“We’ve had a warrior weekend that was a big success - so now we’re going to beat some drums, walk the path of war and wipe out your species!”
- - Shamans
“Let a thousand flowers bloom; and to explain the metaphor, the flowers are bombs, bursting above your cities. We are at war!”
- - Warriors
“Your species is too illogical and mindless to survive! Prepare for extermination!”
“EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!”
- - Grox
“We are at war now. The extermination of your species will be more efficient if you do not resist.”
- - Grox
“The galaxy isn't about to give you a free lunch! We're at war!”
- - Traders
“The War of Spodification was begun! Die, unbelievers!”
- - Zealots
“The Grand Council declares war!”
“We are going to eradicate your civilization! Whee!”
- - Bards
“We are going to make sure you wish you never evolved! We are at WAR!”
War is a major factor of sentient life, and is almost unavoidable in Spore.
Until the Tribal Stage, players have to rely on your creature's natural abilities. In both the Cell Stage and Creature Stage, your creature can attack other creatures to gain DNA points. It is possible for your creatures to attack other creatures unarmed. However, they must have some form of weapon, such as sharp teeth. In the Creature Stage, you are able to recruit help from your own or other allied species. The four creature combat abilities are Bite, Charge, Strike and Spit.
Weapons available during the Tribal Stage are the throwing spear, which is the only ranged weapon (although it can also be used in hand-to-hand combat) and has moderate effectiveness, the stone axe, which is very good against other creatures but slightly worse when used against buildings, and the flaming torch, which is best used against buildings.
In the Tribal Stage, players are able to send individuals from their tribes to conduct raids against other tribes, as opposed to the Cell Stage, where you are on your own.
Also, creatures are able to gain access to primitive tribal weaponry. These weapons are gained through purchase after defeating other tribes. These weapons are purchased as a tribal building which is placed on the village square. Players arm their tribesmen with weapons from these buildings. A classification is assigned to a tribesman depending on what kind of weapon he is carrying. For example, a tribesman named Pilkington will appear as Spearman Pilkington when carrying a spear. Roscoe will appear as Firestarter Roscoe when carrying a torch.
In the Civilization Stage, you may construct different types of vehicles. Vehicles are classed as air, water, and land vehicles. Depending on the vehicle type, there are different advantages and disadvantages.
Land vehicles, for example, are only able to attack cities on one continent. However, they can attack landlocked and coastal cities alike. They also tend to have moderate stats.
Ships (water vehicles) are able to attack cities on other continents. They can only attack coastal cities, but they have outstanding firepower and armor. Their disadvantages are low speed and relatively slow-moving projectiles, making it a time consuming fare to travel to and capture a city compared to land-based vehicles.
Air vehicles can be helicopters, planes, blimps, or ornithopters. They have extremely low firepower and durability and are only effective when attacking in groups. Their advantages are being incredibly fast and their ability to attack any type of city on any continent, making them perfect first-wave forces to engage an enemy until more effective land or sea vehicles can arrive. Despite being the main tool for waging war, vehicles are not the only way.
Due to the system Maxis created for vehicle battles, it is ineffective to use vehicles to defend cities. Therefore, cities can be defended much more easily using two things: turrets and buildings. Turrets are a city's first line of defense against attack. They are mounted on a city's walls and fire their machine guns at enemy units. They are incredibly effective and fast, being able to destroy any vehicle in less than ten seconds. They also provide excellent defense when more are added, protecting cities from all directions when all are placed. However, they have no mobility, and there is a certain range in which an enemy vehicle must be for the turrets to fire. Vehicles may attack from outside this radius, making it necessary for allied vehicles to respond and destroy the attacking vehicle. Also, though they are durable (700 durability), they can be destroyed easily by groups of enemy craft, necessitating vehicle response. Buildings are also considered a way to defend cities, for they must all be destroyed before the city can be captured.
In early build of the game, cities have what appears to be a wide range of defensive (and possibly offensive) weaponry to choose from. Amongst these we have seen many forms (i.e., colors) of lasers being shot from what can only be assumed to be defensive structures. It might also be possible that creatures were firing as well. The image in the Wired 14.04 Spore article shows what appears to be building defenses in the South-South-West section of this image.
Like everything else in Spore, the game modifies things depending on the way you play. For those who create mindless killing machine creatures in the Cell Stage and Creature Stage you will have a violent planet on which you must survive. If, on the other hand, you create a creature that seems more diplomatically inclined you may pass through stages with relatively no hostile conflict.
One of the main goals of the Civilization Stage has been said to be unifying the planet you are on, by whatever means you choose.
Having your creature/tribe/civilization wiped out will not completely end your game, you will simply go back to the previous save.
Missiles are used in the Civilization Stage as super weapons for Military nations like the Gadget Bomb and ICBM, and are also used by spaceships in two different weapons - Anti-Matter Missile and Proton Missile. Sea vehicles also use missiles in the Civilization Stage. These missiles expand and shrink based on the strength of your vehicle, similar to the cannonballs of land vehicles and the colors of air vehicles lasers.
Despite the fact that your civilization has airplanes (and those airplanes can fire lethal lasers) your land vehicles still use balls of iron or another metal. Cannonballs don't seem to deliver high damage like missiles, but they can be fired somewhat faster. Cannonballs are at their highest potential when you use swarms of land vehicles, unleashing a barrage of cannonballs.
Flak is used by both, land and sea vehicles against air vehicles. Flak is quite deadly in numbers, with the right damage and the right amount of vehicles, flak could destroy swarms of air vehicles. Since Civilization Stage AIs never send large amounts of aircraft (except uncommonly in hard difficulty), you might not see large usage of flak.
Lasers are used in both the Civilization and Space Stages. Military air vehicles will use them against opponents, and more controllable ones can be used by Spaceships. The laser is the first weapon a spaceship obtains, and has 2 additional upgrades.
Bombs are used in the Civilization and Space Stages. The main civilization bombs are the Mighty Bomb which is great for weakening civilizations for faster capture or destroying attacking vehicles that you can't get to, and the Static Bomb, which is basically an EMP. They are used for disabling turrets and vehicles when attacking civilizations, and stop vehicles dead in their tracks when attacking an ally or your civilization. In Space Stage, there are 3 main bombs, the regular Bomb, the Anti-Matter Bomb, and the Planet Buster. The bomb is used for assaulting civilizations with medium energy cost, the Anti-Matter Bomb is used for destroying civilizations with one shot, and the Planet Busters well, "busts" a planet.
Interstellar/galactic conflict is available in the Space Stage. When an empire has a very low relationship with another (-71), a war will begin. Wars automatically initiate another large drop in relationship points (-50). They may stop a war by donating money, although a large amount is required - usually a few million in easy mode and up to 16 million in normal mode. During wars the AI empires attack the player whenever they go near and will occasionally attack the player's planets, conquering them when the player fails to protect them. If you ally with the Grox, all or nearly all species in the galaxy will declare war on the player controlled empire. HOWEVER, if you declare war on the grox, there is no way to stop it unless you destroy them.
So far there is no way for the player to gather up a fleet to defend or attack with aside from allied ships, which seem to be useless to most players. However, it is important to get allied ships from larger empires as their health can exceed 1000 hit points. Grox space ships have at least 2 times that amount of hit points. The NPC empire however can attack with upwards of 16 ships or more. The Computer is also aware when you enter their space and will begin attacking your ship (Note: this occurs with all Empires, excluding Grox which will still attack at a blue relationship, with orange or worse relationship, not just those with which you are at war), where their attacks seem to spawn on your world directly.
The players worlds have no system defence that can stop enemy ships from reaching a planet. All in all the combat system is only balanced by the extreme power of the player's ship which can often handle these attacks with ease. Many players complain that having only 1 ship makes defending large empires impractical as you might be attacked on a world that is on the other side of the galaxy and be unable to get there in time to stop the invasion (unless they are a Shaman). This is compensated by the Uber Turret that will fly and attack ships, even when you are not there. The Uber Turret is strong enough to defend against Grox attacks, but only if your cities are fully developed and turreted (otherwise your cities could take very little damage before they are destroyed).
Before trying to declare war, it is recommended that the player has reasonable weapons, such as bombs and at least a normal laser. On the other hand, one can wipe out T1 and above colonies by changing them to T0, which will leave only one colony on the planet that has no defences.
Of course, even in war there are things that are considered too horrible to do. This is the purpose of the Galactic Code, which bans the use of certain Superweapons, namely Gravitation Wave, Fanatical Frenzy, and Planet Busters. Breaking the Galactic Code results in a negative relationship bonus of up to 200 with any empire that has colonies within 10 parsecs of the point where the Code was broken. The Grox, however, admire breaking the Code, and a relationship bonus of up to 50 can be gained by breaking the Code within 10 parsecs of them (but not if the superweapon is used on one of their own planets. Fanatical Frenzy, however, gives you a +2 relationship boost).
- Occasionally, other empires will talk of 'A Spore War' when talking about or offering certain missions to you that have to do with war against other empires.
- If an enemy attacks your Homeworld, then they will destroy all cities except for one if they're not stopped in time (this is probably because Homeworlds cannot be replaced).
- The Grox war-cry of "EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" is a likely reference to the Daleks of the long-running television show "Doctor Who", who are known for using the same phrase.
- Uber Turrets are vital for large empires. They can defend from large invasion fleets and pirate raids are under control in an instant. The only problem is that they cost a fortune to purchase, let alone enough to defend a whole empire. So you'd better save up for these things.
- Trader Empires and Diplomat Empires will never attack the colonies of an empire that they are at war with, making them generally easy targets for conquest. (They will still defend their colonies like any other empire would, though.)
- When a city in the Civilization Stage or Space Stage is attacked, an alarm sounds. This could be a reference to World War ll, when Great Britain sounded an alarm to warn citizens of incoming German bombers.
- Strangely enough, when a player comes to another saved game's empire, there are tons of spaceship fleets that can attack the player if they are at war. However, once you play the saved game you just visited, the spaceship fleets are completely gone. It is however, such an unknown mystery why the player cannot create spaceship fleets of their own while the NPC empires can.