I thought I would write a post on this and share my thoughts. I don't consider myself that good at this game so all contrary opinions are very welcome especially if backed up with logical reasoning and counterpoints. Always happy to learn
These units are game enders in every sense of the word and they are not something to be built without due consideration. As such, there are many key preparation steps you should complete before beginning them and then there is a logical method as to the build order. This is then followed by steps made after completion to protect these valuable units.
Skipping parts of any of this will likely lead to losing the game. Putting this much mass, energy and time into something and then having it destroyed will likely lead to a pyschological crushing effect that will remove your teams will to continue (therefore losing the game) and as that mass and energy is lost without return (in terms of enemy units and buildings killed) your team will be so far behind that a comeback is fairly unlikely.
Building one of these units is a sprint to the finish. Once started you must assume that your enemy will soon become aware of it and panic at the sight of it. They will then rally and communicate a plan of attack to deal with it. Good players will drop everything to focus on you. Assume that all the enemy players will start immediately making strat bombers, preparing tele support acus, looking for somewhere to drop engineers for a T2 TML farm or loading a Cybran commander up with teleport and laser. Expect to come under heavy attack during the building process. The closer you are to completion then the more likely their plan will be to being close to execution. Time is against you. Any player building one of these game enders should feel like a massive target just got planted on them. Suddenly nothing else on the map matters, everything now is about killing you or your game ender. I hope you like playing under pressure!
Steps to complete before starting your build
You need to have built up your economy to a healthy late game level. I suggest a minimum of 600 mass per second. The Paragon is the most expensive item in the game so I'd say 700 to 800 mass. In terms of energy, meet the power requirements and be overflowing energy by at least 6k per second. If I see a team mate starting one of these with for example 300 mass per second then I immediately know that they don't know what they are doing and I consider my team to be down a member going forward. Please note that constantly begging your team mates for mass and energy is not a substitute for building up your own eco first. You are making this unit so take responsibility to carry the majority of the cost. Hopefully your team will help you but don't ask them to do the bulk of the build. They are currently spending their mass fighting their battles and assisting you could lose them battles that are currently keeping the enemy from winning front lines and then assaulting your bases directly.
I highly recommend that at least some of your income is from Support Ras Acus. This contribution to your economy is mobile which is key later should your T3 mexes and PGens be destroyed. They also have high build power and this, combined with their mobility means they are the unit of choice for building the support buildings and PD around your game ender. A mobile economy is a beautiful thing that is not easy to eliminate.
Using large numbers of mass fabs is not recommended. They are easily destroyed unless you are shielding them which costs energy and generally this all takes up a lot of map room and is one extra thing to think about. Support acus are tough and have many other uses so are much preferred. A few mass fabs are usually overlooked by the enemy however and can produce income without being targetted.
PROTECTION FROM NUKE
Build an SMD or have another team member build it. Your game ender will be a high value, high threat target for the enemy and a single nuke launched from anywhere on the map will wipe it out with ease. Only a loaded SMD can stop it. So don't ever make the smallest first step towards making a game ender until you have ensured the location you will build it on is protected by a loaded SMD. Keep in mind the likely direction of attack any nuke would come from as the SMD does have a firing range and radius. Of course, the safest location for an SMD would be close to the game ender but it is likely the first built SMD would be to protect multiple bases of team mates to survive the mid game stage. So when it becomes clear you're going to be moving to late game stage and will be building a game ender you may want to consider a second SMD close to your game ender location.
You must have enough build power (preferably from support ras acus) that you can spend all your income rapidly. You need your mass storage to be constantly empty not just to get the game ender built asap but so you can recieve any mass sent by your team mates (build some extra mass and energy storages by the way). Educate them (scream if you have to) so they don't send you mass alone, they must send energy with it. Mass on it's own will often cause your shields to drop due to the amount of build power you are using. Games have been lost due to shields going down when team mates with good intentions sent a lot of mass on it's own. Once your game ender is built then the units build power will be used to reinforce shields and build defenses in the area.
Your team must have some air control and defense. If no one on your team is doing the air role to a reasonable level there is no point in even starting a game ender as it will be picked off with ease from the skies. Your team does not have to have won air or cleared the skies of enemy craft but they do have to have built a responsive air force to defend from air snipes and strat bomber attacks etc. Walls of AA have value but they cannot move, can be flown around and as such are a secondary/backup line of defense. If you have to move into being the air player I'd suggest sticking with it and trying to go down that route to victory instead.
In general, the amount of intel on your enemy needs to be high. Spy plane the enemy bases (or use Aeon eye) to understand what they are doing and planning. You need to check if there is something else you need to be doing now. If they have started a game ender you need to decide if you can complete yours faster or if you first need to put your efforts towards destroying theirs. Also consider that if you can clearly see that the enemy team is unfocused you may decide to delay your build further and eco up more first.
You need at least one T3 radar giving you plenty of time to see and ping incoming enemy attacks. Don't rely on a team mates T3 radar as it could run low on power at a key moment leaving you all blind to an imminent attack.
- YOUR TEAM
Tell your team your plan and get some support. Because:
- you are about to put all of your mass into an expensive unit that will essentially mean you are out of the game and not going to be helping with anything in the meantime. Basically your team mates will be losing a player until the game ender is built. If they are already struggling you may need to postpone your plan until you help them improve with the war in general.
- you need to gauge how happy your team are about your plan and if they are likely to support you. If you get no response then you are likely to be on your own and you need to gauge if you will be able to complete your project in a reasonable timeframe, meaning before the game ends by any other likely means.
- your team may point out a valid reason not to continue. An enemy threat, plan or team weakness may be pointed out to you that you had not been aware of. Postpone your plan, assist the team while continuing to eco up where you can and then come back to your plan when the situation improves.
- I have had many occasions when I glanced at what my team were doing and saw a Paragon had been started that I had no idea was being worked on. I then happily contributed to it. Why would anyone build a game ender and not inform their team?? Besides being good manners, many hands make light work. This is a team game. Work with the team.
- your team will be required to help defend . An air player cannot defend it if they don't know what you are doing. Other players will hopefully increase AA in the area and build extra SMD. They may also point out any holes in defenses or suggest improvements to your build.
- you may have to (politely) talk your team into supporting your build, especially if something goes wrong later or an unseen enemy threat becomes known, so the sooner you get your team used to the idea of supporting you with their eco then the better.