Fighter Drones


Fighter drones

How do I use the fighter drones?


Fighter drones are an enhanced form of combat drones. In addition to the basic behaviour this gives them, they can also operate independently of their owner’s ship with several new abilities. In order for these abilities to be effective, fighter drones have the ability to warp so that they can follow any arbitrary object they need to be close to.

Since fighters are evolved drones, they possess all the basic commands and particularities linked to them. Please refer to the following Knowledge Base article for more information.

Control of fighter drones can be delegated to a fellow gang member.

This gang member cannot scoop them to their drone bay or delegate control of them to another player, but they can do pretty much anything else. They do not own the drones and are not responsible for the actions of the drones. Keep in mind that aggression rules are based on ownership, so if an object aggresses or assists another, the aggression is registered to the owner of that object. This means that delegation of drone control should be done with acknowledgement that the owner of the drones is making themselves liable for possibly unwelcome repercussions.

They will warp after the gang member and follow them around the solar system in this manner if they have been configured to in the drone overview. Left-click the little white arrow in the drone overview and tick the following:

  • Fighter: follow in warp (no by default)

Fighter drones pursue a target they have been commanded to engage until it is lost or destroyed.

Standard combat drones are an all-purpose tool that serve as a local defence and need to be controlled locally by their source. Fighter drones, however, can be commanded to engage a target in the same way as combat drones (the target has to be local and targeted at the time) and will then follow it through warp until they have destroyed the target or the target has lost them. Of course, the drones do not have a magical ability to follow their target through warp: It needs to be present when they warp in, and only when they can observe its departure can they hunt it down.

Terms of endearment

The terms used to describe ships involved in the usage of these drones are:

  • Source
    The ship belonging to their owner.
  • Controller
    The ship that currently has control of them. If control has been delegated to the ship of a fellow gang member, then it will be that ship. Otherwise it will be the ship belonging to their owner.

Events that invalidate drone control

As with other forms of drones, if the drone source is no longer valid, the drones will be incapacitated where they are currently located; this applies even if the drone controller is not the source. If the drone controller is no longer valid, fighters will be left floating in space most of the time. Below you can see the different possible reasons for your control over your fighters becoming invalid:

  • Module-based cloaking
    Normal drones cannot be controlled when their source is cloaked, and fighter drones are no different. If the source cloaks, whether they are the controller or not, the drone should incapacitate. Otherwise, if the controller cloaks, the drone should stay floating in space at their current location.
  • Removal of the ship from space
    Normal drones require their source to be present in the same solar system and within a limited distance (within sight / one or two hundred kilometres distance) or they incapacitate. Fighter drones also require the presence of their source in the same solar system, but they do not require proximity. If docking, the fighters will be left in space. If logging off, they should return in the dronebay.
  • Ejecting from the ship
    Drones are directly linked to the ship they are launched from (their source). If the ship's pilot ejects, then drone control is lost. If the ship ejected from is their source, they stay floating in space.
  • Removal from the gang
    This has no bearing on their source. But given the requirement that a delegated controller be a gang member, this means that when they leave the gang, control is forcibly removed from them. They should return to the source when this happens.
  • Passing through a force field
    When the source is passing through a force field, the control over drones/fighters will be lost. They will be left floating in space.

User Interface

The user interface for drones has been enhanced in order to adequately show the state of fighter drones. Previously the user interface was only capable of showing drones that were visible, local in space to the player. But fighter drones belonging to a source may be located somewhere else in the solar system depending on whether they have a delegated controller other than the source or are still engaging a target there. This means that both the drone controller and the drone source should at all times be able to see the active (non-incapacitated) drones that they either own or have control of in their user interface.

As incapacitated drones can no longer be tracked, they will disappear from the user interface. While the information used by the user interface reflects a knowledge that the drones are in the same solar system, the source and the controller do not know exactly where they are and cannot warp to them.

The interface allows a controller to command the drones to engage a target on behalf of the source. Unless the controller is the source, he should not have the option to scoop them, or to have them return to their drone bay. If the controller is not the source, the source should be able to see who has control of the drones and recall them with any drone command (especially ‘return to drone bay’ or ‘return and orbit’). Also if the controller is not the source, the controller should be able to see whose drones he has control of.