Trading reached first. I think selling food has made the most rank overall. Having a lot of extra NPC stations around the universe from all the 'build stations' missions definitely helped.
Fighting up to Hero 26% was done by just playing normally (plots/missions etc), fighting some Xenons/Khaaks in their sectors using Boreas and Hades. Hero 26% -> X-TREME was done by declaring an all-out war on the Borons and wiping their sectors using Boreas. I did want to use Tyr because I think it is a better M2, but unfortunately due to a still unresolved bug I cannot use some Terran ships.
Final pilot stats:
- Availability of native Linux port on steam. This is by far the most important feature, without it nothing would be possible as I don't use windows
- Gorgeous graphics. The ships are beautiful. The sectors are stunning. Everything looks so good.
- Fantastic music in many sectors
- The scale of things - so many different sectors to visit and things to do
- Interesting economic system
- Variety of ships and weapons to try
- History and lore. I find the sector descriptions and all the encyclopedia entries very interesting.
- There should be a way to skip the animation during station placing
- I would have liked if ships M6 and above had a switch on their main gun battery to toggle between "turret" and "manual" modes
- I would have liked if every bigship (M7 and above) could dock one fighter and one supply ship (TS). This could be even available as an upgrade (like turboboost) - to add an external, Griffon-style docking port.
- I think all ships (especially small ships and M6) and stations (especially trading station and eq dock) should have bigger cargo holds
- Terrans need a frigate-class weapon (CIG/IPG sort of thing)
- Shadow missiles are too strong
- I was not able to understand what some plots have asked for me during some stages because the audio briefings cut short (this is probably some bug), so I had to rely on a website (rogueys) to understand what is going on.
- My biggest issue apart from bugs is that destroyed NPC stations will get indefinitely rebuilt, and NPC ships will always respawn out of nowhere. This removes the possibility to substantially alter the universe, something I expected a sandbox game would have.
- Ships of all sizes and everything else in general (missiles etc) is too slow. There is probably some reason for this, but I just cannot bring myself to like it.