By all means go with a joystick if at all possible. Much easier to deal with dogfights with a joystick.
Avoid using the following OXZ's when you are starting out:
Separated Lasers (is dependent on Multiple Lasers so it is not possible to use it without Multiple Lasers)
If you have decided to use the Skilled NPC's OXZ be sure to download the LIBRARY OXZ
. Library is NOT available from the in-game manager but is essential as it lets you customize the behavior of many OXZ's including the difficulty levels of the Skilled NPC's.
Find a safe, large group of planets to jump between to earn the credits that will get you the upgrades you need to get an Iron Ass. There are quite a few but the closest to your starting point at Lave is the Zaonce group with Isinor at its center. Jumping between the many planets in this group will keep the markets stable and profitable. Try to avoid jumping between just two planets, back and forth, as the markets will eventually spiral downward and eat into your profits. A few of the planets in this group can present somewhat hostile environments which make for a decent learning experience.
Get yourself Fuel Injectors as early as possible. Learn when to run, when to dump cargo, and when to fight. All of these are essential skills that can make the difference between fun, profit, and pressing the space bar. If you stick with a Cobra Mk. III go for the Cargo Bay Extension as soon as is feasible.
Rule number 1: If it is possible always save the game before you leave a station.
Welcome Aboard Commander - Fly Safe and Dock Straight.