Stellaris

[Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 – Dawn of Destruction

stellaris 2 - [Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 - Dawn of Destruction
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The swarm continued to grow, continued to devour all life around them; and the Ancient ones continued to observe the doings of the lesser species with an attitude that could only be described as dismissive. And why would a civilization as old as the stars, that had long since developed everything there was to develop, indeed care?

For the younger species, the swarm would quickly become a bane, known for lightning-fast strikes that had already torn apart two entire civilizations. But the swarm was also enigmatic to the rest of the younger species. Every time they successfully destroyed a nation, they withdrew deep into their own territory instead of using their enormous fleet to gain even more room, devour even more life.

The scholars of the Connisthian Alignment, knowing they would be likely to be the next target for the swarm troops, looked upon the stars, worrying what the collective swarm might have on its mind.

__________________________________

Hey people,

its me again, Sealside, delivering the much-requested second part of my concerned swarm playthrough. First of all, thanks for all the support, the amount of positive feedback and set reminders was incredible to me. Of course i hoped the community would like it, thats why i wrote it after all – but i did not expect it to blow like this. Thank you very much!

Anyway, lets get it started! Here is a brief review of what was going on and a short summary of what has happend in the game so far. If you have not read the first part yet, or if you want to read it again, here we go:

So basically i just wanted to test the impact of a build of mine on the early game quickly, but the game refused to give me what i needed for that and instead threw me head-first into a roleplay situation.

Our devouring swarm started surrounded by two fallen empires and no "normal" empires at all, so quickly they drew the conclusion that every other civilization must be that powerful, and they became obsessed with closing the gap to the "ancient ones", as they call them, and devour them once and for all.

Game Settings:

Galaxy: Huge (1000 Stars)

Difficulty: Grand Admiral – Scaling-

3 Fallen Empires, 1 Marauder

Max AI, 2 Advanced Start AIs

Crysis strength: x5

Mods: Glavius AI Mod for 2.7

What i forgot to mention last time is that to make up for the x5 crisis, i set the slider for lategame a bit back to start at 2450. Since the production bonusses for the AI only fully kick in from 2350 to 2400, this way i hope to give the AI empires a bit more survivability for the endgame.

Before we start with the first gameplay part, i want to give you a rough idea of the
RkY7YyD - [Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 - Dawn of Destructionpolitical situation.

The Vivisanda and Liberation formed a federation that might prove troublesome to me later, because they almost directly border 3 colony planets that i conquered and kept in the last war. They were at war with the Jhabbanid and the Thar Biq, but since i took out the latter, it is expected that the federation will now easily repel that attack and possibly even gain some ground.

I concidered attacking them as well, but decided to stay true to my roleplay roots. After all we are the concerned swarm, and we only care about dismembering close-by competition and otherwise tech up to eventually take on the fallen empires.

Thanks to /u/callingFives for making the suggestion of a photo dump where i put all the screenshots that did not make it into the post, here you go:


https://imgur.com/a/HzMQ1vN

You have to start from the bottom tho.

Lets roll.

Part 1 – Controlling the neighborhood, or can we?

If you look at the map, it becomes very apparent that I can only have one logical target for my next target:

The Connisthian Alignment.

If i manage to smash that empire as well, then i only have dead corpses surrounding my swarm empire, and I'd be save to just tech up and build my economy for at least 50 years, which is exactly what i want.

Unfortunatelly, they have not one, but two defensive pacts with the empires shown in the small yellow box. However, to my own judgement, these two are rather far away and have a longer way from their empire to me than i have to the home worlds of the Alignment. So i decide that if i push out and take out all the core worlds before the AI reinforcements come to play, i will be fine.

As my fleet is on their way back, around 2260, i roll starfortress tech which is an absolute powerhouse to carry us through the midgame, as we will not have to fear any kind of attacks as soon as all our chokepoints are filled to the brim with star fortresses and defense platforms.

What happens then can only be described as another hilarious Rick-Roll of Stellaris telling me to bug off with my plans. Literally one minute before i was to declare war on the Alignment – as you can see on the following screenshot, my fleet was only 3 systems away from the border-
615l0HK - [Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 - Dawn of Destruction
they join the federation already bordering me!

And not only that, close before that, they vasallized the remainders of my last war goal, the Thar Biq, and naturally because of that, they join the federation as well!

After a quick analysis, i literally just turn around and dock my fleet at my starport base. Though my conciderations stay the same – the federation members are rather far away and i'd likely be able to take out the Alignment before their allies can reinforce – what they CAN do in the meantime is take back my three new outside colonies that are completely undefended and quite some hyperlane jumps away from me. So i would need to focus either on destroying the alignment but risk to lose three of my new planets, or i would focus on defending my new planets, potentially allowing the alignment to break through my main door and go nuts in my home territory. Either way, this war bears way too many risks until i manage to fortify my outpost position.

A bit later, the Alignment starts integrating the remainders of the Thar Biq. That means that soon, the alignment will border me on all fronts, as well as going up to amost 20 planets, and i would need to do something about this before they establish too much of a foothold.

The swarm struck fear into the hearts of the other young empires, and they bended together in a federation in a futile attempt to protect themselves from the swarms wrath.

The swarm did not see this coming, and it angered them, as to the one mind it was merely a distraction from their true goal. For a small period of time, the ancient ones would have to wait. The swarm would not allow the federation to stand between them and their feast on the ancients.

Part 2 – Preparing for war

Also, yes, "they bended together in a federation" was to be read with the xenophobic advisors voice in your ear.

To be frank, at this point i did not see any room for war in the next 20-30 years just because of my outside colonies being a surpreme target for counterattacks, so i switched back to my original focus, and tech, tech, tech. At a pop growth rate of around 6 on 13 planets i own, that means im growing around ten Pops every year even when sitting back and idling.

With a research output of around 600 each, my tech times are around 12-18 months, so im cruising through the tech as well, and i have no doubt i would be able to take on the federation in some decades with an enourmous economical and technological advantage.

At 2265, i roll the tech Gene Tailoring, which is crucial because it will let me the ascension perk engineered evolution. That, again, would allow me to modify my race and give them Intelligent and Engineer for another 10% research bonus (25% for engineering), which on top of my already strong tech base will prove very helpful for my progression in mid- and lategame.

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6HxTaDd - [Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 - Dawn of DestructionTwo years later the project is done, and in a special project that takes 40 months, i give my entire species the science traits.

Shortly after, wormhole tech is done, and i find that the wormhole in my backyard leads to the east of the map, straight into the territory of a driven assimilator. However, they are inferior to me already, so i dont worry too much about them becoming a thread. I would need to monitor for the future wether the control over the wormhole changes to someone who is more powerful.

As i just manage my population and build additional districts and buildings where necessary, tech after tech comes rolling in. 2270 we get habitability modification, and i start modding my species further so they suit the planets they are living on better.

This is actually far more useful than i thought, it was the first time i did this. You can colonize a planet with 20% Habitability, but you will need to pay 80% increased upkeep on the pops, meaning more food and more amenities. Especially the amenities mean you need to spend extra building slots on amenities that you'd rather want to build research or alloys on, so modifying the habitability from 20% to 90% is a huge game changer for these planets.

Try it out, it is really immensely useful!

2273 i roll battleship tech which is still a really good time to roll that tech, and we will put it to good use later.

Also around that time, i start having a good surplus in Energy, food and minerals – actually much more than i need – so i switch production focus to manufacturing. It decreases base production like minerals and energy by 20%, but increases complex drone (specialists) output by 20%, giving us another tremendous bonus on our research production, as to be
seen here.

The swarm evolves, the swarm adapts. No planetary condition, no matter how harsh, can keep the swarm from making it a new foothold for the hive.

The complex brain drones discover new wonders almost by the year, and every tech strengthens the swarm, closing the gap to the ancient ones step by step by step.

The galaxy lived through two decades of peace, and the Connisthian Alignment began to hope they would be spared.

But things were about to chance…

Part 3 – Threating the swarm

It went on like this for a while. Techs rolled in and i used them to best advantage, modifying my populations, planets and fleets to the best possible outcome.

Then, when i almost started accepting the current situation and borders as status quo, Stellaris again said *No*. This game just does not fail to throw surprises into my face.

v38u3bP - [Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 - Dawn of Destruction
The Marauder tribe was finally revealed to me. And naturally, it was right on my doorstep. Like, literally neighboring me, and neighboring me where i am weakest, at my outside colonies. Oh god. This will not be a boring game.

For those of you who do not know, if you play a total war empire like Swarm, Exterminators or Purifiers, then you cant surrender to the Khan. He will not let you. He will just go nuts across your territory until he dies and then thats that. Also he will conquer extremely quickly into every direction, so losing everything in that area is a very real threat for me.

Also it is already 2280, and the Khan event can start as early as 2300, so i am in urgent need of preparation. First thing i do is update my shipdesign, then upgrade my ships. I have around 80 corvettes with ~8.5k firepower at this point, enough to keep my AI neighbors at bay, but not nearly enough to destroy the marauder tribe, let alone take on the khan after his awakening.

To my surprise, i had underestimated my tech progress in ship parts vastly. After upgrading, my fleet went from 8k firepower to 18k, and thats when i saw the next window of opportunity for a quick and decicive war.

I buy as many alloys as i can afford and start pumping out additional corvettes.

3 years later, all of a sudden, i have a 30k fleet at my
9evmhhR - [Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 - Dawn of Destruction
at my disposal. I decide to pick eternal vigilance as 3rd ascension perk, further boosting the defense capabilities of my starholds and fortresses. Again, like imperial prerogative, there are a lot of ascension perks that are deemed to be better, but eternal vigilance is what i can need right now and it overall just suits my playstyle of turtling after the conquest to come. My starholds now range from 7 to 9k power and should repell any smaller fleet the AI might send to conquer my outward colonies.

I decide to make my push from the outwards colonies instead of my initial home territory. This way i dont have to worry as much about attacks going that way as i can destroy any opposing fleet with my main strikeforce.

In a quick and bloody war just as the ones before, i rush to the core planets of the Connisthian Alignment and
dX1RVgN - [Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 2 - Dawn of Destruction
take them out.

(there are more pictures about the war in the picture dump that i will post at the end of the thread!)

I destroyed about 15k worth of fleet and took 7 planets from the alignment, i even conquered one of their star fortresses that is in a good defensive position that i can use against them, should they attempt to take back their territory somewhen in the future. In the meantime the federation fleets gathered helplessly in front of my northern chokepoint, and i was able to take everything i want then peace out before they even had a chance to act.

The Connisthian Alignment was devoured, and the threat that the Federation might pose to the threat was prevented, for now. From the dead corpses of the alignment, new worlds rose for the Swarm to consume and build on.

Since the swarm left the planet, every other species was either one of the ancient ones or one of the younger ones, but now they found a species they could not categorize. They were old and strong, but not like the ancient ones, and they did interact with the other younger species. They had powerful fleets, but otherwise did not seem to engage in politics, much like the ancient ones.

Their ships were reportingly leaving their territory now and then for conquest, and the swarm sensed the threat this might pose in the future. For the first time since they left their homeworld, the swarm was confronted with an enemy that was more powerful, but still in reach. And all the anger, all the rage that the swarm had developed towards the ancient ones and their arrogance, was projected on them. The Marauders would burn, every last ship of theirs would be destroyed and devoured by the swarm.

____________________________________________________________

And this ends the report of the second playthrough part. It was merely 30 years, but in that amount of time, so much happened that i decided to make a cut here, right before things can get really dicey in the midgame.

We went up to 600 pops and 3k research a month, now controlling a convenient number of 20 planets, and also severely hampered the ability of the eastern federation to go toe to toe with the swarm later on. The fleet is now parked right outside of the Marauders, that pose an unforseen, welcome and very real threat to even my entire playtrough.

My Empire now splits into "the homeworlds" which is 10 planets and "the colonies", which is also 10 planets that i took throughout the last two wars, and i will try and continue to use these terms in the later posts. To be frank, i am mentally prepared to lose some, if not all of the colonies to the Kahn if he awakes too early and i am underprepared. But even 10 planets are enough to continue pushing into the lategame, even tho it will be hard to beat a x5 crisis in that case.

Writing this part did not feel as smooth as writing the last one, maybe especially because i struggled transfering the atmosphere the game gave me to you without overloading you with unnecessary details. I hope you still liked it once more.

Part 3 will most likely come out only after either the Khan awoke and smashed me to pieces, or i managed to take the marauders out before they awake.

Also a main concern of mine (and the swarm) will be getting the sprawl under control. With all the new planets, im now at a penalty of 50% for my tech, and it will take a long time until the new planets become productive enough to make up for that.

Anyway, i hope you enjoyed it, and read me soon!

Sealside

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