This is a general guide to Dark Avatar. Some of it is tutorial and in-depth and some of it is much more advanced. It is a compilation of tips, visual guides, and information posted from forums plus gameplay mechanics myself and other players tend to forget about. It’s filled with a lot of pictures because frankly, text is boring. To help as much as possible I’ve added arrows and into the screenshots. Before you start, please understand this is something I hope will help you enjoy the game to its fullest. I’m assuming you at least watched the video tutorials and have attempted to play the game a few times.
Please forgive the navigation, because I suck at web design.
For more guides designed by the Stardock, check out the developer’s forum posts here. There are several start-up & strategy guides.
Tip 1 – Setting up a new game*
If you want to have a galaxy with the most varied solar systems, make sure you set your galaxy size to medium or larger. What you see below is one example. The setup you see below offers just as many solar systems with 0, 1,2,3,4 planets as it does 5 planet systems. Many people will play medium or smaller maps with several opponents and no matter what settings they use they’ll see every single solar system has 5 planets. That can get repetitious. Keep in mind each setting is relative to each sector (grid)
Surprisingly, a larger map doesn’t always mean a longer nor more complex game. The AI (artificial intelligence) is pretty balanced and is very smart. So if you have a very balanced small map on Tough (the fairest level where the AI gets no cheats or bonuses – neither do you) the game can play out very long and you’ll might get next turn syndrome. In fact the longest game I’ve ever had was with 9 AI opponents on a small map.
Be forewarned however, that a huge map with few rare habitable planets makes maintaining a large Navy with invasion forces tough. You have fewer planets to balance out all the needs of your population.
Tip 2 – Blind Exploration. Unless you’re still learning the game check this box. It will not allow you to see where all the races start out.
Tip 3 – Tech Rate. You know, for an entire year I played with Tech rate on Normal thinking it felt like cheating if I turned it up faster. Honestly you get a whole different game, that is just as exciting and fun as the rate at a slower pace. The game feels no less epic at the fastest tech rate as it is on Normal. The only reason I set my Tech rate slower than normal is when I want to focus on the military aspect of the game more so I can enjoy the ship design and not have to upgrade ships so quickly.
Tip 4 – Minor Races. I actually only use 0 – 2 usually because right now it’s kind of like they’re there just for you to take advantage of or as a trading partner. If you keep running out of money, turn the number of minor races up (and make sure you visit the Economy Page – which will continually get expanded as time goes on).
Tip 5 – Tech Trading. I start half of my games with it checked, and half without. Why? Because you get a very different experience. Some people find they can take advantage of the AI and help their relations with AI just through tech trading. If the game feels too predictable because of this turn it off. “But then I’m missing all the diplomacy!” you say. I’d say you’re not missing diplomacy, as much as you’re experiencing a different side of it. Bribery, money, ships, maintaining a standing fleet, and resources are so much more precious when you can’t just trade away some techs for some money. Though don’t get me wrong, the AI is much better at trading this time around – it’s still not perfect. Another positive about disabling tech trading is the research tree becomes a place you’ll actually spend time in because you have to make such critical decisions about what you research. Another fun aspect of disabled tech trading is the added emphasis a good espionage can make. When one of your spies steals a tech it’s like you won a little jackpot.
Tip 6 – Mega Events/Super Abilities. Be scared of mega. If you’re a new player or if you always run your empire on the brink of collapse (like I do). The events will severely unbalance the game against you. Advanced players love this feature because they are masochists and enjoy vast unpredictable events. If you are new or even mid-grade player you will NOT want to use mega-events (unless you don’t mind losing). Having said that… they fun and add a lot of suspense. Please at some point play with them on, because you’ll want to try and experience all the different kinds of mega-events there are. And yea… they have a habit of hitting right when you forget some catastrophic could happen. I play with them on, because I don’t mind losing too much (scores still get logged to Metaverse). Super Abilities aren’t as unbalancing as you may think. Definitely use them!