The ship weapons of Star Citizen are important tools for every player regardless of their game-play preferences. Essential for not only achieving the status of an ace combat pilot in the verse but also for protecting and defending themselves, as well as their passengers or cargo, from an attack of any kind.
To better understand the weapons of Star Citizen, how we can use them effectively and which fit our play-style the most, we have to understand their different types/categories first.
The major distinction between ship weapons in Star Citizen 3.0 has to do with their type or more specifically damage type. At the moment there are three types of weapons in game based on that distinction, Energy, Ballistic and Distortion.
Energy weapons are basically laser weapons that do not require ammo to be used.
Ballistic weapons fire physical projectiles that can penetrate the shield of your target.
Distortion weapons try to drain the power supply of your target in order to disable him without damaging his vessel.
Each one of these weapons have their own advantages and disadvantages. Energy weapons can be fired almost indefinitely, since they don’t require ammo but in order to deal damage to your target you have to bring their shields down first. Ballistic weapons, thanks to their shield penetration, can deal some damage to the hull of the enemy while taking down his shields at the same time but will require ammo to fire them. This will have as a result the increase of your operational cost and could lead to a situation where you might run out of ammo in the middle of a fight. Distortion weapons on the other hand deal no damage at all, so you basically sacrifice hard-points for the ability to disable a target.
In general the plan is to have energy based weapons being more efficient against shields and ballistic based weapons more efficient against the hull/armour of your target, promoting like this mixed load-outs, combinations of energy and ballistic weapons. At the moment, in Star Citizen 3.0 both types of weapons are still quite efficient on their own, so pure ballistic or energy load-outs are still viable in game.
Based on the behaviour of specific weapons we could further separate them in more categories like rail-guns, shotgun-like weapons, laser repeaters or gatling guns and cannons.
The second most important distinction between weapons has to do with their size. The ships of Star Citizen come with a specific number of hard-points, hard-points of different size that can bear a weapon of similar size or smaller. Right now there are five sizes of weapons we can purchase ( rent ) and equip our vessels with. The bigger the weapon, the stronger but also more expensive it is.
For example, if our ship has a size three hard-point, we can equip there a size 3 weapon that will be working as fixed. We can also equip a one size smaller weapon at the same hard-point that will be working as gimbal, if we first equip a gimbal mount, a size three gimbal mount in this case. Like this we can create a full fixed or gimbal load-out or even a combination of both. Their main difference is the damage they can dish out. Fixed load-outs can bear the bigger and stronger in-slot weapons but gimbal load-outs can be more flexible and easier to score hits with, especially if you are a mouse user.
Another difference between weapons in Star Citizen 3.0, that to be honest surprised me, has to do with the power required to equip and run them. This power is determined at the moment by the size of the weapons and not their type. So all weapons of size three, regardless of their type, will require 150 power, size two will require 100 power and size one 75 power. This is something that will probably and hopefully change in the future, making the selection of weapons a lot more interesting and meaningful.
Every weapon has its own unique stats that help us create an efficient load-out but unfortunately these stats are hidden from us in game at the moment. Thankfully we can find them in lists and spreadsheets made by helpful players, like in the case of the Star Citizen Database. Some important stats to take into consideration when creating a load-out include the rate of fire, damage and projectile velocity. Knowing these stats is important to pick our weapons of choice and group them together for the best result.
How to Equip/Change Weapons
Thanks to the new interaction system, that made its debut with the latest update, 3.0, we can group the weapons easily from our cockpit seat, using one of the displays in front of us. Equally important is the knowledge of how we can equip these weapons on our ships. There are three methods with the first and easiest one being through the customisation page in Arena Commander. This is the best way to create a load-out for your adventures in Arena Commander but unfortunately not all changes will appear in the Persistent Universe. When in Crusader we can use the Vehicle Load-out Manager instead, in our mobiglass, to equip the weapons we want. Due to some issues, sometimes is hard to equip your weapons of choice by only using the Vehicle Load-out Manager, so a combination of this application and equipping manually the weapons on the landing pad, after spawning your ship, will create your favourite load-out. Alternatively you can equip the weapons in your hangar but this is my least favourite method, since it is not working all of the time and can be quite confusing.
With each one of these methods you can also change the missile racks, missiles or components on your ships. Components are especially important in 3.0 and beyond since they can provide the required power to bear stronger weapons or even protect you better from weapon damage in the case of shields.
Overall the ship weapons of Star Citizen are an integral part of the game that will continue expanding and improving, creating more options for fun and emergent game-play.
Credit to SquidofLove - https://squidoflove.com/star-citizen-weapons-guide/