Star Traders: Frontiers

Star Traders: Frontiers

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Military Officer guide (STF v2.0.57)
By Aimstrong
Disclaimer: The following guide is by no means perfect. It reflects mostly how I like to play the game. It can spoil the fun of discovering tips and tricks by yourself so please look no further if that is the case!
Many thanks to the other guide creators your work helped me a lot!

I play as a Military Officer/Commander or MO/CMD(Hard -> Impossible) focused on crew combat and ship to ship combat that runs mostly missions and patrols for a lot of reputation (Impossible difficulty is BEST in order to maximize the fun/game rewards that this game has to offer).
Feb 2018:
>>This guide needs an update to catch up with the recent changes to components(Engines/Weapons/HW).
>>Added a more detailed/advanced crew combat tips/analysis section(for impossible diffculty)
April 2018:
>> with the 2.2.19(ELDER) update and new CC meta=>ignore this section
 
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Template
My template is: A-Attributes B-Ship (Guardian Interceptor) C-Skills D-Contacts E-Experience
It's not the min-maxer "dream" template but gives to a new player who just started Impossible difficulty better odds to make it to the late game.

A-Attributes
14 Strength/26 Quickness/26 Fortitude/23 Charisma/27 Wisdom/20 Resilience
I like Quickness and Wisdom for Initiative.High Quickness helps with dodge (melee+ranged) and pistol accuracy.
Fortitude is the primary stat for HP points and damage reduction.
Charisma increases your patrol rewards, and it helps with tests during missions checks + discover crew traits.
B-Ship
GI is a very good starting ship. You are not the biggest fish in the pond but surely you are way above average and with the right upgrades GI can handle herself very well (I find your lack of hat disturbing Zerod !). You can start ship combat @lvl 3-5 against small ships provided that you have the right talents/right crew/Pilot Assist upgrade.
Running bigger ships comes with a higher cost in fuel and wages so trading is mandatory, at least at the start of the game.
C-Skills
1 Blade/3 Command/4 Evasion
At the start of the game you will not be very proficient in crew combat but with the correct jobs picks, armor/weapons/special gear (from contacts) you will become a good morale buffer/healer able to hold your own even against xenos.
Blades 1 is a must in order to equip an offhand kukri and face enemy swordsman. It allows you to parry is there for defense only, not for attack.
Evade 4 is a non brainer, it’s there to help you survive crew combat.
Command 3 is more a personal preference or a split Command/Doctor. Helps with:
• buffs/debuff removal in ship to ship combat(CMD-Steady Hands, MO-Overriding Discipline, Incite Victory)
• morale recovery in the aftermath of ship battle(CMD-Loyalty Rousing)
• buffs/debuffs in crew combat (CMD-Rallying Aura, Bolster, Barked Order)
D-Contacts
Politician helps you with new contact introductions, offers somewhat risk averse missions (nice for the start of the game) and gives you the opportunity to recruit lvl 1-8 Diplomats (which help with game mission checks - Settlement, better missions pay - Winning Compromise, keeping morale high - Hand that Feeds, mitigates reputation losses after ship to ship combat - Magnanimous Victory, discounts on military rank/contact introduction and reputation increase for running missions).
Fixer gives you access to the black market when you need it (I did it less than once per year in game but if you like risk, it certainly can pay off big time), sells special gear for the crew combat, offers smuggler mission (again risk averse good for the start of the game), can offer recruits (based on traits) and discounted fuel.
E-Experience
This ship has a crew of 30 so gaining experience fast won’t be easy. I recommend doing a lot of patrolling, and crew combat (after purchasing the gear and higher lvl weapon locker) while exploring to gain XP faster.
Captain
Possible choices are:
• MO/CMD/Combat Medic: in my experience offers best outcomes @ higher difficulties(great doctors are hard to come by)
• MO/CMD/Doctor: you can heal but you can’t remove debuffs early till MOlvl5
• MO/CMD/Pistoleer or MO/CMD/Spy: focuses more on damage dealing and survivability through evade but it means getting the healing/debuff removal somewhere else. It’s riskier at higher difficulties if you don’t have at least 2 doctors/combat medics in your crew combat lineup one in first 2 rows and the other in last 2 rows.
• MO/CMD/have your pick here ------ e.g. Merchant/Diplomat/Smuggler/Pirate it helps with other aspects of the game while diminishing your crew combat abilities
It’s recommended to transition to a more bounty hunting captain in crew combat missions early in the game (more XP and better pay).So focusing on the ground combat talents at first is a must for the Captain and Combat Medic Officer(CMD-Rallying Aura, Doctor-Field Surgery, Combat Medic- E-Suture and later Combat Medic -Cleansing Purge or MO-Leader in the ranks)
Stiff Salute is a must have talent that can get you out of trouble (ship combat draw) if you like to play riskier (against hostile Zealots and Military Officers)
Later on talents like CMD-Coordinated Fire (+35% Dmg, +25% Critical), CMD-Precision Action (crew + ship debuff removal), MO-Overriding Discipline (+Boarding +Accuracy +Dmg +Def + crew debuff removal + morale), MO-Incite Victory (+Boarding +Accuracy +Dmg +Def +morale), MO-Call for Surrender (after successful boarding causes morale loss for enemy ship) will ensure your naval superiority in ship to ship combat.
I mean "O Profet, bless these talents that, with these, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits in Thy mercy."(Shalun blessed STF Talents against xenos)
Means to gain reputation with factions are running missions and patrolling. Using MO-Commanding Sweep (which grants card replacement with +Influence or +Conflict Score) is super nice to have and talents like MO-Power Play, MO-Militant Patrol help reputations gains further.
Officers
1. Doctor/Combat Medic is one important role that is mandatory. You already have one by default having the Medical Staff talent. It’s important to have this skill save especially in high danger zones. I typically pick 2-3 doctor saving talents from mid game and 3 definitely for late game.
First job upgrade for my doctor is always Combat Medic especially if my Doctor pool is low and usually it is the case.
Natural Doctors (with skill Bonus for Doctor) are a rear commodity (especially if they have >20 Quickness Fortitude Resilience and cherry on top +Evade skill) which begs you to put them in combat.
Their talent Life Saver (death save) is really important don’t miss on this one. Medical Ward and Treat Wounded are 2 critical talents if you get hit in ship to ship combat.
For tertiary jobs for Doctor role I usually pick Pistoleer or Spy for survivability
2. Quartermaster (QM)
Favorite build for my starting QM is QM/Pirate/with tertiary options like:
• Diplomat(if high Charisma, natural negotiator)
• Bounty Hunter (if he has good crew combat stats, natural evade, rifles)
• Zealot (if he has good crew combat stats and blades/evade)
• Commander if none of the above
Fig.CMD-INT gains per rank for pirate types
If BH or Zealot was chosen, he/she will not be in the starting lineup for crew combat but used maybe for a second wave of boarding/easier fights(for XP gains mostly).
Natural intimidating QMs (with skill Bonus for Intimidate) help a lot this build.
I usually get Contract Bargain as a second talent asap followed Reliable Hand and Rallying Cry(big synergy with +Intimidate) For the moment I postpone QM leveling more than 5 for later and for +Intimidate skill.
Pirate job is mandatory for a successful dodge build (in game is called +Defense) in ship to ship combat. Barrel Roll(-25% Dmg, +35% Defense, +10% Shield) is the most important skill for this (hope the devs won’t nerf it).That is why I like to have 2 pirates on my ship.
Acrobatic Dive (+accuracy +range change) and Disabling Shot(-Def for enemy ships) complement the pirate arsenal really well if you want to either cripple/loot ships or salvage them.
3. Engineer (ENG)
As second job for the engineer I always pick Mechanic and level him up to 5Engineer/1Mechanic for the Assisted Installation (reduced upgrades cost) and later for Hard Bargain (reduced cost for new ships).
For this build it’s important to have a least 2 engineers to be able to recover from ship to ship damage (2xPort Maintenance upon landing, automatically repairs damage helps you recover in time) till you get your ship +Defense up (aka dodge build) and mitigate ship/crew damage in this fashion.
Brace for Impact (+20% Shield, +20% Armor, 10% crew damage reduction) talent x2 is a must have.
Tertiary Job for Engineer is open depending on his attributes and skill bonuses and ship pool needs.
4. Navigator Officer (SNAV)
For the Navigator spot I usually build him as Pilot/Engineer and give him all the talents to reduce cost for hyperwarp jumps. If I have already a second Engineer I go Pilot/E-Tech (+Electronics rules for dodge builds).
It's not the optimal choice(for a min-maxer) but I find it to be the safest early-mid game.
With the purchase of a bigger ship(more officers) you will have the chance to adjust this to fit your playing style.
Talents that are best in slot Skip Off the Void(easy escape in ship to ship combat) Distant Commission(increase pay) Talk of Far Worlds(new contacts discovery) and Perfected Approach(for ship to ship range dance ...I mean change)
Crew and Specialists
On this ship you have 30 crew limit at the start of the game and 5 officers. I prefer to manually select the talents for all my crew. Below my choices for talents
-5 Crew Dogs (3xSafety Protocols, 1xFailsafe Protocol/1xRelaxing Leave (req High Charisma) , 1xMethodical Sweep)
-6 E-Techs (3/4x Hotwires, 1xAlert Scanner, 1xSigniature Jammer, 0/1 Buzzing Wires)
-4 Gunners (1x Targeting Lock 2x Bombardment 1xBoarding Assault its debatable depends on your playing style)
-1 Mechanic (1x Careful Testing by default)
-4 Junior Navigators (2x Read Charts, 2x Exacting Design)
-6 Pilots (3/4x Expert Maneuvers, 2/3x Evasive Maneuvers)
-1 Pistoleer (depends on playing style, recruit attributes)
-2 Soldiers (combination of Burst Fire/Suppressing Fire depends on attributes)
-1 Swordsman (depends on attributes, mostly 1xSharp Counter)

Dismissal is not recommended especially at the start of the game(unless you are already an advanced player ... in which case you are most probably wasting time looking at this guide ;) ). The stats on your starting lineup are always better than new recruits!(as of this version 2.0.47)

As specialists I like to have 1 Pirate, 1 or 2 Diplomats (1 if my QM is diplomat), if there is space available 1 Spy (for Spying in orbit and mission talents) and 1 Bounty Hunter for Hunters Challenge, Blood Game and Tireless Pursuit.
Building your Ship
This section depends a lot on play style but there are some recommendations for upgrades. I prefer a dodge build for my GI and this reflects in my choices below.
Weapons Locker 4 (small) - This will aid HUGELY in crew combat, replace after you get your combat gear from contacts
Prison Cell (small) - undertake lucrative bounty missions (crew combat in early game)
Deflector Array 4 (small) (You already have one of these from the start. Keep it.)
Pilot Assist Module 4(small) (You already have one. Improve it to 4 as soon as you can. Don't go fighting ships without this upgrade.)
Nav Assist Module 4(small) (You already have one. Improve it to 4 after you improve the Pilot Assist.)
Defense Pattern Matrix (small)
4x Reinforced Officers Cabins (small)
Armor Bulkheads 4(small)- I haven’t tried to install a second Pilot Assist 4 instead of this. I will try it out next run.
Sensor Array 4(small)
M6000 Hyperwarp Ex(medium)
Capital Bridge 4 (just to show that you have the money and a pimped out, custom tuned GI :) ♥♥♥♥♥in'!)
Weapons
Weapons are personal choice but I prefer going with:
2xLvl7 Torpedoes
2xLvl7 HeliosX2 Railguns
Gameplay Tips
Early Game
Balancing your ships skill pools should be your first priority. When traveling through space you will most likely fail some checks so get saves talents for those. There is awesome guide@ DaDiarra already that explains this.
Making money via trading is mandatory. Recommended goods are Crystals, Clothing, Water purifiers, Basic Medicine. Invest into a traders permit lvl1 if you can spare the money.
When arriving at a new planet always check the cards offered @Patrol/Blockade/Spy they don’t advance the time.
Patrolling is self explanatory (% are displayed) e.g. patrolling @ Double starport lvl20 huge planet (w/o reroll, card replacement or removal) is bad; @ smaller planets with high TradeLaw nice.
Where to recruit if crew gets killed (recommended factions).Thanks devs for the hint!
Traits for all crew (starting and not) are derived by: Faction ,Job ,Planet attributes (danger, atmo),Zone attributes (govt, military, econ, econ type).
We're looking at atmo extremes (hard vacuum, very dense, etc) and high danger worlds to produce hardened recruits.
Conclusion :
If you find a world where you like the Traits that are coming off of it, you should consider frequenting that world for more recruits, as it will have close to the same Trait rolls every time.
Always hire Cadar soldiers, Javat mechanics, Alta Mesa pilots, Rychart spies, Thulun commanders, Steel Song bounty hunters, Moklumnue Diplomats/Merchants (list in progress).
Mid Game
Spread your contact network, best candidate are Princes of different faction than your own (high influence helps a lot) to get trade permits, Smuggler Prince with rare trade goods. If they are closer to your starting location that helps even more.
If you are using a template with contacts C-Contacts or more the order in which you select them is important (last ones have increased chance to be different faction and further away from your starting location). I always choose Prince last.
Late Game
Good job you made it!
Crew Combat
Benchmark scope/aim:If you can handle 2 xenos squads fights (on impossible difficulty) one after the other(no healing/morale pause required) you can consider that your CC squad is up to par.
-----Team Bambi is more vicious than Monty Python's rabbit.Xeno beware! :)
CC Team position notation(more means further away):P4/P3/P2/P1
DPS=damage per second should be DPT=damage per turn
AoE=Area of effect

Initial thoughts

The ability of outlasting/outhealing(by healing I mean HP and Morale) your opponent is paramount in achieving this goal. Sometimes I find that going full DPS/glass cannon/all guns blazing is a bit suboptimal. The perfect outcome of a CC should be your team @Full HP and Morale and enemy team dead.
The more officers specialising in CC you put in combat the better the outcomes will be. Many players prefer to mitigate the risk of their officers dying by not putting them in combat, I prefer to bring them in CC(at least 2-3).
There is a drawback to this strategy, you are using precious Jobs and Ranks that you can use for other activities. With practice you will find your own sweet spot to achieve this.
Your P1 and P2 are statistically more likely to be the source of the enemy focus followed by P3 and lastly P4(safest).
In P1 and P2 the enemy can have 4 attack possibilities each turn on one member of your team.They are the positions where I lost the most crew.Any trick to spread out/avoid the damage of enemy team should be used(your own mobility talents/team buffs or oppo crowd control/formation manipulation).
CC starting lineup roles I use:
1.Primary support--a dedicated healer/debuffer(preferably your starting Doctor with Combat Medic added),
2.Secondary support--a secondary healer/buffer/debuffer hybrid(MO/CMD is best suited for this job in my opinion)
3a.2 full DPS
3b.1 full DPS and 1DPS/utility hybrid
In order to deny the enemy AoE potential on my supports I put them in P2 and P3. A good rule of thumb is to put one in P1/P2 and the other in P3/P4.

Attributes/Skills analysis(it's already well spelled out in the wiki[startraders.gamepedia.com] so skip this if you are already familiar with this topic )

Fortitude>Quickness>Initiative(Quickness+Wisdom) are the most important attributes in CC followed very closely by Resilience(this order is definitely biased by my playstyle).
Fortitude is rated higher than Quickness because on higher difficulties is more reliable(in my opinion).
If your team gets to act first is a big advantage.
Strength is important for DPS roles as Soldier and Swordsman(rifle or blade user)
I tend to prefer defensive stats to offensive ones so Evasion=Doctor>Rifles=Blades>Pistols>Tactics(skill bonus Evade/Doctor rules)
Tactics is only relevant to MO.
A good CC team should have >20 Fortitude, Quickness, Resilience the bigger the better.Any natural evade is super useful.As a personal preference I use +Initiative Trinkets for Gear slots for the dedicated healer and secondary healer(Initiative rules).

AI analysis/miscellaneous tips (from personal experience, so take this with a grain of salt)

The AI in CC tends to focus fire a lot more on harder difficulties =>armor buffs and HP/Morale healing is very important as is initiative. If the enemy gets to act 3 times before you do you may be in trouble. In order to mitigate this it is important to have 2 healers/debuffer/buffer.
Debuffs like Soldier 1-Suppressing Fire sometimes becomes more important than going Soldier-Full Auto. Same goes for buffs like Backline Leader, Frontline Brave.
I find that SWD1-Sharp counter can be a good deterrent for the AI to not focus my SWD/Doctor in P1(I love when they miss and they get killed by this talent).
Focusing fire becomes a priority for the player too. It's important to establish a numerical advantage by turn 2-3 while keeping your team alive.
Talents that crowd control the opponents can save lives.
After the first 1-2 rounds of combat you should already know the capabilities of enemy team(like who is their biggest threat/DPS, healer/buffer etc.) and formulate a strategy on who do you want to kill first or crowd control.
From my experience biggest opponent DPS threat is usually in P4 (one of the hardest position to kill quickly).The quicker that P4 becomes a P3 the better.
Opponents DPS threats in P1 or P2 are more manageable.
After achieving a numerical advantage (4 vs 2) I tend to give a higher priority to HP/Morale healing of my team so you can be in tiptop shape to start the next CC.
I find that I almost always target ranged enemies with my melee(swordsman) and enemy melee with my ranged DPS.
Against xenos Melee damage rules, a bit more so than on human opponents.
Skewering Thrust rotation on 2 swordsman (P1,P2) + 2 soldiers Full Auto in P3,P4 can lead to potentially biggest DPS achievable=> fastest wins possible.
Ship Combat
When entering a ship to ship combat you have to make a decision either flee or fight.
Flee:
In order to minimize the damage taken I prefer to raise defenses first(Vigilent Scanners/Evasive Maneuvers) and then flee(Bolt,Fast Getaway; these buffs stack).
Fight:
Against big ships raise defenses(Vigilent Scanners followed by Barrel Roll/Evasive Maneuvers), advance, use talents that reduce enemy defense/shields/armor/accuracy and fast board.
Against smaller ships/smugglers/ships that will want to flee I open with: Tireless Pursuit is best in slot (or Targeting Lock/Scattershot).