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Sins II: Dev Journal 14 - A Post Mortem Playthrough Adventure

Published on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 By Yarlen In Sins II Dev Journals

A number of fans have asked us about how Sins II plays, both from a new and returning user perspective. This past weekend, we played a 10-player dev FFA bout where I took the role of a TEC loyalist empire. Let’s walk through how things went!

[NOTE: Please forgive the quality of these screen shots. For some reason my capture software messed up the brightness/contrast on all of them. I’ve adjusted them manually to be closer to the in-game experience.]

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As a TEC player, I start the game with a home planet, large and small ship factories, and a Refit Bay. I also get two scout corvettes which automatically set out to reveal my surrounding area. As with Sins: Rebellion, my first capital ship is free, so I pick the Akkan battlecruiser. The Akkan specializes in colonization which makes it ideal for the early game in helping to buff new planets. It also has the ability to enhance the ships in its fleet with its Inspiring Broadcast.

In Sins II, your planets are more important than ever; they’re not just credit generators and a place to host your orbital structures. Part of this change is in the research system, as research infrastructure is now planet-based. By investing in these areas, you can gain research points that unlock tiers in the research tree.

This early in the game, I want to quickly reveal my area, so I do some initial investment in Military research and unlock the Prova Jump Computer to decrease my scouts' phase charge time.

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My surrounding planets are all asteroids and volcanic, so initially I really just need to research Volcanic Colonization since asteroids don’t require special technology.

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I’ve found my first opponent! SolarSpish, a fellow TEC player, is just a few jumps away. Since I have alliance colors turned on, all hostile players will show red and allied blue. This makes it very easy to tell friend from foe at a glance.

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Neither SolarSpish or I want to get into a tussle this early on - the game is just 6 minutes old at this point! He offers me a peace treaty which I gratefully accept.

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With that resolved for now, I focus on colonizing all of my surrounding worlds and grabbing the precious derelict loot! Derelicts are another new feature in Sins II and can be found around many planets. These ruined objects need to be captured by a capital ship and can grant both resources and XP.

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In the screenshot below, you can see a few things happen in fast succession: My capital ship gains a level from capturing the derelict; I put this point into its Colonize ability to bring it up to level 2. My research on Focused Exploration also finishes, granting me 4 free scout corvettes and the ability to find Minor Factions faster.

Moments later, I encounter the first Vasari player, Unikraken. I don’t know where his worlds are located, but he offers me a peace treaty which I also accept to avoid a war with someone who’s location I don’t know.

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As a TEC loyalist player, one of my special bonuses is the Garrison Command on my homeworld. These forces don’t take up any fleet supply, so I switch them into offensive roam mode which sends them to assault adjacent planets with enemy forces present. This helps free up my fleet to continue colonizing planets that are further away.

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A few minutes later and it’s clear that I have a big problem looming: I don’t have any Ice planets to colonize, which is going to seriously hamper my crystal income. As you can also see in the image below, I’ve just found SovereignEcho - a Vasari Exodus player. He’s far away from me, however, so not an immediate threat.

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At this stage, I’ve found a couple of the Minor Factions. Unfortunately, a bug I found is keeping me from sharing a screenshot of them, but we’ll get it fixed up. (smile) Minor Factions have received a major update since the Sins: Rebellion DLC and are a main part of the game. For starters, the metal and crystal markets are now Minor Factions that exist on the map; until you reveal them, you’re unable to trade with them. Minor Factions can be revealed either by your scouts, or by using Influence, one of the game’s new systems. I’ll delve more deeply into Influence in a future dev diary.

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In Sins II, it’s important to keep tabs on the planets' orbits, since these affect phase lane connections. In the above two screenshots, you can see the shifts over the next hour of game time from using the Future Orbits feature. Luckily, my planetary neighborhood is pretty stable, but you can see that the asteroid, Niebuhr, is going to gain a connection close to me.

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Even though I’m lacking in precious crystal resources, as a TEC player, I have access to Trade. By assigning trade points to crystal, I can boost my crystal income by +1.0 per second which is vital to keep me in the game. Of course, I could also buy crystal off the market by trading it for credits once I locate that faction on the map.

With all of this happening already, we’re still less than 20 minutes into the match.

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I wanted to show the Diplomacy screen here because you can see that my alliance timer with SolarSpish is getting ready to expire. In Sins 2, players can set an alliance lock timer which prevents either side from launching a sneak attack for the duration. Once the timer expires, you still have your peace treaty, etc. but either player can break it at will.

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This makes scout corvettes a valuable unit throughout the game - if you lose track of what other players are doing, you will learn to regret it! In the above shot, you can see that I’ve just sent a cohort of scouts out.

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Shortly after sending out my scouts, I discover an Ice planet - yay! Unfortunately, it’s in Unikraken’s domain, which makes it nigh impossible to capture without causing tensions. Now, had I been paying better attention during our match, I would have seen that our alliance lock timer had 10 minutes left on it. This would have been the perfect time to take Yoshino!

Instead, my attention was on bringing my forces closer to home so I could attack Ganesa and sync up my new ships quickly. In the above shot you can also see a Minor Faction auction for some Kalanide exotics. At this point, I don’t have much Influence, but I use what I have in a bid for it. Luckily, my bid won and I scored the exotic resources.

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A new system we’re adding for the summer update is Surveying, which replaces the current Excavation system. I won’t go too much into the details of it right now, but you can see that my efforts bore fruit on Icarion!

My scouts have also discovered several new enemy empires…

A few minutes later and we have our first player defeated - Republica101 was taken out by the AI. It’s not over for him yet, though! He’ll quit and then rejoin to take over the AI’s empire that just defeated him (which is another new feature). (smile)

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I wanted to show the lines of culture influence that have now formed on the map. You can see the green, blue and red lines along the phase lanes, which represent my, my allies (SolarSpish) and enemy cultural influence. Culture does a few things once it's dominant in a gravity well; for TEC it grants a credit income rate bonus.

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Jumping ahead, we see that I have become stuck: I have two allies on either side of me and only one asteroid I could attack - Deiphobus. All this time I’ve been building up my fleet and technology, but it’s not nearly enough to betray someone. Why not attack, Deiphobus? It belongs to the Aluxian Resurgence Minor Faction, and they have a 900-supply fleet out there. Mine is just under 400, so that’s not a bee’s nest I want to poke. Instead, I decide to attack the asteroid Niebuhr after SolarSpish and I renew our peace treaty for another 20 minutes.

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Niebuhr falls quickly to my forces and I’m only 2 jumps away from Stephen’s homeworld right now. He’s a TEC Rebel player and is asking for peace, but I smell blood…

You know how I mentioned earlier that scouting was important? Well… I was so focused on his homeworld that I totally ignored the asteroid in between and ran into this.

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I stuck it out for a couple of minutes, but with his fleet and the Argonov starbase, I was in deep trouble. I ordered my forces to retreat back to Niebuhr, but not before losing my Kol battleship and another 150-fleet supply of ships. With my tail between my legs, I ran back to Ganesa and made peace with Stephen. It was at this point that Republica101 was slain for the last time by Zabik.

I would spend the next few minutes rebuilding my forces, establishing starbases on my key planets, and upgrading my technologies. I’m definitely feeling the constraints of my little empire. I only have 4 full planets, which limits my ability to increase research tiers without resorting to planet items. At this point in the game, I am 1st in Research but only 6th in Military and Economy. I really, really wanted a titan, however, so kept on the research focus.

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Now with over 1,000 fleet supply, I decide to take out Deiphobus. It’s not a big gamble as others have already beaten down the Aluxian Resurgence, but it gets my new capital ships some XP. With the way open, I finally capture an Ice planet - Orpheus. I know I may not have it for long, though, as Zabik and his 1,400-fleet supply armada is right next door.

Luckily for me, Zabik headed towards Danae to take out Stephen; and unfortunately for Stephen, SovereignEcho was there to help. Since I’m allied with both players, you see both in blue on the tooltip above, but with Echo’s nearly 1,700-fleet supply and Zabik’s 1,460-fleet supply, he was toast. I jumped my forces to Eetorian to pick off some of Zabik’s stragglers, and then jumped to Nakai to attack Zabik. This was a poor decision as Fyst would jump in to pincer me while Zabik’s fleet returned to Eetorian. Once again, I would escape but lost a few hundred fleet supply.

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Now two hours into our match, the first titan has been unleashed by SolarSpish. A few minutes later, SovereignEcho would also complete their titan and begin the process of going fully mobile. For my part, I finally unlocked Ogrov torpedo cruisers and was again rebuilding my forces; while at the same time, working on my own titan.

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Having learned earlier lessons the hard way, I noticed SolarSpish moving his fleet toward Orpheus. There was no good reason to do so unless he planned to backstab me, and backstab me he did. All of my forces were at Orpheus and two things worked in my favor: The first is that my Akkan battlecruiser was level 6, and I had unlocked its ultimate ability - Armistice. This forced a cease fire for 60 seconds which was just enough time for my own titan to leave the drydock and avoid destruction.

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Unfortunately, the day would not be mine. I would manage to inflict a fair amount of damage thanks entirely to my starbase and Ankylon, but the numbers were just not on my side.

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Again I was at risk of being wiped out as Fyst flanked me by attacking and destroying Deiphobus. I was forced to retreat with my titan and few remaining to ships back to Niebuhr. To cap off this dev journal, my once proud empire would be effectively become vassal to both Unikraken and Fyst.