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Survival Guide - Dust Settles: Special Operations Overview

Table of Contents:

I. Purpose
II. Mission Overview
III. Mission Success
IV. Modifiers
   A. Timing and Focus
   B. Ops and Militia Training
   C. Research
   D. Number of Ops
   E. Mid-Mission Modifiers
   F. Uncontrollable Modifiers
V. Limitations

Purpose:

Special operations officers will be used to attack another camp in secret. You will be able to sabotage buildings, steal information, poison water or crops, and even assassinate officers when you run a mission. You will need plenty of militia, manned guard posts, active lights, wall, and barbed wire to keep yourself well protected from similar attacks. Though it is often difficult to get a true "success" on any ops mission, a failed mission can still cause a great deal of damage to a camp.

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Mission Overview:

After a camp has set up an ops attack and ended the three turns necessary for the ops to reach the defender's camp, those ops will attack the camp. When the ops first get to the perimeter of the camp, they will have to avoid any manned guard posts surrounding the camp, find a way over the camp's walls, possibly cut through barbed wire on top of those walls, and move as carefully as needed based on the camp's light coverage. Once they have passed these barriers, the ops will then have to do a quick assessment of the surroundings.

At this point, the ops will begin to go after specific targets based on the total number of ops and the mission type. An ops attack will usually last for 7 target sets. The only time this will be shorter is if the defending camp does not have what the mission is targeting, has an extremely small amount for some reason (i.e. all officers were recently killed in a previous attack, the player is not in an alliance, etc.), or if your ops are killed enough to hit the limitations of the rules of engagement before hitting all 7 targets.

As the ops go through each target set, they must get into the buildings/areas targeted, perform whatever action is needed, and then make it back out without being seen. They can be spotted and killed while performing their task or coming out. They will not be seen while going in, though they may be hindered when going in, which will lower their efficiency on that target.

If the ops are seen, only a portion of the original amount will usually be spotted and those ops will basically fight to the death to kill all of the ops or militia that spotted them. The attacking ops will be able to take out more militia per unit than defending ops, but the number each unit can take on successfully can be very different due to research. The spotted ops will fight and kill all of the militia or ops that spot them in order to keep their attack from being discovered and halted, usually perishing in the battle themselves.

When the time comes for the attacking ops to leave, they will sneak back out of the camp, activating any traps or bombs planted (if appropriate) as they leave. They will then be ranked on total mission efficiency and total success as percentages. This success percentage will determine which camp wins. Whether the attacking camp wins or loses, they will remain "Unknown" only if no attacking ops are killed. Unless the mission assigned was one of the recon missions, the attacking camp can have some, though not great, success with any mission even if all of their ops are killed. On recon missions, all of the ops being killed means the attacking camp will not see any return since no one can bring back the information found. The results of the mission will be displayed for the attacker before the main end-turn results on the 3rd day the ops are out. The defender will see the results as soon as a new page is loaded in the game screen after the attacker has finished those three turns. The attacking camp's remaining ops will return home after another 3 turns have been ended.

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Mission Success:

Any mission where even a single building is blown up or person poisoned is a success to some extent, and due to this fact, defining a victory or a success for a special ops mission is very difficult. As such, each individual target set in a mission will have a success of its own. The average of the successes at each target will give you the overall mission success. If that overall success is greater than 50% (even by a little) the raid will be declared a success for the attacking camp (and will be added into the successes needed for level 2 ops missions if appropriate), otherwise the mission will be considered an overall failure for the attacking camp. No victory score is awarded for ops battles.

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Modifiers:

Before and during the ops mission, there are a number of modifiers that will change how each attack goes. Obviously the rules of engagement, mission type, and overall defenses will play a large role in how a mission goes and how long it lasts, but there are a number of other, very important factors that will come into play during a mission.

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Timing and Focus:

Two of the biggest factors that will come into play during an ops raid are the timing of the mission and both camp's focus. Timing affects how well the ops are able to get in and get things done as planned. Throwing off their timing will lower their efficiency and success. Keeping high coverage of all of the basic ops constructible defenses will help to throw off their timing, while low coverage can actually help it. If the ops timing remains at 100%, then they will be guaranteed a greater than 50% success on the overall mission, but having max. defenses (excluding the possible laser fences achieved through mastery) will throw off the ops' timing enough to guarantee a less than 50% success rate.

Focus is important in the calculations for whether or not the invading ops are caught. Focus can be improved through increased research and, for the attacking ops, a high army competency. A low army competency (below competent) will decrease the attacking ops focus, though. Your focus is also affected by things that you can't control, though. For one thing, you can never guarantee that everyone is going to be as on top of their game as they should be, so focus is slightly random. For another, weather and season will have an effect on the focus of both parties. Spring and summer will hurt the attacker's focus, while helping the defender's focus. Fall and winter will do the opposite. Rainy/snowy and stormy nights are helpful to ops attacks, while clear or cloudy nights make things more difficult.

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Ops and Militia Training:

Part of the ops display will tell you about the attacking and defending camps' training. This training has nothing to do with sending your ops back to class to increase their training. This training is primarily increased through research. Army competency (for attacking ops) and guard posts (for the defending camp) are also important for keeping your ops fully prepared.

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Research:

Keeping up your research is VERY important for an ops mission. In some cases it can mean the difference between being caught on the very first target or making it to the last target without being spotted (in an extreme case). Weapon Design, Military Tactics, and Ingenuity will be important for both the raiding ops and the defending camp. Architecture will be important for the defending camp, especially for missions involving destroying or otherwise harming some building or other part of the infrastructure (i.e. poisoning water, etc.), while Coercion will be essential for the attacking ops.

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Number of Ops:

In many cases, the number of ops units needed to have a successful mission will not be very high. More ops means more chances of being spotted. For recon missions, it is much more useful to make sure that all of your other modifiers are as high as possible since sending more people will not produce much more results wise than less. Assassination missions are inherently limited due to the number of officers that your camp can target at a time, so you won't be able to send more than the max., though sending more than one will help to increase the number of kills you can make. Sending a larger number of ops on missions of poisoning or sabotage only helps because more ops can attack more structures than less, allowing for more buildings or water sources to be targeted in each set.

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Mid-Mission Modifiers:

While the ops missions is progressing there are certain things that will change, affecting both the invading force's chances of success at each target and the defender's chances of catching them. First, when you send in a group of ops, they must decide what they can attack total and what they should target each set. If ops are killed during one of these sets, then the rest of the sets will at the very least suffer a lower efficiency and success if not be completely reframed so that the remaining ops only go after what they can hit.

The other primary mid-mission modification comes between each target set. If the attacking ops make it in and out of a target without being spotted, the next target will be harder to accomplish without being caught. Each time the ops complete a target without being caught, their chances of being caught increases until they are caught. After the ops were caught, they will be hindered entering the next target and thus have a lower success, but their chances of being caught will decrease. Of course, research is also a very important factor in this equation, so a person with really high research in the appropriate areas may actually be able to make it through all 7 targets successfully if the defending camp's research is low.

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Uncontrollable Modifiers:

Any mission of this type has a decent amount of randomness to it. (The one night that someone takes a little longer on their patrol, the night someone's sick in bed, etc.) Because of this there are a few places where random numbers, along with the other, controllable modifiers will be used in ops calculations. As such, you may have really high research, army comp, etc. and send an attack against a fairly well protected camp and just have a bad run, then try it again, and have a really good one. The random numbers will not make an extraordinary difference, overall, but they can be enough to change whether the mission is a success or failure, if the numbers were otherwise close.

You also must keep in mind the fact that weather and season will affect certain portions of the mission. Obviously seasonal influences can be controlled by sending an attack only when the season would help you, but weather cannot be controlled. As with the random numbers they won't do an extraordinary amount, but the proper weather and season can mean the difference between success and failure on a close mission.

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Limitations:

One of the primary limitations to ops battles is the fact that you can only attack a camp 3 times with ops during any 24 hour period as long as they are within your attack range and not in either anonymity or cool down. Once the 3 attacks have been launched, you will have to wait 24 hours to launch another set. Obviously if the camp enters cool down during this time, you will have to wait until he/she gets out. You may also find a camp listed as unable if they have been attacked 10 times by ops missions or 15 times by any attack type in the past 24 hours. Focus level ops missions will not count towards the 15 attack limit, but WILL count towards the 3 personal attacks and 10 attack total limits.

One of the other things that you must keep in mind with ops is the fact that you cannot send more than 200 units on an assassination mission for Captains or more than 10 units on an assassination mission for Colonels. These limits are in place because the officers of a camp will be under a much more watchful gaze than the normal army units and citizenry. More than these numbers of invading ops would attract too much attention, especially after a successful target or two.

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 Game Overview +/-
 Getting Started +/-
 Units and Resources +/-
 The Main Game Screen +/-
 Camp Activities+/-
 Research +/-
 Economy +/-
 Attacking a Camp +/-
 Alliances +/-
 Focus Paths +/-
 Camp Information +/-
 In-Game Communications +/-
 Extras +/-

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