To find good targets to raid you should look around your neighborhood and spy on all that could be a good target. You should look at weaker players or players of similar strength, inactive players can sometimes be also a worthwhile target. The location of the target is important - the more distant it is from your planet, the longer the flight will last and the more deuterium will be burnt up, therefore the attack will pose a bigger risk to take a loss or too costly.
Choosing the right ships
If you have found a worthwhile target, you have to decide which ships you want to attack with. The optimal composition of the attacking fleet always depends of the target and the type of attack. If you want to raid a small amount of resources from a less guarded planet, a sufficient amount of cargoes and a few battleships to protect those would normally suffice. But if you want to kill an adversarial fleet or to attack a heavily defended planet, you will have to call up significantly more ships and adjust the fleet to the target. In addition, you have to take into account the tactical retreat feature; you have to keep in mind that above a 5:1 ratio (3:1 for targets using the Admiral officer), for a dishonorable combat, the defender's fleet will escape automatically see Noob Protection.
The best way to check the optimal attacking fleet is a so called Combat simulator. But do not look only after suffering as little losses as possible, take care about the consumption of deuterium too, because it could reduce the effective gain, and again, take a look on the fleets ratio in combat to avoid the automatic tactical retreat. Also the flight duration is something to be considered, because every additional minute of the flight heightens the chance that your victim comes on just in time to evade your attack. In some simulators you also will be able to make a prediction of the honor points you will win or lose after the battle.
The debris field
After a battle a so called Debris Field is created. It's the remnants of the ships that were destroyed in the battle. In every case 30% metal and 30% crystal of the destroyed ships and building costs are included in the Debris Field (some special universes have different percentages, make sure to check the chapter Universes and Player for this). To harvest a debris field, recyclers are needed. By clicking the fleet menu, then choosing how many recyclers you need then pay attention to choose the debris field symbol as the target as well as the mission “recycle debris field”. You should always strive to send recyclers first, and preferably like an hour earlier as they are slower than most combat ships and will reach Debris Field later than them.
When is a raid profitable ?
Normally a raid will be considered profitable, if the gain is higher than the your losses. So you have to look at the ships you will lose and the deuterium you will have to spend – if it is less than the captured resources and the harvested debris field than the raid will pay off in each case. But you have to decide if the estimated profit is of great value to you.
When you found a possible target, have a look at the color of his name and if he has any badge in galaxy:
- If red badge, the player is a Bandit and you will loot 100% of the resources;
- If red, the player is a strong and thus you would lose your noob protection if you attack him;
- If white, your attack will be "dishonourable" and you will loot 50% of the resources;
- If yellow, your attack will be "honorable" and you will loot 75% of the resources;
- If purple, the player is an "outlaw" (he lost his protection), so is a weak player but the attack can be honourable or dishonourable depends from the ranking.
- If inactive, you will not gain or lose any honor points and you will be able to get 50% of the resources.
What else do I have to bear in mind?
Gathering as much and as up to date information about the enemy is of capital importance. Therefore you should always have a current espionage report – if there was not any defensive structures two days ago, that does not mean that it is still like that. Start an attack only after you know what you are in for.
Besides you always have to keep an eye on the fact that the victim could be online. If he sees the attack, he will take his resources and ships in a safe place without any problem and he will make the hit unprofitable to you; or he can deploy more ships on the attacked planet and destroy your attacking fleet. He also could call some of his alliance or other friends to defend his planet (only in an ACS universe) and destroy your fleet. An activity star (*) will appear on a planet if there has been some activity. This activity can be caused by the player himself or by other events, see Activity guide. In any case this can be an indice that is possible for defender to be online and thus having the possibility to escape attack or destroy your fleet.
Because of this it is a good idea to look for any changes in activity, which could indicate that the player is online, while your flight goes on. First and foremost before you fleet arrives the target, you should spy again to see if there have been changes. If you want to play it safe so you are not intercepted, you will be able to slow down your fleet, but that is described in detail in the according chapter Slowdown by ACS. If you think that your target is online, you should recall in order not to risk losing your fleet.
By the way, attacks against stronger enemies are inadvisable, because with such provocations you often cut off your nose to spite your face. If a stronger player hunts you because of vengeance, the fun will come to an end fast. So at the beginning, only attack weaker or equal enemies. Keep in mind that the noob protection system works both ways, protecting you and your target as well, allowing a weaker player to evade your attack or make you an outlaw for 7 days if you spy or attack a much stronger player while you are under noob protection (you nickname will be displayed in violet in the Galaxy View and a (o) will be shown behind it). You can read more details in Noob Protection.
Are there also rules?
When you attack other players, you have to keep rules in your mind. Check Rules & Problems.