---------------------------------- Game: Escape Velocity Nova Author: Sapphire Platform: Macintosh Copyright: 2003 Sapphire Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: http://www.ev-nova.net/walkthrough/ If you think you've found a bug, or want general advice, check out the Ambrosia Escape Velocity Web Board, at: http://www.AmbrosiaSW.com/cgi-bin/ubb/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&number=26 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: http://www.evula.com/survival_guide/index.html 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: Starbridge 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 combat. - 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 opponent. - 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 loadout. - 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 recovers. ---------- 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 see. - 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 badly. Here's an example of a pocket battleship: "Snow Leopard" Captured Rebel Class V Valkyrie Weapons: 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). "Jackhammer" Captured Pirate Carrier (Heavy Weapons Platform) Weapons: 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 experiment! 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 them? 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 spacefarers. - 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 time. - 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 practical). 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 interesting. 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 appendices. - 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.