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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Author Topic: N00b questions  (Read 4971 times)

Ad Astra

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2023, 07:47:45 PM »

Now my problem seems to be that I literally can't find enough fuel (and sometimes supplies) to do much. I can buy everything, but maybe I need to visit different systems and buy all their stuff? The bases are literally out of fuel and supplies. It's not that I can't afford it.

Remember to press F1 over each commodity (like fuel) you need to buy, if you are in the range of a comms relay like the core systems have, the thingies that let you know there's missions available, a list with all the best prices for buying and selling will appear. For fuel sindria and nachiketa tend to be the cheapest and have enormous amounts.

Also if your fleet runs out of fuel too fast, try to either rise the fuel capacity, get the "containment procedures" skill in the industry or yellow skill tree, or leave some of your bigger thirstier ships behind when going to the fringes of the sector. Always remember to press the fuel range option in the map so you know whether you can make it back or not.

A small efficient salvage fleet will make more money by cutting down in supply and fuel usage, also if you do survey missions, make sure to give your non-combat ships a hullmod called "surveying equipment" it makes surveying planets cheaper and require less crew I think.

Also, salvage rigs give you more loot from salvage but not more rare items, so you only get more commodities.
A cheaper alternative in the early game is getting "Shepherd" ships, they have a good amount of cargo space and built in salvage gantries, meaning that they improve the amount of supplies and fuel you get.
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Worldtraveller

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2023, 05:09:41 AM »

Ok. Next!

Good stealth ships? There are some (a lot, really) of missions, and several on the main storyline, that require stealth...sneaking into a base without being detected. I tried just minimizing my fleet down to a couple of ships, but it is still almost impossible to sneak in without being detected. And I still need a minimal amount of potential firepower. So I'm thinking 3-5 ships that have a good fuel & cargo, with at least some firepower, but mostly good stealth so when I'm running quiet, I can get close enough.

Usually, if it's available, I will lurk in the nearest asteroid belt or ring system where I get the additional screening, and it takes a lot of patience, but it's doable. The main storyline mission for the Galatia academy though (trying to find someone at a Tri-tech world), has me stumped. I realize that it probably would have been easier if I hadn't taken the Hegemony commission early on, but I'm ~30+ hours into this game and I don't want to start over yet....
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Ad Astra

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2023, 09:25:05 AM »

Ok. Next!

Good stealth ships?

Phase ships have the lowest sensor profile, that's why there's both a cargo phase ship "Revenant" and a cargo troop transport "Phantom".
If you want to sneak in for raids or smuggle, those are the cream of the crop, you can support them with any other phase ships.
The full list of phase ships from smaller to bigger is: Gremlin, Shade, Afflictor, Habringer, Doom, Super Redacted.

The smaller the fleet and the ships in it, the smaller the sensor profile, but it caps at 5 ships, you could bring 40 frigates for the sensor profile of 5. You can further diminish the sensor profile through "insulated engines" hullmod and even further by S-modding it.
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Aeson

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2023, 11:42:46 AM »

It bears mentioning that the Sensors skill reduces fleet sensor profile as well as improving fleet sensor strength, that the Phase Coil Tuning skill increases the fleet sensor profile reduction for having combatant phase ships in your fleet, and that Militarized Subsystems cancels Civilian-grade Hull's sensor strength and sensor profile penalties. Personally, I don't think Militarized Subsystems is all that worthwhile - it makes ships like Buffalo and Atlas count against the 240 DP limit for certain skills, it's effectively -1 burn if you have Bulk Transport (though whether or not that matters depends on what the slowest ship in your fleet actually is; a militarized Atlas probably won't slow a fleet that also contains a non-battlecruiser capital ship, for example), and frigate- and destroyer-scale freighters don't really have enough of a sensor profile to make taking both Militarized Subsystems and Insulated Engine Assembly worthwhile for sensor profile reduction while if you're spending story points on Insulated Engine Assembly even an unmilitarized Atlas or Prometheus could have a sensor profile of just 30 before applying fleet-wide bonuses from the Sensors skill and phase ships in the fleet - while Phase Coil Tuning is only really beneficial if you either don't have Phantoms/Revenants in your fleet (maximum sensor strength bonus for Phase Coil Tuning is +100%, so as long as you have no more than 40 DP of phase combatants each of your phase frigates would effectively have the same sensor strength as a Phantom or two-thirds the sensor strength of a Revenant) or use Harbingers or larger phase combatants.

Another thing that can help with stealth is to have ships with the High Resolution Sensors hullmod in your fleet (Omen, Apogee, and Odyssey come with it built in), since that will improve your ability to detect and identify other fleets before they can detect or identify your fleet.

The smaller the fleet and the ships in it, the smaller the sensor profile, but it caps at 5 ships, you could bring 40 frigates for the sensor profile of 5.
Specifically, it's the sensor profile reduction from phase ships in the fleet that caps at five ships, and if I recall correctly this multiplier cannot be reduced below 0.25.


So I'm thinking 3-5 ships that have a good fuel & cargo, with at least some firepower, but mostly good stealth so when I'm running quiet, I can get close enough.
As long as your fleet's sensor profile is below about two or three hundred at standard burn with the transponder off, you can probably sneak into any colony or complete any stealth mission, though finding the right opportunity to do so may take some patience and obviously it'll be easier with a lower sensor profile; if you can take advantage of a diversion (or create one) you can probably even get away with a much higher sensor profile than that, especially in systems like Isirah and Thule which have a lot of cover near places you might want to sneak into. If you're willing to spend story points on Insulated Engine Assembly for your big ships (especially for big civilian ships), you don't need to run a particularly small fleet to do this - I currently have six Eradicators, three Harbingers, a Shade, a Tempest, four Atlases, three Ventures, four Revenants, a Phantom, and three Salvage Rigs in my fleet, and at standard burn with the transponder off my fleet's sensor profile is 183. This doesn't necessarily come cheap - I've probably spent something like a fifth of the story points that that character has thus far earned on building Insulated Engine Assembly into the Eradicators, Apogees, Atlases, and two of the Ventures, and the Ventures are already something I only take out if I'm off surveying while some of the other cruisers probably aren't going to stay in the fleet once I get around to deciding what I actually want for that character's end-game fleet - but it gives you some idea of how much a few phase ships, the Sensors and Phase Coil Tuning skills, and Insulated Engine Assembly + story points can reduce the sensor profile of even a fairly substantial fleet.
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Candesce

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2023, 01:15:05 PM »

Specifically, it's the sensor profile reduction from phase ships in the fleet that caps at five ships, and if I recall correctly this multiplier cannot be reduced below 0.25.
I think that was in reference to how sensor profile is the sum of the five highest profiles in your fleet, and sensor strength the sum of the five strongest sensors (ignoring the sensor hullmod, that's added after).

The Sensors skill is, I believe, significantly stronger than its description might imply - it seems to be a multiplier to the range at which fleets can detect you, not to your sensor profile specifically, which is important when the distance you can be detected at is the sum of your sensor profile and the sensor strength of whatever fleet's looking for you. If you've put any effort into being stealthy, the second is likely to be a lot bigger than the first.
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Aeson

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #35 on: August 06, 2023, 01:43:23 PM »

The Sensors skill is, I believe, significantly stronger than its description might imply
Its description, insofar as matters to your ability to hide, is "-25% detected-at range," and "detected-at range" is essentially (your sensor profile) + (their sensor strength), so I don't see how the Sensors skill could possibly be "significantly stronger than its description might imply." The only player-facing number, however, is your fleet's sensor profile, and the detection range circles drawn around other fleets appear to already include both your sensor profile and their sensor strength, so unless you want to count pixels on before-and-after screenshots there's no good in-game way to determine whether the skill actually affects the effective sensor strength of other fleets - and even counting pixels might produce ambiguous results if the fleet you use for the before-and-after test has a large sensor profile relative to the likely sensor strength of whichever fleets have measurable detection-range circles in your comparison images.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2023, 01:45:19 PM by Aeson »
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Nimiety

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2023, 02:33:29 PM »

Sensors skill is to get 7 burn while Dark, and 5 burn while sensor bursting. You can't get caught by interdiction when you have the sensors skill, its so good.
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AcaMetis

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2023, 03:04:28 PM »

The Sensors skill gives you a x0.75 modifier to your Sensor Profile, a x1.25 modifier to your Sensor Strength, and adds +3 maximum Burn level to the speed at which your fleet is considered "slow moving". A slow moving fleet is harder to detect in certain types of terrain, and is able to avoid certain hazards when travelling through them.

As an example of how much the sensor profile reduction does, take a look at the screenshot. Normally my Sensor Profile would be 300 (base value) + 450 (the sum of the five ships in my fleet with the highest Sensor Profile) * 2 (from having Sustained Burn), +1000 (from having Sustained Burn) = 2500. The Sensors skill brings that down to 1875, which is little more than a Domain-era Sensors Array, or little over a quarter of a map square, taken off. Obviously not an especially relevant example if you're doing smuggling runs in the core, but while exploring that difference can save your life.

In the other extreme case, where I'm going dark in an asteroid belt with phase ships in the fleet, you can see the sensor profile reduction doesn't make too much of a difference - ~31 instead of ~42. However in that scenario the +3 maximum burn level when moving slow comes into play. Without Sensors I'd be limited to Burn 4 if I wanted to keep a low sensor profile, since the slowest ship in my fleet has burn 8, and your maximum slow moving speed is half that. The +3 from Sensors pushes that up to Burn 7, meaning I can move nearly twice as fast while maintaining a low Sensor Profile. Needless to say that makes dodging patrols a lot easier, especially when you can see said patrols coming from further away thanks to the sensor strength bonus.

If you want to run a stealth fleet I'd highly recommend the Sensors skill. Mainly for the +3 burn level at which you're considered slow moving, but the combination of higher sensor strength and lower sensor profile shouldn't be underestimated either. Especially if you don't have Phase ships in your fleet to give you their bonus to reducing your sensor profile.
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Worldtraveller

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2023, 05:54:54 AM »

Wow, that's a lot of good info. Thanks all.
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Worldtraveller

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2023, 02:54:45 PM »

Is there a way to create stable points in a system (for Nav Buoys, Comm Relays and Sensor Arrays)? I thought I saw something pop up in the tips during a save, but it only caught my eye too late.

On a related note: Are the tips in a text file somewhere? I tried just cycling through them, but they are random, and I keep seeing the same 5-6 with a new one interspersed only occasionally.

Colony questions: I got a decent Terran colony running and starting to grow, although the pirates love to raid my system. :/  When is a good time to start a second? My first colony is just about breaking even with food and light industry, usually turning a small profit every month, and there's a nearby volcanic world with ultrarich ore and rare ore that I want to start mining.

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Aeson

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2023, 03:21:19 PM »

Is there a way to create stable points in a system (for Nav Buoys, Comm Relays and Sensor Arrays)?
Yes, as long as the system has a star or black hole and at most one preexisting stable point; interact with the star or black hole and it'll tell you what you need.

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When is a good time to start a second?
As soon as you can afford to set it up, especially if it's in the same system as the first and so doesn't really need its own military infrastructure.

Also, be aware that Light Industry is not a very profitable industry unless you turn your colony into a Free Port, and even then I'd be inclined to build Refining.
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eert5rty7u8i9i7u6yrewqdef

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #41 on: August 08, 2023, 03:37:57 PM »

Is there a way to create stable points in a system (for Nav Buoys, Comm Relays and Sensor Arrays)? I thought I saw something pop up in the tips during a save, but it only caught my eye too late.

On a related note: Are the tips in a text file somewhere? I tried just cycling through them, but they are random, and I keep seeing the same 5-6 with a new one interspersed only occasionally.

Colony questions: I got a decent Terran colony running and starting to grow, although the pirates love to raid my system. :/  When is a good time to start a second? My first colony is just about breaking even with food and light industry, usually turning a small profit every month, and there's a nearby volcanic world with ultrarich ore and rare ore that I want to start mining.
Yep, if you have an alpha core and the required materials (heavy machinery and fuel I forget how much), you can create a stable location at the expense of story points and the fuel. Just go up to the star.

Program Files\Fractal Softworks\Starsector\starsector-core\data\strings\tips.json You can use any text editor to read the file.
It will normally install in the 32 bit directory so Program Files (86x), on the main hard drive. You can access this location faster by right clicking the game launcher and left clicking open file location.

When you have the money is the only reason to wait.

Also, be aware that Light Industry is not a very profitable industry unless you turn your colony into a Free Port, and even then I'd be inclined to build Refining.
While this is true, be aware that refining draws two points of Luddic Path attention. If you hit seven or more points total, it will cause an active or sleeper cell to form on your colony, and will generate hostile activity. It will be a sleeper cell if a few extra colonies in the sector, yours or AI (not including the ones at the start), are at eight or more points.
You can increase Luddic Path attention points on AI markets by selling them domain era artifacts that they can use on an existing industry on the world you are selling to. Always save before you do this, because sometimes they just won't use them. Also, the Luddic Church will never get Pather attention.

The points for Luddic Path attention are as follows. 1 point for mining, 2 for refining, 4 for AI cores and domain era artifacts, 10 for AI core administration. It may be less points for lesser cores, I forget. You can see this information in game by looking up Luddic Path cells on planets under the Luddic Path information tab.
Size three worlds never attract LP attention, so if you need more colonies, just make sure they stay at size three and give them AI core administration.
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Aeson

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2023, 11:20:42 PM »

be aware that refining draws two points of Luddic Path attention.
Path interest from industries is barely relevant; you have to have both interest-generating industries as well as an item that you actually can and want to use on the same planet before it'll exceed the threshold, and even then it's pretty easy to manage the hostile activity generated by a mere seven Path interest.

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Size three worlds never attract LP attention, so if you need more colonies, just make sure they stay at size three and give them AI core administration.
For what possible reason would someone ever actually need more than the half-dozen or so colonies that the player character and three hired administrators can manage? It only takes two colonies to fit a full set of permanent industries,* though you'll probably need a third to also have a full set of natural resources, and even without anything boosting production you ought to be able to make more money than you really need off two or three developed colonies. Furthermore, you shouldn't be suffering permanent ship losses or making sweeping changes to your fleet build frequently enough for significant in-faction production capacity to be of much real value (especially considering that bar encounters and contacts can provide the same service, albeit less reliably and perhaps less conveniently depending on just how much stuff you want to order), you can't fulfill N units of demand (whether colony import or bar/contact contract) without at least that much production from a single source so multiple colonies producing a given set of goods are only more valuable than a single colony producing the same insofar as they'll generate more net income, and diminishing returns starts setting in pretty quickly with multiple instances of a given industry, especially for things like fuel where there's relatively few producers - and fewer large producers - in the sector.

Additionally, any colony that's alone in a system probably ought to have at least its own Patrol HQ to deal with the minor pirate activity that may occur even if you hold the hostile activity bar at zero, which even with AI management and all demands satisfied in-faction can take a nontrivial bite out of the profits of a size-3 colony, and while I don't know off the top of my head if they'll do it for one core I do know that the Hegemony will (eventually) send a fleet to take a look at a size-3 colony with two cores when they don't have bigger fish to fry. If you're going to use AI cores at all, I'd recommend putting them on the big colonies where they might actually generate a worthwhile return and deal with the resultant Path interest however seems best to you rather than waste their potential on minor colonies.

* I realize there are nine industries counting Tech-mining, but Tech-mining is best treated as a temporary industry - ruins are essentially the only exhaustible planetary resource in the game, and even Vast Ruins can be depleted in fairly short order by tech-mining - and doesn't really benefit from anything an AI administrator can do, which makes it a rather unattractive industry for an AI-administered minor colony, all the more so considering that a tech-mining colony that doesn't really bring anything else to the table is probably best abandoned once tech-mining has run its course and the local ruins are more or less tapped out.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2023, 11:23:44 PM by Aeson »
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eert5rty7u8i9i7u6yrewqdef

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #43 on: August 09, 2023, 10:24:41 AM »

Path interest from industries is barely relevant; you have to have both interest-generating industries as well as an item that you actually can and want to use on the same planet before it'll exceed the threshold, and even then it's pretty easy to manage the hostile activity generated by a mere seven Path interest.
It's about reducing management to a minimum for a new player, experienced players that don't want to baby sit, experienced players that want to maximize profits by leaving nearby pirate stations alone so they can hurt the AI factions market shares, or for role play reasons.

Currently two pirate bases can spawn near player colonies, and they will increase in hostile activity over time, to the point that even a stability 10 size 6 high command world can't cover them.
Kanta's wrath is impossible to remove, even by destroying Kanta's den. So, completing the story causes 2 additional HA to be tacked on forever.
With these two issues, barely managing your colonies becomes an issue if you have Pather HA tacked on as well. You will start getting stability penalties, and that will lead to a HA spiral.

For what possible reason would someone ever actually need more than the half-dozen or so colonies that the player character and three hired administrators can manage? ...
I read the rest of what you wrote, just keeping it small for readability's sake.
Tech mining colonies to get the final blueprints that the player is missing. Once the vast or extensive ruins are mined out, you convert the shut down the tech mining and switch it over to whatever industry is available for the world. An Alpha core on tech mining along with a story point increases yields by 50% if I remember correctly, so vast ruins are always pretty useful to mine.

Size three AI worlds are a good stopgap money printer for when you need your main system to be a low profit fortress system so you don't have to manage expeditions to your main colonies.
They are also a good colony item sink for all the access colony items you will end up having, and those items dramatically increase profits. The most profitable I managed to get one AI world was a 175 hazard barren world with Catalytic Core refining and Fullerene Spool megaport, with a waystation. It produced 60k a month.

In general, size 3 worlds are so small and have so little market share, that they'll never get hit by expeditions if you don't make them free ports. Which means the only thing you have to manage is the Hegemonies AI inspections, which can be easily bought off every couple years.

Lastly, pirates no longer raid player colonies unless they reach enough hostile activity, which means while yes you may lose a com station or two, you don't need a patrol HQ for size three worlds as nothing except the Heg is going to attack them, and the AI core admin will keep stability at or above 5.
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Aeson

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Re: N00b questions
« Reply #44 on: August 09, 2023, 12:59:01 PM »

Tech mining colonies to get the final blueprints that the player is missing. Once the vast or extensive ruins are mined out, you convert the shut down the tech mining and switch it over to whatever industry is available for the world. An Alpha core on tech mining along with a story point increases yields by 50% if I remember correctly, so vast ruins are always pretty useful to mine.
My gameplay experience is that installing an alpha core in Tech-mining is a complete waste of resources; whether or not you also spend story points to improve the industry and regardless of what level of ruins you're working with, it does not appear to meaningfully improve the chances of getting things that you actually want or noticeably extend the useful life of the industry, and a 50% increase in the amount of garbage produced by Tech-mining is closer to what I'd call a penalty than a benefit.

Also, unless perhaps you're setting up way out in the boonies and refusing to use any items, a few well-developed colonies can easily cover your operating costs and then some - if I recall correctly, Dorus alone can net something like sixty to eighty thousand credits per month, depending on how much of its import demand can be met within faction, from Commerce, Light Industry, Fuel Production, and Refining even without anything boosting production, and Ogygia will do about as much with the same setup. Why bother keeping (former) Tech-mining colonies for income when you already have more money than you're ever really going to need?

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Size three AI worlds are a good stopgap money printer
They're an awful stopgap money printer because if you leave them going too long you're not going to be able to recover the alpha core you installed as a governor, which makes abandoning them once you no longer want them problematic, and on top of that a size-3 mining colony with decent resources and accessibility can pull in fifteen or twenty thousand without any items invested or probably more than double that with an Autonomous Mantle Bore. Additionally, while it can vary quite a bit from game to game, alpha cores are quite often not something you have in the early part of the game when you might actually want something that could reasonably be described as a "stopgap" money printer, especially if you're setting up your 'stopgap money printer' before exploring a nontrivial fraction of the sector.

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Lastly, pirates no longer raid player colonies unless they reach enough hostile activity,
A Patrol HQ likely isn't going to do anything meaningful to the sorts of fleets that pirates generally send out to raid colonies, especially if the hostile activity meter actually gets high; the point of putting one in the system is to do something about shipping raids, because shipping losses can cripple colonial income and it doesn't actually take that much to kill a lot of the smaller fry that might go after trade fleets. It'll also passively contest pirate control over any satellites in the system, which means less baby-sitting.

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Which means the only thing you have to manage is the Hegemonies AI inspections, which can be easily bought off every couple years.
Pathers can be bought off every couple years, too, or shut up permanently if you give them the bomb, and there's a significantly larger benefit to sticking a couple alpha cores on a major colony with a base income of over a hundred thousand than on several minor colonies with a base income of maybe a fifth that much.

Also, a major colonized system can stand a pretty good chance of fighting off an AI inspection fleet (or, really, any other expeditionary force) without player intervention, so if you really want to take a hands-off approach to colony management putting the cores on the big worlds is a much better way to go.

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Kanta's wrath is impossible to remove, even by destroying Kanta's den. So, completing the story causes 2 additional HA to be tacked on forever.
Angering Kanta may be the best and fastest way to get through that part of the storyline, but if I recall correctly it's not the only way to complete it.

Also, so what if Kanta's mad? Blowing up an inconvenient pirate base or two every now and then is hardly a problem for the sort of fleet you ought to have by the end of the storyline or with well-developed colonies, and even at 5 stability base pirate interest plus Kanta's wrath is only just over the passive hostile activity reduction of a military base on a size-6 colony.
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