FTL: The Fatal Frontier, Sector 4

By Alec Meer on September 26th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

Continuing my FTL journey into the heart of doomed space-darkness. Read the earlier installments here.

Jump 1

A new sector! We’re down to 25% hull, still don’t have a proper gun and have spent all our money on repairs that didn’t last long. Damn, we’re in a tight spot. So do we exercise extreme caution or take big gambles in the hope of big pay-offs?

Here’s the first dilemma. We run into some rebels, who miraculously don’t attack us on sight. Wusses. Shall I demand surrender of their goods? You never know, maybe they’ll be afraid of men called Steven and just cough up without a fight.

They don’t cough up without a fight. And as well as fighting they prime themselves to escape, so I end up targeting their engine with my Ion Blast, rather than my usual tactic of hounding their shield. This means they get a few good hits in, and my hull’s in even worse state. I win the fight, but for inconsequential gain.

Jump 2

I aim for a nearby distress beacon, hoping it will mean violence-free adventure. We encounter a small Federation ship being battered by asteroids. I don’t much fancy wading into that, but fortunately we have a bonus option – send in our repair drone to fix up their shields, while we hang back in safety.

Except we don’t. For my trouble, my hull gets messed up by asteroids anyway. This is desperate now.

On the plus side, the ship has a reward for me. A gun! An actual gun! It’s a…. It’s a healing beam. It uses missiles, but it uses them to heal my own crew. It’s not a gun, it’s an anti-gun. It’s a smack in the face, a punch in the nuts, the final insult. I shake with pathetic fury, then punch the lightspeed button again. Please, a store, a store.

Jump 3

Another jump in which we’re not immediately set upon. This is because the Rebel scout here is busy chasing after a Federation ship. We have the option to aid our erstwhile comrades or flee. My heart says get involved, be a hero, earn a reward. My brain says “two more knocks to the hull and we’re dead.”

For what might just be the first time in my life, my brain wins. I feel incredibly guilty as we disappear into the darkness. Then I pray for a store again.

Jump 4

I’m immediately offered an opportunity to make up for my cowardice. This time, it’s a civilian ship that’s being harassed by rebels. I dither again – this rebel’s only one of those lightly-armed, crewless autoscout. It’ll be easy. Easy!
Why do I never learn?

It was a shielded autoscout, rather than one of the easy-prey unprotected ones, and that meant it stayed alive for long enough oto launch a couple of missiles at us. Now we have one pip of hull left. One pip! Should even one shot gets through my shields, that is it. All over. Didn’t even make it through four sectors. The shame of it all. Now my only hope is trying to reach a store without encountering any enemies. There’s no store visible on the sector map yet, but there sure are a lot of unvisited jumps. Each one a deadly gamble.

There’s one good thing to come out of this disastrous encounter. Another new chum beams aboard. Say hello to Ohm, the fifth crew member and third Engi. I send him/it to Weapons as he/it will be able to repair damage faster than puny Human Steven can. Academic, of course, as if we take any more damage it’s all over. At least I can say I died an efficient man.

OK. Enough shilly-shallying. What’s out there?

Jump 5

We run into a mercenary ship. There are our options:

2, I choose you. Because it means I’ll find out where the store is, if indeed there is one.

There is! But it’s three jumps away. Three terrifying jumps into the unknown.

Jump 6
I start heading towards it, but it’s rapidly clear that the pursuing rebel fleet will have reached and subsumed it before I can get there. This means 1) the shop will be shut down and 2) I’ll have an enormous fight on my hands. I scream an endless cream, and not for the last time.

I am, however, given a Hull beam by some friendly Engis en route.

OhmigodomigodomigodIhaveagun.

Jump 7

As there are no other stores here and the fleet is two jumps behind me now, my only option is to head for the exit. With just one pip of hull left. This is so unbelievably, incredibly, horrifyingly, awfully, miserably bad.

But! I have a gun now. I also have an Ohm to go with my Steven. No-one is dead.. Well, we’re all practically dead, but let’s try and enjoy these last few precious moments.

I’ve got a reasonable amount of scrap by now, so I spend it on upgrading to an extra tier of shield. That’s my only hope of surviving the fights en route to wherever the hell the next store is. It might be enough.

Wait.

Wait.

Oh no.

Oh sweet baby Jesus no.

Oh God. Oh God no.

I’ve just spent all my scrap on upgrades.
So even if I do find a store, I can’t afford to repair the hull.
We’re doomed.
Unless…

To be continued…

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59 Comments »

  1. Mr. Mister says:

    Yesterday I finished a normal run with The Vortex (unlockable alternate layout of the engi ship, that starts with only one crew member and without sensors).

    I gotta say, these are all quite the cliffhangers.

  2. pupsikaso says:

    You’re going to have to sell your gun, aren’t you?

    • Baardago says:

      Hull beam sold = a massive headache later on.

      Ion gun sold = dead engi walking.

      Nope, selling the guns is a bad idea.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        He’s got the anti-gun he can sell

        • KDR_11k says:

          Selling the healing bomb is a good idea for him, the engi ship’s med bot dispersal makes it rather unnecessary for fights on home turf and with engis you won’t try boarding either.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            In his situation he should be selling that too.

          • Balm says:

            I sell engi heal everywhere gadget at first chanse I get.

          • sbs says:

            Same as balm, it’sa good source of scrap early on to have some useless piece of shit augment to sell

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          • Screwie says:

            I used to do that, but now I love the engi omniheal gadget! I upgrade my medbay to the max and suddenly my guys are outhealing fires, boarders and very nearly suffocation. And the fact they don’t have to stand in the medbay to heal opens up a lot of options logistically.

          • Edradour says:

            Yeah imo its the most useful augment right after Long Range Scanners and the Weapon Preigniter

      • Carra says:

        The healing gun is really only useful when you’re boarding. So yeah, sell it.

  3. BestFriends4Ever says:

    Alec, don’t you realise that I’m broke and already have too many games that I don’t have time to play? Well, now I have to buy this one because you make it sound awesome.

  4. RedViv says:

    This diary, I like it! Another!

    Ahem. Also want more rogue-like-likes. FTL, Isaac, and Tokyo Jungle, have done that very well now. More!

  5. ADinVA says:

    I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

  6. EPICTHEFAIL says:

    We need a Janeway Pie ASAP. Also, does the game perchance let you, say, sell one of your crew to a different slavemaster? Because that would be my choice.

    • RedViv says:

      Occasionally. Meeting them, that’s the problem. As with all things FTL.

    • Dark Nexus says:

      You can give one of your crew (at random) to slavers to get them to leave you alone.

    • Mr_Day says:

      Sometimes the slavers will demand one of your crew for a slave, as has been said, but here is the rub:

      You draw lots to see who it is, you can’t pick a member of the crew and offload them.

      Whenever the game decides to randomly kill a crew member for you, it seems to me to always be the most accomplished crew member on board.

  7. Ironclad says:

    On an unrelated note, I FINALLY got all 3 achievements for the stealth ship. That kill a ship from 100% health to 0% in 1 cloak is a right bastard.

    As is the avoid 9 points of damage during 1 cloak.

    Compared to those, the third is rather easy (get to last sector without entering a nebula storm, solar flare area or asteroid field.

    • Mr. Mister says:

      The game can screw you though. In one attempt of achievemnt Nº3, I found myself being offered to jump either to a star’s vicinity, or an ion storm, right after entering sector 7.

      FFFFFF.

      As for Nº2, the main issue is that you have to remain cloaked until the reward text is triggered, which is quite the treshold bit.
      Also I haven’t getten the phase shift yet, but I guess that the best bet is the flagship superweapon (not sure though, I believe that only fires 8 projectiles of unrecallable damage).

      • Dark Nexus says:

        My first run with the stealth ship, I was offered the choice of an asteroid field, or waiting. On my first jump.

        I restarted that one.

      • Ironclad says:

        I got it by accident in a sector-5 battle inside an asteroid field. 2 projectiles from enemy + several asteroid fly-byes.

    • Highstorm says:

      I still can’t find the stealth ship. After 8 runs of specifically looking for it. I guess that’s why they call it “stealth”, eh? Ugh.

      • Ironclad says:

        you have to do a special quest to get each ship, I think. The Stealth ship requires a member of a certain species be part of your crew (don’t ask me which species, I don’t remember) and they’ll ask you to hunt down stolen technology.

        • Dark Nexus says:

          It’s an Engi, and you get the quest in the Engi Homeworlds.

        • TNG says:

          Spoiler alert for obtaining the stealth ship:

          It requires an Engi crewmember (to get a blue option on the dialog) and you get the quest at the Engi Homeworlds sector. You have to complete one or two missions (can’t remember) but it is pretty straightforward.
          I accidental gained it on my very first playthrough and playing with it really teaches you to value your engines! It also really helps to get the augmentation that allows you to shoot without disrupting the cloak.

          • Mr. Mister says:

            If you think you’ve already played enough so that the only reason you haven’t gotten it is because of the RNG gods, to the point where you “spiritually” have already unlocked it, you can always grab the disable fleet mod (which actually just delays it by 9999 turns), find the sector, and explore every single beacon.

          • 2lab says:

            Or you could get the FTLProfileEditor from github and just unlock the ship.

    • skyorrichegg says:

      Huh, oddly I got all but the last achievement really easily… stupid events where I clicked too fast accepting them are what made me fail that one, they sent me following a pirate ship into an asteroid field.

      The first two achievements I thought were the easy ones, there are drone enemies without shields in the early sectors you can take out with the standard weapons in one cloak if you have upgraded your cloak just a bit, and the dodge achievement is basically guaranteed against the boss.

    • UmmonTL says:

      I found that a lot of the achievements can be done quite easily at the very beginning if you get a little lucky. I did the kill in one stealth achievement by doing sector 1 over and over because it has the unshielded rebel scouts with very low HP. Your starting weaponry is just one damage short of an instant kill so you need to either find enough scrap and a store to buy a weapon or get lucky and find a weapon. It may take a little time but later on the ships have much more HP, shields and a higher evasion rate so getting the right gear together is very hard.

  8. KDR_11k says:

    Do not underestimate the rebel AI ships, they tend to outperform manned ships in their sector, often having better shields, higher dodge rates or massive weapons arrays. Sometimes they’re pushovers but especially in the later sectors these things are your nemesis.

  9. DickSocrates says:

    All the good work with the DS9 picture undone. Still, an on balance “would” to Janeway.

  10. Hodge says:

    It will be quite fitting if he dies during the next one with Bakula in the header shot.

  11. Lone Gunman says:

    Still haven’t managed to complete this. Considering it took me around 1200 attempts at spelunky before I completed it this is no biggie.

    • iucounu says:

      I got the final boss down to one hit point, and he managed to zap me with the superweapon about a second before I could get the shot off. I fully believe two seconds longer and I’d have beaten it. It was absolutely heartbreaking, especially as I’d killed all the crew with my awesome commando teams.

    • Lambchops says:

      FTL took me fewer attempts than Spelunky (though I haven’t completed it on normal yet so not sure if it counts!).

  12. Lambchops says:

    Struggling along with only a few points of hull is always nerve jangling.

    That or realising you are in a losing battle and hoping that the raging fire that your men cant reach because they need to repel some boarders and you can’t suppress by venting because your door control is down doesn’t reach the engine room before you can jump the hell out of there.

  13. Droopy The Dog says:

    Wait, does this mean the next diary’s going to have captain quantum leap as the header? What happens if the doomed engis reach sector 6?

  14. x1501 says:

    Ha! My Janeway lobbying has paid off.

  15. aircool says:

    How much am I enjoying this game? I’ve downloaded the XCOM demo and not even thought about it yet.

    Just one more game… this time, it will be different.

  16. cspkg says:

    This diary is EPIC. Really awesome work, Good Sir.

    I’ve yet to beat this game on Easy (and I’ve already sunk in 12 hours), but I’ve gotten to the final boss a few times. I have to say that my Engie ship run, inspired by this log, is kicking my ass. Like you, I’m struggling to find a real weapon. Everything could become viable if only I could aim the frakking anti ship drone. It selects targets like a blind monkey with a baseball bat, leaving me vulnerable to multiple missile strikes. And ion blast stunlocking can only get a man so far…

    But this is also the most I’ve been challenged by a game in a Long time. It really is not that forgiving, even on Easy, and messing up even one fight can lead to a colossal strike package a few steps down the road. And I’m madly in love with it (not this ship, though. She is a death trap).

    I never want this series to end!

    Perhaps a diary of your hunt for achievements/ unlocking ships?

    If all else fails, a pacifist playthrough is bound to be hilarious.

  17. Charles de Goal says:

    I’ve just tried teleporting two guys into an AI-controlled ship, before realizing there wasn’t any oxygen inside. Poor guys.

  18. sbs says:

    Man, this game. I had a similar story unfold today.
    Sometimes I was armed and leveled to my teeth and the boss ripped me apart. Today I beat it with the starting drone. I had two ion blasts and a defense drone, too. But the damage? All Anti-ship Mark I.
    I tried visiting every shop and none had any weapons for me. I was desperate. Didn’t think it was possible at all, I was surprised enough I made it to the last fight.
    I hope your captains log has a similar, happy outcome.

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