Welcome to GSF
Welcome to flight school, cadet! The first think you have to learn is that everything you know about this game needs to be forgotten. You're a pilot now, and that requires a unique set of skills you won't find on a ground-pounder.
We're talking about GALACTIC STARFIGHTER or, GSF for short.
In GSF, you take 3rd person control of one of the many gloriously engineered vessels of the Imperial Navy. They come in 4 flavors: Scout, Strike Fighter, Bomber, and Gunship. You're free to change your ship at any time, and each "levels" independently, so feel free to experiment.
Combat is "twitch-based" -- this means if you press the mouse 1 key, something happens immediately. You can dodge oncoming fire. You are fully in control of every action your vessel takes. Now, it is gamified a bit by having 4 abilities, granted by your loadout of parts and crew, but these are customizable to your playstyle. The main determination in a match will always be one pilot's skill compared to another (followed by ship stats, and rarely abilities).
By default, W will accelerate you, S will slow you, not pressing anything will coast you slowly forward, and X will stop you. Space Bar will boost. A and D will rotate your ship to the left and right. Turning is accomplished by moving your mouse in the direction you wish to move.
By default, Mouse1 will fire your lasers and Mouse2 will fire your secondary weapon (usually missiles, but there are others).
1-4 will be your ship abilities.
F1, F2, and F3 control your ship power. By default, they are all equal. Your ship is in its balanced state. You never want to be in this state. F1 will divert power to your weapons, allowing you to fire longer and hit harder. F2 will divert power to shields, increasing their strength and regeneration rate. F3 will divert power to the engines, increasing your speed and maneuverability, engine efficiency for boosts/abilities, and engine recharge rate.
Learning in which situations to manipulate your power is the greatest boost to your piloting skill.
The above information is 90% of GSF. 9% is playing the Objective, and 1% is actually destroying the enemy. Most matches are dominated by 2-3 Aces per team, it's your job to either become one, or learn how to survive them.
If you ever need to practice, you can form a private GSF group for 1v1 all the way up to I believe 8v8 without the pressure of an actual match. Omnious, Alach, Obiradd, and Jkal are all active pilots that can show you the ropes.