OGame Expeditions and Merchants FAQ

OGame Expeditions and Merchants Frequently Asked Questions by TKE Super Dave


What is an expedition?

In every solar system you will see a new slot show up, slot 16 which will not be able to be colonized. At this slot and only this slot you can send your fleet on a mission called an expedition. While on an expedition several events can happen, which will be explained below, and then your fleet returns home. Before being able to send a fleet on an expedition you will have to do research to get an expedition, which will also be explained below.

What can happen on an expedition?

There are several things that can happen on an expedition, for example:

• Nothing (zero..nada…zip…not even fly-poo). Your fleet flies out there and stays there the amount of time and returns home with nothing to show for it’s journey.
• You find a resource in an asteroid field and are able to land on an asteroid and bring as much of that one resource you can carry home.
• You find some lost alien who gives you a container with dark matter (which can be traded for commander / officers) in it in exchange for some maps so he can find his way home.
• Your fleet meets some strange looking ships that attack it. Your fleet fights to save itself and is either destroyed or survives the attack. A Combat Report is created and then what is left of your fleet is sent back home.
• Your fleet makes a navigation-mistake and instead of the normal flight time to come back it will take longer.
• Your fleet wonders on the remains of a civilization and find some old ships laying around and brings them back.
• You find a merchant that will trade resources with you.

Please note: These are only EXAMPLES of what can happen. It is not an exhaustive list.

What do I need to get the research to send an expedition?

First to have the research available for expedition you need to have the following research at the appropriate levels:

Research Lab at Level 3
Espionage at Level 4
Impulse Engine at Level 3

Now you are able to research the expedition technology which the initial level costs:

4,000 Metal
8,000 Crystal
4,000 Deuterium

and doubles for each level.

In redesign you need Astrophysics technology to be able to make expeditions.

The requirements to start Astrophysics technology are same as with Expedition technology, however, the cost is smaller:

4,000 Metal
8,000 Crystal
4,000 Deuterium

How long are expedition missions?

The amount of time it takes to do an expedition varies but yet is stable at the same time. First you must figure out how long it takes for your fleet with it’s composition and engine technology to reach slot 16 and return, this is the same as though you would be sending it to any other slot in your solar system. Now that you have that you can add the time to the time you stay in the slot. Once at the slot the MAX time your fleet can stay in the slot is the level of your expedition technology. So for example if you have level 1 expedition technology you can stay 1 hour, level 2=2 hours, etc. However on the fleet launching screen you are given a chance to say how many hours you wish to have your fleet stay out for depending on your level. For example if you have level 3 you can stay out 1 hour, 2 hours, or 3 hours, it’s your choice. However the minimum time you can spend in the slot is 1 hour.

Note: In speed universers hold time is divided by the speed, ie the 1 hour hold time in 2x uni is actually 30 minutes.

Time to get to slot + Max Expedition Technology (or chosen time, at least 1 hour or more) + Time to return from the slot = Total time for expedition.

How many expeditions can you send?

The more expeditions that are sent to the same expedition-slot, whether by you or other players, the lower the chance of find something is. If reguarly used, a slot will reset itself eventually.

However you can send as many expeditions as you are allowed. The amount you are allowed is not the same as your computer tech. which is something that makes this mission different than other missions. It is based on the square root of your Expedition level. For example lvl 1 = 1 fleet, lvl 4 = 2 fleets, lvl 9 = 3 fleets, etc.

Square-root of expedition-research-level = number of expeditions you can send out.

Can slot 16 be phalanxed?

Flat out NO, the slot CANNOT be phalanxed. However, the planet in which the fleet is sent from can be phalanxed, thus making it able to crash fleets sent on an expeditions as they return home.

Can you tell me more about the alien/pirate attacks? Can I win? Can I harvest the debris field?

Sure I can tell you more about the alien/pirates attacks. The alien/pirates attacks generally seem to attack with half the amount of ships you send. The aliens will have 3 tech levels higher than you, whereas the pirates will have 3 tech levels lower. So if you send in a very diverse fleet you have a chance of having most of it come back, but no matter what you will undoubtedly lose some ships. Once the attack is over what’s left of your fleet heads for home. Unlike a regular fleet battle though you are unable to harvest the debris field as your crew seems to forget the location where the battle took place.

What type of ships can I find and how many?

You can find any ship apart from a Deathstar, a Colony ship and a Recycler. What you find depends on the size, composition and structural integrity of your fleet, however there is also an element of luck. It does seem to be more likely that you will find smaller ships in larger number though e.g 10 esp probes or 1 battleship, but it is possible to find more.

The MAXIMUM resources that can be found is 2million – but this is rare. This is also said to depend upon the number of points the no.1 of the universe (so you will find less in a younger universe).

Any thing else you can tell me about the expeditions?

By sending an espionage probe with your fleet, you receive a message from the commanding officer of the expedition which will appear on the bottom of the expedition message stating something about the mission and/or how often the spot is seems to be visited.

Special Notes Regarding Redesign unis

In redesign universes, expedition technology is replaced with “Astrophysics”. Once you have researched Astrophysics you will see a new mission type in your fleet launch options. In addition, Slot 16 is no longer visible on the galaxyview. Instead you will see a link “Expedition” in the top menubar of the galaxyview, next to where you enter system co-ordinates. Click on this link, or manually enter the co-ordinates with slot 16 selected in the fleet menu, this will enable the expedition option from the fleet launch menu.


What is a Merchant?

The Merchant is baught with dark matter (or found on expeditions) and will trade resources with you.

What happens when I call a Merchant?

When you call the merchant, the merchant becomes available to you at any of your planets. The merchant will remain until you decide to trade or is replaced by another. You may only trade one resource to the merchant at a time, for example you can’t PAY metal and deut and receive crystal. You would have to trade metal and then call the merchant again to trade the deut, both times buying the crystal.

From the dropdown when calling a merchant, the resource selected is the resourse you will be PAYING to the merchant in exchange for the other two resources.

Click the ‘Call a Merchant’ button and then you are given more the option to can enter in the amount of resources of the materials you are purchasing and it will tell you how much it will cost in the resource being paid. Click submit and the transaction takes place and the merchant leaves.

What rates does the Merchant Trade at and why?

The merchant trades at or near the 3:2:1 ratio. It generally is within 0.6 of that range and the difference is not in your favor most of the time. The reason it charges you slightly different as it wants to make a profit just like a human, yet at the same time it is trying to make up for the unbalanced in the building which is supposed to be 3:2:1.

How much can you trade?

You can only receive as much as you have storage-capacity for and afford to trade for. For example say you have 1 million metal you want to trade, but you already have 100 crystal and no crystal-storage, you can only sell enough metal to buy 99,900 worth of crystal, because then the storage is full. You of course can only give away as much of the resources as you have on the planet, the merchant is smart and won’t let you take anymore of his resources than what you have payment or storage room for.

How much does he cost to call?

He costs 3500 Dark Matter to call to one planet. He will stay there as long as you have not completed the trade but his offer never changes so it is not worth keeping him there long unless your are waiting for a large amount of resources to come in.

Expedition Strategy

Your chances of finding something (anything at all, good or bad) are determined only by chance and the length of time you have them hold for. Once a fleet has a find, the find is determined and that is again, random chance. What this means, unfortunately, is that the only way of increasing your chances of finding DM and/or Merchants comes in the form of increasing your Expedition/Astrophysics technology, so that you can send more fleets and send them for longer periods of time. The increase in chances from increased hold time seems negligible to most people, so the usual tactic is to send lots of fleets for short hold times so that you can send them rapidfire.Adding fleet (calculated from total structural integrity of the fleet, or SI) increase amount you can find in the form of resources and ships, but it also increases the size of a pirate or alien fleet along with increasing the amount of fleet you are putting at risk. There are a two ideal builds, when seeking to maximize your finds in these regards that tend to do well against the typical pirate fleet they will face. One is for the Redesign and the other for Classic. Here we have the three builds and the explanations for them.

    • Best fleet if looking only for DM/Merchants: 1 Small Cargo, 1 Espionage Probe. You will find resource/ship finds that will better than compensate you for losing these fleets to pirates/aliens/blackholes. Send them rapidfire. If you start getting the message about others being there, switch to a new system as your destination. (Total SI: 5k)


  • Best fleet if looking for fleet/resource finds in Classic universes: 2931 SC, 2 cruisers, 2 dessies, 2 probes. The Destroyers ensure that you will find any and all ship types that are possible to be found (no RIPs, colony ships, recyclers). Also they hit hard and DON’T have RF against your Small Cargos… because if you have Dessies, so do pirates/aliens. The Cruisers are strong enough to deal with enemy small cargos and have RF against LF which are almost always in pirate/alien fleets as well. (Total SI: 12kk)
  • Best fleet if looking for fleet/resource finds in Redesign universes: 109 HFs, 80 LCs, 2 dessie, 1 probe. The Destroyer is here for the same reason it is in the Classic expedition, finding all ships and hitting hard with no rapidfire. The switch to using HF and LC is interesting. The reason is because, for some reason, Heavy Fighters count for ten times their SI instead of just at their SI, and the LC because they are harder to kill by the HF than the SC would be. This balance gives you enough cargo capacity to bring home the resource finds you can find as well. The reason this one goes over the 12kk max for SI effectiveness, is because the LC are used only for their cargo space. The Dessies, you get two because it is unlikely pirates and aliens will have two of them, since they usually have less. This means you have twice as many big guns and a good amount of HF that can take out LF replacing the rapidfire of just two cruisers fairly effectively and with their numbers, those HF can actually do pretty well against the opposing LC too. My build differs from Safira’s because of maxxing out the SI. (HF SI: 1090k, remaining SI: 1071k, total SI 10.9kk + 1181k = 12.081kk.)


The fleet expedition builds, both Classic and Redesign, of course, do not do not reduce your chances of finding as much DM or as many Merchants, so long as you send the same number of fleets. They are also both designed to minimize damage in losses to the fleet in events of pirates and aliens. Of course a black hole event and similar, of course, mean that you have to remember that you are still risking it all.

One advanced expedition tactic to consider: since your chances of having anything good or bad happen, maximize the number of low-risk expeditions and minimize but don’t eliminate the high-risk expeditions. You do this by sending many short-length expeditions when you have the ability to send them rapidfire like that, but when you are going to bed for the night or the like, send as many of the appropriate fleet expedition builds as you have expedition slots so that you can still get those large finds of interesting things that you can do all sorts of wacky stuff with… supply yourself with probes without ever having to spend another jot or iota of crystal, ever. I’ve done moonshots with just probes. You can also toss other random ships into the mix too for moonshots that you’ve never paid for and do them somewhat regularly. You have to be careful with trade rates, though, when trading moonshots, to make sure you’re not violating trade rates. It also gets you lots and lots of fodder in other forms for free to supplement your fleet since both LF and HF are pretty common fleet finds.

Common Merchant Mistake (IMPORTANT)

A common error with the Merchant costs you DM! Be careful! This is not a bug but a mistake, so we need to educate everyone when it comes to this.

If you call a Merchant by clicking on one of the resource buttons on the Merchant page but do not complete the transaction for ANY reason, you can get back to your Merchant, but follow these directions: Click on the Merchant page and click on the ‘Trade’ button that will be towards the lower right corner of that main backdrop image there. DO NOT click on any of the resource buttons because that calls a new Merchant, meaning that if you have it, you will spend another 3.5k DM. This last part is the common error made by people new to the Merchant in the Redesign, costing them their DM. Be careful.

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