Huh, I wonder if with a title like that, Google will give my blog more hits? :p
But no, there’s nothing naughty to see here. This is about HANGAR pets in Star Trek Online.
Hangar pets in Star Trek Online have mostly acquired a well-deserved bad reputation: they blindly stumble into warp core explosions that greatly reduce their lifespan, they fly stupidly, they don’t know how to line up their attacks (such as cannon-mounted fighters circling around an enemy), they are notoriously temperamental and often disregard orders, and they easily get lost whenever the mothership flies off past a certain distance. All in all, the AI that controls hangar pets is certainly artificial, but not intelligent enough. The recent Space Rebalancing gave hangar pets some buffs and improvements; they last longer in battle now, but everything else is still mostly status quo. Oh well.
It’s hardly a surprise that with so many problems with hangar pets, few players fly dedicated carriers. I previously posted about turning one of my toons Zdrossk into a carrier captain, which was more of an experiment and my way of getting some use out of an under-utilized toon than any real desire to fly a carrier. I still haven’t logged a lot of flight time in the U.S.S. Birmingham, especially after the launch of the Space Rebalancing, but I do want to discuss what I have learned based on what I have experienced. On top of that, a bunch of my other toons are now flying ships with single hangar bays, so I feel I know enough to not be talking out of my rear exhaust port. :p
As I already noted, I bought some Elite and Advanced Callisto Frigates for the Birmingham to replace the default Peregrine fighters. Now the Callistos are extremely sturdy as pets go, and are also heavily armed; the main problem is they are primarily armed with cannons and they always seem to struggle with lining up with targets. They do have quantum torpedoes along with Torpedo Spread II, so occasionally they can hit for decent damage against an unshielded target. Still, I have been experimenting with mixing one wing of Elite Peregrines with one Elite Callisto; the Peregrines are worse than the Callistos in every way except they are far more numerous, so I expect them to be better able to line up a target with more frequency. Is it better than two full wings of Callistos? Not sure yet.
Another possible option are the Yellowstones/Danubes, which come with Tractor Beams so they’d be more for utility than DPS. The Type 8/10 Shuttles and Delta Flyers are mostly on par with the Peregrines, so I wouldn’t spend extra resources on them.
Oh, one more comment about Federation hangar pets: the Kelvin Timeline Assault Drones are arguably the best-in-class, albeit only usable on the Vengeance. These little guys may only have one phaser array and one torpedo launcher, but combined with BFAW and Torp Spread they are the only pets who are noticeably firing on a continuous basis. They are also numerous and they ram the enemy — you can’t really ask for much more than that combo. I haven’t parsed it so I can’t prove it, but it certainly feels like a single bay of Assault Drones does more damage than a bay of Callistos and a bay of Peregrines combined.
On the Romulan side, R’Jal has been carrying Elite Romulan Drone Ships ever since he got into the original T5 Scimitar. Nothing else on the Romulan side can compare to the top-performing Drone Ships… until recently, that is. The Elite Kelvin Timeline Scorpions carried by the T’Laru are also top-performers, arguably on par with the Vengeance’s Assault Drones, but for this discussion that’s all I’m going to say about these guys since I don’t own a T’Laru, so I can’t really speak from experience.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Klingons don’t really have a standout hangar pet, despite having a large variety of choices. The basic To’Duj and Skul fighters are kinda weak, on par with Federation Peregrines which isn’t exactly high praise. There is a host of support drones and shuttles which are utility stuff so not very interesting. The BoP and Fer’Jai frigates are similar to but weaker than Callistos, so not particularly impressive aside from the visual awesomeness of going into battle with four Birds-of-Prey on your wing! The interesting KDF pets are in fact the non-Klingon fighters: in the past I have carried Orion Slavers as an experiment, but their special ability to steal EC, Commodities, Contraband or Prisoners proc so rarely it didn’t seem worthwhile to me. Still, an interesting idea! Meanwhile, since Congilla now flies a Kolasi, he’s carrying Elite Nausicaan Stingers, which I think are the best hangar pets on the KDF side due to their EPtW and Torpedo HY. For whatever reason, in my experience the Stingers seem to be particularly responsive to commands compared to other pets, and are able to keep up with the mothership much better.
The final hangar pet that I have had experience with is a cross-faction one: the Elite Tholian Meshweaver on Gortusk’s ship. This is another top-tier hangar pet, heavily armed along with BFAW-3 and Attack Pattern Beta-3 as well as Evasive Maneuvers. Going by stats alone I think the Meshweavers are better than most cross-factional pets, on par with the Sphere Builder Arehbes Frigates and Xindi Nusuiti Fighters, and inferior only to the Herald Baltim Raider (which, of course is unique in that they are more expensive than the carrier itself!).
While we’re on the topic of cross-faction pets, there is one that I need to make special mention of: The Obelisk Swarmer. Yes these are the same guys who annoy us in space and on the ground in the Dyson Sphere, and although they are not quite top-end hangar pets, the Swarmers are still better than most of the standard fighters and frigates thanks to their Antiproton beams and Beam Overload skills. To top it off, Swarmers can be equipped on any carrier, unlike the other cross-faction pets which can only go on select motherships. If being thematically canon is not important to you, Obelisk Swarmers are a solid choice to go with instead of Peregrines and To’Dujs etc.
This year’s Summer Event ship happens to be a carrier, so everyone is going to have a chance to fly a carrier (at least for a while) even if you’re not really interested in that ship class. So grind away, load her up with some pets and give her a spin!