So these three career officers are in a friendly debate while enjoying a few synthehol beverages at Club 47. They are arguing the finer points about who is the most effective and who is the biggest drain on Starfleet resources. One is a Science Officer, another is an Engineer, and the third is a Tactical officer. I wonder which career path would be the most affordable and effective for the stingy STO player?
Which type of captain needs the most resources to be effective? Tactical? Engineer? Science? So I decided to load up a career specific ship in each with all the delicious goodies they might want. I stuck with all Mark XII gear, with a minimum very rare (purple), and a Tier V C-Store ship. The Tactical Admiral in a T5 Tactical Escort Retrofit (Defiant), The Engineer in the T5 Exploration Cruiser Refit (Galaxy), and the Science officer in the T5 Long Range Science Vessel (Intrepid). I went ahead and upgraded the ships to T5-U. See what I did there? We got a Picard, a Sisko, and a Janeway. A fair representation of TNG, DS9, and Voyager. These ships are identical in BOFF layout with the career path at C, LC, E and two Lt in the other careers.
How little could I spend and make a Mark XII very rare or ultra-rare loaded ship that was at least competitive, and how effective would it be? My toons would be Rodessa, Rodanna, and K’Rod. These are secondary toons for me that have limited resources compared to my top three toons, Rod, Roddicka, and Be’ina.
As a FYI, I had to adjust the ship comparison chart’s calculations to allow for the advantage of dual cannons and a boost to weapons power significance to level the field for escort class vessels. I discovered my oversight while prepping for this post. You will see a change in the Tactical Escort Retrofit values versus other charts I have posted in the past with this ship.
Right away you will see the science ship is the strongest overall and that is very interesting, isn’t it? When you factor in the non-weapon capabilities of a science ship when piloted by a science officer, they can be quite dangerous. But this exercise is also partly based on affordability. How much resources are used up to equip these ships for their specific captains? And the strength on paper doesn’t always translate to actual combat performance.
When we look at the cost of equipping a ship with better gear you quickly see that beam array weapons and turrets along with consoles that enhance energy weapon damage are among the most expensive items on the exchange. When using dilithium to purchase consoles and weapons through the reputation stores, weapons are significantly more expensive than consoles. This creates a bit of a disadvantage for ships that rely on weapons and weapons power in combat. The tactical ships are almost exclusively weapon-centric. Cruisers have 8 weapons slots so they tend to lean towards weaponry as well. Science ships rely the least on weapons with only six slots and as such have an immediate advantage in expenses.
Each of these ships come with a special console and for the purpose of this comparison each ship will retain its special console. The first thing to keep in mind in combat is that science ships and captains have a lot of combat attacks that originate from the deflector dish and utilize auxiliary power and BOFF abilities along with science consoles. This gives a notable advantage to science ships when considering cost of operation.
For the purpose of this comparison I am using toons that have heavy leaning on career skills. For example K’Rod has 27 tactical skills and can utilize all the tactical skill tree abilities, likewise Rodanna has 27 engineering skills and Rodessa has 27 science skills. These captains will setup these ships with a pure career style of play in mind. This does run a little counter to my personal play style, but this is why I have so many toons, I like to mix it up 🙂 These toons are not fully jacked on the specialization trees either. K’Rod is way behind on specialization. Rodanna has 2 points in Intel but I moved her to secondary Strategist in which she currently has no points taken. Similar with Rodessa who has 2 points in Pilot but I moved her to secondary Strategist as well in which she currently has no points taken.
- K’Rod : 6x Intel & 0x Pilot
- Rodessa : 18x Intel & 0x Strategist
- Rodanna : 18x Command & 0x Strategist
I am charting the hell out of this post 😉 The big chart shows how I set up each ship and how much was spent. In fairness I spent way more on the tactical ship and I could have used some Mission Reward items but in this configuration it is still sort of competitive price wise, and it is quite the punisher. My standard ship comparison chart is at the bottom.
K’Rod was a beast in the Defiant using the Withering Disruptors from the Terran Store and the Terran Reputation weapons set. I spent too much on the exchange for the shield but I wanted a resilient shield. I could have used a reputation set but K’Rod didn’t have the reputation level needed for the items I would have used. This ship in a single enemy battle will crush the others. In waves of multiple enemies however the dual heavies are harder to keep on target and to find new targets. So despite the higher DPS the ship is slower at dispatching large groups of enemies.
Rodanna was the surprise. I was able to build her ship quite a bit cheaper than K’Rod’s Tac Escort and about the same as Rodessa’s Intrepid. Rodanna was actually pretty beastly when using her energy weapons, the Antiproton Radiant weapons kept her flush with hull strength. She was able to quickly dispatch large groups of pesky enemies and even in a head on “boss” like battle with a single strong enemy she was not as badass as K’Rod, but surprisingly good. Using two omni-beams aft allowed her to hit with 5 energy weapons on a frontal and 6 on a broadside. Rodanna is king hands down on the park and fight style with a full 270 degree arc of 5 beam destruction and 3 weapons protecting the six.
I expected Rodessa to have the advantage here. I really like using the Nukara gear with the science officers. I just seem to do really well with it. Rodessa has most of the stuff here already on another ship, I just moved it over to the LRSV. With her ridiculous control and drain abilities she could tear the enemies apart. She had stronger DPS than Rodanna on frontal attacks with those beefy dual beam banks, but had a very weak broadside and rear attack. She was just as effective as Rodanna on controlling large groups and more so on single strong enemies. Using three DBB up front and no torpedo launcher and two Omni-beam aft she had 5 weapons on front attacks giving here a bit of a tactical style. With the LRSV 12 DPS turn rate she kept the 90 degree DBB on target effectively. Really with only 2 Tac BOFF abilities I had her focus on exotic damage and she used Kemocite laced weapons and BOL to enhance the energy weapon output. Kemocite damage is enhanced by strong science and exotic damage buffs.
So how did these three captains fare on the ‘Top Gun Patrol Kings’ chart. Remember these ships are limited to Mk XII gear so they aren’t going to make it near the top.
- Rodessa, Science, Intrepid; Average Patrol Score: 202.75 seconds
- Rodanna, Engineer, Galaxy; Average Patrol Score: 223.25 seconds
- K’Rod, Tactical, Defiant; Average Patrol Score: 226.75 seconds
Before all you tac lovers go ape-shit over the Defiant bringing up the rear, K’Rod is one of my weakest toons. He also would have fared MUCH better with single cannons on the Patrols. I decided to run all three through the Kill Fek’Ihri Foundry Mission. I found that K’Rod was noticeably quicker at eliminating the single destroyer. He was able to kill it before it could “cloak”. K’Rod sometimes could wipe out the carrier before it had time to launch fighters but other times it got fighters out and then K’Rod had to chase them down taking a fair amount of time. Rodessa would tie the destroyers up with gravity well and tractor beam to keep them from cloaking, but still took longer to kill them. In the foundry mission the order is different on effectiveness but Rodessa still comes out on top.
Overall I think building a science toon is the most resource friendly approach, but if you have deep pockets and a skilled captain you can ultimately win out going tactical in a solo combat session.
Before I close, I want to bring up an incident I had recently in the Tzenkethi Front Advanced Mission. This is the one where you drop the bombs on the five bases and then fight a dreadnought. I was in a PUG and do not know any of the players. I was flying a science ship with little offensive capability but it is very effective at delivering the bombs to the targets using a combination of stealth, threat level, and excellent shield resilience. I personally delivered three of the five bombs and we were stuck on the final base.
Another player grabs the bomb and I push all the baddies away and then drop a gravity well on them to clear the way for this other player to fly to the final base. We were down to 3 players as some people exited the mission, I HATE THAT! I fly ahead of him to clear the enemies at the last base to be destroyed. My Lukari ship can’t do hardcore damage so I pushed the enemies away, lock them in another GW and keep them on me by increasing my threat level.
I realized that he was still fighting ships instead of flying to the final base, and I thought he might just be confused about the location of the final base. I private messaged him asking him nicely to come to the final base with the bomb I have it cleared for him. We could still complete this mission with just the three of us.
This guy starts to rage about how inept I am with my low DPS ship and how I have only done 187k of damage and he has 2.9 million, blah, blah, blah. I replied I have the base cleared, bring the bomb. He continues his DPS-centric rant and how nooby I am just pushing enemies away rather than killing them, “get a real ship”. I reply that this isn’t about DPS and killing enemies. This is objective based, the objective is to blow up the bases, I reminded him that I personally took out 3 bases with my wimpy little low DPS ship. He complained that ten destroyers that could one shot kill him was too much. I was lost there, because I have never died in that mission, EVER. I was not flying a tough ship it was the Lukari ship with Mk XII gear. The guy just could not accept that a science ship designed to support other players was a viable thing. He also apparently didn’t realize that carrying the bomb vastly increases your threat level. The bomb carrying ship has one mission, deliver the bomb. He just kept trying to fight off the ever increasing enemies. But apparently, low DPS equates to noob in his narrow-minded little universe.
I have great respect for the players that are able to create ships that can truly lay waste to enemies. I acknowledge that there are far greater ship and toon builders than I, but to focus on DPS as the end all, be all is silly. I have presented strong clinical evidence on this blog to support that DPS is NOT the end all be all. In fact that guy ended up leaving early and he left clearly frustrated. I stayed in the queue alone hoping to drop a bomb on the last base, but with out another player to keep them off me I could not deliver the bomb. It’s like the portal closing deal, you take one stinking hit and you can’t launch the bomb which has this ridiculously long wind up time.
My messages to him were all private as were his to me and I was trying to be really nice even though he was on a rampage. But I failed in my diplomatic effort to finish this mission.
Don’t get caught up in DPS as the only effective way to succeed in STO. Yes, there are some missions that really benefit from players like that guy, but other times his play style misses the point of the objective based mission. In the end, all we needed was some cooperation to finish that mission. I re-ran the mission in the same ship with a different PUG and we completed it quickly gaining all but one of the bonuses.
On a positive note, I had another player in that second PUG that was mad about someone dropping a GW on the Dreadnought as it pulls all the enemy cruisers closer to the Dread giving it a boosted damage reduction. He was right about that, I checked it out those Tzenkethi cruisers do provide a strong boost to allied ships DR the closer they are. So I learned something 🙂 I was the one that dropped that well, I feel like such a noob 😉
Below is my regular ship comparison chart for the three ships used in this post. Until next week, see ya.