2.1. Basic ship design guide

Basic Warship Design Guide
Fury.Solace This is my attempt to give a somewhat complete intro to warship design. This is by no means a comprehensive guide on all aspects of WB design, and much of what is presented here is my opinion that may not be shared by many others. It is my hope that this guide will give people a solid start in the basics of designing their own ships, allowing them to develop their own unique designs from solid fundamentals, and that this information will give a more general idea of how combat in TDZK works.

1. Do not hop into a warship unless level 50 or higher.
2. For solo hunting, be prepared to spend at LEAST 6 billion minimum, 8.5 billion average, and a 12 billion+ ideally. If you don’t have the money, don’t hop into a warship.
3. Standard ship level is 250. A minimum of 230. A “good” level is 260, and 270 is pretty much the reasonable maximum.
4. You design ships on the Madox ship calc; be very familiar with it.
5. Have a solid understanding of the functions of the weapons, equipment, and upgrades from the help fuls.
6. for the purposes of this guide we are assuming you are designing to kill other WBs, not newbies or traders. Any ship with guns can kill a trader.

Ships to be considered: Carrier, Cruiser, Destroyer, Battleship, Ranger.

Carrier: The carrier is a drone ship through and through. Is is extremely versatile, can do great damage, and is generally a very solid platform to base your ship off of. The carrier works well with all races except Wraith and Zalluns, wraiths because of their drone penalties, and Zalluns bacause of their low init and strengths in other areas. Carriers, like all drones ships, need extremely high init, especially when fighting other drone ships. Carriers are easy to use, and can do things like nebula hunt or drop force stacks quickly, making them good for multipal uses.

Some Common Carriers
Standard Carrier: Upgrades in speed, a few tcomps, and drones. High init (around 250 base). Relies on getting the first shot before the enemy fire starts killing off drones. Weapons are armor killing. Equipment consists of the three standards, a SRG for init and a off. equip if a slot is open. Recommended for: Derivians, Sniv, Kitarans, Tamarans

EXAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

EMP Carrier: Pretty much the same as a standard carrier, but with a PGG and a couple SHP upgrades and EMP weapons. The idea is to get fist shot and kill off their drones and shields, then partially EMP them to diminish the return fire. A base amount of EMP damage would be around 550 -- more is better, but can come at lesser overall damage. Recommended for: Derivians, Sniv, Kitarans, Tamarans

EXAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample|6|0|18|31|23|22|0|0|14|14|0|0|0|0|0|0|

Battlecarrier: A gutsy, interesting ship, the battlecarrier can give a ton of damage but can't take as much. It invests many ship levels on secondary weapons, which gives it tremendous offensive power, but reduced drone numbers means it can't last as long in a fire fight. Fights are fast and deadly in this type of ship, and it's very important for it to win initiative. Recommended for: Derivians, Sniv, Kitarans, Tamarans

EXAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

Battleship: The battleship, or BB, is slow, has low init, and is secondary and armor based. Is is NOT a versatile ship, and has fairly limited roles. The main advantage of the BB is its high chassis; drones will barely scratch it, meaning it's a very good anti drone ship. BB's also make great armor bubbles. Init is forgotten about completely, and the emphasis is put on dealing high damage and having a ton of armor to survive the return fire. BBs tend to be quite vulnerable to EMP. Only Derivians and Zalluns should ever use a Battleship as a base ship. I do not particularly recommend them, except in rare situations

Some Common Battleships
Drone Killer: Simply, invests in armor and drone killing weaponry. Can chew up carriers like nothing else, as well as clear minefields easily. Recommended for: Zalluns, Derivians

SAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

Armor Bubble: Focuses on dealing a lot of damage and having a ton of defensive upgrades that allow it to absorb heavy punishment. They run into a lot of trouble vs EMP ships, due to their extremely low init and low shields. Armor bubbles tend to be extremely useful in group combat, where survivability and high damage are key, and where EMP is spread out among multiple ships and is less of a factor. Recommended for: Zalluns, Derivians (Zalluns Mainly)


Destroyer: Where to begin? The destroyer throughout TDZK history has always been the most common warship in the game, and for good reason. The destroyer is large enough to handle all the ship vs ship weaponry it will need, and with 8 SHPs can equip a lot of weaponry and do a lot of damage. It's also got a lot of base shields and armor, and can be adapted for almost any purpose. The number of destroyer designs varies innumerably, with tons of subtly and radically different ideas. The "basic" destroyer is a common, solid warship that fares well in all areas of the design but doesn't specialize in any one area. However, the number of possible variations and new design ideas is unlimited; you'll find many different destroyers out there. I will, however, try to give you a taste of a few more common types.

Some Common Destroyers
"Standard" Destroyer: Tough, versatile, and good damage, a standard dessy has upgrades in scout drones, shield/armor, speed, tcomps, and SHPs. Equipment consists of the standard three equipment, and any open slots are filled with offensive equipments. Init varies a lot; you can aim for first shot at the sacrifice of some defense upgrades, or pay less attention to winning init and more to taking and giving damage. Recommended for: Derivian, Wraith, Zallun,

SAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

Dronestroyer: The dronestroyer is a more specialized ship that sacrifices S/A upgrades for drones, increasing its offensive capacity but somewhat decreasing its defensive one. Changes are made to increase init and increase the chances of getting first shot. Dronestroyers do a great amount of damage, but they can't take as much of it. It's also impossible to repair drones like you could to shields in the middle of a battle, which is something of a disadvantage. On the plus side, well designed dronestroyers can do a LOT of damage on their first shot. You can choose to get less SHP upgrades and more drones (better defense and usually more drone damage) or keep the SHP upgrades (more overall damage, but less defense) Recommended for: Derivians, Sniv, Kitarans, Tamarans

SAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

As I said, these are just samples. Variations in weaponry, upgrades, equipment can make completely unique designs, but in generally they fall into the classes of drone and non drone. Drone can go into drone / high damage or drone / EMP. No drone generally must make a choice between extra defense and init.

Cruiser: The cruiser used to be the laughingstock of TDZK ships. Scorned by every ship designer on the planet, the cruiser was completely useless in past rounds. Now, things are different; with substantial upgrades to its previous form, the cruiser is a VERY legitimate challenger to the Destroyer as a warship. Although it has less PHPs and shield / armor, the cruiser has 20 drones, (eliminating the need for more scout hanger upgrades) and better base speed / init. Most significantly, it has an invaluable fifth equipment slot, in which the extreme versatility and effectiveness of the cruiser lies. This extra equipment space has a myriad of uses. For races with one of the "magic three" equipments, this allows for two offensive upgrades and a third; possibly a SRG for an init boost, or defensive equip, etc. For ships that don't have a racial SSJD, scanners or cloak, the extra equipment space allows for a much needed second offensive slot, or other use.

The cruisers possible uses are even more varied than the destroyers, so again I will present a basic sampling of paths you could consider for your cruiser.

Some Common Cruisers
“Normal” Cruiser: Two off. equipments and a SRG for init -- slightly weak on the defensive side, but good damage and a high chance of firing first makes up for it. Recommended for: Wraiths, Derivians


Drone / EMP Cruiser: A heavily drone based ship that uses the surplus of equipment to squeeze in a PGG to use EMP weapons along with an offensive equipment for pure damage weapons. Has high init, and usually aims for around a two shot disable. Low init, heavy defense and weaponry ships can give it some trouble, but the power drain / EMP weapons can often make up for it. Drones protect it from EMP damage, making is very good ship for 1v1 fights with warships. Recommended for: Kitarans, Derivians, Tamarans, Sniv

SAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

Def Equip Cruiser: This is a ship that tries to fit a destroyer type shield / armor design onto the cruiser and make up for the lower defensive base stats with a defensive equipment. The advantage of this over a destroyer is that you can try to aim for a higher init and first shot while still having good defensive stats. They can be extremely effective in some situations, less so in others; while an interesting concept, it can be hard to get a lot of damage out of these. The other option is to forgo init altogether and go for more defense / firepower while still having the boost of the def equipment. This can be complete pains to kill, if you've got the wrong kind of weaponry. 2) Recommended for Wraith, Derivian, Zallun

SAMPLE 1: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

SAMPLE 2: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

There's tons of interesting stuff you can do with cruisers, much of it radically different from the few concepts I've posted. Experiment, invent, modify!

Ranger: The ranger is an oddball ship. The change from a cruiser to it is the same as a change from the destroyer to a cruiser in that is sacrifices more shields / armor for a little more speed and an additional equipment slot. With 6 equipments and 1 racial, the ranger can make a ton of weird designs. they tend to be highly specialized, using oddball weapons that require a lot of equipment, or things like auras to increase their effectiveness. A well designed ranger can be devastating, if the owner knows how to use it. they are naturally very hard to design and get right, but done properly they can be quite rewarding.

Common Rangers
Drones / Weapon Ranger: This is a drone based ship that takes advantage of the extra equipment slots by using weapons that need a special equipment (flux + harmonic amps, for example, or PGG + EMP, or grooved slugs + rail). Even with a lot of drones, has a low (sometimes deceptively so) defense rating. Designed right, do a lot of damage and have great init, so they fire first. Recommended for: Kitaran, Derivian, Sniv, Tamaran

SAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

"Dessy" Ranger: Some particularly innovative ship designers have tried to fit a destroyer type design onto the ranger, relying on one or two defensive equipments to make up for the shortages in base defensive stats. A very hard design concept to turn into actuality, it is at the very least an interesting, unique concept. Not really recommended, but only really usable by Derivians / Wraith (and Zalluns?)

SAMPLE: http://tdzk.madox.net/ship.php?shipstring=Sample

Hopefully, after reading this section you have something of an idea of the types of ships there are out there, how they're used, and what type of design or concept might fit your race or individual preferences. I've included sample starting designs that give you an idea of how these types of warships might be built. Some of them may need tweaking, but overall they represent the general designs of the ship types I am describing.


Derivian Strengths:
+1 speed
“Free” equip slot (racial scanners)
Improved scan checks (bonus on scout drones / scanners)

Derivian Weaknesses:
No real penalties.

Derivians can build just about any type of ship, though they excel at nothing in particular. Derivians are in my mind the most solid hunting race.
Wraith Strengths:
Strong shields (+15% base stats and upgrades)
“Free” equip slot (racial cloak)
Enhanced cloaking device
Generally high init
Enhanced power (+25 to base stats and upgrades)
Some resistance to EMP damage.

Wraith Weaknesses:
Terrible drones (penalty to drone attack/armor)
Worse armor (-25% to base stats and upgrades)

Wraiths have only one real options, and that is some sort of shield ship. They are in my opinion the only race that can make a power drain / shield recharge ship work, but this is extremely difficult. Wraiths should stay as far away from drones / armor as they can.
Sniv Strengths:
Great drones (enhanced armor / defense)

Sniv Weaknesses
Penalties in shields / armor.

Sniv have one option: drone ships. And it’s a good one; Sniv drones are extremely deadly, and their bonuses are not reflected in ship rating, making it easy to underestimate a Sniv ship’s strength.
Tamaran Strengths
"Free" Equipment slot (racial SSJD)
Generally higher level ships

Tamaran Weaknesses
-25% penalties in shield / armor (base stats and upgrades)

Tamaran's are not a great combat race, but they can make do with drone ships fairly well. Penalties on shield / armor make ships with "real" defense out of the question. On the plus side, Tamarans can make a lot more money than their counterparts and thus will usually be able to afford more extravagant ships.
Kitaran Strengths
+3 base speed
Great init.
Only race that can use maneuver ships

Kitaran Weaknesses
25% penalties to shield / armor

Kitarans are an interesting race between they are the only race with the capability to feasibly use maneuver ships, which can be extremely hard to kill. The shield / armor penalties limit non man defense to mostly drones, but because they have absolutely killer init, this works just fine. The +3 speed is quite useful.
Quelaar Strengths
Nothing of Significance

Quelaar Weaknesses
Too many to list.

If you're Quelaar, you've been screwed. Quelaars can still design warships, but they will be nowhere as near as effective as a similar ship by another race.

Choosing the upgrades for your ship will most likely be the most time consuming aspect of designing the ship. When you buy depends on what kind of ship you want, but there are some general guidelines to follow. The most important thing to remember is don't get a little bit of everything. Decide on the areas you want to be strong in and really focus on them. This is not to say you can't have a balanced ship; simply that there should be a purpose and overall idea behind each upgrade

In general:
Speed Upgrades: Affects two things: turn rate and init. With targeting comps, main engines are your primary method of raising the ships base init. I would recommend as a minimum for turn purposes, 24-26 speed. You'll often have a lot more if you're really trying to pack on the init. You need turns to have options for hunting.

Targeting Computers: Tcomps = Win. There's really no way around it. They increase init, base accuracy, and weapons accuracy, drastically increasing your chance of a) firing first, b) actually hitting the target, and c) Doing as much damage as possible. For those who convince themselves that instead of getting tcomps for damage, they will simply get more weapons, think again. When fighting enemy warships, you'll find yourself missing a lot more shots than you'd expect, even if the levels are similar and you have a lot of tcomps. Tcomps are also VITAL to using most high damage weaponry like sabots or torpedoes; you're going to need a lot if you want to have a chance of hitting anything. I would suggest a minimum of 6 tcomps, a good number at 10, and the ideal highest at 12. More than 12 isn't usually necessary, except for extreme level differences, in which case you’re in trouble anyway. Tcomps take a lot of ship levels, but they are worth it.

Balance between speed/tcomps: On ships where you are trying to go for a high initiative, you'll often find yourself piling on the speed upgrades. It's often good to turn some of these into tcomps (1 ME => 2 tcomps for same price / init), hitting the reasonable max at 12 as long as you're keeping a good amount of speed.

HP (Hardpoint) Upgrades: Depending on your ship, you might get a lot of HP upgrades or not at all. As a general rule, however, never buy PHPs -- only secondaries. There are multiple reason for this. First is that SHPs are as a whole much more powerful than PHPs, so you get more bang for your buck. Reloads are not usually a problem, alignment permitting. Second is that PHPs take power to fire, and if you have a lot of them (particularly the high damage ones that look so appealing), you won't be able to fire many salvos before being forced to repair in the middle of a battle, spending an equipment slot on a IRM, or investing some ship levels in power batteries. Third is that PHPs are particularly susceptible to EMP weapons -- with a PGG, enemy EMPs can EASILY drain your power when hitting your shields. Your primaries will often get disabled in one shot vs a EMP ship, whereas they actually have to start hitting armor and doing actual EMP damage before they begin to affect secondaries. Thus, PHPs are unreliable in combat; if you want to do a lot of damage without combat drones, upgrade PHPs up to 10.

Drones Hangers: Drones are interesting upgrades in that they can serve as both offensive weapons, defensive weapons, as well as being reprogrammed in other situations for a variety of other uses (scout drones, dropped forces, EMP for pirating, etc). You need at least 20 scout drones on any warship to have a chance of seeing anything; on destroyers, this means an automatic two hanger upgrades. On other ships, 20 drones are included and you might not need to upgrade hangers at all. When deciding whether you want to use drones for offensive power, consider your init: you need high init for a drone ship to have a decent chance of working (base 230-240+). If you don't have to ship levels to get a decent init, don't get drones, but shield/armor.

If you were planning on shield/armor anyway, you still might want to consider getting a few drone hangers: not for your main defense, but rather to give your ship some versatility. With extra hangers, you can switch to more scouts in lower visibility sectors, as well as being able to drop drone stacks with less turn cost. But the real reason you'd consider investing in some extra drone hangers is that if you're lucky, you will find yourself in a situation where you are fighting a ship that does no drone damage, or gets its drone damage from its shield/armor killing weapons. In the first case, you'll then be able to shrug off their first few salvos with ease. In the second case, you'll catch the majority of the damage from the first salvo on your drones -- you might take 1500 HP worth of shield / armor damage on 400 HP worth of drones, giving you a good advantage in the fight. However, most ships invest in some pure anti drone weaponry. It's a gamble, one that might pay off big or might be useless, but certainly worth thinking about.

Shield / Armor: For most ships, S/A upgrades fill up the remaining ship levels after the intended requirements for damage, init, speed, drones etc. have been met, except in S/A bubbles where the emphasis is put on having static defense, and a lot of it. It's always good to have, and a very necessary part of most ships. On the other hand, S/A upgrades are often a trade off for damage or init; a lot of time will be spent trying to balance defense/offense into an acceptable compromise. A good defense rating to aim for on non drone / specialty ships is probably a minimum of /30. The advantage of shields over armor is that they can be easily repaired in battles, and that they prevent the worst effects of EMP weapons. Armor can't be easily repaired, but it can take a bit more of a beating and is much stronger vs drones. If course, armor ships are particularly vulnerable to EMP. You can choose one of the other, or mix them, depending on the kinds of ships you plan on fighting.

Upgrades never to get: Power generators, power batteries (except in rare, specialized ships), armor integrity, shield generators, and maneuver (except for Kitaran man ships). Shield recharge / power recharge rates are really of little significance in warship / warship fights. Armor integrity takes a huge amount of armor to be more valuable than another armor upgrade. If you're secondary based, you won't need power batteries, except in some IRM designs. Maneuver will be discussed later, but it is over no use whatsoever except as a Kitaran who is exclusively focusing on it.

All warships should have the three “standard” pieces of equipment, under almost all circumstances. The first step in designing a ship should be to arrange your equipment to have all three. These are:

1. SSJD. Obvious and self explanatory. Not having a SSJD limits your mobility, reaction time and hunting options immeasurably.
2. Cloaking Device: Completely necessary. Aside from the possible initiative bonus, the cloak is good for the simple element of surprise. It also gives you more chances for a kill if you miss your target the first time.
3. Scanners: Extremely useful. Provides a great visibility bonus, allowing you to actually see other ships. Allows you to scout other targets for threats. Allows you to give away your presence by pinging scout drones.

Three races (Derivian, Wraith, Tamaran) are fortune enough to actually have one of these as their racial equipment, effectively giving them a "free" equipment slot. For these races:

Ship: Free Equip
Destroyer 2
BB 2
Carrier 2
Cruiser 3
Ranger 4

For other races:

Ship: Free Equip
Destroyer 1
BB 1
Carrier 1
Cruiser 2
Ranger 3

There are a LOT of equipments to consider, and you will be force to make some tough decisions. Types of equipment you will consider will be:

Off equipment (general) (ex. Mass driver, wave int)
Of equipment (specific) (ex. APW, Singularily Gen)
Def equipment (ex. CD, ADG)
SRG (+25 init) (SRG)
Aura Equipment (Interdiction field)

On "standard" warships, like many destroyers, the equipment slot will be spent on an offensive equipment that best complements your weaponry. If you're lucky enough to have two free, you’ll usually spend it on two off. equips, or possibly spend the second on a SRG, either to boost your init, or you keep your init the same but use the ship levels elsewhere. Generally the first offensive equip is general class enhacing, and the second is more weapon specific -- you use it to crank you the most damage you can from the weapons you focus on. Think of equipment as a means of enhancing upgrades -- you want to use the equipment to increase the effectiveness of your weapons or allow you to save money on upgrades in certain areas (like SRG or def equips)

If you're on a drone ship, you HAVE to spend an equipment slot on a SRG -- drone ships have essentially 4 important equipments. If you're lucky enough to have a free equip, use it on a off equipment or (MAYBE) an aura. Even if you're going for a battle carrier, -- ESPECIALLY if you're going for a battle carrier -- init is of paramount importance, even over the off. equip. Really, the battle carrier best used by races that can afford to have both an offensive equipment and a SRG, else you may have to give up scanners.

On ships with more equipment slots, you may go the path of high init, good damage, and decent shields / armor with a defensive equipment to supplement them. This is something of a gamble, but it works great when pulled off. Your best bet with a def. equipment is a concussive dampener; it has a big damage reduction against some of the most common weapons in the game: sabots, proxy bombs, and torpedoes.

Your equipment depends on your weaponry. Some weapons like cluster / rocket bombs, need two equipments to be really effective (mass + proxy). They are best used on ships with more equipment slots, or by races with one of the lucky three racial equips. On ships like the ranger, you can afford a lot of exotic equipment to supplement your more unusual weapons.

Auras: You'll have noticed that I haven't mentioned auras yet. For the most part I am against the use of aura equipment. There are usually much more useful things to use the space for, and auras have the disadvantage of affecting you and your opponent equally. An additional reason I don't like auras is that they give away your presence to others )from the appearance of aura icons in the he same or adjacent sectors). The most important thing when hunting is to give no clue that you're there; I don't recommend auras for 1v1 warship use. If you do get a aura, the interdiciton field can sometimes come in handy.

Some thoughts on specific equipment

IRM - Really only of use if a) You're going for a tricky shield regen ship (discussed later) b) Your weapons take an insane amount of power (you're not secondary based like you should be) and you're only able to fire a single salvo without power gens -- sometimes a IRM can cut down power costs.
Tetra shells - Thoroughly useless. Never use. Remember that they only affect the S/A damage of cyclones, NOT the drone damage.
Ammunition Ramp - Saved turns from saving a reload trip or two is NOT worth the equipment slot. Broken, not usable anyway.
Drone transponder - Of no use on a warship. You should usually avoid being hit by aggies (being cloaked and high level) and if they do happen to hit you, should never be able to kill you.

Selecting the weaponry for your ship is based off a number of factors. Roughly, they are:

Weapon Accuracy / TComps: A common mistake is to look at the weapon damage ranges and ignore the accuracy. Only use low accuracy weapons if you have a lot of tcomps (which you should be doing anyway) or expect to have a significant level advantage is most fights (or both).
Weapon Damages: You need to be able to kill shields, armor, and shields, all quickly (although not necessarily all at once). You need something of a balance between them; most ships have drone killing weaponry that fires first, then shield/armor weaponry that fires second.
Alignment / reloads: What align the weapons you want, as opposed to the align you are or will be buying your ship at? Some weapons are very limited and have extreme align needs. Also, think about reloads for your secondaries; you may be able to buy the weapon initially, but will you be able to reload them at the end? Remember that getting kills usually drops you into evil alignment quickly.
Equipment Needed / Available: Some weapons need very specific equipment to be even slightly effective; harmonic amplifiers for flux weapons, proximity warheads for cluster / rocket bombs, PGG for EMP, etc. These also generally are at their best with a general off. equipment like a mass driver or wave intensifier. So, consider how many slots you will have available for weapon equipment.
Secondary / Primary Classes: If you're low on equipment slots, you especially need to think about choosing secondaries / primaries that both benefit from the same equipment.

Drones as weaponry
A few things to remember when deciding to use drones as offensive weapons:
1) Drones ALWAYS fire first, and they always take damage first
2) The second shot will always be weaker than the first, as some drones die in the return fire.
3) You need high init to use drones effectively.
4) Drones are good at killing other drones, great at killing shields, and horrible vs armor.

Drones can often be used as anti drone weaponry. If you have enough drones and good init, you can fire first and shred their own drones, and use all your weaponry to be purely S/A. This is dangerous if some of their drones survive however, because all your weaponry will be stalled on killing the few remaining drones.

Thoughts on some general weapons

Sabot + Htorp: Both do great damage (although are low accuracy, make sure you have tcomps) to S/A, and are mutually benefited by a mass driver. They are terrible at killing drones, so much sure you have some anti drone weaponry (drones or cyclones, usually. The damage is in the htorps, so you'd rather not spend secondary slots on drone killers). If you have a free equipment slot, use APW -- the majority of your damage will come from the 10 htorps, and you want to enhance it as much as possible.

Sabot + RC/CB: Good damage. A little less than Sabot / Htorps, but much more balanced (in terms of drone damage). RBs/CBs also have the advantage of very small weapon sizes, and are able to be used in all ships you'll consider using. the main disadvantage is that they need both a mass driver and proximity warheads to be at their best, although RB/CB + proximity alone can still do good damage. Proxied RBs/BCs are probably the best weapons in the game, to the point of being overpowered.

HBCS: Although HBCs do less damage that sabots, they have significantly better accuracy and can be bought in negative aligns. If you don't have many tcomps or don't want to align shift to buy your sabots (as most races have to do), HBCs are a good option.

Plasma Weapons: Heavy Plasma Bombs and Plasma Halo Bombs are great -- but they are both at +400 align, which can cause some problems with reloads. This one factor pretty much limits their use. They also need two equipments to be really good -- particle accelerator and singularity generator. If you do choose to get them, you have a range of options for your primaries, all of which also benefit from the equipment: cyclones (use with HPBs, no PHBs), plasma cannons (usually the focused plasma cannon), or fusion cannons (highly variable damage, need a lot of Tcomps)

Flux / Resonance: Both have the distinction of doing a lot of damage, but only to shield / armor, respectively. Both benefit from a wave intensifier, and flux need harmonic amps to be good. Using them together is a very risky business; on one hand they can do tremendous damage in the right circumstances (one shotting a shield based /40, for example), but they are both abysmal vs drones and do no damage if they hit the wrong type of defense. Use at your own risk. Resonance / HBCs can be decent is combined with some form of anti drone weaponry (usually drones of your own)

Thoughts on EMP
EMP needs a PGG right off the bat to have any hope of doing any thing. EMP is very good, almost to the point of being necessary in combat -- it drains their primaries if it hits shields, and can disable their primaries / secondaries if it hits armor. However, EMP weapons are terrible at killing drones. To use EMP you need a weapon order of drone killers => S/A killers, => EMPs. Don't generally count the shield damage from EMP when examining your damage; ideally, you don't ideally want them hitting shields at all. 1000 points of EMP damage is the maximum an enemy ship can sustain; never design to do more than 1000 EMP damage a salvo -- any more is pointless. In fact, I would recommend that you don't generally aim for 1 shot EMP, unless you are going for a pirate ship. 550 EMP damage is generally a good amount -- enough to completely drain most ships power if they hit shields, and cause half their weapons to malfunction if they hit armor -- two shot full EMP overall.

General Warning
Be very careful not to be mislead by the damage numbers on Madox, especially if you've been putting in your level to check init. The damage you get when you input your level at 60 and theirs as 1 is NOT real. Second, if it shows you doing 1000 drone, 2000 shield, 2000 armor damage, this does not usually mean you do 1000 drone AND 2000 shields, AND 2000 armor damage. Rather it means that if ALL your weapons hit drones they will do 1000 drone damage, if ALL your weapons it shields they will do 2000 shield damage, etc. So be careful that damage is coming from the right type of weapons -- make sure, for example, that your drone damage isn't coming from your htorps. Ideally you want to be able to do a good amount of drone damage, THEN S/A damage in the same shot. Just something to think about.


Some more unusual, specific designs will be discussed here:

The man ship
The Kitaran man ship is a ship that bases its defense on an ability to dodge the majority of your opponent’s shots. It is the [I]Kitaran[/I] man ship because no other race has a prayer of using man at all. To make a man ship is to commit entirely to using man -- something that will take up a good 200+ ship levels. Other limitations of a man ship is that it must fly on 2x evade with either primaries or secondaries only. This isn't to say that you can't arm both primaries and secondaries -- you can only use one weapon set at a time in combat. You might set one for anti drone weapons, and the other for anti S/A weaponry, and change as needed. The advantages of man ships is that they have incredible init, and they can last very long in a fire fight, especially with repairs to shrug off the little damage you'll take. They don't kill much, but they are extremely hard to pod.

A total of 625 (which is doubled because of weapon mode) maneuver means 100% theoretical evade; it's usually somewhat less than this, but you'll still evade the vast majority of their damage. Evade is calculated by [(Man * weapon mode) / 12.5]. As I said, you'll be flying on some form of X2. It's advised to stay as close to 100 % man as possible -- going much below even 80% is risky at best due to the extremely low shield / armor stats on man ships. EMP is a good thing to consider; it won't kill anything (although it will pirate them) but the man combined with the weapon disable and power drain can make it pretty much invincible.

Generally you don't use man with drones, as the upgrades don't effect them -- they'll still be hit. However, you can upgrade man on a carrier to make a man carrier -- essentially a normal carrier until all its drones die, in which case it starts dodging some shots, giving you time to run away.

A few examples:

Man Dessy: Swarms for drones, EMP, 100% evade

Man Cruiser: RB/CB, 89.6% evade

Man BB: :) Cyclones for drones, Htorps for S/A, 80% evade, blind (not a real suggestion, but food for thought)

Shield Regen Ship
Perhaps the most difficult ship to design of all, the shield regen ship is based on the idea of using EMP weapons to drain power from their ship into yours, and using the IRM to convert that power into your shields, restoring some defense. Ideally a battle would go: They fire, damaging your shields. You fire, killing any drones and stealing power with your EMPs. The IRM is set to transfer this power into new shield energy. They fire again. You fire again, recharge shields a little more, start doing EMP damage. When your shields are nearing danger levels, their weapons are malfunctioning due to EMP damage.

It's good in theory, but very hard to put into actual practice. Best used by wraiths because of their natural shield / power bonuses. Considering that you NEED both a IRM and PGG, you may end up dropping off scanners or using a ship with many equipment slots. You will need extra power batteries to steal their power and regen your shields. Generally you have to forget about init -- the idea is to recharge your shields AFTER taking damage. This is not to say great init is a bad thing -- simply that its hard to get on this type of ship. Expensive and best used by high levels.

Tentative Example
-Weapons to kill off drones / allow EMP to hit shields
-Lots of shields -- decent def of /31
-Decent S/A damage from your non EMP weapons, hopefully allowing you to disable them soon.
-Enough power batteries to hold the power drain from the EMPs, as well as let the weapons fire
-EMPs on primaries, as they don't take up much power


This is a work in progress. Give feedback, give suggestions, write new sections, give your own ship strings examples for the ship section, etc. :)