The Xannor are the generic computer-controlled “bad guys” and their main goal is to rampage and destroy anything that is not well defended at the end of every day. The player has two methods of avoiding them, either by keeping cloaking energy as close to full as possible (buying cloak from Earth near the end of their turns) or by camping on top of or behind a planet.
The Xannor exists as a group of 20 fighters, one group defends their home world (but never removes fighters from the planet) and the other 19 different groups that rampage around the galaxy. Group #20 always hunts down and usually finds the top player, announcing which planet the top player is located on or behind in the newspaper every day. If you are the top player and you want to camp out over one of your planets every day (not recommended in a competitive game) then name all of your planets the same. This way, the unique planet name that you are camped out over is not announced on the scoreboard (with the very last Xannor group attacking it) as your location. Plasma bolts with their quadratic damage allows moderately low level players to kill extremely high players, so it is never a good idea to let your location be known.
Xannor “regenerate” up to 20% of the top player’s score every day and do a very good job of locating and attacking planets. Fortunately they are not that effective at attacking ground forces. If the Xannor score on the scoreboard is 500,000,000, that translates to 5,000,000 fighters, if all of them in an unfortunate stroke of luck decide to attack your planet, you could lose 10000 ground forces in a single day, however very unlikely. To be on the safe side, Simply divide the current Xannor score by 50,000 to know what the necessary “safe” level of ground forces on each of your planets are. If you keep 1/10th of the top player’s score in banked credits on every single one of your planets, then it will be impossible for the Xannor to ever destroy any of them on an extremely long-term basis, because the banked credits will regenerate the same number of ground forces every day that the worst possible Xannor attack could destroy even if a plague or series of plagues are successful at bringing the level of ground forces down to zero.
Later in the game, to either keep new planets or new players safe, or to limit the number of turns that other players can get from killing Xannor, you may want to find the Xannor HQ and place a huge number of mines (which have little use) or a planet with a ton of ground forces on it directly outside. Alternatively if you find a sector that all of the Xannor travel through you can place the obstruction there. Obviously this is not recommended for competitive games.
If you accidentally run across a group of hostile Xannor, mercenaries, or enemy player fighters too strong for you, keep in mind that you can use the emergency warp [W] feature. Using emergency warp uses a lot of turns and there is a risk of engine overload and the subsequent loss of all turns for that day.
Cloaking energy significantly helps your fighters kill enemy fighters. If your ship is fully cloaked, you will defeat fighters at a 2:1 ratio. With 0% cloaking energy, the ratio would be closer to 1:1. Cloaking also makes a significant difference on how many Xannor groups that can find you during their end of the day sweep. This is particularly important after destroying the Xannor HQ, but mitigated when hiding behind one of your planet’s ground forces.
If you you run into Xannor or enemy fighters that you want to simply avoid or deal with later, make sure you add those sectors to the sector excludes list: C;7;1;[first sector];7;2;[second sector];7;3;[third sector] (..etc..) and autopilot and missile calculations will automatically avoid these sectors. Make sure that you add the location of team members or friendly players to this list as well! Team members may just as easily retaliate with cruise missiles if hit by a missile themselves and accidentally kill you!
There is a random chance every time a player takes a turn that the Xannor will fire off a number of missiles into a random sector. The number of missiles have been observed to vary between 1-83, but statistically are usually on the low side:
Watching these missile attacks will sometimes reveal locations of planets, other players fighters, or other Xannor themselves. The missiles always originate from their headquarters, so if they are always hitting something in their random attacks, you know that that’s something is nearby their HQ.
Xannor also retaliate with missiles from their headquarters if one of your missiles strikes one of their fighter groups:
Interesting enough, moving a planet to a new sector will leave you vulnerable to missile attacks from the Xannor in the old sector where the planet originally was, until you make your ship move, even if it is to move to a different sector and back the planet again. Also new players or players “returning from the dead” are completely immune from all missile attacks until their very first move out of sector 1. (as shown in the warfare section)
Two events will stop all random and retaliatory Xannor missile attacks. The first event is to find and destroy the Xannor HQ. This stops all missile attacks until the headquarters is rebuilt the following day. The second event is to trick the Xannor into firing a missile into a black hole, however if they do it themselves it achieves the same purpose:
Note that player missiles reacquire their targets after going through a black hole like this. Until the game is quit and rejoined, the Xannor will never fire another missile for any reason. Note that when the Xannor have stopped firing missiles, you can go and take out their headquarters without any notice in the newspaper and without any Xannor revenge the next day.
There is one positive thing about Xannor, killing them with fighters (missiles and plasma bolts don’t count) will reward the player with an extra 5 turns per 1000 Xannor but keep in mind that your maximum number of turns may never exceed the initial number of turns per day. In a game with a 500 turn limit, killing 100,000 or more Xannor will complete restore your turns all the way to 500.
If you have 200 turns left the maximum number of turns you can receive is 300. If you have 50 turns left, the maximum number of turns you can receive is 450. If you are selling equipment to a port, and it will take 23 turns to get from that location to where the group of Xannor are (check by using c;3;sector, but do not go there yet) then you can receive 500 turns if you first use up all but 23 turns, and then use those 23 turns to travel to the sector with the Xannor. If there are less than 100,000 Xannor in the sector, do not bother with all of this trouble. Just wait until you have only 50 or 60 turns left and then travel there.
Remember that at most you want to destroy 100,000 Xannor to receive the most number of turns. Beyond that, you are simply losing fighters. If you run across a huge group of Xannor, plasma bolts are the most efficient way to cut down the numbers without worrying about retaliation.
If you want to risk a engine meltdown, you can also encounter a large group of Xannor, fight 100,000 of them, warp away, and repeat.
Since plasma bolt damage is exponential, only a few bolts (delivered from an adjacent sector) can cut down huge groups. (see Damage Tables) Since you still want to destroy the last 100,000 fighters with your fighters for turns, use the following table to determine how many plasma bolts to preemptively use:
Or simply use the following formula: Sqrt(Xannor/50,000 – 2)
Also a possibility of generating a special clearance sale from Earth occurs every single time a group of Xanner are destroyed with fighters, with the same chance as winning the lottery produces at generating a good sale.
Every single day, the Xannor regenerate fighters equal in value up to 20% of the top players score, but never exceeding the score of the top player. If the Xannor HQ is destroyed, the player can loot the Xannor planet but then the Xannor will regenerate and then ALL 19 marauding groups will hunt the guilty party that night.
The player cannot keep the planet Xannoron. If any ground forces are left on the surface, it instantly become the property of the Xannor the next day. If any fighters are left in the sector, the Xannor will fight through them with a message such as this in the newspaper:
*** The Xannor are attempting to reclaim their base from Zharous !
After killing Xannoron, hide on top of the Mercenary base if you know where it is, and if you do not want one of your own planets attacked by a huge swarm of enraged Xannor equal to the top players score or their current score, whichever is higher. Assuming all of the groups find you, they will destroy 1 ground force for every 50,000 points the top player is worth on the scoreboard, and the mercenary base will never move unless destroyed and typically will have a massive number of ground forces.
If your score is equal or above the Xannor score, far less Xannor will locate you if you hide out in an empty dead end sector. The only drawback of this technique is that the Xannor that do find you will destroy your defensive fighters instead of ground forces. Also if you do this, a single group of Xannor may be camped out in the same sector that you quit the previous day.
Using the emergency warp feature [W] (small chance of melting down and losing all turns) will let you escape this sector and later return to attack them to obtain more turns.
One interesting final note. The Xannor cannot attack any players in their home world sector. For long-term safety in a game with no other players, go to the Xannor home world and quit the game.