Five things you might had not known about FTL: Faster Than Light

4. Don’t mess with the AI

Throughout FTL you will face AI controlled ships. These come in two forms, Scout and Assault Drones. Unlike ordinary ships these Drones do not have a Crew, which might make them attractive targets for teleporting in Crew members to take out their systems up close, but Drone System rooms lack oxygen, making teleportation your last option. To make matters worse certain Drones will not have corridors leading to their different sections, resulting in a very sluggish and dangerous attempt at taking out the Drone with Crew Members. To make matters worse AI controlled Ship/Drones will repair damaged systems on their own. This is especially problematic when you use Boarding Drones to attempt and destroy the enemy. While they take care of one system and proceed to the next the system they just damaged will slowly begin to recover. The rate of this recovery is not fast, however under certain circumstances it is especially dangerous.

SPOILER ALERT (Read below at your own Risk)

The Final Boss Fight throws the Rebel Capital Ship at you. This ship has countless systems, including four separate Weapon Systems. While it is attractive to take out all the enemy Crew Members, since that would theoretically “disable” the Capital Ship, it doesn’t. The moment you kill all the Crew Members the Ship will go into AI mode, meaning that all the systems you might had disabled just moments ago will begin to self-repair. Considering the fact that the Capital Ship’s Weapon systems have to be teleported to separately, if you plan on disabling them, it could make the battle much tougher than it should be.

SPOILER ALERT OVER

5. Know your Enemies

FTL has many different enemies that you have to be aware of, when it comes to fights against them. Each race has a slightly different style of combat, and their tactics will also differ, depending on the situation. If you are curious what to expect from each enemy combatant, read on.

Engies – Engie Ships rely on two things, a lot of the time, Ion Weapons and Drones. Typically an Engie Ship will have Defense Drones to protect it from incoming missiles, making it also impossible to send Boarding Drones. Since Engies are very skilled mechanics any damage done to their Ship’s Systems could be repaired rapidly, but they make terrible Close Combat fighters. In some cases an Engie Ship can be taken over by Mantis, in which case a boarding action will be difficult, and you will have to rely on a mix of laser and beam weapons to take out the Engie Ship. You should note though that unlike Engies Mantis are terrible mechanics. Use that to your advantage.

Mantis – Mantis are expert close combat fighters. Depending on your difficulty setting and “Level” the Mantis may board your ship at the very start of combat. Despite this most Mantis ships lack a big Teleporter room, meaning that you will only have to deal with Two Mantis boarders at a time. If you have Mantis of your own you can safely stop the enemy from causing any damage to your ship. Teleporting onto a Mantis Ship may be risky at later levels, or a higher difficulty setting, since the majority of the crew will be Mantis, meaning very hazardous close combat. If the enemy has a functioning Med Bay this might make a successful take-over impossible. Mantis do have one substantial weakness, lack of mechanical skills. Any damage to a Mantis Ship will be repaired much more slowly than on any other ship.

“Pirates” – Pirates come in many blends (including Mantis, Slugmen, Rockmen, etc.) but in this case I would like to focus on “Human” ships, including Rogue Federation ships. Depending on the class of ship the enemy might rely on Drones, but most of the time Pirate ships will have a primarily human Crew, with a mix of different weapons. As such, they have no outstanding qualities or weaknesses.

Rebels – Rebel Ships are en par with Pirate Ships, the only difference in this regard is the Rigger, which is a Rebel ship that employs Drones. Unlike other ship types the Rigger might have a mix of Drones, so it is hard to predict what will be sent your way. Be prepared that if the enemy ship does not send out Defense or Boarding Drones that they most likely have Anti-Personnel and Repair Drones inside their own ship. While they have a limited supply of Drone Parts they can still cause a disruption if you do not take out the Drone Control Room in first order.

Rockmen – Rockmen ships are tough, and they might be able to shake off damage to their hull despite successful hits. Rockmen ships also tend to use Missiles over other weapon types, making your shields completely worthless. Rockmen are immune to Fire, have more health than other races, but move slower. Your first priority should be to take out the enemy weapon systems, then you can proceed to deal with the ship in any way you see fit. Because of their properties starting a mass fire might not bring about the desired effect, and if you want to fight Rockmen up close you will have to use trained Mantis warriors to do so efficiently.

Slugs – Slug ships can mean very bad news for you. When you meet them in their nebula you might end up with a series of terrible events, such as a damaged Oxygen System, shield, or any other system. Because of this a fight against Slugs may be challenging. However, their crew members lack anything to oppose your crew with, effectively. They are neither overly skilled in defense or attack, so you can defeat them by teleporting soldiers with little to not issue. Very early Slug Ships will have a very poorly designed interiors, allowing you to disable their oxygen and engine systems without giving them the option of repairs. Later on your fights will be tougher. One thing should be noted about Slug Ships. Any Hull Breaches, caused by Boarding Drones, Bombs or Missiles will seal themselves up, without the need for crew members to fix them. As such, if you rely on Boarding Drones suffocating the enemy it is no longer a liable option. Usually a hull breach is sealed just a moment after a system runs out of oxygen, so during an ongoing fight against your Drone enemy crew members are less likely to flee.

Zoltan – Zoltan ships have one quality no other ship or race has, their Zoltan shields. Unlike any standard shield, Zoltan Shields will stop any attempts at teleportation or drone deployment on their ship. Any weapon, including missiles, will be “soaked” by the Zoltan Shield. Thankfully the Zoltan shield can be depleted after enough damage has been dealt to it. Usually a Zoltan shield will offer only five points of defense. Using missiles to take them down is costly. Drones that smash against the Zoltan shield do not cause any damage to it. Your best solution is using rapid fire weapons (such as an Ion Mark II) or anti-ship drones (be it laser or beams). Drones are a better option because they will fire far quicker than any other weapon, even with upgrades and a skilled crew. You can keep your weapon charged and waiting for the moment the Zoltan shield goes down. Zoltan crew members have less health than any other race, making them easy pickings for almost any other race (except Engies).

What happens when…?

As a small bonus, here are a few things you might had been wondering about, but never figured out, or never ended up facing on your own. These are highly situational, but will happen on occasion, so do not panic!

“How will we get back?” – Sometimes during a boarding action, especially if all of your Crew members are on the enemy ship, you may end up with a destroyed Teleporter. If you manage to take out the enemy crew and the Teleporter is down, with nobody to fix it on your ship then your crew will “fly back” on a shuttle that the enemy ship had. As such, you do not lose the game if your Crew is “stuck” on the enemy ship when you win. You will however lose the game if your ship is destroyed, or if your entire crew is FTLed on the enemy ship.

“That did nothing…” – Certain weapon types do not cause damage if used in the wrong way. For example a Small Bomb does damage ONLY to the enemy system. It will not cause any damage to the hull. At the same time the Anti-Bio Beam will only harm Crew Members, doing no damage to Drones, Systems or Hull. Read the description and use common sense.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

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About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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