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4.4.1 New Resources
- New Screens: The whole map is now visible, but only partly explored.
- Fleet Changes: Leviathan (Thorin) with 6x Light Tank, Cruiser 1, 6x Fighter 2.
- New Planets (statistics at earliest date):
- Earth: Earth-Type ;-) , population 12,300, moderate tax, 8x Light Tank, Space Base 1, Colony Hub, Arcology, Prefab Housing, Nuclear Plant, Fusion Plant, Hydroponic Food Farm, Fire Brigade, Hospital, Barracks, Military Spaceport (16%), Radar Telescope, Military Dev. Centre, Bank, Traders' Spaceport, 2x Stadium, Church, bar, Recreation Centre.
- Edgepolis: Desert, population 5100, moderate tax, Colony Hub, Prefab Housing, Nuclear Plant, Spacecraft Factory, Military Dev. Centre, Military Spaceport, Bank (3%).
- Giantropolis: Rocky, population 5300, moderate tax, 8x Light Tank, Colony Hub, Nuclear Plant, Prefab Housing, Radar Telescope.
- Myridan: Rocky, population 4800, moderate tax, 8x Light Tank, Colony Hub, Nuclear Plant, Prefab Housing, Police Station (0%).
- New Research: Fighter 4, Fighter 5, Destroyer 3, Cruiser 2, Flagship 2, Colonization Ship, Adv. Spy Satellite, Hubble 2, Space Base 2, Hyperdrive 3, Hyperdrive 4, Fuzzbox ECM, Shocker ECM, Heavy Cargo Pod, Phased Array, Medium Shield, Heavy Shield, UV Laser, UV Pulse Laser, Plasma Gun, Neutron Gun, Bomb 2, Virus Bomb, Missile 2, Mul-head missile, Heavy Tank, Heavy Rocket Sled, Trade Centre, Hypershield, Fortress, Stronghold, Bunker, Phased Telescope, Fusion Projector.
- Earliest Date: Mid November 3427.
4.4.2 Strategy Overview
The aim of this rank is introduced as production and research in the face of technologically advanced alien races. Read between the lines and this means: if production and research doesn't increase dramatically we'll be over-run by aliens. By now, you will appreciate that production needs a solid tax base, and research needs planets. Rushing through the early ranks will start to pay dividends now, because many planets are yet to be colonised, so you should be able to make many early advances without having to invade anyone. There are no side missions at this rank, and because the game is less structured from this point on, the walkthrough is far less detailed: You will be familiar with most strategies and concepts from earlier ranks. If you have not already done so, read the Strategies section below.
4.4.3 Opening moves
There is no immediate hostile threat (unless you are really unlucky), however your empire is now far too large to defend with one fleet. Also remember that your Garthog colonies probably still don't have Fortresses, so plan to defend those from space initially, even if you defend them on the ground in the long term. I suggest keeping your main fleet (with all those Destroyer 2s with Pulse Lasers plus the Thorin instead of one existing Flagship 1) close to Achilles and the Garthog planets, and using your secondary fleet (mostly mashed up Destroyer 1s) to guard your new Human colonies towards the top of the map.
Now turn to your new colonies. Earth has almost enough facilities to support Demanding taxation: Add a Police Station and ratchet up the tax. The main problem with Earth is its chaotic urban planning - you start with relatively few areas in which to build because there are many "not quite big enough" gaps between existing buildings. In weeks to come, consider demolishing some of the cheaper buildings, and rebuilding them to save space. Giantropolis and Myridan are in need of comprehensive development, much as you did for Zeuson in the previous level. Food will probably be the first thing to run short. Note that Myridan (and Edgepolis) have no radar coverage, so early on ensure that your second fleet is positioned with radar coverage of these two. Edgepolis is a weird military planet. It starts with a chronic power problem, which can only be solved by turning three of the non-critical buildings off (which three depends on your initial expansion strategy, see below). It has *another* Mil Dev. Centre, but you'll need to power it first. The oddest feature is the Bank, which is completely useless without a Traders' Spaceport. Edgepolis of course ultimately needs all the same investments as Giantropolis and Myridan. Lastly, don't neglect your most recent Garthog acquisition - adding a Police Station or three may be all you need to do.
Take a peek at the new research options and the newly enlarged (mostly unexplored) map. Mass production of old technology should be avoided, because it won't be long before it is all obsolete. Instead divert resources to exploration, colony building, and research.
Exploration is two-fold. First you need to fly within radar range of a planet for it to appear on the map. You then need to deploy a Survey Satellite to give you basic information on the planet. The later involves mass production of Survey Satellites, which you should do right away. For the former, I suggest reequipping your two Cruiser 1s, and possibly any spare Flagships, to carry Hyperdrive 2 and Field Arrays. Split them into separate fleets (one ship in each), and then have them zig-zag across the map. As you discover new planets, deploy Survey Satellites.
You should be within one new Dev. Centre of being able to research the Colonization Ship, UV Laser and Medium Shield. The first is critical if you plan to expand initially by taking empty planets, the second more essential if you are considering engaging aliens. I'd advise the first option initially - colonization of empty planets, for two reasons: (1) Even with a few ship upgrades, many of the alien races will prove tougher opponents than the Garthog. Attacking many will lead to counter-attacks, and before you know it, you will be fighting a war and not expanding much. You will loss most wars at this level unless you have technology and a solid tax base. (2) Human colonies have more long term tax raising potential than alien colonies, because you can build many morale boosting buildings. Alien planets have more than a seed population when you take the planet, but have no long term advantages.
Colonization ships are produced with a lot of equipment they do not need - strip what you can before sending them out to settle new planets. When building new colonies pay careful attention to population levels. Whilst the Colony Hub is being built they will decline. Once the Colony Hub has been completed, immediately add some power and housing. I tend to also add a Church to help initial morale, and often a radar, depending on location and circumstances. Do not try and build a large range of buildings, because you won't have enough people to operate them. Once the population is in the 3000-5000 range, start adding morale related facilities and basic defenses. Once you have a solid tax base, move on to things like factories.
4.4.5 About robotics
About a day after promotion you'll see another dream/flashback sequence. Go to the Local and talk to the ship's new doctor about robots. He'll give you some information about Professor Reinhardt's new "weapon" (that surname is familiar, huh?). Return to the Bridge, and send the message "Earth Devel". You'll get an explanation of what you are, and what role you have been built for. Slightly surreal. Try to avoid thinking too hard about how your wife and Johnny (your kid) fit into all this ;-) .
Within a month of promotion you will probably come under attack from aliens. Some you may be able to repel in conventional warfare. The Dargslans will initially cause serious problems. They seem to be most likely to attack you early, unprovoked, and their technology and military strength is vastly superior to your own. I suggest employing Delaying tactics (see below). It is possible to repel the Dargslans at this stage with a mixture of suicide tactics and robust ground defenses, but you'll probably waste the majority of your military dealing with one attack. Subsequent attacks then become progressively harder to repel. Also, position one of two of your survey ships (Cruiser 1 with Field Arrays) close to their planets, to improve the chance of getting an early warning of their attacks. Their planets are a long way from your starting planets, but their fleets travel quickly.
4.4.7 How do I get promoted to Grand Admiral?
Brent LaPoint writes: "If I am not mistaken, I was promoted to Grand Admiral after my first attack on a dark green world [Dargslans] of the mysterious invaders. I didn't even win but I still got promoted." Aaron P Teske replies: "Well, I got promoted after colonizing six or seven worlds and capturing one from the white race [Morgaths]." In my experience, promotion tends to occur after the first engagement with the Dargslans, although I suspect you need to have also colonised a few planets and fought at least one other alien race too - in essence revealed the Dargslan threat and demonstrated that you are expanding your influence in the galaxy. Promotion to Grand Admiral rank can come within a month of promotion to Admiral.
From Mega Products: "As this event ties in with the story I'll keep that to myself but if things are looking a bit dicey at Admiral try the following to speed your passage. Equip a single flagship with limited ground forces and decent radar and send it to the top right hand corner of the star-map. Use your satellites to investigate any worlds you discover on your passage, (concentrating particularly on worlds in the corner if you're running low on material). Eventually you should find a green world: when you do, attack it. The result of this conflict should catapult you to Rank 5."