Tag Archive: X3TC

768-05-09 23:40

Dear Diary,

Failed to capture two Shuri-class carriers since my last entry, but learned a few things from it.  After capturing the Agamemnon, I cruised around the pirate sectors near Loomanckstrat’s Legacy, doing missions, generally just relaxing.  Tried a patrol mission over in Black Hole Sun with a Thresher… discovered the Thresher is absolutely terrible at killing corvettes with the loadout I’ve got – can’t hit them with the ion cannons due to the cannon placement and spread, and the flak weapons aren’t really strong enough.  Anyway, the pirate base closest to my booze and weed complex offered to hack one of the Loomanckstrat stations for cheap, so I can buy incendiary bomb launchers from them now, and they had enough in stock to fill up all of the IBL mounts on my Agamemnon.

I’ve also built a new complex in Spring of Belief and picked up a Hyperion.  I’ll eventually build Paranid equipment there, but for now it’s just making crystals.

Anyway, building a new complex always puts a big dent in my account, so I decided to go hunt some Yaki Shuris, and to try out my Agamemnon.  I had a Mistral collect a bunch of Phased Shockwave Generators, a special Paranid capital ship weapon, which the Agamemnon can use in every single gun mount.  I had enough to fill every one that didn’t have an IBL in it, so I thought I’d try using it. I figured the PSGs, which are short range area effect weapons, would clobber the fighters once I got close enough, and the IBLs would knock down half the Shuri’s shields before I had to retreat.

Well, this is what happened:

I didn’t notice at the time because I was lining up on the fighters, but the Shuri hit 50% shields before it moved past my forward view. So, failed to catch that one because it got obliterated. Eight forward PSGs are way, way overkill on any kind of fighters… two to four is probably all that I’d need to one-shot most fighters. I swung north and took on a Yaki destroyer with this set up, and killed it in a single pass with the IBLs and forward PSGs. Crazy.

Shortly after pulling out, I got a notification that another Shuri took out my satellite in Weaver’s Tempest. I still wanted to catch one, so I reconfigured the Agamemnon to use PSGs in all turrets. I didn’t have enough to completely fill the turrets, so I put two in each turret, three in the main battery, and a pair of flak artillery arrays in each turret that supported it. That would give me maximum fighter killing power (though I could still probably waste the Shuri by accident if the fight went on too long), with all turrets set to ‘attack fighters’ to minimize the chance of killing the Shuri.

At 1:25 you can watch how quickly just three PSGs turns fighters into scrap. And then disintegrates the scrap.

As you can see, it all worked quite well, except that when I got around to scanning the Shuri, I saw the dreaded Internal Sentry Lasers show up. I switched to the Hyperion to see how it performs against a carrier, and I must say it does quite well. The HEPT in the forward turrets combined with CIGs in the main battery makes for a colorful and effective anti-capital, anti-fighter, anti-everything loadout. I didn’t really want to spend the rest of the night burning away with Ion Disruptors hoping the sentry lasers would short out, so I just blasted away. Between the two carriers and the destroyer I did come away with several million credits worth of capital ship weapons (including more IBLs), so it wasn’t a waste of time by any stretch.

The Aggy is definitely my best brawler; none of my other ships come close to its destructiveness at close range, and it has the thickest shields of any ship I own, too. In an actual fleet battle, I probably would not use the PSGs, though – too likely to destroy my own ships. Not sure what I’d use in the gun mounts that can’t use flak or IBLs, though. Probably just missile defense in the back and HEPT or something in the front, and replace IBLs with flak as needed to repel fighters.

X Diary: Agamemnon

768-05-09 16:58

Dear Diary,

I’ve spent the past hour or two searching for one of the elusive Paranid Hyperion Vanguard prototypes, cruising through Paranid space and deploying additional satellites to get better sensor coverage of Paranid sectors.  And dealing with the occasional pirate attack on my complex in Heaven’s Assertion.  I think I annoyed them when I rampaged through that last pirate fleet.  I must have encountered a Hyperion before; my Encyclopedia has recorded its stats.  It is one of the fastest and most maneuverable corvettes I’ve encountered.  It has the heaviest shields, at a full 1GJ, nearly frigate-class.  It has 18 total gun mounts, 8 in the main forward battery and 10 divided between four turrets.  I has a big 625 MW laser generator.  It has up to 3333 cargo space – I don’t think I have any corvettes that break 1000.  Amazing ship.  Add to that its ability to dock two fighters, and I’m thinking I could use this not just as a fantastic combat corvette, but as a replacement for the Pleco as my personal yacht.  The only advantage the Pleco has is that is can hold four fighters instead of two, but I generally only use the Kestrel and Mamba myself, occasionally the Blastclaw to pick up cargo, and I can use the Pleco itself for that, separately!

Apparently, the money intended to start mass-production of the Hyperion was diverted to some jumpgate project, so only the prototypes exist, and they’re not for sale.  Obviously, I’m going to have to steal one.

It took me a while to track one down.  Eventually, while flying west through Perdition’s End, I spotted one moving through Paranid Prime on my satellite network.  Although stealing a Paranid corvette from under the noses of a pair of destroyers and the whole Paranid homeworld defense fleet might make for a good story, if I were still around to tell it, I probably wouldn’t be able to get my prize out of the sector in one piece.  I ordered my Dragon to follow it so that I wouldn’t lose track of it.  It appears to be on a patrol route heading for a jump gate, so it may eventually get to a more lightly defended sector.  While I’m checking that region of Paranid space for good ambush locations, I notice a Paranid Agamemnon frigate in front of me, headed for the pirate sector of Desecrated Skies.  Now, the Agamemnon was another casualty of the Paranid jumpgate project; only prototypes exist.  It isn’t as amazing compared to other frigates as the Hyperion is to other corvettes, but it is a very solid frigate with strong shields and good turrets, if I can get enough of the appropriate weapons together to fill it.  And it only has a single Paranid Medusa heavy fighter as escort.

I ordered my frigates and Skiron ahead into Desecrated Skies, while I followed the Agamemnon in my Kestrel to make sure it goes where I expect.  After that was a fairly standard boarding op, made somewhat easier by the fact that the target’s captain was not expecting a huge barrage of missiles and boarding pods from the rear, and that almost all of his turrets were filled with heavy weapons not suited for shooting down boarding pods.  My Paranid reputation did take a small hit, but we were in a pirate sector, so it’s likely that no one in the Paranid government really knows what happened.  I judged the firepower needed to allow a successful boarding op closely enough that the ship wasn’t damaged from the outside, and since my marines are all highly trained in engineering, there was no damage on the inside, either.  If anyone asks, I’ll just tell them that we found the ship drifting, and when we boarded it, found all the crew dead due to a shipwide contamination of the air supply from the ship’s fuel system.

The ship is now heading back through the north gate to the equipment dock in Perdition’s End.  I’ll have some gear delivered to it there.  Once I buy a Split Panther, which is a frigate class carrier that can hold over 30 fighters, and maybe a Split Tiger, which is a very powerful though not heavily shielded frigate, I’ll have covered pretty much all the major capital ship roles frigates can manage.

X Diary: Zeus

768-05-09 Later that day

Dear Diary,

Took my thresher out to engage the Zeus defending Duke’s Citadel.  Unfortunately, Duke had launched another four corvettes to defend it, and hitting a corvette with a bank of ion cannons that a couple corvettes could fit between is, well, hard.  The Thresher’s shields are only average for a frigate, and I jumped it out before all those high energy plasma throwers, concussion impulse generators, and photon pulse cannons from the Zeus could get in range.

The Vidar is pretty much my most effective corvette against heavy fighters and up, thanks to the EMPCs and MAMLs and its all-round good speed, maneuverability, and shields, but the heavy nemesis was still close by and is also very effective against corvettes.  I ripped up the pirate corvettes out of the carrier’s effective heavy weapon range, running west from the gate, and gave the carrier a good strafing run as I jumped back out to switch to the Thresher.  Not that the strafing run did anything significant.

I flew the Thresher in, followed by my Skiron.  The Zeus was heading straight for the gate.  I closed with it, coming to a stop at the edge of Ion Cannon range, and cut loose.  The Thresher only had enough energy to fire one fully charged blast followed by a few more uncharged volleys, but this was enough to completely obliterate the Zeus’s shields and bring its hull down to 80%.  The Thresher was also quick and nimble enough to swing around and accelerate up to full speed and get me over to the Skiron.  And incidentally take out the surviving fighters with its turrets.

After a few strafing runs with hepts to knock the shields back down (and to knock out a corvette that had come from somewhere), I found a place behind that tower on the Zeus where I could slide my Skiron where the Zeus could only hit me with a couple bits of flak.  Its job was to fry all those nasty anti-boarding systems off with its ion cannons, and ideally enough weapons to give my boarding pods a clear shot, then keep the shields low enough so that the marines don’t get fried by them.  All the ship systems and its right side flak turrets went down, so I got my Sirokos in and lured the Zeus around to face its right side towards the gate.  It never had a chance to shoot down my pods, and one more strafing run brought the shields low enough long enough for the marines to get in.  They fought their way through all five decks with no casualties.

The carrier is heading towards the shipyard to be sold.  It’s not a bad ship, but repairing the damage from my Thresher would be very expensive, and I want to build a factory complex in Spring of Belief that will cost about 150 million.

X Diary: Thresher

768-05-09 14:31

Dear Diary,

I left a satellite above the Yaki shipyard a ways to keep an eye on things and went off to pirate some more pirates – Duke’s Buccaneers, in this case.  Duke’s HQ has two Paranid Zeus carriers defending it, which would be tempting targets to board if not for the hull polarization, sentry lasers, and core encryption systems which would make boarding them virtually impossible without frying those systems off with ion weapons.  I’d hate to get interrupted in the middle of that and have to spend a bunch more missiles battering down its shields, and while I suppose all of my corvettes together could do a reasonable job of it with hit and run, that seems risky with just AI controlling most of them, what with the lack of self-preservation programming in Commonwealth combat routines.

Engaging the defending corvettes in Duke’s with my heavy nemesis was excellent though – they went down in about ten seconds each to my concussion impulse generators.  Drains my whole weapon battery taking one out, but the turbo booster gives me plenty of time to recharge between targets.

Anyway, I purchased a Boron Thresher to give me some real ship-killing power.  The Thresher is an unusual M7 frigate.  Most M7 frigates are more like minidestroyers – armed with heavy frigate-class weapon turrets all over.  The Thresher is more like a megacorvette.  It’s turret coverage is kinda poor and mostly hold anti-fighter weapons or corvette weapons, but it has a massive forward battery with ten weapon mounts that hold destroyer-class weapons, including Photon Pulse Cannons and Ion Cannons.  I’m undecided how I’m going to split it – might go with ten ions and just keep a few PPCs in the hold.  They waste a lot of space, but work much better than Ions against hull.

No sooner do I get its defensive turrets filled from my Ore Belt complex than Yaki heavy fighters emerge from the north gate and head right for my factories!  I wasn’t sure how well it would handle fighters, especially without being at full shields yet (my 1GJ shields are at the Boron complex).  I underestimated the thing, though, and realized something about the Thresher I had overlooked – it is actually pretty damn fast for a frigate, and turns pretty well too.  Before I could get into effective range with my corvette, the Thresher had swung down from my complex, turned its flak arrays towards the three Yaki fighters, and beat the shit out of them.  I guess it probably can’t handle a big swarm of fighters all that quickly, but I don’t think I have to worry about any fighter wings smaller than a half dozen heavies.

768-05-09 11:56 AM

Dear Diary,

I’m still cruising around Yaki space, picking fights.  Destroyed the other IBL forge.  Captured another Shuri, shown here near an Argon shipyard, ready for sale.  Ugh, ugly.  I’ve got an Akuma class destroyer hunting me now… not a bad destroyer for fighter shredding, much better than a pirate brigantine… a little ugly, but kinda neat looking in its ugliness.  A tempting target, at any rate, though I would hate to have to find that many IBLs to arm it for anti-capship duty.

P.S.:   I couldn’t seem to find any vulnerable spots to sneak boarding pods in on the Akuma, at least not without getting REAL close – much closer than I want to bring any of my ships to a destroyer.  It worked out though – after I destroyed the Akuma, I was able to recover five of its Incendiary Bomb Launchers!  That’s a pretty good start towards arming a frigate.  Got four of some kind of medium Ion weapon, too.

768-05-09 09:48 AM

Dear Diary,
It’s been a few days since I made an entry, hasn’t it? I’ve added more TLs to my construction fleet, a few new factories scattered around manufacturing trade goods, a new megacomplex operating in Ore Belt, and several new ships to my fleet. I’ve even maxed out my reputation with the Terrans, followed the clues to track down the XPerimental Shuttle, discovered the lost Aldrin colony, and saved an ancient Terraformer vessel beginning to awaken to sentience from transforming into a Xenon.
I’d like to include some images of my new factories and capital ships, but I’m currently occupied in Yaki territory. You see, I’m planning to add a couple frigates of the pew-pew variety to complement my corvette wing and missile frigate, but I don’t want to have to rely totally on pirates to arm them with Incendiary Bomb Launchers, which, for most frigates, is the most powerful anti-capship weapon they can mount. The Yaki pirates can build the things, but they only seem interested in using the weapons on me, not in selling me any. So I cleared the immediate area with my Mamba and jumped in a wing of corvettes to attack one of their IBL forges, with the idea that I when they send a ship to rebuild it, I can board that ship and put the forge in one of my own complexes – probably the booze and weed complex in Avarice. This was working well up until a Yaki carrier showed up with a few dozen fighters, many of which were sporting plasma burst generators. I didn’t like the odds of four corvettes against tons of fighters and an IBL-slinging M1, so I sent most of the corvettes home and called in the frigates to deal with this new problem. I kept the Skiron around, flying it manually, since it has good anti-fighter turret coverage and can mount ion disruptors in the forward battery in case I needed to fry some weapons off of the carrier. My Kraken missile frigate arrived first, wiping out most of the fighters around the jumpgate and the biggest cluster at the carrier immediately. A small barrage of hammer torpedoes at the carrier got its attention and I sent the Kraken east to lure the carrier further away from the gate while I cleared out the remaining fighters. Meanwhile, my Sirokos boarding frigate had been collecting marines from around the galaxy that had been training up their engineering skills. With everything in place, I jumped the Kraken back to the gate, jumped the Sirokos in, fired a couple more volleys of hammers to knock down the carrier’s shields and swung in with my corvette to knock down the rest, while the Sirokos launched boarding pods straight in the teeth of the thing, out of the firing arcs of the side and top turrets. A few minutes later, and I had a new carrier with no casualties in my boarding party.
Now, I didn’t really want an M1-class carrier, particularly not an ugly Yaki carrier, but I didn’t want the Yaki to have it either, and it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up with a bunch of freshly engineering-maxed marines. It would have been quite a bit easier to just pulverize it with hammers, or maybe with my Vidar, Skiron, or Heavy Nemesis corvettes, but I was able to sell the Shuri for about 65 million credits, which was totally worth it. Buying all those corvettes and the factories in Ore Belt and Avarice had drained my credit account to almost nothing. Now, with the IBL forge obliterated in a barrage of hammers, I’m cruising around Yaki space in my Skiron keeping an eye on a Ryu that seems to be headed towards their shipyard, hopefully to pick up an IBL forge that I can swipe.
In other matters, I have control of one pair of HUB gates, and I’m working on the second. I moved it over to Ore Belt, which has my biggest surplus of crystal production… about 1900 per hour, and I need another, oh, 140,000 or so. I can still increase it’s crystal production – somewhat – but I think I’d rather set up another complex elsewhere first. It’ll be better that way when I finish and retrofit the complexes to do something else.

Oh, and I do have one little picture, showing my construction fleet enroute to the Avarice asteroid field to construct the first batch of factories and mines there.
That's an Orca, Mammoth, and two Ryus.

Complexing Up

Putting together a small mining complex in Thyn’s Excavation.  I plan on eventually having a large manufacturing complex here, but right now I just need the ore to feed the hub.  Less than 400,000 more needed for the current step.

Getting hooked up and turned around…

Got going in the right direction…

…and maneuvering around Strong Arms HQ and a crappy value 5 asteroid that’s in the way.

A couple of the asteroids in this complex were very far away from the gate, and my commercial agents were having a tough time keeping them running due to the distance they needed to travel after jumping.  That shouldn’t be a problem now; I’ve even switched one over to the HUB and have a rookie training on this complex.

Current breakdown of stations and my net worth.  I’m currently at 66 stations owned.

768-05-03 21:39

Dear Diary,

Busy, busy, busy.  I have more local traders, more sectors explored, more support ships, just more of everything.  Still, I do take the time to view sights like this… I think this was in Heaven’s Assertion…

After I delivered the 400 computer components Mahi Ma needed for the hub, he asked for 500 microchips.  That’s over 6 million credits worth of microchips, and if that many are even available, I’d have to collect them from dozens of factories and stations.

Plan B then.  Step 1: Buy an Orca.

You see that little speck to the right of the Orca?  That’s my Pleco pulled up alongside.  The Orca is huge, and surprisingly fast for its size (though it takes a while to get turned around), has a docking bay that holds ten fighters, and can carry space stations construction packages in its massive cargo bay.  It hasn’t got the power generator for sustained combat, but has enough turrets to defend itself, and is heavily shielded.

With the Orca, I can get stations set up much more easily.  I’ve set up several on behalf of the Split and Boron governments already… more customers for later, and money I can use now.  First, I set up an ore mine and a silicon mine on the high yield asteroids in the sector south of Meneleus’s Oasis.  I had to search nearly all of Paranid space to find one, but I managed to get my hands on one of their TL tractor beams, and used it to move my mines closer together and away from the main asteroid cluster for safer navigation.

Once those were in place, I ferried in some additional stations, and linked them together with a complex hub.  It is currently underproducing food, but otherwise is fully self-sufficient.  Once I get another BoFu lab and BioGas plant linked in, the complex will produce a surplus of crystals, energy cells, silicon, BoFu and ore; all the basic essentials for manufacturing Boron components like microchips.

With defending all those bases from pirates for Atreus and building stations for the Boron Kingdom in the sectors around Queen’s Harbor, the Boron Kingdom has granted me the title of Knight of the Kingdom, the highest honor they bestow.   They’ll even sell me their (very expensive) destroyers and carriers now, and factories for their most advanced (and most expensive) weaponry.

I’ve purchased a few additional Teladi Kestrels and have them moving through a number of systems I’ve already visited, scanning asteroids so I can find some good places for additional mines when I need them.  Most of the extra fighters Atreus and Strong Arms have given me are now safely on the Orca, as well as a couple fighters I’ve taken from pirates.

768-05-03 10:50

Dear Diary,

I can’t believe I’m docked on this thing!  It’s incredible… but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Since my last entry, I’ve filled out my trading fleet according to plan, and have been steadily improving my relations with Strong Arms and Atreus.  I’ve also got law enforcement licenses with every race except Teladi, so my race relations are getting quite good.  My station is making money,  and I’m nearly ready to purchase an Orca.  I might have one now, in fact, if not for this little interruption…

Between missions for Atreus and Strong Arms, I found a Boron space station that was being overwhelmed with refugees and desperately needed medical supplies.  They were so desperate, in fact, that they were willing to pay me three million credits just to bring some in from the Meneleus’s Harbor in under 10 minutes.  They were even already paid for; that’s simply a delivery fee.  I was able to get them loaded on my Caiman and back to the station with two minutes to spare, which not only got me a huge amount of money, but apparently greatly impressed the Boron government as well; I am now a Boron King’s Knight.

While I’m getting my ships organized for another Atreus mission, this Boron jumps in from the Meneleus gate and hails me, asking for my help.  Apparently, he’s sought me out specifically, based on my reputation, to help locate some friends of his that have gone missing.  In Xenon space.  Apparently, ‘crazy’ or ‘stupid’ must be part of my reputation as well.  He won’t tell me who they are, since treasure hunting in Xenon territory is apparently illegal for Boron citizens (I guess it’s similar to how attempting suicide is illegal on Terra?), but does tell me where they were headed… Xenon Core 23.  Ok, so not just any system, but the most heavily defended Xenon system we know of.

I agreed, obviously.  Nothing like a reputation for complete insanity to discourage someone from trying to cheat you.

I jumped my Pleco up to Grand Exchange and took my Kestrel into Xenon Sector 598.

Dodged and outran some Xenon patrols at the gates of Sector 598 and Sector 627, then jumped into Xenon Core 23…

Except this was not Xenon Core 23.  It was some kind of huge alien artifact, very close to an uncharted star.  It didn’t look like Terraformer/Xenon make to me, and had some strange jumpgates, but nothing affected my ship as far as I could tell, and the few Xenon here ignored me.

I found the remains of what was probably a Commonwealth ship and downloaded its logs…

Apparently, my two mystery friends are Bala Gi and Julian Brennan.  They had gone to survey Xenon Core 23, but on their way back found the jump gates redirected to this hub.  Bala Gi had hacked the docking mechanism to get them on board, and sent Julian off to collect Mahi Ma in order to help him investigate the thing.

I drop off a satellite near the bottom of the sphere and jump straight back to Queen’s Harbor.  After telling Mahi Ma what I found, he ditches his ship and asks me to take him there.  I claim his Enhanced Dolphin (wouldn’t want pirates to get it or anything), pick up some energy cells from my Caiman, hop up to Grand Exchange, resupply at my Pleco, and jump to the gate leading to the hub.  The hub itself is out of the jump range for my Kestrel… it can’t hold enough fuel to get me directly there, and I don’t want to bring my Pleco in while there are Xenon ships present.  A small Xenon fleet entered Grand Exchange as well, but my Pleco is probably safe enough at the trade station…

Anyway, Mahi Ma managed to repeat Bala Gi’s trick and get us on board, but did not find Bala Gi or Julian Brennan.  He needs some supplies to build an interface to control the ancient systems and further explore the hub.  It might take me a while to get everything together, but he should be pretty safe in there in the meantime.

Now, back to building my em- err, trade network.  Yes.  I’m going to opt for an Orca instead of a Mammoth, which has a larger cargo bay, because it has a larger hangar and can hold up to ten fighters.  It’s quite a bit faster too, and it still has one of the largest bays available, able to hold a few stations.

If you’ve been following this blog at all lately, you probably suspect that this has something to do with X.  X takes forever;  I’m barely started on all the content in X… I haven’t even mapped all the easily accessible sectors yet, done almost no plot missions, can’t afford any of the expensive ships, and am something like 0.3% of the way up the rankings.  And I’m days- real time days- into it.  This is normally not a problem, as I’ve often got one long-form game like X, or Puzzle Pirates, or whatever going on over a long period while I play several shorter games.  Right now… I really want to ‘finish’ X3TC.  I also want to finish (even though that probably means ‘lose’) my current X-Com game, and maybe start a new one with a more normal strategy.  I also want to play some of the new version of Dwarf Fortress…  I have a hard time playing more than one of these sorts of games where you have to put in multiple hours to make any sort of progress at a time.  Add to that the extra work of updating the externals I involve in my X-Com or Dwarf Fortress games, and everything else I’m doing right now…

I would run succession games in either X-Com or Dwarf Fortress (or both) for blog readers and/or people in the office, but I don’t think very many would be interested.  I might give it a shot eventually though… both are readily available these days.  The other obstacle for that, besides interest, is getting a good toolset written up for generating stat charts and graphs and stuff for the characters… I just don’t want to spare the time and brainpower for it right now.

End of feverish semi-rant (yes, I have a fever).  I’ll continue to minimize this sort of post.  Now go read my posts about Metal Combat or something else that’s awesome, or post a comment here that you want in on a Dwarf Fortress or XCom: UFO Defense succession game.