#A guide to outfitting for newbies
Because of the nature of my interests, this guide will focus on PvE outfitting. If you're not interested in "why", I'm providing a couple of quick builds for ships later in the guide.
2. I can't afford this! You're giving builds that are too expensive!
I'm afraid that you're right. Early on the money is pretty tight, and the A-rating stuff can get expensive. That's why you're going to go at your own pace, replacing a module after module, untill you've got what I listed, or your experience with the ship is "Hey, this feels good, I don't need to upgrade it anymore".
A-rated stuff is the best, looking at performance only. However, that sometimes means paying Millions of Credits more for not very big difference. Later on it will not matter, but when you start **do not think everything except A-rated is trash.**
Everything in this guide is my opinion, I'm sure some people would disagree with either the order of upgrading or recommended weapons. Keep in mind modules are sold for 100% of their price, so feel free to buy weapons or modules just to test them.
3. Basic stuff, a.k.a start with this.
There are 8 module sizes, ranging from 1 to 8. Sidewinder you start in has sizes 2 and 1 only.
There are 5 module ratings, ranging from E to A. When you buy a ship, all its modules are rated "E".
E - They're the cheapest, and the worst(lowest rating);
D - They're the lightest;
C - They're the most cost effective;
B - They're the most durable;
A - They're performing the best(highest rating).
As you can probably figure out, for different "roles" you want to have different modules.
The only module that you consistently want to be A-rated is Frame Shift Drive. A-rated FSD means your jump range is the biggest, which in turn means less time in hyperspace. Now, back to the business.
Now I'll present modules and explain why you want to upgrade them.
Power plant - Powers all the other modules. If it does not output enough power, modules will be disabled according to the power priority. Higher rating means more power and less heat.
Thrusters - They push your ship forwards, to the sides, up and down. The speed in a straight line, as well as the speed of turning. Higher rating means more maneuverability.
Life support - When your canopy/window is breached, life support kicks in. Higher rating means more time to get to the station to repair it.
Frame Shift Drive - without FSD you can't jump from system to system, also you can't use supercruise. Higher rating means bigger jump range(and only that, supercruise speed is not affected by FSD rating, it's the same for all ships).
Power Distributor - Very important module for combat. It regenerates stored power in the capacitor, which in turn powers your SYS, ENG and WEP. Higher rating means more capacity and faster recharge.
Sensors - Decides the range at which you can lock on to other ships signatures. Higher rating means bigger range.
For combat you want the best possible rating and biggest size you can fit. After all, your survival depends on it.
Module replacement order: Power Distributor, Weapons, Shields, Thrusters, Sensors, Life support. Note that there's a distinct lack of Power Plant in this order - that's because you want to replace it whenever you lack power to, well, power all your modules. You're upgrading it alongside the other modules.
Power Plant - A,
why - heat efficiency is the best, power output is the best.
Thrusters - A,
why - best maneuverability, best speed.
Life Support - D,
why - lightest, realistically you're doing combat less than 7 minutes away from a station.
Power Distributor - A,
why - capacitor recharge for SYS, ENG and WEP is the fastest, overall capacity of the capacitor is the biggest.
Sensors - A/D,
why - A for people who want the biggest range of seeing enemies on radar, D for people who don't care about that.
Shields - biggest size, A/bi-weave C,
why - A rated shields have the most HP, bi-weave C rated shields have less HP but regenerate quicker, as well as START regenerating quicker. Personally I use bi-weave on all my combat ships, because it means less downtime between skirmishes for absolutely no extra cost.
Kill Warrant Scanner - E/D/C/B/A - KWS gives you more credits per Wanted ship you kill, if you scan them before killing. Rating only increases scan range, so choose the one you want (Standard rating logic applies).
Weapons - For newbies I recommend a mix of lasers and Multi-Cannons. It's very simple, yet very effective combo. Multicannons(and other kinetic weapons) have armour penetration that increases with size, so you want to put those in your biggest hardpoints. Side note - If you have only 2 hardpoints get only multi-cannons or only lasers.
But wait a minute, where's the rating for weapons? Now you see, weapons come in 3 types: Fixed, Gimballed and Turreted.
Fixed means you have to aim with your ship, weapons will always point in one spot. To make up for it, they do the most damage.
Gimballed means the weapons will follow your target to a certain degree. To make it fair, the damage is a bit less than fixed.
Turreted means the weapons are on 360 degree mounts, and will follow your target wherever it is. If you have line of sight, they will automatically shoot at them. To give people incentive to use other types, turrets deal the least amount of damage.
Take a look at this picture. http://i.imgur.com/j3JLtd6.png (Captured from www.coriolis.edcd.io). Leftmost column is fixed, middle column is gimballed, rightmost column is turreted. The important thing to take out here is for weapons the rating doesn't matter. Bigger size = better, fixed/gimballed/turreted = preference.
For new players I recommend gimballed weapons.
For exploration you want the biggest jump range you can have. This means using all D-rated modules, because they're the lightest.
Power Plant - D,
why - lightest.
Thrusters - D,
why - lightest.
Life Support - D,
why - lightest.
Power Distributor - D,
why - Lightest.
Sensors - D,
why - lightest.
Shields - smallest size, D,
why - lightest.
Weapons - none,
why - lightest.
FRAME SHIFT DRIVE - A.
FUEL SCOOP - Biggest size, A.
Additional modules required for exploration - Fuel Scoop, Advanced Discovery Scanner, Detailed Surface Scanner. ADS will discover all planets in the system, DSS will give you more money for each scan. Fuel scoop will let you refuel at star types A/B/F/G/K/M/O. Also known as KGB FOAM.
Trading outfitting is a topic that people will disagree on perhaps the most of all of them. You want the biggest jump range to complete the trade routes, but also decent shields and thrusters to run away from pirates. But to have those you'll need a better power plant, and everything you upgrade reduces your jump range... Tough topic. Instead of telling you what you want I'll show you what I mean.
here's a "safe" build i would consider using for type-6. Ship cost: 8M Cr. Raw shield strength is 153 MJ. A-rated shield costs 5M Cr. Jump range when fully loaded: 20 LY. Cargo - 76T.
compare it to a "safe" build, but with 5d shield. Suddenly the ship costs 3M Credits, at the cost of 27MJ of shield. Jump range when fully loaded: 21LY. Cargo - 76T.
Is the 27 MJ worth 5M? That's for you to decide.
another build, maximizing jump range, "unsafe. Ship cost: 2,9M Cr. Shield strength 86 MJ. Jump range when fully loaded: 20 LY. Cargo - 100T.
As you can see, in the end it's up to you to decide if you want to risk everything but carry 33% more cargo per run, or be safe and earn less.
4. Advanced stuff, a.k.a complicating stuff to get the most out of your ship
There are many different things that will help you get an edge on your opponent. Let's start with utility mounts.
Shield booster - Gives your shields more MJ;
Heat Sink Launcher - Launches a heat sink, which cools your ship down;
Chaff Launcher - Launches a Chaff, which makes signature lock of enemy gimballed and turreted weapons go crazy, does jack against fixed weapons;
Point defence - Shoots down incoming missiles, torpedoes and mines, as well as hatch breaker limpets;
Electronic countermeasure - When used, enemy incoming missiles and torpedoes locked on you will lose it;
Manifest scanner - Scans the cargo of the ship;
Kill Warrant Scanner - Scans the bounties of the targeted ships in other systems than the one you're present in. It means more money;
Frame Shift Wake Scanner - Scans the high wake of target, letting you follow it after it jumps away.
Everyone uses KWS, because it pays itself off with a scan or two. Additionally everyone uses shield boosters, because more shields is better, right? Heat sinks are mostly used in combination with Shield Cell Banks (more on those soon), and chaff/point defence/ECM is personal preference. Sometimes it saves your ass, sometimes enemy is running fixed weapons and it doesn't matter.
Prismatic Shield Generator - Courtesy of Aisling Duval powerplay, stronger than normal shields, take even longer to recharge/start recharging, and drain more power;
Shield Cell Bank - Active regeneration of fixed amount of MJ(depending on SCB size and rating) on your shields 5 seconds after use. Only works when your shields are still active, doesn't do anything when they're down. Produces A LOT of heat, that's why people use SCB and heat sinks together;
Hull reinforcement package/ Module reinforcement package - increases hull/module HP once your shields drop. Meaning your ship will be tougher to kill/your modules will take more damage before disabled.
To modify your resistances you need to visit Engineers. If you do not own Horizons, feel free to read if you want to understand what's happening when someone is shooting at you.
Very important topic for advanced combat stuff. As you might know, your shield is your first layer of defense, and your hull is your last layer of defense. Both can have certain resistances, that can be modified with engineering either the shield/armour itself, or shield boosters/hull reinforcement packages.
Every shield has a base resistance of : 50% explosive, 40% kinetic, -20% thermal. Yes, this means you're taking increased damage from thermal weapons.
To understand how resistances work you'll need to think about them like damage modifiers. 50% resistance is really 0.5 damage modifier. -20% resistance is 1.2 damage modifier.
To find out your resistances, you simply subtract the damage modifier from 1. 1-0,5 = 0,5. 50% resistances. 1-1,2 = -0,2. -20% resistances. Easy, right?
Now, I said that you can engineer not only your shield, but also your shield boosters! How does it work? Does that mean those resistances add up? The matter is a little bit more complicated, as the resistances(or rather, damage modifiers) are multiplicative rather than additive.
For the sake of this example let's say you're not engineering your shield (Which you totally should), but boosters only.
Let's take a look at thermal resistances - that means there's a base damage modifier of 1.2. Now let's add 3 boosters with 10% thermal resistance - that means 0.9 damage modifier.
1.2*0.9*0.9*0.9 = 0.874 damage taken modifier. 1-0.874 = 12.6 % thermal resistance. If you simply added 10%+10%+10% and remembered about the -20%, it's actually higher by 2,6%. Changing the theoretical resistance of our boosters to 20%, we come out with 1.2*0.8*0.8*0.8 = 0.61 damage modifier, or 39% resistance. If we simply added those, we would be at 40% resistance. Seems pretty balanced so far? Well, you can have more than 3 boosters. I currently have 6 boosters, engineering 5 of those for 20% thermal resistance would make me immortal if the resistances were additive ;)
Resistance stacking cap - Resistances are capped at 75%. Up to 50% resistances nothing is done, but anything above 50% resistances is cut in half.
Okay, but how does this actually work with shields? Do I want more resistances, or more shield health/MJ?
Again, it's actually quite easy when you think about it like a damage modifier. Let's say you have 100MJ shields.
If you do not increase your resistances, and your thermal resistance stays at -20%, your shield strength is equivalent to that of 100MJ/1.2 = 83MJ (with 0% thermal resistance).
Your resistances are 20% - that means your damage modifier is 100%-20% = 80%, or 0.8.
100MJ/0.8 = 125 MJ.
If someone is shooting at you with thermal damage, your shield HP is the equivalent of 125MJ shield with 0 resistances. If your resistances were at 0 had a choice of either getting 20% thermal resistance or 30MJ more shields, you would be better off choosing the extra MJ. Keep in mind that the higher you go with resistances, the less defense each extra 20% resistance actually provides.
Example: 4 boosters(20% each) and an engineered shield(60%) vs 6 boosters(20% each) and an engineered shield(60%), shield strength 100MJ.
1.2*0.4*0.8*0.8*0.8*0.8 = 0.19, 81% resistances. 31% above the cut point(remember the hard cap), 50%+(31/2)% = 65,5% resistances.
Effective shield HP = 289 MJ.
1.2*0.4*0.8*0.8*0.8*0.8*0.8*0.8 = 0.125, 89% resistances. 39% above the cut point, 50%+19,5% = 69,5% resistances.
Effective shield HP = 327 MJ.
That's right, from 2 boosters with 20% resistances you've gained extra 40 MJ for each 100MJ of shield you have. It would be much better to get a heavy duty shield booster that will get you more RAW shield hp.
It's best to mix some Heavy Duty boosters that increase your shield HP by a lot with the resistance boosters that lower the damage you take.
The same logic applies to your hull.
Auto Field Maintenance Unit - doesn't weigh anything, can repair your ship and modules. Useful for explorers;
Planetary Vehicle Hangar - adds weight, but you can bring a SRV with you on your trips, to land on pretty planets.
Undersizing modules for exploration: Now, exploration usually takes place far away from other players. This means you do not need any safety, which means you can undersize your modules to save weight, and going as light as possible. Example: anaconda 1, with enough power to boost in normal space, could be considered exploration build (Everthing's D-rated, right?). Now take a look at anaconda 2, with undersized modules. You're sacrificing boost and shield HP to gain 10 LY extra jump range. This is an extreme scenario, because Anaconda has 8 and 7 slot sizes, so it's very visible, but with smaller ships you can shave weight here and there and gain 3-5 LY too.
5. Build examples (Fitted for combat/multipurpose unless stated otherwise)
I start with A-rating everything and then replace modules to make them more cost effective. First option will be the best performing, second will be very good but not cost nearly as much, third will be the budget option that I'll still consider good enough for you not to die to NPC's. Note that following builds are very basic, with no utility slots or things like SCB's, they're here to give you something to base your build on.
400k - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/sidewinder?code=A0p2t2F0l3d0s3f11818--3r012h-.Iw1%2FEA%3D%3D.Aw1%2FEA%3D%3D..EweloBjEBYQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D,
250k - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/sidewinder?code=A0p2t2F0l3d2s3f11818--3t012h-.Iw1%2FEA%3D%3D.Aw1%2FEA%3D%3D..EweloBjEBYQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D.
2,2M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/adder?code=A0p5t5F5l3d5sdf3271717--014000-2h.Iw1%2BkA%3D%3D.Aw1%2BkA%3D%3D..EweloBhAOEDYQFMCGBzANokICMF9A%3D%3D%3D,
1,3M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/adder?code=A0p7t5F5l3d5sdf3271717--01B400-2h.Iw1%2BkA%3D%3D.Aw1%2BkA%3D%3D..EweloBhAOEDYQFMCGBzANokICMF9A%3D%3D%3D,
840k - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/adder?code=A0p7t7F5l3d7sdf3271717--01B400-2h.Iw1%2BkA%3D%3D.Aw1%2BkA%3D%3D..EweloBhAOEDYQFMCGBzANokICMF9A%3D%3D%3D.
2,6M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/viper?code=A0p5t5F5l5dasaf227271818--0140--2h.Iw19kA%3D%3D.Aw19kA%3D%3D..EweloBhAWGQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D,
1,5M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/viper?code=A0p7t5F5l8dasdf227271818--01B4--2h.Iw19kA%3D%3D.Aw19kA%3D%3D..EweloBhAWGQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D,
975k - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/viper?code=A0p7t7F5l8dcsdf227271818--01B4--2h.Iw19kA%3D%3D.Aw19kA%3D%3D..EweloBhAWGQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D.
Hauler - EXPLORATION BUILDS:
3M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/hauler?code=A0p3t3F0l3d3s3f2---2t2i3u2f.Iw19A%3D%3D%3D.Aw19A%3D%3D%3D..EweloBhAWGQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D,
2M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/hauler?code=A0p3t3F0l3d3s3f2---2v2i3u2f.Iw19A%3D%3D%3D.Aw19A%3D%3D%3D..EweloBhAWEoUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D.
7,3M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/cobra_mk_iii?code=A0pataFaladasaf427271818--02024500-2h.Iw1%2FkA%3D%3D.Aw1%2FkA%3D%3D..EweloBhBGA2GAcICmBDA5gG2SGF9A%3D%3D%3D,
4,5M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/cobra_mk_iii?code=A0pctaFalddasdf427271818--0202B300-2h.Iw1%2FkA%3D%3D.Aw1%2FkA%3D%3D..EweloBhBGA2GAcICmBDA5gG2SGF9A%3D%3D%3D,
2,6M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/cobra_mk_iii?code=A0pctcFalddcsdf427271818--0202B300-2h.Iw1%2FkA%3D%3D.Aw1%2FkA%3D%3D..EweloBhBGA2GAcICmBDA5gG2SGF9A%3D%3D%3D.
3,9M, exploration - Link
20M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/vulture?code=A0patfFaladksff31e1e----4a-02--2h.Iw1%2FkA%3D%3D.Aw1%2FkA%3D%3D..EweloBhAOGQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D,
14M with disabled cargo hatch - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/vulture?code=A0pctfFalddksif31e1e----B2-02--2h.AwRj4yKA.Aw1%2FkA%3D%3D..EweloBhAOGQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D,
9,3M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/vulture?code=A0pdthFalddksif31e1e----B2-02--2h.AwRj4yKA.Aw1%2FkA%3D%3D..EweloBhAOGQUwIYHMA28QgIwV0A%3D.
66M - Link
160M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/python?code=A0pptkFflfduspf57l7l7l7i1b----04044f03---002h.Iw18eQ%3D%3D.Aw18eQ%3D%3D..EweloBhBmUA5QFMCGBzANokICMF9A%3D%3D%3D,
78M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/python?code=A0pgtmFflidussf57l7l7l7i1b----0404B103---002h.Iw18eQ%3D%3D.Aw18eQ%3D%3D..EweloBhBmUA5QFMCGBzANokICMF9A%3D%3D%3D,
68M - https://coriolis.edcd.io/outfit/python?code=A0phthFflidwssf57l7l7l7i1b----0404B103---002h.Iw18eQ%3D%3D.Aw18eQ%3D%3D..EweloBhBmUA5QFMCGBzANokICMF9A%3D%3D%3D
Module replacement order: Power Distributor, Weapons, Shields, Thrusters, Sensors, Life support. Upgrade power plant whenever you lack power.
A-rated = best performance, but also the most expensive. D-rated = lightest, use this for exploration. Always use A-rated FSD.
Running ships D-rated or C-rated to save money works just fine for PvE.