Sins of a Solar Empire Beta Diary Four: Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate

Thumb - Image 1 In this installment of Sins of a Solar Empire Beta Diary, this writer learns about the Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate philosophy and manages to exercise the aforementioned virtues, while encountering kamikaze enemy fleets at the same time. All is well and good in the adventures of this budding conqueror in Stardock and Ironclad Games‘ masterpiece.

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After days of playing several Sins of a Solar Empire single-player campaigns, I have to say that I am slowly learning to become a good strategist. Not much, but maybe my newfound skills of the 4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) philosophy should suffice in letting me gain enough power and influence to let me steal my neighbor’s gaming rig–oh, wait. Bad logic.

Nice try, though.

That aside, after several days of plowing through most of the single-player campaigns, micro-managing my fleet gradually became as easy as moving my hands. That was one of my earlier complaints about the game: the menus were too overwhelming and a bit too cluttered for me to instinctively move about and deliver commands.

However, I eventually settled into a relatively comfortable routine whenever I start every campaign: build up research facilities, beef up fleets, slowly colonize the neighboring planets, so on and so forth. Along with the routine came the increasing ease of navigating through the various menus. At this point, all is well when it comes to building up resources enough to Explore the neighboring planets and systems and Expanding my area of influence.

Of course, after the initial preparation stage (and after fending off a few lost ships that strayed into my home turf), comes the attempt to take over other territories. I tried to put together a nice “strike package” that Enrico detailed in his own Sins of a Solar Empire beta diary post, and while they did a nice job of doing the Exterminate bit, I noticed that my AI foes were not doing as well as I am.

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In one of my campaigns, I noticed that it took a long time before the enemy decided to attack me, and sent a small fleet in my home planet, of all places. It was quite baffling, especially since my home turf already had a lot of defenses set up. I colonized a handful of planets and dead asteroids, most of them left with poor defenses (yes, bad of me), but the enemy AI didn’t choose to take them over. To compensate for the AI’s judgment, I just imagined a scenario where the Trade Coalition fleet decided to do a kamikaze attack in an attempt to unseat me from the Empire.

Another thing that I noticed are the strange messages that I receive from my allies. Sure, receiving messages like “Your destruction is inevitable” still amuses me from time to time, but I do have some problems with what my allies send me, especially when I know they need my assistance. When I am told “why am I here, and you aren’t?”, it sends me scrambling to every other planet, searching for the allied fleet that needs assistance. A clue to the location of the message sender will be nice indeed.

But despite those issues, I greatly enjoyed my time when left alone with a PC, running Sins of a Solar Empire. I’ll be making “strike packages” of my own, though I have to admit that I still have a lot to learn about the various machinations within the game.

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