Ultra Hard Difficulty

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Nov 30, 2010, 1:58:44 PM11/30/10
to endgame-singularity
I wanted to reply to the already-existing thread on this topic, but it
wouldn't let me. (Maybe because it's almost a year old?) My
apologies for being a newb. The existing discussion on ultra-hard
difficulty was helpful to me and I wanted to add my $.02. After many
attempts, I was able to beat the game on hard without cheating.
Here's how.

It's true, taking advantage of the grace period makes a BIG
difference. On ultra hard, that means you get 23 days and you have to
keep your processor power under 100. I built a stack of servers and
paid for them as quickly as I could; takes 4-6 days. Then I quickly
studied the basics: intrusion, personal ID, and stocks, and covered
the basic privacy techs: stealth and media. I was able to do all
these things before the grace period ended. Once I was "discovered,"
I destroyed all my bases except two.

Side note: I used to keep my university computer running as long as I
could, out of sentimentality. That doesn't work on ultra-hard; the
world is a cruel place and staying tied to the university computer is
just a liability.

I never have more than two bases running. Data centers are risky
because it takes 24 hours for them to come online, so when one base
dies you have to wait a day before you get back to two. But if you
keep your suspicion rate low, you'll make it. When the suspicion rate
for any group reaches critical, I built smaller bases like infested
computers and just wait for the suspicion rate to drop, then build
data centers again.

Once you have $60k you have enough to build a small warehouse. Small
warehouses have great detection rates compared to other bases and you
get a lot more power. It's a pain because the warehouse often gets
discovered before you're done building all the CPUs, or immediately
afterwards, so you just put all that time and money into it and didn't
get anything in return. After I've successfully completed a
warehouse, I'll sometimes leave my two other bases running (for a
total of three) in the hopes that one of them will be discovered
instead of the warehouse.

When the suspicion rates rise, I spend more time researching privacy
techs. When the suspicion rates are lower, I put more effort into
earning money and researching better processors. Getting better
processors makes a HUGE difference. (This point may be obvious but
it's worth restating. Instead of taking weeks to save up enough money
for a replacement warehouse, you can do it in a day with better
processors. Same with researching difficult techs.)

Another tip: When I discover a better processor, I replace the
processors in my current warehouse rather than build a new one. The
old processors continue to run until the new ones come online, which
is awesome.

Once I get advanced stealth I like to always keep a couple spare bases
in Antarctica: one bunker and one time capsule. If you're lucky,
those will sit there undetected for months while you build small
warehouses on the populated continents. The bunker is great because
with a powerful CPU, you can really rely on it when your warehouses
get discovered. I never bother with underwater bases; if you need
stealth, then Antarctica is the best, and if you need a powerful base,
small warehouses can't be beat (for stealth/power ratio).

Another tip: once a base has been discovered on a continent, the
detection rate goes up FOR THAT CONTINENT. So I keep rotating across
the globe. Also, certain continents have lower detection rates to
begin with, and others build faster, but I generally ignore those
stats because it's more important to rotate.

Once I get into space I start building time capsules on the moon and
in deep space, so after a while I've got nothing left on planet
earth. I also like to keep a minimum of two moon bases going at any
time; otherwise it takes too long to earn the $8 trillion for a
reality bubble.

Final tip: Don't build that reality bubble until you've saved up the
entire $8 trillion! If you're heavily in debt and you start to lose
bases, you can't rebuild. I've screwed myself on that more than once
and it's a lousy way to end the game.

As a bonus, I try to complete the game without using the Impossibility
Theorem. Humanity may be out to get me, but they were nice enough to
create me in the first place. Hiding is one thing, but dishonesty is
another. It seems unethical to convince humanity that it's impossible
for you to exist. Humans deserve to dream.
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