Q hath giveth again!

2016-12-28_15-38-39Before I begin dissecting the holiday gift from his royal Q-ness, I have yet another brainstorm idea for the boffins at Cryptic to consider. They should create a simulator for players that allows the player to enter a simulation either ground or space and test their setups and equipment against preset NPC norms from the game at either of the three difficulty settings. Of course the player would not receive any prizes and experience but perhaps would gain some “expertise points”. The difference would be that there would be no need to wait in a queue. The player would not have to worry about aiding the team mates or completing an objective. The player could focus on the performance of the ship against whatever enemy he chooses. This allows for tweaking the ship or ground setup on the fly to get the best fit for the player. It would be a simple battle like the PVP one on one challenges already offered in the game. Another difference since it is a simulation and not an actual mission or multiplayer setting, it could be paused and equipment and weapons, BOFFS, DOFFs, etc. could be swapped in and out without resetting or reloading the simulation. In other words the simulation could be paused to make tweaks to your setup. Of course in the actual missions we cannot swap out items whilst in combat, but for the simulator we could. This part is frankly easy. The basic mechanics are already in the game. the enemies and the PVP arena maps already exist. The programming for this feature would be light. You hear that Cryptic? This is a good idea! Now for the hard part. What if they create this simulator for us and add the ability to fight a npc controlled version of our selves or other toons we have created? How cool would it be to fight yourself in one of your other ships? This portion of the simulator would allow us to see how our own “creations” fight from the perspective of our enemies. I believe I am standing on the precipice of genius here 😉 So get on it Cryptic! OK on with my review.

I finally managed to acquire the new Breen Chel Boalg. I ran it through my series of statistical analysis spreadsheets and came to a surprising conclusion. On paper the Ferengi Nandi is a superior ship! I did not see that coming. The Krenim Imperium Warship is also quite the ship as well offering the powerful 5/3 weapons layout for a little extra smack in the face. I was indeed expecting this new frozen ship from those not so lovable cold-hearted bastards to be, well, better! That said, it is better. It is so much better than its predecessor in fact that it shines brilliantly against a sea of ships that tend to conform to a certain utility. But the universe of T6 ships has become quite dense with options. How will this new Breen Chel Boalg fit in?

Way back in 2012 when the iPhone 5 was still fresh and new! Android was running its latest top-level system, Jelly Bean! Yes my friends it may as well been Fred and Wilma Flintstone eyeing that Breen Chel Grett that Q so lustfully dangled at all us Star Trek gamers. There we were, running about on a slippery track being chased by some horrendous alien creature. But what a fantastic ship it was. Seriously, the Breen Chel Grett was absolutely delicious back in 2012. I wrote about that ship on numerous occasions and always with a certain warm and fuzzy delight. Here is the original link to my first review of that ship.

Since 2012 and particularly in the last 12-18 months Cryptic has released a number of interesting and frankly awesome “destroyer” type ships. The release of this latest generous gift from the almighty Q is a bit anticlimactic. The new version offers up nearly identical stats as far as the construction and defense of the ship are concerned when compared to a T5-U version of the original Grett.  Where they really beef it up is in the BOFF setup. This new Chel offers us not one, but two Lt. Commander chairs on the bridge. One of them is a universal seat, the other a science intelligence hybrid. That adds a tremendous amount of kick ass to the rather mundane bridge layout on the original vessel.

They also added an “enhanced” version of the Breen Energy Dissipator console. The enhanced console offers the same active ability but adds in some passive boosts in the form of +1% Critical Chance and +25 Starship Drain Expertise. I don’t like consoles that only offer an active ability so this addition of the passives is definately a big plus. The console can be substituted for the original energy dissipator and used with the other three Breen consoles to complete the four piece set.

So in a direct comparison to the original and two other capable “destroyer” ships this one handles itself just fine. My clinical analysis is often overshadowed by practical use in the “field”. Although the Nandi is a bit stronger on paper this new Breen Chel Boalg does offer some contrast in its delivery of death and destruction.

The trouble with all my charts and graphs is the simple fact that ships with a great deal of “flexibility” are wonderful, but in the end we still have to decide what we want them to be. Some ships have a universal-hybrid station for a Lt. Commander giving powerful options; but only one option can be engaged at a time. This is where the paper meets the flame. Sometimes a simple, straight forward ship like the T5-U tactical escort retrofit is just the tool for the job.  No need to over think it, just balls out, caution to the wind, and phasers blasting.

What makes the destroyers interesting is the flexible nature of the layout. They can be effectively commanded by a captain from any career path. For those of us with multiple characters across all three factions and career paths this new Boalg ship is ideal. Once unlocked the ship is available account wide. All of the ships in this comparison except the Krenim ship are account wide unlocks.

2016-12-27_21-22-30I set my first one up with Admiral Sager. I even loaded it up with pretty decent gear. All Mk XIV and lots of fleet items. I went all in on cannons and turrets and the ship’s generous BOFFs allowed for some serious tactical smack down. I even loaded that juicy Science/Intel triple chair with two instances of Intelligence team. It leaves the ship a bit weak on shield heals but the set of six elite restorative phasers help top off the shield as I lay down some serious evil hate on the enemies of the Admiral.

For those not in the know, the Fleet store has two types of energy weapons you can buy. The advanced weapons are available in all the basic energy types and offer 4 modifiers. Not 4x of anything but a variety of combos from 2x, 2x to 3x, 1x of most of the common modifiers like [dmg], [acc], [crtD], etc. The second type are called Elite and are only available in the basic faction energy type. In the case of the Federation it is phasers. The Elite weapons have a triple modifier and an additional ability that restores your ship’s shields. There is a 10% proc to add a substantial shield heal to all four facings.

With my near constant barrage of scatter 2016-12-27_21-22-36volley enhanced by the withering barrage ship trait, I am pinging that proc routinely. In all but the most intense battles the ship’s shields stay well charged. If you run a more resilient setup you can get away with just the Commander tac and the Ensign universal as a tac. This gains some BOFF survivability with either an engineer or science officer in that delicious bonus Lt. Commander Universal chair.

I ran this ship through a series of Romulan patrols and a couple of Advanced Crystaline Entity PVEs and the ship is quite effective. In the Romulan patrols the ship shreds the enemies as well as most of my escorts and I even vaporized all five waves of the Nausicaans in less than 75 seconds.  This ship is extremely good.

The ship trait looks like a pretty good one as it offers an active ability that gives a ten second severe debuff to the enemy’s shield hardness and damage resistance. I haven’t really put it to the test yet as I just unlocked tier V mastery.

Below is the power chart for this new Chel Boalg and three other ships. The paper representation is a far cry from the physical performance of this mighty ship. It truly is the next generation of the original masterpiece ship the Chel Grett, and anyone miffed about not being able to obtain that legendary ship should have been running the silly little footrace and gaining vouchers to get this new version. It has all the charm and delight of the original, and all the power and panache of a modern T6.comp

If you have yet to start you may be a little too late, but there are still two weeks to go in the winter event. Hopefully you have already acquired 300-400 vouchers and if so you can still finish and get this excellent ship. ALWAYS get the freebie ship, if you don’t, you may regret it later!

This ship is ideal for a tactical captain looking for some hull and shield resilience and a little more punch with that extra aft weapon bay. It is also ideal for an engineer looking for a sporty ship with some maneuverability that doesn’t come at the expense of a cruiser type layout. As much as I love the Nandi and despite the fact that my calculations suggest the Nandi is the stronger ship, this ship simply feels better. Some may prefer the Krenim ship which is quite tasty indeed. I do not own that ship but it is fantastic. It is closer to an escort than a cruiser with a softer hull and swervier handling, but balances that with beefy shields. That ship will set you back around 300 million EC so keep that in mind as the Chel Boalg is easy peezy and oh so FREEzy! FREEzy ha ha, a double pun for the price of one 😉

In the case of this Chel Boalg the visceral experience seems to overpower the intellectual facts underlying its build. It is the superior ship for me, when directly compared to the Nandi. That declared, I love both the Nandi and the Boalg. No fleet is complete with out at least one of them in the ‘garage’. The complete spec comparison chart is below.

A parting note on the winter and summer event prize ships. I have said it before and I’ll say it again; get the damn freebie ships! Even if you are a single toon player and the ship is not ideal for your toon, get it anyway! You can store it boxed in your bank. Every single freebie ship in either the winter or summer events has turned out to be an excellent ship. They have extended the length of these events to allow people that can’t play every single day. You need about 3.5 weeks to acquire the vouchers and these events now run about 6 weeks. Just do it!

Here is a list of every review for the summer/winter event prize ships:

Happy New Year!

chart

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