Advanced strategy guide
From Starfleet Commander
This guide assumes that you have played for a few weeks, play for over an hour a day, and are intelligent enough to play aggressive without continually making big mistakes. Most players play defensive but playing aggressive is by far the best way to gain ranks, a great way to gain resources, and will help you learn faster. You should always know from www.battlecalc.com how much debris and resources you will gain versus how many resources in ships you will lose. I'm rank 20 so I have thoroughly used and tested this out.
I use an approximate fleet ratio of about 150 Artemis, 50 Athena, 50 Hades, 35 Dionysus, 50 Batteries, 1 IBM. The reason I use so many large ships is because they minimize losses when attacking. With the above ships you should be looking for targets that have up to 35 dinos of ships and will give more profit than the ship loss and hydro.
- Hades and Athena are the best ships to attack with because they are hard to kill, fast, and cheap on hydro.
- Ares/Prometheus on the other hand are also hard to kill but are slow and hydro expensive.
When you have higher warp drives and some other people have lots of Hades/Proms/Plasma Proms are not quite as bad particularly as a mobile defense. If you keep your ships alive well Athena/Ares/Proms will spend about 16k/32k/32k in fuel consumption over their lifetime whereas Hades is only 8k. Also if you don’t have the tech for Hades yet, building and using the largest ship either Poseidon or Athena to raid with is the best because they will allow you to fleet smash and plunder small players with no or little casualties. You will need some Artemis fodder once your enemies are producing significant amounts of Athena/Ares/Hades/Proms/Gauss/Plasma, however many people talk as though fodder is a requirement punishable by death, fodder especially large amounts of it often increases your losses against the weaker fleets you should be targeting.
It is beneficial to use fodder under 3 circumstances, the most often is when the enemy has a large percentage of high damage ships/defenses which can take out your big ships in 1 or 2 hits so you add Artemis to die rather than a big ship, also when you’re going to suffer decent losses(greater than 5%) so you just want to throw more of what you have at them, or because you want to limit the rapid fire on your big ships because they have Hades or Proms. You can play around with battlecalc to see if you should send Artemis or how much. Artemis is the best fodder to support Hades/Athena. You need a huge mount >75% Artemis in order for Apollo to be better fodder to limit the rapid fire from Poseidon on your Artemis and that's only if your fighting a fleet that's mainly Poseidon which no one builds. Likewise Poseidon are terrible unless your enemy has over 75% Artemis/Batteries. I find it helpful to use fodder in almost half of my attacks although sometimes the effect is so minimal that I leave them out to shave 5-10 minutes off the time.
I hope for targets that are within 50 systems which have less defenses, or low weapon tech and I send an appropriate amount of Hades/Athena based on whether I'm looking for cargo, saving on hydro, survivability, or rapid fire. If more than a couple ships will die I'll play around with battlecalc to determine how many Artemis results in the least resources lost. Usually this number is not very high because my fleet is much larger than theirs so I am able to end the fight in round 4 and I send about as many Artemis as Athena. Sometimes I will find someone that has a lot of resources in which case I might split my fleet into 2 waves, the first being a quick hit on their fleet because debris almost always outweighs resources. The second wave I send at the same time with enough big ships to take on the defenses accompanied with Hercs. If splitting my big ships into 2 waves results in large losses I usually resend my fleet once it has returned or I may just add Hercs or Atlas in the first attack. You typically are looking for fights that end in round 3-4 if it is ending in round 5-6 you might want to ask for help from someone else or group attack with your own ships from another location. If they do join in make sure to tell them the time so that they slow it down as little as possible and there is a limit of 30% that they can slow it down so they may need to start the attack if they are further than that. If someone group attack invites me I often add a probe to the attack first to make sure I know what the time and ships are in the attack so that I can send the appropriate ships. You rarely want to send Dionysus first and wait to attack unless you know they will stay offline, your waiting for your fleet to return anyway, or it is a very far attack.
Defenses are used because you cannot play this game 24/7 while fleet saving perfectly when you sleep. The amount of defenses you build should be based on how often you're afk, not fleet/resource saved, and the chance of someone being able to attack you successfully. Batteries make the best fodder in the game, are typically the best defense, and work especially well with the big ship heavy Athena/Hades/Artemis fleet you should be using. If Artemis and Batteries are over 75% of your fleet you should switch to making Cannons to limit Poseidon rapid fire. High damage Plasma and Gauss help scare off bigger players from overpowering you completely with a fleet of only big ships and taking small losses but you should have a lot of Athena/Hades that provide the concentrated firepower already so Gauss/Plasma might not be needed. Guass and Plasma inflict the most losses against large ships greatly overpowering you, Batteries and Cannons inflict the most damage against small ships greatly overpowering you and are also the best against anyone that is barely overpowering you. For the players I attack there is a critical point at which the attack profits as much as I lose in ships so I don't bother, for 10k rank players this usually happens when they spend as much on defenses as they do on ships especially if there are Plasma and Proms. For 1k rank players this often happens when they spend at least 1/3 as many resources on defenses and they have a large amount of fodder.
Hull, Shield, Weapon Techs
If you usually attack and get away with <5% losses it is a little better to do hull then weapon then shield but if you sometimes lose ships from being attacked or don’t usually get away with <5% losses you should do weapon then hull then shield and either way you should keep them the same level with shield possibly 1 level lower. Most people do not have high enough techs. The point at which you should upgrade is when (TotalResourceCostOfUpgrade/TotalResourceCostOfShipsAndDefences ) is smaller than (1-(1+.1*CurrentTechLevel)/(1+.1*(CurrentTechLevel+1)))*.4. The formula shows the percentage of cost vs benefit and both will be less than 9% you just have to compare them. Keep upgrading your jet drive to speed up your Dionysis, Hercs, and Artemis so you get to debris first and your fleet is not slowed down as severely when you add Artemis or Hercs.
Resources and Mines
I use an ore/crystal/hydro ratio of 1/2/3 instead of 1/1.75/2.5 because late game ore is way too plentiful. In order for a lvl 20 ore mine with workers to pay for itself plus its solar energy cost it takes 26 days, a level 18 crystal mine and level 17 hydro mine are slightly worse than that. If you start using Helios that time reduces by about 1/3. A few levels higher than that and it begins taking months and months, Dionysus on the other hand can potentially pay for themselves in just a few hours. After a few months with a large fleet half of your resources can come from debris, another 25% from raiding and 25% from production. Stop running missions they are not worth the time neither is building the crew members so you can run them or upgrading expedition tech, it is extremely easy to find an inactive that has 50k+ resources which is lot of missions. Hydro becomes a huge problem when you have over 500 big ships and it gets worse and worse due to not being able to collect it with Dionysus, it forces you to trade, build batteries, Artemis, Athena, and Hades rather than using Proms and Ares because you cannot do multiple attacks with thousands of ships each day with those hydro expensive ships. Crystal is also important for techs and Hades.
I try to keep my espionage level the same or 1 level above those around me and I send 3 probes so that if they are the same level I get their defenses. Then I calculate their espionage level based on what information I received and I send the appropriate amount of probes at their colony with the least amount of ships to get their techs if I'm going to attack. You can also reverse calculate how many ships someone has based on the % chance that your probe is detected if you can determine their espionage level based on what information you received. You might not want to draw attention to yourself by scanning higher or equally ranked players but if you are scanned or attacked by them you will want to know what type of fleet they have so you can play accordingly, whether that means attacking, carefully fleet saving, or relaying that information to other larger players around you it may just let them know your there so recall their attack and don't blow up some of your defenses. If you are only able to see someone's colony and you want to attack it you may want to wait 16min and see if that person tabbed to their colony to spike activity after you probed it.
Catching Opponents and Not Getting Caught
You should almost never attack or even scan someone when they are awake as it will alarm them and waste your time. Exceptions would be if they have a lot of hydro with not enough transports, you want to scare them away because you don't want to attack, or you want to find out their fleet size. During the night the chances to land attacks are doubled and about four times more likely if you know when they sleep. If someone attacks you try to use a base which they have just probed or do not know about and then reinforce from there if possible or from a homeworld briefly or when they scan your homeworld. Then monitor the fleets page from a remote colony. If you expect an attack you can even change your homeworld in options so you do not proc activity at a location they know about. If someone's activity spikes they are not necessary there, they could either have been scanned or had an fleet return, you can check when it spikes activity to see if any resources or ships disappeared. If you know someone is back and your not sure what type of ships they or their close alliance friends have just recall especially if they came back with over an hour left. You can also slow the attack down with a probe and I recommend people try this before they need to use it. The possible gains from an attack are usually 20 times less than the losses if your fleet is wiped out. The importance of fleet saving cannot be overestimated a larger player will make a colony by you eventually if there is not one there already and it may take a while before you notice. You can also fleet save by attacking an inactive with no defenses although you cannot bring resources this will give you resources rather than costing resources. You can also fleet save on your own planet for 2 hours for almost no hydro at all. If you see someone probing you on the fleets page you'll probably want to tab to that planet immediately and fleet save 4/5 of your fleet leaving just a juicy small fleet for them to attack with all your resources. Hopefully they will attack quickly so that after you've recalled your fleet save you can fleet save again until a few seconds before the incoming attack and that way they won't notice your activity.
It is not a waste of resources to get a capitol of 5 on permanent colonies to speed up building. Before you make a foundry get a level 8 shipyards on your permanent colonies so you can use colony resources to build ships there. Once your making over 3 million resources a day you'll need to start upgrading only your homeworld foundry and occasionally it's shipyard. Put all your crew members from people you have invited into your research lab and get it to lvl 10 then get Arcnet when your making over a million resources a day, upgrade your 2nd research lab to lvl 8 and don't put research droids in it they don't work.
Putting a lot of colonies right by your homeworld is good for protection and transportation but it puts a target on yourself. People know they will find a homeworld if they scan, they will also be able to discover your sleeping habits or if you are really afk easier. This also makes them more likely to scan you and make a colony by you. After a month protecting small amounts of resources and ships will not matter and protecting your fleet becomes priority number 1. If you do have colonies near your homeworld though that's ok as long as you do not make more than 7 permanent planets. You will need 2 raiding colonies in order to jump from one location to another without having to send your raiding fleet back to your homeworld to move your single raiding colony. You can then move a raiding fleet through a galaxy with little hydro usage farming the people in that area for a few days and then move on about 80 systems to the next area overnight while you fleet save.
It does not matter what the size of an alliance is, all that matters is how many of them are within 2 galaxies of you and much more importantly how big are their fleets/ranks. Use this principle when deciding which alliance to join and how to deal with any in your area. It does not help to join a large alliance if the people near you are all low ranks which other people farm. If you use an aggressive strategy like this you also do not want to be in an alliance with lots of NAPs because while providing some safety it limits the number of potential targets.
Zeus, Hephestas, Oracle, Jump Gate
In order to help discover the effectiveness of a Zeus I made a simulation of a homeworld with about 1k batteries, 1.5k Artemis, 500 hades, 500 Athena with some extras against a typical fleet with techs 1 lower that would create a debris field with twice as many resources as they would lose in ships. Then I did the simulation with an extra Zeus, with an extra 79 Proms, and with an extra 3000 Artemis, all about equal cost. The Zeus and Proms performed about equal killing an extra 250 Dionysus of ships and the Artemis did far better killing an extra 350 Dionysus. Since the Zeus cannot attack and costs loads of extra resources just to research it seems quite bad although it does give you the ability to fleet save much cheaper by doing it on your home planet. The Hephaestus seems even worse but has some potential for months after now, aside from the fact that you would need thousands of big ships to be saving hydro is the important question of whether you can move it if it's under attack, if you cannot it's basically useless since you cannot fleet save on it. The Oracle on the other hand is very useful, easily worth it's cost to build but usually not worth it's cost to moonshot ships until you have thousands of big ships. The Jump Gate is also a great way to save hydro, you could save over a million hydro each month by jumping to and from an adjacent galaxy but again not worth the estimated 37 million ore and 12 million crystal to suicide your own ships for a moon until your much bigger than almost everyone currently in this game.