Click here for the full index of Ancient Space mission walkthroughs as well as an overview of our playthrough paradigm.
Mission 5 - The Crystal Ocean
This is actually a very easy mission if you notice that the Convoy does STOP and why.
Part 1 - Protect Linh's Ship
- This part is pretty straightforward, but do not blow your resources too early as you need them to secure the special resource Stations in Sector 4 early, and to build on Stations in Sector 1 very early to help protect your Convoy. Also, you may want to either bolster your initial Convoy guard in Sector 1 or create a Corsair early.
- After Linh's Javelin changes from green (ally) to blue (yours), you can safely recycle it. Same with the Professor's in Sector 3.
Part 2a - Stop the Convoy
- Ignore the mission objective to clear the way. The Convoy will not proceed further in Sector 1 until the three Pirate stations on the path marked by V-shaped structures are destroyed. However, two of the Stations are defensive so they are harmless once the Artillery Station is destroyed.
- Quickly destroy the nearby Warp Gate then rush ahead and destroy the Artillery Station.
- You can secure the Station but do not build Artillery or Turrets as those will fire at the other two Stations.
- Fall back to avoid targeting the other two Stations but keep close to the Convoy.
- Build Artillery (and maybe 1 Repair Station) at the trio of Stations nearer to the Wormhole from which the Convoy entered Sector 1. Those plus some ship support should help you indefinitely hold out against Pirates from the remaining two Warp Gates.
- It is probably too risky to try to destroy those Gates as Pirates steadily emerge from Sector 2.
- You actually do NOT want to destroy them yet because they are a great source of Cutlasses which you should definitely consider stealing to replace your Lancers, Invaders, and Rovers.
- If you are having trouble with Pirates from Sector 2 (which can include XL Manowars) consider building a Scout for EMP pulses.
- Only Javelins have enough weapon range to safely detonate explosives in Sector 1 (using the Attack command to manually target the barrels). However, even three stacked together will only seriously hurt a station and they can wipe your own small units. Overall it is probably not worth it to use. The Pirates don't seem to use them either. Another way to use them is a suicide move by a Rover dragging them into range or a cheap unit sent in to detonate them.
- While you are digging in to protect your stalled Convoy, move all ships from Sector 4 to Sector 3. The defense of the gate at Sector 4 isn't till after the Convoy mission.
- You can get to Sector 1 via Sector 3 with no fighting, so you can recycle all Sector 4 ships (except for 1-2 Rovers) if you need Replicants for your Patriot in Sector 1 to build more ships. Between the Ulysses II, the Olympus, and the Katarina, you should be able to weather anything -- just keep the Rovers safe.
- Leave Linh's Javelin to collect Discoveries in Sector 4, then later in Sector 3. You may be tight on resources, but if you are not, swap her Javelin out for a Rover who can also secure Stations.
- Hopefully you have a Corsair soon or during the time you are destroying the pirate Warp Gate near the entrance since you only have 15 minutes to save the Professor. Skirt around the Pirate position in the fog of war and head to Sector 1 to help your Convoy.
- Once your Sector 4 units are in Sector 1, secure all nearby Stations (again, avoid the mission-marked ones) and build Artillery to help intercept Pirates from Sector 2. Leave a holding force there to destroy or severely damage any ships from Sector 2.
- Against the Manowars that like to charge straight down, use Scouts or Corsairs to slow them while your Artillery stations continue to pound on them. When Corsairs Board ships, those ships are typically safe from friendly fire but Stations will continue to fire on them if they can.
- If you are having trouble protecting the Convoy, send some ships down, skirting the mission-critical enemy bases. A Corsair or even the Ulysses II are both good choices.
- Once you can block Sector 2, it is time to clear Sector 1.
- Destroy the upper Warp Gate, but don't be in a huge hurry to destroy the lower one because it quite regularly sends out Cutlasses you can steal with Corsairs. You may want to leave it open until you have finalized your fleet composition: I recommend 2-4 Corsairs, and the rest Cutlasses.
- After destroying the Warp Gates, leave your Convoy stalled and proceed to Sector 2.
Part 3 - Clear Sectors 2 and 3, Reinforce Sector 4
- Sector 2 is actively sending out sorties, so clear that first. It is optional but highly recommended.
- The ships they send out will all try to run your blockade and head for your Convoy, so proceed carefully and maybe leave a couple of ships in Sector 4 to guard the Wormhole exit there.
- Nothing special in Sector 2 - Clear all pirates, build on all stations, collect all Discoveries.
- Once Sector 2 is clear, Sector 1 is also safe. Clear Sector 3 and build on all stations in Sectors 2, 3, and 4 to prepare for the final Convoy escort.
- The Convoy will travel through Sector 3, so you might think we would want to leave some mission-marked Pirate bases alone in Sector 3 so that the Convoy will stall again. However, this won't help at all for reasons we will mention later.
Part 4 - Escort the Convoy to the Hephaestus Gate
- When you are ready to get the Convoy moving again, destroy the final Pirate Stations in Sector 1.
- You may want to separate your fleet into three teams: Two demolition and one support.
- The demolition teams are to destroy Warp Gates.
- A quartet of Corsairs can actually take down a Warp Gate very quickly. Stealing Manowars to bolster your anti-building damage output shouldn't really be necessary.
- Throw in 1-2 Repair units with each team to heal them and help against Small unit squadrons.
- Position your demolition teams spread apart so that you will hopefully have one team closer to a Warp Gate when it appears. The other team can move in to mop up blockade runners and then help with destroying the Gate.
- One team of your remaining Repair units.
- From this team, assign a couple to each of the demolition teams.
- The rest can stay with the Convoy to repair them and each other, and to pick off any stragglers that make it past the demolition teams. Supported by
- When the Convoy ships enter Sector 3, nothing will change until your Convoy is in the sector and you have destroyed all Pirate Stations in Sector 3--At that time, two new Warp Gates will appear.
- Since the route is clear, the Convoy will continue moving so quickly destroy both Gates and all enemy units that will try to run your blockade and head for your Convoy.
- As damaged Convoy ships pass by Repair Stations, use the healing-over-time buff from Repair Stations on them.
- As the Convoy inches along in Sector 4, Warp Gates will appear. Again, you can't stop the Convoy so just do your best to destroy the Gates.
- After the Convoy is gone, the final defense phase starts. If your demolition teams can work quickly, this becomes a series of brief skirmishes as you will be able to stem the tide of Pirates before they really get overwhelming, by destroying gates and regrouping before the next Gate appears.
You can see the mess that happens if you don't stop the Convoy in these videos, and also if you don't use Pause enough to multitask between the Sectors. I wouldn't try this mission in the no-Pause Hardcore mode, especially when your last camera view in a Sector isn't restored.