Kazon Raider and the Dual Cannon Conundrum

I bought a couple of Kazon Raiders on the exchange for what amounted to chump change. You can buy these for less than two million EC. Now there is a good reason that these Kazon ships are so cheap. They kinda suck. I know that is harsh, but they really do. I bought one for Admiral Sager and another that is still boxed up. Admiral Sager is my strongest toon and he was able to get the Kazon to fight effectively but it was a laborious exercise.

I am not sure why, but the ship’s claimed base turn rate of 19 dps seems a bit generous. I constantly felt that I was not turning as sharp as a raider should. This is entirely anecdotal evidence but the Breen Plesh Brek is equally rated for turn rate and I never felt that ship was inadequate.

The Kazon ship is not the sexiest ship in STO to be sure. It is upgradable to T5-U and that makes it advantageous to the Mirror Universe ships that are cheaper on the exchange but not upgradable. Mirror ships would otherwise be better ships.

If you want a Raider class ship and you are not a Klingon, The Breen Plesh Brek is just way better and you can get one from Q absolutely free at the Winter Event in December. I’ll admit that I did not equip the Kazon Raider with my best stuff but it was all Mark XII rare and very rare gear. I did also upgrade the ship to T5-U.

kazonpleshbrekThis comparison between the Breen and Kazon ships should make the choice easy. Please note the Kazon is listed as an “escort” but it is a raider and does get the raider flanking ability as does the Breen raider.

The Breen ship is just better in every way. More hull, an extra console, stronger shields, four universal chairs instead of three, it’s faster and has better inertia and it even comes with a special console. Oh wait! The Kazon ship has more crew. BFD!

All of that said the raider class can be fun to play. Even though I felt the Kazon ships 19 dps turn rate was exaggerated it is still more nimble than any other cheap escort you’ll find on the exchange. If an engineer or science player is looking to have a little fun with a shifty little sports car-like ship, the Kazon Raider could be a fun toy.

While I was flying that Kazon and getting it up to tier IV mastery I came across the Dual Cannon Conundrum. I have glossed over this topic in the past but it still gnaws at me a bit occasionally. Now I will start by saying some players are such good pilots that they may not see my point on dual cannon weapons but I’ll venture to guess that many less amazing pilots might agree.

For the purpose of this discussion all references will be made to common grade mark XII weapons. The standard single cannon weapon does a base damage of 212 damage per second (dps). Single cannon weapons do 159 damage per volley (dpv) and reach the 212 dps by firing more than once per second. Single cannon weapons drain power by 10 points when firing in conjunction with other weapons.  A dual cannon weapon can be acquired in two types, dual cannon and dual heavy cannon. Both of these types have the same base of 256 dps. The standard dual cannon fires similar to the single cannon weapon with a 192 dpv and firing more than once per second to achieve the 256 dps figure. The dual heavy cannon fires more slowly and does a “heavy” damage per volley of 384 but takes twice as long to refire and thus achieves the same dps of 256. Dual cannon weapons drain power by 12 points when firing in conjunction with other weapons.

The conundrum is this: A single cannon weapon has a targeting arc of 180 degrees. This represents a huge area in which the weapon can maintain a target lock and thus maintain firing and damage. The dual cannon weapons of either variety offer a very narrow 45 degree targeting arc. This is only one-fourth of the area. Of course these dual cannon weapons are designed for ships with hard turning ability, but still I find that keeping a ships in the 45 degree firing arc is very difficult especially after eliminating the first target and seeking a second. Thus the actual dps of these dual cannon weapons in practice is less since they spend a lot of time without a target.

I have always felt that the base damage rating on the dual cannon weapons should be much higher and that they should have a heavier drain on the weapons power subsystem to compensate. For example dual cannon weapons ought to have a base somewhere between 296-324 dps with a power drain of 14 or 15 when firing other weapons. This would create the classic attack run burst of dps with power becoming well-drained by the time the target is either overrun or out of the targeting arc. By the time the ship turns about for another run the weapon power would be back to full. This would compensate for the huge gaping time hole in which the weapons cannot fire because the target is outside the 45 degree arc. The additional power drain would keep the weapons from being overly powerful by limiting the amount of time they can hit at full damage.

Another idea that I would love to see would be tactical BOFF or captain abilities, preferably a Pilot BOFF ability whereby the ship matches the speed and trajectory of the targeted ship. This would allow for a ship with dual cannons to maintain target lock while following an enemy ship by perfectly matching its speed and turning for a brief period of say 8-10 seconds. There of course would be some limitation based on the ship; for example a big, slow cruiser would not be able to maintain the follow against a BOP for more than a couple of seconds, but the BOFF ability would attempt to match to the best of the ship’s physical ability. The ability could grant a brief 20% turn and speed boost as needed to keep the target directly in front of the ship. This would not be an ability for a cruiser anyway but more for escorts and raiders. The ability could be countered if the enemy used a science jamming BOFF abilty or a battle cloaking manuever. You hear that Cryptic? This is a good plan 😉

I fly my Andorian Kumari with the wing cannons which are a 45 degree arc and 3 single cannons and that ship does significantly more damage in PVE and story missions than it does with dual cannons. It is not even close in fact. I can clear out an entire 4-5 ship wave of patrol ships within the first few seconds with that Kumari with the single cannon set up and with the duals it takes triple the time. This is due to the wide 180 degree arc. Once the first target is down the next target is four times more likely to still be in the firing arc of the weapons. In PVP where there is a lot of one on one dogfights, the duals would be better. I suck at PVP piloting though, so for me the dual cannons are not strong enough to offset the huge targeting disadvantage. I do fly a few ships with all dual cannons including a few BOPs, but usually I have one dual cannon and two single cannons or all singles.

So there is the dual cannon conundrum. How have you overcome this issue and do you think dual cannons are a little under-powered?

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8 thoughts on “Kazon Raider and the Dual Cannon Conundrum

  1. I think the single vs dual cannon argument is still very dependent on the ship itself. For my KDF Tac Congilla-the-Ape I have always used a set of Dual Disruptor Cannons and Dual Heavy Cannons on his MatHa Raptor, but even with a couple of Fleet grade RCS Consoles he had problems staying on target… especially against swarms of small ships that zip around like the Iconian Baltim raiders and all those annoying little probes and portals the Heralds keep tossing about. I probably should have mixed in a couple of single cannons and see how it flies.

    But recently I switched him to the Breen Raider, and with the much better turn rate the Duals are wreaking havoc (using two copies of Scatter Volleys, of course), just as you said the setup would work well with BOPs.

  2. The wide-field Dual Heavy cannons from the crafting system have 180° field of fire – which overcomes the limitations you so expertly describe. Alas, you can only equip one per ship. I recently tried out using a crafted 180° DHC on a Fed Tactical Escort Retrofit (the beefiest Defiant class) plus either a) “normal” (45°) DHCs or b) Single Cannons. I found the all-DHC setup more satisfying fighting Borg and large ships (Vaadwaur, etc.) – basically you strafe, gain some distance, turn hard, strafe again. It’s like sweeping. But in the Dyson Sphere or working Iconian mobs the Single Cannon setup was much more effective, especially using Scatter Volley and less flight speed.

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