If you conquer Orion's Guardian you will receive a random set of 4 space ship technologies that you can't research. You may also gain a few by capturing and scrapping 1 or 2 Antaran ships, but this is very difficult and in any case you can conquer the Guardian quite a long time before the Antarans first attack you.
In many multi-player games you can't gain any exotic technologies, because they are played with the game setting "Antarans attack" switched off, and attacking Orion is forbidden.
The components that these techs provide are powerful but mostly bulky and expensive. Because you can do no further research on these techs, the exotic components never miniaturize.
Ship beam weapon that does 50-100 points damage, minus whatever is blocked by the target's shields, and has normal dissipation; also kills 1 Marine per 5 points of damage that penetrate the target's shields. For a long time this is the best way to penetrate very high-tech shields, as Death Rays are less bulky than Mauler Devices are initially (when you eventually research Mauler Devices), but miniaturization rapidly makes Mauler Devices more useful. Death Rays are easily the most expensive way to arm a ship.
Modifications: (0) HV but not PD; (1) none; (2) none.
Note: in the MS-DOS and Windows versions of MOO II you always get Death Ray plus 3 other techs from Orion (the Antarans' tiny raiding fleets never use Death Rays, so you can't get the tech from them). In the Mac version Death Ray is just another exotic tech that you may get from Orion.
Getting Death Rays is a mixed blessing:
- It actually reduces the capabilities of Star Bases and Ground Batteries, because a few Death Rays will replace a larger number of non-exotic weapons that were doing their job well.
- Death Rays are never the best "beam" weapon to use against Antarans, because Death Rays' greatest strength is their ability to burn holes in high-tech shields, but the Antarans use Damper Fields instead of shields (see below) making them impervious to the crew-killing effect.
Ship beam weapon that does 10-30 points of damage and is naturally shield-piercing. (Ships equipped with Hard Shields cannot have their shields pierced) As a result, Particle Beams may be too bulky to be great ship weapons, because miniaturized versions of high-tech weapons that you can research offer a higher ratio of damage done per unit of ship space used and also burn holes in high-tech shields. PD Particle Beams are the ultimate weapons for Fighters, as no weapon more powerful than Particle Beams has a PD version; but Fighters are a poor weapon beyond the early game, as they are slow to reach their targets and can be wiped out by a drive explosion; "beams" plus a good computer are usually the quickest way to destroy enemy ships and bases.
Black Hole Generator
Ship special weapon that creates a black hole which immobilizes the target and will destroy it in 2 combat turns, unless the Generator is destroyed. The target ship can also be fired on while in the black hole, and this may destroy it in 1 turn. Bulky and has rather short range. Any ship that has a Black Hole Generator will be a priority target, and any ship that's tough enough to survive being a priority target can destroy enemy ships more quickly with conventional weapons.
Ship special weapon that damages all objects in a 2-square radius (friend or foe), bypassing armor and shields and affecting only the victims' structure; but a Damper Field reduces the damage in its normal way. The Spatial Compressor does 4-32 points of damage times the target's size class (e.g. 4-32 against a Frigate, 16-128 against a Battleship, 24-192 against a Doom Star) and is also fairly effective against missiles and fighters. It is a superior version of Pulsar but still not a very impressive offensive weapon (on average, takes 14 to kill a Doom Star with just Xenotronium Armor). It can also damage it's own side's ships, missiles, and fighters, it has a short range, enemy ships have many ways to destroy ships before they get into range, and good beam and torpedo weapons bypass Spatial Compressor since it does not affect these. It may be better than PD beams for players with poor computers; but a Spatial Compressor "fires" only once per combat turn and therefore may be overcome by multiple groups of missiles or fighters that strike in the same turn. Very late in the game Subspace Teleporter may make the Spatial Compressor a usable weapon, and in fact if you defeat Orion's Guardian you get a free Titan that has Spatial Compressor + Subspace Teleporter. But there are other ways to use the Subspace Teleporter. A potential strategy for late game is to open a hole in a large fleet and teleport in to kill a group of high priority targets. This strategy will probably require augmented engines and a fast ship. It is particularly effective against targets
Ship defense that does not block damage but reduces it to 25% of its normal level. The field also has a 50% chance of killing boarding troops that attempt to transport into the ship (via Transporters); Assault Shuttles and ship-to-ship boarding are not affected in this way, but are dangerous because they require something to move right next to the target ship, which will usually destroy them. A ship cannot have both shields and a Damper Field. A Damper Field requires less space than Class 7 or Class 10 shields unless the shields are their 4th or 5th level of miniaturization.
Damper Fields are a more effective defense than shields against the powerful high-tech weapons, because these weapons burn holes in even Class 10 Shields on Doom Stars and the shields cease to protect, but a Damper Field goes on protecting until its generator is destroyed.
Damper Fields leave ships vulnerable to 2 quite low-tech types of weapon:
- EMG missiles work well against such ships because they hit the engines, and there's no shield to block them. The Damper Field's damage-reducing effect is often insufficient to prevent a drive explosion.
- Ion Pulse Cannons don't work against Space Monsters or Antarans, but work normally against non-Antaran ships, often causing drive explosions. A good counter to Ion Pulse Cannons would be to equip an Inertial Stabilizer/Nullifier.
- Teleporters can beam troops directly onto the ship equipped with damper fields because there are no shields to block them. You can counter this with troop killing weapons and security stations.
Despite these apparent weaknesses, the Damper Field is the best protection when going into action against:
- A Stellar Converter, which laughs at even Class 10 shields.
- Marine-killing weapons like neutron blaster and death rays. Marines on a ship with damper field cannot die from such weapons. This makes capturing Antaran ships (which are all equipped with damper fields) even more difficult.
- The Antarans. Their raiding fleets use Particle Beams, which bypass shields. When you attack Antares, their Star fortress and defense fleet are very heavily armed with a mixture of Particle Beams that bypass shields and HV Death Rays that quickly burn through even Class 10 shields.
This is 25% tougher than Adamantium Armor (the best you can research), and blocks the AP effects of some weapons without the use of Heavy Armor. Xentronium Armor is an excellent tech with no disadvantages.
Ship special system that triples the power of the drive explosion when the ship is destroyed or self-destructs, and has a 50% chance of causing a self-destruct if the ship is captured by a boarding raid. A depressing, defeatist component. Kamikaze suicide ships equipped with Quantum Detonators and sent against enemy fleets as "living bombs" are actually very ineffective. Pretty much the only reason this technology exists is to make it hard for you to capture Antaran ships without them self-destructing; it's all but useless if acquired, unless you're worried about other races stealing advanced tech from you. And if this is the case, you're due a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Ship defense that has a chance of reflecting each incoming "beam" attack.
The field makes an attempt to reflect each incoming beam weapon (regardless of whether the weapon was fired solo or as part of a group.) If successful, the field bounces the incoming beam back to the attacker; the defender suffers no damage, while the attacker suffers the full strength of the reflected attack (with 2× range dissipation penalties). The field will reflect Death Rays with around 1/4 chance (very rough estimate), and anything weaker, more often.
Note: The reflection chance formula (for each indiv. beam weapon) is: 10/(10 + Incoming beam power). I.e. for a weak laser beam 1 the chances are 10/11 = 91%, for plasma from a long distance: 10/(10+6) = 62.5%, for HV Plasma + HEF from point blank 10/10+(45*1.5) = 13%
The field can co-exist with shields, reflecting beams before they ever hit it.
Special weapons, such as the plasma web and stellar converter, cannot be reflected.