Homeworld 2 Utility Class
There are two basic Utility classes in the game: Resourcing and Probes. Both of them are immediately available the moment a multiplayer game starts.
Probes are simply a sensor pack floating in space somewhere; an extra set of eyes to light up the map. They can be built the moment any regular skirmish game starts. They don't have any special capabilities other than to reveal enemy units at further range than normal, and to blow up obligingly when being shot at. You're probably better off using Scout squadrons, unless you feel you need the Fighter slots, although they are a very cheap and easy way to quickly locate your opponent at the outset.
Sensor Distortion Probes have a more aggressive role: they actively scramble enemy sensors within an operating radius, allowing your units to huddle within its spherical sensor jamming field undetected - or at least make them less visible for longer. Distortion Probes are extremely useful in hiding front line forces, and on top of that enjoy superior sensor coverage over your basic Probe or Scout squadron. They require their own tech, and in the case of the Hiigarans, need the Advanced Research Module.
Keyboard shortcut: H for Harvest
Homeworld 2 measures all resources generically as Resource Units, or RU's. RU's are found in discrete pockets around the map, in two forms: clumps of asteroids or small clouds of space wreckage left over from destroyed Capital craft and Motherships. Your Resource Collectors mine the former and salvage the latter. They'll automatically mine or salvage depending on whatever happens to be closest to them. When your Collectors clear out a pocket, they will stop and await further orders, so you never have to worry about them wandering off on autopilot into the depths of space or stupidly harvesting their way into enemy territory like they did in the original game. You can quickly find and select any idle Collectors by pressing the . (full stop) key.
The number of Collectors that can harvest an asteroid simultaneously is determined by how many "latch points" are on it. These are invisible handles that tell the game engine where a Resource Collector can grip the asteroid to mine it. The bigger the asteroid, the more latch points it has, and thus the more harvesters that can exploit it at once. What this means is that you can't just throw fifty Collectors at an asteroid field and have them extract fifty loads of ore like you can in WarCraft. Queues form in overcrowded resource pockets, leading to bottlenecks and wasted time, but you'll be alerted to any possible delays. If you find too many Collectors queued up at asteroids, its usually a sign that the resources are getting low or you should be assigning some of them somewhere else.
Resource Collectors only come with 2000 hit points, upgradable to 4000 points. They sport Resource Armour, which, if the behaviour of the game AI's is anything to go by, is some strange, esoteric alloy that affects the minds of all hostile ships in the vicinity to stop what they're doing and destroy anything that happens to wear it. They only cart 200 RU's per haul.
When it comes to salvaging debris, the rules
are a little different. Salvage, regardless of size, is always manhandled
by a single Collector. Every skirmish with a
Capital ship or bigger will result in small bits of precious RU's floating
around, with the amount of RU's increasing depending on how big the destroyed
ship was. Salvaged debris bypasses the regular resource drop-offs completely
and is deposited at the nearest Docking Bay.
Its a slow and clumsy procedure though, and the amount of RU's extracted
depends on the value of the lump of junk processed. Be warned: salvaging
interferes with the normal docking and construction process of your Strikecraft,
and you can seriously impede any ships queued for repairs with extremely
long and protracted queues, clogging up docking bays and leaving you wide
open to enemy fire.
Keyboard shortcut: Y for Repairs
Like asteroids, all ships Frigate sized or larger have invisible latch points, which sets how many repairers can work a ship at once. Frigates have 2, Destroyers 3, Battlecruisers 4, Shipyards 7 and Motherships 8. They have to be assigned to a repair job by hand, and annoyingly, you can't queue repair orders
If you want Resource Collectors to repair ships without micro management, you have to assign them to a Strike-Force - but they'll only fix the ships in the Strike-Force they belong to. They are never included in the selection when you pick a Strike-Force with a single left mouse click, but will nonetheless continue to escort and service the fleet, unless you select them specifically and give them fresh orders. If you do deliberately include them with the Strike-Force (say with a Box Selection or Shift-clicking), they will be included in any attack orders as a mass of individuals and dutifully race to the enemy to suffer some obligatory obliteration. Resource Collectors simply cannot fight. The other caveat with their use in a Strike-Force (or anywhere else, for that matter) is that they are singled out by the pilot AI's for destruction before any other unit. Even battlecruisers will stop to take the time to pick them off with their main weapons before resuming their busy battle schedule. Collectors become useful here not as repairers, but as serious distractions...
|HW2 Shipping||Strikecraft||Frigates||Capital Class||Motherships||Utility Class||Platforms|
Last modified Thu, Oct 14 2004 by Lindsay Fleay.