There are basically two types of robots you may encounter while roaming the fields of Nia. The first type consists of robots that are piloted by fellow Agents - those robots are not hostile by default. An Agent is allowed to attack another only when they are both on beta islands. On protected alpha zones, mutual agreement is required by turning on PVP flags.
The other type of robots are called NPCs, or non-player characters, that are alien robots who intrude Syndicate zones from time to time. The key difference between Agents and NPCs is that the latter category is always considered hostile, therefore you are free to attack them at any time. We encourage destroying NPCs, as can use, or sell the surviving loot.
The types and sizes of NPCs vary. The farther you are from a main terminal, the more likely you are to meet larger and more dangerous NPCs. Consider taking the risk - these "hardcore" NPCs tend to drop more precious loot.
There are four main NPC formations:
- Squad NPCs are guarding a spot on the terrain. Members of the squad constantly respawn after being destroyed.
- Lone Observers are powerful and dangerous NPCs that can appear at random places on Nia. Since they are extremely dangerous, approach them carefully and examine them before attempting to attack.
- Instead of guarding a spot, some NPC squads are roaming the islands to fight Terran intruders. If you manage to destroy one of them, you don't have to worry about reinforcements: a whole new roaming squad will appear on the zone, but only after the last one gets killed. Look out for Grand Observers and Superior Grand Observers!
- Certain artifacts (Infestations and Observer stashes) can also trigger NPC spawns. Be prepared to defend yourself, because the moment you find the artifact, enemies will appear. These NPCs will automatically tagged by you, so every loot they might drop belongs to you. It is important, that this tag is connected to your robot. If you switch to another robot, you will lose the privilege to take the loot.
You can read more about the types and specializations of robots here.
What to expect during combat?
There are many hints and tricks to find out what abilities and equipment your enemies will use to destroy you. Every robot is specialized in something, like laser weapons, electronic warfare, long range combat, etc. Different NPC factions use different kind of weapons as well. Pelistal robots (robots with green tint) use ballistic weapons, Nuimqol robots (blue tint) use electromagnetic weapons, and Thelodica robots (orange tint) use laser weapons.
Knowing the weapon type is important, but the actual damage type is inflicted by the ammunition. Try to distinguish your enemies' ammunition by examining the color of the ammo beams. You can assume, for instance, that an ammunition with green beams inflicts primarily (but not exclusively!) chemical damage.
When an NPC gets inside your sensor's coverage, you will see names like "Servant Grunt" or "Warrior Armadillo", that you might find strange at first, but these names mark the equipment and level of your enemies. A "Servant Brigand", for example, is a rookie Pelistal warrior equipped with basic ballistic weapons.
Be cautious, and plan your equipment according to your enemy's abilites to avoid any unneccesary losses. You can also read about basic tactic elements here.