This is from the open beta. Things will certainely change from that time. I did not author this post.
I will not be maintaining this thread at this time because I may not have the time to do so. Reposting it in response to people who want to so called "fix" the Escort class and also give some ideas of how to setup and fly this class of ship.
I also haven't had a chance to fly Escort in PvP, but I will be doing so eventually.
Originally Posted by ShadowDrakken
First, let me say, I really enjoyed flying Closed Beta, and this information is based on my experiences therein. Hopefully this information will continue to be true as we move through Open Beta and into Release, but given the amount of problems people have been having with Escorts, chances are things will change.
Purpose of this thread:
I want to offer some play suggestions for flying Escort class ships. My experience is playing as an Engineer, so your mileage may vary. Anyone is free to comment their experiences, share what worked well for them, and what didn't work well.
Please do not be disparaging towards one another, this is intended to be a helpful thread, not a flame war or troll session.
Now, on to the show!
As many Escort fliers know, the 8a.1 patch rebalanced Escorts pretty severely. Some may argue that they're broken, and at first I would have agreed. After changing my playstyle however, I found that they were still viable, although they were certainly suffering slightly compared to the other ships.
I am aware that they rolled back to 8a.0, however that was a temporary rollback, and 8a.x should have the 8a.1 changes.
What I did:
First thing I did, was change my energy settings. I had been flying the default Attack and Defense settings. These are basically useless with the rebalance; the attack setting leaves you unable to take a single torpedo, and the defense setting drops your damage down to nothing.
The second thing I did was change how I thought about my ship equipment.
The last thing I did, was change my attack patterns. Previously, I treated the Escort as a dog fighter. I would drop down to about half speed and just follow my target from behind (where they have the least weaponry) and blast away till they blew up. Doesn't work anymore.
The new settings I use:
90 (100) Weapons
60 (62) Shields
25 (32) Engines
25 (32) Auxiliary
The number in parenthesis is the final value I had after skills and equipment
This let me attack at nearly full damage, while giving me JUST enough extra shields to stay alive. Along with ship equipment changes, and tactics changes, this gave me decent survivability.
The new gear I used:
Ok, I admit, I'm one of those people who thinks like a tank with a railgun attached, so my first instinct was to shove the biggest shields I could on my ship, and the biggest weapons I could. The weapons were mostly fine, except that canons eat the heck out of your weapon energy until about midway through your rank, where they finally become manageable.
First, I remedied the weapon problem (and consequently improved my DPS) by using a forward canon, a forward bank, a forward torpedo, and rear arrays and torpedoes. Later, as my weapon energy related skills improved, I was able to replace the bank with a second canon. This config gives you massive forward damage, and enough rear firepower to keep their shields down while you come about. It also gives you the nice rear torps for fly away kills.
The second change I made was my engines. I stopped even looking at the impulse modifier and looked ONLY at my speed and turn radius modifiers. Turn radius is especially important for an Escort, and allowed me to sweep enemies repeatedly in the time it took them just to come about.
Because Escorts have very little Hull and very little Crew to do repairs, I found that the Engineerin Consoles for resistance and crew weren't much help at all, so I switched to Hull Repairing Engineering consoles. They helped a ton in repairing damage anytime my shields were in place.
The last gear change I made was my shields. I stopped looking at the shield output, and instead focused on the shield regen. By maxing shield regen, along with assigning Rebalance Shield to the 0 key on the shortcut tray, and my new tactics, I was now able to maintain nearly full shields through most encounters. This included 1-on-1 Battleships and Flagships, as well as 3-on-1 Escorts and Cruisers of 0 to +2 levels (depending on their specific gear). I still had trouble with soloing larger groups, but that's the pains of a "glass canon" vehicle.
The new tactics I use:
It went against my instincts, but I stopped using dog fighting tactics and switched to hit and run tactics. I flew in at top speed, sometimes even flying in at full impulse, and launched everything I had at the enemy. Along with a preemptive Tachyon Beam, this almost always broke their shields.
I immediately starting maintaining my Rebalance Shields, if it stopped, I hit my hotkey again (you MUST NOT stop Rebalancing for an Escort using these tactics). Why did this work? Because STO does not increase shield regen on damaged sides just because you have undamaged sides.The regen rate is flat, by using Rebalance, you're able to inject that spare regen directly into the weak sides and let your regen get all 4 sides at once. This is also why the high regen shields work MUCH better than the high capacity shields.
I use Rotate Shield Frequency when I was up against multiple targets or large targets, this gives a very nice resistance buff so your shields last longer. You may not have this skill depending on your preferences, but there's other alternatives out there, including just dealing more damage.
The end result of these changes left me with a very playable Escort (if a bit weak due to a few possible bugs Cryptic is looking into)
I hope this helps previous Escort fliers who felt like they were handed a useless ship, and hope it helps new players enjoy Escorts a bit more