I apologize for the severe delay in this post. I got really caught up in work!
I was on the fence on whether or not I should review the Diamondback Scout, not because I felt it wasn't noteworthy, but because everything I wanted to say about the Scout is something I already said about the Diamondback Explorer. I didn't really have that much else to say. Ultimately, instead of skipping over this ship and going straight for the Dolphin (next time!) I decided that I owed it to the Scout – and to my readers – that I give a full, complete review of the Scout, just like I did its bigger brother.
So here we are. Once again, I would like to emphasize that this is an opinion thread, and not a place (necessarily) for facts or opinions, and if you disagree, as always I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Without any further ado, here's my long overdue opinion!
TL;DR: while I generally liked the DBS, the only real shortcoming of the ship is the fact that everything about it is eclipsed by its bigger brother, the DBX, which is only somewhat more expensive. If the Diamondback Scout existed as a solitary ship, I guarantee it would see more use, and it would allow all of its neat little features to shine. Unfortunately, when compared to the Explorer, it's completely outclassed.
I first came across the Diamondback Scout in Colonia, very far from home, with only about 20 million credits onhand at the time. Money was tight, and I told myself I was going to play it smart, and get a ship that costed less than 1 million credits – one that wasn't a Cobra or Viper. I didn't need a ship that could do everything: I just needed a vessel hardy enough that I could get through Colonia mostly intact.
In retrospect: I shouldn't have settled for less. I was torn between the Diamondback Scout and the DBX, but because of cost concerns, I caved and bought a Scout. Now don't get me wrong: I enjoyed the time I flew in it, but I only flew my DBS for 3 days, and there were a couple reasons for this.
Firstly: just like the DBX, I found the Scout to be claustrophobic, and the size issues I had with the DBX are only exacerbated here. The Scout is restrictively small. While the core internals are somewhat impressive, and the maneuverability is certainly formidable, you still only have 6 internal compartments. Granted, half of these are class 3, but 6 still isn't many. This allows for a ship that has very little flexibility, and is certainly inadvisable for trade – but that's a given. It's the only ship that comes equipped with 0 cargo space at default.
In combat, the Diamondback Scout is a viable option, with some caveats. While it would lose its effectiveness against larger ships, I find that the hardpoints are so nicely placed that, when combined with the maneuvering power, you pretty much only need fixed weapons. Gimbals work too, but you're nimble enough that if you're using hitscan weapons, it completely defeats the point. I ran 2 beams and 2 railguns, and I found this to be more than sufficient. One of the biggest issues with the DBS is survivability: it's a fragile little ship. While the armor hardness is higher than a Cobra III or Viper IV, the base armor strength is identical to a Cobra III. Unlike the Cobra III, however, you cannot fit class 4 reinforcements, so your potential armor class is significantly lower, even with engineering. Additionally, the Scout suffers from very poor shielding, meaning that the Scout must take great care to evade fire as opposed to taking it.*
*It should be noted that there's a silver lining to this: Bi-Weave shields are a very attractive option!
The Scout suffers from some power management issues, although they are certainly not quite as bad as the DBX or Vulture. Here, the Class 3 internal cap functions as another silver lining: it is significantly easier to keep all of your modules powered, even before engineering, and you can comfortably fit SCBs and shield boosters. Furthermore, the Scout boasts 4 utility mounts, meaning chaff, heatsinks, and even PDTs (if, like me, you enjoy those) are viable. As long as your Power Plant is a 4A, you should have no issues powering your weapons.
I personally find the power distributor to be too small, certainly not large enough to justify the huge spike in cost when compared to a Viper IV. In my experience, even after engineering I struggled with keeping my distributor well-charged, and regularly had to wait in order to boost more than once.
The jump range is adequate for my tastes, but I still wouldn't use a Scout for pure exploration due to its incredibly restrictive internal compartments. That said, I can definitely see a good argument for the Scout as a bubble taxi.
Needless to say, the Scout is a very, very poor option for mining and trade. Even with no shield or docking implements, you cap at a mediocre 32 tonnes – only 2 more than the significantly cheaper Adder. That said, I suppose an argument could be made as a long-range data courier or rare commodity hauler – but even then, there are still some better options.
I really liked how it flied. The DBS is one of, if not simply the most, maneuverable ships I can comfortably fly. While I found the Eagle to be too responsive, and a bit twitchy in its handling, the Diamondback Scout was just smooth. The speed is more than sufficient, and I must say, I'm glad I was graced with such excellent handling, even if it was just for 3 days.
But this brings me to the largest flaw of the Diamondback Scout: The Diamondback Explorer exists.
The Explorer is not prohibitively more expensive than the Scout, and outclasses the scout in nearly every single regard except handling and speed. I wanted to like the Scout a lot more than I actually did: it seems Lakon didn't learn their lesson with the ASP Scout either. The DBS has a niche, but I've found said niche to be so much so that the Scout almost seems useless. Even so, I did enjoy flying the ship, and I wouldn't recommend against purchasing one, but keep in mind that it is outclassed, and that there are far, far better ships. I don't regret buying the ship, and I also don't regret selling it.
I feel there may be some critical detail I was missing with the Scout. Was there something I wasn't doing right? A module I forgot to purchase? Is the Scout just a bad ship? I just couldn't really find a practical reason to keep the Scout. Then again: I'm not a practical person. I use my Dolphin and my Orca to commit crimes, and I repurposed a Viper III to be a bubble taxi just to prove a point. I even outfitted a Hauler for combat just because I could! If, like me, you aren't a very practical person, perhaps you can find some joy in flying a Diamondback Scout. I certainly did.
In any case, thank you for reading, and once again, a sincere apology about the delay! I'm hoping to post again tomorrow, and speaking of tomorrow, next up is one of the most fun ships I've gotten to fly: Saud Kruger's Dolphin!
Stay Safe, and Fly Dangerous. o7