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Sins of a Solar Empire is an RT4X game, fusing both Real Time Strategy and 4X gameplay into one package. It was released on February 2008 to wide acclaim.

There are three factions in the game. There's the Trader Emergency Coalition, a semi-cohesive organization of humans trying to defend their worlds from aggression using Kinetic Weapons, heavy armor and Macross Missile Massacres. There's the Advent, humans who were exiled many years ago for tampering with Psychic Powers, Crystal Spires and Togas and Frickin' Laser Beams, and are now back for Revenge. And there's the Vasari, actual aliens who once ruled a huge interstellar empire, but whose worlds have been gradually swallowed by... something. Every ship sent to investigate this menace has disappeared, except for one ship which returned with its crew driven mad. The remnants of a Vasari colony, now surviving as nomadic Planet Looters, have fled to this corner of the galaxy, leaving warning buoys behind them... and watching in dismay as those buoys wink out, one by one.

Sounds like an interesting potential plot, right?--Gray and Grey Morality, possible Eldritch Abominations, who knows what else. Unfortunately, the story basically ends there. You can set up a multiplayer match vs. AI or a multiplayer match vs other people, but there's no single-player campaign. However, there is abundant backstory, very dedicated to showing that each of the 3 main races has committed sins of their own and are now paying for them (hence the title).

The game was designed from the ground up to be playable on a wide spectrum of hardware configurations, including ones most of its contemporaries would write off as "obsolete". (This was also part of what helped it sell) It was also free of Copy Protection, making headlines at a time when invasive, unnecessary DRM was turning people off Spore. A pirated copy was essentially a fully-functional demo, allowing you to skirmish against AI but not to play over the Internet; you needed to buy the game for that. Those who held pro-DRM attitudes predicted failure, but as of September 2008 Sins had sold 500,000 copies, recouping its $1M development costs months before any of the $10 Expansion Packs came out. (There's no hard data as to how and why this game managed to be financially successful, but you can guess what most tropers think.)

Speaking of expansion packs, there were two "micro-expansions" released: "Entrenchment" added new ships and starbases; "Diplomacy" added more diplomatic options, including a (theoretically) non-military win condition. A third was supposedly going to contain a single-player campaign... but quietly evaporated before being Un Cancelled (Without no campaign) in March 2011 as "Rebellion," a full-sized expansion in which players of each faction can choose loyalty or rebellion, and gain access to new tech trees in doing so. A beta containing Rebel and Loyalist versions of the three factions is now available for those who have preordered. Finally, for those who don't care to fork out more money, there is a robust and thriving Game Mod scene, dedicated to doing anything from providing factions from pre-existing sci-fi franchises to graphical updates to full game overhauls to code optimization so that the game doesn't crash as much. That's right, fans love their Sins so much that they are voluntarily debugging it.


This game provides examples of:

  • The Alliance: The TEC.
    • Slowly edging towards The Federation as time progresses and the society centralizes.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The CPU players taunt you when they invade your planets. Especially painful if they have a large invasion fleet, and you either have a meager fleet (possibly as a result of a failed invasion of your own which cost you a lot of ships, or you're focusing on research instead of building a military force), are being besieged by another player/CPU in another planet, or the planet they invade is really far away from your own forces, and reinforcements will take a while to get to the besieged planet.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Vasari arguably.
  • Anti-Villain: All three sides, really. The TEC are fighting for their home, the Vasari are fighting for survival, and the Advent are fighting for justice.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Each faction uses a different flavor of phlebotinum - the TEC use Tim Taylor Technology, the Vasari use Nanomachines, and the Advent use Psychic Powers.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 2 constantly happens.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Played straight for the most part. The exception is Advent Rapture capital ship, which has a special ability, "Dominate", which allows you to steal non-capital enemy ships. On large maps, the game can start to get a little choppy and slow if there's a large number of ships.
  • Are We There Yet?: Upon selecting a just-constructed Advent Mothership: "All shall join the Unity, in time... Is it time?"
  • Artificial Stupidity: the AI in this game is not the brightest bulb in the fridge. Instead of sacrificing its fleet to protect its planets, it will happily sacrifice planets to protect its fleet, thus allowing you to attrition it to death. It rarely builds planet-damaging bombers; if you do, you will almost always out-DPS it. If it loses all its ship factories, it will not demolish old buildings to make new factories either. Developer updates have alleviated some problems, but not much; and the fact that there is no Campaign, just Skirmish mode against other players or AI, only exposes these problems more.
    • The game has also fixed the highly-annoying practice of going the opposite direction from where you come, meaning that if you attack a hostile planet that's next door to yours, the enemy will have jumped just then to try and destroy your world.
    • Game patches have rectified this to a degree.
  • Astronomic Zoom: Rightfully a touted part of the game. Zooming between a close-up of a single bomber and assessing the position of your forces over different solar systems at a glance, is a press of a button away.
  • Attack Drone: Advent strike craft are piloted remotely, by telekinetic specialists called "Anima". Seeing as how telekinesis is the equivalent of winning the Superpower Lottery, even the ruling Coalescences are careful not to piss the Anima off.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The TEC in the backstory. With their formidable industrial base, they are quite capable of pulling this off in-game as well.
    • They are also able to start trading earlier than the others, giving them a higher cash flow.
  • Badass Beard: The narrator / Kol battleship captain sports one
  • The Battlestar: Many examples among each side's capital ships, from battleships with strikecraft capability to full carriers that - in the case of the TEC's Sova-class - can even look like aircraft carriers.
  • Beam Spam: The Advent's warships in general. The Halcyon Carrier capital ship carries up to 7 squadrons of fighters and/or bombers (which are all armed with beam weapons) in addition to the 8 heavier beam cannons mounted on the ship itself. And don't even start about the Illuminator Vessels.
    • The Vasari, on the other hand, use Pulse Wave Cannons, which are generally used by Capital Ships. A varient of these beam cannons are used for bombarding planets.
  • BFG: All superweapons can be considered as one of this. Except the Advent Deliverence Engine, which is essentially a Big Freaking Mind Control Device. Also, the Marza Dreadnought's Siege Cannon.
  • Black Box: None of the three sides really know how Phase Inhibiters work. TEC and Advent just steal them, while the Vasari use nanomachines to copy them.
  • But Thou Must!: When an AI empire comes to you with a mission to accomplish and Relationship Values on the line, there's no "Sorry, not interested" option: either you do the mission or you take the relationship hit. Two failed missions and they break the cease-fires, which verges the diplomacy mechanic into a case of Fake Difficulty. (Oh, and, until the "Diplomacy" micro-expansion, this was solely one-way: from AI to you.)
    • In the "Diplomacy" micro-expansion, you can refuse missions now (for a limited time after they are issued) to take a smaller relationship hit. Of course, the AI players usually just re-issue the same mission...
      • Locking teams before the game begins more or less nullifies the impact of diplomacy: you still get offered missions and still accrue ire when you ignore them, but teams are locked, forcing Teeth-Clenched Teamwork!
  • Cherry Tapping: You get achievements for not using Capital ships, not researching any military tech, and not using Starfighters.
  • Church Militant: The Advent; formerly Actual Pacifists, now on a crusade of revenge for their unprovoked exile
  • Cloning Blues: Because of their dramatically reduced population, the Vasari are forced to clone their best commanders on a regular basis.
  • Cool Ship: Anything not a cargo vessel.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard : Literally, there is an option to allow the AI to cheat by giving it extra money and resources.
    • Pirates in the expansion get ridiculously Game Breaking stats, such that one can be attacked by a force of about 30 pirate ships, with their weakest ship being twice as powerful as your best capital ship. Pretty much any planet they invade is going to be destroyed, whether its yours or even the CPU players.
      • Subverted by the fact pirate ships have virtually no useful abilities compared to capital ships. Skilled players have been known to destroy fleets of more than 100 pirate ships at once by micromanaging only three or four capital ships with crusier and frigate support.
      • For added humiliation to the pirates, some players have been able to drive off pirate fleets with only one capital ship.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: A good example of how to use a Tech Tree and subtle unit differences to avert this trope without introducing units with radically different functions.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The TEC and Advent anti-structure ships can't target other ships, including hulking behemoths like capital ships.
    • Slightly justified in that their shots are slow and unguided. It would be easy for any ship to dodge them, especially since they tend to fire at the extreme ranges. This, of course, doesn't explain why they can still target Vasari Orkulus starbases, which are also able to move around.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Split, with the Advent having the crystal spires and the Vasari having the togas.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: the Entrenchment expansion introduced Starbases, extremely powerful (and expensive) fortifications that can be upgraded like capitol ships. The best way to deal with them? Set your fighter wings on them; they're too small for the starbase to hit and come free with your capships.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The Advent, particularly the Iconus Guardians.

  "You shall come no closer."

  • Earthshattering Kaboom: While it doesn't blow it up, the TEC's Novalith cannon will heavily damage a planet. Repeated hits will cause whoever owns it to lose said planet, unless they have a starbase in orbit with the remote government upgrade.
    • In Rebellion, the Vasari Loyalists can strip a planet it owns for resources, turning it into a worthless dead asteroid after an explosion occurs.
  • Easy Evangelism: All sides can overthrow enemy planets this way via the "culture" mechanic. The Advent are the most adept at this (More Than Mind Control or a genuinely better society - you decide). The TEC however are the most overt about it, with a research option that allows them to spawn small fleets of rebels over enemy worlds (all of the fighting is taking place in TEC space, so this is basically just arming Le Resitance).
  • The Empire: The Vasari, until they were forced to go on the run from an enemy that managed to wipe out their entire fleet (except for one badly damaged ship that came back with its crew stark raving mad).
  • Enemy Civil War: Can occur if you set two CPU players to be the same faction but on different teams, or two or more players using the same faction and fighting each other.
  • Ethereal Chorus: Due to the Advent's churchy nature, most of their "nothing's going on" music has this. It sounds quite nice.
  • Evil Eye: Advent psychic power manifests itself as glowing white eyes. Vasari have glowing yellow eyes, just to look sinister.
  • Expy: The Vasari as depicted by the portraits appear uncannily similar to the Protoss. This carries over to gameplay as well in terms of cost.
    • However, the history of the Vasari is similar to that of the Rakata from Knights of the Old Republic. Both were alien conquers who ruled over a galaxy-spanning, multitude-enslaving empire which eventually collapsed from within.
  • Faction Calculus: Varies over the length of the game. Starts with TEC as Balanced, Advent as Subversive, and Vasari as Powerhouse, but due to research topics all the factions start sliding subtly in other directions: TEC goes Powerhouse, Vasari go Subversive and the Advent go Balanced.
  • Fan Fic Magnet: The Excuse Plot. It's so vague you can fill in the holes with pretty much anything.
  • Fan Nickname: Space Whale / Space Egg: Jarrasul Evacuator.
    • Space Tank / Flying Tank: Kodiak Heavy Cruiser.
    • Cannon Fodder / Redshirt Army: Pretty much all frigates.
    • Battle Ball: The name for the tight ship formation most Advent players favor.
    • The Brick: Kol Battleship.
  • Fantastic Racism: The TEC exiled the Advent's ancestors because they considered psychic powers to be "deviant".
  • 4X: As evidenced by the "RT4X" moniker. Unfortunately, the game lacks much in the way of civil development for your solar empire, as well as a staple of the 4X genre: non-military win conditions.
    • In Diplomacy they added Diplomatic victories. Oddly enough, this doesn't change much. Sure, you can gain diplomacy points and win that way, but the main way you get those points? Finish missions that have you destroy enemy ships and structures, inevitably leading to war. So yeah...
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Vanilla laser weapons are fired in pulses, taking a few seconds to get to the target. Inverted with "beam" weapons, which are sustained-fire plasma/laser weapons that hit instantly.
    • There is a mod that replaces standard TEC pulse lasers with thin red beams that pulse. This changes nothing in the gameplay (although, the mod may reduce your fighter/bomber count gained in expansions), but makes it look and sound more realistic (less like a Star Wars blaster and more like pulsing hum). The mod only affects TEC lasers, though. The Advent ones still travel to target.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The final Phase Missile upgrade technology on the Vasari tech tree is called NME Warheads.
  • Game Mod: See here and [1] for starters.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Largely averted, but can be invoked should you make teams, and both CPU players on either side of the player happen to be on the same team. And then decide to attack you at the same time. Can be painful unless you have a strong fleet, strong defenses, or a good ally.
  • Glass Cannon: The long-range frigates (Javelis LRM, Kanrak Assailant and Illuminator Vessel). Lower speed and defensive stats, but more offense and quite a bit more range too. Multiplayer tactics seems to revolve around Zerg Rushing these frigates and then going to town.
    • There are also the Siege Frigates and Torpedo Cruisers. The former of which uses heavy weaponry to bombard planets from orbit, and the latter trashes orbital structures with torpedoes. Both classes are lightly armored and are virtually helpless when attacked.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The TEC are generally quite sympathetic, but kicked the Advent's ancestors off their planet for basically being different (it is noted that most rediscovered colonies followed a surprisingly similar culture, whereas the Advent didn't) and the pictures that accompany this section of the intro movie have some distinctly Nazi undertones. Not to mention that they are alarmingly quick to resort to Nuke'Em, even with neutral Trade Order colonies. The Advent were a peaceful society seeking spiritual escape after the great wars of the past, but their exile darkened their racial psyche towards revenge, leaving their crusade to reclaim their homeworld (and punish their oppressors) open to interpretation either as the actions of Well-Intentioned Extremists or Knights Templar. The Vasari ruled their empire by oppression and slavery, but you can't help feel a bit sorry for them after they were all but annihilated and forced to go on the run from some unknown Eldritch Abomination.
    • This concept is emphasized by the in-game music, even. The Advent theme and the Vasari theme (the first pieces of music you hear upon starting a game as that race) both sound too heroic and majestic to belong to a truly evil faction.
      • The manual tries to make it very clear that none of the factions are "Evil", though none of them are "Good" either. All of them are paying for their "Sins", hence the name. The Vasari are tyrannical dictators, the TEC are xenophobes, and the Advent are genocidal. All of them have committed sins and now are struggling to just survive.
      • The Vasari might be pretty nice to be ruled by... except that if you've developed space travel they'll enslave your race. If you haven't developed space travel you're not a threat, so you'll be given minimal status in the empire as a "valued citizen".
    • The only seemingly truly evil presence in the systems probably is the ominipresent Space Pirates. Add in the fact that owing to a certain bug/programming overlook that makes them incredibly powerful and hard to beat, they can and will be a player character's worst enemy both in and out of character.
    • Now expanded in Rebellion:
      • Loyal TEC wants to perfect their defenses and try to ride out the war in isolation, Rebel TEC wants to crush everyone in expansionist warfare.
      • Loyal Advent wants to continue getting revenge on the TEC at any cost, Rebel Advent want to forgive them as the war is leading the Unity away from their true purpose.
      • Loyal Vasari want to strip mine the local systems and make a run for the next one before the unknown threat arrives, Rebel Vasari want to do the same thing but bring humanity with them.
  • Guttural Growler: The Vasari are an entire race of bad Revolver Ocelot impersonators.
  • Healing Factor: Vasari Enforcers and Skirmishers.
  • Hero Unit: Capital ships.
  • Hyperspace Lanes: You can only travel from one planet to certain nearby planets in any given jump unless you have phase stabilizers. However, interstellar phase jumps can be done from one star to any other star.
  • ISO Standard Human Spaceship: TEC ships.
  • It's Up to You: as usual. What's particularly jarring about this, though, is that your opponents tend to do pretty well, whereas your allies are saddled with a clear case of Artificial Stupidity. The end result is Fake Difficulty: you'll win, but it'll take a long time as you march through every enemy's territory one planet at a time—or sometimes less, when you're forced to double back.
    • Later game patches have mostly fixed this. Allies now have been known to defeat enemies by themselves with minimal assistance.
  • Just One More Turn: ohhh you better believe it.
  • Lady Land: The Advent are matriarchal. Since their social structure is based on Psychic Powers, and Advent females tend to be the stronger psychics.
  • Large Ham: Planet-bomber Capital Ships seem particularly susceptible:-
    • Vulkoras Desolator: MY POWER IS UNMATCHED!!
    • Marza Dreadnought: THIS is how SPACE JUNK is BORN!
    • Antorak Marauder: Let terror RAIN!
  • Limit Break: The Finest Hour ability for TEC Kol Battleship. The ship lights up, the crew cheers like soccer fans, and the ship can perform its anti-matter based abilities and repair its hull more quickly.
  • Little Miss Badass: The speaker for the Rapture-class battlecruiser sounds about 6 years old.
    • Almost all the Advent ship captains sound to be about eight years old. It's actually quite frightening.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: The TEC, and the Marza Dreadnought in particular. The Novalith Cannon takes this trope and runs with it, as one-yes, ONE!-can completely sterilize any planet with only two shots. (Except if the target planet is shielded.)
    • And if you build more than one, your opponent (or you, if they flip it around) is basically screwed.
      • Especially since they start automated and will keep firing at a randomly-chosen enemy world without you knowing every few minutes. It can be a little strange, arriving at a heavily-fortified enemy world only to realize the colony has been destroyed, and the only thing remaining are orbital structures.
  • La Résistance: The TEC's "insurgency" upgrade.
    • The Advent use a form of this by using telepathic propaganda to convert other planets to the Unity.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Marza Dreadnaught's Missile Barrage, the Vulkoras Desolator's Phase Missile Swarm.
    • The TEC's Javelis LRM Frigates or the Vasari Kanrak Assailants, whenever there are more than one of them in one place at any given time (which is pretty much always). Or whenever you have swarms of TEC or Vasari bombers around, which also both use missiles.
      • In Entrenchment the TEC are granted the Ogrov Torpedo Cruiser- the bulk of which is storage space for GIANT torpedoes that can only target buildings. The explosion each of these makes is comparable to the size of the torpedoes. Think an ICBM silo with rocket engines at the back.
  • Magic Genetics: The Vasari tailor their biochemistry to better suit the worlds they (temporarily) settle down on, for example, Vasari on volcanic planets are modified to breathe sulphur.
  • Magic Tool: Everything in the game is built with what appears to be an oversized blowtorch.
    • The Vasari constructors use a kind of nano-spray instead of the blowtorch.
  • Mega Corp: Each individual TEC "player" is basically one of these.
  • Mental Fusion: The concept behind the Advent's religion, "the Unity" - as evinced by the Coalescences and their military equivalent, the Psintegrae. However, since their civilization went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge their powers are often applied to...
  • Mind Rape: A lot of the Advent special abilities are based on this, from the Domina Subjugators who psychically paralyze the crews of enemy ships, to the Revelation Battlecruisers that can cause entire planetary populations to go insane and start killing each other.
  • The Mole: TEC have La Résistance and merchant spies, the Advent have converted locals, and the Vasari try to root out both of the above by the very Orwellian use of fake sympathizers.
  • More Dakka: The TEC's Marza Dreadnought takes this trope and runs with it. Then throws it out the window. Then sets it on fire. It's armed with missiles, pulse lasers, rocket pods and autocannons firing incendiary ammunition. And it can be upgraded further with a Siege Gun to attack entire planets. And nukes.
    • The whole niche of Dreadnoughts is in fact planet bombing, although they can be a horrific capital ship to face in any case. The Siege Gun "upgrade" for Marza is basicly a massive chain-gun the ship is built around on that fires slugs roughly the size of a small spaceship towards a planet.. Sigh.. For Massive Damage.
  • Nanomachines: The Vasari's forte, along with their gravity-manipulation and genetic engineering technologies.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted; planets and atmospheres of different types have different defense and population thresholds.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Played straight by the TEC, averted by the Advent. Partly why the Advent were exiled by the Traders in the first place.
  • Old School Dogfighting: Sort of averted. Vasari and TEC have guided missiles, but TEC fighters only use autocannons, while all Advent weaponry is beam based. Advent fighter and bomber craft are however specifically stated to be drones, so they're forgivable.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: the game shipped with Skirmish mode being the only functionality, with three "micro-expansions" promised. One added options for system defenses; the second more Diplomatic options, bringing a little more 4X flavor in; and the third has been expanded into a full-fledged stand-alone.
    • Not so with the Trinity pack, which is the main game and the "Entrenchment" and "Diplomacy" and is reasonably priced.
  • Planet Eater: The Jarassul Evacuator, once it reaches level 6.
  • Planet Looters: The Vasari, although it's driven by necessity rather than inclination.
    • Mind you, Vasari diplomacy was always of the "Surrender or die!" variety.
  • Power Glows: Whenever a capital ship levels up. Also, many units do this when activating special abilities.
  • Psychic Powers: The Advent use them for everything from interplanetary communication to remote piloting their fighters in combat.
  • Psychic Radar: Foreshadowing and Acute Premonitions, upgrades in the Advent's research tree, allow them to extend the range at which they can detect hostile fleets whose destination is the player's territory as their psychics increase their own range.
  • RPG Elements: Capital ships gain experience which can be used to purchase upgrades.
  • Rule of Cool: When the Kol Battleship activates its Finest Hour ability, the crew just roars and the ship is engulfed in a nimbus of white light.
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: Advent and Vasari ships.
  • Shout-Out: Just look at the achievements.
    • The new supercapital ship class in Rebellion is called Titan. Now what other game calls its largest starships Titans too...?
  • Single Biome Planet: The usual trio of desert, arctic and volcanic worlds makes its appearance, though some of the actual textures of the ice and desert planets feature an aversion in the shape of expansive oceans.
  • Sinister Minister: There's one leading the rally in the intro movie where the Trade Order decide to exile the Advent's ancestors.
    • And then there's the Vasari. Since they're this game's Evil Empire, it is to be expected.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The whole premise of the game.
  • Space Fighters
  • Space Is Noisy: It's actually optional. You can reduce the volume of sound effects to zero seperately to the other sound options (like music).
  • Space Is an Ocean: Complete with noise, ships (some of which look like ocean vessels) with bridges and distinct upper/lower sides, naval ranks, small maneuverable fighters/bombers (some of which look like aircraft), trade routes, and pirates.
  • Space Pirates: You can pay bounty to get these guys to attack whichever other players you want.
    • Just make sure you pay attention: the AI loves to counter-bid at the last second. Which you can't do, because there's a timer that lists how long until they open bidding, but not how long the bidding itself is open.
    • However you can build up a fleet big enough to wipe them out. All you have to do is either build your fleet up late-game or smack them down early-game.
    • In the expansions, you also have the ability to make them inactive, which makes them just stay at their base instead of taking bounties.
    • Possibly by Rule of Funny, the Pirates talk with stereotypical pirate dialects, using old nautical terms such as "Matey" or "Walk the Plank."
  • Spikes of Villainy: Vasari ships to a degree, though the Pirates go nuts with the concept.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Each faction has 2 Frigates (a scout and a combat ship), a Cruiser, a Light Carrier, a Missile Boat, a Colony Ship and 2 Science Vessels (one supportive/defensive, one disruptive/offensive). Troopships are supplanted by planetary bombardment frigates, and the Advent have a Beam Spammy Space Gun in place of their Missile Boat. Also, in terms of Capital Ships, each faction has a Battleship, a Battlecruiser, a Carrier, a Worldship (capital ship capable of colonizing) and a Banner Ship. Technically, any capital ship can be considered a Battlestar after gaining a strikecraft squad, and all Vasari capitals can be considered to be Worldships. The strikecraft themselves include an Interceptor and a Bomber.
  • Stop Helping Me!: The various superweapon buildings your allies can purchase are one of your worst enemies. Every time you conquer an enemy planet, a nuke your allies shot at it 20 minutes ago will finally arrive.
    • What's worse than having a planet you conquered blasted by a superweapon that was late to the party? Having your allies colonize it before you can, even if you did most of the fighting. However, if they just happened to fire a Novalith or Kostura beforehand, it can instantly turn into a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Telepathy: All Advent, either via natural psychic talent, or psi-boosting implants. Almost all humans are capable of receiving telepathy - those who aren't are called "Silent Ones" and are treated as the Redheaded Stepchild of Advent society.
  • Transhuman: The Advent and the Vasari are both technologically enhanced over their biological baselines, in different ways.
  • 2-D Space: Space looks very three-dimensional, with ships weaving over and under each other, but for gameplay purposes it may as well be flat.
    • Ships grouped into fleets usually adopt some sort of "wall" or "sphere" formation, but they still all orientate the same way.
    • However, it is nice that the ships realize that they don't have to go around stars or planets, and will readily fly over them to get to their target.
      • Even though some players consider it "cheating" to direct your fleet over a planet towards their own fleet because they built tactics around using the planet as a natural barrier. Ya know, like they might do for naval combat. Regardless of the fact that it makes the most logic to maintain formation and attack as one by going straight ahead than going around and having your fleet stretched around the planet
  • Ultimate Evil: The unknown enemy hunting the Vasari, probably.
    • Alternatively, given that it first appeared in their own core worlds, it's possible that the unknown enemy is a product of one of the Vasari's Magic Genetics experiments Gone Horribly Wrong.
      • This would fit in with the "Each race paying for it's sins" motif that the game uses. Alternatively, it could be a slave-race rebellion, a superweapon that went off, or even a new, unseen race that's come to punish them... basically, ANYTHING. They never do say...
  • Used Future: TEC ships, due to almost all of them being re-purposed for the war.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Vasari once ruled a great interstellar empire that was destroyed by some unknown menace. The Vasari you see in the game are the survivors of a single remote colony that autonomously decided to pack up and leave. They still follow many of their old imperial practices, such as "Locking down" a planet and enslaving the populace, but these days it's more because it's the only way they can work fast enough to survive rather than to build an empire. See We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future below.
  • The Worf Barrage: In the game's lore, the Vasari sent their entire fleet after whatever it was that was eating its way through their empire. Only one ship made it back, and it was badly damaged, and its crew had been driven insane.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Radiance Battleship's Cleansing Brilliance.
  • We Will Use Manual Labour in The Future: Vasari policy towards their empire's "valued citizens" consists of sitting in orbit with a BFG pointed at the planet while the enslaved indigenous population mines resources for them... or else.
    • Granted, this was probably For the Evulz more than anything else, given that they have spaceships capable of strip-mining planets clean from orbit, using gravity-manipulation and Nanomachines, and definitely don't need slave miners to do it.
      • Also, it is far cheaper to set a rabble of primitives, who probably have no idea of what the Vasari are, given they remain in orbit they may even appear as gods, to gather tribute, than it is to build nano-ships. Also, slave-miners keep the population under control and tributes regularly - go about obliterating planets and you waste vast energy.
  • We Have Reserves: Can be deliberately invoked in two situations. One where your planet is being invaded, and you crank out as many ships as possible to delay them, or if you split your forces up, and hold back a portion of your fleet to use as a reserve force should another part of your empire be attacked while your main force is attacking, or in case your main fleet needs help.
  • Worker Unit: Constructors, colony ships, trade ships, refinery ships...
  • X Meets Y: Gamespot says this game is Galactic Civilizations meets Homeworld. PC Gamer says that it's Supreme Commander IN SPACE!
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Or rather, Credits (gold), and then Metal and Crystal (lumber). Ships require more Metal than Crystal, but almost everything else is vice versa, and Crystal is the rarest resource. Fortunately there is an Exchange where you can buy and sell resources. (The AI never uses it.)
  • Zerg Rush: Mass carriers in the original, mass long range frigates in the expansion, particularly with the Advent.
    • Can also be used with the starter frigates if you build a lot of them. They can usually overcome smaller but stronger forces, or at the very least protect your capital ships by absorbing the bulk of the attack thrown by the enemy forces.
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