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It's kind of strange. There's something really charming and epic about MoO2. The trick is, I wish I was good at playing it. I'm afraid I bump into some issues that turn me off to the game at a certain point.

First of all, I've never really been good at these types of games. Maybe that's where the problem begins and ends! But I've always thought these types simulations are neat conceptually. What's not to like about controlling a genocidal empire? But when I sit down and play... it just doesn't seem to click.

Here's the major points I'm missing, as I see it:

I seem to spend 90% of my time on the Colony screen, essentially making it "The Colony Screen Game". It's the shuffling of people around and choosing new building projects that keep me there. I get brain strain trying to manage 4 colonies. I can't imagine managing 50 or however many is typical.

Science seems to move at a snail pace, even when I spam scientists. Even with science upgrades. The same with colony buildings. Clicking End Turn 10 times in a row just feels wrong. In other games like Risk, 1 turn is tremendously significant (which I know this isn't much like). Do you really just pass that much time.. well.. basically waiting for stuff to happen?

Food seems tricky to manage. It seems like when I have a large food surplus, sometimes I just have to leave it that way, because moving any farmer seems to randomly shift some things around, even when you'd think it shouldn't. For example, sudden extreme freighter usage. And no, I don't run out of freighters. I could run out easy enough, but I keep it from happening. Namely: not moving farmers. I thought I knew how it works, but I'm scratching my head.

Choosing buildings to construct is fun at first, but eventually becomes severely boring, probably due to the fact that you have a lot of colonies to manage. Especially new colonies that have NOTHING on them. Then if a colony takes a beating or gets destroyed, I shed a tear. Not because I feel bad for the millions who died, (those lazy roustabouts!) But just because all that effort went out the door!
As neat as it sounds, I heard that the auto-build feature is crap. Indeed the computer makes confounding choices when left on its own.

Anyway, I am enjoying MoO2 to a fault. I usually abandon a game at a certain point, either from boredom, or being steamrolled by another empire. Any thoughts?
mmm I just tried Moo2 after Moo1, seems that Moo1 is really a great game compared to Moo2, I think that Moo2 instead of improving original gameplay of Moo1, just tried to copy Civilization Stuff. It is very confusing at first even with all the helping screens O_O. (except for same Races, and the fact you have to go out and take worlds, there's nothing in common with Moo1).

I don't know why developers ruined Moo like that. Moo1 is very original game and many modern games have elements in common with it, by contrast Moo2 has nothing to do with Moo1 (except the fact that races' names are the same and you have to take planets). you can see many analogies between civilization and Moo2, I just don't understand the lack of creativeness, even improving a bit Moo1 gameplay giving more graphics was a better idea than just emulating a game of a different saga.

In Moo1 I never skip turns, there's always something to do, adjust some ratio bars to get 3/4 extra BCs etc.

There's nothing more fun that keeping upgraded Artifacts and (Ultra) Rich planet in order to maximized reserves from (Ultra) Rich planets and give constand funding to Artifacts planets to get double research income..

O_O
Post edited March 29, 2013 by DarioGOII
I'm only learning to play this game also and some things still confuse me, although I just finished reading the manual. I haven't played long enough yet to have over five colonies, so I haven't seen any weirdness with freighters and surplus food. So far I've survived by building the essential buildings in new colonies first (they queue helps here, so I don't have to go to the colony screen all the time), while the ones with all buildings they need are building ships or generating BC.

I was also wondering about passing turns without doing anything, but seeing some LPs with people doing the same, I figured it was ok. As for micromanaging your income like DarioGOII mentioned, I hope it never comes to that. For me it seems rather boring and I'll rather let turns pass until something important happens. But I guess everyone plays in their own way :)

Hope you don't mind, if I ask some questions too... I was wondering if there's a way of seeing the range penalties during combat somehow? The descriptions mention that there is a penalty, but I would like to see how the distance affects the beam.

Antoher thing is refueling ships. The manual talks about this too and you can even research technologies to be able to fly farther before needing to refuel. The section about diplomacy says that in an alliance you can use allied colonies and outposts for refueling. My ships seem to be able to fly between stars without colonies or outposts as long as I like. Does the refueling then only affect the distance you can travel between stars or what? I can't even find any fuel info about my ships.
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Remit: I was wondering if there's a way of seeing the range penalties during combat somehow? The descriptions mention that there is a penalty, but I would like to see how the distance affects the beam.
Yeah, I don't recall seeing any screen that gives you any flat out info on distance. Oh sure, it's nice that weapons say what their penalties are, like 2x range penalty... but that means little when you don't know how far you can shoot! Yeah I'd like to know, too.
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Remit: My ships seem to be able to fly between stars without colonies or outposts as long as I like. Does the refueling then only affect the distance you can travel between stars or what? I can't even find any fuel info about my ships.
Yeah the game talks about fuel, but there's actually no fuel stat at all. I think it just tells you your ships' range limit based on the fuel you've researched. You start out with standard fuel (which lets you travel up to 4 parsecs past a colony). You can research new fuels in the Chemistry tech tree. So, I think if you have an colony on one side of the map, and one on the opposite side, you could travel across the whole screen, in one line, without having to stop anywhere to "refuel". OH I almost forgot. outpost ships count like a colony as far as extending range. They just get destroyed easily.

Obviously since I'm not a master of this game, I might have got something wrong. :p
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MadOverlord: I seem to spend 90% of my time on the Colony screen, essentially making it "The Colony Screen Game". It's the shuffling of people around and choosing new building projects that keep me there. I get brain strain trying to manage 4 colonies. I can't imagine managing 50 or however many is typical.
Use the "Colonies" tab at bottom left. I still use individial colony screens from time to time, but when trying to get the big picture about what is going on in my empire, the "Colonies" tab displays everything on one page. You can manage your workers, set production, buy out production with icons on right. Also, by hovering over each colony, you can see all of it's main stats at bottom. Honestly, without this "Colonies" tab, I'd have trouble sticking with the game too :)
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MadOverlord: I seem to spend 90% of my time on the Colony screen, essentially making it "The Colony Screen Game". It's the shuffling of people around and choosing new building projects that keep me there. I get brain strain trying to manage 4 colonies. I can't imagine managing 50 or however many is typical.
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jesseleite: Use the "Colonies" tab at bottom left. I still use individial colony screens from time to time, but when trying to get the big picture about what is going on in my empire, the "Colonies" tab displays everything on one page. You can manage your workers, set production, buy out production with icons on right. Also, by hovering over each colony, you can see all of it's main stats at bottom. Honestly, without this "Colonies" tab, I'd have trouble sticking with the game too :)
Ah yeah, sorry, I guess when I say I'm on the Colony screen all the time, I meant the Colony tab with the all of them in a neat list. I sometimes go into specific colonies, too, but not too often. I guess I get to that point where I'm going down the list, hitting the production button for every colony, for instance when making them all produce a building I just finished researching. That gets old!
Oh I understand. I don't mind being in the colonies tab much myself. I guess that's why newer 4x games like Civ V and Starbase Orion have automated colony management options. For example, in Civ V you can set a city to growth focus and it will automatically manage citizens and build buildings for growth ...I think that's how it works anyway ...point is that newer games are offering the automated options for those who like to automate certain aspects of gameplay. I am pretty new to MOO myself though so it's all fresh to me. It's really an incredible game for it's time!
You usually won't have much to do at the beginning of the game (unless you use Advanced start) after setting your initial production and research goals. At that point, it's mostly a matter of using your scouts to find a good planet for your colony ship.

This is actually an advantage on easier difficulties: you don't have to worry that a single bad decision on turn 1 will cripple you for the rest of the game.

As for moving farmers around: if a particular planet isn't producing enough food for its own needs then it has to be shipped in from another planet with a surplus, and that uses freighter capacity. Likewise, if you move people between planets, each population unit uses *5* freighters while in transit. This can get very expensive even though it's more efficient in terms of production to concentrate your farming on a few good (swamp/ocean/terran/gaia) planets. You have to balance that efficiency against the cost of shipping the food around.
I guess I'd have to disagree with DarioGOII two contentions that MoO2 ruined MoO (since MoO1 still exists) or that MoO2 is some shameless, unoriginal copy of Civ. :) MoO1&2 are very different in play styles but both are rightly considered classics of the 4X space genre.

4X games are inherently complex, however you can lessen the load. You may actually want to try MoO1 since it has less micromanagement of individual colonies, most functions in the game are controlled by sliders. In MoO2, as others have pointed out, you may want specialize planets: barren rich planets for industry, etc ... Late in the game with lots of colonies, autobuild is not so bad - not that the choices aren't bad, they are, but you don't often have to worry as much. :) I would also recommend playing as a creative race at first (Psilons for a default race build) so you don't have to worry about choosing the wrong technology and you get to play with all of them.

Lastly, look up Lets Play or tutorial videos as well to see what others are doing.
Post edited April 03, 2013 by crazy_dave
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Remit: Hope you don't mind, if I ask some questions too... I was wondering if there's a way of seeing the range penalties during combat somehow? The descriptions mention that there is a penalty, but I would like to see how the distance affects the beam.
Unless someone has made a mod for that, you won't see a clear indicator of your hit chance. However, there's an awesome guide over at gamefaqs that explains combat mechanics. I really, REALLY recommend reading it, but in short:

-if the attacker's Beam Attack value is equal to Beam Defense of the target, then there's a 50% chance to hit (this is at point blank range).
-there seems to be also a range to hit penalty of 1 per square (as in -1 BA rating, not a flat 1% minus). You might want to turn on the combat grid to have a better idea of how much space separates the targets.
-some weapon modifications affect the chance to hit. In particular, heavy mount cuts the range penalty in half and point beam doubles it.

In pratice, from my experience: beam weapons are almost worthless without a decent targeting computer (50+ or more). While it is possible to hit star bases quite reliably at long range with only HV weapons and the basic +25 computer, ships will be a problem. You'll need to get in close, and at that point it's a game of pure luck. Sure, gambling can be fun, until it costs you a battleship.
Mrrshan are the only race that can perform well for almost the entire game without targeting computers. Everyone else will have to either research/trade/steal them or use some other weapons (missiles are usually a better option early on).
Thanks for the link, Avogadro6! I'll certainly read it.

I have new question again. Is there any way to avoid being constantly attacked by the Antareans? Even on the tutor (easiest) difficulty they just show up some years after the beginning (I start with pre-warp technology, is it wrong?) and start demolishing my ships and colonies. Their weapons are superior and only once did I manage to defend successfully, when they only had 3-4 frigates. Will their ships get even better when time passes? Is the only strategy to move my ships elsewhere and wait that I have the technology to fight them?
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Remit: Thanks for the link, Avogadro6! I'll certainly read it.

I have new question again. Is there any way to avoid being constantly attacked by the Antareans? Even on the tutor (easiest) difficulty they just show up some years after the beginning (I start with pre-warp technology, is it wrong?) and start demolishing my ships and colonies. Their weapons are superior and only once did I manage to defend successfully, when they only had 3-4 frigates. Will their ships get even better when time passes? Is the only strategy to move my ships elsewhere and wait that I have the technology to fight them?
Generally Antarans like to attack the player and/or the strongest race - that has been my experience anyway. Their ship systems don't improve in so much that you'll start to see bigger ships with bigger/different weapons.

There are different methods to combating the Antarans: one is, as you say moving your fleet out of the way and accepting the total loss of or at least heavy damage to the attacked colony. Early game that's generally what you have to do unless you have a large fleet to intercept them and are willing to accept losses. Another strategy is that if you have a race good at ground combat and you choose research paths for ground combat and boarding, is to try to board enemy ships to capture or destroy them that way. While this does require research, you don't have to wait as long to make your ships individually tough enough to go toe-to-toe with Antaran vessels. It also brings certain advantages if you are lucky enough to capture them because you can either use captured Antaran vessels or scrap them for (potential) technology for your other craft - either way giving you a huge advantage. However, this is not always possible depending on your research paths and so massing ships to destroy Antarans is still a good option if you think your ships are good enough.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/197873-master-of-orion-ii-battle-at-antares/47002108

talks about capturing Antaran ships
Antarans ships are very vulnerable to EMG missiles, which should be relatively easy to research by the time they show up, but if you don't plan to capture their ships or to attack their system (both are extremely difficult) you might aswell turn off Antarans attacks in the game settings. They use particle beams, which completely bypass shields, so a good armor is your best defense against that. They are also vulnerable to tractor beams (but not for capture purposes!) since the AI tends to self-destruct its own ships once they get immobilised. Other than that, if your technology level is high enough to beat the Guardian, Antarans shouldn't be a big issue either.

These are some good suggestions, I just want to point out that that some posters were suggesting to use Death Rays to kill their marines before boarding. That does NOT work in the GOG version. Not even Death Rays can kill marines on Antarans ships (or any other ship that uses Damper Fields for that matter).
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Avogadro6: if you don't plan to capture their ships or to attack their system (both are extremely difficult) you might aswell turn off Antarans attacks in the game settings.
I am fond of leaving Antarans on just because they are an intended part of the game. Even when I have no clear prospect for capturing their ships or conquering Antares, I like the roving threat of Antaran attacks and occasionally AI opponents getting Antaran tech to beat me up with.
I've been thinking about switching the Antarans off for the next game to see what the difference is. I probably won't turn them off forever, though, because they are part of the game. So far they have only slowed things down by destroying my colonies, but I guess they will add more unpredictability on higher difficulty settings. What I wish I could turn off is the leaders. They seem unnecessary to me and add some unneeded micromanagement to the game.