Breen Sarr Theln, A Very Cool Carrier

breencarrier3I have three characters currently flying about in the new Sarr Theln Carrier. Of course this is uncle Q’s latest freebie for his winter event on the frozen tundra of some distant world conjured up in the mind of Star Trek’s ultimate omnipotent being.

I was fortunate enough to have saved up an extra 640 glossies of his royal Q-ness last year and so it only took nine days to acquire the new ship. Don’t forget additional characters on the account need only acquire 40 glossies of Mr. de Lancie’s character.

sarrtheln-92I have my top toon, Admiral Sager flying this ship with some good gear and upgraded, Advanced fighters. One hangar has the advanced Chaos Fighters and the other has the Advanced Frigates which are actually Plesh Brek Raiders :D. You get two wings of three fighters per hangar and two wings of one “frigate”. The Plesh Brek Raiders are much more resilient and this has advantages when you are in a situation with a lot of enemies. The little fighters tend to get destroyed by the warp core explosion of ships you defeat. They are kind of stupid that way ;) I have found that to be a problem with most of the small three per wing fighters in carriers across the STO universe.

sarrtheln-95I am also flying this ship with two other toons at the moment. Admiral Be’ina my Romulan engineer at level 58 is working on getting the ship trait. The Sarr Theln offers a ship trait that extends hull heals on the ship such as engineering team, to the pets. This is a great way to help keep pets alive longer. For those of you unfamiliar with carrier pets, they get stronger as they stay out in a combat zone longer. The fighters and frigates and such all gain stars. Each star adds a bonus of a perk or buff to the pet that helps them survive longer but it also seems to increase their “threat level” as well. Admiral Be’ina really likes to fly the Falchion Dreadnought and that ship utilizes a hangar bay so the ship trait offered by the Breen Carrier is valuable to her.

The toon I have that is most likely to actually fly this ship as a primary is science officer, Admiral Rodessa. She is currently running missions with the ship.

breenpetsI like this ship. I haven’t been an avid user of carrier ships with the exception of the Romulan Falchion which is not really a carrier per se. The first four mastery levels are nice passive boosts. First you get a double. The recharge time for launching pets is 40% shorter and the rank up XP is 50% faster for pets as well. Then you get a 10% hull boost. Third comes a reactive shield perk that increases regeneration and offers shield damage resistance of 5%. The fourth mastery perk is a 10% shield boost, These are all very good perks. As I mentioned before the level five mastery is a ship trait your captain can use on any ship. It is specific for carrier pets as it heals the pets hull when you heal the carrier’s hull. If you fly any carriers at all you should fly this one at least until you pick up the ship trait.

sarrthelnThis Breen ship is a solid performer. It has a fairly quick turn rate of 7 degrees per second and offers a resilient hull. Admiral Sager is running the ship with the Mark XI Breen space set for shields, deflector and engines. Most of the other gear is solid stuff. He is also running all three Breen special consoles. I generally don’t like taking up three console slots with special consoles that do not offer a passive bonus, but I was curious about the three consoles and the assorted powers they offer as a set. I am still not sure what the third set power of “super cooled weapons” does. I am guessing it either reduces cool down or power drain. It does not appear to give a weapon damage boost.

Flying in a ship like a carrier that relies on pets to assist with damage is ideal for a science captain that has a variety of exotic damage attacks at her disposal. The three Breen consoles offer up additional attack/buff/debuff that may have long cooldown periods but coupled with a science captains special abilities they can be used effectively together over time. By the time you have exhausted your assortment of science/exotic damage abilities the first one is coming back on-line.

Honestly, if I equip a better space set to this ship it could very well be the best carrier in the game. And it’s FREE! Not getting this ship is a sin against all things Star Trek. We are talking about three minutes a day for 25 days! You still have time to get the ship before the Winter Event closes out mid-January.

sarrtheln-96One quirky thing about the ship is that it is physically too small. Carriers are LARGE. If the little fighters were the only option for pets it would be OK. But when you launch the larger Plesh Brek Raiders it looks silly. The Plesh Breks are way too BIG to have launched from the Sarr Theln. It is almost comical to see these big Raiders sort of magically appear out of the carrier. It’s like a Chihuahua giving birth to a Great Dane. That said, I like the larger pets they are tough little bastards.

Overall I give the new Breen Sarr Theln carrier very high marks. I like it better than the Obelisk, KDF Vo’quv and the Fek’lhri Kar’fi. These are the only other true carrier ships (two hangar bays) that I have any real experience in. The Kar’fi has no resiliency. It offers up a faster turn rate of 8 degrees per second, but it really should be more like 10 with that weak sauce hull. The Fleet grade Vo’quv with a T5-U upgrade might be the great challenger to this carrier. I like the extra maneuverability the Breen ship has. When using deflector abilities that require the target to remain in the front 90 degree arc, the Sarr Theln and the Kar’fi have a distinct advantage over those big slow-moving hulk type carriers. The best carrier could also be the Xindi Aquatic. I don’t have one, but statistically it looks fabulous, especially if it is upgraded to T5-U!

But the crown jewel of carriers may in fact be this wonderful Winter Event prize. It is absolutely FREE and it is Tier 6! It is in fact the ONLY T6 carrier available in STO at this time.

carrierpoll

These are the results of the poll I posted several months ago regarding carriers. How many of you think the Sarr Theln should be the best? I reset the IP vote counter so you can vote again. Let’s see if the Q has delivered us a winner! There have been 155 votes up till now, so the Breen Sarr Theln has a long uphill battle. Now I need to get back online and get that ship trait!

 

 

Traits and Specialization Go Beyond 60

traitsDelta Rising is about to enter its third month of existence and I have only touched lightly on the updated traits and the all new skill tree system. OK, some of you may have been expecting a review on the new Breen Ship! Admiral Sager has 960 glossies of his Royal Q-ness. He’ll have that ship tomorrow. I can write about it next week. That works better since I can have time to fly it around, combat, etc.

Time to get back to the task at hand. Over the several months, Cryptic has managed to add quite a bit of character development tools into the game. Character traits were modified heavily last spring with the launch of season 9. I discussed these changes in a post here. This new system allowed you to swap out traits as you see fit. Part of me finds this a little disturbing. After all a trait is an inherent quality, not a “module” you swap in an out. That said, it does give us players more flexibility in building a toon, and prepping the character for specific content.

Delta Rising added additional trait categories including ship traits. The ship traits are unlocked a couple of ways. First, by taking a T6 ship all the way to level 5 mastery. This is done by earning skill points in the ship. It can be done fairly quickly completing PVE missions and story missions. The 5th level of mastery unlocks a trait that your captain can utilize in any ship. The second way is by reaching the maximum tier level in one of the three skill trees.

It is nice that the new “free” ship at this winter event is a T6 so that allows players that don’t want to or cannot afford to buy a T6 ship to enjoy a T6 ship. Kudos are in order for that effort.

The big change in the Delta Rising package for your captain was the decision to use a skill tree rather than skill point assignments like we had in the first 50 levels. They call this “specialization”. Skill trees have become very popular in quasi-RPG style games over the last several years. Skill trees are easy to navigate and offer a simplistic way to upgrade your character as you advance. Generally they a little more linear and leave you with fewer nuances to tweak on your toon.  I am grateful that Cryptic chose to add-on the skill tree rather than change the whole system back from level one to a skill tree. we still get to use a sophisticated character development for the first 50 levels before switching to a simpler tree system. Your player has three trees to work, an active tree called “Intelligence Officer” and one of two secondary trees, “Commando” and “Pilot”. You can switch between the secondary trees at any time outside of combat. The two secondary trees are specific to either ground or space operations. The primary tree is actually a blend of both ground and space with branches to one or the other and some specializations that benefit both.

While any specialization tree is active your character receives a specific passive bonus. The primary tree offers both a ground and space passive bonus of 5% dodge chance and 5% defense. Each time your toon takes a specialization point in that tree, the character gains the perk associated with that specialization but also gains an additional passive character bonus of 0.33% to dodge and defense up to a max of 15%. The Pilot and Commando trees both offer a passive bonus while active. Pilot gives a 10% bonus to turn rate and 1% for each point spent on the tree up to 25%. Commando gives a 5% weapon and melee damage bonus and 0.3% more for each point taken on the tree. I noticed that the primary tree is selectable as “active” despite being the ONLY primary tree available. Perhaps Cryptic has plans for future primary trees as options to the Intelligence Officer tree.

There is also a starship trait offered on all three trees. Even the Commando tree has a starship trait you can unlock (it allows commandos to board nearby targeted enemies to do shield penetrating damage in space combat). The Starship trait is unlocked when you reach the final tier of specialization. There is a nice little progress bar at the top of the tree to show your progress. 

So you finally got that character up to level 60, right? Think you’re done, eh? Think again; there are way more than ten specializations on these three trees. In fact, it is possible to use 60 specialization points. Once you get to level sixty you have earned ten specialization points. The game allows you to continue earning these points beyond level 60. Although your toon cannot actually increase his/her level above 60, the specialization points continue to improve the performance of the character. Essentially, the toon continues to grow.

I like the way they intertwined the “branches” of the tree. Once you head down the right side of the tree you can still put points on the left. As long as you have unlocked enough points to use the next tier you can move about the tree like a monkey on crack.

inteltree

Admiral Sager has taken 12 points on the primary tree and 2 points on the secondary tree, “Pilot”. The primary tree is currently offering the Admiral a 9% defense bonus in space and a 9% dodge chance bonus on the ground. Not bad and that is in addition to the bonuses from the specialization skills he selected on the tree!

The admiral has also taken 2 points on the secondary “Pilot” tree. In addition to the two “eat my dust” perks he gets for the specialization points this active tree is awarding him 12% turn rate bonus! This appears to be a gross turn rate bonus which is better than a bonus on the base rate only.

secondaryDo not take the post level sixty aspect of this system lightly. With 50 more specialization points available AFTER level 60 is achieved, and 45 that can be active simultaneously, your level sixty can perform as if there were ten more levels in the game. I feel like Cryptic is doing a good job of setting up a system that prolongs the end-game character development allowing those who choose to use fewer toons to not top out and leave the game for other opportunities. Nice job! For me I have ten toons so it is a little harder. Admiral Sager is the ONE toon I always max out on this stuff. Time to get out there and get Roddicka and Be’ina to 60; they are so close :)

 

 

A Q’licious Christmas

OK, I know there is no “Christmas” in Star Trek. I also understand and respect that some readers may not partake in “Christmas”. But Q’licious Christmas just flows better than Q’licious Holidays or Q’licious Winter. Besides, I live in the USA and December is pretty much a ‘stuff Christmas in your face’ kind of deal ;) Come on, work with me here :)

So today marks the first day of the Q Winter Event. They were very late on leaking details about the event this year. It does however run even longer than before. It begins today and is open through the middle of January. There is no excuse for anyone now; you need to get that ship! And it looks interesting. A Breen Carrier already sporting T6 trim for your top-tier brass to fly about the galaxy with an armada of “pets” in tow. I will review that ship after Admiral Sager gets it in a few days. He has 640 Q glossies left over from last year so I should be able to get the ship in 9 days :)

2014-12-04_10-25-46This year Q has changed the look of the gazebo. No de-icer for safety, that thing is a frozen, crystal-like structure. Brrr.. what did you expect from an event called “Winter”? I also noticed that there are some welcome additions to the Holiday store. That crafty little Ferengi with the borderline creepy, ‘I love Q’ persona; is now selling Warp Cores and some cool kit modules in exchange for the holiday themed items you collect while adventuring in Q’s Winter Wonderland.

You have a full 40 days this year to participate in the various events. If you do a “Fastest Race on Ice” event once per day (you are limited to once every 20 hours) you will have the 1000 autographed 8×10 glossy photos of his ‘Royal Q-Liciousness’ in a mere 25 days. There is loads of time. The race takes but two minutes to complete and once you get the hang of it you will never lose. This is an easy freebie ship. Cryptic started a new policy this year that allows other characters on the account to acquire the ships for only 40 glossies after the first character gets the ship. This is fantastic. I wrote about these freebie ships check here. These are not bad ships, these are competitive ships that you can use in PVP, PVE or for story missions.

I am not a big fan of carriers, but I have several of them. I get tired of paying attention to all the pets. They are fun to fly however and this new Breen Sarr Theln Carrier appears to have a lot of battle field prowess. I will have one for Admiral Sager and then one of my science officers as well. Remember this is a FREE T6 ship! Are you really not going to get one? Of course you are :D You can also pick up one of the two previous freebie ships the Chel Grett or Raider for either 40 glossies or 1000 depending on whether your account has unlocked them before.

It looks like Cryptic is giving skill points for all the activities in Q’s Winter Wonderland as well so it will help advance you towards level 60 or the next specialization point.

Hey I think we are due for a poll :) This is a poll I have posted before and it seems fitting considering the content of today’s post. Take the poll and then get out there and start ice racing your way to that awesome Breen ship.