AI Pilot Identification


Prison Oubliette










Being able to determine what an AI pilot is up to with sight alone is a valuable skill in Misplaced Optimism. It's important to be able to quickly tell if you are dealing with a pirate or trader for example.

You can sight ships two ways. 1) You can see them flying around, and 2) You can target them and view them in your target view (bottom left of HUD).

The first thing you want to notice is the type of Moth they are flying. Next, check out the type of pod they are using. This is the key clue to the type of pilot flying the Moth. Finally, see if they've got a Laser Turret fitted.

Different pilots use different combinations of Moth, Pod, and Turret. By recognizing these three factors, you can quickly determine what type of pilot you are viewing on sight.

Click the images below for full sized view in a separate window.

Aggressors/Faction Pilots

Aggressors fly various Moths, but none carry pods. It's this lack of a pod that is the key to identifying an aggressive Moth other than a pirate.

Faction Patrols fly Neo-Tigers without pods or turrets. Other Faction aggressors fly Hawks with no pod, but they do have laser turrets.

Faction transports are always Hawks fitted with a Small Pod and usually a Laser Turret. The Gang Transports are Neo-Tigers fitted the same way - small pod, laser turret.

A small pod can be identified by its very smooth lines. It just makes an arc beneath the Moth and appears as an oval when viewed straight front or back.

Police Moths are clearly marked by being in the unique Police L-2000 Moth without a Pod. They may or may not have a turret.


Independent traders are easy to identify by their Largest Pod. The largest pod is nearly as long as a Moth and is shaped like a big cigar. The stripes and "wings" at the rear are also identifying factors.

Even using target view, a Largest Pod is easy to spot. Independent traders are the only AI pilots to use the Largest Pod. All AI traders use them except for those used by Construction Companies.


Scavengers are set up a lot like Traders except they use a Smallest Pod as opposed to the Largest Pod. The Smallest Pod is identified by the sharp vertical ledges at the front and rear. From either end, the smallest pod appears to be a small rectangular box.

It's important for a pirate to distinguish between Traders and Scavengers. Traders are far more likely to be carrying valuable goods in large quantities.


Pirates fly a variety of Moths. You're apt to see them in Hawks (most common), Neo-Tigers, Death's Heads, and Swallows. A Neo-Tiger is pictured to the left.

What's unique about pirates is that they are always equipped with a Medium Pod and Laser Turret. They are the only AI pilots to use a Medium Pod. This pod is identified by its ends which taper to a sharp line in profile. From the end, a Medium Pod looks like a square box. More square than the Smallest Pod.

Construction Moths

Initially, the Moths used by construction companies are Silver-Ys carrying 10-15 ConstMat. They are fitted with a Smallest Pod. As these Moths are destroyed, they are replaced by Hawks fitted with a smallest pod that are identical to Scavengers, but they'll only be carrying ConstMat.


Cabs are the only AI pilots that fly Moon Moths. They are not fitted with either a pod or turret. It's important that you be able to quickly recognize cabs if you are intent on killing them off in order to wipe out the factions. Cabs #3 and #4 (based in Resevoir) are very hard to find and should be locked into your pilot menu (or killed) on site if you are going after the factions.


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Handling Enforcers

Amnesty 101