LIFE ON TITAN
The cargo drone is somewhat like a yo-yo -- you send it out and it comes right back to you. And, like a yo-yo, you can do a variety of fun tricks with it. However, unlike a yo-yo, the tricks you can perform with your cargo drone can actually be vital for your survival, and least on Titan. I've been using these techniques for some time, but haven't seen them posted anywhere so I thought I'd mention them.
Have you ever noticed that if you release your drone while you're moving at full speed it moves faster? Instead of moving at it's normal usually slow rate, it really flies!! An experienced drone-thrower can charge a cargo at full throttle, release the drone, and then do a full-reverse-thrust brake to stop right over the cargo. The drone really cruises to the cargo and is back in your hold before anyone else even knows what's going on. This is vital if you're already carrying other hi-profile cargo and there's pirates around. It also helps you beat the annoying scavengers to the cargo. Plus, it's kind of fun, once you get the hang of it.
Drone throwing could be explained by physics -- the drone is adding your momentum to its own, thereby increasing it's speed. That would be true except for one thing: this works even if you've accidentally overflown the cargo and are flying AWAY from it at the time of release. It still moves really fast. What matters is the speed of your moth, not it's direction, at the time of release.
By using the drone-throwing technique discussed above, you can often catch a cargo before it even hits the ground (or water!!). It's really tricky, but I've done it quite a few times. Target the cargo as soon as it is released from the moth carrying it (or the moth explodes, which ever happens first).
You're probably already moving pretty fast. Goto full throttle and send your drone after the cargo while entering a downward spiral pattern around the cargo to stay close enough to it and your drone. You're drone will actually have enough speed to catch the cargo in the air -- and once your drone has it, you can stop your full-throttle spiral pattern so that it can get back to you.
It's really cool when you can see it nab that package of narcotics right before it hits the water! Of course, it's always a mistake to shoot down any important cargo-bearing moth over water, but this gives you some chance to recover from your mistake. And, it's fun.
Not to be confused with drone-throwing, this technique can be used to drag cargo along through the air, staying just ahead of the drone, so that the cargo never enters your pod. That way, the game never registers that you have that cargo, so you are never targeted by pirates. I usually use this when the cargo is in an area swarming with pirates armed with groudbases and firebursts, and when my shields are low.
For example, if i've nearly been blown out of the air by a surprise fireburst attack and only survived through jetisoning my cargo, and can't count on surving long if I pick it back up, then I'll tow it. The trick to drone towing is to wait until your returning drone says "drone docking" and then hit the throttle. It seems that once your drone is in docking mode it can keep up with you better, and you can move faster. Be sure not to go too fast, though, as you can still outrun it and loose your cargo AND your drone.
Watch for the "drone nearing non-return range" message an slow down if you see it . I usualy tow the drone along until I get entry clearance to the desired hangar, then let it dock as I'm entering -- the pirates often won't even have a chance to target you, let alone fire at you, while you're docking.
I need to play with this one more to see if it really works, but I did it by accident once. You've probably noticed that if you're moving straight down (slide) and you release your drone, it will stop your descent and the drone will be forced back into the pod. Well, it may be possible to save yourself from a ground-base attack by releasing your drone, if you can do it quickly enough.
That's right, there's at least one HardWar bug you can kill with your drone. If any moth, including your own, gets stuck on a cargo, you can usually free it up by targeting the cargo and retrieving it. (Many people have already come accross this one through sad experience.)
Cargo Drones are more than just tools -- they're lots of fun. And, after all, fun's what the game's all about...