1) Think Ahead.
For captains thinking ahead means crewing as an engineer or gunner with an experienced captain, piloting is complex and watching the mistakes and triumphs of others is the best way to learn.
You should have something to repair guns - a pipewrench is half spanner and half mallet, which makes it a good choice for a role with only one engineer slot.
As for ammo you have 3 slots. You should think about taking heatsink ammo in case you end up facing off with a team of happy flamers (Pro-tip: click on the ship names in the lobby to see what loadouts they have). Don't keep heatsink in the gun "just incase", as it can be taking the place of ammo which boosts capabilities of the gun, switch it in if you think there is a chance of being flamed.
Ammo is a complex subject - check out the in-game manual for more about this, basically some ammos will boost a guns capabilities, if you're unsure which to use ask on crew chat (X for voice, J for text)
Experienced captains will ask you to bring specific ammunitions, which might not include ammo you normally use, trust in their judgement.
Also bring a spy glass for marking (called "spotting" in-game) enemy ships - left click to look through the glass, right click to spot ships. Spoted ships will ahve a white box around them making them visible even if they hide behind something or in clouds, they will also show up on the map (press M to view).
You should have a spanner, mallet, fire extinguisher OR
chemical spray and spy glass.
For more information on using the mallet and spanner see the section called "Rebuild or Repair?
For more information on what the differences between the Chemical Spray and the Fire Extinguisher and their use, see the section called "Dealng With Fires
Use the spy glass to spot enemies when you have a free moment - left click to look through the glass, right click to spot (have them appear on the game map, make them visible in clouds and behind objects) ships
If you're the only engineer on a ship never, never, never
crew a ship with a buff hammer in your loadout unless you're asked to
, it will be taking up the place of a tool that could mean the difference between life and death - and tempers do get frayed about things like that in the heat of battle.
If the captain of the ship doesn't assign you a role and/or station on the ship, assign yourself one but make sure you tell the others in the crew - press X to voice chat or J to text chat.
For gunners it's fairly apparent where they should be but for engineers the layout of some ships mean it's safer to divide the work between 2 engineers - one engineer looking after the hull and balloon say, and another engineer on the remaining components.
Once you have your specialisation stick to it - the biggest error new players make is to drop everything and run to the hull when it's damaged. A 4-way pinata party doesn't accomplish faster repairs, each component has a cool down period so no matter how many players are whaling on the same component only 1 of them is actually doing any repairing and a ship with no guns or engines is dead.
If the hull goes down you die
If the balloon pops you go down and the impact + rolling around on the ground will damage the hull until you die.
Between the 2, if you need to choose, only the hull need be kept at 100%.The balloon will work until it pops even if it's close to redlining.
(See the section called "Repair or Rebuild?
" for specifics on dealing with the hull.)In combat
keeping engines at 100% is great unless it adversely affects the hull/balloon, engines like the balloon, will work until they turn red.
If the engines break the number and position of engines down will affect the ship's forward/backward movement and the ability to turn, but burning engines only need to be extinguished to stop the damage, worth bearing in mind if you're in a firefight and the hull is under threat. Don't be afraid to ask for help
with repairs.Out of combat
get into the habit of watching for damage icons and fixing them while they are yellow or orange - tap once with the mallet and move on to the next component, rinse and repeat.
Depending on the weapons you are using you should be trying to destroy either weapons or engines or hulls or armour or balloons - ask your captain which to target if you're unsure. Firing at the wrong parts lessens the damage you can deal to a ship.