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