This guide will hopefully help to avoid some frustration with The Long Journey Home. It's a beautiful game scarred by vicious RNG and maliciously hidden basic gameplay. Knowing some of the things mentioned here you will probably give it another chance and enjoy a great game :)
Ahoy travelers! Lost at sea? Here’s a little help if you struggle with ‘The Long Journey Home’. This Collection of hints has little to no story spoilers and highlights some things the game does not explain all too well.
This whole thing applies to the Adventure Mode and to a certain extend the Story Mode. I never touched Rogue and considering the unforgiving nature of even Adventure Mode, I never will.
So, let’s start where it all starts.
All of them have some sort of part in the overall, well-hidden stories you can uncover. Zoe for example can unveil a galaxy wide conspiracy, Kirsten can change her fate upon returning home, Siobhan can help you unleash eldritch horrors and so on.
This is all far from basic and depends on the generated galaxy, so I’ll talk more about their general roles and uses in practical gameplay terms.
For anything else, please notify or request.
Each of them also brings a one shot or valuable item. All of them are somewhat useful, but Kirsten’s and Malcolm’s consumables can save your life, so they’re almost always good picks.
I won’t go through the whole roster and instead point out who’s a solid crew you can survive with rather easily.
Malcolm is a must, if you struggle with the lander. He seems to make controlling the damn thing easier. I didn’t see any drawbacks of bringing him along. His banter is nice, he seems to repair the lander well and didn’t screw up mission encounters.
Ash is probably the most important man to bring aboard. He can make medicine out of plants and mutated corpses and boy do you need those.
Alessandra can repair your ship’s components. It’s purely luck as the repaired part is random and can also be chosen from the lander. The items that do this are very, very, very rare. So it’s almost enough to not take her with you and choose someone you find more interesting instead.
Nikolay can use rare items (which Alsessandra would use to repair mods) to create a random mod. This could be awesome, redundant, or not very helpful in general. It's always good for extra credits, basically, but these things are SO rare that you'll have him sitting on his thumbs the whole trip until you stumble over something he can use.
Those are the ones I’d recommend, at least Ash and Malcolm. Feel free to experiment with the rest as you see fit.
You get your typical flavor of ‘tanky’ ‘intermediate’ and ‘fast but fragile’ here. This is the first time the game genuinely ♥♥♥♥s you. The stats here are obscure and you have no idea what they actually mean. I gotta go into the guts of the game here a bit.
First of all, there are no stats, no real ones, at least not for you. You get abstract meters, with pips indicating how good a ship is at certain things. Unfortunately, neither the consequences nor the exact in-game representations of those pips are given in most cases.
For example, each ship has mod slots. If the pips say ‘this ship got five mod slots’ the game does not tell you that two are already blocked by shields and weapons.
The game also does not tell you what max jump distance actually means or that your resupply costs for fuel and hull are ALWAYS fixed values, no matter how full or empty your tank or how damaged your ship. This is huge stuff that absolutely would influence your choice here right?
Not knowing this, you would probably already drool over the tanky ship’s high survivability and dismiss the Discovery (fast but fragile) as an expert's ship or an awkward choice.
Well, I fell into that trap, too, so don’t feel too bad.
I strongly recommend the Discovery. She mitigates a lot of the things that make this game so unforgiving. The jump distance is insane. You have vast options when you jump with this ship, so you’re much less likely to find yourself stranded with wrong resources or far away from points of interest like shipyards and starports or, most importantly, from a refuel.
She performs well in combat and asteroid fields and if you’re low on money, you can bring her back into shape anyway.
Her tank refills for 30 bucks and her hull can be repaired for 75. With how economy and ship sustainability works in this game, this is another huge advantage. At least as far as I can tell.
It’s of course relative, because capacities are generally different among the ships. BUT if you only have 50 credits, you can’t repair or refill the Endurance (tanky ship), so keep that in mind when you choose!
The Ulysses is fine, I guess, but neither her bigger cargo space nor other stats really convinced me. The Discovery’s jump distance is just too big a factor to ignore, especially concerning her mod capabilities.
The same flavors apply, as do repair and to a certain extend refuel rules.
The Odyssey is armored as ♥♥♥♥ but drinks guzzoline like she’s a particularly thirsty warboy. She has only two rows of cargo space.
Never mind the capacity, that’s not top priority. I repeat myself, but what the game does not tell you right now, is that you can only have one, ONE resource of any name in a row.
So, it’s not even by type. You can’t mix gold and platinum in one row of cargo space. It all has to be either gold or platinum (or whatever you want to pick up).
If you picked the Discovery, you probably want a more versatile lander, but this one can get the job done just fine, if you’re planning your resource acquirement carefully enough.
At first, just like the Endurance, this one seems a safe bet. But you are trading in a lot here for some armor:
Low mod capabilities (one slot is taken by a pilot ejector by default, so subtract that), huge fuel consumption and only two rows of cargo space.
I’d avoid the Odyssey, but she looks cool, may get the job done, and you can basically pancake her a few times without worrying too much.
Sadly, the principles you can apply to the Discovery are not applicable to the Pathfinder. She’s fast and agile, has lots of fuel you don’t even need and breaks if her pilot sneezes too hard. Her cargo space is way too small if you elect to fly with the Discovery as that ship sometimes needs the additional cargo space the lander provides.
The Serenity is your awesomely named intermediate lander. She has really good specs and does more feel like the best of both worlds rather than a compromise. She’s expensive to repair but overall you can’t go wrong with this one.
That’s my opinion on Crew, Ships and Landers, so let’s move on to general tips and things I find useful to know.
Those all apply to Discovery runs and maybe Ulysses.
Some of this might actually not work with the Endurance, as she’s a slow immobile hunk of metal you’ll maybe have problems sustaining the same way.
I assume you managed to get your ship into orbit without killing someone by now and somehow got used to the controls.
From now on, I will call the place where all the suns are in SECTOR and every place with a sun in it SYSTEM. I frankly don’t care if that’s correct or even the game’s nomenclature, but for consistency’s sake I’ll do so.
- Generally, never use your Boost except in the most dire of emergencies or for hard turns if you really mastered drifting into orbit.
- Flying into a sun is NOT an emergency. Just do it. It’ll hurt your ship a bit, but it’s generally not that bad and it refills your jump capacity. It's not really worth struggling against its gravity, when you're too close anyway.
- One orbit around an average sized sun roughly refills 50% of one jump matter tank.
- Use thrust as little as possible. Don’t accelerate above a speed of 1-3, that’s just waste of fuel.
- It’s also a waste of fuel to run from alien ships. They’re all faster and waaaay more maneuverable than you anyway.
- Locking into orbit and planetary sight will prevent interception, though.
- Speaking of fuel, always try to get as much mileage out of your tank as you can. Refuel stations don’t care if you refuel at 01% capacity or 99%, they will always charge the same amount. Same goes for all repairs.
- Be very, VERY careful at the edges of your minimap. If you leave the ‘mission zone’ invisible asteroids will tear your ship apart in no time. This is especially dangerous if you jump into small systems or leave a facility/point of interest at the edge of your map, as sometimes you leave a place and accelerate right into asteroid-oblivion without much reaction time and/or with significant hull damage.
- Never EVER run after ships. If they’re quest ships, they will usually find you. If not, they won’t leave the system permanently. They’ll be back and orbit random planets, so just wait in orbit and don’t waste fuel, if you’re so eager to talk.
- Radiation sucks, but don’t panic or accelerate blindly. You may think it originates from sun proximity, but from what I gathered, it behaves more like random intensity patches throughout the system. They’re invisible and you can’t do anything against those, so just buy a radiation shield or whine impotently at the punishing randomness of this game like we all do :)
- Plan your jumps wisely. If you’ve chosen the super sexy Discovery as the ship to bring you home in one piece this is paramount… well it always is, but with this ship, you can make most of it due to her incredible range. You ‘goal’ for every sector is to reach a jump gate. To make most of your stay in a sector, visit systems by simple priority, with some wiggle room, depending on your resources and willingness to explore.
- Always try to stay in range of some sort of outpost. Just in case something important breaks or you need to refuel etc.
- Your prefered systems will have minerals in them. The GREEN stuff. This refills your jump tanks. Jump priorities should be: minerals ->outpost->asteroid fields->curios
- You can snake and zig-zag around a bit, but try to connect your visited systems somewhat reasonable. Avoid backtracking and plan ahead, see what stays in range and what gets in range after your jump and how you could benefit from it.
- Use your range. The Discovery’s great and somewhat only advantage is that she can make huge steps. If the sector sucks, you could be through it in only two jumps. Know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em. Some sectors are garbage and yield nothing but loss, so don’t linger.
- Suns refill your jump tanks if you get close/orbital slingshot your vessel. Use that, but be careful. This will likely result in injury and some hull damage. The first two are not too bad, because mostly, this causes burns and a cure for that is either cheap or easy to acquire. Worst case, some of your mods will get fried or more unforgiving injuries like broken bones will manifest. A radiation shield won’t help against all that, but it greatly mitigates the hull damage.
- This being said, don’t waste money on jump matter refill. It’s expensive and only fills one tank. Credits are precious and minerals are free. Only use the refueling at stations as a last resort.
Oh boy… here we go.
- By now you probably realized that this thing is a steel coffin with rockets ductaped to it.
- If the planet you’re landing on does not contain the word ‘low’ in its gravity description, put that pedal to the metal the instant you see the countdown and hope for the best. Adjust your vector left or right slightly as soon as you get the feeling you won’t straight up pancake on the surface and start controlling your descent by doing so. Do not oversteer, otherwise: pancake.
- At that point, maneuvering becomes ALMOST bearable and you get some semblance of control, much akin to a drunk, obese friend you try to steer home. He wants to get there too, but it’s not fun and you have to work hard.
- If your planet has any sort of convection and you have kids or minors around, sent them out of the room if they shouldn’t hear you scream about the excrements of horned big animals or inappropriate use of reproductive organs.To be fair, once you get the hang of it, wind becomes less of a problem but it will always stay a pain in your rectal area for the rest of the game.
- If you actually don’t give convection planets the appropriate finger and you manage to land and notice your lander now decides to forget that he was several tons of metal a few seconds ago and slides over the surface like a dead turtle with a rocket up its♥♥♥♥♥ press it to the ground with your upper thrusters to stay in lpace and go on about your mining business.
- Avoid lava planets at all costs. If there is a 500 credits questitem down there or an important outpost, it may be worth the risk, but generally steer clear of those.
- Avoid gas giants if you can. They damage the lander, almost always have massive convection and high gravity. If they have rare gases and their parameters fit, go for it.
- Environmental hazards like lightning and earthquakes hurt your lander and its mods and pilot badly. Lightning is kinda random and it seems you can avoid it if you move fast enough. Earthquakes only affect the ground (well, d’uh….) and can easily be avoided. Just wait till the shaking stops, land and do whatever you came to do. Submersion in water will not hurt your lander. You submerse by using your stupid roof thrusters.
- Even bumping into something very gently will break your pilots bones, slice up their face and concuss the living hell out of them.
- If you have enough of this nonsense and enough medical resources, just flat out kiss the dirt and gently start piloting your lander to its destination. This may damage mods, but they will wear and tear randomly anyway. Keep in mind though, that mods you buy and attach can permanently be destroyed. I’d recommend learning to fly the thing, but this is a legit tactic, especially with the Odyssey, as she can take plenty of punishment and only has two mod slots anyway.
- Some people say that the lander drains your ship’s fuel. Oddly enough, I never noticed that. Maybe it’s a bug, but considering the small fuel tank of our lady and savior Discovery I should have noticed SOMETHING. In any case, Discovery+Serenity seem to make a good couple in that regard.
- You can visit a planet multiple times. Resources will not respawn and you only get one shot at curios.
- Manage your cargo space carefully and watch the indicator while harvesting. If it gets red, there’s little chance you get something out of your mining node and it’ll also damage the lander and its mods.
- Prioritize your mining nodes as mentioned above in system navigation. Minerals should always be top priority.
- If you want to harvest gas for some reason and you can’t hover over a geysir to save your life or because the convection is a♥♥♥♥♥♥ try this: hobble up to the geysir some way. Turn the stupid lander upside down and faceplant into the geysir. You normally can’t harvest gas sitting on top of it, but since the lander's hitbox is now upside down, you actually can without spending more fuel or fraying your nerves further.
Mods for Ship and Lander
- There are lots of mods. You can buy mods at every outpost with a SHIPYARD. It’s either random or a matter of the species the shipyard is tied to what mods are available. Entrope, for example seem to be more lander and travel affine, while you get weapons and shields at shipyards of more martial aliens.
- The game is an utter ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ once again and does not tell you what mods ACTUALLY do until you install/own them. The shop gives you generic information, but no numbers. With things like a heat or radiation shield, this is a vast♥♥♥♥♥♥move, as you likely spend credits on something underwhelming.
- The only reliable indicator-award goes to shields, where you can guess from the icon where and how strong they protect your ship.
- Mods can be destroyed PERMANENTLY, so repair them if you can.
- Innate mods, i.e. anything you can’t remove from the ship can stack multiple malfunctions. This does not affect repair costs, so if you stack three different engine malfunctions, you will still repair all three for 100 credits.
- Not every facility with a shipyard also has a repair dock for mods. This sucks and we just have to deal with it, I guess.
- Every mod you install diminishes the chance that the stupid game’s RNG damages your engine. Engine damage is the worst kind, so fill up all mod slots as fast as possible.
- You can install mods you find, but the only way to uninstall is to destroy them, You cannot sell or otherwise cannibalize them.
- You can sell mods from your inventory. You can not buy copies of mods to have a spare or sell them somewhere else.
Keep in mind that two of your mod slots are blocked by shields and weapons. If you want to make a pure exploration run, you could technically remove them. I’d advise against that. You need weapons to crack asteroids, at least leave those in ;)
My favorites are:
- Locust Swarm. You can buy this one at basically every black market. It’s pure awesomeness. For every kill you score in combat it generates 1-3 rare metals. You basically never have to mine for metal again and can repair any damage to your ship on the fly. To get a discovery from scrap to mint condition you need 4-5 rare metals. They also sell fairly well if you have surplus.
This mod, in my opinion, is a must have. You get attacked fairly often (or can just straight up murder some defenseless Mizzurani, you monster! Just be careful to not pick up their regular loot). You can stack a huge net gain if you fight smart because you also still get the usual loot on top of this.
- Radiation Shield. This adds 50% radiation resistance and makes refueling at suns and radiation heavy systems a lot less painful. It’s also common stock in almost every entrope shipyard and pretty affordable at a cost of 110 credits.
- Extra EM Tank. Get this as fast as you can. Mine didn’t get damaged once during entire trips, but if it does it drops to 50% efficiency. It adds 2 pips to your jump capacity which makes the Discovery grossly overpowered even early in the game. Especially in combination with…
- Subspace Scanner (or something like that). Adds 20% to your jump range. At some point, you’ll have to decide if you let the radiation shield go for this one. If you chose the splendiferous Discovery, your jump range is good enough, but during mid-to-late-game you shouldn’t need the shield anymore and 20% on top of its range is just ridiculous! I always found it at entrope shipyards, so keep an eye out.
Other ship Mods:
- Won’t list shields here. I couldn’t extract any numbers, sorry. The icons give you enough of an idea to see what you get and how it fits your combat style.
- Scatter Laser… or something: shotgun-like weapon. Has a high damage output 8(shots per salvo)X4(energy pips) laser capacity (as far as I remember) and a wide, conic fire pattern. Awesome at point blank, still good at range.
- Tier 2 Laser, forgot the name, but has something like ‘Professional deep space mining’ in its description. Never used it but anything is an upgrade to the laser you bring along.
- Turn Accelerator. Increases turn speed by 200%. Nice gadget and dirt cheap. Go for it to give wear and tear something to eat away at.
- Nanites: Repair your hull but Consume fuel. Sadly, that’s all text you get and that's all they do. I’d take everything mean back I said about the game if those actually restored mods. Couldn’t test the actual rate. Considering the mighty Discovery’s capacities in both departments, it’s basically not a good choice, no matter how you look at it. Could be fun with the Endurance, though, but since that one has effectively only one mod slot it’s not worth it. Quest reward for fighting Squire Temrach.
- Something with ‘Snare’ in the name, I think. Keeps Vessels from fleeing. Never saw someone try to flee from me, seems worthless. Can be obtained at every black market shipyard.
- Coolant cryo something-something. Reduces your boost cooldown in combat or in asteroid fields. Don’t even bother if you don’t need to fill a slot for wear and tear RNG or like to tackle space combat fair and square (more on that later)
To be honest, I didn’t much care for lander mods. They just break too easy. As long as my mineral drill was functioning, I was pretty happy. But nonetheless, I tested some of them..
- Antigravity Generator or something. Reduces planetary gravity by two categories, but not lower than average. This one’s the most expensive lander mod for whopping 250 credits but without any doubt the most useful; it seems godsent, a gift making this whole ordeal of lander missions more bearable! Well, it’s always the first thing that breaks, and as the only part in the whole game, as it seems, costs 150 to repair (apart from the equally awesome Subspace Scanner), just to have it break upon the very next landing. Go for it if you’re in a gambling mood.
- Various Shieldings. Reduce heat, lightning, earthquake and impact damage by around 30% for both, pilot and lander. Impact is useful, so is heat. The other two are too situational or borderline useless as you actually can avoid lightning and earthquakes.The issue about protecting the pilot is, you have no sense of the threshold, their HP, so to speak. Chances are, you get burned on heat planets anyway, but your lander loses slightly less armor...doesn’t seem worth it. Sold mostly by Entrope and Reeve as far as I can tell.
- Mining Buddy. This one's actually useful. It’s cheap at 55 Credits and indicates what ressource exactly sits where during landing. Nice quality of life mod. Sold by the Reeve.
- Wind Channel gurblediblargh. Makes convection less painful. It’s available for 55 Credits at a lot of places.
- Pilot Ejector. Default mod, can be bought at various locations for 55 creds. Usually breaks during first landing just to spite you and reduces the 100% chance to save the pilot if the lander drops to 0% Hull to 50%. Get rid of it as soon as possible or replace when broken. Or just don’t give a damn.
These lists are likely not complete, but that’s what I remember right now. If you have more mods and want to contribute, feel free to do so!
Moving on to Resources
- Don’t hoard your resources. Use them when appropriate. Top up your hull before a fight, keep your jump tanks filled to make room for more minerals in your hold (but don’t waste anything. If you’d refill more than a full pip, refill after next jump). Gas you can actually keep in reserve. Try to go for rare gas, but any reserve in case of an emergency is nice. I carried a whole row of rare gas with me for quite some time.
- Ignore gas unless it’s super conveniently placed next to another resource and you got space. It’s good as last resort fuel, but when in doubt, use, sell or vent it to make room for important stuff. If you pick the the embodiment of angelic choires that is the Discovery, you’ll almost always will have a spaceport in range to refuel and a complete refill costs only 30 bucks.
- As mentioned in the Lander Navigation section, be actually opportunistic about gas and do not refrain from dirty tricks to get it.
- Minerals are IMPORTANT. I can’t stress this enough. They’re what keeps you going. Go for every deposit if your tanks and cargo space aren’t full. Sell them only if the prices are reaaally good, like 40+ for one unit and only if you can spare, i.e. have another deposit nearby.
- Metal is nice to have, but you don’t really need to drill for it anymore as soon as you have the Locust Swarm mod. Keep around 4-8 platinum/Gold and use other metal you find to either make credits or repair your lander and ship on the fly. Gaining metal through Locust Swarm and Pirate attacks is a borderline exploit and works surprisingly well.
- Your basic laser may seem weak, but a full auto point blank blast makes short work of basically everything. I had a bad run where I never found a weapon right up to the last sector, basically 3 jumps from home, so the Shiaparelli Peashooter is perfectly serviceable.
- Don't forget you can repair your hull even mid-combat!
- This being said, don’tQ expect to win fair fights against ships that are more maneuverable, heavier armored and have way deadlier weapons than you. Which is every ship in the god damn galaxy.
- You can win a fight unfairly, by straight up ramming your ship into the other one. Collision will cause damage, but not much. The game’s physics work in your favor here: you can wedge yourself into the enemy vessel, spin it around to stay wedged and avoid most of it’s fire.
- It takes a bit of practice, but you can find a weakspot in every ship. Raxact for example have these ‘armpits’ you can wedge your ship into and point-blank away, Meorcle have the same weakspot right at the ‘nose’ of their ships. Sometimes it’s enough to just ram into the side really hard, but keep in mind that it’s a dps race at that point. Wouldn’t recommend that until you get Harmonic Resonator shields or something similar.
- Most of the time, you have a pretty forgiving window to fly near the enemy ship before combat, as a lot of them are hailing you before opening fire.
- When Raxact hail you after you beat the crap out of them, don’t even bother. Finish them to let your Locust Swarm do its work and feast upon their delicious metals!
- There are two exceptions for this rule, however: when a Raxact surrenders, he will offer BLOOD OR COIN. Coin means you get 50 credits and talk to him, Blood means the poor ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ cuts off their own head as it seems and detonates their ship. So either you prefer credits because your cargo space is full, or something, or you want to ask the pirate for WORK. There’s a high chance you will get the location of a black market that way.
- If you choose to let a ship surrender, you won’t triggerLocust Swarm, though.
- Do quests if you can. They often yield 300-500 credits and are fun!
- Do tylenium deliveries. With the Discovery, the gate will always be only one jump away and a full hold full of that stuff yields roughly 700 credits.
- Beware though, that the random generator may designate a gate of a species that hates your guts. In that case, you can’t complete the quest. I hope the devs fix that one.
- Don’t get fooled by the MedKit. Most medical items will cure exactly one affliction and it’s random. So if you got three burns and one scratch, chances are, your nano-gel will remove the scratch. Thanks, game!
- Diplomacy is pretty simple and it takes very few steps to change your reputation in either direction. Wolphax and Reeve are pretty easygoing and should be your friends in no time. Which means there’s a huge chance you get presents upon leaving their ports.
- Each species has enforcers that scan you for contraband. They all have different opinions what qualifies as such. In case of contraband, your reputation suffers, they may attack you or simply prompt you to hand it over.
- If you know what they’re looking for, you can still consume it before answering their call. Sadly, you can’t just jettison non-consumables.
- If you have a Seed that doesn’t feature slave trade, this can get annoying as passengers sometimes qualify as slaves, even though they’re survivors you just rescued. Since you can’t get rid of them, you will auto-aggro certain species when they scan you. Total ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t, super annoying. Thanks game!
- avoid the small energy ships that talk in binary and gibberish. If you show them certain things or say the wrong words, they will aggro. Their storyline is cool, but their ships are really small and dish out insane damage. The usual tactic does not apply due to their size, so be very cautious if you choose to fight them.
- -last but not least, you can totally savescum this game and you should. It goes out of its way to make things unfair and exhausting for you, so alt+f4 whenever you feel like it. This will reset encounters, planet descents, system jumps and mod-damage roulette. It will, however, not reroll curio checks or loot.
- Do not, I repeat do NOT DO THIS when your hull drops to 0. Use the games inherent rewind feature in that case. Otherwise you will lose your autosave and have to start all over.
- Some jump gates may have some... special properties, so try things. For example, the Vine have three 'seasons'. That means, sometimes, they're 'asleep'. to dock their stations/gates, you gotta hail them first. I'm pointing that out, because otherwise you might think the gate's closed and wasted god knows how many jumps.
- I don't have a lot in terms of trade in here, because it's actually pretty simplel. My advise, however, would be that you sell everything, EVERYTHING, you don't need. That includes the stuff the crew brings along, resources, medical stuff (Adaptive Cures usually go really well)... Credits are king. Keep a small stock of useful stuff around (I usualy keep jump matter tanks, because when push comes to shove, those keep you going), but sell as much as you can whenever you can.
Written by Ashtrails.