Merits are a form of "Currency" that appeared in the game on April 15th, 2011. Currently the only way to gather merits are:

  1. To kill other players in P v P (Player vs Player) combat (they are usually awarded in small amounts for nearly every P v P kill, and a bonus of 450 are given when you turn in the Disrupt Enemy Operations Daily Assignment);
  2. Force an enemy Outpost to retreat (Outposts give about 40 per player when forced to retreat). You must be with 3,000 metres when the Outpost retreats to gain the award; and
  3. Destroying the Basestar or the Battlestar Pegasus.

With the release of Game Update 50, you can no longer win merits on the Dradis Contact Mini-Game, nor do you receive merits from the Freighter in Distress (FID) or Drone Incursion Dynamic missions.

It should be noted that killing enemy NPCs or Drones do not give merits.

Currently, Merits can be used for three things; upgrading the multi-role ships, the purchasing of nuclear weapons, purchasing and upgrading the stealth ship, purxchasing and upgrading the carriers, and renting the Battlestar Pegasus or Secondary Basestar. It should be noted that players are capped at earning 1,000 merits per day (unless a Double Experience event occurs, in which case the cap is raised during the event (usually by 50%), which usually runs for 24 hours).

Merits look like a small pile of documents (as shown below).

Resources & Currency Cubits - Merits - Tylium - Titanium - Water - Tuning Kits
Miscellaneous Items Comm Access - Command Signal Beacon - Technical Analysis Kit - Unidentified Objects
Salvage Scrap Metal - Hull Plates - Power Conduits - Electronics - Weapon Parts - Drive Components - Rare Elements - Heavy Metals - Reactor Core - Isotopes
Boosters Experience Boosters - Merit Boosters - Mining Boosters - Skill Boosters - Divine Inspiration - FTL Override - Fragmented FTL Coordinates - 46 Graeae Map Parts
Event Items Pristine Ice - Foodstuffs - Sacred Herbs - Precious Metals - Aegis of Hephaestus - Salvaged Motherboard - Polymer Capacitor - Halogenated Capacitor - Ancient Unidentified Object - Typhon's Shards
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