In every solar system you will see a slot 16 which can’t be colonized. At this slot you can send your fleet on a mission called expedition. Expedition is a risky way to get resources and ships or other items, even Dark Matter without interacting with other players.
How do I start expeditions?
First you must meet certain requirements. In this case you need a research called astrophysics to be able to send your fleet on expedition. Now, go to the fleet menu and select your ships as usual. Then send them to the 16th coordinate of any system (eg 1:154:16). For mission type, select 'Expedition'. You must also set the time you want your Expedition to remain there to explore (Depends on Astrophysics Level) but the wise default is 1 hour. Once fleet is dispatched, it travels towards slot 16 and once the fleet reaches position 16 it will explore the zone. In this predetermined amount of time a large variety of events can happen, from finding ships and resources, to total destruction of your fleet. At the end of the exploration time you will get a message with the result and the fleet will hopefully return home with resources, ships or possibly some Dark Matter.
What should I keep in mind?
In order to obtain the best results you must consider the following:
- The more players that explore the same expedition slot, the less chance there is to find something (zone gets depleted), after a time the expedition zone will "regenerate". You can find out if a slot has been recently visited by sending an espionage probe with the expedition fleet.
- Expedition Holding time also influences the chance for an event to happen. With the longer the time, the greater probability of something happening. However, events are frequent enough anyway that it's recommended to just use an hour (minimum time). The amount of expedition missions you are allowed is based on the square root of your Astrophysics level. For example lvl 1 = 1 fleet, lvl 4 = 2 fleets, lvl 9 = 3 fleets, etc.
Maximum Number of Expeditions
| INT((Astrophysics Level)^0.5)
Maximum Hold Time (in hours) ||= Astrophysics Level
What can happen?
With expeditions you first have 2 possibilities, either something happens or nothing happens at all. If an expedition area is visited frequently in a short time then most often nothing happens. If something does happen, the possible events occur totally random and cannot be influenced by the player. If something does happen, one of the following possible events are selected at random:
- Resource find
- Ship find
- Dark Matter find
- Find a free merchant
- Change in return time
- Attack by Pirates / Aliens
- Complete loss of your expedition fleet
How much can I find?
If you get lucky with an expedition, the fleet will find either resources, new ships, a merchant or even Dark Matter. This amount isn't determined randomly, can be calculated with formulae that are explained elsewhere and that can give some approximate results. The finding increases in proportion to the number of ships sent, up to a limit. Besides that, not all ships are suited to fly on expeditions: The cheap heavy fighter can find the same resources as the expensive destroyer. And since the resources need to be transported, cargo ships are essential. Fleets that consist mainly of large cargoes and heavy fighters are the most profitable and might even find more than they cost to build . This combination is also optimal for fleet finds. Not all ships can be found, and what ships you can find depends on the composition of the fleet you send. More precisely, it depends on the most advanced ship you sent. For example, if you sent a destroyer or a bomber with your fleet, you can find most types of ships. If you fly with small cargoes only, you can only find small cargoes, light fighters and espionage probes. Recyclers, Colony Ships and Deathstars can't be found on expeditions. Dark matter finds are completely independent of the fleet you sent. Some players tried to identify the best expedition fleet configuration in order to increase chances to get resources, ships or DM, there are tools that can help you determine such optimal configurations but be aware that expedition events and results are random and there is no way to make sure you will get the desired result.
The higher limits of findings are progressively raising being triggered by top one player points:
- 25.000.000 points of #1
- 50.000.000 points of #1
- 75.000.000 points of #1
- 100.000.000 points of #1
What can I lose?
Basically, you can lose your entire expedition fleet, though this happens very rarely. More common are attacks by pirates or aliens. Their fleets aren't random but are directly related to your fleet size. The more ships you send, the more ships they have. And above all, aliens always have all types of ships that you send yourself. Anyone who sends Deathstars on expeditions must take into account that the aliens will attack with Deathstars as well. If you fly with large cargoes only then you'll be attacked by mainly cargoes, and therefore will usually suffer no losses. Any ships lost on expedition won't create a debris field. Is a very bad idea to send your entire fleet to expedition, also do not use expeditions as fleetsave for resource and ships. Be aware that expeditions can be detected by phalanx sensors when your originating planet is scanned.