Season 13 – Escalation

I have been slow with blog posts lately because I’m dealing with a serious family illness (mom). 😦 I’m still following news on STO mainly because it offers a distraction from the real life suck.

In any case, Season 13: Escalation was released a couple of days ago amidst a lot of skepticism.

Aside from a new feature episode, competitive PvE queues, yet another new reputation and changes to the STF queue interface that nobody asked for, the big headliner for the season is the much-discussed “Space Rebalancing” changes that had been on Tribble for the past few weeks.

The list of changes is staggering, and even if you read through all the notes you might not immediately appreciate what the changes mean in practice. Some consensus seems to be:

  1. Torpedoes are even less viable than before. The Omega Kinetic Shearing trait which was the only good boost that previously gave torps a new life, has been neutered into uselessness. Not good.
  2. Even with just going with the patch notes, science damage have been nerfed across the board. The big hitters like Gravity Well, Subspace Vortex and DRBs have all lost a significant part of their damage output.
  3. Plasma Science Consoles are now “worthless” — with a caveat. The plasma damage proc that made these consoles highly desirable to DPSers has been severely nerfed, but that proc is only one of three benefits and if you use these consoles for their other boosts, they are still viable. In the end I don’t think this is a bad thing, because this will likely free up Science console slots for people to try different things now.
  4. Some unpopular abilities got boosts; previously useless things like Boarding Party and Tyken’s Rift are now more viable, which is not a bad thing.
  5. Pets are much more effective, in the sense that they are more durable (new immunity to torpedo spreads and warp core breaches). They’re still dumb as bricks though and can’t follow orders. Grrr.

The list goes on and on, really too long to list. I haven’t had the opportunity to test things out too much yet, but I did manage to squeeze in three tests so far. I don’t have a combat parser, so any observation is entirely anecdotal; I should be able to refine these results better with additional tests.

  1. Heidy’s set up is heavy Science-Exotic Torpedo boat — everything about that build has been nerfed, so I’ve been dreading how this patch will affect her. I took her out for a few CCA runs, and she’s come in 2nd and 3rd places fairly regularly. I actually don’t recall her placing 3rd very often previously, so maybe it means she’s slipping down the DPS scale slightly relative to everyone else, but overall she is still holding her own. Granted, I was flying her “as is” without tweaking, which I will need to do soon (such as replacing OKS with something else). Yup, more tests are needed.
  2. I wanted to test the old meta, i.e. BFAW-everything and see how it performs… and I can’t tell. I DID notice my shots are missing a LOT, thanks to the heavy accuracy penalties that now come with BFAW. Does that mean BFAW is now useless? That would suck because it means the “Target Rich Environment” trait I recently got would be useless too.
  3. Related to No. 2 there, I also wanted to test my cannon boats, because Cannon Scatter Volley received the same Accuracy penalties as BFAW. I took Congilla’s BoP out on some Tau Dewa sector patrols, and I was astounded at how badly it performed. Prior to the changes, Cong could hit each wave with a Gravity Well, mow them down with a CSV barrage (boosted by Withering Barrage), and finish things off with a Torpedo Spread. Now? CSV cannon fire are missing left, right and center. They hit often enough to clean up the lighter ships, but not nearly enough to take down heavier ships. It took almost twice as long to get through a patrol, and he even died a couple of times — which never happened before.

This last test was particularly alarming. With the CSV nerf, cannons are even less viable than before! The performance was so bad that I don’t see any point for Cong to fly the Kor BoP anymore — the original setup was a Gravity Well/CSV-Withering-Barrage raider, doubling as a stealth bomber with the Enhanced Battle Cloak. Now that CSV is broken, and torpedoes severely neutered, the whole point of this ship is flushed down the toilet. I think I’ll move Cong back to the Pilot Raptor with Cannon Rapid Fire — at least he will have the pilot maneuvers to help keep him on target, along with heavier frontal assault power and stronger hull.

That sucks because I am such a big fan of the Kor (and BoPs in general).

The CSV nerf pisses me off more than anything else – cannons are already considered subpar, with their narrow firing arc and marginally higher damage than beams. And now their highest damage modifier is nerfed so hard, cannons can’t even reliably hit enemy ships! This isn’t rebalanced at all, Cryptic!



18 thoughts on “Season 13 – Escalation

  1. Damn. This is what I’d been dreading all along. It’s partially why I didn’t even bother logging in to see how bad the mega-nerf is. That plus I was just too tired (working a 12-hour shift took a toll on me). Because I know that I’d just get too upset about my painstakingly configured build getting merged into oblivion to even want to play. Games are supposed to be fun, right? Not a source of stress. Other games are starting to look more interesting now.

    Anyway, I remember you telling me about your mother. I wish her a quick and complete recovery. My mom’s not been in good shape lately either, so I feel where you’re coming from on that. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At this point we’re not certain “recovery” is in my mom’s future, but thanks for the thought and we’ll just take it one step at a time. 😦

      As for the STO nerfing, I haven’t heard a lot of people complain about the Accuracy penalties on FAW and CSV, and I don’t know why that is because that has the biggest effect on my play style so far. But you mostly fly cruisers so you may not be impacted as badly as my cannon-escort toons. Don’t abandon the game now since some of my toons just joined your fleet!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😦

        Well… I’m not going to abandon you, or the game, or my fleet, so no worries there.

        My cruisers will probably be nerfed to oblivion, especially with BFAW, tho I don’t use BFAW very often so that may not affect me as much.

        My cannon-escort toons and my Science ship (T6 Intrepid) are probably nerfed even worse now. I hate this. But like I said, I’m not planning on abandoning the game entirely. I just might be doing more of other things in the game (read: Space Barbie and battle zones, and the occasional featured episode).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Most of my toons relied primarily on BFAW (3 Feds, 2 KDFs, 2 Roms), so the BFAW nerf is a big deal and big change for me.

        On a slightly more positive note, they cut the XP requirements from level 50 to 60 by a huge margin. So much so that my banking toon Xymox suddenly hit level 60 in two days – and to think, a week ago he was level 35! This is the perfect time to get the rest of your toons to level 60.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. As a lover of torpedoes, science abilities and occasionally cannons, this nerfening is every bit as bad as I’d feared. The supposed plan to balance things has seen to it that cannons, torpedoes and exotic damage will all take a back seat to beam firing tactical captains.

    And I’m terribly sorry to hear about your mom. I can only send my sympathies and hopes for as good an outcome as can be had. =/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Appreciate the thought!

      I honestly don’t know how much beam ships are affected, as the couple of tests I ran were inconclusive to me. I just know cannons are no longer viable for me, but I’m withholding final judgement until the DPSers crunch out the numbers and maybe figure out a way around it.

      I plan to take Heidy’s Exotic-Sci-Torp-Boat to the Badlands BZ over the weekend and see how she does. Stay tuned!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d like to join you over there in the Badlands this weekend if possible, so we can test stuff out and see where we need to make adjustments to our builds. We’ll see how busy and/or tired I’ll be by then (I might be out driving around and doing stuff but we’ll see).


    2. Well said, neogabi. I second that for Heidy’s mom.

      And yeah, this mega-nerf has probably ruined all of my main builds, and has severely disappointed me in many ways. It has penalized the DPS snobs who were doing insane amounts of DPS while hurting people who weren’t doing a lot of DPS to begin with even more. It’s really discouraging and demoralizing.

      I understand something had to be done about those who were using exploits to gain an unfair advantage, and the power creep and all that. I’m just not convinced that this was the best way to go about doing it.


  3. And I noticed that, about them making the level 50 to 60 grind a lot less painful. At least there’s that. I just recently started a couple of new toons, eng and sci, so I could do something other than tac for a change and have access to all those cool eng and sci abilities. That, plus my tac toons’ banks are all full and I needed the storage space.


  4. Sorry to hear about your mom. Hope she gets better; you have my sympathies.

    As for torp builds, the OKS nerf sucks, especially as pure kinetic torp build. However, the gravimetric photorp is doing very good, thanks to its buffs. The gravimetric rifts now out damage the torpedo itself. An EPG boosted sci torp packing this and PEP will still wreck most enemies in game.

    As for sci, it’s looking like the meta build will be drain focused. Tykens Rift and other drain abilities are absolutely trashing people in PVP, by just outright shutting ships down. I imagine this holds true for PVE as well, especially with the quantum phase torp.

    Regarding BFAW and it’s accuracy nerf, I’m hearing that taking the accuracy skill nodes compensates for this to the point where it becomes negligible. Can’t speak on the accuracy of CSV, as I don’t use cannons, but I would think it would be similar to BFAW with enough points in accuracy.

    I’ll still be flying my kinetic cruiser with my torp build until I get more parses to examine, but it looks like my DPS got cut in half from ~80k to 40k with this patch. It might be time to switch to the tac ult or fly another ship

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the thought. I really do appreciate it from all you guys.

      On Heidy’s Sci-Torp-boat I do have a Gravimetric torp and a PEP up front, so it’s good to hear those are still viable. What about the Neutronic torp? That’s the third launcher she has equipped.

      Also with the Torp skill CD changes, I do feel like there is a bit more micromanagement involved. So much so that I am having trouble activating everything now, especially the Temporal Boff combos. If DrainX is that effective, I might just drop the Temporal combo for more Sci Drain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The neutronic torp is good. I have it on one of my ships and can attest to the fact that it hits pretty hard. My favorite torps are still the Kelvin Timeline photon torps. Only a 4-second reload time and they hit pretty hard too. I have them on my main ship (Kelvin Connie).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry to hear of your mother, it’s hard when someone you care about is in such condition. Keep in there, your strength is hers.
    Thank you for your posts. No doubt about the changes, the nerfs. I don’t mind them, sure we work hard to obtain our builds, but I love Star Trek and I love the game. Change is always good, It tests our adaptability, our knowledge, and keeps out complacency.
    Maybe I might see you in game. You can add me @firstbrother , Prosper and Long Life!

    Liked by 1 person

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