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Posted By isawachuck

WOO!

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Edited By OuttaSite

That time again.

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Posted By UnsolvedParadox

It's Tuesday!

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Posted By paulunga

When did we switch to this way of writing the Roman numeral 4?

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Posted By Alexandrite

This is like the 4th time this month @brad has complained about the final boss of FTL. Going to post some things. FTL has long been a game I play while I'm doing something else: Downloading a game, or between matches in a tournament.

The final boss is all about having a good build and having a strategy to beat it. Know your enemy and know yourself really applies here, since if you go into that final battle ready for it the last boss is highly predictable and you're likely to win.

A: Get more Scrap. On Easy it's entirely possible to have all systems maxed out and every section filled out of your ship at the end of the game or close to it. Like, you might not have doors and oxygen fully upgraded at the end, but every other system should be maxed out if you played correctly.

1: Explore better.

I: This means you have to explore a good chunk of each sector. Avoid green sectors, especially later on, and emphasize red and purple ones. Always check out distress signals and try to do quests as best you can. Once you hit the exit, you can often squeeze one or two more sections if you are willing to backtrack through rebel held territory- taking some damage backtracking is good if you get 50 or 75 more scrap. Ride the red circle as close as you can afford to to maximize stars hit. Plan your route before you even take the first jump in a sector to maximize any nebula and avoid dead ends.

II: Never accept surrender unless you're desperate or the game offers you something amazing. Generally a good idea to always take the hard way out of any situation. There's a few unique story events that are the exception to this It's better to take a risk in sector 2 and lose the game, then to go into the last boss unprepared.

III: Do whatever you can to delay the rebel advance! You need to hit as many sectors as possible.

IV: Sell stuff!

2: Get better equipment.

I: Scrap Recovery Arm is the best upgrade in the game, get two if you can and as early as possible. Even if you get it at the start of sector seven you can theoretically hit a shop in sector 8 to sell it and still come out ahead. After that you can avoid or sell the rest unless it's a recharge booster or a weapon primer. Decoy beacon also pays for itself after a few sectors, especially if you sell it in sector 7.

II: Especially on Easy, the best way to handle non-conflict events is to focus on sensors 3 and then medical bay 3, as the number of neutral events dealing with those two. When you're given a choice on a random crew member, go with one of a type you don't have. Diversity is a free lunch. You shouldn't need to buy a crew member at a store unless you lose one (though you can get them discounted for sale other places).

III: Killing the enemy crew is better than killing their ship, giving much better rewards. The teleporter is one of the best ship upgrades at every stage in the game. It's used in events, and is great against the flagship. Fully upgraded, it can even be used against oxygen free ships, so you only ever need other weapons to destroy medbays and chip damage unmanned ships.

IV: Upgrading your shields early will help with repair costs. Ignoring missiles, most enemies can't reliably level 2 shields until sector 3, level 3 shields at sector 5, and level four until sector 6 and 7. This gives you plenty of time to let your weapons sync up and slowly break down your opponent. I generally avoid upgrading until I reach the end of a sector, so I always have money for the shops and events if I need to repair and refuel.

Finally, even in sector 8 you can continue to get scrap, repairs, shops, and upgrades. Even after beating the first section, you can get a small reprieve of one or two jumps for a last upgrade or repair before you have to face section 2 of the boss ship.

B: It's all about a good build.

Avoid drone builds. Drone power level is front loaded, but are very expensive for how little they give you in the late game.

Weapons: Avoid missiles and beam weapons unless you find a really good one (3 or more power). Lasers stack with themselves, so any combination you have is good. Hull damage, breach, anti-crew weapons, fire weapons, heal weapons, and bombs all sorts are all lower priority and should be sold going into this last section if something better comes along.

While each ship type is different and most kinds of builds can win, there is one that I really like and recommend. With the Special Edition content, get these three items before sector 8:

Teleporter, Medbay, and Mind Control. Max out shields, engines, and get some decent laser weapons. I also like the battery.

On facing the first form, immediately teleport your best fighters into the third weapons bay from the left. The weapons bays are isolated intentionally to help teleport strategies. Quickly take down the occupant and destroy the gun. Teleport your crew back, heal them, and then do it again with the laser part, then finally the beam and ion cannon parts. Now the fun begins.

Slowly start mind controlling enemy crew and teleporting them to your own ship. This will take a while, but you will eventually kill the entire enemy crew, forcing the rebel ship into AI mode. Which, yes this sucks because the guns will start repairing, but the AI is generally much weaker than the humans and this will make the next two sections much easier. Use your guns to quickly take down the shields, teleporting and damaging the system if you need to, and destroy the first phase. If you do things right you should take almost no damage this round. Micro energy towards your engines early, and away from them as you take down weapon systems.

You don't need the mind control to do this, for instance you can hack the opposing medbay, take out their oxygen and keep that room locked, lots of techniques. Basically you want to use this as an opportunity to kill the opposing crew if you can. Otherwise, later stages are significantly harder.

For Phase 2, again, use your teleporter crew to take out the missile and then laser weapons. If you get a spare moment, teleport them into the drone section and try to keep each of these three sections red. Do all this while micro managing your crew to handle repairs and avoid the boarding drone. Use cloaking, if you have any, to avoid surge sections, otherwise try hacking the drone section. Once you have things stabilized your weapons can bring down the ship's shields and you can tear apart the ship. If you don't have a cloak, then micro a bunch of points into engines during these surge sections.

Phase 3 is easy if you killed all the humans in phase 1 or 2. Keep one point in mind control to mind control any of your crew that the computer tries to take over, but otherwise it's just a process of destroying the green shield, teleporting in to remove weapons and shields, and micromanging damage. It's possible for the computer to mind control one of your boarding crew, which can be awkward if they also regrow their shields, but it's a recoverable problem.

Now there are various builds and technical stuff you get into for the harder difficulties, but this is a very winnable fight if you go into it with a plan. When I do rarely play FTL anymore, if I make it to the final boss, I am almost certainly going to win.

===

It's not likely you'll ever play FTL again, but the point is that the end boss is a very beatable event that isn't really unfair. The difficulty of the game is in getting to that stage of the game with a build that can beat him.

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Posted By MerxWorx01

@paulunga: I'm not going to pretend I came upon this info organically. I only read about it a few days ago because of all the Blops talk but writing out the Roman Numeral of four by way of four tallys (IIII) was the original way it was written. Writing the number four as IV was used much later during the time of the Roman Empire as a means of abbreviation. It was common to see both used in a single document. Ultimately they are both acceptable usages.

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Posted By doncabesa

Any State of Decay 2 talk? Getting real interested in that one with all of IGN's videos.

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Posted By ripelivejam

@alexandrite: How I love when people come out of the woodwork to provide unsolicited gigantic strategy guides to people just to prove them wrong. ; )

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Posted By csl316

Jeff talking about Burnout: Paradise is how I talk about SSX 3. Just this lively, fun world to mess around in.

I think I'm due for a full downhill run of that ridiculous mountain, it's been too long.

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Posted By Tikicobra

@ripelivejam: “This boss fight actually isn’t hard at all. Here’s a ten page guide on how to beat it.”

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Posted By TwistedMerc94

Firmware 5.50 also added Supersampling

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Posted By schnoo

www.giantbomb.tv

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Posted By paulunga

@paulunga: I'm not going to pretend I came upon this info organically. I only read about it a few days ago because of all the Blops talk but writing out the Roman Numeral of four by way of four tallys (IIII) was the original way it was written. Writing the number four as IV was used much later during the time of the Roman Empire as a means of abbreviation. It was common to see both used in a single document. Ultimately they are both acceptable usages.

I know. All of that. Since writing my original comment I found out that that's how they do it in the Blops 4 logo.

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Posted By faridmon

After that DOTA talk, I'll just I am sooooo happy that I play League instead, because fuck paying for advantage like stats....

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Edited By Blackout62

@csl316: And like Burnout Paradise, upon revisit one realizes how terrible the SSX 3 soundtrack is but for a few saviors amongst a torrid mess of pop punk and Junkie XL remixes.

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Posted By SkinnerSweet

I don't understand why they're having such a hard time with into the breach. I found it to be pretty easy and usually go through my turns pretty quickly.

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Edited By BisonHero

@alexandrite: I've beaten FTL's final boss at least a few dozen times on Normal, and I'd agree with most of your tips. So on the one hand, you're right, Brad is wrong that the boss is "impossible", but Brad is correct in generally thinking the final boss of FTL is bullshit and badly designed.

Yes, if you want to play the game as optimally as possible, where you avoid using drones, missiles, beams, etc., the boss is beatable. But the garbage part is that I've had plenty of perfectly fine runs where I have a weird weapon makeup where I had to play really creatively to do the fights, and easily made it through sectors 1-7. But say the stores in the last few sectors never offered me especially good weapons to swap out to. It's just not fun or well-designed that my perfectly valid (in sectors 1-7) weird weapon/drone combination has no chance to beat the final boss (in sector 8) because A) you need such a specific combination of ship systems to disable the flagship's OP weapons, and B) you need to ignore like 80% of the weapons in the game because they're "traps" that will generally not help you get past the especially high defense of the final boss.

The game has so many weapons, drones, and augmentations that can have value if you time them properly and micro crew and energy around well, but it's just bad that the final boss invalidates like 80% of those items because you can only afford to use the absolutely most reliable weapons and systems to overcome the boss' absurd missile weapon and completely maxed defenses. The Rebel flagship is the game's single major failing that would make me drop it from a 5-star game to a 4.5-star game.

I don't know if Subset has commented publicly on this, but I think the general fairness of Into the Breach's final encounter on the final island is a direct response to how much backlash they got about FTL's final encounter and how unreasonable it is compared to the rest of the game.

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Posted By godzillasbrain

Plopping an egg into a beer and going bottom's up was introduced to myself and various other people I've met through the second season of The Wire where the dock workers in the morning go through this ritual at the bar they frequent before going to work.

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Edited By BisonHero

@skinnersweet: It's hard to know why they're struggling at Into the Breach without seeing them play at length, but it's a game where you can accidentally tunnel vision and think "well I *have* to move this guy and do this thing" and suddenly you're leaving way too much work to your other mechs. Usually if you really look on most turns, you can minimize grid damage to zero, or at worst a single enemy hit.

That being said, if they really don't understand the fundamentals of the game that keep you "ahead" (getting free kills from hazards/water/enemies hitting each other, blocking enemies from spawning to prevent being overwhelmed, etc.), then maybe the GB crew is just finding themselves in unwinnable turns because they let too many threats pile up.

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Posted By Onemanarmyy

@faridmon: having access to a subset of heroes is a far more meaningful disadvantage than seeing if you're dying more than the average. I'm sure that people who die 3x in 5 minutes have a good feeling already whether they're doing well or not. This just shows the impact of that to new people who don't have that feeling yet.

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Posted By csl316

@csl316: And like Burnout Paradise, upon revisit one realizes how terrible the SSX 3 soundtrack is but for a few saviors amongst a torrid mess of pop punk and Junkie XL remixes.

I will not stand by and listen to someone disparage Radio BIG!

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Posted By faridmon

@onemanarmyy: There is no disadvantage when Ranked i.e. the matches that actually counts being competitive in, is not locked until you have 16 champions. You are in no way disadvantageous when you play ranked in League. You will have enough champions to compete, counter, play your favourite.... for no cost at all. All the money you spend is cosmetic. DOTA, from have gather from Giantbomb, seems more pay to win (Do you actually pay for items?), than League ever was and is.

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Edited By Onemanarmyy

@faridmon: When there are 140 heroes in a game, and you only have access to 16 of them, it's going to restrict the ways you can play as a team. For instance, if i see a batrider offlane, which can cast a stackable spell multiple times, which slows you and makes you more susceptible to his attacks, you require a carry that can dispel those stacks, once it gets scary. There are maybe 4 carries that can do that efficiently. When i see a hero that duels people 1v1 with physical damage, i want to pick a hero that can make the target immune to physical damage for a while, or heal for quite a bit. If i see a illusive hero that needs to be bursted down, i want to have a hero that can initiate from far or have a silence. Playing with people that only have access to 16 heroes would be a huge problem in those cases. What if i'm stuck with 4 players that all play the same position and only have those heroes unlocked? What if there's no viable initiation in our hero pools? What if 3 guys are not communicating at the start and i assume they'll play a role , but find out they hardly have any heroes for that role?

In dota, You pay for items with gold that you get from last hitting & bounty runes. You pay real money for cosmetics & this Dota plus stuff. I was sceptical about this at first, but it really doesn't matter when you realize sites like dotabuff.com & dotapicker have done the exact same things for years already. Seems like Lolking , LeagueofGraphs & LOL counter are relatively similar to Dotabuff & Dotapicker.

Dotaplus is really nice for newcomers, but if you're spending a decent amount of time with the game, you get a feeling for which heroes are good against others and which are not. I'm sure i've played against a ton of people that use all kinds of websites & mobile apps to get a good team composition, but straight up being outdrafted to the point where you can't win only happens in like 5% of the matches.So it's still very much about how you perform.

Dotaplus also fails to realize that networth & K/D score only really matters for the midlaner & carry most of the time. I rather play with an offlane abbadon that sacrifices his networth a bit to protect our more valuable players with his shield, than a guy that tries to get the highest numbers.

Secondly, pickrate of a skill build doesn't equal to winrate. If everyone picks the skills that the majority picks, that's probably a solid way to go, but it doesn't make them realize what makes it good. It's also going to be slow to catch up to meta changes. It's similar with the ingame community guides at the moment, where people get a good base to work off from, but have to learn themselves when to deviate from that path and why. So now you have a more data driven ingame community guide that mostly shows what the popular build is. Information that's already widely available on the internet. Once a new patch hits, it will take a long time before a new build becomes the most popular one, and people start to pick it. Personally, i don't see how that makes the game suddenly Pay2win.

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Posted By Brad

@alexandrite: I've beaten FTL's final boss at least a few dozen times on Normal, and I'd agree with most of your tips. So on the one hand, you're right, Brad is wrong that the boss is "impossible", but Brad is correct in generally thinking the final boss of FTL is bullshit and badly designed.

Yes, if you want to play the game as optimally as possible, where you avoid using drones, missiles, beams, etc., the boss is beatable. But the garbage part is that I've had plenty of perfectly fine runs where I have a weird weapon makeup where I had to play really creatively to do the fights, and easily made it through sectors 1-7. But say the stores in the last few sectors never offered me especially good weapons to swap out to. It's just not fun or well-designed that my perfectly valid (in sectors 1-7) weird weapon/drone combination has no chance to beat the final boss (in sector 8) because A) you need such a specific combination of ship systems to disable the flagship's OP weapons, and B) you need to ignore like 80% of the weapons in the game because they're "traps" that will generally not help you get past the especially high defense of the final boss.

The game has so many weapons, drones, and augmentations that can have value if you time them properly and micro crew and energy around well, but it's just bad that the final boss invalidates like 80% of those items because you can only afford to use the absolutely most reliable weapons and systems to overcome the boss' absurd missile weapon and completely maxed defenses. The Rebel flagship is the game's single major failing that would make me drop it from a 5-star game to a 4.5-star game.

I don't know if Subset has commented publicly on this, but I think the general fairness of Into the Breach's final encounter on the final island is a direct response to how much backlash they got about FTL's final encounter and how unreasonable it is compared to the rest of the game.

This is a perfect summary of why that boss makes me fucking hate what is otherwise almost a perfect game. FTL is about improvising with what you've got, making do in a bad situation, finding creative ways to play different systems and abilities off of each other. The flagship is counter to all of that. It's just not in the spirit of the game, and given how big an investment a run through FTL is, and how rare it is to even make it to the flagship if you're a new or casual player, getting obliterated in 90 seconds, without scoring a single hit, before you can even figure out what you're doing wrong is incredibly demoralizing and just makes me not want to play the game at all. I shouldn't have to go online and read six paragraphs about somebody's perfect build to beat a game that otherwise implies any set of weapons should be viable (and, as you said, usually is viable for the preceding 99% of the game).

Staff
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Posted By Genessee

roguelike roguelike roguelike roguelike

Them fools ain't the boss of me!

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Posted By Alexandrite

Brad, you're expected to lose 90% of FTL games, but with preparation you should win most of your rebel flagship fights. Probably 2/3rds to 75%. Which, it's a hard encounter with a good build, but the boss engages in highly predictable behavior and holds your hand at times. It just forces you to have at least two different ways of solving problems plus having good defenses to a large variety of attacks.

Almost every combination of a fully upgraded ship and crew will likely work with a bit of strategy and luck. The example I gave (teleporter + mind control + high defenses + beam weapons) is just the easiest one to reliably get and reliably pull off.

It is a game you can rush to the end as quickly as possible, barely firing a shot, never upgrading or never buying stuff - there are steam achievements for doing that. I'm saying the flagship will kick your butt if you do. The game is unfair in that it lets (forces) you to touch the end game when you're not ready for it. If someone handed you a sector 8 save with a fully outfitted ship, I bet you would beat the rebel flagship in two or three attempts, and then pretty reliably after that. It'd also be a bit more obvious why certain combinations don't work.

Ganon and Mother Brain are hard fights, but they're usually not the hardest because if you got all the heart, armor, and energy upgrades those give you a ton of room to find a strategy that works. You can beat Ganon without the master sword, fire rod, 20 hearts, and silver arrows, but you probably shouldn't. The difference is, Zelda doesn't force you to fight Ganon.

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Edited By DasaKamov

@alexandrite: I think you missed the gist of what Brad and BisonHero's argument is. Mother Brain and Ganon can be tough, but you can beat them using the same tactics you learned through fighting all the other enemies and bosses in the game.

The FTL boss is designed to *break the rules of its own game*, and that's where the blemish on an excellent game is. You can have a a great run using a drone-reliant build for 98% of FTL, and then it's "ha ha fuck you, drones are practically useless against me".

The argument of "you just need to be prepared" falls flat when you realize that the game *never* hints as to the Rebel flagship's strengths or weaknesses. At no point does the game say "Watch out' the Flagship's drone/missile defenses are near-impenetrable!" At no point does your crew come across an in-game informant who whispers "I heard that the Flagship is vulnerable to boarding actions." Instead, the game says "The boss is tough! Get strong! What, you thought the same strategy that carried you through the entire game would be worthwile?! Ha ha, you lose!"

And that's a shame. It doesn't make FTL a bad game in any way, but it's a cheap shot when you lose a game because the game changes its rules without informing the player that it's doing so.

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Posted By Alexandrite

@dasakamov: Drone's aren't useless though.

There's only two rules it breaks: 'Power surge detected', which is not that different than fighting under a solar flare or asteroid field, and that it has multiple weapon compartments instead of just one.


Everything else it does: Zolton Shields, AI Control, Boarding, Breach Weapons, Defense Drones, and so forth are all things you see at some point earlier in the game. They're just intentionally layered in such a way that no one plan of attack on its own will work (except, alpha striking with high end beam weapons). A drone based strategy works fine if you combine it with boarding or strategic ion cannon usage. It's less reliable, harder to find the good parts for, more rng prone, and more expensive, but you can win with pretty much any ship and any end game combination. Leaning on drones on the defensive is actually a very good build if you have the firepower to win as well.

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Posted By Kingpk

I have the same Russian Roulette situation Jeff has with coffee. It doesn't happen often but there's that random time my digestive system just says "We're working overtime boys! Gotta moooove it all out right the hell now."

Plus, I crash REALLY hard with coffee. For some reason tea keeps me wired longer.

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Posted By epicp0tato

can you ???????? fuck it?

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Edited By pyrocatheter
Loading Video...

Sorry Ben, but Egg Beer is real.

Incidentally, I recently had a drink called rompon, which is like a Latin-style eggnog, and this one used dark beer. It was actually pretty good, and it tasted a lot like coffee, oddly enough.

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Edited By BisonHero

@alexandrite said:

There's only two rules it breaks: 'Power surge detected', which is not that different than fighting under a solar flare or asteroid field, and that it has multiple weapon compartments instead of just one.

FTL's final boss breaks several rules, all of which are small changes that add up when you consider all of them:

  • It is a combination manned/AI ship, an attribute no other ship has and which you're given no indication of beforehand. This has advantages and disadvantages for the player, but it does rule out the strategy of trying to eliminate all crew for a victory which first time players might assume is possible
  • Its multiple weapon compartments mean you can't quickly pummel one room to disable all weapons. No other ship has multiple weapon compartments.
  • Its missile weapon is unique and objectively better than any other missile weapon in the game; by firing 3 missiles in succession, it's more than a defense drone can handle, meaning you have to lean more heavily on your ship's dodge rate or cloaking device to defend you, or disable the missile weapon ASAP since it is so overpowered.
  • Unlike all other ships in the game, it has infinite missiles. While not always an advisable strategy, against most ships in previous sectors you could technically divert all power to engines and cloaking device and try to just evade enemy missiles until they run out, then divert power to the offensive. With infinite missiles to work with, the flagship will kill you with missiles given enough time unless you disable the missile room permanently or just end the fight very quickly by punching through the shields and damaging its defensive system. Inexplicably, the flagship does have a finite number of drones in each stage, but they decided that a finite number of missiles would be too fair.
  • It has the power surges (2nd stage drone swarm, 3rd stage laser spam/Zoltan supershield) which can't be disabled in any way.
  • Its 3rd stage has a Zoltan supershield that has 12 HP instead of the normal Zoltan supershield of 5HP, plus this shield periodically recharges from zero to full (this is better in every way than both a normal Zoltan supershield or the supershield drone that just gives you 1HP of Zoltan supershield on a slow interval that is easy to remove).
  • Also the mere fact that the fight has 3 stages, which they don't allude to at all during all the exposition you get when you reach sector 8. Honestly, even stage 1's fight is an order of magnitude tougher than any single ship you'll ever encounter in sector 7 or 8, so it's understandable that some players just ragequit the game when they make it through an incredibly tough stage 1 fight only to learn there are more stages to go.

The flagship does so many things that other ships can't do that the fight feels cheap and unfair the first few times, and even when you know what you're doing, I still think aspects of the boss are overly cheap and unnecessarily strong.

The fight is beatable, not so much your first few times but once you know exactly what to be prepared for in all 3 forms. I've beaten it numerous times, I get how to do it, but I still don't respect the fight at all. It's bad design that feels like it wasn't properly playtested; I played an early Kickstarter backer build that had just 3 or 4 player ships (only layout A) but otherwise most of the events and the final boss completed, and the flagship fight went completely unchanged between that build and the final release.

I still think it's a valid criticism that you can have ship builds that are entirely adequate at sectors 1-7, but completely inadequate at toppling the flagship fast enough before you just get missiled or drone swarmed to death. At times it feels like you're playing 2 games of FTL simultaneously: the "how am I doing against the ships I'm fighting right now and in the sector I'm going to be in next" game, and the "am I working towards a build that can specifically topple and counter the rebel flagship" game. This feels like poor design that quite a few strategies that satisfy the first game just aren't up to par to satisfy the second game.

I'm honestly amazed the devs never caved on making the flagship fight a bit easier, especially on Easy. It's just a needlessly harsh difficulty spike, in a game that otherwise gradually increases difficulty a bit each sector.

Easy mode should really just have you win the game when you beat the first form; I feel like that would make fewer players stop playing the game forever. Or instead of making it a 3 stage boss fight, make it a 1 stage bossfight that randomly has the attributes of one of the stages (either cloaking device, or drone swarm, or laser spam/Zoltan shield), and if you beat it you just win. Or even just have the Federation tell you more about what to expect from the Flagship.

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Posted By SethMode

I still think it's a valid criticism that you can have ship builds that are entirely adequate at sectors 1-7, but completely inadequate at toppling the flagship fast enough before you just get missiled or drone swarmed to death. At times it feels like you're playing 2 games of FTL simultaneously: the "how am I doing against the ships I'm fighting right now and in the sector I'm going to be in next" game, and the "am I working towards a build that can specifically topple and counter the rebel flagship" game. This feels like poor design that quite a few strategies that satisfy the first game just aren't up to par to satisfy the second game.

I think that your whole post is excellent but the part that I quoted in particular is one that very much hits home for me each time I give FTL another go (I love the game, have completed it, but you perfectly surmised in my head what I experience even on a successful run).

It's really quite a shame because as Brad said, it's really quite a perfectly done game in many respects that just feels badly designed to the point of being broken at the end.

Unrelated, I feel like I always read that coffee generates the game of Russian Roulette in a supposedly small percentage of people (I wanna say like 30 percent of drinkers) but yet...literally every coffee drinker I've ever met experiences it (anecdotal, I know, but still). How is this possible?

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Posted By BladeOfCreation

@bisonhero: As someone who backed FTL on Kickstarter an enjoyed what I played of the game, but only ever beat it on easy, you're 100% spot on here.

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Edited By Tennmuerti

You can absolutely beat the flagship in FTL with weird weapon combinations, you can do it with boarding, fire, beam weapons, rockets, flack, lasers, teleporting bombs, ion weaponry, automated drones with lockdown, stealth, full drones, suffocation, etc. And I've done almost all of them.

All you need is a decent investment in upgrades and not be reliant on just 1 strategy. As long as you have something logical to combo together it's fine. All this talk about 90% of the weapons being not viable is pure poppycock sorry, it's closer to the reverse about 90% are viable and the rest you normally learn to phase out as the campaign progresses. Almost any single weapon or strategy is unviable against the flagship short of pure overwhelming firepower (or boarding cheese). There are some that can do the job faster and easier, that's about it.

There were even some threads going back a few years when FTL was a more recent release with people posting a myriad of strategies.

And no you don't need a guide either, some experimentation, trial and error, learning and eventually experience under you belt and people have figured it out for themselves. FTL uses failure as a learning tool, and in that respect the final flagship is just another rake to step on a few times before you learn.

One of the greatest joys I get from and one of the core reasons why I personally play strategy games is - learning. Learning how they tick, their systems their ins and outs, dissembling them and learning how to beat them and exploit them. When a game can offer up a second serving of that experience to me after I have become complacent and stagnant with is of great value to me. There needs to be adversity for triumph to be valuable. It's why I was much more satisfied for example with Xcom2 ramping up things in the last mission compared to the anemic last mission of Xcom1. To flex that grey matter one more time and remind me why I liked said game at the journeys start.