Combat is one of the three archetypal pilot roles recognized by the Pilots Federation. Combat encompasses multiple sub-roles, such as Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Mercenary, and Pirate. Increasing Combat rank requires destroying other Ships, and defeating pilots with higher Combat ranks rewards a greater amount of experience. Combat pilots use Hardpoints equipped with weapons to disable a target's shield, and then deal damage to the hull until the target is destroyed. Combat can be experienced alone, in a Wing, or in Multicrew.

Combat Tips Edit

Learning to use thrusters, keeping your throttle in the blue, situational awareness, good pip control and learning to anticipate rather than react to your targets actions are more valuable than Flight Assist off.[1]

Flight Assist Edit

Flight Assist is one tool of many and not the most essential one. It allows you to make sharper turns which you couldn't have done without it, but there are more important things to learn.[1]

While it's a non issue in very fast turning ships, Flight Assist (FA) is essential for more boom and zoom style combat where you need to turn and gain distance at the same time so that your worse pitch rate is less of an issue. Without mastering FA-off, even something small like an Eagle can be a real pain to deal with when flying with a sluggish ship with an all gimballed setup.[1] You can set FA Off on Hold for a handy button on the throttle. It can be used for drift/strafe, boost turns etc.

Pip Management Edit

The most essential one is pip management (systems, engine and weapons power management). Know when you need energy in shields and when you can afford to put it elsewhere. If you have a tool which allows you to assign macros, make some. For example use the two 4-ways on a HOTAS to quickly switch pip settings. However, while macros are helpful, the essential thing is to learn and know, when you can put power to weapons, when you should put them to engines and when you absolutely need them in systems. When fighting several enemies at the same time, permanent 4 pips in systems might be the way to go, but when fighting just one or two enemies, you can noticeably improve your performance by having energy elsewhere.[1]

Thrusters Edit

About as important is to learn to use vertical thrusters. They can make substantial difference when trying to stay out of an enemies frontal view and thus to avoid incoming damage, while still keeping your weapons on target. Connected to that, know how to use the blue zone, when to leave it and when to return to it.[1]

Chaff, Shield Cell Banks, Heatsinks Edit

After that, also know when to use chaff, when to use your shield cell banks, heatsinks etc.[1]

All in all, it's very much a matter of training and experience. You should take a small ship, e.g. any kind of Eagle or Viper or the Imperial Courier and go fighting. Everybody makes mistakes when learning to fight. Mistakes usually are paid for at the rebuy screen. Thus learning in a cheaper ship is advantageous.[1]

As a side-note, people who learned to fight in smaller ships generally are also better pilots when going for bigger ships. People who started learning in big ship often just learned to rely on shields and firepower to overwhelm the enemy. People who learned in small ships usually are better on the defensive side. This is all generally speaking. There are great pilots who started in big ships and people who started in small ships and just never learned.[1]

Ranks and experience Edit

Combat works slightly differently, this is done on the number of kills, but the points you get for each kill are based on the combat rank of the target relative to your combat rank so if you are harmless and kill an Elite ship you will get a large number of points, for example, if you are Deadly and kill a ship below Expert you will not get any.

— Unnamed developer[2]

This table is the current data of what experience points you earn for killing target ships with certain ranks.

See the chart for a visual explanation of how rank progression works:[3]
Target Rank Player Rank
Harmless Mostly Harmless Novice Competent Expert Master Dangerous Deadly
Harmless 1.00 0.75 0.5 0.25 0 0 0 0
Mostly Harmless 1.25 1.00 0.75 0.5 0.25 0 0 0
Novice 1.50 1.25 1.00 0.75 0.5 0.25 0 0
Competent 1.75 1.50 1.25 1.00 0.75 0.5 0.25 0
Expert 2.00 1.75 1.50 1.25 1.00 0.75 0.5 0.25
Master 2.25 2.00 1.75 1.50 1.25 1.00 0.75 0.5
Dangerous 2.50 2.25 2.00 1.75 1.50 1.25 1.00 0.75
Deadly 2.75 2.50 2.25 2.00 1.75 1.50 1.25 1.00
Elite 3 2.75 2.50 2.25 2.00 1.75 1.50 1.25


  • It takes approximately 2225 experience points to go from Deadly to Elite combat ranking. This equals 1780 Elite kills, or approximately 2400 kills based on a more average distribution of ships.[4]
  • If a player has crew members (including AI crew members), combat experience points will be split amongst them. The exact split is unknown, though having one AI crew member roughly halves the experience points gained, doubling the number of kills required in order to rank up.
  • If you want to fight Thargoids, such as Scouts and Interceptors, you'll need an entirely different set of weapons.
  • Thargoid Scouts are Elite rated, so if you're looking to improve your combat ranking or your NPC's combat ranking, scout-hunting is a fast way to do it.

See also Edit

Guides Edit

Videos Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7
  2. Answers from the devs #2
  3. Answers from the Devs #3
  4. Statistics collected by CMDR Remy Monsen
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