I have to be able to edit my posts. So this thread is copy pasta of my old one. This will likely be a gradual process of copy pasta ing. Stupid perfect world for botching the migration... Of course with the new fleet ships, and new other ideas for old ships, I'll be adding new content as well.
"I should be facerolling Escorts and bops with my Ship of the line! This isn't canon!" This is a common variation on frustrated pvpers. Often times they will post what appears to be an indepth analyisis even as to "just what makes Escorts and bops OP" When frankly, they couldn't be more wrong. The first question to ask, is a Cruiser a DPS Ship? The answer is as follows. While there are a couple of exceptions to the rule, by and large...
Nope unless you are following a fairly narrow Tac Cruiser build your job isn't dps (and then with a tac cruiser the best ones in my opinion, treat damage at best as an equal partner to the ships native role fedside). Your role is support, first and foremost as a cruiser. You have to keep your team mates alive through the alpha strikes coming in from the klingon attacks / enemy escorts (FvF if the latter). Once you keep your team mate alive (most likely an Escort since those are almost always priority one in pvp to kill, they are the squishiest fedside. Though, I often target Gal X's first, as nothing is so clearly a Noob Pilot as someone in any Galaxy Class Variant) then your enemy you'll find has alot less damage for around thirty seconds or so afterwards, in which case it's a slow build up back up, which is far more managable with healing.
Throughout this thread I will post various builds (others are welcome to post builds as well) that I recommend for use in pvp. NOTE if it works in pvp it will ROFLSTOMP any and all pve.
Cruisers are actually the hardest ships to kill when built properly, due to having very high native damage reduction, shield strength and hull points. Especially engineering cruisers, as they have access to a host of self heal capability that other classes do not have. When the pilot of a cruiser doesn't suck, he doesn't become a high priority/easy quick kill. Use powers like Emergency Power to Shields 2, and 1, Engineering team 2 and 3, Aux to structural integrity field 3, Extend Shields 2, Reverse Shield Polarity1, and if you are a Tac, Emergency Power to Weapons1, or if you are an engineer or sci captain, Emergency Power to Aux1. For tactical slots, run Tactical Team1, and either Attack Pattern Delta1, or Tactical team 1, and Beam Overload2. (if you are a tac) Science powers, Hazard Emitters1/Polarize Hull1, and Transfer Shield strength2, or two transfer shield strengths. (1 and 2)
If you have an extra ensign slot, you might as well throw target engines there to assist in controlling enemy movement.
If you have the following powers on your ship remove them immediately because they are utterly worthless. Emergency Power to Weapons 2 and up. Emergency to Aux 2 and up, Emergency to Engines 2 and up. Aux to Battery 1 and up. Boarding Party 1 and up, Aceton Field 1 and up. Aux to Inertial Dampeners 2 (1 is just as good as 2 is), Jam Sensors, Scramble Sensors (not really worthless but it's not a cruiser power by any means), Tachyon Beam1 or 2, (1 is terrible and you do not have the turn rate to make 2 work) Energy Siphon1, Torpedo High Yield 1 or 2 *again you don't really have the turn rate for this one, and only tacs really get the miles out of this use Torp Spread instead great for Escorts though* Beam Overload1 (only good for killing shuttles... BO2 is much better)
Power levels should be weapons /25 Shields /75, Engines /25 Aux /75 for healing configuration, and if you are running emergency to weapons instead of aux, weapons /75 shields /75 engines /25 aux /25
That's just a sample fairly standard healcruiser build it works great with the Assault Cruiser, and the gal X (as much as anything can work with that ugly, and horrible ship seriously gtfo out of it ASAP the Galaxy X is a terrible ship. It's not as bad as it used to be but it's still the worst cruiser in the game. It's a Vanity Item at best and a Bullseye creator at worst as no other ship in the game clearly marks you as a Noob as a Gal X.. cause everyone that has experience avoids it, and the Gal Retrofit like the black plague) star cruisers I'll cover later. There's a few other more advanced build options you can run, but this is a good one to learn on as it has plenty of healing for team mates, (and heal your team mates! if you save them all for yourself you are only getting your allies killed!) The Excelsior is a damage ship, but is best employed by Tactical and Science captains. Engineers need not apply unless you enjoy wasting your time. (as Engineer captains do not do DPS, nor do they do Debuffing like science captains do)
Emergency powers are the lifeblood of a good fedcruiser, as they enable you to greatly boost your power level for whatever emergency to X you are running at the time. Emergency Power to Shields can be chained one after another (which is why so many ships seem ''invincible'' to you) Tactical team makes all but the most fiercesome anti proton beam overload 3 crit a complete joke, even if your emergency power to shields isn't up at the time. Reverse shield polarity is used as an oh crap button when you have already given away your transfer shield strengths to a team mate and you are almost out of shields. (it's especially useful just after you get sub nucleaonic beamed, and you pop a shield battery with it. Then you can usually save Rotate Shield freq if you are an engineer for the second sub nuc if it's coming and chances are someone's given you a sci team to clear the debuff, and an emergency power is probably also ready at that point) you should always always always if possible have an emergency power to shields up.
And yes you can run two emergency powers at the same time if they are for different subsystems.
When running at the /75 powers I mentioned emergency power 2, is enough to put your shields at full strength, which boosts your shield regen, and it's native damage reduction, it also has the pleasant side effect of almost maxing out your extend shields' damage reduction bonus. While emergency 1 almost kicks everything to capacity as well.
Devices I recommend keeping the following handy. Shield Batteries, (or rechargeable shield battery if you can get one) Weapon Battery, Subspace field modulator, and Aux Battery. Shield Batteries are for when you have been Sub Nucleaonic beamed. This gets your shield power right back up to 125 and gives a small shield heal in the process. For Engies this makes them even more frustrating to kill since often you can then save rotate shield frequency for either being nucced again, or just for use as your shield strength falls to roughly half. For Tacs and Sci it's a straight up life saver. Weapon batteries are to be used when a target is near death (if you aren't using emergency power to weapons1 or if it's cooldown is active), so you can cram that last little bit of DPS into the target to hopefully down it before they can get heals.
Subspace field modulators are good for when you are being focus fired and a shield is near critical, it increases both your damage resistance and your Defense Score, Aux Batteries are for when you are running weapon power bias (ie thats one of your /75s) or for when your EPTA (emergency power to aux1) is off, and you need that -extra- bit of healing to save someone's life.
Don't forget to put Distribute Shield power somewhere you can easily keep hitting it, when the enemy starts attacking you. Most people keybind it to the space bar, but honestly I shield tank worse then I run it there, because it throws off the rhythm of the shield distribution when damage comes in. Sure it's more micro intensive than what most people do, but honestly it pays dividends especially when tac team is on cool down. (and now you all know my secret for shield tanking... I'm doomed)
Also, pay attention to your positioning relative to the other players on your team. Cruisers should either be in the middle where they can put their extend shields outwards, or circling slowly behind the Escorts on the outside edge of combat, and adjust your throttle as you go along. Also, I recommend you move throttle control to the mouse scroll wheel. That lets you pull off fancy moves, like the reverse flat spin which is very difficult if not impossible with the default bind of it being on your keyboard, this also frees up your fingers so they can more easily hit the number rows and keep fighting, or frees up the default throttle keys for staple abilities so you do not have to hunt the keyboard and never leave WASD.
For example when I'm at a buddies place, and I need my sto fix and I forget to take my Razer Naga with me (which really is worth the investment if you plan on playing alot of mmos and rts games) I bind whatever my emergency power to shields is, (third ability, on the top row usually) to Q, and the second emergency power to shields to E.
Speaking of, if you really want to get serious in pvp without springing for a razer naga you might want to consider a keyboard layout different from the standard WASD+ Numbers and start binding various abilities to other keys, like the aformentioned E and Q. Some other good non number keys to bind powers to are also C, X, Z, V and B, just to cite some examples. This means you never leave total control over your ship, while you are hitting powers. Which is one of the reasons the Razer Naga is just so good. All the numbers are on the side of the mouse leaving your other hand free for actually moving about, hitting push to talk keys, firing weapons etc.
To change your control scheme press Escape, hit options, and click on the tab for keybinds. Begin arranging as desired.
I also recommend heavily regardless of what you do for ability activation running the 3 row power tray instead of the default one with the silly pictures of your bridge crew. The default tray is completely useless in pvp, wastes time in searching for abilities, and even worse clutters up your screen. Also, practice using the numbers instead of mouse clicking abilities. It saves your mouse for healing allies then or clicking through enemy targets.
The title explains what this post is about.
The first step into understanding the doff system (which is usually fairly straight up and down easy) is understanding what powers you want to accent the most.
Lets start with the healing Rig.
There is a doff that increases all of your power levels 20 percent of the time (on the green level) by 15 each time you use Emergency power to X. This one is one of my favorites for several reasons, not least among them is hey whatever subsystem you neglect just got a 15 power boost. That's always nice. It doesn't seem like much, but every little bit helps (as if you have your power settings correct on a cruiser EPTS1 suddenly hits max shield power when this procs for example. And procced shield power is always handy)
this doff is called the Warp Core Engineer.
There's a maintenance engineer that also reduces the cool downs of all Eng Team, for anything using ET3 this is mandatory. Development Lab Scientist works the Sci Team down, and I think the Con Officer for Tac team (not that you should really run this one since you're more focused on healing in -any- cruiser). This is a pretty handy one to have on a cruiser as well, as it can free up bridge officer slots for other stuff like say Aux To Inertial Dampeners so you can keep your Extend Shields going when the photonic shockwaves come to play.
The tactical DOFFs which give you a chance to shield heal every time you use Brace For Impact are also incredibly useful (as often you are using that when your shields are near dead anyway) I recommend 2 of those on almost any ship. This doff is called the Shield Distribution Officer.
Obviously there's only five doff slots you can work with. So your best bet is to play with them all till you find the balance you like. Those are my immediate favorites for Cruisers however. (and the Brace for impact, and EPTX doffs are my faves for all ships in general yeah it ends up eating 3 to 4 of them really you don't need more than 2 of the BFI doffs unless you are rolling Escort and with a cruiser 1 is often adequate)
Playing with the just these doffs can help your cruiser better fit it's chosen role particularly the damage and heal roles. Example you might want more Maintence Team helpers on a DPS cruiser so you can cram more dps oriented, or powers that in the long run will help your dps (such as aux 2 damp) . So you run more there, than you would in a pure healer.
Control DPS/Heal cruisers things get interesting with DOFFs, cause you get some really neat ones like the one that boosts your chance to immobilize a target every time you use Warp Plasma. Having the Maint engineer, or 2 that reduce Team CDs really helps this loadout (if they are green or better. Ideally you go with 2 blue ones , then get a BFI shield healing doff, and 2 of the warp plas ones)
with a control ship the reduced evasive cooldown doff is even worth looking at as it gives you potentially better chances to employ warp plasma, and still give you some defensive capability. (I wouldn't take more than 2 though and only if they are blue level personally)
Or you can choose to stick with the EPTX Doff that boosts power levels, mix in the warp plas, and a couple BFI Doffs, with the deflector cd reduction doffs..
I wish I could be more specific with DOFFs but they really are an experiment till you find your balance thing. These are the ones I solidly recommend for cruisers though.
EDITORs NOTE: I will be updating this to reflect the most recent doff wave.
Set Items By now you are probably wondering "mav... or anyone what set do I get? There's so many out there!"
The Answer? Is a little complicated and easy at the same time. It depends on what you are after.
I really really recommend going with either 3 piece borg and Maco shield fedside (pretty standard setup gives you great longevity)
Or consider 2 piece Omega and 2 pieces Borg.
Unfortunately this isn't even a choice that's as much tied to your own build as what your team mates are packing as to what really works best for you and your group of friends. (and trust me you really want to start pvping with friends... or make some friends while pvping. There's pugging and winning.. then there's being part of a team, and -knowing- your team mates. Obvious tactical benefits aside, mmos are ultimately a social experience and there's no better one out there imo than sto pvp with friends)
For example, if your team is already loaded for bear with control spam (such as CPB, Shockwave, Gravity well PANDAS I AM LOOKING AT YOU ) 3 Piece borg and Maco might be your best bet as to minimize the "Oh **** I need a heal!" moments. Your team is already overkilling crowd control anyway and when your targets don't have any shields as it is... one more Tet glider won't make much of a difference.
However if your team is lacking in crowd control (like say 2 Escorts 2 Sci or god help you 3 Escorts a Sci and you) a 2 piece borg 2 piece Omega might be your best bet. You need all the cc you can cram in. The regenerative shields of say Borg or Omega (if you go borg shields, go Borg Shield, Borg Console, Omega Deflector and Engine. If you go Omega shield, go Omega Engine with it and Borg Deflector and Console) are still fairly stout on a max or near max shield power cruiser and are honestly a little less vulnerable overall to Tetryon Gliders, Tetryon Procs, Tachyon beam3, and CPB drains as they spring back incredibly quickly. Sure you are a little more vulnerable to burst from an Escort but no setup is truly perfect shield wise.
"What do I run without these borg / stf sets though?" I really recommend the old school MK X purple shields like Resilient Cap3s, Covariant Cap3s, or Regenerative cap 3s, and purple X deflectors or blue XIs. Pre Purple Shields, I recommend MK XI or X Covariant Cap2s at least to get you by for shields.
Notice what I left off the table here? Aegis and Breen. That's cause both of them are Junk. Like not even a little junk they are total junk. Okay, I'll be fair the Aegis is an almost stop gap till you get your borg stuff its got a really nice Deflector that adds to shield power and has some decent skill bonuses and the engine isn't terrible. Breen stuff though... that's irredeemably bad. It's not even as good as "normal" gear in all honesty.
Do note that if you do run Aegis deflector I might shoot for the borg shield or Maco shield first in your stf gear. The Borg shield cause you'll get another +5 shield power (meaning now you have +10 over someone without that stuff, +14 shield power if you have the shield power console too and they don't have the shield power console) which allows you to put power into either your Weapons, Aux or Engines. Engines are a good idea if you are running DPS hybrid with your ship, as is it's a good option for Control ships. This will help mitigate the gear disadvantage you have till you can get your better equipment. While the maco will give you +2 to everything when you are being shot at. Giving you a still nifty bonus but great resistance to damage. I'll leave the visual of what your power levels will look like if your EPTX bonus power doff procs with all this going on for yourself. (+29/+26 to your shield power on the proc and static bonuses alone... throw on the EPTS boost now... Yeah. Crazy. Lots of room to play there)
Every cruiser that has even one eng team, ASIF or Hazard emitters Needs 2 SIF Generators for the builds I've discussed so far. They tremendously boost your healing capability. To not have them is almost criminal. RCS? Only put on a control focused AC and then I wouldn't run more than 2, at max.
Another very solid console layout is 2 SIF Generators, and 2 Armors. I prefer Tetraburnium coupled with Diburnium for my armors as this gives you ridiculous resists to all energy types, with abit more leaning on Phasers and disruptors.
Sci Consoles, Field Generator at least one of these is mandatory, Borg Console can fit in here as well. For builds where the DPS isn't as important, you can move the Borg out and put in either a Shield Emitters console, or another Field Generator. Oddy's for example I recommend 2 to 4 Field Generators, couple that with a regen shield and the oddy's OP shield modifier and you get some insane shield tanking, at very low effort on your behalf, which means more heals for everyone else.
Tactical Consoles, for Damage and Control, as many energy consoles as you can stuff in here. For healing, any cstore consoles, and the borg and maybe an energy console.