COMBAT: HowTo For Beginners - HowTo Win A Fight - Beginners - #00032

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If you don't see Sun Tzu's wisdom in future space combat, it could help to think about one thing: In space, the one winning the fight is the one demobilizing or destroying the opponent's ship. This can only be achieved with more stamina than your opponent, be it by dodging incoming fire, by enduring incoming fire or by providing more damage to your enemy's vessel.

Elite Dangerous' damage model is based on 4 general pathways and one neat bonus path:

The 'bonus' pathway is module damage. With a few exceptions which are far from scope of this beginners HowTo, modules are basically damaged whenever any kind of weapons hits your ship's hull at a locaiton of a certain module.

It is advisable to include module damage in your plans to hurt your enemy, we'll talk about this later, though.

Weapons are, as you just read, either of thermal, kinetic or explosive damage 'quality', with one exception: Plasma Accelerators. These convert ca. 60-80% (researchers are still fighting about the precise share) of their damage capability into RAW damage. This doesn't seem to be of much relevance, but ... read on.

Defense is important in Elite Dangerous, as you will rarely fight in situation in which you can dodge enough incoming fire for not having to think about how to survive its effects.

Your beginner level ships' (without Horizon's multitude of options in giving you more protection) shield generators come in sizes and qualities as all regular modules do.

With shield generators for combat, go with the 'A' rule: Biggest size. A quality. This will need a lot of money and a lot of power from your power generation, but hey... you're going into combat, aren't you?

Some ship builds can profit from a special kind of shield generator, the so called 'bi-weave' generators. These are at 'D' module level in protection (much weaker than 'A' rated), but they heal themselves a lot faster.

Bi-Weave shields are not good for people who tend to die. They're not good for ships with weak defense. They're... something for people who know they survive a lot and wish to destroy as many enemy ships as possible: their big advantage is the option of healing one's shields without using shield cell banks (more about these in am minute) or by waiting what seems like forever.

... read more on page 2