I played a Junk Pirate campaign recently, and i've got some feedback. Early game was pretty difficult as the Nexerelin starting ship, the Clam, is definitely not a suitable flagship. The two newcomers frigates, or even the Sickle would be much better choices.
Breh'inni being so far from the civilized world doesn't help either. Also the fact that everyone will try to kill you because you're a pirate make a JP campaign a pretty rough ride. I also had some troubles finding ships throughout the game, Glory and Karkov rarely sold me anything bigger than a destroyer. It's not impossible that i was unlucky though.
Anyway, my feedback on the ships.
The Clam lost its fortress shield and its usefulness with it. It's now closer to the Vigilance than the Monitor, and given that JP already have the Hammer for that role, i'm not really convinced about it. Even with the good efficiency and flux shunt mod, it's not a very good escort. Fortress shield was possibly overkill on it, but FMR doesn't seems like an interesting replacement. Perhaps some drones then?
The Sickle felt like a Wolf mixed with a Hound. It's stupidly fast but lack manoeuvrability. Giving it a cautious officer and order it to capture strategic points isn't a bad idea. Otherwise, i gave it a graviton beam (then a lightning gun) to support from afar, hoping it wouldn't do something stupid (which it eventually did, anyway). I have to admit i didn't toyed much with those, as they were a surprisingly rare sight in stations.
The Clementine was my first true flagship after i managed to scrap enough coins in my Clam. It's a bit similar to the SS+ Tiger, or an energy Lasher. Which is why i immediately decided to strap Safety override on it. It's a bit trickier to fly than a SO Lasher, but i managed to make it works with pulse lasers and an Annihilator. By the way, a typo in the description, "manouvring jets" and two dots at the end.
It's sister ship, the Mandarine, is probably an even better SO ship. It's not quite as fast, but the weapon layout and respectable stats make it an ideal started ship. Both are even slightly cheaper than the Lasher.
The dreaded Hammer is back, not quite as absurd as the old one but still a very handy addition to any JP fleet. It's pretty much defenceless by itself and will probably die a lot when left unchecked. Babysitting a squad of Hammers is definitely worth the hassle given they can bring some dirt cheap medium (and small) missile support in battle.
For the destroyers, the Boxer got the spotlight for me. It's as cheap as a Mule, with the firepower of an Enforcer, flux stats better than a Hammerhead, and the armor of a heavy cruiser. It's one burn speed slower than average, and its few ordnances points can limit it a bit though. It's still a pretty good brawler, even with the weird angle on two of its hardpoints, and an even better fire support with the two medium missiles.
The Boxenstein is an all around better variant of the Boxer at the cost of being a tiny bit more expensive and slow. Like the Boxer, it can definitely brawl (a Blaster/IR Pulse/Harpoon variant can scare anything that is not bigger), but with its new weapon layout, i feel it's more comfortable as a fire support platform.
The Satsuma is a new one, and it felt like a low-tech Medusa. It's one of the most mobile destroyers around and can still bring a decent amount of guns. It's an interesting flagship candidate, as well as a SO ship, and while it can works in the hands of the AI, it's not as safe as the Boxer. Like all JP ships, it's a bit OP starved, but also very cheap to field.
The Turbot was my main flagship for a while, and the reason is its ability to mount a Typhoon launcher while being able to phase. Until the arrival of the future phase destroyer that Alex teased on tweeter, i think the Turbot is the only phase ship in the game (mods included?) that have a medium missile mount. Being able to sneak in all impunity behind the enemy flagship and backstab it with a torpedo is amazing. Without flagship, the AI tends to panic and retreat, leaving their vulnerable engines ripe for the taking for the rest of my ships.
Otherwise, it's a fairly unremarkable ship, very average stats, and while it's more expensive than other JP destroyers at 9 supplies per deployment, it's still in the domain of the very affordable. It's weapon layout can only be described as weird, and i rarely found an ideal loadout for it (Typhoon, backup Atropos and mining blaster was my build). The phase drones are very handy, and because of those, i suspect the Turbot might make a very good AI ship, even if i didn't tried that yet.
I wasn't convinced by the Scythe, it's an inferior competitor to the Mule. Extremely fragile, with a clumsy weapon layout and less cargo for the same cost. The only saving grace is its impressive speed, which is only interesting in escape scenarios.
The Octopus makes for an interesting alternative to the Condor and Gemini. The lack of long range support is obvious, and its frail armor won't save it once its shield is gone. But at 6 supplies/deployment, it's hard to find a cheaper carrier, and it's reasonable cargo space is still a welcome addition.
The Langoustine is the biggest loser of the bunch. Not because it's bad, but because i was extremely unlucky finding one. It's a shame, because it's my favourite sprite of the bunch, and it does seems like a monster from the little time i spend with it. A ship with HEF and a 1050 DPS built in energy weapon can't lie, it's good, it's a very frickin' good. Add on top of that a respectable armour, very good flux stats, incredible mobility, all of it for the price of a Hammerhead (8 supplies). Oh, there's also a medium universal, so that you can fit a Typhoon launcher there, and enough OPs for SO too, to give enough flux dissipation to feed the scorpion cannon. We may have a tier 1 here.
Now for the cruisers, the Jackdaw clearly is the one that bring the dakka. It's a broadside ship, although with generous angles, and it's quite fragile, making it fairly underwhelming for the AI to use. A pretty decent flagship, if perhaps a bit slow. You can still hurt really hard with its broadside barrage coupled with ammo feeder.
Its sibling, the Dugong, is surprisingly similar in stats despite the size difference. Its ballistic "left hook", while strong, isn't quite as menacing as the Jackdaw, but it compensate with a monstrous missile "right uppercut". Having so many missiles mounts of that size make it an incredible (overpowered?) fire support for the AI. As a flagship, you can open with a kinetic barrage and rotate with a torpedoes coup de grâce that will annihilate even the biggest capital ships.
And they are the same cost, 15 supplies, like the Falcon.
The Goat class is what an Apogee would be if it didn't ate its vegetables. Inferior in pretty much all categories, it's still fortunately a bit cheaper. The Goat "works" but definitely not as well as its vanilla counterpart, and its slightly lower cost isn't convincing enough.
The Orcenstein is a strange Dominator wannabe. Its armor is definitely not as tough but it compensate by a slightly better shield coverage and efficiency, it's also quite a bit more mobile. The main difference come from the energy weapons that replaced the ballistics of the Domi, and also a large missile mount on the front instead of the three medium. They still both works the same way, point at things, press the red button, watch the firework. It also have an inexplicably lower burn speed, which is compensated by a slightly lower cost.
Like the Langoustine, i was very unlucky with the Magpie, and couldn't try it for very long. Unlike the Langoustine however, the Magpie isn't that awesome. It's extremely fragile, quite slow (kinda offset by its burn drive) and quite under gunned. The twin built-in PICA are glorified pulse lasers. The Magpie can also rely on a single medium ballistic and a large missile for offence, which isn't that much, rear coverage is surprisingly paranoid though (5 small energy). The 145 OPs still leave a lot for customisation, which is strange given JP ships tends to be low on OPs.
Thankfully it only cost 20 supplies per deployment, but it's still a lot for a "heavy destroyer".
And now, the big one, the Kraken! A strange and interesting Conqueslaught hybrid. It doesn't brawl quite as well as the Onslaught, and it doesn't kite quite as well at the Conquest. I liked it, and yet i was disappointed. I wish it had manoeuvring jets instead of HEF, and an omni-shield! Yes, it can be offest by installing omni-shield and auxiliary thrusters hull mods, but it doesn't leave many OPs for anything else. I wanted to build it like an hybrid broadside, left kinetic softener, right energy killer. Alas, it doesn't rotate quite as fast, and its shield can't cover the sides very well. It still works, but not as well as i would have wished.
It's also the one of the few JP ship that cost more than it should. I feel it should be on the same footing as the Onslaught and Conquest in price.
The Orca is an intermediate between Odyssey than the Astral. It has the weapons to brawl, but lack the armor and flux to be a serious opponent. A low tech Astral that can bite, in some way. Still a bit expensive for what it does though.
I didn't really tried the Reaper. You don't bring a knife to a gun fight, a very expensive knife on top of that. Also, burn speed of 6, like all JP capital ships strangely.
Now the fighters. I didn't played a carrier fleet specifically but i still tried to field a bunch of those to see how they worked. The Spike is the closest thing JPs have to the Talon, and while it's definitely not as fast, it's monstrously hard to kill at 200 armor. And like most JPs fighters, extremely cheap to field (1 supply the whole wing!). Only 50 flux dissipation though, not sure how they can actually use their dual autocannons.
The Splinter wing is very similar to the Spike. Not as tanky (still more than a Gladius) but twice a kill-y, two vulcans plus a dual-mg is merciless against targets with stripped armor. And they come in wings of four.
The Shard is a distant cousin of the Gladius, but with only 1 IR pulse. They still come with one more fighter per wing and are cheaper to field. Also, the description talk about Breh'inni 2, which currently doesn't exist. A relic of the old times of Starfarer?
And finally, the Cleat bomber. A weird, twisted variant of the Dagger with a shield that can barely survive a single autocannon shot, they rarely reach their target if someone is looking at them. The good news is that their are freakishly fast for bombers, making them pretty hard to intercept until it's too late. They still need quite a lot of micro to avoid stupid suicides. Also comes with a tactical laser, which i'm not sure of its purpose.
Annnnd that's all! That was pretty fun campaign overall, even if getting to Breh'inni every times to buy new ships was getting tiresome. The faction could benefit from some stations here and there around the sector, to avoid constantly going back to the edge of the universe to re-supply.
The faction isn't as weak as i expected it to be. Some ships are definitely in need of a nerf (Langoustine, Dugong, Boxer-stein, fighter's armors...), while some might need to be buffed a bit (Goat, Scythe, Magpie...). And i also really wish the Clam will get a new ship system. Like i said earlier, drones could be very interesting for an escort, but its price should suffer to compensate.