Much stronger hull
which regenerates like a mother
fires more weapons without eatting up too much reserves
better engineer abilities which are mostly self buffs
and the only real ship that can use boarding parties without autogimping.
better science abilities which are mostly debuffs or Crowd Control
turns a bit better
shields are stronger (not by much)
Oh yes, Science is soooo much better.
People need to stop whining about cruisers, they are awesome. The only people who don't know that are the ones who don't yet understand how to play them.
I would say that there is a serious difference between science ships and cruisers and that it starts to show pretty quickly.
- Many special powers, often ones with very long cooldowns (think 3-5 mins)
- You tank with your shields. If your shields are gone you are toast very quickly
- Depending on how you create your BO's you're going to be either a more tank-like setup or a more utility-like setup. If you go for the tanking setup you will do that quite well
- Many engineering (mostly heals and buffs) powers with short cooldowns (think 30-60 seconds)
- You have to tank with both your shields and your hull.
- You are going to be either a support ship or a tank most likely
The differences are mostly in the consoles (you can set up your cruiser to have something like 40 % passive resist all at higher levels), and your bridge officer powers.
I think the Cruiser can actually tank much more effectively than the science ship, but you have to learn to use your cooldowns in a completely different way and spec accordingly. An example is Emergency Power to the shields. You are likely to have two copies of this power on your cruiser at later stages, and that is enough to keep the buff part of this power up almost permanently. You also can afford to have one area of your shields down and refuse to rebalance them with your cruiser, instead chaining resistance cooldowns and just taking the hull damage (which repairs pretty quickly).
It is for sure a different playstyle, and I think that the Cruiser can tank through things a science ship would not survive, or come even close to surviving. The question is ofcourse if the game difficulty is high enough at the moment to make it useful.
I chose a cruiser as my T2 ship. I did it for several reasons, but mostly the look and also, my second character will be using a science ship.
So far my experience with the cruiser has been good. I have a mark 2 phaser array and mark three quantum torpedoes in the front, a mark 3 phaser turret and mark 3 photon torpedoes in the back. When I make my initial run, I have three weapons hitting the target: front phaser and quantums plus the rear turret. The result is devastating to the first target. The turning is sluggish, but I usually rely on the aft torpedo launch for damage after that and then broadside the rest. As for shields, the madulate shields from the engineering background and the emergency power to shields from the engineer Boff, can usually get the shields back up. Sometimes I do have to divert power from weapons to shields as well. In missions that I would loose the cruiser in open beta after the difficulty was fixed a second time, I am now able to do without being destroyed at all. Namely the Gateway mission.
Did I mention another boff gives me emergency power to auxiliary.
All in all, I am fine with the performance of my cruiser, but will be upgrading some systems when I can, namely that front mark 2 phaser array.