Friday, April 25, 2014

FTL: The Next Generation

My thoughts on the FTL: Advanced Edition. Honestly, it's more FTL. If you enjoyed the game but had gotten tired of the same old encounters you're well served as there's plenty to spice things up. Though you're mental for thinking that in the first place.

Everything added is great. It feels like they've filled the game out a little more. Drones no longer feel quite so much like the short cousins to weapons with the massive array of extra stuff they add. The new beacon paths is damn handy, allowing you to plan a lot more. The extra systems that just offer so many more options. It's all little tweaks that improve the game even more. It feels like exactly the same game I dumped over forty hours into, but better. Since it's free, anyone who owns FTL needs little excuse to try it out, if you still haven't, then now you have even more reason, not that you should have needed it. If you still haven't bought FTL yet, this gives you even more reason.

Which pretty much sums it up unless I waste time going into detail at what those changes are. So instead I'm going to do another Captain's log, this time from the new Lanius ship.

Captain Log: Stardate 9141004.20
This is Captain Ariel of the USS Kruos. With the addition to our ragtag fleet of the Krous, a ship of the mysterious Lanius, I've been tasked with using this new vessel to get the plans of the Federation flagship to our main fleet. My crew are the two Lanius who brought us this ship. Swamps and Bloch, as the technicians nicknamed them. They refuse to give us details on their race, but have pledged to help us. Though I welcome them into the Federation, and am glad of their support, the fact that with them in the weapons bay and engineering means I cannot venture in due to the fact they suck the oxygen out of the room makes me a little uneasy. Thank the stars we have emergency respirators on board just in case.

Aside from our new metallic allies, we also have a number of new systems onboard thanks to them. A clone lab, a new chain gun that apparently speeds up as it fires, and a clone lab. Also the engineers gave us an upgrade to our navigational sensors allowing me to plan better flight paths. I think our chances of reaching the fleet are much higher than the ill-fated Kestrel-A.

Our first stop was uninhabited, or so I thought. An outpost being attacked by a Rebel drone. We suffered minor hull damage, nothing major. The Outpost was incredibly happy, and offered us rewards to help with our mission.

“Captain's Log”. That feels slightly odd to say. I know I'm not the original Ariel. She died defending a space station from Giant Spiders, but thanks to the Lanius cloning technology I was 'born'. The crew seem to be happy to follow my lead. I guess the fact it was only the first jump meant they have no real attachment to me/her. Or maybe they're just cool with clones. I don't know whether to feel glad of my acceptance, or upset at the casualness they dealt with my death. I push us onward to a distress beacon we picked up in the neighbouring cluster.

The beacon was a refugee ship that is floating in space. The scene we found aboard was not one I'd ever like to see again. Thankfully we found one crewmember alive, a Mantis named Sophia, who had cyrogenically frozen herself in a freezer. We thawed her out and offered her a place aboard the Kruos. She accepted. I have assigned her to shield control.

Slavers, we obviously fought back. After a pasting they gave up one of their slaves, an Engi, Zas. He thanked us and I assigned him to sensors. We're building quite a crew on-board the Krous.

We reached our first trader on a space station we passed. He had a med bay on offer I really wanted.* Despite the fact we have a fully functioning clone bay, my inexperience, and also my intimate knowledge, of that technology makes me want to rely on it less. But it was too expensive. We repaired the little damage to our hull and kept going. Hopefully I can return before the Rebels catch us up.

Our latest jump not only dropped us right next to a sun, but a Rebel Drone impervious to heat using it to hunt Federation ships. The bastard hacked my weapons, so I hacked his shields. He'll still take hull damage with an unprotected hull. Unfortunately those same solar flares I was hoping to use to my advantage caused fires throughout my own ship. Luckily they were in unmanned sections and I just opened them to space, or in neighbouring sections to the Lanius who don't need the oxygen anyway.

We jumped with a fire still raging, straight into a pirate attacking a civilian ship. Despite the blaze in my ship, I intervened. The crew performed well and the pirate was easily dealt with. With things quiet we set about extinguishing any remaining for and repairs.

We stumble upon a battlefield, but Zas informs me that sensors can't get a clear reading on who was involved at this range. We close and find a Mantis ship still active. Easily dealt with, then it was to the Long Range Beacon and to the next sector.

A the beacon there was a small Rebel ship awaiting us, tried to run and report to his masters. We made quick work of him, and we were even luckier than that. They were transporting a Breach missile. If only we had the power to handle it.

Captain Log: Stardate 9141004.52
I set course for the Rock sector. It may be the more dangerous of the two options I had, but I heard rumour of a Rock ship we might be able to find for use in the Federation fleet.

First Rock ship we come across attacks us. They couldn't stand up to the Kruos and quickly surrendered.

We jumped straight into a tumbling mine layer. One mine attached. We suffered minor damage to hull thanks to controlled detonation used to dislodge it. Bloch, the Lanius I have as my weapons officer, said he wouldn't have been able to do it if we hadn't picked up the Breach Launcher from that Rebel ship. I wonder if they know how much they're helping us.

Another store, I think about selling the missile launcher as we don't have the power to get it up and running. Instead I buy a back up battery. I figure if a fight starts getting a bit much I can dump some short term energy into the weapon systems and get it online.

Two jumps with no run ins. We're getting closer to our target. I knew this ship would be able to get through to the fleet.

As we entered the next system Zas picked up a Mantis ship on sensors. We could have avoided it as it only seemed interested in killing members of the Rock race. Instead I attacked. I wish I could say it was to protect any future victims of this gruesome hunting party. The truth is we're running low on fuel and I hoped to get some. While we did get minimal fuel, more importantly we got a new laser cannon as well.

Unbelievable, a Rock ship was willing to trade with us. I was tempted to sell one of the two new weapons we have, but I have an idea, instead I bought a tonne more fuel, and then didn't have enough money left to buy any of the other options available. Then to the Long Range Beacon.

Captain Log: Stardate 9141004.66
After risking flying through Rock space, heading through an abandoned region of space seems like a sensible course of action. But it seems everyone is having fuel problems. When I said I bought a tonne, it wasn't enough to share, just to get us to the next sector. As much as it pains me I've had to keep refusing offers. That's two ships we've left just hanging in space. As we travel we've come across more rumours of the Lanius. It's strange that we have Swamps and Bloch aboard, and we're in a Lanius ship, but so little is known about the race. My two crew members are being eerily silent on the matter too.

A Rebel ship, tried to surrender, but their offer was only 1 fuel, among other things. But fuel is my primary concern right now. I didn't take their offer. I still only got 1 fuel from the debris, but more scrap, we can hopefully use for upgrades.

The Lanius have found us, and despite the fact we're in one of their ships, and have two members of my crew are of their race, we're considered scrap. Only a scout vessel though, who quickly realised they'd bitten off more than they can chew. Sent a peace offering. I took it as I hoped it would appease any hostilities. The fact it had a half decent amount of fuel didn't hurt either.

We left that battle and answered a distress call. Any goodwill we built up with the Lanius was quickly destroyed as we found another scout pulling apart a Rock vessel. Considering how well they treated us, I decided to help out.

Found an old mining settlement being scraped by Lanius . We've obviously worn out our welcome as another scout ship came after us. We accept their cease fire hoping we can still save any alliance. First hull breach I've ever had with a Lanius onboard. It certainly removes any guilt I feel at sending a member of my crew into a breached room to seal it.

Another med bay on offer, but instead repair hull, feeling better about clone bay, maybe it's because I've not used it, but the fact the crew can heal while in FTL makes me think it'd be a waste.

Science vessel studying Lanius and their ability to shape metal. Swamps and Bloch offer help since they have experience dealing with other races. It works brilliantly, but I don't have enough scrap to benefit from their research.

We reached the Long-Range Beacon and a Rebel automated ship was guarding a space station. I had at it. Waste of time. Station already stripped out, but plenty of scrap to have. As we leave this sector of space, stripped clean by the Lanius, with plenty of their ships still floating around, I'm a little shaken at how unfazed my two crew mates have been by this journey. They haven't shown the slightest concern when we faced their kin in battle, nor have they offered any insight to myself. It's like they're just going about their duty.

Captain Log: Stardate 9141004.71
I set course for a sector of space known to be infested with pirates, in the vain hope they delay the Rebels as much as they might delay us.

First stop, a store where we get minor repairs done. Maybe this place isn't so bad.

Can't believe an automated scout in an asteroid field did so much damage. Some rebel engineer was clever manning a scout with a missile launcher in this area. Systems failing everywhere. Clone bay, O2, sensors pilot station and doors all went down. And a fire raging.
I could really do with that med lab too now. I know the clone lab can slowly repair the damage but when that missile hit the bridge I took a nasty hit. I bailed out of there and had to leave Zas to put out the fire. On the bright side the Engi's natural engineering meant he had the pilot station up quickly, which meant less time being hit by asteroids. Meanwhile Sophia and I got the doors working so I could vent the fire into space. Soon as we could I jumped to a store, even if we don't buy anything we need to finish repairs

I know I should use the scrap to upgrade shields, but I bought a scrap arm and repaired the hull, which was in dire need of it. I reckon it will work in the long run. With all repairs done, we jump, though everyone's a bit battered after the asteroid fight and subsequent repairs.

Just as we left an empty system I noticed the fuel gauge, how could I have been so stupid? But all problems are forgotten as we arrive and suddenly we have intruders to worry about. With everyone in such a state we tried our best. Two of the intruders fell, but there was no way we could do anything else, and they took out O2, bridge, battery, hacking and door control. Thankfully not before I ordered Sophia and Zas into the clone lab with me, and then opened up the rest of the ship to space. Our intruders may have had free reign of the ship, but so did Swamps and Bloch, who didn't need to breath either. I can only assume the O2 was an attempt to get us three. But it failed and our two Lanius members got it back online before we struggled for air. With the injuries the crew have sustained I'm amazed we all lived through that boarding action. I really wish we had a med bay, but I can just hope we can keep don't have to worry about intruders for a few jumps and the clone bay can do its slow work.

With another jump, Sophia and Block out of the need for immediate medical care, though the same can't be said of Swamps and myself. Came across a scout, but it didn't detect us. Due to my health I decided to let it continue on its way. WE picked up a Distress call but I took the long way to round...

Which led us straight into the hands of pirates, who as luck would have it, also had a teleporter. Vented most of the atmosphere out of the side of the ship that the Mantis teleported on. The bastard realised what I was up to and broke his way into the bridge. I had to retreat or be killed. The Lanius took care of him. These guys are such an amazing defence against borders.

Distress call was from an old pirate ship that was just floating in space now. We scavenged what we could for parts.

Pirates tried to bribe me off, pay for attacking civilians, tried to pay more, didn't take it, should have, no fuel from their debris. I did finally listen to Sophia and let her upgrade the shields.

Another drone. Nothing to report.

Came across a space station loyal to the Rebels. They refused to deal with us. But I was sure we could find someone willing to trade. While we tried, someone reported us to a Rebel scout, easily fought it off, and Bloch's ability with the weapons have become some of the best I've ever seen.

Captain Log: Stardate 9141004.99
As we jump into the Engi Homeworld sector, I've never felt more confident in our mission. The crew has nearly healed up. I've got enough scrap in my hold to upgrade the reactor, but I'm not sure it's my best decision to do it just yet.
This is where the data from the black box of the Kruos ends. From what little our lab technicians told us, and the information of the Fighter craft that destroyed them, the Kruos just wasn't able to withstand their fire power. It seems the Captain and the Engi both died during the conflict. The engi was cloned, and we found a clone of the captain approaching birthing status floating among the debris.
We managed to keep the data on our flagship secure, and now we continue to the Federation fleet's position. I have put in a commendation for the Fighter's captain. I worry at the implication that there's more copies out there attempting to reach their fleet.

*I wrote this before I discovered the clone bay is an alternative to the med bay. It's one or the other, which is actually a great choice offered to players. I decided to leave it in because I liked Captain Ariel's naiveté matching my own.
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