Thank you for answering all of my questions so quickly. This should be a significant help in any future games I play. With regard to your answers there are some further questions I'd like to ask if possible.
As to if you should attempt to rush early on, I think everyone should focus on expansion if not rushing in the first part of the game. If you don't have enough planets to get a good economy going your starbases and novaliths won't matter much. And if you happen to win a good victory against the enemy, feel free to turn your expansion drive into a rush and finish him off early.
When I said that I preferred to fortify to victory, I meant after expanding as far as possible. Sorry if I was a bit unclear. I generally try to expand as far as I can before coming into contact with the AI and then increase my fleet supply and build starbases and repair bays on the border. I understand that a defensive strategy requires fast early expansion and victory by novaliths can only be achieved if the enemy owns less of the system than you. What I meant was whether or not to rush the enemy once expansion is finished or wait for them to attack my starbases. It's just that, while I know the TEC have a good early rush, if I intend to achieve victory that way I might as well play as the TEC rebels. I'm just a bit confused as to how I should go about achieving victory as the loyalists, as victory by novaliths can only be done if I already own more of the system, in which case I could probably win by other methods. Am I supposed to win by waiting for the enemy to destroy their fleet in an attack on my starbases and then counterattack? It's just that the harder AI's (unfair and above) seem to have little difficulty replacing sizeable fleets very quickly, even given the TECs economic advantage over them.
Its very situational. Against AI max hull and weapons are the only requirement. I personally think hangar upgrades are a waste in everything but Star gravity wells. You ALWAYS need repair bay structures (best tactical structure in the game) but for a second starbase the resupply on the starbase can help as well. I don't usually get the construction upgrades unless its at an uncolonizeable gravity well. The AI will always fall for the self destruct but whether its better to get that or weapons/hull is up to debate.
You have made some very valid and useful points about starbases. I can certainly see the reasoning behind all of these. The only points I am still confused about are whether or not I need trade bays on both starbases and the usefulness of the self destruct upgrade. While I can certainly agree that the AI would frequently fall for a self destruct and lose large fleets, a fully upgraded starbase would be so much of an investment it would be possible for me to make more of a loss that the AI. I know that the TEC can replace losses more easily, but I would still think that the upgrade could be better spent on something to keep the starbase alive and have it continue to damage the enemy. This is all speculation, note, as I have never actually used the self destruct on a starbase.
While this isn't as popular as it used to be, I think the Sova is the best rush ship in the game. If you can keep embargo on the enemy homeworld early on you can economically cripple an opponent before they get set up. You can easily get it to work against the AI, but keep in mind it is less effective the farther apart your homeworlds are.
Thank you for explaining this. I can certainly see how the sova would be very useful in an early game rush due to embargo coupled with it's high early dps. My only questions on the matter would be what abilities to upgrade to focus on in a rush, as I can see uses in all the abilities early on. Obviously embargo is a neccesity before the enemy homeworld is reached although I have no idea if further points in it are worthwhile. I can also see the need for early points in misiile batter and heavy strike craft however, to help the capitalship break through to the enemies home. I understand that this might well be somewhat situational but there must be an ability that you would get the most gain out of increasing early.
Another point I am somewhat confused about is how I would know whether or not to attempt a rush early on. It's just that If I wait for my scouts to find the enemy homeworld before deciding what capitalship to build I may well be at a significant disadvantage in terms of expansion. Is there some way to estimate how close the enemy might be?
Again, thank you for taking the time to answer all my previous questions and sorry to have to ask even more. Hopefully I will be able to learn how to play the TEC in singleplayer competently so that I can move on to learning the other factions as well.
Spam 100 light frigates.
Proceed to steamroll AI.
While this is certainly a true against the easier AI I generally find that the harder ones can outproduce me, making victory by numbers difficult. Perhaps I am just worse at managing my economy, as I can see how the TEC would usually have an advantage in fleet production.
Edited due to multiple spelling mistakes.