Expeditions are a flight into the unknown, towards previously unexplored areas of the universe. On expeditions you can find resources or ships, encounter alien races, fight ruthless pirates, discover the absolute void of space but you can also fly into certain death. The outcome of an expedition is ruled by chance, there's no way to know for sure if your expedition will ever come back or how much wealth they might discover. You can find more detailed information in the Expedition guide.
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'. Then the fleet sets off to explore the unknown sector. 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 or ships.
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).
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, 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 but can be calculated with formulae that are explained elsewhere. The find increases in proportion to the number of ships sent, upto 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 (2.000 - 2.400.000 Metal). 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 and range from 100 DM to 2.000 DM.
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. 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.