Materials needed to build ships can be very tedious to grind and it may even take around a month to build and upgrade one to max stars - especially SSR ships. Thankfully, when you start playing the game, the company missions provide you with tons of resources and after a week or two (depending on how fast you progress through the game), you should be able to build your first shiny SSR ship.
But before we talk about this, let's focus on the ships you will use before you will craft it.
Early game ships
As you progress through the Story, you will need more and more teams to tackle the stages. At first, one team with one ship is enough, but soon you will need two, then three. Overall in the Story Mode you will need up to four different teams with their own ships (later in Dives, you need a fifth one, but new players don't need to worry about it for quite some time).
Compared to SEA release, the early game was reworked and now everyone starts with R rarity Coffin ship. While it's an upgrade over Normandy, it's still a waste to level it up to max stars. I think you should be fine with leveling it up a bit, maybe till 3 or 4 stars.
The game will also force you to build Undercontrol and Razangriff, but you can safely leave them at level 1.
After you clear the first Company missions, you will receive an SR Ship Selector, which allows you to get either Gleipnir or Abraham.
For majority of players, Gleipnir is the obvious choice, because the ship will carry you through the story and early PVP, so it's worth leveling it to level 100.
As for Abraham, it will be the best ship for Mechas, but they shine only in PVP - you will find more info about this ship deeper in the guide.
One of the few Auxiliary ships in the game. They have a unique movement pattern and having at least one is necessary to get 3 stars on a lot of stages in the Story or in Events. Considering that it's an R rarity ship, it's way easier to build than SSR ships, so if you want to get all the free quartz from 3-starring the Story, just build it or you will regret it.
Stellar is also really good in the early PVP, because the ASPD bonus it provides gives you a pretty big advantage.
Your first SSR ship
Yeah, some of you already guessed it - Enterprise is the best general PVE ship in the game that will make a lot of PVE content much much easier. What's so good about this ship? Its passive makes both Counter and Mechs stronger (so you can use it with mixed teams which is good, because new player's roster is way smaller) and the ultimate skill decreases DEF and ATK of any enemies on the battlefield, allowing you to easily deal with them.
Even if you're a PVP player, you will still need to clear majority of the PVE content to unlock all the gear that will allow you to shine in PVP. And also on a fresh server, Enterprise is actually pretty decent in PVP.
The only problem is that you need to clear Episode 5 first to unlock the recipe that will allow you to craft Enterprise.
What to build next?
Okay, you've build Enterprise and fully maxed it. Now what? Honestly, now it all depends on what are your goals and what part of the game you want to focus on. There are two main routes: PVP or PVE.
Let's go over the PVP route first.
Ships for PVP players
Beware! This ship is worth building only on a fresh server.
Yes, an SR ship. If you want to become the most hated person in the Gauntlet and you've pulled Titan, go grab Abraham and pair them together. The amount of healing is absurd and because on a fresh server there are no employees who can either block healer or reverse it, you're basically given a free ticket to reach the highest ranks.
Here's a video from SEA server early days featuring Mech team with Abraham and Titan:
For the longest time, this ship was permanently banned because it was so broken in PVP. While nowadays, there are stronger ships that are better with certain playstyles, Lake is still a solid pick that works with variety of teams. The ship's ultimate is especially great because it allows you to grab the enemy backline and drag it toward the center of the map, where you can easily slaughter them.
On a fresh server, Lake should still dominate the Gauntlet for at least a few months, and you can still use it in harder PVE content, so building it isn't a waste.
Other PVP ships that are good in the early game:
- Stellar - great ship for Soldier and rush teams, but only on a fresh server,
- Gleipnir: Armor Type - it's pretty similar to Lake Superior, but it's more specialized. The passive works only for Counters, but in return you get way stronger ultimate that levitates whole enemy team and buys you enough time to recover or combo them to death. If you fear that Lake will be banned a lot, you can build this ship instead and be safe from bans (still on SEA the ship was banned too from time to time),
- New Ohio - the silence on the special skill is overpowered and depending on the bans/ups this ship is a nightmare to fight against. Also in PVE it's the best ship for Dive 50 and Shadow Palace floor 5.
- New Detroit - for the longest time, this ship will be the best ship for those who want to use Striker-only teams, but it's pretty much useless in PVP otherwise. Still, it's the best PVE ship for Danger Close, so you will have to build it either way.
Ships for PVE players
New Detroit is considered the best ship for Danger Close - a boss rush mode where you compete against the whole server every 2 weeks. The ship is so good that the top DC players build two copies of it (in Danger Close you fight two bosses each season and you can't use the same ship/employees in both battles, but raising duplicates allows you to bypass the restriction).
What makes this ship the best boss killer in the game is the ultimate that decreases enemy's DEF by whooping 50%.
Be aware that you need to build New Ohio first before you will be able to get New Detroit's recipe.
The ship that is great to push your scores even higher thanks to the CRIT oriented kit. It's the best ship for Guild Coop bosses and for Raids, but in other PVE modes not so much. You can still use it, but Raids is where it shines.
While New Ohio is mainly a PVP ship, the silence on its special comes in handy in two very hard PVE modes - Dive 45-50 and Shadow Palace floor 5. While you don't need to worry about those two rage-inducing places, sooner or later, you will need to build New Ohio to conquer them.
Poor man's New Detroit, BUT it's BIS ship against one of the bosses in Danger Close. Since it's a N rarity ship, it's super easy to max it and use together (or instead of) with New Detroit till you will farm enough materials to craft a second copy.