The FTL: Faster Than Light Survival Guide

There are two types of damage that cannot be ignored in the long-term. Fires, and Oxygen system damage. A fire left unattended can spread, resulting in multiple system damage. If it is possible try opening doors in order to create vacuum in that area. Be aware, if you take too long the fire could be too strong for your crew members alone to extinguish it. If you are under-staffed, flee. If you cannot cope with the on-board fire, then you have no way of dealing with the enemy in front of you.

Oxygen system damage might not seem that important, up until you are faced with multiple hull breaches, or forced to extinguish fires through the use of vacuum. Once the Oxygen level is too low you might lose crew members from attempts at fixing the O2 System. If you have a spare crew member, or repair droid, make use of them to fix the O2 System. Be prepared that in some dire circumstances you might have to move more than one crew member to resolve this. If you are at a critically low level (10%, for example) then you should send the most skilled repair crew.

FTL: Faster Than Light

I am in a bit of a pickle here. Not only is my engine destroyed, but my shields have also been Ionized. I can either choose to attack the enemy with my Halberd beam, or try and fix the engine, hold out for as long as possible, then flee.

How to classify which modules are the most important? A lot depends on how determined you are, and your own personal calculation of whether you can still win, or not. If you are faced with multiple module damage, and assuming you have a start-up ship, and you are prepared to fight back, at any cost, focus on repairing first your Weapon System, then your shields. If you manage to disable the enemy weapons then your crew can fix the other Systems. Shields might protect you, but if they were not strong enough to withstand enemy fire in the first place you should first neutralize the enemy. Alternatively, focus on your Piloting and Engine Systems. Without these your FTL drive won’t charge up, and you will be left a sitting duck for the enemy. Your piloting module could be your Achilles heel, since you might not upgrade it, and as such the enemy will have to cause one point of damage to take it out, halting any escape progress.

Repelling Boarders

It is likely that at some point somebody will try to board you. The problem with boarders is that, in some cases, they could outnumber you. Sometimes the boarders will target your key systems, so that their ship can finish you off. Fighting off boarders is not that hard, as long as you keep your head in place. If you have upgraded doors you can efficiently block enemy movement aboard your ship. On top of that, while the boarders are stuck in a hull section, trying to blast their way forward, you could try creating a vacuum in their area. Take note that you can use certain bombs on your own ship as well. So, for example, if you have four Mantis in a hull section you can try fire bombing them, or creating a vacuum. If you are unable to defeat the enemy before they reach a system ask yourself whether the system is important or not. Dragging your crew away while fighting the enemy ship could cost you a victory. If you have the time to first destroy the ship, do so, then defeat the boarders. If not, try to deal with the boarders as quickly as possible. If you have excess crew members, use them. Alternatively, if you lack a crew, use Anti-Boarding Drones. They might not be strong, but they are certainly tough.

Fighting Back

The Weapons

Defeating y0ur opponent might seem like an easy task. It can be, but do not be fooled by somebody with few shields and numerous guns. When you face an opponent take into account the following: How Strong are his Shields? Does he have any Defense Droids? How many weapons does he have? Does he have Attack Droids of his own? These questions allow you to prioritize your fire. If you faced a foe with limited shield, numerous weapons, and no Droid, you could first focus on the shields, to take them out completely, and then fire at the weapons system. When faced with a ship heavily dependent on drones you might want to focus on the Drone Control system first, especially if the Defense drones impede your missiles, or if the attack drones keep damaging your shields.

FTL: Faster Than Light

In some situations planning where which weapons will fire and in what order is crucial for maximum effectiveness. In this example, if the missile managed to hit the shield generator and knock it out (it will pierce the shield without a problem) then the burst laser can focus on the Weapon System, without the shield blocking it.

Which weapon is good for what scenario? There are a number of ways to approach this question, so let us look at the extremes:

Laser Based Ship – You focus on employing Laser Weapons, especially Multi-Lasers. The obvious strength is that you do not need missiles or Drone Parts. The con is that you have to punch through the enemy shields, in order to do any real damage.  This is where Multi-Lasers excel. Having in your grasp Burst Laser II or III cannons allows you to efficiently fire off salvos, which should have no problem piercing the enemy shields, even if they have a higher level, and damaging the systems and sub-systems within. The problem could be that you lack enough lasers to pierce the enemy shields. As such, having a backup weapon, such as an Ion or Breach Bomb, to target the Shield system is a great idea. Once the shield is down a Multi-Laser can quickly destroy the enemy ship’s systems.

Missiles Based Ship – The enemy has shields? Pft. Fire off a few missiles at their weapon systems and they could have a Tier 4 shield, you don’t care! That is, up until you run out of missiles, or the enemy has multiple, or even one, Defensive Drone. Defense Drones are the bane of missiles, and later on also Laser weapons. As such, even though you could have the perfect weapons to turn the inside of your opponents into Swiss cheese you first have to get rid of those Droids. The solution? Bombs. Lasers and Beams are only ever any good if you know that you can punch through the enemy shields. This is a very expensive route however, and taking out an enemy by spamming missiles can result in your downfall.

“Bomber” – Bombs are your thing? Teleporting explosives into key elements of the enemy ship, then detonating them and watching how the crew suffocates, or burns to death? It is a beautiful image, but I would hate to disappoint you, it is never that easy. Breach and Ion bombs are the best Bomb-based weapons you can get your hands on. An Ion Bomb will disable the enemy system for a long time, while a Breach bomb could turn a perfectly functional section of the ship into a dead-zone. Firebombs? Yes, they are also a delicious weapon to use, but alone they might not be that effective. A competent enemy crew will put out the fire before it does any real damage. As such, if you want to use fire bombs make sure you have a way of ensuring the fire stays lit. If you manage to take out the enemy’s O2 system then the fire could well suffocate the entire crew. If the Medbay stays functional however the enemy crew could recover and put the fire out. Take note, enemy weapons can still fire if the Weapon System is intact. Using bombs might be inefficient if you desire a quick victory.


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 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.

12 Responses to The FTL: Faster Than Light Survival Guide

  1. asdf says:

    Just kill the boss :)!

  2. Phil Asheeo says:

    Evasion before shield, never yield! Shield before evasion, a captain of the DEAD persuasion!

    Great game, hard as nails.

  3. apocon says:

    Just beat it with Nisos on Easy does it count? :P

  4. apocon says:

    Hehe that is true. Great job on the guide btw!

  5. Zalym says:

    Thanks for the guide though it was a good read!

    I’ve had this game for awhile and can make it to the flagship most of the time – but I’ll be darned if I can get there with strong enough weapons – or if I do, I’ve spent so much scrap on repairs as I traveled that i don’t have the engines or shields to give me the time needed to use the weapons. Or some other variant of that sob story. ‘Dice Roll’ based games always seem to hate me :)

    That’s alright though – getting there is 98% of the fun in this game anyway. At least for me who is stuck in the cold when it comes to “winning”. Thanks again!

    • WriterX says:

      Not a problem! I hope it will help a bit. And yes, this game is so much like Dwarf Fortress. You either get is super easy and lucky… Or you die in the first five minutes, and you had no way of preparing for it!

  6. Yaro Kasear says:

    Totally disagree with the boarder strategy. All that will do is guarantee lost systems and crew.

    It’s easy: Move all your crew to the medbay, open all the doors but the medbay. Boarders will be forced to take your crew on there where they have no hop eof winning. Bonus is they’ll leave all your systems alone. Only downside is if they came from a ship you have no evasion.

    If you have a fully upgraded door system you could force them to fight their way to the medbay against suffocation. Might also allow you more time to keep systems manned, at least long enough to cripple the enemy ship.

  7. Mweeehp says:

    I managed to get to the boss in my second run in normal. :0 im so badass ^_^

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