I am fixing to make an Alt. because I'm starting to get bored with my escort and want to make an Tactical Cruiser build. I tried and Engeering Cruiser earlier and found out I'm not a healer. So my question is whats the best way of going about making a Tactical Cruiser.
no suggestions on the right way of building a cruiser to use with a Tac toon?
Have you ever tried a Tactical Career Officer in a Science Vessel? I find the extra Tactical De-Buffs useful in a Science Build that already is De-buffing the target.
However, this differs from my own personal style.
First of all, you are not necessarily a healer, you are a tank. Remember that. Toss off heals where you can but your main use of your powers is keeping yourself alive so you can be a bastion of persistent pounding that can destroy enemies by attrition, or soften them up enough for escorts to make the killing strike.
Second, I would recommend that you get familiar with keybinds. Rotating powers is very useful on a cruiser. I usually rotate two tactical teams, two Emergency Power to Weapons 1, and two Emergency Power to Shields 3 (or on cruisers that don't support two Lt. Cmdr slots, one EPtS2 and one EPtS3). These will put your shields and weapons power to high levels and continually regenerate your shields. Throw in the assimilated set (at least three pieces, the shield is probably best swapped out for the MACO or Omega shield). Use the keybind to run this continuous rotation and do not stop as long as battle continues.
You may also be interested in Auxiliary Power to Structural Integrity Field, particularly level 3. This is a very good power that will regenerate your hull and buff your defense. Its 15 second cooldown means you can continuously trigger it and have a decent uptime for the defense, and a consistent regeneration factor going all the time. Level 3 is, IMO, the best Commander level Engineer power out there.
Now, for ships!
There are four main tactical/semi-tactical cruisers available: the Odyssey class (particularly the tactical variant), the Excelsior Retrofit, the Galaxy-X, and the Sovereign (Assault Cruiser) class. I have all of these but the Galaxy-X.
* The Excelsior Retrofit is the most nimble of these three, sometimes by a fairly wide margin. It's pretty fast and tough, but a lot of people grate against the fact that it's a 137 year old ship that can outturn and outshoot modern ships. This can be jarring to the game experience. However, it's a good ship, though you'll need to be creative with the BOff layout, since it's a bit unusual. Don't let the single tactical BOff slot fool you - it's a tactical cruiser all the way. In fact, the single tac slot is Lt. Cmdr, the highest available on any cruiser for dedicated tactical BOff slots, so that gives you more choices in terms of selecting a power to fit in it, unlike with the Sovereign class. If you go with my recommendation though you will have two of the three potential tactical power slots taken up by tactical team, so choose wisely - I recommend Attack Pattern Omega 1 if you're spec'd into Attack Patterns.
* The Sovereign class is middle-of-the-road between the other two in terms of speed and endurance. It is, however, slightly, but noticeably tougher than the Excelsior-R if given the right BOff powers. This is compared to the Excelsior which has better firepower (again, with the appropriate BOff powers) and more maneuverability. The Sovereign is the stock "tactical" cruiser, and even though it's the only non-C-Store ship on the list, it's probably the most popular ship in the game and for good reason - it's great at nothing but good at almost everything and can hold it's own against even specialized ships in many cases. There is a reason that so many people are screaming for a refit, and even without a refit it's popular, and it's not just because it's free, trust me.
* I'm going to be very long-winded about the Odyssey because it is a complicated and controversial, but powerful, ship. The Odyssey is not so much a ship as it is a fortress that by sheer coincidence happens to have engines bolted on to it. It is big, slow, and extremely tough, although it is also VERSATILE. Which means that it can be bent into becoming a tactical cruiser with the most numerous tactical BOff slots available. This will give you room for two tactical teams and a copy of all three attack patterns, or two attack patterns and an attack enhancer (e.g. a spreadfire such as fire at will, or a booster such as torpedo high yield). However, it is slow. Very, very slow. The biggest draw of the Ody for a tactical captain is the Lt. Cmdr universal slot, with a secondary contender being the Ensign universal slot. Stick a tactical in the Lt. Cmdr slot, and an engineer in the Ensign universal slot, and you can rotate EPtW1, EPtS2/3, and tactical team 1.
But this configuration does come at a price - while it's still tougher in terms of sheer HP, it's also weaker in terms of self-repairs, as the Excelsior and the Sovereign would have Engineer powers in that Lt. Cmdr slot (the Excelsior would only have two, but they'd still be there). A note of warning with the Odyssey - if you're going to pick up the three pack, I recommend the tactical cruiser with at LEAST the saucer sep module. Whether you use the remaining consoles in the Ody set is up to you, but the saucer sep module is extremely important IMO.
If you're going to pick up just one Odyssey, strongly consider the Operations cruiser. While it has a significant disadvantage in that it has only +5 power to weapons and only two tactical console slots, it has saucer separation, which boosts weapon power and gives a ton of maneuverability, plus (until it explodes) you get the saucer as a backup unit (piloted by most of your dumber DOffs, no doubt). In my opinion saucer sep is what really sells the Ody. I would STAY AWAY from the science version. The bonus console (work bees) is NOT going to do you much good unless you constantly use it on yourself, the shield and aux power boost won't do you as much good as you'd like if you still want to hit hard, and by the time sensor analysis has reaped it's full reward most non-STF fights (and many STF fights) will be long over. If you do pick up the Ody tactical version and it's not in the three-pack, don't expect too much from the Aquarius. While it pleasantly surprises me at times, and some sing its praises, I find it's basically a flying coffin for DOffs who have displeased me. I still deploy it, but it's flight time is usually about two minutes or less.
As an additional note you can also use the Ody as a much slower, but somewhat more versatile, Assault Cruiser, as you can directly copy its BOff layout.
So, what should you do?
- Pick up an Assault Cruiser and see if you like it. Get used to it, play around with it, expect to explode a LOT for a little while or feel like you're hitting like a toddler throwing socks. The biggest asset of a cruiser in terms of damage is not that it can hit hard all at once, it's that the other guy just can't scare you off so you STAY THERE eating away at them like a plague.
- If you find yourself needing more sophisticated attack pattern options (especially attack pattern omega), and you want a faster ship and are willing to sacrifice durability, consider the Excelsior Retrofit (do NOT get the T3 version, it is NOT what you want).
- If you want more durability and/or versatility, consider the Odyssey. Some people hate it, some people love it. Myself, I bought the three-pack, and I don't regret my purchase, but I am VERY fond of my Assault Cruiser and I respect my Excelsior-R greatly.
- Engineering console slots are for armor. If you'd like, stick one HIGH-QUALITY RCS in there. Any more than that is a major waste. People say "cruisers don't need to turn," but if they didn't need to turn they wouldn't have been given engines, they'd be starbases. While this argument may fall flat with how elephantine the Odyssey is :D the fact remains that there's a difference between slow turner and frustrating/useless. You will see what I mean if you've got a really slow cruiser sometime and your enemies all turn your broadsides into only your aft weapons attacking. I think around 11-12 deg/sec is about the threshold for psychological tolerance (for me, anyway) and certain levels of broadside effectiveness. I've been experimenting on my AC with two RCS consoles as of late, but still, you'd probably do better with armor, particularly neutronium. EPS consoles do NOT do what they used to according to all of my forum research and will NOT help you regenerate weapon power so don't waste slots with those unless swapping power profiles is key to your play style.
- Science console slots should be filled with field generators or other shield enhancements.
- Tactical console slots should, as per usual, be dedicated to a single energy type.
- Beam arrays are probably your best friend, but do not go with more than 4-6 beam arrays, as the power drain gets to be crippling. I currently run 5 beam arrays, 1 DBB, and two torps (one fore, one aft). Don't use cannons unless you know what you're doing. Ditto turrets. And I wouldn't recommend using DBB until you have the hang of the cruiser in general - I may go back from those entirely.
- Learn to use broadsides. They're probably going to be your main source of DPS. Attacking head-on is not a good idea for beginner cruiser pilots in general. It's not that hard, just takes some getting used to.
- Don't spec too far into torps or put too much faith into them. They're useful, but even with turn buffs it can be hard to use a torp effectively (e.g. fire it just as you've ripped down a shield). I would recommend using photon torpedoes and/or quantum torpedoes.
- Powers to consider:
* Eject Warp Plasma - it can gum up escorts on your tail
* Auxiliary to Inertial Dampeners - a major turn rate buff if you have to move fast and Evasive Maneuvers won't cut it or is on cool down.
* Engineering Team - This will be hard to use effectively if you're rotating tac team - you'll have to stop your rotation to use it and wait for cooldown to expire - but it may save your butt or that of a buddy. Plus it clears out debuffs.
* Science Team - See Engineering Team.
* Polarize Hull - Without Attack Pattern Omega in, you might carry this, especially if you do Red Alerts. Borg Mothership one-shots are no fun. That said, in most situations cruisers don't need to CARE about tractor beams - sometimes they help me slow down in front of a target.
* Transfer Shield Strength - I'm borderline here. It doesn't seem to provide that much of a boost, but if you're interested in learning to heal it's a start.
* Hazard Emitters - This is VITAL. Don't leave home without it.
- If you have an inkling in the future of learning how to heal, I have heard that tac/star cruisers have some sort of synergy that I do not understand. While you're not interested now, just keep it in mind for future reference should that time ever come, though do know that you'll be taking a nasty hit to DPS.
These are all my thoughts, your mileage may vary.
An additional comment on the Galaxy-X...
The Galaxy-X is big, lumbering, and has an Assault Cruiser's layout. It also has a huge phaser lance and a cloak. Unfortunately the phaser lance is of somewhat limited use, or so I've been told, and it limits your weapons choices to only phasers unless you want to seriously cripple your outgoing DPS. It's a little bit tougher than the Assault Cruiser, though it's also slower. This may change if and when the Galaxy-X gets saucer sep. I am told that the Galaxy-X can be devastating in the hands of an experienced tactical player, but since you're just getting into cruisers I suspect you'd just be angry you spent 2000 C-Points for it. It's still VERY popular though, although I'm not sure if that's for effectiveness or for image.
I myself have felt like a change from Escorts lately and have taken to DPS Cruiser.
The thing is as much as I love my Engineer in his tanking Assault Cruiser, my Tac found true DPS cruiser fun with the KDF and not the Federation.
The Vor'Cha has the layout of an Assault and a very good turn rate it can also mount DHC's.
Warp Plasma and Tricobalt Mines are hilarious together, probably less effective in PVP but fun against NPC's.
So you want to be a tac officer in a cruiser?
1. Save up energy credits.
2. Buy a D'kora.
It's kinda like directing someone to McDonalds when they've asked you where they can find a good hamburger.
The thing about a cruiser is that its potential damage output does not come at the expense of its defensive abilities - it is an inherently 'balanced' option with the ship's comparatively weak tactical positions being bolstered by the captain's innate powers, and his own inability to tank being offset by a vast array of Engineering options.
Support and DPS need not be mutually exclusive.
As for science... Most cruisers lack the high-level science stations needed for debuff powers, and it is questionable whether they could survive by sacrificing their Hazards and Transfer Shields for the pleasure.
*End note: Hakaishin's Dreadnought build was an unorthodox method of building a cruiser with an extremely dangerous alpha strike, but it followed Escort battle theory to work. If it didn't kill a ship with it's opening salvo, it was waiting a long time before it could try the trick again.
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