USS Vulcon – Part One – Flux Capacitor of Vestas


Welcome to a continuing series of build blog posts courtesy of Shipyard 25. This week, I discuss the USS Vulcon. A Tactical T6 vesta style starship. This vessel is unique in her design, as she was designed entirely using a excel document, research of the STO wiki, all while I was in a comfortable hotel room in Japan in February 2018. Specially the city of Osaka.

USS Vulxon, the expiremental prototype born out of a crazy idea in a hotel room in a foreign land.

The USS Vulcon is one of my primary starships on my Federation science captain named Karli. This character resides in the Equator Alliance fleet.

The Idea – Japan, Osaka – February 2018

It was an interesting time; I had been touring Japan on a 2-month holiday. Half-way through, I had a sudden idea to build a new class of vesta. I already had my flagship on my science toon Karli, the USS Kim Possible (Yes, I know, I know) that was a pure EPG auxiliary cannon armed Vesta, using the T6 Science vesta. The Kim Possible had been a ship of mine for over 5 years at this time and had continued to serve me well. Unlike the Vizier for Zuikaku, I had no intention of replacing the Kim Possible as the flagship on my science toon.

Straight away, I had started to design the Vulcon in words I would use later “For the sheer hell of it”. I would put as many forward-facing abilities and weapons onto the ship. Along with as many EPG, exotic and crowd control consoles and abilities. Efficiently was not my primary concern. I still wanted the ship to be successful in her build. However, I wanted to have some fun and see how crazy I could make the ship.

So, after 45 minutes of browsing STO wiki in my hotel room in Osaka I had come-up with the initial ideas. Of course, with me being a world away from home, it would be some time before I could see how efficient and effective the build would be. Below, is a copy of the notes I made back in February 2018.

USS Vulcon – Expiremental T6 Engineering Vesta class

 Esquiline Multi-Mission Strategic Explorer

 4 Tactical Consoles

 Universal – Isometric Dispersal Array

Universal – Quantum Field Focus Controller

Universal – Quantum Phase Convertor

 3 Engineering Consoles

 Universal – Sympatheic Fermion Transceiver

Engineering – Reinforced Armaments

Console – Universal Multi Target Tractor Arrays

 4 Science Consoles

 Radiation Bombardment Matrix


 Trilithium Tricobalt Torpedo Launcher

Trilithium Enhanced Phaser Turret

Quantum Phase Beam Array

Quantum Phase Torpedo

2 x auxillary dual heavy cannons

 Shields, Deflector, Impulse

 MACO set

 Warp Core

 Possible consoles

 Universal – Mycelium Ambush

 As you can see, considering this design was using an iPad there were several missing items. Other area’s I had not quite considered or would decide down the track. One thing to note is the multiple console and set bonuses utilizing both the T5 & T6 Vesta consoles.

The Crazy Scientist Begins

Great Scott!

Come early March 2018, I was back home. Effectively straight away I started into the design and building of the Vulcon. I would describe the ship to my fleet and alliance mates as follows.

 A new experimental Vesta class just launched. She will be experimenting the use of a Tri laser tactical system, utilizing a Ying-Yang control system, integrated with dual deflectors.

 Now to a standard Star Trek Online player, they would be reaching for their universal translator. Multiple of my fleet mates asked this very question. At the time, I kept things very close to my chest. Vulcon has had several tests runs and missions. While she has not been used as much as the Zuikaku & Vizier, I was able to gather interesting data. For the purpose of this build blog, I will describe each section of her build and what my goal/idea was.

Tri-Laser Tactical System

Vulcon’s Tri-Laser system undergoing proving ground testing in one of the New Romulan sector patrols. I frequently used these locations as the first part of building new starships. As they are nice easy testing zones.

The tri-laser system is a name I made up to describe one of the major functions of the Vulcon’s design. It is a series of three laser-based systems that fire either a burst or sustained beam against my target. The primary purpose being of a weapon system that is called into play once I have used gravity well and other exotic or control-based powers. The tri-laser system design is more focused on a single target than multiple. As the systems themselves can only be applied to single selected targets. For this reason, this system is more suited to boss type enemies and NPCs.

Quantum Field Focus Controller

The first piece making up the tri-laser system is the Quantum Field Focus Controller. This is a console that comes with the Multi-Mission Reconnaissance Explorer (C Store, T5 Starship). Due to the console coming from a T5 starship, it has no passive stats or boosts that apply. However, the console when activated applies phaser damage to a target for twelve seconds. The arc for this weapon is 45 degrees making it rather limited in scope.

Coupled with the lack of passive stat boosts, this console is a high price to pay to fulfil the role of this starship. Additionally, as stated the console only does phaser damage. I had already planned to build the Vulcon as a phaser-based starship. With my ship’s weapons at their current power levels, this console gives me 2,145 damage per second. Over the twelve second period, this equates to a maximum of 25,740 potential damage without boosts. Not the best total, especially coupled with the Vulcon’s design and limitations.

The QFFC console is the first part of the Tri-Laser system to be activated in my firing sequence. Due to the consoles longer firing period, as well as the unique properties of the other parts of the TLS.

Quantum Destabilizing Beam

 The Quantum Destabilizing beam makes up the second part of the Tri-Laser system installed on the Vulcon. This weapon is a result of slotting all three pieces of the Quantum Phase Catalyst set. In Vulcon’s case, this is the Quantum torpedo, the Quantum Dual Heavy Cannons and the Quantum Phase Convertor. Unlike the Quantum Field Focus Controller, the QDB has a much more forgiving arc of fire of 135 degrees. The beam weapon itself does phaser-based damage over a 10 second period, making it slightly shorter in application and firing.

However, the QDB has additional benefits compared to the QFFC. The weapon drains power from the enemy starship it targets while applying the same power it drains to your own starship. This drain is improved by skill points invested into the skill – Drain Expertise. Additionally, the phaser damage the weapon applies is much stronger than the QFFC. With the Vulcon’s skills and slotted equipment, I can get 4,756 phaser damage per second. Over the ten-second firing period, this adds up to a total of 47,560 potential damage without boosts.

Due to this set bonus firing properties and firing capabilities, it is the second part of the Tri-Laser system to be fired.

Heavy Graviton Beam

The Heavy Graviton Beam makes up the last part of the Tr-Laser system installed on the Vulcon. This weapon is the result of slotting all three pieces of the M.A.C.O. Space Set (Shield, Impulse Engines & Deflector). It is the only part of the system that is a single strike instead of a burst fire mode. Additionally, it is the only part of the set that deals kinetic damage instead of energy based. The HGB has the middle ground of firing arcs in the system, with a targeting arc of 65 degrees, placing it in the middle between the Quantum Destabilizing beam and the Quantum Field Focusing Controller.

The HGB when striking its target hits for 13,131 kinetic damage (50% shield pen), applying a repel to my target, which effectively means I push my opponent’s starship back and knocking my targets auxiliary, weapon and impulse engines off-line for 5 seconds. This damage and repel is boosted by the amount of skill points in Exotic Particle Generators & Control Amplification. For a science focused science captained starship, this can make the HGB especially devasting when buffs and improvements are applied.

However, the HGB is the most troublesome and problematic of the tri-laser system. First, it is a single strike weapon meaning it needs to be fired last. Additionally, due to the repel nature of the weapon, any attempt to use the weapon while my target is inside one of my gravity wells means there is a high probability of knocking a target clear of the gravity well effects and pull capability. This is especially true as abilities, console clicky’s and other boosts that improve gravity well, do the same for the HGB. As a result, sometimes I will not use this weapon as its risk’s outweigh the benefit in certain circumstances.

Several times, I have considered and still consider removing this system from the Vulcon. As it is more trouble than it is worth and the items I slot to enable the weapon could easily partly or entirely be changed for other items that would improve the Vulcon overall. While I did design this starship for fun, silliness and a theme, there comes a point where I have to consider the overall effectiveness of the starship is being too adversely affected.

Yin-Yang Control System

The Yin-Yang control system is a term I have used to describe the Vulcon’s second main system. It is a system that comprises a combination of the Vulcon’s exotic build with gravity wells, sunspace vortex and destabilizing resonance beam combined with a universal console – Multi-Target Tractor Arrays and the BOFF ability Tractor Beam Repulsors.

The basic premise of this system is throwing my enemies into a gravity well which sucks them into a small ball. Once the gravity well is nearing its end both the Multi-Tractor Beam Array console and the Tractor Beam Repulsor BOFF abilities are activated. This causes the target to bounce, or in this case Yin-Yang back and forth all the while suffering heavy kinetic damage.

The system is extremely experimental and even now almost 18 months from the system being initially conceived, still temperamental at best. Additionally, several times this system has caused me more problems than benefits if I decide to use this system at the wrong time.

Or, in words I would use two weeks after the Vulcon was initially launched on trials in March 2018.

The Yin-Yang control system is working pretty well. However, power distribution set up means that the “Yang” is a bit more powerful than the “Yin” at standard station keeping speeds. Forward movement resolves this issue quite a bit, but there are still signs of the imbalance. However, tests are still to be conducted with the third part of the Yin-Yang system, to see results, as well as how it effects the system balance.

Multi-Target Tractor Beam Arrays

 The Multi-Target Tractor Beam Array console is from the Sarcophagus Dreadnought Carrier starship from the Discovery Lockbox. However, being a Federation captain, I am lucky enough to be able to get the console from the cross-faction bundle box that comes from the lockbox, which is significantly cheaper. This console provides passively stat boosts to Energy Damage Resistance rating, Starship control Expertise and boosts a starships Flight Turn Radius.

The console’s active ability is that it randomly targets up to 3 foes within a 5KM radius every 2 seconds. During this time, Foes suffer massively reduced turn rate and flight speed, disables cloak and causes kinetic damage every 0.5 seconds. It also pulls foes towards the Vulcon. This is the first part of the Yin-Yang Control system and also the weakness part of the system.

Due to the Vulcon’s skill point distribution in Control Expertise, I need to be at full impulse power charging my enemies in order to keep the MTTBA system working correctly. As the second part of the system, the Tractor Beam Repulsors has a much higher ability to repel its enemies than the MTTA can drag them back in.

Tractor Beam Repulsors

Tractor Beam Repulsors in action. Thanks & credit for this picture go to the STO Wiki page on the very BOFF ability

Tractor Beam Repulsors is a science BOFF ability. The ability starts to become available from Lieutenant science boff stations all the way up to Commander science BOFF station. The ability targets any foe alive or dead (maximum of three) within a 5km range. The ability applies kinetic damage per pulse as well as applies a repel to the target roughly every 0.75 seconds. The ability has a whole has a 10 second uptime with a 40 second cooldown timer.

The ability is not widely used by the Star Trek Online Community. As due to its nature of pushing targets away from the player, which decreases damage the target takes. As the further away from a target you are, the less damage your weapons do.

Additionally, the ability can send a target flying off at an angle depending on the pulse timing as well as the arc between the player and the NPC. For canon armed vessels with low arcs for their weapon systems, this can cause them to lose their ability for several seconds to bring their most devasting weapons to bear. If used, most STO community members recommend to players to use the DOFF that turns the push of TBR ability into a pull.

As related before, due to the Vulcon’s control skill point allocation. This is the most potent side of the yin-yang control system. I can easily push my targets between 6 – 10km away with a second pulse. As a result, I usually use the TBR’s when charging my enemy at full impulse. This keeps my vessel close while still applying the TBR kinetic damage pulse. Additionally, this BOFF ability is useful against targets who are not affected by the repel side. These targets are usually NPCs like the Borg cubes & tactical cubes, or immobile targets like the transwarp gateways in Infected and Khitomer.

Exotic Particle Build

Vulcon’s exotic particle build is pretty similar to the USS Kim Possible. Even as a Multi-Mission Reconnaissance Explorer (T6) with more tactical seating than the science version. The Vulcon still has a Lt Commander and Commander science BOFF stations. However, as a result she suffers in the engineering BOFF layout area where her only dedicated engineering station is a lieutenant.


Gravity Well

Firstly, is the Vulcon’s most powerful asset, her commander science BOFF station loaded with Gravity Well III. Gravity Well is improved by skill points in Control Expertise (improves the area of effect radius, slight pull increase). Starship exotic particle generator (improves damage output) and Control Amplification (-25 resistance to exotic damage and control effects debuff). Gravity well causes kinetic damage (bypasses shields) to any foe/s caught in its radius of effect. It also causes negative repel which means it pulls its targets into itself. The ability can also reveal cloaked starships.

Gravity Well has a 135’ targeting arc. The Vulcon’s gravity well ability compared to the Kim Possible is significantly less. This is due to multiple reasons which will be described in another blog post detailing the differences between the two starships.

Subspace Vortex

Subspace Vortex BOFF ability in action. Again thanks and credit go to STO Wiki for the picture that is present on the very page for this ability.

Vulcon is also equipped with Subspace Vortex III. This ability comes has a trainable ability rewarded as a drop from the Xindi-Terrestrial lock box. The abilities damage is improved by skill points in Starship Exotic Particle Generators. The ability has two main uses. One, is kinetic damage dealing (ignores shields) which is applied to all targets within a 3km radius from your prime target. As a result, SV pairs really well with gravity well especially after all foes have been gathered together. The fact that gravity well as related above also causes kinetic damage means it is devasting against unshielded targets who have been debuffed. Subspace Vortex has a 135” targeting arc

The abilities second side is a transport option. If you select the ability again your starship will jump to the initial deployment point of the vortex, facing your current direction. However, this transport closes the vortex instantly. I have not heard the abilities second jump function being utilized by the community much if at all, due to the fact it puts you directly into the centre of a cluster of enemies, as well as closes the very portal that is doing damage to them, which is to have highly likely argo them onto you.

Destabilizing Resonance Beam

DRB in Action, again credit goes to the STO Wiki. Please note, this ability can cause partial blindness (kidding of course) if several are used at once.

Destabilizing Resonance Beam is the third of the triad of science BOFF abilities focused on exotic damage dealing. This ability can be chosen as an episode competition reward from the featured episode “Blood of the Ancients”. The ability applies physical damage (ignores shields) to all foes within 3km of the target for 10 seconds. Additionally, the ability applies a -5 all damage resistance and -5% energy weapons damage per pulse to those targets for 10 seconds. The physical damage component is improved by skill points in Exotic Particle Generators.

Destabilizing resonance beam has a 135” targeting arc like Gravity Well & Subspace Vortex, making it a perfect partner to those two abilities. Coupled with its damage also being improved by exotic particle skill combining these three abilities together on a science ship spec for exotic damage makes them a devasting combination.

Sizing up the Veteran

USS Kim Possible. My second oldest and most powerful flagship along my STO account and career.

The Vulcon’s sister ship, the USS Kim Possible is my second flagship on my account and the second oldest of all my main starships. Originally deployed in December 2012 she has had similar build changes like the USS Zuikaku over the years. While not has heavily modified, she has had a stellar career including reaching (but not completing) wave 10 in the original no-win scenario. She has also completed elite task force operations like Battle of Korfez & Hive Space Elite.

The Kim Possible is a more traditional science exotic starship design. Additionally, she was also built during the “dual neutronium alloy armor” days of my build career, and still has them to this day. She is scheduled to get a major overhaul like the Zuikaku. But, due to time constraints I have yet to dedicate time to planning to “modernize” her from her second generation build style to todays “eighth Generation” style of ship builds.

She is designed as exotic damage first, tanking second. An Equator Alliance captain once commented on the Kim Possible;

I have never seen a vesta take that much damage or argo and survive. Every other vesta I have ever meet including elite level captains would be in escape pods by now. But somehow your ship keeps going. Also, what in the world did you put into those grav wells?”

 This is the measuring stick I am using the Vulcon against. While I did build this starship for fun, I also wanted her to as much as possible meet the same standards and capabilities as the Kim Possible. No small task considering the amount of years I had put into that ship, while I built the Vulcon in a hotel room using an iPad and free Wi-Fi.


The next time we visit the USS Vulcon will be to do a more detailed comparison against her sister the USS Kim Possible. I will identify the differences between the two vessels and how Vulcon’s experimental design does mean she yields in several areas to enable her unique design. I will describe further the weakness and issues with the Vulcon including how effective this might truly be in today’s TFO atmosphere.

Until next time captains.

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


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


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


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%
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%
Accuracy Rating 33.2 17.4
Crit Chance 10.90% 13.00%
Crit Severity 78.70% 114.00%
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

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.


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.

USS Zond – Cardenas Command Dreadnought – Constructing the Priah

The Lore

Several weeks ago, Cryptic announced another release in the series of Star Trek Discovery ships to come into the game. The Cardenas Command Battle Cruiser. As the name would seemingly apply, an image of a heavy armed and gunned starship comes to mind. However, what was in one’s mind, and what was reality were two different things.

With the release of the ship blog detailing the stats and layout of the ship, there was a large outcry from selections of the STO community.

Command-Dreadnought-Cruiser Stats Blog

A portion of the community immediately went into rage mode, decrying the stats. How dare a dreadnought have no tactical seating greater than Lieutenant Tactical. How was this starship suppose to do DPS? Players could get better starships and this ship wouldn’t be able to compete.

Even older starships walked all over this “Dreadnought”. Coupled with a low turn rate and inertia, this ship had already been dismissed. Additionally, while she could mount dual cannons, her low turn rate and tactical seating made it a lot more difficult.

A portion of the community, said to anyone who planned to get the ship “Just use BFAW and beams, that is all this ship is good for”. This is where i come in. Surprising, this rage got my passion going. I was filled with determination. I could never top the DPS charts, however, I wanted to show those members of the community that any ships can true contenders, and are not to be underestimated.

A experienced captain and veteran, someone who knows what they are doing, can turn any starship into one of the most dangerous opponents you could ever face.


Now, before we proceed, I want to make one thing very clear. From a sheer math and data point, those members of the community are right. In sheer numbers, the Cardenas class is never going to meet or match starships like the Odyssey, Scimitar, Arbiter or other more tactically focused starships.

Her three tactical consoles, along with at best three Lieutenant tactical BOFF stations (if the Universal is used as tac) means she misses out on the higher end tactical BOFF abilities. Like Beam: Fire at Will III, Attack Pattern Omega, Cannon Scatter Volley & Rapid Fire II (As the cannon three versions require a Commander Tactical station, since she is a dreadnought/cruiser that is not going to happen).

However, it is surprising when some members of the community decry Cryptic for constantly selling “Power creep”. However, when a starship is released that does not straight away top or beat all of its competitors, there is more rage. Sometimes from the very same community members who decried the “power creep”.

Simply, I decided to build this ship, as I wanted to prove something. Or, more likely, show some love to one of the most beautiful designed starships I have seen for sometime (I have a weakness for four nacelle starships).

Inkling the Blueprints

My own Cardenas class was named for a Soviet-Era unmanned spacecraft/probe that was testing technologies and systems for manned spaceflight. I was actually inspired by the name when i learnt how the Buran was named. I got curious and googled soviet era spacecraft. Several options appeared but the name USS Zond really stuck with me.

Initially, I was going to do the normal Phaser build I usually do for Federation cruisers. However, after a short period, I thought that would be too easy. I needed a challenge, something a lot of the community would not expect.

So, USS Zond was born as a Polaron armed dual cannon fast paced line breaker. I designed (well, theory crafted) this ship in mind that she already has high baseline HP & shields. What she needed was punch and turn capability. I envisioned this ship having the ability to penetrate  enemy lines like at the Battle to retake DS9, and break them open for the rest of the fleet.

So, lets get down and get into her guts. Or, I should say what she has equipped in terms of weapons, consoles & other items. At this time, Zond is still under construction as I add items to her and grind what i need. But what i will list is the main components or her soul.

The Shipyard

Morphogenic Armaments

This set i theory crafted to use all three pieces. Naturally due to their bonuses for recharge and damage/critical severity. Since I will be using CSV/CRF and torp spread, those abilities combined with the cooldown reduction will give this ship a decent boost in firepower capability. Additionally, if I can combine the rotations of the abilities correctly, the boosts will be pretty significant.

Three polaron critical severity

This is especially true, as due to a smaller tactical console footprint, and that even that small footprint will not be filled with Fleet tactical consoles, i need to gain as much critical severity and weapon damage as possible.

Task Force Ordinances

This set I theory craft to use two pieces. The console and the turret. Originally I use going to use the torpedo as well. However, having used the torpedo on the USS Kershaw, as well as other set pieces which I decided were situational better, meant i decided to drop it.

I am using these pieces due to their boosts to Polaron and drain, as well as the two piece set bonus. Which boosts Polaron damage and most importantly turn rate. Which helps me considering this ships low initial turn rate, and my decision to arm her with cannons. As due to cannons low arc capabilities, even when under Cannon scatter volleys effect, I need to be able to maneuver this starship as quickly as possible.

Chronometric Calculations Set

I theory crafted that I will use all four pieces of this set, like I have with the USS Ryujo (though she is beam armed not cannon). More so I reason I choose this set was it was Polaron, keeping with the theme. The set bonus was not a major consideration though the Chronometric Energy Convertor clickable is definitely desirable.

Chronometric Energy Convertor

Gamma Team Synergies

The main heart & brain of the USS Zond, is the four piece set of the Gamma Team Synergies. Deflector, Engines, Warp Core & Shields. The general boosts to Polaron damage, turn rate, drain and other items keep with my general decision style. Having a ship have a main “build type” with a secondary type that merges with the main.

The set pieces having small but all around boosts to general areas ensures I try to eliminate any weakness in the ship. Or, in an attempt to ensure she doesn’t have a fatal flaw like a lot of high end builds do within the community.

Lukari Restoration Initiative Armaments

I theory crafted that i would use two pieces of this set. The console and the dual cannons. The Polaron set bonus damage boost as well as the drain boost were definitely factors (mainly it was because it was a Polaron weapon good set). However, the main item is the dual cannons. Due to their proc, while small, could be an added benefit to the structural integrity of the starship. I am planning if possible to also nab a Colony Polaron tactical console that also boosts healing when activating certain tactical BOFF firing modes.

However, this may or may not happen depending on how high I can get this ships native critical chance and severity up to.

USS Zond concept

Defensive Drone Guardians

Being a what I call a “pocket carrier” I decided that the Zond’s hanger needed brothers or sisters. I have used this console to great effect on the USS Corona, USS Kershaw, USS Ability and others. This also means I have a broad spectrum of abilities. My main ship has Cannons, my ship pets has Beam Overload, and my console pets have BFAW.

This is again keeping with the ships theme of breaking enemy lines. Imagine this cannon armed ship coming after you, with 10 pets in its wake. Plus, it attempts to eliminate a blindside with this vessel. Considering this ships abilities limit it to a forward 90 degree arc, I wanted something to cover my six, or at least distract it until i could bring this ship around.

Tachyokinetic Converter

Another console I have used to great effect on several starships. This console’s being a main choice is due to its turn rate bonus mainly. The critical bonus boosts definitely help.

Helm, One Quarter Impulse Power.

Mainly, while I am boosting this ships tactical capability as much as possible, I am not comprising her tanking capability or her ability to take fire. This goes into one of my main principals of my build designs for starships. Multi-layered redundancy (MMR).

MMR is my own design type, where i ask myself “What happens WHEN “x ability” or “x happens” or doesn’t happen. i build secondary systems and even tertiary systems into my starships. For example, if my massive DPS spike doesn’t occur, or it gets nuked or badly reduced, the ship has secondary systems to retreat or weather the enemy response.

Naturally, the game doesn’t really penalize you if it doesn’t work. But I like to role play that it does. More over, i actually try to act each time i go into a TFO that i don’t get a respawn, or if i do, it is going to take a real long time. If my ship gets destroyed, it could be really bad for the team. Which is one of my core gaming values, teamwork. I don’t want to do anything that forces my team to work harder if I can help it 🙂

Lets Book it Ensign.

Well, that is the introduction to the USS Zond. Apologises for the wall of text. However, for you lot, this has been a small window into my mind, how i design starships, and how sometimes within 60 minutes (shorter time that it took for me to type this out) I can build a entire starship from scratch.

This is what happens on a Sunday afternoon, when for two days since the ships release, the community has kept bashing a particular starship.

USS Zond - Engage

She is definitely not going to top DPS charts.

However, I decided to design her on a whim as I do get annoyed sometimes with the some members of the community who decries power creep, let expects every ship to get progressively more powerful, or have to have a minimum of “X BOFF Layout” or it is worthless.

One of my friends in the Equator Alliance, and one of the editors on this blog page once called me “Doctor Strangelove”. For my capability to seemingly build up any starship with crazy ideas or patterns, usually very quickly too. I think he is right, and sometimes I question how I can theory craft, build and construct a starship inside of one hour. But, I actually enjoy it. There is something to be said about being a Mad good guy starship designer.

As long as no one lets me near Omega particles or Red Matter, then we might have a problem.



Back from the Yards: Gameprints Repair of the 12″ USS Zuikaku

Back in March 2018, when Gameprint & Cryptic started to offer personalize printed Star Trek Online ships, looking exactly how your ship looks in-game. I, like many other Star Trek Nerds, most likely giggled like little school children (come on admit it, you did 🙂 ). So,with the new service being offered. I ordered my flagship, the Tier 6 Fleet Intel Assault Cruiser USS Zuikaku, flagship of the 101st fleet.

Several weeks went by, and in early May 2018, one day the package arrived. I was so excited, as I had been dealing with a lot of things in my personal & work life. Having the model arrive, was a bright spot on an otherwise bad period.

Little did i realize, that i would be most likely one of the first orders, who would experience a major break of their model.


Needless to say, I was crushed. Barely able to take one photograph before I reboxed everything, and contacted Gameprint to let them know what had occurred, and to also request a repair.

I also informed Reddit/STO, one of the main community locations for discussing Star Trek Online. Thread in hand, I let them know what had occurred

The support I received from them was great. I also got support from the main Cryptic Community Manager Ambassador Kael who contacted Gameprint. In an effort to ensure that this would never happen again to anyone else.

Several days went by, and I organized with Gameprint to have my ship sent back to be repaired. After I turned down their initial offer of them telling me how to conduct the repair myself. It took several weeks to get the package sent off. However, that was no fault of Gameprint or their delivery company. But more the fault of my local delivery company who delayed the send back by 2 weeks.

And so, ship sent back. I waited….

Repairs Underway

June became July, and I communicate back and forth with Gameprint with periodic e-mails requesting updates as to the repair. Then, on July 25th, a new e-mail came in. This e-mail, made me both excited, and worried at the same time.

We are working on your ship at this moment and we managed to cut your ship in half (sound scary but don’t worry she will be fine simple_smile)
We have reprinted the bottom half in tough resin. The modelling team just finished gluing and cleaning the ship. Now it’s in painting.
The phase “cut in half” doesn’t make any ship captain feel good at all. But I trusted the Gameprint team to get the job done.
Then two weeks later, I was informed the ship had been repackaged, and was on her way back to me.
Ship return & Review
A week later, the USS Zuikaku returned home. As one could expect. I was worried. Scared that unboxing her again would show another massive failure or break. Like the USS Reprisal mentioned in another blog, she was extensively protected. One could say over protected. But considering the cost, and the model and customer target base. I was glad.
It also seemed, that the USS Zuikaku incident may have been the trigger for a completely new way of packaging and sending ships to clients. If that hypothesis is true, then I am OK with what happened.
Ship unpacked, and she looked beautiful. The one slight issue was a slightly bent nacelle. But considering the width of the nacelle struts even in resin (1mm thick, if that) I am not surprised the weight of the nacelles might have caused a slight “bend”.
A better angle, shows the slight “bend” of the nacelle.
As you can see, the bend is pretty slight. The nacelle in question that is bent is on the port side of the second picture. The nacelle pylons still feel like they are flexible and can bend and twist. This does not surprise me, even considering that they cut my ship in half, some sections would still need to be flexible in order to have some give.
This is especially true, that while the model is light, the nacelles themselves considering their location and supporting pylons are still a heavy load.
Now, Gameprint mentioned that they cut my ship in half. However, I seriously cannot tell where that occurred. The repair (at least because of my paint job selection) is so well hidden, there are no clues to its probable location.
Considering how she was returned, a slightly bent nacelle is something I am more than willing to live with.  The timeframe from when Gameprint received my ship, to when the repair was completed seems to be 1 month. But considering how busy Gameprint have been with all their orders, as well as the seriousness of the damage, that timeframe is more than understandable.
I have to say, Gameprint really did their best to ensure my issue was resolved. Additionally, they were pretty responsive when i requested updates about the repair status, as well as requesting updates about what they could do for me regarding options to fix or replace the USS Zuikaku. Or, alternatively the return of the money i paid.
I also didn’t go into detail regarding how this ship looks compared to my in-game USS Zuikaku. This was because this blog was more about the repair & support, than the ship herself.
Thanks to all the Reddit/STO community & especially Ambassador Kael of the Cryptic team for their support and assistance with getting this resolved.
Now the USS Zuikaku is back home, I am going to ensure I have a quiet period. However, knowing this ship, I basically know I am going to be back in trouble again within a week. This ship just seems to attract trouble.
I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

Flashback: Deep Space Encounters

Earth Spacedock, as it appeared from 2010 until April 2014. Image Credit: RachelGarrett | sto.gamepedia

In 2010, Star Trek Online was a far less forgiving game than the one is played today. Today it is possible to travel through each of the galaxy’s four quadrants in single trips as part of a large, open map. But at the time of the game’s launch, it was a very different story.

At the outset of this opinion piece, I will say: I think Star Trek Online has lost a potentially amazing experience that cannot be repeated again in the game as it exists today. And I shall explain why.

This is my story of how an exercise in dipping my toes into the pool became an eight-year journey that continues today.

In 2010, the galaxy was divided into sector blocks – each of which was level-banded and matched to the levels you were expected to hit when you reached those territories in the course of story missions. This was far more in line with the open worlds of other MMOs: journeying through sector space to your next destination was fraught with risk and danger. Sector space was filled with hostile NPCs who would follow your vessel if you flew too close to them, and drew their attention. Of course, these NPCs were the same level band as the sector block they patrolled. Those around Federation space in the Vulcan sector were low level opponents, while those in the end-game regions around Deep Space Nine and Gamma Orionis were much higher; at levels 40 to 50.

The original sector blocks of Star Trek Online, showing the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, and their discreet divisions. Image Credit: Cryptic Studios, 2011.

Needless to say, for tyro captains in their first Miranda-class light cruiser, venturing (or more accurately, straying) into a sector well outside your level bracket was a hazardous and naively foolish thing to do. You could potentially find your Miranda venturing through Borg space at warp five, while a Borg Cube pursued you at speed better than warp nine. If you were not prepared for this, then what happened next was usually regrettable.

If you were intercepted by these hostile NPCs in sector space, you would be automatically dragged kicking and screaming into an open-instance deep space encounter wherein you would need to defend yourself against enemy ships, and then destroy them.

Either that, or they destroyed you.

And so it was in 2010 that the intrepid and daring Lieutenant James Hawkins of the starship USS Hyperion decided, after defeating the Borg at Vega colony, (ah, yes, the foolish delusions of badassey at level 10) and rescuing the badly-damaged USS Khitomer, that the single most important thing he could do in his fledgling Starfleet carrer was to see the universe and visit the most famous space station in the galaxy: Deep Space Nine.

Deep Space Nine, of course, resided right in the middle of a level-40 True-Way-infested rats nest of Cardassian and Terran piracy called the Beta Ursae Sector Block.

With orders from Spacedock to go investigate some silly Vulcan monastery on P’Jem, Hawkins instead ordered the Hyperion to take a right turn after leaving Earth and thus entered Cardassian space. Immediately, he set a course for Deep Space Nine. It didn’t take long for the ridiculously out-of-place Miranda-class starship to be spotted by Terran Empire starships that patrolled sector space, and it was pulled into a Deep Space Encounter at the sort of odds that even the imperious James Kirk might have thought better of.

Alas, there was no way the badly outdated engines of the Miranda class could escape the Terrans, and Hawkins resolved himself to the simple fact that in his brazen impatience to see Deep Space Nine, he was probably going to be atomized and have his debris scattered over the better part of a sector. Not without a fight, of course. (Indeed, this entire excursion probably began with the words ‘never tell me the odds.)

Fate, however, deigned that better things awaited the tyro Lieutenant.

The young and inexperienced captain couldn’t do much as the first wave of Terran ships that awaited him in this encounter opened fire. Level 40 phasers against a Mark-II uncommon standard shield array need to only fire one or two shots before your ship has sufficient air holes in its engine room (we swear it makes it go faster) to personally wave your head out of the hole and wave a white flag from the safety of a space suit.

Actually, that last part isn’t true. This was a dark age of Star Trek Online that predated the Nukara Strike Force, and thus I am entitled to say that back in my day, we didn’t have these fancy space suits (No, really. EV suits didn’t exist at this point). We had a plastic bag (which is now banned) and a fire extinguisher from ‘Researcher Rescue’. And we had to share the extinguisher.

The point is that my ship was unquestionably exploding, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

As shields failed and the hull was breached, a voice could be heard in the back of Hawkins’ mind. “Sir… there’s another ship coming in…”

I will take a moment in the retelling of this story to make something very clear: This actually happened.

Sweeping in front of the mauled USS Hyperion, a huge level-45 Sovereign-class assault cruiser let fly with more firepower than I thought was ever reasonable for a spaceship to have in a Star Trek game. Beams and torpedoes lanced through the attacking Terrans as the Assault Cruiser put itself between them and the appallingly out-matched Miranda. Before long, the Terrans were destroyed, and the Sovereign pulled alongside the ruined Miranda and began sending over as many engineering teams and hazard emitters buffs as it could find. I received a message from the captain of the Sovereign that was rather blunt. “You shouldn’t be here.”

I wasn’t exactly in a position to disagree.  I’d made a terrible mistake and promptly accepted the Sovereign player’s very kind offer to escort me back to a safer region of space. Dutifully, the kind player did indeed invite me to a team, bumped my level up to 45 to avoid the aggro of the other NPC mobs in Beta Ursae, and took me all the way back to the Sirius Sector Block, and the relative safety of Federation space.

Let it also be said that some of my fondest memories come from the occasions where I got to be the hero, and made some anonymous Star Trek fan’s day just a little bit brighter in deep space.

A couple of years later, Cryptic would finally remove these roving deep space encounters and replace them with the queued system for encounters that we have now. Too many players had decided that random pursuits through sector space were ‘ruining their fun’, and more’s the pity. The encounter of a vastly powerful Sovereign class starship swooping into save a hapless low-level Miranda is the kind of thing Star Trek is made of, and I hold that it’s a terrible shame that players will no longer be able to experience that sort of moment.

I took away one enduring determination from the encounter with that Sovereign. Oh yes… I would have that ship, and then it would be me doing the rescuing. Let it be said that some of my fondest memories in this game from the occasions where I got to be the hero, and made some anonymous Star Trek fan’s day just a little bit brighter in deep space.

That Assault Cruiser – whose name has been unfortunately lost to time – left an indelible impression on the kind of ship I’d want to fly.

That was when a brief look at a game that piqued my curiosity garnered my complete and undivided attention.