Want to have stats that look a lot like these?
Want to fly a ship like this?
Well I’m here to help, well at least not hinder. Hopefully I’ll be able to convey some useful tips and clear up some of the idiosyncrasies of this game and although these posts will have a bias towards combat, hopefully it can be some help to traders and explorers as well.
So to start, and I’m sorry but it will be a slow start, let us look at the basics of outfitting. I will try to make this a quick and unbiased view of all modules. In further parts to this guide I will discuss my views and tips on outfitting in more detail. You may yet not be able to afford the pictured Fer De Lance but the basics of outfitting hold true to all ships.
So starting at the top of the outfitting menu.
These come in 5 types for all ships.
- Lightweight Alloy
- Reinforced Alloy
- Military Grade Composite
- Mirrored Surface Composite
- Reactive Surface Composite
Next in the list in the outfitting screen are the Fixed Modules. There are 7 of them. These are common to all ships and must be replaced with the same type of module. Modules have 2 ratings. Grade and Class.
All ships when purchased come with E grade modules of the maximum class available for each slot.
When outfitting a ship, pay close attention to the maximum class of the slot. You should always fit modules of the maximum size for that slot. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule which I will note when discussion the module type.
C and A grades are direct replacements for E grade. D and B differ slightly.
D grade is the Lightweight grade. Better than E grade, but lighter than all the other grades.
B grade is the armoured grade. Better than C grade and heavier than all the other grades, but in return you gain some damage reduction to this module.
The Power plant is the heart of your ship. It provides power to all the other modules and weapons. If it is destroyed, your ship is destroyed.
The power plant will often be the limiting factor in your ship, as it will limit the type and class of weapons and modules.
The capacity of your power plant is shown in the top right of the outfitting info panel.
The two numbers to the left of this are your Retracted power usage (when weapons are stored) and Deployed power usage (when weapons are deployed).
In order to power your ship in flight and in combat these values must be lower than the max capacity of your power plant.
You may note that from the image of my Fer De Lance both values are above the max capacity. This is possible and I’ll discuss this in the next instalment.
Also note that if you are trying to build a lightweight ship that the A grade power plant a class below is lighter, offers slightly more power and better heat efficiency than a D grade power plant but at 10 times the price. (See Attachment Powerplants)
Thrusters provide your ships movement. Who would have thought. Better ones will increase your base speed, boost speed and manoeuvrability. If they are damaged in combat, they may malfunction leaving you in a state of FA off. If they are destroyed, you will be dead in the water, at the mercy of your aggressors.
Thrusters are very power hungry and can be quite costly, and they are at their most efficient when your ships combined weight (including any cargo) is at 50% of the optimal weight stated for your thrusters. This value can only been seen in the purchasing menu for thrusters. (See Attachment Thrusters)
You may notice that my weight is 4.9Tons over but it’s close.
Frame Shift Drive:
This module allows you to jump between systems and allows you to enter Supercruise. Upgrading it allows you to jump further. The max distance you are able to jump is determined by the Grade and Class of FSD and by your ships combined weight.
Take very careful note when upgrading a FSD. Choosing an A2 rather than an A3 may leave you stuck in system, unable to jump out and maybe unable to repurchase the same or better drive. This can leave you with some problematic choices on how to proceed.
This module determines how long your air supply will last if your canopy is breached.
Life support Class is fixed for all ships, so you will not be able to change class, only grade.
Upgrading your sensors allows you to see and target other ships on your scanner from greater distances.
Sensor distance is also affected by the heat output of ships. The lower the heat the lower the distance your sensors will be able to target them.
Sensor Class is fixed for all ships, so you will not be able to change class, only grade.
This is one of the most important modules on your ship. It links the power plant to your shields, thrusters and weapons. It provides some power directly to these systems and also has capacitors which will store a charge for these systems. Upgrading this allows you to fire for longer and boost more often.
For engines you must have power in the capacitors to be able to boost. For weapons, a larger capacitor will allow for longer continuous use of weapons.
The way the power distributor works with shields is long and complicated and I will discuss this further in a later instalment.
For combat pilots upgrading to an A grade Power Distributor is generally the most important task. Luckily they are quite cheap for their Class and Grade.
For traders and explorers should still consider an A grade over a D grade as the decrease in time between boosting could save your ship from trouble, although this has to be balanced against the extra weight.
The fuel tank size determines the amount of fuel a ship may carry. This determines how long it can fly in normal flight and supercruise and how many Frame Shift jumps it can make before refuelling.
The maximum size tank always comes fitted to a new ship so there is never a need to upgrade this, although you may have reasons to downgrade it.
So there are the 7 Fixed module types. Below these in the outfitting screen you will find a number of Internal Compartments. The number and class of these change with every ship.
These compartments will come fitted with a Shield Generator, some cargo racks and a Basic Discovery scanner as standard on all ships.
There are many different modules you can fit here, that generally come in E to A grades.
Does exactly what it says on the tin.
For combat pilots, you will want to fit the largest shield generator that you can. The higher the Class, the better the price and energy efficiency. Larger shields weigh more, but the increase in shields will generally always be worth it.
Traders and explorers may choose to fit smaller or no shields to increase their cargo capacity, but don’t come complaining to me if you are destroyed by a pirate because you made this choice.
It is worth noting that shield generators do not provide the same level of shielding on all ships. For instance, an A3 shield generator on a Viper gives stronger shields than an A4 shield generator on a Cobra. There are many arguments over why this happens, but basically it is for gameplay balance.
If you want a better explanation look at it like this, when you change the shield generator you are only changing the internal components, not the actual shield emitters. Some ships have good emitters, like the Viper, some bad, such as the Clipper.
These modules increase the cargo carrying capacity of a ship. Each step up in class allows for double the capacity.
When you purchase a ship, any cargo racks will be one class smaller than the max size for that slot.
Cargo racks use no power and have zero weight when empty so fitting these to spare slots on combat ships do no harm. Even a capacity of 2 will allow you to complete some missions for minor factions or even the odd Rank mission for the Empire (4 tons should complete any of these missions).
This might even work for Federation rank missions as well, but don’t be surprised if I destroy you for attempting these missions.
Cargo racks only come in E grade.
There are three discovery scanners available. These are used to discover and scan celestial bodies to gain rewards through exploration. Basic scanner comes on all ships and has a range of 500ls. Intermediate scanner has a range of 1000ls and Advanced scanner has infinite range, they all weigh 2 tons and use no power. The Advanced scanner is obviously the best if you can afford it.
There is also the Detailed Surface Scanner. This scanner must be used in conjunction with one of the other scanners. It will give you greater rewards for you exploration when scanning bodies.
There are no differing grades or classes with Scanners.
Shield Cell Banks:
These power-hungry modules can save you great expense. Their purchase price can be quite cheap though ammo is expensive.
By firing a SCB by either a hotkey or a fire button assigned to a fire group, you can quickly recharge your shields.
SCBs generate a lot of heat when fired and have a 5 second spool-up time. Be careful, nothing worse than causing heat damage to your modules and then still losing your shields because you were too late in firing the SCB.
The greater the class and grade the more they will recharge. B grade provide extra ammo at a greater weight while A grade provide greater recharge per ammo.
Something to do with mining.
These modules provide you with extra armour for additional weight. They do not protect your sub-systems any better though. Only available in E and D grade.
Hatch Breaker Limpet:
Can be used to force open the cargo hatches on other ships. This can also be done by targeting the cargo hatch with weapons. Only available in Classes 1, 3, 5 and 7.
Free fuel and no need to visit stations to refuel. Makes long journeys quick and easy, especially in low jump range combat vessels. Fuel scoops have zero weight for all Classes and Grades. Not every star is scoopable, plan your routes accordingly.
Frame Shift Interdictor:
This module allows you to pull other ships out of Supercruise. To activate one, you must assign it to a fire group. You do not need to deploy your weapons in Supercruise to use it.
Get behind the target and within range and push fire to start the interdiction mini-game. The range of interdictors increase with Class and Grade, but is also affected by your speed. The faster you are moving the greater the range, but also the more damage you may suffer.
Interdicting clean targets in a system will gain you a small fine from the systems controlling faction.
When you interdict a target there are several outcomes.
Standard Docking Computer:
Waste of space.
Auto-Field Maintenance Unit:
These zero weight but power hungry modules can repair other modules on your ship. The higher the grade the faster that they work. Great for explorers a long way from any stations to get repairs.