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Both MK II and the mother ship's defense drones seemingly create an impenetrable defense against hacking.

In particular, the second stage mothership has a single defense drone. Even when part of a large volley of other projectiles, the defense drone unerringly singled out the hacking drone to shoot down. I tried sending it out slightly after a large volley as well; similarly no luck.

Is there a trick to get around this defense, in conjunction with regular/ion weapons? Perhaps some timing trick? I've often found that the computer's attack drones somehow slip by my own defense, though perhaps they're simply slower than the mother ship's.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

If you're careful, you can sneak hacking (and boarding drones!) past any number of defense drones with a combination of timing and power management.

Your Drones of all types only move when they are powered. But what is less well known is that they can only be destroyed when they are powered. If a Defense drone's attack passes over an inactive hacking drone, nothing happens.

This means you can develop a subversive sort of hacking strategy through judicious use of the pause button: Launch your drone, then, when you see/hear the defense drone fire, pause the game, and unpower your hacking system. As soon as the defense drone's projectile passes over your hacking drone, pause again, restore power, and the hacking drone will start approaching again. To get all the way to the enemy ship might take one or two pause-depower-dodge cycles, but once you're attached to the ship, you're golden.

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hah, nice trick! – l I May 28 '14 at 16:00

There are a few ways to get past defense drones.

  1. The simplest is to get the Defense Scrambler which disables all enemy defense drones.
  2. You can try to time the hacking drone by distracting the defense drone with targets, such as swarm missiles, flak, etc, even a boarding drone.
  3. You can use a bomb or deal weapon damage to temporarily disable their drone subsystem.
  4. When all else fails, you can just keep relaunching the drone and hope that it latches on before its destroyed (I wouldn't recommend this approach).
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It's also possible to hit the defense drone with a laser. It takes a bit of luck, but you likely have a lot of lasers. – Brilliand May 21 '14 at 21:50
You can also teleport crew members into Drone Control and break it that way :T – user1337 May 23 '14 at 15:32

I always get to stick the Hacking Drone in this situation by shooting other things. Since is an advanced defense drone, it targets lasers, so you can shoot your standard weapons (not beam nor teleport) with the hacking drone.

The thing is to make the perfect timing. Usually I made it on the second o third try. Notice the different velocity of different projectiles and the Hacking Drone itself.

If heavy lasers, shoot first the Hacking Drone and almost inmediatly, the lasers. If normal lasers you shoot everything at the same time more or less. If missiles, flak, etc then shoot that first and later on, the drone (this is the most difficult timing).

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I guess I might have to play around with that. I tried different variations of before/after/during my laser/ion volleys, but I can't say I really paid attention to the actual velocities. – starwed May 21 '14 at 6:54

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