I suspect Cruisers and Sci-ships will be considerably more important in the No-Win scenarios and Starbase alerts. I haven't tried them yet, but just watching videos on youtube it definitely looks like my Tac Escort pilot will definitely be wanting some Cruiser/Sci cruisers tanking and supporting... otherwise I'm going to end up melting.
I've read most of the first 8 pages before skipping to the end.
Does the OP overstate his case IMHO? Yes, definetly.
Does he have a point though? Again, yes.
I run both cruisers and escorts ATM. So i have some experiance of both. I'm also strictly a PVE player.
Cruisers simply cannot do as much damage as escorts. There's no way round that. They certinally aren't toothless. But they're a long way behind everyone else.
There are a few reasons for this:
1. BFAW does not appear to give any kind of damage boost to the beams in question, (unlike CSV), and the level 3 vershion of it is unavalibile to cruisrs most of the time.
2. Beams are natrually strong vs sheilds. Early on sheilds vs hull ratios are pretty balanced, (if you add all 4 facings together), and distribute can keep your sheilds in place till they're all gone. This means that at least half the targets effective health is a type the beams are very effective against. Later on hull tottally outstrips sheilds and only tac team will let you use your full sheild setups effective health. This puts beams in a bad spot as the majority of the targets health is somthing the beams are not eectives against. All of this compounds the inherent DPS advantage of cannons anyway.
3. The majority of STF targets are sheildless. Again this gives cannons a huge leg up. and hurts the cruiser more.
4. Beam Overload isn't actually a great DPS booster. Since it only effects the next beam shot it's huge damage boost dosen't actually equate to that big of a rise in overal punch. (BO3 on a 6 beam setup is roughly equivelent to a +125% damage for 1 voley, (about 5 seconds), whils CRF3 is a +70% boost for 15 seconds), and the massive weapon power negetive spike it inflicts drasticlly reduces post usage DPS, furthar erroding it.
5. There's a real death of excessivvly useful commander engeneeir abilities. AtSIF3 is good obviouslly. But the rest are middling at best. Eject Warp Plasma and Aceton Beam both suffer from cruisers not really being quick turning enough to make best use of them, Directed energy modulation suffers at the hand of there being so few sheilded targets, (and sheilds scaling so poorly), and Boarding Party, whilst ok, isn't exactly spectacular, (and again a lot of STF stuff is just unaffected by it.
6. A number of Engeneeir abilities scale with science related things, (both power and skills), and as such require you to give up somthing to make best use of them in terms of tanking or damage. Science and escort ships can make full and best use of their stuff just by focusing on their primary elements. Yes they have to sacrafice some capability in other area's, but those area's they sacrafice in aren't their strongest suits anyway, so it's not a hardship, they're not sacraficing their primary to et a their other stuff.
Don't get me wrong, as a tank or as a healbot the cruiser is gereat, and engeneir abilities are built to support this perfectly, but in normal STF's these aen't so useful, an escort can survive being wailed on by mos things an STF throws at them. On Elite i can see them being more useful, but you still don't need too many tanks. What happens if a bunch of cruisers get paired together? All Escort groups breeze STF's, optionals included, all cruiser or mostly cruiser groups are nearly impossibble to hit optionals with, they can't kill the important stuff fast enough.
How would i change tings?
Note: Apart from my Beam Overload re-work you should veiw these as idea's that can be put together however you like, i'm not suggesting all of them at once.
The most basic thing that needs to change IMHO is to change BO from a single beam burs to a +X% damage bonus to all beam attacks for the next 15 seconds, i'd also drop the extra power draing.
There really needs to be a better way for cruisers to get acess to BFAW and BO IMHO. A few ideas i've had.
1. Give cruisers a single copy of BFAW3 and BO3 as innatte abilities, just like science ships get subsystem targeting.
2. Consider moving BFAW and BO from the tactical tree to the engeneeiring tree. Escorts don;t really get much use out of them anyway outside of PVP so i don't se this as a huge negetive.
3. Make BFAw3 and BO3 LT abilities, sicne they allready require a BOFF or Captain to aquire they'd functionn much like several commander abilities do, (in that they have their level 2 and 3 vershions at commander teir).
The sheild vs hull imbalance is also a matter that needs adressing IMHO.
1. Unsheilded STF stuff should be given sheilds, but a drop in hull.
2. Perhaps start handing out an innatte Tac team sheild transfer effect, (but not the other tac team effects), as a passive to all NPC's to emphesise sheilds a bit more.
3. Add a rank based modifier to everythings, (i.e. player and non-player), sheilds modifier. I'd suggest the following forumale: M*(0.8+(0.1*R) Where M=base sheild Modifier and R = Rank, (Ensign would be 1, Lt=2, LT Cmdr=3, Cmdr=4, Cptn=5, RA=6, VA=7). Thus at VA the sheild modifier would be M*1.5. Base weapons amage would need an identical modifier to keep DPS to health in line, but it would ten place more emphesis on sheilds, though torps would still need some re-balancing i'm sure.
We also need to look at the reletivly easy time everyone else has tanking large amounts of damage, whilst defintly valuable, there's no question that the cruiser ability to take damage is not as far ahead of it's competitors as their damage or other abilities are ahead of it's capabilities in those area's.
1. Swap the hull values for escorts and science around and swap the sheild modifiers for curisers and science around. This places a very strong emphesis on the survivability of cruiisers whilst leaving the very high DPS Escortsd much m,ore reliant on simply not havign anything shooting at them. Science vessals more or less don't move in the process representing a middile ground.
2. Remove the defensive bonus from impulse speeds, or make it a curve like resistances so that the differance between escorts and others is much less. A big part of the flaw with escorts being so tough is their ability to keep moving, (becuase of APO), in the face of CC debuffs and their markedly higher defence. They can't take or heal as much damage a a cruiser, but generally take less in any case.
3. Look at the base cruiser power bonusus, Cruisers generally want Aux power for heals, Weapons power for beams, and sheild power for restsiances. That or look at detatching more heals from aux power in some way, (sheild power makes the most obvious option).
Dealing with commander abilities is another area that needs looking at.
1. The most basic option is to do some swapping, Move Eject Warp Plasma and Aceton beam to Science and Bring Power Syphon and Feedback Plse to engeneeiring, (i'd also move the requierments around), Make Syphon scale off weapons power and flow capacitiors, whilst Feeback becomes a sheild system effect, and scales with sheild power, sheild emmiters skills and sheild system skill. Syphon should help with getting all the varied power levels up, though i admit it's not a natrual engeneeir skill. Feedback pulse on the other hand is fairly maligned in Science ATM, (i'm sure it has it's PVP uses but PVE wise it's a dead end skill), so the move greatly benefits it as a skill and scince will get loads more use out of eject lasma and aceton beam.
2.Another option would be to make Aceton beam a weapons skill, and scale with weapons power and energy weapons skills whilst dropping the 90 degree targeting arc. And add a +x% turn rate and flight speed buff to eject warp plasma, (the flight speed would be smal, the turn rate very large).
Also one last random idea:
Give cruiser s a small innate energy drain resistance, this would let them run more beams at a given weapons power lvel, and is an automatic albiet small DPS buff for them.
some things were alright, aceton beam and eject warp plasma both dead wrong. aceton beam has a 90 arc, same as torps, if you can't handle bringing the target into that arc you shouldn't be flying cruisers, or anything. warp plasma is even easier to use effectively, coupled with evasive maneuvers you can cover a large area (controlling your throttle) very precisely.
fed side tac has assault cruiser (beam boat, AP weaps. aceton beam and eject warp plasma slotted) eng has galor cruiser also with aceton and warp plasma
kdf tac, eng, sci all in bortasqu's all with aceton beam.
in PVE there is no reason you can't use those abilities effectively since they always run the same pattern. think ahead, plan ahead. you should know whats coming, when, and how after only a few runs through stf's.
and all in all, the assault cruiser tends to be the best mass aggro grabbing tank, BFaW+APA+TT+PD+GDF and a weap battery to EPW when it runs out grabs everythings attention. upper gen dstroyed always spawns 2 raptors, fire the above combo and i have everythings attention, and can survive it. 1st gate destroyed? zoom over and use the same combo, gens down? same deal, including the gate's ag.
ended up tanking multiple aggro more times than i can count on all capts, intentionally because my builds can take it. it enables the glass cannons to only worry about ag from a single target at most. and cannons aren't the be all/end all if not used within 5km of the target.
comes down to the player (doesn't it always?) you can find builds here and elsewhere for any class of ship...good builds. if you can't formulate strategy, plan effectively, use the builds strengths while covering it's weaknesses, no matter what you fly you'll suck. while this game isn't rocket science...it isn't go in all weapons blazing ftw either.
Yes you can use eject warp plasma and aceton beam, i never said you couldn;t, but you don't have the quick response to do it right this second, and you end up having to face your bow at somone/thing which is a major dps loss. Are they wort using, Yes. But they do not remotly copmpare to things like APO3 or Grav Well3. Both are perpetually useful and both are simple easy to use s part and parcel of normal oporations. To use warp plasma or aceton beam you have to STOP normal oporations and they are not avalibile in an on demand fashion which drasticlly nerfs their utility and hence power.
Given what i have to give up in beam DPS and what i have to do in terms of forward planning and effort to get use out of them i'd expect a LOT more power from those abilities for them to be consider steller commander abilities, (Like several Tac and Sci abilities are). They're average atm, nothing more. They just happen to bethe best of a bad bunch as well.
I'm also not arguing we can't grab aggro and tank like a maniack. I'm telling you that in my experiance, (everything pre-elite), it simply isn;t needed. I can tank just fine in my escort with most things, so as long as i don't have temate letting everything shoot at me, (rather than splitting it amongst us), i'm just fine. My science ship appreciates a helpful cruiser more as there are qite a few things i have poor DPS against so it's handy to have somthing to drag those off me. but even there a good escor can do the exact same thing.
Now like i said earlier, i'm sure in elite a cruiser is more useful. But that dosen;t change the facvt tha 5 cruiser bring markedly less DPS whilst wasting all that tanking and healing ability as only 1 or 2 of them really needs it. The rest are just deadweight. escorts on the otherhand might suffer from takign a lot of damage, but they have so much DPS they can just power through on that. More than 1 or 2 cruisers is a disadvantage. More than a couple of escorts isnlt and this needs adressing.