but seriously why do I see so few nebula class starships in the game ?
Because of the perception that it has been made completely obsolete by other ships.
Most notably the Tholian Orb Weaver.
A bit of history here:
There was (still is, technically) a thread by a guy called Cygone which proposed a method by which a Nebula could be made into a respectable Damage Dealer/support vessel hybrid.
This was prior to a bunch of patch changes, during which Tricobalt Mines were buffed, the damage from Photonic Shockwave was nerfed, and certain Tactical consoles no longer buff all forms of Kinetic damage (so you can't buff both Torps and GW3 with the same "+Kinetic damage" console). And also prior to the release of the Tholian lockbox ships.
The "Tholian Orb Weaver" is basically a Nebula with better Bridge Officer slots and an extra Tactical Console.
Essentially, if you can make a good build in a Nebula, you can make it better in an Orb Weaver.
These days the best damage output from a Science ship in PVE will usually involve either going down the [2x Torpedo Launcher/DBB Fore + Turrets Aft] route, or multiple Tricobalt Mine launchers. BOFF abilities to maximise this damage will be Attack Pattern Beta (to buff all damage types) and/or Dispersal Pattern Alpha (not Beta) for extra Tricobalts. [Torpedo Spread also deserves a notable mention, since if you are able to tightly cluster multiple foes together with Gravity Well then a Torpedo Spread from a high-base-damage launcher can cause huge amounts of overlapping splash damage].
Polarized Disruptors have been a nice addition to science vessels though. The Disruptor Proc is obvious, but the Polaron drain ties in nicely with Tykens Rift II and the inherent Beam:Target Shields.
An example STF/Fleet Action setup would be this build, which translates into this on the Nebula.
I currently run a similar setup on my Orb Weaver, and still have a (mothballed) Nebula in the shipyard.
Note the use of TBR3 instead of GW3 for damage there - Aux2Bat allows a high uptime of all BOFF powers and reduces Ship Aux to minimal levels whenever it fires. Low Aux power is essential for maximised damage from TBR3 in order to reduce the inflicted repel and allow all damage pulses to hit. Deploying GW1 upon a group of foes therefore allows you to hit everything with a variety of extremely heavy AoE damage, including TBR3, and splash damage from both Torpedo Spread and/or Tricobalt mines. (Technically you could remove Aux2Bat1 and replace it with EPTS2, then take TBR1, Tyken's Rift 2 and GW3 in order to trade a little damage for more versatility... I have those powers on my other Sci BOFF and a spare Engineer to allow me to run both as-needed)
I'd been hoping to run across a Nebula update from you, Maelwys...thanks!
Couple of questions:
- are you sticking with 1xDBB and 2xTorp at the moment?
Yeah, I try to stay with 1DBB/2 Quantum Fore as it's definitely the highest damage setup for a SciShip if you can run a few Projectile DOFFs.
The limiting factor will be DOFFs.
After the recent patch changes, many of my ships should now ideally be running Aux2Bat1, but an active DOFF setup of [2x Projectile] and [2x Technician] doesn't leave much room to play with - especially when I could make use of a Borg Warfare Specialist, Tyken's Rift Gravimetric Scientist, Shield Distribution Officer... etc, etc.
- with the increased 'push' of TBR3, are you able to keep them in range for all the damage pulses? (even with zero'd out Aux from Aux2Bat, I would've thought TBR3 would still push too much?)
It depends on the mass of the target ship(s) and the speed I'm going.
It's basically free damage on Cubes and Structures. Things like Negh'vars or Spheres are usually OK at bottomed-out Aux. For Probes or BoPs, there's a tactic to it: If you wait until you're right on top of a low-mass enemy and drop TBR3, you'll catapult them far away even with low Aux, so the trick is to keep them on the outermost fringes of the range of the beams and push them around and/or into Gravity Well.
- Have you considered dropping one tac team and adding FAW, to spread the APB across multiple targets?
My problem is there's not really enough DOFF space to make that viable if you're planning to pull aggro.
Dropping a Tac Team means I should really take a Purple Conn Officer to reduce Tac Team downtime between Aux2Bat cycles, which means I'd need to drop another DOFF (Can't take less than 2 Purple Technicians without wrecking Aux2Bat, so it'd be either a Projectile Officer or the Borg Warfare Specialist, either of which would lower my Damage output on STFs pretty drastically. For Fleet Actions though, I could drop the Borg Warfare Specialist for a Conn Officer)
- Aft, are you using Trics or turrets? Or some mix? (Are Trics worth it without the tac powers to go with? I've yet to use mines in this game.)
Tric Mines are very decent spike damage, but to make them do optimal Damage over Time they really need to be used with Dispersion Pattern Alpha. That said, I do have an Orb Weaver build that makes use of Tric Mines and DPA2 on my Tac Captain (though again, it runs afoul of DOFF slot shortage...)
There's a lot of synergy in Gravity Well + Torpedo Spread + Tricobalt Mines, providing you can maneuver your enemies into the "kill zone"... (TBR3...?)
the build I posted seems to work pretty well in STF's and with a couple quick console changes to coincide with my Boff Swap seems to work well in a TEAM atmosphere in PVP.... I have just enough tankyness to hold someone off til help arrives but mostly its a support role that can put out a fair amount of DPS
Im going to have to get the Fleet Variant on my Tac and see what I can make of it then..... dont really see it being all that much of an improvement until the opening shot and spike... after that its tank like hell and hope I can stay alive for help, then again it might be pure awesomeness that screams Sheldon Level Genius... who knows but its definately something I AM going to look into
Don't run Aux2Bat on Sci ships. It kills kittens! And I'll kill you!!
I've been absolutely slaughtering kittens the past few days.
And loving it!
(now there's something I didn't expect to type this weekend)
Seriously, there's nothing wrong with using Aux2Bat... as long as you either time your Aux-dependent buffs around the power drop, or use the drop to your advantage (TBR3!). Case in point: since swapping things around a little last week, I've settled on an Orb Weaver build which makes a more effective teammate for an endgame STF/Fleet mission than the vast majority of Escorts I've ever come across. In testing, it could solo a KASE side faster than my standard Guramba build, and protect the Kang on a CSE from two directions at once indefinitely. There's very few abilities that should "never" be used... it's all in how you fly it!