When I first saw info about the Vesta, I knew when I came back to play (I'm a Lifer) that I'd be flying it. However, when I did finally return (a month or two ago), everything I read was all about tactical captains in escorts. So I made a tactical captain and leveled to cap again (flying Chimera), relearning a lot and getting a feel for the new additions since season 3.
What I found while leveling is that when I group, I like to check my teammates to see if they need assistance (hull/shield heal, or maybe it's just finishing off someone that is on their weak shield). So while I feel I can blow things up efficiently as a tactical escort captain, I wasn't truly enjoying it.
So I want to try a Vesta build (PvE only, I don't expect much, if any, PvP). I love the idea of having Aux at full for all the heals and science powers. Originally (in season 3, I flew a science shield stripper build with full tetryons, tachyon beams and charged particle bursts.
Trying to figure out my goal build, I came up with some options that I'd love some people's opinions (STO usually has a great, helpful community compared to many other games).
Items that I believe I've decided upon:
VESTA (Science version for the +15 aux)
Fore Weapons: 3 x Aux Phaser DHCs Aft Weapons: Kinetic Cutting Beam, 2 x Phaser Turrets
Engine: Borg Deflector: Borg Shield: MACO (Maybe Borg)
Devices: Red Matter Capacitor, Subspace Field Modulator, Situational
Possibly Weapons Battery (with exocomp DOff)
-- OR -- Scorpion Fighters (from the vault, not sure how they interact with Hangar pets)
Engineering Consoles: Borg, Tachyokinetic Converter Science Consoles: Zero-Point, Isometric Charge (?), 3 Vesta Consoles (willing to change these out after I experiment with the abilities) Tactical Consoles: 3 x Phaser Relay
DOff and Skill Points will be changed according to BOff skill choices.
I keep reading that shield stripping is weak, but the reasoning is either PvP based (power insulators) or comparing a BOff ability to a weapon. Considering I'd be using weapons WHILE using Tachyon Beam and CPB at max Aux (minus weapon power drain) that arguement is odd.
Now I do realize (although I do not have experience in E/STFs yet) that some Borg targets do not have a shields, but SOME do? I guess my question comes down to your thoughts on the optional BOff builds above as well as how much would I be hindering my team if i go into E/STFs with TB3/CPB3 vs GW3? Also, Canon: Rapid Fire? or Canon: Scatter Volley? or One of each?
Believe I'm leaning toward Offensive Shield Stripper with one of each Rapid Fire and Scatter Volley and DPS Hangar pets, but that depends on the need (and/or expectation) for GW3 from a science ship in E/STFs and other grouped events.
Your decided things look pretty much like my build, except that I use the Recon version for the extra tac console, only carry one Vesta console, and use CSV instead of CRF (I figure sci does a lot of AoE, so CSV makes sense). The rest I'm not so sure about though, mainly because shield stripping has been rendered so very weak.
Let me explain what I mean by weak: before S7 I ran CPB1 on my Fleet Recon Sci, and with around 90 Aux it could do some pretty significant stuff, often stripping half a facing off targets. For my BoP on KDF though I gave it up quickly, because I couldn't tell the difference between using it and not using it with the firepower of the DHCs. When S7 came out I transferred my Recon Sci build exactly over to the Vesta, but as I started using it I realized that CPB had been nerfed again. It is now weak to the point that I can scarcely see on the HUD that I've used it on most targets (battleships, cruisers, and ESTF spheres are the ones I know I've seen it on), even though I've upped my Aux from 90 to 124, so I stopped using it and replaced it with Energy Siphon. Tachyon Beam was always the weaker of the two abilities, so I have to assume it still is, making it now utterly insignificant.
I would definitely say that as a sci ship you ought to try to bring a GW to team events, because it really is the best power sci has left. A multi-target hold is very valuable in many of the STFs, frequently allowing you to save an optional or even a whole mission by delaying some critical targets for 20 precious seconds. Furthermore, drawing targets together benefits all AoE attacks, causes warp core breaches to damage other enemy ships, and makes your Isometric Charge more effective. That said, you can make do with GW1 if you want something else instead of GW3, and it definitely isn't worthwhile to bring 2 copies since the duplicate cooldown is so high. Some other abilities to consider would be Energy Siphon (a nice buff to you and an ok debuff to your enemies, that can be maintained almost constantly) and Tyken's Rift (a fairly weak debuff, but it will lock down any enemy destructible projectiles for the duration, which is useful). A month ago I would have said PSW, and before S7 I loved it, but it's really badly broken now (it's not even being affected by Aux power level now, and the stun hasn't worked properly since S7 came out). That's basically all the offensive sci abilities that are worth the slot for PvE. Well, there is also TBR, but that's so dangerous an ability that I don't trust myself to use it properly, so I never recommend it to anyone else. Basically, it can do any one of 4 things, depending on the circumstances: boost your damage output massively, save a mission and/or optional, lose a mission and/or optional, or get your whole team killed.
the problem is, that shield strippers are pretty useless in STFs. most of the valuable targets dont have shields, or they have so much shields that it wont make any difference whether you are a shield stripper or not, because those enemies would be attacked by multiple players at the same time.
this might not apply in HSE and NWS, but in the rest of the PVEs, this can be a general statement (tho I am not saying it is not viable, it is just not the most useful thing ever)
the scorpions as devices are not great as they are not easy to get (I mean it takes way too long ) and you cant control them.
you should have GW3 if possible, and instead of TBR (as stated above, it is not that great, and more circumstantial than GW), just get another GW. yeah the loading time is still a lot, but it is better, and it is nice to spam it around.
if you have two GWs, you are set for CC, so CSV is better than CRF, even if DPS wise the latter might give better numbers (tho CSV would give more defense against high yield torps, if your GW or pets would not catch them)
I suggest you try running with disruptors full weapon power, and the rest of the power should go to aux. TSS and HE (you might want two of these too, since they are the best heals in the game) should keep you alive for long (and if all else fails RSP)