Into the Breach

Into the Breach

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Distant Friends Achievement Guide
By Kerensky
After spending far too many timelines cracking mountains with nothing to guide my search, I am making this guide to help anyone else who is looking for the Distant Friends achievement.
1. Recommended Set Up
Important Foreword:
The special glowing beacon, when spawning in mountains or ice, can spawn inside of pre-damaged/cracked tiles. This means that at the beginning of every battle, just look at every square. You may see a beacon glowing right from the start! You just have to know what to look for. See section 2 for many examples of beacons in mountains and section 4 for an example of a beacon in ice so you know what exactly to look for.
In fact, the vast majority of beacons you will probably encounter are found in these instances of pre-damaged/cracked mountain and ice locations!!!

1A. Set the game difficulty to EASY mode. You are going to be wasting a lot of time and firepower cracking mountains, and there's no way Normal or Hard will give you the luxury of free actions to break open mountains. Not only do you need to crack dozens if not hundreds of mountains to find what you are looking for, but once you crack it, you need to then destroy it and move a unit to pick up a drop.

1B. Bring Mechs with lots of firepower, and AOE firepower as well. Science types that deal no direct damage are of no help here. Mechs like the Mirror Mech that can hit two distant mountains at the same time or the Siege Mech that deals damage all around the target square are your best friends for this hunt. Flame Leviathans are probably one of the worst squads, as none of them deal direct square damage!

1C. Once you have your squad, it's mountain cracking time. Control the Vek with as few moves and effort spent as possible (this is why you want to be on easy mode). Then spend all extra actions you have left over using your Mechs to attack mountains wherever you see them. Once you crack a mountain (1 damage) you should be able to see the glow right away. If you don't, move on to the next mountain. Be prepared for a long grind, I spent at least 5, 10, or maybe even 15 timelines focused just on cracking mountains, staying alive so I didn't get a game over, and not much else.
2. Screenshot Walkthrough of What You Are Looking for.
2A. The glow you are looking for in a mountain, note the bottom left mountain has a yellow dot inside.
Also, that same glow on an ice mountain, which is even harder to see because the yellow blends in with the white.
2B. Pilot makes a remark, and you see a small beacon on the square now.
2C. Move a Mech to pick up the small beacon.
2D. Special FTL pod will arrive. Thankfully you only need to protect it, you don't have to hustle over and actually pick it up during the mission.
2E. Opening the special FTL themed pod...
2F. Earning the achievement.
3. Other Details
3A. There appears to be three total special pilots. From what I have gathered, they are each tied to a specific zone. Mantis in Grassland, Rockman in Acidland, and Zoltan in Desertland. Striked out statement proven to be false. You only need one to unlock the achievement.

3B. Each Pilot has very unique stats, if I ever acquire them all maybe I'll update the guide to show them all.

3C. As far as I can tell, there is no hidden pilot in the final zone, nor in the Iceland zone. I am very much NOT 100% certain about the Iceland zone not having a pilot though, I just have not found any evidence yet to support that zone having a pilot. Striked out statement proven to be false.

3D. Happy hunting, hope this guide was helpful! If you found this guide helpful, please give a good rating so others can find it with high visibility!
4. Edits/Updates/Corrections
4A. Pods can be found in the Ice (Pinnacle) Zone. In fact they can be found here buried under the ice as well. So get cracking with those AOE attacks!

Credit to: Cyriel ᛭ᚲᛃᚱᛁᛖᛚ᛭ for the Ice Beacon Screenshots.

4B. As noted above, beacons are confirmed to be found inside of mountain squares and also potentially now in frozen water/ice squares.

4C. Specific special FTL aliens are not linked to a specific zone. Here is the Mantis being found in the Acid/Detrius zone.

4D. Special beacons can be found on any difficulty mode, including hard. But good luck having the spare time and resources to spend searching and acquiring them on hard!

4E. Special beacons, when spawning in mountains or ice, can spawn inside undamaged tiles or pre-damaged tiles. This means that at the beginning of every battle, just look at every square. You may see a beacon glowing right from the start! You just have to know what to look for. See section 2.
5. Unconfirmed impossible spawn locations.
As title suggests, take this section's information with a hint of skeptisms. It's only been proven through player observation and not 100% verified.

So it seems there are several locations that it is impossible for the special beacon to appear in, and hopefully knowing this will save you some time in your hunt!

1. The very first mission. So don't think you can abandon a timeline over and over until it shows up immediately.
2. The first island, whichever island you pick. Same vein as #1, it seem that at the earliest you can find a special beacon is from island 2 and onward. Could save a lot of trouble cracking mountains right from the start.
3. Any mission that already has a time pod that appears. The appearance of the normal time pod seems to make the extra one never spawn.
4. Island boss battle. Never ever seen a pre-cracked terrain in any boss battle, and never got a beacon from breaking mountains either.

Again though, these are all unconfirmed reports, but if they are true, it should help somewhat in narrowing your search. Good luck!
Bonus: Alien portraits and unique stats.
Using the above strategies and tactics, I was able to acquire every FTL alien pilot with just a few hours dedicated effort. So here are all the portraits of the secret pilots as well as their stats!

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Doktor Oktor Nov 3, 2021 @ 4:48am 
Well done guide. Thank you! :) I have to say after having unlocked Kazaaakplath, that he (or she) pretty much turns the game upside down. I have always loved ITB but even easy mode was challenging for me. With Kazak however, most of the achievements and all three difficulty levels became somewhat easy cake. The reason for this: Put him on a science mech and upgrade health early (you could even have a health skill om him from earlier runs) So you won't need the repair anymore (that is rarely used anyway) By this, you essentially add 2 damage/round for any squad. Think of the fire mechs +2 native damage. Or Judokas. Zenith even!!! That is just game breaking in a fun way (if you don't want it, don't play Kazak^^). Of course, giving some squads a low damage output was intentional by the designers and Kazak single handedly topples that balance :D
IMakeYouDead Jul 13, 2020 @ 9:20am 
First run after reading this post, I got my first 'special pod'. It was on the Detritus map where you have access to the disposal unit, which made getting it very easy!
1MINISKIDI May 11, 2020 @ 10:35am 
Thanks, got lucky and got my first FTL pilot with a custom squad.
Lots of questions:

1. Is it better to play levels with only a few mountains or missions with lots of mountains / ice?
If the FTL pod beacon chance is per mission, then having less mountains wold make it easier to find it. But if the beacon chance is per mountain / ice, having more of them means better chances to find it on that level.

2. I had a level at Archive inc. that had some ice, but no mountains. Is there any chance that the ice there would contain the FTL pod beacon?

3. If I have my first FTL pilot unlocked and the rest of them are undiscovered, and discover another FTL pod, is it possible for me to get the FTL pilot I have already unlocked again?

4. If question #3 is true, do I have better chances to unlock an undiscovered FTL pilot from the pod when I play with the FTL pilot I have already unlocked?

5. Is it possible to get multiple FTL pods in the same run?
[JC]Westenra Jan 16, 2020 @ 8:45pm 
what glow
santox Jan 4, 2020 @ 5:18pm 
Got my second strange pod in the exact same pre-cracked mountain, third island, Defend the Earth Mover (desert). Playing on Easy with Combat Mech, Mirror Mech and Siege Mech.
No success yet with my mountain and ice cracking efforts even tho I'm cracking around 5 or 6 tiles per mission.
I brought Mafan with me so I didn't get duplicate pilot, only one more left yay!
santox Jan 3, 2020 @ 4:19pm 
Can you get more than one special pilot per run? How about per island?
Just got my first, Mafan. In a "Protect the earth mover" mission, pre-cracked mountain. :winter2019happybulb:
bird mom Nov 14, 2019 @ 10:22pm 
can definitely debunk the idea that its impossible to find one on a mission that already has a pod, i found my first one alongside a pod
Hrdkr Aug 13, 2019 @ 1:59am 
Great guide! I was able to get the beacon in my only second timeline when I started to search. It has spawned on the Desert island (it was the second one) in a pre-cracked mountain. The area itself has been a "high Vek threat" one, e.g. there were three rewards assigned to it (including a reactor core).

Probably such areas have much higher beacon spawn chance, so if you grind it, don't skip these areas.
ммм, тортик v2.0 May 17, 2019 @ 1:02pm 
but I noticed it too late, after last turn.
ммм, тортик v2.0 May 17, 2019 @ 12:01pm 
I got it in 1st mission, 2nd island, in cracked ice.