I've come back to Star Traders after a lengthy break and decided to start a new captain as an explorer on Hard difficulty. In the early days I was able to gather huge quantities of loot from planets in the 4-6 danger range, without sacrificing too many of my crew to ancient traps, slavering beasts or bloodthirsty pirates, but now that I'm a bit higher level it seems to be a very different story.
I'm level 14 and my explorer skill is also 14, but planets that would have been fairly easy pickings when I was starting out have suddenly turned into massive death traps. I rock up to a 6 danger planet, drop the boarding ramp and, within seconds, 30 of my crew have been cut to pieces by ancient lasers and flying scissor-beams, while my scout officer runs around in circles with her hair on fire. I rarely find more than a handful of loot before my crew has been reduced to a few battered and terrified survivors.
These are not planets that I've bled dry in the early years, so they should still have loot to find.
So my question is, does the difficulty of exploring planets scale up with your level, regardless of the stated danger level of the planet, am I just being terribly unlucky, or is there some key element that is missing from my exploration strategy? All advice is much appreciated.
Hi peely, absosmurfly. Exploring gets harder and harder as the game progresses (more than if you level or not). I would recommend keeping your exploration to the start of the game - like the first 1000 or so turns. After that, diversify and move on to other types of activity. Exploration is great to get that initial cash deposit for a new ship - but you don't want to be doing exploration when you're older anyway
Level 14 is not too old by itself though - again, you can get to level 14 within a few hundred turns or so.
There are a number of threads on optimizing the exploration path. Identifying the planets you visit, and making sure you target the lowest risk to return planets. A planet with hazard 6 and explore of 1 is much less likely to yield good stuff than a planet with hazard 6 and explore 6
There are two planets where the Explore is higher than the Hazard (Ghactllli and Ihaca-3), and a large handful of planets where the Hazard = Explore (Refuge Camp, Leiwin-A, Caabhosi, Zat Ogotthana, Kalflange Outpost, Tucanae-Javat Mining,Rift-Leporis 4, and Antronin)
If you explore planets on a rota, rather than just focusing on one planet, then they should all yield good stuff until at least turn 1000. Then it pays to keep an ear to the ground for rumors because if you hear a rumor of a rush on a wilderness zone, you'll have a good chance of returns - even in the later portion of the game (like turn 5000 - turn 10000)
Thanks very much for the info. I'm not sure how far I am into the game, off the top of my head, but I think I've passed the 1,000 turns mark (I've been levelling pretty slowly). I'll keep my eyes peeled for relevant rumours and hope for the best. At least crew members are pretty easy to replace, but getting all of their blood out of my uniform gets very tiresome after a while.
Actually, I haven't found too much trouble with exploration difficulty. To me it is all the same. I just found out that with 20 intimidate my 40 crew people have much greater chance of survival than with 1 intimidate. On difficulty 10 planet I survive 5 out of 6 while losing less than 5 troops. Scout officer and exploring suits help your troops survive as well. I don't really know if strength affects your ability to survive unscathed, but from what I have seen, only Explorer's Wound protection ability actually saves you from being hurt. Otherwise everytime you lose crew, you lose health as well.