Dreadnought is broken down into 5 major ship classes and three ship manufacturers. Different manufacturers produce different ship weights (light, medium and heavy).
Oberon (Light): Oberon is a serene, reverent and almost spiritual entity. Composed of warrior monks and free-thinking engineers, it was founded after the Great Solar War for the sole purpose of reverse-engineering old—yet highly advanced—Transhuman technologies. They produce very sleek ships that give the impression of being magical. These ships are generally the fastest and lightest ships on the battlefield. The key characteristic of Oberon battleships is maneuverability. Faster than Jupiter Arms and Akula Vektor, they excel at bobbing and weaving. Their armor is generally light, however, making them delicate speedsters--hard to hit, but if they do get hit, they quickly succumb.
Jupiter Arms (Medium): Jupiter Arms battleships are the cutting edge of humanity's battlefield technology. Built to be flexible to support differing needs, vital to the success of any warship's mission, Jupiter Arms technology is unmatched in its versatility. Jupiter Arms battleships are chiefly generalists. Compared to Akula Vektor, they are faster, whereas the super high technology of Oberon leaves them far behind on speed. Their armor is lighter than Akula Vektor armor but much more robust than Oberon's.
Akula Vekto (Heavy): Akula Vektor battleships are the workhorses of the battlefield. Built to last, these ships are generally the most resilient of all the manufacturers. The key characteristic of Akula Vektor battleships is durability. SLower than Jupiter Arms and Oberon, they excel at taking a beating. Their armor is generally hard, making them excellent damage-absorbers on the battlefield.
Playstyle varies depending on light, medium, heavy.
Corvette (scout): The Corvette is a fast, highly mobile ship class that is used to scout (reveal) enemies. All the ships rely heavily on cooldowns and burst DPS.
Tactical Cruiser (Healer): These ships keep others alive. They are support ships and should be flown as such. They have great healing and AOE abilities that are key to success. You will not get many kills, but you can still easily get the top score in a match.
Artillery Cruiser (Gunship): Long range and high damage ship that specializes in quick surgical kills. These ships can deal huge DPS, but are not well armored. Being able to quickly move and predict enemy movement is key to their success.
Destroyer (Strike Fighter): This ship can do a little bit of everything. Generally, it is tanky with more DPS than a dreadnought. It is a great choice for solo player since it combines maneuverability with DPS and tank abilities.
Dreadnought (Tank): Massive ships that are very slow but capable of absorbing huge amounts of damage (especially if paired with a Tac. Cruiser). These ships are at the forefront of a battle and often define the front line.
Ship Tiers and how to get ships
The game has 5 tiers, level 1+2 are called recruit, levels 3+4 are called veteran, and 4+5 are called legendary. Each manufacturer has ships for each tier (see screenshot). You must progress in a linear fashion to get higher tier ships (exception for hero ships discussed later). Note in the screenshot how there are arrows from each ship to the next. For example, by researching tech in the tier 1 Agosta, you can unlock the Tier 2 Dover and the Tier 2
The game has 5 tiers, level 1+2 are called recruit, levels 3+4 are called veteran, and 4+5 are called legendary.
When you first start you will be in Tier 1 ships and in the "training grounds". Here you are against bots for the first several matches before you deal with any real people.
Once you start playing more, you will need to upgrade components on a tier 1 ship to unlock tier 2 ships. For example, if you are flying the Jupiter Arms Agosta, you have to research tier 1 tech then you can begin buying the tier 2 tech. After you are done with tier 2 (you do not need to get all the ships unless you want to) you move into tier 3 ships. However, you cannot use tier 3 ships in recruit mode, so you need to start playing in veteran mode to use those ships. You can at any point switch between modes, but your ship selections (tiers) are determined by the mode.
Main Differences with GSF
Movement: Movement is slower, but the game is more strategic and involves more teamwork than most GSF matches. It definitely takes a bit of time to get used, but it's not too hard.
Targets: Unlike GSF, you must lead targets with your guns. Fast moving targets are very hard to hit. But highly rewarding for a skilled sharpshooter. Gunships especially need to be good at this to make 7km+ shots.
Energy: Energy management is similar with power to weapons, shields, and engine options. These can be remapped to F1-F3 for easy use.