Alright so I keep saying "know your ship", but what exactly does that entail?
Knowing her handling, her 'quirks', her limits... all of these things are heavily dependant on equipment.
There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there, and plenty of uninformed people who simply can't FIND the info they're looking for.
So then, I decided to write up a "breakdown" on the equipment, what it does, and what the stats mean.
This is damage the item can take before damage to it starts on "Hitpoints". Generally, incoming damage that passes through the shields and armor is evenly dispersed among your components, and the lowest Armor parts are affected first.
Higher is better.
After armor of an item is gone, Hitpoints start next. These are dealt 100% damage, and your item will reduce performance in direct relationship to the amount of Hitpoints it has. If it had 100 and got hit for 50, it will work at 50% capability. At 0, the item is completely disabled.
Higher is better.
Reactor Energy Drain:
The amount of power the item draws from the Reactor.
While 1200 may not seem much more than 1100, with 8 items drawing power that adds up quick.
Lower is better.
The mass of the object (assume in kilograms).
Lighter is better.
Now, on to Item Specific:
While "more power" may be better in theory, it is best to find a power level that is *just* over what you need. By keeping power to "adequate" instead of "exceptional" you can balance out your ship more easily by freeing up a little mass here.
Crafted reactors are generally better than looted / Reverse Engineered, though there are a few exceptional reactors with low mass and high energy output.
This is not just your speed... your engine controls (almost) all aspects of your ship's behavior.
Turning, rolling, speed... everything you do that involves motion.
Pitch, Yaw, and Roll!
These statistics are a vital part of your ship!
Pitch is your up and down speed limit. Yaw is your side-to-side speed limit. Faster is better! From the other posts, and your experience so far, you should realise how important turning quickly is.
Max Speed is quite self-explanatory.
These statistics will be modified in many chassis, but regardless you'll need them as high as you can get them at any certification level.
At the time of this posting, Crafted engines are garbage, and *most* Odd# Certification level loot engines are also useless.
First Line of Defense!
A rather important piece of equipment, your shield is what keeps you from exploding after a single hit.
The stats on a shield to look for are Front hitpoints and Rear hitpoints, as well as recharge rate.
Something to note: regardless of crafted or looted, different F/R (front and rear) numbers will equalize once fitted and launched to space. This was done to circumvent a bug/exploit which allowed people to create shields much stronger than they should be.
So when shield-shopping, add the two stats and divide by two.... that will be your f/r protection.
Anything that says "Rate" is Units Per Second.
In the case of shields, that's XX Units per Second PER SIDE. If you have access to reinforcement programs, and you have 100% rear shields but 20% front remaining, it would behoove you to even them out. You will recharge them in half the time.
Higher is obviously better for all 3 of these statistics.
At the time of posting, Crafted Shields (done properly) are better than Straight-Looted shields, but not normally better than Reverse Engineered shields, and definitely not as good as the Reward Shields.
Well, all the statistics for armor are in the universal, so suffice it to say that *most* Looted or Reverse Engineered shields cannot measure up to Crafted. The advantage to crafted is that it can be custom made to almost any specific mass limitation and still offer better protection than most looted/RE'd... and can be duplicated over and over. Overall a well-balanced item between loot and crafted.
The HEART of your weapons, pilots.
Without a cap you can't even fire a spitball, so you need to pay attention to this piece of equipment.
Recharge Rate, as with shields, is Units Per Second. Higher is better... much better.
If you are using a single weapon with .33 refire rate, and 25 energy drain, then you are taking 75 units of energy from your capacitor every second. With a recharge at 25.... you're depleting your cap twice as fast as you are refilling it.
Capacitor Energy is how much total energy is stored for use by the weapons. Having as much as possible is also desireable, but rather secondary to Recharge Rate.
A cap with 25 recharge and 1000 energy won't do you much good in an extended fight (escort missions anyone?) where you're firing nearly constantly; but a 40 recharge on a 700 energy will allow you to fire again with only short pauses between targets.
At the time of posting, decent Recharge and Capacity can be had from Reverse Engineering any Even # Certification Level Loot Drop capacitors. Crafted Capacitors are completely useless.
Also at the time of posting the program "Weapons Overload 3" is bugged and behaves as BOTH the damage enhancement it is supposed to perform, and Weapon Tuning 3, which reduces Reactor Energy Drain and Energy Per Shot.
Now here's a fairly complex piece of equipment to do a fairly simple set of chores.
What's important on a booster is dependant on the pilot and the situation, so I'll try to address the roles a booster *should* play, and the properties that you need to fill them.
Speed up your ship for intercept.
Getting targets down as quickly as possible is important many times, especially in certain missions. That means getting from the target you just destroyed or disabled to the next one as fast as you can. For this, "Burn Time" is probably most important, with "Booster Speed" being the next most important statistic. I'll explain where to get "Burn Time" from momentarily.
Escaping The Enemy.
Sometimes it gets too hot, and you need breathing room. While in theory boosters should get you up to speed and out of range in no time, the fact is that it's rarely the case. Enemies fighters giving chase WILL catch you.
This is viable however against larger, slow-moving enemies, such as those pesky Shuttles, YT's, and most gunboats.
In a case like this, you definitely want Speed as your primary attribute, and Recharge Rate as the secondary. What good is a 35 speed enhancement if it takes 2 minutes before you can get decent burn again?
Accelerating to Attack Speed.
By far the best use for a booster, it can be used to counter inertia and boost your acceleration out of a turn to unreasonable rates.
Getting turned around and behind an enemy is all fine and dandy, but if he puts 450 meters between you before you can get up to speed, you just wasted your talent. In this case, Acceleration is the most important statistic, with speed second... recharge rate is almost irrelevant, since you should only be boosting 2-3 seconds at a time, at most.
So how do you determine what stat combination you need?
Burn Time is a combination of Booster Energy, Booster Energy Consumption Rate, and Booster Recharge Rate.
More energy means more burn time; lower rate of consumption means more still, and higher recharge means yet more on top of that.
Remember that "rate" is units per second - consumption is "how fast does it eat the stored energy".
Acceleration is the only player-controlled acceleration factor in the game. All engine acceleration is dictated by the chassis at this time, so if you want to make that beast boat of yours get up to speed quickly, you will need a very high acceleration. Your ship will go from "zero to sixty" in no time flat.
Maximum Boost Speed is the unit you will increase your speed under boost; it's a straight addition to your current max velocity, and not affected by any overloads. So a 55 speed engine in a 1.0 chassis with a 25 speed booster will go 800 in space under boost, with no overloads running.
At the time of this posting:
To cover "all the bases", Reverse Engineered boosters are the way to go. HOWEVER, they are guaranteed to have higher mass than a crafted booster, and probably more Reactor Energy Use.
Crafted Boosters, when made with proper resources, can be custom tailored to fit any of the roles above, at lower mass and energy drain, and will perform more than adequately. Boosters simply "made" and thrown on a vendor probably won't fill your needs. For this part I suggest talking to a master ShipWright and getting it custom made. This item is probably the best-balanced crafted item in the game.
So much confusion!
The only unique statistic is Droid Speed.
LOWER IS BETTER!
Droid Speed (except for bugged programs) is the time it takes to get ready for the next program times the program level.
That means running Shield Reinforcement Front To Rear 1 on a droid interface with 30 speed, can be hit every 30 seconds.
Using the same program but at level 2 on that same DI will mean once a minute.
You can see where this can be a vital part of your ship.
And if you are not using a droid interface and flight computer or droid.... start. It's a tree all by itself in the Pilot Skills... that should tell you how important it really is.
At the time of posting, crafted DI's are not as good as Looted / Reverse Engineered.
Now things are much simpler with weapons than some folks think, but certainly more complex than others realise.
There are 6 statistics on a weapon that are extremely important.
Minimum Damage & Maximum Damage (simply listed as Damage: xxx - yyy)
Now, just like the ground game, damage range is extremely important. Minimum damage is a stat all by itself, and so is max... keeping those numbers high is important for obvious reasons; closing the gap will let you hit more consistantly.
Vs. Shields and Vs. Armor:
These numbers are a flat-out percent damage of your hit that is dealt to either.
So, a typical crafted having .48 to .50 means it's doing 48-50% of the damage per hit... not much at all.
Getting these numbers as high as possible means dealing the most damage. Better to take a lower damage gun with 70% damage than a higher with only 48%.
In the case of multiple weapons, some people feel that going with manufactured ION and Disruptor combinations is the way to go... I'm going to tell you that is flat-out false. Do the math... take a looted ION and Disruptor and drop them in the same RE job, and get a gun that does 65-80% damage on both statistics... with 2 guns, you're doing double what the ION/Disruptor pilot is doing.
Energy / shot: lower is better. This is how much energy it sucks out of your capacitor for every single shot you make. With multiple weapons you can be looking at some serious drain to capacitor here. Review Capacitor ^.
Refire Rate: How many seconds it takes to refire. 0.33 is three times a second. Damage Over Time, faster is better. Provided you're hitting your target
When using multiple weapons you will probably also want to try to match these as closely as possible, to give those first few hits serious import.
At the time of this posting, Reverse Engineered weapons are the only weapons that will give you serious offensive power. Some Looted weapons have good damage stats, but I've yet to see a looted weapon that will, standalone, cover "all the bases" as it were. And trust me, I've seen a LOT of loot....
Crafted weapons are used by many pilots and they believe them adequate... until you've used good RE'd guns, you're selling yourself short.
Ooohhh the sound of missiles is daunting isn't it?
The truth is though that missiles are completely un-necessary. If you can tail a target long enough to get a lock, you should have been able to make that pilot suck void already.
They do have their uses.
There are 5 kinds of missiles of different grades - and each has it's purpose.
By far the most commonly used, yet probably the least useful of all missiles.
These do poor-to-mediocre damage (damage stats & mods are defined the same as for blasters), but are split equally between shields and armor, so they can be used against "anything". While useful in theory, the damage does not justify the cost. In the time it takes to lock and fire, then to do so little damage, you've only added one or 2 blaster hits to what you've dealt the enemy, for all intents and purposes.
These missiles are specifically designed to penetrate armor and/or reduce a chassis to spacedust. Excellent choice of missiles simply because you should be firing while you aquire lock, thereby reducing shields... once shields hit 50% hit with a seismic for decent damage, possibly even the killshot.
Also a useful missile, especially in ships with more than one launcherslot, and against larger targets. Missile range is *slightly* higher than gun range, and you can sit behind a large target that is on a static course, and fire off con's to take out shields with little-to-no risk to your ship. These are also excellent for taking out subcomponents.
This is a PvP-intended version of the Proton.
This missile is less likely to be deterred by a countermeasure, but the damage is poor enough that it's not really viable, even if you did manage to get a lock. I've never been asked to make any, and have never actually tested them. The stats speak for themselves...
There are 2 levels of Spacebomb, one and two, and they are by far the "best" missile in the game.
Excellent damage to both shields and armor, at level 2 they can easily be made to guarantee 1-hit kills to any fighter-class NPC.
The downsides... they're very expensive (to make), and you typically get 3 or 4 in a pack. However, an excellent use for missiles just the same - emergency damage-dealer when you're in over your head, to bring the odds into your favor.
The only different statistic on a missile that you should pay attention to is "Refire Rate".
This is both how long between launches from a single launcher, and how long it will take you to lock on to a steady target.
Lower is better.
Here it's fairly self explanatory.
You can see from looking at them how likely they are to stop an incoming missile, in flat % chance. The higher the numbers, the better... but be warned. Better CM's means a heavier launcher, and you may not want to sacrifice that mass for it... or carry them at all, for that matter.
Excellent piloting and situational awareness can make sure your enemies never get lock on you in the first place. In the rare instance they do, normally a single missile hit will not take out more than 1/3 of your shield on the side taking the hit.
However, you should note that very very rarely is it possible to out-fly a missile... as a matter of fact the only time a missile misses in JtL is if it hits something else. Those pilots who think they've out-maneuvered one are mistaken - the missile impacted somewhere - probably another enemy vessel or an asteroid, or space debris... but something just the same.
That about sums it up for the equipment.
Putting it all together in the best balance is something you will need to work out for yourself, depending on your flying style, skill, ship, and what you find most important or effective.
Feel free to ask any questions if I missed something or was unclear.
And just so you all know...
I'm a 2x Ace pilot and a Master Shipwright.
So I'm not trying to trash any MSW out there when I say certain things are crap. It's just a fact, and an imbalance in the game as setup by the devs.
Message Edited by 1st_Viduus on 02-17-2005 04:16 AM