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Trader Fleeing - By Psion

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Trader Fleeing

 Ever AMTRAK'ed a trader only to have him flee to Fed after the first plink?  Or wanted to plink a trader away from guarding his planets so you could invade?  This article covers the conditions under which traders will and will not flee, whether they are online or off.  Please note that this article applies to auto-flees only, pod fleeing is covered in a separate article by Dr. Bad.  All of my tests were run using v3.13; this behavior may very well be different in other versions.

For starters, Iíll clear up any confusion about the Online Auto Flee (OAF) option.  (the '\' key. -T)  If a trader is online and has OAF turned off, they will not flee until you pod them, no matter what.  If they have it turned on or are offline, they will flee according to the following formula:

If attacker fighters > (defender fighters + defender shields) * 1.25, then they will flee.

Notice this is NOT greater than or equal to, so if itís close, pack a few extra fighters.  There is also a very small amount of wiggle room here due to the inherent randomness of TW combat.  To be on the safe side, have 1.3x their fighters plus shields if you want to force a flee, or 1.2x if you donít.  The odds of the ships and the maximum capacities of fighters or shields have no bearing on the formula; it only factors in the amounts currently on hand.

The exception to this rule is when you are plinking a ship that is granted a Guardian bonus, like a Tholian.  Guardian ships will never flee, period.  Interestingly, there does not appear to be a check as to whether or not there is actually a planet in the sector or whether it is corporate owned like there is for the defensive bonus. Tholians show the same flee-resistance in empty sectors, sectors with enemy planets, sectors with personal planets, and sectors with corporate planets.  This has the effect of making ship captures easier, but also means you canít chase them away from planets they are guarding. 

Attackers who have active IGs will keep a trader from fleeing, as will an active PIG in sector.  The presence or status of an IG on the defending ship has no effect on whether or not they flee. 

Lack of turns will not prevent a trader from fleeing either.  Even freshly photoned, they flee normally.  If they do have turns left, they will be subject to the normal flee penalty implemented after v3.11.54. 

Now what most people want to know is: WHERE will they flee to?  When fleeing, the trader will move to an adjacent unblocked sector, if any are available.  The trader will never move more than one sector.  If no adjacent sectors are unblocked, then the flee attempt will fail and the trader will stay in sector.  For the purposes of fleeing, a sector is considered blocked if it contains any fighters except fighters belonging to the defenderís corp, or the defenderís personal fighters.  Nothing else makes a difference.  So if there is one specific sector you want them to flee to, put corp fighters in every other adjacent sector before you plink them. They will flee to the one unblocked sector Ė the one you wanted them in.  If there is one sector you do NOT want them to flee to (like Dock), then un-fig every adjacent sector, cross your fingers and plink them.  Mines, planets, hazz, etc do not mark a sector as being blocked and are not activated when the trader flees into the sector.  Read that again.  If you didnít grasp the implications, read it again until you do.  Thatís right:  when you flee into a sector, Armid mines, limpet mines, hazz, and quasar cannons do NOT go off!!!  They are completely unaffected.  Granted itís rare that youíll find a planet with no fighters in sector, but if you do, you can use this trick to sneak into the sector and ruin their day.  This is more of a novelty than anything else and depending on your point of view could be considered a bug.  However, I think the conditions necessary for it to be implemented and the setup work involved will mean that this is probably never used.  If anyone actually uses this in a real game, drop me an ICQ and let me know. 

Iíve covered every condition that might effect fleeing that I could think of, but if you come up with something else, let me know and Iíll be happy to test it and update this article if necessary.  And before you ask, no I didnít test aliens, and no Iím not going to.  Aliens are lame.  Play against real people.

Psion

ICQ# 211279673

ed note: comments by Traitor are in this color.

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