Among all the discussion surrounding FTL, one thing I have not seen is a verdict on the wisdom/idiocy of upgrading to level 3 sensors.

For those of you who never have, doing so allows you to see the power distribution and damage status of the enemy systems in the same format by which you see your own. (individual upgrade bars, repair status, etc.)

I've gone to level 3 twice, both times I was spoiled with scrap. I found it mildly interesting but it did not influence my SOP in combat.

Where or when would level 3 sensors make sense, if ever?

3 Answers 3


Level 3 sensors have a non-combat benefit, since having them will present additional blue options in some encounters.

Another benefit of seeing their systems is that you can see the cooldown on their cloak (if they have it), which can help you make decisions when firing weapons or teleporting crew in.

  • 11
    Additionally it will let you see the "cooldown" on ion stunned equipment ... nice to know where to direct your fire.
    – aslum
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 5:09
  • 7
    oooh (claps hands) I didn't know it created blue options... and boy oh boy do I love those!
    – Drew
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 6:48
  • I don't remember for sure, but I think you can even see repair progress so you can better estimate when to aim for their shield (or O₂...)
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 7:04
  • 5
    There's also the usual benefit of more health for the system.
    – deadly
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 12:45
  • 1
    New content of the game allow to see charge of enemy weapons with lvl3 sensors
    – SysDragon
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:12

Another benefit could be in the, admittedly very specific, scenario where you have a basic Ion Blast (Mk I), no other ion weaponry, and not enough power to power all your ship's systems (for example, your power is already maxed out powering different systems).

It can be useful to know whether your opponent has an even or odd amount of shield power. If it's even, then firing the Ion Blast will take away a shield bubble. If it's odd, the Ion Blast won't do much.

Enemy ships can have anywhere from 2 up to 10 power in their shield system, so only when they have 5 shields do you know for sure how much power is in that system.


The order that the weapons go down is related to the charge. You can use the sensors to decide when to hit the weapons in order to take less damage.

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