ES is a tactical strategy game about three things: ship positioning, special item usage, and using the environment to your advantage.
The "meta" game is about fleet management: repairs, choosing armaments and choosing missions.
## Commanding your ships
Your ships will only move if you tell them where to go or if they detect a target nearby. Large ships (such as your flagship) will not move without instructions. To instruct a ship to move, hover your hand over a ship and grab and drop it where you want it to go. Your ship will follow the path that you draw as you drag it. If you grab and drop it onto an enemy ship, you will instead assign your ship to target that ship.
## Pausing Time and Selecting Ships
Depending on your platform, pressing the Vive Pad, Index A or the Oculus A/X button will slow the passage of time almost to nothing. This allows you to make decisions and plan your next move. Pressing the same button when you hover over a ship will select it. This is how you access your ship’s Special Items.
## Targets and Formations
All ships can have a target. Select your ship, then click trigger on the ship you want to set as the target (click it twice to unset the target). Unless AI is disabled, smaller ships will automatically move to attack their targets. If you assign a friendly ship as a target, then this ship will attempt to fly in formation with that ship. It will pick a formation position automatically.
If you want to assign the formation position, select your ship, then draw a path to the ship you want to be the leader of the formation and hold over it for a second. This will put you in formation mode - drop the target to set the formation position. Now your ship will attempt to maintain this position relative to the other ship, and will point in the same direction as the target ship.
If you give the ship a movement path now, it will do the path first then return to formation. Movement paths always take precedence. To remove the formation, simply give the ship another target or click on the leader again to unset the target.
There are several types of systems you can install on your ships:
|Specials||(square icon)||items you can use that have a cooldown|
|XL Specials||(square icon with a plus)||your flagship's main weapon is one example|
|Weapons||(triangle icon)||These can go in certain spots on your ship. Each spot (hardpoint) has a certain firing arc that it can hit.|
|Mods||(trapezoid icon)||modify Weapon slots|
|Shields, Engines etc.||(circle, square)||These you cannot assign|
## Combat Damage Basics
Ships have three levels of protection. Shields, armor and hull.
Shields provide 360° protection against damage. Armor is divided into 4 zones (forward, backward, left and right). Hull is also omnidirectional. Damage first penetrates your shields, then your armor, then the hull. When hull reaches zero, your ship will begin to explode. Dying ships will detonate immediately if upon receiving more damage.
Some weapons like missiles can bypass shields. Different types of weapons have varying effectiveness against shields, armor and hull. See the table below.
|Energy||Energy weapons are effective against shields, less so against other types|
|Disruptors||Very effective against shields, ineffective against armor and hull. Disables ship systems.|
|Missiles||Bypass shields, but ineffective against armor.|
|Acidic||Ineffective against shields and hull, very effective against armor|
|Piercing||Ignores shields and armor|
All weapons have limited firing arcs. This means they can only hit a ship when it passes within the turning radius of the weapon. Each ship has it's own set of hardpoints where weapons can be mounted, and each hardpoint may have a different firing arc.
Most weapons will automatically fire whenever a hostile can be hit. If you have specified a target for your ship, that target usually takes precedence. Some weapons, like the Fusion Beam may set your ships' target when used.
Most systems can be damaged in combat. To target a specific system on an enemy vessel, zoom in and click on it. The targeted system will have a diamond around it.
## Special Systems
Special systems are systems that will not fire automatically, and usually will have a bigger impact on the course of the battle. Special systems can come in several types. For most types, you will need to grab and drop the icon and place it where you want to target the effect of the item.
|Instant||Effect happens as soon as you click it|
|Target Ship||The item targets a single ship|
|Target Area||The item targets a specific area, indicated by a sphere|
|Target Area + Direction||Certain systems, like Fold and Inflector need a position and direction. Orient the icon in the direction of the intended effect.|
|Passive||Not usable, item provides a constant benefit|
All special systems will have a cooldown period before they can be used again. Systems can also be damaged or disabled, which will make them unusable for a time.
There are several environmental objects you should be aware of
|Asteroids||Explodes when destroyed, damaging nearby vessels. Asteroids come in small, medium and large and can take a varying amount of damage.|
|Dust cloud||(Grey) Grants your ship invisibility (cloak) for a short time|
|Ionic clouds||(Blue) Ionic clouds charge shields.|
|Unstable clouds||(Red) damage ships|
|Dimensional rifts||Pull nearby vessels and cause damage|
|Space mines||Automatic mines that explode on contact|
|Turrets||Stationary guns that defend an area. They lack armor in the rear.|