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(OBSOLETE?) Avorion General Hints, Tips & Helpful Info
"Oh cool, I wish I knew this sooner" type of guide, to help make playing Avorion even more enjoyable.
UPDATE, December 2017: This guide was written back in Feburary 2017 - Avorion has changed a lot since then and I haven't really played it much, and am waiting for it to be more complete before I pick it up again. A lot of the stuff written here may be obsolete. Perhaps I'll get around to updating this guide later.
Avorion is very awesome and I love what Boxelware are creating. :)
This guide lists a mix of basic and advanced hints to give a few pointers about the game, rather than being a complete guide (hopefully without being too spoilerific or hand-holdy). Newer players may find it more useful, but seasoned players may get something from it too.
I've tried to give accurate info, though I may be wrong about some things, and some of the hints listed may become outdated with game updates. Feel free to leave a comment and correct me!
So with that out the way...
Starting Out & Ship Building
Mainly for newbies (if used in addition to other guides!), but there are some advanced hints below as well.
You need a basic understanding of the ship builder to get the most out of the game, but if you can't be bothered to build your own ship, you can buy a procedurally generated (but blocky) one from your starting faction's shipyard.
Mining for fun and profit: Each mineral has its own colour. Each ore-containing asteroid glows the same colour as the UI box in the top-left. Blank asteroids don't contain ore. Simple, right?
As well as Iron (orange), there should also be a few Titanium (white) asteroids in the starting zone.
You can also use resource merchants too and swap your Iron for Titanium if you want, depending on how much they sell and how much they buy your Iron for. (Thanks, Nrashazhra!)
Better tiers of ore are found within asteroids in sectors toward the galaxy's core, but you'll face tougher enemies.
The starting block of your ship can be changed. Build new blocks on top of it, un-check "Safe Mode", and delete it. NOTE: Your ship needs at least one block for it to not be destroyed.
Parts of your ship can be selected, copied with Ctrl + C and pasted onto your ship with Ctrl + V.
Blocks can either be scaled or adjusted by holding down W, A, S and D, and moving the mouse. Experiment!
Block rotation works by holding down R and clicking the coloured circles which appear around the block.
Use the "Show Block Stats" window for better control over the size of your blocks. X = Width. Y = Height. Z = Depth.
It may be helpful to set the Grid Size and Scale Step sliders to half of the intended block size, to make grid snapping behave better. For example, if you want to base your ship on blocks that are 0.5 in size on average, set the Grid Size and Scale Step sliders to 0.25.
Ship upgrade slots are dependant on total ship volume (which can also be artifically increased with the computer block, built from the Trinium tier upwards at the cost of ship power). Larger ship = More upgrade slots and higher hit points (HP), but obviously will need more crew to run it, and more materials to build it.
You can scale up your entire ship by copying it, then pasting it, then you can hold down W and moving the mouse.
Engines can only face backwards and cannot be rotated. The bigger and more depth an engine has, the more thrust it'll give, but you'll need more engineers on your ships' crew.
When building a new ship, you won't find out exactly how much thrust your engines produce until you hire enough engineers.
Integrity field generators are a must to increase durability of blocks within their sphere of influence, at the (minimal) cost of ship power - If your ship encases components in a hull, you can convert blocks of your hull to integrity generators to save outfit space.
Once you find (or purchase) better ore, you can manually upgrade and convert blocks on your ship - In the ship builder, select different tiered blocks from the build menu, then use the "convert" tool and click individual blocks. Note that you'll also need to manually match the shape and type (angled, cuboid, hull, armour, system) of the block that you're trying to convert.
Select multiple blocks and use the "Merge Blocks" function to merge them if they're they're right size and placement. This will improve game performance when rendering your ship, but note that this will affect grid snapping when placing adjacent blocks.
Also note that blocks are painted individually and will have to be rebuilt if you want to separate them into smaller blocks again, should you wish to paint a certain pattern or design.
Once you're familiar with the game mechanics and resource management and requirements, it may be helpful to start a "creative" galaxy where you can build ships without resource limits.
You can then save your ship (see above section on ship files) and spawn it in "surival" multi or single player galaxies, provided you have the resources (Build Menu > Saved Ships > Apply Plan). If you don't have enough, the game will tell you what you need.
You can use the "Apply Plan" function to build a new ship over an existing ship, retaining its crew, and refunding its resources if upgrading to material from a different tier.
PvE & General Advice
F8 hides/shows the UI. F12 takes sceenshots - As well as Steam saving a screenshot, Avorion will also save a higher quality screenshot in AppData\Roaming\Avorion\screenhots (see "TECHNICAL: Save Folder Location" section below)
Press M to bring up your map. Hover your cursor over your current and previously explored sectors to view a list of ships, stations and other entities in those sectors.
G cycles through friendly targets in a sector and can also be used to find waygates.
Blue lines on your map show where waygates (and wormholes, when found) will lead to.
Flashing Green dots are unexplored sectors containing civilisations.
Planets are background objects and can't be interacted with.
PvE in this game is a little like an RPG. Loot comes in the form of different tiered weapons (turrets) and ship upgrades.
Destroy wrecks completely with any weapons (salvage beams, conventional weapons) to loot them.
Upgrades and turrets can be swapped out as you please. Even in the middle of combat! But that's not recommended. :P
Turret upgrades allow for more turrets to be placed on your ship.
Salvage beams occupy unarmed turret slots and can make good weapons if you can't find or don't have armed turret upgrades. Or if you simply want to use up free unarmed turret slots when you want to go into combat.
Using salvage beams only means you'll get some ore from wrecks in addition to loot - But mining is better for getting ore during the early game, unless you're lucky enough to find a wrecked space station.
If your ships' HP reaches 0, you spawn next to your ship in your drone, but lose your ship, crew, and anything that was equipped onto it - Although some of it may drop out for you to pick up if you were lucky.
You die if your drone gets destroyed. You'll get sent back to where you first spawned at the edge of the galaxy. There's apparently a mod which you can use to set your home sector to change this. (Search the internet for: "avorion sethome").
On death, you don't lose your ore materials or anything that was in your inventory.
Inventory space seem to be unlimited for now (as of 07/02/17) - Unless you're short of cash, it may be best to keep some spare guns and upgrades in case of ship loss, and not sell everything. Even white and grey weapons have thier use. Try finding out what a research station does!
It's best to always have enough ore and money to rebuild your ship, in case you lose your current one.
Aliens frequently invade sectors - You'll get a warning in form of notifications beforehand, about picking up strange signals. (Pirate invasions do not give warnings.) Once spawned, they will only turn hostile if you fire a weapon. Unfortunately this also means mining lasers. They also prefer to target NPCs over players, unless you're closer (this includes pirates).
Bling, Fame & Progression
You're gonna need money and materials for your (optional!) quest to get to the galaxy's core! Or even if you don't intend to do that, you obviously need 'em anyway. :P
Click on friendly stations you find and check their bulletin boards for quests - Most of them will be to do with trading, though. Some offer delivery quests.
Other quests can be found randomly when you explore the galaxy.
Only certain stations sell and accept certain goods.
Ore mined from asteroids acts as currency and doesn't need storage space. You only need a cargo hold if you intend to carry goods. If you don't intend to trade or steal loot from civilian ships, you can save a little weight and outfit space on your ship. Some quests, and using the turret factory require you to carry items, but you can always bolt a temporary cargo hold "backpack" onto the outside of your ship for that. (Thanks, Squirt and Almighty_Hood!)
You can go mining and sell ore at resource stations. Be sure to keep enough to rebuild any ships you might lose, or for upgrading.
Blowing up pirates and aliens yields loot from their ships (turrets, chipped upgrades), which can be sold at turret or upgrade merchants.
Respond to distress calls for extra cash, but be prepared for combat!
Military stations sometimes offer pirate bounties.
Hanging around in friendly sectors and killing the pirates which sometimes spawn is also a good way of making money through faction rewards. Watch your fire if you value your faction reputation, though!
Sorting Weapons by Raw Damage
Avorion gives several choices when it comes to weapon management - Including sorting weapons by raw damage (but not by damage per second, yet - There's a difference) so that you can get the highest possible omnicrom (weapon strength) currently available to you.
Bear in mind that it may not always be the best choice depending on how the game rates weapons, and your own playstyle. This is just listed here as something that's possible within the game, and works in my case (after a fashion).
Weapon rarity and material doesn't automatically mean that the game regards a weapon to be "better" in terms of raw damage.
Same goes for weapon type - Different types of weapon may suit different combat and play styles.
Be aware of weapon overheating too. This stops weapons from constantly firing, affecting your damage per second.
Something else to consider is that some weapons use your ship's energy as a resource, which is dependant on your generator and batteries. If you don't have a big enough generator to sustain them, you'll have to stop firing them while you wait for your ship batteries to recharge. This also affects your DPS.
To sort weapons by raw damage:
Press "I" to access your inventory and sort your weapons by damage (drop down menu, top left corner).
Then hunt for those weapons in your (separate) build menu, in the ship builder. It helps to make a mental note of the type, tech level and rarity.
Obviously you can have both the build menu and the inventory menu open at the same time if you drag them around - Note that overlapping them makes them glitchy at the moment.
Select turrets from the ship builder and place them one by one onto your hull.
Remove them by middle clicking them and deleting them - They'll return to your inventory.
Unfortunately, you can't (yet, as of 03/02/17) place turrets onto your ship from the inventory menu, only from the build menu.
You can't (yet) sort weapons by damage in the build menu.
It may be helpful to remove all your turrets periodically and re-sort your weapons as you pick up better ones, since you can't (yet) easily compare equipped turrets with ones in your inventory - Although you can now hover your mouse over equipped turrets attached to your ships' hull.
Placing turrets on the wings would look better, yes, but not practical in my case. :P You're encouraged to place turrets on your ship where you like, depending on your playstyle.
In the ship menu click on the weapons tab. You can click on a turret and assign a number key (1-9) to it.
When setting up for fighting, I found it helpful to separate weapons which use energy as a resource, and ones that don't - When my batteries start to drain, I can turn those off to let them refill, and while not having to stop firing entirely.
TECHNICAL: Save Folder Location
Avorion's save folder is located on your system hard drive partition (in the C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming folder) by default. It can grow quite large in file size, depending on how much of your procedural-generated galaxies that you explore.
If you use Windows PC and have limited space in your system drive (for example if you use an SSD), and feel technically competent enough (TRY THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK), you can move Avorion's folder to your storage drive, and use Windows' MKLINK function to trick Avorion in thinking that it's still located in the Roaming folder. Works for other games too.
Search the internet for "mklink Windows Seven forums" and read the guide on Sevenforums dot com (or ThinkGeek, which is less clear) - It (apparently) works in a similar way in Windows 8 and 10.
When building, you can save and load ship plans through a menu which can be accessed by clicking on the icon which looks like an old floppy disk.
Ships are saved as .xml files under "Avorion\ships". The game tends to generate many of these since it never overwrites autosaves, which can make it harder to find the most up-to-date version of your ship.
When saving ships manually from the in-game ship builder, Avorion generates files named "ship0.xml", "ship1.xml" etc - You can organise your ship files in your operating system by alt-tabbing out of the game.
Ship files can be renamed, but you'll need to restart Avorion for it to register that you've done so. I found it helpful to make a separate "saved" folder within the "ship" folder, and copy my saved ship files into it, making it easier to seperate my manual ship saves from the many, many auto saves. This also makes it safer to clear out your autosaves.
19/03/17: Removed what I said about stacks of flat "pancake" thrusters since that "exploit" won't work anymore with the recent flight mechanics overhaul.
06/02/17: Minor changes. Swapped some sections around. Added a couple of things (F8 hides UI. Set grid snapping sliders)
03/02/17: Rewrote the "Weapons" section to be clearer (there's more than one way to do things), and to make the guide more neutral and less opinionated. It's a guide, not a review! Writing things while tired, half-distracted and drunk is a terrible idea. :)