You will be traveling in a universe, whose size was determined by your Sysop. Sectors may have planets, ports, other players, empty ships, aliens, Ferrengi, Federation Starships, mines, message beacons, fighters (belonging to you, other players, rogue mercenaries, or the Ferrengi) or the sectors may contain nothing at all. If in your travels you come across something undesirable, your initial ship comes equipped with 30 fighters with which you can defend yourself.
Many players find it useful to have a home sector or group of sectors. Players, especially those just joining a game, need an out-of-the- way place to stay so they can build up their assets. You can explore the universe and look for dead end sectors to use as a hiding place. Corporate bases built in traffic lanes do not fare too well and those in the major thoroughfares (in the paths between the class 0 and class 9 ports) just do not stand much of a chance.
Planets play a key part in your success as a trader. Terra, the first planet you encounter as you enter the game, is where the people can be found to colonize all other planets. Remember, the environment on some planet types may be hazardous to humans. The other planets in the game will, if inhabited, produce Fuel Ore, Organics, Equipment and Fighters. The amounts of these commodities produced will be affected by the type of planet. For example, a Mountainous planet will provide more Fuel Ore than an Oceanic planet. You and the other traders decide where the planets will be. You can purchase a Genesis Torpedo and use it in almost any sector in the galaxy. If the planet has enough of the required commodities and enough people to supply the labor to build it, you can begin construction of a Citadel. The Citadel can provide you and the other members of your corporation with a secure place to dock your ships and deposit the credits you’ve earned. As you progress in the game, your Citadel can be upgraded to provide additional protection to you and your corporation. If you decide to build a planet in your home sector, be sure you can defend it. A planet is very vulnerable until it has a Combat Control Computer (level 2 Citadel) to safeguard it.
There are ten different types of ports scattered about the universe. The ports are classified by the products they buy and/or sell. Port classes 1 through 8 trade the three basic commodities: Fuel Ore, Organics and Equipment. The universe also contains specialty ports for the other items you will need to advance in the game. There are three Class 0 ports where you can purchase holds (beneficial for moving colonists to your planets as well as transporting goods for trade), fighters (to help protect your territory), or shields (to protect your ship from the traps laid by your enemies). There is one Class 9 port that contains not only a Trading Port, but also a Stardock. The Stardock houses the Stellar Hardware Emporium, the Federation Shipyards, the Lost Trader’s Tavern, the 2nd National Galactic Bank, the Videon Cineplex and the Interstellar Space Police Headquarters. There are other places of interest located in the Stardock.
These places you will have to discover on your own. Some are not advertised because they are establishments of questionable repute. Others are Federation buildings that house top secret government information.