Equipping for Exploration
To begin derelict exploration, the captain must have two pieces of ship equipment and a personal loadout equipped. A minimum captain level of 10 is required for all needed equipment.
The first item is the Derelict System Scanner T1. This is a player made item that requires seven schematics in total, which can be purchased from Arnos Schematic Supply. They are also frequently found in player emporiums, and a guild crafter should be prepared to craft these. The T2 and T3 scanner can be used to find larger derelicts, but these are only effective with a very high Explorers League standing, so provide no benefit to most players. The Derelict System Scanner is a scanner that is equipped in the ship loadout section, in one of the three system slots. The Derelict System Scanner is a single fit device.
The second item is the “Docking Collar – Small”. This is also a player made item that requires nine schematics in total, which are also purchased from Arnos Schematic Supply. They can also be found in emporiums and by negotiating with a crafter player. The Medium and Large docking collar require very high Explorers League standing to equip, and so cannot be used by most players. (Henceforth the term Docking Collar will be used in this document to refer to a Docking Collar – Small.) The Docking Collar is a device that goes into the Specials Loadout section, and one can be placed in any open slot. It is also a single fit device.
The personal loadout section is in the bottom row of icons. It is the icon of the orange and gray space suit. (For VI players, refresh at any settlement and shift-tab nine times. The reader text tag is “Personal Loadout. Leaving the ship?”, between “Specials Loadout” and “Ship Loadout”.)
There are ten slots, but five are of interest when starting to explore, the Suit Slot, Oxygen Slot, Armor Slot, Medical Slots, and Tool Slots.
Suit Slot – MANDATORY – The suit slot is your space suit. There are two kinds of space suits. The Basic Personal Space Suit can be used at captain level 10, and it purchased from the Barter stores with barter points. The Zane Space Suit has a higher efficiency bonus, can be used at level 15, and is player crafted at an Engineering Station. You cannot enter a derelict without a space suit.
Sidearm – Discussed more in the “Derelict Combat” tutorial, this can be skipped when starting to explore derelicts. The sidearm model determines combat damage.
Ammo Slot – Discussed more in the “Derelict Combat” tutorial, this can be skipped when starting to explore derelicts. The ammo determines number of firearm shots before you revert to your wicked Kung Fu skills. (Yes, the game mildly mocks you.) Any ammo pack can be used with any sidearm.
Oxygen Slot – MANDATORY – This is your oxygen tank. Every movement and action in a derelict requires one or two “points” of oxygen. The “Oxygen Bottle (Small)” can be purchased at the barter stores. Medium and Large bottles can be crafted by those with sufficiently high Explorers League standing. Rexx and occasionally Fang brand fruit flavored oxygen is a common find during derelict exploration. Holiday events can also provide high-value holiday flavored oxygen, and these can also be purchased through the CE Store. Oxygen Bottles are common in the player Emporiums. Different bottles have different bonus values. A bottle can be used until it reaches 0 oxygen. Unequipping a bottle of oxygen discards it, so it is recommended to use the entire bottle. You cannot enter a derelict without an oxygen bottle or with an empty bottle.
Armor Slot – This is for equipping a suit of armor. Armor protects the captain from most harm when in combat or damage from random events. It is advisable to always have armor equipped.
Medical Slots – This is for equipping a Basic Medical Kit or Zane Medical Kit. Both have ten uses per item. Using a medical kit in a derelict consumes oxygen and stamina, but heals lost health. (Note that health does not recover over time.)
Tools Slots 1 through 4 – These slots are for equipping the Grav Sled, derelict exploration tools, or later planetary excavation tools. A Grav Sled (comes in Small, Medium, or Large) allows recovery of resource items found in derelicts, and so it considered vital. Any size Grav Sled allows for this recovery, though larger Sleds have a higher efficiency bonus. The Grav Sled can be crafted at an Engineering Station.
For starting, the items that are mandatory are the Space Suit and an Oxygen Bottle. A suit of Armor is highly recommended to absorb damage, as some random events cause damage. A medical kit is also recommended to heal damage from random events. The Grav Sled should also be acquired as soon as possible, as it allows recovery of resources that are largely unique to derelicts. While a Small Grav Sled is just as functional as a Large, higher level players will acquire a Medium or Large Grav Sled for the higher efficiency bonus.
Finding a Derelict
With all equipment in place, go to space. This can be done at any space location except a Jump Gate Nexus. While there are personal theories and superstitions, it seems that officially there is no correlation between the location and derelict found.
In space, the Derelict Scan icon is in the row on the top right of the space view, and is a green scanner icon. For players using a screen reader, at any location in space tab seven times, and the reader text tab is “Derelict Scan” (between “N.E.I” and “Combat Scan”).
Click on the Derelict Scan icon.
The “Scanning for Results” window appears with a loading bar. This window takes about ten seconds to finish the animation. The area below the scan progress window has some basic information on derelict exploration that should be read. During or after the scan progress bar is loading, there are two buttons to re-scan the area. The first is in the upper right of the window, and is the same green scanner icon. (For readers, tab seven times, text tag “Re-Scan Area”.) The second is below the area (no reader text tag). A re-scan can be done if the player recognizes the ship as being an undesirable size or layout.
Each run of the scanner consumes five points of bio fuel.
When the scan bar is complete, the button “Suit up and explore this derelict” will appear (should be tab after the re-scan button with a text tab). Click on this button to enter the derelict.
Into the Derelict
The exploration window will show one section of the ship, and give the captain multiple actions (each of which is only valid for one use in each section), and the directions the captain can move.
The top row is basic information about the captain’s status, listed by the pop-up text tags.
Health: Captain’s current and maximum health. This is restored with med kits. The captain starts with 100 points of health. Through the CE Store, a player may purchase (with real money) up to two +100 maximum health boosts (raising the captain’s health to 200 or 300), and a +10 health regen update (heal +10 health every 15 minutes real time).
Suit Armor: This shows the current and maximum armor points of the armor the captain is currently wearing. Damage done is subtracted from Suit Armor before Health. Armor is ablative, and it is not regenerative or repairable. A used up suit must be replaced.
Stamina: This shows the current and maximum stamina of the captain. Stamina is used for every movement and action in the derelict. If the captain’s stamina reaches 0, the captain’s only available action is to bug out and return to their ship. Stamina regenerates at +5 points per 15 minute game tick. hrough the CE Store, a player may purchase (with real money) the +5 Stamina Regen Update which increases stamina regeneration to +10 per 15 minute tick.
Ammo: Ammo points in the current ammo pack.
Oxygen: Points of oxygen left in the current oxygen bottle. Oxygen bottles cannot be refilled or regenerated. When a bottle hits zero, it must be removed and replaced, which must be done in the captain’s ship.
Med Kits: Number of med kits left in the current med kit pack.
Credits: Credits in the captain’s account.
In the center is named the derelict being explored, the name of the section/room the captain is in, a text description to the left, an image to the right, and below this some data of the captain’s exploration history (sections explored, good events, bad events, and total resources recovered from derelicts).
Below this is a row of icons that can be accessed by the tab key. Each action can be performed once per section, and may or may nor produce results.
Search Room: Always available, and consumes one oxygen and two stamina. More details on this action can be found in the guide page “Derelict Searching”.
Use Controls: Always available, and consumes one oxygen and two stamina if successful. This is commonly called “derelict hacking”, as you are trying to hack a local computer. This is done through a match-three game, for a reward of experience points and credits. More details on this can be found in the guide page “Derelict Hacking”.
Use Tools: Always available, but cannot be done without all three exploration tools. It consumes one oxygen and two stamina. The captain must successfully use all three tools a designated number of times, and in return gets a piece of engineering loot (used in some high level schematics, and can be reduced to sub-mol parts). Starting captains should skip this until all three tools are equipped. More details can be found in the guide page “Derelict Tool Use”.
Attack: Always available, but should not be done without a sidearm and ammo. It consumes two stamina and one oxygen. This should also not be done without a Grav Sled, as the reward is usually rare resources. More details on this can be found in the guide page “Derelict Combat”. It is usually recommended that starting captains skip this until a weapon better than the basic firearm is acquired.
Repair: This is where the player uses med kits. Clicking on this does not consume energy or oxygen, and takes the player to a new window. The top section lists the medical kit the player has equipped. The lower section lists all stamina packs the player has in storage. Medical packs must be equipped to use, stamina packs can be used from storage. Click the “Use Med” button next to the item to be used, then the “Exit & Explore” button to return to the derelict screen.
Bug Out: This is the emergency exit. It does not consume oxygen or stamina, and is the only action available when the captain is at one point of stamina or oxygen. It leaves the wreck, going to a screen describing the wreck falling apart, and then the “return to cockpit” button takes the captain back to their ship.
West / North / South / East / Up / Down: These are the directions the player can move. Any available direction will take the player to a new section, with the exception of the ship exit.
In each description screen, the description will end with the directions available to explore. The main exception is the starting room. This will have text similar to, “The inner hatch is open, so the choice is yours captain, in (East) or back out to the ship (West)”. The first room will have the entry hatch which leads back to the captain’s ship. If the captain goes in this direction (west in the example above), the captain will leave the ship, go to a “the wreck disintegrates as your ship pulls away” message, and the “return to cockpit” button.
If you try to repeat an exploration action in a room where the action was already performed, the ship AI will provide (slightly snarky) message indicating you have already done this, and perhaps you should rest a moment.
As the player moves between rooms, there will be a movement event each time. Some events are good, and some are bad. Maintaining PA status causes a small shift to good events, but the shift is minor. Events can give experience points, find blueprints used in engineering, damage the captain, or find hidden resources.
Movement events always occur, even if moving back and fourth between previously explored areas.
Moving around is a good way to use the last point or two from a bottle of Oxygen.
In game tips
In the activity windows (search, hacking, etc) or movement windows, a game tip appears at the bottom of the window. These are worth reading for new players.