When the brain drones of the swarm realized their mistake, it was almost too late.
With their focus only on the ancient ones, and fooled by their early success against the other young empires, they turned blind for the thread that these young empires could still pose – to the swarm, and to their destiny alike.
Federations formed and clashed, and empires that could almost match even the swarms vast strength arose, claiming their part of the galaxy, ever-watching for an opportunity to claim more.
So once more, the swarm had to adapt. War was at hand, and it was closer than the swarm wanted, but there was no way around it. The focus shifted, away from the ancient ones, and onto the more current threats.
The marauders would be first, the threatening young empires would follow. But the ancient ones could not hope the swarm would forget about them…
Hello again, its me, Sealside, with the third part of the Concerned Swarm saga. I have to admit that due to the amount of positive feedback, i have been producing these parts way faster than i originally intended.
Part 3 will span the next 75 years of the game, from 2290 to 2365. Quite some things happened, but overall it was pretty chaotic, so i will try to keep the report a bit more general, but will supply additional info and screenshots in the picturedump that you can find here:
(Again, you will have to start at the bottom and work your way up.)
To those who are new and want to read the first parts, here you go:
Anyway, lets get this started!
Part 1 – Marauding the marauders, or can we?
If you read part 2, then you know that the next 20 years of the game are crucial and will potentially shape the rest of the game in dramatic fashion, because if i can not prevent the marauders from forming a Khanath, then im… pretty boned.
I spend the next 10 years optimizing my alloy production, pumping out as many corvettes as possible while making sure they are equipped with the best tech. Usually the two outer systems of a marauder base are rather lightly armed, with one central station that has more fleet and more station.
As i dont have a lot of sprawl currently, the techs keep rolling in, and i roll a couple really important ones, namely Titan tech, Defensive Grid Computer and specifically Ascension Theory and Mega Engineering, which will allow me to pick Galactic wonders and Master Builders for Ascension perk 4 and 5 soon after.
Right when the clock strikes year 2300, my new corvette fleet is ready, and i move out. Every day counts from now on, because every month the marauders live, they can awake.
I manage to destroy the first system with minimal losses, but knowing the next system will be stronger, and i will still have another weaker system to kill after, im not sure how much i will lose.
The central station is guarded by a lot of stations, a Marauder fleet of several ships, as well as two capital ships. With a bit of trying, i figure out you can lure the big ships out and
fight them away from the rest of the marauders,which makes it significantly easier. After taking out both capital ships, i dive onto the main stations and the remaining stations.
The fight does
indeed inflict heavier losses than the last one, but now everything is fine, because at that moment i know that i will be able to take on the third system as well, and the Marauders will not pose any more problems in the future.
With physical signs of relief, i destroy the remaining system,and the Marauders are gone. They dont even launch a counter attack like they sometimes do; they just perish.
The Marauders were no more, and their destruction sent a message throughout the galaxy: The swarm was to be feared. The younger races heard the message loud and clear, and they prepared for the worst.
With the immediate danger destroyed, the hivemind turned their focus back on building up their defenses, their infrastructure, and their ever increasing count of drones that worked in the mines, on the fields and in the countless labs to ensure the swarm would prevail, would consume.
Part 2 – Idle Stellaris (Take 2)
What followed for almost 30 years was an era of almost un-interrupted building and teching. My focus shifted from my own empire to paying attention to what goes on in the rest of the galaxy, as that becomes increasingly more important for the later parts of the game. Early on you only have to worry about your immediate neighbors, but later on its important to know who is strong, in which direction he might expand, and which fronts you need to prepare for inevitable wars. Because as a total war civic such as the devouring swarm, the AIs will bring the war to you, even if you dont want to.
I start teching the repeatables already, focussing on shields, armor/explosives, and of course the administrative capacity repeatable to get my sprawl under control. Most noticably tho, i made a huge slip in failing to control the wormhole in my backyard, and completely unnoticed by me, the driven assimilator from the other side build a starfortress right in front of my home worlds. Since i would have needed to build two star fortresses to counter that, and since my fortresses were already on the limit and spread pretty thin, i decided to ignore it, but keep a close eye on who might win control over the wormhole later.
What complicates things is that my homeworlds and the colonies are, by now, scattered around the galaxy and my fleet is currently stuck because all the other empires have closed borders to me, so i cant just take my fleet over and take the system from the driven assimilator. Luckily, i roll gateway construction tech around the same year, so i can start building gateways and connecting my empire islands to each other.
Also, with my corvettes starting to die rather frequently even against enemy stations, i prepare for building my battleship fleets right after i built all the gateways that are needed.
Generally things are going great. in 2330 my first dyson sphere panel is done, giving me much needed additional 250 energy, and we also have the spare unity to active the edict scientific revolution, which once more drastically shortens my research times.
Sitting at an overall solid income in ressources, alloys and research as well as an astounding 1.2k pops, i feel pretty confident going into the later parts of the game. Story-wise, tho, from the marauders dying until 30 years later, nothing really happens, but building up and rising the ranks.
I connect my island with gateways and use my newly won mobility to take the wormhole from the assimilators. Since there is already a Star fortress, i start building defense platforms right away – and i need to, because one of the stronger empires from the east, the Kaan-Visam, took over almost all of the assimilators empire and now borders me on both sides, both on my eastern edge and through the wormhole.
Part 3 – The Kaan-Visam conquest
And indeed i made the right call, as in 2330, the first defensive war is forced upon me by a 2-man federation that can be concidered of equal strength.
But also, thats when Stellaris writes its own stories once more: The Kaan-Visam has another Hivemind bordering them to the north, the Pelisimus Entity, which seizes the opportunity and declares war on the Kaan-Visam. I dont want to spoil anything, but – that made things considerably easier.
For the start, i take a very defensive approach and build another gateway, as well as more battleships, because i dont want to be caught with my pants down; in the meantime, i watch the war on the other side unfold. You can see the Pelisimus
does a good job annexing territories, so i assume that the Kaan-Visam are quite busy on the other side, and see a good opportunity to inflict great damage to them and possibly gain some territory.
I start pushing out 4 years later, not meeting a lot of resistance anymore. The Kaan-Visam had already burned their fleets on the other side. I manage to catch some really nice systems, including a ruined science nexus, and found some heavily fortified planets. Luckily i had a 2k army with me and was able to take them without bombarding them for years.
The Pelisimus made peace with them shortly after, taking 3 planets from them; i conquered some more territory and was able to establish a really nice 3-point defense in the east. Note how one of the defense chokepoints is also an L-Gate which might be useful later on. After the war, their ally was almost completely consumed, and the Kaan-Visam were decimated to half of their power, rendering them powerless for a followup war.
What the war also did was sprawl my empire completely out of control, raising the tech penalty from 40% to 87%. With the economical power of 40% more planets as well as the science nexus nearing completion already, we should have roughly the same techspeed as before, tho. What lays before me is the planet micro of death. Already i hit the pause button quite often to check my planets.
Make no mistakes, you probably read this and think "how does he manage all this". Once you get the basics set its okay and just needs checkup every few years, but after a war like this, you spend like 10-15 minutes, paused, organizing and resettling.
In the next couple years, i mainly spend my time trying to get my energy deficit under control as well as resettling a lot of pops. As my new planets have a lot of free housing and workspace, every time workless show up on my home planets, i resettle two of them to the colonies.
The Kaan-Visam, previously disregarded by the swarm, brought war to the colony worlds. Beaten by their own politics and engaged in a two-front war they could not hope to win, they were torn apart, and the swarm, previously peaceful, struck viciously.
The swarm understood the threat they posed to the rest of the galaxy, as the young empires seemingly could not understand the swarm was not concerned about them; only about the ancient ones. But the young ones, in their fear, tried to strike first, bringing unto them what they wanted to prevent, and the swarm saw that it would happen again; it was just a matter of time.
They would be prepared.
Part 4 – New Horizons
Taking a small step back and sharing my thoughts, i find it very interesting how the dynamics of this game kind of draw me out of my own playstyle. Initially the rough idea of my strategy was to sit on my initial planets until the endgame hits, but from war to war i find myself with more territory and planets i dont want to simply throw away, as well as the sheer necessity of weaking the competition, and all of a sudden i find myself with more planets than i ever had before.
Also each new territory i conquer brings new borders and new enemies that want to end the threat of the swarm; it has been spiraling like this from the midgame, and will likely continue for the rest of the game also.
Around 2350, my dyson sphere now produces 750 energy and i start building my matter decompressor.
Initially i wanted to end the 3rd part there, when i got the next war declaration on me, from the very southern Mirovandia and their ally, the Eruxio, whose fleets are shown as superior. I wondered why they declared on me, because they are literally on the other side of the galaxy with no direct border.
It turned out that one of the very first systems i took in my first war against the Ben-Mesh clique now bordered them, and thats why they declared on me. Yep, to conquer one system from me. After they did that, i did not see any of their fleets for almost 10 years.
Naturally, i was still concerned they would find a way to me that i could not see yet, so i built a second fleet of corvettes that is fast to deploy and expandable.
In the south-east, a huge war between two federations breaks out.
Since its 4 vs 2, the federation around Tech Rules (yes, custom empire) has good chances of gaining ground and planets. They will be a big point of concern later on. My war, unfortunatelly, proceeds as i expected. They took the system, since then i did not yet see them again. I will wait until the war times out, and that will end this playthrough part as well.
Since as i said, the fleets did not bother showing up anymore, i continued to just manage my empire. My sprawl is ever-decreasing, but still significant. My matter decompressor nears completion of phase one, and in only 50 years i went from 1200 pops to 1800 pops which i find hilarious.
The Pelisimus Entity takes a second war to the Kaan-Visam and expands dramatically, as well as integrating their vassal, which will bring them to significant body-and planetcount as well.
Eventually, the fleet of the Eruxio bothered showing up using the gateways of the neutral empires around me. They brought a total of around 130k fleet, which is conciderable, but in good AI fashion, they split them in 3 factions so i could pick them one by one, completely annihilating almost their entire fleet with minimal losses. I will spare you all the battlereports – they can be found in the picturedump tho – this is the biggest fleet of his, around 30k, going down.
Around 2365, i smashed all the fleets that showed up and then status quo'ed the war to get rid of it. Since now we dont share any border anymore, i dont think there will be a followup war.
Also the last panel of my dyson sphere finished, and that was a good sign for me to end this playthrough part with a positive event rather than a pretty pointless and let-down war!
The Eraxiu were the next to bring the war to the swarm, but their fleets perished, and so did their will to fight any longer. Their territories were far away, and the swarm was not concerned with taking them, as it showed they were able to repell any attacks they could field.
The other empires observed the swarm in fear, but also in envy, as they finished galactic wonders one after another, and rose to a technological level unimaginable to the lesser empires.
So thats part 3 for you, i hope it was still enjoyable!
In this part of the game, most of the actual gameplay boils down to micro-managing planets and observing the games politics in order to prevent being caught off-guard by an overwhelming AI empire or federation.
For this reason, for Part 4 – i think there will be at least 6 parts in total – i plan to do a bit of a deeper evaluation of the political forces in this galaxy and a small analysis about what i think they can do, or cant do, because there are certainly some very interesting players on the field that i did not even mention yet. Would that be of interest for you guys? In the end, i do write all this for the people following the story, so feel free to give me some feedback about this.
See you in part 4!
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© Post "[Story Time] *The swarm that got concerned*, Chapter 3 – (Arms)race for the stars" for game Stellaris.
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