Why am i making this guide? Sol gets a lot of new players and they keep doing the most useless thing i have seen and its a sad sight. Why should you listen to me? Who am i? The game hasn't been out long in open beta so the only credentials i have is that i am the player that was ranked one on lp/honor and ranked two on xp as a sol player with the only player with a class 7 (t7) ship. pre-requisite reading There is a lot of information hidden the two guides that i found the most helpful are: The basic tutorial on the mechanics in the game: http://forums.spacewars.com/threads/game-tutorial.54/ Read this before you even read this because i won't go over the mechanics in this guide as they are nicely explained in the previous one. Another guide that is really useful is the accuracy guide made by xeen that can be found here but is not required: http://forums.spacewars.com/threads/useful-s-t-from-xeen-post-1-accuracy-calculations.98/ In this guide i will try to explain what goes on in the mind of someone that has played the game since day 1 of the open beta. What kind of player should read this guide If you don't know why you are getting killed in a t3 because everyone is faster then you or you always get killed straight away and you don't know why or you got shot by a big massive laser 4-8 times and wonder why. Or just simply because you want some extra information above the guide made by the owner of the game. Id's  For defense platforms  For explosion damage  For turn order  For damage range bonuses  For shields vs initiative  For scanner vs initiative  For passing turn  What makes a good- and bad ship  For roles  For scanner lock  For captain and officer skills brief  For when should you fly a tier 4 or higher Newbie Scenario's  Newbies hitting defense platforms I am getting hit by laser beams from across the map 8~ times and everyone is dying and sitting behind planets/moons/astroids. You are probably in a sector with a space defense structure. This is not meant for new players and just leave them alone. The battle goes forward and backwards between the current two factions and sometimes the only sectors to attack are the ones with space defense structures. This does not mean you should attack them. In this case you should wait for an attack to come in so you can defend or you should just wait. This is currently a ongoing issue that is being fixed. You can identify those sectors by zooming a bit in. If i look from sol perspective you see: The little dots are sectors with mines in them. Mines are not really a threat. They explode when your 2 hexes away and its their turn and then do explosion damage to your ship. This will be explained further into the guide. You can safely enter those area's as a newbie. The battle-station icon looks like this. Don't attack those as newbies. They will blow you up and you are just feeding the enemy experience. The next one is even more dangerous. Its a heavy battle station. Same as before but much worse. Same case don't go in there if you don't know what you are doing.  Newbies sit next to enemy players when the other enemy is going to explode. I just explained how mines explode automatically if its their turn and your 2 hexes away. So why would mines kill themselves.... Its because ships/structures do explosion damage to a 4 hex radius around them! The table goes like this: 1 hex away = 50% current engine damage. 2 hex away = 25% current engine damage. 3 hex away = 12.5% current engine damage. 4 hex away = 6.25% current engine damage. 5 hex away = 0. So what will happen if you sit right next to a mine. The mine has 10 engines(lets just call them engine mines?????) if you sit 1 hex away you take 5 damage. If you sit 2 hexes away you take 2 damage because its rounded down. If you sit 3 hexes away you take 1 damage. If you sit 4 hexes away i assume it will be 0 because it rounds down but i can't test that at the moment. So your there with 4 hull and you sit next to a enemy player. Your team mates turn comes up. He knows how explosion damage works. First thing he does is say but i will kill my team mate now and ends his turn... I will shoot that player and blow you up as well. A side note: You get sector points for anything you kill in your turn (including friendly players!). BTW radiation suicides don't work. I tried. Its not over. No lets say you are the smart player. You are sitting next to a player but you know no one could kill the player in this turn. No harm right? But what about the players that go before you and your opponent. They will have the same issue. So don't look at your turn order for only that single turn. Know at around what position you end at on your next turn as well by calculating each and every ships initiative. Tip: If a player has 4 hull after repair(no shields). A smart player will in certain circumstances lower his weapons to 4 damage to get more initiative if he knows the player without any weapons will go no higher then him if he does that.  Why is he faster then me? There are clear best ones in class most of the time. I will first name the things i look for in a ship and how they apply to that specific ship tier but i can't even start with that because you need to know what disadvantages a higher tier ship has. Turn order is based on your initiative. Your initiative is based on your movement + init only skills + (if init +2 bonus on ship hull). Your probably wondering how do i even calculate movement of a ship? Lets start with a table and it will make it obvious and as always its posted somewhere you probably haven't seen it: http://forums.spacewars.com/threads/ship-maneuverability.46/ Lets take for example an Orchis. The orchis is a tier 3 so for every engine it gets +2 movement. The orchis has 20 engine = 20*2 = 40 initiative. Lets say it powers all its weapons that is 2 weapons of 3 engine power each means 6 total engine gone = 6*2 because each engine gives you 2 movement = 12 initiative and that means you just lost 12 initiative from powering all weapons means you have a base of 28 initiative. Lets take another ship but this time a tier 4 ship so different rules apply. Lets take the liverpool 3. It has 32 engine. that means its 32*1 = 32 initiative. (higher tier means you gain less from 1 engine) it has 2 weapons of 4 power each means you can put 8 power into them but this time its only 8*1 = 8 initiative loss = 32-8 = 24 base initiative. If the orchis fights the liverpool 3 both with all weapons active the orchis will always go first but lets say the liverpool only powers 1 weapon with only 1 power and another with only 2 power that means it will have 32-3 = 29 initiative so he actually becomes faster then you in your orchis! So why would the liverpool 3 every do that because what does it matter if he only has 3 power in weapons. he won't do much damages.  Newbies shoot from to far away and don't understand damage range bonuses Some weapons in the game have range bonuses. The ones excluded are mostly missiles because they have a higher power to damage ratio build in. (Ex: 2 power = 4 damage missile) You can hover over your weapon to see your damage bonuses. But to fast track on that based on the current scenario: The orchis has lasers. Each laser does +1 damage if your 1-2 hexes away (Yes more damage). So why are most newbies still shooting from 3 hexes away if they can get a damage bonus? Because they haven't read this guide of course but now you know. There are a few reasons to not shoot from your optimal range though. * Not enough movement. * To dangerous. * Explosion damage on a kill shot. *..... This does not mean that shooting at 7 hexes away is a smart thing either on really long range weapons. * You potentially show your position. * You have less accuracy. This is why you need to balance the advantages vs the disadvantages. Note: How accuracy is calculated is shown in xeen's guide that you probably already read if you looked at my requisites. In the case of the orchis vs the liverpool 3. The liverpool 3 is running 2 plasma beams. They have a maximum range bonus of +3 between hexes 1-4 and +2 and go on at different hexes. So only with 2 power in one weapon and 1 power into the other, it will do 1+4 and 2+4 = 9 damage. While the orchis will only do 3+1 and 3+1 = 8 in total.