Carriers are a class of ship that up until recently had been a bit light on selection. The boffins at Cryptic have been slowly adding them into the game and now we have a very impressive inventory of options for the captain that likes pets.
There are now more than a dozen base ships offering at least one hangar bay. There is also numerous additional variants such as refits, retrofits and fleet versions of these ships. Suddenly we have the ability to fly these types of ships with a captain from any career path.
Originally the carriers were somewhat science oriented which didn’t make much sense considering the nature of a carrier ship. Early in the game’s development there was a lack of science ships when compared to the tactical and engineering selection that was available. I think that may be the reason that the early carriers had a science leaning setup.
Carriers offer an extra layer of customization in that the ship can load a variety of “pets”. Pets simply refers to the fighters, shuttles and drones that can be launched from the hangar bays of carrier ships. The “real” carriers have two hangar bays. Carriers that have two bays can launch two sets of pets. They can be the same or different types. For example you could have a carrier with one hangar launching the Yellowstone shuttles with a tractor beam ability and the other launches a fighter squadron to attack the immobilized victims of the shuttles. There are dozens of options to create a carrier ship that suits your play style.
I only have a few carriers. For the Federation I fly the Obelisk. For the KDF I have the Mirror Vo’quv, Obelisk, Kar’Fi, and Orion Marauder. For the Romulan Republic I have the Scimitar, Falchion, and Tulwar. Of these only the Vo’quv and Kar’Fi have two hangar bays. The Bortasqu’ and Odyssey each offer a variant with a ship specific “pet” but it has a long cool down period when destroyed.
Carriers have an extra element that captains need to pay attention to. The pets can be destroyed and to be truly effective the carrier needs to keep deploying pets as often as possible to be sure and have the maximum number in action at all times. Having the pets out gives enemies something to fire at other than you! This is great for captains that don’t want to worry as much about taking fire so they can boost other skills rather than focusing on tanking. Of course this is only effective against AI opponents. PVP players will likely ignore your pets and move in for the kill on the carrier. I have seen many players build effective tank carriers and let the pets do damage while the carrier repels attacks.
The latest carrier is courtesy of the new season 9.5 Xindi Lockbox. The Xindi-Aquatic Narcine Dreadnought Carrier. This is a potent ship that has a strong tactical leaning to its layout. Below is the wiki comparison of this ship to the other two-bay carrier ships. In all fairness the Advanced Obelisk, Fleet Caitian, and Fleet Vo’Quv are not shown on the chart and they offer a strong alternative to the Jem’Hadar, Tholian and the new Xindi carriers.
The carrier ship I use the most is the Romulan Falchion. Of course this is only a one-bay ship and so it isn’t a true carrier, but this ship allows me to take advantage of carrier pets whilst flying a ship that plays like a badass cruiser. I really thought I was going to like the Kar’Fi but that ship just doesn’t tank well. I feel like Cryptic should have given that ship a 10-11 turn rate to compensate for the pathetic 34,500 hull rating. It is one of the meanest looking ships in the game though! If you are an engineer, then the Obelisk is probably the carrier ship for you. There is an advanced version available in the Lobi store that offers fleet like bonuses including a ten percent boost to shields and hull, and bonus console. If you can’t tank that ship, then tanking isn’t your thing ;)
If you decide to fly a carrier I would recommend looking at the advanced and elite versions of the carrier pets. These superior versions will offer strong attacks and more resilience. I recently upgraded to the Ultra-rare Elite Romulan drone ships for my Falchion and those things almost never die at the hands of AI opponents and even PVP players need to use caution since they hit hard and are hard to kill. The ultra rare versions are available through your fleet store. Advanced versions should be available in the dilthium store.
So go out and get yourself a shiny new carrier and let the pets off the leash!
It’s time for another poll!