If I were a complete master of Marauders, I would write a guide to maximizing your playtime with this extraction-style diesel-punk game, teaching you how to completely destroy your enemies and earn massive piles of loot while you’re at it. Unfortunately, I kind of suck at it. I’m definitely getting better as I play more of it, but my experience is still kind of a struggle.

Then again, I think there are probably a lot of people in my shoes. With the player base camping raid entrances and picking off under-equipped players, gaining any ground in the game can be a frustrating exercise in futility.

So, while I can’t give you advice on being the best space pirate in the universe, I can talk you through continuing your progress even when you’ve completely messed everything up. Because I’ve had to do that myself, and I’ve now come back from some absolutely excruciating losses.

How hopeless can Marauders get?

Marauders - Starting Loadout

Okay, so one thing that might stress you out is that when you die in a raid, you lose everything you have on you at the time. So if you have three or four failed runs in a row, you will find that your equipment stockpile is wearing pretty thin.

But don’t worry; the game is built around this mechanic, and it won’t ever lock you out of progression. You will always have access to the Rustbucket ship, no matter how many of those you lose out in the ice-cold darkness of space.

Additionally, you always have a basic loadout on the Rustbucket. This includes the Luger P08 pistol, the Pouch Rig chest armor (with four small storage slots), and 30 rounds of 9mm ammo. These should be laid out on a table behind the cockpit of your ship, but sometimes those items will be scattered on the floor around the table.

Note that later ships will not have a default starting loadout onboard.

So things are never completely hopeless. While the Rustbucket starting loadout will certainly not make you competitive against fully decked-out players, these things will give you a slight edge against NPC opponents.

Sell your starting loadout after every round

Marauders - Overlord

So, this is a little bit of a cheese, but if you go into a match with the starting loadout (mentioned in the previous section) and you survive the extraction, you can sell all of the items in your loadout. That gives you somewhere around $900, which isn’t a lot but it also isn’t nothing.

This is especially useful on those runs when you bork the whole thing before you even enter the raid. And that brings me to…

Use your escape pods if necessary

Marauders - Escape Pod

Don’t be afraid to jump into an escape pod and leave the Rustbucket behind. If you take a ton of damage, or even if you get boarded by another player, just get the heck out of there. You can hit the exit portal in just the escape pod. So even if someone blasts your Rustbucket before you even dock it, you can get out of the stage, sell your loadout, then start a fresh run. This is one way to make a teensy tiny amount of progress on a completely botched run.

Plan the space phase carefully


If there are a lot of other players in a raid, you might want to hang back in the Rustbucket and kind of hug the asteroids so you’re out of view of the other ships. Sometimes it makes sense to just wait out intense firefights and then go in after everyone else is wounded or dead.

Also, you can often find a path to the raid entrance where you have a lot of cover. Even if this creates a pretty long path, sometimes it’s just safer to stay mostly in cover so you don’t get shot or boarded.

When you’re playing with a beginner’s loadout, you want to avoid confrontation rather than heading straight into it.

Don’t play during peak hours


So, this tends to be true of pretty much any online multiplayer game, but it seems like the crowd after 9 p.m. Central is a rough one. This is the point where most of the dads with precious little free time have to go put their kids to bed, and it’s when people who work 9-to-5 jobs are going to start logging off. This means the people who remain are going to be the no-lifers, the kids who have nothing but free time and the ambition to get stupidly good at a video game.

If you really don’t want to lose your stuff, you might be better off playing the game on a Saturday morning, or early in the afternoon on a weekday. These times tend to see a lot less aggressive player behavior across the board.

Of course, people will be aggressive at any time of the day; it’s just that your chances of running into those people are a lot more likely after 9 p.m.

Sometimes it makes sense to back out after grabbing just one item

Marauders - Airlock

It can kind of feel counterintuitive in the moment to just run in, grab a single piece of wire, then bail. There’s this nagging feeling of, “I just got here; I should probably poke around for a bit.”

Don’t listen to that feeling. Even if you grab one thing, you’re making progress so long as you can bank that one thing. And even if you grab nothing at all, you can sell your beginning loadout when you get back to your base.

Get used to having nothing


It’s really easy to lose everything you own in Marauders. Generally, four or five bad runs is all it takes to drain your starting gear, and you can burn through money pretty fast. So you might want to just get used to not having anything. That way, you won’t be disappointed when you lose everything, and when you actually manage to bank some stuff, it will feel like a momentous occasion worth celebrating.

On the other hand, if you’re used to having really good gear, it’s going to affect the way you play. You’ll learn to be a little more reckless, taking risks that an underequipped player couldn’t afford to. Plus, if you’re used to having good gear, the game is going to be absolutely brutal when you don’t.

Learn to craft bags

Marauders - Craft Light Bag

And for the love of all things steely and grimy, learn to craft some bags. The Sack Bag is a decent pick for early game (though you’ll need to scrap items to make one), but the Light Bag is where things really get good. You can make a Light Bag from two pieces of Synthetic Scrap, which is pretty easy to find. Once you unlock the crafting recipe (at Level 5 for 2 Skill Points and $5,250), you’ll stop sweating over inventory space and breathe just a little easier.

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