The following strategy guides have been taken from the star traders RPG forums and wiki, and are intended as a general strategy guide. Remember to always follow your captain's instincts!
The explorer is one of the easiest classes to play. Try to remain peaceful at the start, (why not in the late game I'll explain later) earning a large amount of money and gaining ranks with all of the Houses and Syndicates
Let's have a look at him:
As your proffesion is an 'explorer' you start with an extra few points in the 'explorer' and 'pilot' skills at the beginning of the game.
The 'explorer' skill is used when searching wild planets to find artifacts, electronics and weapons - all of these resources are worth a lot of money and when they are sold to a faction they can gain you a large amount of positive reputation.
The 'pilot' skill gives you a better chance of successfully fleeing from pirates, (useful when you are transporting your newly discovered goods to a nearby exchange).
During your first weeks:
At the start of the game, your reputation is 0 with all of the different factions - so even if you had a large cargo of artifacts, you wouldn't be able to sell them. The first thing you need to do is to take some easy contracts (such as delivering messages and passengers) to obtain a reputation of at least 7 with all of the factions. Once your reputation is above 7 with a faction, you will be able to purchase a Trade Permit in the Palace. This allows you to sell the resources that are normally found in exploration missions. Then you can easily explore planets, grabbing as many goods as you can fit in your ship and selling them for a massive profit - and significantly increasing your reputation (usually around 10-40k $ and 30-50 rep - nice, isn't it?)
The real problem at the start of a game are the pirates and military ships that want to search you and confiscate your goods. I advise you to ignore your home faction and fly straight to one of the planets that already have a wilderness at the start of the game. The best planets for early exploration are:
- Bellix-Thulon I (-6,-5) House Tulun
- Tennath Outpost (8,10) Syndicate Rychart
- Tucanae-Javat Mining (-2,-5) Clan Javat
The last planet, 'Tucanae-Javat Mining', is the least dangerous (4) and there are lots of nearby planets where you can recruit more crew and sell your goods - so it's perfect to start with.
If you decide to start with this planet, go to a Clan Javat planet and complete some easy contracts, (try to only take contracts that do not require you to travel long distances). As soon as you can, buy a trade permit with Clan Javat. You also earn experience doing contracts, use them to raise your explorer skill. Then return to Tucanae-Javat Mining and explore the planet with a full team two or three times until you have a full cargo of artifacts, electronics and weapons. If you are attacked by aliens or other encounter other dangerous things on the planet's surface, you may lose half of your crew or more... but you have the goods, and they are much more valuable at this stage!
Return to the Urban Zone and sell all of your goods, not only should you end up with masses of money, but your reputation should also have increased. Purchase a military rank at the palace, upgrade your ship at the star dock and seek volunteers in the spice hall - don't forget to heal yourself if you were injured! Once you are fully prepared, head straight back to the planet's wilderness.
Looks easy? Well yes, it is.
After your second exploration trip (or even after the first one if you are unlucky) you will probably find that there aren't enough new recruits at the planet's spice hall. To find more, you need to visit spice halls on other planets - this is why Tucanae-Javat Mining is the best place for early exploring... there are many planets nearby where you can recruit more volunteers. Meat to feed your money-making machine! There is only one purpose - retrieving artifacts from hostile planet surfaces!
There is only one other thing worth remembering - if you don't want to do contracts for others factions so you can buy Trade Permits, you should buy all the records you can find and instantly sell them for reputation.
So now you should have about 50k $ and 60-100 reputation with Clan Javat, if not, simply continue exploring Tucanae-Javat Mining until you do. Try and reach this target as quickly as possible as the Quadrant will be soon be full of conflicts and there could well be a trade embargo on Clan Javat.
What do you do next?
There are two options:
- Fly to one of the other 3 planets mentioned earlier, and repeat the above instructions. Surrender to pirates, all you should have while travelling between planets is money and water - so you won't lose anything expect the crew's morale, and this is easily fixed by visiting a nearby spice hall and paying for some entertainment or a few rounds of spice.
- If there are 'trade alliances' with Clan Javat (and no embargoes) - you will gain extra reputation with the other faction that is in the trade alliance with Clan Javat when you sell goods to Javat, so go to that faction and buy a rank and trade permit - that'll be one less military ship wanting to confiscate your hard-earned goods. While heading to buy that permit, try not to risk carrying a large amount of goods from nearby planets - you will have a slow ship and a low pilot skill so pirates will happily help themselves to your loot. After buying ranks and trade permits repeat the first option.
- When upgrading a ship focus on two things - engines and crew, in that order. With a slow ship you will be easily picked up by pirates and military ships of factions that you don't have trade permits with; therefore engine upgrades are a 'must-have'! The more crew you have, the more goods you can grab while exploring. Hopefully you should reach the stage where you can think: '30 men just got devoured? So what? I still have another 20-30 volunteers in the ship - more than enough for a second run!' Once you've upgraded your engines and crew, you can use your last upgrades to improve your cargo size - so you can cram more artifacts/electronics/weapons into your hold!
- While playing as an explorer it's relatively easy to get 100k $ - just buy a fast ship with lots of engines as quickly as possible. This will let you run away from pirates and military ships (before you get friendly with all the factions)
- Use faction conflicts to gain small reputation bonuses with factions where your reputation is close to 0 - make sure that you increase it to 7, allowing you buy trade permits. For example: you've just finished several rounds of exploration on Tucanae-Javat Mining, you have 100 reputation in Clan Javat and 0 to -3 reputation with the rest of the factions. Clan Javat is involved in a solar war with House Thulun... so if you attack Clan Javat's ships - you will get a large reputation boost with House Thulun. You'll lose reputation with Clan Javat, but don't worry about that. It's easy to meet and destroy 2-3 small merchant ships when patrolling a faction's zones. You will gain around 4-6 rep in House Thulun and lose about 5-12 in Clan Javat (but as you have 100 rep it's like a drop of water in an ocean). After those actions you will have lost your trade permit from Clan Javat, but as you 100k $ you can easily buy it again. Afterwards you can go to House Thulun and also purchase a trade permit from them. In the same way you can use spy wars or trade alliances to increase your reputation with other factions quickly.
- AVOID TRADE EMBARGOES! These can mess up your reputation with just one sale of 30 artifacts. Buying lots of water-fuel will lose you several reputation points, but selling a batch of prohibited goods can leave you with a reputation of -50 or worse!
- You don't need any more than 25 points in the explorer skill - for long having just 14 points is quite enough. Concentrate on your 'pilot' skill - you will need it to avoid pirates. Once you've raised it to between 10-15 you can go back and start to look at your explorer skill - once this is high and you can explore more dangerous planets.
- There's an easy trick for finding new crew members. Volunteers will die quickly, so it's often hard to find enough new recruits in the spice halls. No crew = no exploring = no money = no reputation. What should you do? Be bad! Go to an independent controlled zone, patrol, and then attack independent merchants - if things get desperate you can even attack friendly ships! Enslave the crew and use them to search planets surfaces for you. While doing this don't board the enemy's ship, the easiest way to defeat them is to close the range to a short distance (which requires engines and pilot skill) and shoot at the enemy's engines with your barrage guns.