The PC game FTL: Faster Than Light has dozens of different augmentations that improve your ship in various ways. Many of these augmentations offer unique benefits that can’t be gained through any other means. The main advantage of augmentations is that they don’t cost energy, though you are limited to only three at once. Defensive augmentations protect and repair your ship. They won’t substitute for good shields, evasion, or defensive drones, but they will provide excellent support to those systems that may be more efficient than the same scrap being spent to upgrade them. The following guide to defensive augmentations in FTL: Faster Than Light will help you determine which augmentations are best for your needs.
Repair Arm (50 Scrap) – The Repair Arm is an augmentation that can be incredibly useful or can actually end up being a liability. It has two functions. First, whenever you gain scrap from any source except selling, it repairs one or two points of hull damage on your ship. Second, whenever you gain scrap from any source except selling, the scrap you gain is reduced by 15%. Due to how much repairs cost in this game, you will lose scrap on this deal, but may be worth it anyway. The Repair Arm lets you more safely navigate hostile sectors, without fear of not finding a store. The extra scrap you earn from encounters in those sectors has a good chance of more than making up for what you lose. This augmentation is especially good when paired with a Scrap Recovery Arm.
Reverse Ion Field (60 Scrap) – Ion damage is practically meaningless if you have a Reverse Ion Field equipped. Each ion shot has a 50% chance of being completely negated. If you have two equipped, your ship is entirely immune to ion damage. This may not be critical, but if you already have a good defense, this pretty much assures your shields will never fall.
Shield Charge Booster (45 Scrap) – The Shield Charge Booster increases the recharge speed of your shields by 15% and this bonus stacks if you own multiple. It is an excellent augmentation, especially in the early sectors of the game. Two shield bubbles with a Shield Charge Booster is basically as good a defense as three shield bubbles until roughly sector 7 and a second Shield Charge Booster means you should never need more than three shield bubbles total.
Fire Suppression (65 Scrap) – Fires are a big threat in this game, because they deal damage to systems, drain oxygen, and hurt your crew members. As the name suggests, the Fire Suppression augmentation automatically puts out fires on your ship. Effectively, this is like having one extra crew member, which is especially helpful if your ship has very little crew. Don’t bother if your ship has mostly Rockmen or Lanius crew members.
Emergency Respirators (50 Scrap) – Emergency Respirators are mildly unique because they also have an offensive use as well as a defensive use. Emergency Respirators halve the speed at which your crew members take damage from suffocation. The important point is that they work both on your ship and when your crew is boarding an enemy ship. It is rare that you will need to worry about oxygen on an enemy ship, but it can matter, especially if you tend to use Fire Bombs or Breach Bombs. This is generally a weak augmentation, so there is little reason to ever purchase it.
Backup DNA Bank (40 Scrap) – The Backup DNA Bank is absolutely worthless if you don’t own a clone bay. If you do, it is remarkably useful. It will store your crew members for cloning, even if your clone bay is damaged or unpowered. The primary use for this is to save power during battles. Once you own the Backup DNA Bank, always keep your clone bay unpowered, unless you need to revive a crew member. This isn’t an advantage if you clone bay is at level 1, but if it is level 2 or higher, you can effectively gain two or more reactor levels for only 40 scrap.