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Old 01-03-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Posts: 268
Welcome New Sins Players -- New Player Guide

On behalf of the Sins online multiplayer community, I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone who just bought Rebellion.

You've made a great purchase for $15. Many people have become addicted to Sins and spent over 2000 (or 4000) hours with it. It's that kind of memorable game that can become an all-time favorite. I bought the original game ("Vanilla") back in March 2008 without ever having played an RTS before, and I've been a Sins junkie and fanatic ever since.

Sins is totally awesome for online multiplayer PvP games. There's an established group of mostly pro players that do 4v4 and 5v5 all the time, and they are a whole lot of fun. (Hope to see you there in a couple months when you're ready.) If you're interested in playing Sins in online multiplayer PvP, you are cordially invited to join the Steam group I created for it. I haven't used it to organize any games, but just as a source of news and information about Sins:

Sins Online Multiplayer Steam Group:

Some things new players should know
(in no particular order):

There is an official Sins forum which includes a Strategy discussion forum that might be helpful. You can find it here:


Basic Unit Strategy. You should read Raging Amish's unit guide which reviews all the different units. It's essential reading about very basic Sins strategy and it will help you get started:


To play Sins in online multiplayer, you want to press the "Ironclad Online" (ICO) button.

Contrary to popular belief, it does not take 10 hours to play a PvP game. In fact, most 4v4 and 5v5 online multiplayer PvP games only last 1.5-2 hours (the longer it lasts, probably the better the game). How is that? Because when you play a team game you don't have to kill all 9 opposing players like in single player--you have allies to help you. Also, it's proper etiquette for players on the losing team to call it "gg" once it becomes clear that their team is going to lose. This spares the winning players the boring motions of mopping up and allows a new game to get started.

Who are some of the more-well known and established PvP players? See this thread:


Am I ready to play PvP yet? If you just bought the game, the answer is "No" unless you're playing against similarly situated people. You really need to play it either against the AI or against other very new people for about 2 months and you should be able to easily thump the Hard difficulty AI before you're ready for the 4v4 and 5v5's with the veteran pros.

What is the history of this game? Sins was developed by a tiny studio called Ironclad Games (with lots of help from the publisher, Stardock), which was it's first game. The original Sins of a Solar Empire ("Vanilla") was released in February 2008. Later that year the (first) Entrenchment expansion was released. In early 2010 the second expansion, Diplomacy was released. Trinity is not a separate game in and of itself, but is just a fancy way of saying "Sins of a Solar Empire Complete Collection". The Diplomacy version of the game includes everything that was in the original and the Entrenchment expansion.

Tell me about custom maps. There are two types of custom maps. There are "Map Designer" maps which are created by an engine that lets you specify certain parameters. These maps will auto-download to your friends. However, they are not real custom maps because you cannot specify the exact location of all the planets and stuff. The real custom maps are Galaxy Forge-made maps. Galaxy Forge is a small program that lets you make maps in Sins. Unfortunately the Galaxy Forge maps will NOT auto-download. So for you and your friends to play them, everyone has to manually install them into their "GalaxyForge" folder in their Application Data folder. For now, almost all PvP games are played on the random single star maps, which works out just fine and people like that. Some mappers have created auto-install programs to make it simple. You can find the sometimes-played Dirty Sanchez map pack (mine) here:


What's a minidump? A minidump is when the game crashes. Unfortunately, it happens from time to time. The game "dumps" out a file of information that you could potentially email to the developers so that they can help eliminate the minidumps. One of the problems this game suffered early on (for online multiplayer) was game crashes and sometimes desyncs, but those bugs have been mostly squashed. However, it still happens from time to time. It sucks but the game is so awesome that we put up with it.

Are there mods for this game? What are some of the most popular mods? Oh yes. There is an active modding community. Some of the most popular mods seem to be Distant Stars, 7 Deadly Sins, and Star Trek Sacrifice of the Angels. There's also a Star Wars mod. They don't really get played in online multiplayer often because ICO doesn't have the player base to support that, but with the flood of new people coming from the Steam sales we might see more modded games on ICO, especially Distant Stars. There's also a mod called Sins Plus which adds additional planet types to the game and a graphics enhancement called Bailknights.

How can I improve my game? Read the huge archive of threads in the Strategy forums over at the official Sins forum. Various nuances of the game have been hashed out in great detail. If you're playing online multiplayer PvP against human opponents, watch replays (Single Player ----> Watch Game) of the games and study what the pro players do.

What is a pug match? A PUG match is a game (almost always 5v5 and sometimes 4v4) where two captains draft-pick the other 8 (or 6) players with the goal of having balanced, competitive teams. Our protocol for doing this is that everyone starts out on Team 10 except for the two captains. When you get picked, you join your captain's team. The player who doesn't get picked (and who thus ends up as last pick) is known as "fat boy", just like in gym class. The draft order for these games is A-BB-AA-BB-A (5v5) or A-BB-A-B-A (4v4) with the idea being that the first captain will get the first pick but also the last pick, with the second captain having the 2nd and 3rd picks. To determine who goes first, a 1-10 number is secretly chosen and then whispered to a non-captain. The two captains then pick numbers and whoever is closest gets to decide whether to "pick or defer".

What are the chat commands? The chat commands are: /w "name" with the name in quotes exactly as you see it for Whisper. /r to whisper back to the last person who whispered to you. /f to send a message to all friends who are currently logged on. /wf (and then TAB) to TAB scroll through a list of your friends who are online. /ignore "name" to add someone to an ignore list. (I forget what the unignore command is, ask online.) Oh, and very importantly, in team games you use /a for all/team chat. Press ENTER in game to bring up the chat box (which prevents you from giving any orders while it's open). From there you can TAB through your various options (/a, /w to people). Also, if you put your cursor over the chat area you can scroll through some of the past chat with your mouse wheel.

I joined one of those 5v5's and they accused me of being a smurf and then the host gave me the boot. WTF? Sadly, we have a little bit of a smurfing problem amongst the pro community. (And yes, to a small extent I'm part of the problem, but not being an elite player it doesn't matter because my being on a certain team won't result in imbalanced teams.) Some players (especially [DT]Howthe?) have taken it upon themselves to form an anti-smurf movement and will boot players they either don't know or who have names with few game records on them. ([DT]Howthe?'s games are often titled "Skilled/No Smurfs".) After you gain a record on your name, you won't be regarded as a smurf. (If you get booted or if this irks you, it's probably not a crowd you'd want to play with anyway in terms of skill level. A game named "Skilled" probably isn't the right game for you.)

Is this game really so hard to play that it's impossible to go up against veteran pro players? It is a deep strategy game with a learning curve, and there's a lot to learn. That's a good thing because this game would be shallow and have little staying power otherwise. However, it also means that there will be great skill differentials between grizzled pros who've played 1000+ games against human opponents and newbies. As a new player you'll probably want to master playing against the AI (or your similarly situated friends) first. That way you can become comfortable with all of the basic game mechanics and learn the races and their tech trees. After two expansions, this game is chock-full of content and it's just going to take a while to learn everything.

You have to learn the game's mechanics--how to move ships and order them around. You have to learn about planet upgrades, logistics structures, and tactical structures. You have to learn about neutral extractors (know what those are?). You need to learn about the different ship types and their strengths and weaknesses and how to counter them and what they counter. You have to learn about all of the different capital ships and their capabilities. You have to learn about starbases and what they're capable of and to get a sense of how to use them and how to deal with them and which ones you can take on and which ones you should avoid.

There is just so danged much to learn about this game, which is part of what makes it so great. The strategy and tactics are very deep. You have to learn to manage your ships properly and to protect your capital ships so that they don't get focus-fired on to death. There's also an additional layer of team-based strategy in the 4v4 and 5v5 team games. When you're ready to start playing those, you'll try to become a bigger and bigger pain-in-the- to opposing players and eventually you'll be able to hold your own and even beat some people.

Once you have learned the game, it is possible to get up to speed and to be able to hold your own against the pros after playing 50-100 games against human opponents. This game totally rocks, so it is very worth it. Enjoy the process of learning the game and of becoming an increasingly tough player.

What is a neutral extractor? Do you see those metal and crystal asteroids at gravity wells where you cannot colonize (gas giants, asteroid belts, ion storms, space junk)? Those are called "neutral" extractors and they are very important. To capture them, send out a colonizer frigate (TEC, Advent) or a scout (Vasari). They are important because they are free resource income for you and each one produces metal or crystal at a rate of 110% allegiance. When you colonize an asteroid you have to pay to upgrade the planet's population and then pay to build the extractors. In contrast, neutral extractors are FREE! Oh, and they produce at 110% allegiance independently of culture and the distance from your home planet.

Consequently, epic battles of Vasari scout fleets (think 10 scouts v. 10 scouts) and assorted other ships have been fought over them. Some players will even build starbases at wells with 3 neutrals in an attempt to protect them.

Consequently, capturing neutral extractors is one of the Vasari race's advantages since they can capture them using cheap scouts which can quickly travel across the entire map. In PvP games, neutrals are often hotly contested commodities. It's easiest to control the ones that are near your frigate factories and harder to hang on to the ones that are far away.

What is Returning Armada (RA)? It's ancient history. Back in 2008 before the Entrenchment expansion was released and before Vanilla Sins v1.1, the Vasari race has a Level 8 Civic ability called Returning Armada or RA. Returning Armada was deemed to be overpowered and it was thus nerfed to the point where it's rarely used today. As a Vasari player you would build phase gates (up to two around an asteroid and up to three around a planet). After you have researched Returning Armada the phase gates would call in free ships for you periodically. They were free! In this way a Vasari player could quickly ratchet up his fleet supply size to 2300 supply points (normal size game setting) worth of ships. In PvP team games, it was the job of any Vasari player who started out in a safe "eco" (economy) spot to rush to Returning Armada. "I have attained Returning Armada, this game is over." Only the old timers who played before the Fall 2008 really remember it.

Who is this Whippersnapper guy? I'm a Sins fanatic and cheerleader for online multiplayer PvP. This is my favorite game and I am downright addicted to it in a bad way. I post on the official forums as DirtySanchezz. My "main" player names are [DT]WHIPperSNAPper and DirtySanchez. However, I smurf a lot but people who know me can figure it out.

I could probably (should?) write a book about Sins. I'll add more content to this post as time goes on or just answer people's questions in this forum. Maybe this thread will get stickied.

Last edited by Whippersnapper: 01-03-2013 at 06:45 PM.
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