I absolutely love bounty hunting in this ship! It seems pretty simple, it gives you a couple of large hardpoints, big shields and high maneuverability, the limits are down to you! It’s no point and click, you have to fly it well against larger ships and better pilots, but you always feel confident that you have a good chance of glory! It can be flown with limited upgrades from stock, although to get the best out of it, I think you need the 5A distributor, 4A power plant and ideally the 5A thrusters. One thing to be careful off is the canopy, it seems to get smashed well before the hull breaks. To cover this, I fitted a 5A life support module – has saved me more than once!
- Combat: 10/10 (My favourite ship for combat! The agility, shields, armour and hardpoints always leave me with the confidence that, on my day, there’s a good chance I might turn any ship over, big or small!)
- Trading: 1/10 (Haven’t tried, probably wont, but if the cargos small, you’ll probably be able to hang onto it!)
- Mining: 1/10 (Pretty unlikely use, but again, might be 1 safe ton of cargo you end up with!)
- Passengers: 1/10 (Doesn’t have a great jump range, but might make the passengers feel safe…)
- Exploring: 1/10 (Could be done, if you want to explore somewhere safe, but poor jump range would make it slow going…)
- Good value – At its price point, the Vulture seems to be the small ship combat pilots dream, at least to me.
- Superior agility – Superb agility makes this a ‘Flyers’ ship, with the kit you can pack it makes ‘David and Goliath’ style take downs possible, but don’t ‘get cocky’ and try going ‘toe-to-toe’ with the heavy weights, the canopy can easily get Smashed! Despite the agility, I find it is still important to use flight assist off during turns to stay on some ships tails during combat.
- Can Take A Few hits, but watch the canopy! – Heavy shields (class 5) and armour (has military compartment) are possible, allowing for ‘Tanky’ play, but I wouldn’t encourage this as the core approach. By all means armour up, but don’t rely on it, the ships great agility should be exploited, especially in prolonged combat situations. I still find it slightly more vulnerable for lazy tanking than my Viper MKIV was, which seemed to withstand losing most of its hull without losing the canopy as must or module failure. Maybe its that I was more used to that ship and how to exploit it and/or the opponents are harder now!
Packs a punch – Two large hardpoints allow a relatively small ship to punch well above its weight. Having only 2 limits options, two gimballed pulse lasers works very well as a default choice.
- To get the max out of it, module priority is key – Power management is a little restrictive to really maxing the loadout. For top-end load-outs a compromise must be made between: shields (5A is juicy, I prefer 5C bi-weave) vs thrusters (5A juicy, but very useful) vs Utility Slots (The ship can fit four, which is useful, but can add up in terms of power draw). I’d say a 5A distributor is an essential to get the most out of lasers, thrusters and shields.
- Shortish FSD range – FSD range is fairly limited (class 4), but it is an out and out fighter. I don’t find this much of a problem, as I keep mine parked in my home system and just frequent the local RES sites!
Still feel that I am yet to fully exploit this ship both in terms of knowing my optimum loadout per combat arena and in terms of limitations in my own flying skills.
- Respect larger opponents – Not just for this ship, but be patient and always maintain a good combat position out of their line of fire and don’t try to out-gun them head on unless you are feeling lazy and they are nearly finished. This ship is great, but can be quite easily out gunned by the harder end of NPC ships. Smaller ships can be be lazily out gunned, but elite/deadly and/or multiple NPC Federal Dropships/Gunship, Imperial clippers and even a Cobra MKIII have taught me lessons in the past where I have either been complacent (try to ‘toe-toe’ out blast them) or been unexpectedly ganged up on.
For High RES Sites
In terms of the hardpoints, I started out enjoying the simplicity and flexibility of two large gimballed pulse lasers against shields and hulls – simple tactics keep shooting them until they explode and try not to get hit, very arcade! In terms of shields, I like bi-weave ones for lower power draw (than 5A) and quicker recharge between kills. I find the quick recharge especially useful in a fast paced high RES situation where you sometimes need to move fast to attack another ship before the cops destroy it.
However, whilst the two pulse lasers are completely fine, after some experimentation with beam lasers, cannons and multi cannons, I’ve found my favourite hardpoint setup, in terms of effectiveness and pure enjoyment, is 1 large gimballed beam and 1 large gimballed multi-cannon:
Tweaks for Hazardous RES Sites
This type of RES is definitely more of a challenge, in which a Vulture is great way to experience it. These days (since Expert level), I often seem to face Elite or Deadly ships like DBX/Asp Explorers/Federal Dropship/Federal Gunship/Imperial Clipper – all of these need to be treated with respect to win without or with minimal hull damage. In the Hazardous RES I would not personally pick a fight with a high level Python/FDL/Anaconda at my level, there are no cops to help and if you get out of your depth, you’ll probably be mass-locked, meaning running may just result in a cowards death before your FSD kicks in! The hazardous RES seems like a more accurate test of one-on-one combat skill than the High RES and not such an easy way to make money due to the limited number of ships I can destroy before getting too badly damaged. Need more practice!
Engineering! Improvements on the above…
Having used a few engineers and had a long break from the Vulture, I have now realised that some key supplementary tweaks might be possible to improve on the above loadouts. What I am thinking is:
- Powerplant – Power is always in short supply on the Vulture, I want to get the plant overcharged…
- Lasers – I want to try efficiency and see if this works well. I’ll start with 2 large pulse lasers…
- Shield Generator – I might try Enhanced Low Power and see if the drop in overall strength is worth the trade off in less power consumption and weight… Otherwise Reinforced might be worth a try…
- Thrusters – The Vulture is very agile, but a little slow sometimes. Maybe Dirty drives would be worth a try, might take too much power away from other uses though..
- Shield Booster – I already have this, but it could be improved.
- Armour / Hull Reinforcements – I still need to unlock this, could be pretty useful.
I am working towards giving the above a test. I am sure I have missed stuff at this point.