I’ve put together an introductory video guide with the aim of helping new players familiarise themselves with the basics of the game’s multiplayer. It took some time but it’s finally finished and I believe I’ve managed to cover all of the main concepts.
Let me know what you guys think, feedback for improvements is always welcome.
For anyone that wants it, there’s also a written version below.
- RESOURCE COLLECTION
The first thing you want to do in a match is establish your resource operation by building additional resource Collectors. A rough guide is to take the number of resource point available and multiply by 1.5 to give the number of Collectors you need.
This is based upon the fact that having a 1:1 ratio of resource points to Collectors would leave some rocks unoccupied whilst collectors are dropping off their haul. During this time having a few extra collectors will let you quickly reoccupy these points and reduce the ‘down time’ on a resource operation.
Ideally, having a Collector standing by to relieve every mining Collector would do the most to minimise the ‘down time’, but to do this early on requires a substantial resource investment which will leave you with very little to build military ships, making you susceptible to early attacks.
A 1:1.5 ratio of resource points to collectors at the start of a match is a compromise between the size of your resource operation and your ability to establish a military early on.
Idle collectors can quickly be ordered to harvest by pressing the ‘.’ key to select an idle collector and then pressing ‘H’ to give the harvest command. You can also press CAPS LOCK from the sensors manager to select all ships and then press ‘H’ to issue the command to all collectors simultaneously.
You should place your resource drop-off points in close proximity to resource fields as this will decrease the travel time for your workers and increase your harvesting efficiency. Try and avoid overcrowding fields with too many Collectors and instead reassign extra collectors to less populated fields. Be sure to take advantage of any additional fields that become available to you as you expand.
- GATHERING INTEL
You want to be aware of what your enemy is doing at all times. Get into a habit of establishing surveillance early on and maintaining it throughout a game.
Scouts are one of the first units available to you and can be used to gather information on enemy ship numbers and locations from a safe distance. Probes are a cheaper alternative which have larger coverage area however they can only be moved once.
Being able to observe enemy movements will enable you to anticipate attacks and determine enemy weaknesses which will allow you to plan more effectively. Observing constructed modules on enemy production vessels will give you a good indication of the kind of forces an enemy intends to build as well as inform you of any special abilities a vessel may have gained such as Hyperspace Inhibitors or Cloak Generators.
The sensors screen is the best way to keep informed of how a battle is developing overall. You should consult this screen frequently to maintain your surveillance and to keep updated on enemy movements.
- BUILDING YOUR FLEET
After establishing your resource operation you should begin building up your offensive and defensive capabilities through fighter and research facilities. You should also be preparing to build a Gravity Well Generator to protect yourself from hyperspace strikes.
Fighters are a essential part of early game offense and defense, and play a role throughout every battle. Don’t be tempted to skip this component of your fleet in favour of pursuing the more advanced vessels as it will make you vulnerable to early game rushes. Having a balanced fleet ensures that you’re well equipped to counter any threat posed by the enemy. Destroyers and Battlecruisers can quickly be rendered useless without the appropriate fighter escort to protect their subsystems from attack.
Research which will help you gain the upper hand in early skirmishes include upgrades to Fighter Engines and the Scouts EMP upgrade. Bomber upgrades can also be useful for players wishing to perform surgical strikes on enemy facilities and modules.
An easy way to keep track of all production and research projects you currently have underway is the Global Queue list. This displays ships currently being built as well as facilities being constructed and any ongoing research. You can activate this by pressing ‘Q’.
If you want to build a large quantity of units, pressing both the right mouse button and the left mouse button simultaneously on a unit in build menu will queue 2 units for production at a time.
If you’re ever short on resources keep in mind that you can temporarily pause individual production and research projects from the build, research and global queue menus in order to prioritise a more important one. You can also retire any obsolete facilities, modules or ships to free up additional resources.
- ENGAGING THE ENEMY
In HOMEWORLD, every ship has inherent strengths and weaknesses against every other ship. Hovering over an item in the build menu displays these. Knowing what kind of ship is best suited for a particular engagement will give you the best chances of defeating your opponent and help you avoid suffering unnecessary losses.
A fight where it looks like you’re outnumbered can be swung in your favour by using the right counter units. For example, a group of bombers with a fighter escort might seem threatening if you have a smaller force, however a few scouts with a well placed EMP strike can quickly turn the odds against them, making them easy targets for your smaller force and winning you the engagement.
Monitoring the health of ships is a vital skill for any successful player. This is especially true when it comes to your fighters and corvettes. Maintaining these properly will save you resources and help to keep your fleet at it’s maximum strength. During fights you should carefully monitor the health of you fighter and corvette class ships for damage. Once a wing’s health falls into the yellow region it’s best to have it dock with the nearest vessel to prevent it being lost completely.
The benefits of doing this are that any surviving ships which are damaged will be repaired and any ships in the wing that were destroyed will be replaced. The last wing to dock with a vessel receives repair priority.
The best part is that it’s completely free and properly monitoring the health of your ships will allow you to return reinforcements to the fight faster.
- KNOWING YOUR FLEET
To make the most of your race you should learn where it’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Whilst the Kushan and Taidan are basically mirror images of each other, the Hiigaran and Vaygr are much more asymmetrical.
In general Hiigaran ships favour faster weaponry which deals immediate damage, whereas the Vaygr lean towards slower yet higher damage dealing weaponry.
This will of course affect how you use your ships. When looking at an engagement between some ion frigates and heavy missile frigates, the Vaygr player will ideally place his or her frigates as close to the ion frigates as possible because this will decrease the travel time for the missiles to reach their targets, inflicting damage sooner. The Hiigaran player by contrast will be trying to keep his/her ion frigates at maximum range to delay receiving damage and buy them time to fire additional bursts.
When comparing strike craft, the Vaygr have stronger fighter and corvette wings containing 2 additional ships per fighter wing, 1 additional ship per Bomber wing and 1 additional ship per corvette wing. To counter this the Hiigarans have superior anti-fighter and corvette frigates in the form of Flak and Torpedo frigates.
Research for both sides also has advantages and disadvantages. Both races need to build a research module, however the Hiigarans have to build an advanced research module to gain access to more sophisticated ships and technology.
Of particular note is hyperspace technology. The Hiigarans can build a hyperspace module as soon as they’ve constructed a research module, whereas the Vaygr need to complete both a research module and hyperspace gate research.
Hiigarans also have the benefit of hyperspace efficiency upgrades which reduce the cost of hyperspace jumps by up to 45%. The Vaygr can research and build up to 6 hyperspace gate platforms which can each be paired for 1000 RUs to create a hyperspace corridor. Destroyers and smaller ships can make use of these without any further costs.
The Hiigarans generally conduct research individually for each type of ship, which is relatively cheap and allows you to upgrade only the ships that you’re using. The Vaygr on the other hand generally conduct research for an entire class of ship, which is more costly and may cover ships that you don’t have in your fleet, however it does upgrade all ships in a class simultaneously.
- WORKING AS A TEAM
As with any cooperative game, you want to be an asset to your team by contributing in a meaningful way.
Starting at the most basic level, it’s critical that you participate in engagements alongside your teammates. Adopting the characteristics of a turtle whilst one of your allies is being attacked is a sure way to earn your teammate’s rage.
If one person on your team becomes weakened, you all become weakened, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. By coordinating your attacks with your team you’ll find you can inflict much more damage and greatly improve your effectiveness.
As well as participating in the offensive, maintaining a good defense is equally important. One particular defense which many new players neglect is the “Gravity Well Generator” or “Hyperspace Inhibitor”. A Gravity Well Generator creates a spherical ‘area of denial’ with a 11KM radius around itself, preventing hostile ships from hyperspacing inside and is arguably the most important module.
If you build a Hyperspace Sensors Module on one of your production vessels, the sensors screen will show all hyperspace activity on a map. This can be extremely useful in tracking enemy jumps and incoming hyperspace threats.
If one of your teammates has the misfortune of being short on resources and you have some you’re willing to spare, you can perform a Resource Transfer by pressing ‘K’ to bring up the diplomacy window. Here you can select the recipient and the desired amount.
Whilst there are no limits on how much or how often resources can be transferred, players should never rely upon teammates for charity to make up for bad resourcing. Remember that teammates are also trying to build and maintain a fleet, and the ability to be self sufficient will prevent you being a burden to your team.
The Diplomacy window also allows allies to transfer command of selected ships to a teammate. This can used to great effect by a well organised team as each member can specialise in a particular area, maximising their production and then transferring ships to one another to populate each others unit cap.
I highly recommend that new players use the Skirmish mode to build on these skills until they’re familiar with the points discussed in this video. Once you can comfortably win against an Expert CPU opponent you’ll be in a good position to take on people in the online multiplayer.
- SPACE ETIQUETTE
Once you join a game, check the ping of the host and other players, if you see a lot of high numbers above 0.200, you may end up watching a slideshow, not playing a game. You may want to consider finding another match…
Assuming the lobby is fine, try not to keep your fellow players waiting, pick a race, team up and ready up as soon as you can to help get the game going.
When loading in, DON’T PRESS ANY KEYS OR CLICK ANYTHING. Doing so can often interfere with the game, causing problems. You may see some hosts performing a countdown before they start a match to warn everybody to stop any inputs.
Communicate and plan with other players, a coordinated team effort will have more success than a team of leeroys.
Win or lose, as long as you’re having a good time it shouldn’t matter. There’s no use in becoming frustrated with other players when things aren’t going well.
Remember that not everybody has the same amount of experience. Just do your best and try to help by offering them advice.
Learn from your losses. If you can identify where you lost a game and come up with ways you could have prevented it, it’ll help make you a stronger player. Creating and trying new strategies is hugely rewarding in itself.
Congratulations if you made it through that!
Hopefully it proved useful and will help people to improve their game.
I’ll keep this post updated to ensure the information stays relevant so let me know if you have any suggestions.
Take care and Good Hunting.
Special thanks to VaderMester and mehdis for helping me perform tests and also our very own Psychichazard from here on the Gearbox forums.