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How do I know what weapon my enemies have before they attack me with them?

I remember what some of the weapons look like, however not most of them. The scanner doesn't seem to provide any information.

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afaik there are only 4 major weapon types, and they all have a pretty distinct look: missile, beam, bomb, and laser. Only the boss have really different weapons –  z - Sep 19 '12 at 16:45
    
@yx. don't forget ion weapons! –  Tacroy Sep 19 '12 at 17:15
    
@tacroy good point, I did forget those, haha –  z - Sep 19 '12 at 17:19
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up vote 31 down vote accepted

Here are some weapon images that might help you get used to identifying enemy weaponry:

enter image description here

  • The top row are bombs, from left to right, the small bomb, the ion bomb, and the breach bomb. The bomb launchers all look the same, and you'll only see the bomb itself for a very short time after it is loaded, so it's unlikely that you'll know more than "they have a bomb weapon" unless you're paying very close attention.
  • The second row are beams - the bio beam and the halberd beam. Note the design is a 2-pronged fork. As they charge, the lights on them start to glow.
  • The third row are laser weapons. The first is a burst laser mk. 3, then a single laser, and an ion weapon. The lights light up as they charge.
  • Finally, the fourth row is missile launchers. The two I had easy access to are the same shape, so this wouldn't be super useful for identifying anything more than "it's a missile weapon."

Note that ion weapons glow a particular shade of blue - both the bomb and ion "laser" weapons glow the same color.

In the final sector, you'll come across:

a "final boss" of sorts - the rebel flagship. The weapons follow the same general design, but are slightly different in appearance. It's weapons are, from left to right, an multi-shot ion cannon, a multi-shot laser, a 3-shot missile launcher, and a beam weapon.

I can't inline this one and keep the spoiler space, but here's an image of its weapons.

The outermost two weapons are damaged in your first encounter, but the other two persist through to the end. It's final form has a massive burst-firing energy weapon that has no corresponding visible firing point or related subsystem.

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I also noticed, maybe its ship dependent, but the bigger badder missiles tend to have bigger missile tubes. –  z - Sep 20 '12 at 19:04
    
Worthwhile to know that you can deploy defence drones while hostile missiles in flight. –  Colonel Panic Sep 25 '12 at 21:41
    
@ColonelPanic, that's a good point, I'll add that as well. –  agent86 Sep 28 '12 at 23:13
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Well, you can look at the weapons on the physical ships. Each weapon has a distinct model, and you'll get to know them over time. Additionally, some of the projectiles are distinct as well:

  1. Missiles and bombs are bombs, duh. Ion bombs have a blue gloweyness. I don't know of the other types have distinct glows (fire, breach, standard, healing), but that might be a give away. I'm pretty sure there are distinct missile graphics for some launchers. I think the Pegasus (shoots 2 missiles for the price of 1 ammo), and Breach Missiles might as well.

  2. Beams are beams, duh. Unfortunately I don't know how to determine if it's hull smashing/fire/standard or what. The weapon models are distinctive, having the two prongs that vary greatly in length in addition to differently shaped "bases".

  3. For other energy weapons: blue is ion again, but I don't know of a way to tell what type. Lasers shoot what I would call "blobs", and the versions of the heavy laser I remember are green. Blasters shoot "bolts"/thin rectangles. Blasters only come in the 2 shot, 3 shot, and 5 shot varieties.

And of course the recharge rate is relevant to determining exactly what something is, but hard to measure in the thick of things and factoring in enemy crew skill.

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there's no ion gun that fires 2 bolts –  z - Sep 19 '12 at 17:19
    
@kotekzot yes, but he said ion, not lasers, but its corrected now –  z - Sep 19 '12 at 22:24
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