Sometimes when flying a gunship you face heavy pressure from the enemy and spend more time running than shooting. While the Condor/Jurgoran still wants to run from enemies, it has the unique ability to lead them away from the main battle and kill them in 1v1 engagements. Directional Shields provide better sustained tankiness than Distortion Field. Directional Shields are powerful on Gunships because they are able to easily control all incoming damage to either the front or back of their ship. Access to Frequency Capacitor is another feature that really improves the melee ability. Skillful use of the right click button can quickly get the ship into optimal BLC ranges, and Frequency capacitor often allows you to land an extra BLC shot. The ability to equip a missile gives you some self peeling ability. The T3G is strongest in TDM but EMP missile does give it some utility in Domination mode.
If you simply want to know whether I think a component is good or not, this can be determined by looking at its color. Green means that this component is viable. Yellow indicates that caution should be used in choosing this component. Red designates a component as almost always being a poor choice. However, please note that some components work together (synergize) better than others. I have also generally arranged each component in order of my preference (the first in each list being my first choice).
Burst Laser Cannon
Upgrades: T4L (Improved Firing Arc and Tracking) & T5R (Shield Damage).
Comments: BLC have very high accuracy and damage per shot as well as incredibly low tracking penalty in the close ranges where they should be used (>1500-2000m preferably). They're very useful for finishing off a weakened target who came close or landing glancing shots on an enemy circling you. The T3G has much stronger BLC than the Quarrel/Mangler thanks to Frequency Capacitor.Laser Cannon
Upgrades: T4 Preference & T5 Preference.
Comments: BLC and LC are completely different lasers. LC are intended to be fired near the end of their range in order to be effective. They have very small accuracy and damage drop off at their max range. However, there are very few situations where you'd actually want to stop and shoot at a target 5000+m away. Doing so against a Strikefighter will get you killed since his HLC and Quads are much stronger. Using them against a Scout means that he has you perfectly lined up and will soon melt you with BLC+pods when he gets to the 2000m range. Gunships are able to melee battle, but you need to constantly be on the move and only attempt a few glancing shots here and there. This is where BLC shines. If you are going to use this "Regular" Laser Cannon, it should be combined with Retro Thrusters, Directional Shields, and Cluster Missiles. This build "The Vexxial" can be very strong against Scouts. The problem in the post 5.5 patch world is that HLC Strikefighters are very popular and they pierce through your thick shields. Swapping Wingman for Hydrospanner can make the build somewhat viable against HLC Strikes, but overall it's not a build I would recommend for most players.
Upgrades: T4L (Hull Damage) & T5R (Increased Damage).
Comments: Slugs are mandatory on any gunship and they are also the only railgun that the T3G has access to. They have a shorter reload time than the other railguns, armor penetration, shield piercing and very high accuracy at range. This makes them very powerful against any enemy.EMP Missile
Upgrades: T4L (Range) & T5L (Engine Lockout).
Comments: While not as strong as Ion Railgun, this missile bridges the gap between the T1G and T3G in terms of team utility. Locking out enemy engine abilities can help your team land Proton Torpedos and other missiles. Additionally, the 100% shield piercing of the missile has great synergy with Slug Railguns. This missile sometimes allows you to finish off a kill. An important feature of this missile is that it has a really long range and therefore it can be used at safe distances. While the lock-on time is a bit longer than Interdiction Missile, it's actually easier to fire because of the long range.Cluster Missile
Upgrades: T4L (Range) & T5L (Double Volley).
Comments: These are the best counter against Scouts, but generally EMP is more useful.Interdiction Missile
Upgrades: T4R (Range) & T5L (Engine Targeting).
Comments: This missile does a decent amount of damage, has a short lock-on time, and a strong control effect. However, you're better off using Cluster missiles against Scouts because they're much easier to land. Against Strikefighters, EMP is easier to land and it can be used from a safer distance.
Upgrade: T3L (Reduced Regen Delay).
Comments: Directional Shields provide better sustained tankiness than Distortion Field. While Distortion Field is stronger for 6-9 seconds, the ship is vulnerable in between cooldowns. With Directional Shields you can quickly regenerate your shields by briefly putting them to the rear, hitting F2, and then swapping them back to the front. Unlike Scouts and Strikes, Gunships are often able to control their battles and easily control all incoming damage to the front of their ship (or rear while running away).Feedback Shield
Upgrade: T3L (Critical Feedback).
Comments: Feedbacks have been improved compared to before, but so have all ships. With correct usage they can wreak havoc on a single enemy Scout, especially when the enemy has been weakened by an ion or slug. However, they make your ship very fragile and offer no advantages in enemy Gunship duels.Distortion Field
Upgrade: T3R (Disable Enemy Missile Lock).
Comments: If you want to fly a Gunship with Distortion Field, the T1G is a better choice because it gets an extra 9% evasion bonus from Lightweight Armor.Fortress Shield
Upgrade: T3R (Increase Blaster Power Regen While Active).
Comments: Fortress immobilizes you for the duration of its active time, and upon movement drains all the shields it granted when activated. They also make you a prime missile target. Do not use them.
Upgrade: T3R (Turning).
Comments: Even though the T3G has melee ability, most times you want to try to run away before fighting. Power dive is the only choice that improves mobility for this ship. It synergizes really well with Regeneration Thrusters since the recently consumed engine regen allows you to regain engines during the maneuver. Turning upgrade is recommended as it makes it easier to center railgun shots as well as land more glancing BLC snap shots.Retro Thrusters
Upgrade: T3L (Turning).
Comments: While this component can improve your melee ability, it forces you to stay and fight rather than run. As a Gunship your first instinct should always be to run away. Melee fighting is just a nice option to have when you are constantly pressured.Koiogran Turn
Comments: This doesn't provide the mobility of Powerdive or the melee capability of Retro Thrusters. Avoid this component.Interdiction Drive
Upgrade: T3R (Increased Duration).
Comments: Long cooldown, hefty cost, no missile break, small AoE... don't use this.
Comments: Stacking shields is a good way to mitigate burst damage. Large reactor allows you more time in the fray before you need to break off for regeneration.Turbo reactor
Comments: Turbo reactor is less effective against high burst damage or sustained damage such as continuous fire (as you might see in a dogfight) or BLC shots. It has decent synergy with Directional Shields because it lowers the shield regen delay time to almost zero. However, if you are good at rotating your shields, you'll get instant shield regeneration anyways.Regeneration reactor
Comments: You won't regenerate a lot with regen reactor. It won't beat large reactor in mitigating straight damage, and when you're not taking damage it doesn't really matter.
Comments: BLC benefits from Frequency capacitor more than any other blaster. Often there are times where you are only able to land 1 shot on an enemy with Damage or Range capacitor, but Frequency capacitor allows you to barely squeek in an extra shot. In these cases, you effectively have double the melee DPS.Damage
Comments: This isn't a bad upgrade but overall it nets less DPS than Frequency capacitor. If you are only able to get off one shot, this is the better choice. Using Damage Capacitor with T5L (Hull Damage) also has really good synergy with Feedback shields as you can sometimes finish the enemy in one shot.Range
Comments: BLC is very weak and inaccurate at long ranges. This upgrade provides very minor bonuses to damage and accuracy.
Comments: A gunship's first instinct should be to run away when attacked, and this component allows you to run for a longer distance. It also has great synergy with Powerdive since it allows you to regenerate engines during the maneuver. Regen thrusters are also good against Remote Slicing since they can regenerate enough engines to run to LoS.Turning Thrusters
Comments: Turning thrusters will allow you to center railgun shots more easily and improve your BLC melee ability by allowing you to land more glancing shots. However, your mobility will be significantly decreased.Speed Thrusters
Comments: When combined with the speed upgrade on Powerdive, this can be a decent option. However, you will still be much slower than Scouts and Strikefighters. It's often better to just run to LoS and kite the enemy than it is to attempt to fly out of their sight.
Comments: When you're low on power, this magazine will reduce the wait until your next shot. This makes it the best under pressure or when constantly moving (since you'll be with power to engines often), and because of this it's the most recommended option.Power Pool Extender
Comments: While this magazine offers the most shots when full, when empty it comes second to regen. You're better off with regen almost always.Munitions Capacity Extender
Comments: When flying a Gunship you should be primarily focusing on railguns. Adding more missiles to your ship is not a priority. If you run out of missiles in TDM you can replenish them with a yellow orb.
For crew, I will be evaluating active and passive crew abilities rather than specific crew members.
Comments: A gunship's job is to kill enemy players. Wingman is the most effective way to land railguns, and it helps with blasters. For a strong offense, there's no better copilot than Wingman.Bypass
Comments: Bypass is only really available on pubside (on impside you need to give up pinpointing), but it has good synergy with the Slug railgun shield piercing. The problem is that you will sometimes miss perfectly centered shots.Hydrospanner
Comments: For staying alive, nothing beats Hydrospanner. However, this will come at the expense of killing enemy ships or peeling for teammates, which are the primary roles of Gunships. You'll also be less useful against evasion ships.In Your Sights
Comments: A limited range and single target Wingman. This can be a good teamwork component but usually not worth using.Suppression
Comments: While it's a solid defensive against a single player, it can't compete with offensive options. It's limited on range too. This can be a good teamwork component but usually not worth using.Concentrated Fire
Comments: If you're looking to do maximum damage, Wingman is the only good choice.Running Interference
Comments: If you want improved survival, use Hydrospanner.Slicer's Loop
Comments: Improved to halt energy regeneration for 8 seconds, but it still suffers from a long cooldown of 60 seconds and many other options which are better than it. Also, limited range.Servo Jammer
Comments: When combined with Interdiction Missile it can be entertaining, but it is much weaker than any of the other offensive options.Nullify
Comments: Damage Reduction is next to useless in the current AP-heavy metagame.Lockdown
Comments: Its removal of 40 engine power every 40 seconds may have a niche (trolling) use, but it's not good enough to consider over the options. Also, limited range.Lingering Effect
Comments: A little extra hull damage doesn't make lingering effect worth taking over the other, much better, options. Also, limited range.
Comments: 6% accuracy is essential.Rapid Reload
Comments: The only direct DPS increase other than pinpointing, this is generally the other best option. It allows you to shoot Slug railguns and missiles faster.Improved Kill Zone
Comments: High deflection harms both your blaster and Railgun accuracy. It can be useful for landing a lucky shot, but in general it's weak. It benefits your missiles more than your Railgun and BLC.Spare Ammo
Comments: Upgrades that improve your Railgun and BLC are more important than having a few more missiles.
Power to Shields
Comments: Shields are very important, and having extra shield power helps to mitigate burst damage. All 4 choices are good for the T3G, but this is the only mandatory choice.Quick Recharge
Comments: This has decent synergy with Directional Shields. Your shields will regenerate a bit faster.Structural Support
Comments: Combined with Directional Shield DR, this can give you respectable damage reduction. It can help a bit against Cluster missile spam, Quads, Slow Concussions, as well as against Strikes using tracking upgrade on their HLC instead of AP.Response Tuning
Comments: Use this if you're running Distortion field. It's also a decent choice on a Directional Shield build because the 5% evasion can sometimes help you if an enemy is trying to shoot you through Powerdive as you run away.
Depth of Field
Comments: Tactical choices are not as important, but more senor range never hurts. It's nice to know what's coming at you.Silent Running
Comments: Avoid the enemy ships with dampening sensors and silent running.Peripheral Vision
Comments: Knowing who's sneaking up on you is always nice.Comm Boost
Comments: Since you're probably not going to communicate any enemy ships, this isn't very useful..
Comments: Cheaper boosting and Powerdive are very helpful to a gunship running away or trying to escape enemy ions. With this choice, Powerdive has zero engine requirement for its use.Efficient Blasters
Comments: This is necessary if you're using Frequency Capacitor on your BLC.Power to Engines
Comments: This is a decent component but having powerful BLC is more important. With Pdive + Regeneration Thrusters you'll have more than enough mobility anyways.Power to Blasters
Comments: This does give you a bit more Slug Railgun energy, but it's more important to have efficient BLC.