I had to do it… I Made a Turret Boat!

turrtboat (3 of 3)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.

turrtboat (2 of 3)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.

turrtboat (1 of 3)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 ;)

Raiders for Non-Klingons

Tier5-bop-ltgen5-smalltightThe Raider class of ship has been in STO since the earliest days of the game. Young Lieutenants in Starfleet face the original 22nd century B’rel raiders early on to dry that nagging wet behind the ears. The KDF characters start out in a B’rel as well and cut their teeth in battle for honor and glory to the Empire. The raiders are generally small agile starships with powerful weapons and weak hull and shields. At Tier V they offer a 4/2 weapons layout.

A few years ago the Breen Plesh Brek Heavy Raider became available to all factions as an offering from his Royal Q-ness, in the Winter Event. I wrote about that ship here: The Refrigerator Men Built a Raider for All. Since then, the Kazon Raider was introduced about a year later. Kazon Raider and the Dual Cannon Conundrum.

Honestly any Klingon player that wants to fly a raider class ship has no need to stray from the shipyards of Qo’nos. The Fleet B’rel Retrofit is still the benchmark by which all others are judged in the universe of raiders. Even the standard B’rel Retrofit is better than any cross faction raiders. I may go so far as to add that the standard tier V raider available for free by Chancellor J’mpok at level 40 will challenge seriously any effort by the Breen or Kazon to build a raider. Come on, all four BOFF seats are universal!

But what about non-Klingons? Raider class ships offer the raider flanking bonus. This increases all damage inflicted on the rear arc of an enemy ship by 25% (reduced to 8.25% in PVP). The Raider class ship is designed to get on the enemy’s six and send them into the afterlife quickly and without mercy.

The Romulans offer up a series of capable escorts that are similar to raiders but do not get the raider flanking bonus. The Risian Corvette (Corvette? This is no Chevy but it lives up to its name) is a ship that honestly ought to be a raider, but the boffins at Cryptic decided to make it a really fast and manueverable escort instead. Romulan players are better off sticking with the T’varo Retrofit or the very solid Faeht Intel ship rather than test fate with a lesser vessel from the Breen or Kazon.

breenraider8But what about the Feddies? The aforementioned Corvette and either of the two bad-ass Jem’Hadar escorts can seriously challenge the turning and speed of the legendary B’rel and matches the turn rate of other Birds of Prey. The Risian ship is easy to acquire but the Jem’Hadar ships require you to be as wealthy as the Grand Nagus. Does a Starfleet captain really even need to fly a raider class ship? Probably not, but since when is STO about “need”?

The KDF raiders have two glaring weaknesses. They have a measly 0.80 shield modifier (0.88 in Fleet versions). They also have the weak sauce hull that is barely stronger than a Delta Flyer shuttle! A B’rel can turn like a formula one car with an amazing 23 dps base turn rate. It is quicker on the corner than any starship in the game. The Retrofitted ship also has the formidable Enhanced Battle Cloak that can fire torpedo and mine weapons without breaking cloak.  The Breen Heavy Raider addresses the shield and hull deficiency with a much more robust strength. It does so at the expenses of manuevering. It also does not have any cloaking device. The Kazon Raider is so bad you can find them on the exchange for a few hundred grand if you are patient. It is just awful, it has the same weak ass shields and hull as the standard B’rel retrofit but none of the advantages. No cloak, it’s not faster and has a decent but inferior turn rate. It’s one redeeming quality is the low price on the exchange.

breenraider2That leaves the Breen Plesh Brek as the only real raider option for a non-Klingon. Starfleet captains looking for a little attack fighter flair in their starships can choose between the Jem’Hadar Attack Ship or  Strike Ship, Breen Heavy Raider, or the Risian Corvette. Of these, only the Breen ship will offer the raider flanking bonus.

The Breen Plesh Brek will provide the Federation captain 5 BOFF seats and 4 of them are universal. The Commander seat is of course a tactical and who isn’t putting a tac BOFF in the first chair of a raider anyway? If the Breen Heavy raider had a 21 turn rate like the Corvette it would be the absolute bomb! As it is, it is still a fun ship for feddies to cut loose and zig-zag about like a Klingon on crank blowing up hapless enemies unable to escape its base 19 degrees per second turn rate.

I would love to see the Cryptic people offer up a Risian Corvette raider version with one of the aft weapons removed and the raider flanking bonus added. With the addition of the new Pilot ships which are very fast and maneuverable the “need” for a Feddie or Romulan raider has become even less important.

So for KDF players, buy the damn B’rel already. Romulans, the T’varo or the Faeht because the Breen ship may be a raider but it is no Romulan. Feddies? Get the Breen ship this winter. It is a really solid ship. You can also buy a Pilot ship and don’t worry about the whole raider class, flanking, yada, yada, yada… but since the Breen ship is flippin’ free, get it! See it’s easy ;) Now, because you know I love me a good chart… yeah, there it is below.


The Black Hole of Warp Cores

remandd3Many of you may be playing Romulan characters. After all its been more than two years since the Legacy of Romulus launched. The Romulans are in many ways the coolest faction. Why? Because as a Romulan you get the benefits of being a Romulan, flying the Romulan ships, unlocking cool Romulan races, uniforms, etc. You to fly around the cosmos acting like a complete cocky d-bag with that better-than-thou attitude we have come to love and hate from our devious Romulans. But you also can choose to align with either the Federation or the Klingon Empire. Once that alignment is declared at level 10, the Romulan player unlocks the ability to fly ships and use all the equipment afforded to either of those factions. That’s like getting two for the price of one!

One of the key differences in the Romulan experience aside from the special story arc, is the starships. Not only are Romulan and Reman ships configured in much different styles, they are less conforming to the basic Cruiser, Science and Escort varieties of the KDF and Starfleet. All the Romulan Ships have a battle cloak and they all utilize a unique Singularity Warp Core. These Singularity Cores are science based and produce boosts to science abilities with modifiers as rarity increases. Starfleet and the Klingons use a Anti-matter reactor for the warp drive. These Anti-matter cores are engineering based and offer engineering boosts as modifiers on the more rare versions rather than science. The Romulans actually create a micro-singularity to power their ships. The fact that no other factions utilize this technology makes it rebelliously cool :)

Seriously, just how cool is the Singularity Warp Core? It is the Black Hole of Warp Cores! But does the sexiness exist only because it flies in the face of convention and can be compared to the most powerful of stellar phenomenon? Well, not exactly. The singularity Warp Core operates differently than the Anti-matter Warp Cores in actual game play. Check out, “The Wonderful World of Warp Cores” for general warp core information and usage. These cores offer less standard power than their Anti-matter counterparts. An Anti-matter warp core produces 200 points of base power. A Singularity Core produces only 160 points of base power. Wait a minute, less is worse, isn’t it? Generally yes, but in this case it is less for a while and then more later on. Romulan singularity cores build up a charge as the ship engages in combat. The charge will generate surplus power in increments of one “charge” and will eventually reach a maximum level of five at which time it is producing significant boosts to all subsystems. As the power builds up in the core the player has the ability to utilize one of five different singularity abilities. Each tier of ship gets an additional new core ability until the max of five is reached at tier five. So any tier 5 or 6 Romulan ship will have all five abilities at its disposal. These abilities are as follows, (Click on the links for each ability below and read more information from the STO Wiki site) :

I tend to fly the ship with the surplus power and rarely use the singularity abilities. Once an ability is activated the core’s singularity charge is used and it will have to recharge again as combat continues before another ability can be used and/or additional surplus power becomes available.  Since the Romulan ships have a large initial disadvantage in power, I tend to prefer having the generous boost afforded by a fully charged singularity core.

I have used all of the powers and honestly they kind of suck until the full charge is reached. Even at full charge I feel the Plasma Shockwave is almost useless. Now that may just be me, but it seems like it is a bit weak on power. When I unload a 5 charge plasma shock wave and get this cool animation that looks like something my enemies should fear, I expect shuttle craft pets to die instantly and starships to have their engineers screaming, “Captain, the ship can’t take much more of this… ” Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to end that way. Quantum Absorption can help get you out of a heavy assault by providing a large pool of temporary hit points and an instant shield heal. The shield heal will continue even if the ship cloaks, very useful in a retreat situation. Be sure to utilize hull heals especially if you are taking DOT (damage over time) from say, plasma fires, so the ship doesn’t explode when the temporary points expire or are beat down by enemy fire. Warp Shadows is fairly cool as it confuses the enemy into firing at “shadows” of your ship. There is one shadow for every charge on the core up to the maximum of five. It however, does not last very long. It can provide cover for a cloak escape. I honestly never cared for Singularity Jump. That one just seems about as useful as mogai-4 a spoon for a plate of spaghetti. However it does provide a quick 5km warp jump and leaves a ‘gravity well’ like effect behind that causes a series of slow and weapons debuffs to enemies in the area. Singularity Overcharge is the ability I use more than any. Mind you, I rarely use the charge abilities, but this one can be very effective for that final killing blow on a boss enemy or a stubborn PVP opponent. This used to channel that surplus power directly into the weapons for several seconds. This would cap your weapons at 125 or 130 if so equipped and keep it there for the entire duration even as you unload a hail of death from all your weapons. Players complained that it was no better than a big battery. Kinda of true actually so now it is even better. The new version of this ability converts beam damage to “overload” power without the annoying power drain normally associated with Beam Overload. It will also convert cannon damage to a rapid fire style barrage and again with no additional power drain. Just wait until your enemy is in the ‘kill box’ and blast him into the afterlife. It is important to remember that if the attack is unsuccessful your ship will return to the weak sauce 160 points of subsystem power until the core can begin to recharge.

Regardless of your play style the Romulan captain enjoys a unique opportunity to fly unusual ships in a special way with cool abilities and powers limited to the pointy eared cousins of our beloved Vulcans. Every player should have at least one Romulan toon. Having a Black Hole for power source should be reason enough, but if that alone doesn’t sway you, the extra cool Romulan features, special story arc, and awesome ships should!