Ship Guide by Star Sapphire

Version: 1.30 | Updated: 12/13/03 | Printable Version

Game:  Escape Velocity Nova
Author:  Sapphire
Platform:  Macintosh
Copyright:  2003 Sapphire
Version:  1.30
Created:  17th May 2003
Last Updated:  13th December 2003

1. Introduction
2. Ships
3. Weapons
4. Outfits
5. Combinations
6. Conclusion
7. FAQ
8. Appendix A: Money Spinners
9. Appendix B: Planetary Domination
10. Version History
11. Legal Stuff
12. Credits

1. Introduction

This is a guide to ships and ship outfitting in Ambrosia Software's Escape
Velocity Nova, version 1.06.  I've played this through on a Macintosh, but
everything in here applies just as well to the PC version.  Usually the first
FAQ for a game is a walkthrough, but this seemed unnecessary due to the
exceptionally detailed and thorough ones written by Slagblah.  Instead I
thought I'd write a brief article on ships and weapons, this being topic which
a) hasn't been covered in an easily readable format anywhere I've found and b)
is fun to write.  :)

Before I start, if you are stuck in one of the mission strings, this guide will
NOT help you.  Instead, go to Slagblah's excellent mission walkthroughs, at:

If you think you've found a bug, or want general advice, check out the Ambrosia
Escape Velocity Web Board, at:

The members there are extremely helpful.  

If you want technical information on any game in the Escape Velocity series, go
to EVula's Survival Guide, inside EVula's Lair, at:

Go to this if you want a really detailed and thorough breakdown of ships and
weapons.  This article is intended as more of an easily readable overview.  

This guide will only cover ships, missions, and outfits which can be bought
without doing any of the mission strings.  There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, the government- and story-specific ships and outfits are generally
better than the regular ones, so there's not much point in reviewing them - you
know that they'll be better than anything on the open market, so you don't need
me to tell you to buy them, do you?  :)  Secondly, most of the speciality ships
and outfits can only be bought late in the game - when the game's close to
over, in some cases - so they get less use.  This guide's designed to be useful
right from the start.  

Well, if I haven't lost everyone with those disclaimers, let's get started.  

2. Ships  

Which ship to buy?  Here's a review of all the ships which can be bought
without governmental approval in the Escape Velocity universe.  

A Note on Ship Types:  All ships of the same type in EV Nova are NOT the same.
If you select another ship, the first two lines will say something like this:  

Class C

The first line is the make of ship.  The second is its model - this may say
anything from "Class A" to "Model 12b" to "kemi".  Different models have
different outfits, as well as different base stats.  For instance, a Pirate
Class IV Valkyrie is much faster than a Pirate Class I Valkyrie.  

Fighter Class

This category covers all of the smallest ships in EV Nova bar the shuttles.
Fighters make good escorts, but their lack of shields and armour means they're
very easy to destroy.  If you're flying one of these, try to stay out of

- Viper (sub-classes: Fed Viper, Pirate Viper, Rebel Viper)

The Viper is fast, light, agile, and explodes like a firework when hit by any
sort of heavy weaponry.  Only get one of these if you really think you're good.
Pack an escape pod.  

If you absolutely must fly a Viper, try and capture a Rebel Light Gunboat
model:  the extra weapons space and shielding make a big difference.  It's
still not good enough to take down a capital ship, though, and it has no cargo
room, so what are you trying to accomplish with it anyway?  Leave your Vipers
in the fighter bays where they belong.  

- Lightning (sub-classes: Rebel Lightning, Wild Geese Lightning)

The Lightning in all its variants has just enough combat ability to get you
killed.  Enough speed and firepower to make you feel as though you can defend
yourself, but not enough to stop a pirate from shredding you in two passes.  

That's not to say that Lightnings are all bad:  they're cheap, and fly
beautifully, making them excellent courier vessels.  Just make sure to use that
speed for running away from enemies instead of charging them.  

- Thunderhead (sub-classes: Pirate Thunderhead, Rebel Thunderhead)

The top end of the fighter scale, the Thunderhead looks scary and hits hard if
you can bring its lances into play.  Unfortunately, it still doesn't have
enough armour and shields to stop a serious attack by a light capital or
capital warship class vessel.  A Valkyrie is cheaper, holds more cargo, has
more fuel, and can be a better fighting ship if given a few extra weapons.
Like the Viper, the Thunderhead works better occupying one of your fighter bays
than as your main vessel.  

Light Capital Class

This is a sort of stepping-stone class - ships which are bigger than fighters,
but which aren't quite large or specialised enough to fit into either the
freighter or warship category.  While it only has three members, these three
are among the best ships in the game.  You'll probably spend most of your time
in EV Nova flying a light capital ship.  

- Valkyrie (sub-classes: Pirate Valkyrie, Rebel Valkyrie)

Ah, the Valkyrie . . . cheap, agile, and lightning fast, these ships never go
out of style.  Like the Starbridge, the Valkyrie has just enough cargo space
(20 tons) to complete all the freight missions, while having the speed and
agility to get out of trouble.  With a little upgrading, it can also become a
dangerous weapons platform.  A Valkyrie can beat ships ten times its price.  

Although the Valkyrie is a great ship on its own, the modified versions leave
it for dead.  A standard Pirate Valkyrie is good, but the Pirate Class IV and
Rebel Class V Valkyries are terrifying.  They mount weaponry more suited to a
capital warship, while being as fast and agile as a fighter.  Capturing a
Pirate Class IV will give you one of the best ships in the game . . . if you
can survive its ion cannons.  

- Starbridge (sub-classes: Pirate Starbridge, Rebel Starbridge)

The Starbridge is the perfect all-rounder - fast, agile, and tough, with 20
tons of cargo and a reasonable amount of weapon space, all for only 600,000
credits.  The Valkyrie has a higher speed, but the Starbridge's superior
manoeuvrability probably makes it the better vessel for general use.  Plus, it
just looks cool.  Once you've flown one of these, you'll never want to pilot a
shuttle again.  

The Pirate and Rebel Starbridges are even better.  More speed and turn combined
with much better weaponry make then deadly opponents.  The Pirate Class D is
comparable to the Pirate Class IV Valkyrie, while the Rebel Class E is almost
as powerful as the Rebel Class V Valkyrie, and more agile.  

- Mod Starbridge 

Worth a category all to itself, the Modified Starbridge outclasses the regular
Starbridge in every way.  It can only be bought on New Ireland in the Tuatha
system, but if you can afford the 750,000 price tag, grab one.  The Mod
Starbridge is the best light capital ship on the open market.  

Freighter Class

Freighters tend to have poor speed and manoeuvrability, but compensate with
vastly more cargo space than vessels of similar size.  While the lighter
freighters such as the Starliner and Argosy are fast and well armed enough to
deal with light attacks, the heavier classes need either escorts or a lot of
care to avoid falling prey to pirates or hostile governments.  Despite this,
freighters can make money faster than any other ship class in the game.  

- Shuttle

It's, well, a shuttle.  Get out of it and into something better (like the Heavy
Shuttle) as soon as possible.  

- Heavy Shuttle

Better shielding, four extra tons of cargo, and an extra jump make the Heavy
Shuttle more than worth its 17,500 asking price.  However, it'll die just as
quickly as the Shuttle if anything bigger than a fighter decides it doesn't
like you.  If attacked, run.  

- Asteroid Miner

The asteroid miner is exactly what you'd expect - very good at mining asteroids
and very bad at everything else.  A full cargo of opals will bring in over
100,000 credits, though, so if you're feeling patient and in need of some cash,
buy one and head out to the Formalhaut system.  

- Terrapin

Unlike mining, freight transport requires you to move around, which means that
the Terrapin's lousy speed will hurt you much more than the asteroid miner's
will.  Still, it's cheap, and can make you a lot of cash on freight runs if
you're willing to take the chance.  

- Starliner

Ah, my favourite of the freighters.  Sleek and pretty, the Starliner is a much
better ship than the Terrapin.  Once you have it, you can get charter flights
through the Mission BBS, which pay much better than freight runs of comparable
size.  A pirate attack will still leave it in serious trouble, however, due to
its low top speed - if a system looks dangerous, make use of its high fuel
capacity and jump away immediately.  It's price is fairly steep, but it'll pay
for itself quickly.  

The Starliner, Pegasus, and Leviathan can only be purchased on Earth, and only
after you're a Sigma Shipyards employee.  

- Argosy (Sub-class: Pirate Argosy)

Verging on the edge of the light capital class, the Argosy is a nice ship, but
outclassed in all ways by the Starbridge and Valkyrie.  Its cargo capacity is
only 30 tons, not enough to compensate for its lower speed, acceleration, and
weaponry.  Still, it looks good, and doesn't require any licences.  The Pirate
Argosy is better, but unless you desperately need the extra 10 tons of cargo
space, I'd say you'd be better off with a Starbridge.  

- Enterprise (Sub-class: Pirate Enterprise)

The most combat-capable freighter out there.  The Enterprise is slow, but has
room for plenty of weaponry and can take a huge amount of punishment.  Add in
its 250 tons of cargo space and you've got yourself an excellent freighter
which can take on and beat dedicated warships.  

The greatest weakness of the Enterprise is its speed, and the Pirate Enterprise
improves on this, albeit at increased cost.  If you really want to go the
Pirate Enterprise route, though, try and capture a Heavily Modified pirate
model: its four ion cannons will shred just about anything that dares to come
near it.  Including you, of course.  

- Pegasus

Big and slow, with a huge cargo capacity, the Pegasus is a lovely ship - to
pirate.  Don't even think of flying this unless you've got plenty of escort
firepower.  For some obscure reason, Marauders often use these.  Don't
complain, just disable and board . . . 

- Leviathan

The biggest freighter in the game, the Leviathan also has the largest cargo
capacity, the worst acceleration, and the worst manoeuvrability.  Everything
that goes for the Pegasus goes twice for the Leviathan.  It does have a huge
maximum weapons load, though, so if you've got a funny sense of humour you
could install a Sigma Mass Expansion and load it down with turrets.  (Don't
even think about installing forward guns - this ship is so slow that in the
time it takes to turn around, your attackers could go to the newsagent, buy a
paper, and make a cup of coffee before shooting you apart.)  Other than that,
this ship's better suited to being an escort - or a target.   If you want a
super-heavy freighter, get a Cambrian.  

As a point of interest, although a Leviathan doesn't have much armour, it goes
up in an enormous explosion when destroyed, easily capable of killing a light
capital ship whose pilot gets too close.  

- Sprite

The Sprite and the Cambrian have the distinctions of being the only Polaris
ships you can purchase without playing through the Polaris storyline.  As you'd
expect from the Polaris, they're significantly better than their Fed and
Auroran counterparts.  The Sprite's cargo load is half that of a Pegasus, but
it costs a quarter of the money and goes twice as fast.  If you want to go into
the freighter business and are willing to risk running the Polaran borders to
get to one of their shipyards, a Sprite would be a good investment.  

- Cambrian

Otherwise known as the "Space Beetle", the Cambrian carries nearly as much
cargo as the Leviathan for a fraction of the cost.  The space and turret
allocation of 0 means that you'll need some Sigma upgrades if you want it to be
able to defend itself, though.  The Cambrian's the best freighter for making
some serious money, but only try and capture one if you're very confident in
your flying skills - a Polaris reinforcement fleet will be down on you like a
ton of bricks within twenty seconds of you opening fire on it.  Buying one in a
shipyard, or hiring at a bar, is a much safer option.  

Capital Warship Class

Finally, the big boys!  Capital warships pack an insane amount of firepower,
and have the space to incorporate pretty much any outfits you have the money
for.  Unfortunately, most are restricted by their respective governments.  Only
three are available for open sale.  

- IDA Frigate (Sub-class: Rebel IDA Frigate)

Although it's classed as a capital warship, the IDA works equally well as a
heavily armed freighter.  It carries as much cargo as an Enterprise and has
even more shields and armour, making it ideal if you fly freight runs but still
want to be able to kick some serious ass.  It's not quick, but can stand up to
nearly anything and has a cool "ship of the line" feel to it.  The only
drawback is its price - nearly a million credits in cost and licensing.  If you
can afford one, though, they're the fighting king of freighter vessels.  I
completed the Rebel string in one of these.  

Version 1.04 of EV Nova added the Rebel IDA Frigate.  Like all Rebel upgrades,
the Rebel IDA is faster, more maneuverable, carries more guns, and can't be
bought unless you're in the Rebel string.  If you want to capture yourself one,
hang around the Koria or Evlei systems.  Be warned:  The Rebel Class III IDA
carries a BioRelay Laser.  This makes it an even better ship if you can capture
it, but it'll which will fry you in seconds if you make even a little mistake.  

- Manticore

If you're flying one of these, and your enemy comes within range, he's dead.
That's the good news.  The bad news is that this puppy comes with a price tag
of 12 million credits.  Still, if you can afford it, a Manticore can waste an
entire fleet in seconds.  Go to the Gefjon system and hang around if you want a
first-hand demonstration of just how deadly these ships are.  

Its main weakness is its slow speed and short range - a bad combination if your
opponent wants to stay away and use you for railgun practise.  If you decide to
get yourself one, install some missiles or fighter bays so that you have some
distance fighting ability.  

- Pirate Carrier

The second most expensive ship around, the Pirate Carrier is an awesome vessel.
Its roomy hull allows installation of just about any weapon system you can
think of.  It can function as a carrier, a rail-gun platform, a super-gunboat,
or a combination of all three.  The Heavy Weapons Platform model has the most
weapons space of any ship in the game.  

3. Weapons

Most ships are sold with a very poor weapons loadout, so you'll want to sell
them and start customising your ship's armaments as soon as possible.  

Weapons do differing amounts of damage to armour and shields.  Fusion Pulse
Cannons, for instance, are significantly better at destroying an unshielded
ship than they are at taking its shields down, whereas for the Medium Blaster
it's the other way around.  For this reason and for general utility, it's often
a good idea to have two different primary weapons:  if one can't get the job
done, the other will.  

Primary Weapons

- Light Blaster

Your starting weapon.  Very useful if you're ever attacked by a rampaging pack
of cargo drones.  

- Light Cannon

It's better than the Light Blaster, but that's not saying much.  It's also more
expensive, but looks and sounds quite neat, if that's a consideration.  

- Hail Chaingun

The Auroran version of the Light Cannon, it's about as good as its Fed
equivalent, with the added nuisance of having to buy ammo for it.  

- Medium Blaster

Now this is more like it.  The Medium Blaster packs enough of a punch to be a
threat to light capital ships and freighters, although it's unlikely to scare a
warship.  It doesn't auto-track as the FPC does, so you'll have to aim your
ship to score hits with this.  Still, as the first heavy weapon you buy, it
should give you good service.  

- Fusion Pulse Cannon

Lighter, cheaper, longer ranged, and more powerful than the Medium Blaster, the
FPC is my favourite unrestricted primary weapon.  Its only drawback is that at
short ranges, it damages you as much as your target.  This makes the FPC great
for capital ship killing, but rather more dangerous if you get rushed by
fighters or a Pirate Valkyrie.  Despite this, it's still good enough to warrant
installing the maximum of 6 on most ships.  And guess what - the Mod Starbridge
has a maximum of 6 forward guns!  A match made in heaven . . . 

- Railguns (100mm, 150mm, and 200mm varieties)

Railguns weigh as much as a deck gun on a battleship, but they compensate for
it by having a range of more than half of your radar screen.  Their accuracy is
very good, but the weight means that it's hard to fit them on anything short of
a capital warship.  Still, if you can manage it, they enable you to engage and
destroy an enemy ship without ever seeing it.  The three calibers have varying
statistics but behave similarly in combat.  

- Ion Cannon

Yeah, baby!  Ionic particle cannons have perfect accuracy, ionise their target,
and, in multiples, will fry an opponent in seconds.  The drawback?  They're
illegal, and drain your energy reserves like nobody's business.  If you decide
to load up on these, make sure to have some backup weapons for when the Feds
arrive and you're out of power.  

- Thunderhead Lance

A poor man's ion cannon, the Thunderhead Lance looks and is quite deadly if you
can get within range.  Unfortunately, since it knocks back its target, the
amount of time you can hold it on a target can be measured in fractions of a
second.  If you do decide to use these, install LOTS.  After all, if you're
going to go to all that effort to get up close, you should at least get some
reward for your trouble.  

- Turrets

The Light Blaster, Medium Blaster, Raven Rocket, and Fusion Pulse Cannon can
all be purchased in turret form.  Turreted weapons weigh about 2.5 times as
much as the forward-firing version, so they're really only worth their weight
on slower-turning ships.  The following two point-defence weapons, however, can
only be mounted on turrets:  

- Storm Chaingun

Point defence weapons automatically fire upon hostile fighters and missiles
that get too close.  The Storm Chaingun does the job reasonably well, but it's
heavy, inaccurate, and requires ammo.  

- Quad Light Blaster Turret

Now that's better.  The QLBT outclasses the Storm muchly.  However, it's
Federation military only, meaning that the only way you'll get it is by buying
a Pirate Carrier or capturing a ship with one attached.  

Secondary Weapons

- Raven Rocket Pod

Ravens are weak and unguided, but cheap.  While one or two won't even kill a
shuttle, a constant stream of them can be quite effective.  If you do decide to
use these, install four or so launchers, get up close, and hit your target with
them and your primary weapon simultaneously.  It's an effective tactic against
capital ships and freighters, but light capital and fighter class vessels are
just too fast for more than a few Ravens to find their mark.  

- Stellar Grenade Launcher

This weapon is really just an airlock and a box of grenades, and is about as
effective as you'd expect from that description.  Most computer ships yaw from
side to side as they pursue you, so hitting a target with these is more a
matter of luck than judgement.  Give this a miss unless you're desperately
short of money.  

- IR Missile Launcher

IR missiles are small, cheap, and really don't do much other than irritate
everyone in the area.  Anyone with a half-decent jammer will laugh at these.  

- Radar Missile Launcher

Better than the IR system, but not by much.  Annoyingly, half the ships in the
game come with them pre-installed.  My advice would be to sell them, but try
them out if you want to see how ineffective they are against a determined

- Hellhound Missile Launcher

Now we're talking.  Fast, reliable, and destructive, with a nice ionising
effect, Hellhounds are my favourite missile in the game.  They might cost you
1,500 per shot, but they're worth every credit - Hellhounds can easily destroy
an enemy ship before they even get within spotting distance.  Whatever your
ship, seriously consider adding one or two Hellhound launchers to its weapons

- Gravimetric Missile Launcher

While grav missiles are powerful and can't be jammed, their 1-ton weight makes
loading up on them awkward unless you're flying a carrier.  Personally, I'd say
to just stick with Hellhounds.  

- Etheric Wake Missile Launcher

Pretty much identical to grav missiles in form and usefulness.  

- Polaron Cannon

It's heavy, expensive, horribly short-ranged, only moderately powerful, and
drains your power faster than a street's worth of Christmas lights.  Avoid.  

- Wraith Cannon

Now this was what you sat through the Gli-tech missions for!  Wraithii are kind
of like super-powered, self-targeting Raven Rockets, and will rip apart an
enemy ship in short order, particularly if you're hitting them with your
primary weapon as well.  The scary thing is that this weapon is actually the
low end of the Polaris technology tree . . . oh, and speaking of the Polaris,
make sure they don't scan you if you've got one of these on board.  

- EMP Torpedo Tube

"Nuke 'em from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure."

It's a thermonuclear warhead.  Heavy and slow as hell, but make sure you're
nowhere near one of these when it goes off.  If you can afford the price and
weight, one of these will spell very bad news for a ship unwise enough to get
too close.  

Contrary to their description, EMP torpedoes do almost no mass damage.  This
means that while they're extremely effective for lowering shields and ionising
a target, they won't kill or disable it.  The best way to use them is usually
to fire one or two, then move in with your primary weapons before your opponent

4. Outfitting

EVN contains more armour, supplies, tools, reactors, energy storage, sensor
software, junk, and other miscellaneous ship upgrades than I have time to list,
so I'll just note down the essentials.  

- Gravimetric Sensors, IFF Decoder, Auto-Recharger

Weightless and very helpful.  Only 15,000 credits for the three, so get them
for any ship you fly.  If you don't have quite enough money, the IFF is the
most useful.  

- Port & Polish, Horizontal Booster, Vectored Thrust

250,000 for these three, but they're among the most useful upgrades for any
ship that's going to see combat, especially the vectored thrust.  Try them and

- Carbon Fiber

It requires a licence, but after the first few times you're blown to dust
you'll appreciate its worth.  Carbon Fiber is light and moderately priced -
well worth the 4 tons on a fighter or light capital ship you're sticking with.  

- Matrix Steel

Heavier, more expensive, and much more effective than carbon fiber.  Get it if
you can afford it.  

A note on armour - keep in mind that its weight and price vary depending on
your ship's size.  While a layer of Carbon Fiber will only cost you 37,500
credits and 1 ton of weight on a Starbridge, the same upgrade on a Pirate
Carrier will multiply the weight and cost by a factor of 18.  For this reason,
armour is most efficient for ships in the light capital class - capital
warships are better served with shield upgrades.  

- Pirate Jammer

The best jammer on the open market.  Well worth the 200 grand.  

- Battery Packs, Solar Panels

Always install a few of these old, cheap pieces of technology.  

- Afterburner

Ditto.  An afterburner lets you escape a losing battle, or catch a fleeing
opponent with a minimum of fuss.  Try it, you'll like it.  

- Sigma Upgrades

It costs 4.5 million credits to give a ship the full treatment (Engine Upgrade,
Electrical Rewiring, Mount Reinforcement, and 2 Mass Additions) but for that
4.5 million you'll get a ship which is faster, more agile, more
energy-efficient, has better sensors, shields, and shield recharge, and can
carry four more guns, two more turrets, and an extra 10 tons of weaponry.  The
Sigma upgrades are hideously expensive, but they're the *only* way to upgrade a
ship beyond the basic level.  If you go into combat regularly, you'll find
they're worth the money.  See the FAQ for more details.  

5. Combinations

So what's the best ship?  It's always going to depend upon your own preference,
but after playing through all of the storylines and having seen lots of people
describe their personal vessels, I've come to the conclusion that the most
combat-capable ships fit into one of two categories, which I've dubbed the
"Pocket Battleship" and the "Heavy Destroyer".  

Pocket battleships come from the light capital class:  they're high-end light
capital ships, modified to house as many guns and missiles as they possibly
can.  These ships have the speed and agility of a fighter, combined with the
armaments of a capital warship.  (Pocket battleships were ships built by the
German navy in the 1930s.  They were designed to get around the tonnage limits
placed upon the German navy by the Treaty of Versailles by packing the
firepower of a battleship into a ship the size of a cruiser.)

Heavy destroyers are capital warship class vessels.  These ships sacrifice
speed and manoeuvrability for a truly devastating amount of firepower.  Some of
these ships carry fighter bays:  others strip them out to include even more
guns and missiles.  Although they don't have the speed of a pocket battleship,
they can still move fast enough to get to hyperspace distance if things go

Here's an example of a pocket battleship:  

"Snow Leopard"
Captured Rebel Class V Valkyrie


6 Fusion Pulse Cannons
4 Medium Blasters
2 Quad Light Blaster Turrets (captured)
1 Hellhound Missile Launcher
50 Hellhound Missiles

Other Upgrades: 

4 layers of Carbon Fiber
4 layers of Matrix Steel
2 Solar Panels
2 Battery Packs
1 Afterburner
1 Rebel IR Jammer (captured)
1 Rebel Radar Jammer (captured)
1 Cargo Retool (needed to push the cargo space up to 20, allowing all freight
missions to be completed.)
The usual refinements (grav sensors, IFF, auto-recharger, port & polish,
horizontal booster, vectored thrust, all Sigma upgrades bar the Mass Retool.)

Even without the afterburner, this ship has a top speed of over 600 and a turn
rate to match.  The shields and armour are so high you can fly up next to an
enemy capital ship, open up on them, and they'll die before you do.  If they
launch fighters, afterburn away, turn, kill them all, then move in to finish
the job.  

And here's an example of a heavy destroyer (both of these are ships I've flown,
by the way).  

Captured Pirate Carrier (Heavy Weapons Platform)


6 200 mm railguns
4 150 mm railguns
4 Heavy Blaster Turrets (captured)
2 Medium Blaster Turrets
2 Quad Light Blaster Turrets (captured)
2 EMP Torpedo Tubes
20 EMP Torpedoes
3 Hellhound Missile Launchers
50 Hellhound Missiles

Other Upgrades

4 Solar Panels
4 Battery Packs
1 Pirate Jammer
1 Afterburner
The usual refinements (as above)

Sit at the opposite end of the map from your enemies, and blow them all apart
with your railguns.  If they get close, fire off a salvo of missiles.  Fighters
are easy targets for your turrets.  It's been a long time since I flew this
ship, but I think there might have been room for a couple of Thunderhead bays
in there as well.  

It's possible to build good ships on other models than these two, but they'll
generally be outclassed.  The question I'd like to know the answer to is: which
would win out of a pair of human pilots with these ships . . . but I guess
we'll have to wait for a multiplayer mod to find that one out.  :)

6. Conclusion

So there you have it, a quick introduction to the ships and weapon outfits
available to the beginning Escape Velocity Nova player.  Obviously there's much
more to the subject, but this should be enough to give you some ideas.  The fun
of any "vehicle" game, whether the vehicle is a car, a mech, or a spaceship,
comes mostly from customising and playing with your toy, so go out and

Have fun playing!  

Sapphire @ 2003

7. FAQ

Q. What are the best Sigma upgrades? 

A. From most to least useful, they go as follows: Engine Upgrade, Mount
Reinforcement, Electrical Rewiring, Mass Additions.  Get the Mount
Reinforcement first if you value firepower more than speed.  (Of course, you
really want all of them.) The Mass Retool is a special case: if you're flying a
warship with lots of cargo space like an IDA or Raven, buy it first.  You'll
need all the free mass you can get, especially if you plan to add armour.  

Q. After you've finished a mission string, can you start any new storyline
missions or get back to Se7en?

A. No and no.  Every pilot can only reach Se7en once in their flying career, so
if you want a Kestrel, save up before you complete that last mission.  And no,
you can't start a new mission string with your old ship.  Playing through the
Fed or Auroran string in a Raven would be just a teeny bit unbalancing.  :) 

Q. Where can I get a Vectored Thrust or a Horizontal Booster?  

A. The Vectored Thrust can be found on New Ireland in the Tuatha system, or on
Rauther in the Rautherion system.  You can pick up a Horizontal Booster on the
Rebel forward base at Koria, or on Misfire in the Trishka system.  Buying both
is highly recommended.  

Q. What does a Fission Reactor do?  

A. It produces energy, just like Solar Panels.  However, it's incredibly
overpriced.  Four solar panels will supply more energy per turn, at a twentieth
of the cost.  Only buy reactors if you have money to burn, and even then only
if your primary weapons are Capacitator Pulse Lasers or other devices that eat
power like crazy.  

Q. Is there any way to buy escort ships, rather than hiring them or capturing

A. Not unless you cheat, no.  

Q. Is there any way to capture Vell-os ships?  

A. No.  Vell-os ships are actually psychic constructs.  Disabling them kills
the pilot and causes the ship to collapse.  

If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me an email.   

8. Appendix A: Money Spinners

So, you've picked out your dream ship, and decided on the perfect combination
of weaponry, upgrades, and outfits.  Combined with your expert piloting skills,
your domination of the galaxy is assured!  At least it will be . . . just as
soon as you scrape together enough credits to trade in the rustbucket you're
currently flying.  Face it, you need big bucks to get any kind of a decent ship
in Nova.  Sure, to begin with, you have the band, Cunjo Hunter, and Kontik
missions to get you on your feet, but once those have dried up, you'll be stuck
running passengers and cargo back and forth between solar systems for pocket
change unless you figure out a decent money-spinning scheme.  Well, that's what
this section is here for.  

But first, before we start going through the ways of making money which will
work, we'll go through some of the ones which *won't*.

- Trading:  Although bulk trading is one of the best ways to make money in the
long term, trading with a shuttle or light capital ship's cargo space is a
waste of time.  Unless you're carrying over a hundred tons of cargo per run,
your profits are going to be pathetically small.  

- Refuel Runs:  What is it with all these Valkyries flying around with a
sob-story of being attacked by pirates?  Was some manufacturer doing a bulk
sale on old Valkyries with leaky fuel tanks?  Or are the pilots too stupid to
figure out how to land on a planet and refuel their ship themselves?
Regardless, you aren't going to make much of a profit from these incompetent

- Gambling:  Las Vegas this ain't.  At only 4,000 credits for a winning bet,
you'll grow old and die before you get rich playing the races.  

- United Shipping Basic Missions:  10,000 to 25,000 credits might seem
reasonable for a freight run, but remember that you have to make *two*
journeys, one to pick it up and one to deliver, with a deadline thrown in.
Ignore these missions until they get to the 50,000 credit level.  

Just like in real life, the easiest way to get money in EV Nova is with more
money.  It's actually very easy to set up a fleet that'll turn a profit of over
1,000,000 credits per cargo run - the trouble is, you need about 10 million
credits to do it.  So the line of business you go into depends on how much
capital you have.  

- Flat Broke (0-100,000 Credits)

This is how you start, with nothing but a shuttlecraft and the clothes on your
back.  Your first impulse is likely to be to turn to the BBS listings for
missions.  Nothing wrong with that, but while you're flying around hauling
freight, there's a more lucrative opportunity which you should keep your eyes
open for: salvage work.  

You're probably noticed that in Fed space you frequently run across disabled
and apparently deserted ships.  They're easy to spot if you have an IFF - just
look for a grey dot on the radar screen whenever you enter a new system or take
off from a planet.  About half of them contain a stranded crew, who'll
gratefully pay you 75,000 credits for a taxi ride home.  At only a few tons of
cargo space, this is a much better deal than most freight runs, especially
since you can keep several of these crews in your cargo hold until you get
around to delivering them all at once.  (Apparently they don't eat much.)  

The other half of the time, the ship is a pirate trap, and you'll have to run
like hell, but as long as you've got a finger ready on the hyperspace key, this
shouldn't be a problem.  Best of all, about one time out of ten, the ship
really is deserted, allowing you to loot it of credits - which means up to half
a million if you're lucky enough to find a Leviathan.  Salvage work is
inherently unpredictable, though, and you should move up to more reliable
methods of income as soon as possible.  

- Poor (100,000 - 500,000 Credits)

If you own a combat ship, bounty hunting is a great way to make some money,
boost your popularity with the federal government, and build up your combat
rating all at once.  You should be approached by a Guild member in a bar
shortly after winning a few battles, and thereafter you can find bounties in
most spaceports.  Unfortunately, the bounties don't tell you where to find the
targets:  all you know is that they're "nearby" (ie within one jump of the
current system).  The solution to this problem is to accept bounties solely
from planets which have only one adjacent system.  Wolf 359 is the perfect
choice in all ways.  Land on New England, accept a bounty, hyper to Sol, kill
the pirate (or just let the Fed Destroyers do it for you), land on Earth to
pick up your payment, hyper back to Wolf 359, and repeat.  You can do several
bounties at once if you're feeling confident.  

Bounty hunting too dangerous for you?  Want a nice, safe way of making money?
Asteroid mining is the way to go.  Grab yourself a miner for 150,000 credits,
or just retrofit your current ship with a scoop if you've got the cargo space.
You'll be able to find water and metal asteroids practically everywhere, but
that won't earn you anything much.  Opals are what you should be looking for,
and you can find an opal field and an opal market combined in the Formalhaut
system.  Opal asteroids are the ones with a goldish tinge.  Blow them up,
collect your free merchandise, and when your bay is full, land on Gem to sell
them off at a handsome profit.  Your bank account will hit seven figures in no

- Comfortable (500,000 - 1,000,000 Credits)

Two ships dominate this wealth bracket for money-making purposes:  the Sprite
and the Starliner.  Both have a basic price of half a million credits, but the
Starliner requires a licence and Sigma employee status before you can buy it on
Sol.  You can get a Sprite on Kel'ar'iy without either, but you have to survive
the Polaris borders to do so, so which one you go for depends on whether you
want a combat challenge or a mercantile one.  Starliner charter flights will
net you a nice 150,000 credits each, whereas the 500 tons of cargo a Sprite
carries will turn a decent profit on any of the trade routes listed at the
bottom of this section.  

- Wealthy (1,000,000 - 5,000,000 Credits)

There's really only one choice at this level.  Get a Polaris Cambrian.  You'll
have to make the hazardous journey to Kel'ar'iy to buy it, and you'll need
1,500,000 credits plus some capital to get you started trading, but once you've
got your own Space Beetle you're set for life.  A Cambrian run of luxury goods,
buying low and selling high, will make you over a million credits.  Repeat
until you have more money than you'll ever need.  

- Stinking Rich (5,000,000+ Credits)

What?  You want even *more* credits?  Haven't you got enough?  Greedy, aren't
you?  Well, if the answer to those questions is "yes", "no", and "yes" in that
order, you're in luck:  you've finally reached the point where you can start
making some serious money.  

Once you reach this level, you can ignore everything on the BBS system.
High-level trading will earn you such vast profits that the rewards for even
the most highly paid missions in the game become insignificant by comparison.
To get this to work, however, you'll need as much cargo space as you can
possibly get.  A fleet of six Cambrians is ideal, but use Sprites or Pegasi if
you can't get enough beetles.  Leviathans are best of all if you have the
resources to capture them (they're a little too expensive to make hiring

Now pick a trade route from the list below.  If you've hired your escorts
rather than capturing them, you need to minimise travel time.  Hypergate access
or a Multi-Jump Organ are great if you you have them - if not, no problem, you
can go for the Europa/Sol run.  Whichever route you choose, your profits are
limited only by your cargo space.  Trade and trade again and watch your bank
account spiral so high that you'll never be able to bring it down.  

It's generally only worth conducting trading on this level if you need
absolutely insane amounts of funding.  For any kind of "normal" ship, you'll
need 6-7 million credits, maximum, to outfit it with everything you need.
However, if you're planning something more extreme (such as buying a carrier,
filling it with fighters, and then conducting a small war) you might just need
this kind of money.  

Trade Routes:

This isn't by any means a comprehensive list, just a few of my favourite routes
and some I've had recommended to me.  You'll probably find a few personal ones
in the course of your journeys around the galaxy, too.  

- Luxury Goods in the Sol system (buy at Europa, sell on Earth)
- Medical Supplies from Earth to New Ireland, then Duranium Alloy from Herald
in Avalon back to Earth.  
- Medical Supplies from Earth to New England, Luxury Goods back to Earth
- For those who want a more exciting journey, try the Bio-Weapons run.  Buy at
Codec in Codechaven, sell in either the Moash or Lesten systems.  The profit
margin blows all other cargos away, but make sure nobody spots you . . .
- Exotic Bio-Compounds from Ver'ar Pisad in Ver'avo to Ver'ar Noriout in
Ver'ikar, and equipment on the back run.  
- Auroran space, if you have Hypergate access: Luxury Goods from Heraan to
Aurora.  Just as fast as the Europa/Sol run.  
- Polaris space, if you have a Multi-Jump Organ: Buy Opals in Tre'ar Illini in
Tre'vas'ar, triple-jump to Tre'a Ro in the Tre'Pirana system, and carry
equipment back.  
- Federation space, if jump time isn't an issue: Buy Opals on Gem in the
Fomalhaut system, sell them on Serenity in Lotus, and carry equipment back.  

Thanks to Chaltier for the last three.  

9. Appendix B: Planetary Domination

I've had a few people ask about how to dominate planets, so here are some
techniques.  This isn't a comprehensive guide by any means, just some methods
which I've tested and found effective.  

Dominating planets is the ultimate challenge of EV Nova.  If you can do this,
then completing the mission strings is a piece of cake.  Don't try it unless
you're extremely confident.  If you do decide you're good enough, there's a lot
of preparation you'll need to do first.  

To begin with, it's highly recommended that you only try conquering planets
when you're at least halfway through one of the six primary mission strings.
There are two reasons for this: it gives you access to more powerful ships and
weaponry, which you'll need, and it gives you a "safe zone" to retreat to after
dominating a planet, as described later.  Far and away the best storyline to be
in for conquering planets is the Polaris one.  Not only does this give you the
best ships and technology around, it gives you a very secure base to resupply
at in between battles.  

Next, you need a very good ship.  A standard pocket battleship or heavy
destroyer isn't enough:  you need something which pushes the limits.  Ideally,
you want a maxed-out Polaris Raven or Scarab.  If you can't get that, get the
biggest ship you can and capture yourself a full escort fleet.   

The final step is your combat rating.  If your combat rating is under 10,000,
i.e. "Dangerous" or less, a planet won't pay attention to demands for tribute.
You'll need to reach a rating of "Frightening" before they'll take you
seriously enough to send out their defence fleet.  Once they've done so, the
battle proper begins.  

Conquering a planet is essentially a very long drawn-out battle of attrition.
The planet will launch six ships at you, which will be either light capital or
capital warship class.  Destroy those six ships, and they'll send out another
six.  This continues until you die, you leave, or they run out of ships.  The
biggest threat to you in this battle is being worn down by weight of numbers.
It's no use destroying all six ships of the first wave at a cost of 20% of your
resources, because five waves later, you'll be exhausted and they'll still be
coming.  A typical defence fleet is 120 ships large, so they can take huge
casualties and still win the battle.  You need a way to kill each enemy wave
with *no* losses at all.  

This is where having a Polaris ship is invaluable.  A Scarab can burn up
incoming ships with its pulse lasers and regenerate its power, hull, and
shields before the next wave arrives, as long as you remember to fight them far
out enough in space that you have a brief respite between each wave.  When
things get dangerous, cloak and regenerate, then start again.  Your Polaron
Torpedoes will take care of any particularly annoying opponents.  A Raven with
a full complement of Manta bays has it even easier.  Just park off in space,
set your Mantas to attack mode, and sit and wait.  Less than one ship in ten
will make it through to within weapon range, and Mantas are small and hard
enough to hit that you shouldn't lose more than a few to enemy fire.  

If you haven't got a Polaris ship, then you're in trouble.  Neither Federation,
Rebel, or Pirate vessels are powerful enough to consistently destroy an enemy
squadron without taking damage in the process.  A Vell-os ship is tough enough,
but you'd run out of power much too fast.  Your best chance is Auroran
technology.  Railguns can engage an enemy at long range, and in sufficient
numbers, destroy them without giving them a chance to fire.  Load your ship up
with railguns, and capture or hire as many railgun escorts as you possibly can.
Six Aurora Cruisers would be ideal:  Pirate or Auroran Carriers are good too.
Use railgun-equipped Pirate Enterprises if you're desperate.  Then fly off a
long way from the enemy system, park, and demand tribute.  With luck, the enemy
ships will be destroyed by the combined railgun fire without getting into
range.  You'll have to watch your radar, however, because if a few enemies slip
through, things can get very dangerous very fast.  

If all goes to plan, after about 10-15 minutes of steady fire and explosions,
the flow of enemy ships attacking you will suddenly cease.  Contact the planet
and demand tribute a second time.  Congratulations!  Now things start to get

Owning a planet makes you a wanted criminal in every system that shares the
same goverment.  These systems will attack you on sight whenever you pass
through, deny you landing clearance, deny you mission access, send bounty
hunters after you, call in reinforcement fleets for the sole purpose of
fragging your ass, and generally make your life as unpleasant as possible.  If
you don't have some kind of "safe zone" to retreat to, these constant
harassments can be very irritating, not because the individual attacks are
particularly deadly, but because no matter where you go, you'll have someone
chasing you down trying to kill you.  For this reason I recommend you stay on
good terms with the government you're doing missions for, and only dominate
planets which are hostile to you anyway.  Go from the safe zone into enemy
territory, conquer a planet, then retreat back to your home territory to
restock and repair, where you can't be pursued.  

In return for all these trials, you get a few thousand credits a day and the
right to call yourself "Military Governor".  Hey, you were doing it for the
challenge anyway, right?  If the constant harassment finally gets too much, buy
an escape pod and self-destruct your ship.  Your criminal record everywhere
will be erased, and you'll still own the planets.  :)  

10. Version History

Version 1.01, 25 May 2003
- Corrected a few typos and made various small changes and additions. 
- Fiddled with the line breaks.  

Version 1.02, 6 June 2003
- Moved the shuttles into the Freighters section.  

Version 1.10, 28 June 2003
- Updated the guide for EV Nova version 1.05, including Rebel IDA Frigate.  
- Started the FAQ.  

Version 1.20, 22 November 2003
- Added some entries to the FAQ.  
- Added Section 9: Dominating Planets.  

Version 1.30, 13 December 2003
- Added more entries to the FAQ. 
- Added Section 8: Money Spinnining.  

11. Credits

- Ambrosia Software for making such a great game.  

- Chaltier for several trade routes, and for the incentive to write the two

- Slagblah for his walkthroughs, without which I probably would have given up
in frustration on one of the Fed missions.  

- EVula for his Survival Guide, which I've used to doublecheck the technical
details on all of the weapons and ships.  Any mistakes are mine, not his.  

- All the members of the Escape Velocity Nova Web Board for helping out
countless players, including yours truly, with their problems.  Thanks, guys!   

12. Legal Stuff

This guide may be not be reproduced except for personal, private use.  If for
some reason you want to reproduce it on your personal web site, then I think
you must have too much time on your hands, but you're welcome to as long as you
reproduce it in whole and give credit.  Use of this guide on any other web site
or as a part of any public display is a violation of copyright.

Escape Velocity Nova and all the games in the Escape Velocity series are
copyright of Ambrosia Software, Incorporated.