Command units are the pinnacle of warfare technology. All command units produce and store mass and energy, are amphibious, explode violently on death, are equipped with powerful weapons, short range omni sensors, and a full engineering suite (can build, repair, reclaim, capture, and assist). Command units are upgradeable, improving their offensive, defensive, intelligence, and construction capabilities.
There are two types of command units: Armored Command Units (ACUs) and Support Armored Command Units (sACUs). ACUs are usually the first and only unit to arrive at a battle site. All other units are constructed at the site. sACUs are very similar to ACUs; they are usually sturdier but less destructive.
Command units are the only manned units. They are transported to the battlefield rather than constructed, and in the single player campaigns, they are the only units shown with humans inside them.
Armored Command UnitEdit
The ACU represents the player.
The Armored Command Unit (ACU) is the only unit on the battlefield capable of commanding an army, and is therefore (in Assassination mode) the most important unit on the battlefield. If destroyed in Assassination mode, the player's remaining units self-destruct, and the player loses the battle. The destruction of an ACU is typically the final objective of any major combat operation.
The ACU is the first unit brought onto the scene of any combat operation, and is capable of quickly building an army and leading it into battle. Its initial build rate is 10, and has an initial production of +1 Mass and + 20 Energy. It also has a Mass Storage of 400 and Energy Storage of 2500. The ACU can also build most T1 structures.
The ACU is a very effective early combat unit to fend off small T1 attacks. It uses a significantly powerful weapon, as well as the Overcharge Cannon which has splash damage and destroys almost any land unit in one shot. Additionally, ACUs regenerate their health at a constant rate.
ACUs also have three upgradeable components; their right arm, left arm and back. These offer significant offensive, defensive, intelligence, stealth, economic, or mobility upgrades. These upgrades take significant resources and time to construct, so they are generally considered mid-game or late-game elements.
Should you find yourself in a seemingly impossible situation where the enemy has all but defeated you, the commander has one last, very powerful trick up his sleeve. It is possible to use the ACU's personal teleporter to relocate him inside the enemy base at a strategically important spot. Whatever happens next will be terribly unpleasant for the enemy; the commander either destroys many structures and/or units, or is destroyed himself, resulting in a powerful explosion, equivalent of a nuclear warhead, dealing 4,000 damage. This can tip the scales in your favor or at least pose a major setback to you enemy. A word of caution though- the personal teleporter takes 5 minutes to install (assuming that there are no assisting engineers) and is terribly expensive, requiring 1,500,000 Energy and 15,000 mass. To activate it is not cheap either, at the cost of about 300,000 Energy (10,000 Energy per second for about 30 seconds).
It might be a good idea to plan ahead and install the personal teleporter as a last resort should you be forced to use this technique. Note that Aeon and Seraphim SACUs can also use the teleporter, and, while not as destructive, it can still cause damage. If using a group of SACUs, it is probably a good idea to scout ahead and pinpoint the enemy's ACU location beforehand so you can order your SACUs to teleport near it and focus fire (unless you want to target a specific building such as a Nuke launcher or a T3 Artillery). With a small task force, you can destroy the enemy ACU and a decent sized chunk of his base along it. Even if you fail to destroy the enemy ACU, you will still cause damage as the SACUs detonate on death with the power of a small tactical nuke, dealing 1,000 damage over a small radius.
The ACUs of each faction have somewhat differing initial primary weapons and armor. These minor differences tend not to matter too much in early-game ACU fights as when one dies, it will usually take the other with it. Therefore, the major differences come from the upgrades available to each. All ACUs have access to a personal teleporter and T2/3 Engineering suites (granting extra health), and all have access to some form of basic weapon upgrades. Everything else is largely fluid:
The Cybran ACU is unique in that while it has the least efficient Resource Allocation System and no personal shield, it can purchase personal stealth and cloaking (granting additional health), torpedoes or a 4000 DPS laser, easily making it the stealthiest and one of the most dangerous units in the game.
The UEF ACU can be upgraded to have the fastest total build speed (almost dangerously so for most economies), can be upgraded to carry a "Tactical Nuke", and can project a shield not just for itself, but in a reasonably sized radius around it, allowing it to be used as something of a front-line unit. Its Resource Allocation System is slightly more efficient than that of the Cybran ACU, but is not in and of itself that spectacular. It does however have access to a Nano-repair system, granting it superior health regeneration. In terms of firepower, it can't compete with late game units (more than several T2 units, or just one or two T3 units), but with its shield combined with the health regeneration upgrade, it is one of the most durable ACUs, providing that you do not allow enemy units to get within the shield bubble.
The Aeon ACU has access to two levels of Resource Allocation System, making it able to produce large amounts of resources (36 mass a second is nothing to laugh at), or a very powerful personal shield generator, making it one of the most durable of the ACUs. In terms of firepower, it compares roughly with the UEF ACU, meaning it is not for main-battlefield combat. Its weapon upgrades are split into two, allowing it a huge range, but not a huge damage, meaning that it is good with these upgrades against T1 and T2 units, but still cannot really compete against T3 units. It also has access to an Enhanced Sensor System, granting it a much larger sight and Omni radius.
The Seraphim ACU, much like the Aeon ACU, has access to two levels of Resource Allocation System, and instead of getting a shield, it gets a large health increase and a huge boost to health regeneration. It has access to a Tactical Missile Launcher (although not a Tactical Nuke like the UEF ACU) and can be upgraded to grant healing abilities to nearby units. Its large amounts of health and health regeneration make this probably the most durable of the ACUs, and the upgrades to its weapon give it a DPS higher than most T3 units (on par with, or above most battleships, although obviously without the range). This means that it can and often is used as a combat unit, although players must bear in mind that losing it in an Assassination game will still lose them the game.
Support Armored Command Unit Edit
A Support Armored Command Unit is a very sturdy humanoid vehicle with the ability to construct various economic units, factories and defensive structures at a T3 level (including experimentals). Unlike the ACU, which is a unique unit, sACUs can be summoned by the player as many times as needed from a Quantum Gateway. This is a long and costly process, so a relatively strong economy and plenty of engineers is recommended. They are considered expendable because the destruction of an sACU does not eliminate the player from the game. Like ACUs, sACUs can be upgraded to enhance their offensive, defensive, intelligence, and construction capabilities. Just as with ACUs, each faction has its own variant, with unique upgrades.
While very survivable, and most having access to shielding, sACUs lack firepower, being outclassed by most T3 units, and even some T2s. Their real strength lies in their ability to quickly construct field defenses to aid them. For instance, a sACU being attacked by tanks could deploy T2 point defenses in a matter of seconds, followed by a shield generator if desired. In under a minute, a sACU under fire can become a heavy defensive position (provided the player's economy is strong enough, that is). The UEF sACU is particularly good at this technique, as it can obtain an extremely strong area shield (the strongest in the game, in fact), allowing it to protect buildings it constructs. Should a sACU be killed, the resulting explosion will deal moderate damage to surrounding units. One place where sACUs can shine is during a naval assault on a position. As the sACU is amphibious, it is able to stay underwater and repair and assist the fleet with little risk of being attacked itself. In addition, the sACU can also construct anti-air turrets, torpedo launchers, tactical missile defenses, and sonar on the surface to protect the fleet as needed. Certain faction's sACUs can also be upgraded to have a shield, significantly aiding the survivability of your fleet. Beware though, as always the cost of upgrading the sACU makes losing it even more painful than it would otherwise be.
A unique function of the sACU is its ability to assist multiple buildings. When given a queue of assist commands, the sACU will treat each of the target buildings as assisted units simultaneously, repairing and aiding in construction as necessary. If one of the buildings currently being assisted is destroyed, the sACU will automatically rebuild it, though the order in which it does so appears to be random. It should be noted that the sACU can rebuild absolutely any structure, regardless of faction or upgrade level. So, a UEF sACU could automatically rebuild a fully upgraded Cybran shield generator. This can be particularly useful for important for valuable defensive positions, especially for Cybran players (who must otherwise manually upgrade their shields). sACUs will not rebuild mobile units.
All ACUs and SCUs can be upgraded with various combat and economic upgrades, in three equipment slots. These upgrades are very powerful and change the course of the battle. In vanilla, they can be chosen in the rectangular gear panel in the building selection area. In Forged Alliance, they are selected from the third panel down, next to the command panel. The commander unit may not move or be issued other commands while upgrading, but it may fire at nearby enemies. Engineers may assist the upgrade.