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Structure   (16.16)   Playing the Game  >  Strategies  >  Attacker
There is WAY more to attacking than what I am about to post. This is from my "attacker's manual" blog. I hope other players will add to this, beause this will surely not be sufficient. Attacking is one of the broadest playing styles.

Section 1: Planetary Attacking

Topic 1: Important Ship Tech Levels

Beams and power are most important here as far as attacking goes. Torpedos, not so much. If you've got enough beams to penetrate the planetary shields, your torpedos will do damage. This damage is accumulative. You can come back and attack again and do more damage until you take the planet. If you cannot break the shields, however, you will not do accumulative damage. Because beams are more effective against shields than torpedos are, beams are more important. Power techs should be kept about 20 levels lower than beams. This is enough to power beams and shields, but is low enough that if you are sector missiled, you won't lose too much armor.

Armor and shield techs should be upgraded as your wealth grows and your enemies' beams and torpedo techs become larger. Shields prevent damage, and if the fail, more armor decreases the cost of repairing the damage done from a loss of x armor points. These are equally important.

Topic 2: SOFA Attacking

If you have a large ship, this is very rarely necessary. What happens is this: your fighters go down and blow up enemy fighters in their hangars. They also destroy enemy torpedos. In one SOFA attack all enemy torpedos will be destroyed. Only as many fighters as the enemy planet can get off the ground and into combat with your fighters will survive! All fighters not mobilized will be destroyed. The higher the enemy fighter tech, the more fighters it saves. Note to all builders: torpedos do not protect you!!! They can be taken out with ease in a SOFA attack. EDIT: Not anymore. Tarnus had to change it when he saw this. Also, having excess fighters does very little. If a planet still has far many more fighters on it than the ship can take out, they can SOFA attack again. Their ship's fighters will engage the planetary fighters, and will probably lose. However, the ship may buy more fighters. The planet's losses will accumulate, much like armor losses, until it has a manageable number of fighters left. A head on attack may then be made.

Important note: If the planet has relatively high sensors, it will probably detect your SOFA attack. In this case, the planet's beams will fire. If the beams are very high, they will bust your shield and vaporize your ship!!! Be careful! If the beams are low, or if the sensors are low, it is safe. Otherwise, see the following topic.

Topic 3: Nova Bombing

The most obvious use of nova bombs is planetary destruction. After all, this is what happens when the nova bomb is successful. However, nova bombs often serve another, more profitable purpose to a good attacker. If a planet's beams are so high that attacking would be suicidal or if you cannot get past a planet's shields, then nova bombs are necessary. Note to all builders: yes, only two of a planet's eight tech levels ever force us to resort to risky novas! Because when a nova bomb partially fails, it does damage to a planet, these can be used to lower the planet's beam or shield tech levels. Because they also commonly do much damage to a ship, do not use your main ship!!! This is extremely dangerous and stupid. For something like twelve billion extra, you can purchase a separate nova ship. Buy an endeavour, get an escape pod, and upgrade its engines and sensors to 220 to 230. These will get you accross the galaxy in a reasonable amount of turns, and with a few refreshes, you can see most planets. If the bomb fails, your damages will only be around six billion credits, as opposed to what may be as many as a few hundred trillion in a large voyager. You may nova repeatedly until the planet is takeable.

Notes: First, nova bombs can only be purchased at Alliance devices ports. Also, larger planets will require more expensive novas. Using a class 10 nova on a planet with an average tech level of 300 will almost never work. However, don't go overboard! Novas can get pretty expensive. It'll be pretty late in the game when you are forced to resort to those 350B novas. Also, buying such expensive novas not only eats your daily budget, but also will more likely destroy the planet. If you really don't like the guy, that's fine, but if you want some of that cash for yourself, the best case scenario is just short of this, when the plaent is hurt and not your ship. If your ship does suffer damage, it's fine, as long as the planet was hurt in the process. Finally, never nova a planet with under 20 billion on it. It is not worth it unless you are trying to pod someone on that planet, or you know *embarassed smile* that there is an expensive stored ship on it. If the nova bomb fails, you have wasted 20 billion credits, best case scenario (6B for repairs, 14B for class 10 nova). If you've used a more expensive nova and it fails, that's more money down the drain. If the nova works and you take the planet, you will barely break even. Novas are good for taking big planets. Finally, if your endy is too small when you nova, it'll go POOF, and +1 to your deaths. Having 220 in two techs will save you from this, is extremely cheap, and usually necessary anyway to get to and to see the enemy planet.

Topic 4: Scans and Spies

Knowing the enemy planet's power is extremely important. Although scanning is the obvious way to find this, spies are even better. I very rarely scan a planet, unless I want to see if anyone is sleeping on it. Instead, click on send a new spy. If it doesn't say that you would get a bounty from puting a spy on the planet, then you won't get a bounty from attacking it either, so you don't need to scan for that. When you get the spy on there, it'll tell you the number of fighters, the credits, the torpedos, the energy levels, and so on. This will tell you if the plaent needs to be SOFA'd, if it has enough credits to be worth attacking, and if it is near running out of energy. More importantly, it will tell you the planetary tech levels, so you know if it needs nova bombing. All these will be one hundred per cent accurate. If you wish to learn more about spies, ask Lucky Starr ;)

Note: Planet techs get a 20 level bonus for having a base. That means that level 330 planetary fighter bays can hold the same number as fighters as a ship with 350 fighter bays.

Extra section note: It was recently brought to my attention that I excluded the fact that, since the update with slower energy production rates, a planet can be attacked repeatedly and the energy warn down until it can no longer fuel its shields. While I have used this on occassion, those times have been very rare. This only works when the planet has fairly low energy, though it does certainly depend on the amount of time you have to attack the planet. In this case, however, beams are still the most important tech level because they attack the enemy shield, which drains power.

Section 2: Sector Defense Attacks

Topic 1: Attack and Running

Attack and runs are the best friend of anyone wishing to break through large SDs. Technology levels important to attacking SDs are different from those important to attacking planets. Also, the lower your ship's average tech level is, the lower you can AR the SDs. Because of these two things, attackers generally use sepparate ships for attack and runs. They will generally be much smaller than their main ships so they can AR the SDs lower. Also, they will usually have upgraded fighter bay techs. Upgrading sensors, cloak, and ECM will make your fighters more efficient. Also, upgrading your engines will make it less likely for you to take damage from the SD. As long as it is not way larger than your ship's fighter capacity (more than 10-15x is "way" larger), you should be fine. If you do take damage, it won't be a lot. However, engines makes it much safer. When attacking SD, you should use the following technique: First, attack and run with your large main ship until you can no longer harm the SD. This will cut it down to a more manageable size. From here, you can jump into your AR ship and attack it more. Once the SD has about 3/2 the number of fighters as your main ship can hold, it's probably safe to attack. However, probably is not good enough. AR it some more until it's at about the same level as your fighter bays. Then go ahead and smash it.

Section 3: Getting Kills!

Topic 1: Tech Levels

The only tech levels that do nothing in an attack are hulls and engines. ECM, cloak, and sensors all contribute to the fighter attacks, as far as I know. I know they do in sector defense attacks, and so I assume they do in ship to ship. Again, I'm not the most knowledgebale guy. Just the nicest to new attackers ;) Everything basically does what you'd expect. Torpedos are more important if you're trying to pod them, because you won't necessarilly get multiple shots. Again, beams and shields are important. Finally, the attacking ship gets an advantage. The defending ship's techs are reduced something like 40% due to the element of surprise, so you should be able to take out larger ships. Also, when you're used to attacking planets that get the annoying 20 level bonus, attacking ships with that many higher levels than yours, successfully, will be a very welcome change. It's actually one of the most straightforward parts of attacking.

Topic 2: Sector Missiles

Sector missiles can be very handy. If an enemy's shields or beams are unmanageably high, sector missiles can drain the enemy's energy. Also, if you are lucky (and your foe stupid), you can pod them. The worst thing that can happen is if you do damage without podding them, because this decreases the ship's value, and the money you would salvage from the ship decreases. This probably will make the ship easier to destroy though.

Topic 3: Attacking Enemy Ships Below Your Bounty Range

This is the dirty part of attacking. I worry about posting it because Tarnus may do something else that I don't like, but I am an honest player, so I will go ahead. First, you must know the normal rules about bounty ranges. Along with score, things such as team score and alignment must be taken into account. If you are of opposite alignment (good/evil) to your enemy, you can hit them bounty free. Also, if your enemy is on a team, and you could hit any member of that team bounty free, then you can hit your enemy. In the rankings page, one red dot next to a person's name means you can't hit their ship due to score. Two red dots means you can't even take their planets due to score. However, this only takes into account score. Nothing else. Don't be discouraged by this. (Yellow asteriks signify the opposite; you cannot be attacked due to score by anyone with two yellow asteriks). The first real trick, though extremely well known, is this: if you find someone whose ship you feel like blowing up floating in space, but they are out of your bounty range, you can always use sector ownership. What this means is if there are x number of free planet spots in that sector, all you have to do is build and base the majority of the planets that the sector can hold (one for one, two for two, two for three, three for four, three for five). This will give you ownership of the sector and you can attack anyone in it. When you're done, just blow the planets. Basically, if you can lower your score, you can hit smaller players. If someone is just out of range and you are on a team, and obvious thing to do is take all your cash off your producing planets (towards the end of last game that was around 200T for me, so it makes a big difference) and put it on a team planet not owned by you. This will boost your teammate's score loads, but yours will drop like a rock. You can now hit the smaller guy. When you're done, take the money back. This is not what I just figured out. If you don't have many producing planets, or much money on them, you can take a loan! By placing this loan on a teammate's planet, you lose 27.5% of your net worth, and your teammate gains it, temporarily. The total expense will be 2.5% of your net worth, which can be annoying, but is not a big deal.

Topic 4: Podding Ships on Planets

Often, people will sleep on well defended planets. This is often a bad idea. They know that they are immune to sector missiles on planets, and the planet's tech levels are added to their's, making their defenses all the better. However, this makes them much more likely to be in your bounty range, and a nova that destroys the planet will also destroy their ship if they don't have high enough engines to escape the planet. If they do, you now have a ship to ship shot at them. Also, when you defeat the planet they are on in a normal attack, their ship is destroyed.

Section 4: Finding and Destroying SGs

Topic 1: Luck

I had initially intended to save the best (podding) for last, but I just remembered SGs. Since that's where many people store large sums of cash (and their ships) it can be good to know how to get into them. A great way to find SGs is with the use of probes. For this, see Lucky's blog, or just ask him. Another way is just warping around in your ship. Remember, SGs are popular for two reasons: they are hard to find, and they cause a bottleneck: one sector's defense can protect a dozen or more rich sectors. I stumble upon SGs all the time just warping around, but they are not very frequently ones I am looking for.

Topic 2: Digging

Another way is with spies. If you have a spy on an enemy ship, it will tell you the location of all the planets it sees. Try real spacing to these planet locations. If you cannot, they are in an SG. One way, the best I think, if you can use it, to get into this SG is to dig into it. You buy two SG torps. Use one to make an SG sector, and then use the second one. When it asks if you want to create a SG sector or a link back to "known" (hehe) space, you put the sector name you want to get to into the second box. If the sector has fewer than 3 links in it, this will work. It will also probably put you into the SG in a section behind the main SD, so you don't even have to worry about defenses! All you've got ahead of you is the soft white underbelly of the thing, both easy and good to eat ;)

Topic 3: Nav Computers

If digging doesn't work, but you've got the name of a sector inside the SG, you can use your nav computer to find the SG. Go around to sectors you know of that have many warp links and use your nav computer. If your fighter bay tech level is high enough, you can have a very nice success ratio against even experienced players, whom you would think would know better than to allow this to work on them. Builders: the way to avoid this is the following: Go around to big sectors as I have said attackers shoulld do, and use your nav computer looking for the entrance to your SG. Whenever you get a hit, go to the sector right before yours on the warp trail. Delete the link in this sector and repeat. If you get all of them, you will never be found by a nav computer. Also, you will not have to worry about anyone warping into your sector. They'd have to stumble upon it by real spacing around. Since most people have their probes warping, you'll be safe from many probes too. Even if you can't get all of them, and you probably won't, this will make your sector much less likely to be found. Also, building your planets farther back into your SG will require your enemies to have many more fighter bay tech levels to find them using fighter bays and spies. Attackers: it is a good idea to compile a list of sectors with many links. Then, make links to all of these sectors from one master sector. This will save you a lot of time, since you'll in effect be scanning all of them at once.

Well, this concludes the manual, for now. When I learn more, I'll add to it. I hope other players add to it too. Remember, though, these are only the basics! This is how to play the game, not the players. The best and most sophisticated strategies involve more than the dynamics of the games, but the dynamics of your enemy's head. Just to show you all what is ahead of you, I will tell you a slightly more advanced trick, though it is only a taste of what you will need to learn to become a great attacker.

Luring Your Enemies Into Your Sights:

A great way to get kills, or just have a good time, is to set up an ambush. When you see someone you don't like online, go to a sector of theirs that you know has large SD. Attack and run it some through a warp link, but keep an eye on it. If they notice, they will come and try to repair it. If they make the same mistake that Tarnus makes all the time (hehe) they will bring energy with them. As soon as you see the fighter levels going back up, you know they are in there. Refresh some until you see 'em. Then push the big blue sector missile button! I say this game should have skulls like Halo. It would be awesome if confetti came out of their ship when you got a cabin shot lol.

Part II: Something else you can do is this: If they do not notice you attacking their SD, or if you know of a sector of theirs with planets but no SD, you can go and attack one of their planets. For this to be believable, you can't take the planet, or their must be more in the sector. If there is only one and you would normally take it, you can use less energy or torps than normal. But if they own the sector, they should get a system alert message. Because of this, it helps a lot if they have sector ownership. If they know what they are doing, they will immediately set up a warp link to the sector and line up for a SM shot. Leave the sector quickly and put ALL your energy on some planet, or sell it at a port, or something. Come back dry and sit there for a few seconds. This is risky. They may decide to come and attack you. It's all a big bluff, like a poker game, and you've gotta hope they won't see through it. After a few seconds, they will probably see you and sector missile you. Because you have no energy, it will not hurt you. Run to sol before they can come in and pod you. Now, look at your logs. If you have good enough sensors, you will be able to see where the sector missile came from. Go there and pod them (with energy). :) These are the type of things you will learn as you go. They generally involve podding people online. They are riskier, more fun, and more rewarding. The trick is to stay a step ahead of your enemy.

Also, you should consider the attacker's interactions with other players and other playing styles. The attacker has to be skilled in the spy's job, using spies and stealths to gather information. This way, they know where the planets they want to attack are. It is also common for attackers to buy information from players acting as spies. And another important thing to consider is this: attacking is NOT the most profitable play style. That is DEFINITELY building. Because attacking requires a decent bit of cash, attackers also need to be builders.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Saturday 29 of March, 2008 13:25:02 CDT by Valience.