Monday, February 2, 2015

Ancient Space - Mission Walkthroughs - Mission 2 - The Downward Spiral

Click here for the full index of Ancient Space mission walkthroughs as well as an overview of our playthrough paradigm.

Mission 2 - The Downward Spiral
  • Quickly build an additional Rover to scan Discoveries and that way quickly amass resources to build Stations. You want to secure resource Stations fast as well as to establish forward bases of operation quickly and box in the pirates.
  • On Explorer Scientist difficulty, the capital ships supported by Rovers to heal should be able to hold the line, so push forward on both fronts to prevent pirates from building their stations too close to you (which would force you to fight through).
    • By establishing forward lines (and a couple of turrets near the wormhole to Sector 2) you can then at your leisure develop the stations behind you while your capital ships and Stations repel Pirate sorties.
    • Initially use Artillery to help fight and Rovers to repair. Later as resources increase, build other ships.
    • You should be able to hold ground and get some Artillery Stations built at the Stations to the left and right of the Pirate Base even before the first cargo ship departs.
  • On Admiral of the Fleet difficulty, you might struggle to survive even the first wave with both ships if you push forward too far.
    • Send sacrificial units into Sector 2 until the Support Hangars are destroyed.
    • If you secure Stations near the Pirate Base, they might head straight down the map to capture the ones at your starting location.
  • There are two Discoveries in Sector 2 (from which Pirate sorties appear) but you cannot enter with L or XL ships. A minimal complement should be 2 Rovers plus 1-2 Lancers.
    • You need two Rovers because they cannot repair themselves, but two Rovers can obviously repair each other.
    • Rovers have enough range to assault the hangar nearest to the wormhole without drawing fire from the Turrets.
    • Build Artillery on captured stations to destroy the other Turrets while you scan Discoveries. 
      • Once you start building on a captured Station, the Turrets will fire on it so keep repairing it till it is done.
  • There are a lot of Cutlasses in this mission, so Invaders might seem a good choice. But Cutlasses are strong against small ships, so Rovers are actually the better choice than Invaders: Let your XL capitals take point and support them with Rovers.
    • Invaders can make sorties, but unless you want to waste them like water, use larger swarms and retreat before they can be destroyed.
    • If you are using the Ulysses II offensive setup, steal Cutlasses to replace your Rovers and Lancers.
  • The pirate station cannot be targeted (it has nothing to click on) and pirate ships just basically appear out of nowhere. It's Stations can be destroyed and secured but that is unnecessary because unless you deliberately fly close, none of them can reach you and only Artillery at the ends have a chance of hitting any pirates.
    • If you can take them over, the final pirate push could be pulled into that killzone if your capital ships are there because the pirates are scripted to attack the Ulysses II. On Normal this isn't necessary if you are camped at Stations with Artillery and/or Repair to hold out against the enemy attack.
Here is a Youtube showing what happens when you don't box in the pirates early. And also if you play somewhat haphazardly without too much attention to strategy or fleet composition -- you can still win with capital ship abilities and officer abilities. If that sort of hectic-excitement-stress works for you, then definitely go with the lowest difficulty setting, which is quite forgiving. If you over-strategize there can be long stretches of boring logistics or waiting, as we'll see in missions 4-6.

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