FTL: The Fatal Frontier, Sector 3

By Alec Meer on September 24th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

beyond staring eyes

With two sectors survived, things don’t look to good for the good ship Moggy, crewed by two Engis and a human named after cats I have known. The hull’s taken a beating, we’ve almost no cash and we don’t yet have any upgrades to speak of. Meantime, our enemies forever snap at our heels, and the challenges we’ll face in this next, Zoltan-ruled sector will likely be stiffer than that we’ve yet faced. Anything could happen, though. After all, space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. It might even be big enough that I’ll find a gun in it somewhere. Oh, please dear lord let me find a gun.


Jump 1
Well, it’s not an entirely bleak start. Just one short hop away is a store. Imagine what goodies it might have for me!

No, no, once again I can only afford to fix my hull. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

Jump 2

We’re invited to participate in a Zoltan research study. All they want to do is stick things in our bottoms, and no doubt bounteous rewards await. It’s a deal!

OH FOR FU…

The pirates that disrupt our little medical conference immediately beam four intruders onto my ship, while simultanteously pummeling me with rockets and lasers. My ability to fight back is severely hampered by the fact they immediately trash my weapons system, so our trusty Ion Blast is temporarily out of action.

So, another war of attrition it is, but fortunatley they don’t have all that much in the way of armaments, so by the time I’ve taken out their mini-horde we’ve not taken too many hard knocks. The tried and tested Ion-to-shield + attack drone strategy wins out fairly quickly.

And ooh, a reward! A proper reward! It’s a second attack drone, this time a Beam one. Our damageability has just increased by 100% – although having two drones active at any one time is going to eat into our Drone Ports hoard frighteningly quickly.

Jump 3

We run into a stranded Zoltan ship, begging for fuel. We’ve got 14 barrels left, which is neither good or bad. I’ll risk it. We really could do with chums out here, after all. They take 4 barrels and repay me with – drumroll please – 91 scrap. Hey, that’s not at all bad. And there’s another shop right nearby…

Jump 4
With no weapons in stock. Not a sausage. Nnnnnng. So, once again, I stock up on fuel and drone parts, but I’ve got enough left over to upgrade my shield generator twice – which gets me a second layer of shielding. Ooh, I feel all rugged.

Jump 5
Oh look, some lovely, shiny, no doubt resource-packed asteroids that I can’t mine BECAUSE I HAVE NO GUN. Onwards! Again.

Jump 6
Nothing. What a waste of fuel. Again.

Jump 7
Ah, this is more like it. Thank you, space-Jesus. We find an abandoned Zoltan freighter, from which we scavenge useful amounts of scrap, fuel and drone parts. With no sign of another store in this sector I’m not expecting to find any guns on offer, so I spend my spacebucks on two reactor upgrades – so, if needed, I can have both shield tiers and two drones active simultaneously. I’m a real boy now!

Jump 7

We run straight into a Rebel Rigger. I can’t help but indulge myself in my new toy, even though it’s probably not necessary and thus a wanton waste of drone parts. But let me have this, let me have a show of force just this once.
The buggers dream a drone on board, which takes out oxygen and both my drones. Still, by the time the dust settles on the onboard fight and everything’s repaired, we’re standing with only minor hull damage.

Jump 8
We’re right near the exit, but there’s a bit of time to play with before the rebel fleet catches up with us, so let’s forge on into the unknown.

At the next stop, a bunch of religious zealots on a Zoltan cruiser want me to come look at a magic rock. I stare at it. It, presumably, stares back at me. But it doesn’t say anything. That’s all the proof these idiots needs to decide I’m a heretic who must be destroyed. A fight it is then, but how hard can a bunch of rock-worshipping goons be?

What they might have been lacking in common sense they more than made up for in devastating missiles. And that’s why we only have 25% of our hull left intact.

So here’s a familiar story. I’m right by the sector exit, I have no money, no weapons and my hull is screwed. Maybe I’d be better off if I workshipped a magic rock too. I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right?

Jump 9
just retracing my steps back to the exit. Nothing to see here. Maybe one of the crew had a cup of tea in the meantime. I don’t know, I’m the manager, I don’t deal with the day-to-day stuff.

Jump 10
And we’re at the exit. Before we head through to the next sector, we pick up a signal from a planet surface. Shall I go and look? Guns guns guns guns guns maybe there’ll be guns please let there be guns please please.

No guns, but we do manage to rescue someone from whatever disaster is going on down there.

Welcome aboard, Steven. ‘Steven’. Funny, I never owned a cat called Steven. Oh well- Stevie, you’re on guns. At least something positive came out of this mess.

Jump 11
And we’re out of here. The hull is in a terrible state, but I have a second drone, a second tier of shield, no-one is dead and we have a new friend. Actually, that’s not bad. Hope! So long as I don’t look at the hull. Then I don’t have any hope.

At least I have a Steven though.

To be continued… Honestly.

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94 Comments »

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  1. LionsPhil says:

    Well, you now know what to name your next cat.

  2. Captain Joyless says:

    One day Alec will find a gun and I will be very happy for him.

  3. Premium User Badge

    FriendlyFire says:

    The good thing with FTL is that you can always find someone worse off than you are. Just watch Sjin’s playthrough from the Yogscast…

  4. MrLebanon says:

    I play FTL every night and lose 2-3 times :D

    It truely is all about hope though… trying to see the positive in what is often a shitstorm of bad luck >.<

    • ClockworkTiger says:

      I wouldn’t say it’s all about hope. It would be more accurate to say that it’s about having that hope beaten to death with a rock and being left with an interesting story about how it all went pear shaped when one or two minor setbacks suddenly snowballed into an unmanagable clusterf*ck of epic tragedy.

      • Groove says:

        These spambots are losing their touch.

        Also, it would be awesome if one of them copied this comment.

  5. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Almost fell out of my chair when I saw a big photo of Sisko on RPS’s main page. Alas, there is not a kickstarter for a DS9 game :(

    But great series you’ve got here! (though it’s no DS9)

  6. kael13 says:

    Don’t hate me, but.. Is this coming for the iPad?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      No. Out now for Speak & Spell, as well as Major Morgan.

      If under 30 you may have to google those

    • Fierce says:

      Urge to hate… rising… rising… ooo Sisko… fading…

      • Supahewok says:

        I must ask, exactly what’s wrong with him wanting to be able to play a very entertaining little game wherever he goes without having to lug a laptop around?

      • Mad Hamish says:

        What are ya talkin about? A pad would be perfect. It’d be ever more like Star Trek.

        • DJ Madeira says:

          I didn’t even think of that till just now. They’d have to fix the resolution & scaling issues first, though.

      • Fierce says:

        Whoa guys, I was being sarcastic. Really? That didn’t get through?

        I literally just came to re-read Sector 3 when I saw these replies. I actually didn’t think there would be any, just some idle chuckle generation!

        Calm down people. The iWar has to stop.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      FTL seems to be written with SDL 1.2, so the short answer would be no.

      The longer answer is that it could be, if they port their code over to the prerelease version of SDL 2.0, which supports iOS and Android. That’s unlikely, though. They’d do better to wait for the stable release of SDL2, which should be coming fairly soon.

      • iucounu says:

        I do hope they port it, then. I play a lot of Weird Worlds on my iPad (although the port is terrible, in the sense that it’s exactly the same as the PC version, and thus built around mouse input.)

        • bakaohki says:

          When I asked the dev about patches and/or finetuning the balance it was a polite “go away, now”, so I really doubt he would do a port with touch ui and related streamlining. Sorry, for being a pessimist again.

          • zebramatt says:

            Yes, I must say I was a little baffled by the party line they’ve adopted over at FTL HQ, which appears to be, “We’d been planning to do a bunch of enhancements after release but then the game got really popular so now we’ll just be over here hiding under this tarp until everyone goes off to play someone else’s game!”

            I’m sure it’s just a miscommunication, to be honest, but by gum does it sound like they’ve literally FREAKED OUT.

      • Miltrivd says:

        I can’t care less for bitten apples, but the game would match a tablet perfectly, and would bring more success for the guys at Subset Games and a terrific game for people that usually don’t have access to such terrificness.

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          PoulWrist says:

          Yea, I have it on PC, but I would love to have this on the Nexus 7 I’m planning on getting. Or on my phone (Galaxy Nexus) There’s a lack of quality games on tablets and phones, they’re all either some kind of “F2P” cash-vacuum, or they just suck, or they’re an FPS which is impossible to play on any device but one that supports mouse and keyboard input.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Star Traders RPG (on Android) is roughly comparable, at difficulties above Normal it offers the same “everything’s going to hell in a handbasket” feel that FTL does.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    I”ve reread the series since I spent the weekend playing FTL and now I have a better clue of what’s going on, it’s a very enjoyable read.

    But I think you should have had a crew member on the weapons from the beginning (instead of engine). The Engi ion weapon fires fast, so the weapons guy levels very quickly, and that’s invaluable for the late game.

    • westyfield says:

      Yeah, I always start with one in the cockpit, one on shields, and one on weapons. Engines are less of a priority, I just reroute power from the medbay when I need it until I can upgrade my reactor/get more crewmembers.

      • Mr. Mister says:

        Actually, you should prioritize engine oveer shield manning: engine manning gives you at least a +5% dodge chance to everything that isn’t a beam, while shield manning just gives it a recharge speed boost, which won’t be that useful until mid-term game, where battles are longer (and thus different weapons’ cooldowns desynthonise) and you face drones.

        • Mad Hamish says:

          Also the more power to the engine the slower the rebel fleet moves relative to you and the more time you have to explore the system.

          • Stickman says:

            This is incorrect. Engines affect your dodge rate and the ftl recharge speed (if you want to run away from a fight/sun), but do not affect the advancement of the rebel fleet.

            Engines also do not affect maximum jump distance.

        • Richard Nixon says:

          What? Shields are incredibly useful in the early game, and no less useful in a short fight than a long one, since they regenerate so quickly. Extra shield regeneration is really good because it decreases the downtime between hits, meaning there’s less chance for the enemy to get a shot through after his first takes your shields down (especially because the AI doesn’t understand how to barrage-fire its weapons).

          Personally, I always leave engines out at first and only man it when I find extra crew. I guess the smart thing to do would be to swap someone between shields and engines depending on enemy weaponry (shields for energy weapons, engines for missiles), but that’s a lot of work. My first upgrade is almost always to get the 2nd layer of shields as well, since it makes most early-game enemies a lot less scary.

          E: Oh, missed the part about weapons desynching, but I still prefer shields

          • TNG says:

            May I suggest trying a couple of runs with the stealth ship? I used to think like you until I had to rely heavily on engines with that little stealthy vessel and boy do I upgrade my engines on the other ships now just to get that sweet added dodging chance. Although I’ve just unlocked that “being hit 5 straight times with maximum engines upgrade” achievement… R.I.P. crew of “The Thief”.

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            PoulWrist says:

            Engines are majorly important :) I especially enjoy it on the engi ship as the fast firing ion canon really helps keep the enemy weapons and shields out of commission… so 1 shield is enough for a long time.

  8. Yosharian says:

    Haha I can’t wait until he hits sector 5 and is instantly killed.

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    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Seems like a fairly successful FTL run so far. I still burn with shame at the memory of the time my ship was actually destroyed in combat on its first jump when I tangled with a Rebel that must’ve had a fire beam. Okay, I actually made it two jumps, but frankly, when you hightail it out of combat with your cockpit on fire and the rest of your ship open to vacuum, you can’t really count it as a successful jump.

    “Hey, we don’t have any oxygen, but you know what we’ve got lots of? Fire. Learn to breathe that. Get back to me when you’re done.”

    • DalamarNL says:

      Galactica begs to differ.

      • Apolloin says:

        Oh God. Now every game of FTL will end with Colonel Tigh saying “She’s broke her back, she’ll never jump again.” in my head.

    • running fungus says:

      I love having to jump with systems out, crews away from regular posts, etc.. I mean, it sucks, but it sure is dramatic.

      • Saskwach says:

        I don’t think you really “get” this game until you’re forced to make a desperate jump with your oxygen shot, the ship on fire and venting, shields down and desperately hoping the next blind jump isn’t another tough fight.

        At least, that’s when I got it.

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          P7uen says:

          Couldn’t agree more!

        • westyfield says:

          And then you end up in an asteroid field.

        • sophof says:

          haha definitely. That’s how I got that “1 Hull left and repaired fully achievement as well” :D
          Although I haven’t managed to ever come out ahead again if I reach such a desperate point. Sometimes I limp on 2, even 3 sectors, but you are always fighting a losing battle at that point, not enough scrap to upgrade and having to spend the little scrap you have all the time to repair the hull.

          • DJ Madeira says:

            Try playing on easy. It should be called “normal”. Normal should be called “Impossible”.

  10. derbefrier says:

    Its so much fun to be boarded and have your Oxygen system blown up while a solar flare is causing half your ship to catch on fire and to slowly watch your crew suffocate to death hiding in the one room with a little bit of oxygen left waiting for the inevitable horrible death about to come your way. Then you get the idea to open all of your doors and the side hatch to at least watch your invaders suffocate before you do but at this point the fire has destroyed my shields and weapons(though i managed to take the ship out first) there’s very little oxygen left and my last 2 crew members decided to make a last ditch effort to repair the Oxygen system but died trying to repair it i was so close then i realized …OH FUCK I FORGOT TO CLOSE THE HATCH I WOULD HAVE SURVIVED. This game is full of moments like this for me and i just keep coming back for more.

    • Mr. Mister says:

      I had to flee from the first stage of the boss three times in a row because I kept forgetting to turn my defense drone on immediately before getting penetrated (yup) by a boarding drone.

    • andyhavens says:

      That’s exactly right. Just last night I made it further than ever before… like the 5th or 6th sector… had shields up to 3. Ion cannon and missiles. Two offensive and one defensive pod. Five crew. Very solid team. Kicking ass.

      Then along comes one ship that has one great hit to the O2… and things went pear-shaped very quickly. And I’m literally babbling to myself, “C’mon… C’MON!!! Get to the med bay!” And opening hatches to let the fire out and trying to remember to fire the guns… but that system started on fire…

      45 minutes of careful, lovely play… all gone to shite in 30 seconds.

      Fantastic game.

    • Dinger says:

      Or, having finally dispatched the bad guys, but with the crew at death’s door and the ship depressurizing, you go to hit “close all doors” to prevent suffocation, and accidentally hit “open all doors” in real-time, killing them.

      • hewhosayszonk says:

        For me, that’s the moment when I realise that a) the doors sub-system has been knocked out and b) the doors sub-system is one of the rooms which is venting into space

  11. B4 says:

    I love getting to the second to last sector only to have a single enemy ship with four shields take my hull from zero to hero.

    I think the developers here tried extra hard to make it as chaotic and trouble-ridden as BSG. Every sector you either have to nearly lose all of your hull, die, or lose half of your crew.

  12. DRoseDARs says:

    I find myself saying, “Oh ffs!” a LOT playing this game. “WHY can’t I open this DOOR!? There’s fires that need a-ventin’… oh ffs the Door Control Room is damaged. Again. Oh good, there goes the Oxygen Control Room. Super. *restart*” or “Three flaring stars in a row? Sure, why not. Fml. *restart*” or “Ooo, asteroids? I love that game! Wait, what? No. No. No, no stop. NO! Fuck. *restart*”

    • zebramatt says:

      I think you might be playing it wrong!

      For me, the whole POINT is to die in the most glorious, elaborate, bizarre or idiotic way possible. If I’m doing that, I’m winning.

    • DJ Madeira says:

      Spamming the restart button just makes defeats frustrating. Hold out to the last second and it’s a lot more fun. There’s nothing like sacrificing your most important crew member to fix the oxygen so you can limp on for one more sector.

      It’s not the destination, it’s the dramatic death 16 jumps before you get there.

  13. JakobBloch says:

    Hey cool.

    Thomas Bloch is my brother. He gave me one of his 2 beta-keys. My brother is awesome.

  14. JDragnarok says:

    I went and bought this game after reading part 1. My first ship, the human ship, did not do so well. My second attempt, with my new unlocked Engi ship, is going much better. The Ion cannon is a great weapon when someone is manning the guns. The fire rate is high enough to knock out enemy shields and keep them gone. I was lucky and had the chance to buy the red laser cutting gun (I can not remember the name) at the end of the first sector. When your enemy has no shields you can do 6-7 hull damage with a well placed beam. That, with the anti ship drone, seem to have little trouble beating ships with 4 shields. I just target their shields non stop with the ion cannon and cut them up! Also, the anti-personnel drone has saved my fragile crew so many times.

    I am now at the last sector, very intense!

    • sub-program 32 says:

      In case you have not faced the boss yet, beware that it is a very nasty and tricksy boss fight, at least if you try and fight through normal methods.

      • JDragnarok says:

        I have not yet, that is good to know. I saved and exited at the start of the last sector mainly out of fear of messing it up!

        • sub-program 32 says:

          Basically, that ship seems to have ricdiculus amounts of reactor power, and is perfectly happy to use all of it. And it has every trick in the spaceship-technology book, and will spam them a lot. And finally, don’t do what I did and use all your missiles immidiatly, cos it is a multi-stage battle, and you won’t get your missiles back between stages.

          • sinister agent says:

            My mildly/moderately spoilery tip (and others may disagree) is to aim to cripple the boss ship at first (first priority is that horrific missile launcher), then concentrate on killing as many of its crew as possible. I’ve not fought it enough times to check, but it appears to keep track of how many crew you’ve killed, making life a little easier in the long run.

  15. Hybrid says:

    So far I’ve been getting a higher score after each play through. Haven’t been able to beat it yet but I got close. Once. One run I had the Firefly episode Out of Gas happen to me but sadly my captain was the last one on the ship and couldn’t make it to the oxygen to fix it..

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    AmateurScience says:

    Can someone explain to me why I get excited about the whole ‘Staring Eyes’ thing?

    • Premium User Badge

      lowprices says:

      In this case, it’s because it’s sexy, sexy Captain Sisko staring at you.

      • Skabooga says:

        If you were ever going to get excited about staring eyes, Captain Sisko would be the one to cause it. No one can stare as intensely as the Sisko.

        • x1501 says:

          Unfortunately, that’s about all that poor hotheaded excuse of a captain could do. Or was it the actor who was playing him? I’m not sure now.

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            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            The scenes with Sisko and Gowron in the same shot were basically just panoramas of rolling eyeballs.

  17. DarkFenix says:

    Oh dear God, that title image just made me spray coke across my desk. Classic.

  18. aircool says:

    Keep getting beaten by the last boss as I’m always low on hull points when I meet him and all the repair places are in enemy hands….

    • Ateius says:

      My third run of the game on “normal” saw me get all the way to the end with a wonderful loadout to take out the boss, defeat two of the three stages … and then watch helplessly as the bastard warped onto the only remaining repair node that hadn’t been occupied by the Rebel advance.

      With no hull integrity to speak of I went down without even taking out his energy shield. I wept at what could have been.

  19. Craig Stern says:

    You know what this game’s battles kind of remind me of? An outer space version of the board game Red November.

    • visseking says:

      All we’re missing is some grog and a space-kraken.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      The devs explicitly built it off Red November and BSG, so no surprise!

  20. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Finished this game once on normal and now, 6 hours of playing with other ships without even getting close.
    Heck, I had a run just now that stopped after one teleport…

    Oh, had one run yesterday where I had a teleporter + firebomb + 2 rockmen which made me all happy. I even remembered to put off my weapons. Once their whole crew was killed, my bloody artillery beam goes off (yeah, *that ship*) and kills my 2 rockmen. *Aaargh*.

  21. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    With all the good Trek captains now exhausted, we’d better be getting some Sheridan or Adama next. If you go with Janeway I will be cross.

    • x1501 says:

      Get off my lawn, kid! Intelligent, composed, strong-willed, and diplomatic (www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iNq3325Emo) Kathryn Janeway was probably the most “captain-like” captain in the entire franchise. She is followed closely by similarly high-principled and brilliant, but sometimes less resolute Jean-Luc Picard. Captain Kirk was great to watch, but let’s face it, as a Starfleet captain, he was borderline crazy. Sisko, with all his overacted little tantrums (www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjvYiSDJujA), was a hysterical, hotheaded and unscrupulous buffoon–that “Emissary of the Prophets” impersonation alone easily makes him one of the worst captains in the history of Starfleet. As for Captain Archer…Who who the hell is Captain Archer, anyway?

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        OK, but John Sheridan led a victorious army in two concurrent wars with species that were old enough to essentially be demigods immediately before leading a victorious coup to liberate Earth from its own military. And came back from the dead. And rocked a goatee while not being evil. (And, wait, “kid?” I’m referring to a show that premiered 18 years ago.) We can both agree, though, on having no idea who Captain Archer is. Never heard of the man.

        …Does it smell nerd in here? Oh no that’s just me.

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          Malibu Stacey says:

          It’s a game about flying through space. Sheridan would be a little out of place since he spent most of his time in a space station. Adama though, he’s the man (reboot one obv).

      • Ateius says:

        Sounds like someone needs some Janeway re-education. The trusty sfdebris can sort out that confusion for you.

        • x1501 says:

          Frankly, my only explanation for most of the Janeway hate is that a lot of backward male viewers couldn’t get past their antiquated views that place women as inferior to men, at least as far as highest responsibility leadership positions are concerned. After watching almost every single episode from the five non-animated series (talk about nerds), if I had to vote any of the captains into a real-life political office, Janeway would easily be my top choice.

  22. SpaceJesus says:

    “Thank you, space-Jesus.”

    De nada.

  23. BigglesB says:

    Gah, seeing this inspired me to play another game. It’s now 1am. Completed it on easy with the bigger federation ship and getting a teleport early in sector 1 made most of the battles pretty trivial, especially with a ton of mantis and rock crewmembers plus a fire bomb for taking out medbays. Think it’s time to start trying to tackle it on normal again, though wary that each game eats up 3-4 hours in addictive moreishness…

  24. skinlo says:

    Don’t quite get the fuss with this game. Played it perhaps 4/5 times, unlocked the Engi ship, reached the boss once. I don’t really feel the urge to play it through again much more though, each time is basically the same as the last. Highly repetitive and based on luck as much as it is skill and quick decision making.

    • AlexHeartnet says:

      The elements of luck actually add to the amount of skill required to play this game. Many games (even some other roguelikes) can be approached with a certain plan and certain build in mind. Here, you have to learn to improvise and adapt without knowing at all what to expect.

      But true, not everyone enjoys playing every single game. To each his own. Just understand the difference between ‘I really don’t care for this type of game’ and ‘This game is genuinely terrible.’

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      PoulWrist says:

      I guess you played on sissy mode :|

  25. El_Emmental says:

    You actually don’t need “guns” or “weapons” when you’re rolling an Engy ship.

    I made it to the end (and won) without any missiles or bombs (apparently there’s an achievement for that), I only bought a cheap ion (Mk I) canon to help me out.

    Thanks to the automated reloader and a level 2 weapon crew (ion canons are shooting a lot, making formation an easy task: you can get up to three max level weapon crew during the whole journey), I could spam ions like a real machine-gun and help my drones pierce through the shield and keep the shield (and sometime weapons) quiet.

    On the other hand, I maxed out my drone board and for the last two sectors I had my anti-ship level II (best purchase ever) and 2 more anti-ship level I drones. With the ions taking care of the shield (and engines when they’re running away), my 2-layers rapidly 3-layers shield taking care of holding off the shots, I just had to let the drones do their magic. No need for a weapon.

    You have to understand that you have a limited amount of energy, weapons / drones slots and average scraps. The Engy ship (type A), with its drone system and anti-ship drone right from the start, is begging for a drone-focused tactic, while his limited weapon slots, with already an ion canon, is asking for a disable/anti-shield gear, not a damage dealing one.

    ps: it also helps to never fully repair your ship (as long as you know how to keep it in shape), as random encounters might give you free repairs.

    • jalf says:

      “You don’t need guns on the engy ship, as evidenced by my playthrough where I did well because I bought an additional ion gun”.

      Err…. Isn’t an ion gun also a.. gun?
      And without that extra gun I think you’d have had a much harder time.

      • El_Emmental says:

        Well, a “gun” or “weapon” rarely designate a device only capable of slightly disabling a system after 15 seconds of constant shooting (with no shield to protect), without causing any actual damage to it.

        “And without that extra gun I think you’d have had a much harder time.”
        Actually, no: it was a crappy level 1 ion canon, taking forever to shoot, dealing very little ion damage. I should have saved to get that ion bomb weapon that I missed (couldn’t afford it, was too low on scraps after buying that weak canon).

        During my playthrough, 90% of the battles were won by: my drones, my shield, my engine (dodges). Ions ? They were barely helping out with the shield.

        The drones were doing all the heavy-lifting, and spamming my two ion canon on the shield system (only this system), for the entire battle… kept it down half of the time only – while a single shot from a drone on it would severely damage it, for the next 20 seconds at least.

        This is why with an Engy ship, you shouldn’t be too focused on “I need a gun” (like a laser canon, or a beam), because you’ll end up not having the scraps to afford a good drone gear and a good shield system, the two most vitals things on an Engy ship.

        FTL requires clear specialization, you can’t try to have a little bit of ion, a little bit of laser, a little bit of drones… it’s too easy to end up with nothing strong enough to throw the balance of the battle on your side (especially when heavy shields show up in later sectors).

        • jalf says:

          Sorry, but now you’re just contradicting yourself.

          “90% of the battles were won by drones, shield and dodging.” So why did you emphasize lvl2 weapon crew and auto-reloader in your previous comment? What good did they do, if your weapons output didn’t make a difference?

          You could “spam ions to help your drones pierce shields”, and had “the ions taking care of the shield (and engines when they’re running away) and yet “Ions? They were barely helping out with the shield.”

          “I could spam ions” and yet the drones did all the real work?

          I’m sorry, but you’re talking complete nonsense. Maybe you’re just exaggerating and romanticizing your playthrough. Maybe you’re mixing several different runs. Maybe you’re just selectively underestimating how much your ions contributed. Maybe your ion guns helped out a lot in the first sectors, and were useless later, when you got better drones. Whatever the cause, you’re simultaneously telling us how awesome your ion guns were and how no “proper” weapons were at all necessary, and also how they didn’t actually do anything, and it was all down to drones.

          Of course, at the end of the day, you just need *something* beyond what you started with. And usually, you’re at the mercy of the game. If it gives me a gun while I’m in the engy ship I take it. I don’t usually feel like I’m in a position to go “oh, nah, I’ll pass”, and wait for a drone.

          On the other hand, if the game *does* give you drones, then true enough, you won’t really need your gun(s) much, or at all.

          So regardless of how your war story actually went, you’re absolutely right, *provided that the game lets you get your grubby hands on some decent drones*.

          If it doesn’t? Then you absolutely need more guns. :)

          • El_Emmental says:

            Oh, I think your post raise many many good points, I agree with you on most (if not all) of them :)

            I just thought Alec was saying “weapon” as in “hard-hitting weaponry dealing damages”. This is where Ions are not really “weapons”, but “tools” to me.

            As you said, on the early ships the spam of ions allowed me to bring down the shields easily, but later on they were barely disabling it (two ion canons only shooting on the shield kept it at 1 layer shield at best), while my Anti Ship drones were significantly much more useful and throwing the balance of the fight in my favour.

            You’re also 100% right about “using what you can get”, I just did an Engi layout B run and couldn’t get good drones and struggled to reach the flagship (and lost).

            My first intention was simply mentioning how one should focus on its ship specialization: if you start building a weapon-focused ship on an Engi one, you’ll have to spend more scraps on Weapon control (and not benefit from the default Drone control upgrades) and will be limited to 3 weapon slots.

            This is why I think that a captain should, as much as possible (apparently Alec doesn’t have much choice though), try to get only very specialized weapons (like a system-disabling bomb/missile launcher, to take down the shield as soon as possible – no damage dealing lasers/beams) and save the scraps on acquiring good Drones.

            ps: and yes, I totally romanticized my playthrough (when I sent my first comment, I just had destroyed the Flagship for the first time !), I’m sorry for the confusion I caused, I was just being too enthusiast about drone’s efficiency.

            Thank you for calmly bringing back sense in the topic ;)

  26. jkz says:

    Please let the next jump show a store, please let the next jump show a store…&^*%$%

    Didn’t think much of this game when I first saw it, bloody hell am I addicted now.

  27. emilengel says:

    I saw another game about spaceship management on kickstarter a while back, maybe I read about it here.. It was more focused on building the ship and that I think. But I can’t remember it’s name (or any more details, just remember I loved the premise). Anyone know what i’m talking about?
    I have to write that game’s name down to keep track of it…

  28. Lone Gunman says:

    It was going really well. With my Zoltan ship I had an ion bomb and a burst laser Mk III I could take out every ship with a reasonable amount of confidence. But a bloody Mantis ship beamed in their crew which meant I had to get my squishy Zoltans to safety whilst the mantis refused to suffocate and destroyed my guns, reactor and shields thus dooming my ship and it’s crew…