USS Vizier – The Next Generation II – Review of a Radical design.

Introduction

Welcome to another build blog post courtesy of Shipyard 25. This week, I discuss the USS Vizier which I have already featured on this site in a trio of blogs. This journey was a part of a Shipyard 25 series back in June 2018.

USS Vizier – Building the Next Generation

This time, I will be describing what has happened to the Vizier in the time period between her launch to today. A rough period of about 18 months. At this time, this blog might be a standalone of this ship, or a part of a mini-series. The Vizier’s weaknesses, as well as the effect of the “Phase Two” project which focused on the USS Zuikaku will be described.

As well as a decision to change her style. From a more confused cruiser, to a razor point focused weapon of destruction. A style, that really should have been her focus from the beginning. But project shortcomings and a lack of foresight on behalf of her captain to understand the issues such a radical design entailed.

Recap of the USS Vizier

screenshot_2018-07-22-08-15-39

The USS Vizier was the answer to the USS Zuikaku problem back in 2017. Fearful of changing my flagship at the time, I embarked on a journey to build a completely new starship away from the Zuikaku name.

Basically, at the time her design premise was to build a fast attack cruiser with devasting weapon capability and the speed and turn capability to use it. Basically, as the name of the series stated, to build a starship for the Next Generation of Star Trek Online. Defence would be a secondary consideration for the vessel, as she had been designed that anything she couldn’t fight, she would run away from.

She was ambitious, and to this day remains so even after 18 months of her launch. As far as I am aware, she is still the only Assault cruiser I have encountered flown by a player armed with Twelve (12) separate weapon systems. Eight of those being her normal weapon slots, with the further four a combination of console abilities and gear set bonuses. She certainly turned heads within the community.

She was no DPS monster, while heavily armed the twelve-weapon system capability meant her build synergy was lower than a dedicated DPS starship. This resulted in parses that were lower than 100k which was the bare minimum to even consider challenging the DPS league’s top members. Though her weapon design was more about flexibility than raw output. Her weapon systems were designed to ensure I had an effective weapon regardless of the situation or opponent.

However, with all radical designs, issues occurred once she was launched. Some had been identified during her construction and shake down trials. Other issues, whose scope had not been in the initial design brief whose effects would be far more ranging than would be understood and more devasting than could be realized.

The Vizier’s Weakness – 6 Month Overview

As stated before, the Vizier was a unique design premise. Her build choices, gear slotted, and combat style definitely changed the rules of known starship design I had used in the past. Quickly after her launch however, I noted several weaknesses and design issues with the starship. Six Months after her launch (April 2018) I did a review of the starship and noted down what issues I had seen at that time and experienced in queues.

Shield Issues

Compared to Zuikaku, USS Vizier has significantly more shield hit points (22k compared to 18k) and slight stronger shield regeneration. However, compared to Zuikaku, her shields are comparably a lot weaker. Analysis has shown, this is a result of her shield design, choice and console layouts.

Zuikaku, has several shield characteristics that “reduce” the damage her shields take. This term is commonly referred to in game as “Shield Hardness” (Shield Hardness). This skill increases the amount of the damage negated by shields take when they do take a hit. USS Vizier has significant less skill points in this area due to her console choices. As a result, I theorised that Viziers shields are between 12 to 20% weaker than Zuikaku.

This is the result of several design choices and was noted by me during her design that this was a high probability of occurring. As in order to get the sheer amount of weapon systems into the vessel, several consoles & gear pieces that were on Zuikaku that helped increased this skill were absent in the Vizier.

Hull Issues

Vizier, has several issues where she can quickly be brought down to 50 to 40% Hull strength, compared to Zuikaku who might barely hit 90%.

Vizier has weaker hull resistances and hull hit points than Zuikaku. However, this doesn’t account for the results that were initially seen. However, after analysis, I believe I have the answer.

Simply, design characteristics. USS Vizier is designed to be “proactive”. Forcing her opponent on the back foot first, when she had to become reactive, she suffers from her reduced damage resistance and hull hit points. This is doubly induced by her shield weakness. As a result, the Vizier’s primary two defensive systems, Shields and Hull do not react well to not being the aggressor in an engagement.

Again, this was expected during the design process, and is one of the reasons for her increased turn rate and speed. As anything I could not destroy in an engagement, I had capability to run. However, usually by the time I had decided to run the opening shots of the engagement had already occurred. Considering NPC’s tendency to have large individual hits of their weapons, or deadly AOE attacks. Additionally, these abilities were almost always used in the beginning of an engagement.

Critical Severity

While my six-month overview covered some of Vizier’s weaknesses, it did not cover one of the larger ones. Essentially, I missed a crucial build decision in the Vizier’s construction – Critical Severity.

Zuikaku’s critical severity at the time of the six-month review was roughly at 114%. Vizier’s, was a dismal 78%

This was a result of her design. By equipping her with the capability to mount twelve separate weapon systems, I needed to slot the consoles in order to reach that milestone. However, the consoles that allowed me this capability, did not have critical severity as some of their passive boosts. Further, the consoles they replaced, were some of the very ones on Zuikaku that gave her critical severity. As a result, while Vizier individual weapons might have been stronger in pure base damage numbers, once critical severity started to take effect Zuikaku would very quickly exceed and pass the Vizier.

When I got right down to it I had only one thought, I had screwed up in the Vizier design. I had failed to consider the larger implications of carrying more weapons. Furthermore, I had failed to add a critical severity requirement in the Vizier design. As many of you know when you don’t note down a requirement needed for a meal, project, gift or starship design, it becomes high probable that requirement will not occur or be considered.

As a result, while I don’t have hard data, it was this lack of severity greatly reduced Vizier’s maximum DPS potential. For a starship whose design was meant to be firepower based, this is a large big oversight and one I am not particularly proud of myself in making.

The Crane vs the Vizier

screenshot_LCL2017-12-31-07-42-00

Before I proceed to discussing the Vizier’s own design review during the “Phase Two” project, lets compare the USS Vizier to the USS Zuikaku. The following table is a general stats information between the two class of starships in September 2018. At this stage neither ship had any changes made to them.

  Vizier Zuikaku Base
Power Transfer Rate 200% 200%
     
DEFENSES    
Defense Rating 57.8 62.8
Hull 110,291 121,635
Hull Repair Rate 182.50% 195.7%/min
Shield Regeneration Rate 1,438.6 Shield/6 Sec 1,651.2 shield/6 Sec
Shields (All facings) 21,831 18,070
Antiproton Resist 41.30% 53.30%
Disruptor Resist 41.30% 53.30%
Electrical Resist 40.70% 53.00%
Kinetic Resist 41.30% 54.90%
Phaser Resist 41.30% 53.30%
Physical Resist 40.70% 51.20%
Plasma Resist 41.30% 53.30%
Polaron Resist 41.30% 53.30%
Proton Resist 40.70% 53.00%
Radiation Resist 31.40% 46.00%
Tetryon Resist 41.30% 53.30%
     
ATTACK    
Accuracy Rating 33.2 17.4
Crit Chance 10.90% 13.00%
Crit Severity 78.70% 114.00%
Movement  
Inertia 40 40
Flight Speed 32.79 35.17
Turn Rate 15.9 Deg /Sec 12.5 deg/sec
     
Power Levels    
Weapons 124/100 125/100
Shields 59/25 66/25
Engines 50/25 53/25
Auxillary 86/50 74/50
     
Weapon Damage    
Beam Array 1822.7 Phaser 1552.8 Damage
Torpedoes 7942.5 Kinetic (Quantum Phase)  
  8004.2 Kinetic (Undine Torp)  
     
BOFF/Captain Healing Abilities    
Hazard Emitters 1 15,357.4 HP / 15 Sec 15183.3 HP/15 sec
Engineering Team 2 12,333.3 HP 9773.1 HP
Aux2IF 3 9598.4 Hit Points 9499.6 HP
Miraculous Repairs 3 – Hull 58,240.7 HP 61,534 HP
Miraculous Repairs 3 – Secondary Shield 14,734.5 Shields / 15 Sec 17,868.8 Shields / 15 Secs
Miraculous Repairs 3 – Shield Regenation 5,344.30 6,481.10

Sadly, at the time of gathering this data, I forgot about Zuikaku’s kinetic based weaponry. Meaning we are unable to compare the two vessels kinetic capabilities. However, I was able to remember the ships respective phaser systems.

However, a keen observer will quickly note the differences between the two vessels. Zuikaku has the edge in damage resistance, shield HP (this would change when Vizier upgraded, meaning Vizier would top her in this regard) Hull HP, critical chance and severity. While she had an edge in flight speed, Vizier’s engine type meant that whenever she activated a heal ability, her impulse speed in a 5 second burst would quickly become almost triple Zuikaku’s speed.

This meant, that Vizier could quickly round on her older half-sister and proceed to pound from an advantageous position. What worked against the Vizier was her lower resistances and tanking capability. Meaning if Zuikaku got in a lucky critical strike the battle could quickly become more even sided. However, Vizier held overall all the cards. She could dictate the flow of the battle on her own terms and if she didn’t like the terms, she could extend and disengage at a speed Zuikaku could not hope to match.

The Tale of Damage and Arcs

screenshot_2017-07-23-11-03-14
USS Vizier, circa July 2017. When she was commencing her first steps towards a Twelve weapon armed starship. What you see is the Quantum Destablizing beam & Mining Laser undergoing firing tests.

Next, we move onto weapon capability. Vizier was designed at the onset to be an over gunned cruiser. Her BOFF layout, weapon capabilities and other factors meant when you did not consider critical chance and severity, she held a very large advantage. The following table was compiled in April 2018, before Victory is Life expansion which increased weapon mark to Fifteen (15) hence the lower numbers quoted.

USS Vizier   Arc Damage Damage + EPtW 3
Fore Weapons Pulse Phaser Array 250 1581.9 1854.1
  Pulse Phaser Array 250 1575.6 1846.8
  Quantum Phase Torp 90 6903.2 6936.5
  Pulse Phaser Array 250 1575.6 1846.8
       
Aft Weapons Prolonged Phaser 250 1577.1 1848.1
  Pulse Phaser Array 250 1575.6 1846.8
  Enhanced Bio-Mole Torp 90 6972.6 7006.3
  Quantum Phaser Array 250 1569.4 1839.5
Normal Weapons Total     23331 25024.9
         
Misc Weapons Meteron Gas Warhead torp 180 6698.6 6731
  Broadside cannon barrage *90* 1453 1498.9
  Drill laser 360 167.5 167.5
  Quantum Destablizing beam 135 2326.6 2672.7
      10645.7 11070.1
USS Zuikaku   Arc Damage Damage + EPtW 1
Fore Weapons Phaser Beam Array 250 1378.5 1519.3
  Phaser Beam Array 250 1378.5 1519.3
  Wide Angle Torp 180 6421 6452.2
  Phaser Beam Array 250 1378.5 1519.3
       
After Weapons Phaser Beam Array 250 1378.5 1519.3
  Phaser Beam Array 250 1378.5 1519.3
  Kinetic Cutting beam 360 1922.7 1934
  Phaser Beam Array 250 1378.5 1519.3
Normal Weapons Total     16614.7 17502

By counting the normal weapon total numbers, the eight weapon slots the Fleet Assault Intel & Command variant ships have, you see the sheer difference in capability. Zuikaku’s normal 8 weapons damage numbers all counted together, reaches 16,641.7. Vizier’s added together reaches 23331. Meaning Vizier had a 140% damage capability over Zuikaku. This is before you start adding the additional parts of each respective build.

Let’s add the Vizier’s four additional weapon systems into the mix. While this is a unfair advantage since Zuikaku does not have another four additional weapon systems, it does so the sheer contrast between the two vessels. Vizier’s four additional weapon systems add an additional 10645.7 damage to her total, brining Vizier up to 33,976.7. Compare that to Zuikaku and Vizier now has a 204% damage capability over her older half-sister.

Now the Emergency Power to weapons BOFF abilities do not increase this lead by much. But it does so at the time how unique and crazy this ship was for her time.

However, I would ask the careful reader to take a second look at the damage table above. While Vizier had an advantage in sheer damage numbers, it was not as great as one would initially believe. This design issue I had considered in the back of my mind and did account for it. When I say account for, I noted it in my record to be aware of the issue during engagements. However, come early 2019 when my real life started to settle down and things started to become better, I started to investigate the Vizier again.

Conclusion

Coming in the next part of this blog series, I will describe the 2018 & 2019 years for USS Vizier. From initial promise, to her role in the “Phase Two” operations which would see her take part in upgrade operations to refine her design. Discarded ideas and how changes in the Zuikaku affected the Vizier. This included plugging the flaws in her design. How to you plug the holes in an experimental design. Well, it is quite simple.

You flip the Compass.

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