The Cycle: Frontier – Beginner’s Guide
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It’s no small feat to make it out alive with your painstakingly amassed loot intact. Prospecting on Fortuna III can be as lucrative as it is deadly, so knowing how best to balance risk and reward is crucial to getting ahead in The Cycle: Frontier.
We’ve pieced together a few choice top tips to help your first few sorties into the planet’s lush jungles go a little smoother. These are geared at solo greenhorns overwhelmed by the jump from smooth-sailing tutorial to unforgiving live drops where everything seems out to cut short your time on Fortuna III.
Prepare to Die
As disheartening as it may be, death is a huge part of The Cycle: Frontier. There is hostile fauna and fellow prospectors around every corner, more than happy to snatch up your loot given half a chance.
The sooner you accept that some drops will end prematurely – some as soon as you step out of the drop pod – the better. Take each death as a lesson, and move on to the next drop.
Embrace the grind. There’s plenty more loot out there, and The Cycle: Frontier rewards perseverance. As you pick up better gear and weapons, things get easier.
Prioritize Thrifty Drops To Start
In the spirit of not sweating those unavoidable deaths, you can take steps to mitigate losing valuable loot.
As tempting as it may be, avoid repeatedly visiting Fortuna III equipped with your best gear. Higher-tier gear is in short supply in the early game, and chances are you’ll lose to more experienced players and NPCs whose attacks and behaviors you’ve yet to commit to memory.
Instead, prioritize thrifty drops, equipping a barebones load-out of low-level equipment, chiefly white (or common) armor and weapons. You can even forgo firearms and armor entirely. Avoid fighting, keep quiet, and focus on looting materials. Once your backpack is full up, dart for an evac ship. Get in and get out quick.
If you don’t make it out alive, you won’t feel too bad about losing your load-out. Survive, and you’ll head back to Prospect Station with a tidy little haul you can sell or use to upgrade your quarters.
Here’s an example of a viable thrifty drop load-out:
- Small backpack
- Common shield (optional)
- Common helmet (optional)
- K-28 (optional)
- Handful of Weak Stims
Play The Cycle: Frontier on Bright Sands
Visiting the launch terminal gives you two map options. Of the two, we highly recommend sticking to the more docile and forgiving Bright Sands to start.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a hostile place, but NPCs are limited to low-level creatures, such as striders, blast ticks, and rattlers. Similarly, most beginners stick to Bright Sands, so, in theory, the PvP threat shouldn’t be quite as high.
As you progress, you’ll want to graduate to the tougher Crescent Falls to gather better loot like Aluminum Scrap, but only do so when visiting Bright Sand is stunting your progression.
Fall Damage in The Cycle: Frontier
You’ll invariably learn this the hard way at some point, but The Cycle: Frontier features impactful fall damage, though it doesn’t explicitly let the player know this. Leaping from heights takes a chunk out of your health or kills you outright – back you go to Prospector Station.
Descend rocky outcrops and cliffs with caution, or better yet, avoid them entirely to avoid any nasty surprises. The same goes for jumping down from or between structures. Note that Armor does little to soften the blow, either. If a drop or jump feels too ambitious, it probably is.
Manage Your Stamina
Melee attacks, leaping, and running in The Cycle: Frontier come with a stamina cost. Depleting your stamina almost always puts you in a tight spot, especially in the heat of battle, reducing your prospector to a slow moving, easy target.
Always monitor your stamina, and try to keep jumping and running to a minimum, ideally only when you’re running away from a threat, darting for an evac ship, or trying to outmaneuver an enemy. Besides keeping your stamina topped up, walking is quieter, reducing the chance of being detected by Fortuna III’s nasty critters and other players.
Complete Faction Missions
To unlock the best gear in The Cycle: Frontier, you’ll need to cozy up to the game’s three Factions. Doing so expands the available inventory in each of their respective shops.
The best way to do this is by completing the initial Punch In missions and then some to push your relationship with the faction to level 3, at which point you’ll unlock lucrative jobs. Focusing on these ensures a steady flow of K-Marks, which you can invest in better weapons and gear.
Most early missions involve looting readily-available materials and items, so you get good rewards for little effort. Each mission also grants a reward, generally a weapon, which increases in value the more tasks you complete. If anything, having these objectives when you drop gives you a defined goal, as roaming aimlessly around the map often ends in tears.
It’s also worth leafing through what each faction shop has to offer. If a particular weapon tickles your fancy, focus on completing missions for that particular faction over another to raise the faction Level. You’ll unlock the option to buy the weapon faster than slowly ticking off every mission from all three factions simultaneously.
Note that selling certain items to faction shops also raises your faction Level, so don’t hesitate to part with any excess materials or low-level weapons.
Another great way to soften the blow of losing your gear during a botched drop is to insure it beforehand. The idea is simple: insure an item for a fraction of its cost at the launch terminal, and should you die, you’ll receive most of the item’s value in K-Marks.
While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money before you’ve even dropped, the value of loot acquired from a successful drop generally surpasses the money spent on insurance. And, if you die, you get compensated. There’s no real negative to taking out insurance with every drop.
There are two types of insurance:
- Gear Salvage Insurance: Priced in Gear Tokens and Aurum, this insurance gives back the item/weapon itself on the condition another player doesn’t snap up the loot. Otherwise, you receive a K-Mark payment equivalent to most of the gear’s value.
- Standard Insurance: Priced in K-marks, this is your basic insurance, compensating you with a K-Mark payout. You can then buy a replacement with the cash.
Aurum and Gear Tokens are in short supply unless you pay real money or invest heavily into The Cycle: Frontier’s Battle Pass. Standard Insurance is the best and cheapest option if you’re dropping with a higher-level weapon you can’t afford to lose outright.
Passive Loot in The Cycle: Frontier
Though most loot is obtained during visits to Fortuna III, there are ways to ensure a steady, passive trickle of useful goodies in The Cycle: Frontier.
Quarters Supply Crate Upgrades
After completing the first set of Punch In faction missions, you’ll unlock the Quarters. Head inside and visit the Quarters Upgrade board near the back of the room. Under generators, you’ll see a Supply Crate Update option.
Upgrade it to level 1 as soon as you have the materials and K-Marts. Doing so gives you a daily supply crate full of rewards and loot. Further upgrades improve the daily rewards, so be sure to invest the required materials when you can.
Log In Daily For Free Loot
For every two days you login to the game, The Cycle: Frontier grants you a free piece of loot. That’s seven free items for simply loading up the game every day over 14 days. The last item is a high-tier purple weapon.
That wraps up our beginner’s guide to surviving in The Cycle: Frontier’s challenging world. As above, embrace the grind and don’t sweat those failed evacs. Sure and steady progress wins out in the end.