Maybe it’s because Heidy is my primary Fed toon, or maybe she’s my only Science-build, but I love continuously tweaking her ship configuration. That’s completely unlike my other toons, who are for the most part fairly static with their endgame configurations.
Back when the skill system revamp came out, I wrote about how it rendered Heidy’s ship extremely fragile while simultaneously becoming a trouble magnet. Then subsequently the new Temporal Operative specialization was introduced, which was a very Science-oriented spec and gave a significant boost to Heidy’s effectiveness. In the past three weeks I’ve been tweaking things around and have gotten to a pretty decent configuration for the U.S.S. Cassini. She’s now wrecking things in space with alarming efficiency, and managing to stay alive through most of it.
So what’s changed? Here’s a rundown.
- First of all, I did a full skill respec for Heidy. The changes are not major, but I’ve learned my lesson here: because the first dot in all the skills gives you the most bang for your buck, they are almost universally worthwhile to get. This is especially true with the Shield skills (Science) and Hull skills (Engineering): getting the first dots in most/all of those helps immensely in survivability for escorts and most Sci vessels.
- I still spec’d heavily into the Science skill tree though: the Ultimate unlock Probability Manipulation is a clicky power that grants 50% Crit chance for 15 seconds (increased to 30 seconds with an Enhancer). If you time this right with some heavy hitting torpedoes, it can be a significant power.
- The Particle Generator boost from the Temporal Operative Spec means Heidy can now rely on Exotic Damage as primary source of DPS. Another major boost is swapping out the Quantum Phase Deflector for the Solanae Deflector (which is the current reigning champion in boosting PartGen); the loss of the Quantum Phase 3-set bonus really isn’t that significant.
- In terms of armaments, I have disassembled the Quantum Phase Applications set. Loss of the Quantum Destabilizing Beam is regrettable, because that is one super heavy-hitting weapon! Still, it’s a 2 minute cooldown for a single-target attack which also requires a 135 deg front facing… this thing is super powerful but in limited applications. So instead, the Cassini now sports a pair of Mk XIV DBB phasers along with a Particle Emission Plasma Torp launcher up front, and an Omni phaser, a KCB and a Gravimetric Torp launcher in the back. I picked these two torp launchers because they are both boosted by PartGen; I could replace one with a Neutronic torp instead, but I want to see if the Grav Torp can create additional mini-Gravity-Wells to wreak further havoc.
- Minor changes were made to the Boff layout. I’m sticking with Tachyon Beam for shield drain, but it’s still there primarily to proc three things: A, the Quantum Phase Resilient Shield; B, her Deteriorating Secondary Deflector; and C, the Greedy Emitters Trait. Previously I have also slotted Energy Siphon for the same purpose, but I’ve found that Tachyon Beam has a sufficiently short cooldown that I can use it regularly, so instead I have replaced Energy Siphon with Subspace Vortex. Subspace Vortex is great that it doesn’t share a CD with Gravity Well (unlike Tyken’s Rift), so I can drop both on a cluster of enemies before hitting them with Destabilizing Resonant Beam and a full spread of PEP torpedoes. I did that in an ISA run and managed to wipe out the first wave of nanite probes/spheres all by myself. It was glorious!
- I am still unsure how to best use the Lt. Engineer/Intelligence seat. Although I am tempted to slot OSS in here, it also means Heidy would lose one of her main healing abilities (Emergency Power to Shields, or Engineering Team). I’m just not sure it’s worthwhile to sacrifice that much healing to further boost DPS.
- The other part I’m still experimenting on is the active roster. With Graga Mal and a Gravimetrics Engineer taking up 2 slots, the remaining 4 are split between a single Projectile Officer and 3 Deflector Engineers. Is it better to have more Projectile Officers to speed up torpedo CDs, at the cost of deflector abilities? Right now I am thinking no, but that might change.
It also goes without saying that one of the lynchpins to an exotic damage build is the Particle Manipulator Trait, available only to Science Captains. The ability to have 50% Critical Chance and bonus Critical Severity to Exotic is HUGE — it means half of your exotic attacks will be critical, and at Heidy’s current level each time an exotic attack crits she does 40% extra damage. No chump change here.
Although I haven’t parsed any runs, I can tell that after all the changes Heidy is doing far more damage than before. Survivability continues to be a concern though; between things like Gravity Wells, torpedo spreads and the TBR-pulls, she is still generating way too much threat and attracting too much fire. In the aforesaid ISA run, even though Heidy managed to clear out the first wave of Spheres and nanite probes, she failed to repeat the feat on the second wave when the final Cube arrived and overwhelmed her.
I’m otherwise pretty happy with the Cassini’s current configuration. What’s next though? Looking at where things are, there is a distinct possibility that the next iteration will be more focused on a torpedo boat, built around the PEP, Gravimetric and Neutronic torps since they all benefit from PartGen. If I go that route I would need to swap out a bunch of consoles and gear, but it also also means I can take full advantage of high PartGen and not worry about boosting energy weapons at the same time.