Disclaimer: This is a rant based on many games and a lot of personal experience. You have full right to disagree with my statements as many are nothing more than accumulation of frustration concerning Holy Guardians.
Holy Guardians are literally the nastiest out of the entire Fallen Empire bunch. Heck, where do even I start with this one?
Oh yeah, let's start with the fact that guys who call themselves "guardians" won't even try moving their butts to protect galaxy from endgame crisis, as they can't become actual guardians of galaxy. Let me get this straight, people whose only job is guard stuff can’t guard anything. All they can try to protect are some useless empty planets, which they aren't using in any way and on top of that are forbidding others from doing so.
Meanwhile Militant Isolationists also can’t become guardians, but that’s not big deal, because they are at least honest – they don’t even try to pretend like they care about anything other than their own interests and don’t give themselves “high and mighty bs title”.
In fact, Holy Guardians are so insecure about their position that in the world and becoming obsolete that they will do anything in their might to halt development of other empires, by trying to ban AI.
“But muh AI Rebellion” – no, don’t, stop for a while and think. Why would empire of psionics that is supposedly so high and mighty be actually afraid of AI? Because they realize that once AI reaches certain stage of development, it will outscale their research and production capabilities, because they never bother with researching this part of tech tree and have half-assed automation.
At the same time Holy Guardians have mental capabilities of 6 weeks old goldfishes after hanging with chaos gods for so long, so they can’t figure it out on their own. They are literal definition of old men who fell behind in certain areas of life, so they try to alienate everything associated with it, instead of learning something useful.
Missions given by Fallen Empires show their true colors well. Isolationists don’t care about anyone by not giving anyone missions, while Enigmatic Observers and Keepers of Knowledge want some cool stuff that will help them or galaxy out. Species to preserve, stop atrocities in your rival territory to save some pops or give them scientist to further developments in shield buff no. 43.
What do Holy Guardians want? Ban AI in your rival’s empire. That’s it, no justification needed other than their own insecurities. They refuse to acknowledge Synths as sentient creatures, because, well, they can and will gladly watch them suffer deprived of their sentience and turned back into mindless husks.
That is honestly on par with Militant Isolationists and their nerve-stapled slave species. Difference? Holy Guardians unlike Isolationists believe they are morally superior and that there is influence of some higher force in their ideology, which makes it so much worse.
Yes, I am aware materialist FE also doesn’t really like AI, but unlike Holy Guardians, their aversion only really shows up after awakening and only if you are their subject. As long as you aren’t afflicted with each other by overlord-subject relation, they won’t care.
Now onto Colossus weapons. While Isolationists use planer cracker – that’s understandable – they are vengeful creatures driven by hatred and basic self-preservation instinct. Enigmatic Observers and Keepers of Knowledge are chill and will just shield the world, leaving inhabitants for few millennia to rethink their way of life.
What about Holy Guardians, are they perhaps forgiving? Are they perhaps harsh, using Divine Enforcer to correct your wrong doings? No, they will neutron sweep the hell out of your worlds with disregard for anything. For people who hate others living on Tomb Worlds and consider existence of these worlds tragedy, they are weirdly cool with wiping a lot of life on planet, only to settle on it in the future.
Now, onto the ascensions. Elephant in the room. Enigmatic Observers are completely fine with you modifying pops into perfect nerve-stapled slaves. Keepers of knowledge have no problem with you breaching the Shroud and contacting literal demons. Isolationists will be probably disgusted, but won’t care about xeno-compatibility turning your population pie chart into rainbow.
But do as much as try to synthetically ascend in the same galaxy as Holy Guardians and you’ll learn the definition of hell. “Humilliate or war” coming in like a clock every few years, you are first target to take down once you awaken, they will gladly ignore endgame crisis if they have a chance to attack synthetically ascended empire, even if crisis is a freaking Contingency (magnitudes worse) or Unbidden (mess they brought in themselves using jump drives).
This asymmetric hatred is simply absurd. Why won’t Keepers of Knowledge try to stop you from breaching Shroud regularly and threatening the very fabric of reality, or Enigmatic Observers request to remove nerve-stapling from your pops, but Guardians will go batshit insane when you “change your package”?
Subjects are yet another matter, which makes Holy Guardians (or rather Doctrinal Enforcers) seem the worst. While other empires will take your autonomy or your resources, Doctrinal Enforcers take your resources AND flip your ethics towards Spiritualism, screwing your entire build in a way that can’t be easily fixed. They are the only case which can do near irremovable damage to the way your nation functions (depending on factions of course).
TL;DR Holy Guardians are worse than Isolationists in almost every way. They are bunch of useless, insecure old men, who should be used as tribute to their own chaos gods. Also, anti-AI circle-jerk in this game is freaking old and simply absurd in age when you can summon literal life ender demon god from the Shroud and wipe galaxy clean.
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