Before I go on about the new lock box ships I want to touch on the Borg STFs again. So I was whining last week about the Borg on Steroids in the STFs. I decided to test my theory by loading Admiral Sager in his ultimate badass Fleet Avenger T5-U. This ship along with my most seasoned and buffed toon typically struts around like a rooster in the hen-house, against any and all PVE opponents. If the Admiral had problems against the advanced queue Borg STFs then I know they hit them with a boost. Previously the Admiral in that ship would fly about at will doing with the hapless Borg what he wanted, when he wanted, and with impunity. So what about now?
More or less the same, but in that ship I was able to see the real reason other toons and even the admiral in some of his weaker ships was having trouble. As mentioned last week, the Borg BoPs are a little too resilient, but the real difference is that it seems Cryptic put a serious heavy mod on those Borg shield drains. They drain shields faster and all four facings at once. Admiral Sager was flying around with no shields or red flashing shields most of the time when all the spheres are out on the Advanced “Infected: The Conduit”. This is a ship that runs with 22,000 shield points per facing, but unlike most of my toons and their feeble ships, the U.S.S. Battle Ground is like, “Shields? Shields? We don’t need no stinking shields!” That ship has 93,000 hull points and damage resistance to spare. She shakes off nearly 70% of all damage types. So that’s it, the boffins at STO juiced the Borg shield drain ability and that does make those STFs more challenging for ships and/or captains with poor defense against energy and shield drain which fits Admiral Sager to a ‘T’. Players with a weak hull and lack of damage resistance will also struggle more. I think Cryptic wants the Borg to return to their former status as the ultimate villains in the Milky Way galaxy.
OK, now to this week’s business. Cryptic kind of went nuts this go ’round with lock box ships. The new Mirror lock boxes have a chance at one of three different ships (actually two ships in Lockbox, one is a Lobi store ship, thanks Ultimatedoomer1 for the catch). These are not the wimpy little crap ships from Mirror lock boxes of days long past. There are two tier 6 dreadnoughts and a tier 5 upgradeable escort. Are they worth dropping coin on keys like a drunk Sultan at the tables in Vegas? Maybe. Disclaimer, I have yet to acquire any of these new ships. I am playing this by the numbers only at this point.
The Paradox Dreadnought is seen at the end of the PVE mission “Counterpoint”. Dreadnought is a bit of a misnomer as this is actually a science ship. It however is a modified version with an escort-like 4/3 weapons layout. It also has a ridiculously large crew count of 2300. That is probably the largest crew on any science ship in the game. It turns well for a big ship and has a hangar bay like a dreadnought should. But this ship is a science ship and as such it has the science mastery levels rather than the dreadnought. It does have a much better hull than most science ships and the beefy hull is protected by those amazing science shields with a 1.425 modifier. You get all the sciency goodies like sub-system targeting, sensor analysis and the secondary deflector. This is the most interesting of the three as it is a hybrid science dreadnought. I kind of like it actually, but like the Tarantula it lacks BOFF flexibility. It does have a Universal Hybrid chair at Lt. Commander so that’s better than the Tarantula at least. The ship has a special universal console, Temporal Rift Stabilizer. this console creates anomalies that slow and damage enemy ships in a 3 km radius. Unlike gravity well it does not pull on the target so they can escape easily. The console offers generous passives however, boosting turn rate and exotic damage. This console completes the Temporal Fragmentation System and can be equipped on any temporal ship. The Starship trait, Unstable Anomalies will enhance your Gravity Well and Tyken’s Rift abilities by adding a severe kinetic explosion at the end of those abilities effects. The ship’s hangar bay is stocked with Aeon Timeships. These are currently fetching about 240 million EC on the exchange or you can fork over 900 Lobi.
Next is a ship I never expected to see available for players, The Tholian Tarantula. This is like a Tholian boss ship. It is big and difficult to bring down, yet now it is available for us to fly. Of course you will have to hit the lock box lottery to get it or perhaps throw down some billionaire coin on the exchange as they are listed in the 350 million EC range at the moment.
This ship is not as badass as the version we fight in-game. The BOFF flexibility is surprisingly stingy and the crew count for such a giant ship seems low. Spacious accommodations for those Tholians lucky enough to fly first class on the Tarantula. The ship offers both a special weapon in the Thermionic Torpedo Launcher and a special universal console, Tholian Web Cannon. The latter completes the three-piece Tholian Technologies Set. The web cannon deals heavy shield penetrating physical damage, which is very effective since few captains have much in the way of damage resistance against physical in space. It also provide passive boost to hull points and resistance to all damage. The hangar bay is loaded with Tholian Widow Fighters. The ship lacks a high-ranking universal chair which is unfortunate. The mastery ship trait is Energy Web, this is a powerful trait. Every time you activate (limited to once every 45 seconds) Beam Overload, Cannon Rapid Fire or Surgical Strikes, the energy web deals heavy shield penetrating physical damage while trapping the target. This ability is boosted by Auxiliary power and Starship Particle Generators skill.
Last is the T5 Tholian Meshweaver. This is a pretty weak sauce ship frankly and will likely find its way to the exchange for reasonable prices. It turns well, is moderately fast and will perform well as a basic escort. Engineers will like the beefy crew count of 250 but not the measly Lieutenant engineer on the bridge. Science officers will like the Lt. Commander Science BOFF station. Unlike the undermanned Tarantula with spacious presidential suite accommodations for the crew, the staff is stuffed like sardines in a can on this boat. It has terrible BOFF flexibilty with no hybrid or universal chairs on the bridge and only four seats total. As a consolation it has two Lt. Commander BOFF stations. It does have a nice 1.0 shield modifier which is very good for an escort vessel. This might end up being a great little cheap escort for a non-tactical captain that wants to play around with an escort. It is currently trading on the exchange under 5 million EC, but later it could get even cheaper since it is not that strong a ship. There is of course a high novelty value in flying around in a Tholian ship ;)
Of course I have the obligatory chart for you to peruse.