How to manage Fuel and not go broke?

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Zanatar
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Fri May 06, 2016 6:01 pm

Ok, I'm still very new to this. I've played a few games now.. Dying in the first and 2nd systems.

One problem I seem to be encountering, is shields. I'm using the Sapphire ship. Which starts with a weak lvl 1 shield.
The problem is, if I upgrade the shield.. (usually to a lvl 3 Monopole Deflector Screen), it is draining my Fuel MUCH faster then the lvl 1 shield was . And well quite frankly, the issue is money. The cost to refuel maybe 2/3's of the tank.. is about 200-300 gold. It drains me fast.. Keeps me from being able to horde my money, to buy new weapons, armor etc.

Or I can stick to lvl 1 shields, which drains it MUCH slower.. much more manageable. But they are so weak in comparison.

Any suggestions? I've read something somewhere about Solar panels. But I'm sure I'm no where near the point in the game of finding that yet. I've not seen them in the shops at all .

1) I have the default Lvl 2 Nova 15 reactor that comes with the ship.. If I upgrade to a stronger reactor.. does that improve fuel efficiency too? ie: Does it allow me to have stronger shields and not drain fuel as fast as it is?

2) If not the reactor.. what is the solution to this problem?
Last edited by Zanatar on Sat May 07, 2016 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gunship256
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Fri May 06, 2016 9:41 pm

Managing fuel can definitely be a challenge. I usually go for stronger armor and weaker shields to save on fuel. You will normally loot enough armor repair items, such as barrels of armor repair paste, that you can fix your armor without having to backtrack to a station.

In the middle of the game, you'll get access to a power that can restore your shields to full power. If you choose to fly without a shield installed, it'll repair your armor instead. I normally dump the shield the instant I get access to that power unless I'm playing with a mod that gives me access to other fuel management tools.

There are devices that can repair your armor in-flight, such as the patcher arm and patch spiders. As above, if I get one of these devices, I normally either dump the shield or fly with the shield disabled until I need the shield for a major fight.

In general, if your shields aren't too much of a power draw, you can get by on looted fuel as long as you don't leave the shield on when you don't need it. This strategy will limit your ability to upgrade your reactor, though, as a system that's offering level 1 fuel as loot is not going to make it easy to use a reactor that relies on level 4-7 fuel.

This article on shields and fuel management is helpful:

https://wiki.kronosaur.com/gameplay/armor_vs._shields

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erwgd
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Fri May 06, 2016 11:25 pm

In the first few systems I refuel at stations whenever possible. Fuel stations are the cheapest at 20 credits per rod, followed by Commonwealth dry docks and Commonwealth colonies which both refuel at 23 credits per rod.

The wiki recommends that you upgrade to a 25MW reactor before using level 3 shields. Upgrading to a new reactor allows for more fuel in the ship, so you can run for a longer period of time. You probably won't have the money for a level 3 shield and a 25MW reactor, so go for a level 2 shield, upgrade your armor and keep saving up until you can afford better. When/If I get the money, I upgrade to a 50MW reactor as that's the last reactor that accepts level 1 fuel rods.

You can find solar panels or solar armor early on with some luck. Solar panels might be found at Starton stations and Commonwealth colonies, and solar armor may be found in armor shops.

I have a habit of disabling every weapon until I need it for a fight, but this might not save that much energy. On the other hand, disabling your shields can save a lot of energy.

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JohnBWatson
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Sat May 07, 2016 2:05 am

It's not intuitive, but it's easy once you understand the following:

a) The shield should be off whenever you're not using it, and shouldn't be your primary means of defense. At present, shields draw too much power to be viable early on without turning them off whenever you don't need them(which should only be in major fights, like against particularly dangerous stations or Charon frigates). In the later half of the game, you can keep it always on, as you will get free fuel from CSCs.

b) Keep your power draw low. There are plenty of weapons that are much more powerful than their power use suggests. The NAMI launcher, Omnidirectional Turbolaser, and Flenser all fall into this category. Only upgrade your weapon beyond your current reactor if you have to.

c) Fuel can be looted from Vikings early on, and Ares capital ships in late game(if you're dissatisfied with the convenience of free CSC fuel). In midgame, you just have to buy the best armor you can, rely on your shield as little as possible, and use the massive cash influx from great midgame loot to offset the fuel costs of using more advanced weapons and devices without a means of refueling for free.

gunship256
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Sat May 07, 2016 2:15 am

Heavy gunships in midgame tend to carry level 4 helium-3 assemblies: Dwarg masters, steel slavers, Marauder Barbaries. If you're careful not to install a shield that draws too much power, you can still rely on looted fuel. In most cases, reactor efficiency is less important than fuel availability.

Even better, you start running into Heliotropes soon after St. Katharine's star, and their stations and capital ships carry Heliotrope fuel rods, which carry a lot of energy and also have a random chance of enhancing your reactor. They don't sell for much money, so your best bet is to refuel with He-3 assemblies and use the Heliotrope rods when the He-3 assemblies run out. I rarely have to refuel at stations in midgame because of all the cheap fuel and because I choose not to install advanced weapons and shields.

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DigaRW
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Sat May 07, 2016 2:42 am

He are newbie and you all talking about middle or late level game.
Ok, I'll tell you straight. The fuel is a key for survival, and it little bit more tricky.
-Don't upgrade shield first, stick with level 1 or 2 shield is still can hold off a few shot from enemy.
-Low power consumption weapon like a Turbolaser or Smart Cannon is still useful to take down weak enemy, because you will not find large enemy in early system.
-Install a NAMI launcher as soon as possible, they are best to support your primary weapon with lowest power consumption and common ammo.
-Upgrade armor if you have any armor that is stronger than yours, because they aren't consume your power. If possible, install solar armor.
-Agriculture station have a mission that will give you a good cred, and Viking wreck to loot their fuel.
-Reactor is a bit tricky, don't upgrade unless you have more than 30% from his price. You will get half fuel when you install new reactor.
-Find a floating Cargo, you better hope it contain a lot of a fuel.
Last edited by DigaRW on Sat May 07, 2016 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sat May 07, 2016 2:48 am

I struggled with fuel when I first played the game, and when I learned of solar items, I rushed to find them.

I look for solar panel and/or solar armor, acquire it as soon as possible, and use it for most of the game, in every game. Many will disagree with me, but I think solar armor is so useful that is it the only viable armor for about two-thirds of the game (i.e., up until Ares positron cannons become common), and equip the most powerful reactor and shield I can find. I avoid situations that can knockout my shields.

With solar equipment, you can sit on a star (without gravity), turn equipment off, wait a few minutes, and fuel is back to full.

There are other ways for cheap fuel tricks, but they apply late in the game.

All of this assumes I honor permadeath. If I do not, I just let my ship run out of fuel, die, and resurrect with a fuel tank of gas and repairs.
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Sat May 07, 2016 9:00 am

I consider there to be two paths to fuel use:


1. Use solar armor. Right now it's ridiculously good compared to the solar panel array (personally I think it needs a slight nerf, and the panel array needs a significant buff + being made external), but it does struggle with anything larger than a Nova-50 (Nova 100 is about the break-even in terms of use VS sanity drain of waiting for the recharge). However, solar armor is good at refuelling your ship but really bad at being armor. Don't use this route if you like getting into short to medium range fights, because the lack of armor strength will kill you. Repeatedly. It's a playstyle that does work, but I consider it overkill compared to just watching out for stuff.

2. Use fuel efficiently. There's actually plenty of fuel in the game. Buy fuel rods when you have the funds to do so, but don't use them unless you have to. Whenever possible, refuel at a station. Learn what enemies carry fuel (in the early game, it's Vikings. Midgame has the Viking II and other marauder ships, as well as Ferian miners if you want to tempt fate. In the lategame all capital ships carry a ton of fuel and with enough fleet rank you can refuel for free at carriers). Turn off weapons you don't use often until you need them, or remove them entirely and save mass as well. You can also disable your shield while travelling, although this isn't strictly necessary. It's a great way to save fuel if you're running low though.

Finally, if refuelling through the ship status screen, always use 1 fewer rod than the game wants you to. This is slightly more efficient as you get to use the entirety of each rod, instead of burning one for only part of its yield.

You can also reduce power use by buying weapons that use ammunition. While it's difficult nowadays because of the lack of low-level fuel in the endgame, it's still entirely possible to complete the game on a stock reactor by using guns that draw power from ammo, rather than the reactor. This is an extreme example, but if you use a low-power setup on a larger reactor, you'll save fuel (especially on naturally efficient reactors like the Nova 100).



EDIT: Oh, yeah. And in the early game? It's entirely viable to go without a shield entirely if you can get some decent armor (NOT solar armor. It's...semi-workable, but fragile enough that I'd say avoid it for a no-shield run unless you're good at the game). Anything level 6 or higher is pretty much good, but Blast Plate is the gold standard for readily available and incredibly overpowered early-game armor in 1.7 alpha 1 and in 1.6. Get that, get some centauri nanos if you can (those make it immune to basic lasers and kinetic weapons and very resistant to turbolasers and AK15's), or ablative paste, reactive paste, carbon nanos or whatever if you can't. Then throw away the shield until about St. Katherine's Star, when you can pick up an S100 or P25 or something.
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TheLoneWolf
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Sat May 07, 2016 9:40 am

You'll easily get devices by looting. Heck, I never buy weapons (and those are the most costly) after St. Kat's or even as back as Rigel. You can get plenty of fuel by farming (repeatedly killing ships, waiting for their reinforcements, repeating) pirates in early game (try farming Heliotropes if you can). And if you wonder, I had a huge 50MW reactor before the Arena. And still was filthy rich. Again. FILTHY RICH

You make huge profits by looting. You can afford some fuel ;)

You may try to grab solar panel (best for freighter, as it can stack multiple of these), or solar armour (the force ain't strong with this one. Its literally cardboard) with shields.


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gunship256
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Sat May 07, 2016 1:10 pm

Shrike wrote:1. Use solar armor....

You can also reduce power use by buying weapons that use ammunition. While it's difficult nowadays because of the lack of low-level fuel in the endgame, it's still entirely possible to complete the game on a stock reactor by using guns that draw power from ammo, rather than the reactor. This is an extreme example, but if you use a low-power setup on a larger reactor, you'll save fuel (especially on naturally efficient reactors like the Nova 100).
Solar armor can work okay even a bit later in the game if you have a large capital ship with lots of armor segments and only install a few segements of the armor in areas that face away from attack - this will usually be toward the rear of the ship. There are no ships like that in the vanilla game, but there are some in official extensions (for example, the Entropy in The Backroads).

If you're really concerned about running out of fuel and don't like to spend money, you can stick entirely to ammo-based weapons and only upgrade your reactor when the low-level fuel options go away. There are lots of viable ammo-based weapons in the game:

The Smartcannon
The Dragonfly missile system (cheap ammo, and lootable if you're willing to attack the Black Market)
The Nandao bolt cannon (lootable ammo - good to use but not worth much to sell)
The omnidirectional Akan turret (ammo isn't cheap, but it's lootable near the end of the game)
Ares micronuke cannon (lootable, very powerful ammo near the end of the game; not well-suited to slow ships because ammo won't detonate if you're too close to the target)
Thermo cannon/omnidirectional thermo cannon (ammo is powerful but not reliably lootable)

With this strategy, you can stick with a Nova-50 reactor until around Sanctuary, which is about halfway through the game. At that point, level 4 fuel is common enough that you can switch to the 250MW reactor, which is actually lootable if you're willing to attack the Huari. If not, the Nova-100 reactor can be looted from Urak destroyers, and the Ventari, which show up a few systems later, carry 250 MW reactors, although they're annoying to fight.

I personally upgrade to a Nova-100 or a 250 MW reactor a bit earlier, as soon as Heliotropes start to show up, since their fuel doesn't work with the Nova-50 reactor.

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TheLoneWolf
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Sat May 07, 2016 2:21 pm

I mostly have a Koshiba by Eta Ceti. Fuel was never a problem for me.

And you forget Teraton Fabricators. Ammo weapons are at their best with it!

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Sat May 07, 2016 5:02 pm

 Another thing to keep in mind is knowing where to sell your loot. Not all stations give the same price for the same things. Weapons and ammo fetch the best prices from weapon shops; shields and armor should be sold to armor shops; foodstuffs should go to hotels or Corporate enclaves (although ice farms are a better choice for the cheaper stuff, if you can find one); ore should be sold at Corporate enclaves; medical colonies and hotels are great for selling luxury items; and take your illegals to the maintenance bays at Corporate enclaves (unless you have a smuggler’s hold, in which case you want to go to a Starton and head for the Victorian). Basically, don’t sell anything at Startons or basic Commonwealth stations unless no one else will buy it or you’re really desperate for funds. In the early game, maximizing your profit margins is essential for keeping your ship both reasonably outfitted and fueled.
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Sat May 07, 2016 5:29 pm

Shrike wrote:1. Use solar armor. Right now it's ridiculously good compared to the solar panel array (personally I think it needs a slight nerf, and the panel array needs a significant buff + being made external), but it does struggle with anything larger than a Nova-50 (Nova 100 is about the break-even in terms of use VS sanity drain of waiting for the recharge).
Why does solar armor need a nerf if it struggles at refueling reactors bigger than 50 MW? If anything, that makes all solar items too weak, or rather takes too much time sitting at stars to refuel. But refueling this way is optimal, even if boring, so I will do it, unless I have a Sisters or CSC nearby.

Multiple solar panels can stack, but most ships cannot afford to devote more than one device to solar panel. Using solar armor until Ares space is risky. Desperate Escape is invaluable for this.

Here is something I posted a while back; not sure if it is correct. Solar armor is more powerful than solar panel array, but both are slow at recharging unless you can stack lots.
Solar panel array has a refuel stat of 60.

photoRecharge property found on solar armor (seemingly) grants armor a refuel stat of 100.

When sitting over the center of a star, ship recovers fuel equal to combined refuel stat of all installed items multiplied by 3.333.

Example: A ship with a solar panel array and resting over a star will recover 200 fuel per second... and consume some fuel.

As for Teraton fabricators, they are useful for replicating ammo or spawning lots of big toys, but finding one depends on the adventure. For those that play Eternity Port, there are few high level systems, and fabricators may not spawn at all there.
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Zanatar
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Sat May 07, 2016 8:37 pm

Lots of wonderful replies here.. I will take it all to heart. Thanks all!

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Atarlost
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Sat May 07, 2016 9:35 pm

One more thing: most devices draw less power on standby, but most miscellaneous devices draw full power all the time. You should manually disable your enhancers when not using weapons they boost. And in some cases even when you are if you're just swatting mooks.
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