First Impressions: Hands on with the T6 Faction Dreadnought Pack

This is a great example of a good pack:  each ship is unique and a significant improvement over previous versions.  For me the measure of a good ship is one that I’d play with, but a great ship is one I’d also buy the fleet variant without hesitation because it’s become my ‘new’ go-to ship.

Every time I sat down to write this review, I ended up playing with the new dreadnoughts for hours on end.  It didn’t start out this way, and I’m very surprised with how much I’ve enjoyed them.  I’m sorry I didn’t get this review out sooner, and given it’s size I think I may have to break these pack reviews into more manageable chunks.

The T6 Kolasi Siege Destroyer earned my highest (and totally biased) personal rating to date.  If it had a cloak – and this isn’t a complaint – it would be 5/5.

stars-comparison

At first glance naming all three as dreadnoughts seemed a bit of a stretch. Leave out for the moment that one of the ships is essentially a heavy escort destroyer (KDF), another being a rehash of a less-than-popular Warbird (ROM), the only ship that actually looked like a dreadnought is the T6 Yamato (Gal-X).

Initial reviews online were also mixed, although MandoKnight’s insightful breakdown on /r/stobuilds provided a balanced description of all three ships’ weaknesses and capabilities from a theory crafting perspective.

At the outset I was only interested in trying the T6 Kolasi, the highly anticipated and much requested update to the old Nausican Siege Guramba. Back in the day this ship was a serious damage dealer in STF’s, doing damage on par with any escort when the game was better known as ‘Escorts Online’ 😉

I’ve never been a fan of the Gal-X and it’s subsequent updates, and I never bothered with buying the earlier Haakona with it’s separation console, preferring to work with it’s mirror universe counterparts. So when it came down to deciding if I’d buy 1 or the three-pack, I was leaning heavily on the single purchase until I got a closer look at the T6-Haakona’s Universal Lt.Com. seating.  As I’ve stated before I have a weakness for gravity wells.

Despite it’s ugly exterior and ridiculously poor turn rate, the Kara Advanced Warbird had the makings of a ship I’d actually play even without the separation console of it’s T5 sibling.  MandoKnights recommendations (and the upcoming Admiralty system) pushed me to buy the set, and I don’t regret it 😉

As always, “It’s not the build, it’s the pilot” was something that kept going over in my mind.

While all three are distinctly different craft, they do come with a built in faction-energy type-specific lance weapon, a single hangar, and a universal console called Supplemental Subsystems.

Click to see set bonuses for FED and ROM
Click to see set bonuses for FED and ROM

They also share the same Starship Trait – Subsystem Redundancies.

subsystem-redundancies

At the time of this blog post I’m not entirely sure that I will use it in the long run.  The shield heals and the reduced damage is nice, but considering the wealth of trait options for boosting damage, I may retire this trait in lieu of something else.  I am interested in using though with other ships – the Annorax for one.

My usual evening of testing became 4 weekends of experimenting with builds. Two of the ships stood out as being THAT MUCH fun, that I invested in the fleet versions shortly after leveling the fleet mastery.  I rarely buy fleet versions of anything primarily because there is something new every few months.  Few ships warrant my investment in a fleet variant, except for the rare ship that I want to play everyday (The Guardian being my most recent fleet variant).

T6 Yamato Dreadnought – 3/5 Stars

Comparison between the as-is Yamato skin, and the Iconian Set
Comparison between the as-is Yamato skin, and the Iconian Set

First up was Starfleet’s entry into the T6 Dreadnought race.  Easily the most recognizable ship of the three, the Yamato is absolutely gorgeous.  From the primary hull to the nacelles, this ship screams ‘Star Trek’ in all the right places.  Kudos to Thomas Marrone for a terrific design job.  For my first foray into a workable build I added the Saucer Separation and Cloaking consoles; the Cloaking console when pared with the Supplemental Subsystems console adds +3 Turn Rate and +3% Defense (on top of +2 power to all subsystems).

The T6 Yamato is a remarkably good-looking ship.
The T6 Yamato is a remarkably good-looking ship.

For me the performance of Federation dreadnoughts have been a bit of a disappointment.  The first-generation Galaxy-X was a ridiculously slow under-performing  vessel who’s lance weapon never really caught-on as a viable weapon.  The second-generation update was marginally better adding an extra lance capability, many in the community openly hostile that it still under performed when compared to top-of-the-line Romulan ships.  Yes, it’s not fair to use the Scimitar as a measure for comparison, but secretly we all wanted a ship that could effectively kick ass while looking cool.  In the months that followed we were treated to a variety of top player’s pushing our beloved Gal-X to 100K plus category which is great, but I was reminded that it took the skills of the top 1% (and a few nanny’s) to make this happen.

My second ‘negative’ feeling towards this line was it’s saucer separation console.  I’ve always felt that the saucer was a huge waste of time, acting as a very brief additional target, with no practical improvement to DPS, or for that matter no improvement to the fun of playing it.

The T6 version changed that impression, even with the Saucer Separation console.

build-yamato

Given that it’s predecessor was a pig in terms of the turn rate, I hedged my bets and added the Tachyokinetic Converter, and Conductive RCS to supplement the Starfleet Maneuvering Protocol Set bonus, on top of the Iconian Impulse engines.  This had the effect of pushing the turn rate from approximately 7.4 to 13.4.  This pushed the dreadnought to be slightly more agile than my Fleet Guardian build.

In ISA I had little difficulty to breaking 22K with my meager piloting skills.  The cloaking device was rarely used, and the saucer separation feature always felt like an afterthought, the Saucer itself providing a negligible boost to DPS, acting in many cases as a damage sponge more than an assist.  I would point out that after 5 runs, the saucer provided less benefit than my hanger pets.  At no time over the course of the last two weeks did I ever see the saucer section use it’s lance shotgun ability, with a total playtime of 9 hours.  In fact I was almost going to file a bug ticket until I saw another player ‘s saucer fire the shotgun effect.  Clearly the bridge crew assigned to the saucer needs more training.

The phaser lance itself can be an effective weapon, and with a little practice I learned to plan my runs to maximize it’s damage.  While it’s not record breaking, it was viscerally satisfying to see hits in  the 60 to 70K range on an un-shielded target.

The Supplemental Subsystems console packs quite a punch.  Part Leech, part ramped-up Red Matter Capacitor the real challenge was trying to time it’s use effectively.  I wish there was a way to discharge it’s energy burst with some control.  I found it very hard to judge when to activate it not only for the boost to subsystems, but to also use the burst effectively.  In close quarters it can be very effective sending out an AOE electrical discharge.

I found the ship particularly enjoyable when I was testing the new Battlezone on Tribble.  It’s a vast improvement over the T5 and T5-U variants of the Galaxy X, and I enjoyed using it.  Would I consider playing long-term with her?  I think the simple answer is no – while I had fun, the limits of the boff layout hampered my design choices.  If we could choose the energy flavor of the lance I would strongly reconsider that opinion.

Update: with some great build advice and a little risky piloting, I’ve converted her to a mixed cannon and beam build and pushed her DPS to 27K.  I’m really starting to like cannons again 😉  I’ve begun to use the cloaking device a little more effectively, but I can’t help but feel that it’s time for the Federation to have integral cloak on some of it’s ships.

 

T6 Kolasi Class Siege Destroyer 4.5/5 Stars

This ship has become my favorite KDF-aligned vessel, in terms of play-ability, boff layouts, visual aesthetics and the potential for easy DPS.  In fact after two weeks of playing with the dreads,  the Kolasi was the first of the dreadnoughts I bought fleet variants for, and I’m loving playing every minute of it.

Siege ships play a valuable role when you assault fixed positions.  In the game Federation and Empire, the Klingon Fleet have access to a highly modified ship called the Mauler.  Essentially a ‘flying super cannon’ it’s towed into position where it delivers a devastating blast capable of dropping a starbases shields in a single shot.  (It also had the nasty habit of exploding instead of hitting a target).  In an odd way I see the T6 Kolasi as a thematic successor to that ship, not including self-immolation 😉

kolasi

Just as with the original Guramba, the T6 Kolasi comes with an integrated siege mode and a transformation cycle.  The transformation is very cool as the ship flips and the rear facing arms transform into forward facing weapon mounts. The animation cycle lasts 3 seconds and for about 1 second you lose your energy weapons.  The cycle converts your ship from an agile destroyer to a slower siege ship.

siege

Unlike the other two ships in the set, the lance weapon’s disrupter energy is provided through a feedback mechanism.  All of your weapons act as a ‘pseudo drain’ where a percentage of the damage you cause is transferred to the lance.  Once at firing capacity the lance capacitor remains charged until you choose to discharge it.  Of the three ships, this lance appears to be the most effective.  After you fire the lance, the ship will immediately transform back to the Destroyer mode.  There is a glitch, and occasionally you will remain in siege mode after firing.  Simply hit the transformation  icon and your ship resets.

The Kolasi’s lance only has the one mode, and it can strike multiple targets if they are aligned.  I have yet to accomplish that maneuver 😉

kolasi-build

While in the destroyer mode the ship is agile and on par with other destroyers, I’ve actually gone entire STF’s without transforming.  It really depends on the situation whether or not I’ll use the lance.

The Kolasi isn’t very maneuverable while in siege mode so I find that I take a fair amount of time to position her effectively, activate the transformation cycle and then begin my attack run to charge the lance. While in the siege mode the ship’s turn rate is abysmal and I found that smaller ships and fighters had little difficulty in avoiding my forward arcs. This is where I found the fighter hanger to be of most value.  Set to intercept, they often provided the cover and support I needed to make my runs effective.  While they didn’t add more than 2.5K DPS to my total, they did at least act as targets to soak up damage coming my way.

stingers

In terms of performance, I had no difficulty in ISA pushing 27K. DPS.  The real key is timing your lance attack on a particular target.  I had more than a few instances where the spike damage exceeded 75K with a little effort.

While it lacks a cloak,it’s a worthy addition to any KDF arsenal and something I really enjoy playing.  Now if only I could hit more than one target with the lance…

 

T6 Kara Advanced Warbird

I didn’t buy the Legacy of Romulus starter pack.  Back when it came out I was not interested in investing any real money in the game.  I now regret that choice that decision and have since bought all of the ships recently at regular pricing primarily for the various consoles (and admiralty).

The Tier 6 Kara Advanced Warbird is based upon the Ha’apax and Haakona Advanced Warbirds.   The Ha’apax was a 120K dilithium ship of decent capability.  My preference was the significantly cheaper Mirror variant easily purchased (back then) for 300K EC.  The Haakona was a C-Store (Zen Store) ship and was based on stolen federation technology.  It came with a Dual Vector Separation console which effectively splits the ship into an Assault and Guardian Warbird.

The Kara received a skin update for both ships, and while at first I found it to be quite ugly – as I’ve gotten better with it I’ve grown to love her exterior.

kara-advanced

Separation in action:

launching-the-assault

I prefer to use the Assault side, leaving the Guardian to provide support (shield and hull heals).  And frankly it’s the better looking of the two.  In combat the Guardian can soak up a fair amount of damage and of all the large separation pets, it seems to actually do things that supports you.

kara-advanced-assault

My current build is built around the Breen ‘Absolute Zero’ space set.  I have access to other potentially ‘better’ sets for a science captain, but I find the visuals very appealing on Romulan ships and the added Breen Energy Siphon & Cryo plasma venting are fun to use.

She comes with the Romulan Battle Cloak, but beyond the initial first strike I find she’s not quick enough to take advantage of the hit and run tactics of smaller ships.  I don’t consider that a drawback in the design, just a weakness in my piloting skills.

The weapons are Romulan plasma, with the Singularity Harness weapon set rounding it out.

kara-byuild

In ISA I was able to routinely do 18-20K DPS which I believe I can improve significantly, but I found it most effective in Tholian Red Alerts.  The lance weapon works as well as the Yamato’s, and the wide beam actually fires on a regular basis from whichever craft is in the support position.

While I really love the various Scimitar builds I’ve played with in the past for the sheer DPS, the Kara is more enjoyable from the variety of abilities I can bring to combat.  I liked her so much that 2 of my Romulan alts have the fleet versions.

I hope you like this review, but I think I’ll be breaking them up in the future to get them out faster.  This was an excellent set with three unique and interesting ships that I don’t regret purchasing and I look forward to many more hours behind their controls.

Lootcritter

Edited because I clearly can’t proofread.  I need an editor.  Dear Space Jeebus, I need a second set of eyes…

4 thoughts on “First Impressions: Hands on with the T6 Faction Dreadnought Pack

  1. The Yamato was a purchase I skipped because I was already pretty happy with my Andromeda, it didn’t seem to offer much more, and I frankly felt the only thing that really interested me and would have me graduate from the Andromeda was the T6 Odyssey. Since it’s been hinted at already, it makes my restraint easier to bear with. I agree that while not a fan of the Galaxy-X, the Yamato looked far more appealing than I expected. Almost like the Andromeda’s frame had been ideally made to add those modifications – it all meshes in very well.

    No opinion on the Kolasi. I don’t give much of a damn about Nausicaans.

    As for the Kara, I also never found much appeal in the Ha’pax space whale… but wow, the assault warbird does look badass! I’m almost moved to buy the Kara and shell out the fleet modules/upgrade tokens to get a T5U Assault Warbird for my inner space barbie… except I know it’d be a novelty lasting a couple of days, and I’d then return to my Dinaes warbird. >_>

    So, yeah, restraint. Currnetly holding my breath for the two ships I actually want – T6 Odyssey and T6 Luna (though after all this time, I’m falling out of love for my clunky neglected Luna and might actually commit to the Vesta – I’ve a T5U Multi-Mission Surveillance Vessel that’s working out splendidly).

    Like

  2. I’m also a big fan of the Kolasi; she’s a ton of fun. The only reason o haven’t bought the rest of the pack is b/c I don’t have a lot of characters in those two factions, and my current roster of T6s suffice for my two Feds and one Rom. 🙂

    If you still need to do am editing pass by the time you read this, in your “glamour pic plus one-sentence review” for the Kolasi, there’s no E in truly. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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