I'd like some input about my intended setup for a Star Cruiser and whether there's something I'm doing horribly wrong or that could use improvement. The current setup is pretty much a mess, as I'm only starting to conciously select equipment to match my playstyle (strictly speaking I'm still doing fine the way it is, but I'd like to improve whatever I can). So I won't bother posting something that isn't ideal anyway, but what I'm planning to put in on a short- to mid-term basis.
Weapons: I was planning to go with Tetryon Beam Arrays (to shoot down shields faster) and two Torp-Launchers (one fore, one aft). Not sure which Torps I'm gonna use; I thought about Transphasic for shield penetration, but I recently got a Photon with a WICKED DPS-rating (around 400). And when you spend most time with your flank turned to the enemy, torpedos don't make that much of a difference anyway.
Shields: I've gone with a Covariant Array (high capacity, low recharge) because of a guide I've read that basically stated that for a cruiser high capacity was more important than recharge. Had pretty good results with that so far, but I'll gladly let myself be corrected on this.
Deflector: Picked for a bonus to Science Team, since this is one of only two science abilities I use at all (the other being Hazard Emitters) and one of my most frequently used abilities overall.
Impulse Engines: Nothing special here. I'm favoring Combat Impulse Engines with a bonus to turn rate, to counteract the sluggish natural turn rate of cruisers.
Consoles: I'm really unsure what to use here. I'll say what I *think* might work well for me, but nothing's really set in stone yet.
Tactical: Two consoles with either a plus to Tetryon damage or Energy damage as a whole.
Engineering: One or two Hull Platings (with replacements to swap out, so I'm covered against any weapon type I encounter). Apart from that... Not sure at all. I was thinking of EPS-Flow-Regulators to keep my Weapons Energy high.
Science: Really no idea at all.
BOff skills (current setup):
Tactical: Beam Overload I, Attack Pattern Beta I
Engineering (1): Emergency To Shields I, Emergency To Weapons II, ..., Aceton Beam
Engineering (2): Engineering Team I, Auxiliary To Structural I, Auxiliary To Structural II
Science (1): Hazard Emitters I, Science Team II
Science (2): Science Team I
My playstyle atm is that I prioritize survival over damage or aggro, so I try to keep shields up and my hull strong and don't try anything special to keep ships targeting me and just keep all damage skills on cooldown as good as I can.
Anyone got any advice or tips they'd like to offer?
For engineering consoles I'd go for the +35% shield capacity console, some armour and anything else you want to throw in.
Science consoles: Shield emitters and the special universal Borg console from the mission Assimilated.
For BOFF slots I'd go
Tactical: As is
Engineering: Engineering Team 1, Aux to SIF, Emergency to Shields 3, Aceton or Warp Plasma
Engineering: Engineering Team 1, Aux to SIF, Emergency to Shields 3
Science: Science Team 1, Hazard Emitters 2
Science: Transfer Shield Strength
If you want to go Tetryons, reruns the Cardassian front mission: New Link a few... It rewards an enhanced Tetryon weapon each time. 10% Proc as opposed to 2.5%
Thanks for the advice.
I'll see what I can get off the exchange immediately and upgrade with STF gear and the Tetryon Array from the Cardi-mission (had already set my eyes on it anyway, but I overlooked the 10% proc entirely... go figure).
I'd suggest if you have the bridge officers to do it, having certain bridge officers with different arrangements for different purposes. For instance, you might find you would like to get a bridge officer with Tactical team 1 and Beam overload II for a more defensive setup. Some enemies (like the borg) can chew straight through your shield to the hull really fast, and nothing beats tactical team for getting your shields back up fast to a torn up facing, apart from maybe reverse shield polarity which might very well be a good option in your case, since on a star cruiser there are a lot of slots for that. Reverse Shield Polarity also has the added benefit of powering up all shield facings.
Also, I would suggest you have a couple of different layouts for Engineering bridge officers as well. Its your primary power and you want to be able to change strategies. While its a science ability, you might consider using transfer shield strength as well, since all of the 'Team' skills are on the same cooldown. I would keep at least one science team available for removing science type debuffs though. If you use a lot of Auxiilary to Structural Integrities though, instead of Engineering Team you might look at it another way. The key here is you don't want to have too many team abilities, because if you have too many you can't even chain them all.
For more damage, take a look at Directed Energy Modulation & Eject Warp Plasma. Eject Warp Plasma is a good way to draw aggro and can do some solid damage if statted proparly. I've personally found Boarding Party not as good as I'd like. The debuff is nice but I've found you have to get right in the face of an enemy to make it work, and if they happen to fire their torp spread on you at the same time, it doesn't work. Thusfar Boarding Party is too situational to be of an use to me, though others might have different opinions.
Aceton is an ability I want to like but I'm never too excited about it. Unfortunately I find the high end Engineering abilities are just not that exciting, but they do have uses. The Aceton Field reduces the enemies damage output and does a meager bit of damage. Good vs. Elite Tactical Cubes and things such as that. For Extra Tankiness though you might consider having a build that has Extend Shields on your commander slot, to help heal teammates. This will help keep your damage dealer alive either in PvE or PvP and is well worth considering as well. Obviously this is a team-oriented power so again it depends a lot on how many boffs you have.
Your choice of being able to chain Hazard Emitters is a great one. You can't go wrong with that ability as it removes the shield stripping borg debuff, while at the same time saving your hull and removing plasma fires. Its a great ability to have, particularly on a tanking ship or healer.
I didn't want to give you a direct build, but rather I wanted to give you some ideas about the different powers and playstyles you can use. I definitely agree with the previous poster that you want to get the Field Generator (+35% to Shield Capacity). I'm not sure why anyone wouldn't get that one, if they know about it, even birds of prey.
With regard to weapon choices, they all do damage. One thing you might consider, is that on the Borg STF's you will be better off with Disruptors, Antiprotons, and Plasma beams in general. Most people will wonder why I suggest Plasma beams but it has to do with tanking, if that is your aim.
Disruptors work well because many of the targets during the STF's do not have any shields, but you can still debuff their resistance, making everyone on the teams damage amounts go up, and faster kills overall. Fire at will can help to apply this proc to as many targets as possible (ie: the generators).
Antiprotons work well by increasing your overall critical damage strikes, although i would suggest you choose this on a ship that can make better use of it like a Escort, so in your case I wouldn't use this one.
Plasma Beams apply a damage over time hull burn, which does a minor bit of damage on the target, but also draws attention to you over your team mates, particularly if you got the Aggro space skill (Name eludes me, my apologies but I'm still not accustomed to all the new skill names). Again Fire at will is your friend here, because you want to hit as many targets as possible with a hull burn so your team mates don't take as much damage with this build.
Tetryons are fine, but you'll find they only really work vs. Spheres, Cubes, etc, which makes up about half of the targets in the STF's. Beyond that they're fine, and should work well for you in regular gameplay.
Just to mention them, Phasers & Polarons do have a place in things, though their main use would be to crash or damage subsystems. Phasers work best when you have large numbers of players using them in concert, and Polarons probably work better if you have other draining powers such as Energy Siphon, Tyken's rift, etc. While you could pick these, I wouldn't recommend it as your build is based more upon tanking and healing and there are better ships for that purpose.
The key with consoles is, make sure to put in consoles and deflectors that help the skills you use. In the case of Sets, that sometimes skews your plans, so you might need to compare and contrast the differences between the sets and standard equipment. The borg console however is always worth having, and you can get that by doing the assimilated mission.
Concerning the +35% shield consoles. I see now, why I missed them until now. I can't craft them yet (haven't really paid attention to the crafting system, as I think it's got some serious usability issues) and in the exchange they cost a fortune (relatively speaking). I'll craft myself some once I got the appropriate R&D-skill. Thanks for pointing them out, both of you.
Did a few STFs yesterday and really noticed the difference in the build. Borg have a hard time even scratching my hull now.