When one thinks of the name Raptor, they may realize that a Raptor is by definition a “Bird of Prey”. So the Klingon’s have a class of ship called “Raiders” and they are all “Birds of Prey” but the larger Klingon Defense Force (KDF) escorts are called “Raptors” which is technically the same thing. Huh? Maybe something got lost in the translation. Or maybe the Klingon Empire is just infatuated with feathered carnivores. Sticking with the avian analogy, Raiders/Birds of Prey are Hawks and Raptors are Eagles.
You may remember that I posted on this blog about two of my KDF ships, the B’rel Retrofit and the Fleet Qin (Klingon Tactical Ships are Cool, 8-30-2013). Today I will dive into the Raptors. These are the Klingon equivalent of a Federation escort ship. The Birds of Prey (BOPs) are considered “Raiders” and are smaller and less resilient under fire but are nearly as agile as a shuttle craft and difficult to hit. They also are the only starships in the game that offer all universal BOFF stations. Another big advantage to the BOPs before the Romulan Legacy Expansion was that they had the battle cloak. The Romulans have that on every ship, large and small, so it is a little less special than it was before. A note on that, I think ALL cloaking devices should work like the battle cloak smaller ships should have a faster cool down on their battle cloaks than large ships. IMHO.
So if you are a KDF captain and want an escort, then the Raptor is for you. The Raptors in general are more hull resilient at the expense of agility when compared to a Feddie escort. They are very close statistically however. They feature the same 4 and 3 weapon layout and similar console arrangements. They also tend to favor tactical bridge officers (BOFFs) as do their Starfleet counterparts. The Feddies have better shield performance with most escorts having a 0.90 shield modifier vs. most Raptors at 0.83. Of course the Raptor does come outfitted with a Klingon cloaking device and NO standard Starfleet ship is so equipped.
At tier 2 the KDF offers the Somraw Raptor. It has 16,500 hull with 100 crew and a base turn rate of 16. The Tier 2 Starfleet offering has 15,000 hull with 50 crew and a base turn rate of 17. By the time you reach the upper tiers the Raptor starts to look real promising. But the Federation will offer newly minted admirals two escort ships that can be acquired with Admiral Quinn’s free token. The Advanced Escort or the Patrol Escort. These two are nearly identical with the only difference being the Patrol has 200 crew, fifty more than the Advanced and the ensign BOFF station favors engineering over science. Both have 31,000 hull, 0.90 shield modifier and a base turn rate of 16. For the KDF there is just the Qin Heavy Raptor available for purchase with your free token. It has 33,000 hull, 0.83 shield modifier and 200 crew but only a 15 base turn rate. It also sacrifices some survivability by utilizing a tactical ensign station which is nearly useless unless you are building a hybrid like I did.
One thing I find very annoying is that there is no Vice Admiral, C-store Raptor. There are EIGHT non-fleet escorts available at level 50 for Starfleet officers and ZERO for the KDF. Starfleet also has 7 fleet escorts and KDF has just two. The fleet version of the Qin and a retrofit Somraw are an option should your fleet have a Tier 1 or 2 shipyard respectively. I still feel this is an egregious oversight on the part of Cryptic. If you are going to decide between the Somraw Retrofit and the fleet Qin, you will find an ensign engineer station on the Somraw in lieu of the aforementioned tactical on the Qin. The Somraw Retrofit has 31,500 hull with 100 crew, 0.83 shield modifier and a 16 turn vs. 36,300 hull with 200 crew, 0.92 shield modifier and a 15 turn for the Fleet Qin. I feel that the Fleet Qin’s hull and shield perk is more than enough to offset its slower turn rate and useless tac BOFF. Of course the Fleet Qin will cost you zen in the form of fleet ship modules whereby the Somraw Retrofit is available for 200,000 Fleet Credits.
Like a Federation escort the KDF Raptor can utilize dual cannons up front for maximum punch but can also effectively use beam weapons if that is your thing. My Fleet Qin has a hybrid setup that a lot of people won’t agree with, but it works for me. The hybrid is cannons up front and beams to the aft. I do not use my Fleet Qin for hardcore PVP. I like the setup and since I am stuck with an otherwise useless ensign tactical BOFF, I have room for both beam and cannon BOFF abilities. Since the Qin is a touch slow on the corner I am using two single cannons and a quad cannon (acquired from a C-store BOP) up front along with the Omega Plasma Torpedo Launcher. To the rear are two Fleet Beam Arrays and the Kinetic Cutting Beam. This ship is very versatile in this configuration and is my go to ship for any mission against the Borg.
In contrast to the Federation offerings, the Heavy Qin at level 40 is a very formidable opponent for the Patrol or Advanced Escort. I feel that once level 50 comes along Starfleet has so many additional options. Yes, I know that a level 50 Klingon also can choose from several end game BOPs, but so what? Raptor and Bird of Prey may share the same animal definition, but they are two distinctly different ships. Level 50 KDF officers also have choices outside the Klingon Empire. The Scourge Destroyer Retrofit is a decent alternative.
Overall the Raptor is a great ship. The Fleet Qin has more hull strength than any end game Feddie escort. General Roddicka flies the Fleet Qin Raptor quite effectively against nearly any adversary. Even in PVP with a less than ideal setup for the arena she holds her own in that ship. For other players there are many effective ways to set up a Raptor. Most who are seeking a hard-core hellfire of death, maximum DPS approach would use three dual cannons up front and two turrets in back along with torpedo launchers or special weapons. The only problem with dual cannons on this ship is the slightly slow turn rate.
I know some escort/raptor purists will cringe on this one, but a tactical beam boat is very effective with this ship. I have a level 40 Mirror Qin set up with beams. The Mirror Qin has an ensign engineer instead of the ensign tactical for a little resiliency bonus. Mirror Qins are dirt cheap on the exchange! I have that one set up with three dual beam banks forward with a big mean torpedo launcher and three beam arrays aft. This gives the ship a lot of forward punch and a generous 90 degree firing arc without sacrificing rear and side attacking ability. When using fire at will, you will have a full 360 degrees of targeting ability. I know that cannons are the preferred weapons for escorts and raptors, but this can be a versatile arrangement. I don’t think I would take this ship into PVP with a beam setup however.
If you are looking for a KDF ship for a tactical captain (or others too) that is versatile for both PVE, PVP and storyline missions, the Qin Raptor is a good choice. I especially like my hybrid layout. It is a Jack of all trades ship.
Here is a comparison with the very popular Starfleet ship, The Fleet Tactical Escort Retrofit.
Ship Hull Shield Impulse Inertia Bonus Pwr Turn Crew Cloak
Fleet Qin 36,300 0.92 0.20 60 +15 Wep 15 200 built in
Fleet Tac Retro 33,000 0.90 0.20 70 +15 Wep 17 50 console
Tell me about your KDF Raptor and build in the comments. I think I need to go kill some Borg! Qapla.