Hey all. While I was posting a flame on a fleet e-peen thread I suddenly realized it belonged to MY fleet. So I figured I'd try and balance out the karma instead. Today's lesson will be on what I'd call "soft" disables, that is, subsystem warfare. There are many abilities to help and counteract this, most are just ignored or misused. The benefit of subsystem warfare is that it can create many small windows of opportunity for a team to kill a target. When you're being focus fired and keep losing shields intermittently, it can really ruin your day. 'Nuff said, right? While this may sound like it's part of the realm of dedicated Science captains, it can be perfectly well implemented by anyone and is an excellent supplement for utility in premade groups. Without further ado..
Some Subsystem Warfare skills
Target Subsystem: x -- Tac BO. Beams. Works off turrets, so you can use this even with cannons. Has a chance to outright disable systems, otherwise it does some power damage to the system in question.
Tyken's Rift -- Sci BO. Deflector. I heard this was crap in OB, obviously the person who told me never buffed it. Very potent AoE power debuff. Works over time, so positioning is crucial. Can remove up to ~45ish power per tick in its T2 variant. That is almost a full power pool over the 4 ticks (8 seconds), and it works in an area of effect. This can absolutely cripple fedballs, both in their ability to defend and counterattack. Travel time is immediate.
Energy Siphon -- Sci BO. Deflector. Surprisingly decent skill for boosting yourself. This paired with a Tykens can easily decimate someone's power pool. Too bad they're on shared cooldown. I haven't experimented with how much this can be buffed through skills/consoles, or if it even can be.
Aceton Field -- Eng. BO. ???. Haven't messed with this one yet. I hear it does some decent weapons power damage.
Boarding Party -- Sends three incredibly weak shuttles without engines at your target. If they land they can randomly disable subsystems. Must be used point blank, and you must hope to almighty math that there aren't any weak AoE's occuring.
These abilities remove energy from opponents' pools. If you can deplete a power pool the associated function and many abilities linked to them shut off until repaired. This is why abilities like Emergency Power to X have a small benefit AND repair damaged subsystems. Keeping a system online is important, especially if you're using it.
If you aren't grinning already, you should be. These kinds of attacks, when seriously implemented, guarantee an opponent must have near a full allocation of a power subsystem to keep that function and related powers online. On top of that, those powers will still be running at below optimum for that time. This can reduce the amount of DPS needed to break through constant shield regen. An attack on a weapons system can reduce the DPS the ship does overall. Long story short: If it can be boosted by power allocation, it can be brought to a crashing halt with that power as well. If it requires the power to be functional, it can be brought down until restored.
Ever have issues with RSP? It runs off SHD power. If you don't have shields you don't have RSP. Hell, you don't even benefit from Shield Extend, or Shield Transfer. In the case of RSP, how many people run with >50 power in it? Most are DPS boats with 100 in WPNS, RSP is incredibly simple to take down in these situations.
Ever have issues with Feedback Impulse? It scales off AUX. Remove their aux and their return DPS from FI is damn near nullified. Better yet, they lose the ability to turn and regen crew. Lawlz I said crew. Bet you've never given a crap about your crew before. I've always had an eeking suspicion they were pretty useless, now I'm of the impression they're part of a subtle mini-game called subsystem warfare.
Which brings us to our next section..
Some Subsystem Warfare Counters:
EPS Consoles -- These increase the rate at which you move and 'regen' power. Incredibly helpful on any ship
Crew Consoles - These increase your crew limit and regen rate. I wouldn't say they're super dooper, but they could find a place on a Cruiser if you're into that sort of thing.
EPS Power Transfer -- Engineer Captain. An Engie only skill, but usable on anyone. Very sweet bonus of +power to all subsystems and an increase to EPS flow!
Emergency Power to X -- Already explained, these can boost and repair your disabled subsystems.
Subsystem Repair -- Found in the universal Engineer tree skill and specifically increases repair speed/chances.
Engineer Team - These can help repair damaged subsystems, as well as giving a slight heal to hull, etc.
Science Team - This skill can remove science debuffs like Viral Matrix. It doesn't always though, my theory on that later. On a related note, I found in the archives that this skill used to be called a medic team, and would affect the crew in a positive way.
Tactical Team - This skill can combat enemy boarding parties. Interesting, if boarding parties weren't so limited in use this could be an awesome skill.
Batteries - They give a boost to power. Use is apparent.
Aux to Battery - Engineer. ??? Never used it, not sure of the mechanics. But it's energy oriented. I'll give it a shot in a couple days I think.
These are all easily obtainable counters, many are part of what you should already have. EPS consoles cannot be stressed enough. They increase your adaptability overall. If you can switch up your power levels on the fly and get an immediate response from your power, you'll have better odds of adapting and surviving situations. They are helpful to Science (who may quickly switch between Aux and Shds depending on role) and Tactical (who need quick regen rates on their weapons power so they keep near optimal DPS).
So why include crew and what the frak does it have to do with any of this? Surprisingly something, but it's mostly behind the scenes. They regulate repair speeds (chances?) and their sheer number benefits the power bonuses inherent in Emergency Power and X Team skills. To see this, hold your mouse over the skill upon respawning and watch the +power rise as your crew replenishes. Can you see the implications yet?
If you have no crew, you have no way to naturally repair a disable. The less crew you have, the more potent disables are. Since firefights generally have lots of explosions and torpedo barrages, all of which wound/kill crew in chunks. You have a tactic that can potentially get stronger in long fights. Since attrition firefights commonly occur when two "Spider-Tanking" teams meet, you have a great tool at your disposal.
Anecdotal aside: Why doesn't Viral Matrix always get cleansed, even when Science Team is thrown on? Barring a bug, which is probable. I'd say its removal must have to go through the same, or similar, checks to repair as a disabled subsystem does. I've head a couple reports, some being that adding full power to aux was able to fix it. This may just be a fluke, as adding to Aux increases Crew Regen, and the increase to crew may have led to the disable removal. Who knows.
It would seem most on the forums don't care about or consider subsystem disables. Instead relying on specific counters or forum posts. This is all fine and dandy, but there are times where disabling a subsystem will do more good than a hard counter or nerf. For example, you can pick up Directed Energy Modulation to help counter Reverse Shield Polarity. Or you can use abilities to disable shield power, by extension RSP, and just hit their exposed hull.
Subsystem disables are by no means a panacea, but they allow for intermittent disruptions to very powerful skills. These can interrupt some abilities and cancel them outright. When participating in a group situation, this creates a repeating cycle of disables on the opponent and thereby creates many small windows of opportunity. Crew loss amplifies the effects of these disables, by lengthening their duration.
PS: Don't use any of this information against me. That would be rude. Also, most of my information is anecdotal/off the top of my head. So feel free to throw corrections. I don't like being wrong, but that hasn't stopped me yet.
just a quick mention, but you may want to mention that if target: X subsystem would drain more power than they currently have in that system it will shut it down regardless of the % chance. extremely nasty when using target shields and engines.
I tend to use boarding party 3 on cruisers with RSP all the time hoping to take thier shields offline. The only problem is there are no messages or reports informing me if anything at all was disabled. I did notice once perhaps that I might have been sucessful I couldn't tell if it was due to the boarders.
I like your post though and hope this gives people some creative ideas and promote diversity when it comes to skill selections.
Science Team, Engineering Team and Tactical Team all add a buff that boosts other BOff skills of the same type in duration, magnitude or both. All Teams have a shared 20 second cooldown and the all have a duration of 30 seconds. So it is possible to stack two different levels of the same team type for 10 seconds. Same level only replaces the previous buff and does not extend it.
I haven't messed with Tactical Team yet, but I do know with the right equipment and training of your captain's skills:
Engineering Team does decent hull repair, adds a resistance buff and boosts many engineering skills byt boosting Starship Warp Core Training and Starship Engineering Training. Starship Warp Core training, increases power levels of those systems below certain thresholds. For instance with 28 points in this skill (Captain's status / Skill Based Stats: Space) those subsystems set to 50 have 53 power and those set to 25 have 32 power. Activating Engineering team 1 increases the two skills mentioned by 18 points. That raises Warp Core training from 28 to 46 and increases the power levels to 55 on the 50 and 36 on the 25s. It doesn't boost the 100, but that hardly matters here. This means if you're running 100 to weapons, this skill just gave you a slightly improved turn rate, shield regen and speed. On top of repairing up to at least 1500 hull points and at least 20% bonus to resistance of ALL damage. With the what resistances are calculated, this appears as an actual resistance bonus of 16.3% less damage you're taking for every attack for the 30 second duration of this power.
My RA5 has Eng Team 3 repairing over 12k hull, providing 41% bonus to resists (actual value on ship stats 28.7%) and +30 to Starship Warp Core Training and Engineering Training. My subsystems at 25 on this guy actually give 55 from all the training I've put into him the +30 from Eng team 3 raises those power levels from 55 to 62. Add EPS Power Transfer 3 and those jump to 87/25. So imagine what happens if an Engineering Captain in a cruise puts those two buffs on you. You'll have power to spare, well for 30 seconds anyway.
*Eng team numbers from a Lt. 6 Klingon Engineer*
Science team does decent, instant, shield regen to all facings, adds a damage reduction buff to shields and boosts any science skills that rely on Starship Operations Training. Skills such as, Viral Matrix, Hazard Emitters, Energy Siphon, Feedback Pulse, Charge Particle Burst, Tyken's Rift, Scramble Sensors, Jam Targeting Sensors, Gravity Well, etc. Ok, so it's probably every science BOff's power other than Science Teams itself. With only 8 points in Deflectors (from the deflector dish equipped) and 18 in Science team leader (all 9 levels trained), Science Team 1 gives an instant 507 points to all shield facings and reduces damage to shields by 14%. It will also always add 18 points to Starship Operations Training.
*Sci team numbers from a Lt 4 Federation Scientist*
I tested the following out at RA5 with an Engineer in a Deep Space Science ship.
Properly buffed (equipment, captains skills and Science Team), Tyken's Rift can completely drain all systems. I had Tyken's Rift 3 draining about 127 power from all systems (cap for any system is 125) and this did stop weapons from firing, stop the ship from moving or turning and shut the shields down. essentially the enemy ship was a drifting hulk. The drain takes 2 seconds to complete. So if the skill drains at least 125 then in 2 sec, the ships in range of it's short 2km sphere will be dead in space in 2 seconds.
On a fully training BOff, Tyken's Rift has a recharge of 1 minute. Tyken's has a 20 second shared cooldown, so with all 3 levels on one BOff you can keep hitting with this skill over and over. However, due to the durations you'll only be shutting down, or severely hampering the enemy's power for about 30 seconds total out of every minute. With 2 or more team members ... well I think you can figure out what can happen.
TR3 duration is 12 seconds, TR2 is 10 seconds.
TR3 unbuffed -127 power
TR3 with ST1 - 135
TR3 with ST2 -137 power
TR3 with ST1 and ST2 - 144 power
TR2 unbuffed - 102
TR2 with ST1 - 108
TR2 with ST2 - 110
TR2 with ST1 & ST2 - 115
I don't have numbers for TR1 as I was using Lt level for ST2 (Science Team 2) or Feedback Pulse 1 and didn't want to go swap this in.
Energy Siphon 3 only draws 15 power, equipment, skills and Science Team only increase the durations, not the magnitude.
Same RA5 character in a Star Cruiser
Aceton 3 -50% Target Weapons power for 25 seconds. However, the 90 degree firing arc (same as Torpedoes) makes it difficult to use with the low turn rate of Federation Cruisers that are capable of stationing a BOff with the 3rd level of this power. A Klingon in a T5 BoP could make real good use of this though.
I won't tell you which specific equipment I was using for these numbers, however you can figure that our if you look at the skills details.
BTW an Engineer in a Science ship can be quite good.
I went back and trained one of my Tactical BOffs with Tactical Team 1. The buff from this is +18 Starship energy Weapons and +18 Starship projectile Weapons. this means with this active all your weapons will do more damage.
For example at 125 power my Phaser Beam array MK 8 does 494 damage (395 DPS) with Tactical Team 1's buff this increased to 539 damage (431 DPS).
While we're on the subject of Subsystem disabling and power draining.
Polaron weapons can drain 25 power from all subsystems.
Phasers can disable a random subsystem (duration is not as high as Subsystem targeting 1).
Science Ships get level 1 of all 4 subsystem targeting skills. While not as good as levels 2 and 3 that Tactical BOffs can get, this makes science ships quite versatile in this role.
To the OP, yes - a few people do in fact study and make use of these things. The skill disparity between people who begin to understand and those who don't is higher than any of these people who are blindly struggling can even begin to imagine.
At lower tiers I rely on phaser turrets for the proc, and higher tiers as monthar mentioned, I rely on polaron turrets and sci abilities (not vm, before someone responds)