* Finding a Target & Gathering Intelligence
* Launching an Attack
* Further Intelligence
* Analysing the Report
When attacking it is essential to have a suitable target and enough units to utilise on the attack. If you don't have enough of one type of unit or you are outnumbered, it is almost certain that your attack will fail. The more targets you attack and win against, the more law & fame you will be able to gain, and thus the better/worse you will look. The main purpose of attacking (normally) is to steal land, as this increases your income - allowing you to rise in rank faster, although you may wish to collect bounties on players with a bounty on their head, or simply kill enemies to take them out of your range or to get revenge or similar. Gardeners and harvesters are useful units in combat; they can be used to act as "protection" for your innocent Geo-Phys Thieves, thus reducing the number that might die in the offensive. More information on this can be found in the flakking guide.
Finding a Target & Gathering Intelligence:
Before sending an attack, you first need to find a suitable target. "Suitable" is a bit of a general term - it's really up to you to decide what sort of target you are after. A target could range from somebody that once stole land from you in the past, a member of an enemy alliance, somebody that will provide a tough challenge for you and a few friends trying to get lots of law & fame, or an easy low down target that provides no challenge but might be easy pickings (though could net you negative lawfulness). You may also be after somebody who has developed a particular route or has particular units which have a weakness to your own route and units and so is vulnerable to you, and likewise might want to specifically avoid targets which have routes or units that are designed to kill your own route. Most of this, it has to be said, can only really be learnt from experience and analysing the routes and units in the game.
The key place to search for targets is the "Search" page, which lets you specify many parameters to search by - such as minimum and maximum attack ranges (eg try 70% - 150% for a good range), minimum and maximum land, minimum and maximum rank (to name but a few).
A few important things to note: You cannot attack anybody in the game that is less than 30% of your own total score - this can be found by multiplying your score by 0.3 (Your score * 0.3 = Maximum score of your victims). If you attack somebody that is between 30% and 35% of your score, the ETA of your troops will have a +2 modifier - meaning they take 2 ticks longer to arrive at their target, and 2 ticks longer to get home. If you attack somebody that is between 35% and 40% of your score, the ETA of your troops will have a +1 modifier - meaning they take 1 tick longer to arrive at their target and to get home. Finally, your Law & Fame rating should be kept in mind when selecting targets if you want to keep your current title or improve it. Also, because on any one attack you can only ever steal up to 15% of the target's land, it can therefore be advantageous to target players with lots of land, rather than those with little - to increase your income by more.
Once you feel you have found a target, you will of course want to try and gather some intelligence on this company. While this can cover things such as personal experience, messaging people, information from your alliance or friends... by and large it will come from using the "Intelligence" page.
There are four direct types of intelligence available at your disposal (after completing the requisite researches). These are as follows:
* "Drive-By": Shows how many seeds and plants of each type the target has - can also be useful for working out if the target is currently online or not because wouldn't you be busy growing all your seeds if it was Sunny? There are no guarantees however!
* "Fly-Over": Shows the target's recent news, within the last 15 minutes. All player Ids are hidden and simply shown as "somebody"
* "Hax0r": Shows the visible units owned by the target company - "Stealth" units will not show up.
* "Spy": Shows the target's recent News items from the last four days - can be a good source of information about the target - if they get defended a lot, they may be in an alliance; if they have sent out an attack recently they may still be online.
Launching an Attack:
Once you have selected a target and you're ready to attack, browse to the "Military" page where you can select the number and type of units to send.
Note: it is often a good idea to send gardeners or harvesters along with your attacks to act as "Flak". This is mainly because of their cheap, disposable nature.
After deciding which units and how many of each you will send to your previously selected target, you must enter these figures into the input boxes next to the desired unit you wish to send. Alternatively you may use one of six preset "special" codes ("*" for all; "h" for half; "t" for a third; "q" for a quarter; "f" for a fifth). You can also use percentages to send a particular percentage of your troops - this percentage is a percentage of the troops currently at home - eg you could enter "30%" to send 30% of all staff currently at home.
Once this has been completed, you are ready to enter in the target ID into the input box under the "Target" header at the bottom of the page, making sure that the "Attack" option is selected in the drop-down box to the left of the ID field. You also have the option of attempting an Adrenaline Rush here by ticking the appropriate tick-box.
When you have completed the above, pressing "Send" at the bottom of the form will launch your attack.
Since your attack is now underway, it is a good idea to keep track of it to make sure you do not trigger anti-rape or the like. This is usually done via means of Further Intelligence.
Simply put, this is the act of Spying/"Hax0ring" on your target each tick (or at regular tick intervals) until you are perfectly sure that no help will arrive or trouble has occured (many like to Spy/Hax0r up until the second tick of the attack just to make sure that no one has sent any defence and that the target has not suddenly bought any extra "last-tick" units.
Further Intelligence is undertaken in exactly the same way as initial intelligence. Browse to your "Intelligence" page and enter in the target ID, select the desired intelligence type and clicking "Send". Using the gathered report you can then ascertain whether you are safe to proceed without coming away with too much damage or whether it would be safer for you to recall your units and search for a different target due to a large amount of defence for your target. If you make the decision to recall your units from the attack, you can do so by browsing back to your "Military" page, locating the "mob" that you sent to the target and clicking the "Recall" link to the right of the line.
Analysing the Report:
As with any intelligence report, if you don't understand them and what they can tell you then their use is rather limited.
* "Drive-by" reports:
A drive-by is very useful for determining whether a user is online or not. On a successful fly-over, a list of total land types, full land types, seeds and plants becomes available. This is useful for deciding whether to send seed/plant destroying units in attacks to inflict maximum penalty and/or to see if a user is online or not (Note: during sun, it is more likely - but not definate - that a user will plant all seeds)
* "Fly-Over" reports:
Fly-overs are a "mini spy scan" - giving you any news generated within the past 15 minutes real time, but with all IDs stripped out (replaced simply with "[somebody]"). This 15 minute period could be risky and misleading - an event that occured early last tick (ie 16 minutes ago) can be missed, and with all IDs appearing simply as "somebody" it can be hard to tell exactly what is going on.
* "Hax0r" reports:
A Hax0r scan "hacks" into the users account and pulls up a list of all visible units that they currently have hired. This will allow you to further calculate what you will need to send in order to disable/kill enough staff to fulfil your purpose of attacking (usually for the land).
Please note that all "invisible" units (ie cloaked) will not show up as anything on a Hax0r scan.
* "Spy" reports:
Your Spies are incredibly useful for working out if your target ever/has gotten defence in the past. This could help you decide whether or not is a good idea to proceed with the attack. A user with previous heavy defence is more likely to be in an alliance and thus able to receive the same amount at any other time. A user with governement defence is more likely to be solo and vulnerable.