Orbital Units are new aerial units in Civilization: Beyond Earth that are deployed above terrain, and offer different kinds of boosts to a set of tiles underneath them. These units only work for a temporary amount of time, and for that duration provide a specific set of bonuses to your colony. Some will aid in resources, while others will offer strategic and direct aid in battle.
Civilization: Beyond Earth Orbital Units
Orbital Units will quickly become an extremely important part of your nation’s stability and prosperity, as they provide a large variety of boosts. Almost all the Orbital units are unlocked through research in different Technologies.
The area underneath the orbital in which the unit provides the effect is called the ‘skirt’. If it is providing bonus resources, the skirt is the area which will receive this bonus. If the orbital is a satellite to ground attacking unit, the skirt is the range in which the attack may be used.
Once an orbital’s time is up, it will fall to the grounds and be destroyed.
It is important to understand the mechanics behind orbitals and their management, as they have a very specific set of limitations and privileges. Orbitals cannot be stacked up on one another, nor can their skirts intersect. Any place that is already being influenced by one orbital cannot be influenced by another orbital type.
For this reason, the decision to deploy which orbital where becomes essential to taking full use of them. In order to get an idea of your orbital coverage, click the “Orbital View” button to show the Orbital layers map.
The blue highlighted tiles underneath the orbitals are the regions being covered, or simply the skirts. Because they are high-profile units, orbitals are relatively costly to construct, as they tend to take a lot of your strategic resources – mainly Petroleum and Titanium.
For this reason, you should try to secure sites that are rich in these two resources, especially if you rely on orbitals more than other methods of defense and bonuses. Due to their high costs, orbitals shouldn’t be constructed in every city in your nation.
Instead, construct the necessary orbital related buildings in only one or two cities, and develop your orbitals there. Cities share their total Orbital Coverage, so anything that you launch from your orbital city can be sent to any tile that is within the coverage. This allows your orbital city to supply your entire nation with any effects that it needs.
While orbitals generally operate at an altitude that keeps them safe from conventional attacks, certain cities and special units can actually launch orbital attacks that could should your birds down.
For this reason, avoid deploying orbitals in areas that would be close to rival cities or borders, or else all that investment might just go down into the ground, literally. Even if your rival doesn’t shoot down an orbital, it is a diplomatic gaffe that could sour your relations.
When an orbital does come crashing down – be it due to the end of the duration or because it was destroyed – you can send in workers to the crash site and utilize the resources out of the wreckage. This is recycling at its best, so make sure you do this every time you use up an orbital.
The tile that the orbital falls into often gets damage to its improvements, but that is a minor bargain, as quite a few times you can find something quite valuable out of a crashed satellite.
Most orbitals are unlocked through research in relevant Technologies. There are 13 different orbitals to take use of, some more easily obtained than others. The best orbitals have the largest skirt and longest duration, or the biggest impact if they are defense-oriented.
Below is a summarized list of the different orbitals in CivBE.
Required Technology: Dark Networks
Function: Protects a city from Intrigue
Deep Space Telescope
Required Technology: Orbital Automation
Function: 25% city Science bonus and discovers “The Signal”
Required Technology: Civil Support
Function: +2 Culture for tiles under its skirt; provides cities within range 50% less intrigue from enemy Covert Agent activity.
Required Technology: Orbital Networks
Function: 15% city Science bonus
Required Technology: Alien Ecology
Function: Generates miasma
Required Technology: Ecology
Function: Clears miasma
Required Technology: Geoscaping
Function: +1 Production for tiles under its skirt, adds strategic resources over time
Required Technology: Cybernetics
Function: Ranged attacker 70 ranged Combat Strength
Required Technology: Cybernetics
Function: Teleports units from friendly cities to areas under its skirt
Required Technology: Astrodynamics
Function: Ranged attacker: 120 ranged Combat Strength
Required Technology: Photosystems
Function: +1 Energy for tiles under its skirt, +20% Energy creation in cities
Required Technology: Communications
Function: +20% Combat Strength to friendly units and +5 HP Healing per turn
Required Technology: Climate Control
Function: +1 Food for tiles under its skirt, adds basic resources over time