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- Some of the best early ships are the following:
- Lasher - Solid frigate, put two kinetic weapons in the fixed forward gun slots (Dual Autocannons/Railguns/Light Needlers if you can), a HE gun in the front turret, 2 PD guns in the side turrets, and a pair of harpoon racks on the missile slots. Give it reinforced bulkheads, max vents, and use any remaining CP on capacitors.
- Hammerhead - In many ways its a bigger Laser in how it plays. Either go kinetic on the fixed slots and HE on the front turrets or the reverse of that (HE has better medium mount options)
- Shepherd - A fantastic early support ship that's capable of helping against weaker enemies, especially in numbers. PD on the turret, harpoons, sabots, or (my preference) Salamanders in the missile slot.
- Remember you travel at the speed of your slowest ship, which is usually the support/cargo ships. Don't slow yourself down until you feel like your fleet is strong enough to deal with what you can no longer outrun
- The last skill of the blue skill line (Navigation) is one of the best skills in the game (among what are mostly excellent skills) and should be an early priority. +1 burn (+2 sustained) is something no vanilla AI fleet gets so you're going to be faster than any similar fleet. The ability to jump out of a system (at a cost) or jump into one at planets is also very useful.
- Most D-mods (The damage modifications you usually see on salvaged ships) can be tolerable depending on the vessel, but some are deal breakers (mostly the ones that penalize burn speed, fuel usage, or maintenance costs). Also generally fixing up a D-mod ship to pristine isn't worth it but, but some ships are rare enough (or almost unique) that it can be worth it.
- The game in it's current state is more or less a sandbox with no end goal outside of what you set yourself towards. Mods can change this of course (and don't be afraid to mod, most of them are fairly solid and the thread can give good advice on which ones to go for, including some that are mostly just QoL mods)
- When exploring look for planets with orbital structures (little satellites or such if you zoom in), that means the planet will have ruins on it and thus be a better survey target.
- If you are surveying/derelict hunting (A very popular early game choice) the fourth skill in industry skill line (yellow) will greatly increase your gains from that. Also more Shepherds.
- Selling BPs to the black market will get you the best return but then the pirates will field those ships/weapons.