Endless Space 2: Using Probes Effectively
There's a huge universe out there to explore in Endless Space 2, filled with resources to exploit, civilizations to encounter, and enemies to crush beneath your galactic boot heel!
As with many of these futuristic 4X-style games, there's a staggering number of elements to juggle and a whole lot of gameplay options you might not even realize you can use on the first playthrough.
While the in-depth nature of the game makes it a must-try for the 4X fans, it can also turn off more casual gamers not familiar with the style, as there's a steep learning curve here.
Probes are one of those elements that are easy to miss or just simply misunderstand if you did manage to notice them sitting there. Below, we cover everything you need to know about gaining access to probes, using them to explore and find anomalies, and replenishing your depleted probe stock.
Using Probes in Endless Space 2
Some players totally miss probes in the early stages of the game because only exploration ships (marked with the magnifying glass) and hero ships are capable of launching probes.
What's the point of probes instead of just sending a fleet off to find locations? Probes can head into unexplored areas that haven't been revealed yet, bypassing normal movement paths and unveiling anomalies or even new systems.
To launch probes, you first have to add them as a module to an explorer ship.
Like most technologies in the game, probe modules can be upgraded later on for better results and longer vision range. For instance, researching Machine Bacteria on the Science and Exploration technology tree gives access to Titanium and Hyperium probes.
To see probes off to find new systems, access the fleet menu and click the explorer or hero ship, then select the Launch Probe button (the icon pretty clearly looks like a probe or a satellite moving towards the right). The Launch Probe button also shows your current stock of probes along with the maximum number that the ship is capable of housing.
Probes replenish automatically over time for any ship equipped with the module (see the replenishment rate by hovering over the icon and checking the Cooldown entry).
Besides just checking to see if an area of space has any systems worth exploring, probes are also used for investigating anomalies. When you find a system, check the list of planet names underneath it. If any planet names are pulsing, they have anomalies to explore by sending a probe.
Zoom into the planet and click the curiosity question mark icon to launch a probe. You can also get to the same options by choosing Start Expedition instead.
Anomalies and curiosities vary wildly in their results but can be well worth discovering, sometimes offering up resource caches, speeding up research, and so on. In a few cases, the results may be unpleasant, however, like an unexpected attack.
Some higher-level curiosities will be grayed out when you hover over them -- that means they are higher level than your current tech research level and you have to first upgrade before you can investigate them with a probe.
Checking probe info on the Start Expedition screen
Because your probe-laden ships are frequently on the edge of your explored space and might run into trouble, it's usually a good idea to have a group of explorer ships together launching probes rather than sending out one lone exploration vessel.
The main advantage to probes is that you can send them off in a different direction than you are currently exploring in order to cover more ground (er, space, I guess), or you can send them to an area that may be dangerous and you aren't sure about quite yet. In the early game this can be huge because it provides an advantage in locating neighboring systems and getting colonies going.
That's all the basics you need to know to utilize Endless Space 2 probes, and we'd like to extend special thanks to YouTuber BigBossBilly for the screenshots. Have any other tips on probing systems and finding curiosities? Let us know in the comments below!