15 March 2013

X3:TC Best Player Ship

So I admit that I like to min-max things a bit when I play games. This tends to involve some research to find the "best" thing for a particular purpose. In my quest to discover the best player ship, the first ship I came across is the Springblossom. It is an amazing ship. What's not to love about 360m/s top speed?

However, after completing a play-through with the Springblossom and doing a little more research, I have discovered a better ship: The overtuned Hyperion, only available from the Poisoned Paranid start (which is only available after completing the Tormented Teladi start mission (which is only available after achieving a certain trade rank with another start)). You can also get the Hyperion through boarding with any type of start, but it's the slower variety with only 169m/s max speed. The overtuned variant can have 230+m/s max speed, which is Good Enough(tm) speed for a player ship, especially with bonus pack turbo boost.

While losing speed over the Aldrin SB, the Hyperion gains so much utility for the player. Here are some pain points that I came across with using the SB and how the Hyperion solves them.

Station Building
When building stations with mines, I always had to jump into a separate ship to tow mines. This is an extra hassle that the Hype removes, because unlike the SB, it can mount a tractor beam. Goodbye tow-truck Dragon.

I typically keep 1 docked Kestrel outfitted for Exploration and Asteroid Scanning. In TC, there's really no faster ship for exploration.

Claimed Ships
I lieu of having a 2nd extra jump drive, I typically leave one of my docking bays empty in case I get a bailed fighter or Claim My Ship mission for a fighter. Fighters often either can't use a jump drive or don't have enough cargo to jump to the destination, so transporting them directly in my ship is faster.

For non-fighter ships which are claimed, I have a spare Jump Drive on my exploration Kestrel.

Mission Running
Cargo space is also a benefit not to be under-estimated for mission running... especially those missions that want you to transport things like Radioactive Waste or Entertainment Chips.

Long Range Death
The Hype can use Wraith missiles, and an assortment of other missile types to fit the situation. The Springy can only use Poltergeist and Spectre, the latter of which can't be player-produced. I suppose that is not much of a problem, since I have often not been able to kill ships with Spectres, being as they fire one at a time and some ships can shoot them all down. Poltergeists are also pretty slow vs M5s. My particularly disappointing experience was when doing the Balance of Power plot and defending a transport. I tried with the Springy many times, and could never destroy the fighters before they reached and blew up the transport. The Poltergeists would mostly loop around behind their target and trail it for a while before catching up. With no other missile options in the SB, I ended up having to jump in my Cobra and Flail everything to death.

Just from a personal preference standpoint, the Springy has never felt quite right to me. It behaves kindof like a forklift with a jet engine. The vast majority of my deaths have been collisions in the Springy, both undocking / scraping stations and trying to strafe larger ships. This is why I am okay with giving up some of the SB's speed for the other benefits.

Although the Springy mounts PMAMLs, a pretty powerful weapon, I found them a bit difficult to use. Against smaller ships, the projectile is too slow to be able to land hits consistently while the opponent is not heading in a straight line. Against larger ships, by the time I got into firing range, the SB was taking a pretty good pounding. Approaching at the correct angle and doing strafe runs minimizes the damage, but the ship is so fast that window of opportunity to fire is pretty small in order to avoid collisions. Slowing down is an option, but I often use Tab and Backspace to control speed. :) The main thing I was able to kill with the PMAMLs were other M6s, by strafing from longer distances. I could kill some M2s, as long as their missile defense wasn't that great, and I had enough Spectres. The cargo space is a limiting factor there.

The PSSCs on the Springblossom are categorically awesome. Fighters pretty much melt, and I often find myself not getting a chance to fire on them directly for the turrets killing them. So I will definitely miss that about the Springy.

Another obvious battle advantage for the Hype are the two docked fighters.

Summing Up

So, for future play-throughs, I'm going to do Poisoned Paranid to get that overtuned Hyperion. It seems to me that Egosoft must have designed the Hype to be the player ship. No other ship has its combination of capabilities.

Now if they just had a better version of the Cobra with more cargo space...


Anonymous said...

I just started playing the game a couple months back. I love the Springblossom. Yes, it could be a little more maneuverable and yes, it's easy to collide with your target while making attack runs, but overall, I don't see myself going back to my Hyperion. Of course, mine is the standard variant. At 230 m/s, however, I'd probably choose it over the Springy. At 360 m/s, with 8 PM/AML's and a keen eye on my distance to target, however, I'm nearly unstoppable. Haven't taken on an M2 yet, but I eat Q's for breakfast.

Kasey said...

If you're just interested in gun combat, there are better ships than the SB. Although if you're into missile combat, the Hyperion is pretty awesome. But the reason to use it as a main ship is for all the other utility.