But in all seriousness a friend asked me to make a guide for Empire at War and I thought I could provide one, this is my view and my style of warfare and so far it has been very effective against enemies despite its flaws.
A Supreme Commander's Guide to Power
What can you expect from this guide? Tactics to win battles and strategies to win wars, learn how to manage an entire military and control a galaxy-spanning empire and earn your place in the history books as one of the greatest rulers of the galaxy!
Lets talk ground warfare first, one of the easiest type of conquest. Noteworthy are the complete lack of balance or use of several units, infantry is basically a meat shield that would allow you to protect your true force but its useless given their low life expectancy.
On to armored units, there are three types that are worth considering including into your army. Tank, IFV and Artillery, now of course some of you are wondering what the IFV is well its what I call the anti-infantry vehicles, nice and short.
Ground combat can be resolved only in two manors, overwhelm or outrange and this is noticeable.
Not much else to tell there, just capture all points and deploy as much armored units as possibly but you should note which is more important, Tank, IFV or Artillery.
Move in formation and as a cohesive unit but don't bunch up otherwise your units will get destroyed very quickly.
The only exciting form of ground combat is when you are forced on the defensive and have not prepared. You must make do with what you have, pause the game and review the battlefield for chokepoints. Deploy units to the chokepoints, in some cases you can leave some undefended but its wise to have some sort of defence there and a key part of your defensive plan should include the production of turrets on the frontline and repair/heal facilities inside your base but beware not to neglect anti-air defence given the enemy may deploy bombers.
Know that facilities like barracks's provide you with free soldiers that can replace your dead ones, you can see which ones can be replaced by the flag next to their health bar.
Regarding facilities, don't defend them all. Feel free to abandon some in order to protect more important ones, you can always replace them later.
Your goal is to destroy as many enemies as possible, make them regret landing on your world.
Space is where the fun begins! Whether you're on defence or offensive there will always be something to do technically speaking.
In general a fleet should always have bombers and fighters to go along with frigates, corvettes and capital ships as they can soften up the enemy before your true force arrives, this is my tactic at least and I know die hard Rebel fans would probably prefer fielding just fighters and bombers which can also be effective.
A fleet in line formation is an effective fleet in most scenarios, corvettes and frigates line up on the front with capital ships at the rear providing the raw firepower and forming a barrier for damaged frontline units to retreat to, and then just watch the enemy waste themselves against your forces in vain. Fighters should always hunt bombers or scout the enemy formation because if you attack a random system without knowing what the composition of the enemy fleet is you could very well fail.
Bombers are effective against important hardpoints but what is important depends on the situation.
-Small fleet, destroy shield generators.
-no Corvettes, destroy hangars.
-Enemy retreat, destroy engines.
Beware though! Some mods have made the AI for the enemy notorious, if you ever wanted to have Hitler in space then you'll get what you wanted because I've found that despite having a large fleet in formation the enemy will simply overwhelm your fleet using blitzkrieg and sheer numbers and firepower. Truly magnificent.
The Galactic Stage is were you will likely be spending most of your time and your most intense planning, whereas battles are fluid and fast what you do on a galactic level dictates what happens in those battles and therefore you must not only be alert but also wise in your decisions.
As you would have figured out from the tutorials there are two tabs, space and ground, all worlds give you income etc. But now you have to apply that.
In my personal experience my galactic strategy is often the most deficient early on but provides an extremely strong basis for later on. Basically all worlds are divided in two types, Industrial and Economic.
Industrial worlds are the backbone of your military, they specialize in nothing else but providing you with ground troops (space is different matter entirely) but its crucial you DO NOT build varied ground facilities!
Unlike what the tutorial may tell you, building a single barracks, ion cannon, mine and light factory is not efficient. It may help you win battles but it cannot help you win the war.
Industrial worlds as I said, specialize in production and that means that you build only ONE type of facility on a world. Simply put: Coruscant has only barracks's, Carida has only light vehicle factories and Byss focuses on heavy vehicle factories for example.
Now you maybe are wondering why this weird set up? Well having such a setup allows you to quickly train one type of unit on that world. If you suddenly need an army of AT-AT's in less then a minute you go to Byss and order it, need infantry spam? Coruscant has them.
Basically the more buildings of one type, the faster you can construct the units of that building.
Economic worlds are all unimportant worlds, they will have no other purpose then provide you with funding for your war and that is all they can do given their limited space for buildings on the ground.
Any world that has less then 5 building slots should be considered a Economic world though there are exceptions like Muunilinst that has an economic bonus and will thus increase the income from mines several times.
And now for space, like Darth Vader's Art of War says:
"Space is immeasurably vast, too vast for any military force to control. A cunning enemy will always have the advantage of being able to disappear into the trackless void, and be able to keep a much more powerful opponent off balance by popping up where least expected to conduct raids or assault a target left briefly unguarded."
This has been brought over very well in the game but you can still protect your worlds to an extent, it is always an option to abandon worlds you know you cannot defend. You can have them stall the enemy but always pull out any and all troops you can so they can defend the worlds you want to keep, this may seem like a bad strategy but in most cases the AI settles down once you have little worlds as they will not perceive you as a threat, I must stress however this is in MOST CASES and not all.
Your force deployment should be spread equally, rely on your frigates for muscle and space stations for the other units.
On the topic of space stations, invest in level 3 for most worlds and 5 for high profile worlds that are important like shipyards or a world that is ceaselessly under attack.