Faster Than Light: Advanced Edition is categorized as a Rogue-like game, because events within the game are randomly generated and you start each game from scratch. At the start of each game, you choose from one of many available ships. Each ship has a different layout, different equipment, and different starting resources. The main advantage of the Federation Cruiser ship variant is that it possesses a dumb fire weapon that doesn’t require a weapon slot. Since that is the one advantage this ship possesses, you need to focus your strategy on maximizing it. Games using this type of ship tend to be very similar, but the shear damage you can deal with a Federation Cruiser vessel is impressive. The following guide to the Federation Cruiser ship class will help you obtain each variant of this ship and use them efficiently.
Variant A: Osprey (16 Fuel, 5 Missiles, 2 Drone Parts) – The Osprey’s special armament is called the Artillery Beam. It is a special beam that ignores shields and deals one damage per room hit. It automatically fires every 50 seconds and you can upgrade it to reduce this to once every 20 seconds. The Osprey is also equipped with a Burst Laser II, which is one of the more effective weapons in the game, as the Kestrel proves. Your offensive potential is insane for the early sectors of the game and you can easily upgrade it by upgrading your Artillery Beam, rather than having to hunt down and buy new weapons. You should instead prioritize your defense in early sectors. Starting with four crew members of four different races also helps should you happen to get boarded early. Your one major disadvantage is, due to the layout of the aft of your ship, you are incredibly susceptible to beam attacks. Make sure to build up shields quickly. One beam across your aft could easily disable your engines, piloting, and Artillery Beam in a single shot.
Unlock – Unlocking the Osprey is difficult. You either need to defeat the rebel flagship with any variant of the Engi Cruiser or you need to defeat the flagship construction in the rebel stronghold sector. Engi Cruisers are difficult to win the game with, unless you are very experienced. The latter option is easier. Use a ship you are familiar with and intentionally try to follow a route of hostile sectors. Look for the rebel stronghold sector, especially near sector 6 or sector 7. Somewhere in that sector you have a chance of finding a rebel ship under construction. It is a weakened version of the rebel flagship, without supershields and only two shield bubbles. You should be able to defeat it with a moderately tricked out ship.
Variant B: Nisos (16 Fuel, 9 Missiles) – The Nisos is almost weaker than the Osprey in every single way. The Leto missile launcher it starts with is so bad that you should basically sell it for scrap rather than waste your missile stock using it. Dual Lasers are just worst than the Burst Laser II, but they aren’t entirely terrible. One of the few advantages this ship has is that the Artillery Beam starts at level 2, rather than level 1. It is still slow, but it only takes 50 scrap to upgrade to a respectable level. Your second advantage is that you have Zoltan and Slug crew members on your ship. The former is always nice for the extra power and the latter means you basically never need to upgrade your sensors. Try to get a Fire Bomb or Breach Bomb early in the game. Combined with your Artillery Beam, you should be able to tear through enemy crew members. Also, if possible, get a Fire Suppression augmentation. This ship has a terrible design for oxygen control.
Unlock – The Nisos is unlocked by completing 2 of the 3 Federation Cruiser Achievements.
Variant C: Fregatidae (16 Fuel, 5 Missiles) – The designers of FTL practically couldn’t have made a more difficult ship if they tried. The Fregatidae doesn’t have any weapons or drones to start the game. Instead, you are entirely dependent on the Flak Artillery this ship is equipped with. Similar to the Artillery Beam, this randomly fire every 50 seconds and can be upgraded to fire as quickly as every 20 seconds. Flak is similar to missiles, except it is stopped by shields. Since this system fires multiple shots when it does fire, it tends to tear through shields and deal hull damage, but to completely random rooms. Any weapon will do, but you need a second gun. You want to immediately move your two Zoltan crew members to your shield room, put your human in piloting, and put your Mantis in engines when you start the game. Shields are critical to keeping you alive early. Your first priority needs to be buying a weapon. You second priority should be getting another crew member, preferably an Engi. With your Zoltan stuck in the shield room and your human stuck in piloting, you don’t have a good crew member for doing repairs. Unlike the previous variant, this ship has amazing oxygen controls. Due to your Emergency Respirators and clone bay, the best way to put out fires on this ship is just to vent a room of oxygen. Even after you resolve your weaknesses, this will be a difficult game. You need to get weapons and drones quickly and hope that a fully upgraded Flak Artillery makes up for your slow start.
Unlock – You need to reach sector 8 using a Nisos to unlock this. The Nisos may be hard to win the game with, but it is efficient enough to easily reach sector 8.
Federation Cruiser Achievement: Master of Patience – You need to destroy an enemy ship while only using your Artillery Beam to attack and while taking no hull damage. This is remarkably easy to achieve. If you don’t touch the controls, there is a good chance you will earn it in your first battle. If you want to assure this, get 50 scrap in sector 1 and buy up to level 4 in shields. Divert all power from guns to shields and then fight any enemy in sector 1. Nothing in that sector can break a shield with two bubbles.
Federation Cruiser Achievement: Diplomatic Immunity – This achievement requires luck. You need to use your crew to complete four blue events by sector 5. You have crew members that are Mantis, Engi, and Rockman, so you have a chance. To increase your chances, try to buy a Zoltan crew member and a Long-Ranged Sensor. Avoid ships and go to empty areas and areas with distress beacons. These are the most likely areas where blue events will appear for crew members. Keep trying and eventually you will get lucky
Federation Cruiser Achievement: Artillery Mastery – The achievement is called Artillery Mastery, but all it actually requires is that you don’t upgrade your weapon control system before sector 5. Since the Burst Laser II is strong enough to get you to sector 5 even without the Artillery Beam, this is a rather easy achievement.