Escorting and Scouting
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Purpose of Scouting in Discovery
With the implementation if variations in cruise speed, cloaks and other non-vanilla contributions, Scouting in Discovery Freelancer can refer to either military or civilian operations. In short, it is the process of acquiring sensitive information about a target ship, facility or group and relaying the information back to the scout's superiors or patrons.
When it comes to military operations, scouting is usually non-profit and involves light fighters or cloak-liners. These ships are used to find or track the positions of enemy fleets or individuals. Cloak liners are widely used in tracking down illegal bases by following the transports that supply them.
When it comes to civilian operations, scouting is viewed as a profit based market, usually occupied by freelancers and low level characters. The purpose of civilian scouting is to provide a trader information about the route they are going to take, warning them beforehand of pirates or other potential hostiles.
In most cases, the scout does not engage in combat. The scouting ship, however, can be ordered to cruise disrupt a target or harass an enemy group until backup arrives. In these situations, the preferred type of ship is the Light fighter for its agility and long lifespan on the battlefield. Liners and Freighters are also used for their cloaking potential for the former and speed and firepower for the latter.
Scouting for military
Scouting in large scale PvP battles can be as simple as using a light fighter to find where the enemy is gathering and harass them, or as complicated as using a specialized cloaking ship to relay such additional information as ship loadouts, ship armor grades, priority targets and even local chat chatter for RP purposes. Currently, the most favorite ship for such scouting is the Luxury Liner or Prison Liner for the large cargo capacity for the former and the chance to cruise disrupt the target for the latter.
One of the more common strategies for locating enemy ships is to use the cloaked liner and camp the entrances to the system the battle is taking place. If the enemy players are gathering below or above the plane, then following any reinforcements jumping into the system is the best way to find them.
Cloaked liners also may stay cloaked and provide needed resources for both snubcraft and capital ships such as nanobots and shield batteries, nova torpedo ammo and countermeasure flares just to name a few. Remember, you cannot trade while cloaked, you can only drop the cargo in open space.
The cloaked ship may also act as a commander's vessel, staying stationary and invisible in the middle of the battle, keeping an eye on the enemy movement and the status of their ships, calling out potential dangers or easy targets.
Scouting can also be done by simple freelancers, however any military group is very cautious about ships following them and will often open fire on the potential spy if it refuses to leave.
Scouting for civilians
One of the easiest ways for a new player to acquire money is to offer themselves as scouts for traders. In general, scouting for a trader is as simple as flying a few lanes in front of the trader, warning him about potential hazards such as pirates, terrorists or large fights.
Scouting is much more preferred than bodyguarding, because of the time needed to down the hostile target. A good scout will often not only inform his benefactor about the pirate, but also will attempt to harass the target, luring him away from the lane or jumpgate. Scouting for miners is a bit more complicated, but very similar to lane scouting. It also involves disrupting the target before it gets too close to the miner. The scout will keep the target from engaging their cruise engines, while the miner escapes.
Scouting for pirates
Just like freelancers can warn traders about pirate activity, it can also be done vise-verse. A good example are pirate groups stationed in the California System, who hire a freelancer to sit next to West Point and warn them about potential piracy targets or dangers coming from the New York System.