The FTL: Faster Than Light Survival Guide
How hard can commanding a Spaceship be? If it was anything like what we are faced in FTL: Faster Than Light it would be left for only the most skilled and determined individuals. This game is not fooling around when it comes to slapping you around with missiles, lasers and drones. At one moment you can feel confident in your upgraded ship, only to end up in a Storm, with half your power, boarded, on fire, and leaking oxygen. I cannot even describe how many times I lost what I thought was an excellent setup to a surprisingly efficient foe, and my own mistakes. How to survive in FTL: Faster Than Light then? There are a few things to be aware of so that you cope a bit better, but they will by no means guarantee success. I only hope that by reading this guide you will have an easier time reaching zone 8. What happens after that? Let’s just say you are either that confident of victory, or you will be starting from square one all over again.
The FTL: Faster Than Light Survival Guide
In order to get a good grip on how to perform better in FTL: Faster Than Light we must discuss two important areas. How to protect yourself, and how to attack the enemy efficiently. Although you won’t be able to have an impenetrable defense you have to to tackle the problem of being under fire in two stages. Not getting hit, and resolving the effects of being hit.
On Shields and Evasion
Depending on the ship you start in you might have access to more or less powerful Engines and Shields. Both of these measures have the important task of not allowing something to damage your ship. This is of course wishful thinking that you will ever have enough Evasion and strong enough shields to stop the enemy from any damage. It is important that you do not completely forget about upgrading or improving them.
Evasion allows you to dodge enemy fire (except for beams). How high your Evasion is depends on your Piloting and Engine. If you have a skilled Pilot and Engineer to man the Engine, together with suitable upgrades you will dodge missiles with the use of barrel rolls and more complex techniques. It should be noted that improving the Piloting Modules does not increase your Evasion, it only allows for the Auto-Pilot to try and dodge incoming fire if no Pilot is present. Only through upgrading your engine can you actually increase your Evasion significantly. Your Crew’s skills will also benefit you, but since you might had noticed just how often and suddenly you can lose crew members best not rely on them purely.
Your shields act as your second line of defense. If they are strong enough (and we are talking about some incredibly strong shields, or Zotan shields) you can even stop missiles. In general, your shields are meant to stop: Beams, Lasers and Ion shots. Each laser shot, regardless of strength, will take away one shield point. Ion Shots will temporarily weaken the shield, by how much depends on the specific Ion weapon. Beams are “softened” by the Shields. So, for example, if you had a Beam with strength two, facing a strength one shield then the beam would be capable of doing damage within the ship for one point, instead of two. Take note that certain weapons ignore Shields. Missiles will punch through any shield, except for 5 point/Zotan Shields. Bombs are teleported inside the enemy ship ignoring shields as well, and only a high enough Evasion can make them “Miss”. In general if you lack a decent Evasion your Shields will only stop certain types of weapons, making you an easy prey for Missiles and Bombs. A sufficient spamming of Ion weapons will also eventually disable your shields, leading to disaster.
Taking these two points into account, what is more important, Evasion or Shields? The simple answer is, “Both.”. Evasion can only be so high (the highest I ever got, without penalizing myself was 40%) so the Shields protected me from almost anything else that I could not dodge. Of course, you are bound to be hit, by something, so what will you do when that happens?
There is a certain alternative to using Evasion, and that is cloaking. When cloaked you get a 60% evasion bonus, for a limited duration. The enemy weapons won’t be able to target you, while your own weapons will be able to load up, and even fire, while cloaked. The problem is that the Cloaking system has a mildly long recharge time, and until it is upgraded you will have only short moments of becoming invisible. Still, the Cloaking system is a good investment, especially if you want to dodge already fired missile salvos.
Taking Damage – Never Panic
In an ideal scenario nothing will so much as scratch your hull. In reality, the enemy will have such a wide selection of weapons that you are bound to get hit by something. The first rule of getting hit, do not panic. Follow these few steps in order to cope with any damage that you suffered.
- Did the hit damage the Hull (loss of oxygen in section), damage a system or start a fire? If not, continue on. If there was any such damage, proceed to point 2.
- Evaluate the importance of the damaged module or hull section. If it’s a non-essential system or sub-system leave the repairs for post-battle, if they are important, proceed to point 3.
- How extensive is the damage? How much does it penalize you? If you had some spare “power” points in your System that do not effect your efficiency you can ignore the damage, for now, but it should be fixed if possible.
- If the damage was penalizing, and you are under-gunned or exposed move crew members from other systems in order to fix those section as quickly as possible. If you feel that the battle is not going your way at all order your crew to focus repairs on your Piloting and Engine Systems. After you flee to a safe sector can you proceed with efficient and quick repairs of your ship.