Uncle Blix's Upgrade Guide

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The following is an article printed in SPACE, covering the range of equipment available to civilian commanders to upgrade their vessels. Not only does it provide a basic overview of the technology, it also gives a general guide to what is appropriate for many professions that a commander can undertake. Since the focus of this article is on upgrading the Cobra Mk III we have reprinted the article in its entirety with the publishers permission.

Uncle Blix’s Guide To Upgrading Your Ship. SPACE – Interstellar Edition, Iss. 4 Vol. 143, MirrOor Publishing, 2083500, sec. Talking To The Experts.

One of the most common types of letters we get here at SPACE can be paraphrased like this: ‘I’ve just graduated from a Galactic Cooperative of Worlds Flight Academy and have found my Cobra Mk III very under-equipped. What should I install to improve my chances for fame and profit?’ We thought the best being to answer the question is Blix neClee. For those who don’t know of him, Blix is the founder, owner and spokesbeing for Uncle Blix’s Star Yards, the largest independent network of shipyards in Galactic Chart 5. A popular quote about him is that, ‘What Uncle Blix don’t know ’bout starship upgrades would fit in a photon.’ So without further ado, here’s Uncle Blix.

Note: links to equipment at the bottom of this page

Uncle Blix’s Upgrade Guide

I feel right honoured in being asked to write this ’ere article, so don’t get me wrong ’bout what I’m gonna say next, ’cause I believe in giving great customer service. It’s just that I’m getting too long in the mandibles to ’ave another Jameson coming up to me an’ asking what they should fit. It’s bad enough that they get issued a ship that as soft a new hatched grub. They don’t even get trained on what they should ’ave to survive the big black, let ’lone make some creds. I swear the GalCop flight ccademies must give out commander licences to every grub for just turning up, ’cause they sure as goo don’t know their aft plates from their ’positor when they come to me. So this is the skinny on the stuff ya need to know to live long enough to make name for yaself an’ the creds to enjoy it.

Now ’bout every thing that can fitted to a Coby 3, or any ship for that matter, falls into a few basic groups. Things that go zap, thing that go boom, things to help ya kill, things stopping ya being killed, an’ things to earn ya the creds to pay for it. In official-like words: direct fire weapons, munitions, general combat upgrades, defensive/survival systems an’ devices for commercial purposes.

A couple of things to ’member when I talk about the kit. Firstly when I talk ’bout a piece of kit, it’s a class, it ain’t brand or model. The Fuel Scoop fitted to an Adder is real different to the one fitted to a Boa. What GalCop does is make sure that wherever ya go, an’ whatever ya fit it to, it costs an’ works the same. Another thing is, that while everything I talk about can be fitted to a Cobra Mk 3, other ship don’t ’ave the same range of kit. If ya got any brains, ya’ll think long an’ ’ard ’bout what ya do ’fore ya do a trade in. Finally, once it’s fitted to ya ship ya can’t change ya mind, all sales are final ya know.

Uncle Blix’s Upgrading Cheat Sheet.png

Things That Go Zap!

When a Jameson get issued their Coby, it’s fitted with a Pulse Laser as the main weapon. Don’t get me wrong, I clocked up a lot of kills with one in me younger days; but if ya want’a travel anywhere more dangerous than a democracy, ya need a better stinger. The Beam Laser hits harder than a Pulse an’ fires continuously, the downer is that it needs more juice to fire an’ overheats faster too. If ya serious about upping ya combat ranking, then ya better buy a Military Laser. It’s the most deadly civ’y kit out there, but it cooks itself pretty fast an’ sucks more power than a starving grub.

Ya reading this with an odd look, ain’t ya. Why am I talking about ’bout laser heat an’ power consumption? ‘Cause every time a laz fires it heats up. If it gets too hot, it shuts down to prevent burnout an’ stays like that till it cools off. If ya in middle of a laz‑fest an’ suddenly got no guns, well then ya’re deader than a roasted leaf hopper. Every time ya fire a laz, ya drain some power from the energy banks. Drain too much energy from ya banks an’ they’ll go boom, taking ya with them. Oh an’ ’fore ya say it, NO ya can’t get cooling systems for ya lasers! They are exposed to deep space, ya nong, so they are ’bout as cold as they are ever gonna get.

Don’t forget that the Coby got four mounts for lasers, one for each main view. When ya upgrade one laser, use the refund to buy one in another direction. I’ve racked up a few kills in days when me shell was all shiny, some wasp of a pirate tails me for a easy kill an’ I frag them with me rear mounted Beam Laser.

Things That Go Boom!

In other words, those things mounted in the belly of ya ship with the warning - high explosive labels. In me younger days, all ya could get was the standard Missile, but these days ya get a much better choice. GalCop is great an’ all but it’s so cheap that when a Jameson graduates Lave, they get given a Coby that got four pylons but only three standard Missiles. Don’t get me wrong, being self-guiding an’ flying at 0.75 Light Mach, it’s still a pretty potent weapon; it’s just that ya gotta know when to use it. With most ships carrying ECM Systems these days, including yer own ya if got any brains, the standard can get taken out long ’fore it reaches detonation range. Use them at close range, so the wasps don’t get a chance to react or to at least make them ECM their own missiles when taking out ya’s.


A better choice is the ECM Hardened Missile, even if cost nearly twelve times the price. The ECM Hardened Missiles are designed to be resistant to ECM attacks. Ya noticed how I said resistant, ’cause there’s always a small chance that a ECM ion pulse will con the missile into ’ploding early. A small chance is better than none in me book. Other than being smarter, a ECM Hardened Missile looks an’ works just the same as a standard one, so learn how to use the standards ’fore spending ya creds on the hardened.

Sometimes a commander gots more wasps on their abdomen than they got’s missiles an’ laz’s to kill’em with; that’s where the Energy Bomb comes in. When fired, it blast a shockwave of sub-atomic energy that rips the molecules apart of all matter in scanner range. When we install one, we tune it so that ya ship ain’t effected by the blast, otherwise ya end up sucking vacuum when ya use it. When I was bright an’ shiny, it was the ultimate in kill-ware. These days, a ship with decent shields will survive a blast but they be hurting bad, so it’s still worth the credits.

If ya want the state of the art in mass destruction, then look no further than the Tyley‑Feynman Quirium Cascade Mine (though most folks call it the Q‑Bomb.) It’s mounted on a missile pylon an’ launches like one. When it reaches it’s target, it blows a hole in space that looks like a big blue ball on ya scanner. Any anything with a Torus or Hyperdrive inside that hole gets to be dust, an’ makes more Q‑Bomb blasts too. Those balls will just breed like aphids while there are ships in the blast range. That yaself if ya’re too close; if ya wants a long life, hits witchspace or the Fuel Injectors as soon as ya fire one off.

Things To Help Ya Kill!

While these upgrades aren’t weapons in their own right, they do help ya improve ya killing skills.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been in a bar and heard some Jameson complaining ’bout suddenly ’coming a offender in middle of a laz‑fest. It’s ’cause ya shot up an innocent ship ya nong. Stop that happen’ by installing a Scanner Targeting Enhancement. When ya target something, not only will you get a nice little direction arrow pointing to the target spinning around ya cross‑hairs, but when it’s on screen its class, distance from ya an’ the all-important legal status is displayed in a target box.

Buying a Multi-Targeting System allows ya to choose which missile ya want to shoot at what target. Real important when you are carrying those expensive Q‑Bombs an’ ECM Hardened Missiles. It also keeps the missile’s target‑lock active even when ya’ ain’t using it, handy when ya want to keep the Hardened targeted on the big wasps while ya concentrate on squishing the weeny weevils.

The manufacturers reckon that ‘due to the complexity of mapping mobile objects in 3D space, it is only feasible for a ship’s combat computer to maintain a target lock on one object at any time.’ If that’s the case, why do they sell the Target System Memory Expansion which lets ya track up to sixteen targets at a time? It’s so much grub goo in me book, but they make it, I sell it and ya need if ya want to be an elite.

While the Coby’ pretty fast for its size, there are a lot of ships which a faster. In a middle of a laz‑fest speed is just as important as shield strength. With a Witchdrive Fuel Injector installed, ya can dump some of yer hyperdrive’s quirium fuel directly into the thrusters for a massive speed boost. Be careful with it though, or ya won’t ’ave enough fuel to make a hyperspace jump. Here’s a clue for free. A busy commander can’t waste time heading back to the station to refuel after a fight, they sun skim the fuel ’stead, that’s where a Fuel Scoop comes in handy.

Things Stopping Ya Being Killed!

The Extra Energy Unit is more than that large copper coloured central control an’ distribution module that everyone talks ’bout. To install one, we ’ave to upgrade the ship’s energy collection, storage an’ distribution systems too. What ya get out of it? A doubling the ships’ energy banks recharging rate, that what. The more juice ya ’ave, the more ya can shoot an’ the longer ya live.

GalTech escape pod E1 01.PNG

Since the ship’s shields is its first line of defence, a Shield Booster is an important upgrade for ya combatants out there. We add additional emitters an’ feedback compensator’s are installed an’ upgrade the energy recyclers. What ya get is double the shields for the same energy costs. Of ’cause the Galactic Navy ships ’ave a Military Shield Enhancement, which is even better. Don’t worry, I can sell ya one of those too, after ya bought the Shield Booster for it to plug into.

The Electronic Counter Measures Systems (ECM Systems) ionises the particles in space around the ship to fool the missiles into detonating. All missiles within scanner range are blitzed by the ECM, including ya own. If a ECM Hardened Missile been launched ya can still take it out with the ECM, it will just take a few goes. Don’t go firing it off on every antennae twitch nether, sucking vacuum ’cause you ECM’ed ya energy banks to nothing is a dumb way to die.

When there’s nothing left to fight with, ya can always bail using an Escape Capsule. Sure you lose ya cargo an’ passengers an’ some reputation as a carrier when ya ship goes bang; ya’ll, on the claw, wake up in the system’s GCW station with a replacement ship an’ whatever creds ya got in the bank to start again. Speaking of capsules, use yer Fuel Scoop to capture any ya see an’ deliver it to the GCW station for a nice reward.

Things To Earn Ya The creds!

If ya want all the cool stuff, ya gotta ’ave to buy it ’cause I ain’t running no charity. The rest of the equipment I’m gonna talk ‘bout is stuff to help ya earn the credits.

Every ship needs Quirium Fuel to power their hyperdrive or else it a centuries long trip to the next system over. ’Cause of tech’ limitations, the furtherest that any ship can jump is 7 light years. (Believe me, if there was a drive that could jump more than seven year, don’t ya think I’d be selling it!) All I know is that when I, or anyone else, sells Fuel we ’ave to completely fill yer tank at a cost of 2 creds per light year or part thereof to a max’ of 14 credits worth. Once you ’ave a Fuel Scoop, you can pretty much forget ’aving to buy Fuel ever again.

Now a friend of mine in the GalCop Ship Procurement Division, says that they has proof that when the Cobra Mk III was originally designed, it was meant to ’ave a 35 ton cargo bay. When Faulcon deLacy won the contract to supply ships to the GCW Flight Academys, to make the low bid price they had to do stuff like leave out the fittings for 3 of the 7 cargo compartments an’ just welded a panel over to hide the gap. All I know is that it will cost ya four hundred credits to buy the Large Cargo Bay, just so ya get those three compartments back. Expand ya cargo bay even if ya just want to be a bounty hunter, so ya can earn extra money for every escape or cargo pod ya pickup.

What can I say, fit a Fuel Scoop an’ ya will never ’ave to buy witchspace fuel ever again. Head out to the local sun, dive in to its’ corona an’ refuel yer tanks. It’s as simple as that. What’s really useful ’bout them is that ya can scoop other stuff too, like cargo canisters, escape pods, asteroid splinters an’ stuff like that. It ain’t too surprising that most pirate ships are fitted with one. If ya gonna be ‘sun skimming’ for fuel a lot, it’s a smart idea to fit External Heat Shielding too. Those fibrous ceramic insulation plates will stop heat from the sun, or laz hits, being transferred to the ship’s organic components, being ya’self, crew an’ passengers. I’ve got a few ships in me lot where their former pilots popped like fried sap weevils when sun skimming, so this stuff is a good idea.

There’s a lot more than just the GCW stations out there an’ the Advanced Space Compass will help ya find it. It upgrades ya standard compass so that it can track navi’ beacons, station an’ other stuff ya can dock with. It will guide ya to the local sun, for the Jameson who can’t see the big bright ball in the black of space. It will also point to the current combat target if ya ain’t got a Scanner Targeting Enhancement installed.

If ya want a living hauling other people’s stuff, or the people themselves, between the stars, then ya gonna need an Advanced Navigational Array. What it does is to map the available hyperspace links between systems on ya Galactic Chart. More importantly if ya want to take on a Carrier Contract, it will display the quickest and cheapest route between ya an’ the destination.

Sometimes people need to get to places that the star liners aren’t able or willing to go. Those people are willing to pay big creds to anyone to get’em there. With a Passenger Berth ya can make money out of the carrier market. For five tons of cargo space ya can carry one being in self-contain luxury. Changing ya mind ’bout it ain’t no prob’ too, ya can get them to Remove Passenger Berth for just a small fee an’ ya get the bay back.

Docking Computers, everyone whines ’bout the Docking Computers. They say that by the time ya can afford to buy one, ya should be skilled enough to dock without it. Now that they’re bringing in rules that ya ’ave to request an’ use docking windows or get fined, ’aving the Docking Computer automate all that for ya is worth the creds. Ya even catch some high-cram sleep if ya use the quick dock mode. It’s useful for docking with other things like hermitages an’ capital class ships too.

Don’t get me wrong ’cause the customer is always right, but if I see one more Jameson fitting a Mining Laser to their fore mount I’ll bite their legs off. Mining Lasers ain’t a weapon, it’s a tool ya nong. It’s made for breaking up asteroids so ya collect splinters to sell on the Commodities Market. They are next to useless on the alloys of a ship hull. Stick it on a rear or side mount an’ keep a real gun at the front.

Ya see, the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds is one power block but it’s spread over eight separate blocks [Charts] of space. Those blocks are pretty far apart so ya need the Galactic Hyperdrive to travel between them. This one shot supercharger kicks ya in to the next chart in the sequence, 1-to-2, 2-to-3 an’ so on to 8-to-1 to start all over again. Don’t ask me why it works that way, I just sell the things.

Sometimes ya got the wrong munition load or you need some ready creds. If ya Unmount and sell all pylon mounted weapons, ya can do just that. ’Course I’ve got to charge ya twenty credits to do that, but I’ve got labour an’ expenses to cover.

Last but not least, if ya are using ya ship at all, ya gonna ’ave wear-n-tear on it. Dock in GCW stations, or licensed shipyards like yar’s truly, in orbit of tech level seven or better worlds. These yards ’ave an auto-system that scans ya ship to warns ya if ya need a Maintenance Overhaul. Of course ya can ignore it an’ keep on flying, but the longer ya leave it the more likely yer gonna have breakdown. I can tell ya in all honesty that it will cost ya a lot more if ya got to replace or repair something than paying for the maintenance. Another thing I’ll tell ya for free, I’ll pay a lot more for a ship that’s been well maintained. If want a better trade-in price when ya upgrade, do the maintenance.

So What Do Ya Buy?

Well no matter what you want to do with ya career, ya gonna be sitting in a Coby 3 at the start of it. I reckon need to get at least these thing to start with.

Get the Large Cargo Bay first, so ya can increase yer earning hauling or picking up stuff. Since ya gonna be a Harmless at combat for a long time, always keep a couple of Missiles handy to cover ya abdomen when ya gotta run. Save up an’ buy a Fuel Scoop next so that ya can cut down yer fuel expense, an’ pick up any free-space booty that passes ya way. Adding an ECM System will give ya protection against missiles. Finally buy a Beam Laser for ya fore mount, an’ use the refund from yer fore Pulse Laser to mount a Pulse Laser on yer aft for extra protection. Now ya ready to travel somewhere a bit more dangerous than a Democracy system. If ya got a bit of spare creds, fit the Witchdrive Fuel Injector ’fore ya head out beyond the safe systems.

Now some folks reckon that an Injector should be the first thing to fit, even ’fore Large Cargo bay. Their logic being that ya can avoid trouble by running away. Sure, an’ if ya believe that I’ve got some nice beach-front property on Atmaa that ya might like to buy. In the systems where ya need an injector, ya gonna meet wasps who ’ave ’em too an’ way more fuel than ya. So ya’ll be out flown an’ still be out gunned, so ya still end up dead. If ya want to go that way, I ain't gonna stop ya; better I get ya credits than some pirate.

If ya want to specialise in a career then here’s what I think ya should ’ave fitted, after ya got the basic set-up. Really ya want everything fitted, but what I’ll recommend are things that ya should look at get fitted first.

Breaking Rocks For A Living

For some folks being a belter [asteroid miner] is all they want to do. If ya want to make a living doing that, then ya will need a aft or side Mining Laser to break those rocks into splinters, ’cause only a nong fits one to the fore mount. While ’aving a Large Cargo Bay fitted is vital, it’s better to ’ave a bigger ship like a Python ‘cause more rocks mean more profit. An Advanced Space Compass is handy too, ‘cause more often than not, there’s a cluster of asteroids between the GCW station an’ the witchspace beacon. Since ya more about surviving any pirates than fighting them, fitting the: Escape Capsule, Extra Energy Unit, Energy Bomb an’ Shield Boosters are all smart things to ’ave.

Let Us Do The Driving For Ya

If ya want to see the universe an’ get paid for doing it, ya could do a lot worse that working in the Carrier Market transporting people. Ya’ll need an Advanced Navigational Array to figure out where ya are going an’ to see if the if contract on offer is worth the effort. I shouldn’t need to say it, but for those Jamesons out there, ya need a Passenger Berth fitted ’fore ya can bid for the contract. The big money is transporting to dangerous systems, so look at saving up for: Extra Energy Unit, Multi-Targeting System, ECM Hardened Missiles, Energy Bomb, Scanner Targeting Enhancement, Target System Memory Expansion, Witchdrive Fuel Injectors an’ Shield Boosters.

Working As A Beast Of Burden

If ya don’t mind taking the slow but steady route to wealth, then being a Carrier Market cargo hauler is the profession for ya. A Python is the minimum ya need to be flying, as most contracts are for 50 or more tons of cargo. The real money is in mega loads that only an Anaconda can carry, but ya need to save up a while for one those. Make sure that ya got the standard upgrades of: Missiles, Fuel Scoop, ECM System, fore Beam Laser an’ aft Pulse Laser. If ya don’t ’ave an Advanced Navigational Array, it’s gonna make working out the quickest and cheapest route hard. A Docking Computer is a smart buy too since all freighters are such bloated queens to dock. Since every freighter are as slow as a bloated queen too, ya should look in to getting the extra protection of: Escape Capsule, Extra Energy Unit, Energy Bomb an’ Shield Boosters.

’Ave Laz, Will Travel

For some beings, the only profession worth doing is bounty hunting. If ya want to climb the combat ranking to Elite, ya gonna need some serious kit. On top of the basic set-up add: Escape Capsule, Extra Energy Unit, Multi-Targeting System, ECM Hardened Missiles, Energy Bomb, Scanner Targeting Enhancement, Target System Memory Expansion, Witchdrive Fuel Injectors an’ Shield Boosters. When ya done enough killing, ya should be able to afford a Military Laser an’ Military Shield Enhancement. That’s when the real killing starts, although ya should ’ave a Q-bomb handy if ya bite off more than ya can chew.

That’s ’bout It

If ya want to know more ‘bout the equipment check out the GCW Central Database. It goes into mindboggling boring details about this stuff. Oh since there are Jamesons who ’ave the memory retention of grub goo, I’ve made a little chart to help ya. In a pupa case it works like this, ya should’ve bought all the important stuff in one stage ’fore ya buy anything in next. The most important stuff is in the centre of the chart, then gets less important as ya move out. Optional stuff is good to ’ave but buy it when ya got spare creds. There are arrows showing where you should have something else installed ’fore you something else, Fuel Scoop then External Heat Shielding being a classic one. If ya can’t work out the the rest, then ya shouldn’t be in space.

So good luck out there an’ spend ya creds wisely. Don’t forget to visit ya old Uncle Blix’s Star Yards if ya’re in Chart 5, I’ll do ya good deal on all the upgrades ya want.


  • This little gem was dug out of KZ999's Box of goodies.

Oolite Equipment
Standard Equipment
Astrogation ConsoleCargo HoldCompassEnergy banksEngine/Main Drive • HUDIFF ScannerLife Support SystemsMissilePulse LaserShieldsShip's HullTorus Jump DriveView Screen • Witchspace/Hyperspace Drive
Optional Equipment
Advanced Navigational ArrayAdvanced Space CompassCargo Bay ExpansionDocking ComputersE.C.M. SystemEscape PodExtra Energy UnitExternal Heat ShieldingFuel ScoopsGalactic HyperdriveIntegrated Targeting SystemMilitary Shield EnhancementMulti-Targeting SystemNaval Energy UnitPassenger BerthScanner Targeting EnhancementShield BoostersTarget System Memory ExpansionWitchdrive Fuel InjectorsWormhole Scanner
Beam LaserECM Hardened MissileEnergy BombMilitary LaserMining LaserMissilePulse LaserQuirium Cascade MineTwin Plasma Cannon