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What are the manning priorities? How would you rank each station from most important to man to least important to man? For example should I man shields instead of weapons or the other way around? What kind of exceptions are there? What should I consider?

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Priority One

Piloting and Engines: Both increase your evasion which is extremely important during the whole game and during the final boss. Your goal is to have achieved anything above 40% up until the Rebel Flagship. 50% is ideal.

Priority Two

Weapons: Give enough hours to this game and you'll realize that if your weapons had striked a second earlier you might have won the game. The reduced time in weapons makes a huge difference so this priority No.2.

Priority Three

Shields: Reduced time for shields is great so if you want to invest with a crewmember. However, when you need a crewmember to fight or fix something, this is the one you use, not the Pilot, the Engine or the Weapons one.

Rest

Everything else depends on your strategy and the various situations. Sensors and Doors can work great if you know when and how to use them.

  • 3
    Piloting trumps Engines. When your Engineer abandons his post you loose his 5-10% boost to your evasion. When the Pilot abandons his post, you not only loose his 5-10% evasion boost, but, depending on the level of your autopilot, also loose 20-100% of the evasion provided by your engines and engineer. Your pilot is definitely your MVP. Think of your autopilot as helping while there are distractions like fire, breaches, or boarders in the cockpit. – tjd Mar 15 '16 at 14:20
  • I agree, yet I think that Pilot and Engines combined should be your highest priority because evasion is extremely important any given moment. This is why I've put them together. – Aventinus Mar 15 '16 at 14:23
  • Also things may change depending on the race of the crewmen. Zoltans would get priority in the shield room since they can negate ions. – l I Mar 15 '16 at 14:38
  • Yup, Evasion is important. I'm just not sure that the priority difference between Engineer & Gunner can hold a candle to the priority difference between Pilot & Engineer. Your answer gives the impression that Pilot and Engineer are peers as opposed to merely working toward the same, admittedly important, stat. When an Engineer needs the Med-bay, you may deal. When a Pilot needs the Med-bay during combat, you bring in a, possibly unskilled, replacement. – tjd Mar 15 '16 at 15:18
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    @z' I'm not sure I agree with your Zoltan placement. You'd need 2 Zoltans hangin' in the Shield room to keep a single shield powered under attack from Ion Weapons. Otherwise your shields are going down. While a Zoltan in the Engine room will keep the engines contributing at least 5% evasion, + the skill levels of the Engineer & Pilot. By keeping the Engines above 0% you keep the all important Pilot in play. Even in the gunner's position, a single point of Zoltan power isn't going to help very much against Ion Weapons. – tjd Mar 15 '16 at 15:52
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It dependes.
It depends on the situation, your loadout, your ship, the opponent, are you boarded, are you in a hazard zone, do you need repairs... You get the idea.

There are 6 systems that benefit from manning. Piloting, Shields, Weapons, Engines, Sensors and Doors.
Piloting is the only one you'll want manned in almost every situation, because without a pilot, you can't evade anything unless hte Piloting is upgraded. Also, without your pilot, your FTL won't charge nor is it activatable, if fully charged.
Shields, Weapons and Engines give you bonuses to shield recharge, weapon recharge and evasion respecively. The choise between these is often what you need to figure out fron the situation. Luckly you'll usualy only need to leave one of these unmanned.
Sensors and Doors are the ones you are most likely to leave unmanned outside special situations. The benefits from those are highly situational.

Other than that, manning stations gives you various bonuses and it's up to you to figure out, which ones you need the most.

You can find more on the bonuses on the Systems and Skills wiki-pages.

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