The ship designers at Cryptic decided to dole out a sneak peek at the new layout for escorts and raiders coming soon in the new season, Escalation, which begins in three weeks. They launched this week three new ships featuring the new layout.
These three new ships are available for 3000 zen a piece or the usual three for two deal at 6000 zen. They call it the ‘Allied Bundle’. There is one each for the three factions, Feds, KDF, and Romulans. The Romulans get a Reman design called the ‘Hathos Warbird’. If you only want to buy one, this is probably the best one. It is the only one of the three with a cloak and since it’s Romulan it is indeed a battle cloak. It has a stronger hull and slightly weaker shields than the other two entrants in the bundle it is also a tad bit slower on impulse drive. Near as I can tell the KDF and Fed versions are statistically equal. The KDF version is a Ferasan design called the ‘Slithus’ and the Feds get a Caitian design called the ‘Shikaris’. I like the look of the KDF ship but I decided I would get the most bang for my zen from the Feddie version.
So what’s the hub bub all about with the chatter about a new escort and raider design? Well the primary new feature is the addition of a ‘heavy weapon’ slot. These three new ships all feature the same heavy weapon and the same console. The console adds some passives and an extra active ability for the heavy weapon. The new weapon is simply named, ‘Heavy Escort Railgun’ The heavy weapons are slotted in a special slot, neither fore or aft. This particular weapon is a 360 arc and so fore and aft are irrelevant. I will have to presume this will be the case with all of these so-called, ‘heavy weapons’. The screenshot below shows the new heavy weapon slot just below the aft weapons.
The new weapons can be upgraded like a normal weapon. This ‘railgun’ will draw power like a beam array, drawing 10 weapon power on each firing cycle. It deals pure kinetic damage so it will suck against shields but rip exposed hull apart. It does offer 20% shield penetration. It has a very high yield for a 360 arc weapon, but it cycles 1/4 as fast as typical energy weapons needing 4 seconds to ‘reload’. None the less it still does roughly double the DPS of a dual cannon. Important note, these heavy weapons will not be affected by BOFF buffs like FAW, BOL, Scatter Volley, High Yield, etc. FYI, the railgun screenshot above shows the chance to apply ‘Omega Weapon Amplifier”. That is separate and is part of another set I have equipped on the ship. (Omega Adapted Borg Technology Set).
The console offers some nice passives, +17.8 impulse expertise and +7.5 max to all power systems. This does not stack. This is a boost to the power cap not actual power. The active ability is tied to the railgun and it is a ‘barrage’ attack. It is a fire at will type attack randomly targeting enemies within a 5 km radius doing beefy kinetic damage to all. When the ability ends the ship will gain serious temporary defensive buffs if the hull is under 50% and a 30 second reduction in cool down of the ability if hull is better than 50%.
I am a little underwhelmed with the heavy weapon, but it is better than nothing and it does give this escort a destroyer type feel with an extra weapon. Cryptic has suggested that existing “qualifying” ships will be updated with a heavy weapon slot at the launch of Season 13.
The ship itself is OK, I suppose. Nothing really special at all. It has solid hull and favorable shields for an escort but really is rather plain. I bought it so I could try out the new layout and I am a bit unimpressed with the actual ship. Anyone that is sensitive to spending 3000 Zen can wait for season 13 to start and see which ships gain the heavy weapon ability. This ship has average turn rate, a little better than average speed for the KDF and Fed versions and a little better hull as well. Honestly the ship is built like a destroyer. I went ahead and fleeted mine up. Yes, they released the fleet version of each right away. Now part of my problem is I initially decided to use Romulan Reputation gear. I have like 8000 plus Romulan Marks so I gobbled some up. But now I have a plasma based weapons setup. That’s OK, but I think I could have made this thing a little more kick ass with a different energy type.
I did run the ship through the four test patrol missions in Romulan space. I have the performance posted on the Top Gun Patrol Kings Chart. You’ll find it didn’t fare that well but two notes of importance; First it was a brand new ship with no mastery levels when I started. Second, it was not as well equipped offensively as it could have been.
On paper using all my spreadsheets, this ship comps really well with other Feddie escorts. Of course it gets a huge boost having the extra weapon slot and in fairness each of the escorts I tested it against likely will get the heavy weapon slot after the new season starts. On the overall power rating the non fleet version drops to a 61.97 without the extra weapon slot. That still ranks it ahead of the others. So honestly it is a pretty solid package. There are a great many escort type ships available to Feddie captains so this one may not be enough to convince people they “need” it. Among the KDF and Romulans however, the choices in escorts are a little less abundant. The ship(s) are worth a look.
I am not really over the moon with this new ship, but I do like the idea of giving escorts and raiders a little something extra for being smaller and more attack oriented. The railgun isn’t getting me all that excited, but Cryptic has said more heavy weapons are coming in Season 13, so we have that to look forward to. In fairness to the ship, I have to admit spec wise it is a beast, finding the right setup and toon for it could make it go from “meh” to “Holy Shit what a Badass”! I’d say the Caitians Got Some Game.
One of the problems I had while testing, was using the Universal Plasma Wave console. I had it sitting around so I added it to the ship. I may be wrong, but I remember this console having the long charge up (7 seconds) but still being able to maneuver the ship while it was charging. Did the Cryptic Nerf Team strike again? This thing now locks your ship from any maneuvering during the eons of charge up and then blasts a tight 45° cone of pretty heavy damage. Seriously Cryptic? You nerfed the crap out of the Thalaron weapon on the Romulan Scimitar variants. It is limp-dick power, takes 12 seconds to charge and locks your ship in place whilst the 12 second charge up is happening. 3 frickin’ consoles are required to get that ability and it is completely useless after waiting 12 seconds, which may as well be 3 years, the amount of actual damage is pathetic. OK, I know I have ranted about that before. I’ll never let it go my friends, never. It is idiotic. But now this Plasma Wave console gets similar treatment. At least let me maneuver my ship while this time bending charge up happens. Jeez who are these people and why hasn’t someone punched them in the face already? Well anyway, that console is now useless as an active ability, it does offer a 20% damage boost to plasma and a 1.8 crit chance, so I guess it’s sort of OK. But I tried to use it during the Carraya run and that just screwed up the timing on it. I bet the Shikaris will do much better next time through. If you like a good rant, check out my posts on nerfing and other crypticisms here, here and here.
Below is my usual ship comparison chart and be sure to check the Top Gun Board here.