SO2 Sabres


Rear Admiral
It's been a while since I last played Special Operations (before just now) so my memory may play tricks, but I remember that the Mandarin Sabres have previously been like a Morningstar with Sabre graphics (3 particle cannons).
Now they had the Sabre's 2 particle cannons (wider than MS 3), but still no mass drivers or turret.

Are there differences on versions (original, KS etc.), is this a bug or do I just remember wrong?
And why are they like that anyway? I used to think there was some idea of Mandarins modifying their ships with the MS prototype.


WC EXE archaeologist
Ohh good one! Going by memory:

As I recall, the trick is on ALTSHIPS.V02, which defines alternate ship stats for SO2. If you take a peek at that, you'll see a bunch of alternate stats, such as the no-missile Epee used in WC2, alt-stats for pirate Crossbows armed with Particles and Neutrons (for the losing path of SO1), all kinds of fun stuff! The ALTSHIPS file is incremental, so V01 includes all the alt-stats as V00 and then some, and V02 includes all alt-stats for WC2-SO1-SO2.

The Sabre thing is curious indeed. Most Mandarin Sabres are indeed only armed with a couple particle cannons, no missiles and no turret. However, in one particular mission, there's this nav point where you have 2 Fralthra and 3 Sabres... and those Sabres are pretty tough nuts to crack. Your guess from the 3 particle cannons is correct: they have full Morningstar stats, as these particular ships use the Morningstar alt-stats. Why this was done, i'm not exactly sure... Was it really intended for the Mandarins to have Morninstar-level Sabres in this particular encounter? Or was it a game bug, and the ships are pointing to the wrong alt-stats entry?

I guess we'll probably never know for sure... Would be nice to poke someone who worked on SO2 back in the day and see if they remember (although this is the kind of obscure detail I doubt people remember anymore...)