A lot of you have been wondering who is the new man in charge, where did he come from?, finally AI news was able to sit down with him and ask him about himself. Here is what we got.

So where did it all begin for Argon Armrend?

Where did it all begin? Well the Armrends certainly were never members of the elite, heck we never even could claim the Patronage of one of the old families,  we were just your ordinary Imperial Citizens “Shop keepers and Small business owners” as they say.

Ours involved the acquisition and supply of mining equipment to various mining operations, mainly small scale independents, you know the type, that as sole operators don’t want to spend their time running from system to system to get more Bio-reducing Lichen or Limpets when they could be out in the belt clusters.

Load up the old Hauler with all the goods they might want and need and travel from outpost to outpost just selling from out of the cargo hatch. All rather ad hoc and itinerant but in the empire permanent contracts are hard to get without the right Patron holding open the right doors. Everything is a favour for someone, sometime I wonder how anything actually gets done after everyone takes their cut and kicks it on to their clients who does the same until it got to us little guys.

So you disapprove of the Patron Client system?

Don’t get me wrong, I do see the strengths in the Patron Client system

The Empire lives and breaths by the Patron Client relationship.
Great People attract followers, who strive to improve the lot of their pledged Patron, why then in turn rewards those who are loyal to them.

The competition between the various factions encourages innovation and growth, finding the better way, the more efficient way, the more profitable way, to conduct business and thus benefit the Empire as a whole.

“Mutual Service to the Patron, Mutual service that strengthens the Empire” That’s how the tutors put it these days isn’t it. What I disagree with is when it becomes self service, too much power in the hands of too few have stifled the competition and limited the options of the regular citizens

That was why the contract with Mastopolos Mining Inc was so important

Argon Armrend – Angeli Imperial CEO

What was the Mastopolos Mining Inc contract?

Well that was a major contract with a Major corporate, and we earned that contract on our own, just Father, my bother and I and our several ZPG Haulers, without the need of a word or a nod from some “Grey Haired Aristocrat” trading one favour for another to gain some small personal advantage. It was a testament to us, our diligence, our ability to start with something small, and put in the hard yards and turning it into something meaningful.

We had to sell our Haulers  (we were each running one by then) and take a loan to outfit a Lakon Type 7 Transporter  but the future earnings on the MMInc contract were more than enough to secure the loan and such a ship had all the room we needed and between the three of us we would run the ship 24/7

Why the Lakon Type 7, why not an Imperial Clipper?

We didn’t have the right introductions to get in the Gutamaya Showrooms

So from that contract and ship you were well on your way to the Top?

[laughs] in a round about way, the contract with MMInc was where everything changed. I am surprised I can laugh about it now, but sometimes that is the only way we know how to react to some things.

On one of the contract runs our ship was interdicted by a flight of Pirates, a pair of those Gutamaya Clippers we hard working honest citizens were not good enough to buy.

They didn’t even want the cargo, just to dissuade people from doing business with Senator Torval, the dark side of when Patrons disagree with one another and gang warfare begins, not that it is ever official, or sanctioned or ever affects the upper classes at all, it is just the common citizen that suffers and dies, like my father and brother.

Somehow I was blown free from the ship and the Remlock kept me alive until a MMInc ship arrived.

So you were the only survivor?

Yes, neither father nor my brother Mauricius survived the destruction of the ship. Not only that but do you know what Mastopolos Mining Inc reacted to one of their supply ships being attacked?

They sued me for breach of contract.

I didn’t even have the strength to fight them, and I found myself in one of their mines, with what seemed like an insurmountable mountain of debt before me.

So what happened next?

Well I started at the low end jobs at Mastopolos Mining Inc, everyone who goes there starts at the bottom, regardless of your skills of qualifications. They do that to break down the “new contracts” and to remind them of their place; it was unpleasant to say the least.

After a while those MMInc do start to make assignments based on prior skills, low level admin roles and such. Like many areas of Imperial society, the entry level jobs where Imperial Citizens should be getting the experience they need then take and grow in their chosen fields or strike out on their own are being filled by Imperial Slaves.

Whilst it helped me, I was lucky, all too often the Imperial Slaves are paid so little and never get any pay reviews or opportunities, it is many years before they can afford their freedom, in the meantime those roles are unavailable for young Citizens to learn the ropes and gain experience.

Middle management and above is, appointments by Patrons as rewards to their favourites and the regular citizen, or even those Slaves who have done the time at the low level roles have no where to go and opportunities to make something for themselves, but I digress.

Then how did a former Imperial Slave then become CEO of the Angeli Imperial?

Well firstly, I am still under my Contract, only now it is with Patreus, not Mastopolos Mining Inc. You think your performance reviews are stressful, with the “have you earned that pay rise” or “what bonus can I expect this year”. Mine are a little different and measure how long I have left on my contract, a few more good years and well, you know, I might be working for myself again.

Okay, so how did your contract end up with Senator Patreus?

I’d love to say it was through my acumen or skills, but it was really luck being in the right place in the right time. A silly story really; the Senator had come to MMInc to oversee the final sign off on a weapons supply contract and my part in it all was, servicing the coffee.

The Coffee?

Yeah, the coffee, after the meeting, the Senator was still in the meeting room with the figures on the screen, and I was bringing in the Senator’s Drink, CD-75 if memory serves, and just made a off hand comment on some of the figures. I don’t know why I did it, and I don’t know why the senator even listened but he did and started asking more questions and he seemed impressed.

He purchased my contact that day, citing the coffee was just the way he liked it. From there he put me to use looking at various accounts and various deals he had going. Small ones to begin with, then larger ones when I managed ‘added some value’ to the projects assigned to me.

Eventually I become his ‘new acquisitions troubleshooter’ sent in to get his new purchase working to the levels of efficiency that the Senator expects.

We’re getting there with the Angeli Imperial… slowly…. [laughs]

The AI is a great opportunity though, the largest operation I have been assigned so far, and I think this will be my last assignment of my contract, as success here will be great one.

So what would be the plans after

I certainly don’t plan to retire any time soon. There is too much potential in the Empire that goes untapped, Imperial Citizens who simply lack the opportunity because either they lack the right Patron or that the excess of poorly paid Imperial Slaves take up the Jobs.

Yes, the tradition of Slavery in the Empire provides a social safety net,  but in its current form, too many people use it to lock people in to it with little opportunity to resolve their debt, in the mean time, there are no roles left for the Free citizens that don’t have wealth and the right hand shake to give to the right people.

We need to get those on imperial slave contracts in roles where they can pay off their debts as quickly as possible, treating them like the Citizens that they are, whilst providing opportunities to the free citizens, where they can be productive and profitable, not idle & falling into the debt cycles we see in the middle classes. Employment shouldn’t be limited to the Cliens of the few powerful.

So we’ve got the basic outfitting of ships out of the way.  Now we can look at the more complicated subjects of weapons.

Weapons, like modules, come in different sizes.  Class 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Weapons do NOT come in different Grades though.  They are assigned a grade, but no other grades are available for that particular weapon, so if someone refers to a C2 Gimballed Multicannon, they mean a Class 2 Gimballed Multicannon.  The grade of this weapon is F but this makes no difference.

Different ships have a different number of hardpoints available and these differ in size.  They also greatly differ in their placement on ships.

To take the Viper and Cobra as examples, the Viper has 2 x C2 and 2 x C1 hardpoints, all closely packed allowing for good weapon convergence when using fixed weapons in all 4 slots.  The Cobra has the same hardpoints but the 2 x C1s are placed out on the tips of the wings, meaning that they don’t offer the same convergence with fixed weapons.  This means that an effective load out on a Viper may not be as effective on a Cobra even though they can fit the same weapons.

Weapons have a power usage, just as other modules, that add to the draw on the ship’s power plant.  Weapons also have a second power usage that is not listed.  This is their usage of the ships cooling system.  This is represented as the weapons power reserve in the power distributer display on the right of the sensors panel in the cockpit.

When this reserve is depleted then weapons that draw more than the recharge rate of the distributor will be unable to fire.  Also firing weapons when the reserve is low can lead to overheating of the ship.

Weapon Mounts:

(FIX) Shown as a Crosshair symbol.

Pros:

  • Maximum damage.
  • Slight gimballing allows near perfect aim at long range.
  • Unaffected by chaff.
  • Unaffected by target lock.

Cons:

  • Hard to hit small targets at close range.
  • Hard to target sub-systems.
  • Hard to hit target if in close strafing battle


(GIM) Shown as a two ovals crossing symbol.

Pros:

  • Easy to hit small targets at close range.
  • Easy to target sub-systems.
  • Easy to hit target if in close strafing battle.
  • Can be unlocked from target to fire straight ahead like fixed, though they do not gain from the slight gimballing effect that fixed have.

Cons:

  • Inaccurate against small targets over 800m away.
  • Affected by chaff.
  • Affected by target lock.
  • 20-25% less damage than Fixed variant.
  • Only 1% less cooling system power usage than fixed variant

(TUR) Shown as a small tank turret symbol.

Pros:

  • Hardly affected by chaff.
  • Can hit targets out of view.
  • Can be placed in ‘Fire on Target’ mode.
  • Can be placed in ‘Fire at Will’ mode.
  • Can be placed in forward fire mode, though they do not gain from the slight gimballing effect that fixed have.
  • Easy to hit small targets at close range.
  • Easy to hit target if in close strafing battle.
  • Uses approximately 40% less cooling system power than fixed variant.

Cons:

  • Affected by target lock.
  • 50-60% less damage than Fixed variant.
  • Inability to change fire modes quickly.
  • Inability to stop turrets firing without retracting weapons.
  • Turrets may hit ‘Friendlies’.


Weapon Types:

There are three main types of weapons, Thermal, Kinetic and Explosive.  Thermal weapons are lasers and kinetic weapons are projectile weapons.  Explosive weapons are mines, missiles and torpedos.
I’ll discuss below the variants of each and then discuss the few weapons that lie outside this basic view.

 

Mine Launcher:

Lays a mine in the hope your enemy will fly into it.

Dumbfire Missile Launcher:

Fires a missile at your target.

Heat-Seeking Missile Launcher:

Fires a missile that will track your target.

Torpedo Launcher:

Fires a slow moving missile at your target.

Utility Mounts:

The other modules you can fit on a ship are the Utility modules.  These have no Class sizes but may have E to A grades.

Some of these items work at all times, others only work when weapons are deployed and may have to be assigned to a fire group.

These boost the maximum charge of your shields.  They do not speed up the recharge rate, and if shields are lost, they will increase the time before shields come back online.

  • They can use a large amount of power and can add a bit of weight to your ship.

These turrets will automatically attempt to shoot any Explosive weapons in the area.  They have a large ammo clip and are fast firing.

Electronic Counter Measures (ECM)

When used it will destroy any heat seeking missiles within range.  Range is increased the longer you hold the fire button down.

  • This can be assigned to a fire group.
  • There is a cool-down after each use.

Chaff Launcher:

Chaff can be used to stop gimballed weapons from locking onto you.  Chaff also stops scans from other players, although currently doesn’t work against NPC scans.  It also seems to not always work against NPC weapons.

  • Chaff Launchers require to be assigned to a firegroup or a hotkey.
  • They require ammo.


These are used to quickly cool your ship.  They can be used to prolong silent running or allow the continuous firing of high heat weapons.

  • They can be assigned to a firegroup or a hotkey.
  • They require ammo.

Scanners allow you to scan other ships or their wakes. They can only be used when weapons are deployed (Wake Scanner can be used in Supercruise) and have to be assigned to a fire group. All three scanners are available in E to A grades, with each grade increasing the range by 500m but also doubling the power requirement.

Well that is it for Part 2.  I know this was just another boring factual instalment, but now that we have all the basics to ship outfitting sorted, we can get into the more contentious issues of good ship load outs.