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Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,063
# 3
07-05-2012, 05:00 AM
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.

Last edited by red01999; 07-05-2012 at 05:05 AM.