June 09, 2010

MOO -- Ship design preferences

My favorite MOO weapon in the early going is the heavy blast cannon. It's the double-sized version of the neutron blaster. It's weapon tech level 15, so it doesn't take all that long to reach it, especially if you put half your research into weapons. It does 3-24 damage and has a range of 2.

In the early going it's a very potent weapon. When I get it, I build medium ships. They get one heavy blast cannon, plus the best targeting computer I have, plus the fastest star drive. If there's any space left, I fill it with armor. (Sometimes I include a nuclear bomb instead, or a speed-2 system drive.) The resulting ship usually costs between 80 and 90 BC, and a reasonably well built out planet can produce several per turn.

I tend to use swarms of them, which isn't hard considering how cheap they are. And of course eventually an opponent can gain something that makes their lives miserable -- say, scatterpack VII fired from a large number of missile bases. But most enemy planets aren't defended like that, and 40-100 of these ships can take out defending fleets (if they don't run like rabbits) without too much difficulty.

10 or so makes a good guard fleet on annihilated planets to prevent them from being recolonized. 20 can do a good job of protecting one of my planets that isn't yet capable of defending itself.

Naturally, this design doesn't play all the way through to the end of the game. But it's usually the first warship I build, and it can go a long way towards stabilizing a strategic situation after I meet an aggressive AI. It's also capable of completely wiping out the first opponent I run into, and that's usually how I use it.

My favorite weapon in the mid-game is the Auto Blaster, tech level 28. It fires 3 times and does 4-16 damage on each shot. Which is pretty damned good for a weapon that takes half as much space as the heavy blast cannon. By this point in the game I'm building large ships instead, and you can easily pack 6-10 of these into a single hull without skimping on shields or other useful stuff (e.g. the battle scanner). 20 such ships is a formidable force, and 100 is unstoppable. 4 make a decent guard squadron for annihilated planets.

My favorite weapon in the end-game is the Mauler Device. They're entirely too much fun. The Death Ray (the weapon you get from Orion after you beat the Guardian) does a lot more damage but it's not really very good; it takes too much room, for one thing.

But the single coolest beam weapon in the game is the Crystal Ray. You can't get it legally, but it's possible to hack the save file to get it. (I used to know how to do that, but I don't remember any more.)

I don't tend to use missiles mainly because I don't like weapons that run out. And I don't use torpedoes because I don't like weapons that can't be fired every turn. (And whose damage decays with range.)

Also, missiles are too damned big. Neutron Blaster is weapon tech 15; Merculite missiles are tech 14. The Heavy Blast Cannon is size 60; a 2-missile Merculite launcher is 105. The 5-missile launcher is about 160. (The actual size in the ship  is a function of your tech level, but the relative size always remains the same.)

It's true that the missiles have longer range, but they're only doing 10 points of damage if they hit.

So I research good missiles gladly when I can, but only because I need them for missile bases. By the time you get class-V planetary shields and Stinger missiles (or something better), a reasonable planet becomes very difficult and very expensive to crack. I had the Amoeba attack one of my planets and my missile bases destroyed it before it got close enough to the planet to fire back. (I think that was Pulson missiles.)

Missiles are superb for defense, but I don't put them into my ships. It's all beams and bombs for me.

UPDATE: Research strategies figure into this. Early in the game I put everything into propulsion until I get at least range 5 and at least warp 3. Ultimately there just isn't any substitute for fast, long-legged ships, for colonization or for war.

My usual steady-state research is:

computers 20% (i.e. 10 clicks)
construction 20%
force fields 10% (i.e. 5 clicks)
planetology 20%
propulsion 10%
weapons 20%

...but of course by that point I'm usually at propulsion level 10 or more and everything else is at 1. But I've been known to run 50% weapons and 10% for each of the others, when I get hints that an enemy is coming and I haven't gotten the Neutron Blaster yet.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 09:05 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 820 words, total size 5 kb.

1 I love reading other people's strategies and approaches to this game. There are so many weapons I doubt I've used a fifth of them, ever. I also tend to not build any ships until quite late in the game. I'll have to try this approach.

Posted by: bkw at June 09, 2010 11:52 PM (34O+x)

2 I can't remember my MOO tech choices too well; I'm mostly a MOO2 guy, where Ion Pulse Cannons (with the Heavy upgrade) are my early-mid-game favorite.  There's nothing like bypassing a ship's armor and detonating their engine, crippling all their surrounding ships in the process.  While I like to turtle, if I have to fight something before I get those (or fight monsters to get to rich worlds), I'll use PT boats loaded with the best 2-pack of missiles that I can build.  I turn and run as soon as the battle starts, launching everything as I go.  As soon as the missiles hit, I retreat, and come back for another round (hopefully) before the target fully repairs.

By late game, it's usually Maulers and Stellar Converters.  If the final vote goes against me and I don't think I can beat the rest of the galaxy, I just pop over to Antares and hit the I WIN button.

Posted by: Big D at June 10, 2010 08:21 AM (LjWr8)

3 I may have to buy Moo/Moo2 again.  I already did get Master of Magic, and have wasted a LOT of time on that one.

I do remember that in Moo2 I rarely used missiles as the game went along.  Your ships could get powerful enough that you could easily pop enemy ships before equivalent missiles would even hit them.  So you'd take less return fire using beams...

Posted by: DrHeinous at June 10, 2010 09:57 AM (AktpP)

4

My staple was the Mass( o') Driver(s)--excellent until opponents had shields bigger than half their (individually) low damage.  By which time I was usually in striking distance of their big brother, the Gauss Cannon.   No range attenuation, excellent accuracy, and enough of them together (easily accomplished) would carve enemy fleets into Swiss cheese.  [this may have been MOO2, not MOO1]

The one-two combo of the sandblaster weapon followed by a pulsar was the most effective way of helping the Klakons out by removing that 32767 stack of ships from their maintenance schedule in MOO1 though.

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at June 10, 2010 01:42 PM (9eDDd)

5 I am curious what other weapons you choose if your favorites are not available in your tech tree for a given game. That is probably my favorite part of MOO -- having to improvise with what I happen to have access to in a particular game. I love Civ, but it does occasionally get tiresome to realize I have planned out my tech path over 150 turns in advance.

Propulsion...in too many games I have skimped on research in this field, and ended up regretting it. Having incredibly awesome but incredibly slow ships is an ugly position to be in.

Posted by: haphazard1 at June 10, 2010 05:21 PM (xF0tu)

6

If I can't get the Neutron Blaster, I usually go with the heavy Ion Cannon. It's smaller, which is good, but has less punch, which means more ships are needed in a stack, and they become obsolete sooner.

The best choice substitute for the Auto Blaster is the Heavy Phasor. That takes somewhat different tactics since it has more punch but fires less often. One shot of 5-40 instead of three of 4-16.

I didn't mention it, but depending on who I am facing and the kind of ships they're building, I often include the Graviton beam or the Tachyon beam. There's nothing more frustrating than using your hugely-powerful beam weapon against an immense pile of smalls, and only killing ten or fifteen a turn. There are times when nothing will do besides a streaming weapon.

You go with what you got, and the higher level weapons are all decent when used properly. Which is not something you can say about the earliest weaons. The Gatling Laser and the Neutron Pellet Gun are jokes.

I won't build a ship with less than a heavy Ion cannon because there isn't any point. I'm better off putting that production into missile bases and researrch.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 10, 2010 07:05 PM (+rSRq)

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