The best time to strike is while the iron is hot. With the winning of two major battles on and near Bothawui, it's time to push on to the next target - immediately.
A large Rebel fleet approaches Nal Hutta openly along normal hyperspace lanes, targeting a space station built into an asteroid. The Hutt cartels maintain control of Nal Hutta orbits through a large group of mercenaries functioning as a planetary defensive force.
The mercenaries use common outer rim technology that should be no match for the Rebellion.
The Rebel fleet drops out of hyperspace very close to the main mercenary station's current position. While the defenders had no way to predict the Rebellion's approach, they have a few minutes to re-organize and present a unified defense.
The Rebel fleet groups up. This is our first major space battle against pirate forces.
Pirates have three units they can deploy. This means we never have to worry about pirates using precise cross-counters - instead we have to worry about their numbers harassing us into defeat.
Y-Wings will be crucial in this battle.
I feel for Y-Wing pilots, I really do. These obsolete starfighters are pieces of crap and the butt of a thousand jokes, and they're very likely to die in large numbers because their ships are both slow and fragile. Sometimes, using Y-Wings at all weakens your forces depending n how many corvettes the enemy has, and even TIE Fighters are dire threats to Y-Wings.
But when you need Y-Wings, you need Y-Wings. In the right situation, such as this battle, having seven or more squadrons of them is the right tool for this situation.
We see two pirate units, and the first enemy forces.
Pirate fighters, the orange square, are roughly competitive with X-Wings, but not as mobile. These are custom-built units that don't appear to relate to any existing starfighters.
We've talked a little about pirate frigates, but in more detail...pirate frigates are technically Interceptor-class frigates. Pirate frigates have some advantages - their engines can't be destroyed, and their concussion missiles come both quickly and in large numbers. They can engage starfighters fairly effectively, and overwhelm smaller capital ships. And again, because of the missiles, there's absolutely no downside to spamming them.
There are numerous problems, however. They don't carry starfighters, they're fragile, and they're tier I frigates and not very competitive against later units. They're also the ultimate pirate space unit. A tier I frigate. Yeah. Against some of the ultimate ships - say, a destroyer or a battlecruiser - an entire fleet of pirate ships could provide a more competitive battle by just committing suicide before it.
Pirates have no bombers.
The pirates in this battle have enough fighters to take our X-Wings on directly. But they'd rather go after us one at a time.
Technically, in Star Wars canon, fighters custom built from the scrap of other things are called "uglies", and most of them were unholy marriages between TIE Fighters and Y-Wings, notable for combining the Y-Wing's lack of maneuverability with the TIE Fighter's no shields and low firepower.
Pirate fighters in this game are stronger than that, but against end-game fighters they're so much space dust.
Finally, the Interceptor frigate turns to engage our forces. The turbo-lasers it's firing deal much more damage to larger ships, but are inaccurate and non-damaging against strikecraft.
Frigate, meet Y-Wings.
Goddess I love the screaming.
The pirate asteroid station.
Pirate asteroid stations are tight, compact stations armed with lasers, turbolasers, and concussion missiles. They're fairly tough, and have garrisons of pirate fighters, IPV-1s, and Interceptor frigates. The concussion missiles in particular are lethal against both strikecraft and capital ships.
We will never get to own a pirate station in the campaign.
The general order to target pirate station hardpoints is: Hanger, shields, missiles, and then whatever you want.
We send the strikecraft forward. Every second we can cut off the pirate hanger's life, the smaller the chance of facing respawning forces. Even though our strikecraft will be hammered, this decision must be made.
Our frigates and corvettes advance towards the station, alternating between focusing fire on specific frigates and moving forward.
The pirates have IPV-1s in this battle. These are the third pirate unit. Remember in battles against pirates that they have fighters, corvettes, and frigates, but no more.
That's the hanger gone. The Y-Wings continue to take tons of damage, but this has to be done. The curse of the tactician is that sometimes you need to put people in positions where you know they will die.
Canonically, Y-Wings are two-seater strikecraft.
It's the Ion Cannon. The Y-Wing's Ion Cannon is in a turret mount and canonically is usually used to protect the bomber from fighters. Here, the Ion Cannon is some kind of forward-firing superweapon...but to operate it still takes the second person.
We interrupt the space station's weapons to increase the survivability of our Y-Wings. Although the pirate fighters will reap them anyway.
This is one of the rare Rebel battles where we take on the role of the Empire. We are numerous, inexorable, and with far better technology. Those explosions are the end of pirates.
We reach the space station, finally. And some of our strikecraft are still alive. But there's a problem.
This. This is the problem. This one frigate is being focused on by three frigates. They've pounded her shields down, and the missiles have already inflicted substantial damage.
We solve this by boosting power to shields, and focusing fire on the missile launchers the frigates use.
It looks like another frigate took serious damage. This is a hazard when facing a missile heavy force. It just happens.
Fortunately, the pirate forces are outnumbered and being attacked on all sides.
And the pirate station's crumbling is accelerated as Rebel frigates swarm near it.
I believe I've already mentioned the damage modeling in the space portion of this game. If you look closely, you can see the individual weapon emplacements of that station floating off as they're destroyed.
There's still a large number of pirate fighters, but out X-Wings are on it.
We finally strike something truly important, and the chain of secondary explosions splits the asteroid in half.
Our X-Wings and Y-Wings together engage the pirate fighters, the last remaining enemy forces.
Evidence that Y-Wings can fire lasers against strikecraft. That explosion was once a pirate fighter.
Butttt our X-Wings are so much better at it.
The pirates definitely had enough units that, with better tactical control, they could have knocked out more than one frigate. Instead, we wiped out their advantages one by one until they couldn't fight us at all.
Mon Mothma: "Grand Admiral, what exactly are you doing?"
-: "I don't know what you mean, ma'am?"
Mon Mothma: "You were instructed to go to Kashyyyk. Every moment we delay, Wookies die. And here your fleet is? Nal Hutta? Your diversion to Bothawui was tolerated in light of the damage the Empire inflicted to that world, but vile though the Hutts may be, they are willing to sell the Alliance ships and ammunition."
-: "Crappy ships and ammunition. We can build much better. We already are."
Mon Mothma: "That is irrelevant. Send your fleet to Kashyyyk at once!"
I get the distinct impression we need to go to Kashyyyk. I don't know why. It's probably a little bluebird or something. But first I wanna show you something. The Rebellion has a unique power with ground units. Any fleet of rebel ground units three or smaller is classed as a "raid fleet" and is stealthed. Raid fleets can use the special "Raid" option to skip orbital battles and fight directly on the planet's surface.
Make sure you use the "Raid" option, however. If you don't, you'll pit three ground transports against all defending space units.
Any space units will remain in orbit, of course.
As it so happens, we have the perfect units to take Shola. After Shola, Kashyyyk.
Three Rebel transports arc silently towards Shola. All systems are offline - life support, engines, shields, everything. For all intents and purposes in the vastness of space, they are meteorites. Even life sensors will see nothing, for there is nothing to see...
OOM-57 ONLINE. EXECUTING PRIMARY SCRIPT...
ATTEMPTING TACTICAL UPLINK WITH HIGH COMMAND...FAILED
ATTEMPTING TACTICAL UPLINK WITH STRATEGIC COMMAND...FAILED
ATTEMPTING TACTICAL UPLINK WITH ORBITAL COMMAND...FAILED
ATTEMPTING TACTICAL UPLINK WITH TACTICAL COMMAND...FAILED
EXECUTING CONTINGENCY MODE...
ESTABLISHING TACTICAL UPLINK WITH SUBORDINATE UNITS...SUCCESS
ESTABLISHING TACTICAL UPLINK WITH REINFORCEMENTS...FAILED
ESTABLISHING TACTICAL UPLINK WITH ORBITAL SUPPORT...FAILED
ACCESSING PASSIVE ORBITAL SCAN DATA...OPPOSITION ESTIMATED AT TEN BATTALIONS
ACCESSING MISSION OBJECTIVE...ACHIEVE PLANETARY CONTROL
ELIMINATE HOSTILE SURFACE MILITARY UNITS
ELIMINATE HOSTILE BASE STRUCTURES
ELIMINATE HOSTILE SPACE STATION
PROBABILITY OF MISSION SUCCESS: 95.6%
NEW SUB-OBJECTIVE: SECURE MINING FACILITY RESOURCES
SUBORDINATE UNITS CONSIST OF 12 B3 CLASS SUPER BATTLE DROIDS. UNIT COMBAT ABILITIES ROUGHLY EQUAL TO ALLIANCE STANDARD HOVER TANKS. UNSHIELDED. TERRESTRIAL. HEAVILY ARMORED. EQUIPPED WITH BUILD PAD INTERFACES.
STANDARD ADVANCE MODE: CONSTRUCT FALLBACK POINTS WITH REPAIR STATIONS AND FIRE SUPPORT TURRETS.
NEW SUB-OBJECTIVE: SECURE ADDITIONAL REINFORCEMENT ZONES.
ERROR. COMMUNICATION WITH REINFORCEMENTS OFFLINE.
ERROR. NO HOSTILE UNITS DETECTED. EXECUTING SEARCH MODE...
SEARCH OPEN SPACES FOR HOSTILE BASE STRUCTURES...
DETECTING HIGH PLANETARY TEMPERATURES...NO THREAT TO B3 UNITS
DETECTING HIGH ASH CONCENTRATIONS IN PLANETARY ATMOSPHERE..SWITCH TO RADAR TRAVERSAL MODE
HOSTILE UNITS DETECTED. CLASSIFICATION: SWAMP SPEEDER. ACTIVATE HUMOR SUBROUTINES.
FOR THE CONFE- FOR THE ALLIANCE!
HOSTILE BASE LOCATION CONFIRMED. NEW PRIMARY TARGET ESTABLISHED.
HOSTILE SKIFFS CONFIRMED. THREAT ASSESSMENT: MINIMAL
THREAT ASSESSMENT UPDATED. THREAT ASSESSMENT: NONE.
CONFIRMING HOSTILE UNIT. DESIGNATION: AT-AP.
HOSTILE FEATURES MAIN CANNON. CONCENTRATING FIRE TO REMOVE THREAT.
THREAT ASSESSMENT: MINIMAL
WARNING: SOME UNITS SUSTAINED MINOR DAMAGE.
HOSTILE STRUCTURE WILL PRODUCE UNLIMITED REINFORCEMENTS. CONCENTRATING FIRE.
CRUSH. KILL. DESTROY.
FINAL DEFENDERS. ANNIHILATE THEM.
DIFFICULTY OF SNEAKING GIANT BOMB INTO NEXT SUPPLY SHIPMENT TO HIDDEN ORBITAL BASE: TRIVIAL.
ASSESSMENT OF HOSTILE FORCES: INEXPLICABLE STRATEGIC DECISION DESTROYED EIGHT FULL INFANTRY BATTALIONS DUE TO PLANETARY CONDITIONS ON SHOLA.
OOM-57 CANNOT REINFORCE ALLIED FORCES DUE TO PLANETARY BLOCKADE.
ALLIED FORCES MUST SECURE HIGH ORBIT OF SHOLA.
STRATEGIC ANALYSIS: FRIENDLY FORCES FACE MULTIPLE OBJECTIVES.
ESTIMATED SHOLA PRIORITY: 5.
ANALYZING CONSTRUCTION DROID OPERATION CHOICES ON SHOLA...
NEXT TIME, FRIENDLY FORCES LIBERATE KASHYYYK. NO TIME TO SPARE TO HELP OOM-57. OOM-57 IS MERELY A DROID, AND DROIDS DO NOT MATTER.