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Premise: A primer to explain the function and usefulness of the Emergency to X BOff powers, and how and why it can be effective to run multiple copies of these powers (particularly useful for Cruiser Captains).
First, an explanation of the powers' mechanics:
Originally Posted by Jedi Counsel: Engineering BOff Powers
Emergency Power to (Subsystem) [EPtA, EPtE, EPtS, EPtW]:
Availability: Ensign (1), Lieutenant (2), Lt. Commander (3) - Version 3 can be trained by an Engineer Captain with 9 ranks in the appropriate Starship (Subsystem) Efficiency skill (i.e. EPtA3 from Starship Auxiliary Efficiency, EPtE3 from Starship Engine Efficiency, etc.)
Duration: 30 seconds
Recharge: 45 seconds
Global Cooldown: 15 (for different subsystems)/ 30 seconds (for the same subsystem) (2 copies of the same power can be chained for 60 seconds up-time per 60-second timeframe, 2 copies of 2, separate versions of the power can be cycled every 15 seconds for full, 60 seconds of coverage for 2, separate subsystems, every 60-second timeframe.)
Adds a certain amount of power to the related subsystem for the duration of the power's uptime. Restores functionality to a disabled subsystem (i.e. EPtS would restore Shields, if disabled by an enemy skill). Each subsystem also carries an additional bonus: EPtA - Grants a small bonus to StealthSight (helps to detect Cloaked opponents), EPtE - Grants a substantial boost to your ship's speed (in addition to the speed boost from higher Engine Power), EPtS - Reduces damage dealt to your ship's shields by a certain % for 30 seconds, EPtW - Gives a 5-second boost to your weapon damage. The ability to cycle 2 copies of the same power with no down-time (or 4 copies, 2 each of 2 separate subsystems for a Cruiser) is one of the most important aspects of the EPtX powers.
Second, there are several, very important things to note about the usage of Emergency Power to X abilities:
There are two, distinct cooldowns that need to be accounted for in use of the EPtX powers: Global and System.
Each EPtX power will repair its associated subsystem, when activated, if that subsystem is currently disabled, for any reason (e.g. Phaser Proc, Target Subsystem X, etc.)
The amount of power gained in the associated subsystem is applied instantly, but drains away at a standard rate, upon expiration of the power.
Probably the most common misconception about the use of multiple versions/copies of the EPtX powers is that trying to cycle more than two of them is of limited/no use; however, this is an incorrect assumption, as up to 4 copies (2 pairs, to be precise) can be effectively cycled (again, especially useful for Cruisers).
How to effectively cycle multiple copies of EPtX powers:
EPtX powers have a 30-second global cooldown, which means, you can cycle 2 copies of the same subsystem, every 30 seconds. Thus, if I have 2 copies of Emergency Power to Shields (whether 1, 2, 3, or any combination of those levels), I can activate 1 copy, then activate the 2nd copy 30 seconds later. This is useful because all four types of EPtX powers grant a power bonus to their respective subsystem for 30 seconds (the full duration of the global cooldown), thus, if I have 2 copies, I get the full bonus power at all times, as long as I remember to activate the powers, each time the global cooldown expires.
EPtX powers from different subsystems, however, only share a 15-second system cooldown, which means that I only have to wait 15 seconds before I activate an EPtX power from a separate subsystem. Thus, if I have a copy of Emergency Power to Shields and a copy of Emergency Power to Weapons, I can activate EPtS, wait 15 seconds, then activate EPtW. Once I activate EPtW, I still will get the bonus from EPtS (for the remaining 15 seconds of its 30-second duration).
Extrapolating further, if I am carrying two copies of both EPtS and EPtW (again, it doesn't matter if it is 1, 2, 3, or any combination of those levels), I can take advantage of the system and global cooldowns to maximize my benefit from all those copies of EPtX powers:
First, I activate the 1st copy of EPtS (gaining a boost to my Shield Power and a nice Shield Damage Reduction)
15 seconds pass - 1st EPtS active
I activate EPtW (gaining a boost to Weapon Power and a 5-second damage boost)
15 seconds pass - 1st EPtS active, 1st EPtW active
1st EPtS expires
I activate the 2nd copy of EPtS (keeping the boosted Shield Power and SDR)
15 seconds pass - 2nd EPtS active, 1st EPtW active
1st EPtW expires, 1st EPtS cooldown completed (cannot be activated yet, due to global cooldown)
I activate the 2nd copy of EPtW (keeping boosted Weapon Power, get new 5-second damage boost)
15 seconds pass - 2nd EPtS active, 2nd EPtW active
2nd EPtS expires, 1st EPtW cooldown completed
I re-activate 1st copy of EPtS (again, boosted Shield Power stays in place, along with SDR)
15 seconds pass - 1st EPtS active, 2nd EPtW active
2nd EPtW expires
I re-activate 1st copy of EPtW...
Or, for a slightly more illustrated version: (1st EPtS = S1; 2nd EPtS = S2; 1st EPtW = W1; 2nd EPtW = W2)
The most important thing for any Non-Cruisers:
You can run Emergency Power to Shields indefinitely. Why would you do that? Because it gives you not just some healing, and not just some extra power levels to your shield (which increases your shield resistance and shield regeneration), but it also gives you additional shield resistance. And this shield resistance reduces incoming damage notably and can keep your shields (and thus you) alive a lot longer than using the same power slot for a hull.
If you want to make your live easier in PvP and PvE, slot two EPtS. You can start doing that at Commander LEvel on any ship, and you'll not regret it. (One could argue that EPtS is too good, even.)
Basically, my first three tips to anyone having any problems in space combat, is to:
Use the attack preset
Equip two Emergency POwer to Shields
(As always with build advice, one you used and figured out whether it worked and how it worked, start tweaking and find something that works for your specific preferences.)
that's the secret to running cruisers effectively, have at least 2 sets of EPt_. EPtS is by far the best, it gives a shield resistance for the full 30 seconds its active, the other 3 only get a 5 second bonus in their respective bonus. that needs fixing, it doesn't make sense for EPtS to be so much better then the other 3. and aux to battery should be lasting 30 seconds too, not 10
The powers name is pretty self explanatory IMO I mean really
"I wonder what emergency Power To Shields does"
It's certainly better understandable then "Auxiliary Power to Batteries", but unfortunately the name alone doesn't always tell us if it's also good to use.
Originally Posted by zevermoon
Sounds like you just explaned a loop hole that will be closed during seasion 6 download.
Well, it was introduced in Season 2, when snix rebalanced all powers and redesigned the entire rule system for cooldowns, system cooldowns and introduced global cooldowns. I doubt he missed the fact that you could cycle 4 emergency powers.
I would say he (or the community at that time) might not have fully understood the consequences of the shield resistance EPtS gave out, but those values were reduced later (Season 3, I believe). They remain important, but they are part of the overall balance of the game now. Maybe too strong in PvE, but required in PvP to match the possible damage outputs. (Unfortunately, it is a balance of extremes.)