Originally Posted by Heroin Rob
I will check all suggested out and see what is what. I will get back to you ASAP. May be awhile if X3 is as great as it sounds.
Give X3 some time... you might want to read a bit before diving in. Also, the ships are not quite as simple as most space sims - A > B > C > D in terms of upgrade path and power.
The most powerful ships are slow, bulky, and their guns have a harder time hitting the smaller ships. (And generally use AI controlled turrets)
The smaller ships, the smaller they get, the faster and more maneuverable they are but the less shields and weapons they carry. A great pilot can do wonders with a tiny fast ship, but even with perfect flying you'll be hard pressed to take anything down a class or two above you.
This is where the AI/fleet control/empire management comes in. You can 'capture' ships, or just outright buy them, and then have the AI fly them at your side. If you like, you can fly a small fast ship and zip around the battlefield to get a good view and help out in the fighting, or save up and sit down in a big cruiser, offer fire support, and send orders out.
Making starting money can be tough in X3 - the most common routes are trading (for more laid back/management type pilots) or 'capping', for more twitch-type pilots. There's plenty of info on their forums for both styles. (Capping can involve going after Pirates, or you can target traders and make a fortune if you're careful which nationalities you target in which sectors and remember that they won't like you after that)
This game scales very well with your system too - it can run at low settings (P4, crappy video card) but when cranked up it's very pretty. Then combine that with texture/graphics mods, and you can have an absolutely breathtaking experience.
Edit: Also, if you are very into the atmosphere of space games, I'd highly advise the first thing you do is get your hands on the cockpit pack to make it feel like you're actually sitting in the pilot's seat, not looking at a computer screen. Edited by Tainok - 5/17/09 at 9:35pm