#### Fight (red crosshair) ####
Before any of the ‘Fight’ range of missions I recommend getting a police licence for the relevant race the action’s likely to take place in. This will maximise your profitsss! Any bailed fighters will hang around for quite a while (provided they're not rammed/missiled) even after the mission’s ended & even in Xenon sectors, so jot down their coordinates & claim them when you’re ready if you wish.
Assassination missions: I’m sure lots of people will be interested in these
Low-level (ie up to M3 class) assassination missions are easy & pay piddling amounts. Once you have a decent fight rep & race rep the prices go up dramatically! However, it’s not usually a good idea to increase your combat rank as quickly as possible: you’ll soon find yourself overmatched by escorts (if not the target), & have little or no cash to upgrade to a ship more suitable of dealing with the ‘problem’.
Obviously the target (highlighted by those yellow arrows) is the priority. Once you’ve destroyed it (it’s pointless to try to board them – you won’t get the mission accreditation & they vanish as soon as you’ve successfully boarded.. along with your trained troops!) you can do what you like – run/jump away if overmatched or heavily damaged, or if you’re not bothered about your reputation with the target’s race (Pirate, Yaki, Boron etc) go ahead & kill however many ships you want to in the target’s escort group. However, for those of you who wish to retain some race rep here’s how to go about it:
Set turrets (if any) to ‘Missiles only’. Destroy the principal target as quickly as possible, preferably with no damage to its escorts. If you can do this fast enough you may not even turn the principal (& hence its escorts) red if they weren’t originally. Ramming works well if you’ve the shields to take it - it’s less of a rep hit than an overtly aggressive act such as guns or missiles. Long range high yield missiles such as Firestorm Torpedo may work well if launched from outside the ‘threat zone’ (this seems to be an area that other ships don’t recognise you as a threat despite what you do, & won’t take evasive/defensive action: it seems to range from about 13Km to about 20Km for missile use) but beware of collateral damage if the missile (such as the Firestorm) has an area effect blast.
Don’t be tempted to use the ‘bomber trick’; the principal will be destroyed but by its nature the ‘bomber trick’ will not credit the destruction to you: you’ll be awarded with a ‘failed mission’ as the principal will have been destroyed by ‘someone else’.
If you’re high level & want to amuse yourself by boarding M6 or above escorts, be aware that they may vanish suddenly, taking their boarding crews with them. The game engine generates these ships for one purpose only: to fight you. About the only reliable method of gaining any profit from them is to repair them (if they allow you to) & sell them to shipyards as scrap. You may be lucky & manage to retain some, but I wouldn’t trust them not to vanish or revert to original escort autopilot orders at some inconvenient moment if you’re not using them as <playership>.
Xenon Invasion: Not a lot to say about this. They mostly appear in sectors with Xenon jumpgates, although occasionally a sector nearby will call for help.
Basically, kill all Xenon that appear IS until the time’s up. Once you have a durable ship & a reasonable fight rank it can be a good moneyspinner.. especially if you can combine it with that Xenon patrol mission you spotted earlier just entering the sector (clear these first once you've accepted the Invasion mission) Get yourself a ship with good shields & a decent turn of speed, or be much better than I at dogfighting, & go & have fun for profit! Naturally the nature of the mission depends upon your fight rank (so you won’t get much more than a couple of Ns or an M for low ranks), & the monetary payout depends upon the race rank with the character you accepted the mission from. However, the rep & reward you get is pretty much in the top bracket, so it’s well worth considering.. plus any loot you get from ..umm.. ‘leftovers’, shall we say
Patrol missions: Pretty much what it says on the tin.
Patrol around a sector or sectors until you come across a group of hostiles & kill them. Follow the yellow arrows & kill the marked ship(s). Don’t worry too much if the patrol sends you into a Xenon sector, they’re not that nasty: you won’t be required to kill every Xenon in that sector in your little ship However, they can be a little tricky occasionally: if a fast M5 or M4 that the game has marked for ‘Death by Player’ leaves the sector, the arrows won’t necessarily follow it & so you’ll have to hunt it down yourself (or hope it runs into something that kills it), otherwise you’ll never leave the assigned sector. This mission is a little forgiving in that once all the ‘marked’ ships are dead, IS or OOS, the mission’s over whether or not you’ve reached your destination sector in <playership>. [you may need to complete the patrol by flying through the designated sector(s) – check this] Obviously the bounty is greater if you actually kill the ship(s) yourself, so to maximise payout kill/bail all marked (yellow-arrowed) ships ASAP & move on to the next sector as soon as it’s indicated. Don’t bother killing any unmarked ships unless they irritate you: they won’t give you mission bounty whether they’re hostile or not.
Protect Station missions: Again, what it says on the tin.
If you’re low fight rank these are easy money – go for the Hard or Very Hard versions & you should be able to hold off quite a few M5s & M4s all by yourself, making a pretty penny in the process & hardly bothering the station you’re guarding with their ‘plink plink’ tactics against its massive shields; you may even have the patience to fly off somewhere far away IS & use the game’s poor autopilot against itself without firing a shot: sooner or later those gnats are going to crash into the station & destroy themselves. You get the credit(s) & mission accomplishment without doing a thing!
When M3s start appearing on these missions you want to take them out first. They’ll normally appear from the nearest gate, so hang around there & attack them from the side (to avoid the M3 turrets, which are usually rear-mounted). Cap (preferably, for extra ships for your fleet or money for scrappage) or destroy them then go back to the tactics above. Again, due to the station’s shields you don’t need to worry too much about them, but pay a bit more attention this time: M3s can carry some nasty missiles & over time they're capable of destroying a station.
Next up the fight ladder are M8 bombers. These are easy money if you cap them, & their Tomahawk missiles sell for a reasonable amount if you’ve no other use for them. If you let them get away from you however, they can do serious damage to a station, so deal with them quickly. Fortunately they tend to be slow & have little defence other than a rear turret, but their Tomahawk missiles can seriously hurt you or the station if they hit!
Now we come to M6s. These can be a pain if not dealt with, so do so ASAP. By now you should have enough cash to be flying a ship capable of dealing with the few that appear. These & above are a serious danger to your mission-giver, so deal with them in whatever way seems fit.
After you’ve got rid of the M3s & bigger you may if you wish fly off to some other sector & do something else there. There’s no timeout, & the gnats will continue attacking the station pretty much ineffectually until you return (keep an eye on it though!). As there’s no collision detection OOS however, they won’t keep flying into the station, so you’ll have to come back & finish them off at some time in the future unless some IS force deals with them for you.
If you want to board the spawned M6s or above, be aware that a) they’re not likely to vanish or do unexpected things after you’ve got them, unlike the assassination escorts above, & b) they’re pathologically focussed upon the station they’re trying to destroy, so trying to lure them into a quiet spot for boarding isn’t likely to work.
Escort missions: The bane of everyone’s life!
If you’ve accepted an escort mission from a station the easiest way to complete it is simply jump/fly away from anywhere nearby the most direct route between the escort group & the accepting station. Attackers will only appear in sectors that you are in, so the escort group won’t have any problems with them providing you stay OO (their) S. Just stay well away & wait for the ‘mission completed’ notification to pop up.
If you’ve accepted one from a ship you’re going to be in for some frustration, especially if it’s a lumbering beast like a supertanker or similar. In this case you should be able to protect the group until it reaches its first gate, then (preferably) jump elsewhere & proceed as above. If you’ve no jumpdrive, are short of fuel or for some other reason are forced to stick with the group, go through their destination gate as soon as the group’s within a few Km of it & there are no hostiles around: one of the most frustrating parts of this mission is the way the autopillock & the collision detection systems fight each other for control & lose by crashing into a gate. Once you’re OOS, of course, the collision detection system becomes irrelevant: escorting fighters (if escorting a TM or other ship that can carry them) can dock quickly & the whole group can pass through the gate with ease.. & a lot quicker than if you hung around!
#### Fight (red crosshair) ####