Stealth cruiser pilots: Is the Titanium System Casing worth it?
I'm not an expert stealth pilot by any means, but here's my assessment on it: It seems to be good in the beginning when your stealth is on cooldown and you inevitably take those hits, keep certain systems up can be the difference between clutch success and horrible doom.
However, as you progress, its usefulness seems to diminish. I don't get hit that often- in fact, the most common reason my systems go down is because of boarders. Rock Hull Plating usefulness seems more obvious- yea, your systems may go down, but you're still in the fight, as opposed to this, where your systems stay up, but you still get horribly blown to bits. That, and it's worth 50 space bucks, which can really help.
I haven't played this ship yet, but I get the impression this was an intentional design decision for multiple ships. Engi have a medbot dispersal system, which helps offset weakness against boarders, but as you get deeper into the run, you'll have multiple defenses against boarders so you're probably better off selling it for cash and making room for other augments. Rock plating never becomes worthless per se, but if you have high level shields + defense drone, the plating is probably worth more as scrap. I like the fact that these race-specific augments are incredibly hard to get if you don't start with them, but you can still sell them. Sometimes I sell them early when I'm really strapped for cash, sometimes I sell them late when I feel other augments could be more valuable, and sometimes I use them until the end.
I really like the fact that each race/ship has a different tenor. They aren't perfectly balanced, but they don't need to be. It's fun to try out different strategies and to realize there are multiple ways ot win. If the ships weren't so different, I'd probably settle into the same strategy every time and it would get stale faster.
So far I have never found useful, in my opinion it is one of the worst augments, keep it only if you have room to spare.
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Those augments do stay useful throughout the whole game, those. Med-bot dispersal isn't just about repelling boarders, it's about not having to take crewmembers off systems, helping with damage control. Rock plating means you could last longer in a stand up fight, which is always useful. Mantis pheromones allows you to kite even better and react to on-board threats faster. I guess, to me, these ship specific augmentations stay useful the whole game, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something.
I will say that Slug Repair Gel seems iffy as far as usefulness goes, though.
By kite, do you mean "attack the enemy boarder and try to attract them to another room like the medbay"? I have not had good luck manipulating where enemy boarders go, except by venting O2.
I end up selling my special augments more than 50% of the time. Half the time I sell, I sell at the first shop, as I see something shiny I really want or I'm taking too much damage and feel the need to buff up my ship with the money. The other times I sell, it's late game, I'm pretty solid so don't really need the augment, and I have another augment I'd rather replace it with. As much as I love not taking hull damage 15% of the time, by the late game, I'm not taking a lot of damage anyway, and I'd much rather have a scrap recovery arm, long range scanner, weapon charge booster, or preignitor.
I haven't tried all the special augments yet though. I just looked through the list. I suspect I would be very likely to keep: zoltan shield (how could I do better with the 40 bucks selling it would net me??) and mantis pheromones (only sell for 25 and fast-moving crew could help in a large percentage of battles). I supsect I would be very likely to sell: titanium casing (only works 15% of the time but sells for 50 bucks!), slug repair gel (I rarely need to fix them fast, and would prefer getting repair experience), drone reactor booster (I rarely use ship board drones). The rest I'd put somewhere in between.
You can manipulate boarders either through O2 (On your ship) or via fire. And when you've boarded an enemy ship, sometimes a single enemy will stick to one of your crew members, so you can move the member back and forth through 2 rooms and the second member will hit the enemy for damage. You can also catch enemies as they try and run towards their medbay as well, cutting them off before they reach it.
As far as augmentations go, I find Rock Plating, Zoltan Shield, Mantis Pheromones and Engi Med-Bot dispersal to be the most useful. I very rarely pay attention to augmentations, though- the only one I ever feel like I need is a Drone Recovery Arm if I'm doing a drone heavy run, but besides that they're the last thing on my list of important things.
I'm pretty new but my first victories on both easy and normal were with the stealth ship. I thought the augment was handy at first since I was shieldless and drones were picking my systems apart. But its really a good idea to replace when you can. By the time you're trying to pick an augment to replace I hope you have shields at least :P
I sell off most of the special mods.
They are all useful early on, but lose effectiveness as you go further into the game.
Casing and plating are both great early on, but by sector 4, neither really come into play for me anymore, so I'll sell them off.
Pheremones get sold as soon as I need the cash or the spare room for anything else.
I'd rather have a re-loader or a shield recharger than any of the above.
The med dispersal thing is great and I'll typically keep those unless I desperately need the cash at a shop. 100 scrap and a pre-ignitor is on sale...bye bye medical support. It's amazing against boarders and is great for just being able to ignore damage to crew members.
Zoltan shield is an obvious keep from start to finish.
Regarding kiting, now I'm curious: do you find it possible to board once and finish off the crew? So far, I only have deep experience with Kestral A/B and Rock A/B, both of which have a 2-person teleporter. And so far, my experience has been that I need to return once, and very rarely twice, back to my ship to heal my boarders, then return to finish off the crew. This is slow and means I could take more damage than I'd like while I'm busy de-crewing their ship, but of course I want to keep my boarders alive and I don't want to do anything super risky with my boarders either.
I also typically get medbay L2 early because it unlocks a lot of blue options and it helps me get my boarders back into the fight faster. Between L2 medbay and L1 teleporter, crew recovery time roughly matches teleporter cooldown, or at least, I try to make it work out that way so I can minimize the amount of power tied up in boarding. I sometimes will eventually go to L2 teleporter, just so I have the option of attacking drone ships with boarders (e.g. if I'm light on ship-to-ship weapons) and have the option to pull out my guys faster from the rebel flagship.
Are there better boarding techniques that can take ships faster? Looking mostly for tips that work well for 2-person teleporters but also interested in tips for larger teleporters.
Use your weapons first to soften up their crew. If you damage a section, they'll send a crewman or two to repair, as long as your weapons cycle faster than they can repair, you can then open fire on that compartment again doing damage to their crew.
Small bomb, fire bomb, and breach bombs do decent damage to crew.
By the time I actually start boarding (sector 3+), I usually have pretty nice weapons. Disable the weapons systems, fire on the repair guys, teleport in to finish them off.
Stick to mantis/rockmen for boarders if possible and upgrade sensors to lvl 2 so you can tell exactly where their crew are.