Sunday, June 26, 2011

Storm, Tank, Engineer or Shock?

Right then. You've just completed the story mission 'Operation Smuggler Shut Down' and have been conscripted into the Colonial Forces. Major Ivanova has given you Blueprints (BPs) for four types of Colonial military ships.

If you are at least level 10 and have 445 cryonite crystals, it's time to make the biggest decision of your Pirate Galaxy career so far. Buying and equipping one of these ships will be expensive and you are likely to be flying it for the rest of the Vega system storyline. Now don't panic, because whichever one you choose you can win through. Plus you will be buying a bigger and more powerful ship in the next system and you can chose a different class then if you like. However making the wrong choice might lead to enough frustration to make you give up on PG altogether. We don't want that do we?

The website The Hitchiker's Guide to Pirate Galaxy, and this page of the Pirate Galaxy Wiki have all the technical details of the ships. I won't be repeating them here. I'll be talking about their relative merits and otherwise, hopefully helping players to make the most enjoyable and satisfying choice for them.

AnIn-2000 Storm
When you absolutely, positively, got to kill every Mantis critter in the zone, accept no substitutes.

This is the kill-wagon, specialising via offensive weaponry in the quick destruction of your targets. I put this one first because many players won't bother reading any further after seeing 'kill-wagon' or 'offensive'. In addition to the generic Blaster, Collector, Repair Droid and Afterburner, this chap is equipped with Rockets and an Aim Computer.

Rockets are slow to cool down, slow to reach their target, but when they do...oh baby! They deliver more damage than a Blaster (per shot but not per second due to the fire rate) and also generate splash damage, so nearby targets take damage too. These are great for firing into clusters of Mantis, and there is a sadistic pleasure in watching one chasing down a fleeing enemy.

Aim Computers give your Blaster and Rockets a better chance of both hitting and doing critical damage. You switch it on as you prepare to attack and enjoy the benefits while it functions. Visually unimpressive but tactically effective.

The Storm has decent armour, but without a shield it's not that durable. Kill 'em all before they kill you. Often you can destroy two or three Mantis before they've even powered up their own equipment. The best ship for the 'kill' white missions.

A fairly simple one to pilot and explosive fun. Very popular, i.e. common, so you won't stand out, or be in great demand as a squad or clan member. A safe choice and in many peoples' opinion the best for the Vega system.

AnIn-2000 Space Tank
The name says it all. Sit cosy in your armoured shell as you methodically disassemble the enemies swarming all over you.

The strategy of this Tank when flown solo is to rely on its defensive abilities while hitting the enemy with the blaster. It has a shield like the AnIn-1450 and has armour which is streets ahead of other player ships. It also has a Taunt fitted, which is an acquired taste.

The Taunt is targeted at an Non Player Character (NPC), and forces it to attack you. The first thought of course is 'why?' Well it is useful in drawing attacks away from squad-mates, or story mission NPCs which you need to protect. It's also good for 'fishing'. This is where you sit on the edge of a large group of enemies and Taunt one towards you so that you can engage it one on one. I have been told that if you Taunt a squad-mate during a fight it allows them to orbit immediately without having to break contact with the enemy. I haven't tried that one so don't take my word for it. [Update My old mate Lool is a bit of a Taunt aficionado and has given me some info. Taunt does not allow your squad mates to break to orbit when you're in a fight. However if you are in PvP you can use it on your opponent to stop them orbiting. So let's say you're both Red and are having a scrap. You get your opponent on the ropes, so he/she wisely/cravenly uses the After Burner (AB) to get away. Normally after a few seconds of avoiding battle they will be out of combat mode and able to orbit. However if you've Taunted them then they are stuck in combat mode and can't make it into the wide blue yonder. Your own AB should be cooled down now so you can close with them again. Useful. It makes game sense of a sort too, as the Taunted pilot could be considered to enraged to flee to orbit, even if they are trying to keep their distance from you. ]

If you play mostly solo then this may be the ship for you. It can protect, fight and escape, plus it needs emergency repairs less often. Works well in a squad as an anvil, holding the enemy in place while the others hammer it. Very common again, but there's good reason why it's popular. This was the ship I chose for my first run through the Vega system all those years ago.

If you're a cool, calm and collected player and don't crave the excitement and fireworks of the Storm or Shock then put a Tank in your hangar.

AnIn-2000 Light Engineer
The nice ship for nice pilots.

Engineers exist to help other ships. On their own they are weak, having the weakest armour and weakest fire power. If you play solo, choose this ship only if you like a challenge.

The Engineer's unique equipment is the Repair Target (does what it says in the tin) and the Protector. Repair Target can be used on squad mates, buddies and NPC ships. Protector is a shield that can be used on yourself or a buddy, recharges quicker than a standard shield and works against stuns. The Protector is useful in solo play but the repair target will not work on yourself so is useless unless you are accompanied.

Pilot one of these and you will be everyone's mate. You'll find a spot in every squad and clan, and playing the medic roll in a team can be the best fun in the game. I would strongly advise you not to chose this ship to travel through the Vega storyline alone. I would recommend that the Engineer is your second ship.

AnIn-2000 Speed Stun
The Penguin
Wanna stand out? Get a Shock.

For some reason Shock ships are the rarest in the game. I've only just chosen one myself, The Penguin, after  'Operation Smuggler Shut Down' to try out through the Vega storyline.

The Vega Shock has a Speed Actuator and Stun Charge in addition to the generic equipment. The Speed Actuator can be used on yourself or another ship, and makes everything faster. The ship flies faster and all equipment cools down quicker. This doesn't sound that glam, but think about it. Your rate of fire increases so you hit more often, you can repair quicker and flee sooner. Nice. The Stun Charge does just the opposite, slowing the target's flight and recharge speed. Imagine stunning your enemy then speeding yourself up. Devastating.

The Shock has only slightly tougher armour than the Engineer with no Shield or Protector so you will have to make full use of its fleetness of foot. It does quite well in the offensive field though, just better than the tank but still far behind the Storm.

As I said, this is an uncommon ship but it can bring a lot to a squad or clan. It will take a bit of skill to pilot this to its full capability so good for a challenge. Go on, take the path less travelled.


  1. Very useful. Now I've made my choise.

  2. Thanks Anonymous. I've had some clarification on the use of the Taunt in PvP so I need to update the above. Enjoy your choice, whatever it was.

  3. Shocks are rare purely because you need skill to pilot one, IMO. Sure, they don't have rockets to blow stuff up or shields to withstand being blown up. But they're fun, and the best in PvP too.
    There is nothing worse than being red thinking you're the best in the system with your fully armed storm, then suddenly being reduced to a halt and seeing a shock advance on you...
    But in any other situation (for example, SMs or WMs), the storm or the tank is prolly a better choice.