The PC game FTL: Faster Than Light has roughly half a dozen different types of weapons. But weapons aren’t the only type of offensive equipment in FTL. You can also use drones offensively. The main advantage of drones is that they use different slots than weapons, so you can effectively have a total of six weapons, instead of three or four. The disadvantage is that drones require a separate system to function and each offensive drone requires you to spend a drone from your reserves to deploy. The following guide to offensive drones in FTL: Faster Than Light will help you decide which of these drones are best for your needs.
Boarding Drone (3 Power) – A Boarding Drone is similar to teleporting a crew member to the enemy ship, except that it will only attack enemy crew members, not sabotage equipment. This drone has 150 health while on the enemy ship, which makes it a superior to just about any single enemy in one-on-one combat. It is rarely good to use without any support, but if you can team it with an actual boarding party, it is useful. It also is good for luring enemy crew members to a single room that you then hit with an anti-personnel weapon.
Ion Intruder (3 Power) – The Ion Intruder is similar to the Boarding Drone, except it only has 125 health and doesn’t directly attack crew members. Instead it randomly moves between enemy ship systems and emits a pulse that ionizes the system and stuns enemy crew members. This is also best when paired with a boarding party or an anti-personnel weapon.
Combat Drone Mark I (2 Power) – This is the most common drone in the game because you get one for free whenever you install a drone control on your ship. Once deployed, it will randomly attack the enemy ship with a one damage laser blast. The recharge on the attack is slower than the recharge on a shield, so a single one will never win a battle alone. It is good as a backup for a laser weapon of some sort or when paired with an ion weapon.
Combat Drone Mark II (4 Power) – This drone can eventually win a battle, because it fires quickly enough to break through a shield and then attack again before the shield recharges. It is still best to pair this with either synergistic weapons, though, especially as shields get larger later in the game.
Anti-Ship Beam Drone I (2 Power) – The Anti-Ship Beam Drone I can’t ever break a shield because it uses a weak beam weapon. But when you break the shield some other way, it quickly hits the ship with random beam attacks. These attacks are on a much faster cooldown than most weapon attacks in the game, which means you can get a lot of benefit from even a 5 second ionization of shields.
Anti-Ship Beam Drone II (3 Power) – This drone deals higher average damage than the previous one, because it is more likely to hit multiple rooms. This is actually a relatively weak benefit, since it has a longer cooldown. You are better off spending less scrap to buy the previous model and using less power in battles.
Anti-Ship Fire Drone (3 Power) – This is a much better upgrade for the energy cost. Fire may not deal damage directly, but it distracts the crew and potentially kills them. Also, the average damage from fire is at least as high as the previous two drones. Like other beam drones, you need to clear shields first, but assuming you can, this is excellent.