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FTL: Faster Than Light - Tips and Tricks for Getting Started

Updated: July 1, 2021    


Before you play the FTL: Faster Than Light game, you will definitely want to know these simple but useful tips and tricks. If you have any tips feel free to share with us!

Things to Know Before Playing



General Advice



  • It's a good idea to start on easy difficulty. The game's still no pushover until you get a grip on the systems and it gives you extra currency (scrap) so you're more free to experiment with different upgrades. It also isn't too bad an idea to leave advanced mode disabled until you've beaten the game once.
  • Try mousing over everything, the game's pretty good about providing info. The ship upgrade screen has extra tabs if you want to review what bonuses your crew gets due to their species or more detailed descriptions on your weapons.
  • Visit as many systems as your supplies and hull allow - the scrap and items from them keep you ahead of the power curve.
  • Check the map for merchants before spending your scrap on upgrades, and visit them as late as you can to have as much available scrap as possible.
  • Rejecting someone's surrender offer means fewer supplies but more raw scrap. Accepting a new crew member from a surrendering enemy is usually a good deal.
  • Wiping out an enemy crew tends to give better rewards than blowing them apart or accepting surrenders, but it takes a bit of preparation. You'll need to be able to board ships and win fights, set fleshy targets on fire, hit the crew with anti-bio weapons, or destroy their O2 generator and keep it broken long enough to suffocate them. Some ships, such as the final boss, can't be crew wiped.

Ship Management



  • Upgrade your shields! The amount of survivability this confers is enormous and for the vanilla ship in particular, your starting weapons are quite good for a while.
  • Upgrade your sensors and doors. The sensor upgrade lets you see inside the enemy ship, while the doors upgrade forces boarders to attack closed doors and slows down fire spread and oxygen loss through them.
  • You can free up some power by turning off Medcenter when nobody needs to be healed.
  • Open doors change oxygen levels faster than closed ones. Generally, keep an open flow from your O2 system to any part of your ship you want to have good air. If you're suffocating boarders try to keep them away from your oxygen system. Close doors on breaches if you're not currently fixing them. If you have to do repairs in a low oxygen area, close doors leading to other low oxygen areas and open doors leading to ones with better O2 levels.

Winning Fights



  • Look at your enemy's systems before you begin combat to see if they have a teleporter, a cloaking system, a drone control, etc.
  • If the enemy ship has shields, it's usually better to manually fire your weapons so they land simultaneously rather than shooting them asap or letting them auto-fire. Ion weapons can be an exception if you're using them to lock down shields and you may want to tweak the timing for things like missiles that you'd prefer to land first.
  • Missiles are great for punching through shields, but don't waste them on small fry. Keep enemy missile launchers disabled if at all possible.
  • Mousing over a drone will tell you its function. Don't waste valuable missiles if an enemy has a drone shooting them down.
  • It's pretty hard to outright kill ship boarders with asphyxiation until the ship doors are well upgraded. You can still use it to weaken them and boarders will avoid low O2 areas which can be used to funnel them in/out of key areas. Usually the best option to fight in is the medbay since friendly crew can still be healed while fighting and even lvl1 makes them near immortal. There's some early impossible-seeming boarding events that can be solved just by sending all the crew to medbay, venting the rest of the ship, then intentionally letting the attackers into the medbay room with the crew and closing the door behind them.
  • Drones tend to be a bit mediocre, but one notable superstar is the defense drone I, which targets incoming missiles. Missiles penetrate shields, so they're always a concern but the drone's an easy counter. It'll also shoot down boarding drones, making them an overall godsend in the last sector.
  • When you do get to the final boss fight, you'll need some means to avoid damage. 3 or 4 shields, a powerful engine and a competent pilot may provide you with enough dodge rating to survive long enough to cripple its offense, but using a stealth system to avoid nasty volleys outright helps a lot. Other than that, prioritize destroing the more dangerous weapons systems first.