I was a Klingon entering Pi Canis and out came a fresh Red Alert.
Entering the battlefield I realized I was one Klingon and the rest were quite new-ish Federation players so I led the charge.
We barely had enough firepower to take down Borg cubes but undaunted we managed to kill 4 cubes in 15 minutes with our little ships thanks to some great teamwork there.
Then, the Unimatrix came up and we thought, screw it, we have no chance against that many torpedoes.
We were about running out of time and our weapons had no effect on the Borg Mothership but somehow, somewhere, one of the Federation players posted this on the local chat:
"Weapons have no effect. I'm going to ram it."
"Go for it, we have no other choice."
"I'm trying but I can't get close enough, can anyone cover me?"
I watched as wave after wave of heroic Federation starships charged the Borg Mothership at full speed. Many blew up en route but some managed to kamikaze successfully.
With the Unimatrix's forward shield taken down by those desperate suicide runs we poured all our puny firepower into the giant ship's open bow and managed to hammer it down to 12% health but sadly the timer ended before the next kamikaze could hit.
I'm not sure which was most impressive, the way our little ships piloted by total strangers made formation strafing runs against massive Borg cubes, with only one Galaxy class anchoring the line, or the desperate Wolf 359 style suicidal battle against the Unimatrix mothership punctuated by heroism that brought a tear to my Klingon captain's eyes.
Moral of the story - so called newbie F2P players can bring in potent tactical initiative to make gameplay not just memorable but give totally awesome memories. Who knows, those newbies may create successful STF fleets in due course.
The CE fleet battle is however not for the faint of heart and relies on players knowing how to work the CE's programming in order to prevent it from healing itself. I do not think that the solution to beating the CE is intuitive at all that is why some experienced players try to post -suggestions- for incoming members of the public to choose the right tactics, use the right weapons and not get killed by exploding fragments.
However, a lot simply don't listen or don't bother about abovesaid suggestions and so I just avoid this mission altogether.
Believe me, those more experienced players are not out to be hostile to 'noobs', they are just frustrated that no one is listening or communicating to them and they get desperate to be heard. That is why, sometimes I just join the mission for a few minutes, lend some firepower, talk to the men in command, then warp out in the hope a properly equipped VA starship will take my place.
Large Crystalline Fragments will split into Small Crystalline Fragments. It is important to understand two things about this behavior. First, they will not break into Small Crystalline Fragments if shot down so you can prevent this. Secondly, they only split into Small Crystalline Fragments if they hit a ship.
Or a dropped lockbox. of which there will be many. So you need someone to keep looting the lockboxes all the way during the fight.
And no, I'm not kidding. I wish I were but I'm not.
My favorite thing is when a group gets the CE down to like 20% after a good 20 minutes, and then a few new guys show up, fly into a cloud of shards, blow up, and then we are looking at an 80% CE again. It is just awesome! I get filled with joy.
Anyway, I prefer strategy #2. In my opinion the wide flanking guys in charge of shooting down the shards should thing about equiping Tractor Beam Repulsers. I find it always helps to be able to push a few shards away when a swarm gets a little difficult to handle.