Rebel Galaxy is a game that succeeds in conveying complex mechanics in a simple fashion. The player has a plethora of choices to undertake in the game, and each one appear quite daunting at first. This guide should function as a primer of sorts on the various mechanics and ways to use them to your advantage.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Rebel Galaxy kind of just throws the player into the sandbox with only a little bit of preparation. This means the player is free to learn at their own pace, but will tend to miss the finer details the first time around. So lets fix that.
The player’s goal is open to interpretation. You can trade, mine or blow up to your hearts content. In between those primary activities you’ll be flying around the procedurally generated star systems looking for different emergent activities and missions to undertake. The primary means of finding new activities in space is the Pulse. You ship sends out a 360-degree pulse that reveals nearby enemies and objects within short range of the origin. Everything from lost cargo, to bounty targets, to targets of opportunity will show up with a Pulse. Your ship will turn faster if you slow it down, so quick maneuvers might be worth quickly throttling down your engines.
If you spot an Unidentified Signal while blasting around the galaxy, go and investigate it. These are Transponders which can be hacked with a little mini-game for additional information like bounty co-ordinates, or a resource-rich asteroid field. The Distress you will eventually come across are worth investigating if you’re up for a fight.
In-between hunting targets in space, the various stations in a given system are sources both missions and information about the goings-on in the cluster. Bartenders are a great source of information for trade and combat activities. Stations also serve as your autosave every time you dock.
Most stations also sell new modules, subsystems and new ships for you to purchase. Upgrading to a new ship will automatically transfer your current ship’s equipment over, so no minutia there. One of the highest priority upgrades is the 75,000 Credit Jump Drive that will allow you to travel between the systems in the game at your leisure. This also opens up Credit-making trade opportunities via trading commodities between systems.
Aside from the Jump Drive, you will want to look into upgrading your shielding first. A deflector shield will grant you a short boost to damage resistance, but if you fire while it’s active you lose it.
Hanging on to your old equipment, assuming it’s of decent quality could a be a viable option. As having different tactical options for some missions might help you get through them. You’ll also want to pay attention what tactics and weapons enemies are using. For example, short range beam weapons can be countered by long range missiles and Broadsides.
The main factions in Rebel Galaxy can be rather useful. Extra equipment doesn’t become available for Militia reputation, but you get access to better equipment for ranking up in the Merchant & Mercenary guilds. Other factions might have exclusive subsystems. Merchants get scanners, EMP resistance and the ability to make deflectors repel magnetic mines. The only major difference you will see if you flip between neutral/friendly and hostile with the militia is the ability to dock in their stations, aside from the obvious of them trying to kill you. This will lock access to some of the higher tier ships, but pirate players will be able to find a decent equivalent at pirate or guild stations.
Bear in mind that with enough grinding and selection of specific missions, it is theoretically possible to retain Neutral reputation with all factions. Again, this is rather grindy, so it’s usefulness is up to you.
Speaking of trading, it’s one of the easiest ways to make money with the starting ship. Said starting vessel has room for 10 containers in it’s hold, and with proper management can turn a tidy profit. Once you’ve visited a station, its market data will be displayed on the sector map screen when you hover the cursor over it. Pay attention to how old that data is, because if you haven’t visited in a while things could have changed.
The basics of trading are to buy items that are in stock and selling at RED prices (or better yet, red with an exclamation mark) and deliver them to a station that will buy with a GREEN price. On high-value items, you can sometimes still make a profit selling in white or even red – but green is always preferable.
Trade data is also displayed on the left-hand side of the market screen. It’ll show you the most recent prices for the current item you have selected, and sometimes give you a common import/export route.
The basic start for a Trader involves doing the first couple of story missions, while at the some time flying around and checking Mission Boards to pick up the dead drop missions rated at “Low” risk or easier. This will give at least 25,000 Credits that can be used to buy your first batch of trade stock and upgrade your ship.
The primary upgrades at this point should focus on shielding, tractor beam(which are required for dead drop missions), engines and cargo capacity.
These upgrades will decrease travel time and increase survivability while trying to run from combat encounters. At this early point, don’t try to take on anything more than a couple fighters or gunships at once. Assault Frigates and the like will completely decimate the starting ship in combat. The one exception to this is situation bounties you might encounter. The starting ship with shield and deflector upgrades can tank the ~4,000 credit bounty encounters with minimal effort. As such, the player can quickly make a couple thousand credits after repairs from one of these fights. Also, you’ll want to be careful of approaching stations blindly. Some stations may be under heavy attack; and while you can dodge the blockade and dock, it’s almost always not worth the risk. This is especially true when you’re carrying valuable cargo. It’s almost always a good idea to drop out of warp a ways off from the station so you can either pulse for hostiles or check them out visually. This is a habit that will save you several times from warping into the middle of an ambush.
Once you’ve made enough credits to get aforementioned upgrades and have some trade capital left, you’ll need to start gathering intel. Flying around to the closest stations in the starting system and checking news boards and the commodities market will update trade data. While doing this, take note of any good trade opportunities and act on them quickly. The situation for a given trade route can change from day to day.
The local environment for a station will have an effect on the supply and demand for that station market. A prison colony will have a lot fewer resources overall. A mining colony might have a glut of ores and ingots one day, and a normal supply the next. Keep this in mind when moving from one area to another. One potential example is moving Soy Paste from an agrarian station to a prison colony with a Famine. These combinations of typical trade opportunities and random events are always a great opportunity for making some extra Credits.
It will also be worthwhile to save 10,000 credits and join the Trade Guild at some point. They not only have specially owned stations that sell unique equipment, but they can be a valuable intelligence source for trade opportunities.
Mining is one of the less exciting professions in Rebel Galaxy, but it is by far the easiest to turn a profit on in the early stages of the game. You simply blast asteroids with your weapons and pick up the resulting loot. The drawbacks are mostly related to time spent mining. If you’re not using specialized mining lasers, you’ll be stuck shooting an asteroid for a long time waiting for it to go boom and hoping to the collect the Metallic Ores that are left behind. Metallic Ores aren’t worth a whole lot, but with an upgraded ship you can chew through a lot of them.
So that brings up the point of mining specific upgrades. You’ll need Mining Lasers aplenty. Mining lasers are actually pretty decent in combat (albeit short-ranged), so you’re not ‘wasting’ a slot by equipping them.
When you’re in an asteroid field, shoot out a pulse and it should label the ones that will actually yield anything. Then go to town with your mining laser and pick up the rewards. You’ll probably find a lot of cheap and rubbish Metallic Ores, but every now and then (often from unique-looking asteroids I’ve found, but that may be confirmation bias) you’ll get something like Gold or Diamonds.
You can purchase a Fault Tracker component at some space stations, which marks certain asteroids with specific weak spots. If you destroy them at these points, you’ll get more resources out of them.
Ice mining can be one of the more profitable pursuits for miners. Any time you come across an ice belt with minable resources, you’ll want to take it if you can. The Pure Water that can drop from destroyed ice crystals can be worth 10,000 Credits or more at the right station. Even if you have to plug away at the roid without a mining laser, it could still be worth the couple of minutes of effort.
That should be enough information to get you well set-up through Rebel Galaxy’s first system, and into the second. Happy trails to all you would-be traders, miners, bounty hunters and, yes, even filthy pirates.