Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

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Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby Stadtpark » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:19 pm

I think the Zoltan A has a great layout:

You can vent the air of about 75% of the ship and it starts with Blast Doors (door upgrade 2).

Medbay is adjacent to the O2 and the door-control-room - I usually try to base a Rockman (or any other decent fighter) there, so he can help out the nearby pilot (who can easily retreat to Medbay if need be), while his main work is repairing the door-control and O2 to keep me always in control of my extensive venting activities.

Weapons Control is adjacent to Shields and Engines: I usually keep an Engi as 2nd crew in the weapons room: if either weapons, shields or engines are damaged, burning or breached he only needs to go through one door to help his crewmates overcome the crisis. Drone Control is also located nearby, so system-repair drones also have a short way. Sometimes an intruder manages to break through before he suffocates: the mentioned rooms all have 4 slots, so you can try to overwhelm the intruder with 4 (weak, because usually 3 Zoltan, 1 Engi) crew, who are as already said only one or two rooms away. You can even retreat room by room, leaving another blast door between you and the intruder, with the vacuum entering the room from behind him.

As you have found out by now, I hate being boarded, because I start with 3 Zoltan (and ususally end up with only 2 out of 8 being Rockman / Mantis). I also never buy a teleporter - haven't tried boarding once so far.

Comments on the starting equipment:
The Zoltan Shield helps keeping repair costs low (- ideally zero -), which can be a problem with other ships until you can afford a defence drone and a shield upgrade. (While the Zoltan Shield should also prevent being boarded, in nebulas and near suns you often get boarding events - which obviously are not prevented.)
The Halberd Beam gets you through the first 2-3 sectors with ease. By then you need a little luck: you need to find/buy a decent bomb or rocket (or Ion-Weapon), that helps you take out the enemy shield (or at least lower it to 1), so that your Halberd keeps being useful for the rest of the game.

Before entering Mantis Space (- or Rock Space) I usually go for the 3rd door-upgrade, and - if I can afford it - for one O2 upgrade so I don't have to wait so long for normalising O2-levels after venting.

For the Bossfight I try to save 40+ rockets - having 3 bombs/rockets preferably with low weapons cooldown (trying to get at least one Fast Reloader as Augmentation) uses those at an alarming rate: I even purchase rockets in shops during the last 2 sectors before "The Last Stand". I also try to save more than a dozen drone parts: using a hull-repair drone (which you also need to be lucky in finding / buying) between / during the boss-fight phases.

Problems with Zoltan A playthroughs: You need luck to find a decent rocket or bomb before sector 3 and find some good enhancements for the bossfight: e.g. reload (weapons cooldown) enhancement, repair drone and/or cloak + stealth weapons.

Other things to keep in mind:
As has been pointed out in the sticky ship-thread: try to get one or two additional crewmember early on, so your Zoltan-Pilot doesn't waste his energy. Due to the Zoltan Shield, your shield guy doesn't level a lot: last time I picked a stalemate in sector 7 to level him up before the bossfight. Also your weapons guy doesn't level a lot: you usually want the fights to be over after the enemy finished your Zoltan shield, (and you need to save rockets for the bossfight): the Halberd often only needs one or two hits after the enemy shield is down... - so not much xp for your weapons guy during normal encounters... - last time I used a Heavy Laser II to get some more shots out / xp from encounters that are not dangerous.

I admit that I'm still a beginner - even after days of playtime.
I admit that I only beat the boss twice until now: Easy and Normal: both with the Zoltan A.
I admit, that I haven't tried all the ships - I only have Kestrel A, Engi A (Torus), Zoltan A/B (Adjudicator/Noether), Rock A (Bulwark), the Federation cruiser A (Osprey), The stealth cruiser A (Nesario).

If I had the Mantis or the Crystal ships, I would probably turn to / try boarding myself. Maybe I'll even try with the Rock ship... - but currently I hate to change my style of play (- I hate melee-fights... - see the beginning of my post).
Last edited by Stadtpark on Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby Drasha » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:54 pm

I pretty much never lose my zoltans and its rare that my ship even takes damage. The rare times I have lot a zoltan was down to really bad luck or when I forgot to always keep them topped of at a med bay and a stray missile some how hit me early game. A combination of stealth the the zoltan shield got me the wing and a prayer achievement on accident because you take almost no damage.

I normally go for a laser/ion + beam layout for killing ships and taking out the boss. I find I don't really need missiles at all.
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Re: Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby Gorlom » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:07 pm

Drasha wrote:I pretty much never lose my zoltans and its rare that my ship even takes damage. The rare times I have lot a zoltan was down to really bad luck or when I forgot to always keep them topped of at a med bay and a stray missile some how hit me early game.

Heh, in early beta Zoltans had 50 hp instead of 70 and died to a single missile :p I'm glad they changed that :D
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Re: Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby Stadtpark » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:55 pm

Hm. After I won the first time on normal today I thought: hey - no problem - I can do it again - now I know how to do it.

The problem is: it doesn't work: hour after hour I keep trying: often I get a bad start in sector one and restart / reroll.
When I get a good start I make it to sector 2 or 3 with tons of money, waiting for that right store to appear - and it doesn't: I end up being blown to pieces with 150+ scrap in my wallet... - if I decide to invest early in better engines / more energy, then I find myself with no money to spend at the store where I needed to change my silly rocket launcher for a better one or a bomb... - the other time I make some silly decision and run out of fuel etc.

Unbelievable how easy I won that bossfight on normal on the one hand and how hard it seemed to get to it again... - I guess you have to make no mistakes at least until sector 5 or so, before you are equipped good enough not to be derailed by a single silly event or decision... - maybe I should start trying out the other ships... - at least with the Osprey you get a crew that allows for some "blue"-event-options from the beginning - I hate to rely on that random slaver to get an engi etc.

P.S.: OK - finally did it again with Zoltan A - with no reload augmentations, no bombs, no ion weapons, no boarding: this time just rockets and a glaive-beam. With rockets instead of bombs I used only maybe 40% of the ammunition, since rockets also damage the hull - (maybe 16 instead of 40 - well that one Rocket helps saving ammunition by firing two with one). I had less shield (only 3 instead of 4) and less engine - but I had stealth this time, which helps a lot - I believe I wasn't boarded by boarding drones this time. I think I didn't even fire at the weapons: just at the shield (and the drone control in Phase 2). Stealth timing and rocket-timing aside I didn't use anything fancy. My 3rd Augmentation slot was empty - I had 3 Zoltans, 4 humans and a rock man - no engi this time :-(.

P.P.S. started playing with the Stealth Ship: what a reliable little wonder... - could be my next favourite ship...

P.P.P.S Reverted to Zoltan A again - just too much fun - did another (now 3rd) victory on normal with new personal highscore (4685). This time I had no stealth and no hull repair drone and even no Defense Drone - but 2 autoreload Augments: an Ion Blast II firing roughly every 2-3 sec is nice... (+ the Ion Bomb I had - made me do almost all damage on the Boss with the standard Halberd-Beam... - just one double-missile-shot ("Pegasus"-launcher I think) at the beginning of each phase... - and I still haven't tried boarding... - can't get myself to try out other tactics right now.

P.P.P.P.S: This time I tried to unlock Rock B on normal with Rock A achievements - it was impossible: on "normal" e.g. I face a Zoltan ship in sector 1: it has a Zoltan Shield (which is not there on easy in sctor 1) - I waste like 10 missiles (3 for the Zoltan shield, 3 misses and 4 to take it down) and loot 13 scrap... - another time I try boarding and have to learn it the hard way: I destroy enemy ships with my crew onboard, I let them jump away with my boarding party etc... - quite frustrating: plus: I still sometimes risked / lost crewmembers in events - even though I should have known them all by now... - extremely frustrating - reverted to "easy": killed the boss, and got at least one achievement... - will unlock ships on easy from now on.
Last edited by Stadtpark on Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:30 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby actionhero112 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:00 pm

I tend to favor using the Noether over the Adjudicator. More weapons to start, which means you don't have to frantically restart if you don't get a decent weapon in early sectors.

Halberd also has very little shutdown power. You have to wait too long for it to charge imo, while with the Noether you can Ion lock shields and weapons in early sectors. (Also your weapon crewman advances like crazy)

On a different note,
Recently I saw a post on the "no shields run" in which the person posted this endgame set up:

Pre-Igniter, Stealth Weapons, Long Range Radar
Glaive Beam, Burst Laser MK2, Burst Laser Mk2
Attack drone MK2, Attack drone Mk1

Now I'm not saying this is BS, just ungodly unlikely.

I don't even have to tell you how rare getting 2 Burst Lasers are in a run (when you don't start out with one), much less the Anti Ships and the pre igniter. Chances are, you won't get this, so don't plan for it. Upgrade the shields, get a drone bay, deploy your Defense drone, and use boarding when you get decent boaders (Human/Mantis/Rockmen/Crystal/Slugs). These things are easy to do/get in the game. Don't count on getting the ideal augmentations and weapons, because chances are, you'll only find 1-2, and not always the ones you want. I'm saying this because it pretty much applies to all ships.
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Re: Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby St4ticfi3 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:40 pm

Every win I've had has come from the zoltan A. It basically gives you a pre igniter for the first two sectors and level 3 shields for free (early fight) in sectors 3 and 4. Have had 3 wins with zero repairs all game (last stand included). This ship is just so good once you get it down.
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Re: Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby TheKillerNacho » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:06 pm

I really like the Zoltan A but the Zoltan B is better. Two Ion Blasts and a Pike Beam to start the game is absolutely over-powered. The only thing you have to do with the Zoltan B that can be a pain is pay for that first layer of shields as early as possible.

Both Zoltan ships are top-class, though. You can't really go wrong with a starting Zoltan shield. B)
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Re: Why I like the Zoltan A - and how I use it.

Postby samjones » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:20 am

In my current run, I tried going for engines before shields, and it works really well. If you can go from 20% evade to 45%, you have an average of three more points of damage it takes to get past your shields. I went for engines 6 and cloak before I went up on shields. I was extra glad when I went behind the enemy lines and found that, between engines and cloak, I could jump before the other ship got a single hit.

I'd say my priorities are engines, crew (maybe those first two are tied), weapons, cloak and drones.

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