Bargain Hunters Head 2 Head: Webster v. the Spin Doctor

Exchange value ships going toe to toe. So I figured it is high time I pit two ships in a head 2 head where the contenders are priced like clothes on the proverbial discount rack. How about a couple of hot little escorts at prices in the sub 5 million EC range? Five million EC? Yeah, you can make that in a couple of hours. Some gamers are scheming to make that kind  of cash in a couple of minutes. So let’s go Head 2 Head with a couple of my favorite cheapy ‘sports cars’. Yes friends it is the Tholian Meshweaver versus the Sphere Builders Arehbes. I had Fleet Admiral Rodanna, check the pricing the other day on the exchange and Webster was offered as low as 3.5M EC and the Spin Doctor had several offered in the mid 2.5M range. Bargains to be sure!

I have done write ups on both these ships in the past, Webster here, and Spin Doctor here. I liked both ships and in fact I really liked them as value propositions for gamers seeking to keep things on the skinny dime.

Both of these ships require an upgrade token to go T5-U. I do recommend T5-U as the boosts do help keep the ship alive in any scenarios that are even remotely challenging.

The Meshweaver is a ship that has a hull more suited to a raider than an escort and little in the way of engineering to help keep the ship intact. Taking it up to T5-U is almost mandatory. As I indicated in my review of the ship two years ago, it doesn’t look very promising on paper, yet in actual use, it performs better than its stats. I equipped it with the complete Nukara setup from the reputation system. Although I bumped it up to Mk XIV, I have most of my seat time in that ship at Mk XII. This is a pretty standard escort layout with the escort mastery package and a 4/3 weapons layout. If you are inclined to use the Tholian Consoles from the Lobi ships, this Meshweaver can use them as well.

The Meshweaver is very much like a cheap alternative to the T5 Defiant. It lacks the hull strength but offers better shielding and comparable handling. For less than 5 million EC you get a solid little ship here. If you bump it up to Mark XIV you can take it into elite PVE queues and do fine. I don’t think you want to try this one in PVP unless you are one of those ‘Arena Gods’ but the ship has enough of an attack profile that it can lay down the hate. When flying either of these two ships the pilot must be ever vigilant at hull and shields monitoring. Once a shield facing drops the time to death can be easily measured in milliseconds. Using a resilient shield that only allows 5% damage bleed through can be helpful on these ships with low survivability.

The Arehbes is a wonderful little ship. Like the Tholian entrant this ship is not real strong in the hull albeit a tad better than the Meshweaver. Neither is it useful in engineering. In fact it has an even weaker engineering profile, maybe the softest of any ship in the game. Just a single Lieutenant engineer on the bridge and one engineering console. Yikes, best keep a close eye on the hull when the shit hits the fan. Again like the Meshweaver a resilient shield might work well here.

This ship managed to run the gauntlet of the Top Gun a bit quicker than the Meshweaver but that may have been as much about the cannon setup I ran as it is the ship’s prowess. In fact I am certain the setup was the difference.

The two ships are very close in overall stats and neither is particularly strong. They are both fun ships to fly and make a great distraction for players that are of a science or engineering background but want a “sports car” ship to have fun in.

The patrol runs don’t really put a lot of damage on the player as there are multiple NPC allies soaking up some of the fire. The enemies are not that strong, unless your toon is only a level 50. Ships with a strong tactical profile can get away with murder in there even when survivability is nill. Those Romulan Patrols really do work well with classic “glass cannon” ships. But to use either of these two contenders as an everyday ship means that the weak sauce engineering may result in watching your warp core explode on a routine basis when attempting advanced or elite PVE queues.

To keep the ratings in perspective a perfect score is 100, and it is possible to exceed that in some cases. But a mediocre T5-U Cruiser will pull a 60 plus on engineering versus the 9.27 managed by the Arehbes.

Any sustained fire on either of these two ships is probably not going to end well for the player. That is the real trouble as neither ship has a universal BOFF seat. This is a big part of why they don’t fetch much on the exchange. When considered for their price, they are spectacular ships. There has to be a winner, right? Of course, ties are boring. I say the Meshweaver is the champ in this Head 2 Head but by a slight margin.

Below you will find info on Admiral Sager’s versions of these ships as well as the obligatory charts. FYI, the Meshweaver chart shows Mark XIV gear but the times I used for both ships in Top Gun were with Mark XII gear to keep it fair.