Welcome to The Captain Kronos Pilotís Guide - a guide to playing offline Hardwar. If youíre new to the game, there should be enough tips and advice to help you get off to a successful start. Although Hardwar can be played as an open-ended game, there is a plot and The Captain has promised not to reveal too much. For the more experienced player, I hope the Captain Kronos way of doing things amuses and perhaps even informs. Anyway, enough from me. Over to the Captain himself...
 

 

An exclusive hangar full of the most well-equiped Moths, tables at all the best restaurants, with only the most sophisticated pleasure droids for company, wealth beyond the dreams of avarice (and a stock of clones back home - just in case). All you have to do is follow The K-Plan outlined in this Pilotís Guide and this lifestyle is guaranteed*...


The guide is in three parts. This part deals outlines the basics of The K-Plan. Itís supplemented with sections on Flight and Commerce - because youíll need both in order to prosper in Misplaced Optimism.

 

 

Getting Started

 

Moth Choice

So, whatís your plan? How are you going to get from zero to hero? Other routes may present different and interesting challenges, but I donít think anything can get you started as quickly as blasting pirates and scooping the remains.

The profits in trading things that you buy, rather than manufacture or scoop, are too marginal and trading (especially anything of value) is somewhat dangerous because itís always safer to attack than be attacked.

Scavenging is generally a poor living as there isnít usually that much valuable flotsam and jetsam around without creating some for yourself.

I tend to avoid outright piracy - unless the cargo looks very tasty - because there are usually enough miscreants to whack without having to resort to killing traders and scavengers. As well as that, not only is there no bounty on honest citizens but you wonít get any next time you take down a pirate - youíll just get a police amnesty.

Iíd always choose a start point which gives you a moth with a pod and a drone though starting as a Dealer gives you enough money to really hit the ground running, though you are lumbered with a poorly equipped Moon Moth

Your first plans should be about getting the stuff you need to start making your living. Getting your priorities right here can really speed you on your way to wealth.

My usual order of acquisition is:

 

My personal favourite is the Swallow, though I find the L2000 useful for combat and a bit of scavenging. I also have a certain regard for the NeoTiger which, perhaps because itís less maneuverable is much less twitchy than a swallow though still fast.
Old hands probably have their own favourites. If youíre new to the game, youíll quickly learn which moths fit your style. Iím not going to go into the specs of the different moth types here - itís been done very well by others - such as Zedo.
  • Pod and Drone - if not initially.
     
  • A Hangar with good trade and repair business potential - Downtown 05 simply cannot be beaten for this. Open your Hangar up for passing repair business as soon as you get it - it should make a small but useful sum. You can also start stockpiling plunder which you want to keep - such as raw materials for your later manufacturing efforts.
     
  • Plasma Kannon - much more efficient for stripping shields than a laser.
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    Other useful things to get early are:

     

  • Software Upgrades - especially IR, Radar (you need at least Radar 2 to detect anything on the ground on the scanner), Targeting and Shields. Software is a relatively cheap way to upgrade a Moth. Avoid autopilot as it makes you a sitting duck for docking.
     
  • Flares - expensive, but invaluable. Chaff seems to have little or no effect.
     
  • Afterburner. Essential for speedy tactical withdrawals. Unfortunately it canít be removed from a moth once fitted.
     
  • Unlikely in the very early stages, but if you didnít start with one, you should get hold of a Fusion Cell as quickly as possible.
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    Once youíve got this lot, you should be able to start laying the foundations for your future empire.

     

     

    Keep Flexible

     

    Moth Spotting

    Life on Titan is fast, furious and unpredictable. We wouldnít want it any other way.

    Itís easy to get wrapped up in your own little world, running things back and forth and chasing after pirates, bore-sited on the target locked into the nav computer but itís well worth taking notice of what is going on around you.

    Other peopleís battles can sometimes yield booty which you can get to before the victor or a member of the scouring community. Salvage can sometimes just be found lying around, and is always worth checking. This is particularly the case in tunnels because AI pilots donít scoop in tunnels.

    While I donít generally recommend attacking the honest citizens of Mis Op, itís worth it for a really tasty cargo. Itís certainly worth giving up the hunt for Elric Soulblade and going after Downtown Trader 2 if heís carrying a couple of laser turrets - you can always get an amnesty later. The situation is more complicated with the factions and the gangs, but weíll come to that later.

    Itís really worth, especially at the start of your career, keeping your eyes, ears and scanners open to new targets. scoring big - with cells or weapons, for example - is the only way, other than a loan to get a lot of money quickly at this stage.

    A further advantage to this flexible approach is that it enables you to keep a watch out for potential threats. As far as combat is concerned on Titan, forewarned is forearmed because it is always better to attack than be attacked.

     

    Although there is a greater variety at the very start of the game, the moths flown by different professions soon revert pretty much to type.

    Pirates favour Hawks with medium pods and turrets.
    Traders tend to use Hawks, with largest pods and no turrets.
    Scavengers also tend to use Hawks without turrets, but this time with smallest pods.
    Builders use Silver Ys
    Taxis are all Moon Moths.
    Faction moths are almost all NeoTigers, though there are some Hawks. They are armed according to their job.
    Gang Transports are all NeoTigers.
    The Police exclusively use L2000s.
    Enforcers are all Deathís Heads, apart from Police enforcers, which are always L2000s of course.

    The names of most pilots reveal their profession as well. Some are incredibly obvious like ďMines Cab 1Ē or ďLaz Guard X2Ē, but you should quickly learn to recognise pirates and traders by the sort of names they to.

     

    Fun with Factions

     

    There are essentially five groups of people who you can be paid a reward by - or get on the wrong side of. They are:

     

  • The Lazarus Family and Klamp G. These are the two factions proper . A contual state of low-grade warfare exists between them. This can be turned greatly to the advantage of a cunning and skilled pilot because they always pay a bounty on the oppossing factionís moths. If you take down a faction moth, the factionís other moths and facilities will attack you, as and when able.
     
  • Skinners and Scrubbers. These two gangs are primarily concerned with running high-value goods such as bodyparts, fusion parts, matter and trigger (parts for nuclear weapons). Although Skinners and Scrubbers are nominally enemies (Skinners are loosely associated with Lazarus, Scrubbers with Klamp) they wonít pay for the destruction of each others moths. Apart from giving out the occasional reward for the destruction of a pirate moth the main value of the gangs to an independant flyer is as targets for piracy, though if you really annoy a gang theyíll send out an enforcer.
     
  • The Police. Mis-Opís finest are lazy and corrupt. They are the source of most of the bounties an independent flyer can pick up for whacking criminals. If you attack independent flyers - though not faction or gang ships - youíll get a record with the cops. This is no big deal because you can always either bribe your way out of it, or (the cheaper and preferred option) take down a pirate in order to gain amnesty - just get amnsety within 24 hours. On the other hand, if you bring down a police moth, theyíll send out an enforcer and no amount of good deeds or bribes will get one of those off your back. It really pays not to get trigger happy around the cops.  The Police can be made less lazy with a <patch>. Fortunately, nothing can be done about their corruption.
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    Enforcers
    If you fall foul of a financier, a gang or the Police they will send an enforcer after you. If you kill that one, theyíll send another one, until they get you. The only way out of this is to either disable the enforcer by using missiles such as firebase and power leach, or destroy them by some method that doesnít count as an attack - ramming, repeated groundbases, or a single devestator.

    The logos of Klamp G, The Lazarus Family & The Police.

    Bounty Hunting 101-  Wanted Dead or Deader

    So, now you know about the factions, gangs and the police, how do you use this information to best advantage?

    Itís reasonably profitable to fly to the nearest police station, put the names of a few of the notoriously wanted into the Nav Computer, hunt them down, and then repeat. Certainly, this is a good way to get going on Day 1, but be aware that while youíre chasing Elric Soulblade or whoever across two craters for two units of scrap and a $500 reward, you may be flying past better opportunities.

    Unfortunately, a Nav Computer can only hold ten pilots at a time, so itís very tempting, if youíve got six pirates in there already not to target moths on spec and risk losing those names. This can be a big mistake. Itís well worth cycling through targets in the area if you see other moths on your scanner. A lot will be traders, scavengers or cabs, but some will be pirates or belong to the factions. This is particularly worthwile if you see or hear a battle going on - you might get a chance to pick off an already damaged moth. Catching a pirate in a lightwell is even better - theyíre very vulnerable. Check out moths in tunnels, AI moths are particularly poor tunnel fighters.

    Destroying pirates will earn you between 500 and 2000 bucks from the cops. The pirate may also be on the enemies list of a gang or faction. In that case youíll also get a reward from them as well. Police stations keep a list of wanted criminals and faction and gang facilities maintain lists of enemies. I donít tend to bother too much with these as you encounter enough people someone wants dead just by flying around.

    Bounty hunting for factions is even easier - just go to a faction dominated crater, fly around, check out the moths you encounter and whack the faction ones. The rewards paid by Klamp and Laz tend to be higher than police rewards - frequently around the two grand mark, so this can be a profitable way for a skilled combat pilot to spend an afternoon. There is no particularly compelling reason to side with one faction or another, though it is wise to stick with whichever one you side with for a while at a time because each time you switch sides and get an amnesty thatís a kill for which you donít get paid. The only real difference between siding with either Klamp or Laz is geography - which craters do you want to be able to traverse without being persued by faction moths? Conversely, which craters are convenient for a quick NeoTiger hunt?

     

    Want a Loan?

    Loans of up to $25000 for up to 5 days are available with quite reasonable rates of interest. at Charlie Wadsworthís (Riverside) and Mis-Op Finance (Downtown). These can be a very good way to set yourself up with a hangar, or possibly a move into manufacturing. Just make sure you can pay the money back in time because there is more than your credit rating at stake. Taking out a loan is not recommended to totally inexperienced players - you need a little experience to ensure you can pay it back. Defaulters have enforcers sent after them - and they donít negotiate.

    Bodyparts Incorporated - Skinners & Scrubbers

    For reasons which Iím not going to go into, the gangs are monomaniacal about running bodyparts to the port. If you hang around the Downtown-Port tunnel entrance long enough, youíll see the Skinner and Scrubber transports entering and leaving the tunnel. They go in with Bodyparts and come out with Matter, Trigger and, occasionally fusion parts. Although they tend to carry small quantities of these commodities - 5 bodyparts, 3 of the matter, trigger or fusion parts - these are all valuable items. Matter and trigger go for $3000, fusion parts for around $2000

    If you can take down the faction transport in the tunnel, this is ideal. As I mentioned earlier, the AI pilots arenít too hot at fighting in tunnels and donít scoop in them either. This means you can get an easy kill, and pick-up the plunder at your convenience.

    Perhaps more importantly, if you donít start out with a fusion cell, then pirating a gang transport carrying fusion parts is your best chance of getting one early in the game. If youíve got a hangar equipped with Components Machinery (unlikely early in the game) you can build the fusion cell yourself. If youíre not set up like that yet,  sell 1 unit of fusion parts to Downtown Components along with the other things they need to make a fusion cell, and thereís a good chance theyíll build one for you. The ďrecipeĒ for fusion cells is: 2 fusion cells = 1 fusion parts, 1 pure water, 1 chemicals, 1 plastics. Fusion cells are worth about 7.5 times what fusion parts are worth - and the other items will come to just over a grand, so there is an enormous mark-up. Unless youíre financially embarrassed and Charlie Wadsworth is about to get a contract on you, you should hoard any other fusion parts you come across until youíre in a position to start making fusion cells for yourself.

    This outright piracy on the gangs carries the risk of them sending an enforcer out, though I suspect you have to get them really mad for that to happen. A bigger risk is that because all of the things you pirate from the gangs are high value, you run the risk of having every villain in the crater after you. This is especially the case with fusion cells - there are very few hotter items on Titan.
     

     

    Your Next Move

    OK, you should now be sitting pretty, with a reasonably well equipped moth, a hangar and a steadily increasing bank balance. Once youíve got around $35000 you face a few decisions.

     

    Hardwar Versions
    This guide is written based on Captain Kronosí experiences in offline HW U3B4, Though the majority of the Captainís facts should hold for most of the commonly played versions of the game.

    There are differences between the versions though, so donít take anything as gospel, certainly not on Titan, and certainly not from Captain Kronos.

    As ever, if you want a second opinion, consult the links and in particular Zedoís site and timskiís Hardwar FAQ.
  • If you started the game with a poor moth now might be the time to trade-up to a better model. Specifications for the different moths can be found at Zedoís, where you can also get information about trading with the moth factories.
     
  • Alternatively, a second hangar might be a good idea. There are a number of advantages to having both a private hangar and a public one. Especially if your public hangar is doing a roaring trade. Once you start manufacturing, you may want several hangars - perhaps one for each business, and a couple for your own use.
     
  • Breaking into manufacturing is also an option. You can certainly afford an ore-processor or a distillery. Manufacturing is where the real money is.
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  • A NeoTiger sets off on a trade run

     

    Manufacturing and real-estate strategies are covered in part 3 of this guide - commerce, but first, how good are you in the air? If youíre going to last long enough to embark on industrial domination, youíve got to master the art of moth flight

     

    *Not a guarantee - Captain Kronos, his agents, thugs and associates are in no way liable for any loss or damage (including, but not limited to: bankruptcy, disintegration and tactical nuclear war) which occurs from following any of the advice in this guide. This is all merely the Captainís  opinion and may be somewhat apocryphal if not utterly misleading. This disclaimer is backed by a fleet of fusion powered L2000s so consider yourself warned.

    Having said all of that, the captain always enjoys feedback from his customers, so please feel free to email any comments you have on the guide.

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