Encounter at Andromeda Survival Optimization


#1

I know most of this community is way past the basic game that you can get from steam, so here is a call out to anybody that is left that wants to work through optimizing the Encounter for Andromeda Survival mode battle. Similar to a handful of people using the Veiled Nebula to work out a nearly optimized solution, I thought it would work best to collaborate on EoA.

Perhaps this has already been done. It was hard to find any good discussion on the forum. Anybody up for it?


#2

Seeing as there are no takers, I’ll just use the thread to document my own findings for others. So here goes:
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Best Deployments:[/size]

Empire Build - 712K (Vreely)
Imperial Legion Cruiser x6

  • Cruiser Laser
  • Multiple Warhead Missiles x3
  • Cruiser Defense Laser
  • EMP Cannon
  • Guidance Scrambler Beam
  • Reflective Shield
  • Fast Recharge Shield x4
  • Ultra Heavy Armor
  • Nanobot Repair System
  • Power Generator III x2
  • Crew Module II

Imperial Weapons Platform x1

  • Anti-Fighter Missile Launcher x3
  • Frigate Tractor Beam
  • Shield Generator II x3
  • Frigate Armor III x3
  • Crew Module II
  • Power Generator II

Cruisers in a tight overlapping vertically aligned 6-pack.
Frigate placed behind the back-center Cruiser
The entire formation 2 grid spots up from the SW corner
No special orders, only attack fighters for frigate. Basic three orders for cruisers with priority on frigates first, then cruisers, then fighters.

Notes: SW corner cruiser died around 40K due to shock wave damage form enemy ships, so I thought the deployment was doomed. The remaining 5 cruisers went the distance. Damage to all of them was pretty much spread across the board. The frigate lasted until at least 660K (the last time I checked it before finish). The AA-frigate was invaluable. I also found that not using co-op or retaliate seemed to work best for choosing targets to spread the EMP.

Waves:
First collecting some info on the waves. This can get more detail, but I’ll start here with my notes. I see six primary waves.

  1. 3 short range cruisers, 2 escorting frigates (at least one with ECM), 2 squadrons of dog fighter escorts. Spawn in East
  2. Rocket Cruiser, 2 escorting frigates. Spawn in SW.
  3. 2 fat fighter squadrons from center, 3 plasma cruisers from North
  4. Rocket Cruiser w/ painter beam from NW corner, Missile Cruiser from SE corner, Missile Frigate from NE corner, Frigate from SE corner (nor sure of payload)
  5. 2 dogfighter squadrons from center, 3 missile cruisers from east, 1 laser cruiser with painter beam from east, 2 (maybe 3) escort frigates
  6. 4 plasma cruisers and 2 frigates all from the south; 2 dogfighter squadrons (I think) from SW

It then repeats except the escort dog fighter squadrons from wave 1 become attack squadrons.

Survival Strategy:
To get a high score, I figure there needs to be a long-term survival strategy for each of these waves. Here are some general principals I am using that are nothing new, just recorded here:

  • Fighters are not a long term solution. Even with Carrier Bays they will die sooner rather than later, so they are not a viable long term defense against fighter waves.
  • For the same reason, frigates are also not a long term solution, although I am experimenting with keeping some around as a throw in.
  • Anti-fighter solution must be viable with your cruiser pack.
  • Engines – you don’t need them. Even with formation order, I can’t seem to keep ships in formation. Let them come to you. This means you need to use at least 1 MWM to chase off wave 5.
  • I agree w/ the following insight from the Veiled Nebula Thread. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. So I am working to identify why my first ship falls, then try to mitigate it.
  • I am using a bunch formation. It seems too valuable to have concentrated fire, even though it means I damage myself when a ship drops.
    Question: When an enemy ship spawns and explodes on top of you, do you take damage?
    Answer from Ramcat: Yes.

Weak Points:
You don’t have to play too long to find the weak points:

  • Fighters
  • Plasma Spam
  • Missile Spam

Anti-Fighter Notes:
First thing I did after reading all the helpful threads on this forum was to get my armor to at least 8. This will reflect all but the critical laser hits. This is crucial, and cannot be compromised I think.

Secondly, You need to deal with the critical hits. There are 2 main vehicles I am trying to employ:

  1. Nanobot repair – This defines the breaking point for the scenario. When a cruiser runs out of repair, the armor quickly goes, and the cruiser is dead on the next wave of fighters, 2 if you are lucky. When my first cruiser drops, I am typically within 20-30K of death.
  2. Limit their shots – Reduce the number of critical hits they give you by cleaning them up quicker so you use less repair. This means more anti-fighter, the better. Of course, this has an opportunity cost. I have been experimenting with a good load for this and haven’t landed on something I like for sure.

Primarily I have tried combinations of tractor beams, cruiser defense lasers, and AA missile frigates. I do not know what the sweet spot here is, but I am thinking that tractor beams are not worth it. Keeping frigates alive is tricky, but with my current build I have cash for 6 cruisers, then can throw in a couple of AA frigates. One game for some reason, one was completely left alone all the way up to about 130K… I cannot seem to repeat that. I have found that if you limit the weaponry, they are not a target, except by some random chance of a fighter deciding to hit it. I tuck both of them behind my 6-pack of cruisers in the bottom left side of the screen. Eventually they die however, and typically before 50K.

Plasma Spam Defense:
I am doing a couple things to handle these. First of all, Wave 6 comes on the south border. I am currently doing my deploy placement in SW corner, and so often have the ability to kill these quickly before they really get going. Wave 3 is a bigger problem for me, and is turning out to be the wave I take the most damage, however its mostly due to the fighters.

Secondly, I am playing Empire for their shield bonus, and taking the hull with 16% shield boost. I load 1 reflective shield (requirement to repel the Cruiser Proton Beam), and then 4 other fast recharge shields. Combined with an EMP laser on each of my cruisers this keeps me alive through the plasma frigates. If I strip off the ECM, then they sometimes get a nice focused bunch to take down a shield battery before recharge (usually the reflective shield), and then I am quickly doomed. If I even turn one of my fast recharge shields into a multi-phase, then the same thing occurs. So, I have pretty much landed on needing these 5 shields, and an EMP.

Update: The Reflective shield is not needed, and even 7 fast recharge shields cannot handle focused plasma fire from 3 cruisers. This is clearly the biggest problem area for the scneario.

I think there is definitely room for improvement here as I am investing a lot to block these plasma cruisers. Please add your ideas.

Missile Spam Defense:
Heavy shields here are mostly good enough. However I found that mostly does not cut it. Every once in awhile a nice focused burst would get through the shields and hurt my armor. To combat this, I added a scrambler. Simple enough.

Ship Builds:
I am using 6 cruisers. I think with cost optimization you can get 7, but I would rather have 6 to my liking instead of 7 weaker ones, especially since the 7th has to stick out of the 6-pack and is vulnerable. I am using Empire for now mostly due to the fact that not many Empire scores on the list, and I like the shield bonus for the plasma defense.

I keep playing around with this, but here are some must have modules for me now:

  • At least 1 Nanobot repair. Have to repair fighter critical hits.
  • At least 1 UltraHeavy armor. Getting to 8 armor defense is required.
  • At least 1 Multi-Warhead Missile. Need to deal with Wave 5.
  • EMP Cannon. Wave 3
  • At least 1 Cruiser Defense Laser. Need to deal with those fighters.

Aside from that, I am often trying 2 Cruiser Defense for fighter help; sometimes a tractor. I have used as many as 4 MWMs, once I tried a heavy plasma, and I almost always use a Cruiser Laser to rip things up short range. It seems like a no-brainer to throw in a 2nd Nano-repari, but I don’t always do it. Its harder than it seems cuz it often means losing a gun. To get good, I probably need to find a build that can fit a 2nd repair unit and still be effective.

I also throw in an AA frigate with 3 shield 2, 3 AA missiles, and some armor. I’m always changing this up for cost reasons once I try a new cruiser build.

Deployment & Orders:
I stick my 6-pack in the SE corner, and then hide an AA frigate behind it. I align the 6-pack vertically, so I have a 3-ship front facing the east. I have tried moving this around a bit, but not too much to report there yet. I’m not sure how big of a deal it is when the frigates spawn and blowup on top of me. Primarily, I want to figure out how to protect the AA frigate as long as I can.

I probably have a lot to learn here, but without engines, this is a lot simpler. For the AA frigate I delete everything but the attack fighters order. On the cruisers, I am going co-op with a priority on frigates. I tried retaliate once in hopes of spreading around EMP shots more, but it didn’t seem to make much difference. I have also tried no special orders.

That’s about it. I’ll keep updating this as I experiment more.


#3

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Well that depends on what you mean by ‘right on top of you’. You should see ‘shockwave’ in the damage message if another ships explosion is hurting you.


#4

Thanks. I’ll have to slow it down and look closer. Yeah, but right on top, I mean literally occupying the same space.


#5

Just some quick thoughts.

You are right, fighters & frigates don’t last long enough. Save your credits.

Your corner Cruisers will be taking most of the hits. Add extra nano repair systems and armour to them.

A combo of lasers & tractor beams worked well for me.

Empire is handicapped by having large ships. Large ships = less concentrated fleet = less concentrated fire.

You only get listed once on the high score, research the various fleets for your best options.

Cheers!


#6

Well – you can keep a frigate alive. The trick is to make it so it never gets shot at. To do so, make it not a threat to any of the ships.

I do not know the specifics, but I can say with certainty that I lost a cruiser before my AA frigate. At 400K he is still alive and kicking. Needless to say, the AA frigate with its anti-fighter missiles is invaluable. In future runs I will experiment more on how far I can push it before it gets shot at. I may be able to take the cruiser defense laser completely off a couple of the gunboats.

Update: My frigate made it all the way to the bitter end over 700K


#7

If shield penetration is greater than your shield’s resistance, then whatever is next in line to take damage (armor, hp) will take damage as well. I’m not sure how this damage is calculated, but this should answer your question. Also, shield resistances do not stack, so the highest shield resistance you can get is 27 (reflective shield).

I still haven’t tried doing survival challenges. If I get started on them I’ll let you know if I find anything out.


#8

Updated the initial post with my latest deployment that went to 712K.

One of my 6 cruisers dropped early due to shock wave damage. I’ll need to replace. The frigate went the distance. For some reason, my formation started to drift apart leaving cruisers vulnerable. Perhaps this was due to the initial first explosion.

AA-frigate was invaluable.

Possible Improvements to be made:

  • Move deployment to avoid shock wave damage
  • Potentially More AA launchers on the frigate
  • Maybe add another tractor beam
  • I probably can take a scrambler or 2 off a couple of the ships.
  • I can probably get away with taking a Cruiser Defense Laser off a ship or 2.
  • Fit in a 2nd Nano-repair
  • Experiment with 1 less shield
  • Play around with cost, maybe fit a 2nd AA frigate

#9

lol. Shows what is possible when you didn’t know it was impossible.

Well done, I’ll revisit AA Frigates :slight_smile:


#10

After widely varied starts with the same exact setup in different locations, I noticed something, and am wondering if others see it. There are times where wave 3 will spawn a mosquito swarm of fighters that just circle around in the center of the map and do nothing other than acting like a swarm of gnats, slowly drifting to the right side. There they sit slowing down the simulation greatly until wave 5 when they teleport to the middle again and repeat. It happens on both wave 3 and wave 5 through the entire battle, and I think the swarm slowly grows in size each time.

First of all, this slows down the battle greatly. Secondly, it also seems to cause one of the 3 plasma frigates to head to the NE corner right after spawn, even with no damage. Needless to say, this completely shuts down any chance a plasma spam will crack my shields.

Does anybody else see this odd spawn pattern? Any idea on what triggers it? I see it maybe 1 in 6 starts.


#11

I still cannot figure this out. There is some unexplainable reason they did not target my frigate. After repeated attempts with very slight variations in my deployment, I have yet to get another to live past 500K, and sometime even small changes cause them to die immediately as they should.

I think I just got lucky, and hit some very fine balance point out of the blue.


#12

Ok – After repeated attempts, some even with the exact same deployment & orders, I cannot even come close to repeating the high score i posted. It clearly was some freak occurrence, and so three is no need to follow my setup as a guide to optimize.

My primary problem is the 2 plasma waves that come (Wave 3, and Wave 6). The first has 3 plasma cruisers from the north, the 2nd has 4 plasma cruisers from the south. I can mitigate the risk of the 4 by deploying down south, but I cannot reliably handle the wave of 3 from the north. If they decide to concentrate fire on one of my cruisers, and my EMP guns do not spread to knock out 2 of them, then my victimized cruiser is dead. If I deploy up north to take care of the wave 3 plasma cruisers, then the 4 on wave 6 from the south handle me.

How this worked on my 712K run, I have no idea? One guess I have is a combination of sheer luck, and equal targets of opportunity. If all 6 of my cruisers have the exact same load out, I have seen that the plasma cruisers tend to spread their targets, seemingly randomly. They don’t even necessarily go for the nearest. All I can think of to explain the high score was insane luck that they always spread their shots. If they focus fire, even 7 fast recharge shields with the 16% bonus is not enough to keep them from the armor.