Star Traders Frontiers: How to Unlock the Achievements in Hard Difficulty

A guide to unlocking the achievements in hard difficulty.

 

Introduction

This guide focuses on the unlocks in hard difficulty. Hard difficulty introduces permadeath, so it requires a bit more strategy. Many of the unlocks in normal difficulty are story-based and only require you to progress through the game. To make things a little easier for you to get through the normal difficulty unlocks, here’s a simple captain template that will keep you alive during ship combat and doesn’t require any unlocks:

A: Skills

  • Command 10
  • Tactics 10
  • Intimidate 3

B: Attributes

  • Strength 14
  • Quickness 14
  • Fortitude 14
  • Charisma 30
  • Wisdom 30
  • Resilience 20

C: Ship

  • Frontier Liner or whatever else strikes you as interesting

D: Contacts

  • Weapons Dealer or Ex-Bounty Hunter
  • Ex-Mercenary

E: Experience

  • Any, but Pirate and Smuggler get ship combat bonuses

This captain excels at ship combat and should be able to handle any threats. Try to upgrade your ship to something better before too long, though. Aim for something like the Wolf Vector or Vengeance Class. Later on, upgrade if necessary to a battlecruiser, such as the Sword Battlecruiser.

For a captain that does crew combat:
A: Attributes

  • Strength 24
  • Quickness 30
  • Fortitude 24
  • Charisma 14
  • Wisdom 30
  • Resilience 14

B: Skills

  • Blades 10
  • Evasion 5

C: Ship

  • Frontier Liner or whatever else strikes you as interesting

D: Contacts

  • Weapons Dealer or Ex-Bounty Hunter
  • Ex-Mercenary

E: Experience

  • Zealot

This captain is pretty tough and can lead the charge against xeno. Captains can’t die in normal difficulty, so maxing out hit points isn’t necessary. Just save the game before any tough battles. When upgrading your ship, you might prefer something that focuses on boarding. For a bounty hunter captain, replace blades skill with rifle skill.

Ship combat unlocks

For most unlocks in hard difficulty, I used a Palace Interceptor. The Palace Interceptor is a great starter ship, and it can easily rule the space lanes in the first era if you play it right. It’s the fastest starting ship, which gives you a strong, early boost in ship combat. Since you’re mostly going to be playing the first few years of the first era, you don’t really care much about future upgradability. This makes small, fast ships like the Palace Interceptor ideal. Check out my other guide for more information.

A: Skills

  • Command 10
  • Tactics 10
  • Intimidate 3

B: Ship

  • Palace Interceptor

C: Attributes

  • Strength 12
  • Quickness 12
  • Fortitude 12
  • Charisma 22
  • Wisdom 22
  • Resilience 22

D: Contacts

  • FDF Commander
  • Salvage Broker

E: Experience

  • Commander, Pirate, or Smuggler

The Salvage Broker is just there to give you a small discount when upgrading your ship. It might save you a couple days if your weapons locker is 10% cheaper. You can replace that contact with a Weapons Smuggler (or anyone else) if you think weapons would be more useful.

Quick and easy upgrades: the Starshot Lance Array can be replaced with a cheap missile. The Passenger Cabin can be replaced with a Nav Assist 1. You’ll still have enough time to get your unlocks done. If you intend to escort the Arbiter for some quick cash, keep your Passenger Cabin around until that’s done, obviously.

If you plan on doing tougher unlocks that aren’t so time-limited, such as Erik Faen’s questline, ensure you’ve got two Goliath Missile Batteries in your medium slots and a Torpedo Dual-Laced Array in an small slot. The remaining small slots can have defensive components, such as a Defense Pattern Matrix or Nav Assist. You can also replace the Officer Suites and Mass Reducer with Officer Annexes if you want more dice pools.

Unlocks done with this build: Heir Slayer, Hunt the Hunter, Wrathful Corsair, First Blood, Privateer, Covert Operative, Salvage Contractor. These were all very easy to knock out one after another, two or even three per game.

Crew combat unlocks

For hunting Xeno, I used my standard Palace Interceptor build with a Retired Xeno Hunter as my second contact instead of a Salvage Broker. Be careful of bundling this with other unlocks. It can take several years to trigger this many xeno fights. In my first attempt at Xeno Slayer, I tried to bundle this with some mission-based unlocks, but all that traveling caused me to run out of time before I could reliably trigger 20 xeno battles.

Xeno Hunters are a good recruit for this unlock. You can use their talent Here Be Monsters to summon a xeno ship to fight. The biggest problem I faced wasn’t in defeating the xeno ships but in avoiding lucky blows that immediately ended the combat, such as boarding their ship and quickly killing their captain in crew combat. Exploring can take weeks, though, so I favored boarding ships.

For Press Gang and Warmaster, a shock trooper or pirate would be best for the boarding bonuses. I went with a pirate in a Degla Megalift. Skills were lower and the ship was slower, but you can compensate by hiring more Military Officers. Otherwise, it plays fairly similar to the other unlocks, though I’d add a Weapons Smuggler contact for better weapons. My Degla Megalift build:

A: Ship

  • Degla Megalift

B: Skills

  • Command 8
  • Tactics 7

C: Attributes

  • Strength 12
  • Quickness 12
  • Fortitude 12
  • Charisma 24
  • Wisdom 24
  • Resilience 20

D: Contacts

  • FDF Commander
  • Weapons Smuggler

E: Experience

  • Pirate

The easiest way to get through Press Gang and Warmaster is to fire some unnecessary crew, such as gunners, soldiers, swordsmen, and pistoleers. Optionally recruit several Military Officers to make the battles easier. Then fire your worst officers (who needs a pilot officer?) and optionally build an officer cabin so your ship supports 7 officers. Recruit some tough officers from Faen to be your new away team. I suggest two soldier/shock troopers, a doctor/combat medic/military officer, and a soldier/xeno hunter. If you made your captain a shock trooper, put your captain in the away team, obviously.

Leave as many crew slots open as you can so you can conscript enemy crews for Press Gang, and be careful not to kill too many enemy crew members. For this unlock, torpedoes are often better than boarding. For Warmaster, just keep boarding until everyone on the ship is dead. Don’t use talents to make the boarding quicker because that will disable their ship and defeat the purpose of grinding crew battles.

Merchant and exploration unlocks

For Big Network, max out your contacts and charisma. Start as a merchant and trigger Market Confidant as often as you can. Once you have a couple credits, buy introductions from everyone. Use a Galtak Freighter, Frontier Liner, or some other merchant ship. Your first three contacts will be in your home quadrant, so ensure they all offer introductions. You can also get introductions from Faen.

For Expert Prospector and Master Explorer, I used an explorer captain in a Longbolt:
A: Skills

  • Command 10
  • Tactics 10
  • Intimidate 3

B: Attributes

  • Strength 14
  • Quickness 14
  • Fortitude 14
  • Charisma 30
  • Wisdom 30
  • Resilience 20

C: Contacts

  • Retired Explorer
  • Weapons Smuggler
  • FDF Commander
  • Retired Xeno Hunter

D: Ship

  • Longbolt

E: Experience

  • Explorer

I didn’t want to mix and match my unlocks, so I kept this pretty simple. This explorer’s job is to explore, not to fight xeno. However, sometimes you have to do it, so the crew is still prepared for unavoidable combat by buying top tier weapons. The Weapons Smuggler also provides black market access to sell xeno artifacts.

For Adventurer and Master Adventurer, I adjusted the above build to use a Frontier Liner and upgraded the ship to 5/30. Less useful crew, such as gunners, were replaced with explorers, exo-scouts, and xeno hunters. I used their card replacers to get xeno artifacts, especially exo-scouts’ Artifact Hunter talent. Typically, xeno were not a major threat, but I wiped out one of my less competent away teams. This build also sucks at ship combat, so I suggest you surrender to everyone. In my first attempt, the captain died to a pirate after failing to escape. It was the only unlock where one of my captains died, and it has soured me on the Frontier Liner as a starting ship. Still, it gets the job done.

My second attempt at Master Adventurer went much better. I surrendered my artifacts to any pirates who asked for them, and I still ended up filthy rich. I also recruited a xeno hunter officer to be on my away team as early as possible. It went pretty quickly and uneventfully, and I think I unlocked the achievement several years early.

By matt

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