Losing combat and losing money

So I haven’t really played SS since the steel update mostly because I disliked the new combat, but now I wanted to give it another try. However, I don’t seem to get very far, since I can’t seem to get the hang of the new system.[li]
As far as I understand, the basic idea is to turn of the light and reverse engines to avoid damage and fire until the enemy is dead. My problem with that is that even when I’m engaging pirate ships close to London I’m always getting damage, which means hull repairs, which means spending money I don’t really have.
I’ve read somewhere, that with a new character one should avoid combat altogether, but then I don’t see were I get the money I need. Port reports pay almost nothing, tomb colonists are gone and after a couple trips up and down the coast to see Withers and the Iron Republic I’m completely out of resources (even taking the stuff from the blind bruiser into account) since I’m loosing money on every trip I make.
If you could tell me what I’m doing wrong or give me any tips, it would be greatly appreciated.[/li][li]
edited by Yurana on 12/29/2014

I would take it as a personal favor if a Mod would correct the spelling of this thread’s title; one of my betes noir.

It’s nice to know that one can always count on the Internet to give you passive aggressive posts concerned only with spelling and grammar.
Well, I guess I apologize for English not being my first language…[li]

Reversing engines and firing works for most zee-beasts, but it’s not foolproof against pirates. You’re better off trying to get behind pirates, to prevent them from getting a shot off against you - or, failing that, investing in some really big guns, sneaking up on them, and blowing them out of the water before they know you’re there.

As for making money early on, staying near the coast is a sure way to run out of money. Head out to zee and look for better rewards. Hunt larger beasts, trade Hunting Trophies at Godfall and Stygian Ivory at Polythreme. Find the Salt-Lions and start shipping Sphinxstone. Win a few chess-games at Port Cecil and start the quest for the Principles. Bring back Port Reports for London and Neath-Colours for Venderbight. In short, go east!

Mod here. Correcting grammar and spelling is my day job, I’ll do it if you pay me.

… In other words … If you unleash me, I will be unleashed, and you may regret it.

I have utmost respect for people posting in a second language. I might intercede if meaning isn’t clear and it’ll help, but I won’t be so patronising otherwise.

Bonjour! Bienvenuto!

What’s wrong with losing, anyway? Or has it been edited?

Edit: oh, Sir F is here. Much better than me wandering in, I’m too … Seasonal to wear the moderator hat anyway.
edited by babelfishwars on 12/29/2014

Misspelling words is understandable, especially outside of one’s first language. Bad manners is not.

Thanks for the edit. Did I come across as unmannerly? If so, I regret it - couldn’t think of a more matter-of-fact way to make the request, tried to place the blame on myself (where it largely belongs - most linguistic infelicities don’t irk me nearly as much, but loosing/loose for losing/lose vexes me). My apologies to the original poster, if desired; if it’s the general sense that such issues should be ignored, I’ll certainly abide by that.

Well, I’m just speaking for myself, not laying down any sort of official policy, but I’d have directed my request to the original poster, not to a mod - treating them as a person who made a trifling mistake, not as a problem to be dealt with by the authorities. (I admit, seeing “loose” and “lose” confused looks odd to me too, but the English language is frightfully unintuitive - there’s no real way to know which spelling goes with which pronunciation and which meaning except through experience.)

Returning to the actual subject at hand, it most certainly is possible to make money and get powerful right from the start of the game - it just takes a little bravery, a little caution, and a little practise. There’s no shame in saving regularly, too - if you’ve made a bit of money, you don’t want to lose it all to one lucky pirate.

I second the switch to Merciful Mode, at least until you get used to all the changes Steel et. al. brought. It can be incredibly irritating to start from scratch and die constantly before getting your zee legs, so saving against the possibility of, as Sir Fred said, that one lucky pirate (or bloody rotten evil little crab!) is excellent advice. It also lets you go exploring the wide Unterzee without feeling like your whole game hinges on finding the right island out there…

One last (luck-based) Echo-making tool? Finding Judgement’s Eggs by exploring the shore on Mutton Island. You can sell them to the Alarming Scholar for 500 Echoes or, if you happen to have discovered Polythreme, 600 Echoes at the Temple of Chimes. Good luck!

ah. It never occurred to me that thread titles would be poster-editable. Mea culpa.

I would take it as a personal favor if a mod would correct the double misspelling of ‘bêtes noires’ in the second poster’s post. Sorry, I know his first language is probably not French, but it gets my ghote.

The initial stages are the hardest parts of the game for me, combat isn’t a good way of making money, only a good way of sustaining damage. Until you’re at the stage where one shot does for most of the smaller things instantly, the max reverse while firing tactic is a good one, particularly when you’re dealing with creatures that don’t have ranged ability. One thing I’ve found when dealing with pirates is to fight with the lights off, if you get to a certain distance (just on the cusp of the effective range), the rate of fire incoming is significantly reduced, making it not a sure thing that you’ll win, but with a significantly higher chance of success without taking serious damage.

The other thing, particularly in the early part of the game, is to make sure that you don’t repair every time you go into the docks, usually wait till you’re on less than 50% hull before you go with repairs. Port reports don’t make for much money, but they usually cover the cost of the fuel between the port and the next port that you go to, so while it doesn’t seem like much, on a round the sea tour, they’ll be worth more than 300 echoes when you get back to base if you’ve picked all of them up, which goes a long way towards offsetting the fuel costs, particularly if you’ve had to refuel while you’re out there.

On the subject of fuelling and supplies, there are places cheaper than London where it’s worth stocking up when you get there, and places where currency other than echoes are prized. Whither, at the north west corner of the map, is good for this.

Take the options for delivering things, clay men from Polythreme, passengers from the mangroves, tomb colonists while you can, sphinxstone back to London, and the Deviless’ errands from Palmerston, look to speak to the merchant venture and the alarming scholar when they become available and make additional money by selling off items both small and large, the various objects like Memories of distant shores, Visions of the Surface, Zee Stories, and Tales of Terror can all fetch a price at different ports, whether in trade or selling directly.

The best places to fight are either narrow channels Where you can peek in and out and get off a shot or places with a lot of little islands like Phlogiston Bleaks where you can give your foe the runaround.

The channel next to Whither is perfect for fighting Lifebergs and the area around Port Cecil makes it almost too easy to kill Morays, so many places where they can get stuck!

I prefer to leave my lights on during combat as you get faster firing solutions when you can light up the enemy. If a Zee-Beast lunges at you turn hard away from it and it’ll usually miss. Ships (and beasts with ranged attacks) are trickier, the best way to deal with them is to find an Island you can circle around and play cat and mouse with them.

Until you get an Aft gun, expect to be fighting most of your battles entirely in reverse!

Learn to work your throttle and rudder. If you are constantly changing speed and direction then most shots will miss. Also you can rapidly bring the deck gun to bear by reversing rudder and throttle.

One more trick that it took me a while to learn: You can initiate combat yourself by clicking on your desired target, This can help you get in a couple shots from behind before they have a chance to swing around.
edited by Rilauven on 12/30/2014

Lights off briefly when they swing to face you, then pounce on them from behind, best way to go, particularly when coming up against multi gun opponents like the Khanate

Polythreme is pretty lucrative. It’s nearly all the way across the Unterzee from London on my current map, but as long as I pick up some Clay Men while I’m about my business, I usually end up with more money than I spent on supplies and fuel. When Judgments’ Eggs enter the picture, you’re pretty much swimming in money for that particular voyage – and if it also happened to be the pickup location for the Blind Bruiser’s souls or the Admiral’s strategic information, well.

(Is there a set list of where they can send you for those things? I’ve never had to get strategic information from the Iron Republic, for instance, or pick up souls from Godfall.)

Finding Salt Lions as soon as possible is also a good idea, since 300-echo profits are not to be sneezed at. I was advised to take Urchin for the straightforward Venderbight starter-quest, which would provide the 200 echoes necessary to start the Salt Lions trips, but the Veils bonus is also handy as anything for 1) evading hostiles with great alacrity and 2) hiding… er… extralegal cargo from the eyes of the law. I only wish Veils-based options were available for every randomly selected Irons-based combat challenge.

Once you’ve got enough money to not be constantly on the edge of starvation, getting things all charted out is essential not only for the sheer joy of exploration (duh) but also for planning out the courses of profitable voyages – whether in narrative or financial terms – and using their proceeds to explore yet further. Also, once you’ve got the Admiralty’s favor nice and built up from surveying all those ports for them, ship-repair also becomes very cheap, since you can just trade in favors at their private drydocks and pay but a nominal fee.

Does anyone have opinions on crewing up in early-game, by the way? Is it better to stick to what you’re given, or fully crew up ASAP to minimize the Terror accumulation from slower trips? Does the reduced rate of food-consumption cancel out the increased time spent at zee?

On the matter of crew, always carry more than half, especially if you’re in a light vessel, it’s not worth being reduced to half speed when you’re out in the black, particularly if you’re using full power to get around the zee faster which I know is a preferred option for many

Wait, so is it a binary thing rather than scaled? >50% crew = 100% speed, <50% crew = 50% speed?

Speed is, less than 50% crew and you can only travel to speed one.

Food is however many crew you’ve got divided by 2 for the increment lost every time the food bar goes up. Thus 24 crew = 12 hunger every time the bar goes up, always round up :)