Quoting Seleuceia, reply 5
Now Vasari have a lot of neat tricks up their sleeves (they are also the strongest factions by far), but you weren't interested in those...
Nothing is set in stone yet. I'm still new to Rebellion, and from the first look&feel, TL, AL and AR seemed most interesting. I guess Vasari are quite nice with their phase missiles and mobility, but when I tried them I never got off to a good start, and their expensive ships didn't seem to work so well in my hands.
Like I said, it really matters if you are interested in competitive games or not....if you aren't, and are just looking to have fun, then play whatever faction and do whatever you think is most fun (I personally like TL and AL the most even though they suck)....many people find abusing SttC or jumping Orkies to be very fun though in SP, making me think that in many cases most powerful = most fun...
In competitive games, I almost exclusively go with TR and AR (I'm cursed when I play Vasari)....
Again, I might be interested in competitive games. What's a good way to get started with that? Also, do you happen to have any replays I could watch to learn? Concerning most powerful = most fun: to a certain extent,i agree. Personally, I like it when I can dictate the terms of battle.
What's the playstyle for TR and AR like? And cursed in what way?
The most important things for learning to play competatively are:
1). learn to expand fast:
Pretty much every race starts with either the carrier capitalship or colony capitalship(TEC usually tend towards colony, advent is split). in general though, the carrier will allow faster expansion and a stronger early military whereas the colony capship will save you resources, making it a bit easier to manage all the various costs of building an economy(building extractors, planetary population upgrades, and trade port costs mainly). Make sure you scuttle your capitalship factory after building your starting capitalship- doing so frees up logistic your early economy will need.
Your first priority when attempting to colonize a planet is to wipe out siege frigates, then colonize immediately and start buildign a turret. Your capitalship will generally move on after taking out any Javelis long range frigates, and your turret will clean up any light frigates or flak frigates while you capitalship move on to start clearing the next planet. After the turret finishes cleaning up you should scuttle it to regain some of the invested resources.
A colony frigate alone is enough to colonize moons/asteroid with no help from frigates/capships. Just colonize the planet and immediately start building a turret as close to the moon/roid as possible between the planet and the siege frigate. The turret will finish building and kill the siege frigate before it kills the planet.
Mmake sure the colony frigate is given orders to move on after colonizing- you should endeavor to make sure each colony frigate captures 2-3 planets before being destroyed. You'll note that after their second jump colony frigates won't have enough AM to colonize- in this case you generally want to qeue up orders having the colony frigate go in a wide arc around the planet(this keeps it moving reducing the likelihood of it being killed while it regenerates AM)- you qeue up the orders because your attention will be needed elsewhere while the colony frigate regains AM.
If you see neutral extractors nearby, have a colony frigate go to capture them after it grabs it's first moon/roid- this will give it a relatively safe zone to recover AM and grab an early game boost to resources to boot.
Ideally you generally also want to build an early military lab to add a few corvettes to your expansion fleet. If yous tarted with a colony capitalship you'll need their help to beat the defenders at any large planet(terran/desert) and if you started with a carrier capitalship you more likely will have corvettes expand in a different direction from your capitalships- perhaps wiping out the militias at the second stops your colony frigates are going to make so they don't have to kite the defenders around the well while they regain AM(as was discussed 2 paragraphs ago).
This probably comes out as more complicated then it actually is- all it really comes down to is trying to keep expanding in 2 or more directions at once(and learning to split your attention between the directions you are expanding), recognizing how much force you'll need to deal with a given level number of defending militia, and learningt o make good use of turrets to clean up after your capitalship moves on.
2). learn all the counters:
you can get the reference chart here: https://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/379562
I'm not sure if it's been updated for rebellion, but there are only 2 new additions the first of which are corvettes, which counter capitalships, titans, and long range missile frigates, but are countered By non-titan AoE damage and flak frigates. The second new additions are titans which on average counter frigates as a whole, but are countered by bombers and corvettes
3). learn to make use of the game's 4th unofficial resource: time
Starting up an economy fast matters a great deal as economies grow at a greater then linear rate. likewise if you don't keep planetary population upgrades ahead of the current population(and let it get maxed) you waste time the population could be growing- which matters a great deal as population grows slow.
likewise if you're going military and have a few frigate factories, don't underestimate the time it takes to build frigates- you should endeavor to keep your factories constantly spitting out frigates- every moment you aren't you waste some of their time and the enxt time you need to produce alarge amount of frigates you will have to wait longer then if the factory had been building the whole time.
It's also worth noting you should focus on trying to keep up with your income- generally you don't want resources to "pile up" early game- there's always somewhere to put them where they will do more then they will sitting in your pocket.
4). Learn to be frugal
In general you should be going very light on research and planetray upgrades. For the latter you generally only buy population upgrades for planets and the occasional emergency facilities for planets that are likely to be under bombardment (novalith or conventional) soon. One of the most difficult things is learning to minimize logistics upgrades and make the most out of the default logistics each planet comes with.
As for research in general the main research you actually bother with is prototypes- anything that lets you build a new type of ship or structure. There are a few exceptions- the TEC gain a few good early economy techs(modular architecture & sometimes expedited permits) and the Vasari have phase missile research and late game trade-upgrade techs and some of the late-game TEC eco techs(like industrial juggernaut, development mandate, and pervasive economy) are worthwhile as well. Likewise a number of the faction specific techs are worth researching. But in general most of the "standard upgrade" research techs are luxuries that are only purchased if you have extra cash after buying the encessities or in the late game when you already have a large fleet. For the entire early game though you're usually better off building more trade posts(for econ) or more ships(for military) then upgrading the existing ones.
In general early-mid game the only static defenses worthwhile are repair platforms- and 2 of those is enough to defend any planet with a frigate factory or 2 nearby- overinvesting in static defenses is a mistake a lot of new players make. Another mistake they often make is to overinvest in capitalships rather then frigates- mroe capitalships mean they all level slower and high level capitalships are key- not to mention frigates give more firepower per cost then capitalships.
5). learn to read the map
This is the hard one. Games are won and lost by people's ability to look at the map, know immediately what direction to expand, and anticipate which way each of their neighbors will expand. Start position makes the difference of whether it's prudent to go early-eco or start building a military fleet immediately. in some scenarios you may be in a position likely to be hit by 2-3 enemies early on- recognizing this is key as you can decide to rush an early starbase- something that will hurt your economy, but allow you to survive the coming onslaught.
This one you can only really learn from experience.
This thread also has some useful replays and advice by players far
more skilled then I: https://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/437125
Anyway those are most of the key points skilled players generally tell new players to focus on. I'm sure I've missed things, but you'll pick them up as you go- the most important thing is of course to have fun- while you're learning you don't have to be a mindless automaton based on my advice or anyone else- take advice as you like and try things out- everything you need you'll pick up in time one way or another, so the most important thing is to not burn yourself out. Good luck and have fun!