FTL and the Voyage of the Damned

I have come to realise that I would make a really bad spaceship captain, seriously if it ever eventuates that we can travel the stars and I am chosen to lead an exploration DO NOT CHOOSE me. I’m sure there will be some sort of election or at least a ruling body to decide such a thing and hopefully they can reference this one post as to my eligibility. You could say “why not just turn down the position”… you do realise I would get to pilot a fraking spaceship right, who could pass up that opportunity even if it will most certainly end  in some sort of fireball of doom.

The issue is I am absolutely terrible at multitasking and FTL makes you do a lot of it. Watching the various systems and modulating power accordingly as well as surveying your ship for damage and weak spots and prioritising your minions… and the little buggers have health pools as well which I always seem to forget about when the metaphorical shit hits the fan. I have killed so many of my minions by asphyxiation I should probably be tried as a war criminal. Note to self open an airlock and forgetting to close it again does not end well.. also don’t jump to another area  or spend a long time mulling over one of the options when you don’t have any oxygen.

We don’t need no stinking air

I am also a terrible commander when it comes to making decisions and FTL is essentially a game about making hard decisions. Throughout you travels you will be thrown a multitude of issues demanding your attention and they really do not offer you any sort of guidance as to what to pick. There is no right answer to pick or moral pathway being the best, each and every situation requires a decisive choice and I nearly always seem to make the wrong one.

I originally played the righteous and a moral captain, the nice girl in a way checking every distress signal and helping people who ask for supplies and such. Once I even tried to save someone and let them onto my ship thinking I may just be able to have a new companion on board but no, they sabotage my ship and their friends in the large cruiser promptly devour me.

Then I tried playing the arsehole so no one would ever be able to take advantage of my kindness but this quickly ran down a steep slope into death.. You miss out on the helpful people you do sometimes find that offer you supplies and such and sometimes the helpful option gives more then the morally bankrupt one but you can never be sure. The combat can be rather unforgiving at times as well and you may just come across an enemy that you are completely out matched by. Playing a particularly aggressive idiot charging into battle with the blood lust of a Klingon you quickly dicover that this is far from optimal and a terrible drain on your resources: melting your hull, killing minions, and taking valuable supplies when the need to repair arises and it you will need to a lot.

But you cant really avoid combat either as you will find yourself in the later areas completely outgunned by your rivals. You need the supply, augments and weapons these ships sometimes drop if your every going to make it. It becomes a deep down strategy of picking and choosing your opponents with the occasional rash impulse thrown in, even then though the fate of your ship is always up to luck.. and she is a hard mistress in FTL.

Facing the Inevitable

FTL is one of those rogue like games which tries to randomise everything… no matter how many times you have played you can never be sure of the outcome, the random element keeps you guessing so there will never be a right decision or even an informed on. You have to go pretty much by gut instincts and a shady sense of morality. There is a little bit of learning involved, which systems are better to upgrade, where to attack on what type of ship and just general lessons such as don’t piss off centaurs but on the whole you generally just wing it. At times though it seems to deliberately troll you giving you the worst possible outcome to an option or at a bad moment.. like teleporting a raiding party onto your ship while sun nova’s are burning the place apart or being repeatedly gang banged after each and every jump. Then there was the time when I miraculous encountered a new crew mate for him to die the next jump.. pretty much because fuck you that’s why.

In a way that is far more indicative of being a Starship captain than anything else which is rather thrilling in a way. You are the clueless Captain trying his best to keep the crew alive and the ship functional, praying for a good outcome that may or may not be answered, and blindly making the hard decisions that no-one in a sane frame of mind would be able to repeatedly do… again and again. Your traveling through uncharted territory, boldly going where no man has gone before or is even willing to… I wonder now how Picard, Kirk, Janeway and the others didn’t just go insane from the pressure although that was probably when retirement happened (or death). Maybe instead of a starship captain I can just be one of the systems techs like in charge of communications or sensors although I would probably just turn my console into a Nintendo emulator.


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