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Introduction to the Battle Pirates Map
When you first start playing Battle Pirates, the ocean is a dark, spooky place. You have a small circle of visibility around your base, and you might see other bases at the edge or occasionally a salvage fleet. If you're lucky, you might see an oil rig. Everything else is covered by fog of war until you send a ship into it. Once explored though, the fog of war permanently disappears and you can see any part of the map that you've uncovered from then on.
Exploring the map is a big part of the game - discovering what's out there, locating resource mines and salvage fleets, and most importantly, finding your enemies. The barebones basics are explained below.
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Basics of Radar and Navigation
Aside from the main map of the ocean, you have a small circular display at the lower right which shows a slightly larger area. Squares are bases. Triangles are ships. Circles are resource mines (oil rigs, wind turbines, zynthium and metal deposits), and crosses are salvage fleets. Solid red belongs to the Draconians (the computer player). Orange belongs to other players. White is you.
You can move the map by dragging it - faster dragging will make it move faster. You can also drag it to where you want it, then hold it down for a few extra seconds to avoid drift. Or you can click when you want it to stop instantly, and it'll pop up the "explore here" or "move here" sign (if you have a ship selected). You can also hold down the mouse button on the radar map, which is slower but more controlled without all the drifting.
Map exploration is best done with gunboats, the fastest possible ship. Only areas that you explore while looking at the map will lose its fog of war. If you're looking at your base or a battle screen while your exploration ship is moving, dark areas that it passes through will remain dark.
In addition to dragging the map around, you can also bookmark specific coordinate points. This creates a buoy on those points which shows up on a bookmark list - button is at upper right. You are limited to 40 bookmarks, and your travel area on the map is very large, so you probably won't be able to bookmark everything you want.
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Bases and Mines
Player bases, Draconian bases, and resource mines are at permanent fixed locations on the map, arranged in bulls-eye patterns. Each Draconian base is surrounded by two zynthium deposits up close to it, four energy turbines and four metal deposits, and four oil rigs at the edge of the resource area. Each resource area is then surrounded by a (roughly) double ring of player bases. Some bulls-eyes are right next to each other, while others are separated by vast expanses of nothingness.
It is possible to move your base in Battle Pirates - either closer to a friend's base in your current sector, into your friend's sector if you aren't already in the same one, or to a completely random sector. The relocate button is found in the Outpost when the feature is available. At the time of this writing however, base moving is not always available due to severe bugs in the feature.
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The overall Battle Pirates world is a diagonal strip of squares 600 wide, running from northwest to southeast, divided into sectors of 600x600. As you move your mouse around the map, the coordinates appear at the upper left. Your fleets can move 850 squares in either direction (NW or SE) from your own base, which means you can visit up to four sectors if you're on the edge of your sector.
Sector boundaries are not marked and there is no obvious difference between them on the map. Each sector has its own separate chat, however, which makes all the difference in the world.
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Friendships and Alliances
Early on, Battle Pirates is very much the kind of PvP game you'd expect, where everyone hits everyone else and it's everyone for themselves. Players hit each other's bases and fleets, and fight over mines.
Then friendships and alliances begin to form. Then people complain in the chat about being unfairly hit, and apologize for accidental attacks due to game glitches, and it turns out that most of them are perfectly decent people, just like you.
Then it turns out that not everyone can talk to everyone else after all, because each sector has a separate chat - and there isn't a way to explain to your neighbors in the next sector that your hitting them was accidental, nor for them to explain why they hit you. Small retaliations turn into big retaliations, people call each other bullies, there's outrage that the assailants aren't even "locals" - and suddenly there's a reason for everyone in the sector to work together.
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And that's when the sector wars start. Pretty soon you have huge multiplayer fleets hitting each other, trouble with moles, and enemy invasions. While you can only hit a player base that's within five levels of you, any fleet can hit any other fleet - targets for anyone who wants to join in no matter their level. Fleet wars are some of the most exciting parts of the game.
Even if you aren't in your sector's alliances, you still benefit from their defense of the sector, you still get caught in the crossfire during an invasion, and likely they still want you to follow alliance rules about what you do in your own sector. People who would otherwise be bullies in their own sector are often convinced to sail to other sectors for targets instead.