An alliance limits the total number of starships of certain models, particularly gunship- and cruiser-class ships. This is because an alliance's funding is limited, and starships incur a constant cost in energy, replacement parts, and routine maintenance performed by spaceport technicians. These starships are referred to as having "limited support."
Most models of starship enjoy unlimited support, and a newer player will certainly not have to worry about support limits.
Each model of starship, if it is limited, has its own individual support limit. For example, most alliances will support two starships of its cruiser model.
Is your starship supported?
- If you bought a ship less than a week ago, it will be in a grace period and your alliance will support it.
- If it is one of the newest ships under the limit (for example, one of the two newest cruisers), then your alliance will support it.
- If there are ships newer than yours being supported (for example, if your cruiser is only the third newest), then your alliance will be supporting those ships and will not be supporting yours.
What happens if your ship is no longer supported by your alliance? Most importantly, flight control will deny launch clearance. This is not good. But you can solve this problem by asking your corps (through any civilian liaison officer holding the role of Master of Ships) to pay the support costs for your ship. Corps can pay these costs once per Conquest period and allow your ship to continue flying. If you're not sure what this means, ask a more experienced pilot within your alliance for help. They'll know what you mean!
To easily tell whether your ship is supported, you can use the SHIPINFO command. This will show one of three status for each of your ships:
- Alliance Support: This ship is either within the one week grace period or a newer ship under the model limit. It is currently supported by your alliance government, but it may not always be. This status will also display the support limit for that model.
- Alliance Support Withdrawn: This ship is beyond the model limit and no longer within the grace period. It will not be able to launch unless the pilot corps pays its support costs.
- Corps Support: This ship is supported by your pilot corps. Nothing will threaten its ability to fly as long as the corps pays the support fee.
If you see no support status listed for one of your ships, that means that model enjoys unlimited alliance support and you do not have to worry. Again, limited support is mostly for larger warships and other rare or expensive models. Most models have unlimited support.
If your character is an ace or a veteran, then you enjoy special consideration with your alliance, and you will always have alliance support. Further, this alliance support will not count against the alliance's model limits. You do not need to have your corps support your limited support ships.