Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Combat style for escorts
02-23-2010, 01:17 AM
I was talking in zone chat a little while ago about some strategies for outfitting weapons onto my heavy escort. I hadn't paid much attention to turrets before, but just noticed that they can fire in any direction, so I asked if it was a valid strategy to put a beam, torpedo, and turret up front, and a beam and torpedo in the back, as this would give me equal firepower on either end of the ship.

I was told by several other players that no, I should not do that; rather, I should put two turrets in the back, two cannons and one torpedo up front, face the target head on, and thus be able to fire all weapons at the target at once.

At first, that sounded like a great idea.

Then I started thinking...That doesn't really seem to be how escorts are intended to fight. At least, not to me. The narrow 45-degree firing arc of cannons is very limiting. It seems that with such a narrow arc of effective fire, one would have to either try very hard to stay on one side of the target, or else fly past it then quickly turn around. I know escorts can turn quickly, but during this part, your firepower would be very limited.

Look at episodes of ST:DS9 with the Defiant. Did the Defiant sit still, pointing directly at its target, firing everything? Or fly toward it, firing everything, until it overshot, then doing a quick about-face? This isn't how I remember the Defiant in combat. I remember it using its small size and quick reflexes to advantage, moving quickly to make it a hard target to hit, and firing effectively at almost any aspect to its target. Now consider the fleet actions in which the Defiant or other similar small heavily-armed ships fought. Again, the small ships fought like I just described, while the larger ships, the cruisers, were more about "broadsiding" the target, presenting whatever aspect toward the target that provided the greatest firepower against it, and moving slowly, just enough to maintain that aspect.

Against a target that isn't going to move much and isn't going to fight back much, sure, two turrets in the back, two cannons and a torpedo in the front would be the greatest amount of firepower that an escort can muster. For more realistic combat, however, an escort should, in my opinion, be outfitted with weapons that give it the greatest firepower from almost any angle on the target, allowing the escort to keep moving at high speed, darting to and fro, buzzing around like an annoying mosquito.

Theoretically, the only way to provide equal firepower regardless of aspect to the target would be to use all turrets, but that would probably limit overall firepower too much to appeal to most players. A torpedo should be kept for when you need kinetic damage. I haven't figured out yet what would be a good combination, but I think any form of cannons would have to be out, since they are only effective within a narrow margin. I would think a beam, torpedo, and turret up front are a given, for this style of combat, and a beam in the back, then either a torpedo or turret. The turret would be better if you find you can orbit the target effectively, but the torpedo would be better if you find you have to do a lot of retreating.

Now I'm still fairly new to this game, this being my second week playing it. I'm sure I'm going to take a lot of flames for this idea, since several people were in favor of the two turrets in the back, two cannons and one torpedo in the front idea, and nobody disagreed with that or had any other ideas, when I asked about turret placement on Starbase 1 earlier. And I guess that so far it does seem fairly true that this game doesn't really require a lot of real thinking and strategy and tactics, so maybe this all doesn't matter, anyway. Well, I've got the two turrets in the back for now, I'm going to try it like suggested, and see what happens...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
02-23-2010, 10:28 AM
While wide angle weapons are useful for cruisers and science ships, which are not maneuverable enough to keep fast enemies in a certain firing arc, escorts have the speed and turning power to out keep anything but a fighter-type enemy in that 45' cannon arc almost all of the time. Narrow arc weapons do significantly more damage than wide arc weapons, so any ship with the ability to equip cannons and outmaneuver enemies (escorts) are that much better off using them.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
02-23-2010, 11:53 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJR512 View Post
Then I started thinking...That doesn't really seem to be how escorts are intended to fight. At least, not to me. The narrow 45-degree firing arc of cannons is very limiting. It seems that with such a narrow arc of effective fire, one would have to either try very hard to stay on one side of the target, or else fly past it then quickly turn around. I know escorts can turn quickly, but during this part, your firepower would be very limited.
Bring that much firepower to bear on a target, and you won't have to overfly it or turn around for a second attack. If you did it right, you don't have to turn at all. If you botched something, you'll have to turn to avoid the secondary explosion, but with the right equipment, traits and Boff abilities, more than one pass is a rarity in PvE. In PvP it's nigh impossible to pick any one shield facing and stay on it, unless your target for some strange reason doesn't see you pounding his port or starboard side, but in PvE, minor annoyances like "turning" are unneccessary. (This becomes more readily apparent the higher level you get, but even the basic escort should be punching big holes through stuff on the first pass if your doing episodes and missions your level)

As was mentioned, the tradeoff for gameplay vs. canon purposes was that narrow arc weapons do more damage per second than wide arc weapons of the same level. Escorts being the only ship type that can outfit the narrowest arc cannons means the head-on attack is the single best way for an escort to ensure his target dies quickly and it is intentional. At RA I've got 3 DHC's up front with a quantum. I run a few varieties of loadouts in the back for testing, but so far, the turrets work the best for an overpowering straight-ahead alpha strike. I keep Boffs with dispersal patterns and mine launchers on hand in my inventory, but the only time I've ever needed to consistently overfly something (Because it was powerful, not because I messed something up :p ) was a Borg Cube in what is currently end-game episodes.

The Downside to multiple turrets in the aft slots is it is a HUGE power drain, but there are traits, abilities and consoles that can alleviate alot of that, so experiment, have fun, but play your class and ship the way you want, not neccessarily the way someone in Zone chat (or the forums) tells you. Maybe you'll figure out a new way of doing things we haven't thought of yet.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
02-23-2010, 12:04 PM
Pretty much what was said above. Your current strategy is much more suited to a cruiser than an escort. Escorts should definitely outfit cannons. Besides which, with the escorts paper-thin hull and shields, you don't want to be engage in a long slugfest. You have to finish it quickly, because you don't have the armor to stay in there for long periods. Doing whatever you can to keep them into your forward firing arc, and therefore being able (mostly) to just reinforce that forward shield is your best bet.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
02-23-2010, 02:58 PM
I don't understand the comments about not having to turn at all if I do it right, and not overflying.

If I could stop still in space, nose at the target, target sits still and doesn't rotate but keeps the same shield facing me, then yes, obviously, arming my ship to take advantage of this situation would be great. But I've never seen that happen. Even the PVE ships move, they try to turn their weak shields away from me. So that means I have to either try to stay on the side with the weak shield, or hope I have enough firepower to weaken ALL the shield on the target enough for photons to do some damage, and that the weakened shields don't regain enough strength while they're turned away from me. But also, not only is the enemy PVE target trying to turn its weak shields away from me, it's also moving about in space. This means I have to keep moving, especially rotating, if I want to keep my nose pointed at the ship. Now I don't know about the escorts you guys are using, but my heavy escort, and the one I had before it at Lt. Cmdr. level, don't turn so well unless they're moving forward. Sitting still, they certainly don't rotate fast enough to keep my nose pointed at a ship that's orbiting me at close range. If I move forward to be able to turn and rotate, and keep my nose pointed at the target, what's going to happen? Obviously, I'm going to get closer and closer to the ship, until I bump into it, and then I'll be on the other side of it.

I see now that the problem is that they made the strongest weapons only work on the smallest ships. This forces us to come up with strategies such as the ones you guys are in favor of. Admittedly, as I've mentioned, this strategy is great for spankfest fight. But it forces us to play with these unrealistic strategies, which is unfortunate, but that's just my opinion. In reality, smaller ships (like destroyers and destroyer escorts) don't have more firepower than larger ships. Smaller ships move quickly and are agile and deliver multiple and repeated bursts of weak firepower, while larger ships are relatively still and deliver massive bursts of firepower at greater intervals.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
02-23-2010, 03:25 PM
Have you tried taking on a pack of Bird of Prey's with your escort mate? With the cannon-turret loadout (and rapid fire BO power If you don't hae that you are gimping yourself) Its very easy to take down two of them before you overshoot the third from the initial approach. Try cutting your speed to half impulse once you get to the 7k mark, your cannons will start doing their max dammage at about 5-3k so pounding from 7k is a good starting point (anything before 7k does bugger all really I've noticed) If you pop any other damage increasing buffs you have you shouldn't have a problem popping two before you reach them. chuck your speed back to full as you pass get 5k or so distance cut speed to half and turn around to repeat. in both the Saber and the akira I havent had a problem with this setup. Though admitedly the turret isn't needed for it to work, it just adds that little more lethality to the forward arc. For my akira I've actually got two beams in the rear slots and beam overload on my ensign tac officer so I can punch them with the overload as I get distance my weapon power usually returns by the time I've swung back around to fire the cannons again.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
02-23-2010, 03:42 PM
I play mainly cruisers, but in my T4 escort, I have 2 DHC's, a torpedo launcher and a beam array up front, and a torpedo launcher and another beam array aft.

Using this set up, I get into weapons range, drop speed to half to 1/4 impulse, launch a torpedo (HYT or Spread depending on situation), and bear down with cannons until I start getting too close to my target. I then open up full throttle and break away and get in a broadside with my 2 beams, fire off my aft torpedo while getting some range, spin around to face the target and drop my throttle again.

It's a LOT more throttle jockeying and shield reinforcement than circle strafing in a cruiser, but just as effective.

PS. It would help a LOT if there was a chase camera view (camera locked behind the ship facing forward), especially in escorts since they play a lot more like fighters and less like capitol ships.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
02-23-2010, 03:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Direphoenix View Post
I play mainly cruisers, but in my T4 escort, I have 2 DHC's, a torpedo launcher and a beam array up front, and a torpedo launcher and another beam array aft.

Using this set up, I get into weapons range, drop speed to half to 1/4 impulse, launch a torpedo (HYT or Spread depending on situation), and bear down with cannons until I start getting too close to my target. I then open up full throttle and break away and get in a broadside with my 2 beams, fire off my aft torpedo while getting some range, spin around to face the target and drop my throttle again.

It's a LOT more throttle jockeying and shield reinforcement than circle strafing in a cruiser, but just as effective.

PS. It would help a LOT if there was a chase camera view (camera locked behind the ship facing forward), especially in escorts since they play a lot more like fighters and less like capitol ships.
Yes. I use this same method and never really have an issue. I'm still using a Heavy Cruiser because the Galaxy class ships are too slow for my liking (still captain) and I never have any issues taking on large groups of ships. Solo it is very effective.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
02-23-2010, 11:07 PM
Escort is escort. All defiant did mostly just to blow things up, and fast. Which is what escorts already do. Starting from T3 PvE I could go max impulse and start shooting from 10km, target would usually always die at 6km, even if it's a cruiser or battleship target.

T2 might require some slowdown, but I've pretty much never had to turn around to shoot my target unless if I was rushing into them with evasive maneuvers or if it was a mission where they spawned right next to me.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
02-24-2010, 05:00 AM
i am using beams only and 1 quantum torp and i am doing perfectly fine with that loadout.
i tried cannons and stuff and didnt get the fun out of it.

in fleet actions i am always amongst the topranking points sometimes even 1st in place.

also u have to think of 1 thing:

you wont keep a klingon BoP in 45 arc in pvp..... u never will....
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