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The scrap recovery arm costs 50 scrap and Gives you +10% scrap on acquisition other than selling items (rounded down.) Given that you have to spend scrap to earn scrap, at what sector does it make sense to invest in the SRA? I'd imagine you'd want to have a significant gain to make up for early scrap disadvantage.

This question's answer will vary based on difficulty, as that impacts scrap rewards as well as the necessity for early scrap.

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The item requires you to get 500 scrap before it even pays for itself, I wouldn't get it past sector two if I was planning on actually ever gaining anything at all from it. Personally I never get it at all. –  Ender Apr 27 at 14:52
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@Ender - Whilst I generally don't buy the Scrap Arm over other options available, the blue-option it adds to 'Asteroid Field' events gives you a guaranteed amount of between 18-41 scrap. I've found on runs where I've obtained it even at late as sector 5 it's paid for itself fairly quickly. –  Robotnik Apr 27 at 15:07
    
I was unaware of blue options given by it. nice –  Ender Apr 27 at 15:17
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These blue events really need to be mentioned in the answer, 41 scrap from one blue event that you wouldn't otherwise get is a major factor in the item paying for itself. –  Ender Apr 27 at 15:27
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Also worth mentioning is that you can sell it for 25 scrap in sector 7. –  Studoku Apr 28 at 0:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

In the first couple sectors, I think you easily make about 100 scrap per sector. As you move up, that amount increases to 200 or 300 per sector (assuming you are defeating all ships rather than fleeing or avoiding them). So I'd say that as long as you get it before the end of sector 4, it definitely pays for itself. After that, it gets to be risky, but could still pay for itself even if you pick it up in sector 5 or early sector 6.

There is also the opportunity cost of taking an equipment slot and not having the 50 scrap to spend on something else. I'd probably rate it as awesome in sector 1-3, good in 4, and iffy beyond that.

Comments talk about the Asteroid Field event, but I think that is rare enough that I wouldn't really take it into account. I've bought the arm numerous times, and gotten to take advantage of that event in maybe 10% of them.

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"There is also the opportunity cost..." - looks like someone's been studying game theory. –  IQAndreas Apr 29 at 3:30
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@IQAndreas or any other economic theory, since O.C is central to almost all of them. –  shanodin May 2 at 4:29
    
In sector 1 and maybe sector 2, scrap is so precious that I'd consider passing up a scrap recovery arm in a store in favor of, say, upgrading your shield system. –  Brilliand May 16 at 19:37

Although bwarner has answered this question, there are some points where my experience (unlocking all ships, all achievements, completing the game numerous times on Hard/with AE) has made me consider the real answer a bit different.

The real answer is (IMVHO): it depends.

As already pointed out, since you buy SRA for 50 and can later resell it for 25, with the scrap reward @ 10% it only takes 250 scrap collected to make it viable. Collecting that much scrap is usually very easy, especially on Easy and Normal it can be done without much trouble in a single Sector 7 run (if it's done efficiently). I agree that AF event rewards ain't big enough to justify having SRA on board.

There are, however, other concerns.

  • on Easy and Medium you don't need that much scrap and you don't need scrap that much; I've been able to finish Easy/Medium runs with >1000 scrap left - after you learn how to play, you can safely approach Rebel Flagship with only 3 shields, engines within L4-L6 range, without any "advanced" stuff, with only L2 support systems and Cloak + teleporter and/or missiles. I usually skip drone system entirely, unless I get a free Repair Drone by the way; summing up, the actual reward for having SRA is very low in terms of gameplay - but...
  • since SRA increases your overall scrap, it increases your overall score; there ain't any other upgrade in the entire game like it! (You can even have two or three SRAs if you have a bit of luck) On the other hand -
  • while it does take an augment slot, there ain't that many useful augments out there. Most of them are overpriced and provide only minor convenience to the player. The only thing useful enough for me is the Pre-Igniter, at times when I have Glaive or any other heavy-duty guns. Period.
  • on Hard, the actual rewards from having SRA are quite low (due to reduced scrap rewards), and the price is quite high (you're really have to penny-pinch on Hard, 50 scrap is enough to buy you a gun or a crew member when you're short on it); I usually skip it in any sector after the 2nd for this reason. However,
  • if you already have 2 augs (one starting, one bought) before buying SRA and you decide to buy it early, as a 3rd aug, you're losing chance to collect augs in events, with the obvious result of not being able to use them nor sell them (as you can't place augs 'in cargo').

So, to sum up: it depends. If you're aiming for a high score and feel confident with the game, have a decent enough array of weaponry, 3-4 Zoltans on board and got good luck before you got to the shop, you should get SRA - or even multiple SRAs if you're lucky enough, since they're stackable. If you're a casual player, you can take one if you have 0-1 aug already. Since I stopped playing below Hard and the risk factor increases too much with improper gear there, I skip it entirely after sector 2 - it's much more important to spend that scrap on things increasing survivability than income, since it's no longer about "how much scrap I'll be able to collect?" but rather about "how to not get reduced from 30HP to 0 in one combat" (early encounters with ships with Vulcan and Breach Missiles targeting my engines come to mind...); on the other hand, since you'll be selling some of the initial augments for scrap and free aug space, you can take 1 SRA if you get it in Sec 1/2.

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