[Sunless Skies] Space Train to the Cosmos!

jacobkosh

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Today I've finally kind of waded more than ankle-deep into Sunless Skies and on balance, I like it a lot.

I like the controls better, I love the new UI and the text appearing directly on the map. I really like the Prospects and Bargains system. The game is now upfront about the fact that it isn't a Privateer-like trading sim; there aren't dozens of commodities for sale in every port to fool you into thinking it is. Instead, trading is effectively a series of procedural quests, where you hear that someone in place A needs five of thing X and you go around trying to loot thing X or find it for sale in shops and then bring it to the place for money and XP. It's actually a really clever alternative to a trading sim's "find the optimal trade route, grind for 40 hours until you can buy the best everything" or Sunless Sea's "do quests, hope to not die."

Survival feels slightly less brutal. Terror and fuel and all that is always a concern, but it doesn't seem to sneak up on you the way it did in Seas. It feels less abrupt, I guess?

But man, it's like two steps forward, one step back. The combat is really irritating; maybe moreso for me than other people, because tracking the tiny projectiles that both I and the enemies fire is difficult, but also holy shit it feels like every enemy is faster and more nimble than you and can strafe as fast as you can move all-ahead forward. I finally got the hang of Chorister Bees, but after a really good run where I got to level 5 or 6 was ended ignominiously by some fucking screaming squid thing that just spawned directly in front of me and killed me in like half a second, I said screw it and switched to Merciful Mode. I really like the game on balance, but I super do not have the time or emotional energy to deal with HAHA DIE INSTANTLY LOSE EVERYTHING over and over. I already did that in Sea, straight through to the end.
 

ParadoxDruid

Looking for witty tagline
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I may have just committed a Courtesy against a Star. That is, I completed a certain ambition... Now, to begin the Martyr King's Cup ambition!

63 hours in, the game is still enjoyable, though I'd say I've experienced maybe 80% of all the content.
 

AliasiSudonomo

Trying to be a bird
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That said on my second captain (being a merciful-play sort, this means I completed Wealth) you have to do a lot less running around bullcrap the next time around, since you inherit the train and everything in the bank plus a portion of the money and some of the 'intangible' items. All I did was use my excess before retiring to stock up on some trade goods and now my new captain is sitting on a good enough stockpile to easily meet prospects for awhile for most common trade items.
 

prototype00

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Hmm, I’ve pootled around the Starter System enough to raise Stats and buy a Cargo Train with a good amount of space and finished some of the storylines (nothing Major, the Circus and whatnot. Hopefully Hybras as well because I never want to go back there).

Should I move on to Albion? Are things deadly there? Should I try to crack the Black Box before I go?
 
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jacobkosh

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Hmm, I’ve pootled around the Starter System enough to raise Stats and buy a Cargo Train with a good amount of space and finished some of the storylines (nothing Major, the Corcus and whatnot. Hopefully Hybras as well because I never want to go back there).

Should I move on to Albion? Are things deadly there? Should I try to crack the Black Box before I go?
Albion is a lot bigger than the Reach. Not in the sense that there are a ton more places to go, but just physically, the map is bigger. It's not dense and maze-like the Reach, it's more of a vast-gulfs-of-empty-space kind of thing, and so everything there is farther apart.

That means trade runs, etc are that much less profitable, because you're expending that many more units of fuel and supplies to get where you need to go, especially in the early days when the map is mostly shrouded and you'll need to do a lot of wandering around to find stuff. That's not to say it's impossible to make money in Albion - you totally can - but not until you've explored the map and generally gotten your bearings.

As a result, I recommend not going until you've done the following

- upgraded your train (which you've done, good work)
- built up a sizeable nest egg (at least 4k) because you will be operating in the red for a while
- stockpiled a lot of trade goods - particularly Bronzewood, Verdant Seeds, and Barrels of Unseasoned Hours - in the bank. You'll get missions involving them as Prospects, but they're hard to come by in Albion.
- obtained as many Stamped Ministry Permits as you possibly can. Like, dozens. They're massively useful in many quests and are somewhat harder to come by.

Once you have those boxes ticked, you should be fine. Albion isn't significantly more dangerous or deadly than the Reach, it's just that it's very possible to end up in tight and possibly unwinnable financial straits at first if you don't show up prepared.

All of this goes double for Eleutheria, except that there are also hellaciously deadly monsters there.
 

prototype00

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Ah, great advice! I might want to get on the Windward company’s good side then I have been rather favouring the Tacketies (they’re located closer to New Winchester in my Defense!)
 

Naxuul

Emo hair power!
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All of this goes double for Eleutheria, except that there are also hellaciously deadly monsters there.
Eleutheria and the Blue Kingdom have a big wrinkle compared to Albion and the Reach: Terror management. Both of them have very limited options for lowering Terror, but can jack up your terror incredible quickly. And usually dropping Terror is gated behind getting on someone's good side.. which will often involve doing things that give Terror.

-Naxuul
 

AliasiSudonomo

Trying to be a bird
Validated User
Yeah. If you think the game has been too safe and not enough like Sunless Sea.... it gets much more perilous when you head into those two regions. Now, of the two, I'm more at home in Eleutheria now that I've scouted it out, but it's never a trip I take lightly.

The Blue Kingdom, on the other hand, is a bit white-knuckle all the way.
 
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