AI War:OLD Guard Posts
What Do Guard Posts Do?
A: Firstly, they block resource gather points. More importantly, when an AI reinforces a planet, it gets units at each guard post. By killing the guard posts on a planet, you cut down on the volume of reinforcements the AI is able to get and the maximum AI ship cap for that planet. Some guard posts allow AI reinforcements even if the warp gate and command station have been destroyed.
See AI Reinforcements for a general discussion on reinforcements.
Another consideration with guard posts: normally, ships that are guarding each guard post won't stray too far from it unless chasing an enemy ship that came within their range. However, when the command station on the planet is destroyed, there is about a 50% chance that all the guards will decide to abandon their posts. With low-level planets this matters little, but if you are attacking a Mark IV planet and have not cleared off all the guard posts before taking the command station, you have a 50% chance of getting a nasty surprise. Even worse, if the released guards kill all your forces on their planet, they will then swarm over to your planets, destroying whatever they can. With higher-level planets, this can lose you the game if you aren't careful about it.
A higher difficulty AI will also react differently with those now-free units. The higher the difficulty, the more accurately the AI gauges its forces against yours in deciding if it can win. It will send its units against you immediately if it thinks it can, otherwise the units will retreat to become part of a Cross Planet Attack later.
- Five marks each (I-V) of nine new guard posts have been added to the game. These are specifically NOT for the AI homeworlds, but are now used in place of all of the previously-existing guard posts and stealth guard posts that used to be in the game (special forces guard posts have not been altered.
These new, specialized guard posts vary in rarity and effect just as do their counterparts on the AI homeworlds, but these have very little overlap in terms of specific function with the homeworld-specific guard posts. Also, with the exception of the "AI Command Station Shield Guard Post," none of these new guard posts protect the command stations from being destroyed.
The primary function of these specialized guard posts is to make the assaults on AI non-homeworld planets more interesting and varied. These first 45 new guard posts should be considered the first steps into this new design paradigm for guard posts, rather than the end-all designs. In other words, there is lots of room for growth in terms of variety and function with these, same as with the guard posts for the homeworlds.
The secondary function of these new guard posts is to raise the difficulty on the non-homeworld planets. Or, more specifically, to counteract the lowered difficulty that is also contained in this release in the form of the lowered AI per-planet ship caps. These guard posts now form the centerpieces of more varied sub-battlefields within the larger battlefields of each planetary area.
Types Of Common Guard Posts
- Anti-Starship Arachnid Guard Posts are now unable to hit smaller craft (like the siege starships cannot), but their range has been increased and their base firepower has been increased massively.
- Command Station Shield Guard Post Makes that systems command station invincible until this guard post type is destroyed.
- External invincibility for command stations is now visually shown on the command stations, and shown in the hover info for the command station with a count of how many external guard posts are contributing to that invincibility.
- Missile Guard Post High Range High Damage Missile Launcher
- MLRS Guard Post Multiple Midrange Missile Launcher
- Passive Guard Posts now have a small, token attack that helps them alert their guards when enemies are near
- Short Range Guard Post Basic post with a Mid-range Attack
- Special Forces Guard Post Have their own Special Forces page.
- Spire Shield Sphere Guard Post has few guns but has an Impressive forcefield
- Stealth Guard Post is cloaked and has no guns. The only way to destroy it is to use a tachyon detector device to uncloak it. Usually discovered when a resource node is unusable (because the hidden stealth guard post is blocking the node).
- Warp Counter Attack Guard Posts Possibly one of the most dangerous Guard Posts worthy of their own Warp Counter Attack GP page.
- Wormhole Guard Posts are no longer perma-cloaked, and now have a small, token attack like the passive guard posts. These can now be seen and attacked if you wish, although they have 400 million health, so in MOST cases that's a colossal waste of time. But in an event where you have a ton of firepower and the desire to clear a wormhole without clearing the planet, you can do so.
Having these visible also helps to reduce confusion about spawned guardians for things like turtles, where there are multiple wormhole guard posts instead of just one.
Core Guard Post Types
This one is a HUGE and exciting change to the base game: the endgame has been completely overhauled for AI War. Previously, the home planets for the AI were always very similar to one another, and often they were something of a grind. The chief problem was that things were too centralized on a single unit on those planets: the AI home command stations. You had to destroy those, and that was really the only goal; therefore, that was super hard if you didn't have enough firepower, or really easy if you did. Now the emphasis is on a distributed network of specialized, much stronger guard posts, as well as a much weaker central home command station. However, the central home command station can't be touched until all the new AI Core Guard Posts have been destroyed, which means that there are many goals on the planet before you actually get to the final goal of killing the command station itself.
There are 9 new types of these specialized guard posts, with various abilities. Rather than enumerate those here, we'll let you discover those in-game. Some are more rare than others, and your seeding is different every time, which makes each AI home planet quite unique now. There is also room for expansion over time with more specialized guard posts in addition to the first 9. The overall net effect is that you can take on the home planet a chunk-at-a-time now, and you can successfully destroy a chunk and then come back much later without having lost any progress. This is a big improvement over the old system, where you had to build up overwhelming force and win all in one big push; again, that tended to be either too hard or too easy (usually too hard).
Going along with the above, there is now quite a bit of strategy and puzzle-style challenge to figuring out the best attack pattern and order for actually clearing the guard posts on the AI home planets. Some of the guard posts are likely to support one another, and so your success depends on your ability to make and execute plans here. The goal is to make the endgame as strategic as the early and middle game, rather than it always devolving into a grind or a cakewalk right at the end.
Lastly, the AI home planets previously had really inflated ship caps, in that even if you destroyed guard posts it was impossible to neuter the AI home planets at all. This is no longer the case, and the AI home planets can now have their effective ship caps whittled down over time. This way the battles remain epic, but not laggy or grindy, hopefully. More tweaks may be needed to this over time, too.
Light of the Spire Expansion Bonus Guard Posts
35 new guardians have been added to LotS (5 marks each of 7 new guardian types): Carrier, EMP, Self Destruction, Special Forces Rally, Vampire, Warp Gate, and Zombie.
- EMP guardians only appear on difficulty 7 and up.
- Self-destruction guardians only appear on difficulty 8 and up.
- Warp gate guardians only appear on difficulty 7 and up.
The rest of the guardians have a more normal difficulty spread, and thus appear at all difficulty levels.