I've been an engineer in a cruiser ever since the game has been pre-free to play. Although I have nothing to complain about, I've found that suddenly the fleet nebula has caught my eye, but I found myself in a bewilderment.
There is no decent review for that ship, or any other fleet ships for that matter. While I found one, that one factors in the cost of that ship too much and thus that user has underscored those ships and only compared them to their predecessors.
Is there anywhere a decent review for those fleet ships that I can find (with emphasis on the Fleet Advanced Research Vessel Retrofit)?
I just found this post as someone who has this ship thought I would post my opinion of the ship. Before the Vesta was released this ship had the most flexible Bridge Officer layout of any science class ship with the universal lieutenant slot. This ship has the highest hull strength, crew count, and shield modifier of any science class ship and with 4 engineering and science console slots and can be configured to tank quite well or at least take a good beating. The downside for PVP players? maybe the turn rate which is significantly less than any other science ship but which is still well above a cruiser class ship. Given that science ships generally run beam arrays this is not necessarily a big deal for general play, fleet actions, or special task force missions. In PVP play this may prove to be problematic for bringing certain abilities to bear quickly on a target such as tachyon beam or sub-nucleonic beam. However, if you happened to have purchased the Advance Research Vessel Retrofit which has the tachyon detection grid console not only do you get the fleet version ship at a discounted price but you can equip this console on it. This would allow you and any teammates close enough to see cloaked ships for a period of time and target them. This can be quite useful in the right conditions and may potentially provide an edge in PVP combat.
This is ship with its console slots and its bridge officer layout out of a commander science and lieutenant commander engineer is best served as running as a pure science ship or potentially a support healing ship. This ship will not be a heavy damage inflicting ship that other science ships can be, so if that is what you are looking for this is not the ship for you. As you stated you were and engineer I can see this potentially being a good ship for you as your abilities would complement the ship well in the roll of support/healing or causing enemy chaos in PVP, or doing crowd control and de-buffing in general play. This ship is probably the best hybrid of a cruiser and science ship in game currently.
Now the real question is; ?Is it worth it?? If you have already purchased the Retrofit version which will give the fleet version discount and you are comfortable playing the type of roll described above then absolutely. If you are looking to buy this stand alone at a cost of 4 ship modules (2000 zen) then it suddenly becomes very debatable. I think at this point that one of the Vesta ships (at 2500 zen each) would be a better option if you are leaning heavy on the science side of things. They have a more configurable bridge officer layout, are more maneuverable, and depending on the version you purchase can either dish significantly more damage or take nearly as much of beating. If you are leaning more on the cruiser side of thing then the Odyssey which has more hull and crew, very configurable bridge officer layout and can deal more damage would be a better option.
Not sure if that is the type of review you were looking for, but hopefully you or anyone else will find it helpful. Inevitably any ship I have used has been very playable as long as you understand how to use it based on its strengths and weaknesses.
The Nebula is one of the most well rounded ships in the game, while the Vesta has a bit more dedicated 'flexibility'(more of a two-class ship instead of covering all three at once). Meanwhile, the Ambassador is the cruiser side of the same coin as the Nebula - they're both great all-purpose support ships.
Most people tend to favor the Vesta now because it has great offensive options, and much of the game is a dps race. That said, it does have a glass hull.
Conversely the Fleet Nebula has stupidly powerful shields and a beefy hull to go along with it. It can handle a ton of punishment and still keep everyone going.
It does have potential as a torpedo ship(allowing you to put all power into aux and shields), but the Vesta does far outclass it at the role, offensively(there are very few ships that can match the Vesta as a torpedo platform).
I have both of these ships, and would like to use the Fleet Advanced Reasarch Vessel Retro a lot more. But sadly I find the vesta to be the more efficent ship.
The question you have to ask yourself when choosing between science ships is; 'What do I want to do.' The cool downs on most science skills are long, and your deflector can only buff so many differant science skills at once so you usualy want to double up abilities rather then fielding a veriety.
People often steriotype science ships as healers and both the vesta and ARVR are good at this, but the truth is that a cruser with a Lt.C science station is better then any science ship at this.
So science ships have two roles they can fill better then other craft, holding, pushing and grouping things and debuffing things. Their debuffs mostly suffer from extreemly long cool downs so the usefullness of these in PVE (where enemies should be poping a lot more quickly then your cooldowns) is limited.
That leaves us with the PVE role of... well gravity well and tractor repulsors realy. Repulsors are fantastic when used correctly to save an optional from a bad pug, but in a good group they are generaly unnecisery and will often get you yelled at.
Gravity well is fantastic for any groups with AOE damage, which is most. Pull ships into one place, scatter volley the heck out of them, and let the exploding warp cores of the weeker ones help take out the bigger ones.
So for this reason the vesta wins the PVE comparison. While the ARVR can pack just as much gravity well, it is much better at single target DPS then AOE. cirtainly you can get creative with single cannons, mines or BFAW, but the vesta's heavy cannons are simply more efficent.
Now PVP is a differant story. The ARVR can suprise people there. But it wouldnt be much of a suprise if it were plasterd all over the forum.
If you're into the design (as I am), it can definitely be made to work. I built my engineering captain knowing from the beginning I wanted him in this ship at the end. I run it in a shield tank/power drain setup with the universal slot given to a third science officer. It can deal what I think is reasonable damage with 1 torpedo up front and the other 5 slots filled with beam arrays.
That said, I can't really give you a good idea of how it might compare to other ships. Only that I enjoy flying mine.
__________________ Ann Manistee Traverse - Human Science ~~ Oken Miquat - Saurian Tactical
Exin Jor - Joined Trill Engineer ~~ Vartox - Romulan Science
Dn'Dok, son of Ladok - Klingon/Romulan Engineer ~~ Mosa M'ren-faa - Ferasan Tactical
Krushan Twinn - Orion Science
As a dedicated Sci Officer who still flies the Fleet Nebula, I will say that this thing is a wonderful Beast of Burden. She has amazing Shields, a Hull that is comparable to a decent-sized Cruiser, and her turn radius is better than a Cruiser. All in all if you're looking for an astounding Sci-Tank vessel, the Fleet Nebula is the way to go.
Concerning abilities taking too long to cool down - There are TONS of Duty Officers that reduce your Science Ability cooldowns, or buff other abilities. At my current rate it's pretty rare for me to NOT have at least 2-3 Gravity Wells going at once, with Viral Matrix pumping out, Subsystem Targetting eating weapon power, Sensor Scans debuffing AND Tractor Beams. All the while every ability I use reduces Photonic Fleet's Cooldown by 20 seconds with 10-second intervals.
So all-in-all it's all about preference. If you want a more science-y Glass Cannon DPS build, do a Vesta. If you want a versatile, Troll-tacular Science Boat that may not do AS MUCH on the damage scale, but will certainly cause a lot of fuss for the opposing side, AND take a wicked bashing, then go Nebula.