Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

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Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby Ourosboros » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:37 am

First to check if my combat strategy is ok:

Kestrel: I first use rocket to take down the shield, then the laser to take out their missiles. I always focus shields and missile system first. Not sure if this is the best to go.
Engi: I use ion to disable shield then let the attack drone tear them down. The problem with engi is that if the enemy has 3+ shields I cant seem to win nomatter what. As without rockets I cant take down the shields leading to a long death.

How to counter?

With engi and kestrel both 75% of my deaths are pretty much boarding by mantis crew. They are extremely deadly in combat and I need 2v1 for each of their crew. On top of that their ship can STILL FIRE while boarding! So if the combat odds themselves are 50/50'ish - they will almost always win because by the time I kill the boarding crew - half my ship is on fire , ruined etc.

Resource managment:

Allthough I mostly succeed in combat I feel that in FTL you are always struggling to get enough scraps for fuel and repair. If I get REALLY lucky I MIGHT be able to push in a few upgrades. However even if Im lucky with resources AND minimalize combat damage I always feel underpowered because there never seem to be enough scraps for enough upgrades.

Upgrade priority:

Keeping in mind that: Minimalized damage to me means more scraps for further upgrades.
I always try to get a second shield up first, because that gives stable defenses. I then up reactor to get 30% defense. This way I have avoidance and "armor" both. I also always try to get in that extra 3rd weapon or extra drone.

Mantis fatality:

My main problem in the game is mantis boarding parties. Even by ionizing their teleporter as fast as I can - it seems that the AI is cheating?! Because they will always manage to board BEFORE I can disable their teleporter.

Depressing shops:

Oh great, a shop! Hopefully I have enough for fuel and repair. Buying extra crew or gear/augments? Almost never enough salvage.

Even if you get lucky, you get owned:
I once had 4 guns, shield 3 35% evasion, maxed pilot, 6 crew. Then a Mantis bomber comes and says "HI THER LUL, I SEND 5 PPLZ to UR SHIP AND AT DE SAME TIEM BLOW EVERYTHING UP"

Notes: I love the game and love a challenge, but I really need some advice it seems. I play on normal. Id rather die on normal than sell out my dignity by playing easy.
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby UltraMantis » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:44 am

Pretty much, when get owned by the game, you must figure out what went wrong. You've done a good job of that so far, so let me offer some advice.

Minimising the boarder problem:
-For very little cash you can upgrade the MedBay to level 2. It heals your crew much faster when you need it most.
-Remember that enemy boarders do not attack your crew if they can attack a system. Let them have a system, save your crew. Heal up, then go back to the fight. You can allways repair once you are clear of danger.
-It helps greatly if you have strong fighters (Mantis or Rock) on board so you can tangle with the invaders without abandoning the stations. In case you are low on crew, open up the airlocks, close only the MedBay doors and run there. Once it is the only room left with air, intruders will have no choice but to go there and fight you. But the MedBay will heal you. (Psycho Mantis boarders can sometimes rip you apart even in a lvl2 MedBay)
-A more expensive but also safer upgrade are blast doors. These take a long time for intruders to break down, and if you open a nearby airlock and vent air into space, it's possible to suffocate them entirely or at least damage them heavily.
-Much worse than boarders is the sensory overload that will cause you to screw up your attack, and probably lead to nasty damage
-Shields, engines and weapons are all very important but they wont to jack for you if you're dead. Being exposed to boarding attacks is a gameover waiting to happen. Buy an upgrade to prevent it, it's extremly important.
-The only way to prevent the enemy from teleporting quickly is to either have a Zoltan supershield, or to cloak before they reach their teleporter and board you. As soon as either is eliminated, you will get boarded though. I'm happy to get boarded btw, it means there will be fewer crew on the enemy ship, and once you get proficient in intruder disposal, you will welcome them to their deaths as well.


Any ship will start to struggle with enemies that have 2+ shields and high evasion. It's not possible to pick what stores sell but be on the lookout for some good weapons to help take care of shields:
-Ion Blast MkII; this is your boy. This alone could knock out 4 shields but it misses a lot so it needs help from another weapon.
-Ion Bomb; a succesfull hit will take down 2 shields for a considerable time. Very low power consumption.
-Any 2 or 3 shot weapon (Burst lasers, Hull smashers, Heavy laser MkII)
-Burst Laser MkIII; a cumbersome weapon, better avoid unless there's nothing else.
-Beams are your friends. Beams don't miss and take out multiple rooms, but they need shields to be downed first. Never pass up a Halberd Beam, it's just too good at what it does.
-Breach Bomb MkII; this is slow but it annihilates systems and causes a breach that delays system repairs.
-Attack drones; get two. They will never take out shields but will constantly reduce them making it easier for main weapons to get through.

Most offense in the game is either fast and overwhelming, or it's slow and demands a good defense until you're ready to strike. Spend much scrap on your engines, they will sometimes perform evasive miracles. Shields are only good up to level 3 in my opinion, but you'd better have huge engines in that case.
A crucial part of defense is the ability to deal with intruders, fires, low oxygen situations and in some cases having redundant systems. Byt that i mean having more upgrades than you plan to power or use. The auto pilot is fairly crap, but having your Helm able to absord an extra before being knocked out is priceless. No Helm, no evasion.


The Engi cruiser suffers from having only 3 weapon slots. It is a different ship from the Kestrel, but usually more resistant. Repairs will be quicker and you have missile defence, plus you don't have to run to the MedBay to heal. Hang on to the Ion and look for powerfull weapons to make the most of your limited slots.


Don't buy crew. (Unless you're trying to unlock a ship)
With experience it becomes possible to reduce damage taken, and that translates into scrap not wasted on repairs.
Sectors 1 and 2 are easiest. Explore them thoroughly and grab as much loot as you can.
50 scrap buys you a lvl2 shield. Beef up your engines to level 4-5 then power up the reactor so you have enough for everything. None of this is offense, but it will help you reap greater rewards later on by reducing damage.
Later sectors give much higher rewards, so it's ok to be broke through sectors 3-5, but clean out the first two.

Easy vs Normal:

No need to ever play on easy. It's not as bad as it usually is in most other games. One thing to remember about Normal though, is that sometimes FTL just plain turns on you and throws moster after monster at you until you succumb. It happens to us all. :mrgreen:

Keep learning from your deaths, and try to minimise the threat in future runs. It's never possible to be completely safe, but it is possible to laugh at intruders or solar flares. Unless you get 4 Rockmen + 2 Mantis come pay you a visit. Then someone is going to die and that's that. :lol:
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby Ourosboros » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:52 am

Thanks for taking your time to help me out Mantis. Some things in there that I feel really dumb not having thought of :)
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby UltraMantis » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:56 am

Sure thing friend. And welcome to the forum. :)
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby cicobuff » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:46 pm

Welcome to the forum.

The easy mode is actually a good start as it allows you to come to terms with the game engine.

The higher scrap allows you to buy weapons so that you can learn how to use them in conjunction with one another.

Do not worry about unlocking the achievements in easy because the can be unlocked again in normal.

Think of easy mode this way. It's similar to going to forums and reading FAQ to ask for help. Only that the devs built it in game for you to learn the mechanics without as much struggle.
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby Agg Shell » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:10 pm

you sound like you have a fairly solid stratigy, but you might want to look up guides on how to unlock different ships. i know i don't care much for drones, so i stay away from the engi cruiser, but i love the crystal B becaause it's boarding with crystals and a lockdown ability! or you might like the zoltan shield to stop boarders from coming in. Also, you don
t have to have 100% hull all the time. usually i would repair from 15 to ~25 because i know i don't need to use extra scrap. also, know your events. if you see mutant spiders, you should stay the freak away. Also, on the kestral A same your artimis untill people show up w/ 2 layers of shields. 1 burst laser salvo at the shields and they're good as done. My best advice, is to watch others play FTL. i know 2 good youtubes you could learn lots from, just by seeing what events do what when you choose them, stratigys, stuff like that. It is because of lets plays that i could start on normal and not rip my hair out. easy is a good place to start, however. heres how i feel about the diffeculty:
Easy: Time to start, not worry about much and get a feel for the game
Normal: When you want to take pride in what you do
Are you a mantis? Do you lack ships to fight and Zoltans to chew? Look no further! Come to your nearest mantis warcamp in the Zoltan Homeworlds or Zoltan controled sector and ask for a free brochure about how to farm the Zoltan! Results may very.
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby Teoes » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:09 am

Some very solid advice here already, but there’s a few things that could be added.

You may consider it cheap, but if you don’t then look for an encounter where you can’t be hurt and hang around to farm experience for your crew. If you’ve got 2 shields and the enemy has 2 shots or 1 shot + a beam then you’re safe. Hang around and get the pilot/engine/shield guys levelled up. The faster shield recharge is great but the 10% extra evade from having a master pilot & engineer on the systems can make such a massive difference – all for the cost of a little time and whatever ingredients you put in your sandwich while you’re waiting.

Agg Shell mentioned watching some LPs on youtube and I heartily endorse this; particularly Zzandrio: he posted here for a while and has a LP for just about every ship in the game. The videos themselves are entertaining enough and he knows what he’s doing – I learned a lot from watching him.

I’d also reiterate with the Kestrel that you can easily save your missiles until enemies start showing up with 2 shields, unless you luck out and get an encounter with someone packing crazy firepower that needs to be shut down. Otherwise the BL mk2 charges fast enough that you can probably just focus on their weapons, ignore their 1 layer of shielding and keep their weapons offline. I also tend not to fully repair unless I’m in danger. I hover around 20HP so that I can take advantage of any free/cheapo repairs that crop up through events.

The upgraded Medbay that UltraMantis mentioned also comes with some nice blue events. It can be a gamble prioritising it in the early game when you need to improve weapons/shields/engines, etc. but it can easily pay for itself if you find the crazy lone guy stranded on a moon. Lvl2 Medbay has given me 2 free crew by Sector 2 before, which is not to be sniffed at.

Long-Range Scanners is one of the best augments in the game. For a mere 30 scrap it gives you so much information; it allows you to plan a route through a sector to pick as many fights as possible, avoid suns/asteroid fields/ion storms if you don’t want the hassle and avoid everyone if needs be when you’re hurting. I *always* buy this when I see it.

If anything else comes to mind I’ll edit it into this post.
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby hermanJnr. » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:26 pm

Ourosboros wrote:Even if you get lucky, you get owned:
I once had 4 guns, shield 3 35% evasion, maxed pilot, 6 crew. Then a Mantis bomber comes and says "HI THER LUL, I SEND 5 PPLZ to UR SHIP AND AT DE SAME TIEM BLOW EVERYTHING UP"

Oh man, I can so sympathise with this. Got the game yesterday, already really enjoying it, but my best missions always seem to get ended by some sort of insane sequence of events that seems completely unsurvivable.

Example: My best attempt so far was in a Kestrel. Got 2000 points and got to Sector 5. Had lots of guns, full hull, but my one weakness was getting through shields. Through a combo of good weapon pickups and sensible upgrades things were going great.

Anyway, I ran into this huge pirate ship (Energy Bomber) which obviously was a nightmare for my hull-hitting setup. It got me to half hull, at which point I realised my lasers were useless and I was foolish to sell my Artemis launcher! So I jumped out, with half my systems damaged.

Where did I land? In front of a Mantis ship which had an armament roughly equivalent to Earth's entire nuclear stockpile. I don't know if the Mantis can smile with their insectoid incisors, but I think that particular pirate captain was probably laughing his head off as he blew my knackered ship to rubble before I could even repair the guns :(


My experience with the Engi ship also lead to Mantis Boarding Hell. I think it's just a big inherent weakness of that ship. I imagine getting bulkier crew (love Rockmen) would be good as suggested. I found it was also kind of weedy in the damage department too, which is what lead to my death with it.

My main problem is keeping my hull repaired yet maintaining enough scrap to buy good weapons. Even if I play the battles really well and barely sustain damage, I never seem to be in a fit state to acquire good guns, so I'm always using weapons that don't work well together...which thus means my ship inevitably gets rough ship-love made to it by the next scummy rebel I run into :roll:

Plus I'm also finding enemy ships are quite inconsistent. I ran into one Mantis Scout in Sector 4 and tore it to pieces without even taking a hit. Then I ran into another in Sector 5 with the same ship and it killed me ludicrously fast with these bizarre green uber-lasers :\
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby Dontmindme » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:37 pm

The best thing to do when you need to jump with damage is to jump to a previously visited beacon to repair back up (assuming you aren't lucky enough to have a store one jump away). Too many bad things can happen when you jump damaged into an unexplored location.
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Re: Beginner with multiple question. Getting annihilated!

Postby ForTheLoss » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:13 pm

Just got this game this week, and my god what a masterpiece....and mindf*ck at any time. Shit plays with your emotions with great it. Only just now realized that jumping away from battles was a possibility....could have salvaged some good runs

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