Haegemonia allows the player to create a multi-system empire. At first, only the planets similar to Earth can be colonized. After advanced terraforming and colonization techniques are researched or stolen from enemies, almost any planet can be colonized and, eventually, terraformed into Gaia-class worlds (gas giants are uninhabitable).
There are several ways of getting money to fund planetary projects and space construction: tax colonies, steal money from enemies with spies, mine resource-rich asteroids, receive tribute from other races/factions, and other ways (e.g. aid from Earth).
Research system is based on research points (RPs) which are allocated at the beginning of each mission. Most of the time, that is the maximum for the mission; however, certain random events may also increase that amount. During the campaign, all researched technologies are transferred from mission to mission, and the player can choose a certain number of ships and heroes to bring along to the next mission.
The espionage system is also different from many other games. Spy ships can be constructed in the same manner as other ships, usually no more than 3 may be present at a time. Certain heroes excel at spying and are best placed in those ships. These ships are invisible on sensors and have no sensors of their own (to prevent unfair use as scouts). Instead, spy ships can be assigned mission to be performed on planets, ships, or stations. The higher the level of the spy ship and/or hero is, the more types of missions they may perform (they gain levels by spying). In some cases, a well-trained spy ship may be worth several battleships. Spies can also be used to detect and stop enemy spies. If a spy ship is detected (e.g. spy mission failure, detected by another spy), it becomes visible for a short time to all ships, allowing it to be attacked. Ship behaviors and spy missions can be set using right-click menus. The same is true for subsystem targeting, although it is limited to hull, engines, and weapons.
Energy weapons are split up into three groups: cannons (fighters only), turrets (anti-fighter, used on turret corvettes and heavy ships), and blasters (only energy weapon for orbital bombardment, used on blaster corvettes and heavy ships). Contrary to popular belief, ships equipped with turrets can bombard planets, just not as effectively. Weaponry also comes in four distinct forms:
- Proton: orange, ball-shaped projectile, primarily used by human ships. Proton weapons are fairly accurate and fast-hitting. They have the ability to penetrate shields.
- Ion: blue-white beam, reminiscent of the Ion Cannons from Homeworld. Ion weapons are mainly used on Kariak ships; they are instant-hitting and has a chance to temporarily disable shields.
- Quantum: grey-purple cloud. These weapons are slow, compared to proton projectiles, however they have high, area-of-effect damage. Used by Darzoks.
- Missile: the highest damaging weapons. They are very effective against slow targets and are the ultimate planetary bombardment weapons, possessing a very high kill-off. To counter this, they are ineffective against fighters and very vulnerable to ECM: fully researched, MK-2 ECM systems will cause up to 90% of incoming missiles to veer off-course, though more advanced warheads can resist ECM to some extent.
Planetary takeovers are accomplished by literally bombing a planet into submission, killing millions of people in the process (apparently the designers did not want to add planetary combat to the game, not even a simulated one). If the population is low to begin with, the planet will most likely become uninhabited and free to be colonized. Planetary bombardment, apparently, does not affect the planet's quality and besides, there's no way to affect a planet's quality negatively, unlike the expansion.
Technologies like better weapons or better morale on your planets can be researched in the research screen (default: F5). The researches are categorized in 3 levels: basic, advanced and superior. The higher the level, the more you can upgrade (for example: +10% accuracy on basic, +15% acc. on advanced and +10% acc. on superior resulting in a total of +35% acc., ). The upgrades are also categorized in different categories: Ship tech, equipment, quantum weapons (mostly Darzok), proton weapons (mostly human), ion weapons (mostly Kariak), missile weapons (all races), planet tech and sociology & spy.
For good overview of the battle, the game includes the Starmap (default: spacebar). This is a 3d overview that allows you to view the battle from any direction you want, and with clear symbols representing the ships classes. You'll mostly be controlling your empire using this feature.
The latest patch, v1.07 introduces some minor modifications, like graphically showing sensor ranges in the starmap, ability to pause the game with P and redefine nearly every shortcut, as well as the ability to save skirmish matches. Another patch, marked as v2.01, contains a range of tools for modding.
Read more about this topic: Haegemonia: Legions Of Iron
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