Veterans of Fleet Command will remember the Neinzul as swarmers who attrited to death. Well, those were just the forward scouts. The Neinzul Abyss will see you fighting with or against their full might. Behold, the true power of the Neinzul! From the Evil Necromancer (that could be you) to the Eldritch Elderlings!
New Player Type! The Necromancer
A new optional way to play the entire game! Rather than playing as the usual Human Empire, playing as a Necromancer gives you control over a mobile fleet that feasts on the living from other universes. Capture enemy guard posts, make skeletons and wights out of enemy ships, and quest against the Templars and the Neinzul Elderlings. Development on this massive new playstyle took an entire year, and the word from most of our testers is that this is their new favorite way to experience the game.
For multiplayer, there is an optional Necromancer Sidekick that can play alongside human or Necromancer empires, or in single-player or multi-player you can have any number of Necromancer Empires on their own or with other player types.
What to Expect
With the focus of this DLC being the Neinzul and their unique civilization, You’ll be interacting with them for nearly every minute of the game in the form of six new minor factions. From the fractured roaming enclaves, the ever roaming migrants, to the terrifying and eldritch Elderlings, no two minor factions will ever feel identical to each other.
If these factions aren’t of interest to you, then perhaps the all new evil and insidious Necromancer player type is. When playing as the Necromancer faction, you can choose to either play it as an entirely new way to play the game as a Necromancer Empire, or as a supportive role in multiplayer games as the Necromancer Sidekick. As per the norm, new ships, mechanics, and buildings that come with DLCs have been added in to spice up the game even more. More on those later, for now, let’s talk about the big factions!
NPC Faction: Neinzul Sappers
The Neinzul Sappers are part of a Neinzul hive mind that has been able to integrate themselves swiftly into our own ranks. They are willing and able to assist us in our resistance against the AI. While they haven’t said why, the AI is hostile to them and will attempt to exterminate them on sight.
Deployment of turrets and watchtowers with Neinzul Sapper patrol units are a common sight wherever they entrench themselves. They are similar to the AI Warden Fleets subroutine, being defensive in nature, but they are also capable of supporting us while attacking. If they notice us attacking a nearby AI world, they may send in special units that deploy turrets mid battle to assist us.
NPC Faction: Neinzul Custodians
The Neinzul Custodians are the result of a Neinzul hive mind that has refused to divide itself. In their prime, the Neinzul Custodians were a part of a grand Neinzul empire that spanned many stars, all under a single hive mind. The great shattering of the Neinzul empire came when the Hive mind could take no more. Fracturing into countless enclaves, they now undergo a civil war, just like we have.
Each enclave will work with other enclaves under a custodian faction to mutually survive. While a custodian faction may ally with us, another may choose to side with the AI. There is also the possibility of even the Dark Spire and Dark Zenith acquiring an alliance with these Neinzul Custodians. Either way, it is best we prepare for both new allies and enemies to appear before us.
NPC Faction: Neinzul Migrants
When we were alerted to strange wormhole signatures appearing on a nearby planet, we found countless ships matching Neinzul profiles pouring out, engaging the AI. The smaller ships, while being destroyed in droves, were broadcasting signals of friendly nature.
After reaching the location of these strange wormholes, a large Neinzul vessel was spat out of the wormhole before it closed in on itself. It appears that it simply desires to leave this galaxy and migrate elsewhere to ensure its survival. Your science team believes it may be worth helping these new migrating Neinzul by escorting them to safety, as they may yield unexpected rewards. The choice is yours on whether to help them or leave them to distract the AI.
NPC Faction: Neinzul Wild Hives
Neinzul forces which our scientists have creatively named “Wild Hives” are animalistic in nature. They have refused any and all communication attempts, and have begun seizing and infesting all metal rich asteroids they come across.
The Wild Hives use them as both resource harvesting locations and breeding grounds. They have even been witnessed doing this to our own asteroids, stealing them away from us!
Fortunately, we can calibrate our weapons to merely sterilize the Neinzul from the metal rich asteroids. However, it’s to be expected that the Wild Hives won’t exactly take this lying down.
If two different Wild Hives meet on a planet, they will fight for control over the metal mines, and blast anyone that isn’t themselves.
More Details On The New Necromancer Player Type
The Necromancer is here to terrorize your enemies! Playing radically differently from the standard Human Empire, The Necromancer is all about converting their enemies into mindless corpses to throw them back at their former comrades.
From the smallest of strike craft, to the largest of ships, all shall become your new undead minions! Strikecraft become skeletons, guardian or frigate level ships become Wights, and dire guardians turn into mummies. You can even capture AI guard posts for your own use!
On the one hand, you spend science to upgrade your units, just like the Human Empire. On the other, you can acquire new skeleton, wight, and other upgraded variants of your basic units from Templar Rifts.
Necromancers don’t have command stations, but instead, they have Necropoleis (the plural Greek form of Necropolis)! A Necropolis is like a Spire City in that it has a modular build system, with buildings taking up hexes instead of casings.
And instead of a Home Command Station, Necromancers get a Phylactery. Unlike the human Home Command Station, the Necromancer can spend a new resource, Essence, to swap the Phylactery’s location with another Necropolis. This even works as the Phylactery is dying, preventing a game over. However, if the Necromancer has no Essence or any non-crippled Necropoleis though, it’s curtains for them! Hexes can be devoted to various buildings, such as defensive totems, flagship-supporting unit-homes, or shipyards.
You can choose to build a Minor Necropolis, which will support your flagship, a defensive Necropolis, which focuses on holding down the location it is at, or a Major Necropolis which gives you another flagship to work with. If you spend some Essence, you can upgrade your Necropoleis or Phylactery to increase their hex count.
The Necromancer doesn’t require metal to function. Also… the Necromancer is Evil with a capital E. This translates to getting the Science, Hacking and Essence resources by murdering and killing specific units in combat, rather than just gathering it passively at planets you capture. What kind of units? Well…
NPC Faction: The Templars
The Templars are here to stop the Necromancer by purging it in Holy Fire. Standing against the Darkness and bathed in Holy Light, they are immune to being corrupted by the Necromancer and will routinely launch Crusades against the Necromancer. While these Crusades start out as weak raids, led by simple Messenger Heralds, they will eventually grow into truly large holy incursions led by Harbingers of Light. Templars are your main source of science and hacking points.
Most Templars you slay will reward you with science, and some reward hacking as well. As the game progresses, the Templar will release Templar Constructors to build Encampments around the map. While Templar Encampments are weak, and don’t offer any high quality or quantity troops to attack you with, they can eventually become Templar Fastnesses which can definitely start bringing in the pain with more well equipped soldiers and are more capable of defending themselves.
Eventually, a Templar Fastness can become a Templar Castle, which is capable of repelling Necromancer attacks while offering the highest quality troops to attack you with. When the Templars launch a Crusade against you, they will spawn a leader unit. As the leader unit passes through the map, it rallies any Templar units it comes across to its cause, especially if it passes a Templar Encampment, Fastness or Castle. Destroying these buildings and leader units grants a hefty amount of science and hacking points.
Templar Rifts are vulnerable wormholes that lead to the Templar’s worlds with their civilians living in fear of being slain by the Necromancer, which is why they will attempt to defend their rifts. If a Necromancer is able to reach a rift, it may siphon the rift, dooming those on the other side in exchange for more powerful units, or sometimes, Essence.
As you fight on, more rifts spawn, with more Templars coming out to defend them. Now while these Templar fellows may be the ones trying to stop you, they’re not the only ones you have to contend with. While fighting Templars rewards you with science and hacking, they only occasionally hand you Essence. It’s time to get your primary source of Essence. Introducing…
NPC Faction: The Elderlings
These giant Neinzul have somehow managed to survive and separate themselves from a hivemind, and have grown to absolutely massive proportions, with some growing to be as large as a moon. Apathetic to the AI and Templars, they will engage the Necromancer at first sight. Each Elderling slain grants you Essence! Essence is used to upgrade your flagships and Necropoleis so they can become even more powerful in waging their war against the Templar and AI. Without Essence, the Templar will eventually gain the upper hand and purge you from the galaxy.
Elderlings are hatched from giant eggs strewn about the galaxy, and as they mature, they will lay their own eggs to perpetuate their existence. This ensures a steady supply of Essence will flow to you. However, you should regularly cull their numbers. For the separation of Elderlings and Hive Mind has taken a toll on their sanity. And when they run out of sanity? Things may get… ugly.
Elderlings can also be hacked. You can chose to reveal what territory it calls home, or forcefully transform it into a more powerful variant that doesn’t drop Essence, but allows whichever Necromancer slays it the ability to transform their flagships with its traits. Fancy breathing fireballs at your enemies?
However, if you’re feeling truly brave, you can decide to use the resonant frequencies of an Elderling and transmit a signal that will agitate something truly horrifying… Something as old as the stars themselves… But just think about how much Essence you could harvest from such an entity!
New Challenger Approaching: The Venators!
The newest additions to the AI’s roster. The AI has been paying attention to what forces you use, and will now react accordingly. Venators are ships that are designed to hunt down specific units, with each Venator hand tailored to do its job exceptionally well.
Are you using high amounts of zombification? Out come the Debauched Venators, who are immune to zombification.
Are you using sniper units to fight the AI so it can’t retaliate? The Quaint Venator will put a stop to that real quick and force you to engage it in close combat.
Are you using Golems or Arks? Here come the Foppish Venators to ruin your day. You had better vary your tactics, as becoming a one trick pony will cause the AI to respond accordingly and it will deploy the appropriate counter.
What else is there?
With All the big new factions being hyped up, it’s time to finally address the smaller, but no less important things that this expansion adds.
- Orbital ships, including new capturable Wards that you can use with any fleet.
- Corrosive weapons, which eats away at a target over time, while ignoring shields. Very powerful against shield heavy units.
- Self Assembly allows a ship to repair itself whenever it fires its weapon. Unlike Vampirism, which is reliant on the actual damage dealt and is a shipwide trait, Self Assembly is a weapon trait and allows the ship using it to repair itself at a consistent rate.
- Wards are units that orbit around another unit or building, allowing them to fulfill a multitude of purposes, be it defense, offense, or support! They come in both traditional shipline and drone variants. From the slice 'n dice Scythe Ward, to the ship resurrecting Angelic Ward, they are all fun to use. Put them on a basic transport and it can become more than just a simple shuttle for your forces. Additionally, they give you a greater incentive to upgrade forcefield and mobile fort tech.
- Destroyers are ships that are centered around producing wards to aid in their battles. Similarly to cruisers, they are considered elite ship lines, so only 1 destroyer line can fit in each transport. While weaker than a cruiser, they do come in pairs.
- Several new ships: there are some new and exciting ships for you to find and use, from the Blade Spawner frigate, to the shoving Bouncer, there’s plenty of new variety for you to toy around with!
- Three brand new map types, Squares, Dissonance and Crazy Branching have been added to fight the AI across. Crazy Branching in particular has a ton of customizable settings for those who are crazy enough to try this map!
- Eight new AI types to challenge yourself against. The Aggressor AI will drown you under border aggression, while the Panopticon AI is content to watch you suffer through its many eyes. If you’re really daring, the Skirmisher AI is all too happy to drop Venators on you right out the get go!
- Optional "Showdown Devices": allows for an alternative win condition where you get and hold four mysterious devices on four planets. Capturing three out of four of them will trigger an all-out war which, if you can survive it, will lead to victory for humanity.
- Optional "Brutal Guardian Lairs": These shattered moons hide a terrible secret within them, the Brutal Guardians! They are much more powerful than Dire Guardians, and will spawn a Brutal Guardian in 5 minutes when it first detects you and every 30 minutes afterwards.
As this is the final DLC for AI War 2, we are truly grateful to both those that stuck with us from the beginning, to those who are just getting started with AI War 2. This game was a true passion project, and development would’ve never been possible without you, the community. It’s kind of hard to believe this is the end, huh?
From vast overhauls such as the fleet system, to Global Command Augmenters turned into Turret Schematic Servers, AI War 2’s history is truly encyclopedic, and the patch notes alone could probably use up at least half a fully grown tree if printed on paper! This isn’t quite the end for AI War 2, as we are certain that bugs will crop up that need to be squashed, and we want to support any modders that happen to share some of their works with us. The game will be updated here and there, and the unit encyclopedia will be updated very soon, but overall, the game is mostly feature complete. It’s time for AI War 2 to close in style.
Thank you for playing!