CMDR Mark Goodwin's Diamondback Review

The Diamondback Explorer. One of the new ships to be introduced in the 1.3 Powerplay Update for Elite: Dangerous

For this review, I've recruited the help of another Choicest Games contributor. Luke (CMDR REDCON1) passes on his insights on the Diamondback Explorer.

As every player of Elite: Dangerous knows the new version 1.3 Powerplay update came out recently and besides adding a whole new layer of content as well as bug fixes, the game also introduced three new ships: the Imperial Courier, the Diamondback Scout and the Diamondback Explorer. I've been flying around the Imperial Courier quite a bit now and besides the nostalgia value (I loved Frontier: Elite II and the ship features quite prominently in the intro) it's definitely a sleek looking ship which manages to handle quite well as a mid-tier fighter. It's not going to be beating the Vulture by no means but it's half the price though.

But anyway, you're not here to learn about the Imperial Courier, how about the two Diamondbacks from Lakon? Well the smaller version known as the Scout is just over half a million credits so it sits between the Cobra Mk III and the Type-6 in terms of price. Its big brother, the Explorer (not to be confused with the Asp Explorer), is just under 2 million Cr, making it more expensive than the Type-6 Transporter but cheaper than an Imperial Courier (and indeed the Vulture and Asp).

In terms of speed and agility the Diamondback Scout is pretty good with comparable stats to the Viper and Cobra. It has as agility rating of 8 compared to the Cobra's 6 but is around the same hull mass. On the other hand, the Explorer seems to be (at least on paper) less agile than just about everything (except dedicated trading ships and much larger ships). Its speed is okay (around the same as a Sidewinder's) but it's nothing special.

In terms of shielding the Explorer does have slightly more than the Viper with the Scout sitting between the Cobra and Viper. The Scout has similar hardpoints to the Viper and Cobra with the Explorer rocking 2 medium and 1 large hardpoint.

Both of them seem to shine as exploration vessels though – both having large fuel tanks for their hull mass. The Diamondback Scout has got a 16t fuel tank but is slightly lighter than the Cobra at 170t and the Explorer is slightly heavier than the Asp (298t) but has a 32t fuel tank (like the Asp) – but it’s 1/3 the cost.

So as exploration vessels I think they're a good interim measure between the Hauler and the Asp (if exploration is all you're interested in). They also have some teeth as well but while the Scout is still pretty agile, the Explorer is not (and seems like the Asp is better in every department to be honest but has the price to show for it too). Otherwise, if you're looking for a multirole ship/combat ship/trading ship, there are better options.

What are your thoughts CMDR REDCON1? You've been flying a Diamondback Explorer recently right?

That's correct and that fits with what I've experienced in the Explorer so far.

The shields feel a little underpowered for both the hull mass overhead and the armour. To my thinking the lack of manoeuvrability can not be overstated, even in comparison with the Asp, although one thing I've noticed is in a straight line it maintains its boost speed for an eternity, presumably lending to the high inertia.

I think the Explorer fits a multirole though, at least for Powerplay. It's a ship that can jump far, interdict/chase down ships of enemy factions and subdue most of them (except dedicated combat ships), carry a bit of cargo and all on a fuel tank.

Any prolonged fight is doomed though and the second they're behind I've found I either need to turn Flight Assist off or boost and jump away.

In a pre-1.3 sense though it's pretty ordinary. It doesn't bounty hunt well because of a shitty distributor, it doesn't trade well because of the modest cargo space. Dedicated exploration might be okay but I'd still take the Asp over it.

I'm yet to try the Scout though.

It's enough as a Powerplay multirole, as you say but I think the cargo space is too small for a true multirole (at least from my weird definition of one) – I think the Cobra is actually a slightly better multirole than the Diamondback Explorer and the next step up would be the Asp.


Interesting about the boost speed – so maybe it's got relatively high class components that can compensate for its huge mass?

So did you end up getting rid of the Diamondback Explorer or are you still holding onto it? Are you going to use the cash towards a Fer-de-Lance?

I'll hold onto it until I at least get a little closer to the FDL.

So what do you think of the Diamondbacks? Do you think they are worth getting?