Cruiser advice for elite stfs
Well first i want to give my background been running Norm and leet stf on a Mvae and def-r for past couple months and really tired of the escort while fun its same role for me over..so with that and how quick it is to lvl i made new engineer and now VA i am trying to figure out what cruiser id like to with i have everyone from C-store minus the new monstrosity that is Oddy. Not sure what role I want to fill as tank or support(healer for kang ). Now with that out of the way i am huge canon trek nerd...so i am really leaning towards sovy and gal-r ...but i have looking over the forums and its seems Gal-r is frowned upon at this point in the sto gameplay . But i will accept all advice on other ships i can move past my Picardism for Gal-r and Sovvy...to help my team the best in stfs. So please give me serious advice on what ship will perform the best in leet stfs.
thank you fellow Captains.
What you'll probably want to do first is glance over some of the STF guide threads again, to refresh your memory of the different roles. If you're been playing pure DPS for a while, you've probably settled into a groove by now.
Your role will basically be sustained DPS and tanking/support.
Basic Sovereign BOFF loadout is:
Tac Powers: 2x Tac Team 1, Attack Pattern Beta 1 (DPS) or BFAW II (Tanking)
[Note: you can get away with using a Conn Officer DOFF or two and using only one copy of Tac Team here - I'd suggest either BFAW1 or Torpedo Spread I]
Sci Powers: Hazard emitters 1, Transfer Shield Strength II
Engineering Powers: 2x EPTW1, 2x EPTS2 (or 3), 1 copy of Aux2SIF, 1 copy of Extend Shields, and either RSP or Eject Warp Plasma.
Recommended Consoles include the usual 3x Energy Damage Tactical Consoles and Borg Universal Console, plus "Vent Theta Radiation" from the lockbox reward pack, and at least two armor consoles - Neutronium or Monotanium. The rest is up to you, though extra Shield Capacity won't hurt if you've spare science console slots.
Weapon loadout should be either Dual Beam Banks and Turrets (maximum Fore DPS) or Beam Arrays (maximum Broadside DPS). You'll also want at least one torpedo launcher (Quantum) if you're using Torpedo Spread. Ideally your maximum damage potential will be two Fore Photon Launchers and two Purple Projectile weapon DOFFs, combined with two Fore Dual Beam banks and a bunch of Aft Turrets... but that loadout will require you to keep your ship pointed at the enemy at all times, which can be tricky if you're used to flying the far more manuverable Escorts.
Weapon Type should be Disruptors or Antiprotons. Usually disruptors for preference, as the resistance debuff increases the damage output of your entire team, not just you (this is also why Attack Pattern Beta is such a good DPS tool on STFs)
Equipment loadout should be a good Shield (typically MACO) and either two or three pieces of the Borg set (usually Console and Engine, Deflector can be MACO). You can swap MACO out for Omega if you prefer Tetryon Glider over the +5% power recharge bonus... but you'll be considerably squishier against Borg Heavy Plasma Torpedos.
You're basically going to be the ship that Tanks the Cubes, and throws the Escorts a few buffs and heals when they pull too much aggro. You can be a good solid Kang Defender, though you'll probably not be able to fulfil that role "solo" since you'll struggle to kill a wave of Raptors by yourself before they start firing on the Kang. If you're opting for the [2x Photon Torpedo Launcher + Fore DBB/Aft Turret] setup, you'll also be very good at killing Unshielded Borg structures like Gateways and Transformers.
In terms of skillpoint allocation, the only real difference to a good Escort build would be that you should really take at least 6 points in "Starship Threat Control", in order to increase your threat rating and make enemies more likely to fire on you instead of the higher-DPS Escorts.
Hope that helps... :)
My experience and observations of forum posts and in-game play lead me to the following bits of advice:
* Assault Cruiser - Probably one of the most, if not the most, popular ships on STO, and for good reason. It is a very balanced ship that is superb at nothing but good at everything - and sufficiently good it can often level two of those categories at a specialist ship and break it. Unfortunately, while a good tank, it is viewed as lacking sufficient "assault" capabilities. Note that a lot of players who pick up c-store ships started with this one - and a lot of them gravitate BACK to this one! This should give you an idea of how effective it can be.
* Excelsior-R - A pretty good ship that is unfortunately a flying museum. A few (myself included, and I actually like commanding it!) can't get past the age of the ship. It is essentially a more nimble assault cruiser with more potential firepower at the expense of some endurance. It is debatable as to how much this actually matters when comparing the AC and the Excel-R in terms of performance. This ship does have one indisputable advantage over the AC, though - the transwarp drive. Listen to the REDALERT channel, stick a purple Astrometrics DOff in there (transwarp cooldown drops to 5 minutes or something) and you turn from Borg prey to Borg predator, in terms of Red Alerts.
* Star Cruiser - The classic "heal boat." While it can be a competent fighter, it will never manage to match the AC or Excel-R in terms of firepower. However, it is better at playing support than either of them, and also a bit better at tanking than the Assault Cruiser. This is a cruiser leaning towards science, if the Excel-R leans towards tac, and the AC is between them.
* Galaxy-R - Has a bad reputation that is at least somewhat unwarranted. Before the forums changed there was a long thread on this very ship and it seems that if one plays its advantages and is a little creative they can get a lot out of it. However, if you're new to cruisers I wouldn't go for this one. It shares a lot in common with the star cruiser, although the saucer separation means that, at least for the separation duration, it can mix it up with enemies a lot more directly.
* Galaxy-X Dreadnaught - This is an unusual ship. In the hands of an inexperienced player it's basically a much slower, very slightly tougher Assault Cruiser. In the hands of an experienced player it's a huge source of spike damage, but lacks the nimbleness of an escort - but this is limited due to the phaser lance cooldown. It supposedly requires a tac who really knows what they're doing to get the most out of it, and ultimately, there doesn't seem to be a lot an engineer can do to get around this particular limitation - to get the most out of the lance you need to dump all the buffs/debuffs you can at once and pull the trigger. It also has at least one major limitation - you MUST use phasers on it, otherwise you're either gimping your regular energy weapons or the lance, depending on what consoles you use. While it can equip dual and dual heavy cannons, these capabilities are rarely actually used - not only does the turn rate work against it, but the limited tactical BOff powers mean that your options for maximizing their output are limited and will also limit the lance's output as you won't be able to, say, use APB1 on a target. While this is a pretty popular ship, I would definitely not recommend starting with it, either.
* Odyssey - I know you said you weren't interested, but I'm throwing it in anyway. A cruiser for all seasons. Designed to be highly adaptable, and it delivers. With four different hulls, it can be kicked into just about any role that doesn't require it to move - unless you have the separation console in which case, it can move, too, at least for a while. The Odyssey suffers from some important flaws, though - some of the extras aren't as good as one would think, and it's the slowest, most bloated cruiser (although the high hull HP makes up for that a little). Using the FULL console set gives you some distinct advantages, but also has drawbacks (essentially giving you 7 consoles to work with instead of 10). Some argue that the ship can only be seen in its true glory if you buy all three of them. It is arguable that if you can run it in a way that doesn't require it to be agile, the free Ody essentially renders the star cruiser completely obsolete, and if you're counting BOffs, using the universal slots can give you the best Tac or Sci cruiser by a wide margin. It can also replicate the AC layout.
Personally if I were you I'd pick up an Assault Cruiser. Ultimately the AC is the standard by which all other cruisers are measured, IMO, and it will let you sample just about everything a cruiser can do - plus it's strong enough that it can go toe-to-toe with most specialists and still give as good as it gets. If you find yourself leaning towards a particular role, you can decide on a more specialized cruiser. If you know for a FACT that you're going to be focusing on tanking or healing and don't need to have too much damage output, though, you can probably do well enough in a star cruiser, then maybe "move up" to a Gal-R or an Ody later, but I think the AC would serve you well in that role too.
Note - Not a perfect player by any means here, your mileage may vary, etc. Hopefully other players will chime in as well.
As an Engineer you have quite a bit leeway with regards to your powers selection, and can be more generous to your group with regards to tossing out heals.
However, the flip-side is that as an Engineer in a Cruiser no one is more suited to soaking damage then you.
The Gal-R has two main drawbacks:
1) Terrible turn rate with no real appreciable bonus area to justify it.
2) Poorer than average BOFF layout, especially as an Engineer. You really do not need that many, low level, Engineering BOFF powers.
A good player could play this ship, tank the hell out of everything and no one would say a word - but if you want to nitpick pretty much every other Cruiser available is better designed than this one, which is very unfortunate.
Fortunately for you, that means the "free" Sovy is your choice of ship, and its a very good one.
It's primarily set up to tank, with an extra Tac option. Rather than think of the Tac option as some sudden, massive boost of DPS (which it isn't, in the grand scheme of things) - take a look at the whole ship and what different overall BOFF layouts you can do with it.
Now with that out of the way, you can pretty much take any cruiser onto Elite STFs and with quite a few BOFF layouts and make them work.
Since this is your first foray into Elites, and beyond that Tanking on Elite, I think we should err on the side of caution and go for a very tanky focused set up.
1) Tanking Elites in the Pug queue has got to be one of the more frustrating, thankless things you can do in this game. And you will blow up, because no one will support you.
2) Join one of the STF channels, EliteSTF is a join by invite (all you need to do is send @Tilarta and in-game e-mail and request access). You still won't get much support in tanking, but the teams and strategies will generally be better than the PUG queue, and that will make your life easier.
3) You're not going to be tanking on STFs anything without at least 6 ranks in Threat Control - I went for 9 on my Eng, but 6 is probably sufficient. There's no going back from this outside of a respec, and you really don't want to fly an Escort with 6 ranks in threat control. So be sure this is for you.
OK, some options:
ENG Cmdr: EPTW 1 > RSP 1 > EPTS 3 > Aux to SIF 3
ENG Lt Cmdr: EPTW 1 > RSP 1 > EPTS 3
TAC Lt: BFAW 1 > APB 1 or BFAW 2
TAC Ens: TT 1
SCI Lt: PH 1 > HE 2
Requires 2x Purple Tac CONN DOFFs for chaining 1 copy of TT 1 permanently.
*If you can't afford 2x Purples, slot 2 Blues and 1 Green until you can.
You have 2x RSP because you don't have TSS.
You don't have TSS because you want PH for tractor beams, and HE for a second hull heal (and clearing hazard debuffs).
This is a very selfish build that focuses only on you, it is a terrible idea for team PvP of any kind.
Please don't use it there
It is however very effective for Elite STFs.
ENG Cmdr: EPTW 1 > RSP 1 > EPTS 3 > Aux to SIF 3
ENG Lt Cmdr: EPTW 1 > ET 2 > EPTS 3
TAC Lt: BFAW 1 > APB 1 or BFAW 2
TAC Ens: TT 1
SCI Lt: HE 1 > TSS 2
Takes TSS 2 because you only have 1 copy of RSP to deal with shields going down.
This build does not use the Tac Team DOFFs, as you have a copy of ET you want to be able to use and chaining TT will interfere with it when the time comes.
This build is able to tank, and provide a bit more support than the above build.
Its susceptible to tractor beams because there is, for some reason, no Engineering ability that clears tractor beams.
I find that annoying, I also find being tractored even more annoying. Its sometimes fatal, but mostly its just really freaking annoying.
These are two builds that will work and do pretty much exactly what you want them to do.
There are a lot of variations possible, but these two are guaranteed to be rock solid and are what I would suggest to someone jumping into a cruiser on elites with threat control for the first time.
Without threat control, the above two builds are really bad ideas as no one will be shooting you, you will be doing low damage and will basically be nearly-dead weight.
You can avoid being dead weight if you don't have threat control by heavily focusing on healing others, I think that's a waste of time on Elite STFs since NPCs are dumb and they will not ignore you with 6 ranks of threat and it's generally more efficient, easier (and more fun, for me anyway) to just tank stuff and keep yourself alive.
Anywhere from 6 to 8 Beam Arrays. Use 6 as your minimum.
Anything else you slot is mostly for fun, but your bread and butter is minimum 6 Beam Arrays.
People will tell you Antiproton are the best, they are. Disruptors are excellent too (and probably add more overall damage by boosting your team mates than any contribution AP is going to give an engineer using beams).
That being said for a canon stickler, if you want to go Phasers then go for it.
The loss in DPS as an Engineer (or really any captain) is minimal for beams in a Cruiser.
Yes the phaser proc is pointless (against the borg), no it doesn't matter.
You could take any random PUG strapped head to crotch with AP weapons and a team of good players using all rainbow boats & skittle shooters will out do them every single time.
MACO shield (even MK X will do, but if you've been running Normal STFs you should have enough EDCs for a MK XI)
Stack of Shield Batts
Stack of Aux Batts
Subspace Field Modulator
Anything (Red Matter, Deployable Turrets, etc.)
ENG: 2x MK XI Rare Neutroniums, 1x Borg Assimilated Console, 1x Option (your choice here, RCS is kind of a waste, I would use either a third Neutronium or one of the Cstore consoles like Theta off the Exchange or the Phaser PDS if you are using Phasers, etc.).
SCI: 2x Field Generators (+18% Shield Capacity)
TAC: 3x Single Energy Damage Console (so if you're using Phasers use all Phaser Relays).
Someone will inevitably come and post a fine PvP build, which is fine if you want to PvP, and PvP on teams at that.
That's great, but in PvE a power like Extend Shields is pointless because the Borg aren't smart enough to focus fire your Escort friend out of existence they will, reliably, shoot you with your massive hull and massive threat control.
If you want to PvP, it's very easy to simply have some alternate BOFFs for PvP team healing and support set ups.
Useful STF cruiser abilities. These are abilities I've found useful, you may not be able to have them all at once, depending on your build and chosen ship.
BFAW - A must have. Your primary job is to get aggression off the Escorts. This is the go to ability.
Beam Overload - Also nice to have when you need to help finish those last couple percentage points.
Tactical Team - Self explanatory.
High Yield Torpedo - If you find yourself with a free slot, this makes for a nice little bonus move to help keep the attention of the bigger stuff on you.
Target Shield Systems - Payback is a beautiful thing with the Borg. Even against the big stuff, you can get lucky and strip their shields for the DPS guys.
Attack Patterns - Beta and Omega are the best to use, if you can get them. Delta's a good alternate.
Reverse Shield Polarity - Since you will find yourself being hit from all sides, this ability really comes into its own.
Engineering Team - Again, self explanatory, also helpful when your supporting someone else who has aggro.
Emergency Power to Structural Integrity - This one's key in two scenarios. 1) You're engineering team is on cooldown after a Tac Team use. 2) Paired with Engineering Team after you've been hammerfrakked by a crit and survived by the skin of your teeth.
Emergency Power to Weapons - Its hard to keep aggro when your beam arrays aren't firing...
Directed Energy Modulation - Getting through their shields as soon as possible. The faster percentage of hull drops, the better.
Tractor Beam Repulsors - Good emergency crowd control. Can be a lifesaver in Infected and Khitomer Accord when nanites and probes swarm. In KA, hit this ability and Evasive Maneuvers, and you can push a wave of probes from the threshold of the portal all the way back to the gate.
Polarize Hull - Solid tanking ability with the excellent benefit of Tractor Beam Immunity. This one can make the difference between a good tank and a pretty explosion.
If you can spare a slot from heals and such, extend shields can be really useful for Cure space elite. Or just for using on any DPS guy who managed to pull agro away from you.
A word on Aux2SIF though: It's not a heal. Well, ok, it is, but it's also a pretty big damage resistance buff. Aux2SIF is available a lot more regularly than Engineering Team, but the main benefit of it to a Tank/Support build is that the uptime (compared to the cooldown) of the Damage Resistance buff it grants is really, really good. If you use it on a ship that's taking damage (or better yet, a ship that is ABOUT to receive damage) then that ship will take LESS damage, meaning that any subsequent heals become more effective.
It appears no one has mentioned the Excelsor class Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit. Technically its a RA and not a VA ship but its still a Tier V.
Before I got my Oddy pack I ran my AHCR like crazy.
Its hull is the same as the Assault Cruiser and Star Cruisers. But its slightly more tactically focused with a Lt. Cmdr Tac Slot. On mine I ran that 3rd Tac Boff Skill for torpedo spread as my "Plow the Road" skill (wipe out all the mines, drones, Borg Torps of Doom). You can also use that 3rd tac slot for Pattern Delta and fire it off as a buff to your allies (you can also have a tac team as a team buff for that BOFF as well).
I just started using Aux2SIF and I'm a believer, its a very versatile skill. I use it on my Sci and Eng toons (Nebula and Oddy respectively). It allows you to be a healer and a tank with the same skill based on who your aiming it at. To tank pop an aux battery and/or EPSxfer and fire off Aux2SIF, Polarize or Hazard, and EmergtoShields, to Heal pop the battery and target the Aux2SIF, Eng Team, Hazard and a shield buff (say extend III) to your ally- you should be able to do both with the same boff build.
The Excelsior (or 'The Lady' as I call her) is a sort of Tanking, Healing, Tactical Cruiser. Cruisers are meant to be flexible and besides the Oddy the Excelsior is about as flexible as they get.
It's not really one cruisers job to sit there and heal kang, in fact that's a humongous waste of time.
The tanking cruiser should be bulldozing into cubes, neghvar and raptors so the rest of the team can just hammer away at them.
I also think it's not commonly known just how strong this power is while running high aux through power management or even just popping a cheap battery.
It's exceedingly rare you will face 5 unshielded targets, making one of the main benefits of TS3 moot.
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