Star Traders: Frontiers

Star Traders: Frontiers

26 ratings
Military Officer guide (STF v2.3.34)
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).
Aug 2018
>> New version of the guide for STF v2.3.34
08/18/2018
>> Need to include the Reinforced Officer Suites in the guide(which are sweet)
 
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Template
This guide uses a crew combat captain in all situations but I will provide 2 templates:
1. A-Attributes B-Ship (Guardian Interceptor or GI ) C-Skills D-Contacts E-Experience
2. A-Attributes B-Skills C-Ship(Galatak Freighter or GF) D-Contacts E-Experience
A-Attributes
14 Strength/27 Quickness/20 Fortitude/25 Charisma/30 Wisdom/20 Resilience
These values are more of a guideline and should be changed to suit more your playstyle. 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.
The main reason for having max Wisdom is to help a bit with spying and exploring 2 game activities that are not the main strengths of this archetype.
Fortitude is a bit low but can be improved with specialist gear very fast if you choose a Fixer as a your starting contact.
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 !). With the right talents and the right crew you can start ship combat starting lvl 3-5 against small ships.
Running bigger ships comes with a higher cost in fuel and wages so trading is mandatory, at least at the start of the game.
GI should be fitted as a dodge build because it lacks proper armor and shielding in the standard fit.
With the GI I prefer to fight at range 3-1 to take advantage of the improved piloting and dodge skills as well as the debuffs of railguns(Distortion Fields )

GF focuses more on trading and taking advantage of the 3x Large cargo holds. Fighting with this ship should be done only in the most favourable of the circumstances at range 4-5.
The main goal with the GF is to quickly advance in levels and purchase a new ship that is more fitted for combat (either GI for 375k or Vengeance for 500k).
In the most optimal of the circumstances the only upgrade of the GF will be Weapons Locker 3-5 for running crew combat missions.
C-Skills
1 Blade/3 Command/4 Evasion
or
1 Blade/5 Command/5 Evasion/(0-4Tactics and 0-4 Doctor)
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.
Command is more a personal preference or a split Command/Doctor/Tactics. 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,MO-Boarding Rush)
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.
Another honorable mention for starting contacts is the Doctor. As doctors where hard to find in the previous versions in the game I have a soft spot for this contact.
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: increases more Pistol skills compared to Doctor making shooting accuracy higher and less health points healed per turn(HPS) but bigger heals for emergencies
• MO/CMD/Doctor: increases Command and Tactics more than Combat Medic with less flexibility in healing and more health points healed per turn(HPS)/ effcient heals initiative wise when there is no risk of dying. This option can be improved with some Pistols skill in the template for accuracy reasons
• 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)
MO-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.
The main position of this captain in crew combat is P2.As requested below a pic of this captain(late game).

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.
Depending on the attributes that your starting Doctor has there are 3 possibilities(Natural Evade or Doctor is a big plus for all of them):
• High Strength(>20) and Rifles => Doctor/Bounty Hunter/Soldier in P3
• High Strength(>20),high quickness(>20) and Blades(>3) => Doctor/Zealot/Swordsman in P1
• High Quickness (>20) => Doctor/Combat Medic/Pistoleer or Spy for survivability in P3
Last option is the safest with first as close second(my personal favourite is the first)
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.
2. Quartermaster (QM)
Favourite builds for my starting QM:
• QM/Pirate/Commander (if low Charisma, no crew combat stats and skills)
• QM/Pirate/Zealot (if he has good crew combat stats and natural evade or blades)
• QM/Diplomat/Merchant(if high Charisma, natural negotiator)
Natural intimidating QMs (with skill Bonus for Intimidate) help a lot this build.
Fig.CMD-INT gains per rank for pirate types
I usually get Contract Bargain as a second talent asap and focus more on the other Jobs till late game.
Pirate job helps 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.
If QM/Diplomat/Merchant was chosen it's important to focus on Diplomat-Winning Compromise and after Merchant-Market Confidant
In the late game with access to highly tuned mission driven officers this officer may be a candidate to be fired

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 but I recommend Spy for Unauthorized Access which needs more Electronics
4. Navigator Officer (SNAV)-if GI was chosen
For the Navigator spot I usually build him as Pilot/Engineer 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).
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)
In the mid-late game this officer will be the first one to be fired because there are Jobs more important than Navigation except if he has godly traits like Intrepid, Inspiring etc.
Crew and Specialists
On this ship you have 24(GF) or 30(GI) crew limit at the start of the game and 4-5 officers. I prefer to manually select the talents for all my crew. Below my choices for talents for:

GI:
-5 Crew Dogs (3xSafety Protocols, 1xFailsafe Protocol/1xRelaxing Leave (req High Charisma) , 1xMethodical Sweep)
-6 E-Techs (3x Hotwire, 2/3xAlert Scanner, 1xSigniature Jammer, 0/1 Buzzing Wires)
-5 Gunners (1x Targeting Lock 3x Bombardment 1xBoarding Assault its debatable depends on your playing style)
-1 Mechanic (1x Careful Testing by default)
-3 Junior Navigators (1x Read Charts, 1x Exacting Design, 1xFast Gateaway)
-6 Pilots (3/4x Expert Maneuvers, 2/3x Evasive Maneuvers)
-1 Pistoleer (depends on playing style, recruit attributes)
-2 Soldiers (Suppressing Fire is too good to pass)
-1 Swordsman (depends on attributes, mostly 1xSharp Counter)

GF:
-3 Crew Dogs (2xSafety Protocols, 1xMethodical Sweep)
-3 E-Techs (2x Hotwire, 1xSigniature Jammer)
-4 Gunners (1x Targeting Lock 3x Bombardment 1xBoarding Assault its debatable depends on your playing style)
-1 Mechanic (1x Careful Testing by default)
-4 Junior Navigators (2x Read Charts, 1x Exacting Design, 1xFast Gateaway)
-4 Pilots (2x Expert Maneuvers, 1/2x Evasive Maneuvers, 0/1x Sharp Steering)
-1 Pistoleer (depends on playing style, recruit attributes)
-2 Soldiers (Suppressing Fire is too good to pass)
-1 Swordsman (depends on attributes, mostly 1xSharp Counter)

As specialists for the late game it's nice to have 2 Engineers, 2 Spys, 2Pirates, 1Explorers, 1-2 Military Officers, 2-3 Commanders, 2 Diplomats, 1Merchant, 1Smuggler and 1 Bounty Hunter for Hunters Challenge, Blood Game and Tireless Pursuit.
Building your Ship
GI only as GF will be either sold or upgraded later
This section is dependant on you personal preferences, below are mine

Weapons Locker 5 (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)
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 4 (Small) or Pilot Assist Module 4
4x Reinforced Officers Cabins (Small)
Reinforced Baracks 4 (Medium)
Star Lance Array (Medium)
Advanced Medical Bay (Medium)
Deflector Array 4 (Medium)
Sensor Array 4(small) or Pilot Assist Module 4 or Nav Assist Module 4(your choice I prefer Pilot)
M6000 Hyperwarp Ex(Medium)
Passager suite (Medium)
Advanced Mass Dampener(Medium)
M6000 Void Engine:Chaser(Large)
2xCargo Hold 4(Large)
Capital Bridge 4(Large) (late game upgrade, only if you have enough money, it's better to invest in bigger ships)
Latest loadout on impossible(took advantage of the new reinforced officer suites)
Weapons
GI Weapons are personal choice but I prefer going with:
2xLvl7 Torpedoes (Small)
2xLvl1 HeliosX2 Railguns (Small)

As a late game ship my current Sword Battlecruiser has high armor(47 Blocks 60%),shielding(50 Blocks 60%) and dodge to take on the xenos(usually gets hit by 0-1 torpedo at range 5):
2xLvl 7 X2 Helios Railgun Arrays
1x Star Lance Array
2xLvl7 Torpedoes (Small)
2-4x Pilot Assist Module 4
1-3x Nav Assist Module 4
2xReinforced Structure 4
2xDeflector Array 4
1xAdvanced Medical Bay (6 Medical rating)
Everything else is max out. It's a bit of overkill with the armor and shielding but I expect that there will be other late game ships that will require more armor and shielding
Gameplay Tips
Early Game (1-5 and 5-11)
Balancing your ships skill pools should be your first priority. When travelling 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.
Upgrading your trade permits should be one of your priorities because this will increase your profits by selling higher value goods(and proccing the Merchant-Market Confidant talent to find new contacts from the local faction).
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) so when looking for good planet orbits to patrol it's best to choose(especially in the early game when one lacks talents to help this activity):
-a high trade law with big population
-average to low military and starport levels
-small plant size
The most efficient way to help your faction win conflicts is by patrolling, spying, blockading and secondly by running missions.
Running missions is another sure way to make money but sometimes has a side effect of losing reputation with other factions(e.g especially Faen missions, helping your faction win trade wars/ trade bans, solar wars, duel of assassins).
If one of your main goals is running missions one should invest in one or more Military/Edict Rank if you think you can handle more harder missions and increasing pay at the same time.

Ship to ship combat is very risky in this period(lvls 1-5) and should be avoided if you are outgunned by a bigger ship with low amounts of ship to ship combat talents because of low level crew and you have no upgrades on your ship(especially Pilot Assist 4 and to a lesser extent Nav Assist 4)
Best picks to fight(in a 0 upgrades ship) are explorers and smugglers with low hostility (0 to -1=> free shots/usually will try to escape first turn) in small ships(Scout Cutter, Juror) and with high amount of cargo(>35).
Pirates have their own category. They are harder to kill(they have 2xSteady Hands from the get go) and will inflict more damage on your ship but usually have high amount of cargo.
Zealots, Military Officers, Bounty Hunters and Spys should be avoided because they have low amounts of cargo and the risks are too high.
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.
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.
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/explorers that will want to flee I open with: Tireless Pursuit is best in slot (or Targeting Lock/Scattershot).
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6 Comments
Aimstrong  [author] Aug 24 @ 8:01pm 
Thanks @meta, you are correct. The composition of the starting GI lineup has changed a bit since early access.
Aimstrong  [author] Aug 13 @ 4:30pm 
Depends on dificulty and what happens in game but mostly yes (respecs are welcome if neccesary )
MO/CMD/CM:
1.stiff salute or Power play
2.Rallying Aura
3.Steady hands or Cleansing Purge
4.Commanding Sweep
5.Flatline etc.
DOC
1.Medical Staff
2.Field Surgery
3.DPS/debuff/Heal talent (depends on what he will be BH, Sniper, Soldier, Spy, Combat medic, Pistoleer)
4.Life Saver, Medical Ward
Also the late game spec of the captain in the image is not the one I use most times I was tinkering with talents.
Hope this helps
cuadro Aug 13 @ 4:12pm 
Do you build your captain and officers with crew combat abilities immediately? Or do you respec into them later? Assuming that is the late game build, how do you build them at the start?
Aimstrong  [author] Aug 11 @ 5:18am 
@Garborg, 2 ss inserted.Hope this helps.:steamhappy:
Garborg Aug 11 @ 3:33am 
Nice write up, a ss of your captain and ship loadout would be a great visual.
Jackington Aug 2 @ 4:26am 
Works good, thanks for the guide!