A while back I wrote an article where I spoke of the issue of dual cannons versus single cannons, Kazon Raider and the Dual Cannon Conundrum. One of my readers commented about the wide field dual heavy cannons being crafted and sold on the exchange. The comment was spot on and I do use a wide field dual cannon on ships with an all single cannon front weapons layout. Why not gain the advantage of the hard-hitting duals without giving up the wide arc of a single cannon? As the reader pointed out only one wide field dual cannon can equipped on any ship, so it is not something you can use to replace all of your dual cannons.
His comment got me thinking about weapons and some research I did years ago when STO was still new. The whole idea of using the different weapons types properly and gaining the maximum dps possible was intriguing. It still is. This lead me to return to the idea of big hitting dps less often versus a constant barrage of weaker hits. I will use Mark XII Common Grade for examples to keep it consistent on the comparisons I make here. The Dual Heavy Cannons, ‘DHC’ hit very hard with a base damage per volley of 384 and a base DPS of 256. This compares to a turret which has just 99 DPV and 132 DPS. But, the turret has a 360 degree targeting arc which means that the target is always available to hit. The DHC requires the target to be in a very tight 45 degree arc in front of the ship. For this reason DHC are not recommended for slow turning ships and in most cases can not even be mounted on those types of ships. I always thought it would be cool to have a ship with all turrets mounted. I never got round to it largely because good turrets are really expensive. But I have a few bucks saved up, so what the hell :)
The important thing to remember is that the notion of all turrets for weapons is akin to death by a thousand paper cuts rather than death by a barbarian with a great sword. The question is, can the turrets deliver the thousand cuts as fast as the barbarian hacks enemies in half with a great sword? I decided that the best ship to use for this experiment would be a large ship with a heavy hull and strong shields that has a lumbering slow turn rate. There are many that fit the bill, but which to choose? A carrier ship might be a good choice as well as a big cruiser. One problem with all turrets is that they will always be firing and thus they will begin to drain weapon power and lose damage output. Carriers often only have 6 weapons so one approach is a carrier with 4 turrets and two torpedo launchers. Carriers have the additional support of the pets attacking as well to help keep damage output high. The carrier I would like is the Tholian Recluse but I don’t have 800 Lobi to spare. I do however, have that Obelisk lying around with several of my toons.
OK, so Admiral Sager dusted off that standard Obelisk carrier that he got way back in Season 8 and made it into a turret boat. It still has a torpedo launcher at each end and then 4 fleet grade anti-proton turrets [acc]x2 [dam]x2. It has the standard Obelisk swarmers for pets and I through a bunch of miscellaneous equipment on the ship. This is a pretty weak setup other than the turrets being fleet grade. I decided to stick with Romulan Patrol missions to break the ship in. I am impressed. I use the same two Romulan patrol missions every time I break in a new setup; Carraya and Japori. These are not difficult but they do provide a mix of a heavy, a couple of medium and multiple light targets. This can be effective at gauging the success of a build as well as monitoring strengths and weaknesses.
The Obelisk with this turret-boat setup was resilient, never losing any significant amount of health or shields. The amazing part was how quickly I could dispatch the waves of enemies. With my kick-ass escorts I can sweep through the waves in less than a minute each sometimes. I was not expecting that with this setup, but any time I can complete the entire 5 wave Patrol in less than 8 minutes I am pretty happy. I was able to do that with this turret equipped Obelisk :) The turrets were constantly attacking and the target had nowhere to escape. I was particularly happy about how easy it was to dispatch those pesky Mogais as they run through that annoying turning pattern on the Carraya patrol. Clearly, a thousand cuts comes quick enough.
I think a 4/4 weapons cruiser would be effective with six turrets and a torpedo launcher at each end. As long as there is at least one EPS console equipped to keep the weapons power from draining too fast. I have two more fleet grade anti-proton turrets so I will try my under utilized Galaxy Class retrofit with all turrets. The only problem with that it, is the lack of tactical BOFF seats. A single Lieutenant at tactical is all you get on the Exploration Cruiser Retrofit. Ideally at least two lieutenant seats for tactical would be good. I would like to have two instances of scatter volley and one each, tactical team and torpedo spread.
If you have a ship lying around that you want to have some fun with, try a turret boat. I wouldn’t do this on an escort, but many other ships in the game could be effectively utilized this way. I should note it is also a great lazy combat setup. Since the targets are always in the arc, you do not need to worry about attack runs, ship position and all that other tactical non-sense. Just fly around and kill shit while texting and drinking, it’s OK when you’re flying a turret-boat ;)