Welcome to Season Ten!

999d2d2c9f5cdae3f9d902756d7ee8121429634835Season Ten is underway and the big reveal is not really a big reveal at all. We have been building towards a showdown with the Iconians throughout the whole five years that STO has been in existence. Now they are here and they have come in force.

Several new things have been introduced coincidently with Season Ten, The Iconian War. First we have T6 Fleet ships available now. It looks like just the original Delta Rising launch ships are available as T6 Fleet. The Command ships that came out during the anniversary event are not yet available as Fleet ships.

I have decided that my Romulan Tactical Captain will be the first to get a Fleet T6. She will be flying the Fleet T6 Faeht Intel Warbird just as soon as her fleet hits shipyard Tier 2. Then I think I’ll have Rodessa fly the Guardian T6 Fleet. I may have Admiral Sager fly a Fleet Phantom but not 100% on that since he already has three other Fleet escorts in the ‘garage’. Of course Dahar Master, Roddicka may want to fly the Fleet version of the Mat’Ha Raptor which is a great ship! So many choices :)

mapYou may have already noticed that the sector space map is greatly improved. They indicated this change was coming in the blog posts on the Cryptic site and in Arc. Now each quadrant is on one big map. So this means the only sector space map changes are between entire quadrants. No more multiple map changes, no more sector blocks! I like this. Now when you use an extended quantum slipstream drive you don’t lose half of it on the map change :) You can lock in a course for the Iconia System from the Drozana Station and fly there uninterrupted. Previously that would have required FIVE map changes. Some things ended up slightly rearranged to accommodate this new all-encompassing quadrant map, but wow what difference.

There is a new Pilot specialization for BOFFs and one of the new Iconian War missions offers a training manual for it as a mission reward. There are no ships yet that have a hybrid Pilot seat. Of course this indicates that a wave of new ships is forthcoming. I would like to see a Universal Hybrid seat! This would allow any BOFF to use the seat with any career path and any specialization. You hear that Cryptic? Maybe the KDF could get a T6 BOP with four universal/hybrid seats! That would be awesome.

The Iconian’s are tough, but I am not finding them any tougher than the Vaadwaur. The Vaadwaur were pretty mean SOBs so I guess I am a little relieved that the Iconians are about equally so rather than even tougher.

I have been maxing out the mastery levels on several of Admiral Sager’s T5-U ships recently and I came to an interesting discovery; the Breen Plesh Brek Heavy Raider is quite the badass ship! At least in the hands of the Admiral. Read more about the Plesh Brek here.  I ran both of the new Iconian missions with it and I just kicked some serious tail. After mastering tier 4 with it, I switched to the Risian Corvette. That ship is fast and maneuverable but no match in the kick ass department for the Breen Raider. I find that Raider Flanking ability is just the bomb!  Oddly the Corvette is built like a Raider but is not classified as such. If it were a raider and got the Raider Flanking ability it would be a much better ship. Read more about the Corvette here.

Voyager fans rejoice! Tom Paris is a featured character in Season Ten. Robert Duncan McNeil is reprising his role with voice acting for the Iconian War. Tom Paris daughter, Miral Paris has appeared already in previous seasons but this time actress Lisa LoCicero is reprising her role and voicing the character for Season Ten.

Season Ten also has a new reputation system Iconian Resistance. I need to get crackin’ on those three new PVE queues and start building rep marks. Right now it seems that STOs servers are pretty maxed out as lag has been an issue. That seems par for the course whenever a new season launches at least for the first few days. There is much to look forward to with this new content including the likely introduction of new ships offering the pilot specialization BOFF seats and maybe some missions around the new canon worlds that were added to the map, such as Trill and Ferenginar. See you next week!

Enhanced Battle Cloak Ship Showdown!

faehtI had my tactical Romulan fly the Faeht Intel Warbird extensively over the last few weeks and I am becoming a Faeht fanboy. I first flew it to max mastery with a Romulan engineer and I was not really feeling it. But let’s face it, this is not an engineer’s ship. After deciding it was one of my favorite tactical ships in the game I thought about how it compares to the other two ships that have an enhanced battle cloaking device.

The enhanced battle cloak is similar to the cloaking system used by General Chang in Star Trek VI. This ship could fire torpedoes without breaking cloak. Originally there was one ship in the game that was so equipped. Of course it was the original B’rel Bird of Prey, just like General Chang’s ship except it’s outfitted with a 25th century retrofit. When Legacy of Romulus launched nearly two years ago them T’varo Warbird was also fitted with an enhanced battle cloak. The T’varo had a beefier hull than the B’rel but was not as agile and fast. Now with the launch of T6 ships the Romulans get a second ship with an enhanced battle cloak. Let’s see how the three ships compare in a head to head!

First, to be fair I’ll use the fleet versions of the ships since the cost is about equal. When comparing the Faeht against the fleet version of the B’rel and T’varo, it is a tough decision. Both of these ships are Raiders and offer the raider flanking ability. Without the fleet and T5-U upgrade hull bonus they are pretty fragile. But with those bonuses they are both tougher ships than the T6 Faeht Intel at least on the surface.

The Faeht Intel is NOT a raider. It doesn’t get the awesome Raider flanking bonus but it does get a third weapon bay in the aft and it turns better than the T’varo but of course nowhere near as quick turning as the B’rel. Honestly if you compare the Faeht to either of the other ships in T5-U non-fleet it is a slaughter in favor of the new Intel ship. Once the Fleet perks are added with that fat bonus to hull and shields and the convenient 11th console it gets a little tough to decide. Look at this decision, my God it’s a difficult call. The B’rel gives you only four BOFFs but they are ALL universal stations. You have so many options for this ship and frankly if a torpedo boat is your angle the all universal is the only way to go! The enhanced battle cloak performs best on the B’rel if you actually want to slink around under cloak and use BOFF abilities while your stealthed up.

The chart below gives a quick stats comparison between the three ships. enhancedchart

Surprisingly the T’varo is the beefiest of the bunch. Look at that cruiser-like hull of nearly 40k. And along with the 0.99 shield modifier this a resilient ship. It’s 18 DPS base turn rate is weak sauce for a raider though. I guess it is a Raider-Tank ;) But it does offer a generous universal slot at the Lt. Commander rank. That adds some desirable versatility.

The Faeht Intel Warbird has the active sensor arrays which are pretty useful. I like to put Intelligence team in twice. The cool off is fast enough that I am essentially stealthed up about half the time. Intelligence team does not offer as much stealth as cloaking but it does allow all weapons and abilities while under its influence. There are also 5 tactical consoles on the Faeht and that allows you to really pack some heat on weapons. The BOFF station setup on the Faeht Intel Warbird is cool in that it has two hybrid intelligence stations. But the only universal chair is set up for a lousy ensign. There are two Lt. Commander seats and that helps with high power Lt. Commander abilities.

I don’t really find myself using the enhanced battle cloak on this ship like I do with the B’rel. I use this ship as an escort and in that capacity this is a great ship. I wish it has 3 engineering consoles and two science because the ship is just not very resilient. That is another reason why I like running two sets of Intelligence team to help keep the heat of the hull in a firefight against multiple enemies.

Picking which is best will depend largely on your play style and whether you want to play a Romulan or a Klingon. Of course you can play a Romulan and align with the KDF and actually find yourself in the dilemma of having to choose between the three :) For players trying to maximize the benefit, the T6 ship offers a captain’s ship trait that can be used anytime regardless of the ship the Captain is flying.

In conclusion if you are willing and able to acquire the fleet versions of either the B’rel or T’varo then this whole exercise just ended up in a tie! If not then the Faeht is the winner hands down. It is a very versatile ship with the Intelligence/hybrid  BOFF stations and the active sensor arrays. The enhanced battle cloak is a nice perk. For PVP I would think the B’rel is still best since it has the Raider flanking and the zippy 23 DPS base turn rate. I really do like all three ships. I guess if you are trying to decide what faction your next toon will be and these ships are going to be in the mix later on, do what I said before, Romulan character align with the KDF. Then buy all three ships ;) I did.

Delta Recruiting and the Singularity Harness Set

Wow! It’s Thursday again :) I have been busy lately on STO with my new Delta Recruit and with half my toons building up their T6 ships to maximum mastery. Rodessa did get her Scryer up to full mastery so I will be doing a review of that ship in the next couple of weeks. That turned out to be a solid ship! Many of you have yet to chime in on the poll I posted a few weeks back about the best Reputation space set in the game. I may be one the very few that really likes the Delta Assault Set.

heavyescort-1OK, down to business. The Delta Recruiting event runs through May 21st. I have one brand new toon I mentioned last week. Cryptic is giving you a free slot for one Delta Recruit if your character slots are all full during this event. So you can participate with out spending Zen for extra slots. My 7 foot Federation Klingon, K’Rod, see what I did there ;) is at level 21 and flying in a T3 Heavy Escort. I really wish Cryptic would add a little extra dialog for when a player character is the same species as the NPC. That would make the dialog flow better. For example, I had to wear a holographic disguise so my Klingon would look Klingon in the Doomsday mission :D I really fly off on tangents sometimes, back to the Delta Recruiting. So they have added these little Delta Easter Eggs in many of the missions. Since I have been through these missions a gazillion times, I tend to blast through at warp speed with no need to pay attention to the mission log. Don’t do that! The Delta recruit has access to a special console, or package embedded in the missions that give the recruit bonus stuff. They are not hard to find and the one mission I had to repeat to get the Delta recruit item was one that I did so automatic I just ran right past the Delta bit. The misson log will indicate that you have a Delta recruit item to complete so just pay attention, thus far it has not been difficult to find the consoles or packages. I am not really that impressed with the so called “extra” goodies that Delta Recruits earn. It is better than nothing I suppose but so far it has been pretty light, 10 misc reputation marks here, a few crafting supplies there. According to Cryptic the “prizes” grow in size and value as the recruit moves along in rank.

One thing they did that is nice is they offer a package of either ground or space equipment at each rank increase, level 10, 20, 30 etc. This is good maximum Mark value purple gear! For example when you hit Level 10 you get a package of Mark IV purple gear. Ever since they shut down the dilithium store low mark value gear has become super expensive on the exchange. I have seen rare and very rare mark IV weapons and consoles on the exchange for hundreds of thousands and even millions of EC. It is ridiculous to pay all that money for these items that you cannot hand down to other characters because they are usually character bound rather than account bound, GRRRR >:( At least with the Delta event you get some of that for free. I wish they would bring back the dilithium store for the lower mark value items, I get that they wanted to use the reputation stores for end game, but during the early stages the dilithium cost for the lower mark items was very reasonable especially for the weapons and consoles. They should also make any items other than special event or mission special items account bound instead of character bound. You hear that Cryptic? You hear me! ;)

hypersetNow how about the Romulan Singularity Harness weapons set? This may be an under appreciated set. Honestly have you ever been in a situation where a Romulan NPC in a D’deridex locked you in a tractor beam and fired four harry ass plasma torpedos at you? Come on admit it it, at least once you got a big fat torpedo sandwich that left you smoldering in your own warp core debris. Well the Romulan Hyper-Plasma Torpedo launcher allows you to one up that by offering a triple dose of high yield plasma torpedo death with better defense than normal heavy torpedos. Better yet, it can be used with torpedo spread to lay the hate down on multiple targets. When coupled with the Zero Point Energy console and the Experimental Hyper-Plasma Beam Array you get a bonus of 7.6% all plasma damage and the Hyper Plasma attack that does heavy DTV and a nice smothering DOT. The console has some decent passives which I like. I hate those special consoles that have no passive ability.

One thing to be careful with regarding the Hyper-Plasma Torpedo Launcher is the AOE damage will effect your ship if you get too close. Be sure to turn away from the enemy if you get closer than 2KM with a full load of these beasties out-bound. This torpedo launcher will simply rape the enemy and take no prisoners. The Experimental Beam array doesn’t look like much but it does NOT drain weapon power when firing with other weapons! That acts like a +8 to weapons and can make a big difference in the damage output of all the energy weapons on your ship. Take a look at the post I did on power usage in STO here.

Overall this set has become one of my favorites. I don’t think it is a good PVP set because PVP players are badass enough to shoot down the plasma projectiles. PVE missions and solo story line missions are a different story. This is a great set and I have equipped it on both escorts and big cruisers effectively. I also use it on my torpedo boat for both Klingon and Romulan ships.

You will need to max out your Romulan Reputation but it is well worth the effort. Each item is 500 marks and 15k dilithium. Go ahead run some Romulan PVE queues or some Romulan Patrol missions in the  Tau Dewa Sector Block and you will have the marks in no time.

See you out there.