Some common instructions are:
- plot to sector X
- go repair at the nearest location
- follow the flag
- drop mines in X sector
- follow the path clear of mines
- add/remove shields/drones to/from a planet
- clear mines to X sector
If you’re comfortable with those types of tasks you will do well. If not I would suggest practicing on the beta site. Turns are limitless there.
Following these three rules will lead to the correct action in nearly all situations:
1: don’t fire at ports or planets unless you are the trigger
2: stay with the group
3: follow instructions of op leader (this rule will sometimes override the others)
A bit of the why behind those rules:
- Ports and planets are big and have a lot of firepower. Time must be taken to assess/repair damaged ships between shots. To keep order an op leader will designate a single person responsible for firing. This person is colloquially called a trigger.
- Operations are a structured form of group combat. The key word there is group. If you find your way into combat all by yourself you’re likely to die. The safest place to be is with your alliance mates. Op leaders will often set a flag on their sector that indicates position. Use the local map to watch it.
- The op leader needs to have tactical control. He or she will need to order groups or individual ships to move to positions or complete tasks vital to operational success. A tactical blunder made as a group will usually be more successful than a cunning move executed as an individual.
Ask the op leader if you’re returning. If the op is nearly over you may just be done. If it’s still going on a while you’ll need to buy a new ship, arm it, and return to the group.
You should make a note of the locations you need to re-arm. Bank, ship dealer, uno/drones, any special equipment you need, and weapon shops. You should also know ahead of time how much money it takes to get all those things. And you should end up with 3-4 million extra so you can keep repairing. This planning is an underrated time saver. It is often helpful to make a note of important locations in your "Stored Destinations" on the "Plot A Course" page.
Count how many ships your group has. Sit with the target at the current sector screen. Wait for ships to be present and repaired. Fire when you have all your ships and they are sufficiently repaired.
While the trigger is billed as the person firing their real job is to avoid losing ships. And when you reach a spot where you may lose ships by firing it's good practice to verify the op leader knows and is willing to accept that risk.
Caveats to being the trigger:
- It is efficient to skip repairing whenever possible. This motivates people to run ship defense as low as possible. Which is risky.
- A Mother Ship starts taking very expensive damage when it gets below /13. Try not to let them go below that mark.
- Port turrets fire evenly across a fleet. That means if you have 6 ships and a port has 12 turrets each ship will be fired upon by two turrets. Expect everyone to take 250 damage in that scenario. (125 per turret)
- Combat Drones do one damage each when a port or planet is launching them.
- Knowing how many CD’s are in a port, plus the turret and ship count, you know the max possible damage a port can deal to any ship. This is minimum safe defense rating.
- Calculating the minimum safe defense rating on the fly is how you tell which ships are safe to fire and which ones need to repair.
- You may have to prod pilots of damaged ships to repair. A lot of people don’t understand how to calculate a safe rating.
- With planets it’s best to memorize or write down their maximum stats. You can make rough estimates of what is built based on planet level. But you never really know until you fire.