Space Combat currently involves player controlled Fighter squads and NPC Bandit controlled squads.
Space combat features two parties attacking each other simultaneously according to a simple set of rules. An attacker can engage in one attack every 30 minutes (known as a "fire delay"), while a defender can be attacked and return fire automatically for each round of attacks received. A squadron in a fire delay can still be attacked by others.
Currently space combat will only work with fighter class ships, and most gunship class ships. Space combat can only be initiated by a player squadron against a Hostile NPC controlled squadron. Hostile Bandits can be found in Asteroid Fields.
Hostile Bandits will attack player controlled ships only, but will ignore escape pods and anything larger than a fighter class ship. Hostile bandits will only attack players that have attacked a bandit within the past 48 hours, players who do not attack will be relentlessly taunted by the bandit squads.
Space combat involves the players ship, plus any allied squadded ships, and occurs against enemy ships with their party members (known as a squadron).
Fighter class ships involved in space combat fire all their weapons that are in range.
Mounted Weapons tracking stat (1-10) defines how effective a weapon is at tracking maneuverable enemies. The player Fighter Combat skill improves weapon tracking.
Ships maneuverability (1-10) stat defines how effective a ship is at avoiding hits. The player Fighter Piloting stat improves or detracts from the ships maneuverability stat:
This means that a highly maneuverable ship with a poor pilot could be worse in combat than a low maneuverable ship with a good pilot.
Next, the damage is scaled by the weapon's firepower and the target's armor:
Weapons scale between classes of ship. Fighter energy weapons do more damage to other fighters, but do less damage to larger ships. Fighter explosive weaponry such as proton torpedoes do good damage to larger ships but less damage to other fighters.
Corvette weapons do more damage to fighters, but do less damage to larger ships.
Damage is first reduced by shields. Energy and Physical weapons damage is applied against hull, while Ionic weapon damage is applied against ionic capacitance.
If hull reaches 0, the ship will be wrecked. Any characters aboard will be evacuated into an escape pod (regardless of if the ship is equipped with escape pods).
If ionic capacitance reaches 0, the ship will be disabled for 24 hours.
Pilots engaging in space combat will earn a maximum of 40 XP per round. The XP earned is based on the percentage of shots that hit a target. Your ship must have a weapon and use it in order to earn any XP. You do not earn XP for counter attacks.
Combat tactics determine how entities target their opponents with the hits from their weapons. Combat tactics for the Player's ship and their Party can be changed from the Squadron screen.
Spread Fire is the default option for all combatants. Under this method, each individual hit from a combatant's weapon will target a separate member of the opposing party, chosen at random. A hit from a weapon will avoid a dead/invalid target until such a time as no other targets are available.
Focus Fire will have all the hits from a combatant's weapon target the same enemy for an entire combat round. Under this option, even if an opponent dies or becomes an invalid target during the combat round, the combatant's hits will still target that opponent.
Current, PvE Space combat is enabled in Asteroid Fields found in Deep Space Squares. You cannot die from space combat, if your ship is destroyed it will be turned into a wreck and you will be forced into an escape pod (even if your ship is not equipped with escape pods).
Bandits will only attack you if you have attacked a bandit within the past 48 hours.
Bandits will ignore non-fighter ships, escape pods.
It is strongly recommended to engage in space combat in full squads of fighter ships.