As a relatively new player, who picked a science officer main, I'm reading that I better start saving up dilith for a cruiser or escort, my RSV might not be appreciated much in STFs until/unless I am a master of Sci powers.
And even then, a "vocal majority" will still complain that, because of the "DPS focus" in STFs, my RSV "hurts" the team.
This, and reading the unintended side effect of today's patch - "fixing" kinetic torp/mine consoles so they don't buff my GW III kinetic damage - might mean that I should stay away from STFs...
Which got me thinking. AFAIK, science vessels are the only ones that mount a CMDR Sci BOff. And then there's the Science exclusive powers, sensor analysis and the built in subsystem targetting. Therefore, if we were to buff up these abilities to allow, say, beamboat cruiser DPS, then Sci might not be as unwanted...
Right off the top of the head, GW came to me as a "balance" factor, buffing GW III to some high level of damage so that GW III + locked on beams = beam cruiser DPS. Only thing this does is to lead to "cookie cutter" builds, and how do you account for GW DPS being spread among multiple targets?
So, I went to thinking other things. Science is the only 3+3 weapons config. So, if we put a buff on sensor analysis (the lock power) so that a fully-locked on Sci does an "extra" beam or two worths of damage means that a Sci (or anyone in a sci ship with the analysis ability) is capable of putting out 4x beams worth of damage, suddenly on a par with the escort / cruiser 4x arrays. Still only 3 chances of proccing a weapon effect, which is, IMO, a fair trade-off... This might mean that the Sci Oddessy has to lose the power, which might be a fairly common sentiment on the boards already (or a reason to fly the science cruiser with turn rate of pig...)
The subsystem targetting I abilities are very hit-or-miss. One shot, on a minute cooldown, and then, not even guaranteed, with a short duration. Could we make a set called "subsystem targetting, science" in which the durations are increased, accuracy is guaranteed - tied to sensor analysis lock, or, my current preference, all 4-6 beams on the Sci get the chance to proc the effect with their next shot. Having a much higher (though still not guaranteed) chance to proc an engine disablement right before you lay down a GW or Tyken's, and slapping a shield down effect as 2 tac wingmen line up for a strafe, helps improve DPS, even though it might not come directly from the Sci ship.
Other quickie thoughts without a ton of research on the other Sci CMDR powers:
CPB, Feedback, Photonic shock could all use a damage buff, can/does TBR and the tractor effect on Tyken's do damage, and if so, buff it (tyken's a lot less than TBR, since Tyken's damage is a secondary effect to it's power drain), and do something better with Viral, maybe make it where a team only pops the active debuff, the rest still get to go off, set it so the debuffs all expire at the same time if not cleansed (IIRC, viral debuffs 3 systems. Therefore, system one goes down for 24 seconds, system two for 16, and system 3 for 8.) etc. etc.
TL;DR - post with a handful of ways to buff end-game Sci, needs wall of text to explain some of my ideas so that people can discuss.
My friend and I hit Elite STF's hard today pretty much grinding them all day. Having a single Sci Vessel never slowed us down. My biggest problem was people who just did what the hell they wanted to, Oh and that Rainbow Beam array Defiant (yeah I wish I was kidding) who couldn't kill a single probe on Elite Khitomer Accord.
Infact a well played Sci Vessel is very much a thing to be feared, as it can practically turn off a cube. Your role is not raw DPS, and despite the majority saying that pure DPS is the only way to go, that really only applies to a team with captain in it who refuse to learn.
5 Science Vessels, yeah your in trouble. 5 Cruisers your probably not getting the Optional. 5 Escorts will die lots, but get the job done in time.
Cruiser Tank, Sci Vessel, and 2 Escorts + any other vessel who all know how to play will do it in time with no deaths by anyone.
My advice is perfect your art in your Sci Vessel and avoid Randoms.
Oh and I watched a Sci Vessel solo a Cube in Elite Khitomer Accord and kill it faster than a Cruiser and Escort could get the other side combined. So there is a way to get DPS out of them.
I found that with the good turn rate my reterofit Intrepid works fine as a torpedo boat. I've loaded a dual beam bank and two quantums in the front, 3 proj. DOFFs to make most of the torpedoes, plus 3 turrets in the back. Weapon-wise, it's fine.
I'm really stumped with sci powers, though. GW is good CC, but you don't need this all that often, especially when a MVAE is on field that can also drop GW as needed. Damage of sci abilities is laughable, which I find really sad, especially with the field generator changes and the kin console "fix".
Personally I just don't know how to build an effective sci ship at VA. I've tried lots of different BOFF configurations but I didn't find a build that just "clicked".
Things that have worked reasonably well in my sci/Varanus (Varanus is basically DSSV with weaker shields):
GW is pretty handy in STFs, particularly Infected. Borg ships don't have or use any particular counters to it.
Photonic Shockwave III is VERY handy in a large number of ways, but you'll want a lot of Particle Generator consoles (I recommend 3 + 1 field generator). Back it up with tractor beam and tractor repulsors for both damage and CC.
Viral Matrix is generally considered 'weaksauce,' but I've had some success with it in PvP, if you're backed by a good team (which may not happen Fed-side). If you go that way, you might want to mix in scramble sensors, jam sensors, and a bunch of Sensor Probe consoles.
Tyken's Rift should be useful, but hasn't really grabbed me. It's hard to know if it's doing much good, and the effect it has is fairly indirect (and resisted in PvP).
A sci vessel doesn't hurt the team so to speak, they just don't bring the raw DPS an escort will is all. This has less to do with the weapon slots as sensor analysis is a huge boost, and more with the raw DPS power of Tac Boff abilities vs Sci Boff abilities and the lower weapon power that most sci ships have compared to the escorts.
Simply put their are 2 ways to go with a sci vessel in STFs. All torps foward and run high aux with things like gravity well, or ignore aux and use powers that don't require it like PS.
But in the end normal STFs are ridiculously easy so don't fear those at all you will be fine. Just don't expect to put out the damage that an escort will is all. Try to find a good nitch to fill, like strong AE dmg&holds gravity well + torp spread or a torp spread chrono launcher with a tyken's rift.