Get the tac. version.I play Sci and it does very well and the 4 Tac consoles will help with DPS which is what everything is about now anyway,All 3 versions have sub. targeting so its about console layout for which ship you choose.
Of the three special consoles, I've found the most useful to be the fermion console that provides heals for you and all your surrounding allies, followed by the one that debuffs tractor beams. The deflector phaser is neat looking, but I haven't really noticed that it's that much more effective than your standard beam arrays. I can't remember which console came with which version, but the fermion sounds like a sci ability and the tractor debuff an eng ability. Too lazy to look it up right now.
I fly the engineering biased Vesta with my tac toon.
As far as builds, I splurged for my main toon and outfitted him with 4 anti-proton beam arrays (2 fore and 2 aft) and high level quantum torpedoes (one fore, one aft). The AP beams were a little over 1 million EC on the exchange. I didn't get the mk XII purples or anything like that because they just weren't worth it to me for the incremental improvements. I got the AP just because they looked and sounded cool and I hadn't tried them on any builds yet. I had tetryons at first and they seemed to do just as well.
I slotted 1 mk xii RCS accelerator and 2 mk xii neutronium alloys for the eng consoles to get the hull and turn rate up and dumped all three special consoles in the science slots with I think an inertial dampener in the fourth sci slot. I loaded up the tac console slots with AP boosters.
I don't PVP, so I wasn't concerned with absolute max DPS, just wanted something fun to fly that could hold its own in red alerts and whatnot. I've managed to recover from 3% hull a couple of times in Red Alerts, but I still find the survivability a little lacking, but it's still really good for a part sci ship. The runabouts launch a little too slowly for me, but I just deal with it.
Porthos is not amused.
Last edited by collegepark2151; 11-21-2012 at 04:39 AM.
I've got an Engineering main, and went ahead and bought the Science Vesta (Surveillance Explorer).
Like you, I had a budget and I opted for the ship that would bring me a different experience from my usual routine of flying a cannon escort. While the whole Vesta line in general fits that description, the Science Vesta (Vesta-class) has the most useful console, especially since I wanted to try out support/healing-focused builds. Popping that Fermion ability has saved my entire fleet more than once during a pitched No Win Scenario or Starbase Defense.
Sure, you won't get as much damage out of the lower number of Tactical consoles on the Sci-Vesta, but the extra science consoles can boost your exotic abilities or enable you to shield-tank even more effectively. And again, that Fermion console's a really good panic button.
By comparison the Aventine's Quantum Phaser is quite weak unless you've got good points packed into your Particle Gen skill and the Rademaker's Kinetic Reflect is too situational for my taste.
As for builds, I've opted to take more advantage of a "science vessel"-style build and dropped the Auxiliary Cannons for a standard Beam Array/Beam Bank setup, with mines in the back and a torpedo in the front. Again, this is because I wanted a ship that didn't play the same as a cannon escort (though the Vesta can do that too if I want it to).
As for looks, I have to admit I like the look of the Rademaker more. It has a cooler hull (forcefield-protected flight deck!) and nacelles, and the speed of the Vesta's turn rate makes her really elongated shape look a little bit strange when doing broadside beam-attacks.