Hands on First Impressions on Pilot Ships – Federation Icarus ~ Bug Ship?

Introducing the Icarus
hands down – the closest the federation will get to having a Bug Ship.
Sweet looking little monster.
Sweet looking little monster.  Suddenly my Defiant isn’t as cool.  And my Bug ship is jealous.

Full disclosure – I purchased the Pilot Escort Mega Bundle.  I have enough alts that can take advantage of them, and decided to start with the Feds tonight..   To be honest I’m not a fan of escorts.  They take a significant amount of skill normally to use them effectively.  I’ve been leaning on the FAW crutch for so long now, I’ve gotten rusty.

The Design

As I noted in my comparison chart all three have multiple components that you can swap out. The pilot ships have impulse, deflector and wing configurations that are easily interchangeable along with the three hull types.  What I really liked was being able to swap out the deflectors and impulse engines, making my Icarus Science escort look sleeker and ready for combat.  Top to bottom, it’s a clean looking design.

The console set

I used the three consoles primarily to try the value of the 3-piece bonuses.  They do not share a CD, however each comes with the standard 2min CD.  Combined the three produce a number of interesting abilities, but what stands out is +33% Cannon and Turret Weapon Damage.  Here’s the full bonus set:


Subspace Eddy – was a hard one to judge.  In combat where I’m being chased by multiple bougies the ability to drop 5 looked on paper to be of value.  In ISE it didn’t seem to be that great, but I’m excited to try it in the new Gates of Gre’Thor STF.  It’s secondary passive ability of resisting speed and turn debuffs is based on your throttle settings.  I have not played with this enough to say yeah or nay.

Spatial Sinkhole Generator – had a certain amount of WOW factor.  Think short lived, ultra powerful Gravity Well that seemed to have little difficulty in grabbing all 6 spheres in ISN. The increased range from the set bonus made it a very effective tool for grouping your kills.  The only drawback, it’s ridiculously short (lasted less than 10 seconds). The secondary ability adds +7.5% to Exotic Damage.

Microprojectile Barrage Launcher – this was very cool.  First it’s point and fire, meaning you spray missiles in a 90 degree cone from the front of your ship.    I made the mistake a few times to do a turn or special maneuver, causing the spray to go everywhere.  The effect lasts for seven seconds, which can almost seem like an eternity.  The damage was substantial, but nowhere as good as the nadion bomb console.  But it will target up to five targets in that range.  The secondary ability, almost worth the console slot on it’s own adds 25% mine and torpedo damage.

Will I keep using the consoles?

If I stick with a cannon-only build, yes.  The added bonuses and the extra damage make for a surprisingly well balanced ship.  But an AP beamscort build calls to me… it vexes me…

How does the pilot enhancements work?

First off – even with the lag, the pilot maneuvers worked really well.  They CANNOT be chained as was demonstrated in the GIF animations produced by Cryptic.  I don’t think this was meant to be deceptive, but rather demonstrated on purpose. Each time I used an ability, it took approximately 7 seconds for the ability to recharge.


The new HUD addition offers a variety of controls, and you can easily enable/disable the double tap activation.  It took a while for me to ‘calm the fuck down’ while controlling my ship.  More often than not I found myself suddenly speeding up, rolling or slowing down because of my frenetic use of the keys.  Once I slowed the finger strokes, suddenly this ship became a very interesting craft to fly.  Yes Captain Gecko, the pilot maneuvers are frikin cool.  Within a few runs I was getting the hang of doing left to right rolls, but the ones I found myself using the most were the retro rockets and the afterburners.

Double click W – move 5km forward.
Double click S – move 5 km back
Double click A or D – move 3km left or right (and it looks sweeeeet).

How does it fight?  If fights like a Jem’Hadar BUG.

I hesitate to compare it to the Jem Bug, as I don’t own one.  I do own the Strike Ship and after a few runs I found it to be surprisingly agile and very much like the Strike ship in many ways.  Obviously the boff seating of the bug is much more versatile, and it comes with more abilities – but after trying the piloting maneuvers I found my Delta Recruit was doing as much damage as my Lvl 60 primary toon with the Jem Ha’dar Strike Ship.

I would not be surprised if the Strike Ship shows up with Pilot enhancements.

Yes, I spent as much time blowing up and sucking breeches as I did in doing damage.  But in subsequent runs in ISA I had little difficulty in pushing 18K DPS.  Not bad for a crappy pilot running VR XIV gear.  I’m very tempted to drop all the consoles, and build this out as AP beamscort.

OK – So after calling Cryptic out on the idea of ‘packaging’ pilot abilities for a new ship, how do you feel now?

A bit like an idiot.  But I blame Cryptic, because it’s what I do best.  Thier descriptions did NOT do justice to the ships capabilities.  And I simply don’t trust anything that Gecko says..

Final Verdict

Worth the cost.
 Definitely no buyers remorse with this purchase, even though I am not an escort fan.  It’s going to be fun to use these ships on my Delta Recruits.  I can’t wait to try the Romulan version next.  Or maybe the KDF…

10 thoughts on “Hands on First Impressions on Pilot Ships – Federation Icarus ~ Bug Ship?

  1. I’m having a great deal of trouble using mine at the moment and feeling efficient with it. I was trying to figure out a sweet spot for my build and so far – at least on the Mercury – I haven’t nailed it yet on my 3pc-console set + AP torp+dual heavy cannons+turret build. Considering I have mostly CrtDx4 with 3 Superior Operative Tactical Boff, I expected to dish out some major hurt.

    I was wrong.

    I’ve tried to make several pilot powers work (I mean, the consoles give out a substancial cooldown reduction, so, ought to use them, right?). Pilot Team, Hold Together, Lock Trajectory, Subspace Boom, Reroute to Weapons.
    – Pilot Team: took it for the CC-break, ended up wishing I had polarize hull – the extra speed wasn’t welcome.
    – Hold Together: it’s a reactive power that’s too subtle in effect to really be noticed – especially with the temporary HP from attack patterns. I ended up forgetting to use it. I much prefer hazard emitters or polarize hull.
    – Lock Trajectory: really not as useful as the videos made it to seem like. I did employ it a lot to get the hang of it, know you can toggle it on and off (which is cumbersome considering the amount of other things we have to pay attention to) but most of what it ended up giving me is spreading my damage from one shield facing to all over the other shields on my target. I wish the cooldown was even lower to I could make shorter uses of it more often.
    – Subspace Boom: It felt like that oil slick intel power, but left in my wake when pursued or overshooting something. I ended up misusing it most of the time.
    – Reroute to Weapons: single target, and with how much I was moving around and spreading my damage all across other shield facing, it just felt -bad-, even if I went out of my way to get the III version. So far, it’s felt awkward to use like Surgical Strike (SS feels wierd because of how slow/less responsive your weapons feel) but without the damage payoff.

    Pilot maneuvers are nice, but much less of a big deal than I expected – mostly due to how I’ve so far not been able to rely on them: like you, I micromanage my helm and that triggers unintentional uses. I kind of wish I knew how to set it as Shift+direction key to have more control over that (they talked about it being possible in the pilot ship intro).

    Trait: Pedal to the Metal I
    I’m really not fond of this trait – it just doesn’t work well with the cannon build. You’re forced to move, and move -fast- and that just doesn’t mesh well with trying to stick close/effective cannon range and pound the hurt into a single shield facing.

    Considering my bridge officers and quality of my weaponry, I figured moving fast wouldn`t be much of an issue if I could destroy things in one pass. Wasn’t happening that way (even in my usual testing grounds, which are Tau Dewa patrols). I usually like going fast – I’m packing the advanced engine rep trait and the 3pc Delta set on top of the Delta Flight console – but right now, “less is more” feels pretty appropriate.

    I’m much less enthusiastic about this than I was in the beginning. I’m going to keep tweaking this until I master all three variants. I’m planning on downgrading to a more conventional escort build – attack pattern beta, scatter volley, torp spread – as going single target hasn`t been working out. If I can strafe multiple enemies rather than just one while maneuvering like crazy, it might be more worth it.

    Things to look forward to:
    My Fed-Rom Sci has a much better crit chance than my Fed Tac and, with the new biomatter plasma torpedo, I’ve been considering returning to the Dhelan warbird in order to get gravwell access.
    The pilot science variant comes with a LtC science Boff station and matches what I was looking for from the Dhelan. Decloaking, bunching up stuff with the Spatial Sinkhole Generator, keeping them that way with GravWell, and then taking advantage of the ambush damage buff to scatter volley/torp spread what ends up being caught to death could be fun (as long as herald EMP probes don’t ruin my attack run)


  2. “I would not be surprised if the Strike Ship shows up with Pilot enhancements.”

    Well, Lootcritter… if you saw what I saw from the people of high IQ… the *precedence* for this will be set soon. 😦 Oh, Cryptic… *frantically taps BRACE FOR IMPACT*


  3. “I hesitate to compare it to the Jem Bug, as I don’t own one. I do own the Strike Ship”

    If you own the JHSS you effectively own the JHAS too. The JHSS is the T6 version of the JHAS. Yes there are slight differences but the JHSS is better in every difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Got the Rom 3 pack, been running beams because that is what I have been upgrading, and been having a blast. Almost forgot how much I enjoy playing an escort since the Command Cruisers came out, which I also have been really enjoying and don’t regret. I feel T6 has been really good as a Romulan, before T6 I never really considered playing anything other than my Fleet Mogai.


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