FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL: Faster Than Light

Manhattan Jan 16, 2013 @ 12:55am
Am I doing something wrong? FTL seems like some skill, but mostly luck.
It seems as if you can make all the right decisions and be destroyed time and time again by the randomly generated world. Dark Souls is what I consider hard. FTL seems like rolling dice by contrast.

FTL appears complicated at first, but it takes little time to understand. At that point I started realizing that I'm doing what seems like everything I possibly can (pausing very frequently to determine the best course of action), and still getting slammed because of a random occurrence. An automated ship in a plasma storm with 4 weapons? Yeah, not going to skill my way past that.

Gathering more scrap seems like a great way to buffer against these instances, only just about every opportunity to earn comes with a chance of damaging or destroying your ship or losing a crew member (spoiler: always the highest level one). You need to take a large amount of chances because FTL is INCREDIBLY stingy with scrap. Not only that, just about everything is costly. Hull repair is expensive, upgrading is incredibly expensive (especially considering you usually need to upgrade your reactor on top of your systems), missiles, drone parts, fuel, weapons, augmentations…

In my opinion, a game should pit your skill against it and reward you if you rise to the challenge. If I were to sweep the boss in normal, I would probably feel more like I had an advantageous playthrough than I had earned it. If anything, I would have earned it by clicking restart a ton of times.

Am I wrong? Are there people out there who can reliably make it to the end boss even 25% of the time?
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Showing 1-15 of 30 comments
Jaqarll Jan 16, 2013 @ 1:14am 
It's simply interesting how much people seem to be dug into normal game conventions and thus are unable to comprehend or cope when something different comes the way.

I love the way this game works, why should a real world encounter like that care how much you have progressed?
Lazarus Jan 16, 2013 @ 1:49am 
I don't really get why your complaining about this game, I have sunk 18+ hours into this and I still find it fun to play.

So yes the game is based on luck and if you haven't noticed this game is mainly stratagy based and you do have to think ahead so spend your scrap wisely and do sometimes go the long route as you'll find it can be more benifical to you especially on the first sector.

If you don't like the fact you not getting enough scrap then your not really being paitent enough for this game, as it goes you need to give to take, so if your wanting the scrap you have to get your hull damaged and loose a few missles.

If you want some more advice on this I would say this:-

When you come into contact with any ship with The Kestral (Or whatever you named it) use the missle launcher to take out the sheilds and the laser blaster mark 2 to take out the weapons then just lay into those two systems repeatedly (Or which ever is the highest in being repiared) and if your jammy enough try to kill of the crew in the other ship by fire or asfixiation to get max scrap, fuel and missles.

Remember this game does take some skill too so don't complain so readily.

Mardrak Jan 16, 2013 @ 2:34am 
^ I love how this guy gives "advice" that anyone with a brain figured out after 30 minutes of playing. OP, I think you're right, mostly. The fact that these two repliers won't even answer your question proves it.
Xadera Jan 16, 2013 @ 2:50am 
I've played 34 hours now and finally beat it on normal.

Skill can be a big determining factor. Knowing when to sell weapons, knowing how to use what you have, knowing what to buy at the right moment, knowing when you can afford to take a chance, etc. Like turning off the shield when the ion weapon comes flying in, then quickly turning it back on when the beam weapon is about to go off.

Granted, there is a good deal of luck, but I mostly have issues with just going through the first sector and getting too many "there's nothing here", and I just restart. But that's the nature of randomly generated rogue-likes. Yet, even though I do sometimes get "I've got all the powa!", I'll still wind up doing something stupid that wipes me out, whereas sometimes I'll get nothing until the third or fourth sector and go on to see the boss.

The only reason I didn't beat the boss before was because I was totally unaware of what it did. Whenever I got to it, I'd get too frantic and lose track and be obliterated. This time, I paid attention, hit the right things at the right time, and I didn't go below half-hull and fought it consecutively without pit-stops.

So, yes, the random generator could make things much more difficult (it rarely makes things easier, and when it does you wind up against something harder), but skill is a major factor in whether you survive or not. I think of it much like Binding of Isaac; the loot can make or break the run, but if necessary I can skill my way through it.
Manhattan Jan 16, 2013 @ 3:26am 
Khrull: Different? A better description may be old. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_roguelike_video_games
I can comprehend roguelike games just fine. As for coping: it’s pretty reasonable to expect a game to be mostly based on skill to progress, isn’t it?

Tirria_Drittan: I always maximize the length of my route before traveling to the next sector. And trust me, after sinking 19 hours into the game, I’ve taken my fair share of hull damage and wasted my share of missiles. I don’t mind that at all. It’s the returns that I dislike.
Kill the crew? Every chance I get. And the extra loot I get is laughable. There’s an entire, unexploded starship with most of its components in working order…and there’s what, 29 scrap and 2 fuel? I would say suffocating the crew (or using fire) is definitely a skill based tactic, yet the returns for it are pitiful. I wouldn’t mind more intricacies like suffocation with greater rewards. (There should also be better scrap rewards if you destroy a ship rather than let the crew surrender. What, are you blowing up the scrap they were offering you before?)

Mardrak: My thoughts exactly. Besides it being easy enough to figure out, it’s not like there isn’t a wiki.

Xadera: I try to make it a point to sell anything I’m not using, and to use everything to the max where I’ll get the best returns. Turning my shield on and off to let ion weapons pass while blocking lasers is a really cool piece of advice.
On restarting and roguelikes: it seems self-evident that a major portion of your survivability in a game shouldn’t be about restarting until you get a passable outcome. The only skill there is being able to recognize, “Yup, I’m screwed. Better restart for the 7th time.”
Isaac isn’t turn based, and the combat leaves little to chance. It’s randomly generated with permadeath, but most damage is avoidable if you’re skilled enough. So yes, you can skill your way through it, but that applies a lot less in FTL. I’m 84 hours into Isaac and I just beat the boss of the game, ???. I have the patience for chance, but I don’t have a lot of patience if I feel a game lacks room for skill. I’m not asking for reflex-based skill in a turn-based game. What I’d rather see is more reward for dealing well with complexity.

I’m going to put some more effort into FTL and I really hope it changes my mind. The atmosphere and ship-system focused combat are still very cool.
Last edited by Manhattan; Jan 16, 2013 @ 3:28am
Holy Athena Jan 16, 2013 @ 6:15am 
Not gonna lie, the game could probably do with a few minor tweaking, but all in all I like it.
Its refreshing to have a game thats not over the top stupid easy, like every single game thats been made for the past 5 years easy. (Ok slight exageration, but my point still stands on solid ground), Games these days are made more for the ADHD kids who look and say "ooo pretty colors" while mashing the X button, and less focused on "ok, I just got wasted, how do I gear up my party right for this boss?"

While yes, those random ships spawning in a plasma storm with 4 weapons ready to waste you, is not a pretty sight, it can be dealt with, focusing all power on shields and engines, etc. you can normally warp away before killed, and if you cant warp, usually you have 1 or 2 tricks up your sleeve if your an experienced FTL player.

But even then, if you still cant beat it and have to restart for the 7th time, oh well.

I find, even in my short time span of playing, that if I have a goal of how I want to build my ship, and focus on that, generally speaking I'll be able to take on over half of the things thrown at me, one way or another, and if I cant, I generally with a very high average, have a way to get out of it, or away.

If you try to do everything at once your ship is gonna fail, its similar to an ancient saying "if you chase two rabbits, you'll lose them both", except in this case, if you try to focus on everything, nothing will be strong. (at least at first, until you pile enough scrap to get everything, but even then I've found my weapons are always lacking anyway if I try to fully upgrade my ship)

The real "Skill" is this:

1: Deciding how you want to build your ship
2: Building it correctly to your vision (this is where the real knowledge, skill comes in)
3: Thinking outside the box to overcome the randomly generated sectors

This does cause alot of room for error, and the challenge is very high, especially when 1 mistake can cost you the game down the road.

But I personally base that on the "Realism" difficulty level (thats above Hard Level). After all, if this WAS irl, 1 mistake can cost you a ship, your vehicle, your weapon, or your life, so why cant it be that way in a game?

I like it..
Janissary Jan 16, 2013 @ 8:15am 
This game reminds me of U-boat patrols in WW2, where each sector is a patrol and you have to survive it along the way. I really like this game. Careful planning and timing.

The thing I recommend to new comers is to plan your path at the beginnig of the sector so that you can warp to the maximum amount of waypoints possible in a sector. Focus on engines after having two shield upgrades. Evade is a life saver.
Manhattan Jan 16, 2013 @ 12:50pm 
Thanks for the advice, Athena. I admit to trying to round my ship out by generally increasing all of my weak points, rather than focusing on one strong one. If we're going to talk about IRL difficulty, leaving an obvious and exploitable weakness unfixed might be a death sentence (and I find the structure of the game requires me to spread myself thin in the beginning, because blue dialog options are unlocked by upgrading some facilities). That said, I'll try to develop a stronger vision for how I want my ship to be.

Thanks, Strangelove. I have been having difficulty deciding if I want to focus evade or shielding more, so I'll try your advice.
GBM Jan 16, 2013 @ 1:00pm 

Did you try reading some of the tips I have compiled?
Manhattan Jan 16, 2013 @ 3:39pm 
GBM: I hadn't read that specific list, but have encountered those tips either from the wiki or from playing. That about confirms it for me; I understand the nuances of the game pretty well and am doing what I can, still to a dissatisfying outcome. I’d be willing to put literally 10x the amount of time in if I felt like there was room for me to learn or grow as a player, but I do not see this as a possibility. Other people may be content putting time into a game like this and that’s fine. I, on the other hand, lose patience when I don’t detect any growth.

Just now I died to an auto-assault. At 3 sectors in it had: 2 layers of shield, 2 drones, and 3 weapons. My one chance to hit it with an S.bomb failed (apparently they can be shot before they explode), and by that time my relevant systems were crippled. No jumping away, even though I had my finger on the button ready to escape ASAP because I realized this wasn’t a risk I should take.
I’m not sure if the game limits enemy power consumption as severely as player power consumption (I’ve only been able to afford sensor level 3 once), but if so it would mean an advantage for automated ships. The ship does not have to power O2, airlock control, or medical. It also does not have to spend scrap upgrading blast doors or presumably advanced piloting. So, at the very least an AA ship will always have an advantage of 3 power over the player, a scrap advantage (which really just means more upgraded systems), and no crew health vulnerability. Slower repair rate doesn’t negate the imbalance. Hell, you can even use damaged systems as bait to kill crew members with bombs, missiles, or an anti-bio beam to expedite a win. Why don’t the rebels just buy AA ships? Less complicated and no crew to pay and feed!

Yeah that’s just about it for me for now. I may try a few playthroughs in easy mode for the first time, which would in itself be very frustrating. An easier difficulty would help with scrap, but wouldn’t fix the lack of room for one’s skill to make a difference. Hopefully FTL will be patched at a later date, because besides the former complaints I think it’s amazing. I would personally welcome the following changes:

1: More scrap across the board.
2: Higher loot modifier to suffocation, death by fire, or bio beam.
3: Better auto-assault ship balance. Perhaps the ability to stun the computer if the cockpit is hit?
4: Faster oxygen loss when there is a breach, an airlock is opened, or there is a fire. Oxygen starvation should probably be a very distinct factor in any game set in space, especially this one.
5: Faster player death by oxygen starvation. This could be race specific. Engis, for example, seem like they should die noticeably slower. Rockmen seem like they would have a lower metabolism and take less oxygen deprivation damage as well, while perhaps Mantis would be the opposite.
6: A bit more complication/layers with matching rewards for the player if mastered. I wouldn’t mind the ability to choose which crew members I send into an event or some similar way to micro manage, but that’s just a suggestion.
7: Better information on store location, plasma storms, and stars. Maybe if these events occur one jump away. (What, did a STAR only just form by that beacon? Its location wasn’t known before slapping the beacon down there? Hell I’ll fight by a star for a more intense battle, but give me realistic input so I can avoid it if my hull is too weak.)
8: I would not mind even a very simple PvP mode. How fun would that be? Both sides start out with their pick of a ship and the same allotment of scrap, and they upgrade and buy to their hearts content.
jamesc70 Jan 16, 2013 @ 5:48pm 

An automated ship in a plasma storm. 1.) Buy long range sensors - never ever go into a plasma storm again (40 scrap?). 2.) Buy extra energy; if I'm going blind into nebulas, I buy 2 extra energy slots, just in case (those 2 plus shutting down medbay/teleport/cloak is enough to fight).

Expensive items. By the time I'm at the boss, I have all energy, weapons at nearly full, cloak and teleport at lvl 3, shields at 3 (6), and engines around 4. Several other points in Medbay 2, etc (to guard against them being killed outright by 1 shot). If you are not using drones, buy a hull repair drone, which means you never have to pay for repairs again.

I felt the same way you did when I started playing, but found out ever single instance of me being killed by an 'unlucky' event was just poor planning on my part. I never die in plasma storms anymore... never, because I plan for them. Everything has a counter; it just takes 15-20 hours of dieing to learn those counters.

The only 'true' unlucky events only happen with certain ships in the first two areas like getting the stealth ship and finding many drone enemies that happen to nail your cloak first.
morbosfist Jan 16, 2013 @ 5:54pm 
Getting long-range sensors is luck. I've had several runs that never coughed that up.
Holy Athena Jan 16, 2013 @ 6:21pm 
Originally posted by morbosfist:
Getting long-range sensors is luck. I've had several runs that never coughed that up.

I've never yet seen a hull repair droid, or hull repair anything..

Heck, this is my THIRD game, where I've yet to even find extra weapons... nothings dropped except salvage for me, or extra crew members, which I dont have the salvage for, or use for. Third game where I'm at the boss with my basic weapons because nothing was given to me, and I've hit every shop I've seen, they've only ever had crew members, or droids, thats it... /sigh...
Viglus Jan 16, 2013 @ 7:25pm 
Another one of these threads?? They are a dime a dozen. This game takes elements from rogue-likes and one of those things is luck, get over it.
Ordon Draconis Jan 17, 2013 @ 12:35am 
The Kestral is so well balanced I've been victorious on normal 100% of the time. When I want a challenge there are other ships that are great in one area but feeble in another. Given that you'll encounter a bit of everything at some point, I am victorious 0% of the time with those. I usually play with those doomed vessels. Then when I need a victory to restore my faith, I whip out the Kestral and it seems like a breeze to play. But every few games, I realize that I'm getting better with even the ships that I find hard. (And I'm sure I'll lose with the Kestral at some point)

On easy, I am victorious 99% of the time regardless of ship (only tried about 2/3s of them so far).

Look, random numbers can make a given run easier or tougher. Agreed. But even tougher on Normal is often beatable (for me, with the right starting ship).

But there's gambles that I just don't play. For example, giant spiders are someone else's problem. I do not make them mine. That encounter, and some others, are a fool's bet. But the key is that the game lets you walk away from them.
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Date Posted: Jan 16, 2013 @ 12:55am
Posts: 30