T6 Battle Cruisers, Are They Up to the Task?

I have been very busy of late on STO. I have my primary toons in each faction working hard to build up points on the new skill tree and master several ships. I wrote last week about Admiral Sager reaching the level 60 milestone.  That post was all about the new KDF T6 raptor and how it compares to a Fleet Qin T5-U. This last week I have been working with all three of my top characters in each faction. Admiral Sager is now flying the T6 Eclipse Intel Battle Cruiser, General Roddicka is flying the T6 Qib Intel Battle Cruiser and Admiral Be’ina is flying the T6  Aelahl Light Warbird Battle Cruiser. I have really grown to like the “battle cruiser” style ship. It works for any career path well, but for tactical or engineers it is like flying a dream ship. What’s not to like? Beefy hull, good turn rate, and eight weapons bays.

These three Battle Cruisers are similar but they have some distinct differences. The most notable is that the Romulan ship is NOT an “Intel” ship. It does feature a hybrid Science/Intel Lt. seat but does not have the Commander Intel/Engineer seat or the Active Sensor Arrays. It is also notable that the Romulan ship has a LT Universal seat instead of an Ensign Universal on the KDF and Starfleet ships. It gives up the Lt Commander engineer however! So the “intel” ships have TWO Lt. Commander stations and that is boss! The Romulan and Starfleet ships both cap out at 49k hull whereas the KDF ship caps at 50k. The graphic below shows the ships stats from the STO Wiki but the KDF Qib does have the same Cruiser Commands as the Eclipse, the Romulan ship does not offer cruiser commands. All three ships are equipped with a built-in cloaking device. The Fed ship has the sucky, standard cloak while the KDF and Rommy have the superior battle cloak. The KDF ship has the quicker turn rate at 11 vs 10 for the others, Rommy gets 4 device slots instead of 3 like the others, Rommy has 45 internia vs the 55 on the other ships, KDF and Fed are faster with impulse of 0.17 vs Rommy’s 0.16. Rommy suffers a lower bonus power on weps as well. Fed ship has 350 crew, KDF at 700 and the bloated Romulan with 1000. You know how I feel about crew count, if not read this. Ok below the WIKI graphic is some feedback from my three officers flying these ships.

T6-BC

Admiral Sager is my strongest toon. He is level 60 and has even taken 2 additional, post level 60, points in the new specialization tree. He is flying the Eclipse right now working towards Tier V mastery. I set that ship up with the Nukara Space Set and the Nukara Weapons Set along with a full complement of Nukara Store Tetryon Beam Weapons. I had the stuff on the free Dyson Cruiser that I stopped flying after buying the C-Store Dyson Ship. So this stuff was handy and I was feeling stingy and didn’t want to spend any dilithium, Zen or EC. Admiral Sager is a Tactical Officer so the Dyson Ship isn’t exactly his “thing” anyway.

So far I like the Eclipse but I can’t say I like it much better than the Avenger. In all fairness Admiral Sager’s Fleet Avenger is T5-U fully mastered and one of the best equipped ships I own with any character. That ship has over 92,000 hull points, 18,000 per/face shield points, and a full complement of Fleet Grade antiproton weapons and top grade consoles. I may try flying the Eclipse with all that stuff on it before passing final judgement. Meanwhile I am also flying the Eclipse with both Intel BOFFs including the Commander Engineer. I want to play around with the Intel BOFF abilities and decide which ones I really like.

capehorn

This ship is pretty tough but a great deal of tanking is lost without the Traditional Commander Engineer. I am seriously considering the idea of removing the LT “subspace beacon” Intel ability and replacing it with a LT Engineering Tank Ability. I honestly have not found a use for that beacon jump ability. The other three Intel abilities for the Engineer are pretty cool. The Ensign ability allows the Engineer to remove the “safeties” on the power systems which provides a brief but powerful spike in all power levels. After about 20 seconds of power-lust nirvana, the power returns to normal but one subsystem goes offline for 6 seconds. I use this ability for an alpha strike and hopefully the enemies are all dead before the subsystem fails 😉  The Lt Commander Intel ability is Ionic Turbulence. This is just cool! Practical, meh, but too cool. A projectile is sent out to hit a target, upon impact it creates the aforementioned Ionic Turbulence. All enemies within 3km are slowed, and debuffed for damage resistance. There is also a 30% chance every second to have a hold-repel combo attack that jerks the ship all around and renders it unable to fight. The whole effect is 20 seconds long. The final Intel Engineer ability is the EMP pulse. This is used by one of the Delta Quadrant enemies (I can’t remember which at the moment). This probe flies towards a target emitting an EMP that causes an 80% chance of disabling all enemies in a 2km radius. Upon arriving at target location it explodes, dealing a large amount of electrical damage.

I like the Eclipse, it turns better than the Avenger, has a built-in cloak and the ability to use Intel BOFFS and Active Sensor Arrays. It also has a special console that steals power for its structural integrity from enemies ships. This is all very cool. The ship will set you back 3000 Zen. If you already have a Fleet Avenger, then 700 Zen for an upgrade is probably the smart move. Unless you are a Zen addicted fiend, like me, in which case, do both 😉 If you have yet to buy a top grade ship and you think the Battle Cruiser layout is what you want, this will be a difficult choice.  I think I am leaning towards the Intel Cruiser, it gives up some hull and shield strength compared to the Fleet Avenger T5-U, but offers a flexibility to either tank hard or fight hard. Unlike the Avenger’s 5/3 weapons layout this ship has a 4/4. I find it odd that the ship with the better turn rate has fewer forward weapons. Hmm? Oh well, I’ll say this Eclipse is a stronger choice versus an avenger T5-U but is a tie when compared to the Fleet Avenger T5-U. The tie breaker goes to the Eclipse because you gain a trait at Tier 5 mastery.

Qib

General Roddicka maxed out her Mat’Ha Raptor and began flying the Qib Intel battle cruiser recently. The general is currently at level 55. She has Tier 5 Reputation in all factions except the new Delta Reputation. She is my second toughest toon in STO. I think this is the coolest looking ship of the three. I mean really, look at that demon beast! Those creepy deep red glow stripes are absolutely sinister!

I am also flying with both Intel BOFF stations loaded for the same reasons, to vet the Intel abilities and determine how much I like them. The Qib has a special console like the Eclipse but instead of stealing enemies power for hit points it gets weapon power. That is so Klingon 😉 I have this ship equipped better than the Eclipse as I am running cannons up front. The 11 degree turn rate makes it tough to bring the Disruptor Quad to bear, but the single cannons are easy to get on target. I find myself waiting for a recharge on the scatter volley since I only have the one Lt Commander tactical BOFF. I don’t have this ship set up to tank, and I have found the “battle cloak” on this ship to be a little glitchy. Sometimes, actually often, it is grayed out while in combat as if it were a standard cloak. That is annoying, especially during the Mirror Universe Invasion PVE where I need to quick cloak to set up for closing the rifts. I do find it odd that this ship has a battle cloak and the smaller and more nimble Mat’Ha Raptor does not. Overall I like this ship more than the Mogh. The Mogh is a great ship but it has too much crew and as big and scary as it is, this Qib Intel looks like the spawn of Satan. For a Klingon, that is really cool! Same story as the Eclipse. If you have the dough, spend it. If Zen is tight for you, then upgrade one of your KDF Battle Cruisers to T5-U.

And now it’s Admiral Be’ina’s turn. She is my power house Romulan, I only have two Rommy’s but she is the toughest of the two. She typically flies around in a Falchion Dreadnought. That is my personal favorite Romulan ship. My only complaint now that it is a fully mastered T5-U is that the Thalaron weapon was way too nerfed.  The enemy npc version of this weapon is terrifying! But the player version sucks. Really, Cryptic, a full 12 seconds and fully exposed for the charge up and then a limp-dick blast that might scare off a shuttle, maybe. Boo! OK, rant over, back to this new T6. This ship has the longest name of the three 🙂

rommy

The Romulans chose the smaller warbird as their “Intel” ship rather than the larger one. My experience is this; while the smaller ship uses the Commander Tactical as the “intel” hybrid the tactical Intel abilities did not impress me much when I tried them on the Phantom. I feel like I don’t want to give up the standard tactical and then what is the point of flying an “Intel” ship if I am only using the Lt Intel station? Any way I think this ship should have been the Intel ship. But that said, some of you may have had different results. I would love to hear about it. Feel free to comment.

First of all I did the same stingy thing I did with Admiral Sager, I scrounged for parts on this ship. I know I can swap things out pretty easily with the awesome system of loadouts, thank you Cryptic 🙂 But I am cheap and LAZY! So I used some protonic beam weapons. This ship probably would be better with cannons. If you have a science captain, the special console is epic! This console fires a projectile at enemy and envelopes the ship in a big broth of particle energy. For a short time any exotic damage gains the abilty to get extra proton damage. I find it is a challenge to kill the Vaadwaur the way I have it setup. It is a tough ship however, and unlike the KDF ship this one’s battle cloak works every time!

The Romulans have the least systematic ships of the three factions. What I mean is that their ships are not really career specific like the Federation and KDF. The fed ships fall into pretty tidy little career boxes. Escorts for Tactical, Cruisers for Engineers, and Science vessels for Science Officers. The Avenger is a bit of a Tactical/Engineer hybrid.

The Klingons have a similar arrangement although the multiple races within the Empire add some variety to the styling, the ships fall into pretty neat career paths as well.

Romulan ships are all over the place. The Mogai is technically an escort but it has 900 crew! The “escorts” tend to lean science with Romulans as well. This ship actually fits the Battle Cruiser profile really well. It has enough tactical ability to work well for a Tactical Captain, but can easily be setup as a Cruiser tank. This is a nice ship. If you have the Dreadnought however, I doubt you’ll be flying this ship over that one 😉 If you have the D’Deridex you might like this. It wont tank as well as the T5-U Fleet D’Deridex but it will offer some serious offensive punch that is lacking in the big and clumsy D’bird. Honestly of the three ships, this one is the best for a player character that has not yet bought a C-Store ship. If you are an Engineer the 2500 Zen for a Falchion Dreadnought and 700 Zen to upgrade is the better choice. If you are tactical and you want some tanking, this is better than buying a Mogai retrofit plus an upgrade. It is a better ship and it will cost you less Zen. Note the Mogai will turn much better so if you want dual cannons go Mogai.

There you have it. Three T6 reviews in one post! Now I have to get back online and get Be’ina and Roddicka up to level 60 🙂

 

 

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