X3: Terran Conflict

X3: Terran Conflict

145 ratings
Quick New User Guide
By Zloth
A quick guide describing the game starts, missions, and a few words about the learning curve.
Egosoft’s X series is a pretty unique set of games. It has some things in common with Elite but that’s a bit like saying today’s third person shooters are a like the arcade game Defender. As such, it will leave a lot of gamers (even hard core gaming vets) wondering what it is they are supposed to be doing. This guide aims to help folks who are just starting to play the game.

Big thanks go out to the X3 Wiki[www.x3wiki.com] for providing much needed information (like what starts you get when you first begin playing the game).
Game Starts
First thing’s first – picking a start! You’ll note that a difficulty level is assigned to each one of them. That difficulty level only tells you how hard your starting situation is – it does not change the game itself at all.

The first on the list is the Terran Defender. The nice thing about that start is that it drops you right in front of the start of the “Terran Conflict” plot so you can seamlessly move right into it. The bad thing about them is that they start you in Terran space. Terran space stations are HUGE things with HUGE landing patterns for docking. Personally, I stay away from Terran space until I get myself a docking computer, which allows you to skip the landing pattern and teleport right into a docking bay.

The next is Argon Patriot. This is the one I would pick if you’re looking for battles. You’re really close to the “Terran Conflict” plot but you’re out in normal space where you can dock in a finite time. It’s also pretty close to the Goner’s quest, which is a good one for teaching you a bit about trading.

Then there’s the humble merchant. If you’re looking more for trading than battles, this is the start for you. It starts you with a trading ship AND with a small scout ship. You also start in a very safe sector of space and you’ve got a good hunk of starting cash. However, it will take you quite some time to find the first two big plot quests. Also, you are COMPLETELY without weapons so you won’t quite be able to complete the starting tutorial. Don’t worry, you can come back and finish it later.

Nostalgic Argon was added long after the game came out. It’s something of a combo between Patriot and Merchant – you start out with a small fighter but it’s in a pretty safe sector of space. If you would rather learn what you’re doing before getting into the main quests, this is a pretty good start.

Suicidal Squid – uhhh, yeah, if you need to read this tutorial then you need to stay away from this start. If you thought “dead is dead” was rough in XCOM, wait until you try it with a game that spans hundreds of hours.

Custom Start should also be avoided. You aren’t just far away from the plots in this start, the plots are actually disabled! I think it’s meant for use by mods for the game.

Several more starting scenarios will appear as you progress through the game.
There are a lot of mission types in this game. Some you can do right off the bat, some you can’t. Some you can but really shouldn’t. Some start out easy but get harder and harder until they seem impossible – then suddenly get easy again when you figure out a smarter way to complete the mission. Mission success will give you a reward and increase your reputation. Failing a mission will decrease your reputation.

Deliver Stuff Sometimes this means delivering something commonly available (or maybe not so commonly available, like disruptor missiles) to a station. Other times they tell you where to pick up a consignment of stuff to haul back to the station. Small fighters probably won’t have the cargo space to handle these. Note that you only have to be on the transport when the cargo is delivered.

Taxi/Bus Service These can be very lucrative but passengers are stored in the cargo bay. If you don’t have a life support system in there, the passenger won’t go. Unfortunately, the ‘welcome to our station’ message will sometimes cover up the message from your passenger saying he/she/it can’t survive without air, which can lead to you rushing off with no passenger on board. If you don’t hear the message, be sure to double check your inventory!

Return my Ship These are good stuff early in the game. Not only do they pay OK, you get paid for something you need to do anyway – namely exploring the universe. A fast ship helps a lot with missions like this. As the game progresses, the ships you’re sent to rescue will start to include trade ships which move very slowly, making it difficult to complete the mission.

There’s also a variation of this mission which has you returning a stolen ship. Those are NOT good missions to take! It’s often very difficult to get a pilot to bail and, by the time you do, the ship is in horrible shape and moving like a snail.

Patrol Go to a sector, fly around a bit destroying any enemies that pop up, go to the next sector, fly around a bit destroying any enemies that pop up, until all sectors are complete. This is a bread & butter mission for people playing with a combat focus. Not only do you get paid for completing the mission, you get paid more for every enemy destroyed. Plus you can pick up dropped cargo (mostly missiles) and even abandoned ships.

Defend Station Much like the patrol mission only this time all the action happens around a single base. These are also good missions but be careful that you do NOT SHOOT THE BASE! They really don’t like that. If you hit the base too many times they turn downright hostile and call the cops on you.

Deliver a Ship Obviously, this one costs a bit but some of the little ships are pretty cheap and are fast enough to get to the mission giver before time runs out. If you don’t get the ship to the destination on time, though, the mission fails and you now own a ship that you probably don’t want. The reward for this mission is as stated plus the cost of the ship so feel free to tune the engines up. Beware – the ship being asked for may only be sold at a station that’s far away. Use your encyclopedia to find where the nearest station selling the ship is located (or at least on offer).

Asteroid Scans I love these missions early in the game. Like the ship return missions, they let you get paid for doing the exploring that you need to be doing anyway. This one requires a mineral scanner. It’s timed so faster ships are better but the first missions give you enough time to do them even in a slow trade ship.

Freight Scans These are pretty meh. You’ll need a scanner and (probably) a police license to do this one. The problem is that there are just not that many illegal goods out there. You still get some money per ship scanned so it isn’t terrible but you can probably do better. The pirates offer a more interesting version of this mission.

Follow the Ship These are kinda nice at the start of the game. All you need to do is follow a ship from sector to sector and stay roughly 12km back and you’ll be led right to a pirate base. Pirate bases can be handy places if you don’t get the pirates too mad at you. As time goes on, enemies will start to spawn along the way to make it harder. Since you’re chasing another ship, you’ll need something with speed.

Killer Sometimes this is to kill one specific person, sometimes it’s to kill a convoy of trade ships. There is a time limit and you do get a reputation penalty with the race you are blowing up. Still, doing assassination missions for the Yaki is about the only way to get them to like you at the start of the game.

Escort This mission type is downright notorious. Early in the game (when your combat rating is low) it isn’t too bad but it won’t take long before large numbers of big ships are sent after the poor little transporters.

Build Station Quite lucrative but you need a lot of cash to do them. They are great when you've got that cash but that's a long way away for you. Ignore them until you've got a few hundred thousand in the bank.
Plot Quests These are marked with a blue book icon. The first ones you are likely to see are the “Tarran Conflict” and “Goner” plots. Both of these are actually advanced tutorials in disguise. The Terran one centers mostly around combat while the Goner plot has a mix of trading and combat. The Terran plot likes to hand out a lot of free ships so you’re definitely going to want to do that one.

A word of warning – none of the plots are meant to act as your sole occupation. When the Goner’s ask for 1200 Teladianium, you can send a couple of transports off to pick the cargo up and go do something else while the transports chug along. This is especially true for the “HUB” plot that has you delivering wares in massive quantities. That’s one where you’re going to need to set up automated systems to deliver goods then go do other things for a LONG time. (Luckily, you don’t have to be on the transports delivering those items!)
Learning Curve
There’s a lot of fear out there regarding the learning curve. It’s really not that steep, it’s just very long! By that I mean that there’s a lot to learn but you really don’t have to know 90% of it when you’re starting out. For instance, what does a jump drive do? Answer: it doesn’t matter. They are very hard to find and, even if you did find one for sale, you wouldn’t have the cash to buy it. Learning the differences between the different types of fighting software isn’t very handy when you’re chugging around in a trade ship with no weapons so don’t bother trying to learn it yet. If you’re flying a small fighter around then it is a good idea to learn the different types of fighting software – but you can skip over those trade software packages for a few days.
One of the greatest things about this game is that you’ll still be learning how different systems work even after playing for a month. Just stick to the things that sound like they may be of use AND that you can afford and you’ll do fine.

Oh, and there is actually a manual included with this game. A pretty good one, too! Again, you can really make things hard on yourself if you try to learn all there is to know in one sitting. Just stick to the basics at first and maybe scan over the more advanced stuff, just so you know what’s there. You can learn how the more advanced things work later on.
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AyleidRuin Oct 13 @ 9:08pm 
@ Dr. Steve Brule Sounds like the Docking Computer on-board your ship. Without it when you comm the station->get permission... it will bring up a green light at port. There I have to slow down / crawl to it so I don't hit the station. Anyways with a Docking Computer you can hit the button you have mapped for it within 5KM and it will dock you instantly.

BUT if what you say is true w/o a DC then I was doing it all wrong xD lulz
Names Oct 12 @ 7:53am 
lol, good guide, but it seems you don't know that if you manually fly (aas fast as you wish) to a a docking point on ANY station, THEN slow down/stop, and MANUALLY COMM THEM FOR DOCKING PERMISSION, you will dock instantly or near instantly... :P
Zloth  [author] Jan 18, 2017 @ 4:37pm 
Try asking on the forums. Remember to state exactly what the target's situation is, too.
defuniakspringsks Jan 17, 2017 @ 8:15pm 
got the M7, got the boarding pod, got the Marines, still cannot get anything to happen, when I use board ship command or Launch Marines? tried just ejecting them, nothing happens they won't do anything????????
Zloth  [author] Jan 17, 2017 @ 5:38pm 
?? Quite a few stations have M7s for sale.

I was never into marines, really, except when the game forced me to use them. It's been a few years but I'm pretty sure the main 'Terran Conflict' plotline has a tutorial. If I remember right, you can just kick them out into space close to the enemy ship (which will need to have its shields down at least) and they will try to latch on. I think there was some sort of bording pod missile, too, but that's more advanced stuff.
defuniakspringsks Jan 17, 2017 @ 2:36pm 
stil cannot find and M7, cannot get Marines to board or hack or anything, why are they in the game with extesive training options, if you cannot get them to do anything? piracy command? boarding pod? anything
Demonith Oct 26, 2015 @ 12:43pm 
Ho to get start traiding and get some money i know on AP buying ore and selling for good price can i so this in here ?
Fractal Oct 26, 2015 @ 10:54am 
Docking computers work at 3-4km for most of the stations I've encountered. I dunno how it works for tiny ones.
Zloth  [author] Mar 22, 2015 @ 7:25pm 
Yep! You just use a hot key (shift-D?) and the auto-pilot will take over and fly you into the dock. You can even turn SETA on. Or, if you have a docking computer, just get within about 750m (I think it depends on the station size, too) then hit the hot key and you'll teleport right into the dock! It's a massive time saver - though you might still want to manually dock to listen to the pretty music from time to time.
Sprayer2708 Mar 22, 2015 @ 3:04pm 
Is there another way to dock? I'm just doing it like it did in X1