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I am currently playing the single player campaign (hard, large, 6 races) and could use a little help in designing a few ships in the early part of the game.

I am playing as a telepathic race, so i have opted to go for cruisers (which can be used to mind control enemy colonies later in the game). Apart from that, I am rather unsure about almost everything - whether to go for missiles or beam weapons, should I choose modified versions of the weapons, which technologies should I research and in what order.

So: how should your ships be fitted early in the game?
Post edited October 08, 2016 by Karsten99
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Karsten99: I am currently playing the single player campaign (hard, large, 6 races) and could use a little help in designing a few ships in the early part of the game.

I am playing as a telepathic race, so i have opted to go for cruisers (which can be used to mind control enemy colonies later in the game). Apart from that, I am rather unsure about almost everything - whether to go for missiles or beam weapons, should I choose modified versions of the weapons, which technologies should I research and in what order.

So: how should your ships be fitted early in the game?
Are we talking about the same game?

MoO2 single player campaign????

MoO2 is always you against the rest only ;) Unless aiming for diplomatic victory.

So for you ships, it really depends what you have researched. Without this info, nothing can be suggested.
BUT in the real beginning missiles are a bit better, as point defense is only coming up on beam weapons after having researched some more techs.

So in other words, the enemy can not fight them off.

Disadvantage, if you are out of missiles you can fight anymore.

Beam and similar have the advantage of not requiring ammo and/or traveling time. And with enough upgrades having like Armor piercing weapons helps a lot.

But again, depends on what you have researched. And never underestimate the extras, despite them using quite a bit of space.
Well, I haven't researched more than a few ship technologies yet (fusion drive, reinforced hull). That was why I asked for suggestions on what to research in my original question.
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Karsten99: Well, I haven't researched more than a few ship technologies yet (fusion drive, reinforced hull). That was why I asked for suggestions on what to research in my original question.
With the basic hulls?

It is more or less canon fodder :)

In beginning production takes so long that all what you mainly do is build colony ships.

My advise, do not research yet anything, after you have (depending on available systems) some colonies you shall start researching. I tend to go more for missiles in the beginning (check research tree) and missile base as defense as the first beam weapons are a bit useless.

It is micromanagement, but if you check each round if you can re-deploy a worker to research.

Once I consolidated my planets I go for beam weapons.

But it also depends a bit on the race or race picks you have taken (creative/normal/uncreative).

The good and bad thing about MoO2 is, it all depends on your choices and there is not really a straight walk-through ;).

You will learn out of mistakes and you will do some ;)

Example: You have space around yourself? you can concentrate on research, faster research faster everything.

You have a peaceful race next to you, can make some great exchanges of techs.
The quickest way to get a viable military tech in the very-early game is fighter bays. The reason is that fighters auto-upgrade as you gain better drive, beam, computer and armor techs. So your cruisers actively deployed in enemy space will gain the benefits of new techs without needing to visit a shipyard. So you can fill your cruisers with as many bays as they can fit, then back-research other useful techs as your cruisers are fighting the war. Generally with fighters you want the following "basic" techs:
- Interceptor Bay (basically build 2 cruisers armed with 3 Bays and Extended Fuel Tanks each, you are good to launch your first attack).
- Fusion Beam (50% more damage per fighter than Lasers, the easiest damage boost to get)
- Battle Pods (allows enough space to add 2 more Bays to your cruiser design, hence is a big damage output boost). With this tech destroyers armed with 3 Bays become possible, or 2 Bays and Extended Fuel Tanks.
- Tritanium Armor (doubles hp per fighter and cruiser hull) or Deuterium Fuel Cell (extends your operational range range even further). Now you can dispense with Extended Fuel Tanks, and use that space for other things. Most aliens take Deuterium Fuel Cells, so it is likely you can capture this tech during your conquests.
- Augmented Engine (takes up the space of one FB, but remains useful into the late-game, increases beam defense and adds good speed boost to close with the enemy). Once I have this, my standard cruiser design is 5 Bays + Augmented Engine. That said, Fusion Drive and cruisers armed with 6 Bays and destroyers armed with 4 Bays is also viable.
-Ion Drive (since you skipped Fusion Drive, this combined with Aug Engines this gives your ships the speed they need in battle).

After these, you can grab other low-hanging fruit. You want to work towards Phasers, Zortrium Armor, Anti-Matter Drive and look to improve your targeting computers.

You might check out [url=http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Master_of_Orion_II:_Battle_at_Antares/Recommended_research_paths]this wiki page[/url]. It has pretty good advice on what techs to research in what order.
Post edited October 10, 2016 by Dreamteam67
Thanks for the useful reply, Dreamteam67, I'll try that one out.

To get fighter bays I would have to give up on reinforced hull, which I have come to appreciate, but perhaps it can be obtained by spying.
Yes, also because Reinforced Hull is pretty low on the tech tree, aliens will usually be willing to trade for it later if you have something much higher on the tree that they want. Since you want to attack asap with a fighter-based strategy, it is likely you will be capturing tech from the aliens as well.

When you are Telepathic, the extended range possible for your conquests (transports don't get extended fuel tanks) is a subtle but extremely important advantage you have. That and the time-aspect: the name of the game for you is Operation Rolling Thunder. Never stop attacking and you will grow your empire very quickly as you conquer system after system.

Both Warlord (combat boosts + auto-increase your CP rating with each conquest) and Trans-Dimensional (increases both tactical and strategic speed of drives + you can ignore hyperspace flux events) are other good picks that work well with a Telepathic race.

This page also gives you a really good overview for planning your tech advances.

If you want to use missiles first [url=http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Master_of_Orion_II:_Battle_at_Antares/Warship_design]read this[/url], then imo essentially you want:
- Research Labs (good missile tech requires quite a bit of research, so gear up your planets to research asap) Dauntless Guidance System remains a long-term goal, but you can do without till you can steal/trade for it.
- Merculite Missiles (allows you to upgrade your Nuke missiles to MIRV ARM FST ECM - this is your defacto armament of choice till aliens start using Class 3/5 shields.)
- Battle Pods (more missiles = good) At this point, you can spam Frigate designs outfitted with 2 Fst Mirved nukes and start conquering planets guarded by space monsters. 8-10 Frigates will kill most stationary monsters.
- Augmented Engines (yes, it takes up space but the increase to ship defense and speed of both ship and missiles is very important).
- Planetary Supercomputer (gear up for even more research so you can get the higher level techs sooner)
- Ion Drive (combined w/ AE your missiles and ships are now fast enough to engage in effective raid attacks)

At this point you can breathe a little bit. Your ships are glass, but a fire-and-run strategy is viable. As aliens improve their defensive technology, you want to switch to Merculites. Long-term you want to shoot for Zortrium Armor (a pretty decent level of protection and allows MIRV FST ARM ECCM merculites), Neutron Scanner (improves missile targeting), Anti-matter Drive (allows missiles to close to enemy Starbase in 1 turn) and Emmisions Guidance System (enables 1-shot kills). Once you have those techs, you can build 4 battleships and conquer Orion ([url=http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Master_of_Orion_II:_Battle_at_Antares/Killing_Space_Monsters]see here[/url]). Fast Missile Racks is also nice to have, but generally only necessary once the alien defensive tech and armor becomes a problem.

IMO battleships are the preferred hulls for a missile-based strategy. The smaller hulls just don't carry enough ammo to remain viable against higher-level alien tech. BBs outfitted with Zortrium, Reinforced Hull, Augmented Engines and as many missiles as you can fit in remains a pretty potent hull design for quite a while.
Post edited October 09, 2016 by Dreamteam67
Once again, thanks for some stellar advice.

I have tried out the cruisers with fighter bays, and they deal an impressive amount of damage, both against enemy ships and star bases.

My only problem has been that they are vulnerable to missile-volleys, but that may be because I have been a tad too slow in deploying them.

I think reinforced hull would help a lot, but I am playing as a "repulsive" race so I cannot make deals with aliens. Not that it matters much, since in my current game none of them have researched reinforced hull.

I'll try out a missile ship later - I think it's an important point that older weapon types stay relevant through miniturization (spelling?) and new modification options - Usually I would just pack my ships with the newest weapon of any kind.
Not taking any damage to begin with is better than tanking damage. SO improving drive tech is priority. Obviously there is a point where enemy tech is advanced enough that your cruisers start taking hits, but don't worry about installing Reinforced Hulls till mid-game. By then you will have conquered and assimilated 2 or 3 alien cultures, and you can reassess your tech strategy. But make sure your cruisers periodically get upgraded to whatever your best armor is should help as well. I've been told fighters auto-upgrade their armor (I am still somewhat skeptical about this) but the cruisers themselves definitely do not.

First of all, consider whether you want to advance your cruisers before launching the fighters, or launch before you move. Count the squares to the target, and do the math to figure out the optimum range for your fighters to get to target in a timely manner (ie. before the enemy missiles can reach your cruisers).

Then launch and run. If a cruiser is targeted by missiles, have it flee for as many combat rounds as possible (the AI will usually continue to target the same ship), then at the last minute the targeted cruiser should flee battle by warping out. If the enemy doesn't have Dauntless Guidance System, that is the end of the missile threat.

If the enemy does have Dauntless Guidance, then you want your cruisers to flee in opposite directions AND to get Augmented Engines sooner. Always be only at most 1 drive tech level less than the enemy (check your spy report before battle), and you should be able to run and warp-out as I said above. This is also why new drive tech is a fairly high priority, since speed is important to get them before they get you.

A third possibility is to bring along a decoy frigate armed with only your best defensive techs that hangs back while the cruisers advance and fire. The cruisers advance, launch and warp, while the frigate stays behind in battle till your missiles impact. Then if necessary, it warps out as well. This type of raiding can take out tough targets one-by-one each turn. But obviously you want to keep adding new cruisers to present too many targets before all your fighters hit home.

To successfully raid in a distant system far from your friendly planets, make sure to bring along an outpost ship with your attack fleet, and set up an OP in-system before you launch your attack. That way, your ships retreating from battle retreat to your OP and auto-repair between turns, rather than flying back to a friendly system. Of course, if the enemy has a weakly defended planet you can capture without taking casualties, then do so and that serves instead as your OP for raiding any strongly defended planets in the same system.

If the enemy has a Warp Dissipater (not a problem till mid-game), then you will have to rethink your tactics to make sure you have enough cruisers to quickly destroy the starbase, since you will have to take it out before you can leave battle.

RE Missiles: Yes, miniaturization and the MIRV ARM FST ECCM EMG upgrades are hugely important. Use mirved Nukes till the enemy starts deploying Class 5 shields, then switch to mirved Merculites. There are only a few situations where non-mirved Pulson/Zeon missiles are better than mirved Nukes/Merculites in the late-game (bombarding planetary defenses protected by strong planetary shielding + attacking Class 10 shielded ships with EMG missiles). With mirved-merculites, you can kill the guardian, and once you have the Orion techs you can do what you like because you now have the tech to win the game.
Post edited October 10, 2016 by Dreamteam67
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Dreamteam67: I've been told fighters auto-upgrade their armor (I am still somewhat skeptical about this) but the cruisers themselves definitely do not.
What lead you to that scepticism? Thats how that game work.

Also generally ok text, but it could be explained way shorter (as its mostly was about some non-basic moves, and not usually needed ones) - just emphase what player need some amount of decoy ships to stay in battle, not 1, not as a "third possibility", but as "First of all". Its a basic anti-AI tactic, launchers fire and retreat, frigates fly out of enemy and wait, usually 2 is enough, but 3-5 could be needed.
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DarzaR: [...] just emphase what player need some amount of decoy ships to stay in battle, not 1, not as a "third possibility", but as "First of all". Its a basic anti-AI tactic, launchers fire and retreat, frigates fly out of enemy and wait, usually 2 is enough, but 3-5 could be needed.
An example of such anti AI tactics can be seen in this vid that a made couple months back:
[url=][/url]
MOO2 Playthrough
I am sure I make many less-than optimal decisions during battles, but I am okay with that :-) Games tend to lose their luster for me, once I know how to game the AI.

Which ships is your fleet made up of in the early-to-mid game? As a non-warlord race I tend to have somewhere between 6 and 9 command points at that stage, which usually translates into two or three cruisers. And do you choose Tachyon Communications to increase available command points?
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Rocco.40: An example of such anti AI tactics can be seen in this vid that a made couple months back:
[url=][/url]
MOO2 Playthrough
Nice tactics. I learned a few things. I am curious... what were you worried about happening on turn 15?

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DarzaR: What lead you to that scepticism? Thats how that game work.
I am skeptical because I am a skeptic lol. I've just haven't managed to see it myself, so I pass on the info with that caveat.

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Karsten99: Which ships is your fleet made up of in the early-to-mid game? As a non-warlord race I tend to have somewhere between 6 and 9 command points at that stage, which usually translates into two or three cruisers. And do you choose Tachyon Communications to increase available command points?
The smaller ship hulls are much faster to build, so if they can get the job done, I use those. Probably my preferred hull size is destroyer in the early game: it has enough space to allow some nice designs and builds fast. But it really depends on what tech strategy I am following. Against the AI, it evaluates your perceived power and it's aggression towards you based on hull size, so the AI is generally not impressed by a fleet of frigates and destroyers.

If you are not playing as warlord, then CP buildup is much slower. So yeah, tachyon communications is a good idea. But Battle Scanner is good too, so it depends on your tech strategy. But as always, the question is whether you trade/steal/capture/demand for it, or research it yourself. Is is possible to capture an enemy ship with BS, then scrap it and get the tech for free.
Post edited October 11, 2016 by Dreamteam67
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Rocco.40: An example of such anti AI tactics can be seen in this vid that a made couple months back:
[url=][/url]
MOO2 Playthrough
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Dreamteam67: Nice tactics. I learned a few things. I am curious... what were you worried about happening on turn 15?
Many previous attempts failed at turn 15 :)
For example due to a too small fleet attacking the Mrrshan Star Base.
It's a busy turn where all the pieces of the puzzle have to come together to succeed.
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Dreamteam67: - Fusion Beam (50% more damage per fighter than Lasers, the easiest damage boost to get)
But Fusions are just 40% more damage per fighter than Lasers in pre 1.50 moo2, so you hadnt seen that 50% too, but not skeptical about, and just write that "incorrect 50% more damage"? Just for example.
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Dreamteam67: - Tritanium Armor (doubles hp per fighter and cruiser hull) or Deuterium Fuel Cell (extends your operational range range even further). Now you can dispense with Extended Fuel Tanks, and use that space for other things. Most aliens take Deuterium Fuel Cells, so it is likely you can capture this tech during your conquests.
Deuteruim is a most important tech in a whole game, and it doesnt make Extended Fuel obsolete, unless you do playing Small gal. Tritanuim is nothing at all in comparison.