FTL: Faster Than Light 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. Rock Cruisers are big lumbering ships that like to shoot missiles. This means that Rock Cruisers start with useful weapons for the end of the game, but have an ammunition problem at the start of the game. For every single variant of a Rock Cruiser, it is basically essential to get a laser weapon as quickly as possible. The following guide to the Rock Cruiser ship class in FTL: Faster Than Light will help you obtain each variant of this ship and use them efficiently.
Variant A: Bulwark (16 Fuel, 28 Missiles) – The Bulwark has two missile weapons, Artemis and Hull Missile. Both deal 2 damage to the enemy hull, though the latter needs to be aimed at a room without a system. This lets you destroy enemy ships with two missiles at the start of the game, though that number quickly increases as enemies get more hull points and have better evasion. If you pretty much treat this ship like the Kestrel, except with two missiles instead of one, you generally have the right strategy for using it. Find an early laser weapon to conserve missiles and get an Engi crew member to easily move around the ship to repair it and you will have a very well rounded ship for the entire game.
Unlock – The nearly impossible way to unlock this vessel is to defeat the rebel flagship with a Slug Cruiser. While those ships are fun, they are not well equipped for the final battle. The other method of unlocking this ship is also hard, but much less so. You need to get an encounter in the Rock Homeworlds with a rock war vessel. You will have three choices of how to respond to their taunt. Don’t ignore them and you will get a quest. At that quest marker you need to fight an enemy near a star. Damage the enemy and then let it escape via FTL. This will unlock another quest marker. Once you reach that marker, you will unlock the Bulwark. The battle is tough because your ship will be constantly set on fire, so having the Fire Suppression augmentation makes this ship a lot easier to unlock.
Variant B: Shivan (16 Fuel, 18 Missiles) – Unlike every other ship in the game, the Shivan has no doors that can be used to vent oxygen. In fact, the ship doesn’t even start with a door system installed. You will need to put out fires the old fashioned way. Thankfully, your four Rockmen are immune to fire and your shields, engine, weapons, and piloting are spread out in such a way that one should be near to almost any room. To start you have a special laser that can pierce one level of shields and deals 2 damage per hit. This will let you easily devastate any ships in sector 1 and sector 2 and most ships in sector 3. You also have a Fire Bomb. This won’t help much until you upgrade your sensors and get at least one more weapon, but it is quite useful in the later sectors of the game, when you have missiles to spare and the need to use them. Assuming you find a good weapon, like a Burst Laser Mark II, to support your starting weapon set, you can easily progress through sectors with this ship, despite the odd layout and lack of doors. An extra Mantis crew member is all you should need to deal with boarders. The Rock Cruisers, in general, are very easy for progressing through the game.
Unlock – The Shivan is unlocked by completing 2 of the 3 Rock Cruiser Achievements.
Variant C: Tektite (16 Fuel, 15 Missiles) – The Tektite is designed to be useful both at the start of the game and in the later sectors of the game. It has a Heavy Crystal Mark I which can pierce a single shield and deal two damage per hit. This attack can be deflected by a Defense Drone I, but it generally ceases to be useful, anyway, as soon as ships start regularly having two bubbles of shields. The other weapon this ship possesses is the Swarm, which can fire up to three missiles in a single volley. This is an excellent weapon throughout the game, but really is good near the end of the game when you can afford to burn through missiles. The Tektite includes a Crystal crew member, which helps for repairing, because it is faster than your Rockmen. You are reliant on a clone bay, instead of a medbay, but if you have managed to unlock this ship, you should be familiar with that by now. The ship has amazing oxygen control, which means it is often easier to upgrade your doors and vent oxygen than to fight boarders. This ship is similar enough to the other two that you should be familiar with how to use it by the time you unlock it.
Unlock – You need to reach sector 8 using a Shivan to unlock this. The Shivan is actually rather easy to use, so this shouldn’t be much of a challenge.
Rock Cruiser Achievement: Is It Warm In Here? – You need to kill a burning enemy with a Rockmen while on an enemy ship. Since Rockmen are immune to fire, this doesn’t sound too hard, but there are two major problems with this. First, your ship doesn’t start with a teleporter. Second, you can’t set fires. You need to get a Fire Bomb or a Fire Beam and purchase a crew teleporter. Then set an enemy room on fire, preferably the door system, and send over two Rockmen. Keep them in that room. Eventually an enemy should come to repair the system. If they don’t, wait until the fire spreads and just keep your Rockmen in the spreading fire.
Rock Cruiser Achievement: Defense Drones Don’t Do D’Anything – You can only achieve this if you find a ship with at least one Defense Drone. You aren’t likely to find that until at least sector 4. Then you need to defeat the ship with only missile strikes. The best way to do this is to have at least two missile launchers, preferably three, and fire in volleys. Defense Drones can only take out one missile at a time, so some shots will get through. You will need a lot of missiles in reserve. The works best if you also have a really good laser to use in other battles and preferably hacking to destroy enemy shields.
Rock Cruiser Achievement: Ancestry – This achievement requires a lot of things to fall into your lap. You need to search a ship at a distress beacon and get lucky and find the Damaged Stasis Pod augmentation. Then you need to find a research station in an Engi or Zoltan system. Then you need to travel to the Rock Homeworlds. If you are lucky, you will get an encounter where your Crystal crew member can unlock the pod. Finally, you need to travel to a quest marker. Do all of that, in order, in a single playthrough, and you have obtained this achievement.