Last week I talked about the roles an expedition would need to cover for wormhole exploration and I showed a Dominix battleship that could cover much of the combat grunt work against the Sleeper rats. This week we'll look at the support ship.
The Dominix covers the tank, DPS, low ammo usage, and flexibility required for the expeditions but what needs to be done once the hostiles are dispatched? In current game mechanics there are often secure containers that hold the juicy goodies in exploration and COSMOS complexes and they require one of four methods to access:
1) Blow it up - straight forward enough; blow up the structure and loot the wreck/container that drops.
2) Salvage - typical in some exploration complexes, you can get rare Tech II salvage if I understand correctly.
3) Hacking - use a CodeBreaker I to unlock the container.
4) Archaeology - use a Analyzer I to investigate old ruins to find stuff.
I'm going to go on the unsupported assumption that w-space will have similar treasure troves and no new technology will be required to recover Tech III goodies. The first one in the list is done by the battleship with no issues. The second can be done by either Kirith or Derranna in some support ship. But the third and fourth are in the scientist's purview only.
So Derranna needs a ship with decent CPU and some mid slots. It would be nice if it had high slots for a cloak and a salvager or probe launcher, and low slots for warp core stabs if need be too. Not to mention a good cargo bay for carrying extra ammo/probes and bringing back loot.
There are two choices that fit the bill to work with the Dominix. First we have the Covert Ops Cheetah:
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And then we have the Blockade Runner Prowler:
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One note: I don't have access to the new low CPU probe launcher for wormhole exploration only in EFT so I used Salvager mods to stand in for it. Assume that in the Dominix <-> Support Ship team that one will have the probe launcher and the other the Salvager, most likely the support ship the probe launcher.
So comparing the two vessels we see that they both fit the valuable Covert Ops cloaking device and the Codebreaker and Analyzer module for exploration content, as well as space for a wormhole probe launcher. The Cheetah is faster and more agile (which makes sense being a frigate hull) but the Prowler boasts 5 times as many effective hit points and can fit a micro warp drive for twice the boosted speed for when getting out of dodge is called for.
Biggest determiniation point the cargo space where the Prowler has ten times the room. On an expedition that might go deep into w-space it would be nice to have the extra space for ammo, probes, and loot. I'd hate to be forced into a choice of what to leave behind to fit everything into 325 m3. On the other hand, the Cheetah has a 50% bonus to probe scan times that might be attractive if the wormhole scan probe launcher is excessive in duration for scans.
Right now I'm thinking Prowler. I can't see the wormhole launcher having scan times longer than a recon probe launcher and if so Derranna's skills and implant bring it down to a minute on the Prowler. That's good enough for me.