The Merchant Ship is a HUGE unaligned Cruiser . It can be equipped with any 2*2 weapon, but is largely considered as a drone carrier because of its large amount of blue slots. It is generally considered as a weaker variant of the Freighter.
For player use, this ship can be made into a decent drone carrier. It cannot carry as many drone boosters as the Freighter, however it can carry twelve drones in total. The universal slots mean it can mount any 2*2 weapon, therefore it is recommended to use a Pulsar (for close-range defense) or repair rays to keep it alive.
The Merchant ship isn't very hard to kill, but has decent health and often carries drones, making it difficult to kill for newer players.
Non-veterans are armed with a Missile Launcher M2, a Drone Bay M81 and Drone Bay A1. They are easily disposed of with anything that has splash damage or good range.