I have a mainstay Nox named "The Maw," and she's anything but useless. I'll share my expertise, if you don't mind. Feel free to include whatever is written here, and to edit it in any way necessary. Because the Nox plays so differently than most other ships, this will be a long post.
The Nox does not play like the other Artillery Cruisers, and chances are, if you enjoy playing either the Svarog or the Grenada, you will not enjoy playing the Nox, and vice-versa. Think of the Nox more like an Ultralight Destroyer, or a Corvette with extremely long range. A Vindicta designed for sniping instead of ramming. It ranges away from its team, beyond the line-of-engagement, weaving through cover and dodging shots. Nox players skirt around at maximum range from their enemies, negating cover advantages, forcing support ships to move into exposed positions, and drawing fire from Destroyers and other Artillery Cruisers.
Example Loadout & Playstyle
Decisions, decisions. For a long time I ran Bomb Catapult to improve my anti-corvette abilities, but with the 'Vette meta nowadays being gotta go fast, it's not nearly as useful. The bombs spread out too much to do significant damage at long range, and so aren't useful against hardened targets. My goto is still Bomb Catapult, but I'm experimenting with the others right now.
- Disruptor Autobeams: Very useful for anti-Corvette action. Combine with Armor Amplifier to effectively nullify Corvettes. Or, switch out Armor Amplifier for a different ability. The current Corvette meta uses Blast Pulse, almost always, so the Disruptor Pulse isn't that big of a threat right now.
- Sentry Catapult: Just bought it, gonna try it out. Will report back tomorrow.
- Purge/Siege/Rapidfire Mode: Very situational. Because they drain all energy, and the Nox is extremely reliant on its energy pool, these aren't the best idea. Use Purge Mode in combination with the Nox's multishot (I believe it can fire 2-3 Purge Shots?) to disable multiple enemy ships, as long as you have team support nearby.
I currently take the Stasis Missile, but there is no clear right answer here.
- The Drain Missile is really useful for reducing a Corevette's potential damage output/escape, depending on how the 'Vette is built. Also useful for contributing to firefights by draining a ship that's about to be blasted.
- The Scrambler Missile is just annoying. Use this if you feel the need to make other people sad and angry.
- Mines are not as useful, but they will keep more wary Corvettes at bay. Use as a deterrent, do not expect them to deal significant damage or save you in any way.
- Flechette Missiles are the least useful option here. They seem to have a bug where they deal no damage whatsoever, sometimes. Corvettes can easily outrun them. Every other ship can easily tank them. Avoid if at all possible.
Antimissile Pulse. You might think this is unneeded with Armor Amplifier, but Antimissile Pulse also takes down those annoying 14km Cruiser Missiles fired by Destroyers and Artillery Cruisers, as well as 'Vette torpedoes. Use it primarily for this purpose, so you aren't drained/disrupted/scrambled, and can continue sustaining your barrage. This is the one module that I will say is necessary for The Maw.
Nota bene: Use Antimissile Lasers at your own risk. I've found the Pulse to be much more effective.
Armor amplifier. Try the others at your own risk and discretion. Useful for escaping barrages of warping dreadnoughts, but more importantly, for tanking missile barrages from Destroyers and Dreadnoughts. This allows you to preserve your Antimissile Pulse to eliminate status effect missiles.
- Stationary Cloak is completely useless for the Nox. If you are using Stationary Cloak with the Nox, I will find you and frown violently at you.
- Never tried Turn Amplifier. Nox turns on a dime anyways, probably useless?
- Mobile Cloak doesn't last long enough to be useful. The Maw is meant to be within full view of the enemy team, so there's really no sneaking opportunity.
- Dive Maneuver was useful before, now with the Bomb Catapult changes, it isn't very effective.
- Desperate Measures. Always. Even if you don't survive a Corvette attack, you will at the very least take the 'Vette down with you, so long as you buttonmash correctly and you're a sharp shot. The others are not appropriate for the Nox for various reasons.
- Weapons 101. Destruction Cascade is also useful, if you find yourself landing lots of killing blows (the Nox is hit-or-miss for killing blows). Do not take Glass Cannon. The Nox will be under fire regularly enough that the -25% damage debuff is actually crippling. Survival Instinct is not as useful for the Nox on account of its large magazine size.
- Navigation Expert. More on this under Playstyle. This is the Nox's lucky underwear; never leave home without them.
- Engineering 101. Pick another one if you have a favorite. It's a Trap is very useful with the Nox, on account of its ability to fire and retreat at the same time. Reinforced is also a very useful option with the Nox, to help fend off Corvette attacks.
Okay, the fun stuff. First thing's first, activate Power to Engines, and keep it there. Your energy will drain very slowly with Navigation Expert. Only use Shields if you are being attacked by a Corvette or snapshotting Shields to take shots from other Arties. Only use Power to Weapons if you know for a fact that you have the killing blow on an enemy, and a teammate is incapable of killing them. Your energy is your speed, and your speed is your life. Do not sacrifice your speed unless you need to. Recharge while you aren't being fired at or are behind cover.
You will be detached from your team, for most of the match. And, by detached, I mean 5-12km away. You do not hover around your teammates for a variety of reasons:
1. You are squishy. You should be constantly moving and dodging shots. A still Nox is a dead Nox.
2. One of your primary jobs as a Nox is to draw enemy fire, to reduce incoming damage to your teammates. It is harder to do this if you are hovering directly over the very juicy, squishy Tactical Cruiser.
3. Your other primary job as a Nox is to flank and suppress. You also cannot do this if you are hovering near your team and the enemy is behind cover. Flank around enemy cover, negate it, fire on squishy targets.
Next, get used to firing and moving constantly. There are only two times you shouldn't be firing:
1. You are reloading.
2. There are absolutely no targets. In this case you are planning your next flanking route and scanning for Corvettes.
And I mean constantly. The Nox's primary advantage is its sustained DPS. You can only utilize this advantage if you are firing c o n s t a n t l y. While you are firing, you should be dodging and weaving up and down. Do not be afraid to un-zoom in order to scan for Corvettes, missiles, or opportunity targets. The Nox is still fairly accurate while un-zoomed, so continue to fire, even if you don't hit all of your shots. Get used to aiming like this.
Use Antimissile Pulse mainly to take down Status Effect missiles. This way, you aren't drained (you don't lose your speed), you aren't slowed (you don't lose your speed), you aren't scrambled (you don't lose your sight - your constant barrage stops), and you aren't disrupted (missile protection goes away). There is no reason to run away from missiles, considering that you have two antimissile modules. Tank missile barrages with a well-timed Armor Amplifier; you don't even need shields.
Stay at the periphery of your enemys' maximum range. You should look at an enemy and see them at 6-7km away. Use the universal maximum range to screen potential retaliators out of range. Doing this, you can still fire at an enemy Destroyer, Dreadnought or Tactical while avoiding the Artillery Cruiser's cone of fire.
Because you are effectively immune to missiles, and you can dodge most, if not all projectiles, cover is not as important for you. Be visible. Be constantly within your enemys' line of sight, but just inside of their range. Draw their fire away from your team and towards yourself; be aggravating. This is how you support the team with a Nox. I would even dare call it the secret bullet sponge, for this reason. You have the potential to negate more damage than a Dreadnought, if you are annoying enough.
Be on the lookout for Corvettes. Your health is dismal, if one catches you off-guard, that's... It. You might have a chance to pop abilities before going out, but because Bomb Catapult rarely hits 'Vettes hard anymore, you probably won't kill him.
Scan for cloaked 'Vettes and Vindictas, and fire at them. Learn to lead them, it takes a bit of practice, but it's not hard. Good Nox players can shoot down Corvettes before they even enter firing range. Corvettes are probably the biggest threat you will face, especially now that they can insta-kill you with Assault Blink Warp + Blast Pulse. Be very aware of the minimap and the area around you.
Targeting priority for "normal" targets should definitely be Tacticals, aside from Corvettes. Then Destroyers, with Dreadnoughts last. Make them work for their heals. Assist teammates when they are focusing down a single target; you may be able to tip the healing scales. Just because your individual shots don't deal a lot of damage, do not underestimate your high damage potential. Along with Destroyers and other Artilleries, Noxes are capable of adding the most raw damage to a game.
Avoid other Artillery Cruisers like the plague. They counter you, hard. Attack them only if they are low on health and there is no Tactical nearby, and you are behind them, and you have abilities available to use, and they haven't noticed you. I.E. you will rarely be engaging enemy Arties, unless they force you to. Luckily, because of your high speed and maximum-range-fencing, you can just outrun any chasing Arties. Encounters with enemy Arties are the one occasion where you should really think about using cover; for this reason, stay near, but not behind cover with the Nox.
Lastly, know when to switch to another ship. Two enemy Artilleries will render the Nox useless. So will two Tacticals. Two Corvettes will see your death counter rise very quickly. If the enemy team is slow and campy, the Nox is a good bunkerbuster. If they are skirmishy, you can be even more skirmishy. Otherwise, there are better alternatives. The Nox is definitely not the strongest, or most adaptable choice in the game.