Its funny how we sometimes align ourselves to a particular brand. It’s the same with the ships – some are obviously better than others and better suited to the roles we want to carry out, but there are still those that we tend to gravitate towards and other that we shy away from, despite being similar on paper.
I try to remain open minded about the options available, since I don’t want to overlook any ships that would otherwise be a better choice for a given role. But even then, I still find I have my favourites.
Being in Colonia and having a bit of spare cash from selling exploration data, gave me the chance to explore a couple of alternative options away from my normal preferred choices. To try something different to what I am used to. I didn’t want to fly around in the huge Anaconda that I used to get here, I needed a couple of smaller ships during my stay to meet with engineers and fulfil their obligations. Something for bounty hunting and another for mining and shorter range exploration.
Firstly, I bought a Fer-de-Lance. I had been in combat against these many times and been impressed with their manoeuvrability and speed. They also have a spot for a huge weapon and several other smaller points. What has put me off buying one of these in the past, is the low cargo space and limited shield capability of class 5. The jump range is also fairly poor. I handed over the cash and immediately began buying and installing modules to create a bounty hunter. I felt uneasy though. I don’t like the lavish design and elaborate use of materials. A combat ship should be functional and I could not help thinking that this functionality is compromised by adding unnecessary luxury. Why did they not develop the space underside/aft to allow for additional module space?
Granted, it was in an unengineered state as I left for the nearest extraction site in search of prey, and my combat skills had undoubtedly softened since 3 weeks from my last offensive engagement, but the FdL made a dogs breakfast of the first encounter. He got away. It felt mediocre and I missed my main combat vessel back in the bubble. The second ship was not so lucky, but I still found myself tied up in a dogfight that lasted far too long. I eventually took down the target, but at one point I thought I might actually lose when his shields regenerated. I need to engineer this ship to get the best out of it, but I cant see it winning me over even then.
I then decided to return and buy an ASP explorer. They have great jump range potential, second only to the Anaconda, but they are much smaller and can land on any station. This ship would be to zip about the Colonia region. It’s a damn ugly ship. But, its functional and does what you need. I guess I just never got around to trying out this ship, favouring the DBX for short range exploration, but the ASP explorer is excellent at the job. I was also impressed with the manoeuvrability, module options and the cargo space. So much so, that with a few additional modules it makes a great mining ship as well as an explorer, without compromising either role. A definite keeper, I might even buy another once I’m back in the bubble, but I think I will stick with my trusty Anaconda for long journeys.