I’ve been playing FTL (okay, a *LOT* of FTL) and I have gleaned a number of things from playing it and I would like to share some of these things with you. Now, these may be things that you’re likely to find out on your own and you want to keep it that way. They may be things that are so obvious that even a kid would know them and, anyway, they were in the little help texts that you always click past in your hurry to get to the game, Jaybird. Or they may be things that didn’t occur to you but, OF COURSE, why didn’t *I* think of that???

In an effort to protect you from kinda spoilers, maybe, if telling you “do this when this happens” is a spoiler kinda, the rest of the post will be behind a cut.

You know that fire can’t last in a vacuum, right? I knew that, but I didn’t *KNOW* that know that until I realized that I couldn’t save my engineer who was trying to put out a fire… instead of clicking on him, I clicked on the door to vacuum. A light went on in my head. And in the engineer’s. Pity.

Speaking of fire, you can upgrade your doors for cheap… like 20 scrap for a first level upgrade. You can do that right out of the gate. These doors slow down the spread of fire while the vacuum puts it out.

Invaders also need oxygen. Opening the doors on them will, yes, cause their health to go down. Upgraded doors slow them down while the vacuum puts them out.

Missiles cost scrap, lasers are free. That said, missiles miss shields entirely… so why not fire missiles first to knock out the shields on the other ship and use lasers on the weapons? If they don’t have shields for a minute, and they don’t have lasers for a minute, you’ve got a minute to shoot lasers at whatever you want. (I suggest shields or weapons.)

I just now finished a game where a crewmember became fully experienced with weapons. HOLY GUACAMOLE DO YOU WANT CREWMEMBERS WHO ARE FULLY EXPERIENCED WITH WEAPONS. Everything charges up sooooo much faster and better. Seriously.

This brings me to how you want crewmembers who are good with engines running engines and crewmembers who are good with shields running shields. The only way to get good is to keep doing it. (I used to not keep track of who worked where, I just sent them to the med bay when they needed the med bay and send them back to wherever wily-nily. Don’t do that.)

Those are the high notes that got me to the very end boss… where I found out that I’d been playing wrong the entire time.

If you’ve been playing, what have you found out?


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. Did you ever play Warrior of Rome?

    Goddamn it, you’re going to get me to buy this game.

    • Play a game now. It’s not like a game takes *THAT* long to play. You’ll probably die right away. Just play until you die.

      • “Hey kid, come here. Give this a try. First game is free.”

        The first taste is always free, JB.

  2. ftl is on my list, but i have so many games to play (still haven’t finished dark souls) and goddang it dishonored comes out like next week or something.

    • Dark Souls and Dishonored are both games that you pretty much have to carve time out to play. You don’t play Dark Souls for, say, 10 minutes while you’re waiting for the significant other to get out of the shower and prep for whatever event that they always take longer to prepare for than you do.

      It’s more like solitaire. You can get a game off the ground in less than a minute and get into a space battle in 2 minutes and win the battle (or lose it) in 3.

      It’s enhancement talent.

      • i am definitely all about the roguelike – dungeon crawl stone soup is my thing – but at ten bucks? especially if i’m going to drop 60 presuming rockpapershotgun gives the thumbs up to dishonored, i can wait until the inevitable orgy of savings that is the steam christmas sale.

        google play sale dropped rebuild into my lap for a quarter today. that’s a little more budget friendly.

          • because it’s going to be jamazin’!!!

            at least that’s what i keep telling myself.

            it’ll probably get a 60 to 44.99 slash or something like that unless it sells incredibly poorly, which i hope/don’t think it will. at least i hope it does better than human revolution did, even though i enjoyed HR a lot the boss fights were hella weak. my favorite game genre is what i call the fps+ – i.e. deus ex and related environs – so i feel the need to support it no matter what. it’s my version of partisan politics.

  3. You know they taught you how to put out fires with vacuum in the tutorial, right?

    I’ve got about 5 hours of play in and haven’t made it past Sector 6 yet, though I’ve gotten that far four times. My downfall seems to always be being boarded (I’m getting good at putting out fires), but I’ve not yet tried killing the invaders with vacuum.

    One frustrating thing for the game is that I rarely seem to get weapon or enhancement drops (and it’s not like you get a lot of scrap to buy things), meaning most of the games go the same way with little variety.

    Have you tried any of the other ships? I’ve only gotten the Engi and strongly disliked it. I’ve got to figure out how to unlock more.

      • I usually don’t, but when strategy game menu opens with a note that says ‘you should really, really play the tutorial, it’s short and helpful, we promise’ – then I do.
        This is definitely not a game that spends the first few parts easing you into gameplay, you can get killed easily in your first encounter.

        • Whenever anybody tells me I really need to watch the tutorial, I figure whatever is in it must be really important and if I can figure it out on my own I’m passing some sort of test.

    • Oh, I never answered your question about the ships. I’m playing the Engi now and, lemme tell ya, it plays *COMPLETELY* differently. I had to rethink pretty much everything.

      That said, I never knew how *POWERFUL* the combo of ion blast and anti ship II could be.

          • Last night I think I almost unlocked that ship – I got a special quest where I rescued a funky dude and he joined my crew and said there was a special system we need to go to in a later sector.
            Alas, a series of battles without finding a store left me with insufficient hull integrity to complete the journey.

  4. I bought FTL last night and it now has a home (via Steam) on my desktop and on my Macbook. Final game I played last night saw my crew die out because of a hull breach in the oxygen supply room. Bastards.

    • I really hate that one, the other big PITA is a fire in the door control room. In both cases a drone controller with a system repair drone is a big help.

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