to start things off, as a first content update here on the ModDB page, I will briefly outline the concept of Xin Domains, the alien race which will first see the light of day in the upcoming TLS Episode I: First Contact.
For those who would like to see what was going on with the mod these past several months (as well as some embarrassing early screenshots), you can go to the mod's thread on the SoaSE forums here.
The Xin are a reclusive race of amphibian predators which evolved on an oceanic world nestled in a pocket of densely packed stars on the other side of the known galaxy. To this day very little else is known about their pre-spaceflight history, partially because of their reclusive nature, but mostly because any who ventured inside the Xin-held space either returned with no new knowledge or not at all.
The Xin are exceptionally aggressive. Their space is divided amongst groups of most powerful and able warlords, who constantly seek to expand their holdings - be it at the expense of neighbouring worlds or at the expense of each other. They command vast fleets of uncrewed drones and semi-organic warships of varying sizes, the greatest of which are fully sentient beings, housing thousands of Xin warriors and bio-engineers.
The staple of Xin technology is their ability to shape organic lifeforms into useful tools. Virtually everything, from their gigantic floating cities to the smallest of utility creatures such as viewcrystal cleaners, has started its life as something else, some life-form found on one of the many worlds Xin conquered and turned to their purpose. In fact, over the centuries of their slow encroachment of the known galaxy, it became apparent that the aliens rarely bombard worlds from orbit with conventional weapons, as many other warring factions do.
Instead, they resort to releasing vast quantities of "seeds", bioformed shells designed to penetrate the atmosphere of a besieged world and shower it with the spores contained within, blanketing the planet with a new, rapidly emerging ecosystem which either incorporates the existing biosphere into the new order, or consumes it completely. When the process is finished, the Xin descend upon the world prepared for their arrival.
Concept renders of the Minelayer, Carrier and Interdictor cruisers
It is one of the major goals of The Last Stand to provide balanced variety to the new factions which should appeal to any strategy player. Instead of simply copy/pasting unit classes using different looking but in essence identical counterparts, the three races which this mod aims to create; Xin Domains, Clans Remnant and the Hegemony, will all be quite different from each other.
Where the Xin are concerned, the goal is to make the player feel like they are playing a technologically superior race, with ships that can simply decimate their opponents and an all-pervasive feel of power - while not actually making the race unbalanced.
This is being done by combining stats (health, armor strength, cost of building, damage, etc.) balancing - in this case all Xin ships are roughly 1.8 times as strong as their relative faction counterparts but also cost twice as much both in resource cost and fleet supply, with unique abilities geared towards defense.
The Xin will be a turtler's dream as opposed to, for example, Clans Remnant which will rely on mobility and flexibility. As a result, the Xin are very geared towards defense. Coupled with their already powerful ships, they will have decidedly superior static defences, including the ability to deploy special outposts in any sector, even around stars, gas giants and otherwise uninhabitable worlds.
However, outside of their own turf, they will display several key weaknesses to be exploited by a cunning commander. First and foremost, their ships are slow, both in normal movement and especially in FTL travel. While they are able to build Wormhole Stabilization Gates in any sector they own, speeding up their FTL movement rate considerably, outside this network they are going to be very vulnerable to outmaneuvering. They are also going to be more vulnerable to ship losses, as it will take more time to replace them. Their ships mostly have front-mounted weaponry and slow turning speeds, which can also be exploited. When they do hit you though, you are going to feel it.
All these factors and more, combined should provide a unique feeling when playing Xin, requiring different approach to playing and strategy than with the vanilla races. This difference should only grow as the other two factions are introduced in Episodes II and III.