Science Vessel Evolution – Heidy’s Inquest

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Above: Heidy’s ship, NCC-92971 U.S.S. Inquest, Polaris-Class Fleet Recon Science Vessel (T5U). Parked in the Solanae Sphere, Undine Battlezone.

Yes, this is my main Fed toon Heidy von Bach’s ship. With all the new T6 ships out there now, she may be a bit outdated but I’m still not ready to trade her in. I don’t know, call me sentimental? Or stubborn. 😉 This is the first endgame ship of any of my toons, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do something interesting with an old ship.

This past weekend, I took a good hard look at Heidy’s setup and remembered that when Fungi introduced me to STO over a year ago, I went in blindly and had no idea what was going on. Throughout Heidy’s leveling process she flew cruisers and played a tank-healer role, and for endgame I was set on her playing that same tank-healer role (focus on Science heals, of course). As most STO players can tell you, unlike most MMOs, dedicated healers are somewhat useless. So for the last year I’ve been flying the USS Inquest as a second-rate cruiser, with a couple of Science tricks thrown in just to be different.

Not surprisingly, her performance has been subpar and never my go-to toon for STFs. No, that’s much less than ideal. Time for a major revamp.

(1) Reputation Gear:

iconianconsoleAfter reading one of the recent reviews done by the good Admiral, I decided to get the Iconian Resistance Rep Console to replace Heidy’s old Romulan Rep Console (Zero Point) and see how it does. Of course, without the Zero Point Console, Heidy is no longer tied to the Romulan Hyper-Plasma Torpedo so I went ahead and got her the Iconian Resistance Radiant Torpedo for the set bonus too. The Romulan Hyper-Plasma Torpedo is hard-hitting, generates plasma fire, but it flies very, very slow. To compensate, Heidy generally launches those torps at close range so they actually get to hit their targets, but more often than not gets her own ship burning as a result.

Well, no more of that.

(2) Bridge Officer Skills:

The constant Plasma burns necessitate Heidy to run two copies of Hazard Emitters. With a different torpedo, she can now get by with just one copy of HE. From there I retrained Heidy’s science Boffs, and stripped down the Science Heal skills down to just two: HE and Transfer Shield Strength. Incidentally the Iconian Resistance Console also grants +20% to both shield and hull heals, and the Advanced Radiant Quantum Torpedo has a chance to grant temporary hull points, both of which help offset the reduction in Science heal skills.

The remaining five skills are now populated with other stuff: Tyken’s Rift, Tachyon Beam, Energy Siphon, Gravity Well and Tractor Beam Repulsors. The first three are obviously drainers, especially combined with Sensor Scans; the latter two… well, that leads to the next change.

(3) Duty Officers (Space Tasks)

I am testing out a combo with the infamous Graga Mal Doff, who turns the Repulsors from pushing to pulling. It seems like dragging enemy ships around a Gravity Well causes a lot of kinetic damage, but I will have to test it out more to be sure how effective this is. I really hope this functions well because GOSH, that Doff is expensive (currently at 25-30M EC)!

Another Doff I added to the Space Task list is a Gravimetric Scientist, who has a chance to generate a second Gravity Well every time.

(4) Other Gear & Power Settings

2015-06-14_00002In addition to replacing the Romulan Zero Point Console with the Iconian Resistance Console, I also got a few new Fleet Science Consoles that boost Particle Generation stats, as well as a new Fleet Elite Warp Core that does the same. And since so many new abilities run off Auxiliary power, this is the first time I’ve changed the default power settings so that Aux is at max, not Weapons. I found that there is some wonky math going on there, because after I altered the power settings, I noticed the DPS numbers for her beam arrays actually increased slightly.

(5) Traits

Last but not least are the Traits: I used to slot traits that are survivability/tanking-focused such as increased Hull and increased Shield HP, but I have swapped those out for traits that specifically benefit Science attacks (+Exotic Damage, increase Particle Gen). There are also two Space Traits that improve ship performance based on Aux levels; with Aux level set to maximum, taking those two traits are really beneficial.

Quick note on those two traits though: Don’t take those traits if you are running any kind of build that uses Aux-to-Whatever skills (such as the APB builds). Every time those skills are used the Aux power is drained, and all the benefits generated by those traits go to zero,

(6) Other Changes

I did one last change after testing the new setup in the Undine Battlezone: the front-loading torpedoes now go to the rear arc. I am kinda finding that (a) launching torpedoes on the initial approach to a fully-shielded enemy isn’t very useful; having three beam weapons up front combined with Science-y shield-stripping might be better, and (b) with the Graga Mal Special the Inquest is dragging enemies around behind her. The interesting thing there is that the dragged enemies aren’t just in her rear arc; when the ship turns the trailing victims “slide” a bit, giving her opportunities to broadside them too.

I’m not sure this is a good idea yet, but I want to give it a try. I am so accustomed to launching torps in my forward arc that this might take a bit of getting used to.

2015-06-14_00006Also unrelated to anything, here’s Heidy doing her best Tomb Raider impression. 😉

I’ll be flying various missions this week to see if this is a good change, and further tweak things as I find them. Hopefully this will turn the Inquest into one of my go-to ships!

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