Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

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Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby zJack7331 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:02 pm

I've had roughly 10 attempts at starting with Zoltan Cruiser A, and I've just NOT been able to get past sector 3.
Does anyone have any starter tips, or maybe a video to help me?
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby wayward » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:02 pm

I've just won the game with Zoltan Cruiser A after ~10 failed attempts. The main strategy seems to be relying on your Zoltan Shield to buy you some time while your powerful beam weapon is charging. It can cut through level 1 shields; use it to disable enemy weapons systems. Once level 2 shields start popping up, upgrade your weapons so you can charge beam and missiles at the same time. Try to keep that Halberd hot at all times!

If you're lucky, you might run into the Weapon Pre-Heater augmentation; this is by far the best thing you can get for ZCA. It's quite expensive at 120sc, but it's worth its weight in gold and then some. Getting that first strike with an ion cannon/ion bomb + immediately following through with a ripping beam across their weapons and shields will often win you the game before they've even had the chance to hit the panic button on the bridge.

One last thing, perhaps the most important one: make sure you're hitting as many rooms as you possibly can with the beam. On some ships, the best you can hope for is 3; on others, you can strafe across 5 rooms at once. That's 10 damage in a single burst -- if their shields are down! Pay close attention to the targeting pointer as you're picking your beam's starting point on the enemy ship. It will turn red in a very thin area between the two rooms (just 1 pixel wide); this is the "no-room" area. To hit the room above it, you only need to move the pointer one pixel upwards. A little exercise will get you a long way and you will be slicing through room corners in no time. As an example, it is quite possible to hit four rooms at once on a Mantis Scout ( ... 9/ftl3.jpg ). Begin in the lower right corner of the shield room, very close to the door; drag to intersect the line dividing the navigation room and the empty room below it; and finish just inside the weapons room. If you can't reach the weapons room, try again -- click closer to the door in the shields room and/or decrease the angle of the beam line relative to the horizontal axis.

Of course, more often than not, it is wiser aim after disabling their weapons/shields/FTL rather than making that extra one or two points of damage by strafing across more rooms. YMMV.
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby wayward » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:13 pm

Additional strategy-ish hints:
- if flying through Mantis space, invest in third level doors and suffocate the buggers as they board: make a no-air pathway to the room where they are *and* immediately open up everything on the other side of the ship, but leave one door closed between the two no-air zones, just to give them something to entertain themselves with while trying to get to some precious O2.
- Ion Burst / Ion Bomb is the fastest way to bring enemy shields down to one or none and make that beam happen.
- as usual, always try to carry some cash on hand. 50-100 should do it. You never know what those merchants have in store.
- as usual, you're going to need shields 3, evasion 45%, Defense Drone Mk II by the end.
Red Earth
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby Red Earth » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:50 am

Something I learned using Zoltan Cruiser B is the Zoltan shield doesn't need to be powered. So while it's up take all power out of shields. If you improve engines you can put the power saved from shields there then you'll take fewer hits to that shield.
This is more a general tip but move power frequently. If missiles are coming turn off shields and put more into engines or defense drones. Turning off oxygen for the two seconds a shot is in the air will not kill the crew.
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby wayward » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:33 am

Red Earth speaks wisely. When faced with a choice of buying a system upgrade versus one or two extra power in the main reactor, it is usually a good idea to upgrade a system even if it cannot be powered outright. Gives you more room to juggle power distribution and meet particular demands.

Of course, when travelling through nebulae, extra power or a couple of Zoltans can't hurt :roll:
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby Drasha » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:17 am

The key to the zoltan A is effective use of your beam weapon. It is an absurdly powerful weapon if you know how to use it right. The key is to hit as many corners starting from the edge of a room. Normally you want to pick the shield room as the first spot to hit in case its enough damage to bring down the shield and double the damage for all of the other rooms it will hit. (this is still effective later combined with a missile) There are some situations where its better to just hit a bunch of un important or empty rooms to do max damage instead of hitting important things. Its pretty easy to kill some ships in one or two attacks with 0 chance for randomness to screw your attacks since beams don't miss.

(some ships you can hit 5 or more rooms which is crazy for a single attack.
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby Brick » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:55 am

This is one ship that NEEDS a second weapon after the first two stages, so don't worry about upgrading and get shopping!
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby fitzpeanutz » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:37 pm

Zoltan A is super straightforward.

On the first two Sectors, you need... Absolutely nothing.
Maybe an extra Weapon System Power "just in case" you need to fire that super-crappy Leto missile if you're unlucky enough to find an enemy with two shields.
Your most dangerous encounters are Zoltan Cruisers in asteroid fields. Which happends to me all the time...

What you really need early on is another crew member to pilot the ship, so that every zoltan's passive is used .
Then by the end of sector 2, you need to have at least one more shields.
I save all my scrap during both these sectors, just i case i see some good shop stuff :

Augments :
Weapons Pre-Igniter (120scrap)
Scrap recovery Arm (50scrap, great invest)
Weapons Reloader thingie

Weapons :
Burst Laser mark II
Ion Bomb

Then "just for safety" i get drones early. Or if i am lucky enough to get a lot of crew (which is never the case) get teleporter. And immediatly add an extra point, so that you can tp back fast.
Although, i don't think teleporter is great with Zoltan Cruiser.

Starting off sector 2/3, i'd advise around 1 engine upgrade per sector, that'd give you around 50 evade at sector 8, which is decent.
By Sector 5 or 6 you're going to need to have the third shield, again, for safety.

Always keep the scrap you don't need to spend. You never know when you'll get an option to buy some cheap fuel, some nice augments, or maybe delay rebels so that you can explore the sector for a longer period.

Also, use the nebulas to your advantage, especially in the early levels : they don't affect you as much as they affect other ships if you run into a storm, because your crew generates energy.
So try to find a long path to the exit that goes through every nebula beacon.

Edit: Battle strategy.
In the first two sectors, where ships have only one shield, directly use your halberd beam and try to get as many rooms as possible in the beam. BUT always try to get shields and weapons rooms. Try to get the shields early on your beam's trajectory, if you're lucky you'll take it down and get more damage in the next rooms you hit.
In the later sectors, charge it up and don't ever autofire with it, time your attacks when their shields are at least down to 1.
Basically, everything's going to run smoothly as long as you get Halberd+Ion Bomb+Any other damage source, to get the shields off. Drones or Lasers are good for that.

That's how i run it. =)
Hope this helps
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Re: Help with starting Zoltan Cruiser A?

Postby fitzpeanutz » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:51 pm

One more tip with the zoltans crew members :
if you have teleporter or cloak, put crewmembers there to activate them, use them, then move them back to system rooms while they're on cooldown. That way you don't have "stuck" energy in those systems when they're down

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