A few months ago, I hit a bit of a crossroads. I had 80 million credits onhand after a more-than-atrocious bounty hunting grind in an ASPX, and I was ready – at long last – to move onto a brand new multipurpose ship. I wasn't ready to start specializing into fields yet – but that'll come later.
I narrowed it down to two options, and only two: the Alliance Chieftain, and the Krait Mk II. The Alliance Chieftain was certainly cheaper, more agile, better armor hardness, and vastly superior armor AFAIK, but the Krait Mk II lured me over with larger compartments, larger hardpoints (meaning less damage reduction vs. large ships), better jump range, better shields, and most importantly: a fighter hanger.
Let me just say: the Krait Mk II was the first ship in Elite Dangerous to make me feel powerful. Never in my entire career had I ever wielded so much firepower, and I thought the Krait looked so damn cool for the price. At the time, it was 100% worth it.
Now, a few months later, I feel that it wasn't 100% worth it, but I certainly don't regret the purchase. While I do have a couple reservations about the Krait, my opinion still stands as such: it is a more than capable multipurpose ship, and I would happily recommend it to anyone and everyone looking to do a little bit of everything.
As always, this is an opinion thread, and I don't intend to present any of this as factual or informative. If any of you have differing opinions, comments, or even ideas for me to try, I'm always checking the comments, and I look forward to your responses. With all that out of the way, let's begin.
TL;DR: The Krait Mk II was a first for me in many ways: first large hardpoint(s), first ship w/ >200 cargo capacity, first fighter hanger, and first ship where size and expense really started to become an issue. My rebuy was starting to get uncomfortably high, and this was also the first ship where I stopped buying armor composites, in favor of reinforcements, due to the fact that armor is almost prohibitively expensive at this stage. Even so, it was a capable warship, and I still use it on the regular to this day. Highly enjoyed, highly recommend.
Let me begin with arguably my 2 biggest concerns for this ship. The first is size: the Krait Mk II is massive for a medium ship. The Krait II was the first ship where I had to be genuinely careful to not show my weak spots to the enemy, because I wasn't maneuverable enough to circle and evade their fire anymore. At least with the ASPX, you had some vulnerabilities, but were generally maneuverable enough to tail your enemy the whole time – the Krait II doesn't have that advantage, instead focusing more on either "jousting" with the enemy (which I hate) or tanking hits via good armor or clever use of shield cells. If you're firing on a Krait from the front, the profile is pretty narrow, and difficult enough to hit with fixed weapons, but if you attack from above or below, even at an angle, the Krait becomes a massive target that can't fight back… or so I thought. More on that in a minute.
I experienced this on both sides: on one hand, Kraits are generally easy enough to sustain fire on, so long as you keep a good angle on them. On the other hand, it's equally easy for someone to keep fire on me, even with FA-OFF – and yes, I did start using FA-OFF here, and while it sucks, it does help. There were plenty of times where I was flummoxed over how low my shields were after an altercation due to being attacked by an enemy I didn't even know was there, while they picked away at my generator from a blind spot.
Even with all this, however, I still managed to at least partially mitigate these issues with time, patience, practice, and skill. But even then, one huge issue remained: cost.
The chassis itself isn't too expensive: a modest ~42 million credits before discounts, for the base hull and some basic attachments. Not too bad, I told myself – until I reached the outfitting screen. The bulkheads alone more than double the cost of the ship, and this is where I finally stopped buying armor composites for my ships: it was just getting prohibitively expensive. Now, I totally could've grinded a while more to save up, but after some careful planning and some practice – and some rebuys – I decided it wasn't worth it. The armor was good enough as is, with a few reinforcements, and the shields were at least tough enough that I could survive a scrap with no issues.
But I still needed to upgrade the powerplant, and I delayed this for a very, very long time. In fact, only recently did I purchase an A7 powerplant for the Krait Mk II: I had been running a lightly-engineered C7 powerplant for months! the Class 7 powerplant and distributor are both a blessing and a curse: on one hand, I've never had a single power management issue in the Krait. Not even one. A Class 7 powerplant is absolutely big enough, but that leads to the actual issue: it's a bit big, meaning it can get VERY expensive to buy these modules. Once again, buying that A7 powerplant more than doubled the cost of my ship! Like I said, this is where I adopted the "Lightweight or bust" mentality with composites, and it bled over into my Anaconda and Mamba too. With powerplants, the issues are still bad, but at least I can make a case as to WHY I need an A rated powerplant.
In hindsight, I really should've just bought an A6 powerplant, and I'm pretty confident even that would've been enough for the Krait. Still, this was my first ship where I had to be really, really careful with expenses, and where I started experiencing firsthand just how much a ship can cost. That willy-nilly spending attitude I walked in with quickly disappeared, once my rebuy started exceeding 4 million credits. In a way, the Krait Mk II serves as a good tutorial on budgeting: for a long time, I compromised other areas of the ship to be able to purchase bigger and better modules in others. Even with the "get rich quick" methods of Elite Dangerous that I keep hearing about but haven't personally tried, the Krait isn't cheap, but it's certainly a decent quality ship for the price.
At first, I was going to complain about the heat management, but after buying an A7 powerplant, I realized that this was pretty self-inflicted. The heat management is actually pretty good for a medium ship, and it's not often anymore that I go above 80% when firing all weapons. Even with a shield cell, I still only barely get above 100%, and only for a second – and that's with no heatsinks.
The jump range is kind of mediocre compared to the ASPX – which carries the same FSD class – but I expected this going into it, and it's still more than adequate for my needs. In a full combat outfit, I still get about 22 LY of range, which is pretty decent for being weighed down. Additionally, you can also fit a class 6 scoop, making refueling a snap.
The powerplant and power distributor are excessive. That's not a bad thing mind you: I've never struggled with power management, and a single boost from my engines only knocks off 3 bars from my ENG capacitor – that's almost nothing. The Krait has absolutely ZERO issues powering even the thirstiest of weapons, from both the MW standpoint and the capacitor standpoint. They're excessive in their size, but it gives you some luxuries you otherwise wouldn't have – like being able to fire for a very, very long time.
Speaking of firing: the Krait Mk II was the first ship I flew with large hardpoints, and the 3 large hardpoints turn the Krait into a formidable warship in the right hands. I strongly recommend gimballed weapons for any and all souls using the Krait, as the hardpoint convergence is… well, it's not great. It's not terrible by any means, but the Krait II suffers from a similar problem that the ASPX had, in that the lower hardpoints aim below the ship, while the upper ones are limited to above the ship, which can make lining up every gun a bit tricky with fixed weapons. When I gimballed them, however, that quickly stopped being an issue, at least for me.
The armor and shields are a little light for a ship of this expense, but there's a reason for this: speed. The Krait II is built for speed, even without engineering. The handling is a little poor, but with some engineering, grit, and a whole lot of boosting, I can still circle most of my foes without much issue. I appreciate the large distributor here: you can boost a LOT, and with 4 pips, it's actually really difficult to drain the capacitor. When in doubt, just run away!
As a freighter, I know the Python fanboys are immediately gonna jump on me when I say this, but the Krait is a perfectly viable alternative. Considering that it's significantly cheaper, faster, lighter weight, (meaning higher jump range) equal armament, and a fairly impressive cargo hold, even if it's smaller. In terms of profit, yes the Python would be better, but the Krait just seems more usable overall – at least, I think so. I haven't flown a Python yet. Truthfully, I don't plan to.
The fighter hanger may be practically useless, but it's still fun to use against Pirates as a meat shield. I think the Krait would be an excellent multicrew ship with friends, but I have no PS4 friends to play Elite with. 🙁
All in all, the Krait Mk II is a capable multipurpose vessel. It won't compete well against more specialized ships, but that can be said for any multipurpose vessel – stay tuned for the Mamba next time! Shameless plug aside, I enjoyed my time in the Krait II, and the only reason I really stopped using it was because I didn't actually know how to fix a lot of the issues I had with it. Now that I know how to address (or embrace) the flaws of the ship, I've come to appreciate it in a way that I didn't at first.
That concludes my review of the Krait II. As always, thank you for dropping in and giving this a read, and I'll be looking forward to the comments. Next time, I'll cover the first of two combat ships I came to own: Zoron Peterson's Mamba!
Stay Safe, and Fly Dangerous. o7