Looking for some tips in X3: Terran Conflict

I gather that the X3 series is somewhat famous for its lack of user-friendliness and steep learning curve, but in search of a decent space sim/trader I figured I would pick up Terran Conflict.

And thus far, I’m absolutely lost. I’ve been following the starting mission, which seems to be variations on the format of “Fly to this sector, wait around for an enemy to show up, shoot it, and repeat”, and I can’t decipher the interface beyond figuring out how to turn my thrusters on, Auto-pilot to the enemy contact, wait to get into range, and shoot it until it dies.

So are there any resources out there tooled toward beginners, or have I already gotten the gist of the game, and in doing so proved that I’m not the intended audience?

Don’t worry. If you don’t feel totally lost for your first 5 hours of this game you must have been on the development team. Good news is that Terran Conflict is actually the easiest to get into out of the series (I started on X2 which is much much worse believe it or not). Sadly if you’re into the trading aspect the series has slowly been moving more and more towards combat the last couple of games. In X2 about the only way to get cash was to trade for hours. In this game it’s harder to get a decent trade ship right off the bat and the economy is a bit harder to exploit where it’s easy to get millions through combat missions.

If you’re looking for advice the best place is the Egosoft forums. They are a surprisingly helpful bunch.

I’m also willing to answer any questions you have if I know the answer. I haven’t had the time to explore this game as much as I have X3 Reunion though.

Thanks for the advice! I’m completely fine with a combat-oriented game, as long as I can eventually figure out how to run it.

I did have one quick question, though-when starting a new game you’re given a choice of character, but never told what, if any bearing your choice has on anything… so does it at all matter which character I use? I ended up picking the Terran Patriot, simply because I thought her helmet looked cool, so I’m hoping that works out.

Oh yea, and on the same note, do I have any input if I chose Custom Character? Clicking it always seems to throw me right into the pilot’s seat, without letting actually, y’know, customize anything.

The games in this series were meant to be sandbox games so the starting positions mostly effect what assets you start the game with and what the beginning quests are. You can do most (if not all) the story missions from all start points if you look around enough. There’s ‘bridge’ missions that allow you to play the other starting quests even if you didn’t pick that storyline from the start.

Terran Patriot starts you with a decent fighter and slides you pretty easy into the main storyline.

Custom is just what you experience. No bootstrap into the storyline just you and a wide universe to explore.

I didn’t mean to imply it’s all about combat. There is tons of trade to be had in the game (and setting up huge factory complexes always tickles some sick part of me). It’s just that it’s easier going combat. The rewards are much faster just hail a base with a combat mission and you’re good to go. Setting up a successful trade route however requires you to carefully explore tons of sectors leave satellites all over the universe so you can check changing prices and steering slow ships around. In the previous X games I went trade until I could afford a fighter. In this one I went fighter missions until I could afford universal traders that did the work for me as it was just so much easier to amass wealth that way.

Hmm, so I shot some red guys down, got promoted, was sent to the Mars Shipyards, and rewarded with a Rapier that seems to be inferior to my Sceptre in every regard except for top speed…

So a few questions have presented themselves. First off, what do I do with my extra ship? I see there’s a little logistics window to organize my vessels into wings… do I need to find and hire pilots, or do I leave everything that isn’t my personal vessel unmanned? Is it even worth keeping the extra ship around, or would it be better to just sell it off and pocket the cash?

On that note, I was also hoping to ask where you recommend going from here: should I just keep following the plot missions, or is there somewhere I can go to pick up combat/filler missions that’ll let me start saving towards a bigger ship, or at least better weapons than the pea shooters I currently have equipped?

No you don’t have to hire pilots (aside from universal traders and that’s done automatically once you get the right software and command them to start trading) I don’t really trust the AI pilots not to die stupidly so until I can afford to replace them at will I either sell off spare ships or park them if I plan on using them later for a specific mission or to man my carriers. If I remember correctly on that mission line you end up with about 5 fighters in short order. I’d just sell them at this point.

Missions are generated at random when you enter a sector. If you’re in the mood to do combat missions just fly around the universe and look for stations with the ‘combat mission’ icon above them. Hail them and accept (you might want to land and save). I can’t recommend if you should stick to story missions or go out on your own it’s pretty much what you feel like doing. If the story missions are growing boring or confining (or you just want to make some money) try something different for awhile. Mining, trading, combat missions, pirate hunting, scavenger hunting. You’ll find something to do.

I’d say the quickest way to make cash is to do some combat missions until you can afford a decent trade ship + trade software MKIII + Jumpdrive and setup a universal trader. Then go do more combat missions until you can get 3 universal traders going. After that I always move to building stations but since building empires is what I enjoy most in this game I’m a little biased. I understand mobile mining makes money much much quicker then building stations but that bores me to tears.

The most fun way to make money in X games is capturing ships. Basically, after you deplete the enemies shields and lower their hull to below 87% (I think, it’s been a while) the pilot has a chance to eject out. Then you can eject from your ship, fly over to theirs and claim it for yourself. So what you do is get a low damaging weapon and fire it constantly at the enemy once his hull is below 87%, making sure you’re doing just enough damage to stop his shields replenishing. You can capture M3 ships (ones without a rear turret) very early on if you’re actually able to get their shields down. Sometimes you capture ships with shields and weapons still installed but it’s rare.

I’d agree that combat missions are the best to start with. Later on you can make a lot of money with Universal Traders and station complexes, though I tend to only use the latter to restock my ships/fleets.

I find Terran space pretty poor as a starting location due to the lack of enemy targets. I would move over to Argon space early on, especially the western sectors around Home Of Light. Lots of pirate sectors nearby and I can work on my Paranid relations (they sell Docking computers which allow you to instantly dock to a station when you’re within 5km)

An unmanned ship can do almost anything a manned ship can, but you might need to buy software upgrades to access some autopilot options.

I’d check first to make sure that you can buy that particular variant. If you can, go ahead, as you’ll be able to buy a new one later if you feel like it.

In X2 and Reunion, one of the first things I did was start attacking pirates, since surrendered ships and dropped missiles are a good source of income. If you’re skilled and patient enough, even an M5 with no missiles can capture a TS. Just watch out for anything with AoE weapons like PSGs or Ion Disruptors, friend or foe.

I disagree on caping ships. For one Omi seems not to have the basic mechanics down yet and caping ships is a bit of a pain before you know how to get around the universe and how to fight first. Combat missions are simpler to do. In the earlier X games caping made a bunch more money then regular missions so it made sense to skip past the mission part but in Terran conflict the cash rewards have gone through the roof. It’s not long until you’re being offered 1,000,000 per mission.

Also the Khaak and Xenon invasion missions are pretty fun just on their own.

I defer to your experience. I haven’t played X3:TC anywhere near as much as X2 or X3. It’s a shame they made combat missions so profitable, there was always a nice balance between trade/fight/build/think.

Hi, i am new to the x games and have just bought x3:TC.
I cannot work out how to trade with an unmanned ship (so that they buy and sell themselves) and was wondering if anyone could help me as i am completely lost.

Talking about universal traders? If so you have to buy Trade Software MKIII from the Taladi. Install it on the ship you want to use and then enter the command Sector Trader. After they get enough trade ranks you can then give them the command to universal trading.