One of the new things that came with the Agents of Yesterday expansion is a brand new Science-based Captain Specialization option: Temporal Operative. This one thing has the unique distinction of fundamentally affecting my play-style for one specific toon, hence I am going to discuss this in a standalone post.
The affected toon is, naturally, my main girl Heidy. She is still my one and only Science toon, and built to be Science-focused. While the new Temporal Operative Spec (like the other Spec trees) can be used by any captain, it has powers very specifically designed to affect Science-based abilities. Some of these passive powers have riled up a lot of players and there’s a bit of a debate going on, but I don’t pretend I completely understand the specifics to chime in. Still, I’ll touch upon those points when I get to them.
So right off the bat, this is the base descriptor for the Spec:
Scaling Passive – As long as you have the Temporal Operative Specialization active, you will gain:
- +5-50 Exotic Particle Generator Skill and Kit Performance Skill
- This bonus starts at +5 once you have a single ability purchased and the Specialization is active. It scales up by +1.5 with each ability purchased, up to a total of +50 once the Specialization is complete.
Wow. This is a no-brainer for an PartGen/Exotic-Build toon. At the full +50 PartGen this is no small benefit!
Starship Trait –Non-Linear Progression
An unconventional tactic, to say the least! Engaging your ship in Reverse will offer benefits as you slowly slide backwards in time at a very measured pace. Removes the Power Drain penalty from moving in Reverse After traveling in Reverse for 5 sec: Restore a small amount of Hull and Shields every sec while remaining in Reverse.
An interesting, but very situational trait. If Heidy were flying a big slow ship like her Jupiter carrier, I may slot in this trait because maneuverability isn’t a main concern; the fact that by default she flies a Pathfinder with rear-firing torps make this trait not particularly useful. The drop in Defense while moving in reverse doesn’t exactly help with weak hulls of most Science ships, and it’s hard to gauge whether “small amount of Hull and Shields every sec” is worthwhile without having something more quantitative. But I may test it out and see if it is beneficial or not.
And then there is a whole shopping list of Spec abilities:
Entropic Rider (Space) Your Energy Weapons gain 2.5% chance of afflicting foes with a Physical DOT (10% chance with Projectiles)
Never say no to free DPS! The interesting thing here is Projectiles have a much higher chance of proccing an effect, so I may have to consider whether it’s worthwhile to switch Heidy’s Quantum Phase Torp to the fore rather than leave it in the back…
Decay Amplification(Ground) +10/20% Damage dealt by all of your activated DOT effects
Free DPS again.
Inevitability(Space + Ground) All Exotic Damage Abilities gain +5/7.5/10% Recharge Speed All Kit Module Abilities gain +10/15/20% Recharge Speed
Excellent news. This ability exemplifies the Science-focus of this Spec, and a fairly significant bonus for a heavy Science build.
Uncertainty(Space + Ground) Activating any Exotic Damage or Kit Module Ability grants you a moderate amount of Temporary Hit Points with a long duration. Can stack up to 10 times.
Same deal as above. Again, for a heavy Science build with lots of Exotic Damage abilities, this helps immensely with survivability, which is generally a concern for flimsy Science ships.
Temporal Rebuke(Ground) 10% chance when struck by a foe within 10m: Foe is teleported 30m and Rooted for 2sec
Decaying Rebuke(Ground) Add a strong Physical DOT effect to foes that are struck by your Temporal Rebuke
This is one of the abilities that is being hotly debated, and I can see why. Do I really want an enemy who shot me to be randomly teleported 30m away? I can see this causing all sorts of grief in story missions, if an enemy gets teleported to behind a closed door or some other unreachable place, thus preventing you from completing the mission. Also in certain STFs when some objectives are timed, you definitely don’t want your targets to suddenly be teleported out of reach.
Anomaly Leash(Space) Your anomalies slowly move toward your current targeted Foe (includes Gravity Well, Tyken’s Rift, Subspace Vortex, and more)
Also being debated, but I think for the most part it should be fine. I am however not sure how this works specifically for Gravity Wells — technically a GW opens right beneath your target and it should be stuck there, so why would the GW be moving at all? I suppose it means the GW will move like a slow guided missile as you change targets? If it’s the latter then using GW as a control device (as opposed to damage-dealing) might get tricky in some situations, such as keeping Nanite probes away from the Transformers in ISA.
Phasic Artillery(Space) Your Mines and Targetable Torpedoes gain a large amount of Temporary Hit Points after launch (approx. 5k at level 60)
I don’t use mines or targetable torps, so this is of no interest to me.
Continuity(Space) Once every 3 min, when reduced below 10% Hull: Teleport 8km backwards, heal a massive amount of hull and shields, and drop all Threat vs. NPCs. However, you suffer a large reduction to outgoing damage for 20sec after.
This here is the most debated ability in the Spec. Everyone seems to have a different concern about this ability; mine is primarily the “Teleport 8km backwards” descriptor. What constitutes backwards? Is that the direction the tail of my ship is currently facing? Heidy is usually circling around, so backwards essentially means “random direction“. She could end up smack in the middle of the enemy fleet, and even with Threat 0 vs NPCs, 20 seconds of “large reduction to outgoing damage” is a scary looooong time.
On the other hand, given the flimsy hulls of most Science Ships, if they ever get brought below 10% Hull, they’re probably going to explode in the next couple of seconds anyway, so maybe a 20-second of reduced damage is an acceptable trade-off for continuous survival.
Heidy had 12 Spec points saved up so she could get most of the first two tiers filled out right off the bat (stupid me, if I had known this was coming out I wouldn’t have dumped 15 Spec points into the Strategist tree. Oh well). I managed to get it all the way up to 18 points over the week, but even without the spec tree fully filled out, I have noticed an improvement in Heidy’s performance: she managed to handily solo Borg Red Alerts — something R’Jal or Gortusk could but was beyond Heidy’s ability mainly because her Science ship was so fragile. Granted, I also retrained her skill tree (after realizing having no points in Hull Capacity and Hull Plating was a mistake! But the Science path Ultimate unlock: Probability Manipulation is pretty crazy, despite its limited duration), so I can’t attribute her newfound badassery entirely to the Temporal Operative Specialization.
I’ll just have to test out the higher level (and debated) abilities when I get them, and see how they perform in practice.