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Quickstart Guide For New Players Crewing v2.0
By Calico-Jack
Essential tips to make you a valuable crew member.
About this guide
This is not intended to be a in depth guide on how to be a gunner, engineer or captain. Rather it's intended to give essential tips to get you into the game and being as effective as possible.
3 Steps to being a valued crewmate.
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.

For gunners:

the Pipewrench

Heatsink ammo

the spy-glass

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 have 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).

For engineers:

the spanner

the mallet

the fire extinguisher

the chemical spray

the spy-glass

No. Just no.

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.

2) Specialise.

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.

3) Prioritise.

For engineers:
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.

For gunners:

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.
General gameplay tips (updated for V2.0)
  • This is a multiplayer game unlike any other. The success of the ship depends on each crew member and thier abilities. It's also supposed to be fun.

  • If you only want to play gunner or engineer or pilot, yet you're being asked to change to another role, leave the ship (while it's in the lobby). Pretending to be deaf or unable to read chat and waiting till people stop asking you is just going to severly irk everyone on the ship, these are not cruise liners, there are no passenger berths.

  • Following on from the tip above don't quickjoin a match as a pilot or gunner, only engineer, and make sure you're carrying a useful tool loadout. There's nothing worse than losing an AI engineer to get a live pilot or gunner who don't have enough repair tools or an engineer that can only buff and not put out fires.

  • Communicate X for voice chat or use the comm rose (check you have a key set for it iunfer options. Failing that J to text though battles are quite fraught at times and may get missed. There can never be too many comms - components breaking/on fire, enemy positions, ship angles blocking guns, wreckage looming out of the mist. Good comms help raise everyone's tacitcal awareness and keep the ship alive longer. Don't assume everyone has seen that enemy ship at your rear.

  • In the same vein - get a mic - typed chat may get ignored accidentaly during a battlle. Also bear in mind that while it's good to chat with your crewmates - voice comms are there primarily to co-ordinate the crew.

  • Learn to listen to other players. This means both players making suggestions for how you can better your game, or ways to approach something differently, and other crews in the lobby discussiing role load-outs, ammo load outs and/or tactics.

The Rangefinder - new for V.20

I'm adding rangefinder info here rather than with the role loadout info for reasons I explain below.

If you're new to gunning the range finder can be useful for figuring out things like where your weapons will start to become effective for mid to short ranges and where to point your gun to get hits over longer (1,000+ ) distances. Its read out is however approximate, so don't expect your shots to become homing missiles.

There are 2 ways to use it - first, as a gunner it equip it and put the centre dot on an enemy ship, it will give you an indication of the distance. If you hop directly onto the gun and sight the same ship, a ring will appear around the HUD crosshair showiing you how much to lead (aim ahead of the direction of movement) your target. It only stays visible for a couple of seconds so try and get the most out of it.

target through the Rangefinder tool
The second way to use it is if another crew-member equips the tool while the gunner is looking down the gunsights. The same ring will show up around the gun sight for as long as the player eqipped with the ragefinder electronically tags the target.

Should I take this tool?

Clearly it is intended to replace the spyglass, meaning captains shouldn't consider bringing this as it will reduce their pilot tool slots by 1 (and you barely have enough even without it). As other crew, you need to weigh up the importance of being able to spot targets, over the aiming suggestions the tool gives. My personal opinion is once you start to "feel" gunnery distances you'll probably find you regret not taking the spyglass for its ability to make ships visible behind cover.

(click to see lead tracking in action)
Repair or rebuild? (V 2.0)
For most components when to repair or rebuild is pretty clear, their icons are either white, yellow or red. You only have to worry about yellow or red icons - yellow means it needs a repair (mallet), red needs a rebuild (spanner).

the mallet for yellow icons

the spanner for red icons

While the damage indicator is like the other ship components, the hull is the thing keeping all of the crew alive. Your ship is constructed of 2 layers - armour and hull. As the ship starts taking structural damage the armour will be the first casualty - however fear not, the damage is temporary and can be repaired and as long as you keep the armour up the hull won't take damage. Once the hull has taken damage however the damage will be permanent. Knowing which tools to use suddenly becomes literal life or death.

Below is a series of pictures showing a ship becoming progressively more damaged (with the ship hull health, which is usually at the lower right of your hud in overlay - mouse over the images to see which tool you should use :

Use the mallet.

Use the mallet.

Use the mallet.

Stop! It's spanner time!

If you aren't able to repair the armour before taking any more damage, the hull will be your (and the crew's) last lifeline.

Baby don't leave me. please!

To see what happens to the structure of a ship taking direct damage to the hull see the section Ship Damage States.
Dealing with Fires
The new update means it is now crucial which equipment you use - the choice being fire extinguisjer or chemical spray.

Fire extinguisher pros:

It will instantly put out any fires

Fire Extingusher cons:

It will be queued in the repair cooldowns - in other words when you have a fire you are faced with a choice - repair the component and wait for the tool cooldown to run out befire putting out the fire OR use the extinguisher to put out the fire and wait for the extinguisher cooldown to expire before repairing the component.

Chemical Spray pros:
It will put out fires and apply a fire resitant coating to components

Chemical Spray cons:

It can't deal with heavy fires - anything more than 1 or 2 stacks (the number shown when a component is burning) will render it ineffective.

When to use either

Click on ship names in the lobby and look at the ship loads outs if you don't see flamethrowers or flare guns, then hedge against incendiary ammo and bring chemical spray, otherwise bring a fire extinguisher
Ship Damage states (new in V 2.0)
Each ship in the game will change its shape according to its hull health. Knowing what to look for can be quite useful in-game, especially if you want to master ramming.

In this section I'll be adding animations showing different ship types taking damage directly to the hull (click to enlarge).

The Pyramidion

What to look for: the beak deforms heavily.


The Goldfish

What to look for: The middle ventral fin, the two lower fins


The Junker

What to look for: the metalwork at the front and rear of the balloon


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Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 26 @ 5:10pm 
updated the cover image
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 26 @ 4:19pm 
added Junker damage states animation
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 25 @ 8:23pm 
addedGoldfish damage states animation
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 25 @ 8:41am 
added an image showing the otput seen in the rangefinder
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 25 @ 8:16am 
added an animation showing the rangefinder HUD in the gunsight
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 25 @ 6:15am 
added info about rangefinder tool usage
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 25 @ 6:13am 
Added a new section on ship damage staes - more ships to be added.
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 24 @ 6:43am 
added Rangefinder hud icon
Calico-Jack  [author] Sep 24 @ 6:30am 
Updated the "Rebuild or Repair" section to mirror the current in-game damage indiator. The other sections will be upgraded as needed, with update info posted here.
Calico-Jack  [author] Nov 9, 2013 @ 12:17pm 
Hi Bones

an update is in the works which will alos be incorporating gunnery info for the inital ships available for new players.

As to the issue of crewing - in the bi-weekly training sessions I run I cover how ship layout dictates crew priorities and in some cases roles. This guide is intended as a supplement to those sessions not a replacement. - I'll post a link to the perna post and Training group on steam for anyone interested.