Cloaking and Tachyon Beams(Stealth)
|This page is up to date for game version 5.033 and should still be correct.|
Ships with the Ability: Cloak can disappear and not be visible to the enemy in any shape or form.
Cloaked ships still show up on the Planetary Summary on the right side of the screen however, including the type of cloaked ships if you hover over the cloaked ships icon.
Cloaks are not perfect however and when a ship attacks a target, its cloak drops for several seconds so it can be targeted as any other ship during this time.
The other common method of a cloak not hiding a ship is Tachyon Beams.
While a number of ships in the game have cloaking, the Scout Mk I is always available to the player and is a cheap ship to scout nearby systems with.
Tachyon Beams (Stealth Detection)
Ships with the Ability: Tachyon Beams emit Tachyon Beams for the range listed that uncloak any ship that comes in range that is cloaked.
A ship that has been decloaked cannot recloaked for some seconds afterwards.
A tachyon beam is 100% effective, all ships that enter into range will be decloaked.
The only way to not be decloaked by tachyon beams is to have the Immunity: Tachyon Beam which will prevent hostile tachyon beams from decloaking you, other methods of decloaking (such as attacking) will still decloak the ship.
The most common source of tachyon beams for the AI is the Tachyon Guardian. These guardians do not spawn on worlds adjacent to a players homeworlds, however pretty much every other wormhole in the galaxy will have a Tachyon Guardian guarding it. Tachyon Guardians are not a strong unit however and are reasonably straight forward to destroy with raiding tactics if you need to extend the range of you scouts.
Cloaking Booster (and Super-Booster)
A few ships have the ability to boost the cloaking of nearby ships.
A ship with the Ability: Cloaking Booster boosts the cloak of a nearby ship so it can not be revealed by tachyon beams, effectively granting that ship the Immunity: Tachyon Beams.
Note that the Ability: Cloaking Booster is limited and that even though a group of scouts will all have cloak and all have the Ability: Cloaking Booster, not all the scouts in the group will get cloak-boosted so while most of the group will be Cloak-Boosted and so Tachyon Immune, there will always be at least one ship in the group not Cloak-Boosted.
Ability: Cloaking Booster is found on Scouts and other scouting units.
A ship with the Ability: Cloaking Super-Booster is actually able to cloak ships near it that normally would not have cloaking. A ship cloaked this way effectively gains the Ability: Cloaking and all the cloaking rules apply, such as having to decloak to attack.
Currently the only ship with the Ability: Cloaking Super-Booster is the Cloaker Starship.
While no unit in the game actually has a permanent cloak, this term is used to refer to units that do not have an attack and have cloaking as well as the Immunity: Tachyon Beams.
The most common examples are the Scout. Mk IV and the Scout Starship Mk. IV.
Because these ships do not have an attack and tachyon beams do not decloak them, only exceptional methods can reveal them. It should be noted that the rare Counter-Spy is able to kill the Scout. Mk IV, but not the starship due to its insta-kill immunity. See Other Notes on Cloaking.
Note that a Planetary Cloak grants a special form of cloaking.
Ships in a system with a Planetary Cloak can not be revealed by any means until it is destroyed. Tachyone Beams, EMP effects and the Tachyon Warhead will not reveal units cloaked by a Planetary Cloak. Ships are otherwise affected as normal if you can guess where they are and attack them with Area Damage. An EMP warhead will still disable units in the system as normal, however because the Planetary Cloak itself is immune to EMP, the disabled ships will still not be visible.
The Shadow Master AI is the most common user of the Planetary Cloak.
Other Notes on Cloaking
To keep ships from attacking and so dropping their cloak, put them into Low Power Mode. Ships in low power mode keep their cloak up and do not attack and so do not reveal themselves. (Tachyon beams still reveal them as normal.)
Cloaking does not grant any sort of damage immunity so if a cloaked ship is caught in an Area Damage attack, it takes damage as normal. Area mines are the most common cause of this when cloaked ships are operating with uncloaked ships.
EMP Attacks, such as from the EMP warhead or EMP Mine disable a ship and cause it to drop its cloak for the duration of the EMP effect.
Paralysis, such as from the Paralyser, do not cause a ship to drop its cloak when paralysed. However, the count down for when a ship can recloak after firing is extended for the duration of the paralysis effect.
Tactics to help cloaking (or Help! My scouts are dying too fast)
The straightforward solution to scouts dying too fast is to raid the Tachyon Guardians that are decloaking your scouts.
The disadvantages of this method are that you will exposed some of your fleet to combat and may take losses that have to be replaced and because you are not clearing the system of ships, some of the AI ships in the system will be loosed as Threat.
Another method to get your scouts farther out is Transport hopping. A Transport does not have cloaking but it is fast and Immune to both Tractor Beams and Mines.
To Transport hop, load your scouts into a Transport and then head for the system you want to scout. The Transport will die on the way, leaving your scouts to go on alone, but the scouts are now starting from within AI space and so get farther before being destroyed.
You should be able to scout a system or two systems farther out with this method.
You are throwing away a Transport to do this however and while they are not resource intensive, they are not cheap either.
On the other hand, a Transport will not cause AI ships to loose and become Threat.
Tactics to defeat cloaking (or Help! I can't see the AI attacking me)
The only real counter to cloaked ships attacking you is to increase your tachyon beam coverage.
The ships that are always available to you with tachyon beams are Tachyon Drone, Military Command Stations Mk I and Scout Starships.
You can unlock Tachyon Beam Emmiter Turrets and Decloakers for additional coverage.
Military Command Stations Mk II & III also grant tachyon beam coverage, with the Mk III station granting tachyon beam coverage for the entire star system.
If you really need system wide tachyon beam coverage, the Tachyon Warhead can grant you that, however it does have an AIP cost attached.