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Friday, August 7, 2015

Helixteus 2: Guide + Speed Playthrough

A year ago, there was Helixteus, which I reviewed. Now there's a sequel, and the concept of multiple universes, as well as a new building (Central Business District, or CBD) which reduces adjacent building costs and Auto-Collect, the latter which makes a quick Triangulum Probe run doable (which allows you to spawn another universe, essentially a New Game with bonuses). Since it requires very little combat (I was able to finish this without leaving the galaxy) I expect this mechanic to get nerfed back soon.

This post was since updated to cover an update to 2016 which added mining drills and made both the early game more game-breaking and pick-mining unnecessary (save some achievements).

I do not attempt to takeover all of the planets that can be seen in a supercluster because it is unnecessary and makes the game lag too much in the very late stages of the game.

Need to Know Shortcuts:

  • D = Select all tiles of that building type (or empty ground)
  • S = Click an area to start a square selection, click on another tile to end it. If you have an item selected when you are doing this, it will apply that to each building in your selection, provided you have enough of them.
  • E = Upgrade units. If you have selected multiple units, you can mass upgrade. Can mass upgrade one unit if you rectangle select only one (selection is brighter than usual)
  • Q = Inventory
  • Shift + C = Sell all ore
  • Del - Remove Buildings by clicking without confirmation

Need to Know Concepts:

  • A solar system (when you zoom out towards galaxy view) is guaranteed to spawn on top your first Solar System when a new game is started, which means that travel time there is equivalent to moving between planets in your starting system. If you leave before you occupy it your actual system will show up correctly the next time the game is loaded and colonizing it early will be much harder, especially if your starting solar system glitches and you can't fly to any other planet there. The above run relies on using this bug.
  • The price of minerals scales to a rate of your Level^(Level/6.1). If this value is less than 1/32 selling price the latter is used instead. Early game you can buy minerals with ore and sell them at a higher price than selling ore directly, until you reach around 100k, then gems will sell for better until boosts take over.
  • At around lvl 25+ you need to focus on figuring out ways to get enough storage that you can actually buy Quillite / Kyrium needed to build those end probes. Best way would be to stack Lv10 CBD with Lv1->25+ Ore Tanks (upgrading in bulk gives you less XP than one lvl at a time), combined with cost decrease research. Of course you can always mine them.
  • Overclock Boost: It existed in the last game and it's more useful here. You get a structure building, then you overclock it, then you speed it up to completion. The longer the timer the better the results. The Science Lab has no cap, but the Ore Mine / Power Plant fills it up to its storage cap... unless you have a decent CBD nearby, in which case a percentage of that huge boost will go straight into your total ore storage cap instead, it can be very useful in topping your stores many times over. (A 34-1-8 ore mine, which costs 144B to create, can be boosted x10 and gives 1.5T worth of ore before the CBD is factored.)
    • The additional resources gained from overclocking is only limited to the duration it has, so it's more beneficial to alternate between placing down speedups and overclocks of similar duration. In the above case (where the upgrade timer was 6d 6h), using 5 32hr speedup + 10x overclock instead of a 168 hr speedup will yield 7.4T from that mine alone.

Other Notes or Issues:

  • For performance, 15 tiles a tick, refresh rate 1000ms. If you are approaching larger planets, then 3000ms.
  • You can cheese the final boss by using four Supernovals on it, killing him instantly from 100%, before you should be able to. You'll skip several minigames that way but that's to be expected.
  • There is no retreat in battles. If you attempt to do so with the equal key, you'll restart the battle, and maybe freeze the game if you lost a ship that battle. Not that reloading makes a difference since you get your ships back either way, but still.
  • New universes may spawn without a single supercluster in the Universe menu, at least until you launch a few probes. This may be a side effect of fixing the boss universe bug.
  • The 20x boost on a planet (and 50x boost everywhere) gives you a boost timer but doesn't do anything. It's a good thing we don't need them since we have much cheaper alts available.
  • Speedup VIII (which costs 65T and a compressed diamond) will give you a huge amount of science points if you have something under construction - the more buildings the higher the bonus. Considering that some Lv10 techs can cost > 150P science points doing this might be necessary.
  • The battle screen enemy bar may glitch when overkilling enemies if the stat difference is high enough (A Lv68 T2 Spectre, which has 112M attack, vs a T2 Helixteus of similar level, which has 2000), and enemies will fail to disappear which will cause the wave counter to malfunction.
  • After a battle the weapon mastery and XP of the first ship gets further multiplied by the universe bonus multiplier, even though it's not listed. If you cycle ships the on the victory screen you can get that result multiplied over and over again.
  • If the XP to next level for any ship goes over 4.2 billion (which is around lvl 36 on Universe 10) the counter will roll over and can cause a ship to level up indefinitely, which is quite easy to do in later universes. You will need to close the tab and reload the game; it won't give you the cash and can't use those affected ships anymore, but you get to join the 'Highest Ship level' high score board if the game got saved and you happen to be logged in.
  • When loading a save after entering a different universe (when you have several mapped out), there's a good chance that it will black screen. It's unknown what causes this, but here's a savefile that black screens after entering a new universe, and then reloading.

Quick Guide

(As of v 1.4.1)

  • Starting Out (Before Lv5):
    • We skip the tutorial
    • Enough Mines and 1 Ore Storage (and upgrade) that you don't hit lv6 yet.
    • Convert your ore to buy materials needed to get a 200m drill and drill an empty spot. Sell your minerals from and focus on getting 1000m drills, converting cash to ore to speed this process up. Repeat this process several times.
  • Before Lv10:
    • Build shipyards + 4 ships, take over Solar System.
    • Get a planet to have power plants and focus on energy ball power to L7 once you have the cash
  • Before Lv20:
    • CBDs on center of Mines and leveled decently (> 50%).
    • Science Lab somewhere, Lv to 7, use 4x boost to get a head start. Don't go past Building Science yet. When you get the money to reach new levels, start from a fresh Science Lab.
    • Recommended build: Ore Tanks 1 planet, Ore Mines all other planets, 2nd solar system: Ore tanks 1 planet, rest Power Plant
    • Figure out a balance between Ore Tank caps (at least 100k) and what combination of Mine Level needed to top your tank storage with overclock + speedup when you boost Gem Find to 6, while still making a profit. Use excess profits to upgrade your tanks. Repeat.
    • T2 Ships and get additional planets as needed.
  • Universes 2-14:
    • Incrementing the Master Level requires leveling your universes. The master level increases the universe bonus effect, which improves the stats of everything. This also appears to have an exponential effect over the money given from defeating enemies, though ore is something different.
    • Your first universe should have a method of being able to pump out Triangulum Probe on an ongoing basis.
    • The same steps from the first universe apply, though it gets harder to buy coal with ore and sell for a decent profit since the level jumps are higher.
    • Level 10-15 on these universes is optimal before building a new universe, as this generally increments the master level by 1 (or two) each time. The quickest way to achieve this is building nothing but CBDs on these planets as they have the most XP for the cost.
  • Universes 15-29:
    • At this point 15-20 minutes per universe is doable. Green stars appear a lot more often.
    • You can't really use the selling technique anymore since the first building you put down will jump your XP to at least Lv5. Start with a Mine, and save enough to get a mining pick and start harvesting ore, which can then be sold for cash. Mining Picks are considerably faster at this point.
    • Starting enemies can be brutal, especially when your nearest solar system has rare and/or multiple stars. Start with T2 ships and train them in your starting system, and aim for systems which don't have T6-7 enemies. Use the profits to build T3 ships. Don't upgrade the shipyard past what you need since it makes buying ores harder. You can get max level weapon mastery after a few battles.
    • Up stats 75% Atk/25% Acc or so on a ship. You need the accuracy to not miss any shots, and enough ATK that your defeat them in one turn.
    • Watch your XP on your first ship, if it gets too high it freezes the game. There's some trial and error but the safe spot is 40-50G total XP per ship after factoring in the universe multiplier so go for lower XP battles.
    • You should have enough ore to buy a quillite and kyrium, maybe several thousand if you are at a low enough level. Upgrade the selling price and then sell these ores back for a nice profit.
  • Universes 30+:
    • The standard Mine/Pickaxe/14 Power Plants/Shipyard applies. Expand to two planets and then start working on the next solar system, prioritize getting energy balls.
    • I use a T1 ship on the first slot and three T3s, 75% Atk/25% Acc.
    • Class Z stars can be generated; they don't show on your stats screen until you have one on your screen. They don't generate as much as you would expect them to with solar panels, but they're good for battle rewards.
    • Very few battles are necessary to get the required 300T to advance, but the real challenge here is the ore needed to upgrade Energy Ball power to acceptable levels. There are few battles available that can be completed and not freeze the game up. If you can get them to 500G/ball, you're ok.
    • If your first ship is nearing its XP limit, build a Shipyard on your last planet and swap out your T1 ship.
    • If you can't get the necessary ore but have cash in the P range, then you can get ore storage up to a value necessary to buy those upgrades. Place and upgrade a CBD nearby first if you also need to buy materials as well.