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At first glance, the JHDC looks to be just straight-up BETTER than the Atrox in every way (unless you value the higher Sci BO seats over Tactical ones). Is this true? Is there a way to make the Atrox perform better than or at least on-par with the Dreadnought?
Well, right now I run my JHDC with two wings of Elite Scorpion Fighters, three DHCs and a DBB up front (for the subsystem targeting), with two turrets and the kinetic cutting beam in back. It certainly does it's job in STFs. (note, I don't PvP and likely never will)
Way back when I flew my Atrox, I ran 6 beam arrays, but that was before reputation, so I ran one wing of Adv Peregrines and one wing of Adv Stalkers. I was extremely tanky, able to survive things I really shouldn't have.
The JHDC is definitely the better carrier. You can't make the Atrox competitive.
The JHDC has more than 10% more hull and the shield modifier is only 0.05 lower. It has another forward weapon, more console slots (9 v 10), a better turn rating (5 v 6), and better total power bonuses (+10 weps and +10 aux v +5 shields and +10 aux).
I guess what I'd say is this: what you do get from the Atrox is two Lt Cmdr bridge officer slots as opposed to Lt Cmdr., Lt., and Ens. But I can't see how it's worth it in the slightest.
Plus, that JHDC Lt. is universal... no.
The Atrox isn't competitive. At all. Nor is it supposed to be, really.
The Dread is an attack carrier designed to lay down suppression(a similar role to the Bortas, really, but with fighters).
The Atrox is a support carrier designed to lockdown hostiles while keeping friendlies alive.
They both have their uses, but much of the game is a dps race.
This is really the problem. They have different roles, but if in the game tanks and healers are not needed (except 1 or 2 cases), the atrox has no way to get really useful. It's a very beautiful ship, and it's a shame that the atrox, among with many other ships aren't really needed. When no elite STF nor other end-game content could be done with a full escort team, then the cruisers, sci, and other defensive oriented ships would be running again in mass, but it's not expected that cryptic make something like that to recover the true essence of Star Trek.