In addition to some new capturables, turrets, and other ships that are available in any game once this expansion is installed, there are two major new factions. The Scourge is your greatest foe, the smartest and most dangerous sub-group of the AI. The Fallen Spire is your greatest ally, providing you with unprecedented firepower.
You can use both factions, either, or neither in your campaigns as you wish. Thanks to lobby customization options, you can even force the Scourge to be your ally against other foes, if you prefer.
The Scourge are an optional faction that can be enabled via the lobby, or by activating a beacon in any game.
- The Scourge provides a new way for the AI to be more active and attack the player in new ways. For example, they can build a few cloaked ships, then suicide them into your economic command stations behind your defenses.
- Give the player some juicy infrastructure targets that can be killed to weaken the enemy. It's always fun to destroy your enemies’ production facilities.
- The scourge's units can organize themselves into Fireteams, granting them unprecedented flexibility and the ability to coordinate their attacks across the galaxy. Fireteams were developed to power the Scourge, though they have now also been made to work for a number of other factions.
- A giant scary ship called the Nemesis can come around if you REALLY get into it with them, but running into Subjugators prior to that is bad enough.
- The Scourge are canonically allied to the AI, but you can have player-allied scourge or independently-teamed scourge (Marauders, Nanocaust and Scourge as a team is terrifying).
Lore: The AI felt a need for a subsidiary force to wipe out small annoyances, and not need to bother its main Processors with petty things. The AI took various races they have conquered in the Arcenverse, twisted them by genetic engineering, and fused them into a new and powerful force to crush its foes. The primary races the Scourge use are the Thoraxians, the Peltians, the Neinzul, the Evucks,the Burlusts… and even Spire.
The Fallen Spire are an optional faction that can be enabled via the lobby, or by activating a beacon in any game.
- The core of the gameplay is epic battles to capture the spire relics, and powerful ships and cities you get as a result.
- Get some Really Big Weapons that scare the mess out of the AI.
- Build entire spire cities of various complexities and styles, which upgrade as you build more cities and more structures.
- The AI now has a reason and ability to bring back extra-galactic forces from their mysterious "main war" to fight you and the spire openly.
- You have the freedom to push all the way to an alternative victory condition via this faction, or to just build up one or more cities and make use of the extra firepower.
- Experience the fallen spire on a gradient scale, doing some of it as you wish, not having to choose "completely fallen spire" or "completely not fallen spire."
- Let us explore a bit more of the spire lore than we have in prior games.
- Give players a chance to "smash the galaxy for fun and profit" by going for a mark 7 city, well above the mark 5 level that is needed for the alternative victory condition. At this point you're just rubbing it in, but it feels so satisfying to be the big one for a change.
Lore: The AI has crushed the Spire empire in their home galaxy. Some Spire units have landed in our galaxy and they can rebuild their empire and take revenge. The AI has captured a lot of Spire reactors and is experimenting to harness their power in cloaked research laboratories. There are also some hidden spire relics scattered about the galaxy from past battles.
What Else Is There?
Without spoiling every last thing (that’s what the wiki is for):
- 30+ new turrets for you and the AI to use; vastly more than in the base game.
- Tackle Drones, Bombards, Viral Shredders, and Tesla Torpedo Frigates
- Five new Arks to find and capture in any game!
- A variety of new game mechanics used by the new Arks, turrets, and so on. Any mods can make use of these new mechanics, whether you have the expansion or not.
- Four new minor capturables to find throughout the galaxy as you’re chasing larger targets.
- Dozens upon dozens of new ships and structures in the scourge and fallen spire factions.
- Integration with the base game factions! Macrophage, Nanocaust, and Marauders can interact with the Spire and build unique new units if they’re also enabled while you play fallen spire.
- Additional music! Not as large an addition as in some past cases, but some really exciting pieces.
Added To The Base Game Concurrent With This Expansion
A lot of things for the base game got major upgrades, at no charge to you, as we created this expansion.
- “Fire teams” from the scourge were backported into the AI itself, and the scariest other factions, making the AI vastly smarter in general.
- Improvements to targeting and other AI efficiency and performance improvements benefit all the factions, expansion or otherwise.
- A major upgrade to the lighting and materials used in the game makes everything prettier. We had to retouch all of the existing ships and structures from the base game to make this happen.
- Loads of requested features, such as the ability to load quick starts (or even savegames) into the lobby for further customization before starting a new game.
- The Extragalactic War features that the AI brings out against the Fallen Spire are technically part of the base game, so that any other faction or mod can use them in the future if desired. We didn’t want to gate that off.
How Does This Compare To AI War Classic?
AI War 2 grows even larger with this new massive expansion, bringing this plus the base game roughly on par with the amount of content in AI War Classic plus its first four expansions. But that downplays the fact that we’re really emphasizing quality over quantity, despite the sheer scope of things.
There was never a faction like the Scourge in AI War Classic, because that was one of the many things that the old engine simply couldn’t support -- however, the “hybrid hives” that were a fan favorite were the original inspiration for the Scourge. The “fire teams” concept that is used in the Scourge was such a massive upgrade to the general AI that we backported it to most of the base game factions in AI War 2. But even so, the Scourge stands alone as your most adaptable and devious enemy, thanks largely to its ship design and distributed economy and upgrade mechanics.
The first AI War did have the Fallen Spire in its third expansion, and that faction is now returning with this expansion, and that was always a fan-favorite item. We thought that the original Fallen Spire was great, but it was also pretty narrow in the experiences it could provide simply due to the constraints of the original game. The sequel’s version introduces more ways to capture relics (train robberies!), vastly more interesting and unique AI forces to fight your titans (Extragalactic War units!), and a ton more Spire City buildings for far more unique and interesting construction on your part.
Beyond that, some favorite strikecraft/frigates from the first game are returning with this expansion, but then the turrets and Arks that this expansion adds are all-new and use a variety of new mechanics (deathgrip, where ships do extra damage to ships they tractor, is a favorite).
The first game tended to include a bit of everything in every expansion (ships, maps, AI types, factions, etc), and sometimes that led to some of the elements being kind of watered-down, especially in later expansions. With this sequel, our approach is a lot more custom-tailored for any expansions we do. We pack in a ton of value for the price to anything we do, but we also keep things more thematic and focused, and hope to have each expansion feel more unique and rich because of it.