RANKS: Combat Rank And How To Rank Up Fast - #00061
Popular belief about combat rank paints a picture of a high ranked cmdr being well versed in combat.
This is not the case.
Combat rank does not improve by perfect combat skill, certain manouevres or fighting human enemies.
It increases simply by the total count of NPC destroyed.
Okay, not _that_ simple, as there's an additional factor to add: the destroyed NPC enemy's combat rank.
For an enemy with your combat rank you gain one experience point in combat. If your enemy is one rank higher than yours, you will gain 1.25 experience points, two ranks higher it is 1.5 experience points.
In case your enemy is lower ranked than you are, it's minus 0.25 points for each rank lower. If you're expert ranked, for example, killing a harmless ranked NPC won't bring you any progress in terms of your combat rank.
Elite combat rank is usually reached at ca. 6.000 to 10.000 kills, although one could reach it by killing 2000 deadly and elite NPC.
In terms of invested time, one should try to serial-kill as many high ranked ships as possible in a given time period.
Using smaller ships, the most efficient place is a high intensity resource zone in lawful (best: high security) systems. By following the cops and assisting them in killing wanted ships (make sure you got the last shot, bounty and rank increase for yourself) one can create some income and quite some rank progress.
Medium ships, in terms of offensive firepower, enjoy compromised nav beacons the most. These are basically high intensity resource zones without asteroids and cops. Unfortunately, there is no simply rule to follow or directory to consult in order to find a compromised nav beacon.
Larger ships or wings of combat ships can 'harvest' in hazardous resource zones for maximum rank and throughput.
According to proficient Thargoid hunters, killing a single Thargoid Scout is equivalent of up to 4 elite ranked NPC.
Time needed for a scout kill is about the same as for an elite ranked medium sized ship, so this could be the most efficient way to rank up in combat at this time.
For killing scouts, you equip your ship of any size with up to 4 AX multi cannons. Having 1-2 rails or plasma accelerators with you can be quite helpful, too.
In defense, one either builds a hull tank ship - if you got room for lots of hull protection modules - combined with a bi weave shield. A shield tank with lots of shield cell banks can be an alternative when using a ship type that is exceptionally strong on shields, i.e. a Fer-de-Lance.
Scouts can be found quite easily. Dock at any station that is in 'damage' or 'under repair' status and check the mission board. Scout killing missions point at systems full of these. Go there and search for signal sources with threat 1-4 level.
(Lazy? Not so adventorous? Check Inara's Thargoid War Section for good places to hunt)
There are plenty of videos available describing AX/Thargoid fights. As a starter, consult CMDR Exigeous' Scout intro on youtube.com
Fly safe, CMDR!