The FTL: Faster Than Light Survival Guide

Beam Based ship – Beams could work as weapons, at the beginning of the game. The moment the enemy gets Level 2 shields however you will be lacking almost any attack ability. How to use beams effectively? The first and obvious step is to knock out the enemy shields, then surgically target the beams into critical areas around the enemy ship. So, for example, use a Multi-Laser to weaken the shield, then target your beam weapons at the Shield system. If all goes well you could start a fire, resulting in even more chaos for the enemy. It is important that your beam weapons are charged however. Timing is crucial since if the beam jumps in too late then the shield could already soak it up.

Drone Ship – Attack Drones are awesome! Beams? Lasers? They are destructive! As long as the enemy does not have the shields to stop them. Using masses of drones is expensive, because you will have to use Drone Parts (unless you have the Recovery Arm installed). Is there any point in using Drones then? Yes, if you manage to knock out the enemy shields. Ion Bombs or Ion Cannons can solve that job efficiently, giving your Drones enough time to turn the enemy ship into a burning ruin. There is a substantial problem however, Drones are not smart. Your attack drones will randomly target spots on the enemy ship, meaning that you could be under extremely heavy enemy fire, while the drone keeps firing at an empty hull section. Using deployable Ship-Boarding drones sounds like a good idea, as long as the enemy is not strong enough to repel them. Alone, they might not be enough to defeat a ship. However, if you send them at a time when the enemy is weakened, and you would prefer to capture the ship, rather than to destroy it, then they might just be your solution.

Ion-Based ship – The only way how you can defeat an enemy through the use of Ion based weapons is by permanently taking out the enemy’s O2 System, and keeping it that way. Although you have the means to do that (Ion Bombs) it might as well be impossible, because the enemy weapons could take you out before anybody suffocates. However, a ship based on the heavy use of Ion weapons is deadlier than any cruiser fitted with missiles, lasers or beams. The reason is simple, Ion weapons can sabotage the shielding, allowing your Drones or other weapons to find their mark. Ion Bombs could be considered the single most “OP” weapon in the game. The weapon itself needs only one energy bar to function, the bomb teleports onto the enemy ship (ignoring all shields, unless there is an active Zotan shield present), and then causes four points of Ion Damage. If you have a troublesome shield or system you want to take out desperately the Ion Bomb will provide.

FTL: Faster Than Light

No matter how well you prepared yourself for a foe, a Plasma storm often kicks you in the shins when you least expect it. You have to suddenly juggle between your different systems, deciding on what you need to defeat, or run away from, your foe.

The Art of Capturing Ships

It is likely that there is a reason why you would want to capture the enemy ship. I won’t stop you! Heed this though, it is rarely easy. Depending on the enemy’s strength, and your own, you might have to approach this in three possible ways: Burn them out, Suffocate them or board them.

Burn them out – Fire bombs and Fire beams are ideal for this. Starting fires on the enemy ship will ensure constant damage to the enemy crew, and their modules. Take note, if the enemy crew is competent enough they can put out your fires before they take effect. Furthermore, if a fire destroys an enemy module/system the ship will lose one hull point. Before starting a mass fire analyze whether the enemy has enough hull points to withstand the destruction of all its systems. If not, the ship could be destroyed before the crew dies. Where you place the fires is also important. Targeting the O2 system is a good idea, but targeting other areas, such as the weapon system or engine is also useful.

Suffocate them – Fire is dangerous, because it could lead to the enemy ship exploding. The other solution is draining the enemy ship off oxygen. Two points must be accomplished here. The destruction of the O2 system, and multiple hull breaches. Destroying the Medbay is optional, but could make this plan far easier (the enemy will not have a way to send in healed crew members to fix the breaches). There is a “but”. If you lack Breaching bombs you will have to use missiles, and if the enemy has defense drones this might be a near impossible task, if you lack any other weapons. Fire will also drain oxygen, but it could lead to the ship exploding. Boarding Drones when dispatched onto the enemy ship will also cause a hull breach, wherever they land.

Board them – Boarding is a difficult art. Most ships have a limited teleporter size, and you could end up sending only two crew members, only to pull them out in the next instant. Mantis and Rockmen are good at performing boarding actions, because their health/attack values are higher than usual. Rockmen are also immune to fire, so sending them into a blazing inferno you just started could cost the enemy dearly. HOWEVER, they can still suffocate. It is useful to have either improved Sensors or Slugmen in your crew, to give you intelligence on enemy crew numbers, locations and the overall state of the enemy ship. Using Drones to aid your boarding crew is a good idea, also because the Drones won’t suffocate. Once you take out all the enemy crew the ship will be yours! Take into account though, the enemy ship can still fire at you if it has a functional weapon system. If the enemy has improved door sub-systems your movements could be heavily impaired.


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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