AI War:Light of the Spire

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What exactly is added in the Light of the Spire expansion?

A: The short explanation is that the expansion is focused on adding more broad ways to play the game, such as the Fallen Spire story campaign and the Defender Mode campaign mode. Along with that, it adds a ton of more types of large ships, notably the spirecraft and the bonus ship types. In all, there are 180 new ships added in this expansion, making it our largest to date by a fair margin.

New Alien Race

Ravaged by their recent encounters with the same AIs that pushed humanity to the brink of extinction, the Spire are an alien race that have also been all but destroyed. However, while the AIs were successful in their surprise attack against the Spire, the Spire are far more powerful than even the AIs seem to have realized. The Zenith were broken-down and ancient when humanity encountered them, but the Spire were at the height of their deadly power until quite recently.

Now the splintered remains of their race are regrouping, and entering the galaxy with a vengeance. Their attitude toward humanity, who after all spawned the AIs that so harmed the Spire, is unclear. Proceed with caution.

New Bonus Ship Classes

There are 9 new bonus ship classes added as part of this expansion, comprising 50 ships in all (45 for the bonus ship types themselves, then 5 additional for the spire blades that the spire blade generators create):

  • Spire Stealth Battleship (Mark I-V)
    • Powerful battleship with onboard cloaking options as well as a portable radar dampener that makes enemy ships have to be in very close range to hit it at all (radar dampening does not affect the ability of enemy ships to hit other ships, just this one).
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting.
  • Spire Teleporting Leech (Mark I-V)
    • Large teleporting ship fires lightning shots. Reclaims enemy ships it kills (reclaimed ships have health = half damage inflicted by reclamator).
  • Spire Gravity Drain (Mark I-V)
    • Large, slow ship slows the movement of enemy ships near to it. Also has powerful short-range lasers.
  • Spire Gravity Ripper (Mark I-V)
    • Large, high-health, slow ship temporarily halts the movement of enemy ships with every hit of its weak, short-range, rapid-fire energy bursts. Best used in combination with other ships to keep fast targets from escaping.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting.
  • Spire Mini Ram (Mark I-V)
    • This miniature battering ram specializes in high-health targets, crashing into them for high damage and destroying itself in the process. Unable to hit smaller ships.
    • Thanks to HitmanN and RCIX for suggesting.
  • Spire Tractor Platform (Mark I-V)
    • Large, slow alien vessel is bristling with small guns but most importantly many tractor beams. This has obvious defensive uses, but can also be used to hold enemy ships at bay while longer range allied ships take them out.
  • Spire Maw (Mark I-V)
    • Huge alien vessel that swallows transportable enemy ships and gradually attritions them. If the maw is destroyed, they are ejected with whatever health they have left. External guns also fire at targets at short range while it chews on the swallowed ships.
  • Spire Blade Spawner (Mark I-V)
    • Large central ship has weak guns, but continously spawns smaller independent blades that crash into enemy ships.
    • This also adds mark I-V of Spire Blades.
      • Extremely fast melee ship -- loses health over a 10-second period, then self-destructs. Created inside Spire Blade Spawners, these are uncontrollable but will viciously attack the enemy on the current planet. Players cannot give direct orders to the blades.
    • Thanks to soMe_RandoM for suggesting.
  • Spire Armor Rotter (Mark I-V)
    • Shots do fairly little damage, but eat away at the armor of ships they hit with each shot. Ship armor gradually regenerates over time (it takes up to 10 minutes to fully regenerate, depending on how much armor the target has), but cannot be directly repaired. Thus the armor rotters can create a window of opportunity for other ships to strike high-armor ships.
    • Thanks to Salamander for suggesting.

New Minor Factions

  • Fallen Spire
    • "Minor" faction is something of a misnomer with this one. The fallen spire minor faction adds in a scripted "campaign" that players can opt to pursue or not in any game with the minor faction turned on. While the scripted progression is always the same, it interacts with the dynamic components of the game in such a way that that the experience should be satisfyingly different for many playthroughs.
    • It also has also enormous modular capital ships. Oh, and an optional alternate way to win the game. Thought you'd like to know that.
    • More details here.
  • Spire Civilian Leaders
    • Up to 10 Spire Civilian Leader Outposts are scattered throughout the galaxy in the control of the AI. Against their will, every hour each outpost increases the AI Progress by 1. You have the choice of either destroying these outposts for colloduing with the AI, or freeing the outposts by capturing the planet from the AI. When freed, each of these outposts will gratefully decrease the AI Progress by one every hour.
  • Spirecraft
    • There are three different variants of minor factions that allow players to use spirecraft ships.
    • In all of them, six different kinds of asteroids are seeded around the various planets of the galaxy, waiting for you to use your Spire Mining Ships (CONST tab) to build mining enclosures on them. From these mining enclosures, you can produce the rare and deadly Spirecraft ships, which cannot be procured any other way. These massive ships can be an enormous asset against the AI.
    • Spirecraft (1 - Easy)
      • The EASY version of this minor faction simply gives you the spirecraft with nothing in the way of benefit to the AI. Consequently, your adjusted score is also halved.
    • Spirecraft (2 - Moderate)
      • The MODERATE version of this minor faction gives you the spirecraft with a vastly higher energy cost, and without the ability to repair them. Consequently, your adjusted score is also reduced by 1/3.
        • This was the original design for the spirecraft in general, but players wanted more options. The best way to think of this version is as follows: the spirecraft are suitably awesome while they're alive, they don't stir up the AI, they don't cost knowledge, and they don't increase AI Progress. But they require the finite resource of asteroids, and quite a bit of metal/crystal, and when they're gone, they're gone. This makes the spirecraft, in essence, trump cards. Very interesting trump cards.
    • Spirecraft (3 - Hard)
      • The HARD version of this minor faction gives you the spirecraft at their base energy requirements with no repair restrictions. However, whether or not you choose to capture any spirecraft, the AI will be launching periodic large waves with spirecraft (and other big nasty things) of their own -- so you're highly advised to get some spirecraft in order to survive.

New AI Plots

  • Beachheads
    • Each wave that the AI sends has a 10% chance of being half-size, but including a Beachhead structure that interferes with supply on the planet being attacked (thus knocking out everything from turrets to forcefields until the beachhead is destroyed), as well as preventing player ships from retreating. Counterattack waves, event waves, raid engine waves, and other specialized forms of waves won't ever include a beachhead.
    • Five marks of AI Beachhead have also been added:
      • Tough, armored, immobile long-range AI ship that gets sent along with some waves. Interferes with supply on the planet being attacked (thus knocking out everything from turrets to forcefields until the beachhead is destroyed), as well as preventing its enemies' ships from retreating.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting.

Other New Ships Available For Direct Unlock By Players

  • There is a new Spire Mining Ship available on the CONST tab (knowledge free)
    • This ship allows the construction of mining enclosures on asteroids. Each tab in its build menu corresponds to a type of asteroid on which specific mining enclosures can be built.

New Capturables

"Advanced Materials"

Six different kinds of asteroids are now seeded throughout the galaxy in the following order of rarity (from least to most rare): Reptite, Pysite, Xampite, Ebonite, Adamantite, Titanite. Build a mining enclosure (via the Spire Mining Ship in your CONST tab) around this asteroid to consume it and use its advanced materials to create advanced Spirecraft ships not accessible any other way (see below).

New Ship Class: Spirecraft

This is another anchor feature of the expansion, available in one of three variants per campaign (see the minor factions list, above). Using the new asteroids that are scattered around the map when one of these minor factions is on, you'll construct mining enclosures that create one or more spirecraft ships per asteroid. There are mark I-V variants of each spirecraft, and rarer asteroid types give you access to both higher-mark and more-valuable-in-general spirecraft types.

The spirecraft themselves have powerful and exciting abilities, putting most of them partway between a starship and a golem in terms of power, and some of them on par or above the strength of golems. Though there are always far more of these available to players than there are golems: there are dozens if not a hundred or more asteroids in big maps, and you don't have to capture planets in order to farm them -- so you can raid enemy territory to get these without even costing any AI Progress to take them!

The different minor factions change up the way that the Spirecraft are balanced with your abilities versus those of the AI. In the easiest variant, you just get the spirecraft with no questions asked, but your score is halved since this is pretty unbalancing in your favor. The moderate and hard variants are both a lot more balanced and in some ways more interesting.

Bear in mind these spirecraft don't cost you knowledge or remove your ability to use any of the other ships you already are used to using. They do cost quite a lot of metal/crystal, but the results are worth it even if not something you can continuously farm for the rest of the game.

In all 50 different spirecraft are added as part of this expansion: 5 marks each for 10 different ship classes.

  • Spirecraft Shield Bearer (Mark I-V)
    • Does relatively low damage, but has very high health and provides a sizable force field to protect allied ships. Its force field does not reduce the attack power of protected ships.
    • These each get created as 1 ship from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Titanite, Mark I-V ships.
    • Thanks to Ozymandiaz for suggesting.
  • Spirecraft Ram (Mark I-V)
    • This massive battering ram specializes in high-health targets, crashing into them for extreme damage and destroying itself in the process. Unable to hit smaller ships.
    • These each get created as 2 ships from one asteroid ranging from Reptite to Adamantite, Mark I-V ships, or as 4 ships from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Adamantite, Mark I-IV ships.
    • Thanks to HitmanN and RCIX for suggesting.
  • Spirecraft Martyr (Mark I-V)
    • This massive ship has no guns, but is bristling with tractor beams. When it dies, it explodes for extreme damage to enemy ships within its tractor range.
    • These each get created as 2 ships from one asteroid ranging from Reptite to Adamantite, Mark I-V ships, or as 4 ships from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Adamantite, Mark I-IV ships.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting.
  • Spirecraft Attritioner (Mark I-V)
    • This massive ship has weak direct guns, but does high attrition damage to all enemy ships once per second (on the order of multiple fixed-position attrition emitters). Enemy ships on the current planet will notice that they are damaged by attrition and will turn aggressive, however, so be careful of stirring up enemy planets with the attritioners.
    • These each get created as 1 ship from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Titanite, Mark I-V ships.
  • Spirecraft Scout (Mark I-V)
    • These scouts are all perma-cloaked, but move pretty slowly and rapidly lose health if they are on an enemy planet of a higher mark level than the scout itself. Most of these except for the Mark IV or V spirecraft scouts make for better long-term sentries (thus freeing up your normal scouts to do mobile scouting) rather than as literal scouts that explore.
    • These each get created as 2 ships from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Titanite, Mark I-V ships, or as 4 ships from one asteroid ranging from Xampite to Titanite, Mark I-IV ships.
  • Spirecraft Ion Blaster (Mark I-V)
    • Advanced weapon insta-kills most ships with a mark level equal to or lower than its mark value. Cannot fire upon ships immune to insta-kill. Unlike the fixed-position ion cannons, these ion ships are both mobile and much shorter-ranged, but they are still extremely deadly.
    • These each get created as 1 ship from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Titanite, Mark I-V ships.
    • Thanks to mr_lolz and love kawa for suggesting.
  • Spirecraft Penetrator (Mark I-V)
    • Perma-cloaked ship that cannot hit most smaller fleet ships and which must be manually targeted to fire. It does absolutely astronomical damage, and then is uncloaked and unable to fire for the next half hour. This ship is Blind, and thus requires the support of scouts or other similar ships to see its target, but otherwise it works best as a lone wolf sort of ship, delivering its payload and then returning to friendly space to rest and recuperate.
    • These each get created as 1 ship from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Titanite, Mark I-V ships.
    • Thanks to LintMan for suggesting.
  • Spirecraft Implosion Artillery (Mark I-V)
    • Large, high-range, middling-health artillery weapon that does damage based on a percentage of the enemy ship's remaining health (not to be less than 1 damage). This is most effective when enemy ships have very high remaining health.
    • These each get created as 1 ship from one asteroid ranging from Reptite to Adamantite, Mark I-V ships.
    • Thanks to RCIX for suggesting.
  • Spirecraft Siege Tower (Mark I-V)
    • Huge, slow, low-range, high-piercing, highly-armored, radar-dampened battlestation with multiple shots excellent for taking out large swathes of enemy ships while repelling a beating in return.
    • These each get created as 1 ship from one asteroid ranging from Reptite to Adamantite, Mark I-V ships.
  • Spirecraft Jumpship (Mark I-V)
    • Expensive, tiny-capacity transport with advanced teleportation and no self-attrition-per-wormhole. The advanced teleportation lets the jumpship pass through wormholes and across planets without the normal few-second delays that regular teleporting ships face. On planets with a higher mark than the jumpship, the jumpship expires in about twenty seconds, however.
    • These each get created as 2 ships from one asteroid ranging from Pysite to Titanite, Mark I-V ships, or as 4 ships from one asteroid ranging from Xampite to Titanite, Mark I-IV ships.
    • Thanks to Lancefighter for suggesting.

Other Capturables

  • Spire Archive
    • These powerful science vessels can be found nearby or on the AI homeworlds. Capturing them will provide +1/s knowledge income on the archive's planet for all human players while the archive lives, up to a cap that is 3x that of the normal per-planet cap. If the archive is destroyed, however, there is a hefty AI Progress cost.

Campaign Types

In the past, the only way to play the game was in what we're now calling "Conquest" mode: in other words, you play until the AI kills your home command stations or you kill theirs. An anchor feature of this expansion is the addition of the new Defender campaign type that completely changes how that works.

  • Defender
    • An alternate ruleset for AI War, where your goal is to survive for a certain length of time instead of conquering the AIs. You can select as many starting homeworlds as you want, and then you must defend them from brutal AI aggression (the No Waves AI modifier won't help you here). It is HIGHLY recommended that you select multiple planets to start if you want any chance of survival (unlike in Conquest, this won't affect ship caps). As long as at least one of your homeworlds is standing when the timer runs out, you win! In trial mode, the max trial time is 1/3 of the time limit.
    • There are variants for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, 2 hours, and 4 hours. We don't allow more flexibility in the time limits because each one requires a specific balance to be playable.
    • There are a lot of changes that come into play with the game when you use this mode. Among them:
      • Most of the good capturables are not seeded into the galaxy for players to capture. It's not expected that you'll be doing any capturing of AI planets.
      • There are no AI homeworlds, and all of the AI planets are mark V brutes.
      • Depending on combined the difficulty level you select for the two AIs, and what time limit variant you select, you'll have a lot of AI Progress right at the start of the game (in some cases 1000 or more), and the AI Progress automatically jumps upwards with every AI wave that is declared.
      • AI Waves are ever-present: the instant as one arrives, the next is declared. Depending on the time-limit variant you choose, though, the waves are spaced further apart.
      • Players start with 3x more resources, including knowledge, and Mark III Economic command stations on all their planets. However, colony ships, mercenary space docks, and missile silos are unavailable -- so when you lose a planet, you can't re-take it.
      • There are 32 possible starting home planets that confer bonus ship types to players, rather than just 16 (assuming the map is large enough to contain them all). However, there is no other way for players to get more bonus ship types during the course of the game.
      • All of the planets on the map can be chosen as starting home planets for players, whether or not they give a bonus ship type to them. Players can select literally every planet on the map if they like, or just one or two.
      • Unlike in conquest mode, having multiple planets at the start does not affect player ship caps (though it does still affect the number of AI Waves at a time). It's expected that usually players would choose a couple of planets with bonus ship types, and then a number without, to have a chance of surviving. The lower-time variants are particularly brutal, as they're basically a cage match with a very angry AI.
      • Most everything else from the Conquest campaign type is still in place, including multiplayer support, minor factions, AI plots (though not all would function, given that the Avenger would never have a chance to come out, for instance), AI types, map styles and planet counts, and so forth.

New AI Special Weapons

This is another big focus for this expansion. Most the new ships in this category are guardians, those mobile AI ships that populate the various AI worlds. We saw that as the best way to make the biggest impact on the feeling of variety in the AI planets with this expansion. That said, we also added a number of new Core AI Guard Posts, to help with the variety of the endgame.

Core AI Guard Posts

4 core AI guard posts have been added as part of this expansion.

  • AI Core Raid Engine Guard Post
    • Launches brutal mark V waves against its own planet or any adjacent planets, if those planets are not controlled by AI players, or if the human players have a significant fleet there. If human players don't have warp sensors on these planets, the waves may well arrive unannounced. These waves arrive around every four minutes and contain a broad mix of AI ships.
  • AI Core Cross Planet Attack Guard Post
    • Launches brutal galaxy-wide cross planet attacks as soon as the human players bring military ships to this post's planet. These CPAs happen around every 13 minutes and are heavily influenced in their size by both the current AI Progress and the difficulty level of the AI controlling this post.
  • AI Core Heavy Beam Guard Post
    • A massive long-range beam cannon can vaporize very many smaller craft in one blast, or do extreme damage to a larger target.
  • AI Core Booster Guard Post
    • Middling weaponry, but significantly boosts both the munitions and the armor of all nearby AI ships.

AI Guardians

50 new AI guardians (5 marks each of 10 overall types) have been added as part of this expansion.

  • AI Carrier Guardian
    • Mid-power, very high-health guardian that starts out with no ships inside it. As AI ships are damaged on the planet the carrier is on, they get inside the carrier and are slowly healed. When the carrier has enough ships inside it, it makes a beeline for player homeworlds.
  • AI EMP Guardian
    • Quick mid-power guardian that lets off a planet-wide burst of EMP that only affects human ships -- stunning all of the non-EMP-immune human ships on the planet for a bit -- when it emerges from any wormhole.
    • Only appears on difficulty 7 and up.
  • AI Self-Destruction Guardian
    • Exceptionally fragile but also quite vicious, this guardian is dangerous in death: like a lightning warhead, it emits a burst of area damage when it goes down.
    • Only appears on difficulty 8 and up.
  • AI Special Forces Rally Guardian
    • Heavily armored, cloaked, fairly weak combatant acts as a mobile rally post for special forces AI ships. Unlike the special forces guard post, new AI ships won't spawn at this guardian, but they will rally to it as one of their patrol points -- this guardian thus does its best to get to the human homeworlds, thus attracting streams of other special forces ships when it can.
  • AI Vampire Guardian
    • Tough long-range combatant that heals itself as it damages enemy ships.
  • AI Warp Gate Guardian
    • High-health short-range combatant that also acts as a mobile warp gate. Careful of these, as when they are attacking into your territory they can provoke raids in unexpected places that were otherwise inaccessible to the AI via warp. Particularly hunts for the player homeworlds.
    • Only appears on difficulty 7 and up.
  • AI Zombie Guardian
    • Reclaims enemy ships it kills (reclaimed ships have health = full damage inflicted by reclamator). Reclaimed ships come back as Zombie Bots, which cannot be controlled but which will attack enemy ships mercilessly until they die. Zombie bots will travel to enemy planets if no enemies present. This guardian cannot attack ships that are immobile, have no attack, or are immune to reclamation.
  • AI Gravity Guardian
    • Enormous gravity distortion effect slows enemy ships over a wide area. Middling firepower specially geared towards starships and other large targets.
    • Thanks to Ozymandiaz for suggesting.
  • AI Starship Disassembler Guardian
    • Huge alien guardian that swallows enemy starships and gradually attritions them. If the guardian is destroyed, they are ejected with whatever health they have left. External guns also fire at targets at short range while it chews on the swallowed ships.
  • AI Implosion Guardian
    • Mid-range, middling-health artillery weapon that does damage based on a percentage of the enemy ship's remaining health (not to be less than 1 damage). This is most effective when enemy ships have very high remaining health.
    • Thanks to RCIX for suggesting.

New LotS AI Types

The base game included 26 AI types, the Zenith Remnant added 14 more, and Children of Neinzul added an additional 6. Light of the Spire adds an additional 8, as the focus is primarily elsewhere with this expansion.

Easier

  • Vanilla
    • Has absolutely no unusual powers. Just a plain old basic AI, with whatever unlocks happen to come with the map seed.

Moderate

  • Spireling
    • Fairly aggressive AI that uses only Spire fleet ships.
    • Extra Ships: All Spire fleet ships.
  • Thief
    • Fairly aggressive AI that uses ships with tractor beams and leech capabilities. This can lead to a distinct disregard for player property rights.
    • Extra Ships: Etherjet tractors, Spire Tractor Platforms, Parasites
    • Thanks to Kemeno for the suggestion.

Harder

  • Everything
    • Has absolutely every fleet ship and core ship type unlocked from the start.
  • Retaliatory
    • Starts with Counterattack Guard Posts on most planets, and can actually have more than one on a planet (if that planet would have gotten one normally). This can lead to devastating counter attacks particularly when taking a mkIV planet.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for the suggestion.
  • Crafty Spire
    • Starts with various Spirecraft (which are generally bigger than starships and smaller than golems) on its planets.
    • Extra Ships: Spirecraft.
  • Extreme Raider
    • Very nasty AI that uses raid-oriented fleet ships and really likes sending Raid Starships along with normal waves.
    • Extra Ships: Raider, Spire Stealth Battleship, Cutlass, Vampire, Teleport Raider
    • Thanks to ShadowOTE for the suggestion.
  • Spire Hammer
    • Generally solid AI that also adds a powerful Spire ship to each wave (in addition to the normal starship). At higher tech levels it will even send Capital-ship level vessels.
    • Extra Ships: Spire Frigates and Capital Ships.

New Map Styles

Eight new map types in all are added as part of this expansion, based on three overall stylings.

  • Grid
    • Planets are organized into an orderly grid.
  • Crosshatch
    • Planets are organized into an orderly grid with the angles also filled in.
  • Maze A
    • Planets are organized into a maze-like grid that uses the Recursive Backtracker algorithm on a grid to create the maze.
  • Maze A Easy
    • Planets are organized into a maze-like grid that uses the Recursive Backtracker algorithm on a grid to create the maze, but with random extra links added in various spots.
  • Maze B
    • Planets are organized into a maze-like grid that uses the Recursive Backtracker algorithm on a crosshatch to create the maze.
  • Maze B Easy
    • Planets are organized into a maze-like grid that uses the Recursive Backtracker algorithm on a crosshatch to create the maze, but with random extra links added in various spots.
  • Maze C
    • Planets are organized into a maze-like grid that uses the Prims algorithm on a grid to create the maze.
  • Maze D
    • Planets are organized into a maze-like grid that uses the Prims algorithm on a crosshatch to create the maze.

New Music Tracks

In all, this expansion adds over 40 minutes of new in-game music, or about 46 minutes of music overall when the new Title Music and Chase tracks are included. Here's the list of tracks:

  • During-play tracks:
    • Darkness
    • Meteor Shower
    • Night Carousel
    • On The Move
    • The Blinding Star
    • The Light Within
    • The Night Light
  • Special Tracks
    • Light of the Spire Title Theme
    • The Chase (special event-specific music)

Other Miscellaneous Additions

  • Four new cheats were added.
  • Twenty-three new achievements were added.

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