Speed Classes are, traditionally, the difficulty levels of the Wipeout series. In later games, a separate setting determines the opponent difficulty. Speed classes generally restrict the speed of the AG craft to an appropriate level, from generally slow for the beginners to as fast as possible for the more seasoned players. For speed classes corresponding to Zone events, see the Zone article.
The original Wipeout provides two speed classes:
Only Venom is available at the start of the game. Rapier class can be unlocked by winning the Venom Championship.
Wipeout 2097 carries over both the speed classes from the first game, and introduces two new speed classes - Vector, that is slower than Venom; and Phantom, that is faster than Rapier.
Initially, only two tracks are available per speed class, with Phantom inaccessible. Players have to play through the arcade mode, and win Phantom Challenge and Piranha Challenge, to unlock more tracks for these speed classes.
Wipeout 3 carries over all speed classes from Wipeout 2097.
All the speed classes are available at the start of the game, except Phantom.
Wipeout Fusion is the only game in the series that does not have speed classes, in the traditional sense. Instead, it allows players to upgrade each craft's Top Speed (along with various other stats) with credits they receive from the AG League. As the player progresses through this mode, craft modification becomes necessary.
Speed Classes make a return in Wipeout Pure, with all classes in Wipeout 3 returning to the game, along with a new intermediate class, Flash. This class sits between Venom and Rapier class.
Only Vector and Venom are available at the start of the game. The other classes can be unlocked by winning the Ascension Tournament.
Wipeout Pulse and Wipeout HD/Fury have four speed classes, removing the Vector class from the range. In these games, the speed classes only dictate the speed of the ships as there is a separate setting for opponent difficulty.
Wipeout 2048 has a slightly different class system. Instead of the traditional names, they have letter designations, ranging from 'D', the slowest, to 'A+', the fastest.
- D Class (Venom-equivalent)
- C Class (Flash-equivalent)
- B Class (Rapier-equivalent)
- A Class (Phantom-equivalent)
- A+ Class (Super Phantom-equivalent)