An Honest Opinion of Every Ship I’ve Flown [Day 5]: The Diamondback Explorer (Bonus at the end!)

I'll just admit this right now: at first, I was hesitant to try the Diamondbacks. I had been really, really attached to my ASPX, and I firmly believed nothing could surpass it. I was far from home, sitting in a Colonia shipyard, wondering what to try, when I purchased the Diamondback Scout. After flying around for a little bit, I finally sucked it up, saved up some credits, and just splurged to get a DBX.

Let me just say: I think I made the right decision. Four months later, that same DBX has left a lasting impression on me. After swinging by my favorite engineer – Mel Brandon – I pinned efficient beams, engineered the bejesus out of the FSD, and I was blown away at how far I could get this little lunchbox of a ship to go. To date, it is still the only ship I've ever owned that has managed to reach over 50 light years of jump range, regardless of laden weight. To this day, I still use it as my go-to long range ship.

As always, this is an opinion thread, and as the old adage goes: just because you read it (get it? Reddit?) doesn't mean it's true. I look forward to seeing everyone's comments! Without further ado, let's begin.

NOTE: I figured since quite a few people have stuck around, I wanted to include a little bonus review at the end for the Scarab SRV. I promise, it won't be as long as the main review!

TL;DR: Where the Diamondback Scout failed to leave a mark on my memory, the Diamondback Explorer stands out as one of my best ships – not favorite, but best. Incomparable jump range, and a solid hardpoint lineup come together in a perfect little package for someone like me, but the near-crippling power management issues and claustrophobic design sort of hold it back from being one of my favorite ships. Still, a solid choice for anyone wanting to leave the bubble!

As I said earlier, the DBX is currently the only ship I have that can reach 50 light years, and is 1 of 2* ships with more than 30 ly jump range – the other is my Viper III, which I use as a bubble taxi just to prove a point. More on that in a later review. This highlights the best feature of the DBX: outstanding jump range. No matter which way you look at it, the DBX eclipses nearly every ship in the game in terms of jump range, bested only by the mythical exploration Anaconda. This is no small margin either: even fully laden, my ship gets to 55 ly, and unladen, the max range is 62. This is a HUGE margin, and makes travelling to and from the WHN a snap. With the DBX, I finally – FINALLY – unlocked a proper engines engineer, and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

The DBX is also very nimble, especially in Supercruise. However, outside of supercruise, this highlights a flaw – albeit a small one – that I noticed: the DBX is kind of slow. Now, by slow I'm not saying sluggish, I'm merely stating that it has sort of an opposite problem that I have with the Mamba: where the Mamba is fast but unwieldy, the DBX is graceful, but slow. In actuality, however, I didn't really have much of a problem with this, not even when I used it for combat. After all, you can still easily get the base speed to 300 m/s, and generally, that's fast enough for me.

In combat, the DBX is perfectly viable, with a couple of caveats. You boast 2 medium and 1 large hardpoint – more formidable than the Vulture, for those who didn't know – but this brings up our first major problem: the DBX struggles to power these weapons. While engineering can help, a full combat outfit can be very tricky to keep powered, especially with plasma accelerators. Not to mention, you only wield a Class 4 power distributor, where the Vulture boasts a Class 5, meaning shields can also be challenging to recharge. Your armor hardness is 42, which is nice, but your base armor strength leaves a lot to be desired – which is less nice. However, having 4 utility mounts is definitely a big bonus, and makes bounty hunting much more fun. Put in shorter terms, the DBX, like many ships I've spoken about so far, is a bit of a glass cannon: the best defense is not getting hit at all.

The heat management is fantastic. Even overcharged, the DBX doesn't run nearly as hot as most of my other ships. This is a very, very nice feature, especially when fuel scooping. I don't have much to say here, that first sentence sums it up pretty well.

Obviously the DBX is a poor trading vessel, but could find some utility as a rare commodity hauler, at least early on. You have a nice balance of modules, with 2 of each class from 1 to 4, but there's still the problem of only having 8 modules total. Which brings me to an issue that I personally don't have, but some people do: your largest module is a class 4. This means that you can only ever fit a Class 4 fuel scoop or Class 4 shield. Now I personally don't have much of an issue with this, as I don't mind waiting a little bit to refuel, but apparently many people do. Perhaps that issue would set in a bit harder for me if I was traveling very, very far away. I guess we'll see.

I do take an issue with the design. It looks really neat on the outside, but inside the cockpit feels… cramped. IRL, I am not a small human, and I feel like being stuck in a DBX for days on end would be my personal hell. I used the word claustrophobic earlier, but another word comes to mind as well: Utilitarian. Now I love utilitarian aesthetic, and it's part of why I love the design of the Federal Corvette, but it's a double edged sword: the DBX doesn't have the comforts of the ASPX. You can't stretch as much, but you made that trade: luxury for utility. It's a neat idea on paper – but there's a reason I don't really do more than 10 jumps in a row with the DBX before taking a break in an SRV.

All in all, the DBX has left a lasting impression on me, one that endures even today. Even if it's a bit restrictive, it's a very solid vessel, and well worth the credits for a place among the stars. While it's certainly not my favorite vessel, it is one that I use very often, and I've come to appreciate it for what it is.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my reviews. This one was a little bit shorter, but I feel it was necessary to keep things a bit streamlined after my unnecessarily long post for the Cobra III. Nevertheless, I said what I needed to, and I'll be reading the comments.

Stay Safe, Fly Dangerous. o7

Still here? I did promise a bonus, didn't I? Let's get right to it!

TL;DR: go read it, it's not that long.

Despite being the only SRV currently in the game, the Scarab is an adorable little vessel, complete with a shield, distributor, and even thrusters! For a ground vehicle, the Scarab moves fast, hitting ~60 miles per hour, but I take major issue with its handling: I have flipped the Scarab more times than I can count, and that damage adds up fast. More often than not, my rampant exploration was interrupted by the "Hull Integrity Critical" warning, and rather than wasting precious materials on a hull repair, I simply drive back to my ship, and get a quick fix. This could easily be solved by one of two things: having the shield soak up fall damage like it's supposed to, or I simply become a better driver.

Two whole cargo slots?? Come now, Frontier, that's just insultingly low. If you're only going to use 1 SRV for the WHOLE GAME, at the very least make it usable! Transferring cargo is a huge chore, part of why I avoid these kinds of missions altogether.

The little turret on the top, while cool, and good for surface mining, is next to useless in combat. Even the little drones you shoot down soak up quite a bit of damage. I feel this could easily be rectified by allowing the player to change out the weapon – for say, a Beam Laser?

All in all though, it's good enough for being the only SRV at the moment. I don't have much else to say, other than that I definitely look forward to the leaked SRVs, if they even exist. Still, a lack of customizing and cripplingly restrictive cargo racks make the SRV a bit lackluster for me. Thanks for sticking around to see this little mini-review!


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