Iíve plugged countless hours into FTL and I still donít consider myself good. While beating the Rebel Flagship is a challenge to most people it still seems like a dream to me, or at the very least a set piece you can never win against. Despite that though, I continue to play and have encountered a lot of the new content in the Advanced Edition and it continues to feed my addiction to seeing how far I can go. While I can attest to my ability by the fact that Iíve never beaten the Flagship, Iíve still picked up some tips along the way to really use a lot of the new Advanced Edition content. It should at least really help considering that as a rogue-like spaceship game, youíre probably having trouble picking up a lot of the new stuff.
Manning doors and sensors: giving your mantis something to do
The first major change you should realize for Advanced Edition is the ability to give sensors and doors a manned bonus. Manning these subsystems give them an instant +1 to their rank, potentially saving on scrap for upgrades. Imagine playing the Torus and saving on a mandatory door upgrade by sending crew to the doors. The Torus doesnít start with important weapons anyways!
To go along with this change, these two subsystems also have a special 4th upgrade thatís only obtainable if the subsystem is fully upgraded and manned. While crew wonít gain any experience for running these subsystems, they also provide a flat +1 to subsystems regardless of previous experience. So depending on the ship, you can juggle crew between these around these subsystems as needed. Got a mantis but have no teleporter? You might as well make him your communications officer and put him in sensors. Flying through a nebula? Sensors are useless anyways so send your communications officer to doors as security. As youíll realize, youíll also have someone ready to repair these subsystems whenever they hit by stray shots.
Keeping your crew fluid to in the gaps is important. Using the Torus as an example, its only starting weapon is a fast charging ion cannon that doesnít get much from a manned bonus. Since your entire crew is engi, setting one to the doors in case of boarding parties is important. But if no boarding party comes during an encounter, go ahead and give one engi experience as a weapons officer.
Mind Control: enemies amongst us
Probably my favorite new system in the game, mind control scrambles enemiesí minds and turns them to your side. You canít give them orders though, so theyíll generally follow enemy AI routines except on your allegiance. While you need some kind of line of sight to use mind control, it is one of the most flexible active systems, capable of fitting on a variety of ships from defensively outfitted ships to even boarding specialists.
First things first though: since you need line of sight, youíll need to upgrade your sensors or have someone man them for a +1. Slugs have quickly become one of my favorite races since they let you track life signs whenever sensors go down. While nebulas can render mind control useless, slugs keep them relevant regardless of the situation! Keep in mind that slugs are useful to use in conjunction with mind control but are immune to it as well.
Mind controlís best overall utility is aimed at the pilot. By turning the pilot, you drop enemy evasion to zero, you have someone damaging the helm, and reduce other bonuses by peeling crew away from their positions to deal with the turned pilot. A secondary target is anyone trying to repair damaged systems. This way, you delay their repairs and again, sow general chaos among the ranks. Another factor is mantis crew, who automatically become an asset with their increased attack power. Youíve hit the jackpot if the enemy pilot is a mantis. Lastly, mind control is a great defense against enemy boarding parties if youíre crew isnít prepared well for them. While you canít control them, you can easily manipulate them to your advantage. For example, in a two boarding situation, one can be turned to gang up on the other, then deal with him afterwards when the control wears off. In situations of one boarder, you can observe where he wanders off while brainwashed then vent the oxygen of his room, killing him with little trouble.
So the order of priority according to whatís present should be mantis crew, the pilot, repairmen, then boarders if you need the assistance.
Hacking: digital warfare
Efficient use of system energy usually means you either invest heavily in either weapons or drones. Of course, this means youíll be sitting on a small hoard of drone parts if you donít use them at all. Hacking is not only a great use of those drone parts, itís a great way to bolster your offensive presence. If mind control is mostly about disrupting enemy ranks, hacking is about disrupting ship systems and debuffing it.
When you first activate hacking in battle, youíll be able to target a system then have the option to initiate the hack right away or at a later time, plus the doors will lock to enemy crew like blast doors. You can only launch one hacking drone per battle though, so make it count! While hacking the helm or engine room will drop ship evasion, youíre often better off using your hacking for more direct means.
I recommend hacking either shields or weapons, where their respective energies are drained, giving you a timed advantage. Shields is useful on later sectors where enemies can have two or more layers of shields and cuts out the difficulty of piercing them. Hacking weapons can be vital in stalling for time before they launch their own salvos. There are of course other viable targets for other purposes. Hacking oxygen can make asphyxiating the enemy crew a very real possibility. Hacking the med bay can make boarding ships a breeze as itíll damage enemies and heal your boarding party! And probably the last thing worth mentioning is the synergy together with mind control. With hacks working to lock doors, your possible priority ladder on mind control opens considerably as they can be left to do more damage in one room without intervention. Mind control the weapons officer, lock the doors, hack the weapon systems, and give yourself a huge boon of time to work safely without fear of retaliation.
Clone bay: less fear, more bodies
The clone bay changes up how you approach dangerous situations altogether. Instead of sending crew to the med bay to keep them healthy and alive in a defensive posture, the clone bay encourages aggressive movement by creating a steady supply of bodies regardless of the dangers. While you canít heal conventionally, your crew does heal a moderate amount after every jump, with upgrades reducing the cloning time and increasing the health recovered per jump.
The clone bay is of course, the perfect companion to boarding parties. With little to fear from death, you can send out your most potent aliens to fight in strange and uncomfortable alien ships. Theyíll receive a skill penalty on death, but mantis and rockmen have little to fear from other aliens as long as theyíre not also mantis or rockmen. With a clone bay, you can send your crew into the jaws of danger such as putting out raging infernos and repairing hull breaches devoid of air.
Probably the best application of the clone bay is in handling random events. Lost someone to a science lab lit aflame? Clone bay. Distress beacon full of giant alien spiders? Clone bay. Slug ambush take out your chief engineer? Clone bay! Iíve even survived situations that wouldíve been a game over. My two person crew was not ready to deal with a mantis boarding party, so I did the only reasonable thing I could do in that situation and vented my whole ship of its oxygen. After dying predictably, the mantis died just moments afterwards. But after a few seconds of eerie silence, (and after closing my doors and letting the oxygen circulate) my two crew popped out of the clone bay good as new.
Of course, managing your clone bay is a different affair from managing your med bay. While med bay power can be strategically routed and rerouted back depending on the need, the clone bay is vulnerable during one critical stage: the cloning process; If the clone bay isnít on when crew dies and if it gets powered off during the cloning process, your crew will die permanently. This makes upgrades important more for increasing its system health then the actual upgrades, since a stray shot during the cloning process can mean certain doom for incubating clones unless the DNA Bank augmentation is installed.
Also be aware that a select few random events will still keep crew members from being properly clones. The mining colony plague event for example will cause your crew to stay behind in quarantine, making it unethical for you to make his clone. †And speaking of unethical clones, you can't clone someone who was sold into slavery. What a gyp!
Backup power: giving her more than sheís got
Iíve only recently learned that Iíve been upgrading my systems all wrong, at least under general circumstances. Upgrading both the system and reactor is costly so in order to meet the demands of space, you must upgrade systems and juggle energy channeling. But with the backup generator, juggling got a little bit easier. The best part is that the backup generator requires no power to use. Thatíd be pretty redundant! The backup generator is a subsystem that, when activated, immediately grants two bonus power for you to use as symbolized by red outlines, or 4 bars after an upgrade. This extra energy lasts for 30 seconds before it shuts down and recharges for 45 seconds.
Itís obvious that extra energy is great whenever you need upgrades desperately but lack the reactor power to keep pace. Quite possibly the most important way its an asset though is in nebulas, where you will sometimes encounter plasma storms that cut your reactor energy in half, though your backup battery is unaffected.
Youíre not going to want to use this energy for weapons or shields though, as 30 seconds to power them can mean those systems can shut off at inopportune times during charges. The backup energy is best saved to power engines or the various life support systems in a pinch. You can also strategically over-upgrade and use your backup energy at crucial moments.
The Lanius: oxygen is overrated anyways
If engis donít hit that robot itch youíre looking for due to their dependence on something as stupid as oxygen
, thereís always the lanius with their unique quirks. They donít need oxygen and like hipsters, they reject it to the point of draining all of it from a room. If you want one guaranteed, you can ask a lanius merchant about their translation device, which turns out to be the lanius itself that happens to know English.
Everything about the lanius revolves around juggling oxygen as a resource. They canít share rooms with crew because theyíll suffocate them and theyíll drain all the oxygen of a given space no matter how many doors you open to equalize the pressure. Given this quirk, there are a couple of jobs they can do.
- They can repair hull breaches no problem. They donít need air, remember?
- They can do extra damage in combat by adding the damage of suffocation to their regular combat damage.
- They can snuff out fires a little faster as their drain precious oxygen from fires.
Itís important to remember that they donít play nicely with other friendly crew unless theyíre also lanius. So while draining oxygen would be fun for enemies, it makes planning attacks complicated when you canít keep the lanius together with other crew. You can however keep them on deck as security, keeping important rooms devoid of oxygen and suffocating potential boarders who want to get at crucial systems. Even when outnumbered, you can drain oxygen from a given space by opening a few doors and creating a no man's land. Since boarders like to move to where the oxygen is most concentrated in most cases, you can either manipulate them into fighting your crew in the med bay or just suffocate them. Just be careful about using the med bay defensively with your whole crew. Upgrade it as much as you can to offset at least suffocation damage or just keep the lanius out of it for your crewís sake.
Miscellaneous equipment: all the other stuff you canít afford
Most weapon types have a new fire mode model called charge. These weapons share similarities with burst firing variants with a twist for the patient type. While weak individually, every time the weapon fully charges, it stores the charge in a bank. Like Mega Manís patented Mega Buster, the more you charge you weapon, the stronger the potential attack as it releases all its charged attacks.
Charge weaponry typically do weak damage individually but charge relatively quickly, giving you different tactical options to how big you want your burst to be. You can stock a 3-shot ion burst to strip 3 layers of shields immediately, then rapid fire single shots to keep it down. Or you can shoot a steady stream of 2-shot burst lasers. Thereís even a unique missile model called the Swarm which encourages full charge shots to fire 3 missiles at the cost of 1!
Although a new, rare occurrence on certain weapons, there are also variant weapons which are dedicated to stunning crew inside the ship. The most common weapon is the ion stunner, which combines the ion effect with stun.
Stun is pretty self-explanatory. Targeted crews are dazed and canít take any additional actions of any sort until they recover after a few seconds. It even affects crew manning the shield room if the attack only connects with the shield itself rather than the room. Probably the best utility to stunning is inflicting fires across the ship, stunning crew attempting to douse the fires. Theyíll be standing in a stupor in the middle of a raging inferno!
Chain weaponry have an interesting charge mechanic. Every time you fire it, the cooldown goes down to the point where the volume of your output becomes a massive asset. However, their initial charge times can be lengthy. In essence these weapons function like miniguns, needing time to rev up but once fully revved, will fire a rapid stream of destruction. One unique weapon, the Vulcan laser, is capable of shooting one laser every second after firing 5 volleys, trivializing shields!
There is also a chain ion weapon where its ion damage increases every time it fires.
A unique line of weaponry all in its own, flak cannons are like shotguns. Despite appearing as if it fires physical ammunition, it consumes no missiles and fires multiple fragments of debris in a moderate spread. Instead of seeing a crosshair when it locks, you see a red shadow showing the possible area the debris can hit, indicating that it can overshoot certain rooms. In fact, flak cannons are even more inaccurate than missiles. Theyíve been known to miss on ships sitting at an evasion percentage of zero.
Flak I fires 3 fragments while flak II fires an impressive 7 fragments. Like burst lasers, flak is useful for bringing shields down. In theory it works like burst lasers, shredding shields and hitting hull simultaneously. †In practice Iíve found flak unreliable on their own due to its extreme inaccuracy. Youíll be able to take 2 or 3 layers of shields down but the remaining damage on hull is low, if it even hits at all! Flak is better being compared to an ion weapon that can do damage.
Hopefully you go farther than I can. I actually have not recruited a Lanius yet nor have I unlocked the Lanius cruiser. Know that Lanius have interesting oxygen characteristics, draining oxygen from the room theyíre in and requiring no oxygen in return. This makes them interesting in boarding parties, extinguishing fires, and repairing hull breaches, but their ability to play nice with other crew members is a bit complicated seeing as how theyíll suffocate them.
Good luck out there and godspeed!