Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Star Wars: Empire at War - Tatooine

Star Wars: Empire at War - Tatooine
This is a hint / walkthrough for a planet in Star Wars: Empire at War. The index of all our guides for Empire at War is here.

Imperial Campaign
In Mission 11 (Capturing a Princess) you need to use an Interdictor to stop Princess Leia from escaping to hyperspace, and an Imperial Star Destroyer to tractor her ship in.
In our play on Hard Difficulty, this mission was tricky because of a bug that occurs when a Corellian Corvette is caught by an Imperial Star Destroyer tractor beam.

Space Battle

There are asteroids apparently in your way between the west side where you start and the east side where the pirates are located, but you can fly through this without your large cruisers having to swing wide. There are three Interdictors here for free and they are easily saved by moving them immediately through and behind your fleet. Keep your fleet together and head east over the pirate base, but not into it as your large cruisers will take a lot of damage from flying through the asteroids there.
(Incidentally, it is theoretically possible to slowly go through an asteroid field as you will only take damage when your ship is in motion -- so, you could wait for your shields to regenerate in between moving slowly).

When you have entered the nebula, turn all your ships around except for one Interdictor, which you should move to the southeastern edge of the nebula. When Darth Vader gives you the go-ahead to move out to capture the Princess, don't move anything except that one Interdictor. Move it out of the nebula's southeastern side (far away from any Rebel ships and with the nebula between them) and turn on the Gravity Well and the Missile Jammer. The Interdictor cannot move with the Gravity Well on, so it is very vulnerable. On top of this, the Rebellion ships in this mission have a tendency to go for your Gravity Well generator.

At this point, do NOT move your ships out of the Nebula, or the Rebellion fleet will come for you. They will also call in Mon Calamari capital ships (up to two, depending on how many Rebel ships you have destroyed). Instead, survive the first wave (mostly corvettes going for your Broadsides as usual, and your Interdictors if they spot them) and continue to hide in the nebula. Distract their missile-firing Marauders with Darth Vader, who can destroy them quite quickly.
Hiding in the nebula has another advantage -- It disables special abilities. Your own special abilities are to reduce shields and increase weapons fire. Not very useful unless you can be assured that you don't need those shields. The special ability of the Rebellion's larger vessels is to increase shields, and that can give them enough staying power to reach and destroy your Broadsides. If they enter the nebula, you won't have to deal with that and your massed forces in the nebula should be able to destroy them in short order.

Your objective now is to wait for their heavy reinforcements and repel them. When the first Mon Calamari capital ship comes, you may want to have either your Imperial Star Destroyer out front (provided to you because you need a Tractor Beam) or near the front and move back whatever ships have been barraged by the Mon Calamari and move your Imperial Star Destroyer up next, thus soaking the fire with the shields from two ships.
Once the Mon Calamari ship has lost its shields (hopefully quickly, because of your Broadside Cruisers), it will turn around and flee to the west. Stay in the nebula.
When Darth Vader has destroyed enough Marauders, or after another Nebulon-B or Assault Frigate has made a run toward the nebula, a second Mon Calamari will probably come. Cripple it in the same way. When your shields are back up to strength, venture out carefully to finish them off.

Interestingly, the remaining smaller vessels (even Assault Frigates) kept to the northern edge of the space battle field, possibly because they couldn't find the lone Interdictor with its Gravity Well on.

Once the Mon Calamari capital ships are clear, we can get back to the mission. Since the Gravity Well is still active, Princess Leia in the Tantive IV cannot jump to hyperspace. According to the mission objectives, you need to pick her up. Do NOT do so without first making sure you have a good save of your game.
When we played it on Hard, tractoring in the Tantive IV caused the game to stutter and ultimately crash. Save games made after tractoring in the ship were corrupt and trying to load them also crashed the game.

Instead, leave Princess Leia alone and go for the remaining ships. When you have destroyed one or two, a Rebellion hyperspace countdown will start -- even though your Gravity Well is still active. Once they flee, you will be announced victorious. The game will return to the Galaxy Map and the dialogues will proceed as if you had captured Princess Leia.

Note that during this mission, Princess Leia's Corellian Gunship Tantive IV acts like any other gunship and will attack you. However, it is basically indestructible. Once it has been reduced to 0 Hull, it will flee and not return fire. Your ships and TIE fighters don't know it cannot be destroyed and will continue to attack it unless you recall them.

Rebellion Campaign

Tatooine is a critical planet for the Rebellion as it gives Combat Armor Level 1 for Rebellion tanks -- in turn key to greatly increasing the survivability of T2-B Repulsor Tanks.

Land Battle

Watch out for the several environmental hazards here:
  • A Sarlacc in the northwest. Each time it sweeps its tentacle, it grabs one individual from an infantry unit.
  • A Rancor in the northeast. If you leave it alone, it will probably eventually go to the native human settlement nearby.
  • A Tusken Raider settlement in the southwest.
  • Twisters -- If these sweep through infantry, they can immediately kill a few.

Use a lot of natives to draw fire from PLEX Troopers. Use your PLEX Troopers to take down enemy vehicles, then move in T2-Bs to occupy Stormtroopers. If possible, push through to the Shield Generator and destroy it, then call a Bombing Run on the Light Factories (when we did this land campaign, there were two).

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