As the Angeli proceed with the expansion of Wangal Energy Partners into the partnering system of Shongastyak, the Empire has answered the call for assistance in the campaign and sent two of its Majestic Class Interdictors into the Area


empire

INV Trasken Duval


empire

INV Anders Blaine

Majestic Class Interdictor “Anders Blaine” – In battle @ Shongastyak

The overwhelming show of force has been too much for the locals, and are now  all but defeated.

Hail the Empire!!

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.

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.

Bulkheads:

These come in 5 types for all ships.

Zero cost and zero weight and zero damage reduction.  This is the base value for your ship and is factored into the cost and weight of your ship.
  This will add weight to your ship, at approximately 7.5% of the base mass of your ship, and at a cost of around 50% of the base purchase price of your ship.  In return you will gain approximately 25% damage reduction against all weapon types.
This will add weight to your ship, at approximately 15 % of the base mass of your ship, and at a cost of around 100% of the base purchase price of your ship.  In return you will gain approximately 50% damage reduction against all weapon types.
This will add weight to your ship, at approximately 15 % of the base mass of your ship, and at a cost of around 200%-300% of the base purchase price of your ship.  In return you will gain approximately 75% damage reduction against thermal weapon but only 25% damage reduction against kinetic weapons.
This will add weight to your ship, at approximately 15 % of the base mass of your ship, and at a cost of around 300% of the base purchase price of your ship.  In return you will gain approximately 75% damage reduction against kinetic weapon but only 25% damage reduction against thermal weapons.

Modules:

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.

Dictates the size of the module.  If you look at the outfitting screen of the Fer De Lance you will see, in the bottom right of each module slot, a number in orange.   This is the maximum class for that slot. Above that number you will see a letter and number in white.  That is the Grade and Class of the module currently fitted.

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.

All modules come in E to A grade.  General rule is E are the worst and A are the best.
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.


Power Plant:

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:

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.

Life Support:

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.

Sensors:

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.

Power Distributor:

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.

Fuel Tank:

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.

Shield Generator:

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.

Cargo Racks:

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.

Discovery Scanners:

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.

Refineries:

Something to do with mining.

Hull Reinforcement:

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.

Fuel Scoop:

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.

Both you and the target are dropped into normal flight with a 40 second cool-down on your FSDs.  Both ships will take hull, integrity and module damage depending on the speed of the interdictor at the time of interdiction.
You are dropped into normal flight with a 40 second cool-down on your FSD.  You will take hull, integrity and module damage depending on your speed at the time of interdiction.  Your target will continue their travels in Supercruise.
The target can submit by zero-ing their throttle before interdiction is complete.  Both you and the target are dropped into normal flight with a 10 second cool-down on your FSDs.  Neither ships will take damage.

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.


Hope this has been some help to you.  In the next instalment, hopefully coming very soon, I will look at the various weapons and utility mounts and also start to look at power management and power distribution, as well as some combat builds and some tips for making a career as a combat pilot.

Thought I’d pass on some of my knowledge/ideas/idiocy when it comes to outfitting Combat ships.

The Queen at home in Nelder

The Queen at home in Nelder

Basic Power Management:

I’m sure you all already know this but just in case it has slipped by a few people,you can gain extra energy for weapons by disabling non-required items when you deploy weapons. Simply set Frame Shift Drives, Fuel Scoops, FSD interdictors, Cargo Hatches, AFMs, to a lower priority (Higher Number) in the power management tab on the right UI panel, when weapons are deployed, these items not needed in combat will be automatically turned off.

http://www.edshipyard.com/ is a great site to check your power management.

 

Thrusters: A or D.

Thrusters are a power hungry module.  Selecting A class will seriously eat into your Energy budget.

D class are thrusters are fine for PvE combat.  The only time you’ll wish you had A class is when you get jumped by 3 Eagles in a CZ, when your shields are already low and you’re slowly boosting away from them.

D class in PvP could well leave you in trouble.  Fit Ds in a Vulture and you won’t notice it much against other players until you come across another Vulture.  Fights between the same model of ship invaraibly turn into a ‘Knife Fight’.  Both players circle strafing around each other.  Here’s is where A class thrusters give a great advantage.

The loss of boost speed is also a problem.  Without A class thrusters on Vipers, Clippers and FDLs you may find that Vultures can keep up with you when/if you try to run.

 

Shield Boosters or Shield Cells:

AI On Patrol

I say take both.

Impossible you say. Combat ships don’t have the energy, well I believe they do and here’s how.

Fit whatever shield boosters you can to your ship without affecting you weapons loadout, then fit SCBs to your ship that have lower or equal energy draw as your Shield Boosters. Set the Power prority of your Shield boosters lower than that of your SCBs but turn the SCBs off.

Once in combat, select the Power Management screen in the right hand UI and leave the cursor over the SCBs.

If you feel you’re going to need to use the SCBs simply select the right hand panel.  Turn on the SCBs.  It’ll take you 3 button presses.

You can now use the SCBs immeadiately. Far quicker than putting weapons away to use SCBs, something that can take 10 seconds in larger ships and then you still have the 5 second spool up.  15 seconds is a long time in combat if your shields are low.

The additional advantage to this is if you lose your shields, your Shield boosters will already be disabled so the time till your shields restore will be lessened and as soon as they do you can pop a SCB.

Just to give some quick maths on the subject, using some very rough numbers. Take a Vulture,  let’s say its shields are worth 300 Hit points, I add SBs to give it 450 Hit Points.  Once I get to the last ring of shields I only have 150 HPs left, turning off my Shield boosters still leave me with 150 HPs, just my max is back to 300.  Firing a Shield Cell might give me 150 to take me back to 300, but generally they aren’t big enough to give more than that so having my Max at 450 would be wasted.

Also at 300 HP my shields would take 150 seconds to come back online if I lose them.  At 450 it’ll take 225 seconds.  That’s over a whole minute more.

 

Gimballed vs Fixed and Symmetrical Weapons Loadouts:

The Baron on the AI battle for Guan Yun

There is a school of thought that Fixed weapons are best and that the best and most skilled pilots should use them and only them.

Rubbish I say.

Fixed do more damage, fixed won’t miss at ranges over 1km if the pilot is good, but fixed are often useless up close where fighters will thrust and bank around making it very hard to hit them consistantly with fixed weapons.

At ranges of 800m or less, Gimballed is king.  They will lock onto the target at hit it constantly.  Against small fighters they are fantastic, but no good combat pilot should ever rely on gimballed weapons. Over 1km their aim is poor, almost useless against a fleeing target, and chaff renders them useless for a period of time.

So the solution?  Use both and here is where we talk about the problems with symmetrical loadouts.As far as I am concerned the Beam Laser is the greatest weapon in the game.  Strips shields quicker than any other weapon and is still quite effective against sub systems and the hulls of smaller ships.

The problem with Beam Lasers is their capacitor draw.  Fit two Beam Lasers in you larger hardpoints of any ship and you’ll drain your capacitors in 6 or so seconds and any time you miss your target you are wasting a huge amount of energy.

This is why I tend to fit 1 Gimballed and 1 Fixed.  My first fire-group will have the gimballed on Fire1 and the fixed on Fire2. Second firegroup, the gimballed laser and gimballed kinetic weapons (Plus other firegroups where needed for KWS scanners and FSD Interdictors usually combined with the Gim Laser).   By fitting one of each, I solve many issues.

1) I can now fire a single beam for over 30 seconds on most ships.  Meaning that whenever a target is in my sights I will have energy to fire and I also won’t overheat my ship.

2) I alleviate the damage reduction of the gimballed weapon by firing the fixed whenever I have a good target.

3) Maximise hit accuracy.  At long ranges I can fire the fixed with perfect accuracy.  Up close where it is hard to keep the target in the crosshairs, I let the gimballed do the work while I concentrate on my position, and at this range the gimballed will rarely miss.

4) Almost maximum damage when needed. Given a perfect target, say a ship banking in 800m in front of me, I can open up with both barrells.

5) Once shields are down on large targets the gimballed beam can target subsystems in addition to my Kinect weapons, leaving me to concentrate on my position again.

6) PvP.  Having the fixed beam leaves me with a powerful weapon against chaff users.  While the gimballed beam gives me an advantage in knife fights.  If you’re only using fixed beams in a knife fight often the point where you are in position to fire on your enemy is the point where they are in a position to fire on you.  With gimballed you’ll be able to hit them from a position where they are unable to return fire, and if it’s a real close knife fight then they can use chaff all they like, the single gimballed will still hit them from time to time while you’re still out of their crosshairs (using two gimballeds here will just end up wasting so much energy), likely causing them to make a strategic retreat, at which point you can chase after them and burn their shields with your fixed beam.

To give you some idea on my loadouts, here are a couple of mine:

 

A couple of notes on these builds:

Power Management:

Priority 4: FSD, FSD Interdictor, Cargo Hatch, Fuel Scoop. (Turned off when weapons are deployed.)

Priority 3: Shield Boosters.  (Turned off when SCBs turned on.)

Priority 2: SCBs. Turned off till needed.

Priority 1: Everything Else.

You can swap the Chaff Launcher for an E0 KWS for PvE.

Both ships have D grade FSDs, Fuel scoops and small Fuel tanks.  I do this to keep weight and rebuy costs down when I expect a lot of PvP.  Normally I use the standard fuel tank and A grade FSD and Fuel Scoop.

The Vulture weapons load out is what I call the ‘Eagle Mincer’.  Great against all fighters and still effective against larger ships like Pythons and Condas. Swapping the gim pulse laser for a Gim Cannon creates the ‘Python Eater’ but reduces it’s effectiveness against small craft.  Flying in a wing with one of each would be extremely effective, with a Clipper or Cobra to chase down fast targets.

Shong

After a grueling 6 day campaign, the forces of the Angeli  Imperial came out victorious in the Guan Yun System.  The AI poured all it’s might into the fight, demonstrating again the brute force of the Empire.

 

Hail the Emperor!!