Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
The actual mechanics really need to become much better understood by everyone before the CE becomes trivial.

People shouting completely conflicting things in zone chat doesn't work.

Here are my tested and confirmed observations of the Crystalline Entity, along with my suggested strategies for defeating it.

Please feel free to comment or correct when you feel appropriate.

It comes in three phases:

100-67% - The CE fires "Crystalline Fragments" which will track down players and will explode if they get within 1km of anything except the CE or other fragments. This includes: mines, players, high yield plasma torpedoes, and boarding party shuttles. If they detonate from proximity, they will destroy themselves and damage whatever caused the proximity explosion. These fragments do only physical damage straight to the hull. Shields are useless against them. The CE will also shoot a huge laser at whoever has aggro on the CE, and will do shield damage as normal weapons fire would.

66%-34% - The CE will stop firing its main laser and only fire the Crystalline Fragments from before. It seems at this phase it increases the rate at which it will spawn the Crystalline Fragments.

33% - 0% - The CE will begin firing "Large Crystalline Fragments" in addition to its normal "Crystalline Fragments". The Large Fragments are functionally similar to the normal fragments, except for a few differences:

They are faster.
They will do more damage (roughly 2x a normal) when they detonate from proximity.
If they detonate from proximity, they will spawn three "Small Crystalline Fragments" which then attempt to fly straight back to the CE.
If they die from weapons fire, the Small Crystalline Fragments will spawn but then immediately despawn and not heal the CE.

If a Small Fragment reaches the CE, the CE will heal for it seems 1% per shard. Meaning a single Large Fragment, if it collides with a ship, mine, or high yield plasma torpedo, can potentially heal the CE for about 3% of it's maximum health if none of the Small Crystalline Fragments are destroyed in transit. Small Fragments will also detonate from proximity and do damage equivalent to a normal Crystalline Fragment, and will not heal the CE if they do so.

During all phases the CE has natural hull regen of about 3% every 30 seconds.

The CE has about 700,000 hull points to take down. With its natural regen, this can cause problems right from the start if the fleet is not prepared to max out their DPS. Here is a list of abilities that can assist on this, as well as how to improve those abilities:

Tactical Powers:

Attack Pattern Beta (Tactical Lieutenant): This will put a debuff on to the CE which reduces its damage resistance any time it is shot while the debuff is up. APB1 reduces damage resistance by 7.5% per application. There is no way to increase the effectiveness of this ability outside of higher ranks.

Attack Pattern Delta (Tactical Lieutenant): (PHASE 1 ONLY) This will put a buff on to a friendly player which will then give a debuff similar to APB to anyone that attacks the now buffed player. By putting this on to the captain that has the CE aggro during phase 1, every time the CE shoots that player, it will begin taking progressively more damage from all sources. There is no way to increase the effectiveness of this ability outside of higher ranks. This ability will not work past phase 1 as the CE will stop directly attacking the players with its main gun.

Fire on My Mark (Tactical Lieutenant Commander 8 Captain): This will put a long-lasting resistance debuff on to the target, increasing the damage it takes from all sources.

Science Powers:

Sensor Scan (Science Lieutenant 8 Captain): This ability puts a massive damage resistance debuff on to the target and all surrounding enemies. To increase the effectivness of this ability, equip a dish and consoles that increase the following stats: Sensors, Sensor Array, Starship Operations. You can increase all of these stats from your captain as a skills. For equipment purposes, Sensors will come from your deflector dish, and Sensor Array will come from both your dish potentially and your consoles. Having the science team buff applied to you will also increase the strength of your debuff from Sensor Scan. Tachyon deflector dishes will naturally increase both Sensors and Sensor Array abilities.

Weapon Procs:

Disruptors: Disruptors have a 2.5% chance per shot to proc a 10% damage resistance debuff to the target fro 15 seconds.

Tips and Facts:

Shooting Fragments: While you can shoot down all types of shards without penalty, doing so will take DPS away from the CE. With its natural regen rate so high, it's almost always preferable under normal PUG fleet circumstances to perpetually kite the shards than it is to waste shots destroying them. I would suggest always killing Small Crystalline Fragments if possible, and only killing Large Fragments if you see them about to impact on an object (player, mine, high-yield plasma torpedo, boarding shuttle). If you can target them, Small Crystalline Fragments will die very quickly to full power weapons. Try and use only beams on them, as cannons and torpedoes will take time to catch up to them before dealing damage while beams are instant-fire.

Kiting: From a tier 2 ship perspective, 75 power to weapons and engines is enough to keep away from the normal Crystalline Fragments. Cruisers may need to add additional power to engines to escape them, or they can simply eat the normal fragments and heal their own hull damage. Make sure that you are using the best, fastest engines possible for your tier (mk iv for LTCDR, mk vi for CMDR). When getting chased by multiple large fragments, you will need to divert futher power to engines as Larges are faster than normals. It might be perferable to have one or two designated Large Wranglers to fire low-power potshots at larges to get the initial aggro, and then to kite the Larges around where they know the Larges will not proximity detonate on anyone. If you end up taking a proximity hit from a large fragment and do not die, immediately switch your target from the CE and shoot down the resulting Small Fragments to prevent the CE from healing. The DPS loss for shooting down three nearby Small Shards is much less than the CE getting the healing from those shards. EDIT: If you are kiting multiple fragments, just make sure to also watch where you are going and do not drag the Fragments on to another player or other object. Even if the fragments are targeting and following you, they will still detonate on anything that gets near. If you have 4 or more normal Fragments following you, or even just two Large Fragments, that will be enough to instantly kill any LTCDR player or severely damage a CDR+.

EDIT: When kiting, it is easiest to orbit around the CE at a set distance. In order to maintain constant dps, Beam Arrays make ideal weapons for firing constant broadsides. However, ships with more foward and rear firing small arc weapons can maintain orbit while flying in more of a serpentine pattern to first fire their foward weapons, and then turn the opposite direction to open their rear arc, and keep repeating. Once you fire a burst weapon such as a cannon or a beam array, they will continue to fire even if you move out of their original firing arc. In other words, you can turn just enough to fire a 45 or 90 degree weapon, and then quickly reverse turning to fire your aft weapons, and then potentially turn again to put the CE back in the smaller foward firing arc, all the while having your forward arc weapons firing. However, for simplicity purposes, you will want to have as many beam arrays as your weapons power will allow. Remember that torpedo damage is not dependant at all on weapon power.

Mines: Mines are tricky during the CE. They will cause shards to blow up from proximity. However, with enough mines, you can create a barrier around the CE which will prevent any Small Fragments from getting back to it (the Small Fragments will proximity detonate on the mines before they heal the CE). This is an advanced strategy and really requires cooperation of the entire fleet. If it is not the case that everyone knows and understands the strategy, you're better off not using mines at all once the CE reaches phase 3. If you are being chased by multiple normal Fragments, mines will work wonders to clear them off of you as each Fragment will detonate on a single mine, destroying potentially 5 shards at a time through proximity detonation. However, if they are used on Large Fragments, they will spawn smalls, as the mine explosion is not technically what killed the shard, it was their own proximity suicide explosion against the mine.

Distance to CE: Naturally, the closer you are to the CE, the bigger your chance of hitting a fragment. Closer than 5km runs an extreme risk of causing proximity detonations. This is not an issue during phase 1 and 2 except for causing your own death. However, if Larges get a proximity detonate that close to the CE, it's almost guaranteed to get 3 Small Shards worth of healing. Just before phase 3 hits, I would recommend all captains moving out past 7.5km for safety's sake. Experienced pilots can get closer to increase their energy weapon DPS.

Scramble Sensors: This ability has a strange effect on the CE. If fired directly at the CE, it will cause every shard that doesn't get hit by the initial burst to stop moving entirely and also become scrambled. Scrambled fragments will stop moving and not be able to detonate via proximity. Even if they are not stopped, if they have the green bubbles of a Sensor Scramble, they will not be able to detonate via proximity. If anything is within 1km of a Fragment when the Sensor Scramble wears off, the shards will then detonate as normal. It is possible to keep Sensor Scramble constantly up on the CE from multiple science ships in order to prevent the shards from ever moving or detonating at all. I have yet to confirm if this is working as intended or an exploit. Use this method at your own risk. Note that Small Fragments will not stop moving even if scrambled, and will still make a bee-line straight for the CE to heal it at full speed.

Again, please feel free to comment or criticize. If you dispute any of the facts presented in this post, please say concisely what your testing method was to refute it and what your results were, as well as the conditions in which you performed your testing.

I hope you found this information useful. Using it just for my own purposes, I was able to be part of a fleet that successfully defeated the CE after the ramming speed nerf.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
02-16-2010, 02:08 PM
Tnx! Your realy helped me out whit this CE is so hard
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
02-16-2010, 02:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starkiller08 View Post
Tnx! Your realy helped me out whit this CE is so hard
You're welcome. Thank you for reading and I'm glad you found it informative.

Please let me know if you find any of that information to be unclear or untrue in your experience.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
02-16-2010, 02:30 PM
If only this was explained at least fully in the ops others maybe could understand how to work it and it wouldnt take so long. I spent 6 hrs the other day. 6 hrs. It didnt get beat. Almost ready to skip this mission except I dont like losing.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
02-16-2010, 03:00 PM
Ok I've only done the CE twice both as science Commander once with scramble and once without. I'm not going to say that I agree or disagree with any of the OP cause I honestly don't know but I'm going to ask a question. On the occasion I ran this without scramble I scored about 50k in total damage and was ranked near the bottom. the second time I hopped back in at the same level and with the same gear. The engagement lasted a similar duration of time and I died a roughly equal number of times 3 or 4 total deaths each time. But I scored 120k and was ranked second. A fleet mate ran it with me and had a similar damage score both times (about 80k ish if memory serves) I was running two copies of scramble and launched it at the CE directly every time the refresh was up.

So are you sure that scramble doesn't cause the shards to attack each other and or the CE itself? And can you give me another explanation for the dramatic difference in damage output I experienced?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
02-16-2010, 03:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sresk View Post
Ok I've only done the CE twice both as science Commander once with scramble and once without. I'm not going to say that I agree or disagree with any of the OP cause I honestly don't know but I'm going to ask a question. On the occasion I ran this without scramble I scored about 50k in total damage and was ranked near the bottom. the second time I hopped back in at the same level and with the same gear. The engagement lasted a similar duration of time and I died a roughly equal number of times 3 or 4 total deaths each time. But I scored 120k and was ranked second. A fleet mate ran it with me and had a similar damage score both times (about 80k ish if memory serves) I was running two copies of scramble and launched it at the CE directly every time the refresh was up.

So are you sure that scramble doesn't cause the shards to attack each other and or the CE itself? And can you give me another explanation for the dramatic difference in damage output I experienced?
While I don't know enough about the differences in your two experiences to account for the dps difference, I can say fairly confidently that Scramble Sensors will not cause the shards to detonate on each other, nor will they detonate on the CE. In fact, it will prevent them from detonating at all until scramble wears off. I'm also pretty confident that only damage dealt to the CE accounts for contribution in this or any other fleet encounter, so I don't think running two Scramble Sensors would directly increase your contribution.

EDIT: In the first encounter, were you focusing more fire on the fragments or did you keep constant fire on the CE?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
02-16-2010, 03:39 PM
I honestly couldn't say I think it was about 50/50 both times but I wasn't paying attention. Does damage done to the shards count for damage score at the end of the FA?

The reason I question your results on scramble is that my damage score was so dramatically different with the only change being the use of scramble.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
02-16-2010, 04:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sresk View Post
I honestly couldn't say I think it was about 50/50 both times but I wasn't paying attention. Does damage done to the shards count for damage score at the end of the FA?

The reason I question your results on scramble is that my damage score was so dramatically different with the only change being the use of scramble.
I honestly don't know the formula for contribution, but I think it only counts hull damage on relevant targets. I do not think damage on fragments counts for contribution.

Other than that I really don't have an explanation for your contribution difference between the kills. Regardless, I didn't really intend this as a thread to help maximize individual contribution but more to help people understand the mechanics of the fight and some basic tactics.

On both kills, were you present for the entire time? Or did you hop around between the instances and come in on the first kill later than the second kill?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
02-16-2010, 04:42 PM
Oh don't get me wrong this is a fabulous post and I really appreciate it for what it is. I guess I'm just trying to dig a bit more and figure out the math on FA's.

And yes both of them I was present from the start and died a fairly equal number of times so my respawn and fly back times where similar. I mean if the two damage scores where only off by 10-50% I would have attributed it to something else but with more than 100% gain in damage with the only change being the use of one power on my boff load out? It sure felt like the shards damage was counting for my score.

maybe this just needs some more testing two examples is a pretty small data set to pull conclusions from.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
02-16-2010, 05:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sresk View Post
Oh don't get me wrong this is a fabulous post and I really appreciate it for what it is. I guess I'm just trying to dig a bit more and figure out the math on FA's.

And yes both of them I was present from the start and died a fairly equal number of times so my respawn and fly back times where similar. I mean if the two damage scores where only off by 10-50% I would have attributed it to something else but with more than 100% gain in damage with the only change being the use of one power on my boff load out? It sure felt like the shards damage was counting for my score.

maybe this just needs some more testing two examples is a pretty small data set to pull conclusions from.
It's entirely possible is the best answer I can give at this point for the contribution question both on damage towards fragments and on the use of Sensor Scramble.
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