Fighting is a major part of the game. It will affect almost everything, from stocking buildings to running FWE to traveling. At this first section, we'll dissect the parts of a ship that affects its ability to fight.
 Ship layout
Before you start equipping your ship to fight, you'll need to know some information about it all and for choosing what ship you want as well as equipment. We'll be using the mercury, a low level fighter/ranker/exp-er for an example.
The armor will absorb almost all of the damage you take in combat. The amount of armor you will have is your ship's armor statistic * the strength of your armor. The Mercury ship, for example, has 390 armor. If you put on a *6 Ebidium Armor on it, you'd have 2340 armor points, but the points will show as 390. What this means is that it will be harder (in example, 6 times harder) for an attacker to decrease your ship points than with a regular armor.
The class of armor you use will affect the damage you take as well. If you use organic (Org.) armor, you'll take less damage from conventional (Conv.), Org., and Pardus weapons while taking more damage from Electromagnetic (E-mag.)weapons. In general, Pardus armor is the best, with no weaknesses, Org. and E-mag. are second, with one weakness each, and Conv. is the worst with 100% efficiency or more to all weapons. Their prices are respective of their quality however, so it's hard to get the best stuff.
This table will show the effects of armors versus different weapons (in %).
The hull basically is like armor, but it's working right outside the box and you can't upgrade it (without the Advanced Skills option available after 1,000,000 million Action points are spent). Trading ships generally have high hull, to provide protection but not giving the owner the ability to try and make it into a combat ship. The marauder has 210 hull, meaning once the shield and armor is gone you have to inflict that much damage before the ship is destroyed.
The size of your ship won't make much difference for anything except missiles and cloaking, and lasers to a minuscule extent. The larger your ship is, the more likely a missile fired by an opponent will hit you and the lower the chance to cloak successfully is.
 Cargo capacity
Cargo capacity is how much cargo and equipment it can carry. Although it seems that it's only important for people looking to trade, it's just as important for people looking to fight as well. It will limit the amount of equipment you can carry which will restrict you from using the best weapons that weigh more. Most conventional guns have a light-weight (LW) version that costs substantially more, but weighs less. Use this to plan out your equipment for your ship carefully.
 Missile mounts
The missile mount is the number of missiles you can arm on your ship. Many trade class ships have many of these but are rarely used for fighting. Missiles are almost never used in fighting an NPC, but are almost always used in fighting another opponent. Missiles will deal most of the damage in PvP combat, so it's important that you arm your ship with fleet missiles before fighting someone else.
 Gun mounts
Gun mounts are the number of guns that you can equip on your ship. These will fire every turn, and can fire 1-3 salvos depending on what weapon it is. Like armor, it's efficiency depends on the armor that you fire against and what gun you have.
 Trade Class Points
Although these have very little effect on fighting, these can make a difference on people's decisions on ships for players that have played over 1,000,000 AP. You will gain a minuscule amount of ATP (Advanced trade points) everyday for each trade class your ship has. These are used to train advanced skills that can help your playing significantly.
 Choosing equipment and ship
Now, if you're a new player, chances are you aren't going to need to plan much about your ship other than slapping a gun, some armor, and a shield on, but for more experienced players looking to fight big beasties, you'll need to carefully choose your ship and layout. This is a ship calculator, which will provide an interactive layout for you to choose your ship, choose equipment, and then generate the damage, price, and free space available. For the sharing of ship designs, click on the export button and copy the text it shows. Then, to see somebody elses, have them give you the text and then click import and copy it in the box. For example;
It makes sharing ship designs easy and efficient. Now, we'll take a look at your options for your different ship parts and show the advantages and disadvantages.
Your ship is a very important part of your fighting experience, but less so if you're new to the game and in a sabre or such. However, check and ask about ships when choosing one for your fighting set up. Consider all of the parts above, and get a good layout for your ship in the ship calculator before getting it. As a rule, high armor, low size, and a lot of guns and missiles mount will classify something as a fighter. Just because a extender has over 8 missiles doesn't make it a good fighter. It's too big, has almost nil armor, and only two guns. On the other hand, there are so called "battleships". These ships are normally high in missile slots, about 4-5 gun mounts, medium armor, large cargo, and large size. These are often used in ambushes and heavy combat such as MO combat or ambushing.
Your armor will take most of the damage in combat. To get the number of HP your armor will have, multiply the armor value of the ship by the strength of your armor. The rule is to get the best armor you can afford, but choosing the kind of armor is trickier. There are four kinds of armors, each with its disadvantages and advantages. Refer to the chart above for statistics.
Conventional armor is cheap armor that's easily and readily available. It's usually used by pilots who aren't spending long in their ship, new pilots who can't get org and EM armor, and people who want cheap protection or don't need it. More experienced pilots won't use this armor with the exception of ebidium, available to the union and for turning into pardus armor.
Organic is weak against EM weapons, but strong against conventional and organic weapons. Since most mid-level skilling/exping creatures are EM, only elite pilots choose this armor to skill on medusas and other strong organic monsters.
EM armor is usually chosen by pilots since most midlevel creatures for skilling have EM weapons. EM armor is weak against organic and pardus, but it's strong against EM and conventional. This is usually the armor of choice for skillers
Pardus armor is quite arguably the best of all of them, but it has it's downsides. All weapons except other pardus weapons have a weakened attack against it which are rarely used, and the weakening is an incredible amount. However, this is an expensive armor. To use it, you must venture into the pardus core and use e-crystals to get it. For each day you want your armor to become pardus armor, you must use
2*armor strength. This can add up to a massive price if you want to use pardus armor permanently, and you'll also need to return to the core every so often to refresh it.
Your guns are incredibly important for fighting unless you plan on getting held up by a space maggot. They'll fire a number of salvos every round and have a chance to hit the opponent. Unlike missiles, armor class will play a role in how much damage you deal. There are four types of guns, similarly to armor.
Conventional guns are usually used by newer pilots to the game who can't afford the better but more expensive counterparts. For these, you have 5 types of choices, two available only to the empire.
Mining lasers are rarely used for fighting with the exception of traders sometimes who keep a laser so they can mine ore. These weapons are weak and heavy as well as only firing one shot per round. Unless you're desperately poor, or want to mine ore, stay away from these weapons.
Impulse lasers are a step up from mining lasers, and are often used by very new pilots. These lasers aren't a poor choice for them, they're cheap, do moderate damage, and don't take up much space. However, if you're able to afford a particle laser or something else over this, take it.
Particle lasers are the pride and joy of all neutral available lasers. They do less damage per salvo than their MW alternatives in the impulse lasers, but fire 2 salvos per round almost doubling the damage. These are the recommended weapons in conventional being the most powerful. In the 4MW and above lasers, they have much lighter LW versions costing more but taking up less space.
Gatlings are imperial exclusive weapons that fire 3 salvos per round. That has made them an often popular choice for skilling. However, they do take up a large amount of space and aren't that strong so they're usually not used if you're trying to fight a strong monster or player.
Plasmas are imperial specific guns available at the very high ranks making very few people able to use it. They only fire one salvo per round but they are very strong even comparing over VLPCs! However, they're being conventional has lead them to be less popular than those as well as being hard to get.
Missiles, for the most part are a no-brainer on choosing them, with the exceptions for imperials, because they have so many different ones. There are different parts to a missile that you will need to understand to use them effectively.
The ART (average reload time) shows how long it will take fore your ship to fire it. If you had a missile with an ART of 4, which is typical, your missile should fire in about 4 rounds, but you'd need 5 to guarantee that it will fire. Note that only one missile will be reloading at a time, so if you had three missiles, you'd need 15 rounds to make sure they all fire, not 5.
The INT (intelligence) of a missile is a factor to make sure that it hits. This part is a specialty of the empire. A missile with two INT has a much lower chance of hitting than a missile with 6.
Although this part is fairly straightforward, it still needs to be explained. Damage itself is straightforward, but you have to calculate it in relation to ART and INT. Just because a king kraak can deal 1500 damage if it hits, doesn't make it a good missile for ambushing or fighting. It has an incredibly high ART, meaning that it'd do less damage per round than say a fleet missile or an MKII.
Now that we understand that, we should take a look at missiles. For neutrals and federals, the most best choice would probably be the NN-500 fleet unless you're planning on fighting a very tough opponent, in which you'd use the NN-550 at twice the price.. For the Union, the best choice would likely be the NN-550 fleet considering you have an ECCM. This will allow you to have incredibly accurate missiles that can match up with the empire's in terms of accuracy. However, there is an amount of debate in the empire, having many unique missiles on which to use. The obvious best are the MKII and MKI, but the price of making and buying it are incredibly high, so the best one all around considering price is considered to be the lord missile.
Shields are fairly simple. They function like a piece of armor, but they don't need to be repaired unless you choose to recharge it at an energy well. It has a set maximum, and it recharges itself every 6 minutes at the AP tick. It will then increase the amount of shield power by its recharge rate × 10.
Pilots outside of the union have a fairly limited shield choice. If you are one of these, you'll want to fit in a shield without compromising your cargo space. On the other hand, the union specializes in shields and has a huge variety. Its shields have a better cargo-to-protection ratio, recharge faster, and can take more damage.
Normally the Q-standard shield is used because it provides decent protection and recharges quickly. If the pilot is in a much bigger ship, such as a scorpion or a liberator, they may opt for some of the bigger shields. Many pilots with these huge shields decide to go with the shield-related advanced skills to reflect the power of the Union's equipment.
 Fighting stats
All of your equipment is worthless if you don't have any fighting skills.
Tactics (TAC) is a skill that will decrease the chance of being hit by an enemy. It also will increase the chance of hitting an enemy's critical system increasing the amount of damage you deal and damaging the equipment you fired at. This skill will increase every time you're hit by a relatively strong NPC opponent.
 Hit accuracy
Your hit accuracy (HA) is how accurate you are in combat and increases the chance of your weapons to hit your opponent. This skill increases every time you hit a relatively strong NPC opponent.
Your maneuver (MAN) decreases the chance of being hit by enemy fire, your ability to retreat from combat, and decreases the chance of taking damage in a wormhole. This skill increases every time you're hit by a relatively strong NPC opponent or when you go through a wormhole.
Weaponry increases the amount of damage your weapons deal and is increased by hitting a relatively strong NPC opponent. It is not considered as a very useful skill.
Engineering affects how much damage you take in combat, your ability to repair damage with robots, and your chance to telerob someone successfully. This skill increases every time you fire at a relatively strong NPC opponent or telerob someone