212 ratings
100+ tips for the new and experienced FTL players
By GBM
Over 100 tips gathered and compiled for beginners and experts by beginners and experts.
Rate  
Favorite
Favorited
Unfavorite
Notes to consider before reading the tips.
To Whomever,

There are some spoilers within the tips; if you dont want spoilers, you probably shouldn't read them.

As pointed out by a user comment: Autofire tips have to be taken in stride since each weapon can be independently set now; be warned. Some advanced techniques involve setting only the Ion weapons on autofire while keeping the others on select fire.

As for game play... the game isn’t that hard. Take each moment in.

Make EACH AND EVERY DECISION count.

Lastly, please share this guide with others. Let them know that it exists. Thank you.

If you have any tips not listed here, please share them! I will add them to the guide if they are decent.

Regards,
GBM

For more in depth information refer to any number of wiki's for FTL.
I like this one: http://ftlwiki.com/wiki/Home


Tips for playing
a) Don't rush through a sector; try to hit as many points as possible while staying just out of reach of the fleet.

b) Pause often during fights.

c) Use missles sparingly, like to damage a shield system initially. Spamming them is just wasteful.

d) Attack nearly everything you can. (There are some exceptions, but not many.)

e) Taking a ship by killing its crew offers increased rewards.

f) Micro, micro, micro... pause, pause, pause.

g) Autofire is not really your friend. Timing certain weapons manually can do more damage by strategicly bypassing shields during recharge.

h) Know each races strengths: Rockmen 150hp and immune to fire as an example.

i) Keep crew stationed at the same console throughout the game so that you have gold level commanders by the time you get to the boss.

j) Have a nice mix of weapons available: missle, laser, beam, bomb.

k) Make sure you have weapons that dont consume much power and mix up the power levels.

l) Hull lasers can cause breaches making it harder to repair systems since the breach has to be repaired first.

m) Hull lasers do more damage to empty rooms.

n) Beam weapons require strategy, blind firing(autofire) will not do you any good.

o) Scrap recovery arm is a very good item, especially early on. It's possible to get up to 75 scrap when you kill the crew of an enemy ship. Extra scrap for melee kills +10% for scrap arm.

p) Early game Engies are better than late game Engies(my opinion).

q) Do NOT board automated ships.

r) Always attack slavers if you want crew members. Ignore them if you dont need them.

s) Mantis deal 2x damage with normal HP, but rockmen only have 1.5x HP and normal damage.

t) Human away teams are risky until you get your teleporter upgraded.

u) Always buy fuel in the shops, running out is easy even if you think you have enough (30 fuel is barely enough before sector 5).

v) A weapon with a power consumption of 4 is usually useless since its risky/impossible to keep powered during a hard fight.

w) Blast doors are a cheap helpful upgrade.

x) Develop a strategy for your encounters, dont just autofire and go even though that might work just fine for that situation. It will help later to have a strategy that you understand when the tough fights come along.

y) Nebula sectors let you do more exploring since the fleet is slowed down.

z) Use drones or missles (not both). Having enough upgrades, ammo, and power for both is fairly rare.

aa) Mantis does more melee damage.

ab) Do NOT have autofire on while you are using an away team. You could accidently destroy the ship with them on it.

ac) Most encounters have random outcomes no matter what your choice is. Picking the same choice for an encouter can yield diffrent results.

ad) Leave the "crazy guy" on the planet, unless your medbay is upgraded or you have a slug on your crew.

ae) Almost always use the "blue" option.

af) Distress beacons typically always have a risk envolved, but the payout is better, if not doubled when you actually save someone. Some are just traps and dont offer anything extra.

ag) If you get boarded vent the ship immediatly and run to your med bay, the lack of oxygen will force the intruders to follow you, and if you're quick they wont damage any systems.

ah) Weapons and shields should be the top repair priority (my opinion).

ai) The game is random, but the luck is not. Skill will get you to sector 8 almost every time no matter what. Don't listen to those that think this game is based solely on luck... they are very wrong (my opinion). At first I could barely make it to sector 3, now i can get to 7 or 8 no problem.

aj) Unless you have a rockmen on your crew, oxygen vent rooms that are on fire.

ak) Which stations to man first: Ideally, you should prioritise pilot and engines, then weapons, then shields.

al) Cheap "second bar" upgrades can be your friend.

am) Away teams should only be used if you have 5+ crew.

an) When your jump ends up in front of a sun, immediately vent your ship to space. Open all your doors to all your rooms (except the ones with crew stationed in them); the flames go out very quickly, typically causing no damage at all.

ao) Engies should not be on away teams.

ap) Away teams in asteroid belts are VERY risky!

aq) Searching "rebel refitted transports", by killing its crew and not destroying the ship, most definately yeilds better results; weapons, typically.

ar) Take power from the medbay unless you have someone in it; power is wasted in an empty medbay.

as) When playing as Osprey, do NOT have your special weapon powered while using boarding parties.

at) Killing everyone on a ship with an away team has the chance of finding a "prisoner" who will then join you.

au) Teleporters (75ish scrap) are worth it if you factor in the above tip and other rewards possibly not mentioned herein.

av) Accept surrenders if you need fuel, missles, drones, or they offer a weapon or augment; kill them if you just want scrap.

aw) Don't shoot any weapons at the enemy ship while you have crew on board, unless you're 100% certain that it won't blow up and you need to disable their weapons/medbay.

ax) It's ok to depower your oxygen for a short amount of time if you need the power.

ay) Don't board ships with a medbay, until you've destroyed the medbay. Then teleport your mantises into the medbay to force them to fight you instead of fixing it.

az) If you board the room containing the pilot, your shot won't miss as much since the enemy ship lost part of the bonus to evade. (I typically do this before firing a missile; I haven't missed as far as I can remember.)

ba) Burst laser 4 with some strategy may be enough to overpower the boss.

bb) Upgraded teleporters can allow the boarding of auto-ships.

bc) Mousing over a crewmember in the crew list will show you their proficiency for the various consoles on the ship.

bd) If you have an away team on an enemy ship watch out for their potential FTL escape. If they jump with your crew members, you lose them.

be) If using beam weapons, try to hit as many rooms as possible; only a small sliver of the room needs to be hit to cause increased damage.

bf) When fighting a "super weak" build (ie. the enemy cannot possibly destroy you; ex: you have 3 shields and they have a 2 burst laser and a fire beam) you should rotate out some of your crew to diffrent stations, and train them until maxed out. That way losing someone is not as detrimental.

bg) Ion weapons shunt reactor power from whatever system they hit until the effect wears off, but if a Zoltan is powering it then the system stays up (assuming it only needs the one bar; shield rooms would require two to maintain at least one shield strength).

bh) Save some scrap after each turn for upgrading systems at the end of a fight. I recommend saving 100+ scrap as soon as possible; it will save your crew at least once when implemented properly.

Some of you may disagree with some of these tips, but as a beginner, these will help immensely. Hope this helps some of you.

1/16/13:
Lots of great comments added. Good stuff. -G
Tips gathered from Reddit
http://www.reddit.com/r/ftlgame/comments/16k73l/beginners_tips/

Pausing
· Many things occur really fast, like shields being restored after a asteroid hits them. Get used to pressing space just beforehand to decide what to do.
Beams:
· Beam weapons damage is absorbed by the shield, so a beam weapon with 3 damage attacking a ship with 3 shield will do 0 damage per room. If it hits a ship with 2 shield it will do 1 damage to each room.
· Beam weapons only need 1 pixel in a room to damage that room, so even the medium length ones (glaive) can hit 5 rooms of specific layout.
· When using beam weapons usually try ensuring the beam hits a shield room early on (i.e. before the weapon room). That way the shield is reduce and you do more damage to subsequent rooms.
· Fire and bio beams cannot pass more than 1 shield.
· Beam weapons do twice the listed damage to zoltran shield
· bio beam needs to actually go above enemy crew to damage the crew and not only the rooms the crew are in.
· Sometimes a shield goes down for less than 2 seconds, just as it goes down press space and select the rooms for the beam weapon.
Firing sequence/autofire
· Use missiles/bombs to damage the shield room just before firing lasers to remove the shield or beams (if enough shield is removed). In some cases 1 missile/bomb removing the shield at the start of a fight is enough for you to effectively use other weapons for the rest of the battle.
· Shoot lasers that do x shots*1 damage first to remove x shield and then use higher damaging lasers or beams to damage the ship. For example you got a weapon that does 3 shots of 1 damage and another weapon of 1 shot of 2 damage. Against ships with 2 shield. shoot the 3 shot one first and just after shield is removed shoot the 1 shot one.
· Dont just leave autofire on or if you have weapons that shoot every 3 seconds hold down ctrl to make that specific weapon autofire
Ion weapons
· Usually use ion weapons to remove/disable shields or disable weapons. If it hits the shield room the shield will be down for longer than if it just hit the shield.
· Ion weapons do twice the damage to zoltran shield.
· Ion weapons do not damage your boarding party.
Boarding
· Capturing ships via boarding results in more scrap, higher chance of getting an extra crew member or selecting crew members to release from slave traders. It possibly also has a higher chance of resulting in extra weapons.
· Get a teleporter if you have more than 2 mantis/rockmen/slug/humans. Using zoltrans or engi for boarding is risky.
· At this point in the game (no crystal Mantis are the best boarders afterwhich rockmen and finally slug/humans.
· Rockmen prevail if you are attacking ships on fire or without oxygen (AI ships).
· Teleporter 2 lets you board AI ships with rockmen and teleport them back before they die to suffocation. Teleport 3 is good enough for humans/slugs/mantis.
· You can't teleport pass the zoltran shield
· Sometimes its best to disable/damage the medbay if the enemy has one or position your boarders in such a way that the enemy die when running back to the medbay. For example rockmen are so slow that sometimes the a.i. doesnt send them back to the medbay fast enough and they die exiting the room.
· 2 mantis can outdamage a level 1 medbay when attacking the same target.
Cloak
· Use cloak just after the enemy fires most of its guns. That way most of them are wasted (shots will most likely miss). If you use cloak just before the enemy shoots then they will fire just after you exit cloak and the shots were just delayed (not wasted), unless you damaged the weapon room before they shoot.
Some of the Vital enemy rooms
· Damaging/Disabling the weapons room removes/disables power from the enemy weapons thus disabling weapons that require that power.
· Damaging/Disabling the shield room removes/disables power from the enemy shields thus disabling shield levels that require that specific amount of power.
· Damaging/Disabling the cloak room removes/disables power from the enemy cloak thus disabling cloak from working or reducing the time it can be cloaked.
· Damaging/Disabling the cockpit removes/disables power from the enemy cockpit thus disabling it. If it has 0 power then none of your lasers/missiles can miss and the FTL chargeup stops and cannot jump out.
· Damaging/Disabling the engines removes/disables power from the enemy engines. Dodge chance is reduced as it has less power and ftl chargeup speed.
· Damaging the medbay reduces or removes the ability to heal crew inside it.
· Damaging the o2 room reduces amount of oxygen produced or prevents o2 from being produced and eventually causes suffocation. This form of damage is usually too slow to be effective in actual battles.
Slugs
· When encountering a slug enemy. There is a chance they remove 1 power from shields/weapons/o2. Usually try upgrading o2 before entering slug sectors. The power slot is disabled totally till you beat the slug ship.
Power
· For vital systems usually having 1 extra empty power slot is worth it. For example you need 4 power for 2 weapons (2 power each) its worth having 5 power slots (1 empty) or more power in weapons in case the weapon room takes damage/ion damage or you encounter slugs that remove one power.
User added tips
The following user comments (made below in the comment section) have been added because I think they are useful. Feel free to contribute your own.

The_Samarox:
Blast Laser III has 4 energy and 5 shots so it can by itself take down lv 4 shields and with a weapon preigniter and one other laser that requires little power (e.g. blast laser II) can take down a weapon system before the enemy ship can fire off its weapons.

Mijo:
Very good tips for the starting player. However, I have an observation (more of an opinion really)... "au) Teleporters (75ish scrap) are worth it if you factor in the above tip." I think that teleporters are a MUST if only for the last boss. Teleporting a pair of your crew is the best way of getting rid of that damn missile launcher/ laser/ ion weapon.
Also if you manage to kill the whole enemy crew on the first (easier) encounter, except for the heavy laser guy, the later stages are very very easy (and I said "except for the heavy laser guy" because if you kill every crew member, the AI will start to repair damaged systems).

warthog2k
Be sure to have the option to show connections when mousing over waypoints and plan your route through the system carefully. I was forever running down dead ends before I spotted that option.

FUTURE DRACULA
  • AI ships can't repair breaches, or systems in a breached room! Very handy to have a breach bomb when facing off against AI ships.
  • Drones can be turned off in the middle of battle and then turned back on at a moment's notice, without wasting an extra drone. Handy when you just want to use your defense drone to take down a missle, and then put the power back in O2 or shields

fred
  • Enemy ships will sometimes offer a decent amount of fuel in exchange for accepting their surrender, letting some of them go can help you build up a respectable stockpile of fuel without the need to spend a lot of scrap.
  • Rockmen are immune to fire and using them as boarders in conjunction with fire bombs and/or fire beams is a deadly combination.
  • If you wait until the enemy fires a salvo at you before cloaking, you can evade the shots and the enemy ship is forced to wait until you decloak before it can even begin the cooldown on it's weapons. Using cloak this way can mitigate a ton of incoming DPS.

morbosfist
Firing while cloaked can be done with beam weapons, at the very least, but doing so drains remaining cloak time without the Stealth Weapons Augment,

lemonpips
Boarding automated ships is not so bad. As long as you have a teleporter powered up to 2 levels, you can get onto an automated ship, fire a few rounds, and get off before your crewmen suffocate.

KingMako
  • With Crystal Crewmen, you can easily board AI or use them to repair breaches as they take less damage from suffocation.
  • With crystal people, boarding along with mantis then using lockdown can take down a system fairly quickly if nobody is in it.
  • Not all blue events are helpful, for example, Rebel AI is guarding some sort of storage thing and you can use cloaking to avoid a fight and get less reward. I'd much prefer to just smash into there and take scrap and the storage.
  • Not sure if mentioned, but cloaking prevents invading crew (You on their ship, them on your ship) from teleporting. Both a gift and a curse.
  • Zoltan shields prevents teleporting of the opposite ship. This is somewhat of a "Common knowledge" thing, but new people might not know.

Harald B
  • If the next sector is nebula or mantis-controlled, get blast doors. You'll get boarded a lot there.
  • Some small slug ships (in sector 1 and 2, mostly) are designed in such a way that the crew can't repair the engines and life support. Destroy both of these and you can just wait for them to suffocate.
  • If you have a crystal crew member, you can pick off enemy crew one by one. Teleport the crystal and one other crew member (mantis, preferably) into a room with one enemy and lock it down as soon as he tries to run away. You'll be able to kill him before he can escape the room.
  • If your own defenses are solid enough, you can just repeat the above to clear out all enemy crew, regardless of upgraded medbays and defense drones. This is especially useful in the final battle.

ace
i dont remember if it was in the tips section, but for me i always keep 1 crew member in oxygen so that we dont suffocate. (Make it a rock man so fires are no longer an issue; fires in the oxygen room are VERY bad. -GBM)

Ed130-The Vanguard
Pressing Z on your keyboard will automatically open all internal doors, its a handy way to quickly repressurize rooms so that your crew can repair them safely after venting them of oxygen due to borders/fires. WARNING: Pressing Z a second time will open the external doors as well, venting the entire ship. Pressing X will close all doors.

steez battalion
When boarding a manned ship that is powering up their FTL to run away, do not fight in the cockpit as it still counts as having a pilot. Instead, move to another high priority room like shields and the pilot should abandon his station.

If you get boarded by an enemy you know you can't defeat normally, consider opening the airlocks and venting every room in your ship except the med-bay and run all your guys there. The boarders will follow you and if you have upgraded doors, they will take some asphyxiation damage on the way. Once they break into the med-bay they should not be a problem as your health will be regenerating. (Having an upgraded med bay allows for your crew to be healed while in low oxygen conditions. -GBM)

If the enemy uses a boarding drone on you, sometimes it's best to just focus on destroying their drone control system instead of actually sending your guys to fight the invader. This is especially true when it lands in an empty or useless room (very useful for phase 2 of the boss fight)

You can safely board automated ships with rockmen/crystalmen using a level 1 Teleporter. Level 2 is good enough for everything else except Zoltans however you will need good timing as your guys will be very low hp. (This is where pausing the game becomes very important. -GBM)

When boarding you can shuffle your guys around with a little trick that is useful when someone is taking too much damage:
  • Pause the game.
  • Select your crew and order them go to another room. (Remain paused)
  • Select your crew one by one in order of new positions and order them "back into the room":
    First = top left; Second = top right; Third = bottom left; Fourth = bottom right.
  • Unpause the game and they should shuffle around within the room to the new positions.
(Modified for clarity. - GBM)

KingMako
I already have some tips written that you've added, but I've found some things

*Never underestimate upgrading oxygen, piloting, and medbay at least once. The medbay has a lot of blue events and 1 extra power in oxygen and piloting mean you usually don't need to worry mid-fight
*The game is 50% more fun with level 2 or higher sensors, even without boarding parties. You NEVER get tired of watching enemies run away. Of course this has practical use
*Zoltan shield is still active even after selling the augment and the graphics for it are gone.
*35-40 Drone parts will (almost) NEVER run out if you are past sector 5-6
*40-50 Missiles means you can afford to use them until you are safe from enemy fire until below 20
*Although depriving oxygen to boarders is safer, finish them off with crewmembers for the experience

Anyway, very good tips indeed. -G
Hacking and pHreaking
Memory editing:

[EDIT: A new patch requires that Steam Cloud is disabled before doing this particular hack.]

Source: Here
This is an advanced method and should be attempted by people comfortable with computers and understand how memory operates. Essentially, any numerical value that is stored (such as scrap) can be manipulated. People that are familiar with this will know what to do. I am just mentioning it here in case they haven’t thought of it yet. ALSO, if your not familiar with this and just found out about it here:

DO NOT DO THIS ON ANY MULTIPLAYER SERVERS ANYWHERE FOR ANY MULTIPLAYER GAME! YOU WILL GET PERMA-BANNED! (PUNKBUSTER, VAC, ETC)

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!


This will most likely NOT happen with FTL since it is a single player game only therefore anticheat systems are not necessary.

Hex editting to unlock all type A ships
Source: Here
This is a "How To" unlock all 9x (TypeA) ships in game by hacking your "prof.sav" file.
if you do not like the idea, then fine, here is wiki link for how to unlock them in game:
http://ftl.wikia.com/wiki/Ships

Warning: This will reset all your stats/achievement/unlock

Steps:
1) Go to "C:\Users\<user_name>\Documents\My Games\FasterThanLight"
2) Backup your "prof.sav" file (zip/rar/rename it or make a copy somewhere else)
3) Delete your "prof.sav" file
4) Run the game then close it - (do not start a new game).
5) Use any hex file editing tool (I used UltraEdit, u can download a demo version to do it)
6) Modify the file (the first three lines):

From:
04 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

To:
04 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00
01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00
01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

7) Save the file and then run the game
Note: to rollback just close the game and overwrite "prof.sav" with your backup.

Scumsave:
Scum save is a slang for a method of saving a game in a semi-permanent or permanent death games. It is used to circumvent the permadeath feature of games in this genre.

I wrote a small discussion about this before but feel it could be useful here. Here are the steps to scumsave on Win7:

1) Save & Exit
2) Go to C:\Users\User\Documents\My Games\FasterThanLight
3) Create a folder, call it Backup
4) Copy continue.sav to your new folder.
5) Reopen the game to play.
6) When you die, close the game and copy continue.sav from your Backup folder back to its regular location.
7) Reopen FTL and continue.
Bugs and Exploits
As pointed out by a user comment above: The Zoltan shield augment will remain active after selling the augment; even though the graphics are gone the shield is still active. [untested by author]







86 Comments
< >
yeah true
GBM  [author] May 3 @ 6:40pm 
Purchasing one probably isnt the best, but finding one is good.
Scrap arm isn't good you need 600 scrap to pay it 0ff 10% of 600 = 60
Zozbie Mar 15 @ 7:59pm 
I personally disagree with q), when One has at least a level two teleporter one can send crew onto an automated ship to disable a system and the hull, without expending any resources. It should be revied
q) don't ue ONLY boarders to attack an automated ship
GBM  [author] Mar 7 @ 8:08am 
Cool, thanks for the feed back.

Honestly, if you counted all the tips there is well over 200 at this point. Not really stretching for that 100+ at this point ;P
Aronaar Mar 7 @ 4:44am 
v) That would make the Glaive beam useless and thus the furtive ship type B. While tricky, it’s not useless.

aa) Should have been whith h. Kinda feels like a stretch to reach 100 tips, there.

ae) Right on. But then, when shouldn’t it be advided to use it ?

al) I do not get this one.

ao) Again, should be merged with h).

as) The osprey has a unique weapon, wich makes it ideal for a defensive warship. I think you’re doing it wrong iy you board with it.
Aronaar Mar 7 @ 4:44am 
Didn't see that guide before. Lot of legit good advices, tough I'd like to point out several things.

f) Kinda redundant with a).

h) Yes, but why not giving the specs of the other races ?

j) Not necessarily. Engi ship has to focus on ion weapons, for example.

l) and m) : could be merged. Plus, it’s already indicated when you mouse over such a weapon.

p) Yes, but that’s not really a tip, is it ?

r) Or if you don’t want crewmembers, better to attack them than ignor them.

t) And humans aren’t recommended boarders.
Morgodin Mar 5 @ 8:24pm 
1. Having Recovery Arm Drone is always helpful, but combined with the Hull Repair Drone, allows to have a 2 points of hull repair on each jump. The drone repairs from 3 to 5 times before it's consumed. Jump on the second repair, and you will always recover the drone.

2. Using Mantis for repairing is not a good idea (they need double time to do the same work, regarding other races), but extingishing fires count also as repairing, so try not to use Mantis for that purpose.

3. If you have problems closing breaches in a room without oxygen, open the doors around that room. The oxigen will be shared among the rooms connected giving you some time, and If you can pump some more energy to the oxygen system, even better.
Starstriker ◢◤ Mar 5 @ 1:26pm 
TL;DR
ShellahFellah Dec 28, 2013 @ 5:05am 
The bugs and exploit's zoltan shield selling doesn't work. a bug/exploit there is that you can have vision of a enemy ship thats claoked if u have people on board but I don't think u can still attack it.