The Raider class of ship has been in STO since the earliest days of the game. Young Lieutenants in Starfleet face the original 22nd century B’rel raiders early on to dry that nagging wet behind the ears. The KDF characters start out in a B’rel as well and cut their teeth in battle for honor and glory to the Empire. The raiders are generally small agile starships with powerful weapons and weak hull and shields. At Tier V they offer a 4/2 weapons layout.
A few years ago the Breen Plesh Brek Heavy Raider became available to all factions as an offering from his Royal Q-ness, in the Winter Event. I wrote about that ship here: The Refrigerator Men Built a Raider for All. Since then, the Kazon Raider was introduced about a year later. Kazon Raider and the Dual Cannon Conundrum.
Honestly any Klingon player that wants to fly a raider class ship has no need to stray from the shipyards of Qo’nos. The Fleet B’rel Retrofit is still the benchmark by which all others are judged in the universe of raiders. Even the standard B’rel Retrofit is better than any cross faction raiders. I may go so far as to add that the standard tier V raider available for free by Chancellor J’mpok at level 40 will challenge seriously any effort by the Breen or Kazon to build a raider. Come on, all four BOFF seats are universal!
But what about non-Klingons? Raider class ships offer the raider flanking bonus. This increases all damage inflicted on the rear arc of an enemy ship by 25% (reduced to 8.25% in PVP). The Raider class ship is designed to get on the enemy’s six and send them into the afterlife quickly and without mercy.
The Romulans offer up a series of capable escorts that are similar to raiders but do not get the raider flanking bonus. The Risian Corvette (Corvette? This is no Chevy but it lives up to its name) is a ship that honestly ought to be a raider, but the boffins at Cryptic decided to make it a really fast and manueverable escort instead. Romulan players are better off sticking with the T’varo Retrofit or the very solid Faeht Intel ship rather than test fate with a lesser vessel from the Breen or Kazon.
But what about the Feddies? The aforementioned Corvette and either of the two bad-ass Jem’Hadar escorts can seriously challenge the turning and speed of the legendary B’rel and matches the turn rate of other Birds of Prey. The Risian ship is easy to acquire but the Jem’Hadar ships require you to be as wealthy as the Grand Nagus. Does a Starfleet captain really even need to fly a raider class ship? Probably not, but since when is STO about “need”?
The KDF raiders have two glaring weaknesses. They have a measly 0.80 shield modifier (0.88 in Fleet versions). They also have the weak sauce hull that is barely stronger than a Delta Flyer shuttle! A B’rel can turn like a formula one car with an amazing 23 dps base turn rate. It is quicker on the corner than any starship in the game. The Retrofitted ship also has the formidable Enhanced Battle Cloak that can fire torpedo and mine weapons without breaking cloak. The Breen Heavy Raider addresses the shield and hull deficiency with a much more robust strength. It does so at the expenses of manuevering. It also does not have any cloaking device. The Kazon Raider is so bad you can find them on the exchange for a few hundred grand if you are patient. It is just awful, it has the same weak ass shields and hull as the standard B’rel retrofit but none of the advantages. No cloak, it’s not faster and has a decent but inferior turn rate. It’s one redeeming quality is the low price on the exchange.
That leaves the Breen Plesh Brek as the only real raider option for a non-Klingon. Starfleet captains looking for a little attack fighter flair in their starships can choose between the Jem’Hadar Attack Ship or Strike Ship, Breen Heavy Raider, or the Risian Corvette. Of these, only the Breen ship will offer the raider flanking bonus.
The Breen Plesh Brek will provide the Federation captain 5 BOFF seats and 4 of them are universal. The Commander seat is of course a tactical and who isn’t putting a tac BOFF in the first chair of a raider anyway? If the Breen Heavy raider had a 21 turn rate like the Corvette it would be the absolute bomb! As it is, it is still a fun ship for feddies to cut loose and zig-zag about like a Klingon on crank blowing up hapless enemies unable to escape its base 19 degrees per second turn rate.
I would love to see the Cryptic people offer up a Risian Corvette raider version with one of the aft weapons removed and the raider flanking bonus added. With the addition of the new Pilot ships which are very fast and maneuverable the “need” for a Feddie or Romulan raider has become even less important.
So for KDF players, buy the damn B’rel already. Romulans, the T’varo or the Faeht because the Breen ship may be a raider but it is no Romulan. Feddies? Get the Breen ship this winter. It is a really solid ship. You can also buy a Pilot ship and don’t worry about the whole raider class, flanking, yada, yada, yada… but since the Breen ship is flippin’ free, get it! See it’s easy 😉 Now, because you know I love me a good chart… yeah, there it is below.