Before I start on the One Ship post, I played some of the new content on Tribble last night. They haven’t broke any new ground but the Agents of Yesterday seems to be a little more detailed with the ship models and the whole look and feel of TOS. The crew is a little too multicultural relative to the TOS series in which Spock was the only alien on the Enterprise. It’s weird having Andorians and Tellarites roaming the corridors of a 22nd Century Federation ship. Other than that it looks and feels pretty tight. It’s fairly routine stuff on the missions but the whole thing feels fresh because of the tighter skin and a good job making it look very good graphically.
Last week I wrote about the KDF BoP and its amazing versatile nature. But realistically that is not a one ship fits all captains. In fact no C-Store ship is as the C-Store ships are all faction specific. There are two viewpoints to consider here. One is cost, C-Store ships cost real money in the form of Zen. Many players play STO as a free to play experience so buying a bunch of C-Store ships isn’t their idea of F2P. But maybe they want one super badass ship. The C-Store ships are generally pretty awesome. But only buying one may require some serious forethought.
The first thing to remember is that a C-Store ship unlocks account wide. Every qualifying toon on the account can fly that ship. Qualifying means the character is of a high enough level to fly it and in the proper faction (Fed, KDF, or Romulan). With this in mind the player may have to decide which faction he will have the most toons in. If you have 5 characters and 3 are Federation, then a Starfleet ship is probably going to stretch your Zen the furthest. If one is a single toon player then the decision becomes more simplified, buy the ship that looks to have the best fit for your play style and the character build. But across multiple toons, we have to consider versatility.
This post is about trying to get one ship to serve all toons. The task is monumental and maybe even impossible, but if one has to try, then close will have to do.
In general lots of universal and hybrid chairs will make the ship more customizable for a variety of different captains. The ship should also have neutral abilities rather than extremes. For example: A BoP has extreme speed and handling but weak hull and shields. The all universal chairs are great, but the ship tends to excel at one type of play style. Likewise a big clunky cruiser lies at the other extreme. The funny thing is that a big heavy cruiser still works better with a tactical oriented captain than an escort works with an engineer. That said, the battle cruiser is probably the best of all worlds.
One should be sure to get a ship with a universal chair at the Lt. Commander spot. This gives the ship a real ability to change its disposition to suit a variety of captains and play styles. Ideally a moderate turn rate of 9-12 degrees keeps the ship somewhat neutral between aggressive escorts and tanking cruisers. A balanced console arrangement is desirable as well. A ship with ten consoles would be highly versatile with 4 tac, 3 sci, 3 eng. Or 4 eng, 3 sci, 3 tac.
Don’t overlook the inertia rating on a ship. It is easy enough to use consoles and other abilities to improve turn rate, but inertia represents the ship’s ability to change speed and direction quickly. A big clunky cruiser with a 6 turn rate and 25 inertia can be boosted to effectively turn at 9-11 but it will slide around at high speed and require far more space to turn. Higher inertia ratings mean the ship is more responsive to speed and turning inputs.
I believe the battle cruisers and dreadnoughts offer the best all round performance but a high-ranking universal chair is a must. The Odyssey and the T6 variants for the feds or the T6 Arbiter (Avenger lacks a universal at Lt. Commander). The Romulan Dreads either T5 Falcion or T6 Shamshir are solid. The KDF Kurak is an excellent ship (Mogh lacks a universal at Lt. Commander). These are great all rounders. For Lifetime subscribers or long time pay to play gamers, the Veteran Reward Destroyer (Fed, KDF, Rom) is a boss all-rounder that is hard to beat and it is unlocked in T5 and T6 for ALL factions. For players that tend to prefer a more nimble ship C-Store Choices get challenging, but the KDF battle cruisers offer more choice in maneuverable battle cruisers. Ships like the Tor’Khat or Qib which are also solid.
OK all of that is fine and well, but what if you want one ship for any and all toons? That eliminates the C-Store as those are faction specific. The Veteran ships work as they are in all factions but require a pay to play account or Lifetime Membership. Lobi and lockbox ships are character bound so that each toon has to buy individually. That leaves the various freebie ships offered in special events. These are essentially account wide although some grinding is required. There are three of these freebie ships that might make good all rounders, but one still stands out after nearly four years. The runner’s up are the latest Krenim Science Dreadnought, and the Ferengi Nandi.
The Krenim ship doesn’t meet the criteria I have talked about above, but it is very interesting. First there is a Hybrid Tactical / Intel chair for a Lt. Commander and a Universal Lt. Commander! There is also a Lieutenant Hybrid Universal / Intel seat as well. This ship is really solid on the bridge. Consoles are weak for engineering however with just two consoles and then 4 tac and 5 science. I have a science KDF toon that had trouble keeping this ship in one piece, but my feddie science toon had no such issues. This ship has an escort stye weapons layout which is not preferable for a do it all one ship approach. This ship has solid hull and amazing science like shields sporting a buff 1.45 modifier. The turn rates sucks, but that’s part of the reason this is the second runner-up. This ship is available as a 6th anniversary prize and may be available again next year during the event.
The Nandi is a fun ship. First of all it is one of just two ships in the game that offer the full suite of capitalist decadence. Yes my friends the Nandi and the lock box D’Kora offer the custom Ferengi bridge with an onboard dabo table, trader, exchange, mail, and bank. The BOFF set up is not ideal for a universal use by multiple toons, and neither are the consoles as they are similar to the Krenim ship having only two engineer consoles. This ship at least swaps the arrangement of science and tac with 4 and 5 respectively. The ship has decent hull and a solid 1.05 shield modifier. The turn rate is a robust 12 dps the inertia is a modest 45. This ship was availble last summer as an event prize on Risa. If Cryptic follows the pattern, it should be available again this summer.
The multi faction freebie ship that still offers the best all round performance is one of the earliest freebies in the STO timeline. I wrote about the Breen Chel Grett here and here. This ship made its debut way back in December of 2012! Although this ship is showing its age it still has some magic left in the wand. The BOFF arrangement is weak, but still somewhat versatile. There is but one universal chair and it is a lousy Ensign, but it does offer a Commander at tactical and a science at Lt. Commander. The console arrangement is just about perfect, with 4 tac, 3 eng, and 3 science and the free T5-U upgrade yields a 4th engineering console. This is an agile ship with the 13 turn rate and a 50 inertia. Hull is a bit soft closer to a KDF Raptor than a battle cruiser but the shields are a solid 1.0. You get a versatile 4/4 weapons layout and +10 the weapons +5 to engines. This ship can load dual cannons. Every toon I have has this ship in the garage. I have a variety of different character builds and all of them do at least pretty well with this ship. By no means will this Chel Grett fare better than an Avenger or Mogh, nor will it challenge the Veteran Reward ships, but it is absolutely free, requires a modest amount of grinding time for the first toon that unlocks it. There is almost no grinding for other toons on the account. This is probably the ship I would most want to see Cryptic offer in a modernized T6 version. This ship is a Winter event prize ship and has been available during Q’s Winter wonderland.