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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 17
06-09-2011, 12:17 PM
Extend shields is a very powerful ability with a good team, but it has several limitations to offset that power. The ES3 range is 7.5km compared to Aux2SIF3's 10km (keep in mind an escorts best defense is often to get out of range of enemies and consequently you). The two most maneuverable cruisers on the Fed side are the Excelsior and the Gal-R (while separated) which means they are best suited to maneuvering to help allies stay in range. The Excel has more limited engineering slots, so it would benefit more from the versatility (heal self or other) of Aux2SIF3, the Gal-R has the extra ensign engineer slot it could use to field an epta1 that would boost sci abilities (heals) and Aux2SIF3 which leads into my next point.

As I said, Aux2SIF3 gains effectiveness from auxiliary power while Extend3 gains effectiveness with higher shield power. Here Aux2SIF3 works with your science power heals like HE and TSS because boosting auxiliary boosts them all while ES works against them by needing power diverted to the shield system to boost a single ability. Boosting shield power also helps you tank, by adding passive shield resistance and regeneration, but if you're using extend it means that you aren't the one taking damage so you're diverting power from weapons or auxiliary either weakening your offense or science abilities. You could offset this with epts, but again boosting your own shields while you're not the target means that you're wasting that power. Now there are tactics that involve cruisers running with minimal weapon power and higher shield/aux just floating around healing and mine sweeping. I think, if you can afford it, the greater range, the ability to heal yourself and others and the synergy with science powers inherent in boosting auxiliary power settings let's Aux2SIF3 eek out ahead of ES3. Though honestly, I see no reason not to just have one officer with Aux2SIF3 and one with ES3 and swap them back and forth depending on what your team needs.