Difficulty?? First advice,try to learn the basics with easiest difficulty, and follow shortage rumors to earn some cash, and however i think to choose star trader class,i find it the more equilibrate to beginning...and play play play ^^
"Giorno dopo giorno resto io sopra la vetta Costruita su problemi di una vita non perfetta"
Also, there are a ton of guides for different classes scattered within these forums. I'll rummage around and see if I can't find a few links to help get you started soon.
When you have just started playing the game, here is what I would recommend: Difficulty There's nothing wrong with beginning with Basic or Normal difficulty when you are trying to figure out what is going on. At these difficulty levels, you can't permanently die, and things are just a bit safer for you to experiment on. When you find you are killing anything that moves with blatant ease, then you know you're ready to start a new game but with higher difficulty.
Skills The most important two skills for me as a new player were Pilot and Stealth. I found that if I got both of those up to a reasonable amount, I actually survived encounters long enough to gain a foot-hold in the game.
Pilot allows you to change distances in combat more easily - meaning you can advance (or stop the opposition from retreating) more effectively, or you can retreat if you want to avoid conflict more easily.
Stealth helps you avoid getting hit when enemy ships fire at you. Also, it helps reduce the amount of encounters you have in space.
Factions There are 6 factions here, and each have some very useful planets. It is possible to be diplomatic and become friendly enough with all 6 that you only get attacked by independents. However, encounters = combat = XP, so friendly means you will gain experience at a slower rate.
The best strategy for a new player would be to focus on one or two factions from the Syndicates and one or two factions from the Nobel houses. When I began, I started with Cadar, and buddied with De Valtos and Javat. All the rest of the ships out there were fair game. It gave me a good balance of safe havens and encounters.
Rumors So all of the above stuff will help you survive in the game, but Rumors are the thing that will make you prosper. It's absolutely crucial to keep your ear to the ground - always go to the Spice Halls and Palace and listen to the rumors there. There are two types of rumors - ones that help you with getting ahead in the game at hand, and others that just help you understand the game itself.
Shortage/Surplus rumors are where you will make lots of money. If you hear of a planet that has a shortage of, say, Crystals, flit from planet to planet trying to fill your hold with as many Crystal units as you can before going to that shortage planet. If you are lucky, even with a modest cargo hold (50 - 60 units), you'll make more than $70,000 profit. Do that a handful of times and you'll find money is quickly a non-issue. You'll be able to spend cash on upgrades, and on new ships for that matter.
Warning about shortages though - if Cadar and Thulun are trade embargoed, and you sell 100 Crystals to Cadar in a shortage, your reputation Thulun will plummet significantly more than in a non-shortage situation. Since I personally despise Thulun, that's never a problem
Officers These people will help make your trip through the quadrant a bit more enjoyable. These people charge an up-front fee based on how much cash you have, so it pays to fill up your hold and do repairs before you sign up a new officer.
For the new player, focus on getting 1) Political Officer. This officer will tell you about embargoes when you land on worlds. It will certainly help you avoid accidentally selling stuff when it may result in pushing a friendly faction into negatives.
2) Mechanical Officer. This officer will help repair your ship during travel. Her job is made easier if you are carrying Crystals and Metal in your hold during your trips though.
Other stuff It's okay to be a bully in this game - if you are level 20 and you come across a level 2 merchant, the unwritten rule is to turn off your ship-to-ship communication before you laugh maniacally.
Always watch your water-fuel level and know how much fuel you use up traveling both green and red sectors. The last thing you want to do is get caught without water-fuel in deep space.
Good luck ... hopefully all of the above helps out.
When I first started, I chose normal difficulty I died about 10 times before I realized I can't die on normal. So start on Basic or normal to get familiar with the quadrant. If you have Elite then it's even more sectors.
The ST-RPG is like a sandbox mode where missions are just around the corner and it's easier to manage your fuel. And if you really like this game, upgrade to elite for more fun! (plug)
I started as a Star Trader so your progress would be well rounded and it's easier to manage your reputation on each faction.
Probably the easiest job is a Pirate, just concentrate on Pilot, tactics and stealth and shoot and loot everybody who has a different flag than yours. (in my opinion)
I've been playing a week or so now and gone through a few characters. My first character on normal reached level 22 before I tried to chase aliens and died. Then I switched to Crazy and found getting going there much more difficult. Figured out how to build characters and now 3 out of 4 times I can reach rank 5 within the first couple years but I'm now having a problem I just can't figure out.
I am in a situation where I am sure there are better ships out there- I just can't figure out where to get them. I've been starting as smuggler or spy and modifying the smuggler ship to the max but so far on every single battle against a captain anywhere near my level my character dies around move 4 to ramming attacks which do 60-70 damage. Last battle was particularly annoying. I had my captain full HP, full crew with mercenary marines, and extra torpedoes. However when I approached to board the enemy ship rammed me for 74 damage. Instant death. I had over half a million credits as well which I could not find anything to spend it on.
I am sure I am missing something. All the ships I come across in battle are only slightly better in hull and armor while being much, much better in guns. First few games on crazy I upped the strength of my captain early and capture pirate blades but since then I've never seen a better ship than that. Since 74 damage will instantly kill any ship I've seen- is that just part of the game and meant to keep people from boarding as there is always a chance of instant death? Or are there much better ships out there somewhere at a certain faction rank? I tend to ignore factions and so far the best ranking I've had is somewhere in the 50s while my negative ranks are usually closer to 1,000.
Okay there's a couple of things you can look to do. A fantastic ship for a first purchase is the Javat Cutter. It's available so long as you have at least one military rank in Javat clan.
The price is in the $100k - $150k price range, and is efficient, fast and relatively large for a 2nd ship.
The next thing you should consider is working towards the Clan Hero award (151 Rep in all 3 clans on Crazy level or higher). This will unlock the brilliant Honor of Thulun, which will keep you alive just because it's quick, agile, and well armed/armored.
In saying all of this, make sure that you are chucking XP points into Pilot (and depending on strategy, Stealth). Having your pilot skill level higher than your level will always keep you in a good place.