My first time actually using the Vulcan was on a Lanius A run. For a good part of the game I used the Lanius as boarders, which netted me a few nice weapons: Laser Charger 2 (3 power, up to 4 laser shots, ~6 seconds per shot), a pair of BL2s (one found after boarding, one purchased to replace a BL1 that had been found after boarding). I'd also been carrying a Hull Laser I from Sector 2, which I'd purchased as a hedge against not getting better weapons later on (which turned out to be completely unnecessary due to snagging the BL2s and had just sat in my weapons bay uselessly). Getting an early Long-Ranged Scanners also helped.
In sector 8 I was getting low on drone parts due to being overenthusiastic with Hacking and Defense Drone I usage (micromanaging the hacking and the Lanius boarders meant I often missed that the enemy was packing a missile so I just mindlessly turned on the DD1 always, and this was the first time I seriously used hacking so I was using it even on enemies that arguably didn't need to be hacked), so stumbling upon the store in Sector 8 was a good piece of luck, at least at the time I was planning to restock on even more drones (the repair stations were badly located and got swallowed up early).
Except the store had Vulcan.
Now I'd seen Vulcans before but never bought them, because Vulcans suck early game. Maybe if it had gotten gifted I might have kept it in inventory for lategame but that never happened. Vulcans suck because it takes ~35 seconds for them to spin up fast enough to start reliably taking down shields. Compare this with Glaive Beam, which has similar power usage but will oneshot ships up to Sector 3 in 25 seconds.
Lategame, Vulcans are pretty good, especially against the flagship. Barring hacking+all beams one-shotter setups, you'll probably be spending almost an entire in-game minute fighting a single flagship phase, and by that time you'd have a well-trained gunner so the 35 seconds is less than 30 seconds in-game, and you can probably support the Vulcan while it's charging with some extra weapons at that point, so the Sector 8 store having a Vulcan was an interesting choice.
The issue was scrap and weapons system. I had 57 scrap at the time, and the Vulcan was 95 scrap. I also had level 7 weapons since I was carrying 2x BL2 (4 power total) and 1x Charge Laser II (3 power). However, the unused Hull Laser I was 27 scrap on selling, so that was 84 scrap. I contemplated selling the Charge Laser II but then I'd have to support the Vulcan with a single BL2 until I could upgrade weapons to 8. Alternately I could sell one of the BL2s but then it would be pointless to keep the other BL2 since all I'd get was a super slow 4 shots per 24 seconds support from the Charge Laser II.
Then I remembered this was the last sector and I had a Long Range Scanners sellable for 15 scrap. So I closed the store, took a last look at the jump map and noticed to my pleasure there were two ship-detected beacons that had a hop connecting between them. Assuming at least 50 scrap each beacon I could get the final 100 scrap to upgrade weapons system to 8. Sell the Hull Laser I for 27 scrap and the Long Range Scanners (after using them crucially for that last time) for 15 scrap, with my 57 scrap, totalled 99 scrap, just enough to grab the big mean gun. For those two beacons, I supported the Vulcan with the Charge Laser 2, then after earning the 100 scrap, got weapons to 8 and switched over to Vulcan and 2x BL2. At this point the flagship reached the base and I was one hop away, but there was one final beacon that was also one hop away from the base, so I chanced jumping into it and lucked into another encounter, whose earnings went to an extra reactor bar (I would have had to steal the energy from engines, and it's really a good idea to have level 5 engines against the flagship, so the reactor bar helped).
Against the flagship phase 1, Hacking got shields, but I was at the base with 1 turn left for the flagship to end the game and couldn't afford to jump away. The two BL2s helped keep my incoming damage down while I was shieldless and the Vulcan was charging up, and phase I ended with about a third of my health down. While the Vulcan was charging up and the missile room was damaged I also threw in my Lanius pair to harass the repairers, and when the Vulcan finally spun up the Lanius died being in the target room, which simply meant I didn't have to teleport them out of there (had to steal power from engines to power the clonebay, though). Phase 2 was surprisingly easier (in most of my runs I find phase 2 to be the most difficult as that is when the flagship is most offense-focused, not having Cloaking or Super Zoltan Shields but being able to sport 8 offensive drones during a surge), and I again used my Lanius to harass the missile room while my BL2s were plinking at it and my Vulcan was charging up, again letting them die to get them back. I doubt I lost more than a single point at that stage. Phase 3, the Super Zoltan shield was just target practice for the Vulcan. I kept the Lanius at home this time to fight off the invaders. I got lucky on the flagship power surge and I doubt I lost more than a few hull points, and quickly after that the Vulcan was on its way to winning.
So pretty good first impression for me. Vulcans are still very lategame weapons mostly for use in relatively long battles against heavily-kitted endgame ships.
General discussion about the game.
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