Monday, February 7, 2011

SW:EAW: Forces of Corruption - Mandalore

Star Wars: Empire at War - Mandalore
This is a hint / walkthrough for a planet in Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption. The index of all our guides for Empire at War: Forces of Corruption is here.


Piracy (Corruption Income +68, can build Tartan Frigates at Space Station level 2+, can build Keldabe-Class Battleships at capital ship planets with Space Station 5 after Mission 15)
You are required to choose this Corruption option in Mission 4 (Piracy on Mandalore).

On Hard Difficulty, this can be a very hard mission because you cannot count on supporting fire from Tyber Zann in the Interceptor IV Frigate. The frigate looks like the pirate Interceptor-Class Frigates encountered in hordes on pirate worlds in Empire At War, and is just as fragile. Instead of a Proton Torpedo Launcher on the bow, however, the Interceptor IV Frigate has a Concussion Missile Launcher (which does the same thing -- ignores shields to damage target).

You can take the base head on with the Interceptor IV Frigate leading to initially draw fire and thereby cover the approach for your Starviper fighters and GAT-12 Skipray Blastboats. However, you will rapidly start to lose the fighters and bombers from turret fire, and lose even more if you try to retreat them. Meanwhile, if you do not withdraw your Interceptor IV, you may well lose it and automatically lose the mission.
Further, before the space station is destroyed, the Mandalorians will come in with a Keldabe-class Battleship that is remarkably deadly against your fighters at any engagement range. In the crossfire between the battleship and the space station, you will lose all your units in short order.

The safest way to do this mission is to take advantage of the space station's arcs of fire and inability to move, plus the Interceptor IV Frigate's concussion missiles.
First, move all your fighters and bombers into the asteroid field to the south. According to the Forces of Corruption tutorial, they will be considered hidden inside. Make sure they stay in there until you area ready to move them out against the battleship.
Next, approach the asteroid space station with the Interceptor IV Frigate from the southwestern arc. You should come under laser fire by no more than 3 turrets. Set the ship to attack one turret. It will drift forward. Stop it immediately when you see it firing its concussion missiles -- which will damage the turret regardless of the space station's shields. When the volley has been fired, turn it around to get out of range and restore its shields. Keep doing this until you have destroyed the nearest two turrets. When you are only under fire by one turret, you can hold position and keep firing on the space station until it is destroyed -- your shields will regenerate around as fast as one laser turret can deplete it.
A single wing of Starvipers may be dispatched to attack the Interceptor IV Frigate. Back away from the station to a safe distance, hold position, and wait for the Frigate to destroy the wing (usually with concussion missiles). Do not panic as a single wing of Starvipers cannot take down the Frigate's shields. Return to destroy the space station.

As mentioned above, before the space station is destroyed, the Mandalorians will hyperspace in the battleship. It will start firing immediately if it sees the Frigate, and then drift to around the center of the screen. Immediately withdraw Tyber Zann's ship until it is out of sight, and finish destroying the space station -- the battleship can destroy the Frigate in less than a minute if it gets the chance.
Assuming you keep all your units out of sight, the battleship will not move. Once the space station is destroyed, you can move on to take on the battleship.

Inch the Frigate toward the battleship, and turn immediately away from both the battleship and your fighters when the battleship starts to fire. You will probably lose your shields and some hull.
As soon as the battleship starts firing on the Frigate, you can rush your fighters and bombers out. Target weapons, beginning with the Mass Drivers as their shots move very quickly and are therefore very accurate against even fast-moving fighters.
You should be able to take out one to two hardpoints each time the bombers swoop in on the battleship, and maybe one hardpoint with the fighters. As soon as a hardpoint is gone, pause the game and if possible select another hardpoint in the direction that the swarm of fighters or bombers are moving.

Meanwhile, your Frigate should wait for its shields to regenerate and turn around, but not re-enter the weapons range of the battleship yet. When only a few turrets are left, you can re-enter to help the fighters and bombers finish off the battleship, although it is entirely possible that by then, you won't need the Frigate.

Space Battle

At some point after the Piracy mission, the garrison in space changes and the Keldabe-class Battleship vanishes.

Land Battle

Mandalore is very interesting in the early game because it is controlled by the Black Sun Pirates but has no ground forces or buildings. You can therefore conquer the planet by moving one of your stealth units (Tyber Zann, Urai Fen, or a Defiler) into orbit, and then landing them on the planet. You instantly conquer it, but if you move your unit back into orbit before finishing building something on the planet, the Black Sun again takes over the planet and the Corruption you had on the planet is removed (if Piracy, you lose the ability to build Tartan Patrol Cruisers).

At this point, you can either land on the planet again (reinstating whatever Corruption you had on it before), or perform a new Corruption. What is interesting here is that you can do the Piracy mission again, and it will count toward the total number of Piracy missions you have completed. This in turn allows you to start a Black Market on Kamino (requires 2 Piracy missions) and buy Disruptor technology.
Because you are required to establish a Black Market on Kuat and buy Disruptor Technology in Missions 6 (Black Market Establishment) and 7 (Tyber's Recon), this re-Piracy seemed like an oversight / exploit, we did not do this and will not feature this in our walkthrough / hints.
This also happens on Polus and Sullust (both revealed after Mission 15, "Baiting the Hook"; at which time all planets on the Galactic Map are available).

Another curious thing about conquering the planet of Mandalore this way is that it does not destroy the space station in orbit. If, after you capture the planet, you move a fleet in and destroy the fleet and space station in orbit, the game will list the loss of the asteroid space station as one of your combat losses.

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