I suppose it is about time I write about the ‘classic’ Federation ships of Starfleet. These are the icons of Roddenberry’s visionary dream. The Federation Cruiser. In the alternate timeline Scotty said, “So, the Enterprise has had its maiden voyage, has it? She is one well-endowed lady! I’d like to get my hands on her ample nacelles if you’ll pardon the engineering parlance.” Ample nacelles indeed. That classic starship shape is a permanent fixture on our science fiction landscape. Of course STO has an ample supply of the legendary Starfleet cruisers for us to fly in game. At tier one you can fly the original Enterprise from TOS. That’s right, for a mere 500 zen you can be Captain Kirk. I am talking about the young, dashing Kirk that never met an alien that wasn’t hot. Yeah, that Kirk 🙂 Then you move up to tier three and fly the Excelsior class, Oh Myyy… Yeah, Sulu’s ship from Undiscovered Country. Tier four allows you to engage Picard’s Galaxy class and tier five offers up Picard’s Sovereign class. Of course for you TNG die-hards that just gotta have a Galaxy, they have even have retrofits for you at level 50.
Tier V has two levels. Rear Admiral ships that are available at level 40 and the Vice Admiral ships that require the full level 50 to acquire. The Rear Admiral ships are the last of the “free” ships that Admiral Quinn gives you upon promotion. The level 50 Vice Admiral ride will cost you zen in the store, others can be acquired through the fleet shipyards. These are some amazing ships.
My first STO toon was a tactical captain. But I went ahead and bought some of the cruisers anyway, just because of that classic look and feel. I was new to the game, wasn’t sure how many characters I would build, so yeah I acted like this was going to be a once through. WRONG! The game is awesome and I have five level 50s. These cruisers are ideally suited to engineering captains.
The only complaint I have about cruisers is related to the crew compliment. The game suggests that the larger crew will yield superior hull healing. This is not really true. The moment you start taking significant damage your crew starts either dying or becoming disabled and as the percentage of healthy crew drops, so does your hull repair rate. A large cruiser with a crew of 1000 may have a 150-160% hull repair rate with a healthy crew compared to 110-120% for an escort with a healthy crew. The problem is that the hull repair rate is not based on number of crew, but rather stupidly on percentage of crew. The crew seems to regenerate about the same on a small ship as it does on a large ship. Depending on your toon’s abilities they return to service at the roughly the rate of 10-20 crew per second. So a small ship with a crew of 100 that gets knocked down to ten percent crew only needs about 5-10 seconds and it’s back to full capacity. A big Cruiser with 1000 crew will need nearly two minutes to achieve the same thing. Some ships in the game have as much as 4000 crew! So in reality hull repair rates are vastly superior on the smaller ships because they quickly regenerate crew back to 100%. I find that once I have taken severe damage I have to heal the hull with BOFF and captain abilities because it ain’t gonna happen on its own. Escorts and small science vessels actually only need a few seconds of not taking damage and crew bounces back to 100%. A quick placate skill is all you need. No such luck in a cruiser. So if you are going to fly one of these, or any large crew ship, make sure your BOFFS have good hull heal skills like Engineering Team III or Hazard Emitters III. If you are an engineering Admiral, you have a couple of awesome captain abilities for tanking as well.
So Cryptic, listen up, you can fix this by simply making any crew larger than 500 treated as 100% healthy. So a cruiser with 1000 crew can lose half it’s crew and still have maximum hull heal. Then as the crew drops below 500 it will start losing hull repair rates the same as any other ship. My gripe is that a ship with 1000 crew should have allot more tanking ability than a little escort with a crew of 50. 33,000 hull points on a Fleet Tactical Escort Retrofit to only 42000 for the 2500 crew Odyssey just doesn’t seem right. OK, my plan is pure genius, so get on that STO. I expect an update in the morning 😉
The bitch session is officially over. How about these awesome ships! Once you hit Rear Admiral at level 40 you have some nice cruisers to choose from. Take a look at these with links to the Star Trek Online Wiki for all the juicy details.
The “Mirror” is a separate ship that is very close to the prime universe model but usually has a slightly different console / BOFF arrangement. You can use Admiral Quinn’s final ship token on the Assault Cruiser or Star Cruiser. The Mirror ships are rare drops from lock boxes but I have seen them on the exchange for very reasonable prices. Today I found both Mirror versions on the exchange for prices between 95,000 and 100,000 EC. The Mirror variants also have a cool color scheme that cannot be replicated with the ship customization. Check the WIKI for console variation and make sure the Mirror ship will make you happy before spending the EC.
The Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit is basically a 25th century updated version of Captain Sulu’s Excelsior. I always liked that ship. If you subscribe to my complaint about crew then you’ll like the fact that it only carries 750 on board and it has a solid turn rate for a tier five cruiser. It might be worth the 2000 zen, but I only have the tier three version so I am not sure if the tier five is worth the dough. By the time you hit level 50 the extra transwarp destinations that ship offers is not that important, especially if you have a good diplomacy rank.
The Support Cruiser Retrofit is the Ambassador Class ship pumped up to level 40. It was only available during the 3rd anniversary event. It is a pretty good ship but if you don’t have it already, you can’t have one. You can get a fleet version of the Ambassador however at level 50.
If you want to just take the “free” ship then the Assault Cruiser is basically Picard’s Sovereign Class from Star Trek Insurrection and Nemesis. The Assault lives up to its name with a slight tactical leaning layout on BOFFS and consoles. It also has 800 crew instead of 1000.The Star Cruiser is a bigger more engineering oriented ship with larger crew and a standard cruiser BOFF and Console layout. Admiral Sager has the Star Cruiser and I still fly it occasionally. I am working towards having the complete Mk XII very rare Reman space set for it. I just need the deflector. So now it has the Mk XI rare set. My engineer character, Admiral Rodanna has the Assault Cruiser and she is nowhere near has established as Admiral Sager, but that sovereign was pretty bad-ass before she stripped it to outfit her shiny new Odyssey. I think I favor the Assault Cruiser over the Star Cruiser.
Once you power your way to the top, you have some tough and possibly expensive decisions to make. Each of the ships in the list below will set you back between 2000 and 2500 zen.
The Dreadnought is special in that it is the only Fed Cruiser that can use a cloaking device. It also has a special console that gives the “Phaser Spinal Lance” ability which is almost a one shot kills anything type weapon with a long cool down.
The Exploration Cruiser Retrofit is the ultimate bad-ass Galaxy class for the TNG fan that loves the giant saucer, it even has a special console ability that allows you to… wait for it… separate the saucer from the star drive 🙂
The Odyssey is available as a three for two set at 5000 zen or individually for 2500 zen each. Each version has a special console and ability. The tactical has an Aquarius escort ship that fights with you, Operations can separate saucer and star drive like a Galaxy class and Science can send out “work bess” drones that offset debuffs and repair ship.
If you are planning on getting the fleet version of any of these ships then you might want to wait until your fleet hits the right tier and you have the fleet credit. It will only cost you 2000 zen to get the four fleet ship modules you need and then you will have the better fleet version. Some of the ships on the list below that are “retrofit” ships you either need the c-store version plus one fleet ship module or 4 fleet ship modules if you didn’t buy the c-store version. The fleet versions are listed below.
The Odyssey on the list below can be purchased without any zen (200,000 fleet credits)but it is not as good as the c-store versions above because those ships come with a special console and ability.
• Heavy Cruiser Retrofit – Fleet
• Fleet Star Cruiser
• Fleet Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit
• Fleet Support Cruiser Retrofit
• Fleet Exploration Cruiser Retrofit
• Fleet Assault Cruiser
• Odyssey Star Cruiser
I actually do not have any of these fleet versions on any of my characters. The fleet ships are the same as their non-fleet counterparts except they typically have a bonus of 10% Hull, 10% Shields and they have 10 consoles. The Odyssey has no bonus over the c-store version it appears that Cryptic wanted everyone to have an opportunity to fly the Federation flagship so they made it available in the fleet yards.
Admiral Sager has the following Tier V Cruiser ships: Star Cruiser, Support Cruiser Retrofit, Tactical Odyssey Cruiser.
Admiral Rodanna has the Assault Cruiser, Mirror Universe Star Cruiser, Support Cruiser Retrofit and Tactical Odyssey Cruiser
I am seriously considering the Fleet Version of the Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit. Both of the above characters have the tier three version and it is a solid ship. I bet it would be a great tier five with that 8 degree base turn rate and only 750 crew.
These slow turning big cruisers tend to be best when equipped with fore and aft torpedos and six beam arrays. Some times I will throw a dual beam bank up front just for a little extra forward punch. You can buy top grade dual beam banks in the exchange for pretty cheap. The beam arrays will cost allot if you want them at Mk XII [dmg]x3. What I really like about cruisers is that when set up as a beam boat you really don’t have to worry about your approach vector or exit strategy. The ship can blast enemies from any direction. With good BOFF setup and defensive consoles you have a lot of survivability.
I am not a good enough “tanker” to fly these ships in PVP, but I have seen some people hold off a dozen ships on their own, solo tanking these.
These ships are really good at engaging multiple enemies. Admiral Sager is a tactical officer and has the ability to teach Fire at Will III. Sometimes I insert a tac BOFF in the LT. Commander universal slot on the Odyssey and I can really take it to a large group of PVE or mission enemies. There is just something really cool about flying a flagship cruiser into a sea of Borg , Tholians or Tal Shiar and just taking all of them to the woodshed.
Star Trek has always had cruisers as the flagship. Science ships and escorts are awesome but nobody is going buy into those as commanded by an Admiral flying the Fleet Flag. Don’t get me wrong, in the game the science and escort ships are comparable to the other ships. And they are awesome to fly. But they had to equalize them or else no one would ever fly anything but cruisers and that would be boring. In the real Trek universe those are support ships, these my friends, these are the big boys. These ships swim with the sharks and the sharks are afraid.