1. 'Access the page,' you order. 'Yesss, Captain,' the crewmember responds.
2. You note a lot of gaps in information. 'Open the edit page,' you command, 'and prepare for data transfer.'
3. (Engi Crewmember) Your Engi crewmember gets your attention. 'Captain. Many missing subtropes. Would be trivial to add,' it says, somewhat hesitating at the end, as if asking for your permission.'
The mod takes the core gameplay of FTL and expands upon it greatly, adding a whole host of new weapons, ship types, upgrades, an entire subset of space station-type enemies, a 'slew' of new dialogue, events, and features to enhance both roleplaying and immersion, a new species, and tons of additional content, all of which is 100% lore-friendly. It also expands the difficulty significantly, with more complex weapon and upgrade interactions, more powerful enemy ship types, and a throng of challenging new events with a variety of outcomes, both good and bad. Empty beacons, previously a waste of time, can now be used to socialize with the crew for lore, character background, and (occasionally) various special events; or you can use those beacons to manufacture resources and upgrades...provided you have the right augments and enough scrap, of course. All in all, the mod provides a much deeper, and harder, game for FTL veterans and enthusiasts...or for players just looking for a better challenge.
There are a handful of submods that add various features or gameplay modifications, most prominently Endless Loot which adds modifiers to all weapons, drones, and enemy ships that can have both positive or negative effects, greatly increasing equipment variety; and CE: Infinite, a port of the popular Infinite Space mod compatible with CE that turns the game into a sort of Endless Game.
Warning: CE has a number of secrets that players are strongly encouraged to play and find on their own. Reading any of the spoilered articles below may ruin secrets and surprises that the devs intended players to experience for themselves. Read spoilers at your own peril!
CE contains examples of:
- Achilles' Heel: Space Stations are huge, often packing a lot of weaponry and above-average hulls, but they lack any kind of dodge and their other systems are usually comparable to (or weaken than!) ships of the same rough tier. Thus, slow, inaccurate weapons like missile or flak that are normally held in check by missing can shred them in lightning speed.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: A major theme of the mod - not only are the old AI ships given new text and dialogue to give them more personality (usually of the Ax-Crazy variety), but there's an entire race of AI crew, and almost every ship crewed exclusively by them is descrived as a haywire AI ship, and the flavor text makes it clear this is a common sight.
- Armor-Piercing Attack:
- Mines pierce literally everything. They can't be blocked by shields, the most they can be is shot down by a defense drone - if the opposing ship lacks one, damage is likely unavoidable (eventually).
- Asteroid Thicket: Still present and, thanks to the new mid-battle random events, it's entirely possible to enter/leave one in the middle of a dogfight. There's also a particular Space Station type that's build into one, and their design incorporates segmented rooms and weapons mounted on multiple large rocks.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Artillery, new to the mod, is almost a checklist of this. Like the Federation cruiser from the base game, every ship type has a unique artillery, resulting in things like Rock ships igniting enemies with giant waves of fire, or Slug ships permanently Mind Raping enemy crew...but they have a laundry list of drawbacks: immense cost, both up-front and in upgrades, long charge times unless upgraded, limited scope (both of the above examples are worthless against AI ships, for example), and the fact that they take up a system slot that could be dedicated to a cheaper, more versatile system. There's also currently a Game-Breaking Bug where buying artillery will break your save, requiring either finishing the run in one go, or else using a secondary mod to temporarily fix it.
- Bittersweet Ending: The secret ending: the Federation surrenders (so the Rebels win) but your decision to do so despite having a vast power advantage convinces the Rebel leadership that violence isn't always the best solution, there's a hint of hope that the change in government will come peacefully (and without the implied genocide of the non-Human races the Rebels liked to hint at), and your crew is still hailed as heroes for bringing a bloodless end to the war, rather than the likely Pyrrhic Victory that would have resulted from trying to fight.
- Boring, but Practical: Trading. It's the antithesis of flash; you pay scrap up front (or commit piracy, but that has severe penalties if you're not a pirate race) for boring supplies that take up an augment slot and do nothing useful. Thanks to supply-and-demand, selling them at the next available opportunity will typically net subpar profits, as well. However, if you're patient, you can easily wrack up 200-300 scrap for almost no effort, which can be a godsend on the harder difficulties.
- Captain Obvious: While socializing can sometimes yield interesting lore or characterization, or even positive events, sometimes your crew will just tell you useless, obvious information. The trope is explicitly referenced in a dialogue chain with a panicked Engi crewmember that ends in an incredibly obvious (and pointless) statement.
- Cycle of Hurting: Possible even moreso here than the home game, thanks to the generally higher difficulty. You can spend a lot of time limping from fight to fight, barely scraping by, spending supplies on repairs only to be eventually killed by sheer attrition. Finding ways to overcome or avoid scenarios like this is a key element to the difficulty.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Some of the vanilla events have different outcomes for the same options, so players who dart through these events expecting the classic outcome without bothering to read the new text might be surprised to see their crewmember pitching a fit, abandoning ship with stolen supplies, and sending a location ping to the Rebel fleet because they forced a rescued/bought slave into the crew or robbed a defenseless civilian freighter. Note that some of the vanilla dialogue has been rewritten to reflect this change. For instance, in the original game, buying a slave would be freeing them, but in this mod, you can buy and force them to work on your ship or liberate them.
- Elite Mooks: At Rebel occupied beacons you might have to face various ships (ranging from corvettes to battlecruisers) that are equally or even better equipped than your player cruiser. Capital ships can sometimes also be encountered in Rebel Sectors, Federation Sectors and during the Last Stand. They come in different layouts as well, all complete with gibs and cloak image. Encountering capital ships is quite flavour heavy, most of them even have their own unique name.
- Guide Dang It!: Getting the secret ending requires reaching the Rebel Flagship with multiple systems upgraded to max, and then choosing specific blue options that lead towards refusing to fight. Knowing which systems need to be upgraded, as well as which dialogue options are required (there are multiple options and many of them will just end in a fight) is something players are expected to work out for themselves.
- Harder Than Hard: CE is already a step above normal FTL, so Hard difficulty is definitely this. Regardless of ship, it's a major struggle to get even the basic resources to upgrade your ship while repair the significant damage and supplies you'll be burning just to stay alive.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Some of the new weapon types thrive on this, firing large clusters of weak missiles. In gameplay terms, they're a single projectile that consumes a single missile and has very high accuracy, but deals low damage.
- Mighty Glacier: Enemy space stations have strong hulls, but as stationary installations they have no engines and cannot dodge. This might require you to take them on differently from normal enemies and makes certain weapons more or less effective against them.
- Painfully Slow Projectile: The new Mine weapon types serve as this. They uses missiles, are slow as molasses (the bigger ones can take upwards of fifteen seconds to hit the enemy ship) and are incapable of damaging crew or systems, but they bypass shields and hit like a truck. While defense drones can shoot them down, if the other ship lacks one, hull damage is almost unavoidable.
- Randomly Generated Loot: The CE Endless Loot Addon introduces procedural content generation to FTL. Each base weapon and drone can have various prefixes applied to it. Prefixes alter certain stats of the item for better or worse, resulting in a broad variety of gear.
- Surprise Pregnancy: One positive event when socializing with Mantis crewmember has them suddenly reveal to be pregnant and going into labor, before giving birth to a full-grown Mantis ready to serve.
- Take a Third Option: As always, there are countless blue options that can lead to more favorable outcomes; however, there are far more blue options that can have worse outcomes (it might not be a good idea to try to quell a riot using your advanced lasers, for example) so the player will frequently have to use their judgement on which actions are best.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted as a noteworthy aspect of the mod; all the tricks and toys the AI got to use in the original game appear here in some usable form. (For example, the Slug ships' tendency to drain power from your systems without hacking is represented by an active augment the player can get that costs power to do the same to a system of your choice. Likewise, all of the Rebel Flagship's unique superweapons are available as Artillery for various ships, though you're still only allowed one, determined by your ship type.)note
- Wave Motion Gun: The new Naginata arguably counts, being the next step up from the Glaive beam. It still deals only 2 damage and has an even longer charge, but has almost double the length. The description states it can cut unprotected ships almost in half with a single sweep, and it's not joking; take the enemy's shields down and follow up with this, and the enemy WILL be crippled, if not killed outright. (It's drawbacks are the long charge time, huge power drain and, like all beam weapons, complete impotence against level 2 shields or higher without support.)
- What the Hell, Hero?: Explicitly incorporated thanks to the new roleplaying elements; no more looting civilians and press-ganging slaves without consequence for you! Doing so is likely to incur desertion, sabotage, or even some of your crew turning traitor and trying to alert the Rebels. However, playing as certain "immoral" races' ships (like the Slug, Rock, or Mantis) will allow you to get away with a certain degree of assholery, as it is expected from those races.
- Zerg Rush: The main strategy of enemy Broodships and Broodstations is relentlessly sending wave after wave of cloned boarders at you. Some of them don't even bother with conventional weapons.