Battlevoid: Harbinger

Battlevoid: Harbinger

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Beginner's Tips and Tricks – Live longer, die (slightly) less!
By Genotype
This guide gives some spoiler-free beginner's advice to help players who are struggling with surviving the first few sectors. Battle survival techniques, engineering advice, and map tactics are covered.
   
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Intro
As a roguelike, Harbinger can be quite punishing to the player, especially at the beginning of the game. Dying is part of the fun, but sometimes its nice to die a little less often. This is a short, mostly spoiler-free guide for players having trouble surviving the first galaxy. Of course, experimentation and learning from your mistakes is the best way to improve!

Note: I suggest trying your first games at Normal or Hard difficulty. You will unlock new, more powerful, ships much more quickly, ultimately making the early game easier. You can always go back to Easy after you've unlocked some better ships (BSE Zephyr is a fairly solid starting ship).
Battlestations
Battlestations are your best friend in the early game, and you always begin the game at one. Use them as home bases while you explore the surrounding sectors.

  • In battlestation sectors, repairs are free. Use and abuse this fact as much as possible, especially for major repairs. Paying for repairs is simply wasting scrap (except in certain emergency situations), and spending too much on repairs early on can make your game unwinnable.

  • Make sure to get a side mission by selecting the battlestation and clicking the green list icon! You can decline missions to reroll for a new mission. High-yield missions (15-30 upgrade points, 300-600 scrap) are usually best. Don't push your luck, though, or you might get stuck with a low-yield “Under Siege” mission (siege missions cannot be declined).

  • Battlestations are often formidable fighting platforms. If there are fleets nearby that are too powerful to handle on your own, try engaging them and retreating to the battlestation. Select your jump point as close to the station as possible, and use it to shield you from any enemies who warp in after you. You can also use distress beacons draw ships into the battlestation sector.

  • Battlestations also act as “stores”, often with powerful (but expensive) weapons for sale. Select the battlestation and click the green icon to see whats for sale. These are usually too expensive to justify purchasing near the start.
Surviving Early Battles
  • Don't be afraid to run from a fight! Once your hyperdrive charges, you can instantly escape any time that the battle gets too ugly. Some enemy ships may jump after you, but the odds will probably be more in your favour, and you might be able to escape again if necessary. However, don't wait until your Hull HP is too low before retreating, otherwise you will likely be destroyed by any pursuing ships. There is also a risk that the enemy ships will jump in on top of you, which could sometimes make the situation worse. Retreating to a battlestation is ideal, but any non-hazard sector will work. After making repairs and charging shields, you can return to finish off the enemy.

  • Your point-defense turrets (blue slots) have limited firing arcs, so correct angling of your ship has a large impact on their effectiveness. Usually you want your ship oriented roughly perpendicular or “broadside” to incoming missles/fighters, NOT pointed directly at them. Experiment with different angles to find the best for your specific ship setup.

  • Pay attention to enemy ship movements (shown as arrows on the dotted lines) in the Starmap before jumping in to a sector. A sector with one seemingly harmless enemy ship may have multiple fleets entering it next turn, and those incoming fleets could jump in right next to you! Also, make sure you have an escape route that will be clear of enemy ships next turn, in case you need to retreat.

  • Strategically choose where you jump into a sector (by clicking on the grid of the radar map)! If you have long range weapons, jump in as far away from the enemy as possible and outrange them. If you run into enemies who are outranging you, try leaving the sector and jumping back in closer to them.
Early Engineering Choices
I won't go in-depth into weapon and upgrade choices here, as experimentation is part of the appeal of the game, but I will give some general pointers

  • The basics: Make sure you have both a way to destroy enemy shields and a way to damage their hulls. Depending on the alien race you are fighting, you may also need a way to destroy missles (using point-defenses or hangar fighters/drones).

  • For turret (red slot) weapons, shield/hull damage and possibly burst are generally good choices for first upgrades. For hangars, max number of fighters is the best thing to upgrade first to rapidly increase overall firepower.

  • Upgrading the hull damage of point-defenses (blue slots) will make them much more effective at destroying missles (missles have hull HP just like ships).

  • The Shield Boosts purchasable in blue/secondary slots can be very worthwhile investments. These will make your ships much harder to kill with energy/projectile weapons. They are also cheap to upgrade.

  • Make sure to pick up any items dropped by destroyed enemy ships! There's an exclamation box under the Engineering button whenever there's items in the sector (after combat is over). You can find powerful and unique alien tech not available to purchase in the regular Engineering menus. You can also sell them to buy and upgrade other weapons.

  • Wait until you've mostly filled all the facility slots on your first ship before you add to your fleet. Having a bunch of slots that will just be sitting empty is inefficient use of resources. Further, when buying a new ship, you get what you pay for! Saving up for a higher quality ship is worth it in the long run if you think you can survive with a single ship for a while longer.
21 Comments
Tamren May 2, 2021 @ 12:32pm 
Is it just me or do photon and missile bombers seem kind of weak? I've tried all of the new variant squadrons but nothing seems to be more effective than the starting bolter fighter/plasma bomber combo.
Dr. Death Feb 27, 2021 @ 7:40am 
Cool. What would be better between bolters, lasers and gatlings, drones or fighters?
kschang77 Feb 27, 2021 @ 1:29am 
Once I got myself a full squadron and some repair turrets (hull repair and shield repair) I don't pay for ANY repairs any more. Ship 1) Ion cannon with +2 burst / shield repair Ship 2) laser (or other long range beam) / hull repair ship 3) ion cannon with +2 burst / laser or beam. The two lasers kill any hostile fighters in range. Those that manage to survive gets hit by point defense. The triple shots basically flood space with shots, and since they are ion cannons, they can go 800, 900, even 1000 distance units. Just stay at range, and watch your shots and lasers nail any enemy small craft, then the flood of shots basically sandpaper the enemy away.
kschang77 Feb 27, 2021 @ 1:23am 
Depends on what you're after. Photon bombers are pretty cool, esp. if you get the double-shot upgrade. Enemy may be able to shoot down the one in front, but the second shot will hit him.
Dr. Death Jan 19, 2021 @ 3:39am 
What would be the best craft to keep in a carrier?
darricksgames Dec 29, 2020 @ 8:57pm 
The best trick i found for starting is fill the reds with one energy cannon and the rest do projectile cannon. Once you got enough scrap get a photon bombers because they get rid of the missles and all other things the enemies shoot at you so first add all the photon bombers you can, then get burst so they absorb more and more dps. even by the end game i didn't even need the blue ones for defense. Once i reached the 3rd area i just used one projectile cannon and 2 teleport's so if i started next to a ship instead of long distance i can get away easily, since the photon bombers killed everything and protected me. By level 13 i used the BSE Villant and beat almost anything with that combo.
Jonno May 23, 2020 @ 1:03pm 
@Alex I usually go photon bomber and increase squadron size to max asap. Depending on other loadout, next squadron will be same or Gatling fighters (also upgrading squadron size 1st). Basically 2nd squadron is a choice of more hull dps against ships (bombers) or extra help shooting down enemy fighters and missiles (fighters). If I have 3 squadrons I've always gone 1x fighter 2x bomber just on preference
-$ilver- Aug 8, 2018 @ 2:07am 
Senator Crab I find that, at least in the beginning stages, the Gatling gun seems to be decent with enemy missiles. Of course it being a blue point defense weapon, you must turn your ship into the incoming missiles like a broadside so you can somewhat effectively destroy them, otherwise the guns wont fire unless you are being harassed by fighters on that side.
Zerdath Jun 7, 2017 @ 9:59pm 
You can stack your items of the same type in your hold. No way to split the stack, but it does help.
Alex_BDF May 15, 2016 @ 3:39am 
@Perfect Crab. I agree on the PD. I always load up on lasers and shieldboosters