AI War:Wormhole Defense
How Do I Barricade A Wormhole?
Q: It would be really nice if I could prevent enemies from coming through a wormhole and then just spreading all over my planet. What can I do?
A: An effective perimeter inside your wormhole can take several forms. Since you can't just spam units across all wormholes, you'll probably want to mix and match all of these techniques -- on the higher difficulties, you'll HAVE to. Here are three techniques out of the many possible strategies:
Minefields: You can build a minefield inside your wormhole. Since you have a limited number of mines, you might need to move them from planet to planet. If just one planet is being hit repeatedly, you might want to build mine layers to automatically do your rebuilding for you. Be careful with where you place your mines -- try to anticipate enemy targets, and build dense clusters of mines between them and those specific targets. Hold Shift, plus Ctrl or Alt, and then drag to quickly lay down a large minefield without giving yourself tendonitis.
Turret Emplacements: Turrets are the best way to defend most wormholes. You can easily build them in batches of 5 by just holding Ctrl when you click to place them (or you can drag-build them like mines, or any other placed ship). Turrets all have extremely large range, so it is often a good idea to place them a bit away from the wormhole itself (that prevents shorter-range enemy ships from even hurting them). The best distance from the wormhole is at about 50% of the total range of the turret, usually.
Tractor Beams: Each Mark I Tractor Beam will automatically grab and hold up to 10 enemy ships. So if most of the enemy waves have had 60 units or less, build at least 6 tractor beams around that wormhole and nothing will get through. Pair this with turrets or a standing force of mobile ships, and most waves of enemies are likely to meet a quick end. You don't have nearly enough tractor beams to do this on all your planets, though, so pick key wormholes to do this at.
Gravitational Turrets: These have the same basic purpose as tractor beams, but affect all non-teleporting ships (yours and enemies). Rather than outright stopping enemy ships, these just slow all ships down a ton, giving you more time to shoot at them. For defending against ships that are immune to tractor beams (such as melee ships, raiders, or starships), these can be an absolute must.
Attack-Move Stance: If you hold the Alt key and then right-click a destination, and your ships will enter and stay in the attack-move stance (signified with a yellow border on far zoom) until given new orders. If you station a group of ships beside a wormhole, and place them all in attack-move stance, they will automatically pursue and destroy anything that makes it through.
Free-Roaming Defender Stance: If you hold the V key and then right-click a destination, and your ships will enter and stay in the free-roaming defender stance (signified with a pink border on far zoom) until given new orders. If you station a group of ships beside a wormhole, or anywhere else on the planet, and place them all in free-roaming stance, they will automatically pursue and destroy anything on the planet, even if it would otherwise escape their range. Most expert players prefer this stance over Attack-Move for defensive purposes.
Force Fields: Force fields displace enemy units, which can be supremely useful at barricading wormholes. However, this only helps against ships that are moving from one planet to the next, not against those that are warping in, because you have to put them on the far side of the wormhole that you want to barricade -- on the enemy side, in other words. Putting a forcefield over a wormhole prevents enemies from going into that wormhole from that side, but doesn't stop them from popping out on that side from the side without a forcefield (since enemies are displaced outward by forcefields that they spawn inside of, rather than being incinerated or somesuch). You can also use forcefields over wormholes on your own planets to prevent AI ships from spreading from one planet to another -- for example, to protect resource-rich or home planets.