A long-term modification project for Homeworld2 that aims to "tell the story of HW1 in HW2" and simultaneously bring the game to a whole new level through a plethora of new content, graphical updates, overhauls of current systems and exclusive features.

Report RSS [GUIDE] FXmod 101: Races & Playing Styles (Updated: 20 August)

An ongoing project to clear some of the dust clouds the 8 races in the FXmod are shrouded in, and to reveal some of their playing styles.

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Disclaimer
Most of what is written below is based on personal experience. It is not a prescribed way of playing the FXmod (because there is none), but is merely an observation of what can be perceived to be the races' key characteristics and traits.

Important: The FXmod is still under development. The contents below are subject to change, and will be updated over time.

Index

  1. Hiigaran (HGN)
  2. Vaygr (VGR)
  3. Kadeshi (KAD)
  4. Progenitors (KPR)
  5. Taiidan (TAI)
  6. Turanic Raiders (TUR)

Six Balanced Races Model

One of the main goals of the FXmod is to provide a model of 6 balanced races for use in vs. CPU and Multiplayer. These are the races you see above. Other races have been added since (Kushan, Bentusi), but these are mainly for fun and demo purposes.

All races are fully playable, and come with their own units, technologies, abilities and playing styles. When designing the races we looked at their characteristics and traits as put forward in Homeworld1/2. You'll find for instance that the Kadeshi retained their strikecraft/swarm advantage, the Progenitors their edge when it comes to powerful capital ships, and the Taiidan their production/"armada" playing style - which is based on how the Taiidan Empire pretty much ruled the galaxy in Homeworld1 with outposts and large fleets scattered everywhere.

The original goal of the FXmod was to "tell the story of HW1 in HW2", and to restore that "HW1 vibe" that many of us on the development team felt was missing in the sequel (and, to an extent, the remaster). The result is an ongoing project that aspires to expand, build upon, and refine the Homeworld experience - while also adding a lot more depth and increased strategical options to your matches.

Before we proceed I have two final tips to give you. Both the in-game unit descriptions and the [Pause] key are your best friends.


I. Hiigaran (HGN)

"The Age of S'Jet is upon us"

Difficulty: Easy-Medium


As in vanilla HW2, the Hiigarans are the technology-based race. This aspect manifests itself in their hyperspace technology (they have easier access to it compared to most other races, and can jump further, faster, cheaper), their unit abilities (e.g. Ping, EMP, Defense Field), but also the units themselves: the Hiigaran navy fields many units that use advanced weaponry, such as the Pulsar Gunship, Ion Cannon Frigate and Defense Field Frigate.

In the FXmod the Hiigarans largely play the same as their vanilla HW2 counterpart, but with some changes:

Notable Changes from Vanilla HW2:

  • Removed Units: Gunship, Minelayer Corvette, Probes
    The purpose of the Gunship has been merged with the traditionally more effective Pulsar Gunship. The Pulsar Gunship received an additional pulsar barrel (1>2) and a small damage boost vs. fighters to do so. Probes were removed, placing a greater emphasis on using scouts and leaving the Hiigarans more vulnerable to cloak tactics.
  • New Units: Light Cruiser (Capital Ship)
    (1) Light Cruiser: A hybrid between a Destroyer and a Battlecruiser, this unit basically does what it says on the tin. Its unique feature however is that is has 2 Weapon Module slots, as well as a number of subsystem slots. It can build either the Sweeper Array Turret (anti-frigate) or the Annihilator Turret (anti-capital), and you can swap one out for the other depending on the situation.
  • Other Changes:
    - Hyperspace Sensors are temporarily unavailable
    - PDS were removed from production vessels

Changes to Research & Production:

  • Both Research Modules (Normal, Adv.) now have to be constructed on the Mothership or Shipyard (they can no longer be constructed on carriers).
  • A Fighter Facility is now a prerequisite for unlocking the Corvette and Frigate Facilities.
  • Engine Upgrades have been replaced by firepower upgrades.

II. Vaygr (VGR)

"Bring our Might to Bear"

Difficulty: Medium


Compared to the Hiigarans the Vaygr have seen a larger amount of changes, especially to their production system. Their advantage at early game (and subsequent disadvantage at late game) remains however, as do their main strengths (swarm, firepower).

Notable Changes from Vanilla HW2:

  • Removed Units: Command Corvette, Gun & Missile Platforms, Probe, Sensor Distortion Probe, all sensor subsystems.
  • New Units: Artillery "Spear" Frigate, EW Frigate, Cluster Missile Platform.
    (1) Artillery ("Spear") Frigate: This is a ranged firepower support unit. It is slightly weaker than the Heavy Missile Frigate, but compensates for this by having a larger range, allowing it to wear down enemy targets while staying out of their firing range. It is also a more dynamic unit, being able to quickly change targets and assist where needed (the Heavy Missile Frigate needs to adjust distance and has a delay for the first missile volley to hit the target). It excels at harassing enemy Resource Collectors, pummeling Frigate groups or even chipping down Capital Ships before they can get close enough to exchange fire. A wall of Artillery Frigates can make the difference between victory and defeat in a battle between cruisers.
    (2) Electronic Warfare ("EW") Frigate: This is a unarmed utility frigate. It deploys a passive area of effect aura that disables a number of special abilities for nearby enemy units: these include boarding/capturing, deploying minefields, repairing units, and initiating or exiting hyperspace. It also has a passive Sensor Distortion Effect. It is basically a portable Gravity Well Generator + Sensor Distortion Probe in one with some extras.
    (3) Cluster Missile Platform: The Vaygr replacement for their Gun and Missile Platforms. This is a highly effective, multi-purpose unit that excels both at taking out strikecraft and Frigates (in numbers).
  • Other Changes:
    - Hyperspace Gates
    now move as fast as probes & no longer require a Platform Control Module to be constructed (unlocked as soon as a hyperspace module is up).

Changes to Research & Production:

  • All Subsystems have been grouped into a new, separate "subsystem" tab (no longer part of the respective ship class tabs).
  • The 4 Main Production Subsystems (Fighter/Corvette/Frigate/Capital Ship) must now be constructed on the Flagship in order. Because of this new system, the now-obsolete ship chassis research has has been removed.
  • (!) Vaygr Carriers are no longer limited to constructing one specific ship type (e.g. Frigate Facility -> Frigates). Instead it works like this:
    *** All Vaygr carriers can build "basic" units of each ship class - on the condition that the necessary Production Facility exists anywhere else in the fleet.
    Example: Having a fighter facility on the Flagship or a Shipyard will unlock the production of basic fighters (Assault Craft) on all Carriers.
    *** Each Vaygr production vessel can now specialize in up to 2 "advanced" units of choice (e.g. Lance Fighter, Laser Corvette, Artillery Frigate etc.) by building the respective Weapon Module subsystem on the designated production vessel. It is possible to construct these on all production vessels, in any combination.
  • The Platform Facility has been retired:
    - Cluster Missile Platforms are automatically unlocked through the Research Module.
    - Hyperspace Gates are automatically unlocked through the Hyperspace module.
  • Speed (engine) upgrades have been replaced by firepower upgrades.

III. Kadeshi (KAD)

"There is no..withdrawal from the Garden"

Difficulty: Easy (Early/Mid Game) - Hard (Late Game)


The Kadeshi are the swarm/strikecraft race. Survivors of the Kushan passage through the Nebula have gathered and rebuild their units using cutting-edge technologies. Their strikecraft is as powerful as it is versatile, with very large squadron sizes and weaponry that can be augmented in various manners to make them even more lethal (upgrades, keeping them near Support Pods).

Outside of their Swarmers the Kadeshi are short on options, but their late game potential shouldn't be underestimated either. With the Multi-Beam Frigate the Kadeshi house the strongest frigate in the game, and their Nagual is the ultimate anti-strikecraft unit. Furthermore, if the need arises the Kadeshi can also summon an additional 2 Needleships (max. of 3) and upgrade these into fully-fledged combat vessels.

Kadeshi Playing Styles
As a Kadeshi player you'll want to use your various Swarmers in early game to set yourself up in an advantageous position for the rest of the match. Hit-and-run raids on enemy resourcing operations, clearing strikecraft or pummeling early Frigates are all tactics that can be employed towards that end. Invest in weapon upgrades and bring Support Pods along to enhance the swarm's firepower even further. Most of the Kadeshi potential comes from their smaller ships, so you'll need some micro-managing to draw out their full potential.

At mid and late game you'll want to have a few wings of Multi-Beam Frigates and Adv. Assault Swarmers for when the time comes to make a push. The Nagual will nullify the enemy's strikecraft but beware - it is squishy, and will die fast if focused by frigates or larger ships. You can also bring up your (upgraded) Needleships to live reinforce the fleet on the front lines and have a powerful ranged cannon at your disposal that can make short work of enemy production vessels.

A vital weakpoint in your fleet however is the Khar-Toba. It houses all your technologies and progress, and will collapse your entire production chain if destroyed. It comes with a permanent cloaking ability to aid in its survival, but always be on the look out - smart enemies may distract you while they seek out the Khar-Toba with anti-cloaking units and send in a strikeforce soon after.

Strengths vs. Weaknesses
+ Best strikecraft in the game (firepower, squadron sizes, build costs)
+ Highest firepower Frigate in the game
+ Access to the best anti-strikecraft unit in the game
+ Mobile Combat & Motherships (up to 3).
+ Permanent Cloak carrier.
+ Fuel Pods count as production vessels. Kadeshi players can thus stay in the match and supply their teammates with RUs even after their Needleships/Carriers have been destroyed.

- Each Needleship requires 3 subsystems before it is fully operational (costly, takes time).
- Limited Frigate & Capital Ship options; those that they do have are very squishy.
- Few effective anti-cloaking units; weak against Cloak and Ambush tactics.
- Medium to close-combat race; weak against long-range attacks.
- Destroying the Khar-Toba resets the Kadeshi production chain to square one.

Special Units

  • Support Pod: Augments the weapon systems of all nearby swarmers (Adv. Fire Control Tower). Also has a built-in micro AA laser (anti-fighter) that can be activated [Ctrl+Z] but beware - the Support Pod's speed is greatly reduced while the laser is active.
  • Nebula: The Kadeshi can have up to 3 Motherships, and upgrade these into fully-fledged combat vessels. Once upgraded they have advanced PDS and a powerful Phased Cannon Array. Movement speed greatly reduced while in combat mode. Use [Ctrl+Z] to switch between normal/default mode and combat mode. They also benefit from the Kadeshi's speed advantage, meaning that they can freely 'roam' the map and reinforce their fleets as they go.
  • Fuel Pod: An advanced version of the Resource Controller, exclusive to the Kadeshi. It can produce & dock/repair strikecraft and mini-units (e.g. Araneids), and has 6 RU drop-off points instead of the usual 2.

Research & Production
The vast majority of subsystems are constructed on the Khar-Toba. Each of these will automatically unlock one or more units for production. Additional modules (to power-up the Needleship or unlock other units/subsystems) must be constructed on the Needleships at a later stage. In order to unlock all units and technologies, at least 1 Needleship needs to be fully upgraded.


IV. Progenitors (KPR)

"Bring Sajuuk to Bear"

Difficulty: Medium-Hard


The Progenitors can be played in a number of ways. Their trademark style is that of the "Sniper" or Capital Ship race (due to their very powerful capital ships, which also have long firing ranges), but their production capabilities and high unit specs also allow them to be played as a production race. Survive the slow start, and once the others races are capped at their Battlecruisers and Heavy Cruisers you can go two steps beyond that still with the Dreadnaught and Sajuuk.

Progenitor Playing Styles
The Progenitors have limited strikecraft options, and mainly rely on their capital ships. With access to the Dreadnaught and Sajuuk they have the most powerful ships in the game, but their other vessels should not be underestimated either: Arsenal Ships can snipe big targets from extreme range (7.5km, longest range in the game), Keepers are mobile hyperspace inhibitors that also maintain combat drones and can turn invincible, and there is little that a wall of Guards or Demolishers grouped with a couple of Arbitrators cannot vanquish.

As a Progenitor player you'll want to invest in Light Movers early on. Your Phase Prisms are light and versatile, and can act as Hyperspace Gates (quickly transport units between them) once Core-Hyperspace Force has been constructed. Straight on rushing for the Capital Ships is a move that is best saved for team matches and/or open maps, as this takes time and you'll likely need financial/military support from allies. You'll also need to keep in mind that your mothership, Balcora Gate, is so massive that it can also be seen your enemies, so they will always know where it is. The Progenitors therefore reach their full potential on large, open maps. Be sure to keep your Pyramids hidden from enemies as well, as without them you won't be able to build your units.

For production purposes you may max out Phase Prisms and build The Hand That Shapes to keep a steady flow of movers, frigates, and other units. Individually their Frigates are squishy, but in numbers (and with a couple of Arbitrators nearby) they quickly turn into a force that can keep the enemy's forces at bay - all while your Arsenal Ships set themselves up for taking out their carriers and motherships.

Strengths vs. Weaknesses
+ Strongest Capital Ships in the game
+ High base firepower
+ Lv3 Armor/Firepower upgrades for Frigates
+ Not restricted to Subsystem Modules that need to be build on key ships (except Balcora Gate).

- Limited strikecraft options
- Expensive units
- Slow building rates
- Slow start syndrome

Special Units

  • Partner - An advanced version of the Scout. It has a longer firing range than other reconnaissance units, making them ideal at taking out the enemies' eyes. Due to its default high firepower they can also (sort of) hold their ground against enemy light strikecraft.
  • Guard - A stronger version of the Hiigaran Flak Frigate that decimates strikecraft with AoE/splash damage photon bombs.
  • Arbitrator - Increases the firepower of all units within the radius to 125%. Can also cloak self and nearby friendly units when not firing (C).
  • Keeper - Hosts two powerful drones, can become invincible to damage for a short while [T] and functions as a mobile hyperspace inhibitor.
  • Arsenal Ship - Can 'snipe' enemy ships from very far (7.5km). If fired from outside enemy sensor range, it will be hard for players to trace where the beam came from. Can also take cover in dust clouds/be stacked with cloak units to make them even harder to be found. Note that you'll need some sort of eyes near your targets (Scout, Probe) or you won't be able to hit them.
  • Balcora Gate - Recieves a hyperspace inhibitor effect and "ping" ability [X] that will briefly reveal all enemy ships on the map (once fully upgraded).

Research & Production

Research is done by constructing special platforms known as Pyramids (standalone subsystem units) from Balcora Gate. There is one Pyramid for each weapon system the Progenitors utilize (e.g. Pulsar, Photon Bomb, Phased Ion Array), and having these units up anywhere on the field will unlock their respective units for production. Pyramids mostly need to be build in order (one will unlock the other), and will need to be rebuild if destroyed. So be sure to send them far away and keep them hidden from enemies.

Having certain combinations of Pyramids on the field will also unlock additional subsystems on Balcora Gate, which in turn will unlock more units or special abilities such as hyperspace and sensor ping.

V. Taiidan (TAI)

"The Empire Rises Again"

Difficulty: Easy-Medium


The Taiidan are the armada or production race. In Homeworld1 the Taiidan Empire pretty much ruled the place with fleets and outposts everywhere, and their FXmod playstyle is based on that. They have the most balanced units out of all races: they do not excel, but they will not underperform either. Because of this new players to the FXmod will find the Taiidan a great race to start with. Especially at late game a large Taiidan fleet that has been fully upgraded is a force to be reckoned with.

Taiidan Playing Styles
With a whopping total of 6 production vessels (3 carriers, 1 flagship, 1 shipyard & 1 research station) the Taiidan hold the absolute production advantage. Survive the slow start, keep an eye on your resourcing operations, and you can quickly build up and maintain a large force. Due to their ability to build the Sensors Array, the Taiidan also function as the "eyes" of the team.

The Taiidan are all about keeping constant pressure on your opponents, and making sure you always have production queues going. While one fleet is out there being destroyed, you've got queues going on all 6 production vessels (set a rally point near the action!) to keep the flow of ships constant, whereas the other races will eventually run out and will need to rebuild. In a war of attrition, the Taiidan will almost always come out on top. Beware, however. Delay too long in building and sending in the next fleet, and chances are you'll find yourself on the short end of the stick instead.

Strengths vs. Weaknesses
+ Balanced units; can be very powerful at endgame (once fully upgraded)
+ Production advantage; most construction units out of all races & dual construction (Shipyard)
+ Fast building rates & relatively cheap units
+ Their Salvage Corvette has the fastest capture speed out of all infiltration units in the FXmod.
+ Best intel/sensor capabilities (Sensor Array)

Weaknesses
- More or less bound to the same one playing style (armada)
- Heavily reliant on the (vulnerable) Research Station
- Heavily reliant on keeping constant pressure to win
- Slow start syndrome

Special Units

  • Defender - A hybrid between an Interceptor and a Gun Platform, exclusive to the Taiidan.
  • Defense Fighter - Auxiliary fighter that detects cloaked ships and will automatically intercept incoming enemy missiles. Stacking some of these with your fleets (in addition to Defense Field Frigates - see below) will greatly enhance your fleet's survivability.
  • Salvage Corvette - The Taiidan Salvage Corvette has the highest capture speed out of all infiltration units in the game. They can sneak in amidst the chaos and rapidly seize key enemy ships to turn the tide of battle.
  • Defense Field Frigate - Reduces the accuracy of nearby enemy units by ~20%. Effect stacks (2 max). Also acts as a mobile hyperspace inhibitor. Another unit to build and keep near your active fleets.
  • Shipyard - The "Empress" shipyard functions as a second flagship, and comes with an additional construction like (1 -> 2). This allows it to build multiple units simultaneously (like the Kushan mothership).
  • Sensor Array - Exclusive unit to the Taiidan. Reveals all enemy ships on the map within a 25,000 km radius.

Research & Production

The Research Ship is given for free as of the v1.25 update, and will unlock all smaller vessels as you build modules on it. The Heavy Corvette Module will unlock the Taiidan Research Station from any Carrier, which can they also be outfitted with numerous subsystems that each unlock specific units


VI. Turanic Raiders (TUR)

"Cloak and Dagger"

Difficulty: Medium-Hard


The Turanic Raiders are the "hit-and-run" or assassin race. They never open the assault, instead sneaking in while the fight is already in process. They may harass players over time and wear down their ships or RU operations, or use a small force to lure the enemy fleet away and while a heavy strike team moves in from behind to quickly dispatch key enemy ships -- or seize them for oneself.

Playing Styles
The Turanic Raiders are rather diverse and can be played in a number of ways. What all these ways have in common though is that, for the greatest successes, the raiders are heavily reliant on the element of surprise. To this end many of their units come with Cloaking abilities (C). Their Siege Drill Frigates receive lv3 armor upgrades and have fast capture rates and movement speed, allowing them to sneak amidst the chaos and turn the enemy's own assets against them. For the greatest successes, Raider players will need to use their wit to pick the right time and place for their assault.

The raiders have durable strikecraft, allowing them protection against early game rushes. But as with the Kadeshi, their frigates and capital ships are squishy. The Raiders have many production-capable vessels, but the downside is that many of them also dub as their main combat vessels, and must be active on the frontline - where, once discovered, they are easily destroyed.

The Raiders have two types of core units. Their Attack Carriers serve as their core units on the frontlines, being able to build and dock anything up to Frigate-class vessels, while the durable but vulnerable Outposts stay far in the back or may be hidden somewhere else entirely. Their HeavyGun Cruisers can also produce fighters and corvettes without prerequisites as well, allowing the Turanics to reinforce their strikecraft forces at the frontlines.

Most of the Raiders' units are rather slow moving, so in large and open maps strikecraft will typically need to be docked with Attack Carriers/HeavyGun Cruiser in advance and launched when on the target site. Furthermore, if their capital ships are destroyed the Raiders need a much longer time to revive compared to other races. Once again, Raider success is largely dependent on the element of surprise, and picking the right time and place for your assault.

Strengths
+ Durable strikecraft
+ Scouts get permanent cloak ability
+ All Capital Ships can both produce units and fight
+ Very effective capture unit (Siege Drill Frigate - Lv3 armor + fast capture rate + fast movement speed)
+ Outposts can dock/repair Frigates & Capital ships (higher repair speed than using regular repair units)

Weaknesses
- Ships have small sensor ranges, and the raiders lack a ping ability. Intel gathering will be slow, and is primarily dependent on your allies in team matches.
- Vulnerable to Anti-Cloak units & abilities.
- Squishy Frigates/Capital ships (even with armor upgrades)
- Slow rebuild speeds.

Special Units

  • Azrael Attacker - This is a suicide attacker (100hp); it carries a single heavy payload missile that inflicts huge damage. Best used when build in large numbers, kept hidden, and then send in to dispatch lone carriers or even motherships during the right moment. Since these ships are destroyed in one hit they have a cloak ability, and should be given the attack order only when in range of enemy ship.
  • Minelayer - The Raids use a more advanced version of the traditional Minelayer, which is an exclusive benefit. It can deploy minefields (N), clear enemy mines, but also acts as dynamic anti-frigate/capital ship corvette -- it uses tracking beams to lock onto enemy ships and fires mines at them, making it the only dynamic or multi-purpose minelayer in the game.
  • Vulcan Frigate - A firepower support unit useful in battles against strikecraft groups. It will automatically move and 'circle' targets in combat as opposed to other assault frigates, granting it more lifespan (evasive)
  • Ion Array Frigate - The "Dagger" Ion Array Frigate has a longer range than all other frigates in the FXmod; it can thus be issued a 'move back while attacking' order at max range to lure in, kite, destroy enemy frigates - while staying out of their firing range yourself. Note however that it will quickly fall to enemy strikecraft.
  • Siege Drill Frigate - This capture unit can receive LV3 armor upgrades, and will board faster when on F2 (Aggressive) mode. In return for this however it will damage the enemy ship in the process.
  • Energy Jam Frigate - An unarmed utility frigate that prevents enemy ships from cloaking, hyperspacing, and negates any "Improve accuracy" effects nearby (e.g. from Fire Control Towers, Command Corvettes)

Research & Production:
The Recycle Station functions as 'non-combat carrier', and the two subsystems that you build on it will unlock most smaller craft & pave the way for the larger units. Once these subsystems are up, players can build the remaining subsystems on the Outposts.

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