Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 NPC ship designs + equipment
04-15-2011, 07:13 PM
In advance - I apologize if this has been brought up before now, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

In summary, I find that there are a few NPC ships that have bizarre weapon loadouts that do not particularly correspond to their role or their onscreen appearances, and would like to suggest some alternatives.

First caveat: somewhere I read that six weapons was the limit for ships on their front and rear arcs. Not sure where, honestly, and I'll feel hilariously embarassed if that turned out to be my imagination or just rumor. Anyway...

SECTION 1: THE DOMINION
1) JEM'HADAR DREADNOUGHT
In its one appearance actually firing here, it is clearly almost exclusively an extremely powerful torpedo boat. The FX are clearly shown to curve to track the Valiant @ 2:02. Constant barrages of proximity exploding torpedoes are shown @ 1:23 as well.

I'd recommend 3x quantum torpedo launchers forward and aft, with a pair of dual cannons to the front and two turrets rear. Now I have no idea how bridge officer abilities even work on NPC starships, whether or not they count as having rank 9 or rank 1 in that power, but in order to facilitate heavy, AoE barrages I'd recommend two copies of torpedo spread 3 and two copies of cannon scatter volley 3, along with two copies of high yield 1, attack pattern delta 1, and attack pattern beta 1.

I'd also recommend rotate shield frequences, ESP power transfer, and a few other engineering powers (aux to sif, engineering team, emergency to weapons) to emphasize its role as an extremely durable area-of-effect focused combatant with focus primarily on tactical powers and secondarily on engineering powers.

I'm not terribly worried about it becoming an extremely difficult opponent one on one; as far as I know there's no missions scripted to bring a solo player against one, and players in deep-space battles are welcome to ignore it, team up to bring the beast down, or run away. In fact, since it does not have the Scimitar's cloak or thalaron death ray, I'd argue it deserves a massively superior array of conventional weaponry and powers. If at all possible, I'd include bonus skill in polaron and quantum weaponry to further increase the punch of its weaponry.

2) JEM'HADAR BATTLESHIP
3x forward quantum torpedoes, 1x forward polaron beam
2x rear polaron beams, 1x rear quantum torpedo

1x high yield 2, 1x beam overload 3, 2x BtS 1, tachyon beam, attack pattern beta 1, attack pattern alpha, EPtS 3, brace for impact, Aux to SIF 2

Another torpedo-heavy battlewagon, this time more focused on single engagements and built to operate with the assistance of beam-equipped escorts. Visible here at 6:05 firing single torpedoes regularly, justifying the triple torpedo bank. At 8:49 in the same video it has at least one beam with a good arc. Visible here banking hard and firing a salvo of three simultaneous torpedoes for a (quite brutal) kill. It's that clip that makes me think of APA, with the sudden turn.

3) JEM'HADAR ESCORT SHIP (beam equipped attack ship)
2x spinal beam (dual beam bank with single beam graphics), 1x quantum torpedo forward
1x polaron beam rear

1x high yield 1, 1x beam target shields 1, 1x beam target shields 2, 1x EPtW 2, Evasive Maneuvers, ramming speed

I'd like to strongly recommend the introduction of fake-single beam weapons for the NPC Galor, Keldon, Hideki, and especially the Jem'hadar attack ships: using the statistics and arc of a dual beam bank with the graphics of a single beam you achieve power and performance much closer to that displayed in the show. Jem'hadar fighters broadsiding with their beams is frankly ridiculous, not to mention wildly ineffective.

This ship is the anvil to the Battleship and Dreadnoughts' hammer; equipped with modest beam firepower its real objective is to hammer away at the players' shields opening holes for the capital ships to exploit. The heavy use of target-shields powers will bring to mind the various instances where Dominion fighters were able to punch through Federation and Klingon shields with ease without relying on the Polaron proc. Against these units, players will have to work as a team, using engineering teams, EPtS, and shield batteries to protect ships with their shields suddenly offlined and now vulnerable to the heavy torpedo barrages.

4) JEM'HADAR ATTACK SHIP (cannon equipped attack ship)

Utilizes the Jem'hadar attack fighter graphics, swaps out the two "spinal" polaron beams for a pair of polaron dual cannons. Similarly, the target-shields powers are replaced with rapid fire powers. And ramming speed

This is the older model jem'hadar fighter that destroyed the Odyssey. For mission purposes, this would be a picket / patrol craft or a raider. The cannons and rapid fire power give it a lot more independence. It no longer has to rely on the high-yield spam of the Battleships, instead it can fend for itself.

JEM'HADAR in GENERAL:

To boil my suggestions down to a cohesive sentence, it would be this: Combined arms plus massive conventional weaponry focus plus limited reliance on science. I never imagined the jem'hadar as types who would beam over an engineering team, hence the various suggestions for emergency to shields, aux to SIF, polarize hull, and attack pattern delta as ways for the jem'hadar to obtain durability. Their current achilles heel would be science powers in general as they have few science teams available to clear things like scramble sensors and viral matrix. Furthermore, their capital ships would now rely heavily on torpedoes, meaning that should your shields stay up you would be more or less okay.

SECTION 2: EVERYBODY ELSE
1) NPC NEGH'VARs:
The number of Negh'vars destroyed by Federation lieutenant and lieutenant commander tier players is ridiculous to be perfectly honest. I'd strongly recommend just copy-pasting all their stats into the NPC vor'cha entry, and replacing them. Blah blah fluff, blah blah vor'chas are ships of the line shown heavily in TNG and DS9 blah blah. At the end of the day, the argument for this boils down to one point: keep the badass tier 5 klingon battlecruisers as opponents for Federation players, even in PVE play, to fear and see only rarely.

2) NPC SCIMITARS:
I'd recommend boosting their conventional armament to 2x forward dual cannons, 2x forward single cannons, 2x forward photon torpedoes; 2x rear photon torpedoes, 2x rear turrets.

Not much else to say really beyond pointing out that with the thalaron death ray it doesn't need as nasty an array of BOff powers as the Jem'hadar dreadnought; 1x rapid fire 1, 1x high yield 3, 1x spread 2 or 3 is what I would recommend to go with the battle cloak.

3) NPC D'DERIDEX:
Bring the other NPC battleships in line with this beast; its got a great range of offensive and defensive powers making it a fairly tough nut to crack. I like it this way, honestly, it's respectable without being unbeatable on Advanced, and the high-yield-plasma-spam is unique and an actual challenge that your teammates have to be looking out for. I'd like to point to this ship as a model NPC unit in that it fits the romulan character quite nicely.

4) GALOR: I'd remove evasive maneuvers and replace it with Aux to Inertial Dampeners; much like the Jem'hadar the Cardassians in the show were depicted as having generalist, dependable starships.
2x "spinal" dual cardassian disruptor beams + 1x photon torpedo + 1x phaser array forward
2x phaser array rear

I'd recommend attack pattern alpha, 1x beam overload 1, 1x beam target engines 1, 1x emergency to weapons 2, that sort of thing.

The dual beam firing point would be from the main beam cannon; having two mounted gives them a nice high rate of fire just like on the jem'hadar escort.

5) KELDON: Not a fan of photonic fleet. It's a unique challenge to be sure, but is implausible to say the least. I don't really have an as-unique alternative ready, but I would suggest giving them some more straightforward science powers like science teams, dampening field, sensor scan, tractor beam, and tachyon beam. Photonic fleet seems to be more like an obsidian order / romulan power, so I would utilize it on named Keldons or special obsidian-order ships instead of EVERY keldon.

6) ALL CARDASSIAN SHIPS: Cardassian weapons are referred to about half the time as phaser banks and half the time as disruptors. Memory alpha provides a few interesting screenshots showing different VFX drawn from the forward cannon, presumably this heavy spinal disruptor, and from the dorsal weapons, presumably the phasers. I'd recommend giving them the same treatment as the undine and borg. Green disruptor beams shifted to the cardassian yellow-white color, just like the undine's yellow antiproton and the borg's green plasma.

7) POLARON WEAPON FX: It's fairly clear from DS9 that they're mostly blue. I'd recommend swapping the gfx for polaron and tetryon weapons to make sure that all weapon types are still uniquely colored, but that's just me and it might ruffle some feathers who like their pretty blue beams. While I'm at it... maybe they could have a decent proc? Like... as good as the phaser proc or the AP crit boost?

8) BORG CUBE: I'd add a handful of cannons to the front and back to go with the plasma torpedoes and beam arrays. I also recommend that they get a cutting-beam power kinetic damage-over-time that can be triggered on tractored targets. For added fun, it could do the fibonacci sequence of damage

IN CONCLUSION
Thanks for reading all of this! I realize sweeping changes to one faction's ingame ships would be a real big step, and changing the scimitar's armament could make a few single player missions less elegantly balanced.

TL;DR
DS9 fanboy thinks he has a better idea for cardassian and jem'hadar NPC ship power and weapons; battleship and dreadnought as tac/eng torpedo boats, attack fighter as beam boat with BtS spam.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
04-15-2011, 07:59 PM
I mostly like what you've said. In particular, I agree that it's ridiculous how many Negh'Vars are destroyed by Lieutenants in Miranda-class ships. Those early DSE bosses should certainly be replaced by Vor'Chas, which is still implausible, but requires less suspension of disbelief.

And I believe I've posted my thoughts on the Borg Cube before, but I'll summarize them again: it should not be an opponent that a single starship can challenge. The Cube should have hitpoints numbering in the hundreds of thousands with high-speed regen, it should be able to engage multiple targets at once (give it a zero-cooldown version of Fire at Will), and I like your idea of the cutting beam weapon. In short, the Cube should be something scary for even a team of players.

(I also think it would be fun if this scary Cube dropped by Sol and attacked Spacedock periodically)
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