why torpedoes are awesome. If you have to get to close range in order to make railguns or lasers effective then you either need a lot of ships or you'll need some serious brawlers with crazy high emounts of shield. If you use long range weapons instead, your ships can simply hover well outside the radius of most of the weaponry on the base you're attacking.


Yeah, I know. But that is boring, why have many races if you play all the same way? And it is hilariously fun to watch a swarm of frigates turned to wrecks from the blast of the large spaceport exploding.

Not pointed at you, but it is an annoying feature of this forum that one:

- Must run full manual mode.
- Must use zero tax as much as possible because it is the best.
- You must research in a very specific order because it is the best.
- Must use manual design and torpedoes (or whatever) because it is the best.
- Utilize tech trade to gain more cash.
- Try abuse the retrofits to drain cash from the civilians.
- You must beeline for wonders to get some cash

Don't assume that a new player uses optimized ship design in the first pirate spaceport attack. His ships could have been anything from very powerful to seriously gimped.

(in reply to Spidey)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 11:40:14 AM   
Siddham

 

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In response to the OPs original question about advisors and breaking pirate agreements
ignore them
Do it when you feel you are ready

(in reply to Bingeling)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 5:48:40 PM   
avamk

 

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OK, so I tried attacking with about 6 infantry units with a general, but was completely wiped out by 95K pirate forces without making a scratch on them!... (and the general was killed :( ) Has anyone encountered this before? The pirates have established themselves on almost 15 out of my 19 colonies!

< Message edited by avamk -- 5/28/2015 6:57:43 PM >

(in reply to Siddham)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 6:08:26 PM   
Bingeling

 

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What were the strength of those units? You easily see strength of troops on a fleet by the fleet box (with fleet selected). And you see it during the battle, but it is a bit late to undo the landing by then.

Pay attention to the larger battle screen and the bonuses. There are among other 25% bonus for space control. Did you have that? Were your general actually any good? Were there extra bonuses for the defenders?

Without a general and no space control, you needed 96/6 (16) strength on average to match them. That is decent strength troops, and when you attack you probably better have twice the strength (or more) in general.

There are additional bonuses for things like having armor involved.

(in reply to avamk)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 7:30:52 PM   
avamk

 

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OK basic question: I've been attacking pirate bases on advisor's suggestions. But how do I manually initiate an attack on a pirate base? I already have a dozen units on the colony but for the life of me I can't find the button/command to have them attack the pirate base!

(in reply to Bingeling)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 7:34:11 PM   
Twigster

 

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Seriously? When you are in the Colony Screen and you select the colony in question; go to the Facility tab; select the Pirate base; and you do not see the Attack button there?

(in reply to avamk)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 7:43:06 PM   
Bingeling

 

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I think it is a bit too obscure to warrant a "Seriously?"

(in reply to Twigster)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 7:45:04 PM   
avamk

 

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Ah I see it now. I was looking in the colony's info card on the bottom left. It was not obvious for me to look in the Facilities tab in the Colonies screen. Thanks for pointing this out.

(in reply to Twigster)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/28/2015 10:52:55 PM   
avamk

 

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Sorry one more thing , so since I think because I am playing in the Age of Shadows, I have encountered this "legendary" super-powerful pirate that I can't sign a protection arrangement with. It's pretty annoying because they are substantially more powerful than the other pirates, and have been destroying lots of my stuff. Any particular strategies for dealing with them?

(in reply to avamk)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/29/2015 1:37:20 AM   
Aeson

 

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First, a question - did you get a special message telling you that you met legendary pirates (or that there are legendary pirates active in the galaxy), or have you just run into an unusually powerful pirate group? Legendary pirates typically have fairly big fleets of relatively advanced warships, whereas an unusually powerful pirate faction will generally just have large numbers of fairly standard pirate ships and perhaps an occasional advanced ship (most likely acquired as an operational derelict, but pirates have been known to repair ships in debris fields). Legendary pirates also aren't a feature of the Shadows storyline; I think they're classed among the Disasters and Other Events, and story-wise are essentially what happens to a powerful pirate faction that chooses to continue as a pirate faction after the end of the Age of Shadows.

Regardless, as far as fighting the legendary pirates goes, if your fleet is strong enough that you can defend a core of systems (or even just a core system) adequately, then fighting the legendary pirates is much like fighting regular pirates. You protect the developed regions and send out pirate-hunting forces to go after pirate mining stations (particularly those mining fuel), pirate starbases, pirate construction ships, and pirate resupply ships, and perhaps the occasional pirate ship (or small fleet) which your ships can overpower. Build up and tech up to become competitive and slowly expand the protected region as you become able.

If you cannot defend a core of systems or a core system, then fighting the legendary pirates becomes a bit more difficult. You may wish to develop some state mining ships (i.e. outfit state ships, say an escort or construction ship, with mining engines, gas extractors, and cargo bays) and send them off into hiding, then take the rest of your fleet and some resupply ships and start raiding the pirate infrastructure, focusing on killing mines (especially over fuel sources) and construction ships, then space ports and resupply ships and isolated pirate ships. Try not to lose too many ships doing this, as if you're unable to create a safe zone it's not terribly likely that you'll have a safe shipyard for repairing damaged ships and replacing losses. You might have a slight advantage here in that you seem to have liked rather powerful space port designs, which may mean that your shipyards will be relatively safe, but I wouldn't count on it, not against a fleet of late-game warships like the legendary pirates are wont to have. You may also wish to go after any remaining regular pirate factions in the area just to get them out of your hair; an alternative is to try to get those same pirate factions to fight the legendary pirates, though they're not likely to do any better than you will and can easily do worse.

Carriers (whether the dedicated role or just a warship of another role but which is equipped with one or more fighter bays) tend to be a reasonable bet against more advanced opponents, though you'll need to be careful with them; fighters work best in large numbers, and concentrated high-end point defenses can greatly reduce their effectiveness if you don't have enough to rapidly overwhelm the target. Another possible hope against a more advanced opponent like legendary pirates is to find a debris field and repair the warships found within it. That will get you a fleet of moderately advanced warships, though reactivating them can be a bit of a slog and you might have some issues protecting your construction ships in the process. Other story locations (e.g. a Strategic Reserve) can also have decent numbers of reasonably advanced warships, some of which are in better condition than those in the debris fields, though these other story locations typically don't have as many ships and are usually harder to find (debris fields tend to be in systems, which means your exploration ships find them as part of normal exploration duty, but many of the other story locations are off in deep space and so will go unnoticed unless you find navigational coordinates in a derelict/ruin or bring something with a long-range scanner close enough to them).

There's also the short-term "solution" of ignoring the problem and hoping it'll go away; even the legendary pirates will usually suffer some attritional losses over time, and they tend to move away from your area if there isn't anything worth hunting, which gives you time to build up better ships for the next time they come by. This is risky, however, especially for less developed empires. Plus, the pirates might also start to disperse their larger fleets in an attempt to generate more money, which can make it more reasonable for your fleet to attempt to pick off a few pirates.

(in reply to avamk)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/29/2015 10:11:38 AM   
avamk

 

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Yes I did get a special message saying that special legendary pirates have appeared. And they do have big fleets with carriers!

Fortunately there's another fairly developed empire between me and those pirates so I hope that'll offer some protection. Right now those pirates are picking off my newer colonies so it is a big impediment to my expansion. But I'll follow your suggestions and see if I can slowly chip away at them. Thanks!

BTW I wonder if there's a way to start at pre-warp without being in the Shadows age with so many pirates? Or do I just set pirates to the lowest settings when starting a pre-warp game?

(in reply to Aeson)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/29/2015 3:36:13 PM   
Spidey


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling

Yeah, I know. But that is boring, why have many races if you play all the same way? And it is hilariously fun to watch a swarm of frigates turned to wrecks from the blast of the large spaceport exploding.

Not pointed at you, but it is an annoying feature of this forum that one:

- Must run full manual mode.
- Must use zero tax as much as possible because it is the best.
- You must research in a very specific order because it is the best.
- Must use manual design and torpedoes (or whatever) because it is the best.
- Utilize tech trade to gain more cash.
- Try abuse the retrofits to drain cash from the civilians.
- You must beeline for wonders to get some cash

Don't assume that a new player uses optimized ship design in the first pirate spaceport attack. His ships could have been anything from very powerful to seriously gimped.

I'm not saying something is particularly right or wrong. I'm simply saying it like it is, mid to late tech torpedos are awesome. It's a bit boring that they are so awesome, but they are awesome. If one wants more variety by using weapons that allow the enemy to fight back then that's of course also an option but I don't think it really hurts for new players to know that they can make things easier by going for torps.

As for my style of play, I do use mostly full manual though I put defensive fleets on auto and I assign exploration ships to explore sectors on their own. I generally tax at anywhere between 0-3% until my population hits 10 billion but that just seems more sensible. There are few expenses in the early game and your single colony doesn't generate much revenue anyway. I do have a personal preference of research but my realization at this point is that it really doesn't matter too much in exactly what order one gets things done in. Priorities do matter, and favoring shields and thrusters at the cost of warp drives and reactor improvements in a 15x15 sector game isn't very sensible. Fun, maybe, if you want to try something different, but not sensible.

Manual design? Yeah, I do that. I could tamper with the stock designs too, giving them enough engine power to not be depressing, but so far it's easier to just design stuff myself. Tech trade? Bleh. Boring. Plus I'd have to cater to the AI factions to make them like me and I'm usually far too busy being a diabolical imperialist to bother with that. Abusing retrofits? Bleh. Boring. I do let the civies pay the upkeep for my space monitoring program, and if pirates annoy me then the mining stations also end up being rather heavily fortified, but that's all I care to do. Wonder beeline? Meh. I like getting open trade networks or the HT tech wonder relatively early, meaning before colonization tech, but aside from that I don't really beeline for any wonders. I'd rather balance my research than bend everything out of shape.

And I agree, it is annoying when people insist that there's only one correct way to play this game. However, if people are asking for advice then telling them how to make their empire more powerful hardly seems unjustified.

(in reply to Bingeling)
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RE: Deciding to cancel protection arrangements? - 5/29/2015 4:59:19 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

BTW I wonder if there's a way to start at pre-warp without being in the Shadows age with so many pirates? Or do I just set pirates to the lowest settings when starting a pre-warp game?

Yes, turn down the pirate options in the first page of the custom game setup. You can turn them completely off if you want to. You might also need to turn off Shadows storyline events; the first pirate raid is scripted and I don't recall if setting pirates to none prevents it or not.

quote:

Don't assume that a new player uses optimized ship design in the first pirate spaceport attack.

For what it's worth, I usually use the computer's designs for my first attacks on pirate spaceports. The computer's default size-300 destroyers are usually adequate for burning down a pirate space port, at least in my experience. There's only two real ways I can think of for you to go wrong enough to fail against a pirate station with custom designs at size-300, and those are an excessively light armament or excessively light shielding/armor, both of which are problems which would likely rapidly become apparent fighting regular pirate ships.

(in reply to Spidey)
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