To begin combat your faction must first be at war with the faction assets you wish to attack. You can attack a ship or structure by using the contextual menu for that entity, most commonly this will be in the helm window. If combat is already underway and you choose to attack a target within combat, you will automatically join the same combat session on the opposing team. Combat itself is only ever between two teams an attacking team and a defending team.
Combat itself is turn-based and card-based. A new turn will start every time the timer reaches zero from a countdown of 60 seconds. During this time you can choose which cards to play or discard and optionally manually target your weapons - your weapons will target ships automatically without any intervention.
A deck is built by you outside of combat from the tactical window using the "deck builder" option, if you have not built a deck then your cards have been randomly picked from the cards you own. A deck must contain 25 cards with only 5 of those allowed to be special cards, if your deck falls below the limit, again random cards will be picked to make up the difference. The deck building is discussed later in this article.
Each turn 2 new cards are drawn from you deck and added to your hand, the hand are the cards listed on screen. Your hand can only hold a maximum of 5 cards however, so if your hand is full no further cards will be drawn. Each turn you can choose to play a card, discard it or simply keep it in your hand. To do this click the card once to play it (a tick will appear), again to discard it (a trash can will appear) and one last time to clear an action and keep the card in your hand.
There are four times of card you can play and when the turn ends they are played in a specific order based on their category and the speed of the ship that played it. This order is abbreviated as RADS and short for Reactive, Attack, Defence and Special.
With all cards they apply to yourself unless otherwise noted, since some cards can target friendlies, enemies or entire teams.
Reactive cards are played first and provide reaction effects according to the cards description to a specific type of attack, nullifying the attack. An example of this is the countermeasures card, which when played can nullify missile attacks against you. Each reactive card has a combination of how many turns it will last and how many times it can be triggered. If either the turn duration or triggers reach zero, the card is taken out of play and no longer has any effect (effectively returned to the deck). A widget called "cards in-play" allows you to track any cards in play, since some can stay in play for many turns.
Attack cards provide a unique way to attack an opponent separate from your weapons, these cards are rare. During this phase however is when your weapons will fire if they are ready to.
Defence cards provide some type of change to statistics are very important as they allow you to modify statistics for the better, allowing you to setup planned tactics. The most common example of a defence card is the "Crux Manouevre" card which increases speed. Since speed effects how likely enemies are to hit you, it is advantageous to make this as high as possible. Keep in mind like with all cards, sometimes cards will target friendlies, enemies or entire teams.
Special cards are played last after all other cards, so only effect the turn after they are played. Special cards provide some type of special effect that varies widely, but examples are the retreat card so you can retreat from combat, or the SOS card which broadcasts an SOS signal to the SOS communications channel. Special cards tend to be powerful and often effect more than just yourself, for this reason they are noted in the combat log when played by any ship or structure.
The combat interface itself is presented as a collection of widgets that convey different information, a section for your hand of cards and a fixed header telling you the current number of entities on each team and turn time remaining. The rest of this article details what each of those widgets display and how to understand the information.
The statistics of your ship are very important and you should keep an eye on them vigilantly. The gauges within the statistics widget convey the total of both shields and hull combined, so that it is clear once the gauge reaches zero on the far left, your ship will be destroyed. Below the gauge are the raw statistics for shields and hull and your ships sub systems. Overall your ships statistics are broken down into six categories often referred as SHIELD, which is how they are denoted in the combat log.
Shields, or S, refers to the strength of the shields surrounding your ship. While your shields are above zero, attacks will not damage other systems of your ship unless the aggressor is using shock based weapons or other weapons with special benefits. Saturation effects such as nuclear or biogenic cannot be applied while your shields are up. However, arc saturation is specifically designed to drain your shields and the higher the saturation of arc, the more your shields will be damaged each turn - this is noted in the combat log.
Hull, or H, refers to the combined strength of the hull and armour of your ship, quite simply, if this reaches zero your ship is destroyed. If your ship is destroyed you will lose the ship, any ports fitted to it and any cargo onboard. There is also a small chance a crew member might die. Don't fret, insurance will provide you with a new ship of the same type but you will need to equip it once again. In terms of saturation, molten saturation will damage your hull over time just like arc saturation damages your shields over time, however, molten saturation cannot begin to build until your shields are down.
Internal systems, or I, refers to all of the internal systems of your ship. The more internal systems are damaged, the more likely you are to miss targets. If internal systems reaches zero it advised to retreat, as it will be almost impossible to land an attack. Internal systems can be damaged more by nuclear saturation.
Engines, or E, refers to the sublight engines and thrusters built into your ship. The more your engines are damaged, the slower your ship will move, which in turn makes you an easier target to hit. If your engines reach zero, you will be unable to retreat.
Light Drive, or L, refers to the light drive built into your ship. The more your light drive is damaged, the less likely you are to be able to retreat. If this reaches zero, you will be unable to retreat.
Defences, or D, refers to the built in and fitted defences of your ship. The defences statistic acts as a modifier of all incoming and outgoing damage. The lower defences are the less damage you will deal and the more you will receive. Additionally, each and every time the defence statistic decreases there is a chance a fitted port will be destroyed.
The combat log lists what is happening in combat, with the newest entry first. It will only list your actions, actions of pilots that launched from your ship and special cards played by any ship or structure in the battle. The log is seperated by turn number and if nothing happens during the turn, no longer entries will be added. Log entries have different categories which are prefixed and the ships or structures involved are listed, if no ship or structure is listed is something that only applies to you, such as saturation or something general, like a ship leaving combat.
The combat log lists everything related to you in combat, and special cards played by any target, and any damage your pilots deal to their targets (if you have any). The combat log has various prefixes to aid in reading.
[CRIT] refers to an attack that landed which was critical (increase the damage by 25%).
[HIT] refers to an attack that landed.
[MISS] refers to an attack of any kind that missed its target.
[REACTIVE] refers to an attack of any kind that was nullified by a reactive card.
[SATURATION] is an entry just for you and informs you of any saturation damage being applied.
[SPECIAL] refers to a special card played from any ship or structure.
The log also uses SHIELD notations to convey damage, these being: Shields, Hull, Internal systems, Engines, Light drive and Defences. It may sometimes also refer to saturation effects these being A for Arc, B for Biogenic, M for molten and N for nuclear.
The enemies widget and friendly widget work in the same manner, with the enemies widget listing all enemies currently in combat opposed to your team, and the friendlies widget listing members of your combat team. The first section is a sum of the entire teams current shields and hull, this give you a quick indication of how well your team is doing.
Each row after that can either be a ship or a structure but contains the same basic information. This information being the persons prefix (such as CPT for captain) followed by the persons name (or ship name for NPCs and blueprint name for structure). The faction the ship or structure belongs to followed by the ship or structure type and then the current statistics for the shields and hull. For the enemy team there is also a "target all weapons" option which will target every single one of your weapons at the target.
The speed of ships is very important in combat for two reasons. Firstly, the speed decides which player plays their cards first in a combat phase, this can often be very useful especially in the attack phase, since you will fire your weapons first. Secondly, speed is a large factor on whether an attack misses or not. The greater the speed difference between the sender and the recipient, the more likely the attack is to miss, this makes small fast ships very difficult to hit. This also applies in the inverse, a fast ship attacking a slow ship has a far greater chance of hitting. The speed difference can be made up with weapons, such as turrets that can track quickly or by playing cards that can decrease a targets speed or damage their engines.
The speed widget firstly shows your ships speed combined with the state of your engines. If your engines are at 100% your speed will be the full speed your ship is capable of, 50% only half speed and 0% you will be dead in the water (no attacks against you will normally miss).
Below this is the speed modifier, which can be changed by defence cards that either you play, or that are played against you. This modifier applies against your base speed proceeding, so a x1.00 modifier means the speed is unchanged, a x2.00 will mean your base speed is doubled and x0.5 halved.
The outgoing damage widget simply shows your current ongoing damage modifier. At 100% your outgoing damage is unchanged, at 150% it is increased by 50% and at 25% it will be only one quarter of usual. This damage modifier only effects weapons that are fired from your ship, and does not effect attack cards or special cards. The higher this modifier, the better.
The incoming damage widget simply shows your current incoming damage modifier. At 100% your incoming damage is unchanged, at 150% it is increased by 50% and at 25% it will be only one quarter of usual. This damage modifier effects all weapons that are fired at your ship and the lower this modifier the better.
The critical widget shows your current critical chance is terms of a percentage. This critical chance is added on top of a weapons critical chance combining the two. The higher the critical chance the more likely you are to land a critical hit, which increases the weapons damage by 25%.
Saturation is a build-up of some type of energy or matter, these saturation's being either Arc, Biogenic, Molten or Nuclear often abbreviated to A, B, M and N. These saturations damage your ship in different ways, and some can disable you all together once they reach 100%. Saturation damage is applied at the end of each turn to all ships and is noted in the combat log. It starts at 0% and has a maximum of 150% with 1% decrease by default each turn, unless you have crew to boost this.
Arc saturation is the buildup of draining energy arcing across your shields and damages them based on its intensity.
Bio or biogenic is the saturation of viruses and pathogens inside of your ship. Once this reaches 100% you are knocked unconscious if you are a clone or human until the saturation falls below 100%. While unconscious you cannot participate in combat.
Molten is the saturation of superheated matter on your hull, the higher this saturation the more your hull will be damaged each turn.
Nuclear is the saturation of nuclear radiation inside of your ship, this radiation can damage internal systems based on its intensity. Additionally, if you are an android you will become unconscious once it reaches 100% leaving you unable to participate in combat.
The weapons widget lists all of the weapons that are fitted to your ship, by default they will automatically fire at will, but if you wish you can manually set targets. For each weapon row the weapon name is stated, its damage type, in how many turns it will fire and what or who it is currently targeted to fire at. If the target is set to nothing or fire at will, the weapon will randomly pick an enemy ship or structure and fire at that target until it becomes untargetable (such as if it cloaks or gets destroyed), where it will automatically pick a new target. You can manually choose a target from the list or instruct the weapon to fire at will (as described before) or hold fire.
Hold fire will prevent the weapon from firing once it is ready to fire, this is useful to prepare a combo or to align multiple weapons to fire at the same time.
The selection above the weapons allows you to set all weapons to fire at will or to hold fire. Within the team lists you can also choose to target all weapons at a specific ship or structure.