Hunting is one flight option that a skyrate can select when queuing actions. It can be done around any skyland or waypoint, and the skyrate will comb that area looking for pirates. When setting the length of the hunt, the expanding red circle is only a visual representation of the length of time allocated and does not reflect how far the skyrate will travel; in actuality, the skyrate will be stationary on the map for the duration of the hunt. Skyrates do receive Flight Points for hunting at the regular rate.
While hunting, skyrates encounter pirates more often than on a normal flight leg, and usually more often than a risky flight, dependent on your Perception level and Navigator level. Currently, the only mechanism for increasing the probability of combats during hunts is the skill Perception. The effects of Perception are detailed on that page, however it suffices to say that Hunting is generally not worthwhile until one has a Perception of 4 or higher. A Perception skill of 5 is sufficient to get one combat added to the queue every five minutes without fail, barring the first combat which may take longer to appear.
The combat level of the hunt is dependent on multiple factors including:
- The danger level of the skyland/waypoint you are hunting at.
- Any missions you may be carrying
- Any levels of Combat Infamy you may have.
The Combat Levels and Bounty section contains additional information about hunt combat levels for hunts centered on specific skylands.
Since hunting does not involve physical movement of your plane, you have an effective CKPH of 0, and seriously hurt your profit generation. Furthermore, hunting is not ideal for Influence running, as missions are not reset until you land at another skyland (waypoints do not count).
The reason skyrates hunt is because of the incredibly high levels of combats one will encounter, whether to test skill or to earn g-squiggles.
Therefore it pays to know the best hunting locations, and those are in the blackest danger zones, located in the south area, around Getty. To further increase difficulty levels, take many non-combat high risk missions (so as to not finish any halfway through), long combat missions, such as Captain Remy's Craze, or wait until near the end of the hunt before completing any combats.
Hunting is a method of low-maintenance profit generation for alts since profit from combat doesn't fluctuate unlike market prices, or times when you can't be sure you'll be at your keyboard and have nothing else to queue up; however in it's current state the Autoresolver does not perform well in low-tier craft, or especially well in any craft.
Salvage Operations is also useful and increases your profit in autoresolved and normal fights when hunting. It might not seem like much at first, but squeezing a few extra G out here and there can help in the long run.