USS Vizier – The Next Generation II – Compass Flip

screenshot_2019-11-26-19-09-54

Introduction

In the previous blog Vizier – TNG II – Review of a Radical Design that’s now several months old. I reviewed the USS Vizier’s radical design elements and how they had worked and hadn’t. This included issues in her six-month review back in April 2018. Now in December 2019 with the USS Vizier over two years old we look at where the USS Vizier is now. This includes changes to her design, elements added or considered. As well as detailing two fixes in her critical flaws of her build.

The Weapon Arc Problem

The Original Design

Having a twelve-weapon armed cruiser is something unique. As far as I know to my knowledge, I have not seen another build or entry into Reddit/STO builds or on the official forums. Then again, I don’t think many captains would think of such a crazy design when they could easily build a ship that could out DPS Vizier by factors of upwards of three to five times.

Straight to the point, this is where the Vizier suffers. While she is a swiss army knife in terms of weapons she losses out on the capability of dedicating resources to further weapons to make them more devastating. It is also the swiss-army approach regarding weapons used that causes piloting issues for the Vizier. Please note the below table taken from one of the previous blogs.

USS Vizier Weapon Arc
Fore Weapons Pulse Phaser Array 250
Pulse Phaser Array 250
Quantum Phase Torp 90
Pulse Phaser Array 250
Aft Weapons Prolonged Phaser 250
Pulse Phaser Array 250
Enhanced Bio-Mole Torp 90
Quantum Phaser Array 250
Misc Weapons Meteron Gas Warhead torp 180
Broadside cannon barrage *90*
Drill laser 360
Quantum Destablizing beam 135

Table 1 – Weapon Arcs – USS Vizier – June 2019

Above, you see 5 separate arcs across twelve weapons. Covering as small as an area of 90 degrees on the torpedoes to the full 360 on the Drill Laser console.

As you can see here with arcs spread all over the place it is a complete mess. This is even more critical when you consider the Vizier’s build type. She is at her heart a broadsiding cruiser. Broadsiding cruisers spend most of their time on a 90-degree angle to their target. This allows them to bring all their beam arrays mounted both fore & aft to bear.

However, with the USS Vizier having weapons that could only be fired in a frontal fashion this caused major issues. When I decided to use my QDB (Quantum Destabilizing Beam) or Meteron gas torpedo I had to be relatively speaking front facing my target. While this meant I could bring those weapons to bear I was cancelling out a significant part of my ships firepower by making my rear mounted beam array’s useless.

When I decided to broadside the opposite occurred. Most of my firepower was being utilized. However, I was not using my torpedoes or special weapons. Considering the blueprint of the design of the Vizier I was discarding one of her core design principals as flawed as it is. When I “dipped” Vizier’s nose to bring those specials to bear I was constantly in a conflicted state of when to disengage the maneuverer and return to broadsiding. Or;

A conflicted and distracted captain is a captain who is not performing at their full potential. Regardless of how many weapons a ship has strapped on.

The Retrofit

Sometime in June 2019 I decided and finally got time to investigate this issue. The problem had been nagging my mind for at least twelve months. But events in my personal life as well as the USS Zuikaku’s redesign meant I did not have time to devoted to Vizier’s retrofit.

Pretty quickly I determined the issue (as discussed above) and I asked myself a serious question. How to resolve this issue without Vizier losing her “uniqueness”? Vizier had already proven herself to be one of my top performing starships despite her issues. I wanted to keep her twelve-weapon design. The answer very quickly came to me.

Reshuffle Vizier’s weapon loadout to be forward facing and utilize omni-directional beam arrays and weapons wherever possible.

Vizier - Current Loadout Nov 2019

Image 1 – USS Vizier’s current loadout. Circa November 2019.

The first though was what beam arrays to keep and what to discard. With Vizier being redesigned to a forward-facing weaponized platform this meant her “special” beam arrays had to be kept as well as changed locations to ensure they could be utilized. As the special beam arrays contained special procs and abilities that would quite beneficial to Vizier’s design.

This meant the Prolonged Phaser beam array and the Quantum Phaser Array had to be shifted from aft weapon slots to forward weapon slots. This meant discarding two of the three forward facing Pulse-Phaser beam arrays which was easily done. The third Pulse-Phaser beam array remained as I quite liked the visuals of the weapon even after all this time.

But what of the aft facing weapons? First an Omni-Directional phaser beam array was obtained as I already had one from a crafting adventure back in 2018. The second weapon was added last in the redesign, but I will describe it first. The Kinetic Cutting Beam from the Omega Reputation system was a perfect fit. A 360-degree kinetic weapon that could fire regardless of where the Vizier was in relation to her target.

If this redesign has occurred within Vizier’s first year it would have been a lot more difficult to conduct this change. As you can only slot two separate energy based omni-directional beam arrays. This is usually One omnidirectional that is part of a set and one that is not part of a set. With a crafted (non-set) weapon already used I couldn’t use anything from a lockbox.

However, with the introduction of Gamma Reputation in June 2018 then tier 6 reputations which included alternate weapon flavors for reputation weapon sets. The Advanced Inhibiting Omni-Directional Beam array in Phaser format solved a critical issue. With the addition of the last weapon, USS Vizier’s weapons arcs current stand at the following.

USS Vizier Weapon Arc
Fore Weapons Prolonged Phaser 250
Pulse Phaser Array 250
Quantum Phase Torp 90
Quantum Phaser Array 250
Aft Weapons Adv Inhibit Omni Phaser Array 360
Kinetic Cutting Beam 360
Enhanced Bio-Mole Torp 90
Omni Phaser Array 360
Misc Weapons Meteron Gas Warhead torp 180
Broadside cannon barrage *90*
Drill laser 360
Quantum Destablizing beam 135

Table 2 – Weapon Arcs – USS Vizier – November 2019.

You still see 5 separate arcs across twelve weapons. However, they are more concreted towards frontal facing firepower.

With the retrofit of weapon locations Vizier was more focused towards a 90-degree frontal angle style of attack. Surprising during testing I discovered the Broadside Cannon barrage console would fire at ANY target within 90-degrees to Port or Starboard. While the text of the console says as much I honesty thought there was a chance you had to have a target highlighted within port or starboard for the console to function.

This meant, when in the thick of an enemy formation Vizier could reasonably engage with 11 out of 12 of her weapon systems. Additionally, the focusing of weapons to be able to hit targets within 90 degrees of the bow meant I did not have the issue of deciding of how to engage. It also meant I was not losing out on half my firepower to bring my specials into play.

The Thirteen Weapon

In Late November 2019 an idea stuck me during a lunch break at work. Could I reasonably add a thirteen weapon onto Vizier’s build without unduly affecting her build style or sacrificing too much for another “gimmick”? Ideas started to flow for what weapon or console I could use.

Quickly I remembered the Entangled Quantum Bombardment console from the Edison Class Temporal Warship that was released in July 2019. This console as a passive damage boost for your toon’s faction type (Fed – Phaser, Klink – Disruptor, Rom – Plasma & Jem Hadar – Polaron). Along with the weapon type boost was a boost to exotic particle generator. The consoles active however was what I was interested in.

The console when activated bombards a random foe in the forward arc (90-degrees) 16 times in 8 seconds causing radiation damage in a 3km radius that completely ignores shields. With the radiation damage amount being boosted by the amount of skill points in Exotic Particle generator. It was an active that fit in perfectly with Vizier’s build style. But which console to exchange for the EQB?

I decided to test exchange the Tactical Counter-Command Multi-Conduit Energy Relay console. Please note this picture was taken when the console was MK XIV and may not reflect their current stats of the console now.

Tactical-Console-Counter-Command-Multi-Conduit-Energy-Relay

I would not conduct any weapon tests. My first test was to look at the number changes for Vizier’s weapons between the two consoles to see if the EQB console could pass the first stage for consideration. As before I would even take it into the field I needed to determine if there were any serious issues. I was shocked at the results.

Console Fitted Damage DPS
Counter-Command Multi-Conduit 2072.8 1658.3
No Console 1899.7 1519.7
Entangled Quantum Bombardment 1940.6 1552.5

Table Three – EQB Feasibility Tests

Test numbers were conducted using the Prolonged Phaser Array as a reference. MK 15 Epic Quality weapon

As you can see the changeover to the EQB console causes a significant drop in the Prolonged Phaser arrays stats. On average looking at the numbers we see at minimum a 5% drop. When you consider the number of energy-based weapons on the Vizier and her design philosophy as an aggressive starship this is significant.

The drop is due to two factors. First, the Counter-Command Multi-Conduct Energy Relay at Mk 15 Ultra Rare (the consoles current state) she boosts Phaser damage (Cat 1 damage) by 16.4%. While the EQB console while “epic (she has no Mk level, nor can it be upgraded) only boosts phaser damage by 15%.  The kicker is where the Counter-Command console set comes into play.

With two items of that set slotted (Torpedo and console for Vizier) you gain access to the Bio-Molecular Instability set piece. This set gives a +7.5% Bonus to phaser energy damage (there are other boosts, but phaser is the only one that applies to Vizier). Now “Bonus” damage is a Category 2 damage boost. Category 2 is always one of the most sought-after damage boost types of any captain as it acts as a multiplier to your starship instead of a standard addition.

While the EQB console may look cool it was not worth what I saw as a significant combat reduction in Vizier for a short-term spike that could occur only 8 seconds out of every two minutes. While I had other consoles that are the same type they more easily integrated into Vizier’s build without any ill side-effects.

With that, and even before the console could be tested in a combat situation, I terminated the test. Vizier’s build just had too many threads entangled into one another that would working beautifully. To add another thread (or thirteen weapon in this case), I had quickly seen it would quickly cause major issues for no gains.

The Critical Severity Issue

Critical Severity - Fried Pickle

Image 2 – Critical Severity determines how quickly you can turn pickles to space dust.

As related in the previous blog Vizier had a severe critical severity issue. As a result of her design and other factors Vizier’s critical severity relatively speaking was extremely poor. Even with the endeavor system rewarding additional critical severity capability as of the beginning of November 2019 Vizier’s critical severity was still at a dismal 99.4%. Her critical chance was a lot better at 17.4%.

With Vizier’s weapon arc issue solved in June 2019, the 13th weapon test concluded and with myself still steaming along with tweaking and redesigning Vizier I immediately jumped straight into the critical severity issue. Enough was Enough, I had to resolve this major flaw in the Vizier.

I started to think of potential solutions. One of the first oblivious choice/s was critical severity consoles. However, in order to do that I would need to deconstruct Vizier’s uniqueness which immediately stopped that train of thought. I could redesign Vizier’s phasers with critical mods was I was not really interested, and it would not solve the overall issue.

After weapons came the oblivious answer. Utilizing a Protomatter Deflector array that came from the fleet colony. At maximum hull strength this deflector arrays provides a +4% critical chance & 15% critical severity boost to any starship it is equipped on. Removing the Prevailing Innervated deflector array meant skill point wise my Starship weapon specialization skill dropped to 71 from 108 (due to passive console boost loses and set piece losses).

Additionally, the Vizier’s hull points dropped from 104k to 99K (again skill point and set bonus related). In exchange however Vizier’s shield penetration skill points rose to 71 from 50 and her critical chance went to 21.3% from 17.4%.

The biggest change was the target point – Critical severity. After slotting the deflector Vizier’s critical severity jumped to 114.2%. To put this in contrast USS Zuikaku’s current critical severity is sits at 124% (In contrast Zuikaku’s critical chance is 16.8% compared to Vizier’s 21.3%)

Post refit - Vizier - critical severity

Image 3 – USS Vizier’s current Critical Values – Post retrofit

While loss of HP on the Vizier will diminish these bonuses there is no “zero value”. While I do not have the exact numbers, I remember at the lowest bonus point being 2% critical chance & 5% critical severity. Even these bonuses will assist the Vizier and it is highly doubtful I would allow Vizier to remain at low hull HP for any length of period.

Conclusion

The last six months have been quite a period for the USS Vizier. Several of her major concerns I have manage to finally address or resolve. She still relatively speaking her hull & shield issues compared to Zuikaku. However, considering Vizier is a fast attack style of design it is not a major concern.

A feature I will be looking into for Vizier is now her speed. With her equipped engines she has no problem getting to her target by using healing boff abilities to proc her engine. I am now going to investigate if I can relatively get the same sort of speed without using a “gimmick” engine. As my spider senses are tingling Cryptic will be swinging the nerf hammer on the Prevailing Impulse engines very soon.

How do you get, relatively speaking the same sort of speed from an impulse engine that is not a prevailing type?

Oh, that is quite easy.

I have already done something similar on the USS Zuikaku.

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