Tips & Tricks
Take it easy[edit | edit source]
It is not recommended to choose a combat build for your first build. Do not play on Hard or higher difficulty. Be prepared to get frustrated due to your actions more than the RNG.
Do not rush through and click like crazy. You want to make wise choices. Take time to carefully read what is going on. The details all matter. You will make better decisions with more information.
You will most likely start over a few times. Most games are not lost forever and digging your way out of a bad sequence of events can be rough but rewarding. You always have options.
If you read nothing else, just read these points:
- Failure on your first captain is not the end of it all. Review what mistakes you made and don’t repeat them
- Look at the details of the text. Mission text is important.
- Basics. Refuel at every stop if possible. Always visit the doctor and spice hall if the planet has it.
- Only go into ship combat if A) armed enough. B) Have enough crippling and buffing talents from your crew(2 min at the start) C) Are in a big enough ship. Otherwise, run.
- If trading is not open anywhere due to a trade ban or embargo go to independent worlds or do missions that you are ready for. Or if explorer option is open. Exploit it.
Pay attention[edit | edit source]
The factions may seem confusing at first. You will not make friends with everyone so don’t make your enemies hate you worse early on. Independents don’t keep track of reputation. Pay attention to conflicts between factions.
Time keeps moving. Each turn is 16 hours. The game continues to get more difficult the longer you survive. Pay close attention to your time frames for Healing and Spicing your crew and Repairing your ship. Each Hyperjump also takes time as it instantly jumps the clock forward.
Each new captain is a new choose your own story in a progressing sandbox. While you can do what you want, each decision has weight and you cannot go back. You can ignore the story you will still be affected by it. You can also take part in the Faction conflicts. Reputation matters much more than you think.
Know the basics[edit | edit source]
There are many different types of rewards in the game for the patrolling, blockading, spying, and exploring activities. Play them responsibly and be sure to look for Talents to help you manipulate them. Pay attention to Rumors and Events as they can temporarily affect the difficulty. Pick your battles.
Trade is a necessary activity to the game. You can make a serious profit with L3 & L4 Trade Permits selling in bulk. Try to get at least an L1 Trade Permit with all factions. Pay close attention to Trade Law and any Rumors or events. Most quadrants have trade routes you can figure out.
Leveling up crew will always trump upgrades to your ship. Modify your ship to meet the needs of your evolving crew, not the other way around. Do not upgrade your ship too quickly. Story missions and conflict missions (the center column) seem to give the best XP in general. Do not level up your Military or Edict ranks until your crew and ship are upgraded enough to take on these tougher jobs.
Dealing with ships[edit | edit source]
Acknowledge whenever possible. You can get this from being friendly, or at least +10 reputation with the faction. You can surrender to pirates when you have no cargo to prevent a fight and still gain some experience. You can surrender peacefully to explorers, smugglers, and merchants and risk the loss of only illegal cargo. There are Talents which help with MO and BH.Plus, the higher your ranks with trade, military, and edicts, the easier you can mitigate encounters. Bribe down to nearly 0 and then retreat is always good too. Don't let your pride get the best of you, know when to run away.
Regarding ship combat, please note the weapons you have and their ranges. Each weapon also uses a certain amount of Reactor Points (RP) as does advancing or retreating a range level. Navigation and Speed matter for ranges 4 and 5, while Pilot and Agility matter for ranges 3,2, and 1. Talents do not use RP but have cooldown timers and you have to plan your combat ahead while dealing with ship and crew debuffs. Try to cripple ships and not destroy them. You suffer Rep loss for destroying ships.
Be sure to watch your Morality during flights and after ship encounters. Hotkey T brings up the crew manifest, and the injured filter covers low morality as well as physically injured personnel. Some Traits will also affect your crew's morality. You cannot heal well enough on the ship. Heal/Spice/Pay before your Repair/Refuel.
Flexibility is survival[edit | edit source]
Each Officer (captain included) can max out to 3 jobs. It is recommended that you only focus on 2 jobs, to begin with, and get those to minimum level 5 asap. Don't take your third job for any Officer right away as you may need skills from a certain job type later and it pays to have flexibility.
Your crew all have different attributes, skills, and traits that make them unique. Pay attention to negative aspects and determine if they are a good fit for the team. While your starting crew and Officers are usually pretty good, you still hold ultimate control over their employment. You have to be in a civil zone to dismiss crew. Also, be sure to look for recruits of specific types from your contacts.
Talents come in all shapes and forms and they all do slightly different things. Always opt to manually choose your starting Talents. Skill save Talents will fire on failed rolls allowing you to save the check at the cost of the XP you would have gained from passing it. Card manipulation saves are vital for your basic activities. Combat Talents are key for ship and crew combat. Pay close attention to your fighters and their positions to determine the best combat Talents. Boarding and Victory Talents can help you during and after hostile ship encounters. Always seek out Talents that you do not have coverage on.
Builds and concepts[edit | edit source]
You can start with an archetypal build as refined by the alpha testers and devs or you can build your own template. Many players also like to share builds within the Trese Brothers community. Links for the Star Traders Forums, Steam group, and Discord are in the description below.
Building a template gives you access to a wide array of character choices, from the starting ship and career options to your initial skill levels and a number of influential contacts. It can be daunting at first but don't give up.
High attributes can lead to better normal skill check rolls as you progress through the galaxy. You also receive bonus attribute points at the highest rank.
High skills also give you much better chances to succeed at specific types of skill checks. Bonus skill levels are given for higher ranks.
The highest ship rank gives you the most starting pay and lets you choose any of the starting ships, with the ability to take the difference between the ship and your total budget when choosing a less expensive and smaller ship.
Having the highest experience will net you the benefit of starting at a higher level with more unlocked talents for your jobs.
Finally, highest contact ranks give you access to 8 contacts with very high initial personal reputation and influence in the starting faction you chose.
Map and difficulty[edit | edit source]
Obviously, a quick look through the map generation system will show you that there are different scales for size and density. All maps are procedurally generated at the beginning of any new game where the map parameters are chosen. It uses a database of names and more are currently being added by the devs. Size and density are pretty well described as you move up and down each scale.
It is highly recommended to use the default map until you understand the game better.
Of course, there are many other maps that have been shared by the community members and can be found in their respective networks (see below). You can easily share your map seeds with other players there too.
Manually pick your Crew Talents
Veterans of similar games and alpha testers will tell you that letting the computer pick your starting talents is a gamble. By picking your talents, you can customize your play style and make sure you have good talents to help you early on.
Talents are contextual abilities of crew members and are present a lot of variety; covering skill checks to combat abilities which can give you the upper hand.
Respeccing crew is a short-term gain, long-term pain method of adapting on the fly and should only be a last resort.
Leave room for flexibility[edit | edit source]
The first year of a chosen career will lead to your Captain, Officers, and crew leveling up and gaining Talents often. Especially if you take your time, avoid as much combat as possible, and focus on light missions. Please note that all junior crew can only have one job and those jobs are spread out among most of the basic ship operations. The early game focus should be on Skill Check talents and card manipulation Talents for the Patrol/Spy/Explore/Blockade mini-games.
Your Captain and Officers can have up to 3 career fields with all of the skill bonuses per level and Talents that come with them. These prestigious personnel can also train in jobs that are typically not possible with starting crew. Like Exo Scouts, brave Explorers that use heavy weapons to take care of deadly planetary flora for example.
I recommend that you pick only 2 jobs for each Officer (including your Cpt) and level those up for the first few years. Your play style might change and you want the flexibility to adapt to skills and talents needed.
Never forget that you can fire crew and officers as needed, and can also modify the ship with another officer cabin to replace a junior crew or 2 with an officer.
Focus on missions to level up early[edit | edit source]
Get to know your starting Contacts very well as some will be able to provide various types and difficulties of missions. This will help you build Reputation, Influence, Credits, and more early on. The experience you get from completing the missions and the more mundane tasks along the way will help your crew grow in the first few years. They can also gain you other types of benefits like using the reputation you are growing with a contact to buy recruits with specialized jobs, weaponry, introductions to new contacts, and buy better trade permits which can net you higher profits and unlock better value commodities to trade in.
Longer missions that require multiple steps and/or locations can also allow you to take part in other activities along the way to completing the missions like Trading, Patrolling, and Spying; just to name a few. You are not required to play any story missions, but the results can still affect your gameplay.
Story missions can also net you major experience boosts for all of your crew. Steam users should also take note of the arrow and hotkeys. They help your game along with the hovering tooltips.
Take time to read everything and pay close attention to your time and money.
Each turn takes about 16 hours of time and depending on what you're doing, time will move faster or slower. It can jump large gaps of time from some longer or more dangerous hyperjumps to healing your crew and repairing your ship.
This is still a turn based game, but note that missions all have time limits. Finishing a mission late will incur lower payment and possibly lower Reputation.
Regarding crew health and morality: As you cannot heal everyone constantly on the ship, you need to keep your crew healthy and happy. Morality can be even tougher to manage, so making port relatively often can allow your crew to blow off steam in a Spice hall and be seen at a doctor to treat any wounds.
You can easily make mistakes by not slowing down and reading the time limits on things. I have made the mistake of being on a mission with a few steps and a nice payout with plenty of time to finish it only to get attacked and not pay attention to the repair time. I was a quadrant away with about 6 weeks to go and because I shot through the starport repair and refuel screens, i did not notice that it took 3 months to repair. It left me with about 5K credits and a very angry crew that hadn't been paid in 3 months. That spiraled out of control with diminishing returns on the mission, the crew that left for better ventures, and crew that became crippled after their wounds weren't addressed in time. Do not gamble with anything in the early game.
Pay attention to rumors and events[edit | edit source]
Rumor help keeps you informed as you fly around the galaxy defending your chosen Faction, Exploring wild planets, Trading commodities, etc. You will gain Talents that allow you to gain these rumors and the severity and types of rumors vary greatly. From Trade Bans and Embargoes between factions which prevent trade and even prices in exchanges to Quadrant wide Radiation storm which can cause havoc on ships and their crew flying between Zones.
Combat[edit | edit source]
If you are new to STF, then it will be tempting to get out in space and start fighting to some captains. This is very inadvisable early on as it will cost you dearly. At basic difficulty, your captain will not die and your officers will probably never die or mutiny, but you will still lose money and crew. Poor mistakes of fighting everyone you come across early on can end in tears and your career, especially if you do not know how to dig your way out.
Fighting early on in difficulties from Hard plus, and you will most likely die within a month or so of game time. Combat in STF comes in two forms, with ship combat in the Void to crew combat, wherever it is possible. While already pretty robust, the combat will only continue to grow and gain more options, tactics, and strategies. Small fighters and more varied ship components will add even more tools for captains looking to dominate the Void.
The best advice is to level up your crew, Talents, personal weapons from the locker; and maybe even ship components before seriously contemplating any combat.
I will be covering a combat-ready BH captain in my 3rd season of STF and they will be pre-recorded episodes.
Knowing your basic activities[edit | edit source]
So, how does a new captain get started and continue to honor their families' charter? Through trading and basic activities.
Once you have visited a zone, you can refer to your star atlas and galactic map to gain more detailed information. Please note that any zone that has an exchange will feature the last known or general supply and demand prices and that those prices are for single item sales, not bulk sales.
You can stash caches of commodities in any wilderness zone and refer to those stashes later via the status>ship>cargo>caches tab.
Pay close attention to trade linking zones, some items from industrial sell well in farms and population centers. Also see the Forums, Steam, and Discord for additional information. Also, note that selling in bulk will net you the biggest profits. You do not always have to buy trade permits, but you will have access to more commodities to trade in and higher profits by advancing through the TP ranks. Just do not move too fast doing it. A word to the wise: Do what you can to buy Trade permits, even simple level 1 permits, with other factions beyond your home faction. Not only will this allow you less hassle traveling through one of their systems, but it can help your rep overall. No captain wants to be hated by nearly every faction out in the Void. That being said, you cannot friend everyone. Just do your best to try and limit the number of factions you are negative with.
How do you grow reputation with a faction? You can do it by Patrolling over a system they own. Sometimes you will get cards that allow you to gain positive rep. You can also assist in any ongoing political agenda they are working on and also from faction Contacts. Also, note a few things about ship encounters. Indies don't matter and you can always retreat from them. Acknowledge whenever possible. You can get this from being friendly, or at least 10 reputation with the faction. You can surrender to pirates when you have no cargo to prevent a fight or death and still gain some experience. You can typically surrender peacefully to smugglers and merchants and risk the loss of only illegal cargo. There are Talents which help with MO and BH. Plus, the higher your ranks with trade, military, and edicts can mitigate things. Bribe down to nearly 0 and then retreat or surrender is always good too. Also, Victory Talents are boss!
Blockading prevents and interrupts traffic in a system. It can be used to help grow the reputation and gain combat chances as this is considered an aggressive military move. ➞Spying can net you Intel which can be used to help buy rep and influence while you make a little money for sharing those records. Exploring allows you to brave the hostile wilderness in search of loot. You will face dangers that can kill crew or even face crew combat with scavengers, pirates, or worst still: Xeno. Best of all, assuming you can find places to sell your finds, you will make a profit. With the right Talent choices, you can also gain rumors and contacts from any of these activities. Just be wary of the card games. Pay very close attention to the ratings provided by these zones before you play them. Use card manipulation Talents to change or even remove risk cards. You will also notice that other crew abilities can still be activated during these games, so it is best to pay close attention to what you are doing and what your choices are. Don't get greedy and don't forget to make port after suffering bad morale, crew damaging events.