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Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,015
Have you talked to your kids about Auxiliary to Battery and Technician Duty Officers? Because if you haven't, you can bet their friends in OPVP have.

If you hear your kids saying things like "I'm running GCDs with A2B," and "Can't, I have to doff B'Tran," then it's time to have a talk with them about the lifestyle they're choosing.

First, there's a lot of misinformation out there. Things like:

"A2B is God-mode."
"Tech doffs make every ship better."
"Nature never intended cooldowns to be reduced."
"Every time you activate A2B a kitten is put in a blender."
"A2B is for Aux to Busey."

The fact is, the phenomenon of A2B Tech Doffs is poorly understood because after a tutorial on how to find the Z-Store and transfer Zen nothing is explained in STO, so most players are unwilling to spend millions on multiple very rare Doffs to test them out.

Today, we'll discuss the realities of A2B Tech doff builds and give a few examples of how they can be used. Hopefully this will clear up some of the misconceptions, perhaps save players some EC, and provide a place for people to talk about their A2B addiction in a safe environment. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the ways A2B can be used. Punch, cookies, and counseling services will be available afterwards for those who don't know how to doff clusters.

So let's start with the basics:

Auxiliary to Battery is an Engineering bridge officer ability available at the Lt. and LtC. level. Currently there is no Cmdr version.

In game information will tell you that it reduces Aux to 5 and boosts the other 3 subsystems. It has a cooldown of 40 seconds which is shared with Aux2Damp and Aux2Sif.

This doesn't really explain the feel of the ability. The timing is instantaneous upon activation. The W/S/E power levels are boosted immediately without regard to power transfer rate. **edit: for an attempted explanation of how the bonus is calculated, see post #47 in this thread** They stay that way for 10 seconds, then the power sloshes back to normal gradually starting in second 11 according to your power transfer rate. If you want to get your Aux back faster, skill it and slot EPS consoles. If you want the boost to linger a bit longer, leave off the consoles.

Some things will still function at 5 Aux, like a cloak, PH immunity, and HE cleanse. True, they will provide reduced benefit, but A2B leaves these ablities functional.

If you boost your Aux first it will provide greater returns to the other 3 subsystems. Let's say you use a consumable Aux Batt, then 5 seconds before it wears off you activate A2B. The 3 subsystems will stay at the boosted levels for the entire 10 seconds. However, when the consumable battery wears off it will be subtracted from the 5 Aux left in your tank, disabling Aux dependent things like those previously mentioned. This also applies to the expiration of bonuses like MACO shield power bonuses and the Plasmonic Leech. This also applies to the manual power level settings, so setting Aux to 100, triggering A2B, and switching to a weapons preset will result in Aux offline.

Assuming you could chain A2B indefinitely, it would be very difficult to use it to maintain 125 in 3 subsystems on its own. The instant activation grabs any Aux which is present, while power slosh back to the "natural" state is gradual. The result from activating another copy once the 10 seconds is up will be a tiny bit of W/S/E bonus as the Aux is set to 5, then the slosh would recommence and the final Aux level would be only slightly lower than normal. To use A2B for power level purposes, you would need to have a high power transfer rate and wait a few seconds until Aux had returned to useful levels, then activate the second copy of A2B.

"Spamming" 2 copies of A2B at first leads to an "on" cycle with a high bonus to W/S/E and an "off" cycle with mostly normal levels. Over time, because of the small amount of Aux grabbed every other cycle and the way it returns, the two cycles actually level out into more equal Aux levels. This can also be achieved by waiting until the Aux is about halfway recharged from the first cycle when you trigger the second. This would give you a smaller W/S/E bonus with better uptime.

This is how the power behaves in local space. In reality, other things are coming into play. As previously mentioned, temporary Aux bonuses will take the subsystem offline completely when they wear off, as will other sources of power drain.

Case Study:

General Chang has an Aux level of 32 after passives when the subsystem is set to 25. He had a +8 bonus to Aux from Plasmonic Leech before he activated A2B. He has been placated so he can no longer maintain firing, the bonus has been subtracted from the 5 Aux left by A2B and left the Aux subsystem completely offline. To get Aux back online he only needs to overcome the -3 difference which he can do simply by setting his Aux level higher. Had General Chang first put his Aux to 100 in order to maximize W/S/E this would not be possible. A consumable Aux battery or other source would be needed to bring it back online. General Chang has learned that starting with 100 Aux, activating A2B, then setting Weapons to 100 and Engines to 50 procs an immediate Aux offline, so he typically does not start with Aux set higher than 50.

Case Study:

Commander Porkins is in command while his captain is leading the away team to the planet. A Bird of Prey decloaks and begins firing at his ship. Luckily his ship is equipped with MACO shields and the conn officer is the subject of some fanfic so the ship is not destroyed. He triggers his heals and buffs and then A2B. His ship is still alive after the Bop's alpha and it's time for some payback. The Bop has a beta strike prepared and is unwilling to leave the wounded target. Porkins smirks as he triggers Anti-Matter Spread and continues to fire on the BoP. Sensing that the enemy is about to retreat he activates a tractor beam, but nothing happens. The power bonus from MACO dropped off when the BoP was unable to shoot him due to AMS, and with Aux offline the tractor beam is disabled. Porkins tries to divert power to make up for the slight deficiency but it is too late, the BoP has escaped.

Last edited by redricky; 06-05-2013 at 12:15 PM. Reason: see post #47