X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

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Lotharian
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X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Lotharian » Sat, 23. Mar 19, 18:47

So I played X3:TC a good bit, and liked building up a lot of automated Mercury sector traders. Occasionally one of them would bite it, but USUALLY it happened because they were in a particularly bad region, or did something idiotic like flying into a Xenon sector.

In X3:AP, so far it seems like pirates are much more prevalent? I see more frequent pirate groups roaming through border sectors, and already lost one of my few trade ships in CSE. So:

1.) ARE pirates more prevalent in X3AP vs. X3TC?
2.) How should I go about preventing losses?

I know if you give MK3-equipped ships a jump drive, and they have high enough skill, they can jump out of danger. What level does that happen? And would they be safe in core sectors until they hit that level?

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Red-Spot
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Red-Spot » Sun, 24. Mar 19, 20:15

Mk3, they use the jumpdrive from level 6 or 7, maybe a bit sooner in an emergency. Availability of drones also helps them survive. Simply put, do not leave unskilled traders in unsecured sectors, when they are skilled they should generally be able to keep themselves alive when properly equipped.

Pirates seem to come in waves and I find they tend to be more prevalent if the pirates like you less. So hunt them down and they may be around more (at least the red ones), do some missions and they may still be there, but less of them will be red to you.
My policy towards pirates, kill capitals, do missions to make them nice again, do some more missions for them to make sure the next regular mission (kill pirate) keeps them friendly ... go do stuff and kill loads of pirates that are red ... repeat.
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jlehtone
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by jlehtone » Sun, 24. Mar 19, 21:15

1. Don't know. I'm friendly to Pirates and they almost never bother me. In fact, they have attacked my Stations, but never Freighters.
2. I ignore losses. At most replace them. Some (not many) ships have been killed. By blue Terrans.*

Mk3 Trader will buy a JumpDrive at some level. That is more expensive than when you equip the ship yourself. Therefore, equip the ship.


*To be fair, thousands of Terrans died for my entertainment before I chose to have a peace with the puny critters.
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Lotharian
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Lotharian » Mon, 25. Mar 19, 03:13

- How do you determine what is an "unsecured sector"? Non-core?
- Can anyone comment on whether there are more roaming pirates / whether you lose more trade ships in X3:AP vs. X3:TC ?
- Have trade ships fallen out of favor at all? I heard the stock market can be powerful if you know how to use it; so far I haven't tried it.

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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by jlehtone » Mon, 25. Mar 19, 18:59

Lotharian wrote:
Mon, 25. Mar 19, 03:13
- Have trade ships fallen out of favor at all?
I don't think so.
  • The stock Trade Mk1/2 commands are smarter than ever. (Albeit, from bottom anything is "up".)
  • CAG, Commercial Agent beats the stock factory service ships in many ways.
  • CLS2, External Logistics can do really fancy trade.
  • Trade Mk3 above level 5 can run as "Local Trader" (LT); like Sector Trader, but within "jumprange" sectors. The LT does not "wander around" like the UT. If you can never fly near Xenon sector ...
Pirates and Xenon spawn in their "homes" and occasionally fly out to raid. Some small Pirate groups might spawn in other sectors. Some Pirates do not raid, but fly between Pirate Bases.

Any sector far from Pirate or Xenon sector is unlikely to see much hostiles. Most foes have to pass several sectors to get that far. The races have Military (that also travels and raids enemy races) and RRF (Rapid Response Fleets) that can jump to deal with a foe.

Bonuspack has SEWN (Satellite Early Warning System). I've never used it, but apparently you can deploy Satellites and get a warning if hostile ships enter surveyed sectors. That should allow you to response before the Pirates start attacking your Trader's.
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Red-Spot
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Red-Spot » Mon, 25. Mar 19, 19:17

I'll just add 1 simple thing, universal to all ships and all purposes. SPEED!
Mercuries suck simply cause of their speed. Traders can not fight they at best can keep the enemy at bay for a short while. Speed helps them stay clear of the fight in the first place.
Merc's may have decent shields, but those will just buy them a few seconds and if nothing has then intervened they will die with more shields and higher cost. Get ships that are faster than the average enemy and only when your guys go head first into an enemy may they bite the dust.
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by SirNukes » Mon, 25. Mar 19, 21:28

When not using jumpdrives to escape, it is also super important not to equip your trader with any weapons. If they have an IRE in their turret, they will fight and die; if they have no weapons, they will flee to a nearby station and maybe survive (with enough speed and shielding).

Also, when a trader gets attacked, avoid the urge to open their sector map and watch, since combat turns occur when opening the map (the trader may instantly die when you press the button) and every 5 seconds while watching, but only every 30 seconds otherwise (best for shield regen and fleeing).

Regarding pirates, they have a variety of different spawn flags, and relatively few of them can spawn in core security sectors (but nowhere is 100% safe). Heavy corvettes on 'defend sector' commands can mostly protect inner sectors with your traders, since that command can target enemies outside radar range, and random pirates tend to spawn pretty far out which gives time for intercept. You may want something heavier to defend sectors bordering on pirates space, to deal with their M6 groups. Of course, it is often cheaper to just replace dead traders than protect them.

I don't know of any fundamental differences between TC and AP, but I did notice over a long playthrough of AP that pirates eventually were clustered in the Maelstrom area, where nothing kills them off to force respawns elsewhere. On flying through in a springblossom and blasting away a bunch of pirates, there was a major uptick in attacks on my traders afterwards. This could be similar to moving from a mature TC save to a fresh AP start.

Lotharian
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Lotharian » Tue, 26. Mar 19, 20:07

SirNukes wrote:
Mon, 25. Mar 19, 21:28
When not using jumpdrives to escape, it is also super important not to equip your trader with any weapons. If they have an IRE in their turret, they will fight and die; if they have no weapons, they will flee to a nearby station and maybe survive (with enough speed and shielding).
I thought you were supposed to put an IRE on the back turret set to "Protect Ship", to shoot down missiles?

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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Fulgrymm » Wed, 27. Mar 19, 09:07

Missiles hit automagically OOS, so it would be pointless for that purpose.

Lotharian
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Lotharian » Thu, 6. Aug 20, 08:07

Bumping this thread instead of making an identical one.

Same problems. New game in X3:AP. Just lost a Mercury in Power Circle to a roaming pirate group. Had several other close calls elsewhere including President's End where I'd have lost the Mercury if it hadn't lucked into being right at a station, and furthermore, one of the Solar Power Plants in The Wall was destroyed by someone. This is all in a game with less than 24 game-time hours, only 5 trade ships operating.

So once again asking -- is X3:AP too dangerous to even run trade ships? I kinda just wanted to relax and build up a little trade fleet where at least SOME areas were safe. All of my Mercuries are still direct-order, no MK3 installed yet.

I know if I fully shielded them and had a high enough MK3 and jump drive, theoretically they could jump out of most danger. But where could I even safely train them?? Should I just go back to X3:TC if I want a trade fleet?

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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by jlehtone » Thu, 6. Aug 20, 12:16

Lotharian wrote:
Thu, 6. Aug 20, 08:07
So once again asking -- is X3:AP too dangerous to even run trade ships?
No.

I've lost only couple, due to (1) Xenon, (2) Terran, or (3) foes spawned by generic mission.

The default response of a freighter to an attack is to launch fighter drones (if it has any) and flee to nearest station.
Maximum shields, speed, and couple dozen drones is thus a sensible loadout.

As long as you control them directly (MORT), you make sure that they have drones.
You also peek at map for possible threats.

CAG/CLS/Mk3 can restock drones on their own and jump in emergency.


NPC Factories can be destroyed, but it is more likely that SPP was removed as an "economic event".
If a player has a ship docked at a station, then such event should not happen there.

Faction fleets do raid their enemies. They target mainly "government buildings": Defence platforms, Docks and Yards.
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Lotharian
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Lotharian » Thu, 6. Aug 20, 20:01

I had been trading heavily at both SPP in The Wall, since in the early game I focus a lot on energy cells, both for profit and for supplying other stations so they don't "poof." I thought stations were only deleted when no one was trading with them for a certain (long) period of time?

I can't believe you haven't been stomped by pirates, since I ALWAYS am. But you said in an earlier post that you were friendly to Pirates. That must be why. I guess if I want trade fleets, I have to go make nice with all the pirates? How do I do that? Pay someone to hack all of their stations?

If instead I want solo trade ships to use drone defense, would that really work? This Mercury was killed by a squadron of I believe 4 pirates. It did only have like 26-27MJ of shield (I don't heavily invest early on since the Mercuries just seem to die regardless) but it died quite quickly. Even if it had had a full 75MJ I don't see that it would have bought that much time. Seemingly not nearly enough time for drones to kill 4 pirate combat ships?

* I looked it up. I'd have to run missions for pirates and then get someone to hack their stations. Actually not fond of that idea, I'd rather roleplay as being against pirates so I'll just arm up with drones. Looks like my ideal TS is to switch to the Mistral? I'll have to work on getting fully shielded MK3 Mistrals with drones.

** Logged back into my game, set all 5 of my Mercuries to dock at their nearest shipyard to be sold. I couldn't even do THAT without one of them being destroyed!!!

https://i.imgur.com/0X0J4rW.jpg

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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by jlehtone » Fri, 7. Aug 20, 20:43

Lotharian wrote:
Thu, 6. Aug 20, 20:01
I can't believe you haven't been stomped by pirates, since I ALWAYS am. But you said in an earlier post that you were friendly to Pirates. That must be why. I guess if I want trade fleets, I have to go make nice with all the pirates? How do I do that? Pay someone to hack all of their stations?
Me being friendly to Pirates means that I don't kill them unnecessarily, I do trade with their stations, do missions for them, and have no checks on who I sell cheap distilled Argon Wheat to.

There are always small groups of Pirates that spawn angry. As I said, I've mostly encountered them shooting at my Station. They died. Killing couple M5-M3 is small offence.

Note: I have done some Defend Station missions. About 3 M1/M2 + 1 M7 + large wing of fighters does spawn. I did kill the fighters and boarded all boardable Pirate vessels. There was no noticeable bad blood among the Pirates.

Another note:
When a Hero of Sol (rank 10) boards a Atmospheric Lifter (the 80 ton TL), reputation drops to Planetary Senator (rank 7) and no worse.
When anyone on the positive with regular faction kills an M1 or M2, their reputation drops to rank -2 points, e.g. Known Antagonist for Argons FAQ


A Station is red to us either because the faction considers us a foe, or because we made that particular station angry (e.g. shot at it or its pals).
When our reputation among the faction improves, the ones hostile due to faction policy will revert to blue.
Only the individually angry remain red.

Only the individually angry can be hacked neutral, and only if the factions view is that we are not an enemy. Hacking missions are relatively rare. There was Terran Defence Station that remained red after the war and no offers to hack it, so eventually I did blow it up. New one should spawn blue, because today I'm their Hero.


The main workhorse of my trade fleet is Caiman Hauler. I have some plain Caimans and Caiman XL Superfreighters too. Their maximum shields are less than of other races, but it might be that their fully tuned engines give that tiny edge in statistics between getting caught and slipping through.

I (reluctantly) have some Local Traders (but not for the credits). They are all Drake's.
My Xenon Hub has CAGs that trade all over the Galaxy. Buy and sell. They are all Snotra's.
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Fulgrymm » Sat, 8. Aug 20, 08:30

If and/or when you get the funds for it, invest in Springblossoms as your LTs. They're fast enough and tough enough that they can outrun anything that can kill them, and kill anything they can't outrun.

Lotharian
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Re: X3AP: Pirates / Protecting Trade Ships?

Post by Lotharian » Sat, 8. Aug 20, 16:05

Wow, there's so many ships I don't know. Yeah that thing would certainly be a tank as LT, although only half the cargo of Mistral or Mercury.

Currently training up two Mistral LT (well ST for now.) Fully shielded and 20 MK1 drones on each. Question time:

- How many drones should I have on them?
- How many drones CAN they launch?
- How many drones WILL they launch when aggroed?
- What settings or what setup is required for them to auto-jump on aggro? Auto-jump set + certain pilot level??
- I assume it helps that I gave them Triplex scanner? What else should they have? Fight command mk1? Fight command mk2? Anything else?

- If I want to buy and deploy some Solar Power Plants, is that honestly even worth it? I feel like they'll get destroyed before they even pay off.
- Would I need a wing of fighters to defend them, if so what? (5x M3??)
- Would I need to just have fighters to actively keep larger regions of space defended against hostiles, so then I could have many stations that are collectively safe?

Again I never had this much of an issue playing X3:TC. Had the occasional ship loss but dozens of LT making money for me. X3:AP feels like a constant warzone.

- Hmm, another question - can MK3 traders just become "broken"?? This one trader is L4 and seemingly the only thing he can do in the entire universe is unsuccessfully try to buy Nostrop Oil and then go on Standby. Assigned him to 3 different sectors, hasn't fixed the problem...

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