Engineers: Tank or Tactical?

l&cremanmax1Oh those engineers we so very much love them, don’t we? Trip, Scotty, Jordi, O’Brien, B’Elanna… What happens when they get command of a starship? Do they go the way of Kirk, all guns-a-blazin and shit? Or are they more Picard-like, thoughtful and reflective? One might expect the latter but in STO one can do what one wants; right?  And for engineers there are two distinctly different ship types well suited to the analytical thinkers among us.

In the beginning of STO, Federation engineers were most often seen flying the big cruisers. It was the KDF engineers that flew the more aggressive battle cruisers. But as the game evolved so did the ship options on both sides. Most importantly the federation got a battle cruiser in the form of a ship called Avenger. It was nectar of the god’s for those federation engineers that had long lusted after the Klingon battle cruiser with it powerful weapons and agile maneuvering. The closest ships the old school Feddies had to a T5 battle cruiser was a retrofitted version of Captain Sulu’s Excelsior and the Refit of Picard’s Sovereign. Good, these ships are, but battle cruisers they are not.

Today I am looking at some T5-U feddie ships. I know that the T6 ships are kind of the bomb, now, but the T5s are less sophisticated and offer a glimpse into a more raw and fundamental difference between a battle cruiser and a cruiser. The T6 ships offer hybrid BOFF stations, more universal seats and the command and intelligence abilities. I have already done articles on those ships including comparisons reviews. The command and intelligence features of the T6 ships tends to cloud the differences a bit. Not that it is bad nor makes the ships any less worthy; in fact to the contrary, the T6 ships are for the most part a better choice. But which T6 ship one should choose could be best decided by looking at the T5s first.

I am focusing on the Galaxy, Avenger, Sovereign, Excelsior, and Odyssey. These five ships span a great gap in play style despite being very similar in layout. Two of them can be owned at level 40 while the other three require the Vice Admiral’s bars.

avenger-macoI am a huge Avenger fan boy, no not the Marvel superhero team, well actually yes, the Marvel superheroes, but that’s not what I mean here and now 😉 The Avenger battle cruiser and I love it. But I tend to play with a tactical heart even when playing an engineer or science officer. For me it’s a slam dunk for the battle cruiser. But not for everyone else, necessarily.

When we look at the ships we see a lot of similarities. But when looking at the tank or tactical angle, some glaring differences will surface. If you play with a tactical frame of mind then three of the ships sort of stand out. The Avenger of course, the Assault Cruiser, and Odyssey. All three of these have the ability to load up as many as 6 tactical BOFF abilities. All three also feature the ability to have a tactical officer at a Lt. Commander station. Sulu’s retrofitted ship also has a Lt Commander tactical but it is the ONLY tactical seat on the bridge. Turn rate can be very important for a tactical minded captain as well. It allows the ship to be equipped with stronger weapons that fire in a narrow arc and still keep them on the target. It is hard to capitalize on the strength of the dual beam banks with the cadseries7575tight 90 degree arc when your tanker manuevers like a 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood. Weapons are always important when you think like a Klingon. These three also have +10 weapon power. Let’s not forget about tactical consoles of which the Avenger and Odyssey both have four.

For the tank minded engineer the Galaxy and Odyssey jump out with their beefy hull and generous seating for a full council of engineers. One can load as many as eight engineering abilities on these two ships. It is possible to squeeze eight on the assault cruiser also, but then there would be zero science officers and we can’t have that, can we? When thinking along the tank lines strong hull and engineering abilities are important, but so are shields. Science abilities help and it sure doesn’t hurt to have a better than average modifier for shields like the Odyssey has. I will say that it is very possible to tank the living daylights out of the most aggressive ship on the list, the Avenger. Admiral Sager is nearly indestructible in that ship 🙂 But the Admiral is no engineer. He is a tactical officer and so part of his survivability is due to his rather quick methods of dispatching threats, you know, all guns a blazin’ and shit 😉 With the proper arrangement of DOFFs and Captain’s Traits these tanks can be constantly sending engineering teams to repair the ship and utilizing other engineering abilities with faster cooldowns engineer BOFF abilities.

For me the Tactical Odyssey Cruiser is the ultimate T5 badass for an engineer. It is likely that the T6 version would gladly take on the role as well. The ship is huge and therefore it has many more systems for the engineer to manage and keep organized. Engineers love monitoring and organizing, right? Of course they do 😉  Seriously though, it also has great flexibility. You could give up a little tanking and load up some turn boosting consoles in engineering. This could get the turn rate up close to Excelsior territory maybe even Avenger mobility. But really, the Odyssey is ideal for an engineer whether they want a tactical approach or a tank approach because the ship can have it both ways. It will never handle like the Avenger with that crazy inertia rating of 20, but don’t try to load cannons and you’ll be fine. It can be a great beam boat with strong tactical abilities and amazing tanking. I have my top Fed engineer, Rodanna flying it and she does quite well. I choose the Avenger hands down when I have a tactical toon in a cruiser, but for my true engineers the Odyssey is the best T5. Of course with that said the new T6 version is even better 🙂 Even tactical minded Admiral Sager has an Odyssey in the “garage” and he can lay down some hateful damage and tank pretty well at the same time in his version of the ship. He only has Mk XII gear on it and still struts around like a rooster in the hen-house.

l&cremanmax3I still haven’t purchased the new T6 Feddie versions of the Odyssey class ships. As good as they are, and they are very good, I am just not that excited about them. Mainly because I have just two Feddie engineers and one of them is a Ferengi flying a Ferengi ship, the other is Rodanna flying primarily the Tactical Odyssey and the Command Battle Cruiser. I will get around to purchasing the T6 versions soon enough, but for now the fact that I have remained happy enough with the Odyssey speaks a fair volume for the quality of that ride. Oh for the tactical minded captains that want to fly the Avenger, I have not yet ordered a T6 version of that battle cruiser either. Honestly I’ll probably buy the T6 version of the Avenger before the T6 “flagship”.

Before you all label me as a tightwad, which I kind of am, but I have spent quite literally hundreds of dollars on ships. Quite possibly more than grand. Sometimes the “new” ship just isn’t quite enough better to justify the hefty 3000 Zen and sometimes it is 🙂 In the end it is all about you and your toons.

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4 thoughts on “Engineers: Tank or Tactical?

  1. I don’t think anyone would accuse you of being a tightwad! 😀 Among the people I know who play STO regularly, you are probably the one who have spent the most cash on the game. They should give you a medal as a valued customer or something!

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