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Posted by Sarumarine

@Little_Socrates: Yeah, that's definitely the trick I have not mastered yet when I am not cheating. I keep having really bad runs where I hang out in a sector where there's dead ends (as in one node doesn't reach to another) so I get cornered by the Rebel Fleet and destroyed. I have learned to love those mercenaries that offer to delay the fleet if you have enough scrap.

Posted by Little_Socrates

The trick to FTL is to spend as long as possible in each sector and to hit as many nodes as possible. That's the only way to earn enough scrap and parts to get what you need to win the game.

Once my brother looked up a video online and found that out, he beat the game within the next ten games or so. I'm still having trouble, but I'm getting so much higher-leveled than I was before.

Posted by BisonHero

@Mento: Yeah, the fundamental difference between FTL and The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky is that in Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac, even if you're down to one heart, you can just go beast mode on the game and dodge enemies like a motherfucker, and still succeed. FTL is so stat driven that there's a snowball effect, where once you're limping along, you have to keep spending what little scrap you have just to repair yourself, instead of improving your ship and buying new systems. If you ever have to FTL jump away from a fight in FTL before you finish that fight (retreat, essentially), that's pretty much a guarantee that you are so underpowered that you're probably not even going to make it to the Flagship.

Posted by Mento

@tsiro: Sure, I can respect that. Like I said, that 99% leading up to the boss is amazing, even if it's one of those runs where it's nothing but bad luck. That's what I mean about how the conclusion would've been better if you could limp home and still succeed in your mission despite having three health bars, two crewmembers left and at least one part of the ship on fire. Unless you've gotten to the end with amazing luck and a whole heap of weapons to throw at that flagship, victory's almost always far out of reach and it's a little discouraging no matter how fun it was to reach that point.

It's like... getting several stages into a run of Spelunky, where you suddenly lose most of your hearts because of a dumb mistake and you realise it'll be almost impossible to manage whatever crazy goal you were intending to make on that run, like find the Ankh or open the last tunnel or reach the ending without shortcuts. Except with Spelunky you could always snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and somehow beat the game on a single heart, through grit and grace. I don't think that's quite as possible with FTL.

What I'd prefer, and this is back-seat game designer me talking, is if you reach the end point and are given the choice between retiring and taking out the Flagship. The former lets you register the run as a "win", if a sort of wussy and inconclusive one, but defeating the Flagship nets you a better ending and maybe an unlocked ship/feature/alien race or two. It also presents a risk vs reward scenario for people who have had a decent enough run and think they might be able to take that ship on and live to tell the tale. They probably won't, but serves them right for going double-or-nothing.

Posted by tsiro

@Mento: I see where you're coming from, but I don't think it would be possible for me to disagree with you more. FTL was by far one of my favorite games of last year, but I have never beaten the last boss, or do I really think I ever will. On top of that (and I suppose this is where we disagree), I don't really want to beat the final boss and "win" the game. That's not why I'm playing FTL. To get super cliche, I'm playing FTL for the journey, not the destination. I'm playing it because it's a game that I can boot up for an hour or so every few days and have something great happen! Amazing things happen that I can talk about with friends that are largely unique to me, and they all have their own stories, too.

I won't disagree that there are flaws with the design of the Flagship. But fortunately, I suppose, it doesn't seem to interfere with my enjoyment of the game.

Edited by BisonHero

@Sarumarine said:

@ArbitraryWater: Yeah, the more I play FTL, the more I realize that the Rebel Flagship is probably my least favorite part of the game. I just want to keep exploring space and running into enemy ships and collecting more stuff. As for the ships, some aren't that bad (like the Stealth Ship I unlocked pretty suddenly) but some are really ridiculous like the Mantis Ship and the Slug Ship. The Crystal Ship especially has tons of randomly generated events to unlock.

If the rest of FTL is a game of blackjack, where you can barely eke out an advantage if you play very carefully, then the Rebel Flagship is a slot machine, where everything is so stacked against you that it's a miracle when you succeed.

I've beat the game on Normal a few dozen times (I've logged like 140 hours total, including the beta), love the game, and I'm still not going to defend the design of the Rebel Flagship. I know that it's beatable if you approach the fight in a certain way, but people are right to be so pissed off at it that they put the game down for good. Up until that point, the other ships you encounter seem like your equal, in that they have the same tools as you (though to help the player out, the AI doesn't know how to open any of its doors, and the AI just aims weapons at random), but the Rebel Flagship has impossibly good weapons and it just seems incredibly cheap.

But the biggest sin it commits is forcing you down particular upgrade paths. Unless you get a weapon combo that is OP as shit (often ion weapons + good burst lasers/heavy lasers), the only way you can win all the stages of the Flagship fight is having a good teleporter crew and taking out their missile room and every other weapon room as fast as possible. Then you slowly whittle the ship down, which is only possible because it's basically defenseless. And were you using missile weapons up until this point? Sucks to be you, because the second form has a defense drone and will shoot down most of your missiles, and now that one of your weapon slots is completely useless, you'll probably have a pretty hard time punching through its shields. It almost completely negates any build that relies on missiles to weaken the shield room, or any build where you don't use a teleporter.

I think if the devs were slightly more experienced or had a couple more people on the team to debate ideas with, they would've completely scrapped the Flagship several months before release in favour of something else entirely.

Edit: And yeah, the Engi Ship (The Torus), the Stealth Ship (The Nesasio), and the Federation Cruiser (The Osprey) are somewhat reasonable to unlock, but I agree that all of the other ones have really arbitrary requirements that take a little too much trial and error to figure out. I can't tell you how many times I encountered the Mantis ship and failed the event before I looked it up online and realized I needed an upgraded medbay; at that point, I rarely upgraded my medbay at all, though I find I do it somewhat more often now because it can be quite helpful.

Posted by Sarumarine

@ArbitraryWater: Yeah, the more I play FTL, the more I realize that the Rebel Flagship is probably my least favorite part of the game. I just want to keep exploring space and running into enemy ships and collecting more stuff. As for the ships, some aren't that bad (like the Stealth Ship I unlocked pretty suddenly) but some are really ridiculous like the Mantis Ship and the Slug Ship. The Crystal Ship especially has tons of randomly generated events to unlock.

@Evilsbane: That sounds pretty crushing. From the couple times I've played the final boss, usually I can tell right away whether or not I can win. Usually the Flagship either destroys me super quick, or I can whittle away at it's ridiculous health and shields until I win.

Posted by Evilsbane

I've played 5 or 6 games of FTL on easy, I have reached the boss 4 of those times, 2 just went to shit in the first encounter, 2 I took to the 2nd, 1 I took the the final the ship had 3 goddamn bars of health...3 GOD DAMN BARS OF HULL and I couldn't hold it together but I have never felt the game was Overly difficult yes you can get dealt a bad hand but once you see the game through to the boss one time I feel you can overcome the randomness to a point you can be put at its mercy but honestly it is part of the fun, it's gonna be a little bit before I touch it again because it was raw having victory snatched from me but its an incredible game. I will be the 1% (Which is complete bull if I can get that close on my third time playing it is nowhere near close to impossible.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

I think the final boss is really what kills FTL for me. The rest of the game is fantastic, but the rebel flagship is just so BS in a ton of ways, and the process of unlocking ships is similarly entirely up to the whims of the dice.

Posted by towolie

@Sarumarine said:

@towolie: No, you're totally right. Most of the fun I have with FTL is just traveling though space shooting up pirates. I wish there was an infinite mode where you go as long as you can through space building an awesome ship. They'd have to figure out how to scale the game that way... but I think it would be cool.

thats not a bad idea, and to fix your problem they should add a slow/normal rebel speed. that + easy/normal difficulty should give everyone a decent level of challange.

Posted by Ravenlight

@Sarumarine said:

@Ravenlight: What are you doing hanging out in the slums of people who can't beat FTL? You're on top of the world man! (But seriously, beating FTL on normal sounds damn impressive. How long did that take would you say?)

I cleared it within 50-60 games, I guess? There doesn't seem to be any real trick other than to be lucky, unfortunately.

Posted by Ares42

If you have the Zoltan ship and is struggling with beating the game on easy after many many tries you're basically just doing something fundamentally wrong. While the game certainly has it's moments of randomness that just screws you over, once you have the basics down for the specific ships you should be doing very well quite regularly. But I completely get how you might struggle though, I came back to it a week or two ago and at first I was just getting ruined. I might be wrong, but I seem to remember that the playstyle the tutorial evokes is not a good way to play the game. Other than that it helps a TON to get experience with what the certain events does, so you can do better risk assessment. Been playing it quite a bit this week and I probably have about a 50% win-rate on normal and 80+% on easy. So it gets better as you get more experience, just don't get too discouraged when you meet that super ship that just crushes you.

Posted by Sarumarine

@Mento: Well put. I actually beat the boss twice as of when I posted this response... but I had to cheat both times. I think maybe it's possible to beat it legit if you get lucky enough with weapon drops or get enough scrap to upgrade your ship.

@Ravenlight: What are you doing hanging out in the slums of people who can't beat FTL? You're on top of the world man! (But seriously, beating FTL on normal sounds damn impressive. How long did that take would you say?)

@towolie: No, you're totally right. Most of the fun I have with FTL is just traveling though space shooting up pirates. I wish there was an infinite mode where you go as long as you can through space building an awesome ship. They'd have to figure out how to scale the game that way... but I think it would be cool.

@Tennmuerti: Yeah, the randomness is tough. I remember watching that XCOM TNT where Brad and Ryan played each other. And they got that one unit point blank up against a target and had a 90 some percent chance to hit with a shotgun- and completely missed. I feel at that point there is a dumb randomness where that doesn't make any sense for a tough alien fighting operative to miss a target that up close. I don't have a quick example to bring that to FTL, but that's how I feel sometimes. These games probably aren't ideal for a guy like me, but I can appreciate the appeal of a really challenging scenario/game where you might not actually make it.

Posted by Tennmuerti

In games like FTL, Xcom, randomness is the challenge, the part which you actually have to play versus. Allowing for, preparing for, and surmounting the random bullshit such games throw at you is where the fun is at imo. And if you're good almost all of the random stuff in these games can be overcome (bar complete fukovers at the very start). In fact their randomness is designed in such a way as to be possible to be handled or overcome with sufficient skill/preparation.

When you play them enough and have a complete handle on the systems, any such game (majority of turn based strategies vs AI) simply becomes a rote exercise in doing the same general things over and over (becoming quite boring) that will always result in guaranteed success. Unless a wrench is thrown in the works (randomness) which necessitates adaptation from the player and new active thought.

FTL's last boss is in retrospect a perfect culmination of such an adaptation test (something Xcom:EU endgame sorely lacked). Once you figure out how to beat it, it becomes a simple matter of going through the motions and victory becomes almost always guaranteed, offering no challenge. However due to the games randomness the tools that you have at the end are frequently going to be different thus allowing for (and actually requiring) new and interesting approaches and tactics in order to beat it.

Disabling the rebel fleet is actually a neat way of giving yourself some breathing room to learn the ropes. You can then slowly work your way towards easy and eventually normal. But rest assured the game is consistently (well more then 50%) beatable on normal even with all the randomness.

Posted by towolie

i'll say up front, i never beat the game. i also never played on easy ( easy already felt a bit cheatty to me )

i love this game but i can understand where you are coming from, all i can really add is that this game is about the journey and not about the destination. yes i know that sounds cheesy but i honestly think it applys to this game

Posted by Ravenlight

I've beaten FTL on Normal a few times with most of the available ship types. Am I the one-percent?

Posted by Mento

FTL's great, but the fact no-one can finish it (maybe the top 1% of players can, but I ain't that) means it seemed a tad disingenuous of so many people to include it on their GOTY lists last year. It might get super anti-semitic after destroying that final boss, or the boss installs a virus on your computer when you beat it as a meta form of mutually assured destruction, or maybe it just calls you a butt and everyone knows being called a butt makes you feel terrible. How are you to know?

Thing is, Wolpaw's Law only applies to games so spectacularly shitty that the subsequent X% amount of game you have left to see can't possibly recompense the emotional distress you've thus far endured. FTL is like the exact opposite of that: The first 99% is generally awesome and that last hurdle's just a profoundly disappointing way to wrap up a run that either went swimmingly or, more likely, involved your plucky band of survivors managing to hang on by the skin of their teeth and make it back in their busted jalopy to deliver the important message that the rebels are coming - that they're then immediately and unceremoniously sent back out there in their present condition to counter a flagship that has gun turrets on its gun turrets makes no sense narratively or mechanically.

After reaching that boss once, I've yet to replay the game. I want to know that it's possible to win, otherwise all my travails and near-misses are meaningless. Unless the random event generator puts me in the path of the Planet of Absurdly Powerful Laser Guns and Promiscuous Masseuses, I'm not going to see a happy ending by any definition of the term.

Posted by Sarumarine
I'm the Final Boss, can't step to this!

Full disclosure, I don't know what to think of FTL. I go back and forth every time I boot up the game. So I might not sound very coherent here. It has found a very Dark Souls spot in my mind where sometimes it does really awesome things and other times it's punching you in the kidney and it doesn't even care. There are a lot of awesome stuff centering around spaceship management with main systems and moving your crew around, and then there's total space bullshit with fucking mantis men and solar flares. And fucking final bosses equipped with every single weapon system in the game blowing you up with one salvo and then cloaking just to rub it in your face.

I got angry enough where I turned to the internet to find modified files to break FTL's stupid face so I could finally beat the damn game. And I totally did beat the game (on EASY MODE) when I cheated, so I feel my experience is tainted in that regard. It's not like there's a awesome cut scene or quirky song to reward you at the end.

Recently Played: FTL (Faster Than the Speed of Death: The Game)

What a bunch of Space Bullshit!

Sometimes I feel like Faster Than Light is a game designed so no one can win. Unlike the majority of video games, where scenarios and computer AI is made with the sole purpose to be overcome by player eventually, FTL is a gambling den with some of the worst house rules I've ever seen. Randomized anything is a dicey proposition to be sure, but this game sure likes to pile it on in savage, savage ways. The narrative conceit of the game places a time limit as a huge enemy armada is always right behind you ready to scoop up your motley ship and blow it to pieces at the first opportunity. You can stop and fight them if you want, but infinite re-enforcements mean you'll crumble eventually. That's on top of finite resources in the form of fuel, ammo, and scrap (money) which are critical to making it two steps out of the starting area. Then you have the dice rolls of your laser and missile shots deciding whether or not they hit their target.

And then there's your fragile ship and your equally fragile crew. Much like any technical piece of equipment in the real world, there are a million things that can go wrong at any given time. That's without pirates or rebels gunning for you across the galaxy. Randomly generated meteor showers, scanner scrambling nebulae, and fire starting solar flares can pop up anywhere. Everything is out to get you and sometimes it doesn't even have the decency of killing out outright. Sometimes they'll take out your oxygen systems so your entire crew suffocates. Or set your engine systems on fire and wait for the structural damage to take its toll. There are hundreds of ways to die in this game. The only thing in common from one demise to the next is just how fast it happens. FTL is a master of whiplash as one competently played game will end in ruin one jump later through no fault of your own. There's a ton of Space Bullshit out there and it's all coming for you.

At the Same Time... FTL is so Damn Cool

With all that said... it's such a cool game with everything else it does. It's got customization out the rear as you can name your doomed ship along with your equally doomed crew members. Provided you find or buy weapons once you start the game, you can switch them out along with automated drone systems. And depending on how your luck runs, there are a bunch of other ships to unlock with different room layouts along with new crews and weapons. You can juggle your systems to literally divert power to weapons or shields like any episode of Star Trek. Or one of my favorite things is when enemies invade my ship is opening the airlocks to suck the oxygen out of key rooms so they're left suffocating in space. You can do that to ship fires too. It always feels awesome. That shit never gets old. Not to mention the awesome soundtrack and the great look of the ships...

Space Bullshit still happens, even when you're cheating

There's a point in FTL where I feel I'm fighting randomness so much I can't even enjoy the game. So after I found a dead end in space where I couldn't jump to any other map points (a dead end in space!) and got cornered by the Rebel Fleet after having an amazing run with the Engi Ship, I searched the internet and found a file I could easily switch out to eliminate the time pressure of the game. Well, technically it doesn't eliminate the Rebel Fleet, it just makes the Rebel Fleet so damn slow that they're not a factor anymore. It should go without saying that FTL is a completely different game when you can explore sectors at will. You can find a lot more stuff so building an awesome ship feels less of a game of chance. Not that it makes Easy Mode all that easy. You'll still die. A lot. That final boss will still chew you up and spit you out like nobody's business.

The Real FTL Starts Here

Screw the Stealth Ship! (Okay, fine. It's just hard to use)

The only time I managed to beat FTL (on Easy Mode mind you) was by cheating so I could build a heavily shielded Engi Ship with lots of Drones. I've switched the files back and forth many times (depending on my mood), but it's a strong temptation just to leave the pursuing Rebel Fleet off. That's obviously not how FTL is supposed to play. I'm still really torn on the original FTL and the doppelganger FTL I created with modified files. The difficulty feels like real bullshit as EASY MODE is nowhere near easy, and I can't even imagine NORMAL MODE so it feels good to break this stupid game. I don't know how you would make it harder without just killing you at the first jump with five mantis men boarding your ship before you even have your door controls upgraded. Then there are stupid variables like when I was trying to do a run with the Stealth Ship to Sector 8 without hitting environmental dangers (one of the ship specific challenges) and then the game bottlenecked me in Sector 5 where the only way to get to the exit was to travel through an asteroid field. I quit out so hard you don't even know.

What a bunch of Space Bullshit. Fuck this game. I'll break all your dumb rules!

And then I play another round with a new ship and remember how much fun FTL is when it's not screwing you over a table. It can be pretty damn fun!

I don't know. FTL trades on so much randomness that I have a hard time deciding what part is the difficulty speaking and what part is actually just a bad hand. There's a lot of frustration mixed in with the awesome moments of using a laser beam to cut across a ship and set six rooms on fire, sending the enemy crew running around trying to fix things while I launch missiles at their weapon systems to leave them double screwed. That stuff is great. At some point I wish the mechanics in FTL was in a more traditional game where there was a story with a cast of characters and it didn't feel so unfairly brutal- but at the same time I feel like that would be selling this game short. Maybe I just want more games to rip off FTL so I might be able to beat something like this legitimately. Or at least have some true Easy Mode that's actually easy? Mantis men invaded my ship and destroyed my oxygen system so it's getting hard to process logic.

At the very least I hope I can reach some stage of acceptance concerning FTL.