For those less versed in Star Trek, the "Advanced Research Vessel" is a Nebula-class ship. I could point out that in Trek lore, the Nebula is considered to be in the same weight and armament class as the Galaxy, which was the largest and most powerful ship the Federation had constructed to date... But since the Galaxy is also not done justice in STO, that's probably not a good comparison. I could also give a point by point breakdown of its stats, but here's a much more effective way to look at the situation:
Take a cruiser. Remove 25% of the firepower. Remove 25% of the hull durability. Change the inarguably useful engineer Commander to a questionable science Commander. And then, to make it fair and reasonable, give it sensor analysis: An ability that requires a full minute of engaging the same target to reach its full potential. And even then all it's doing is making up for your missing weapons. And increase the turn rate a bit, because this is a ship that can mount dual heavy cannons and needs to maintain a narrow firing arc at short range. (That was sarcasm)
Or, look at the Fleet Corsair from the KDF side. It's another science/engineering hybrid so it arguably has the same general role. Corsair has slightly different seating and no useless sensor analysis... but it has 4/4 weapons so basically the buff from sensor analysis is active all the time without having to flail at a target for a minute first. Plus it has a flight deck for huge gains in firepower, support, or debuff potential.
Basically, why is the Nebula all costs and downsides. What exactly is it buying by giving up so much? As far as I can tell: Nothing.
And I could point out this is (EDITED: )nonsense
Galaxy 4,500,000 tons. 12 Phaser Banks 3 Torpedo Launchers (11 Phaser Banks, 2 Torpedo Launchers in connected mode)
That's less than half the Phaser firepower of the Galaxy and less mass than the Ambassador class (3,7 million tons).
In terms of gameplay I can't find anything wrong with the Nebula.
She has and incredaubly strong hull combined with good shields.
The BOFF seating is fine and the universal Lt permits the player to make her either a good supporter or a good firing platform depending on your playstlye.
It's a wonderful allround science ship that simply refuses to die.
So far a lot of people saying nothing. If you really think the Nebula is okay and that I'm being subjectively emotional, then stop being subjectively emotional and explain what the Nebula does better than other ships.
The Nebula is one of the more versatile ships, it's a Sci ship that can act very much like a Cruiser and can perform well despite it's lack of 8 weapons.
The only flaw I can see with it is I'd love to see it with the Venture skin on.
If this ship is not for you than I suggest you fly something else rather than complain. Let's be honest everybody knows the Galaxy R could be greatly improved from absolute worst possible cruiser to quite usable by the inclusion of a Universal Ensign. Much like they did for the Fleet Negh'var. And yet years later this flawed design has been left unchanged despite the many campaigns as such.
I was once DKnight1000, apparently I had taken my own name so now I'm DKnight0001. If I ask you a question it is not an insult but a genuine attempt to understand why. When I insult you I won't be discreet about it, I will be precise and to the point stupid.
Yeah nothing wrong with the nebula specifically, a fleetmate used to run one as a torpboat with Aux2BAtt and whatever CC/offensive sci powers he could get his hands on(batteries work great when you only need a gravwell once) his biggest complaints were always the science powers themselves (such as the PSW nerf) and the lack of a venture skin
Usually firepower wise he was chasing after our lower range escorts in the 5kdps region especially after he got his hands on a romulan plasma torp(which he liked better than the omega)
beside the fact i switched to a vest for hangar bay and elite scorpion, i still prefer my nebula (Fleet Advanced Research Vessel Retrofit) as a sci cruiser hybrid i can think of better, the lt uni allows a lot to change, another tac if i need alternate torp/beam skills, another sci if i need more powers (like i keep a boff with PH and ST for against breen daily) or using another eng for more heals/durability. the lt. cmdr eng slot is very usefull on any (ofc non-cruiser) ship, the only thing with the nebula is that it dont have a tac variant, not to change the actual ship but having another fleet version (if nothing else then just to try out) with 3tac4sci3eng console and merging the ensign sci into a lt cmdr tac station (nebula with apo1 woot), but as a hip that can acces up to 4 tac stations and have inbuilt 4 tac skills, with great hull and high shield modifier, if u not playing for the sole purpose of pew pew, this ship is an awsome sci/tank/healer/support, for another change i'd like to see one day on this ship is a "micro" hangar bay with a few SRU units even if it 1 wing only
The nebula with its consoles is probably the best ship to turn into a sensor boat. A fleetmate has a build that can see almost all cloaked ships 20-30 kms away with tachyon detection grid and sensor scan. He then proceeds to viral or tractor beam, or any other decloaking science power and then lets the rest of the team finish the job
Harden up Princess
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Hi, I've played Nebula for a while and consider it my favorite ship. I guess I'll chime in on this. Right now I have the fleet Nebula variant and the ship loadout and BoFF layout are in the links below. I play PvE so undoubtedly the PvPers will scoff at this build. I know guys, but I don't PvP. I continually tinker and futz around with the build which is part of the draw for me to this ship.
I know of course that with only three fore-aft weapons and the fact that it's a SCI boat the Neb probably won't be maxing out the DPS charts anytime soon so I've attempted to try to maximize my DPS capabilities with consoles that provides +Accuracy and the built-in bonuses with the Spiral Waves. My BoFF skills also provide a goodly number of heals for my teammates or myself if I somehow grab aggro. There are rare occasions -- usually on fleet mark runs -- where I will be the top on the parse but that's so rare I consider it a humorous anomaly.
The OP is correct in stating that the hull isn't as big as a cruiser, nor do I think it should be. This build puts the hull around 48K and shields around 10k though so I think that's proven to be more than enough and capable of surviving most STFs unless I get hit with a one-shot kill. If I somehow draw aggro the hull and my heals seem to handle it well enough.
The Commander SCI slot is immensely useful as you can use Gravity Well 3 in there. A well timed grav well along with a good torp spread from myself or teammates can do considerable burst damage and effective crowd control. If there's an alert teammate in a high DPS build ship, setting up the targets like this for them is very useful.
The biggest draw for me on this ship is the versatility. I've run multiple different BoFF layouts and ship loadouts and most of them prove more than enough for most needs or at least entertain me when I want to try something different. Since I often don't know what type of teammates I might have, I keep some consoles or items in inventory to change the ship config on the fly to meet the needs of the group.
I won't lie though all that tinkering and tweaking took a long time as I needed to gather either the EC, credits, marks, or dilithium for all the components. But since this is an MMO what's the hurry?
My biggest complaint about the Neb is that the specialized console (Tachyon grid) which comes with the ship is effectively useless in PvE. If it were to be provided with some team buff to enhance teammates targeting accuracy or damage output for a short period of time it'd be worth the slot. As it is now that console collects dust in the bank.