Fleetsaving is perhaps the most important skill in OGame. What is it? A method to protect your fleets and resources when you are offline, by keeping them in an active mission. It is built around the principle that a fleet cannot be destroyed when it is in motion. This skill, if developed properly, can protect your valuable fleets from a crash and your saved resources from raids. It is one of the first and most important skills that should be learned by a new player.
"If it sits, it gets hit" - frequent refrain of longtime players
A proper fleetsave is superior to building lots of defense. Even with a massive defense, you can be raided or crashed if an enemy is motived enough or senses a profit. But a proper fleetsave can protect even the smallest or newest players from the biggest and most powerful fleets. As such it is a great equalizer.
The core concept of a fleetsave is to send all of your ships on a mission before you spend time offline. These ships should also be carrying all of your saved up resources. Don't leave anything of value on a planet, if you can help it. Make sure the mission duration is long enough that you will make it online before it arrives. This gives you a chance to recall if necessary, if someone has timed an attack to arrive just after your fleet.
Not every mission is suitable for a fleetsave. Due to the Sensor Phalanx, some missions are completely visible to those with moons. The key is to pick only the missions that are not visible. Further, a skilled fleeter can sometimes pull off a blind phalanx even without being able to see your fleets. This is done through careful observation of your activity and active times. Thus it is also important to be unpredictable in your fleetsaves and avoid routines.
How to fleetsave
Before you fleetsave, the bulk of your fleets and resources should ideally be on one moon or planet (use a planet only if you don't have a moon).
- Go to the fleet screen and select all of your ships.
- Choose a destination for your fleet according to the type of fleetsave you want to do (see options further down on this page).
- Choose a speed that allows you to be online before your fleet arrives or returns.
- Choose the mission type according to the type of fleetsave you want to do.
- Load all of your resources onto the ships.
- Double check the target, mission type, and arrival/return times before you send.
Understand What Shows to a Sensor Phalanx
The Sensor Phalanx is perhaps the greatest danger to a fleetsave, particularly if your mission is returning and can no longer be recalled. Sensor phalanxes constructed on other players moons can compromise the safety of a fleetsave by timing to the second when a fleetsave returns to a planet or moon. This precise timing can mean that an enemy can attack a fleet in the few seconds between when a players fleet returns to a planet or moon and the time they are able to send their fleets safely flying again.
Learn what is visible and invisible to the phalanx. That is the key. You can see that on the page for Sensor Phalanx. Then avoid the missions that are visible.
You can also find out who can see you on phalanx by scanning the nearby moons. This will tell you what level of phalanx they have and thus the range. Of course, in an old universe with many moons it is best to assume you are always being watched. In such a universe it is also impractical to scan all moons in a galaxy. But in a newer universe with only a few moons that becomes possible.
Calculate Your Flight Time
One of the most important aspects of a good fleetsave is the time it takes for the fleet to return from a mission to its planet or moon of origin. All fleetsaving techniques require that the player be online before the fleetsaving mission returns. This is done so that attempts to save your ships from phalanx hits, debris field watch attacks, or "lucky" attacks can be planned and executed between the time when your ships returns from their fleetsave mission and the time of the enemy attack. A player must take into account how long a fleet will be safe in flight and always be online before a fleetsave returns.
It is important to note that missions such as ACS attack/defend, attack, deployment, harvesting and transport have a time period when the ships travels to their destination and a time when they return to their planet or moon of origin. Adding these two aspects of a mission gives the total time that a fleet will spend "flying" and remains safe from attacks.
Deployments are different from other missions because it is the only fleetsave mission that has a one way mission. Therefore, the total flight time is only a measure of how long it takes a fleet to travel from point A to point B.
Recalling missions always return in the same time period it has already spent flying. So if a fleet has already been flying for 4:05:23 when it is recalled, the fleet will take 4:05:23 to return to its planet of origin; making a total flight time of 8:10:46 for the fleet.
Effective Means of Fleetsaving
Without a Moon
Before you have a moon, you are at your most vulnerable. Really there is only one safe way to fleetsave, and that is deployment from one of your planets to another. That is the only possible way to avoid sensor phalanx based hits. But be aware that this mission is still visible to phalanxes! However, when you see an attack coming, you can recall the deployment. The recalled deployment is invisible to the phalanx and is in fact the only mission to or from a planet that cannot be seen. This is what makes this the only viable fleetsave method for players without a moon.
Of course the key to making this work is to be online before your fleet arrives, so you can recall if necessary. Remember, your fleet is visible unless it is recalled. Some players have been known to always proactively recall their deployments even if there is no attack.
Be aware that skilled fleeters can still hit you if they time your fleets. (They be able to see when your fleet disappears from phalanx and is thus recalled). Therefore, avoid sending your fleets at 100% speed. Avoid using the same speed each time you fleetsave. And avoid fleetsaving at the same times each day. In other words, be unpredictable and difficult to time.
Any other mission types are complete suicide as a fleetsave for a player without a moon. Harvesting, Transport, and Attack should all be avoided. They can be seen on phalanx, and once they start to return there is nothing you can do to avoid a hit.
With a moon
When you get a moon, many more options become available to you. This is because missions are invisible to a phalanx when avoiding going to or from a planet. Options:
Deployment mission from moon to moon (Best method)
Made possible if you have two moons. This is likely the safest method. It has all the advantages of the planet to planet deploy while also being fully invisible to a phalanx from the start. The key advantage is that even if timed and attacked, you can recall to escape the attack. Thus this is the gold standard of fleetsaving, if you can afford the deut costs.
The danger here comes from a moon destruction. If someone is desperate enough to crash your fleet at all costs, he may try to destroy your moons using Deathstars. If he succeeds, any fleets heading to or from the destroyed moon now show as coming to or from the planet instead. In this case they can become visible on phalanx.
Harvesting mission to a debris field
As a method for fleetsaving, harvesting is particularly easy to master. Simply select your recycler(s) and ALL the rest of your ships, and send them off to a debris field. (Loaded with ALL your res.) Be sure you mark it as a debris field when you send the mission.
There are 3 things you should consider when doing this:
- How big the Debris Field is (might as well make a profit while you're asleep eh?)
- How far is it (less distance = less fuel used)
- When are you going to be online next
Sometimes it is possible to have an "invisible" debris field. This is one that exists but is so small that it does not show up. You can make one by having a friend or alliance member attack you with a single probe to create one. Any debris field that has already been harvested also still exists as an invisible debris field, and can still be used until it is cleared by the server. Any of these type of invisible fields are cleared once per week, on Sunday night.
This method is not completely foolproof. A skilled fleeter can watch for the debris field to disappear if he can guess which one you sent your fleets towards. This will allow him to time your return, especially if he sees when your planets go inactive and when the debris field goes away each day. Of course an invisible field can mitigate this, but he could always send probe attacks to build it up and thus watch its disappearance. Another mitigation is sending a decoy fleet (or even several) with one or more recyclers to pick up the field before your main fleet arrives. Thus the fleeter times the decoy not the real fleet. However, even this can be countered if a fleeter is determined, by adding more debris via probe attacks to see if another fleet follows.
The risk is that you have no recall, once the harvest is done. Thus someone who timed you can hit you without you being able to do something about it. In addition, a moon destruction would make your fleet visible to phalanx.
Again, simple enough, however remember that once your fleet reaches its destination your resources will be left there, perhaps leaving it exposed to raiders.
Keep in mind that a moon destruction would make your fleet visible to phalanx.
Colonization missions from a moon to an empty slot cannot be seen. You will need a colony ship with your fleet. However, make sure that if you send a colonization mission that you actually cannot colonize another planet. If your level of Astrophysics is high enough that you can have another, your fleet will drop all its resources on the new planet and leave them there for easy raiding. Meanwhile, it will return to your moon while being fully visible to those who phalanx your new planet.
It is imperative if you use this method that you most certainly cannot colonize a new planet. Watch your research, in case a new level of Astrophysics finishes before your fleet arrives.
Other safety measures
Fancy deploying your ships but are worried about it being timed and destroyed? Send it off in chunks, the player may phalanx you, but ultimately you will only lose a fraction of your fleet instead of all of it.
Players that do not fleetsave
Although fleetsaving is a must for most OGamers, you will see three groups of players that do not fleetsave when offline.
- Those with fleets so big no-one is able to take them out without unprofitable losses. Only players with the largest fleets dare to do this. (Not recommended in ACS universe)
- Those with large enough defenses and small enough fleets and resources to make attacking them unprofitable.
- Those still learning to play the game, better known as easy targets.
In ACS universes groups of up to five players working together may attack even players with exceptionally large defenses and fleets.
Some very good players may crash fleets by learning your online times and therefore knowing when you fleetsave, allowing them to time their fleets close even without a phalanx. This is called a blind phalanx. To avoid this, fleetsave to different debris fields or moons, at different times, or by splitting your fleet up for the maximum safety margin.
Ultimately, just remember that players will always attack you if you are profitable for them. If you leave resources or ships lying about they are sure to get destroyed and the attacker will get your hard-earned resources instead of you. So, make yourself unprofitable by fleet-saving, res-saving, and building defenses, and you'll progress a lot quicker. If your alliance is at war then the rules are different, as players will attack you even if you are unprofitable, giving players that fleetsave a decided advantage over players that build defenses.
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