In the U.S. today is Thanksgiving, so Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Cryptic launched the new T6 versions of the Defiant aka Tactical Escort Retrofit, B’Rel BOP, and T’Varo Warbird. These new ships each have a new skin and name but they are for all practical purposes the same ships in T6 form. If you already have the T5 versions like I do, I am not convinced you need to buy the T6 version. You will gain a 5th level mastery ship trait and some much-needed BOFF Flexibilty severely lacking in the Defiant T5. But is that worth the extra 3000 zen for a ship so similar to its predecessor? That depends greatly on the other ships you have in the “garage”. If you do not already have the T5 versions then you have a real choice to consider.
Today I am going to discuss specifically the Feddie versions and make a direct comparison, not just with the T5-U and T6 ‘Defiant’ escorts but also the excellent T6 Pilot Mercury Class, and T6 Intel Phantom. I own all of these ships save for the new T6 Defiant.
I have discussed each of these in the past, but today is a four-way comparison of the ships.
First of all, the new T6 ‘Defiant’ allows you to use all the Tactical Escort skins you have unlocked and offers a new ‘Valiant’ skin which I think is really cool looking. This new ship is everything the Defiant should have been but wasn’t. The T5 version is severely limited in BOFF seating as there is no universal chair and the ship is heavily weighted to tactical seating. For some players this is fine, for others the ship was too one-dimensional. I believe a great many people bought the ship because of the DS-9 nostalgic value. I did :). In all fairness, the Tactical Escort Retrofit is also a ship that was launched a very long time ago. Universal chairs were unusual except for BOPs and specialty BOFF seating did not exist yet. Players that love the Defiant and want a modernised version should by all means buy the new T6 version. If you have more Zen than brains, then buy them all! If you are trying to be practical in your spending then a close look at these ships is well worth the effort.
One thing I noticed right away is the stats on the T6 version are not nerfed. The T6 ship has the same hull and shields as the T5-U version. This is one of those situations where there is no reason to buy the T5 version of the ship unless you want the console cloaking device. If you want a cloak get the Phantom. More on that later. The T5 ship is only 2000 zen (Did they lower that price recently?) and then you add another 700 Zen to upgrade it.(500 if you buy a four-pack of upgrade modules). 2700 Zen for an absolutely inferior ship is a bit suspect. This new ship has effectively rendered the original Tactical Escort Retrofit obsolete. So the decision on the Defiant versus the Defiant is super easy, get the T6 ship!
Things start to get real dicey when we look at the other two ships. The Phantom is very similar to the Defiant class. Turn rate, hull, styling, etc. It really was the first T6 version of the Tactical Escort Retrofit. It has a little less hull than the upgraded Defiant but offers a built-in cloaking device freeing up a console slot, and intelligence BOFF seating. It is a little more flexible on seating than even the T6 Defiant. The ability to use multiple instances of Intelligence Team is very beneficial for players that like a stealthy style of combat. The fifth level mastery trait, ‘reciprocity’ is very useful. In PVP the T6 Defiant probably has the advantage, but against NPCs the Phantom is harder to hit. It has slightly improved maneuvering via the better inertia rating. The Phantom is also a little quicker on impulse speed with a 0.22 rating versus 0.20 for the Defiant ships. The Phantom furthers its speed advantage with a +10 to engine power along with +10 to weapons. The new T6 Defiant does get a nice boost to engine power of +5 while still retaining the +15 to weapons so that is cool.
These three ships (T5 Defiant, T6 Defiant, and T6 Phantom) are very similar in both stats and styling and all three are available in Fleet versions. Always get the Fleet version. It gives plus ten percent to shields and hull, and an extra console for what amounts to a little fleet grinding and 500 more Zen. The Fleet ship upgrade is one of the better “values” offered in STO. I recommend buying the C-Store ship and then buy the fleet upgrade because that way you unlock the ship for your whole account rather than just the one toon. You also get the special console from the C-Store ship that is omitted on the Fleet version. It is an extra 500 Zen that way, but worth it in the long run.
The Mercury Class Pilot ship is an interesting contrast to the rest of these ships. As of right now there is unfortunately, no Fleet version available :( It is also quite a bit different in stats. This ship is almost a raider class. It offers the blazing speed of 0.24 impulse and like the Phantom, a +10 to engine power to compliment the +10 to weapons. Speaking of weapons, this ship has five up front with two in the aft. The turn rate is a wicked 20 dps standard and is the quickest slalom runner Starfleet has ever offered. Without a fleet version this ship will be a little soft on hull but comparable to the non-fleet version of the Phantom. It does have the best shield modifier of the bunch with a cruiser-like 1.05. As if that weren’t enough, the Mercury has the most flexible BOFF seating of the bunch with a Rating of 1.769! (read about BOFF rating here.) But wait… there’s more… Let’s not forget about the pilot manuevers. These are handy and more than make up for the lack of hull. Hey Cryptic, don’t let that stop you from bringing a fleet version out ;) The more I fly that pilot ship the more I like it.
If you already have the T5 version of the Tactical Escort Retrofit, I would go ahead an upgrade it to T5-U and then look at the Phantom and Mercury (or one of the other two Pilot ships). The T6 version of the Defiant is overwhelmingly superior to its older brother but if T5 defiant is already parked in the garage, add one of the other two ships. If you are a DS-9 fan-boy, I’ll understand you ignoring this advice and getting the new T6 version anyway :)
Do I have a chart? Of course I do!