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wTVd0's Early Empire Tutorial

If you follow this guide you will soon command vast starfleets and the galaxy will tremble before you!

Beginning tasks for your capital:

  • Determine your core territory: Click on your capital and click “import from”. The 200 LY radius grey circle is the area in which you'll want to be conquering planets first. It's less than the 250 LY control radius of your capital, but any world outside the grey circle can't form a trade route straight to your capital and won't be useful right away. Planets outside the 250 LY control radius are not useful to you at all yet; even if you conquered one, you would not be able to issue it commands.
  • Note your jump beacon coverage: The control radius of the capital is your empire's current jump beacon range. Jumpships, jumpcruisers and jumptransports can only move under their own power to worlds within a 250LY radius of planets that have jump beacons (however, explorers can go anywhere). The imperial capital, jumpship yards, and sector capitals in the default Fire & Movement doctrine have jump beacons. You can combine any jumpship type with starships or ramjets to make a mixed fleet that will move freely around the map at the speed of the slowest ship to conquer worlds beyond jump beacon range. You probably don't have any starships or ramjets yet, though. (If your capital was previously part of another empire, you might have inherited a few. This is rare.)
  • Free up some labor: Your planet's population produces labor, which is used by structures to build resources and units. Mostly it does this automatically, but defense structures (which build planetary defenses) can be manually allocated labor. However, allocating labor to multiple structures reduces the total amount of labor available (this is not the case for labor allocated within structures: you can build 4 types of jumpships with no labor penalty). For now, you want your capital generating the maximum amount of labor possible and building lots of ships. Click on each defense structure on the “Structures” tab (GDMs, HELs, autocannons, maybe hypersonics and/or armored satellites) and set the labor allocation to 0%. Later on you may want to build defenses, but right now building ships is much more important.
  • Change your labor allocations: Click on the Fleet HQ structure. You can adjust how labor is used within this structure to build different kinds of units. Allocate 5%-10% to Vanguard explorers (you'll always want some explorers because they're useful for exploring and recon, but they are very weak in combat) and maybe 10-15% to Reliant jumptransports, and 5-10% to building infantry. If you have at least 10,000 infantry already don't bother building more- you'll be fine with that many for quite a while. The rest should go to building Adamant jumpcruisers.
  • Think about combat: All ship classes are weak against some units and strong against others. Jumpcruisers are a fast, strong attack unit. However, in player vs. player combat, basic jumpships like the Stinger can defeat basic jumpcruisers at cost parity despite having a much weaker Space Forces rating. This is because basic jumpships have point defense, an ability that protects the Stingers against missiles by shooting the missiles down before they can hit.
  • Do not switch doctrine right now. Imperial doctrine is controlled from the Empire tab on your capital. You'll want to stay in Fire & Movementm for a long time. Switching doctrines will temporarily hurt your capital's efficiency and you won't be able to build as many ships (and some doctrines do not even build ships on the capital.) Once you have 20-30 worlds or more you can explore other doctrines.
  • Do not build an antimatter program right now. Programs raise a planet's tech level and consume a % of labor. Most planets can use programs to get up to TL7; the capital has special programs that go up to TL10.

Beginning tasks for your fleets

  • Explore your neighborhood Deploy several fleets of 150-200 explorers to nearby planets. Explore all the space around your capital out to at least 250 light-years (there's scale bar in the upper right-hand corner).
    • Leave monitoring fleets: Deploy 10 explorers out of the fleet every time you orbit an interesting-looking independent world in range of your capital and leave them in orbit while the rest of your fleet keeps exploring. This will let you keep an eye on the planet's defenses until you're ready to attack it.
    • You'll notice that as you explore space the “black hexes” will disappear. This represents your ships mapping the galaxy. Once the galaxy is fully mapped, you will be able to see the entire galaxy at all times. However, to see units and fleets in distant areas you will need to have a fleet with sufficient scanner power nearby. Explorers have the highest scanner power, but other ships except transports are able to detect stuff too.
  • Grey planets are independent. Red planets belong to other player empires. If you find another player's capital, you can send messages to them from the “Empire” tab on their capital. If another player messages you, it will reveal their capital's location to you.
  • Conquer a planet:
    1. Send a fleet of attack ships to destroy the planetary defenses.
      • You usually want to send a fleet with at least >200% of the planet's “space forces” if the planet is defended by direct-type defenses (HELs, autocannons, or plasma towers) or by a mixture of direct and missile defenses.
      • If the planet is entirely defended by missile-type defenses (GDMs, hypersonic missiles, or an armored constellation), you can successfully attack it with basic_jumpships and not take ANY casualties. A rule of thumb for avoiding casualties is that you will want to bring roughly as 1-2x as many individual Stingers (not space forces) as there are GDM silos, or 3-4 times as many Stingers as there are hypersonics or armored satellites. If you have high-tech Eldritch jumpships, you don't need to bring quite as many because the Eldritch has twice as much missile protection.
    2. Deploy a fleet of jumptransports carrying infantry to invade the planet.
      • It is safe to combine the transports with the attack ships if the only defenses are GDMs, HELs or autocannons. Other types of defenses and ships may be able to strike transports in high orbit, so it's good practice to keep invasion fleets separate from attack fleets.
      • You're pretty much sure to win as long as you have more ground forces than the enemy. To minimize casualties, it helps to bring as many ground units as you can and totally overwhelm the defenders.
      • Confusingly, your transports count towards “space forces” but don't actually fight. Transports do have guns but they won't fire them due to a bug. Your fleet's “real” strength is its “space forces” when all the ships that are not transports are deployed to it.
    3. If you can't find a planet weak enough to conquer nearby, log off and try again in around 24 hours; this gives your capital time to build more ships. It's frustrating to not be able to do anything right away but once you start capturing and establishing trade routes with other planets your empire will really get rolling.
  • You won't be able to capture many high-tech independent worlds at first, since their defenses can be very strong. Worlds from TL 1-5 are the best to conquer at the beginning; they typically don't have many defenses. Lower TL worlds will improve to TL 5 on their own once you give them a designation, but this can take a few minutes. If you can't designate a planet what you want it to ultimately become because its TL is too low, designate it as a consumer goods autofac. Once its TL rises you can redesignate it. Always build a spaceport at TL 5, it increases trade route range by a lot and costs nothing.
  • You may see TL 9 and 10 planets with trace trillum that have no defenses at all. These planets look appealing but they're resource traps- they're barely able to produce enough consumer goods to support their own populations and when you conquer them their efficiency will decrease, causing immediate shortages that will send the planet into civil war. Don't try taking these planets until you have dedicated trillum extractor planets up and running nearby so that you can supply them through trade immediately after capturing them.

Growing your early empire

You can grow your empire any way you like, but I suggest conquering planets in this order:

  1. A planet with “abundant” or at least “major” trillum supplies. This will probably be a desert or fiery world. Designate it as a trillum extractor. Trillum is needed for almost every production task on almost every planet. Set your capital to import from the extractor. (No planet will ever need to import from your capital, since it produces ships which can't be exported through trade routes.) If the trillum planet is TL 2 or lower, you'll have to designate it as a consumer goods autofac and wait for it to go up to TL3 before you can redesignate it as a trillum extractor.
  2. An earthlike or ocean world; if none are available, an underground world; if none are available, a desert or empyreal world. Designate this planet as a consumer goods autofac and set it to import from the trillum extractor. The trillum will be used by the consumer goods autofac to make durable goods (the CG autofac also makes organic food, which only requires labor to make). All worlds that are TL4 and higher require durable goods and will be more efficient if they can import them from a CG autofac planet instead of making them locally. If a world is TL 7 or higher, it will also use the trillum to produce luxury goods; TL 7 worlds (like your capital) need luxury goods in addition to food and durable goods. Once the autofac is running at 100% (when the little number on the left side of the structure box goes away, about 5-10 minutes), set the trillum extractor planet to import from it. You'll soon be generating a huge surplus of trillum and consumer goods. Set the capital to import from the CG autofac to benefit from this surplus. You'll see your capital's ship production increase by a lot! This is because it no longer needs to dedicate as much (or any) labor to making consumer goods. (The previously-mentioned world classes are preferable for CG autofac because many of them get bonuses to food production and none of them are vulnerable to life-support related bugs if asked to export too many resources.)
  3. A TL 5 or higher planet with at least minor hexacarbide deposits (if you can't find one, capture a lower-tl planet, designate it as a consumer goods autofac, and wait a couple minutes for the TL to rise to TL 5). Designate it as a jumpship components autofac and have it import from the trillum and consumer goods planets. Hexacarbide is not strictly necessary on this planet; eventually you will be exporting it from other planets.This planet will build the jumpship components of various kinds; all jumpships except explorers require components. Set the capital to import from this world. After a few watches your capital should only be producing hexacarbide and units, and it will be producing a lot more units than when you started. If you're building Adamant-class jumpcruisers, the capital will still be running an autofac to build light missile launchers unless the autofac planet is TL 7 or higher. This is because the Adamant uses two components and the light missile launcher component requires TL 7 to build. Building jumpship components requires some trillum, so pay attention to your supply.
  4. (Optional) A TL 4 or higher planet with at least “major” but preferably “abundant” hexacarbide deposits. This planet is going to be a hexacarbide refinery, and needs trillum and consumer goods. Abundant hexacarbide is common, usually on barren and underground worlds, and is used to build every ship and every defense except GDMs. Set your capital and jump components planets to import from this world. If you want to start building defenses on your other planets, you can have them import hexacarbide from this world.
  5. At this point you might want to add another consumer goods autofac, another jumpship components autofac, or a starship yard. As you conquer more worlds you'll need to either to keep setting up more consumer goods autofacs and trillum extractors to supply them or be content with reduced production. High-tech worlds need a lot of consumer goods. Gunships, built at starship yards, move around a lot slower than jumpships but are not restricted by jump beacons, do not require components, and currently seem to be a good value for their cost. Add a starship yard to build gunships and wage war beyond your borders or take out planets that are too tough to crack with jumpships and jumpcruisers. You can also build starfrigates and starcruisers if you add a starship autofac. These ships have have formidable long-range weapons that can crack independent world's planetary defenses without taking losses, but are also extremely slow.
  6. As your empire grows, you may notice that you have a lot of trade routes and it's kind of a pain to set up trade routes on every new planet. Once you have a dozen planets or so, consider add a trade hub somewhere central to them to reduce the number of individual trade routes. Instead of having every planet importing from a bunch of different planets, everything can just have one 2-way trade route to the hub and the hub will sort out where all the resources need to go. If you use hubs, build and station lots of defenses on them. You might as well build a ton of defenses on your hubs, since they don't have anything else to do with the labor other than build basic infantry (hubs have the militia base structure). HEL cannons & hypersonic missiles is a pretty strong defense combination early on.

Maintaining your early empire

  • Build habitat structures whenever they're available. These raise a planet's max population, which means more labor. Don't build them if you are already having trouble supplying a planet with resources; they are also not strictly necessary on foundations and trade hubs. Habitats take a while to build. The largest hab structures for hazardous worlds are arcologies, available at TL 7. For habitable worlds, the largest are planetary arcologies at TL 8. Planetary arcologies takes 4 days to build! At 100% efficiency, a TL 8 habitable world with a planetary arcology will produce about twice as much labor as a TL7 hazardous world with a regular arcology.
  • Keep an eye on actual unit production through the “production” tab. The “structures” tab only reports how many units a world is trying to produce. If your planet is trying to import more resources or ship components than it is getting (indicated by a number in brackets on a given resource of component in the production tab), your world is wasting labor. Either switch to cheaper unit types, move labor into defenses on the unit-producing world (defenses are cheaper than units), or add more resource/autofac worlds.
  • You will need a lot of chronimium once you start building ships that are TL 8 and higher. The TL7 Victory-class starcruiser and armored constellation defense structure also require chronimium. Securing abundant chronimium planets is really important if there are any nearby. Chronimium uses a lot of trillum to produce, so keep your chronimium processor planets supplied by your trillum extractors.
  • Pay attention to what kind of ships your neighbors have and build or station proper deterrents on your most vulnerable planets accordingly. Build citadels to deter starship attack and take out nearby jumpship yards to prevent them from attacking you with jumpships. If enemy jumpships are able to operate inside your borders, your empire will be very vulnerable.
  • If a planet imports a resource from two planets, it will default to importing 50% of its need from each. You can manually change the allocation by clicking on the trade route; if one planets is producing much more than another you aren't forced to draw equally from both. For example, if planet Trillum A produces twice as much as planet Trillum B and your capital imports from both, you can change the Trillum B route to only import 33% of the capital's need and the Trillum A route will change to 67% by default. Once you manually change a trade route it will stay at the assigned % forever, so if you want a trade route to start auto-balancing again you will need to cancel and recreate it.
  • Armored infantry are a lot tougher than standard infantry and you'll need fewer transports to move them around. Building fewer transports lets you build more attack ships. When your resource supplies seem stable, set up an infantry academy and an infantry autofac. One autofac can fully supply one academy that's building 100% armored infantry, provided that the worlds have the same labor output. You must manually order the academy to build 100% armored infantry, otherwise it will build 50% regular, 50% armored. If both your autofac and academy are TL7 or higher they will also try to build exotroops. Don't do this right now, exotroops are costly to build and require chronimium and >1 autofac per academy. However, they are verey effectie
  • Don't leave your infantry on a newly-conquered planet unless you are expecting another player to attack it. They won't help with the “industry demands more military defense” message (only stationing ships or building defenses stops this). Use infantry only to attack, to garrison vulnerable planets against other players' attacks, and to suppress civil wars. Transfer infantry down to your capital when you're AFK so that they don't get destroyed in their defenseless transports by another player.
  • Foundations can raise other planets' TL via a trade route, and their TL will rise to match the capital. Foundations tend to produce a lot of TLs so it's safe to allocate labor to defenses on them as long as you ensure that the foundation is still generating a surplus of 10-20 TLs
  • It's always a good idea to build fusion programs on TL 5 worlds if you can't supply them from a foundation. Going from TL 5 to TL 6 results in an immediate increase in labor production without much or any population penalty. It also makes more habitat structures available, as well as powerful hypersonic missile defenses.
  • Don't raise every planet to TL 7 or higher right away. TL 7 is when planets start demanding luxury goods. At TL 10 demand for luxuries is enormous. You'll need a lot of dedicated consumer autofacs to supply a high-tech empire and have it remain productive.
  • Regions of space where worlds are densely clustered are more valuable than regions where planets are spread out. When planning to start a new sector capital (which will project , pick a planet that is near a few dense clusters and good planets with abundant trillum. A sector capital will be able to grow a region into an industrial powerhouse for your empire if there are a couple of independent earthlike or ocean worlds to be CG autofacs, at least two planets with abundant trillum, and a couple planets with at least major chronimium within a 200 light year radius of the sector capital or a hub that is supplying it. Worlds with abundant chronimium are probably the most valuable planets in the game; snag these planets whenever and however you are able.
  • If you are using trade hubs, put your hubs within 50 LY of capitals to ensure that every planet within range of the hub is under the capital's influence. This is not an absolute rule and some clever geometries use alternate spacing of hubs and capitals.
  • Eventually, build starship yards close (<50LY) to your capitals, hubs and foundations so that you can quickly reinforce these planets with heavy starships.

Avoid Game-Ruining Mistakes and Known Bugs:

  • Don't build tech programs on your capital until you have a chronimium processor planet that it can import from. Your starting capital will never have chronimium deposits. At TL 8 Vanguards are replaced by Helions, which require chronimium. At TL 9 every ship class except Adamants is replaced by higher-tech ships that require chronimium. If you go all the way up to TL 10 your capital will only be able to build infantry until you get a chronimium processor hooked up. Rarely, your starting capital have have a TL higher than 7 and be in the process of regressing back to TL 7; this will happen if your capital world was recently part of another empire but went independent.
  • Don't switch to a different doctrine until you have at least one jumpship yard planet and jumpship autofac planet. The default Fire & Movement doctrine is the only one that builds jumptransports on sector capitals. Without a jump beacon (a property of the jumpship yard designation), your jumpfleets will not be able to move. Without jumptransports, you won't be able to conquer more planets. You can buy transports from Mesophon, but you need transports to sell resources to them in the first place unless you are in the Trade & Enterprise doctrine (you also need to have a Mesophon world within beacon range, or the process will be very slow since you'll have to move stuff at gunship speed.)
  • A trillum shortage on a hazardous world can lead to survival goods shortages and mass deaths. Consider using transports to dump a couple thousand tons of trillum onto hazardous planets before you redesignate them as anything that requires a lot of trillum (consumer goods autofac, chronimium refinery, etc.) It takes a while for the planet to adjust the amount of trillum it produces/imports.
  • Try not to use hazardous planets as consumer goods autofacs. Consumer goods autofac planets that are hazardous (any planet that is not earthlike, ocean, underground, desert or empyreal) can suffer mass deaths if they are being asked to export more consumer goods than they can build. There is a bug which can cause labor to sometimes be allocated away from the habitat structure for a few turns, and it won't build enough survival goods to sustain the population. Earthlike worlds are the best CG autofacs, closely followed by Ocean worlds. Both classes of worlds get a hidden bonus to producing organic food.
  • If a planet is importing from two or more extractors or autofacs of the same type, it will automatically divide its imports evenly among the worlds, even if some of the planets are producing more and some are producing less (because of differences in efficiency/population/labor allocation). You may have to fiddle with % import allocations to keep your planets from running resource shortages because of this. This is especially important for trade hubs.
  • Attacking another player whose imperial might is less than 50% yours will depress social order on some of your planets; they may even go into civil war. The penalty is imposed for each individual attack. Civil wars are annoying but not crippling; players can still occasionally take a planet or two from a weaker player without destroying their own empires, so watch out!
  • Imperial might is based on population, NOT military strength! If you conquer a bunch of lousy planets without building fleets and defenses for them you'll become vulnerable to attack by players who previously wouldn't touch you due to imperial might differences.
  • If a planet is “rebelling”, remove ground units other than imperial guards. Don't send more, unless they're imperial guards. When a planet enters civil war about half the ground units stationed on it defect to the rebels. Once a planet is in civil war it's safe to send ground units back in. You want at least 4x as many ground forces as the rebels to guarantee victory. Players with the Law & Order doctrine can build imperial guards, which never join rebels.
  • Big fleets containing hundreds of thousands of ships of the same type may have firing range problems. This is potentially a big problem for ships with very short firing ranges, like the Stinger. You may want to split up these fleets before launching an attack with them.
  • Trade and Enterprise is a dangerous doctrine to leave. T&E turns your capitals into trade hubs, which eliminates the need to maintain separate hubs. If you switch out of T&E, all the trade routes running through your capitals will break. If you've designed your empire around T&E capitals but then need to leave the doctrine for any reason, you MUST reroute all your trade routes or your economy will collapse immediately when you switch. This is especially important if you have lots of high-TL planets. High TL planets are likely to go into civil war if there's any interruption to their consumer goods or trillum supply.
  • If you remove all labor from the “militia base” structure on a trade hub or autonomous world, the base will disappear. You won't be able to build infantry on that world again until you redesignate it.
anacreon/community/wtvdo/earlyempireguide.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/12 18:05 by wtvd0