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StarSector: New version incoming

lowpassage

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Your allies really pull their weight too, which is good as it's not an RTS. The computer is usually WAAAAY better than me so I let my trusted officers handle the big important ships while I zip around having fun and getting killed in some fast support destroyer. :p
A lot of the time, I put my flagship on autopilot and focused on playing admiral.
 

Rainfall

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A lot of the time, I put my flagship on autopilot and focused on playing admiral.
Totally legit way of playing, and probably the smartest way to play when your feel gets bigger with different ships doing very different things.

It really is a great sandbox, isn't it? :)
 

SelectiveHonesty

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So far I've noticed the pace has slowed a bit, that probable ya good thing.
Evenything seems more expensive so growth is slower, pirates seem more dangerous due to this as well well that and they get 3 capital ship fleets pretty early in the game. I don't mind the new build slot mechanic or the retreat mechanic although I did notice I killed enough for a clean retreat once and still had to go through the normal retreat screen so some things are a bit buggy still.
 

lowpassage

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Totally legit way of playing, and probably the smartest way to play when your feel gets bigger with different ships doing very different things.

It really is a great sandbox, isn't it? :)
It really is!

When I get a little more time for computer gaming than I've had lately, I want to start a new game and do things differently.
 

AegonTheUnready

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So what are the different play modes that work? Trader, smuggler, scavenger, pirate, pirate hunter? Are there spying missions?
 

Prince Facestab

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There are not spying missions.

There is explorer, where you both take missions to run sensor packages on things (dominion-era probes, derelect ships), or perform surveys on particular worlds. Performing surveys have a reasonable payoff themselves, especially if you discover ruins on the planet.

There's also planet colonization/administration, which has been toned down to a much more reasonable level this patch. Easy to get to there from being an explorer, since you'll probably have found some nice planets to colonize.
 

Ulzgoroth

Mad Scientist
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So what are the different play modes that work? Trader, smuggler, scavenger, pirate, pirate hunter? Are there spying missions?
So StarSector has a somewhat non-traditional approach to the economics of being a minor space warlord.

Both trading and fighting are, in the absence of special circumstances, most likely going to lose you money. You need to find circumstances where this isn't the case.

It's occasionally possible to do simple trading from a place with a surplus to a place with a shortage, and maybe not lose money. Even then you probably need to evade taxes. Generic trading isn't much of an option.

To make money on cargo-moving, you mostly need some kind of special deal. Missions are one way. You can get freight-moving missions in bars sometimes, and there are broadcast procurement missions you can take to obtain a bunch of some good (by any means you choose) and bring them to a place for well above market prices. You can also sometimes find a large allotment of goods at below-market prices (and tax free) in bars, which could be sold at a profit at a suitable market.

As for smuggling, pirate stations tend to have a lot of shortages and occasionally huge surplusses, because they're cut out of the regular trade network. So trading to, from, and sometimes between them (especially in high-value usually illegal goods) can be somewhat more profitable than regular trade. And you don't have to be on good terms with the pirates to do it - just don't come into port with your transponder on and their market has enough plausible deniability. You can also evade taxes anywhere with no effort, but it does annoy the government and encourage patrols to chase you down and see if they can catch you with contraband on board.

Scavenging is definitely a thing to do, but it mostly doesn't give much money. The expenses aren't bad, but the salvage is mostly cheap metal. Selling weapons might help a bit, I tend to hoard them though.

Piracy I haven't tried, but it should be possible. You get notification about convoys (including smuggler convoys) at times, which you could hunt down and loot. And as an added bonus, taking them out will create a shortage at the destination, so you could show up and sell the take into the shortage you created, if you can actually get to that market. Suspicion of market manipulation may hurt your reputation (as, of course, will destroying the convoy...)

Combat isn't profitable as a rule, even for a good salvager, but bounties can make it so. There's two kinds: system bounties that pay for each enemy (usually pirate, but not always) ship you take out in a particular system, and personal bounties where you need to go find a fleet hiding in the fringes and kill off its boss. I mostly find the latter more worthwhile.

Exploration is the important one you haven't really touched on. There are common broadcast missions to go out and survey a particular planet or scan a particular derelict out in the depopulated fringes of the sector. Those expeditions take some prep and can be dangerous, but the payouts are decent and you sometimes (rarely) find valuable cargo in the derelicts or in ruins on planets.
 

Killer300

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So what are the different play modes that work? Trader, smuggler, scavenger, pirate, pirate hunter? Are there spying missions?
Yeah, I would say Starsector, broadly speaking, has two paths:

1. Starting as a Bounty Hunter and ending as a terrifying Admiral with a fleet big enough to slaughter enemy fleets. I haven't ever succeeded at this, or even begun to, because I don't understand the game's combat system well enough, but it seems to be possible. This seems to be about having a smaller number of more powerful ships.

2. Scavenger that becomes a planetary warlord, who then becomes a faction leader with multiple planets, fleets, ect. The warlord thing seems to be everyone's end game, but the Scavenger has a more... clear route to it, at least from my perspective. This, combat wise, seems to be about an extremely large fleet of relatively less good ships because a lot of them were scavenged.

Trade, in either route, really only makes money with missions, same applies to combat, although I would say scavenging can make it worthwhile in terms of becoming more powerful. I'd also say scavenging, with skill points and depending on the scavenging target in question, can almost pay for itself in terms of giving fuel, supplies, ect. Although from what I can tell, its better to stockpile weapons rather than sell them, so as to save money on refits.

In respect to different play modes, I think a comparison to Star Traders: Frontiers is worth making. Star Traders: Frontiers lets you pretty much do all the stuff, from what I can tell, you could do in a game like say, Elite, to make money, i.e. combat, trade, ect. By comparison, Starsector is about putting you in a sort of post-apocalyptic sci-fi game where its hard to make money, and the long term goal is rebuilding from said apocalypse by colonizing your own worlds. Both are excellent games, and are incredible accomplishments given the amount they do with shockingly small staffs(from what I understand) but they emphasize very different things. I can say that both games are worth playing, but for rather different reasons(although I find Star Traders more intimidating from the amount going on).

Another comparison I heard for Starsector is someone called it a thinking person's arcade game, and I think that's an incredibly accurate description. Starsector has combat that isn't realistic, but is incredibly slow and methodical in a way that doesn't apply to most space games. The same could be said for the wider gameplay, which often seems to emphasize slow, gradual accumulation of resources so you can put yourself into a more sustainable position.

Hope this helped! I kind of suck at the game frequently, so not sure how helpful I am here.
 

Ulzgoroth

Mad Scientist
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Once you've got a well-industrialized colony and have salvaged the right blueprints, you can churn out perfect condition capital ships. Plus you can always remove D-mods if you're willing to throw piles of money at the problem. No play-style obligates you to use stacks of D-mods. You might want to though for certain purposes, if you've got the right skills. The right selection of malfunctions can cut the upkeep of your fleet while not having a big impact on the performance metrics that you care about.
 

Houlio

Gauche
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I’ve found that playstyles will converge over time, as the scavenger/colonial administrator will eventually need to take on invading fleets, pirate raids and Luddic path based while the captain/admiral will want colonies with an industrial base to replace their fancy and rare ships from big fights. The latter will even need to do some scavenging and exploration to track down the really good blueprints as well.

I’ve found that the bigger differentiator is the starting position, which doesn’t determine how you play but more what you are best at. And I will say that all those drone tenders scavengers like to have can be pretty scary in a fight.
 
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