I'm thinking about bringing my Tactical Officer out of retirement and I'm looking for some advice on which ship to go for. I know I want a Cruiser and I'm pretty sure I want a more tactically focused one (since I think it'll suit my playstyle better than the science focused Cruisers) but beyond that I'd like some advice. I'm not doing PvP so this si purely for PvE.
In terms of gear I'm currently leaning towards a Plasma Beam loadout with the Romulan Singularity Harness set to boost Plasma Damage (three beams and a torp fore and aft) and possibly with the Omega Adapted Borg set to provide a bit more damage and one of the torpedo launchers. I may also go for the Reman Prototype set to provide a buff to High Yield Plasma Torps but I'm not set on that.
In general for BO abilities I'm planing on having the following (with the exact ranks depending on the final ship choice): 2xEPtW, 2xEPtS, Engineering Team (with Duty Officers to get it to 15s recharge), Auxillary to SIF, and Eject Warp Plasma.
However this brings up the question of which ship to use. My shortlist is the Fleet Heavy Cruiser Retrofit, the Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit or the Assault Cruiser Refit (with an upgrade to the Fleet variant for the last two when my Fleet finally gets to that level).
For the Fleet Heavy Cruiser Retrofit I like the simple Engineering Officer layout with the Lt. Cmdr slot to allow for an extra high rank power but it does have worse Tactical abilities than the others.
The Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit has the advantage of the Lt. Cmdr Tac slot letting me pick up Fire at Will 3 or possibly AP:Omega but slightly worse Engineering abilities.
The Assault Cruiser Refit is probably the leading contender at the moment. I like the extra Tac ability and the Universal Lt slot means that I can pick up an extra Engineering ability allowing my to pick up either Aceton Field or Reverse Shield Polarity. As a nice bonus, I like the appearance more than the other two .
So, does anyone have any advices or experience to impart?
The Fleet Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit is a very good ship. I stopped using all my other cruisers since this ship is so much fun to fly. It's got great maneuverability, 4 tac consoles for more damage, Ltcmd tac bridge officer slot, plenty of engineering goodness to keep you healed, and transwarp to boot. The only other cruiser fedside that is worth anything is the Regent. It has a very nice tactical focused bridge officer layout, and the wide angle torpedo launcher is great for a broadside cruiser. When my fleet reaches tier 5 I will most likely move to the Fleet Assault Cruiser Retrofit. Bottom line I think you would be happy with either of these ships.
Excelsior is nice with the APO1 giving you a burst of maneuverability when you need it. Load it with either dual EPTS2 and dual EPTW1, or dual Aux2Bat plus singular EPTS1 and EPTW1. And you can get the Fleet version from a T3 fleet shipyard and roll around in a cruiser with 4 tac consoles and a better turn rate. And for the people discounting that 3rd eng ensign, I would point that in any fight with Tholians going for constant subsystem targeting these days, carrying an extra ET1 is very useful.
Alternately, I actually get a lot of bang out of the Mirror Universe Star Cruiser of all things. Yeah only 2 tac slots, but with an Aux2Bat setup and EPTS3 and TT1 always on, survival can be pretty much a given in PVE and most of my focus can be on killing stuff or healing others instead of worrying about myself. Plus it since its Mirror it still looks like a Soverign and not the godawful standard Star Cruiser.
The Dreadnought........the Dreadnought is COOL, but at the end of the day its a Soverign with even worse speed and a pair of toys you'll rarely get to use. Doesn't mean it doesn't absolute rock when you get a decloak full-tac-buff Lance O Doom, or if you want to use it basically as a giant sniper rifle against key targets, but for efficiency and effectiveness its not optimum.