Last week apparently saw the release of a free expansion for the game FTL. It brought in a new race, some new ships (including a C version of all previous ships), some new events, and a ton of new ship parts. It has some balance fixes for some of the truly terribly or overpowered parts in the original game. And it has a third difficulty setting for the really hardcore player. Apparently they also released the game on iOS at the same time. This game is awesome and totally worth picking up if you're someone with one of those devices.
I found out all this stuff not through Steam or email or anything, which seems a little poor. This seems like the sort of thing that Steam should be able to tell me about in some way. Instead I found out when I was looking for a Final Fantasy speedrun stream to watch on the weekend and saw someone streaming the new FTL. Tuning in to watch one of the experts at the game play was quite the eye opener. He was doing things like knowing the attack patterns of enemy ships just by seeing what the weapons on the ship looked like. He knew the timings of the attacks so he was able to use his shield drone thing to block missiles instead of laser shots by toggling it on after the lasers and before the missiles. He also ran short on reactor power because he was able to turn down his base shields when he knew he didn't need all of them based on what weapons the enemy ship had. Plus he had every event memorized so he knew what the possible outcomes were going to be.
That all seemed pretty crazy, but then he talked a bit about a balance mod that he made for the original game and how a lot of the balance changes in the expansion were pulled from his mod. I guess it makes sense that someone who has actually hacked the game to make it fairer would know what the events and stuff are, but it was still really impressive. And goes to show just how bad I am at the game! I only buy things when I can power them on, and I autofire most of my weapons, and I was never big in boarding the enemy ship.
One of the changes (and I think central to all of the new ships) is they added a different healing bay. Instead of being a room you could go to in order to get healed it's a room that passively heals your entire crew each time you jump, but can't heal more than that. Oh, and if any of your guys die they respawn in the cloning bay at full health but with a loss of skill points. This includes if they die by being on an enemy ship when it explodes, or in melee combat over there, or by GIANT SPIDERS in the stupid evil giant spiders event.
The new race also doesn't need oxygen to survive, and actually drains rooms they're in of oxygen. So I've taken to beaming two of them over to the enemy ship to attack the oxygen generator. They quickly empty the room of oxygen just by being in it which means they'll win any 2v2 fight unless the enemy has a bunch of extra guys to rotate in or an excessive number of mantis or robots or something. It's fun! I finally got the achievement for completely draining the oxygen out of an enemy ship.
I heartily recommend checking out the expansion if you liked the original game. Steam will auto download it for you and you just need to toggle on 'advanced edition' when you pick a ship in your hangar. And if you haven't played FTL yet... You should! Get it on iOS or through Steam or whatever. It's great! And you'll lose a lot!