Hangin’ On Risa, How ‘Bout another Head2Head?

I haven’t really soaked up enough Risa to really notice anything overly special this year. I have read reports from other STO bloggers that the day-night cycle is gone which sucks. Supposedly a new lighting engine has been employed and the day-night cycle is somehow incompatible. I don’t feel the graphical ambiance is really any better so losing the cool day-night transitions is not worth whatever slight improvement was gained with this new 2.0 graphics on Risa. That’s my take at least.

So I have begun my easy daily grind to acquire this new Vorgon Carrier and meanwhile I figured a little Head2Head would fill the space between now and the day I get my new ship 😉

So let’s say you have a science toon that is looking for a tactical ship to fly around in. Sometimes you just want to fly around dusting enemies like a barbarian with a greataxe. STO has an interesting game mechanic in space that allows a ‘wizard’ to play the ‘barbarian’ every now and again just for kicks.

A science captain looking for the tactical edge in a fight might look towards the seemingly obvious choice of the Dyson Science Destroyer. This ‘science’ ship has the ability to transform into an escort with the click of button. But is it the best choice for a fling on the battlefield for a science oriented player? Maybe a traditional escort would serve her better? Let’s find out.

The Vacuum versus the Kittycat

So the recently released Caitian Shikaris Escort ( info here, and here ) has a tendency to lean a bit heavy on science but retains a traditional escort feel. Let’s see how one of my secondary toons does in each ship. Bear in mind that the Dyson ships ( info here, and here ) offer the flexibility of changing from a science ship into an escort. This is a great advantage for a player that wants to focus on one ship rather than many. For that player the Dyson has already won this Head2Head. But I am going to focus just on the tactical mode of the Dyson versus the Shikaris to see if my science toon does better in it as opposed to flying a ‘real’ escort.

The Dyson ships have the rare ability to transform. The Veteran Reward Destroyers offer a similar transformation as well but the difference in modes is not as profound as the Dyson. But these Dyson Destroyers are both a science ship and an escort by virtue of their ability to trade out the secondary deflector for a fourth fore weapon, swap the tactical Lt. Commander with the Science Commander and change the +15 to aux power into +15 to weapons power at the click of a button. The Dyson however does not get the heavy weapon slot even in tactical (escort) mode. As far as flexibility is concerned the Dyson is one of the best in the game. But how does it fare whilst in tactical mode against a real escort and in fact against a T6 variant?

The Dyson Strategic Science Destroyer has scored very well in my various charts and power ratings. The 71.15 overall power rating is better than either the Fleet or standard version of the Shikaris which comes in at 67.04 and 63.40 respectively. But that Dyson score reflects the flexibility of the two modes the ship has. When comparing only the tactical mode the Dyson falls in line with the Shikaris.

The Dyson has one of the best shield modifiers in the game at 1.457 and that is great for captains that like good shields. This beefy shield modifier comes at the expense of hull where the Dyson is fairly weak compared the Shikaris. So I ran both ships through the Top Gun Patrol and the results were, well, shit.

Rodessa is a science captain and she isn’t really all that well-developed but she is no slouch either. She previously took her Long Range Science Vessel through the four patrols of the Top Gun series with an average of 202.75 seconds. That is more than just respectable for a science toon in a true science ship running all Mark XII gear. So imagine my surprise when she ran a 297 second average in the Dyson. WTF happened? This Dyson isn’t quite as well armed as the LRSV but seriously this 297 was crap. I ran the Shikaris though with similar weapons and improved the times to 242.75 average. Still pokey slow compared to her LRSV. So maybe the problem was loading cannons, after all her loadout on the Long Range is beams. I had a loadout for her Dyson with a 2x DBB up front and beam arrays aft and tried that. She netted an improved 289.25 average. So the Shikaris was proving to be the better of the two when in the hands of a science toon trying to fly a tactical type ship in a timed gauntlet of enemies scenario.

I was really smarting from this major disappointment in the Dyson. I have been very warm to that ship over the years and have written ad nauseam on this blog about it. How could it suck so bad? I decided to bring in a heavy hitter to run the four patrols in a Dyson. Admiral Sager showed up in his Dyson also equipped with all Mark XII gear but the admiral has the gravimetric photon torpedo launcher, the experimental protonic cannon and some other juicy items as well as his loaded skill sets and traits. Surely the Admiral could do better, right? Of course he did. He took his Dyson through the four patrols with an average of 192.75. OK the Dyson gets a bit of a reprieve but it still rates only modestly against other science ships the Admiral has run, and sucks compared to most Mark XII equipped escorts. I’m still a bit bummed, oh well.

I realize it’s not just about dispatching easy patrol victims. The ships also have to be tough and the beefy shields on the Dyson almost never failed. In science mode it is a true science ship with the secondary deflector and a Commander in a science chair. But Rodessa ripped a 202 average in a science ship! This Dyson with that tactical toy shop should have done better. But even in tactical mode the Dyson just doesn’t turn well enough to really fight like an escort. The Shikaris is an escort and so it fights like one. The Dyson is not a real escort and that is the problem when trying to run with one in an environment suited to the escort play style.

The Shikaris was not really that well equipped I loaded it with all Mark XII purple gear but it was just stuff from the exchange nothing spectacular. It was one of my standard ship test loadouts. I did decide that I like the Railgun when used on the Shikaris with the special barrage console. That thing is pretty nasty when you engage the barrage and the cool down is only 2 minutes.

I believe that if I had loaded the two compatible omni-beams that use polaron on the aft of the Dyson when I had the DBB up front, that ship may have bested the Shikaris in the Top Gun Patrol runs. The answer to which ship is better for a science toon is easy. NEITHER. Science toons should stay in their science vessels because Rodessa is a freaking beast in her Long Range Science Vessel! On paper, the Dyson beats the Shikaris, but for argument’s sake, the Vacuum was the inferior ship when playing in the escort’s sandbox so this Head2Head goes to the Shikaris despite what the charts show.