I once wrote about a tactical captain flying cruisers (A Tactical Captain in a Cruiser). In that post I contemplated the use of a tactical captain in the large cruisers. The conclusion there was that the Odyssey Cruiser was the most suitable due to its generous use of a universal station at Lt. Commander. Since the introduction of the Dyson Science Destroyers I began to play around with science ships with Admiral Sager.
Regular readers of this blog will likely remember that Admiral Sager was my first character on STO and still remains my most powerful. He also has the most ships, boasting 18 starships and 3 shuttle craft. He has a little bit of everything. He is of course a Tactical Captain but he even has a couple of science ships parked in the ‘starship garage’. The Admiral has three science vessels two of which are Dyson ships that have strong tactical tendencies.
The Admiral picked up a Mirror Universe Recon Science Vessel about a year ago on the exchange for chump change. I thought it would be fun to give him a vessel with a 1.3 shield modifier just for the hell of it. I flew that ship with a variety of different load outs before settling for a Mk XI rare Reman Space Set, the Nukura weapons set and a full complement of Nukura Tetryon Beam weapons. This was a good little setup. You can find the Mirror Universe versions of most science ships on the exchange for very low prices, often under 50k EC. I wrote a post about mirror ships last year, (Look into the Mirror, You Might Like It). That post may offer some good insight into the Mirror Ships. Frankly, since I got the Dyson Destroyer, there is just no going back. Read about the Dyson Destroyers in past posts, (‘Science Just Got a Little More Kick Ass’ and ‘What? Advanced Dyson Now?’). The Dyson Destroyers are simply the tactical captain’s best option. I should note that I have yet to purchase or fly the Multi-Mission Explorer ships that are available in the C-Store. If any of you have experience with them feel free to comment below. Those also look like a solid tactical science vessel.
Admiral Sager has two Dyson Science Destroyers. First is the freebie ship from the 4th anniversary event. The Dyson ships have a secondary deflector in science mode that offers extra deflector powers. After the Admiral bought the C-Store version, he equipped all the Dyson set items on the new ship and has been experimenting with load outs on the standard ship. The first was a Jem’Hadar load out with the Mk XII Jem’Hadar space set and a full complement of polaron weapons. I have several of the Mk XII protonic polaron weapons that take advantage of the Jem’Hadar set’s 13.6% boost to polaron damage. I really like the Nukura beam weapons so I took those off the aforementioned Mirror Recon ship and loaded up the standard Dyson along with the Mk XI assimilated Borg set. (Assimilate This!). I am working on acquiring the Nukura Space Set to use on this ship.
In a more general sense, a tactical captain has some advantages flying a science ship over an escort. Science ships in general have a little less hull strength than an escort but they are pretty close so the captain won’t feel too nervous about it like an engineer might who is used to 40k plus base hull. The escorts generally have weak shields with modifiers at 0.83 for KDF Raptors and 0.90 for Fed escorts. The Science ships in general offer a 1.3 shield modifier making them nearly 50% stronger than escorts. Escorts are typically outfitted with a 4/3 weapons layout and science ships are 3/3. So a forward weapon slot is absent that tactical captains will miss. Will they miss it more than the 50% boost in shield strength? Maybe.
Most science ships are very agile. The slowest turning science ship on the Fed side is the Advanced Research Vessel with a pokey base turn rate of 9 but it has a bulky hull and massive crew complement so it is kind of the engineer’s choice science vessel. Most science ships offer turn rates in the 11-13 range which is a little dull when contrasted with an escort but feels like a slalom master compared to most cruisers. Since many tactical captains prefer using dual cannons it should be noted, there are only a few science ships that can equip them. The Dyson and Multi-Mission ships can. I don’t think dual cannons work as well on the slower turn rates offered by science ships anyway. The Dyson gets a turn boost in tactical mode that makes dual cannons viable.
For those of you that did not get the free Dyson Destroyer during the 4th anniversary I say, shame on you. It was FREE and it only required about 5 minutes a day for a couple of weeks to acquire. If you are new, no shame required 😉 I say you should take every free ship they offer! Yes they also have a C-Store version with 9 different variants spread equally among the three factions. Those offer up a fleet-like boost to hull and shields along with a bonus 10th console.
The science ship can be a great tool for a tactical captain looking for a little resiliency under fire or looking to engage multiple enemies. Science ships will usually offer a +15 boost to auxiliary power in lieu of an Escort’s +15 to weapons. Tactical captains flying a science vessel have to be aware that they will not be hitting as hard but they will have some staying power on shields. As a side note; the Dyson Destroyer has +15 auxiliary in science mode but shifts to +15 weapons in tactical mode! Science ships also offer up more crew than comparable escorts with the exception of the Veteran Reward destroyers.
The Multi-Mission Explorer has three variants. Of the three, the recon version has four tactical consoles (2 eng, 4 sci) and the Strategic has the most even spread on consoles at 3 tac, 3 eng, 4 sci. These would be the two best for a tactical captain in a science vessel.
For KDF and Romulans, there is not much to tell. Science options are limited. For Romulans they enjoy a battle cloak on all ships so at least they have that going for the limited selection of science ships. KDF has the Gorn Varanus Support Vessel but it has only a Lt tactical seat on the bridge and no universal. Klingons don’t need shields, big hull and lots of weapons followed by a toast of bloodwine over the smoldering debris of their enemy’s ship. There is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel for non-feddies looking for a little science action. Of course, the Dyson destroyers are a great option for the KDF and Romulans. All factions can also enjoy the Voth Palisade Science Vessel or the Tholian Orb Weaver. Both of these ships have a Lt Commander Universal bridge station that can be quite handy for a tactical leaning captain. The Voth ship is available from those greedy Ferengi at the Lobi Consortium for the hefty price of 800 Lobi, but they are on the exchange as well for millions of EC. The Tholian ship is a lock box ship that can also be found on the exchange.
I have not been particularly fond of science vessels or science officers in STO. Of my eight toons just one is a sci officer. She is level 50 and has several science ships including a few retro-fit models that I have played with and I do like them. As a tactical leaning player I feel the two best options for a tactical captain in science vessel are the Dyson Destroyers and the Multi-Mission Explorers. As I mentioned earlier, I have not flown the latter, but looking at the stats on the wiki tells me this would be another great choice for a tactical play style.
So in my humble opinion, I think the Dyson is the best option for a tactical captain in a science vessel. That Dyson is really two ships in one. In tactical mode it literally transforms into an escort! Now, if all you really want is an escort ship with a beefier shield modifier, have I got a ship for you! The Elachi S’Golth Escort has a 1.3 shield modifier which is the most of any escort ship in the game.
OK, enough rambling about the right captain in the wrong ship; I have Tholians to kill, that Nukura set isn’t going to magically appear in my inventory 🙂