The X series through Albion Prelude provides examples of the following tropes:
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Game-Breaking Bug: Albion Prelude had an issue turn up after a patch that came to be known as the "Billion Barracuda Bug," wherein the game would spawn race military fighters meant to be attached to a rapid response fleet. Except they would simply float in space, and instead of having a couple dozen there would be hundreds or thousands, sucking down CPU cycles and rendering the sector a slideshow if you were in-sector. The only way to get rid of them was to manually kill them or add a stopgap script a modder wrote, whereby players could delete them. The bug got fixed in version 2.5.3.
And how! With the in-game script editor and external modding tools, players can do pretty much anything from simple tweaks and added ship functionality to new ships and full-blown conversions. Arguably most famous of these is X3's Xtended mod, which impressed Egosoft so much that several elements (and the modders that developed them) were integrated into Terran Conflict, and Xtended has being remade for Terran Conflict.
It's worth mentioning that there are at least two mods that attempt to solve one of the game's worst problems: the extreme slowness of the ships, which is a source of all kinds of bad things. The result is completely different gameplay mechanics: waiting plays a much smaller part, fighting is much more dynamic and challenging and everything requires significantly less Willing Suspension of Disbelief to digest.
Another very popular mod is the "X3 Rebalance Mod", which, aside from doing what it says on the tin, adds new ships, new items, new sectors, and much more. The only downside is that, due to compatibility issues, you can't play it and Albion Prelude's main campaign at the same time.
Advanced Complex Hub swaps out the default docking hub for factory complexes with one that has two capital ship berths and internal docking for fighters.
Gameplay and Story Integration: At the end of Reunion, the Terrans destroyed the bulk of the Kha'ak fleet. Kha'ak ships are correspondingly much less common in Terran Conflict. The destruction of the Kha'ak hive nearest to the Commonwealth during the TC plot Operation Final Fury reduces their spawn rate to almost zero, and by Albion Prelude the few remaining Kha'ak have apparently died: AP has no live Kha'ak, and there are Kha'ak derelicts floating around provided you get lucky with the derelict spawning code.
When ships spawn, they do so with a white flash, same as when a player-owned ship uses its jumpdrive. This means that NPCs seem to possess a point-to-point, gateless jumpdrive. Officially only the Kha'ak have these, and they aren't likely to share.
In the story, the Terrans' military technology is well in advance of the Commonwealth's, which was why the Argon deemed it necessary to develop AGI warships to fight them. This is not true in gameplay for reasons of Competitive Balance: the Terrans have a definite edge in speed, maneuvering, and defenses, but Commonwealth energy weapons are good enough to compensate. Ironically, Terran/ATF fighters and frigates in gameplay have a painfully limited gun selection and their guns are rather particularly ineffective compared to their Commonwealth and Xenon counterparts; in a straight capital-to-capital battle, the Terrans/AGI Task Force would win soundly except for their frigates (albeit the Skirnir takes an emphatic exception to that). In a space fighter dogfight, the Commonwealth and Xenon would win due to their better variety of weaponry and numerical advantage. Does this remind you of anything?
Arguably, some M5 scout ships. Most M5s do not count as they have fairly pitiful guns that restrict them to fighting at most M4 medium fighters if they hope to survive, but a few of them can mount fairly powerful medium missiles, and a rapid-fire barrage of those can be troublesome even for heavy fighters. A couple of others have access to M4- or M3-grade guns, and one (the Kestrel) even has a rear turret. On the other hand, they blow up if their pilot sneezes too hard...
The M7M missile frigates and M8 bombers introduced in Terran Conflict also fall into this category. Missile barrages from these ships can destroy virtually anything, but non-player-owned M7Ms and M8s are relatively easy to kill (at least from another warship's standpoint) because the AI by default does not use their greatest advantage effectively. Also, they are very sparse in point-defense, and in some cases have none at all. The best defense is a good offense, so in Albion Prelude missile frigates use... more missiles, firing swarms of countermissiles to intercept incoming missiles. While their ammo lasts.
"Raider" ship variants boost the weapon generators and the engines, in exchange for reduced shield capacity.
The Mark II variants of the Fighter Drone count. Equipped with dual Particle Accelerator Cannons, en masse, they can quickly shred most any ship from minutes to seconds, depending on which ship they're attacking. However, with no shields like the original as well as half the speed compared to the original, they basically can't take damage from even the weakest of guns or the Mosquito Missile.
Likewise with the Terran Keris drone; it carries an Electro-Magnetic Plasma Cannon which deals great damage to both fighters and capital ships. En masse, they're geared towards destroying capital ships than fighters, however, since the EMPC's shots are too slow to hit moving fighters and the firing rate is sub-par. This puts the Terrans/ATF at a major disadvantage if facing mass numbers of fighters and little to no numbers of capitals since their only fighter drone suffers from a case of Crippling Overspecialization.
In Albion Preludethe Pirate M7 Carrack can be turned into one. With four gun slots on the flank batteries that can mount the Plasma Beam Cannon usually found on lasertowersnote In AP destroying them during their setup time causes them to drop their gun, which some ships can mount. and the fact that these turrets can fire straight forward, it's quite effective against other capital ships. Unfortunately it's only got 2 GJ of shielding.
Global Currency: All races use Credits, including the paranoid, isolationist Terrans who refuse to use any technology from the Commonwealth.
Glory Seeker: The Split. Being a Proud Warrior Race, it's not surprising for them to start wars even when it's not necessary. A perfect example would be the Boron Campaign, as well as the constant low-level warfare with the Boron, due to their conflicting ideologies with each other. When they're not starting wars for glory or for fun and profit, they often tend to be mercenaries and/or pirates.
Going Down with the Ship: AGI Task Force pilots will never eject from their fighter craft even if the situation becomes hopeless for them, rendering attempts to commandeer their fighters impossible; this is presumably to prevent their hardware from falling into the wrong hands, which is justifiable given their paranoid attitude towards the other races. In Albion Prelude, this problem is somewhat fixed in that all their ships can be bought at Terran shipyards.
Good Colors, Evil Colors: The factions that are generally treated as good and evil tend to follow this trope. The Argon Federation uses gunmetal gray, and the Kingdom of Boron use bright green. The Split Dynasty uses rusty red, and the Paranid Empire uses bluish purple. The neutral Teladi Space Company leaves their ships mostly unpainted, which translates to dark gray and tan. Meanwhile, the unaligned Terrans paint their ships white with black trim, pirates add Nose Art of red flames and paint the ship red, Xenon ships are black, and Kha'ak ships are purple.
Good Republic, Evil Empire: The Argon Federation and the Boron Kingdom are generally considered the good guys, and the Split Dynasty and Paranid Empire are generally considered the bad guys. But there's a lot of gray involved, so this may be a subversion.
The only thing that really seems to make either side good or evil is that the last time the two sides went to war, the Split and Paranid were the aggressors.
Subverted by Albion Prelude. The Argon open the war with the 30th-century equivalent of 9/11, and the Paranid join up with the Terrans.
Gratuitous Japanese: The Argon and Terrans, as Japanese apparently became the primary language of Earth before the series' start according to fluff. The Aldrin colony representatives you meet in the plot sometimes speak phrases in Japanese.
Great Offscreen War: The backstory includes the Terraformer War in the 2140s AD (some of which is shown in the Terran Conflict opening cinematic), during which insane terraforming robots wiped out all of Earth's extrasolar colonies and nearly destroyed Earth, too. A Terran warfleet managed to lure them through a jumpgate, which was then destroyed behind them; this fleet became the Argon race. About 200 years later, we had the First Xenon Conflict, where the terraformers reappeared, followed by the Boron Campaign, a more conventional interstellar war between the various superpowers.
Grey and Gray Morality: Albion Prelude's war. The Terrans are paranoid jerkasses that give a big middle finger to the other races, while the Argon use weapons of mass destruction and effectively commit genocide every time they destroy a Terran station.
The manual and "flight school" tutorials are nearly useless for anything but the most basic gameplay.
There's about two dozen derelict ships floating around in Terran Conflict. You might find them by pure luck (one or two are within Triplex Scanner range of a jumpgate), but finding them all pretty much requires a web search.
The Hub plot in Terran Conflict. Nobody In-Universe warns you that you'll need to prepare your trade empire ahead of time in order to finish the Fetch Plot in a reasonable amount of time.
There is no explanation in-game as to what you need on a ship to start up a new Universal Trader - you not only need the half a million credit Trading Software MK3, but several other unrelated software suites. Other scripts, like the Commodity Logistics software, or CODEA carrier command system have their own PDF manuals because the scripts are incredibly complicated.
Guilt-Free Extermination War: Operation Final Fury in Terran Conflict has the player assisting an Argon/Boron/Split alliance to completely wipe out the Kha'ak. By the time Albion Prelude takes place, the Kha'ak are totally gone - the only signs of their presence are long abandoned ships drifting in space.
Hard Mode Perks: Enabling the "Hard" or "XTREME" difficulty in Xtended makes the game much more brutal by making enemies much more powerful. It also has the side effect of making Pirates and Xenon more active in race sectors, killing trading ships and fighters (or making them bail out) whose wreckage you can then loot for easy profit.
Hemisphere Bias: Averted. The view of Earth from the Torus is centered on Ecuador rather than central Europe. (A minor case of Shown Their Work, as the Torus is built above the Equator, which runs through South America, but not Europe or North America.)
Hero Tracking Failure: The AI and the player's ship will blissfully try to shoot down scout craft with anti-capital ship weaponry despite the turrets tracking slower than the scout ship can move.
This can thankfully be avoided, however, by commanding your turrets to discriminate certain targets.
Higher-Tech Species: The Terrans (Sol System humans) have far superior technology compared to the other races. The Paranid come in as a close second.
High Speed Hijack: Boarding operations normally take place while the target is not only still maneuvering, but still shooting as well.
High-Speed Missile Dodge: Happens regularly, since fighters are often faster and more maneuverable than the missiles chasing them.
In fact, one of the most effective dogfight tactics is to use missiles as a distraction: you shoot a missile at the target and force him to evade or shoot it down, then make the kill with guns.
Hitbox Dissonance: A variation with the Terran Tokyo and Mobile Mining Base-Ship, both of which have long, narrow, asymmetrical hulls (a stick with a saucer section sticking out to one side that contains the hangars). The auto-aim function targets the geographical center of the ship, which works fine most of the time, but if you attack a Tokyo or MMBS from above or below the geographical center is a point in empty space. The hitbox isn't wrong per se, it's just not where the computer thinks it is.
Hit Scan: Beam weapons, originally a Kha'ak exclusive but since used by other races as well, are supposed to be this. It's only after you look at the technical data that it turns out to be a subversion: the game engine treats beam weapons as very fast projectile ones. This is normally transparent to the player because the projectiles are invisible, but occasionally — typically while fighting very fast ships — it can happen that the beam graphic crosses your target but the projectile isn't there yet, resulting in an irritatingly damage-free enemy.
NEVER launch any missile that has an area of effect feature in it when an enemy starts shooting at you, even from those firing Painfully Slow Projectiles. This is especially true if you're carrying Firestorm or Hammerhead missiles, considering how vastly powerful and slow their warheads are. Unless you're flying an M7, M1 or M2-class ship, you WILL die in the ensuing shockwave if your missile gets shot at. Amusingly, you can do this to an enemy ship's missile too when they're ready to launch. M8 bombers are particularly prone to this form of self-destruction since their Tomahawk missiles do more damage than the ship has shields and HP put together. The same applies to the Terran Claymore with its Phantom missiles. This makes it a case of Press X to Die.
By the same token, don't fire an Area of Effect missile into a dogfight if there are friendlies involved unless you want to lose all your fighters at once.
Holier Than Thou: The Paranid, whose society is dominated by religion, and who invoke the trope in many of their communications with the player. This gets hilarious when Paranid pirates also attempt to invoke this trope upon you when in battle (see Hypocritical Humor below).
Horde of Alien Locusts: The Xenon Terraformers are a technological variation, as they appear to assimilate technologies into their ships (apart from the unique Xperimental Shuttle and Truelight Seeker, Xenon capital ships are the only ones capable of using both Commonwealth and Terran weaponry).
Hot Paint Job: Pirate ships tend to have orange/red flame art to distinguish themselves from other ships.
Hub Level: The aptly-named Gate Hub in Terran Conflict and Albion Prelude. Unlocked by doing a painfully long Fetch Quest in Terran Conflict (Albion Prelude has a short Fetch Quest), the Hub lets you modify the gate network - it has 3 pairs of gates which you can link to systems. This allows you to link opposite edges of the universe together, making it so that you need just one jump to reach a race's homeworld to their furthest colony.
Hufflepuff House: There are close to a dozen massive corporations, each with their own ranks and missions, but in actuality only Jonferco, Plutarch, and TerraCorp have any impact on the story. OTAS has no role in the story but are important due to their impressive ships.
Humans Advance Swiftly: The Terrans have by far the most advanced technology, the capacity to build jump gates on their own (something only the Precursors could do), yet they've been doing the whole space-flight thing for less time than some of the other races.
The Argon ship design philosophy can be reasonably described as "jack of all trades, master of none". If you buy an Argon ship, you get a solid, well-rounded performer. The other Commonwealth races tend to focus on one leg of the speed-defense-offense design triangle.
This is also one of the reasons Humans Are Special, since they can give every race as good as they get as far as their racial hats are concerned. To paraphrase a Teladi character in Farnham's Legend, they're as good at diplomacy as the Boron, as good at business as the Teladi, as good at fighting as the Split, and can be as fanatical as the Paranids.
Humans Are Bastards: The Terrans. They're radically isolationist, dislike or outright hate almost all the other races (including their lost colony, the Argon Federation), and they will invade other race's sectors without a worry as they can simply curb stomp the defending navy's ships using their superior technology. The Argon Federation is shown to be even worse than the Terrans in Albion Prelude's war. An Argon suicide bomber blows up the Torus Aeternal, killing millions instantly, then millions more as the debris rains down on Earth. The Terrans retaliate, then the Argon deploy reverse engineered Von Neumann ships (Xenon) against the Solar System. Every Terran station houses at least tens of thousands of people, so the Argon are committing atrocities with every station they blow up.
Humans Are Morons: The Terrans are responsible for the creation of the Xenon thanks to a buggy software update and their callous stupidity for not troubleshooting the problems before implementing it on the Terraformers. Their full-blown xenophobia towards all other races stems from this incident. If anyone is to blame for rampant, out-of-control AI ships roaming around the galaxy, it's the Terrans, every single ounce of it.
The Terrans are the only species that's Type 1 on the Kardashev scale that manage to independently develop FTL (other species that are capable of this are all at least Type 2), have the most powerful ships, the most high-tech weapons, and the largest fleet. Which is quite something when you realize that they weren't even a part of the game universe for much of its history, and just basically barged in and started pwning everyone when the Xenon chased them there.
Humans in general were recognized by the Ancients as being so intelligent as to pose a threat to their long-term plans. The Ancients reacted by rearranging the gates near Sol to trap the Terrans in a closed loop of systems with no native intelligent life. The modern Aldrin region is part of this loop. Oddly, it ended up being Earth's accidental creation of the Xenon that derailed their plans. The Ancients created a second closed loop to contain the Xenon, inadvertently enclosing the Argon, Boron, Paranid, Split, and Teladi as well. So humanity is indirectly responsible for the very creation of the X-Universe.
Humans Are Warriors: The Argon are better at it than the Split, the actual proud warrior race guys of the setting. In Farnham's Legend a Split destroyer captain remarks that the only difference between them and the Argon is that the Argon can control their rage better.
Humans Are White: There's exactly two non-Caucasian Argon NPC portraits in X3, both of which are Ambiguously Brown. Averted with the Terrans in Terran Conflict's plot, with Commander Jackson and his aide.
Humanity Is Advanced: The Terrans are the only race (aside from the Ancients) who know how to build jump gates without help, and they are the only race to create sentient AI - though that didn't go particularly well. Terran ships in the games are some of the most powerful available, combining brutal firepower with speed and good shields, though at the cost of being totally incapable of mounting non-Terran weapons.
Hummer Dinger: The Terran Mani yacht in Xtended Terran Conflict is stated to be a very capable warship, but is used primarily as a fashion symbol by wealthy Terran citizens.
Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Because of the Ancients' meddling, which jumpgate goes where has a way of changing seemingly at random (though not during gameplay, thankfully). This occasionally causes (for instance) a Boron fringe sector to become separated from friendly territory and end up hooked to Split space.
Hyperspeed Ambush: Late-game players often fortify jumpgates leading to enemy territory (typically Xenon) so they can colonize the sector in relative peace. There's not much that can get through a trio of Osaka destroyers acting in tandem. If the destroyers are accompanied by a gaggle of cheap fighters or lasertowers (as Artificial Stupidity-abusing decoys), the sector is impenetrable.
Played straight, at least for the player. The jumpdrive is very useful for this. Also potentially subverted: there is a ten-second delay while the jumpdrive charges, not including the time it takes you to pick a destination. That's ten-plus seconds for the enemy to kill you anyway. And then there's the potential for Tele-Frag as you exit a gate at the end of the jump.
The Unfocused Jumpdrive plays it straight and subverts it simultaneously. On the one hand, the UFJD is faster to bug out (no need to pick a destination). On the other hand, when you "return to the known universe", you'll be right back in the same position you left from, and any enemies will still be in the sector. Though it does give you an opportunity to recharge your shields. Or remotely order your fleet of M2's to sally forth from your player headquarters to the location you jumped from and clear out the sector.
Hypocrite: The Commonwealth lists Space Fuel (AKA Argon Whiskey), an alcoholic space beverage, as contraband. However, in the Argon sectors of Herron's Nebula and Nyana's Hideout, you can see two Space Fuel Distilleries there and their goods can be bought. Even more jarring is the fact that the distilleries can be purchased at Argon shipyards. There's a loophole just waiting to be abused for potential smugglers who want to make amends with the Space Pirates, provided that the distilleries in question are built in non-Commonwealth space.
The information for the Boron sector named Hila's Joy states that the Boron do not maintain a military presence there in fear of sparking an unwanted conflict with the warmongering Split. Yet, in stark irony, when you visit there, there's an actual heavy presence of Boron naval ships to be seen, complete with a military outpost. And they're right next to bordering Split sectors such as Ghinn's Escape and Family Njy. What's more, they'll even do the occasional skirmish in those sectors. Either the info for Hila's Joy was written prematurely before the development of that particular sector, or there was an aborted arc that could have taken place.
Hypocritical Humor: The fact that there are Boron and Paranid pirates in the X-Universe makes this curiously ironic since the Boron are a generally pacifistic race and the Paranids are Holier Than ThouScary Dogmatic Aliens who view piracy as sinful. How they turned to piracy can be explained that there are those who've become malcontent and rogue enough to break off from their culture and operate outside the standards of their respective race's living. Made even more hilarious when they taunt you in battle by trying to invoke the name of their Queen/Emperor\Priest Duke before attempting to finish you off.
Could be justified in the case of the Paranid pirates, some of which have an eye patch over one eye. Since Paranids use number of eyes to indicate superiority (in a race that normally has 3 eyes), such Paranids could very well be outcasts. Meanwhile, the Boron have no such excuse for some of their kin turning to piracy other than the notion that being Evil Is Cool or maybe being Good Is Boring.
I Fought the Law and the Law Won: Fighting the Police and Border Patrol is generally not difficult because they mount terrible weapons, but god help you if you piss off the racial naval fleets enough that they start chasing you down, especially in Albion Prelude or with the Rapid Response Fleet mod, where they will react much more aggressively to player hostility - typically by siccing a couple corvettes on the player. Blow those up, and they'll start throwing frigates and destroyers at you. The one law enforcement/navy faction you do not want to piss off is the AGI Task Force - partly because if you make them angry, you cannot get back on good terms, and partly because their ships are apocalyptically powerful, especially their Skirnir missile frigate which can destroy an entire fleet from 60 kilometers away. While you can buy ATF ships in Albion Prelude, you won't have any such luck in Terran Conflict; unless you have game mods, you'll have to resort to boarding their ships if you want to truly make them yours, especially if you want their missile frigate. And this is an infernally difficult task since 1) they're found deep in Terran territory and are not without escorts, which makes getting either one of their ships back into non-Terran space a nightmare to get through and 2) you must have already constructed Terran factories for their particular equipment and also should have stayed on very good terms with the infamously paranoid Terrans since their economy is downright dilapidated.
Averted. All stations have a limit to how much of a given ware they can stock. For instance, a station may be able to stock tens of thousands of units of energy cells, but only sixteen particle accelerator cannons.
Averted to an egregious extent with Terran weapons in Terran Conflict: stations can only stock two of each gun. This is thankfully fixed in Albion Prelude.
Played straight with Equipment Docks in Xtended Terran Conflict (with an AL settings enabled); equipment docks (and Pirate Bases) will stock an infinite amount of that race's weapons (plus common pool weapons, for the Commonwealth races), to make it less of a nightmare when mass-equipping ships.
Infinite Supplies: All ships have infinite fuel for their engines and weapons, and infinite food. The only things that run out are Energy Cells (from using the Jump Drive) and ammunition for bullet based weapons. The description for the Teladi Geochen in Albion Prelude however, mentions that it has a spacious cargo bay for food supplies on long voyages.
The Typhoon Missile. It is an eight-warhead missile with very well balanced stats and a damage output that practically spells overkill towards fighters (each warhead does 30 megajoules of damage; multiply that and it does 240 megajoules of damage. Most craft that are below corvette-class don't have 200 megajoules of shielding; the exceptions being the Argon Eclipse and a few variants of the Teladi Falcon, especially its Sentinel version, which can actually mount 400 megajoules of total shielding). The missile isn't just effective in destroying fighters; when launched in huge salvos, even destroyer-class ships won't stand a chance against this swarm missile. Despite it being a corvette-grade weapon, frigates, carriers, and destroyers that aren't of Terran and Kha'ak design can carry it in bulk and can pose major threats to capital ship and fighter alike with the missile via triple-M. Add to the fact that the Typhoon has purchasable factories which can be found at almost any Commonwealth shipyard and you basically got yourself an effective all-purpose weapon that can take you far in the game. The only drawbacks of the Typhoon are 1) the below average speed of 195m/s, which renders it annoyingly useless against the even more vexatious scout craft and 2) the lack of an ability to re-acquire new enemy targets if its original one was destroyed.
The Paranid Medusa Prototype is the only craft that is not a capital ship (it is an M3+ class fighter) to actually carry the Typhoon alongside the Firestorm and Hornet, making it a versatile craft with the only drawback being its limited cargo capacity.
The Springblossom corvette. It requires the completion of the Terran Conflict main plot, good Terran rank, ~20million credits for the corvette (more expensive than some of the station-transporting TL ships), and then hunting down the factories that produce the weapons for the ship (in a sector some 800 kilometers wide, with a huge asteroid blocking traffic through the center), then (usually) supplying the factories with the goods necessary to produce it because the sector has a pitiful amount of traders for its size. Once you've done all that, you've got what is effectively the best corvette, or best ship in the entire game. Crazy top speed (it outruns some scout ships!), crazy firepower, and a huge cargo bay equivalent to some transporter ships. The only time you'll ever need to use anything else is for some luxury taxi missions — it has enough cargo space to carry enough ammo to kill destroyer class ships if you can wedge it into their blind spot.
The Paranid Hyperion. While it has half the speed of the Springblossom, it ties it for best corvette in the game due to its incredibly well-rounded stats; the turning rate is unusually phenomenal for its class, it has heavy shielding, and the cargo bay is humongous. Plus, it is the only craft in its class to carry fighters. One popular use of the Hyperion is as a docking port for the Blastclaw Prototype, which the fighter itself serves as an extra cargo bay for the corvette.
AGI Task Force capital ships require a huge amount of effort to acquire, mostly because players cannot buy them and have to resort to "permanently borrowing" them. ATF capital ships are usually deep in Terran territory, and surrounded by a large flotilla of corvettes and fighters, plus the Terran navy, which is no less dangerous. A missile frigate is required (40+ million credits) for boarding an ATF capital ship, as are at least 15 highly experienced marines (which requires a large investment of time, combat, and money to train). Once the marines have taken over the ship, the player's ATF reputation (and their access to Terran space) will be permanently damaged, and the player will then need to figure out how to get a heavily damaged capital ship out of a sector full of very angry Terrans. Once the ship is safe and sound in Commonwealth space, the player will then need to equip the damned thing, which is no small effort with the Terran's infamously undependable economy, which is in a constant state of collapse - making a well-supplied weapons factory difficult to find. Each Point Singularity Projector for the ship is over a million credits. Once the ship is fully kitted out, however, it becomes one of the most powerful ships in the game (especially their missile frigate) with very few drawbacks. Albion Prelude fixed this problem by having their ships purchasable in Terran shipyards.
Informed Equipment: When you fit a gun to a slot on a ship, a cannon appears in a corresponding spot on the ship's model. It looks exactly the same no matter what gun you put there. Other equipment doesn't even do that much.
Inscrutable Aliens: Everything the Commonwealth knows about the Khaak came either from cracking their video communication codecs or autopsies. What they want and whether they have anything resembling an organized culture are complete unknowns.
Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The only people who really care about Earth are the Terrans. It's not much use for player characters either, since A) it's so deep in Sol that it takes forever to get there from a jumpgate, and B) the Torus defenses destroy anything you try to build there. Though the Torus is useful for putting jumpdrives on ships bought from the shipyard orbiting the Moon.
Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The XTM mod for Reunion and the Xtended Terran Conflict mod for Terran Conflict adds the Shivan Dragon, which is a dragon that breathes in space, shoots lasers from its mouth, and attacks everything in sight.
Instant Death Radius: Phased Shockwave Generators on Paranid capital ships. Small range (about 1 kilometer), but they effectively instantly kill any fighter that gets inside the 1 kilometer bubble of doom.
Instant Militia: Freighters are typically poorly armed Space Trucker-esque ships designed to haul crap between stations. The Split Caiman-class freighter, however, has four Fixed Forward Facing Weapons, allowing it to be used as a (clumsy) attack ship. Additionally, any freighter can simply be ordered to stuff their cargo hold with missiles and to spam said missiles at anything that comes into range.
Intrepid Merchant / Proud Merchant Race: The Teladi, whose society is borderline-obsessively mercantile in nature. Also includes the player with dangerous travels for a handful of credits on the earlier stages and then vast trading empires to build on the endgame.
Invisible Wall: Sectors are spherical, and there is an invisible barrier at the edge (which is ~4,000 kilometers out). Most evident in the Hub sector, where you can slip behind the gates, see out of the Hub, and butt up against an Invisible Waist High Fence.
ISO Standard Human Spaceship: The Argon have flying brick capital ships (but with curving engine sections) with gray hulls and a single red stripe, and Star Wars-esque fighters. The Terrans have flying white brick capital ships with red stripes and blue windows, blade-like corvettes and frigates, and sleek wingless ships which look vaguely like the Space Shuttle. The AGI Task Force capital ships have angular gray/black hulls with light blue highlights, possess raised control bridges and well-defined prows, and have intricate supports and engines reminiscent of a cyberpunk Gothic cathedral. Teladi ships, while not human, have big boxy beige bricks for capital ships, and Ray Gun Gothic-meets-Used Future fighters.
It's Up to You: The player is effectively the only thing preventing the Terran economy and the tiny Pirate and Yaki economies from collapsing.
Interceptors amongst strike craft, as well as Argon ship designs as a whole. OTAS and Terran ships are the upscale versions of the Jack of All Stats; they're very fast, very well shielded, have high cargo capacity, and very powerful. The only downside to Terran ships are their limited weapon selection, especially frustrating on fighters and frigates, and the scarcity of their weapons.
The OTAS Sirokos in Terran Conflict and Albion Prelude. It's a 20+ million credit M7M with two guns and the ability to only fire Mosquito missiles and Boarding Pods.
It's a victim of Crippling Overspecialization. It's purpose-built for boarding enemy ships and can carry ten more marines than the other M7Ms. Works fine for capturing TL-class ships and the Aran, but since it has no offensive weaponry it can't really do anything else. Also, the Arbitrary Headcount Limit on boarding parties works against it; if you carry any more than 21 marines in the ship, then only 21 of them will board, leaving the rest to float around aimlessly until they get picked up, vaporized by a stray shot, or smeared against the hull of a nearby ship.
The Goner Ranger. It's the only ship in the G0 class, which is for some reason considered to be a "medium" ship class and thus incapable of docking in "small" fighter bays on capital ships, it's slow, the cargo bay is fairly small, and it's totally unarmed. It's easily the most useless ship in the game.
The Teladi Vulture. Despite being a Teladi ship, it has crappy shields. When compared to other freighters, it's slow and has a mediocre cargo bay. The only two reasons anyone would take it over a Boron Dolphin is that it's dirt cheap (the cheapest TS, in fact, and thus easy to finance), or for the rear turret which is highly useless because the Vulture lacks the energy to fire the single-weapon turret for more than a couple seconds.
The Mosquito Missile does the worst damage out of any weapon: 200KJ worth of damage, meaning that, unless you got Fighter Drones swarming all over your butt, even the weakest of Scout craft can survive multiple volleys of Mosquito missiles (1MJ = 1000KJ or 5 Mosquito missiles). However, it has now been given a mildly useful property since the release of the Bonus Pack in Terran Conflict; it can now be used to intercept enemy missiles provided you have any Mosquitoes in your cargo hold.
Just about any dumbfire missile that isn't the Tornado. Even the Windstalker, the most powerful of the general dumbfire munitions, isn't that useful in combat thanks to its terribly slow speed and the fact that it is one of only two missiles that can be detonated manually by pressing the launch button twice (the other is the Aurora, another useless dumbfire missile). Even when detonated, for some reason, there is no true "splash" damage when skirting near an attacking vessel. They're best kept as quest items for Corporation missions.
Just Before the End: Albion Prelude takes place in the final years of the X-Universe, as the gate network is shutting itself down, isolating sectors or dumping them deep in Xenon space.
The Plasma Burst Generator, a rare pirate-only weapon that can be fit on nearly every M3 and M6 in the game. Does AOE Damage, meaning that it will hit every area of space in a cone in front of it — and almost always, the target ship will be big enough to count as being in several "spaces" at once, meaning they're going to take obscene amounts of damage — especially if they're one of the bigger (carrier, battleship) size ships. The only weapon to get a unique achievement — "Turn up the Heat."
The Pirates also have the rare Incendiary Bomb Launcher, a frigate / capital ship weapon. It functions like the other capital ship weapons, except the projectiles are on fire (in space).
Lasertowers. In Terran Conflict they're next to useless against anything bigger than fighters, especially in Out-Of-Sector combat, but they got a massive buff in Albion Prelude making them very effective defenses against larger ships.
Orbital Defense Platforms, which are stationary "ships" armed with a ton of capital-ship weapons and a huge payload of missiles to spam at anything outside gun range.
Xtended Terran Conflict adds race-specific Missile Platforms, which drop most of their weapons in exchange for salvo launchers for missile frigate class missiles. The platforms also have a docking port so that more munitions can easily be delivered to them.
The Torus Aeternal in Terran Conflict is something of an inversion a laHalo's Super MAC orbitals. It guards Earth from all attackers with defensive weapons that can one-shot an M2.
Sort of. Though the vast majority of weapons in the X-Universe are either energy- or explosive-based, the few kinetic weapons in the games usually have a feature that offsets having to stock ammunition. The strictly fighter-scale Mass Driver goes through shields, for instance.
Their chief advantage is that they don't drain the ship's energy reserves when fired. This grants ammo-using ships greater staying power in combat ... at least until their ammo runs out.
The Gauss cannon is very popular for player-piloted Teladi M7 Shrikes because it can be mounted to the flank turrets, enabling it to duplicate the Panther's feat of taking on multiple heavy capitals. In Albion Prelude, Gauss Cannons got a major buff in that all ships have higher amounts of hull hitpoints — the Gauss Cannon has the highest damage per second against hull, whereas the other capital ship weapons have most of their damage devoted to killing shields — useful in previous games, not so much in Prelude.
The Teladi philosophy in Xtended is that kinetic weapons are just better; their race-exclusive weapons all use standard bullets or railguns, such as the Energy Bolt Chaingun or the Gauss Cannon. This is to compensate for the fact that their ships have terrible weapon generators, discouraging pilots from using energy weapons. Apparently, the Teladi don't think of directed-energy weapons as the be-all-end-all for space combat.
The Kingdom: According to the X3TC manual, the Boron Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy akin to Great Britain in Real Life (i.e. Queen Atreus is a figurehead, with the real power in the hands of elected officials). Otherwise it fits the trope pretty much perfectly: it is generally considered good-aligned, controls the fewest sectors (among the Commonwealth races, anyway), and is constantly under threat from the Split. They're also the only people to develop ion weapons.
Lampshade Hanging: Albion Prelude lampshades the Terran Conflict's HUB plot and its insane requirements — the scientists you transport to the HUB note that Mahi Ma filled the cargo hold with thousands upon thousands of microchips — from the 75000 microchip requirement in TC's plot. Afterwards, several crates of microchips are left floating around the HUB.
Laser Sight: Some ship mounted weapons have tiny laser sights mounted on them - however, unlike most videogame laser sights, they do not project a laser onto the target, and they fade out within a meter of the gun.
Lethal Joke Character: The Truelight Seeker, a unique M6 corvette given as a reward during the Goner plot in TC. On paper it's pretty mediocre, with only 400 MJ of shields, a top speed of 138 m/s, no turrets, average reactor power, and it's a larger target than the Argon Centaur it's based on. However, its spinal slots can mount literally every gun in the game except the Impulse Ray Emitter, and some have turned it into a Glass Cannon by fitting it with Gauss cannons.
Level Scaling: A nontraditional example. X bases the difficulty of mission-related enemies on your Fight rank (simply put, how many kills you have), while mission payouts are modified by your Trade rank.
Living Ship / Organic Technology: Boron ships look the part with their wrinkled hulls and ribs which resemble gills, but it's never stated one way or another whether they're grown, built, or some combination of the above. Their infrastructure prevents them from being repainted in the Player Headquarters, which can turn off some players.
They're grown around an artificial skeleton. (Flavor text for Royal Boron Shipyards.)
Loads and Loads of Loading: Sectors with loads of player assets (Large factory complexes, and fleets) tend to cause loading times to be 2 to 5 times longer than a regular sector (which is generally around 5 seconds to a minute, depending on your PC).
Loads And Loads Of Ships: There's well over one hundred ships, and that's before you get into the individual variants for each ship.
Long-Range Fighter: M7M Missile Frigates and M8 Bombers. Both are capable of leveling entire fleets on their own, but god help you if an enemy gets close enough to target your missile pods, because the frigates and bombers have, at best, a pair of rear facing weapons, and sometimes not even that.
The entire Argon race was created when a Terran fleet sealed itself in the X-universe gate system to protect Earth from the Xenon. The fleet's crews settled on Argon Prime, (named after their leader, Nathan R. Gunne) and slowly phased out all references to Earth, causing Earth's existance to become a fairy tale.
The Aldrin colony is one of Earth's original colonies, before the Xenon went crazy. It's separate from the X-universe gate system. The Terrans believed it was destroyed when the Xenon started attacking everything, though Aldrin is reunited with the Terrans at the end of the Terran plot in X3: Terran Conflict.
"Return Stolen Ship" involves an NPC asking the player to capture a ship stolen by a third party. Sheer probability dictates that the ship in question will be one that must be captured by making the pilot bail out (as opposed to one that can be boarded and captured) ... which is a completely random (and fairly rare) event.
Also in this category are corporate missions that require you to make a delivery of missiles. In many cases, at least one will be a missile that does not appear in the game's market, and is only available as random drops from destroyed enemies.