||Targeting everything you need to know
Targeting everything you need to know
Targeting is simply the ability to designate and engage with a specified position.
This one word can cause untold frustration in the universe of Phoenix. It can be considered tantamount to healthy and safety policy for its ability to derail an otherwise perfectly executed assault. It can also explain why your enemies can attack you in your systems even though you cannot attack them in theirs. It is a minefield created through the implementation of a few seemingly clear options.
There are two levels of targeting:
- Target designation
Policy is maintained at the political level. This is where the movers and shakers of the affiliation determine their relationship to other factions, where they implement their charters and determine exclusion zones in regions of space that they own. When combined with civilisation level of a system and ownership they effectively set the theatres of potential conflict zones. Just because these policies allow for conflict under specific circumstances and in various locations, it does not mean that conflict will occur.
Target designation is handled on a position level. It is the setting of enemy, support and defend lists along with various combat options. Outside a potential conflict zone it makes no difference what lists are set to or which combat options have been taken, there will be no conflict.
So far everything seems pretty clear just two things are needed to stomp somebody, a policy that states who can be stomped and where along with a bunch of positions listing enemy targets.
Setting Affiliation Policy
Each affiliation represents a faction with a set of ideologies that in the game mechanics determines how they can behave with respect to setting their relation to other affiliations.
N.B. there are some factions that have opted out of the relations mechanics, e.g. pirates. We will ignore these for the moment and concentrate on the vast majority of affiliations that are bound by the relations mechanics.
System Civilisation Level
Each system in the game has a civilisation level, from Darkspace with increasing levels of colonisation up to Core (Darkspace, Borderland, Developing and Core). This refers to the degree to which the system has been colonised or in other ways brought up to a recognised level of civilisation. The vast majority of systems in the Peripheries are Darkspace lawless frontiers where even neutral factions can theoretically attack each other, though of course there may be repercussions throughout the rest of the Peripheries if conflicts start to escalate.
On nexus, any system without a civilisation indicator is considered Darkspace.
Contested systems are treated as Darkspace.
There are 5 levels of relationship with increasing levels of antipathy:
- Allied we like them so much that their enemies are ours.
- Friendly we like them so much we will defend them.
- Neutral (default) live and let live for the most part though in the dark places (Darkspace) of the universe and if needs must
- Antagonistic we will respect the neutrality of civilised systems but not beyond (Developing and Core).
- Hostile we will only be respect neutrality in the most civilised systems (Core).
- War Anywhere is fair game.
While each attitude is from the perspective of the affiliation, the relationship defaults to the most hostile.
Wimble Nation is neutral to the Flagritz Empire, while the Flagritz Empire is hostile to the Wimble Nation. As such the mutual relationship is hostile.
On Nexus this will equate to a solid coloured box (were the relationship is mutual) or a coloured box with a different colour border. Mouseover will give details of the relationship.
As relations default to most hostile, benefits of Allied and Friendly only work if reciprocated.
Wimble Nation is allied to the AFT while the AFT are friendly to the Wimble Nation as such the relationship defaults to friendly, so no supporting each other enemies of the AFT cannot use this as a means of attacking the Wimble Nation.
Changing Relationship Level 1
A relation to another affiliation can change by a specific number of levels (Allied to Friendly is 1 level, while Friendly to Antagonistic is 4 levels) and can issue a change only once per relation to a specific affiliation within a period of time in accordance with their profile.
Detinus Republic and Garcia Enterprises both have the profile:
5 days, 1 level
If they are both neutral to each other and the Garcia wish to become allied to the Detinus Republic, it will take them 10 days after issuing the command to change from Neutral to Friendly (day 5 Friendly, day 10 Allied). If sometime in the future Garcia Enterprises then wish to go to war with the Republic, it will take them a minimum of 25 days (from Allied to Friendly 5days after the level, then 4 levels at 5 days each).
The table below is an extract from a political position with access to setting relations, indicating the current relations to various affiliations.
Asynchronous Relationship Changes
How fast an affiliation can change its relationship with another faction is based on the principle of least time. This means that where the profiles of two affiliations differ, the mechanic defaults to the fastest profile options.
Confederate Forces has the profile:
0 days, 1 level
This means that with respect to each other, both the Detinus Republic and the Confederate Forces can change their relation by 1 level, i.e. they do not need to give 5 days notice. By 0 days, it means that there is no waiting period for the first level change, i.e. at 6.35am the Republic decide to change their relation to the Confederate Forces from Antagonistic to War. As download of turns is at 6.50am that same day, they can then launch an assault in a Core star system.
Minimum Period of 5 days between changes
Irrespective of the setting, there is always a minimum of 5 days between changes. As such even though in the above example the Republic took advantage of the Confederate Forces 0 days waiting for a level change, they cannot revert back to Hostile from War for a further 5 days preventing affiliations changing their hostility level for the purpose of a single days engagement.
Control of Hostility
An affiliation with change set at 1 level has the advantage when dealing with diametrically opposite affiliation with 6 level changes in that it can still change by up to 6 levels. As such the ability to change 6 levels in one go is only really beneficial if the affiliation is aggressive or fickle in its attitudes, it confers not strategic advantage over those that have only 1 level change.
As the relation state between two affiliations defaults to the most hostile where one side is less hostile than the other, they have effectively conceded control of the relationship to the more hostile affiliation. This is because the more hostile affiliation can increase or decrease their hostility in order to open new areas for attack or deny areas to the less hostile faction.
The Dewiek Elder Nation declares war on the Confederate Forces and proceeds to engage Confederate positions in Core star systems for a week. The Confederate Forces however remain neutral to the Dewiek Elder Nation. Hearing that the Confederate Forces (and their allies) are about to send in the cavalry, the Dewiek Elder Nation returns their relationship to neutral. The cavalry arrive but as both sides are now formally at peace there is no battle. It was either an oversight that the Confederacy remained neutral or that they in fact wanted peace and the arrival of the peacekeeping force was a means of forcing the Nations hand.
Benefits to Remaining Neutral
Primarily it is about sending the signal that you do actually want peace which means violence ends as soon as they reduce their aggression. If an affiliation has no intention of actively seeking to engage in combat, then there is absolutely no point becoming more hostile.
Being anything other than neutral requires the political machine to be oiled with stellars, either continuously telling affiliation members what great dudes they are or what the latest atrocity instigated by the enemy is. Unless there is a purpose such as active mutual defence (rather than lip service and nobody turns up in times of need) or there is an active pursuit of enemies, then any relationship other than neutral is a waste of stellars.
It forces the opposition to foot the bill while still giving the neutral affiliation all the same theatre of conflict. That said, it is not a large bill, even for war (though being at war with a dozen affiliations is going to get costly).
So far only relations has been covered, this is policy at an affiliation level and applies across the entire Peripheries. More often than not however this is too blunt an instrument especially when dealing with neutral factions. In these circumstances it is desirable to limit potential hostility to specific locations. While defined as system enemy lists and exclusion zones, they are handled by Charters, allowing the current system claimant to apply any number of charters within the system.
Charters and Exclusion Zones
A charter consists of a title, a body of declaration text and can include a list of enemies.
Title: Get orf my land
Declaration: We will shoot everyone we find here.
Enemy List: Everyone
This charter can then be applied to locations claimed by the affiliation creating the charter. There are two options, application of the charter to the entire system or to a subsection (or subsections) of the system via exclusion zones.
Exclusion zones can be set to cover:
- Any quad
- Any ring
- Any orbital quad
- Any world
In the above example, the affiliation claims the system Enches. For some reason they do not like the AFT so create a charter to be added to the system:
Title: No AFT Thanks
Declaration: Stay out or be attacked.
Enemy List: AFT
Within the system is a rather nice world (Nackas) with a few thorlium deposits that they want to preserve for themselves. As such they decide to associate the Get orf My Land charter with Nackas. Together this gives them ability to attack anyone on the surface or in orbit of Nackas using the exclusion zone options and the AFT with the entire system.
A few weeks later they that the moon of Nackas also contains quite a lot of minerals and start to get a little grumpy about the number of foreign exploration ships in the system. They decide to extend the charter, applying it to the other moons and the orbital quadrant of Nackas and its moons.
Creating and moderating relations, charters and exclusion zones can be achieved by the political of the affiliation with relations access on Nexus though the use of some simple dropdown menus and text boxes.
All that has been achieved so far is setting potential theatres of conflict. In order for an actual battle to occur, within one of these theatres, positions with an enemy list have to be present and have to have the enemy list activated. Activation is normally through scanning a position which can be achieved through the scan location order or more commonly simply by moving into a location, such as entering orbit or moving from one orbital quad into another or by scanning a position passing by. Changing a standing order such as adding a position to an enemy list on its own does not count as modifying the list does not call a scan either active or passive. Changing policy also does not initiate a combat check.
A fleet of GTT ships with DEN on their enemy list is in GTT claimed system. The GTT and DEN are mutually neutral and the DEN are not on the system enemy list. Should a DEN fleet with GTT on the enemy list stop at the location of the GTT fleet, there will be no battle. Even if the GTT then add the DEN to the system enemy list, there will still be no battle until either side then initiates a scan, i.e. actively looking to engage the enemy. Until the point where there has been a scan, the location will not be indicated as a battle location. As such any number of positions with support or defend for the DEN or GTT can move through the location and will not be stopped. Support and defend checks will only cause a position to stop if it has flagged on patrol and there is a battle flagged at the location being passed through.
If a battle has been triggered, there will be a full battle check at the end of the main processing run (before special actions are processed). This will check all positions in the location, which in the case of a battle check associated with a world, will also check all positions in orbit, on the surface of the world and even docked with bases on the surface of the world. This check will determine viable targets from the perspective of the positions present.
A viable target can be defined through the following parameters:
- Specific position number on an enemy list
- Belonging to a specified affiliation on an enemy list
- Defending a specified affiliation that is actively involved in combat
- Supporting a specified affiliation that is actively involved in combat
- Returning fire against a specific position
N.B. in all cases the lists need to be active, i.e. supported by policy above. When a position is in a location that prevents any part of its enemy list from being active, the corresponding entry will be followed by a *.
Viable targets are flagged on the battle printout as being Enemy Targets, Support Targets and Defend Targets, defining they criteria by which they qualified as a viable target. The method by which targets are generated is as follows:
- All positions in the location are listed.
- All active enemy lists are checked and truncated down according to positions present (ground enemy lists only extend from starport to sector of the position, beyond uses space enemy lists). These form the Enemy Targets list for the individual positions, i.e. irrelevant positions are pared away.
- Positions supporting entire affiliations are given Support Targets equating to the enemy lists (affiliations only) from all the positions of the affiliation being supported that are present, i.e. if anyone the position is supporting is attacking entire affiliations, it will too.
- Positions supporting specific positions are given Support Targets equating to the entire enemy list, including individual enemies present of the specific positions, i.e. if the entire (valid) enemy list of the position being supported is used.
- Positions defending affiliations will be given Defend Targets based on affiliation with the affiliation being defended on their enemy list, i.e. only affiliations will appear on the Defend Targets.
- Positions defending positions will be given Defend Targets based on the positions with the positions being defended on their enemy list, i.e. specific positions may appear on the Defend Targets.
- Specific positions are then engaged based on combat options and weighted by average chance where there are still multiple potential targets.
An AFT ship has the GTT on its enemy list. It enters orbit of a world with a CNF base and scans some GTT ships present. Policy is such that the AFT does not trigger a battle with GTT ships outside of a few exclusion zones in AFT controlled systems. In this orbit the enemy list will state GTT* indicating that this is currently inactive.
Later in the week, a pirate ship enters the same orbit which then triggers a battle. Despite there being a battle in this location the AFT enemy list is not active and as such does not engage the GTT ships. In such an event it may well be the case that the AFT also engages the pirate. This does not however mean that the AFT is in any way supporting or defending the GTT, merely attacking a mutual enemy.
Extending the Example
There are situations where despite an enemy list being flagged as inactive, the position may still be bright into combat through other means.
If the AFT were friendly to the DTR and the DTR were at war with the GTT it would mean that even though the AFT could not directly attack the GTT, should a DTR vessel enter orbit and be attacked by the GTT, should the AFT have defend DTR on their list, they will become involved.
If the AFT were allied to the DTR, there would be no * after GTT on their enemy list and they would immediately attack the GTT, even though DTR were not present as the DTRs hostility to the GTT becomes the AFTs through the relations mechanics.
Support and Defence do not chain
This means you will only defend and support where the positions/affiliations on the support or defend list are the primary focus of the battle.
In orbit of a world there are DEN, AFT, GTT and FEL ships.
AFT have the FEL on their defend lists (mutual friends).
FEL have DEN on their defend lists (mutual friends).
DEN have GTT on their enemy lists (at war with GTT).
GTT have DEN on their enemy lists (at war with DEN).
DEN and GTT are therefore mutually attacking.
The FEL are defending the DEN and therefore have GTT on their Defend Target list.
The FEL are not on GTT Target lists though may be targeted through returning fire.
The AFT do not attack the GTT because the FEL is only being attacked by the GTT because the FEL is defending the DEN who are primary target of the GTT, i.e. the FEL are not active targets.
This can lead to some curious situations where there is inconsistency across a battle group. In the above example, if the AFT were also friendly with DEN but only half the AFT ships had all DEN on their defend list, the ships defending DEN would become involved. Even if the entire AFT battle group had defend AFT, those without defend DEN would not get involved.
Disengaging and Conflict
Under normal circumstances a battle will continue until there are no targets for the remaining positions to attack. There are means of disengaging, such as moving away from the battle location or getting all parties to issue orders to clear enemy lists and unlock targets.
There is however a second option through changing policy. Before combat is continued on each day, there is a check to determine if there are viable targets (the same test as on the first day of combat). A change in policy can be sufficient to call a cease fire. It is therefore imperative that those on the currently winning side know that a change in policy by the opposition is not going to wreck their plan.
The IMP has GCE on a system enemy list for Capellan but is currently neutral to the GCE. This means that the GCE can attack the IMP and their allies in Capellan along with any base that is supporting the imperial system claim for Capellan. The GCE take advantage of this by launching a ground assault against a GTT starbase in the system.
The IMP can remove the GCE from the system enemy list, which will call a cease fire even if the battle has been raging for days and the GCE are within a hairs breadth of capturing it.
While this may seem odd, it is perfectly correct. If the GCE was seeking to capture the base, the system claim should have first been contested or they should have raised their hostility towards the GTT so as to ensure that there would be no risk of changes to policy affecting their assault.
This is a good reason for using flags of convenience (see below) mercenaries for example are perfect for attacking positions in otherwise neutral developing systems.
N.B. Positions in combat cannot be transferred in order to prevent abuse (such as transferring them to a neutral affiliation).
An AFT ship is defending a DTR ship against a squadron of GTT ships due to their mutual friendship (not allied) despite being neutral to the GTT and in a developing system claimed by the GCE. The GTT and DTR can fight because they are currently at war. While the DTR ship exists, the AFT will continue to attack the GTT ships. Once the DTR ship has been destroyed, the AFT and GTT ships will disengage before continuing combat on the next day.
Contesting a System
If there is a counter claim of sufficient size to contest system ownership the system will be treated as Darkspace, inasmuch as anybody can then attack anybody as per normal relations in Darkspace, i.e. affiliations that are neutral to each other can attack each other if they are flagged as enemies on their enemy lists. Affiliations that are allied and friendly cannot however attack each other.
An unusual affiliation profile option exists that if opted for allows the affiliation to attack friends and allies under specific circumstances, such as exclusion zones, system enemy lists and registered outposts. Such an option may have been taken by a policing faction within an area of space open to multiple factions. Such a police force may from time to time have to deal with intransigent residents even though they are allies or at least have the capability of doing so, even if this has never actually happened.
Flags of Convenience
Player owned and where profile allows it, affiliation owned positions position can carry a flag of convenience. These are Free Lance (FRE), Privateer (PRV), Mercenary (MRC) or Pirate (PIR). While carrying the flag they are subjected to the profile of the appropriate flag affiliation. The profiles span the range from honest trader to scurvy dog which is reflected in the case of PRV, MRC and PIR having profiles that have partially or even totally opted out of relations mechanics (as can be seen in the Combat Status page Game>Affiliations) www.phoenixbse.com/index.php?a=game&sa=affs&ca=combat).
The actual adding of positions and affiliations to lists requires somebody in charge willing to take the flak this is a naval officer. Without one all lists will be dropped and under most circumstances, the position will attempt to leave combat. There are some circumstances where the position will stay for combat such as when returning fire, but it is strongly advised not to base any sort of strategy on this mechanic.
Targeting, that is deciding who to kick and going out and kicking, normally requires two things, the target on the enemy list and some sort of political thumbs up that activates it. With friends and allies this expands to more options while in Darkspace it is pretty much a free for all.
There are nuances based on the plethora of settings and locations that can generate circumstances to watch out for, such as defend and support lists not chaining across multiple affiliations.
So, the bottom line is ensuring affiliation policy and charters are up to date and bear in mind how others can exploit your attitude to them and how your allies can leave you vulnerable.
The Game>Affiliations pages are very useful in showing your relationship to other affiliations but also the true combat status as being neutral to pirates for example does not count for anything.
Looking at individual systems is worthwhile if only to check if there are any charters or exclusion zones to be aware of. Also take note of the civilisation level of system. You may be neutral to another affiliation but if its darkspace, your positions may be fair game.
1While writing this article, a bug was discovered on Nexus that can sometimes give incorrect waiting periods after issuing a relationship change. This is purely a reporting issue as the actual changes are carried out by the Phoenix engine at the appropriate time. This bug will be fixed ASAP.
|Is open for business...
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** Stellar Empire Re-United ***
Celebrations were held across the vast territories of the Stellar Empire as the two-halves represented by the governments of the Imperials and Caliphate determined to unite. This followed almost inevitably from the assassination of the Caliph, a crime that has gone mysteriously unresolved. The old Caliphate ministers were ‘retired’ and at first it seemed the Imperials had managed what had alluded them for decades.
However, just as orders to claim systems for the IMP went in some places, conflicting orders to claim for the CIA came from Laton. In other systems, it seems overwhelming civilian support lies with the defunct CAL government and there are a number of CIV and CAL bases that seem to have not heeded the CIA nor IMP orders. With all the Caliphate's armaments now in the CIA’s hand and no political leadership in the old government, it seems inevitable that the civilians will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.
A muted and cautious response from the rest of the galaxy was only to be expected given the formation of a new unrivalled superpower. The chilling effect on public discourse as the Imperial war machine taps into the substantial, if stunted, economies of the former Caliphate will surely be felt for years to come. Does this mark the 'end of history' as we know it?
More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * KAS v IMP/GTT v FLZ * DEN v MRC * FOCed by IMP * BHD v DEN * &etc
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** Imperials Declare War Against Flagritz ***
A declaration of war came last week after an unsatisfactory reply to Imperial ultimatums that the FLZ accept resolution of the previous war. J. Jones issued the following proclamation, "We hope this reminder will prompt them to rethink the status they removed them selves from and come back to more peaceful co-existence.” Doublegood, Viceroy, doublegood!
More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * Species Guide * FEL Barter With GIants * High Times &etc
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** Orion Spur Special Edition ***
Explorers of the galaxy rejoiced as knowledge of a new periphery became common knowledge, revealing charts to forty star systems. The Orion Spur is connected to the massive Coreward Arm with rumours that the locals of the Monument system at the heart of this new periphery may have been responsible for the collapse of the HarCorp civilisation.
We have in-depth analysis and information about the new periphery inside this special issue of the SSS.
Also inside this issue of the SSS: * Naplian Liberation Front Reality Show * FLZ v FEL * Mercs in Graydown * DOM Scare Stories * &etc
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** Hoedown in Graydown ***
Wimbles in the Graydown system have come under repeated attacks by mercenaries. The Wimbles having already lost two outposts have had their ships come under attack by boarders. The Wimbles are pointing a hairy finger at the GTT whilst the DEN are itching to get their paws in.
Pleasantly rotund Wolf Lord Lyceum reported the destruction of one mercenary ship, a Corsair class explorer called "Eye of the Chosen" which had earlier dropped off ground forces flying the banner of "God Hates Wimbles.” Which God and why he or she hates Wimbles has yet to be revealed. We suspect its corporation-loving Mammon.
Inside this issue of the SSS: * Sargasso Update * Wakerians * Naplian Liberation Front * &etc
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** Breaking News: Caliph Samuel Assassinated ***
The nominal head of the Caliphate, Samuel has been murdered in broad daylight at the starbase CAL Sidon in the Fortress system. The allegedly mad zealot was on his way to meet representatives of various civilian factions when a shadowy figure *cough*CIA agent*cough* shot him dead.
The CIA issued the following statement to the SSS with a customary nudge and a wink: "In these difficult times, as we come to terms with the loss of Samuel, we are taking things one day at a time.
"Samuel was not only our Caliph, but our leader during the Second Civil War which laid the foundations for the Confederacy after he left the Human Empire and settled in the Darkfold. It is truly a sad day and one that will be marked in history as one of many great leaders who were cut down in their prime.
"We will strive now to look to the future, whilst remembering our past”
Speculation is rife that this is the first step towards a unification of the two-halves of the Stellar Empire. Others are more hopeful this is a return to the Confederacy or the mark of greater separation with the Imperial bloc. Time will tell what nebulous motives the shadowy puppet-master Laton turned out to have had and which alien faction will be blamed for the Caliph’s murder.
Inside this issue of the SSS: * HEX / FET Invade Sargasso * Magnus v Nevets Fight! * Dewiek Black Hole Disaster * FLZ Correction * &etc
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** STOP PRESS: Felini Victory ***
In an unexpected development, the FEL have scored a decisive victory against the FLZ. Destroying or maiming some 20 Flagritz Baseships in the Onwards system.
What is more remarkable than the victory was there was no subsequent comment by Crazy Uncle Flagritz. We might need to have a lie down now.
Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN and FEL * Valhalla Fighting Pits * RIP smacked * &etc
|***** Christmas Special Edition *****
*** Ho Ho Ho ***
Welcome to the SSS Christmas Special Edition! We the Editors have put together a nostalgic pudding treat intended to delight and tickle even the scroogiest megacorp executive. So gather your cubs, squidlets and larvae for some silliness and song. Time to catch up with some classics from years gone by, raise your glasses and drink your gluttony and shame away!
Wishing you all a merry Christmas free from Krampus Jones's invading armies!
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** Claws Out in Valhalla ***
In a bold rebuke of Crazy Uncle Flagritz’s attacks in the Avalon system, the cunning Felini Nevets ordered a hit on a FLZ outpost in the Valhalla system. Claiming miscommunication with his warships, the mischevious Avatar cocked a snook at the washed-out Dewiek warrior in charge of the system whilst claiming an important victory in the often one-sided conflict against the FLZ.
This isn’t the first time the foxy Feline has masked daring-do in the shroud of incompetence. It remains to be seen whether this turns out as disastrously as the time when the FEL had to pay the costs of a war started by Prince-turned-meklan LiQuan.
Meower-in-chief Chamiah apologised for the incident in a public address laced with snickering subtext and unconcealed laughter when she got to the bit about the unfortunate loss of “5 FLZ Warships in Onwards.”
A second incident in Valhalla was reported the next day with mardy Magnus complaining he wasn’t getting his claws in on the action. Could this be the pithy ploy that puts the cat on the mat?
Inside this issue of the SSS: * Merc-y Wimbles * Valhalla Fighting Pits Get Weird * Profile of Lyceum Amaguk * &etc
|***** Inter Galactic News *****
*** Nun on the Run ***
Alleged cosplayer Carmilla D’Morenta got the vicars in the Brotherhood all hot and bothered when she made a run for it. Possibly tired of being tied up by the reverends and denied the love that dare not howl its name. With a sizeable, almost unbelievable, bounty on her head, the barking sister took refuge with the Dewiek Elder Nation.
In possibly the shortest chase in history, the BHD managed to strike a blow for oppressed collars everywhere when they squared off with the naughty doggy-wannabe at the Valhalla stargate. The cheeky chaplains blew their hyperdrive at close range and both the BHD and DEN flagged ships were reported to be lost in space.
Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN Ban BHD * Ulian * FLZ in Avalon * Valhalla Fighting Pits * Interview with Carmilla * And more