Upon finishing installation of this juggernaut, you're greeted with a message saying "Time to kick some Sovereign ass". I would like to say I followed that through, but that would make me a liar, because in actual fact, the Sovereign kicked my ass...which isn't the whole truth, as Oberths kicked my ass, but no matter how many times and no matter how many ships were sent at me, I kept on playing until my base was completely overrun by Dominion and Federation forces that turned my once proud Metathran Celestial fortress into rubble. And it was all fantastic fun.
You see, the thing about AoW is that it throws away pretty much every tactic in the book and replaces it with just two; mine as much as you can from as many sources as you can, whilst building as much of everything as humanly possible. Humanly being the operative word there as even on medium Ai difficulty it can be quite difficult to keep up with Ai enemy or allies. You simply don't have the co-ordination or speed to maintain such manic building as having fifty Dominion bug ships building on the go, which the Ai spams however, this isn't about the Dominion or the Romulans, although being spit-shined for a glossy finish, as they featured the first part to this mod. No, this is the turn of the big guns of the averagely average Federation and the new race to the block, the deadly loyalists of the Metathran.
As we've seen in the development process, the Metathran are completely new off the block and boast some of the most fantastic original designs in Armada, which is equalled only by their dominance late game. Whilst their early ships can barely tote a cannon of any sort, their big guns mean to do business and relay this by firing streams of torpedoes and rail beams that have been beautifully crafted, giving this mod an extra layer of graphical supremecy. Their ships both look bold and efficient, similarly to the Borg, whilst keeping their uniform look that means in battle, of which you will be swarmed in an almost neverending conflict from the minute the first phaser is fired, you'll never lose track of them. Granted, you'd argue that it's hard to lose a Hutet or Dominion dreadnought in battle, but you'll be surprised how little you'll pay direct attention to them when you've got a mass of a hundred other ships to control.
Gameplay mechanics are drastically changed, along with the interfaces. It might seem odd in Armada to not look up to see your resources, but after only five minutes, I found my self instinctively looking to their new position almost as if they had always been there. On the bad side, the general interface buttons on the right hand side (camera, tooltiips etc.) doesn't seem to work quite as well, but unless you're seriously using them, there shouldn't be that much need to worry about them. Whilst I'm also on the more negative side of things, the Metathran seemed to have a few bugs. Whilst none of them inherently effected gameplay (certainly no crashes and that goes for all 4 races when up against each other, making this not only a brilliant mod to play, but a reliable one in terms of not crashing) some were quite frustrating; the unusual, but cool, mining freighters seemed to have problems when docking at the respective station when I was playing as them, but the Ai seemed to have no trouble in terms of getting them into dock, suggesting some sort of pathing problem. Indeed, one of a few, such as when the Metathran freighters are in a queue, they'll slip inside one another, or the Federation HQ Starbase, which builds its ships far to the north of the actual model. Other than pathing, the Metathran super weapon which I was looking forward to detonating didn't quite want to cause any sort of explosion, meaning it and a few resources were lost along with it when it went dumbly up against the enemy fleet.
The Metathran also lack much in the way of select sounds, ie. when you select a starbase, you won't hear anything. Perhaps not so much of a problem, but some sounds would've been nice and with the possible non-entrance from 8472 (although cameoing their Frigates with the Kulinor's stolen special weapon) perhaps stealing their voices would be appropriate, given the Species almost fanatical devotion to purging the galaxy, of which there would seem to be a similar prospect with the Metathran. On the same point as similarity, there's nothing really new to the Federation. Seemingly every ship has a special weapon, most of which just fire extra torpedoes or extra phasers here and there that boost fleet prowess. In this mod, Starfleet does offer a comprehensive line-up of ships, so there's no real need to build one of each ship, as you can pretty much pick and chose the ships you like the look of, with most ships at a particular tech level being pretty similar in terms of defense and offensive value as each other.
What truly makes this mod though are the little things. There are defnitely plenty of them, from the animations on every small structure of the Metathran, to the mining beams and docking manuvers; it seems everything in this universe is living and I think that really helps to make the mod stand out. One of the reasons for this review taking so long is indeed because the mod is so ingrossing, it'll stop you from doing other things, whilst seemingly you'll never really achieve quite a lot in it. The way the mod plays, as I mentioned above, has the races duke it out on an intergalactic battlefield that never really ends. It's almost as if you're in a perpetual state of conflict with no end in sight. Many will love this, as you just get to progressively build bigger and bigger ships until either you, the Ai or a human opponent (this mod would just be lovely to play online against someone) finds some sort of weakness and exploits it, ending the conflict usually pretty suddenly after that point.
It'd take an awfully long time to make a list of all the features, so I'll let you discover them for yourselves, but I thought the maps warranted a comment. Although not essentially required, there have been a few maps created, purpose built to sustain the raging conflict of AoW. Though there aren't too many of them which isn't a huge problem as the mod comes with a map maker and everything is in check for you to create a new map, or edit a stock one so it is more playable for the style of AoW, which if you haven't tweaked from now is, "Build big. Blow up anything and everything".
If I had to say one truly disheartening comment, it'd be that with the mass of ships (that can easily break 1000 in one small area with 3-4 players) the action can become a bit too much and the game really starts to slow down, although not for long as in that lag, it is highly likely that your fleet has been decimated. For those with weaker PCs, I'd recommend either going on a stock map that doesn't have much dilithium on it (being solo with crew as the only resources in game) or a smaller AoW map with less teams. Don't worry, you won't be missing out, as there are plenty of explosions to go around.
I guess though it's time for a conclusion. Even though there are a few negative points, the ends truly justify the means and make this an utterly fantastic mod that is worthy of every player's hard drive. I'd almost go to say you'd be a fool not to download it. I haven't had this much fun in Armada 2 with a mod since Babylon 5 and I'd dare say that this is the best mod to hit Armada 2...until part 3 comes out, which features the Klingons (cry havoc and lets spam the Birds of war!) and the Borg (oh my God! The Spheres! The Spheres!) and is currently titled "Resistance is Fun!". 11 out of 10.
Star Trek Armada 2 : Art Of War (Part 2) : Holy Wars by Achilles AKA WrathofAchilles ***INSTALLATION*** Just make sure you have a clean install of Star trek armada 2 with the 1.1 patch if needed. Download and Run the Art of War part 1 exe (if you want it to install to a directory other that the default one you can change this) Run the Art of War part 2 exe (if you want it to install to a directory other that the default one you can change this) I suggest you restart your computer after loading. ***INFORMATION*** This mod is for Star Trek Armada 2 only! This is the second installation installation, next up will be the Klingons Vs the Borg. The two races for this are the Federation and the Metathran. Metathran Their ships are slightly stronger than average, on par with the few Jem'Hadar ships. Their specials are more enhancing than direct damage and the AI will try to build as many dreadnoughts as possible. Federation The average as usual... average weapons, average shields, average build times.... bored yet? They do have over double the amount of combat ships that other races have, no reason I just could. The AI builds a very balanced fleet. (STORY FOR THE METATHRAN) The Metathran people are led by the church of the Cabal, a zealetous religion that established total power on their homeworld under the belief that none acceptence and devotion to their Gods is punishable by death. there military is split into 5 "churches", the church of Razia, Akroma, Malach, Serra and Reya, each has new ships assigned to them upon completion, this system has been established to prevent a miliatry coup. Fortunately there's is a religion which encourages technological advancement for as soon as they discovered life on other planets the seeked to convert them to the Cabal, at first through brute power and later using mixture of military might and prolongued phsycic reconditioning... a technology they had much interest in. Once converted a new planet's inhabitants are dispersed amongst all the conquered worlds of the Metathran to discourage racial identity and alternate religions. All races converted over 2 generations ago are able to serve in the crusades alongside pure bread Metathran soldiers, known as Cabal Templars. The Cabal has encourage greater use of extra sensory abilities throughout the fleet to enhance it's warriors and discourage enemies though most churches prefer the traditional brute force, to this end the Railgun technology was developed... using huge accelerators to fire massive bolts of dense material over long distances these newer weapons have proven devasting. After years of none contact with the major races we know from the Alpha quadrant a major crusade has been ordered against the federation of planets to renew a sense of loyality to the church and the Gods. ***CHANGES*** Fixes to Part 1 The ship physics have been redone to less dramatic ones fix for the romulan hawk class, AI crash cardassian and romulan super facilities can be built romulan shockwave turret is weakened and less shielded cardassian 3rd yard increased in size Romulan turrets increased in size possible crash fixed in hideki Ship shields re-evaluated to make them less weak against turrets Wireframes replaced for Roms/Dom, they are single image though. Interface changed to accomodate the used resources only improved models D'avoress, v'karex, ibis, dreadnought, hutet, battleship, strike cruiser, heavy attackship, attackship... replaced several AI problem specials. Dominion super building changed to wormhole center. To do part 3 add assault = 1 to all borg ships replace rom & dom scout add some stuff from midnight mod use model ds9/nor model from BIVR add the new ronin model add the Norin add the dcarrier (support) write all new physics Known bugs Multi-targeting weapon is screwy in A2, on the bases and some turrets it fires in all direction if there are not enough legitimate targets for it, dont worry, it'll correct if real targets approach. the physics suck, I know they will be done. the special weapons need some enhancing, not my strength, if anyone wants to help that would rock. ***DISCLAIMER*** This project is in no way affiliated, attached, or authorised by Activision, MadDOC Software, or any subsidaries, sub divisions, company members or other such affiliates to the aforementioned companies. They cannot be held liable or responsible for your actions concerning innapropriate usage of the files contained in this mod. Please refrain from contacting any of the above parties with regards to problems arising from any kind of usage of the files contained in the mod, as no support is given. You are responsible for your own usage of this mod, and are dictacted by the standard terms governing its usage. This includes extrenuating circumstances in which 3rd party alteration to the included files may cause problems, or damage to the users system. In this case I, WrathofAchilles, cannot be held liable for such missuse, and will not provide any help or support in these matters. ***CREDITS*** fdread3/Excalibur Original that this version has been rebuilt around created for the Bridge Commander community by Cpt LC Amaral. This mesh complete rebuild by Major A Payne. Texture set created using renderings from the USS Excalibur high poly mesh as created by Steven "Rivers3D" Davis <http://stes3dreload.tripod.com>. fdread2/Soulwolf Ship Design by Chris Reyes (Atolm) Model and Textures by Cleeve (www.STARYARDS.com) Armada 2 conversion (Odf, texture conversion, & buildbuttons) by Peter Fuchs (www.terradyhne-yards.de) E-Mail:Terradyhne@gmx.de fdread1/Titan - Original model, design and concept courtesy of Atolm/Azel. Mesh adjustments and texture set/application done by WickedZombie45 (subsequent release through www.nightsoft.com/omega/drs (Demon Renegade Studios) and originally created for SFC3/BC. - Poly reduction on saucer and texture manipulation/re-application done by Major A Payne. fhbattle3/Premonition - Original concept and design by Activision. - Original SFC3 based model and texture set created by Rick "Queball" Powick. Additional credit goes to Azel/Atolm for design sketches with elements used from Executioners high poly version. - This low poly model created by Major A Payne with original deflector remaining from Queballs SFC3 mesh. Textures used are same from Queballs model. fhbattle2/Achilles Original model: DEEMON Textures: Blurb23 Mesh: Blurb23 TGLs: Blurb23 Convert From BC Edited Textures And odf Files:HMS Frontier fhbattle1/Sovereign Original model: Admiral original conversion to Armada: Thor Texture: Mangledduk Lightmaps: Unholy Trinity fbattle5/Poseiden - Original kitbashed model by USS Phoenix (released for BC) \par - Models used: Sovereign Class mesh original by Pneumonic81 and Prometheus Class mesh originally by Lord_Bile \par - Original Kitbash design by ChiefBrex\par - Based on Star Trek Art Deparment models of the Sovereign and Prometheus Classes\par - Poly reduction and texture reapplication by Major A Payne\par fbattle4/Hercules originally Dreadnought class Pizza the Hut/ Aad Moerman fbattle3/Galaxy X from Galaxy - Galaxy-X pack by Tycoon fbattle2/Prometheus Original Model Design: Nixon & Gtea Original Textures: Nixon & Gtea Original Mesh: Nixon & Gtea Edited Model Design: Tycoon - Poly Reduction Edited Textures: Tycoon - Removed Registry - Edited Lightmaps / Alpha Channels fbattle1/Galaxy from Galaxy - Galaxy-X pack by Tycoon frigate4/Nebula from Galaxy/nebula pack by Tycoon Original Model Creation: Dolphoenix Original Model Textures: Vorlon & Dolphoenix Additional Model Work: Howedar and ThomastheCat Conversion: Tycoon From ST: Starfleet Command III to ST: Armada II Variant Model Work: - Added Sensor Pod - Textures by P81, Moonraker and Knox1701 - Model by Major A Payne - Textures edited by Tycoon - Added V3 Twin-Nacelles: Tycoon Hardpointed: Tycoon Edited Textures: Tycoon - Nebula: Reduced Texture Sets (original 22, final 6) - Galaxy: Reduced Texture Sets (original 16, final 6) - Remapped Textures - Removed Ship Registrations ffrigate3/Akira every one who Made Bridge Commander and SFC, Admirals Soveriegn makers, Star trek First contact, Sherman2 ffrigate2/Excelsior originally Excelsior 2 by Aad Moerman ffrigate1/New Orleans Original Model Design: Rick "P81" Knox Original Textures: Rick "P81" Knox Edited Model Design: Tycoon (Me) - Poly Reduced - New Saucer Section (courtesy of Major Payne) - poly reduced further by me. Edited Textures: Tycoon (Me) - Removed Registries - Reduced Texture Sets - Re-Applied to Nacelles Conversion to Armada II: Tycoon (Me) - This includes Hardpoints, Build Buttons, Admirals Log Images and such. *Note: The New Orleans Class is also using Deemons Galaxy Texture for her nacelles. fcruise6/Eximus design by Cleeve mesh by Cleeve texture by Cleeve converted to sod by APCMmkII wireframe, buildbutton, odf and hardpoints for armada by APCMmkII fcruise5/Ambassador 9 of NINE for the original A1 ship (see old readme) ChYu_Chen for the Ambassador Build Button Retexture by JetFreak fcruise4/Steamrunner Model - Michael Kelly Textures - Michael Kelly ODF - Original except for the weapons and sod scale info. Texture & model inspiration - Andy "Deemon" Johns fartillery/Norway Model, textures, By Deemon fcruise3/Miranda Original Model Design: Captian_Fingers Original Textures: Captian_Fingers Original Mesh: Captian_Fingers Edited Textures: SupaStarAsh (Me) .ODF: SupaStarAsh (Me) fcruise2/Constitution by Terradyhne Terradyhne@gmx.de fcruise1/Intrepid Oringal Model: Dolphoenix Oringal Textures: ThomastheCat Texture Conversion: Ryan (me) Texture remapping: FahreS @ -=WiCKeD=-HARKER Model Hardpointing/Exporting: Ryan (me) fassault3/Constellation by Captain Fingers fassault2/Sabre by K7A for Dawn of War fassault1/Defiant By 9ofNine fdestroy4/ Curry By 9ofNine fdestroy3/Nova Model's + textures - By Unknown Ship's ODF/Parameters ODF - by Spectre fdestroy2/Centaur By PaperStreetSoap email@example.com fdestroy1/Oberth Model : Deemon Textures : Deemon fscout/Delta by Spectre Texture by HeiFi from the Eclipse Project fbase2/Spacedock By 9ofNine fbase1/Starbase Using 9ofNine's texture fyard1/Primary Yard - Original Model Design: Captian_Fingers - Original Textures: Captian_Fingers - Original Mesh: Captian_Fingers fyard2/Secondary Yard converted from unknown author by MajorAPayne fyard3/Tertiary Yard McKinley as released by Tycoon in Apocalypse shipyard pack Original Model Design: Millenium Project Original Textures: Millenium Project Original Mesh: Millenium Project fresear/Ship research facility Osiris research station from BIVR mesh built by Major A Payne textures from Jupiter station by Red Dragon fconst by capt fingers fmining taken from BIVR - Mining Station: Stock model retextured (texture from 9 of nines spacedock). ffreight taken from BIVR - Freighter: Original model and textures created by Interstellar Machine for SFC. This mesh upgrade with additional sections by Major A Payne for purposes of reclassification to freighter. fturret Original mesh and textures done by Tooie32 remeshed by Major A Payne fturret2 Original mesh and textures done by Tooie32 remeshed by Major A Payne fsensor Original mesh and textures done by Mateen Greenway remeshed and textures rendered by Major A Payne fturret3 from Kleotol's Xtrememe mod fturret4 from Kleotol's Xtrememe mod Ddread/Dominion Dreadnought Daniel "Smiley" Clarke. Metathran models all by me, WrathofAchilles :) fed photon/quantum effect by Rake corbomite reflector texture by kleotol blue shields mod original idea by draconis_sharp, creator Elrond ***THANKS AND OTHER INFO*** Special Thanks to Joelteon7/Joel, Major A Payne, Tycoon, STGamer2002 for being good freinds. Thanks to the A2files staff for doing that voodoo you do do so well... ***Patching*** Well there are still 2 trek races to be done, Borg & Klinks, then maybe more. ***End*** I doubt anyone will ever reach the end, I wrote a book :) I hope you have fun playing my baby, she is my pride and joy. Contact me with ideas, complaints and anything in general at.... firstname.lastname@example.org
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