Engineering - Combat Supply
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Join Date: Dec 2007
04-16-2010, 09:07 PM
Ran an experiment on this skill over on Tribble. I bought Combat Supply I from the vendor for one of my Engineer BOffs, trained it up to 9 ... and then went cruising the Delta Volantis Nebula for a ground map where I could have my BOffs on an away team.
I was rather surprised by the behavior(s) this skill exhibited when on a BOff.
The first thing is that just like with Medical Generators, your BOff will want to use this skill every time it has completed cooldown, whether you're in combat or not. All things considered ... this is something I really can't object to all that much. It basically means that in the hands of a BOff, this skill is on autofire.
The second thing that I noticed is that the Buff Icon telling you who has received the benefit of using this skill ... showed up on EVERYONE. The icon for Combat Supply showed up on the casting BOff, it showed up on me, it showed up on the entire away team (who was just standing around while I watched this happen, just to test the behavior). So pretty clearly, this skill behaves like an AoE or a PBAoE of some sort. Tribble went down for maintenance before I could investigate this point further.
The PROBLEM though is that because the skill adds power cells/hyposprays/shield charges to your Abilities list and drops the hotkeys for them into your tray(s) ... ONLY PLAYERS can make use of the buffs this skill allows. There is no "item" which gets equipped into the Devices slots on your character, nor on your BOffs. This means that BOffs can't make use of the temporary items that this skill produces.
Worse yet, the buff options themselves don't "stick around" all that long if you don't use them. For a BOff, the recharge on Combat Supply I was 30 seconds. The individual items produced offered an effect that was hard to verify in terms of duration and would put ALL power cells, hypos and shield charges into global cooldown for 15 seconds or so. The "temp" abilities themselves only lasted about 20 seconds(?) or so, which meant that if you were very quick you could use 2 of the 3 items produced by Combat Supply before they expired.
One very nice thing was that at Combat Supply I rank 9 ... my Engineer was consistently granting me a small power cell, a small hypo and a small shield charge ... EVERY TIME. I went through several cycles (about 5 minutes worth) and every single time I got "one of each" of the temp powers. Due to the "use or lose" expiration date on them, combined with the global cooldown using one of them incurred (even on the non-temporary versions), there was no way I'd be able to use all 3 buffs from a single 30 second cycle of Combat Supply ... but if I was quick I could use 2 out of 3 ... and if I was slow, I still had my pick of 1 out of 3 ... every 30 seconds.
Combat Supply I grants the Small buffs of +33%.
Combat Supply II grants the Medium buffs of +66%, and is only obtainable from BOff Rewards.
Combat Supply III grants the Large buffs of +100%, and requires the Field Logistics engineering ground skill (player Tier 5) be raised to 9 in order to train your Engineer BOff in this skill, which is EXPENSIVE!
If you get this skill for a BOff, there's no point in doubling up on it ... due to the global cooldown(s) it incurs against the buffs it produces. Furthermore, the buff batteries this skill produces are self-only ... you can't "hand off" the power cell to one of your BOffs, and you can't select a BOff to cast the temporary powers onto. In solo play, this effectively becomes a Captain Only buffing power ... but in Team Play could become far more useful, since it buffs an entire group (of players, effectively). In Fleet Actions though, you'd need to have Combat Supply on your own personal Kit, rather than on an engineering BOff.
Upon reflection, this skill is both less ... and more ... than what I'd been expecting, when trained on a BOff.