With the release of Star Citizen 3.9, a new ship is flight-ready. The Esperia Prowler is a dropship that stands in contrast to the guns-blazing Anvil Valkyrie. The Prowler provides high-capacity troop transport in a compact package, trading wide-angle weapon coverage for stealth capabilities. The Prowler’s strengths and weaknesses make it a unique ship in Star Citizen‘s current lineup, and we’ll examine whether it’s worth buying for you below.
Star Citizen Esperia Prowler Tour
The Prowler is the first Tevarin-derived ship to be manufactured by Esperia. As such, its design follows a much different aesthetic than typical human models. The ship lacks a traditional transparent canopy and utilizes a hardened shell made of a material that allows the pilot and co-pilot to see out while maintaining the strength of alloy armor. The ship’s co-pilot, in addition to being able to pilot the ship and monitor systems, can remotely control the spine-mounted turret.
As a dropship, the Prowler is built to deploy troops rapidly. This is done via eight small doors in the port and starboard side of the ship and a rapid-deployable ramp at the rear. In total, there are 16 jump seats, each with a weapon rack, allowing a large squad of soldiers to deploy in seconds. The side drop doors are equipped with air shield technology, which enables soldiers to even deploy in space without venting the atmosphere inside of the Prowler.
For defense, the Prower mounts:
- 2x S2 Tevarin Shield Generators
- 2x S4 Esperia Deadbolt IV Ballistic Cannons
- 2x S3 Esperia Lightstrike III Laser Cannons (Turret)
This is the first appearance of Tevarin-designed weapons in Star Citizen, and all defensive equipment is roughly equivalent to human-manufactured counterparts. Although a co-pilot manning the remote turret enhances weapons coverage when unmanned, the turret is linked to the pilot’s primary fire. This means the Prowler’s firepower isn’t as manpower dependent as the Valkyrie.
The Prowler also has VTOL capability, making for a faster landing and lift off. The wings containing the engines have “quills” that retract when in VTOL mode. These quills form a barrier when landing that helps protect the side jump doors from small-arms fire.
In addition to its low energy signature, the Prowler features hardpoints for grav-lev integration. Once this tech is added to the game, Prowler pilots will be able to activate it to skate along the ground on a cushion of anti-gravity. The ability to rapidly fly at a low level with grav-lev should further enhance the ship’s stealth capabilities and allow for faster unloading.
Star Citizen Esperia Prowler Strengths
The Prowler’s primary strength is that it can land 16 fully-kitted soldiers in less than 10 seconds. When it comes to dropping troops, the Valkyrie has a higher capacity with 20 vs. 16. However, soldiers dropping from the Valkyrie must exit towards the back and then through the side door or back ramp. If you’re looking to quickly and stealthily insert a squad into a location, there’s no better ship in Star Citizen right now than the Prowler.
Once EM is wholly implemented into the game, the Prowler’s stealth strengths will become even more apparent. One advantage that this ship has over any other currently is its air shield tech. This means you can skim over a vessel and drop soldiers in space without any decompression effects. This makes the Prowler an impromptu boarding ship.
The weapons and shields aboard the Prowler are excellent, and the ship is more than capable of defending itself from attack from most small and medium vessels. It’s maneuverable enough to dogfight, at least as long as you’re not facing too many opponents, and its weapons pack a punch. If you’re less concerned about stealth, the Prower’s maneuverability and weapons package make for an excellent vessel to fly overwatch and take out any aerial opposition.
Star Citizen Esperia Prowler Weaknesses
Compared to the Valkyrie, the Prowler is very cramped. There’s very little room to move around inside, and any soldiers aboard will have to spend the ride strapped into their drop seats. In addition to lacking the vehicle capacity of the Valkyrie, each soldier is only afforded space for one weapon each. That means you can’t keep a varied arsenal aboard so the squad can choose guns on the fly. Being strapped into a seat makes for boring gameplay after a while as well, so the Prowler is likely a bad choice if you’ve got a significant journey to the drop point.
Soldiers on the ground can’t count on much close air support from the Prowler. The ship’s weapon arcs are pointed straight forward, and the bottom weapons aren’t gimbaled. The spinal turret can do an excellent job of covering the air when the ship is landed, but it doesn’t have the arc to cover the ground. If you want a dropship that can fly cover and attack ground targets, the Valkyrie is the best choice. Alternatively, you could pair the Prowler with a Constellation, which has a downward-facing turret and the ability to drop a rover that could act as armored support for your squad.
Should I buy an Esperia Prowler in Star Citizen?
The Esperia Prowler is a capable but highly specialized ship. This is a vessel that’s really going to come into its own down the line when new content becomes available. It has impressive stealth capability and is incredibly compact for a dropship that can carry 16 troops. However, it’s a cramped ship that would likely be best used aboard a carrier unit like the Kraken rather than operating alone, if only for the comfort of the soldiers that have to drop from it.
The Prowler is worth purchasing now if you have a larger org that wants to participate in drop operations together. It’s a fun enough ship to fly solo, but its lack of cargo space and emphasis on multiplayer functionality make it a bit of a waste if you primarily play alone.
When the Prowler really shines is when used in conjunction with other ships that complement its strengths and make up for its weaknesses. If you’re looking for a highly-specialized vessel to slot into your dream fleet, the Prowler is a fantastic choice. However, If you’re seeking an all-in-one dropship, the Valkyrie is likely the better choice for you.