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Navigation of FTL Guide


This is the third page about ships in the Faster Than Light game guide, where the strengths, limits, and attributes of the Slug Cruiser are explained. Each space cruiser you can choose in Faster Than Light has its share of strengths and weaknesses, and you will come to know what the Slug Cruiser’s are. If you happen to not be acquainted with the game Faster Than Light, please visit here for the main page of the guide.

Be warned there are some spoilers for the story of Faster than Light contained below, but they can be hard to discover in the game without knowing to look.

Slug Cruiser

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  • “One of the slug ships must know something about this advanced cruiser. Perhaps you can 'convince' them to tell you.”

Slugs are habitually pirates and thieves, aiming to take on unconventional and dishonorable tactics to thwart their enemies, and the slug cruiser designed by that species is not much different. The slug cruiser takes on a different style of crew combat than the mantis cruiser, in that it uses clever weaponry to enervate their crew and blast apart their ship. The slug cruiser does not rely on brute force by way of a boarding party, and instead a conglomeration of weaponry that targets crews and systems and crew combat. Each layout specializes a little more in certain areas, and can be a slightly challenging but rewarding cruiser to helm.

The slug cruiser is massive compared to those you encounter in the field, but the exterior is shaped in a related theme, almost identical really. You can see how they come from a surreal place surrounded in an abyss that would be the nebulae. It looks shaped more to part through clouds and liquids, than the expanse of space as it is bulbous and curving, with fluted pieces trailing behind it.

If you are looking for a different style of gameplay for Faster than Light, then the slug cruiser is definitely it. It does lose its luster once it becomes familiar though, and the benefits to finally having a crew made out of slugs shows to be less.

Layout A

“Designed for use inside nebula, this cruiser lacks sensors and relies instead on the guile and cunning of the Slugs.”

The coating covering this cruiser of overlapping plates and a large engine thruster is a faded and light purple, like the sun having almost slid all the way down the horizon, leaving the sky somewhere between night and day. The edges of the curving parts of the vessel have a reflective green that seems opalescent. By appearance alone this ship would blend well into a nebula covered environment.

  • Original Name: Man of War. The name could be referring to two different things. One being a species of fish that doesn’t resemble the shape of the slug cruiser much at all, but is especially nimble and agile, and the other being a type of powerful sailing vessel originating from the 16th century. Likely the name is referencing the sailing vessel.
  • Beginning Crew: Two crew members of the slug race. These slugs are left all by themselves in this giant expanse of a space cruiser that is left in the dark by the lack of any sensors, but they are not be underestimated by their small size and number. Since slugs are telepathic, they can see into rooms that surround the one they are standing in, giving you a partial view of your own ship. Even though there isn’t really a reason to specifically lack sensors, the slug race just never needed them because of their evolutionary path.

Their telepathic sense isn’t as comprehensive as the man made sensors are, but at the same time their telepathic sense will not fail when the ship is surrounded by a nebula, which can often be the case whether you enter a nebula sector or choose a nebula shrouded beacon. Even so this is just a matter of data, so it doesn’t really impact your gameplay too far, other than letting you know precisely where the enemy crew is, how many there are, and what races they are. Without advanced edition content enabled, you would just see them as red blips, but now with the advanced edition update you can see what race they actually are and what they are presently doing such as repairing a system.

The slug race is somewhat uncommon to find, and more so for you find those that will join of their own free will, rather than you having to pay for their enlistment in a chunk of scrap.

  • Starting Weapons: The weapons equipped to the Man of War slug cruiser specialize in enfeebling tactics. There are three of them, each serving a slightly different purpose. The first one is the Anti-Bio Beam. The model of this beam weapon is distinct and easily recognizable, whether its equipped on your own cruiser or on an enemy’s. It is something to definitely be concerned with. It has a grey and black metal base, with two prongs like the opening of a clamp. Embedded in that opening is a half circle of glowing orange, while vivid green glints elsewhere.

Being a beam weapon, the anti-bio beam has a related attack radius in that it cuts a glowing beam across a ship. What the anti-bio beam does differently though is that it does not inflict any damage to the ship’s HULL, and neither any damage to the ship’s systems. That would sound useless, but the anti-bio beam affects only organic material, so it inflicts direct harm to any crew it comes into contact with. Unlike other weapons, the anti-bio beam inflicts a total of sixty damage for every crew member it strikes. This is double compared to other weapons and bombs that are designed to inflict specific harm to the crew, making this weapon paramount in biological warfare essentially.

The distance the beam travels for every discharge is among the longest out of all beam weapons, but it still falls prey to the same pitfalls beam weapons all have, and in ways that are worse. The anti-bio beam is locked into a straight line, it cannot make any sharp turns or slopes to strike another crew member. So despite the sheer width of the beam, you will have trouble regularly hitting more than two crew members at a time. However this is where you reap benefits from possessing a slug based crew.

No matter your sensor subsystem level, or if your ship is trapped inside the drifting cloud of a nebula, your slug crew will be able to sense precisely where those enemy crew are on their ship. So you can make as effective of a strike with the anti-bio beam as you can with that kind of information. Even so though, the straight path the anti-bio beam takes is still a limitation just because of how the layouts tend to be of enemy cruisers, and where enemy crew congregate and gather to. With the telepathic slug vision, you’ll be able to see if the enemy crew is doing anything particular that might keep him in the room, or draw others to it. You don’t have a clear picture of the room, like you do with upgraded sensors, but you can tell by how the crew member motions. For example when one of them is fighting a fire, one of their hands will sweep back and forth as if they’re using the extinguisher.

It will take two swipes per crew member to defeat them, and generally hostile ships have between two and five crew members, five being the least common and appearing almost exclusively at the last third of a game instance’s stretch. This is also assuming there hasn’t been anything else that has harmed those crew members, like the damage over time from a vacuum or a fire that broke out, even if just briefly. Zoltan will of course also survive a single swipe from the anti-bio beam, as they have seventy health total, but any other source of damage will be liable to kill them.

The point with this layout of the slug cruiser is not just to rely on the anti-bio beam weapon though, it is to use it in combination with everything else you have at your disposal. Although the layout doesn’t rollout from the hangar with a crew teleporter installed, a valid strategy would be to unleash the anti-bio beam on the enemy crew, and then teleport over, picking off the weakened combatants. You could potentially take three enemy crew, instead of the standard, nearly dying face off of two.

Matching the fighting style of the anti-bio beam is the breach mark I bomb. This bomb will teleport through enemy ship’s shielding, landing on top of systems and tearing holes into their hull. Any crew caught in the blast vicinity will receive thirty damage, half that of the anti-bio beam, while affected systems will receive one damage and the chance for a breach to occur is high but not guaranteed. Like all bombs, this requires missiles for every use. Using the anti-bio beam and the breach bomb in tandem will take out some crew of races with substandard health values, like the Zoltan, but it usually is not strong enough to knock out a system by itself. It just is not intended for that kind of purpose. It is meant to harass and debilitate the ship and its crew, not wage direct damage to its systems and HULL.

This layout really would be at a loss if those two weapons were all it had, as it doesn’t start out with a crew teleporter to match with the anti-bio beam and the breach mark I bomb. The third weapon is just something to backup what this layout already has, and can at times be sufficient to strip down shields to expose it to the anti-bio beam, as the anti-bio beam cannot pierce through any kind of shielding, whatsoever. That caveat is what prevents the anti-bio beam from disregarding any of your enemy’s defenses, and just decimating the crew, as it just cannot break through their shielding. And if you ever do find an enemy ship that doesn’t start off with shielding, then it’s just an automatic drone that is unmanned to begin with. The dual lasers send off a volley of two burst shots, so if you time it precisely you can slip the anti-bio beam through the gap while the shields are temporarily down if that enemy ship has two barriers worth of shielding. Using the breach bomb and the dual lasers together can be enough to temporarily take down some double barrier shielding as well, which the both of them would be turning the enemy ship vulnerable to your ship’s anti-bio beam.

To activate and maintain the anti-bio beam, you need two energy slots, while the weapon itself will take sixteen seconds to charge up to full for you to use. The dual lasers need only one energy slot, and take ten seconds to rev up to full charge. The Breach mark I bomb also requires only one energy slot, and takes a second less at nine seconds to charge up for teleporting. Those two charge lengths between the dual lasers and the breach mark I bomb further solidify their use as support to the anti-bio beam weapon, as you do not have to waste much potential fire power to use them simultaneously.

  • Starting Drones: Being as the layout A of the slug cruiser doesn’t even have a drone control system installed in the hangar, it neither has any drone schematics.
  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, fifteen missiles, and zero drone parts. The inclusion of drones do not come much into play for this layout, and so you won’t find yourself concerned with the lack of supply of drone parts in early game. Eventually you will accumulate some, which should be by the time you do get a hacking station or a drone control system enough to keep you going for the rest of the game. Fifteen missiles is an above average amount given, but not such a great sum that you can repeatedly sling out the breach bombs in every enemy encounter. On average metering out how many bombs or missiles you use in every match gradually either builds up a stock of them, so that you can use them with no holds barred on the rebel flagship, or counteract any kind of drain so that you have either a buffer, or you at least don’t run out of them.
  • Starting Augmentations: Slug Repair Gel. This augmentation is rarely acquired elsewhere, so it is like a near exclusive selection by helming the slug cruiser. The slug repair gel is a passive type of augmentation that makes the ship act as if it has an immune system to hull breaches, and automatically repairs them in a cloud of gray nanites.

While hull breaches are not mended in a couple seconds, they are repaired so quick that the room a breach occurs in will not drain of oxygen to the point of it being considered a vacuum. With this augmentation equipped in the slug cruiser, you can safely disregard the presence of any hull breaches and go about your business as if there wasn’t one there at all, as it truly won’t hamper or harm your crew or ship. It may prevent your crew from repairing the system in the room while it is still present though, as they will try to mend it while it already is being passively repaired, but this will just accelerate the process of the hull breach closing and your crew member will soon be able to fix the system itself.

The reasoning as to how this augmentation works is rather alien in design. It is described that slug ships have the ability to excrete a kind of viscous gel that naturally mends hull breaches. You don’t see any gel dripping from the walls, or oozing on hatch doors, and when you watch a hull breach close up, you see clouds of nanites and not a gel. This is a borrowed animation from the healing effect you can see in med bays, and so it doesn’t have its own other than the dark hue.

  • Slot Limits: The maximum limit of four weapon slots and the bare minimum of two drone schematic slots, although you will need to install the drone control system. With minor accommodation for drones, and a large one for weapons, the slug cruiser is well suited for heavy firepower from the weapons control – just in an unconventional style.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen system, level three weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, and level two door system. The reactor starts out with eight energy slots from the hangar as well. There is a complete absence of the sensors subsystem, but they are plainly unnecessary and function as a luxury when you have slug crew members.

You can certainly feel the lack of additional systems preinstalled from the hangar on this layout. A crew teleporter already present would really flesh it out, but being the first layout of a cruiser, they don’t have the tendency to be as well-equipped as the rest since there isn’t as much of a requirement for unlocking the cruiser itself. The upgraded door system is important for containing any intruders, as you are stuck with only two slug crew members. You will be able to get more, but the fortified door system helps to protect their small number and resist the spread of fire.

  • Room for Additional Systems: Being bare of any non-standard systems and subsystems, the Man of War will start out with three possible spots for you to install more systems in, while you will have two total for the subsystems. In general there are only two other subsystems that this layout doesn’t have anyway, the first being the sensors subsystem and the second being the battery backup if your game instance is playing with the Advanced Edition content enabled.

The interior of the layout is fairly spacious, with minimal separations between areas as the majority of the space is gathered in the heart of the vessel. There are four areas systems that you install will flock to. If you acquire the cloaking system, that will be placed in a corridor at the top of the ship above the med bay, and if you acquire a crew teleporter then that will also be placed in a corridor but at the bottom of the ship, trailing off from the pilots deck. It is relatively near the med bay, just the short side of a corridor separating the crew teleporter from the med bay’s room, so your injured boarding party will have healing quickly. The drone control system will take that large room below the crew teleporter, and should you choose to install the sensors subsystem that will be found beside the drone control system.

It is ideal that you acquire a crew teleporter for this layout, despite the two teleporter pad limit. The weapons equipped from the hangar on this cruiser supplement a boarding party very well, but the layout isn’t specified to the point where you would be overly reliant on the presence of a boarding party, unlike a cruiser like the mantis cruiser. You just wouldn’t be playing to this ship’s strengths if you didn’t find a crew teleporter, but you will need a couple spare crew to have an adequate boarding party.

A hacking station would do excellent in this layout, as it shares the qualities of disabling and enfeebling the enemy just like the Man of War’s weaponry does too. You can really see how mischievous and cunning the slug race are with this ship, when you are throwing just about all the sources of confusion and entanglement as you can like with the hacking station and the breach bomb. The mind control station would also do very well when paired with the setup of this layout, and will do better accompanying your boarding party, but as usual it still won’t last the whole journey against the rebel flagship as eventually you will run out of enemy crew to mind control, and you cannot mind control your own crew to buff them up with the boosts the mind control station has when fully upgraded.

Drones can also potentially cause disarray, but your options for dynamics will be limited by the two slot hard limit for the drone control system, and considering the expense of the system to buy and also to upgrade while you have the weapons control to focus on, you may be better off seeking out a different system to fill one of those three spots. It usually is not a feasible idea to match the hacking station and the drone control system together, as they will rapidly exhaust your ship’s drone part resources, and as the ship doesn’t start with any kind of reserve for them, your decision is all but sealed for flexibility between them.

Cloaking will work just as it always does, but it will be made less potent and effective by the rapid discharge of the weapons armed on the ship, so the cloaking system should be on a lesser priority when helming the Man of War.

  • Ways to unlock: There are two potential methods to unlock the slug cruiser. The alternative, non-canon route is to defeat the rebel flagship on any difficulty – from easy to hard – while helming the mantis cruiser. This can be easier or harder depending on what space cruisers you already have access to, and how experienced, skilled, and lucky you are pertaining to beating a game instance. It takes a lot to survive all the way through, while gearing yourself appropriately to be able to take down the rebel flagship. It’s those two requirements together that present the true difficulty. Choosing the game on easy difficulty though should not cause much of an obstacle for most players, as random events are less often detrimental and enemy encounters are weaker.

Otherwise the standard, story based method to unlock the slug cruiser is from a random event quest line. To be able to successfully require this space cruiser for your save file, and not be diverted along any of the other several possible outcomes for the random event you will need to have either one slug crew member or have your ship’s sensors upgraded to level two. From there, you can potentially find the beacon that this random event quest will occur in within the slug home nebula. The slug home nebula is similar to the other homeworlds, except as it is according to the lore, the slugs originate from nebula shrouded solar systems. This random event will not happen on beacons that have a distress call tagged, and if your vessel has the long range scanners augmentation the beacon will be labeled as having a possible ship.

In truth this random event has several variations that initiate the quest line. What is always the same though is that as soon as you jump in, you will be met with a text prompt detailing some kind of slug ship attacking you, or trying to negotiate with you while actually just trying to trick you and steal from you. What will inevitably end up happening is a fight will break out between your space cruiser and the slug hostile, and should you not be somehow defeated by them, the slug ship will actually surrender and you will be presented with an array of possibilities. On the surface you will only see the option to allow them to live, or the standard of denying their surrender and defeating them as you would normally.

If you let them live, you may be given a paltry amount of fuel, or some resources and scrap of small to medium amounts. The random possibility you are looking for is when the ship offers to give you a newly developed weapon they were transporting. Unfortunately it is actually a slim chance for the necessary outcome to happen, where they offer you the special weapon. It does seem to be as low as one out of four times. Wanting to actually unlock this space cruiser, you should select the bottom option, which is that you claim you do not want the weapon but you want information. This will lead you to the location of the slug ship being constructed, as it will add a quest marker on your sector map.

While you didn’t need either the slug crew member or the upgraded sensors at that previous point in the quest line, you will for this next part. Once you make it to the quest marked beacon, you will see some ships protecting a mobile construction platform – one with the capability of faster than light drive jumping. There is a regular interceptor, and then there is also an assault ship of considerably higher firepower. Choosing any of the non-blue options will cause the ship to eventually disappear into the nebula clouds, or jump away out of reach. Choosing either of the blue options of your slug crew member, or your improved sensors, will allow you to follow them through the clouds long enough that the assault ship will jump away and you will only have to fight the weaker interceptor to capture the slug space cruiser.

While the interceptor is weaker than the assault ship, the interceptor will try to escape once you start to win the battle. You will need enough firepower to quickly destroy the ship, or have a strong enough boarding party to quickly dispatch the enemy crew aboard. Trying to complete this quest with a boarding party style cruiser is not advisable though, as usually crew combat will take longer to be done and over with, and by the time that happens the interceptor may have jumped away, vanquishing your chance at unlocking the ship on top of an already slim possibility that you had found it to begin with at all. So long as the interceptor does not successfully jump away, you will be awarded with the slug cruiser. The reason why if the interceptor jumps away, that you lose the slug cruiser, is because their faster than light drives are linked together and so the construction platform the slug cruiser is attached to will jump away with the interceptor.

Layout B

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“This boarding ship has no medical facilities and must manage its explosives carefully to keep the crew alive.”

The second layout of the slug cruiser may as well be a second edition due to how the interior expands and spreads, broad rooms springing out from all sides. And yet when you first begin with this layout, the ship is eerily empty and quiet. Systems are considerably distant from one another, and cramped is a feeling you can hardly associate with the vessel, despite that your crew is crammed inside of a space ship that generally do not have the luxury of being as massive as a cruise line ship. Wondering about the odd interstructure, the intention made not to be disconnection amongst the crew but natural breathing room for the slugs. The slugs see any rooms around the one they occupy, and so by expanding the interior of the ship like this, this may be a reflection of how slugs see personal space. Perhaps only among the aristocrats of their kind.

The exterior look of the vessel has changed dramatically as well. There is a concentrated metallic sheen in the coating of russet and brownish greens. The plating appears vaguely segmented, like pieces of a mosaic.

  • Original Name: The Stormwalker.
  • Beginning Crew: Three slug crew members. A clear upgrade from the first layout, the Man of War, starting out with three crew members is decent enough that you do not have to abandon the pilots deck in order to deploy a boarding party. However you will not have anyone else dedicated to manning a system until you can scrounge up another crew member along your interstellar travels.
  • Starting Weapons: Though the slug cruiser does have a high powered weapons control backing it up, the style of the Stormwalker layout is support in nature. The literal equipment will alter the way you engage hostile ships with your boarding party, and will flat out restrict you from fighting them in traditional tactics involving weapons fire to pelt down the shield barriers and damage the HULL until the ship itself explodes. Nothing stops you from purchasing an actually damaging weapon from a shop beacon, but unless you are just trying to unlock the next layout with the Stormwalker slug cruiser, then you would be better off selecting a different space cruiser and layout to match and strengthen your intended style of gameplay.

The Stormwalker slug cruiser is equipped with two weapons, the first being the healing burst. This supporting weapon is a bomb type and is entirely of its own kind, so there are no stronger forms of it. There is not even a drone schematic equivalent. This bomb will self teleport to whatever room you select, be that inside your own space cruiser or within your enemy’s ship. Just as the name suggests, the healing bomb will restore the health bar of your affected crew member’s to full, regardless as to how high or low their health bar is at point wise.

You can reliably trigger this healing burst while your crew members are engaged in a brawl with enemy crew members on another ship, or on your own, and once the cloud of light grey smoke swoops over them, their health will be restored. Not before that though, so there is a slight delay in when they will receive healing. This might sound counterproductive as logically that would also heal your enemy crew member’s health to full, but this is not so, as the healing bomb will only affect your own crew members and no one else. So essentially you have access to portable, near instantaneous healing. No longer does your crew members have to retreat to your med bay before they are bested in combat.

This does dramatically alter what kind of enemies your boarding party can take on, and how many they can as well. While this won’t be enough by itself to outpace the damage and healing from an enemy’s med bay, it is enough that you can overwhelm most races even if you just have Zoltan fighting for you. Naturally this is not the case though with the Stormwalker slug cruiser, as you have three slug crew members at your disposal, but you would realistically only be using two for your boarding party while the third is sitting in the pilots deck, enabling you to charge up your faster than light drive while also dodging incoming weapons fire – lasers or missiles.

The healing burst tends to be an uncommon find, so it is definitely a boon if you want the high versatility this missile bomb offers for your gameplay. There are two dampening downsides to it though. The first is the time to takes to charge up, taking eighteen seconds for every launch. This is high for teleporting bombs, and as well in general for weapons; but the healing burst is entirely non-offensive, retaining zero damage output of its own, so it is a type of armament in its own class. It is so strong it can just about replace the function of an actual med bay, but feasibly cannot because of its lengthy charge up time and its consumable function. For every launch of the healing burst, it will take one missile part. So long as you aren’t fairly outmatched in a battle encounter, you likely are not going to use more than one healing burst though.

Regardless the healing burst is purely a consumable, and limited restorative to your crew, in contrast to the med bay which is entirely continuous, its use stipulated by proximity within the four walls of its containing room and a provided power supply, along with its upgraded state. Though the healing burst will always heal to full, the med bay is of course augmented heavily by what level it is upgraded to. Even with the great amount of stock that the Stormwalker slug cruiser starts out with for missiles, you will find your supply dwindling. It is very tempting to make excessive use of the healing burst, and if you do not curb that, then you will end up running out, left with nothing to mend your crew members with unless you have found something in the meantime.

That statement implies that the Stormwalker slug cruiser cannot heal its crew members in any way but from the healing burst, and this is actually true straight from the hangar. Balancing against being equipped with the healing burst, despite not really having any sufficient offensive capabilities in order to directly fight another ship with actual weapon fire, and neither having any drone schematics to attempt a similar capability, the Stormwalker slug cruiser lacks a med bay. And no, it does not have a clone bay either. Being the second layout, the existence of clone bays was not added to the game as this was prior to the Advanced Edition update.

So regardless of the versatility and the portable boon of the healing burst, you are forced to rely on this to heal your crew members. It can clog up the works so to speak for the pacing from battle to battle, as your crew members are not likely to be at full health bar for encounters after the first, so this requires that you stagger the teleportation of your crew members to board the enemy ship until the healing burst is sufficiently charged up. It does not need to be fully charged, but it does need to be enough to offset the lower health your boarding party has from the leftover of the previous battle encounter. Forgetting to be careful of that, and you may lose a crew member or two in a brawl when you normally wouldn’t if you just had a med bay.

Though the Stormwalker rolls out from the hangar without a med bay, you can still find one to install from a shop beacon at the price of 50 scrap. So that deficiency in the layout can be easily remedied, even though it does have a chunk taken away from your scrap accumulation. This is just part of the weighing scales that you have to decide if the rare healing burst, with its high versatility is worth that offset in scrap, along with all the other properties and equipment the Stormwalker slug cruiser has.

You can also just purchase a clone bay, and with these two things combined, you dramatically diminish the negative aspects of both the system and the weapon. If you fail to stagger the charge time of the healing burst in accordance with your crew member’s health point total, or if you even run out of missiles, then the clone bay will just resurrect your fallen crew members – though at the cost of some experience points in their skills. And by having a clone bay, regularly you just have no way of healing your crew members at all, since your space cruiser cannot be equipped with both a med bay and a clone bay, despite that physically they COULD take up two different spots. This could and actually does create the threatening and precarious scenario of your crew members starting off a battle with half or less health points, because they took that much of a beating from the last battle.

This is a more extreme circumstance than can happen with the healing burst, as you just have no way of manually healing your crew members aside from the passive and minor healing from the micro-cloning your crew members receive from every faster than light drive jump. With the healing burst, you can entirely avoid that, and altogether you can be as parsimonious as you want to be with your missiles. You could even set a standard rule of only one healing burst per battle, and if your crew members take too much damage beyond that, then you deem to rely on the clone bay to bring them back should they fall.

It is quite ambiguous as to why a missile part designed for concussive blasts can serve as a cloud of healing particles, selectively seeking out your own crew members while ignoring the gaping wounds on enemy crew members. That does certainly sound like nanite behavior, doesn’t it? But the eruption of smoke looks just like the explosion of any standard missile. Luckily this kind of weapon is not something you ever see equipped on another type of space cruiser, or else their boarding party would be all but invincible to you, and if not would be greatly devastating to your crew and your ship, unfairly so. There isn’t really any reasoning in game, aside from that game balance context, as to why the healing burst would be absent entirely. Even rare and precious technology is not reasoning enough, but it is best not to be something questioned. Imagine if the enemy ship had two healing bursts, with their veritable infinite supply of missile parts? Your crew would be slaughtered, especially of the enemy ship used the healing bursts smartly.

The healing burst may just be one of the Stormwalker slug cruiser’s most defining aspects; but of course it wouldn’t be without the inclusion of a preinstalled crew teleporter. Then you just wouldn’t be able to do much of anything with this layout, and it would be disregarded without a second thought. That would be reckless game balancing by the developer’s part however.

The healing burst is not the only weapon the layout is equipped with. There is a second weapon, called the Artemis Missile. Unfortunately being armed with yet another missile type will place a greater strain on your missile limited resource, but that is part of the point, balance, and challenge of this layout. With the artemis missile, you have a way of inflicting direct damage to the enemy’s ship, at the cost of the missile limited resource. It circumvents the enemy’s shield barriers on its own, but cannot be feasibly repeatedly used in a battle as even without the healing burst, your missile supply runs dry too quickly. For every launch of the artemis missile, it will inflict two damage to the ship’s HULL and two damage to the system it comes into contact with. And since this artemis missile is installed already from the hangar, it is the augmented variant of the weapon. Normally this artemis missile needs two energy slots to charge and maintain, and eleven seconds to fully charge up, but the artemis missile equipped on the Stormwalker slug cruiser requires only one energy slot and takes a little less time to fully charge – ten seconds.

The artemis missile is basically the weapon that you fall back on when you need to take something out that your boarding party cannot deal with on their own, namely this is an enemy crew’s med bay. Otherwise this could be something that is damaging your ship, as the enemy ship is ripping through your shields and pelting your HULL, sprinkling it with fire that simply is too much for your slug pilot to deal with. Forcing him to leave your pilots deck alone puts you in a dangerous situation, and he can be easily harmed when dealing with hazards, and not so easily healed when he is separated from your boarding party who are on regular and high priority for targeted use of the healing burst. The artemis missile, provided it does not miss, will break an enemy’s med bay into red, rendering it unable of offering any healing. This can be enough to allow your boarding party to overwhelm the enemy crew members before they can bring the med bay up and running again.

If you do find that one of the enemy crew members is left to his devices to repair the med bay, while your boarding party is brawling with two other enemy crew members, then you should rush your boarding party into the med bay before that enemy crew member is able to repair the med bay back into orange, which can give partial healing. That is potentially enough to out heal the damage your boarding party can inflict, and would spell demise for them, no matter if you launch a healing burst or not, as you simply would not be able to have the healing burst fully charged again in time to save them. Even if you did, it would just waste your missiles, as you would be delaying the inevitable and remaining in a impasse state.

Neither the healing burst or the artemis missile are weapons you would discard for the stretch of your game instance, as they both have great use and support each other well. The artemis missile is not the strongest missile launcher there is, and may even be showed up by a higher tier burst laser, but the fact that it only takes one energy slot and that the slug cruiser has four slots for its weapons control enhances the longevity of its use and potential.

  • Starting Drones: The Stormwalker lacks any drone schematics from the hangar as it does not have a drone control system preinstalled.
  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, twenty five missiles, and zero drone parts. This is a large stock of missiles, but necessary and useful for a layout that exclusively relies on missile type weapons to support and enhance its aggressive boarding party. With this layout, you are not held back by the lack of drone parts. By the time you do find yourself a drone control system, or a hacking station, you will have a decent stock built up from all the ships you have fought along the way.
  • Starting Augmentations: Slug Repair Gel. This is the same augmentation from the first layout, where the space cruiser itself will passively repair any hull breaches that occur. This won’t be immediate, but will essentially negate the detriments hull breaches can have.
  • Slot Limits: A maximum of four different spots in the weapons control for armaments, and the lowest limit of two for total equipped drone schematics in the drone control system, should you install one.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen system, level two weapons control, level one pilots deck, level two door system, and a level one crew teleporter. Without a med bay, the Stormwalker slug cruiser’s reactor integrity is less, providing a seven energy slots of power straight from the hangar.

Lacking any sensors subsystem, the level two door system contributes to a greater control over the interior of your space cruiser when you cannot view each room in real time. With the presence of slug crew members you can increasingly see surrounding rooms, but because two out of the three slug crew members this layout has will be on duty for a boarding party, you will be left with only one slug crew member sitting in the pilots deck to see any of this ship. The rest of the ship will be plunged in dark.

The level two door system grants partial safety, but can also be the illusion of it. At times you will have to pull your slug pilot from his seat and patrol through the ship, searching for any potential fires. You do not have to worry about any hull breaches being there, such as being surprised by one that you didn’t know was there, and don’t even know when it happened, as it could have a couple fights ago in some stray missile impacts. The slug repair gel will prevent any hull breaches from staying long at all. There are not any defenses against fires though other than the natural vacuum effect, which may not happen long enough to fully snuff them out.

Fires left unchecked will spread, even through the upgraded door system of level two, and propagate across the interior of your ship, often without your knowledge if they are not festering inside of system and subsystem rooms. Even then you have to check their associated icon graphics to be aware, which is something you have to actively and persistently do. Though one room may be sucked into a vacuum, and the fire in there snuffed out, with the oxygen system continually replenishing the air supply, eventually that room will be rife with oxygen again and if the fire had spread elsewhere, perhaps even still present in an adjacent room, it may leap back into the room it originated in, wrecking havoc once again. This is what can be most dangerous about fire – that if left unchecked and unmatched, it can spread through your ship without stop, and can surprisingly burn away up to a half of your HULL’s health.

You will quickly notice the presence of fires when your HULL starts to seemingly take damage all on its own, but by then the fire may be several clumps in number, a presence too dense and widespread for your lone pilot slug to deal with on his lonesome, especially without a med bay or a clone bay, and the need of your healing burst being delegated to your boarding party. In such a drastic scenario you would need to recall them, and push them to deal with the fires, even faster than light drive jump away so that you can deal with the fires in relative safety without the enemy ship blasting lasers at you, even trying to board your ship as well. There’s always the possibility you might just faster than light drive jump into another enemy encounter, and one that is stronger than the last, sinking you into an even worse situation.

Because of that whole potential mess, it is suggested that you equip this slug cruiser with some sensors, or else replace your slug boarding party with crew members of a different race, so that you can have your slug crew members man systems across your ship and minimize the dark zones of your interior. Short of that, you can also upgrade the door system to level three, which will further diminish the ability of fire to spread across your ship, and also bolster your protection against boarding parties as they will have a harder time moving room from room, the health of the hatch doors being even higher.

The lack of a med bay and clone bay is made manageable by the presence of the healing burst, but is not a situation that you need – nor should – keep permanent. Either one can only be acquired by purchasing it at a shop beacon, as there is no random event that will just hand over and install a system for you, and clearly not one such as the med bay. There are random events that will patch up your hull, even upgrade your reactor a little, but won’t give you a new system. Usually random events actually require the presence of a certain system, or a certain system upgraded, to have certain blue text options that either give better rewards or just rewards in general.

You won’t be in serious danger without a med bay or clone bay as the Stormwalker slug cruiser has the healing burst, in comparison to something like lacking a shields system, but it still should be on high priority to acquire it.

Despite relying on the crew teleporter so, it will not really benefit you to upgrade it early on. Usually it is the exact opposite, as it is important to be able to teleport your crew members back and forth to save them from being defeated by the enemy crew, but since your healing burst can just teleport itself right where your boarding party is on the enemy ship and heal them, there is nowhere near as much need to do that. It still can be of use, but it isn’t on high priority as it usually is. This is also further compounded by the fact that you do not have any more crew members to teleport over to strengthen your boarding party. If you did effectively double the size of your boarding party, you would have to manage the use of your healing burst to a higher degree, as the healing burst’s effect is not vessel wide, it is restricted to the location of just one room, be that a corridor or a square chamber.

By the point that you have more crew members though, you likely will have either a clone bay or a med bay. Should you find yourself flush with additional crew members, and a clone bay or med bay, it would be important to upgrade your crew teleporter to the highest level of three so that you can rapidly deploy a total of four man strong of a boarding party.

  • Room for Additional Systems: In an entirely abnormal circumstance, this space cruiser layout lacks a med bay, and so despite having the crew teleporter already installed, the spots for additional systems to install is at the highest of three. Naturally installing a med bay into your cruiser during your game instance will take up one of those spots though, and despite the extreme utility of the healing bomb, a med bay or a clone bay will still be desirable unless you really want to challenge yourself.

The options for this layout to install would be the drone control system, the hacking station, the mind control station, the cloaking system, the sensors subsystem, and the backup battery subsystem. There are two spots for subsystems that won’t take away from your system spots, so you do not have to choose between sensors and the backup battery for example. Being a boarding party oriented vessel, the hacking station would be very useful for your playstyle purposes and last the length of the game instance, dramatically affecting the rebel flagship in your favor. It is also a valid defense against the rebel flagship’s mind control station, even if you have already slaughtered all of its crew. Of course a mind control station will also negate the hijacking of one of your crew members, but the hacking station can also provide this defense while also being useful for other purposes than just that kind of realm.

The drone control system is decent, but will rely heavily on what kind of drone schematics you can scrounge up. Its cost will be high, but you can still maximize the energy slot usage between two slots if you fully upgrade it. The cloaking system is decent defensive wise for the slug cruiser, and should be used if you do not have another form of defense against the rebel flagship, such as the shield drone with a drone control system. You could survive between high level shields and high level engines, but that will only bring you so far without the ability to mend your HULL with some drones, or repeatedly erect a super shield from the shield drone. Activating the cloak when the rebel flagship tosses out its super attack will protect you from most of the damage, if not all of it. It does require energy though, and has a high cost of its own, alongside its uncommon spawn rate in a shop beacon’s stock.

As the layout is extraordinarily spacious, most of the systems you install will be placed into fully sized chambers, spread across the ship. The med bay will not appear close by to the crew teleporter, as it is on the far right of the ship while the crew teleporter is in the middle. Slug crew members are not a slow moving race though, and chances are with the healing burst they will not be threateningly low in health when they return to your vessel.

  • Ways to unlock: As this is the second layout of the slug cruiser, you need to complete two out of three achievements unique to the slug cruiser to unlock the Stormwalker layout. Which two you choose is ultimately up to you, but achievements are not made equal in difficulty and time investment. Keep in mind, whatever difficulty you complete the achievement on will be reflected on the achievement itself, as the game keeps a record of it. This is a matter of personal achievement and does not affect anything literal in the game, other than a statistical value. Also you can only complete this specific set of three achievements while helming the slug cruiser in your game instance.

The first achievement is named, “We’re in Position!”. This achievement is reliant on the lack of any sensor subsystem installed on your vessel, which is the default state of the slug cruisers. You can also get around it, albeit in select circumstances, when your sensors subsystem is damaged or disabled in some way, such as when you are in a nebula. To acquire this achievement, you must have complete and full view of the interior of an enemy vessel, without the use of the use of the sensors. Thus you will need a crew teleporter installed onto the Man of War, the one layout that doesn’t start from the hangar with it, and at least two slug crew members teleported over onto the enemy ship. Provided you do not come across additional slug crew members, the starting crew for the Man of War has exactly the minimum amount needed to do this.

Slug telepathic vision of surrounding rooms will apply to those that have a physical connection to the one they are residing in. This does not need a hatch door to work, as a corridor could be placed against the room the slug is standing in, but there is no hatch door for direct access to it. While it is not absolutely necessary to use slug crew members for this, as other crew member races will grant vision of the room they are standing in but not those around them, it is made most realistically achievement by the use of slug crew members.

Two at minimum is needed, but will not work for the majority of ship layouts. Two slug crew members boarding an enemy vessel will need to separate onto opposing sides of the ship in an attempt to gain vision of the whole thing. Ships that would work would be smaller ones, coincidentally slug enemy ships that are partitioned into five separate corridors. Automatic drones would also work, but you would need a level two crew teleporter to be able to safely retrieve your crew members from the vacuumed vessel before they suffocate.

This first achievement “We’re in position!” is fairly easy, so long as you just remember to do it, and that is hardly much of a catch.

The second achievement is named, “Home Sweet Home”. This achievement references the galaxies that the slug race originate from, in that they are surrounded by nebula, or are just nebula entirely. Acquiring this achievement involves visiting thirty separate nebula beacons before the final sector eight. There are around twenty five possible beacon jump points per sector, but you cannot possibly visit them all due to the encroaching rebel invasion in pursuit of your vessel. Additionally only a small number of these, from three to six approximately, will be covered in nebula on regular sectors. Though there is one sector type that is entirely covered in nebula, every single beacon, as that is the third sector type – nebula. So long as you visit as many nebula sectors as you can, and try to visit as many as possible without getting caught by the rebel forces, acquiring this achievement should be relatively simple. It can be fairly monotonous though for the sheer goal of visiting as many nebula beacons as possible, and has higher odds for being dangerous, as often nebula beacons have ionized storms that wreck havoc on your reactor, tanking how many energy slots it can provide to something like half.

Finally, the third achievement is named, “Disintegration Ray”. This one is angled more towards skillful gameplay, with a bit of chance by being pitted against an opponent that can make the line up possible. To acquire this one you will need to strike down three separate enemy crew with a single swath of the Anti-Bio Beam. Even if this is the last achievement out of the three you acquire, such as after you have unlocked the Stormwalker layout, you could really only do this at an odd chance for the other layouts, as the Anti-Bio Beam is a rare find in shop beacons, let alone from random events.

The normal requirements for getting the Anti-Bio Beam’s damage through to the crew applies, so the shields must be down and the crew members will need to be aligned in a flattish angle, vertical, or horizontal, with no variation within those three. With enemy ship interiors that are expansive with lots of full sized square rooms, it is unlikely this will happen. Smaller, corridor laden ships are more suitable, but can be difficult to get lucky on too. If you are having a fair amount of difficulty, you can try to directly manipulate where the enemy crew members are by boarding the ship, and moving your crew members where you want the enemy crew members to be. So long as they have three of them, they will each approach your crew in the needed positions. Of course if you unleash the Anti-Bio Beam with your crew members there, they will be hurt too, and you also run the risk of accidently defeating the enemy crew with your own crew if you fire off the Anti-Bio Beam prematurely.

You can also manipulate the placement of enemy crew by a few other methods, which require precision and sometimes missiles. Attacking systems or rooms that are in the needed alignment will draw the enemy crew members in to repair them, or mend hull breaches, or fight fires. All of those three things will draw crew members in, and having teleporting bombs with a high chance of fire or hull breaches will accelerate this potential. If a fire rages for too long though and the area vacuums out, the enemy crew members will flee, as nothing is on higher priority to avoid than a vacuum for the artificial intelligence of enemy crew members.

While this third achievement is more interesting and challenging to try for, it really is not as easy as the other two, so if you want a quicker path for unlocking the Stormwalker slug cruiser, then it would be better to go after the first two achievements. But if you want to be entertained through this kind of skillful gameplay, then trying this third achievement would appeal to you.

Layout C

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“Slugs are often skilled in the arts of misdirection and manipulation. With Hacking and Mind Control systems, this ship capitalizes on that fact.”

With the emergent technology that came in the waves of the Lanius stirring from their millennia long slumber, skimming across space for precious sources of uninhabited metal, the third layout of the slug cruiser is outfitted for tactical disarray like no other of its kind. Slugs are the species that prey upon tricks and deception, and the systems equipped on this layout showcase just that.

And yet for all this merciless tactics of turning allies against one another, and hanging the keys of rebellion to the machines onboard their ships, the interior makeup of the third layout of the slug cruiser is concise and neat, professional in its spread. You can make a whole, angular circuit around the interior, with each part having something important there. Empty spaces are only what would be natural, forming paths between places and appropriate separation to give some breathing room. Most of your systems are clustered in the middle and the back of the layout, unseperated by any gaps to the exterior, so they are pretty much in the same place.

The exterior coating still has that sleek sheen, except its bathed in bright yellow, jarring to the eye. It blends in with the color scheme of the slug race.

  • Original Name: Ariolimax. As yellow as the paint job, the ariolimax is another name for the real life banana slug, which is quite reminiscent of faster than light’s intergalactic slug race with its prominent eyestalks, its large size, and its brown spotted back.
  • Beginning Crew: Three slug crew members. The most slug crew members you will start from the hangar with, on the Ariolimax you will be able to see a good two thirds of the interior of your vessel without the sensors subsystem. Though the number of slugs and crew members are not any different than the second layout, the Stormwalker, this is still a good attribute for the Ariolimax.
  • Starting Weapons: Having the look and behavior of a gatling gun, the Chain Burst Laser fires two rounds of lasers for every charge up for one damage each. with a small chance of causing a fire while requiring just two energy slots.

The Chain Burst Laser is one of those weapons newly added to the game with the update, and so they function much differently than other burst lasers, so much so it is pretty much its own weapon subtype. Initially the chain burst laser will have a charge up time of sixteen seconds. That is quite a while to begin with, and without this weapon’s special attributes would warrant it to be disregarded once you found just about anything better. That is not the case though, as the more the chain burst laser fires, the less time it needs to charge up to release another volley again. There are three empty circles placed above the weapons icon, indicating how many consecutive volleys it has accumulated. The more the weapon fires, the more the circles will fill up, until it caps at three. For every one of those circles filled, or for every discharge of the chain burst laser, the time to takes to charge up will be lessened by three seconds. At the maximum reduction of the charge up time, the laser will only take seven seconds to fully charge up.

Usually battles don’t last that long, but sometimes they can, and in battles that you are in a literal stalemate in that you cannot outpace the regeneration of the enemy ship’s shielding, this chain burst laser can overcome that limitation and surpass it by bounds. This is the kind of laser that you stick with, unless you get really lucky with rare weapon finds, and end up setting your vessel to a style that is fairly different than what the chain burst laser would offer. Most of the time, that just won’t be the case, and you’ll use the chain burst laser all the way to the final battle against the rebel flagship. The chain burst laser will flourish there, as it does exponentially better the longer the fight is, and for every phase of the rebel flagship the battle is longer than any other in the game that you encounter. You would be hard pressed to find otherwise.

For every faster than light drive jump though, the spin up meter is reset though, so the chain burst laser isn’t perpetually fully charged throughout your game instance.

  • Starting Drones: Lacking the drone system installed, the Ariolimax does not start with any drone schematics from the hangar.
  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, one lonely missile, and fifteen drone parts. Still running the corner of the slug cruiser’s kind of offensive style, the Ariolimax swings from one side all the way to the other. The second layout specialized greatly in missiles, and the third layout specializes in drone parts. Though there are not as many, the Ariolimax only has one system that uses drone parts, which is the hacking station. You can use it fairly frequently and not run into the risk of running dry, and with vicious results.
  • Starting Augmentations: Slug Repair Gel. The same augmentation across all slug ships, this augmentation mends any breaches in the hull to such an effective degree you do not even need to pay attention to them any longer, just about entirely removing a hazard from gameplay. Can remove some of the challenge from gameplay, but this is just one of the strengths of the slug cruiser. Balance wise you can compare it to the Zoltan shield, in that the Zoltan shield provides a buffer from damage.
  • Slot Limits: As strong as ever for weapons, this layout has four spots for simultaneously equipped weapons, but a paltry two spots for drone schematics in the drone control system. This layout is strong for weapons, but not for drones, with the exclusion of the hacking station which does not have slots or schematics.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen system, level two weapons control, level one pilots deck, level two door system, level one clone bay, level one mind control station, and level one hacking station. The reactor is well built in this layout, as it starts out with nine total energy slots.

The systems and the upgraded levels of them are similar to the rest of the layouts of the slug cruiser, with the exception of the inclusion of three systems. These would be the clone bay, the mind control station, and the hacking station. Out of all space cruisers and layouts in the game, the Ariolimax slug cruiser has the most systems added from the Advanced Edition update. The only one it lacks from the hangar is the backup battery, and that is technically a subsystem.

Without a healing burst to rely on like the second layout, the Ariolimax has the clone bay which will prevent your crew members from ever dying on you, unless you depower your clone bay or it gets damaged. Then they’ll probably die! There are tons of ways to prevent that, but the best of all is the augmentation backup DNA that will stop that from ever happening, as it will keep fallen crew members alive in the clone chamber even if it is damaged or unpowered.

The mind control station and the hacking station combined make a tremendous combination that sows disarray on enemy ships, crumbling them to their knees while you blast them apart with your chain burst laser.

It comes as no surprise that there isn’t a sensors subsystem, but it is turned into a luxury with the presence of even a single slug crew member, except with observation of your own ship. However with so many slug crew members aboard your vessel, and their near immortal life status, you will hardly be left in the dark of any rooms, even in nebula.

  • Room for Additional Systems: With such a spread of systems installed onto the ship, you only have one spot left over for another system to install with three possible choices to pick from. That could be the drone control system, the crew teleporter, or the cloaking system. This ship would be exceptional at supporting a boarding party, though you wouldn’t have any way to heal them so they would end up perishing a lot, stunting their skill growth. If you did choose a crew teleporter, your layout would be greatly adapted to offense but severely be lacking in defense. You can shore up your defense weaknesses by buffing the shields and engines to full, and making precise use of the hacking station to cripple the enemy ship’s offense, but you cannot normally achieve that against the rebel flagship. That encounter pushes your ship to its limits in many ways, most particularly survival.

If you did install a crew teleporter as well, it would be forced into a small corridor as well, so it would only be able to send out two crew members at once. Not any different than the other slug cruisers, but it still is half the possible size. There is just barely enough space for the extra subsystems and the one additional system too, as all of them will be put in corridors.

  • Ways to unlock: By itself the third layout is the easiest to unlock, but has the most requirements to be able to do so. To unlock this you will need to helm the second layout of the slug cruiser, the Stormwalker, all the way to the final sector of the game. Doesn’t matter what you do past that point, you just have to make it there in one piece. Losing all your crew, or have your ship blown to pieces before that, and your journey will end right there. You need to complete two achievements to gain access to the Stormwalker layout though, and you also need to either complete a specific random event quest line, or beat the game with the mantis cruiser to unlock the slug cruiser itself.

Play it safe if you are struggling to make it to the end of the game with the Stormwalker, by visiting as few beacons as possible and avoiding as many encounters too, like ones where you choose either to engage a ship or not. Your ship will be dramatically weakened, and probably won’t have a snowballs chance of winning a single phase against the rebel flagship, but you won’t suddenly lose halfway along your journey to unlock this ship. It is a matter of player’s preference as to how much they wish to play a game instance with this layout.

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