Covert Operations


As of: 4/1/08

Here is the current form of the Agents tutorial. It has not been implemented into the game, but it will soon.

1) Welcome to the agent and mission management window. This tutorial will help you as you begin to discover the importance of espionage and deceit as you enter into the world of undercover operations and mystery.

2) You will soon discover that agents and missions are important tools in any powerful empire and are probably eager to get underway, but first thing is first, how do you acquire agents?

3) Agents are acquired on a semi-random basis. If you look at the agent window now, odds are you have very few or no agents at all. This is because agents are only acquired when officers are trained. Build a barracks and train enlisted to build the officer’s training facility then continue training officers and every so often a message will appear saying that “new agents are available for recruitment.” Do this now until you acquire your first agent.

4) Congratulations, you have access to your first agent, but they’re not quite yours yet. When agents are first available for recruitment, they appear in the agents window of your agent and mission management screen. You’ll notice that the agent say’s new recruit, which gives you access to the agent but first you have to hire them.

5) To hire this agent click on the name of the agent that you wish to hire. Next click the view agent button near the bottom of the agent window.

6) This will bring up a new window that displays a variety of details about the agent you are about to hire. Before we do this let’s examine the various abilities of the agent you have selected.

7) The top of the agent screen will display the agent’s name, status, and time with the agency after they have been recruited. For now those fields will simply say new recruit. The Proficiencies window is very important to any successful agent. This window contains the four key values that all agents share in common, Dagger, Infiltration, Resourcefulness, and Suspicion.

8 ) Each of these four values must be closely monitored in any agent as they determine their general ability when infiltrated within enemy empires, whether strictly for information or while doing a mission. These values will range from 1 to 100, with higher values being more useful than lower ones. Now we’ll explain these skills and what they do.

9) High dagger skill is very useful for black ops missions and counter agents. This will be very useful as you prepare your agents to go on missions, something that will be explained later in this tutorial. Infiltration is used to get your agents into and out of your opponents’ empires. Resourcefulness gives your agents the ability to improvise and succeed on missions in situations they might otherwise get captured when they find themselves in tight situations. And finally we have suspicion. This will quickly become the most important value to any aspiring spy as it gives you an idea how close your agent is to getting captured. If it stays low, your agent is much more likely to succeed on missions and in infiltrations. Let it get too high however and you might just find that your agents start getting captured or are unable to get out of an enemy’s empire.

10) After examining these four categories the next thing you want to look at before recruiting any agent is their skills. These are found in the skills window of the view agent screen and are randomly assigned to each agent and are very important when we go to look at how to execute missions. Most skills range from 1-98 with 98 being the best but some rarer skills are on a 1-20 scale. Inside the create mission window we will soon discover that these skills are required to execute different types of missions so each of these skills will be valuable to different people depending on what they intend to do with their agents.

11) One important thing to note about all agents, generally the better their skills are, the more they will cost to recruit and maintain. Each agent has an initial purchase cost and an upkeep cost. These vary by agent but if you hold your mouse over the recruit button of any agent it will let you know what these costs will be.

12) If you ever wish to dismiss any agents that you have already hired, it’s as easy as selecting the dismiss button from the “View Agent” screen. It is located in the bottom left corner of the “View Agent” screen.

13) Alright, now you’re recruited an agent and want to start spying on your opponents, but how do you do that? It’s quite simple really. Whenever you have the “View Agent” window open you will notice an infiltration section. This is where all agents will be first assigned either counter-agent status or infiltration status. If you don’t assign either you will be paying your agents to do nothing, and no established spy master wants to do that! So let’s walk through the agent infiltration process.

14) First off, you’ll notice three drop down menus, Infiltration type, Target, and Report. Infiltration type will assign where you agent is infiltrated. These categories will give you information about that particular portion of your opponents’ empire as they continue reporting back to you. The information retrieved will be shown on your diplomacy screen when you select the player that the agent is infiltrated inside of.

15) Target is self-explanatory. Clicking this drop down menu will display every person on your diplomacy list (yes you can spy on your friends too!) and also will show an option for yourself to assign your agent to counter-agent status. As a general rule it is best if at nothing else to at least assign any idle agents to counter agent status, so let’s explain that now.

16) First off, select from the drop down menu which type of infiltration you would like to do. For the purposes of this tutorial let’s just start with general.

17) After this is finished select me (counter) from the target drop down menu. Finally select how often you would like your agent to report in. For counter agents this doesn’t matter since there is no suspicion in your own empire, but when assigning agents to infiltrate another player’s empire, report times can affect how quickly your suspicion levels grow so keep an eye on it.

18 ) Once all that’s done just select the set settings button and a timer will being to count down letting you know how long until your agent has assumed their counter-agent status.

19) When infiltrating your opponent’s empire the same process applies, the only exception is that you select the name of the player whose empire you wish to infiltrate.

20) Once your agent has been infiltrated into your empire, the next step is to find out how to get them back out. This is as easy as clicking the deinfiltrate button and then confirming the order by clicking it again. Depending on how high you agent’s suspicion level is however, this action may or may not be successful. The game will inform you on your agent’s status as soon as you attempt this action.

21) Congratulations, you now know how to infiltrate your agents into other player’s empires and also how to protect your own. Now the real question is, how do I execute mission and what do they do?

22) Missions are the real power inside any dedicated spy master’s arsenal. Rival empires can have their research interrupted, designs stolen, buildings destroyed, and all other sorts of things just with a few successful missions by a dedicated spy team inside their empire. This is the spy’s real strength, the ability to wage war on an opponent without that opponent ever knowing who they are fighting against until the time to strike is at hand.

23) So let’s examine how to set up a mission. First select the create mission window from the agent and mission management screen.

24) You will notice a seemingly daunting list of options here, but don’t despair, with a little experimentation the system is actually quite simple for any dedicated player.

25) First you notice three drop down menus, one for mission, another for target, and the final for method. These three menus work very much like the infiltration screen menus, but for the purpose of executing missions instead of getting into an empire.

26) Mission is self explanatory. This window will display the range of missions available to you as a player. As you progress down the special research tree more mission types will become available to you, but for now a wide variety of missions types are available. Some missions will require that another mission is executed before you can successfully accomplish these missions as a specific target is required, for example the “Get Design” mission first requires that the “Get Tech List” mission be successfully completed so that you have a valid list of targets to steal designs from.

27) For the purposes of this tutorial select the analyze budget mission to see how the system works. You may or may not be able to successfully start this mission depending on what skills your agents have, but just to get the basics let’s examine this particular mission since it covers most of the basics.

28 ) The first this you have to do after selecting the mission is decide who to actually spy on. For this mission agents will attempt to retrieve all the information contained in the budget window for any one colony that the player you target has. Useful information for sure, but how do you go about acquiring it? The answer lies in the next drop down window, the method section.

29) The Method section defines how you will go about trying to complete your mission. Depending on what agents you have available, the method will vary from player to player. But select the brute force method for the purposes of this tutorial.

30) Now that you’re selected this mission method, you’ll notice that new option appear under the mission goals window. Here is where you decide exactly how to execute your mission. Will you attempt to seduce your opponent’s workers into giving you their budget plans or will you try the more direct route and use brute force to enter their facility and steal the design? In the end the decision lies with you but for explanation purposes brute force is what we will use here.

31) Examining the mission goals section you will notice four options, Target Reconnaissance, Gaining Access, Exit the Compound, and Assess Data. Each of these options when selected will give you a time to execute, goal, and risk assessment that will give you as a player a better idea of how long and how hard each part of the mission will take to execute. Agents will lesser skills in a given category can be used for low risk sections but better agents will be required for the high and extreme risk sections if they are to be completed successfully.

32) Each section of the mission will require different agents in order to successfully start the mission. When you select each of the mission goals you’ll notice that the Skillset Assignments window now has options to select for each mission goal. For Skillset Assignments, you only need to select one of the options and fill it with agents for each Mission Goal, so you don’t need tons of agents for each and every mission to complete.

33) If you have enough agents you’ll notice that each agent has an option to scroll over their name to see what skills they have so you know where to assign them for each and every mission. You can only assign an agent to a Skillset if they actually have the Skillset, so be careful who you recruit so you can make sure you have the right agents for the job at hand. To assign an agent to a SkillSet you simply highlight the agent you want, click on their portrait then click the assign button above the SkillSet that you want them to be assigned to. Do this for each and every SkillSet and mission goal and you will just about be ready to execute your mission!

34) One final thing to note before you go about trying to execute your mission. If you want to improve the chances that agents that are actually on your mission don’t get caught, you will notice two options, a “Create Safehouse” checkbox and a Assign Cover Agent window. If agents have the “Safehouse” skill then they can create better safehouses that will allow them to give agents on a mission someplace safe to retreat to if they arouse the suspicion of the authorities. This is by no means a guarantee that they will not be captured, but it helps a bit as you attempt to keep your valuable agents from getting captured by the enemy.

35) Cover agents server a similar role in that they attempt to protect the agents on the mission and will sacrifice themselves to get captured before the agents on a mission if they are able to in order for that mission to successfully succeed. This will serve as a valuable tool as you attempt to complete mission in well defended enemy territory.

36) One important thing to note about missions before you go and click that “Execute Now” button and go on your merry way and try to find out what your target’s economy is like. In order to begin a mission you need to have all the agents on the mission infiltrated in a certain part of your opponent’s empire. The required infiltration type can be discovered by simply moving your mouse over the description of the mission type that appears next to the “Mission” drop down menu after you select a mission type. This will vary by mission so make sure you check it each time you attempt to set up a new mission!

37) Once you’ve done all this the only thing that remains is to select the execute now button and cross your fingers while your agents attempt to acquire the budget of one of your opponent’s colonies!

38 ) Congratulations, you’ve successfully completed the agent tutorial and are now ready to begin your career into the world of espionage and deceit!


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