when OB ended, i had some time to spare and think ahead of what to play during head start. Please note, that my information about ingame mechanics is based on assumptions, forum posts and cryptic's bad ingame manual. So everything will most likely fall apart when the truth comes out someday.
Playstyle: I want to be the classic tank. I will be the first in battle and take the most damage. While the escort dish it out, i want to sit in my cruiser and take the beating for them. Yes, i do know that there seems to be an imbalance that the escort get to take the cool loot away from me, but i could not care less about that.
To achieve this, i will not drop full impulse at 15km and drift into maximum weapons range (10km). I rather will drop at something like 7-8km and try to drift into the middle of the fray. That should allow the escort to drop from full impulse much later and get closer to the cannons effective weapons range (closer than 5km). I know that this isn't effective during episodic content but only PVE Fleet Actions and hopefully Endgame Raids/Events. Probably that's not very useful in PVP either, but I'm not that type of guy.
Design Goal: Naturally this is achieved by selecting BO Powers like the Emergency Power to Shields (EPtS) and Engineering Team set of Powers. As it seems that anybody is taking these, i think that cryptic will nerf them soon. But i do want to focus more on the Powerlevel of the ship (hence the title). More Power to distribute between shields, weapons and auxiliary resulting in higher survivability.
Traits: When it comes to selecting traits i'm all going for the space orientated ones. On ground missions i can rely on my BO Powers, Kits and other gear. Surely i will stay behind on the ground, but eventually i should be able to slowly grind through the mobs.
Picking this as the first and most important trait, should surprise some people. Directly it doesnt have anything to do with the ships powerlevel. But it improves your engineering stat which is the base ability for 16 Skills. And i plan to take 11 of these skills during my career, from which 5 are dealing with the powerlevel of your ship.
After OB ended, the Andorians seem not to be "efficient" anymore. So i had to build a custom "Alien" race made to look like Andorian. This trait won't do any good to you until you hit rank Commander. It just give a bonus to the four efficiency skills available, which should give a power bonus to their respective fields (weapons, shields, engines, auxiliary).
3. Warp Theorist
Many people would think this to be the first choice when it comes to increasing powerlevel. I simply put this on 3rd place as it just influences a single skill. Another reason to put this on 3rd, is that higher rank skills are promised to give a bigger bonus than this lowly Lt. Skill. During OB it also didnt do anything before you actually put points into Star Ship Warp Core Training.
Not much to say about that one, except that i had to choose this one because of the "Andorian Incident" described above. I just could have slaped some Ground Trait in, but it wanted to stick with the space tank theme.
Skills: When spending points in Ghley's Character Generator (thx, btw) i found that Lt. and Lt. Cmdr ranks are quite easy to spend with lots of left over points. The most important rank was the Cmdr and i found myself often enough spending from the Captain pool here too (which is really bad, see below). I took the respective cruiser skills (Cruiser Captain, Heavy Cruiser Captain, ...) of each rank. I do know that i will burn a lot of skill points this way, which are useless later on. But i do think these are needed in a cruiser as they are improving the hull (good for a tank) and maneuverability (which cruisers suck at). As you are going to stay in each cruiser for quite some time, i think that you cannot skip these. Maybe you can respec these later on, for something useful.
1. Lt. Rank
You can easily take all space related skills here. There are even enough points, to almost max out two ground skills.
2. Lt. Cmdr Rank
I took Beam Weapons, which is a no brainer for cruisers. Torpedo Weapons over Mines is another matter though. I will be in the middle of combat and spamming mines sound like a good idea at first. But i don't want to obscure sight for the escorts. And of course i want to pick my target and not deal random damage left and right. Starship Shield/Weapon Maintenance because they support both their respective EPtS/EPtW. Starship Emitters because of Polarize Hull (giving resistance bonus to self) and Tractor Beam (to hold anything more maneuverable than me. Which is basically anything else).
3. Cmdr. Rank
Starship Phaser Weapons don't seem like a good idea with more important skills in that rank. But i wanted to stay more canon and i fear later weapons skill are to expensive. The four Efficiency Skill are required to finally receive another boost to your power level.
4. Captain Rank
I'm not happy with Transphasic Projectiles and would rather change that to the lower ranking Photon Torpedoes. But doing that would not count towards your promotion to Admiral, which because of the present skill Cap (60700) would take away points from the Admiral rank. Starship Shield Performance helps recovering and keeping shields, while Starship Subsystem Repair is patching your hull back up. Starship Deflector Field is something picked out of curiosity. I don't think that Transfer Shield Strength will be worth it nor will i have the time to use it. Maybe I'll will switch that to Starship Hazard System to improve the Polarize Hull skill.
5. Admiral Rank
On this rank there isn't much to spend at. I put everything into Starship Hull Repair for both repair Power attached to this. As i overspend 200 Points in Lt. Cmndr i could not get to 7, but rather had to spend these leftovers on Maintenance Training from Lt. rank.
Equipment: From the skill selection it is clear, that this thing will feature a lot of Phaser Beam Weapons (front and back). As i will have some Aux Power available, turning should be possible to some extent while the basic tractor beam will slow the enemy. So i will go with a mix of Dual Phaser Beam Banks and the normal Single Phaser Beam Banks. This gives a nice punch in 90 degrees front/back, but also a 360 coverage from the single Phaser Beam. Torpedo slot is needed for soloing and i don't think that even the highest powerlevel is going to sustain a full beam setup at admiral rank.
For Engineering Consoles i will resist the temptation in picking the +x to one Power Level. Even if this is against the intended build. I, like everyone else i guess, will stick to the EPS Consoles. Dropping from impulse much later than anyone else, this is needed getting the power level to normal really fast. Also they are needed to support all the Beam Weapons.
BO Powers:This isn't fully thought of yet, the skill selection is narrowing this of course. Also any survivability Power is going to be taken. I.e. EPtS, Engineering Team. But i tend to put in an EPtW for the rare occasion that i will go broadsiding.
PS: I'm not a native speaker. So for added fun you should read that aloud in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation.
If you're looking to tank damage, you might want to look into Science BO skills that use the Hazard Emitter skill. The generally have healing/damage resistance/overall tankyness aspects to them. Which would mean you may want to figure out how to get points into Hazard Emitters.
Seems entirely DPS based... with a teensy bit of proximity tossed in.
Tactic... tanks into the fold first... alpha strike the escorts's planned first target, then cycle through all enemies with damage while escorts focus on one at a time.
If this is correct, then escorts will pull aggro pretty quickly. Which means, regardless of the enounter (from solo, to group, to fleet / raid level content), all mobs dps will have to be gimped enough so that escorts can tank them one-on-one. That makes me a bit worried that the high level group / raid content will either by really easy or rediculously hard. Hopefully i'm wrong.
So far as healing type skills are concerned, don't overlook Science Team. At Ensign level this outstrips Emergency Power to Shields in healing quantity to shields, although EPS does have that nice bonus to shield power. Science Team also has the side effect of being good against Viral Matrix, although I'm not too sure how the ranks compare...
Personally I use both on my cruiser. Gets me through some very tough fights, and at LCdr I'm not really missing Tachyon at all...
Seems there is a new sto-builder available. It allows to fiddle more with the BO Powers. I'll take a look into various suggestions made here. At first i'm tempted with a low fire at will. Even as useless as it was in OB, it should to the trick to get initial attention. Maybe Eject Warp Plasma is worth trying out. But Feedback Pulse is something for Admiral rank i guess.
With the mines vs torpedo issue i think i will stick to this. Simply because you have more control over it.
Getting aggro shouldn't be the main problem. Surely keeping it will be. But if the ecsorts are focussing on only one target, it should go down before it can switch targets. If not, than they are not doing their part of the job very well.
I'll try to update this as my toon (Vhran) progresses. But as i don't get much playtime atm, it will take time. Just hit Lt. Cmdr. before the the server crashed.