Khittomer Accord - beating the probes, a guide
I've seen more than a few guides that talk about sending two ships over to one gate to 'cover' it while the other three handle the left gate. While this can work, it expects a lot of everyone in terms of both gear and damage output, and is well known to make people frustrated!
With that in mind I present an alternative strategy that does not have nearly the same requirements in terms of DPS, etc - and has so far proven fairly foolproof.
What you will need
A cruiser, science ship or possibly carrier (I haven't tried KDF, so I don't know). The ship needs to be able to take a bit of damage, but this is not going to be sustained damage so shield-tanking is just fine. The Kiter -must- have the following BO abilities:
A high-DPS ship that can burn down four probes very fast. If your best DPSer can't manage that, you may need to have two probe-killers for your run.
[Three Other Willing Participants]
In any ship they like. Having a support vessel here to hand out shield/hull repair, a sci with photonic fleet and similar helps but isn't necessary.
First Gate: the transwarp gate you intend to take out first. It doesn't matter which gate you tackle first, as long as everyone knows which gate this is!
Second Gate: the transwarp gate you intend to take out second.
Vortex: the thing in the middle you don't want any borg ships flying in to.
Probe, Sphere, Cube: A probe, a sphere, or a cube respectively. They are labelled as such in-game.
A Note On Timing
When the gates go down, activate a battery. The kiter probably wants to use an engine battery, everyone else a weapon battery. When the battery timer expires (2m), that means it is time to start getting back to the gate again.
How To Do It
Step 0: Explain the plan
Make sure everyone understands the plan -and- their role. Since this is different from the traditional strategy, you may run into people 'reverting' and everything thus going horribly wrong.
Step 1: Borg Killin'
This part is easy. There are some borg ships, including a cube and a tac cube. Take them out!
Pro tip: if you drag the tac cube over to the first gate, its explosion will damage the gate and may also take out the first spawn of probes/spheres. This is handy, but not essential.
Step 2: First Gate
As soon as the tactical cube starts to explode, the Kiter makes their way directly to the Second Gate. Everyone else focuses on shooting the crap out of the first gate, ignoring all other enemies but (preferably) avoiding getting killed by the exploding tac cube.
The Kiter's Role
The Kiter is responsible for the spheres that spawn from the second gate. The Kiter should set engine power to max and have engine batteries at the ready.
As the kiter approaches the spawn, pop Beam Fire at Will and prepare to start shooting.
After shots happen, pop Polarize Hull. Stay around just long enough to confirm a hit on each sphere.
Use Evasive Manoevuers and fly away from the Borg. Flying up and -away- from the vortex is best.
The kiter then leads the spheres off and away, keeping roughly 15km ahead of the spheres. Bursts of full-impulse can be used fine. Kite the spheres in a rough circle.
When the gate reopens, use full impulse to power back to the gate spawn and use the same tactic to pick up the spheres again. After a while you will have a -lot- of spheres following you. Just don't let them get too close or too far and you'll be fine.
The Probe-Killer's Role
As soon as the gate shield goes back up, the probe killer(s) race over to the second gate to engage and destroy the probes only. The spheres should be following the Kiter. Once the probes from the second gate are destroyed, the probe-killer(s) should return and assist the rest of the team at the first gate. Note that while the gate shields are down, the probe-killer(s) should be shooting the first gate, along with everyone else. This both helps kill the gate faster and gives the kiter time to pick up the spheres.
Everyone Else's Role
Once the gate-shield is back up everyone else focuses on the probes from the first gate, then the spheres. With the help of the probe killer(s), the team should be able to finish off the probes + spheres before the gate opens again. When the gate opens, everyone who is not the kiter shoots at the gate, then proceeds to repeat the whole process. An unshielded first gate is always the first priority, followed by the probes, followed by the spheres. At no point should everyone else be anywhere near the second gate until after the first gate is destroyed.
Step 3: The Second Gate
When the first gate is destroyed, the second gate will spawn two cubes as part of its spawn in addition to the spheres and probes.
The Kiter's Role
The Kiter should ensure to engage -both- cubes and pull them away, adding them to their collection of pursuing spheres. At this point the Kiter should do slow laps well above the gate, keeping the two cubes and the spheres they have already collected on their tail. You no longer have to (or should) fly down near the second gate - let the rest of the team handle it from here and just focus on not getting ganked by spheres/cubes that are following you.
Be sure to fly in nice big lazy circles! If you get too far away in a straight line, some of the spheres may lose interest in you.
Everyone Else (including the probe killers)
Now that there is only one gate spawning probes + spheres, the remaining four ships shoot at the gate when its shields are down, then at the probes, then at the spheres. Be careful using AoE abilities until the cubes are safely out of range, or you may pick one up. A good team -can- handle burning down one or both cubes, but if the Kiter can pick them up you don't have to.
Step 4: Victory Dance
As soon as the second gate is destroyed, -all- the spheres it has spawned will vanish. At this point the Kiter is free to rejoin the rest of the group.
It is not required that you destroy the cubes at all, you can simply go straight to the vortex. That said, two cubes without any stress is easy enough should you decide to engage them.
Now fly to the vortex and proceed to the next section!
If the Kiter dies, all the spheres following him or her will resume their previous behavior. Some may have picked up the probe-killer as a secondary agro target - these will go after the probe killer. Others will have no secondary agro target, so will resume heading to the gate (!). As such, the Kiter should make their self preservation a high priority. Self-heals, tactical team (for clearing the borg boarders debuff) and powers that can temporarily distract a lot of spheres (jam sensors, photonic fleet, photonic shockwave, etc) are all good - as long as you don't remove yourself from the sphere agro list!
The gates have a 3 minute timer. Having a stop watch handy will let you know exactly the time before it goes down again. Also, we have yet to not completely destroy all objects before 3 minutes is up. Even with only 1 escort, we still can destroy the probes and spheres without an issue. This seems far fetched to attract attention and have those objects follow you around and around.
I guess i've never done this method and I would not want to run and have them follow for the entire space part. Just don't seem right when I think about it. I want to be in there blowing ships up.
If you have a Tactical Officer in your team, let him use it exactly the moment the gates opens :D
First Hand knowledge of this tactic.
I was fortunate to be on a team that KidGloves used this strategy on. I can say IT FREAK'IN WORKS!!!!! It was a beautiful thing to finish off a set of probes before returning to the 2nd gate and panning upwards and seeing KidGloves with at least 15 (probably more) spheres and 2 Cubes chasing him! I have run this twice with KidGloves. Up to this time I had run this in excess of 20+ times with the same team and the same failure . I run an Adv Escort Refit with 4 Mk XI purple or blue DHC's each putting out 1200+ (4800 total DPS before Attack Pattern Beta Buff's) so I was doing a good amount of damage using 4 x Blue Tac Phaser Relays Mk XI and 2 x Eng Plasma Distribution Manifolds Mk XI blue and green).. By the time the 1st gate had spawned it's 3rd set of borg, we were always pretty well beat. We aren't noobs nor pugs and all of us had played for quite some time and we had comms... We just couldn't get past the 3rd or 4th swarm and we were using the tried and true 3 on the left 2 on the right approach (Our group had 3 adv escorts and 2 cruisers all VA and Mk XI gear).
We had a player leave to run an errand and we invited KidGloves after he PM'd "I can get you through this". We scoffed but said "OK" what's your plan? He immediately laid out the strategy he published above. We suffered through 5 left gate swarms (the 4th time the gate was at 1% when it went back up) and 4 right gate swarms and WON! When we went through the Vortex I panned around and saw KidGloves with these two cubes chasing him and no spheres .:D I swear I think saw him set off his fireworks to taunt the cubes! :p
Well i do it normaly a total difrent way, but i will test this out tonight
This sounds awesome!
I will look for you in game KidGloves.
I missed out on the "Assimilated" accolade due to a trigger happy team mate and have been unable to get past the spheres with PUGs on numerous repeats.
I fly a High DPS Tactical Escort Refit.
good on ya.... Its always great to see new methods coming out of the cracks. these STF's are very completeable just take a bit of strategy... this isnt what I do but if it works it works.
Excellent Kid !!
We used a different method for our group runs, but can certainly see this being viable as well. Now, will have to do a run with Kid, just to see the "parade of chickens" following behind him. Since I tend to be the "cube puller" (we have a tactic that I go get a cube / cube group, and pull them down an ambush path of ships) I might even take the fun of being the kiter !
Nice write up Kid, thanks for this.
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