10 Points of Advice for the Beginning Player

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Shrike
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Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:02 am

Ten Points of Advice for the Beginning Player
By The Shrike, 13/2/2012 [Updated: 19/3/2015]

Hello, new players, and welcome to the Official Transcendence Forums. Starting out playing, back in 2008, I staggered my way through 0.99c transcendence in just over 27 hours of playing, before getting disintegrated by the old Giant Doorstop end-boss. Since then, I've gotten better, started modding, gotten worse, and then started clawing my way back into competancy. Some people in the community do some very very insane things in the game, like my (successful) attempt to get through the game as a pacifist on permadeath conduct, the 3-5million point high score runs (I would have had that #1 place if I hadn't been testing the soundtrack and invalidating my own score <_<), multiple succession games, and Wolfy's continued domination of the Ares Orthodoxy. But that's not important to the starting player, because let's face it: The learning curve of Transcendence, while not coming close to the likes of Nethack and Dwarf Fortress, is pretty damned steep. I'm not going to cover everything, or even 10% of everything. But here's the basic things to keep in mind when you're starting out in the game.


1. Red things shoot at you, green things mostly do not. Try to keep it that way.

As a general rule, apart from a few instances, things shown in green on enhanced visual displays and/or the top-right scanner won't be attacking you. The exceptions are if you shoot at them: Stations will attack you if you destroy a ship docked at them (or protecting them), and some entire FACTIONS will shoot at you (or worse, instakill you on docking at their stations) if you break their stuff. There are cases when you'll have to attack friendlies to do missions though....you'll know them when you find them. Just remember that a good deed doesn't go unrewarded.....nor a bad one unpunished. In theory. You *can* exploit the justice system with practice, but don't try that until you know what you're doing.

2. Learn the facings system.

Ships have "facings" as dictated by their graphics. Playerships (apart from older modded ships) have 120, NPCs have either 120, 40 or 20, depending on how old they are. These dictate how many directions the ship can face, hence, "facings". This means you can shoot a LITTLE more precisely than most AI ships if you're careful, and can turn running battles into curbstomps. However, because you're not able to point most weapons outside the 120 directions you can point at, it can be a little infuriating to learn. Be patient, and time your shots to land where the enemy ship will be, not where it is. I'd advise using the EI500 or Sapphire for learning....the Wolfen turns a bit too fast to aim easily.


3. Omnidirectional weapons are easy. Other weapons kill faster...if you can hit with them.

If you have trouble with aiming, use an omni weapon (the frieghter starts with one) and combine it with a targeting ROM and some enhancements as soon as you can. You'll never miss with one, although they're harder to find, and never have as much potential for damage as a non-omni of the same level. Apart from the IM90, but that's not a particularly easy gun to use. It's best to learn to aim "normal" weapons though, as they've got more options and more firepower. Even if they are a little hit-and-miss. Note that in Version 1.5 as a result of the introduction of structural hitpoints, most omni weapons struggle against large targets with internal compartments.


4. You don't have to see it on the big screen to kill it.

In fact, long-range sniping is a very useful tool for taking on hard enemies (pirate strongholds/fortresses, shipyards, citidels, anything huge with lots of guards) that don't move fast (or at all). Learn the maximum ranges of your weapons (For example, a KM100/110/120 has a range of 95ls, the KM500/550/XM900 has a range of about 90ls, and all laser weapons have a range of 60ls), and learn this important fact: NPCs don't use their weapons at maximum range. You can almost always out-range an enemy, with the exception of the Xenophobes (which will be fun to learn about when you find them)....and the longer you have to shoot at them before they shoot back, the easier it'll be to kill them before they can do anything to you. Vital tools for sniping are the Targeting ROM, which allows for a precise line-up, and the Visual Display Enhancement ROM, which provides a backup, and a greatly improved ability to be tactically aware. Howitzers or a lancer cannon don't hurt either.


5. You bought your armor because it blocks damage. Use it.

Unlike 0.99c, post 1.0 versions of Transcendence have the protection of your ship rest more or less equally between shield and armor. So even if you lose your shield, you CAN fight on. Just be careful, and know what your armor is doing. And NEVER leave it until you see "Hull Breach Imminent!" before retreating. Domina powers (I > A) may save you this time, but it's bad form, and it will get you killed eventually. You have to keep what armor/shield combination you have in mind though. If you're running a nice Nephren P25...but have Light Plasteel on all four segments, then DO NOT LET YOUR SHIELD FAIL.



6. Your armor is in segments, as is your enemies. But they're allowed to cheat.

Anything larger than the smallest fighter or light gunship will have at least 2 segments. Some capital ships have over 30. You need to get one of them to 0% condition to kill them. Sounds simple? Not quite. Large ships (from V1.5 onwards) have "Structural hitpoints", replacing the old "non-critical" system. This means that these ships have internal compartments modeled by the game. To kill a ship with compartments, you have to destroy the armor and then kill the compartment underneath it. Currently (V1.5) these simple cargo holds and drives are far more resistant to damage than the armor protecting them. There's no skillful way around this like there was with the old system: just keep shooting and eventually the target will die, hopefully before you do. The best weapons for killing internal compartments are those with 'WMD' ratings, which show on the weapon icon in the hold as a note about "station damage" or 'Mass destruction'. These weapons do a proportion of their damage to hardened targets (like internal compartments and larger stations), rather than just 1HP per shot. Non -destructive weapons with a high rate of fire (or the "passthrough" attribute) or a spray of shots or particles will also do more damage against compartments, as while they'll still only do a single point of damage per hit, they will hit far more often.

There is one other thing to be aware of with compartments. The new system models the position of devices throughout the enemy ship. Every time you damage a compartment, there is a chance that a device in that compartment will take damage. Usually this is noticable as the ships drive shutting down when you shoot the back of the ship, or a weapon malfunctioning. This can be a very useful way to knock out the firepower of a dangerous target while you whittle down the internal HP. Unfortunately, that weapon is damaged forever, so you won't be able to use it if you loot it, unless you can repair it.

Finally, the way armor segments work for the playership (and possibly NPCs, I honestly don't have a way to test this right now) is a little unintuitive. The armor segment that takes a hit is not determined by where on your ship you are hit: it is determined by the angle of the shot when it hits you. If it's within the arc of an armor segment, that segment will take damage, regardless of where the shot landed. This usually means that if you can point your toughest armor segment at the enemy, you'll avoid damaging the other segments. Just be careful against multiple targets.



7. Barrels are like a box of chocolates. You never know when they'll be filled with radioactive waste.

Barrels are like potions in Nethack. Most are good, some are technically good, but are bad because the enhancement they give isn't that good, and others will actively try to kill you. ROMs and ammunition boxes also have this, but to a lesser extent. Heck, quite a few helpful things have little exceptions that'll try to kill you. But the big one is radioactive waste. It's a level 1 unidentified barrel (just like a few very useful things) until you use it, can be found in sapiens stations and occaisionally just lying around, but CANNOT be bought and sold at stations....once identified (thanks, George!). Because being able to get rid of the stuff and recoup some losses would just be too easy. Anyway, applying it to your armor is a bad idea, so only test barrels when you're near a station that does decontamination (and have 500 credits or so spare). Commonwealth bases are a good bet, tinkers are even better, especially if you don't have armor coatings. I won't give away much more about barrels, since half the fun of the game is finding all the types of unknown items. Just don't throw radioactive waste into the teraton fabricator. It won't appreciate it, trust me.

Another unknown set of items you'll come across are ROMs. These glorified floppy-discs are single-shot upgrades to a specific system. That single use will be exhausted even if the enhancement isn't applied, so be careful. Some are useless, some are necessary, and two of them are actually harmful (although only one of these is serious). Some of them can also give you money, map out stations, or grant you access to restricted areas and technology. These are also unknown when you start out, but using them isn't generally a major risk. Unless you find a defective weapon enhancement ROM. Then you might be in trouble. Never use unidentified ROMs in combat. The harmful ones can and will cause trouble if they crop up at a tough time.

In more recent versions, there is a very useful set of devices called "analysers". When used through the (U)se menu, you can use one of these items scan and identify unknown objects in your cargo hold, removing the risk of testing the barrels on yourself. However, they're expensive, rare, only identify items within the level band of the scanner, don't always work, and have limited charges before becoming useless (apparently the future does not have USB charging). Use them wisely.


8. Ttech will kill me if I do not mention IRC at least once.


Plus the Transcendence channel can be pretty useful, if you get onto it at an active time (good luck!). We're on freenode, and the channel is #Transcendence. Ask about anything you need help with. If someone's there, it's usually faster than the forums. This link takes you a web client, in case you don't have an IRC client of your own.

The channel doesn't have set rules on what we talk about, but be nice. As an international channel, it's not always active either....lurk long enough, and you'll probably see some activity.


9. If at first you don't succeed....cheat.


Not "Konami Code" or "Mod yourself to victory" cheat. Change the terms of the engagement, don't fight with a bad hand, and never be afraid to fight dirty.

Run away if you have to, in fact, run away as often as possible if that's what keeps you alive....but be innovative, and be nasty: Lure the enemy to a Star Carrier, or that heavily armed Ringer station you passed a minute ago. Throw autons at the trouble, or hide under a planet while your shield regenerates. Go back a system or two, get some cash, and buy better armor. Hit the enemy with an EMP, device-damaging or radiation weapon. Shoot down incoming missiles with your main gun if you're having trouble escaping a bad fight. Or invoke a literal Deus Ex Machina, and use the powers of Domina to survive, or even turn the tables on your attackers. Be careful where you use them though, as sometimes Domina's helping hand is a little rough on friendly ships and stations nearby. In some of the Official Extensions, other invokable powers are available to unlock, which have their own special uses to turn the tables on hostiles.



10. Dying is temporary, victory is forever.

If you die, resurrect and carry on. You can try a permadeath playthrough later, when you're better at the game. You really should as well, it's quite fun. Battle onwards, explore, get dissected, eaten, blown up, irradiated, frozen, executed, imprisoned, killed by your own wingman in a friendly fire incident, suffocated by your failing life-support systems, and then, eventually, make it through the end of Part I. It's well worth it, believe me, and you'll get there eventually. We all did. Just don't give up. There's a lot of content in the game, and it's well worth keeping up all through the game, so you can see it all.

Good luck!
Last edited by Shrike on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:28 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:28 am

I motion this thread to be stickied!
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Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:51 am

Yeah, that was the idea I had in making it.
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Amariithynar
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Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:53 pm

Seconded on the motion, though it could use a few more tidbits about the finer details, such as what the IRC in general is (thus letting newbs know without having to search for another topic on it; can even link to where it's noted), wreck-surfing and other tricks, and lastly, some mention of repair spiders under the armor section. it's almost vital to carry one around that you can park on a planet and use to repair when your armor is critical, and it's almost free- Just the low cost of a bit of fuel, which is almost always going to be cheaper than the actual repair costs.

Either way, definitely needs sticky.

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Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:15 am

I might expand it up to 15 points later and add armor repairs, fuel tricks, and a few other little bits. The aim is just to point the newbie in the right direction to find stuff out themselves...since that's half the fun of transcendence.
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Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:37 pm

Definitely half the fun of it- however, pointing out the obvious noob traps and tricks that are very useful would be good. I'm sure you've got the gist of what I mean.

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Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:10 pm

Good guide, but one correction:
barrels of radioactive waste ... cannot be bought or sold at a station
Thats partially correct: At least for 1.08b they can be sold if they are unidentified. Im not 100% sure whether I bought one of them at a station or not.

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Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:48 pm

you can buy them when they are unidentified too. :)

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Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:10 am

Updated to remove reference to noncritical armor, add stuff about internal HP. Generally revised and improved the rest of it as well.
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Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:38 am

Well, I not really need some advice. Somehow, make me understand a lot.
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Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:30 am

Can you be more specific?
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Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:41 pm

Awesome tips. Good for newbies. And i want to add something to the topic of sniping as mentioned in point no. 4.
Or an entirely new point!

SNIPING AND DRIFTING
So as per the instructions given above, i would like to add a tip about the minimap. It is really useful for sniping (btw never snipe a sung slave camp. It will spoil all the good loot. Unless you are Dr. Evil, ofcourse) and paired with the visual enhancement rom, it can work wonders. So on the minimap (or minime if you are Dr. Evil), you get a blocky (someone please explain this) view of spaces beyond your screen or view in a circle. So you can stay away from the enemies. Lets take an example of a Centuri Warlord Camp (the very first enemy station in the game). I am taking that you have picked the Wolfen as your starting ship or already have a lazer or another long range weapon on your ship. So you can park your ship safely away from the station (its weak anyway lol) but keeping it visible under the minimap. So on the minimap, large squares are stations or other space structures and small dot squares are ships (even if some ships are larger than some stations, their icon is still a dot). Now if the square is green, its a friendly and if red, its an enemy. And there is another icon. A yellow dot, which is a fired weapon projectile. Both yours and the enemy's projectile is of yellow colour. So you can see where the shot is going after leaving the screen. So you are at a safe distance, watching the enemy station. You try to turn your face towards it at the best you can propose. Then hit the spacebar (it fires your primary weapon, fyi) and see your shots firing. So now i propose that you have ever held a geometry kit in your hands. So like in a protractor, imagine your ship as the perpendicular point at the centre of the straight line in the protractor. You see a small drawn semicircle. There are lines being drawn from it towards the outermost semicircle, where the angle measurements are. So imagine that the lil' semicircle is your ship. The lines are your facings. You must observe that there is very little distance between the lines on the lil semicircle, but on the larger one, the distance is comparatively high. So in the same way in your ship, if you rotate tad too much, the shots go in very new places. So you can fire the required shots and be away even before the last shot reaches the station. It can be enhanced by the visual enhancement rom. Keep the fired shots on the enemy square (described in this thread as well) and snipe him. Now about drifting. So drifting is basically what it sounds. Drifting in space. I find it very beneficial while flying my Wolfen. So what you do is move (to not become a sitting duck) and fire while moving. It is great for avoiding slow enemies with slow projectile weaponary. What you do is start moving. How? Like this:

=(ENEMY)> ^(you)^


so you hit the accelerate button and on full speed, start slowing down by hitting the fullstop (.) button to a slow speed. Then turn and start shooting while moving. Never try this on a Phobos.
X-X-X


AND I AGREE WITH WOLFY! THE ARES ORTHODOXY IS KICKARSE!

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Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:25 pm

Actually, sniping is the easiest way to handle sung slave camps. If you're stationary and line up properly on a cardinal axis you can kill it breaking one to three slave quarters with a long range WMD weapon. Then you target one of the surviving slave quarters and run in and dock before the turrets can kill anything. Engaging it closely the turrets will usually kill more than that. Engaging the turrets from beyond turret range with tracking missiles you run into problems with tracking missiles missing small targets and will, again, potentially kill more slaves than you do sniping through them with a howitzer. Only trading shots with the turrets one at a time with an omni weapon of at least the same range is completely safe for the slaves. All of the omnis with range equal to the turrets available when sung slave camps are around are bad: the omni-particle is too commonly resisted and the Akan-600 takes ammo that isn't readily available until later on.
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Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:59 am

I always have a particle beam weapon or, by Dr. Evil's blessings, an X-Ray cannon. Then i snipe every turrent out of the sky. A potential problem (in v1.3 or was it v1.2?) is that when a camp goes boom, a shockwave is the result. All we get is one lucky container. Thats all.

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Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:18 am

Interestingly the Rasiermesser smartcannon, does very well against Sung turrets. And when you enhance it +50% or more with either the rare kinetic upgrades, the cannon enhancer or the rasiermesser enhancer it will take out any targeted Sung turret in three to six shots. You can stay out of their range and kill all the turrets and the camp without destroying a single container. You just have to find the right place to snipe the camp though. You need to have a targeting rom installed for this to work well.

This way I usually get full Domina powers by killing just two or three slave camps without casualties to the slave quarters.

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