What! Shuttle craft seriously? Hell yeah! I own a lot of different shuttle craft and I have actually flown them about fairly often. There are several missions in the game that are completed using a shuttle and there are some PVE queues as well. So why not have a bad-ass shuttle craft rather than the garden variety type?
Way back when I first decided to buy a shuttle craft, I thought it would be cool to have the legendary Delta Flyer. At the time, few if any small craft could touch it. It was the Jem’Hadar Attack Ship of small craft!
Over the years I have picked up a few items including some free shuttles that I have earned or received as part of a Cryptic giveaway. You really got to keep your eyes peeled for those giveaway deals! They had one just a few weeks ago to celebrate the announcement of Season 11.
OK anyway, I decided to build up my Delta Flyer to make it mean enough to enter a PVE queue. No, not an elite or advanced queue, I am bold not stupid 😉 To test it though I went to my old standby the Romulan Patrol missions. No one gets pissed off in there that you only showed up in damn shuttle craft 😉 Although it would be hilarious if the Romulan Republic Commander made a quippy remark about it.
This Delta Flyer is a boss. It is not the only small craft that is pretty tough, The Vaadwuar Pyhtus Fighter and the Voth Heavy Fighter are very mean as well. I am pretty happy with my Delta however.
I took a few items from other ships/shuttles. The Metaphasic Shield unit I got with the Ferrengi Shuttle and the Tetryon-Plasma Impulse Engines that come with the Yellowstone Runabout are now installed on this craft. I added the Omnidirectional Antiproton beam array and its mate the Obelisk Warp Core to get a powerful weapon and the set bonus 10% antiproton damage. Just a Mk XII Positron Deflector that can be found cheap on the exchange but it gives good shield and hull boosts. I have good consoles and a solid photon torpedo launcher. Now I could fly this with the Adapted MACO set and it would be even meaner, but I found that I could complete the Japori missions pretty easily with this setup. Now don’t get me wrong, i took a while, it’s not like this thing is a prison date on damage. We are talking about just one beam weapon here. I bet that Omega Plasma Torpedo Launcher would be boss on this thing. Hmm, I should swap that in.
Well on the Japori mission it took me at least 20 minutes, but it was easy in the sense that I managed not to die and only had a few ‘brush with death’ moments. Now when I flew into the Carraya System things got a little dicey. This mission took a full half hour and the real pain in the ass was the tractor mines. I have little I can do with just two BOFFs sitting in ensign chairs. I stayed away from the big D’Deridex in the first wave because you know that bastard will tractor beam your ass and hit you with those four heavy plasma torpedoes. That is painful in a full size starship, in a shuttle craft it’s called something else; dead. So I kept my distance peppering the ship and letting the Romulan Republic T’Varo’s help me take it down.
The Delta Flyer has a very fast speed and excellent maneuverability. It is faster and harder turning than even the B’Rel Bird of Prey; and significantly so. There are some fighters that turn sharper and are faster but most of them only have one BOFF chair and weaker shields. This is Admiral Sager’s ship. He has Pedal to the Metal, Reciprocity, All Hands on Deck and weapon System Synergy as starship traits slotted for this experiment. All Hands on deck and Reciprocity kept the cooldowns short and buffs high. Reduced cooldown times can be enhanced with DOFFs assigned the space duty as well.
One thing to remember about shuttles and fighters, they have scaling hull. So at Lieutenant you get 6,000 hull points on this Delta Flyer which is about half what a Tier 1 starship offers. But as you level up the hull levels as well and by the time you reach level 50 it has 18,000 base hull. Mine has a battle ready 22k hull. The shields are weak with a modifier of just 0.60 but that is better than most small craft and as good as any. With all the speed and twitchiness, this little ship has great defense and it is hard to hit. This aids greatly in its survivability.
One thing about this shuttle craft experiment is that it really shows you just how effective or ineffective a trait, console or ability really is. If you swap a good effect out for a bad one you will know it very quickly. It shows you with this really cool animation of your warp core exploding 😉
A two beam setup with no torpedo launcher could be effective as well. Plasma could be a good choice here since the Plasma fire proc bypasses shields and can help soften the hull since there are no torpedoes. Lots of options for these little shuttles and fighters. get one and have a little fun. I have a chart I swiped from the STO Wiki that shows all the small craft together!