We spent the last two hours trying to defeat the Crystalline Entity and failed. We found a few tactics that might work but we also encountered many bugs, even if they aren't directly related to the difficulty of the entity.
1. Small Shards are created upon the destruction (by killing, not by them ramming PCs) of the Larger Shards that disappear. We had numerous occasions when smaller shards would seemingly later spontaneously just appear next to the Entity. It was confusing in the midst of battle if this was causing the entity to heal, or if it was just some kind of un-associated glitch.
2. We found that during the fight that shards would spawn far outside of the normal radius of the entity causing collisions despite all of the fleet flying clockwise around co-ordinated.
3. The entity somehow aggroed on us entering the instance then sat over (almost directly on top of it) the spawn area at the start. This meant many ships which died spawned in direct proximity to the entity and triggered small shards.
We had fleet members numbering almost 20 on vent co-ordinated in our attack. We got the entity down to 14% before a cascade of spawns outside of its normal radius caused people to die, who spawned next to it.
For other people looking to attempt it we did work out the following:
1. Tyken's Rift and Gravity Well are very helpful in dealing with shards. A prepared pattern of torpedo spread and these powers to gather shards when the entity hits 30% (the trigger for large shard spawns) is very helpful. The downside is that the science vessels need to face the entity to do this. Cruisers and Escorts should cover.
2. Placates on the entity seemed to send shards flying in random directions, making the popular conventional strategy of circling in one direction break-down.
3. Despite the need for speed, it is important that you have a high DPS on the entity. Make sure that you have over 20 Impulse, 22 for safety, and divert the rest to weapons (this advice is particularly aimed at Cruisers, as I flew an exploration cruiser and was only hit when random spawns occurred)
I hope other members of ANZAC can contribute their thoughts and experiences on the entity here for the Devs to see. We had many members of Admiral and Captain rank participating and could not take down the entity. As it currently is, I would call the entity an extremely advanced Captain or Admiral Fleet Action if the bugs are worked out. It is certainly not appropriate for Lieutenant Commander however. Attention needs to be directed to make the Fleet Action more forgiving. If shifted to a higher rank I think the premise of the raid is good, but one small slip sends the entire action back sometimes over 20% of the entity's hitpoints.
I noticed a few small things as well while flying around.
1) The Large shards seem to fly at a much faster speed than the regular shards making it harder to outrun them, thus making the job of killing them that much more important.
2) Keeping your distance from the CE helps allot we were circling at around the 7-10km mark and it gave you more time to see that shards flying out to hit you.
3) It's actually quite easy to kill the small shards so if your vigilant and know when you've been hit by a large one it's a simple task to switch targets and take out the small ones before they get back, this ties in with the distance thing, the further away they are the more likely you will be to kill them.
4) I don't know if this was a bug or is working as intended, when killed a large shard would spawn several small shards which would then unspawn, not sure if they were healing the CE or not.
Other than that, it seems it's not an easy encounter i understand it's not supposed to be very easy to do but perhaps Cryptic could look at lowering the spawn rate of the shards or perhaps reducing the amount of HP that they have. We did get it quite low, but it really needs to be a team effort just one person not doing the right thing will screw it up for the team.