First Impressions: Hands on with the T6 Jupiter-Class Carrier – 3/5 stars

Updated: Ship trait is working as intended.

I have wanted a true Starfleet carrier since the introduction of the Atrox. From the moment Star Trek Online decided to break it’s 4-year old unofficial moratorium on the Federation having a full carrier, the community as a whole waited with baited breath for the stats on this ship.

The Pantheon‘ design competition was a great way of involving the community as a whole, and in the end the design chosen won by a clear majority. The design leaned towards an established Star Trek Online canon Jupiter-dreadnought, and even included a secondary deflector in the skin reminiscent of the Dauntless.

secondary-deflectors

(Oh yeah, I went there. I may be wrong about the skin showing a secondary deflector. It could be an extremely large 10-Forward seating area or a specialized communications array that spews foul language at your target.)

This isn’t to say a Federation player lacked excellent carrier options.

During the last Winter Event, players had the opportunity to earn the first T6 Carrier in the game, the Breen Sarr Theln Carrier. With changes to the way the Winter event rewards are earned, this ship is only available to those people who started the projects during the last event. It is a very viable ship, easy to play, with a decent usable trait, and it has access to an above-average frigate pets (Plesh Brek Frigates). And it didn’t cost dill or ec. The space set was essentially the same. I love mine, and it’s never going into drydock.

breen-carrier
Perhaps the only complaint was the scale of the pets.  Yes, that’s the pets to the left and right of the carrier.  What stood out as ‘very cool’ was where they launched from (the long thingy on the port side).

If I could slap a Federation skin on her, I’d have dropped an extra $50 to buy it outright.

Federation players also have exclusive access to the T5-U Atrox and Fleet Atrox, all capable ships when they were first released.

atrox
Atrox: AKA Kitty Carrier, the Litter Box.

At the same time Federation players started gaining access to newer and more capable carriers through lobi and lockboxes. These included:

  • T5-U Advanced Obelisk Carrier (including a free version from 2013’s Season VIII: The Sphere)
  • T5-U Jem’Hadar Dreadnought Carrier
  • T5-U Tholian Recluse (The ultimate nanny ship for high DPS runs)
  • T5-U Xindi-Aquatic Narcine Dreadnought Carrier (A favorite of the DPS crowd, and winner of the longest name for a ship award.)
  • T6 Breen Sarr Theln Carrier
  • T6 Herald Vonph Dreadnought Carrier

All of the ships listed above were in many ways better than the Atrox and it’s fleet variant.

I have been reminded that many players still like the Atrox, and have not invested in getting one of the newer/better alternatives. Not everyone can play the lockbox lottery, save 800 lobi, or grind their way to the several hundred million EC needed to buy them off the exchange. These newer capable carriers, and a lack of any design features that says ‘Hey, I’m a Starfleet Carrier‘ is why it’s a rarity to see an Atrox still used in the game.

Suffice it to say that having a Federation Carrier was something many of us wanted. Since it was ‘Fed’ it would more than likely be a science carrier.

The Loadout

The initial release of the stats and loadout was at best a mixed-bag.

On the cool side:

  1. It looks like a Starfleet Vessel – that is it’s primary selling point.
  2. It has frigate pets for the first time, and the Callisto looks powerful.
  3. The one console it has, looks potentially very cool and and team oriented. It doesn’t rely on multiple-console sets. 
  4. It’s turn rate is acceptable for a ship of it’s size.
  5. It’s shield modifier and hull are ‘among the best in the game‘ for ships in it’s class.

Stuff I can’t argue with:

  1.  The Consoles: 3 Tac, 4 Sci, and 4 engineering.
    Three tac consoles I can live with, if we can supplement the damage through science consoles. But this ship is neither a science ship, nor a tactical ship and the fifth engineering console with the fleet version seems misplaced.
  2. The engineering seat is an Intel Hybrid.
    Many discussion online see this as a shortfall. My preference is Intel, but many have pointed out that Command might have been more appropriate.

The negative side:

  1. The boff seating is offers only 2 tac seats, 4 if you use the universal seating, with a max Lt. level. Understandably this isn’t a tactical carrier or a dreadnought carrier. This ship will never be a record breaker for DPS, let alone a ship I would be comfortable saying it carries it’s weight in the endgame grind. Missions? Sure, it will work fine. STF’s? There are better alternatives for grinding. So, as it’s a carrier, one would assume the pets would supplement the damage potential. More on that below:
  2. A Ship trait that focuses on an ineffectual game mechanic.
    More on this below.

Lets look at the components:

 

Hanger Pets

pet-comparison

I’m using the Plesh Brek Frigates as a comparison to the Callisto Light Escorts.  The immunity at the bottom of the Callisto is from the Ship Trait “Scramble Fighters” and is not part of this comparison.

At face value the Callisto is better armed and shares nearly identical tactical skills.  The Callisto’s hull for my test registered as 53k, while the Plesh Brek registers at 33.4k – the Callisto’s cost 10K more dilithium (38,250) and an additional 100,000 fleet marks which it typical for elite fleet purchases.  Where it differs is in it’s special abilities, and I would argue those abilities make the Plesh Brek the superior pet.

  • Lock Trajectory improves turn rate and mobility.
  • Scratch the Paint – You are immune to the damage caused by a Warp Core Breach (max once per 60sec)

Scratch the Paint is pretty amazing for pets, helping you keep them in battle longer.  Lock Trajectory in principle sounds good, but my experience has been that the Callisto pets were always in a perpetual game of ‘catch up to me’ and frankly never got close enough to the targets to make use of those skills.  The certainly are the most survivable pets I have ever used.

For my play style, the Plesh Brek frigates did significantly more damage to my opponents.  While they died with a higher frequency than the Callisto pets, at the end of the day they did more DPS.

  • Breen Energy Dissipator is effectively a ‘color’ item, but does occasionally interact with a target and reduces their energy level.
  • Raider Flanking – this is the bread and butter of the frigates, accounting for more than half of the damage generated.

Now I should point out some players have seen instances where a single Callisto had added as much as 6K damage to your total.  My tests have not been as lucky, but they did produce a consistent 6-8K boost to my total DPS.  Perhaps it was my choice in traits, or I wasn’t producing the necessary threat to enable the pets to work unmolested.  I’m leaning towards my lack of threat.

Pet AI

I believe that pets don’t all share the same AI.  Beyond a visual recognition that they are piloted differently (try it by having 2 different hangars), and there is something odd about the Callisto.  They’re slow to respond, and it appears they do not share the same red alert status as the carrier.

More often than not I am attempting to recall them, but end up destroying the target without their assistance.  In missions this might be acceptable behavior where time is really not a factor.  But in STF’s this behavior doesn’t support you or your team.

Special Console – Fleet Coordination Module

This is one of the better consoles I’ve seen recently, and it reminds me of the Dominion Coordination Protocol Console for it’s effectiveness.  The big difference is that FCM has a higher damage bonus and has a number of passive abilities.  Great console, period.  Now if STO made it truly universal and usable on any ship…

console

 

Ship Trait – Insult to Injury

insult
Was this meant as a joke?

In a wide ranging discussion on the SHOW a few weeks back, Sarcasm Detector took particular umbrage with the useless nature of this trait. Based on a skill that’s widely believed to be broken, the concept is that when you trigger a particular skill, all of your pets within a 10km range will Transport Warhead I to your selected target.   With the Callisto pets that means up to 4 warheads.  Potentially this could mean up to 12 warheads depending on your choice of torpedo-enabled pets.

In theory this could be amazing.  In practice I saw no increase in damage to a target, and found no evidence that the ability was working in either SCM or ACT combat log parsers.  I tested multiple skill builds, but only with my tactical captain.  I don’t believe my skills played any role in affecting the outcome of the tests.

I could be wrong, and I’m willing to be proven wrong.

In chat conversations in the DPS channels, a few players who ‘knew people with the ship‘ apparently got individual strikes in excess of 15K from this ability.  I’m skeptical and I offer a bounty of 10 lockbox keys to the first player who can provide a verifiable parse that the trait works as described.

Update: Found evidence that the trait works. TY Redditer forvrknight for the help (and we’ll hook up ingame).  Now all I have to do is figure out why it’s not working for me 😉

My Builds

I’m not posting a particular build this time, as this is a work in progress.  As my understanding on how carriers perform evolved, and with advice from carrier players, I was able to steadily improve my DPS.  My first runs were 8-9K, and i found myself a being little more than a large target that screamed ‘hit me’.  By the end of the weekend I was finding it difficult to break 20K consistently.

I’m not a carrier-player. While I enjoy cruisers of all shapes and sizes and I’m spoiled with ships like the Vonph, I’ve never been that adept at utilizing pets effectively. And there is certainly a unique playstyle necessary to take full advantage of them.   In all honesty with flight-deck cruisers I often forget about the pets while in combat and play through without deploying them.  That’s clearly not the best way to utilize them.

My first builds for the Jupiter were based on my typical BFAW beam array cruiser builds, with an extra emphasis on turn rate using both a high-end Conductive RCS and the Tachyokinetic Converter consoles.  This provided a turn rate higher than I needed, so I dropped the TC console in lieu of more armor.  As my survival and confidence improved, the arrays became dual beams, and finally i settled on 3 DHC’s forward on all energy build.  This proved surprisingly effective in combination with a gravity well, and biding my time and positioning to maximize the potential damage.

If anything this ship has forced me to pay very close attention to positioning and when I use abilities.  For that I guess I’m grateful because if every ship was this hard to play, I would have given up a long time ago.

And I’m not done yet.  I’m looking to test other peoples builds, and my next test with a sci captain will be a drain build.  I’m going to get my money’s worth yet.

In Closing

Star Trek Online’s new Jupiter-class carrier would not be my first choice as playable starship.  That comment has more to do with my play style than it does this ship. It’s certainly a ship we’ve wanted, and it’s a different way of playing the game.  The pets are very survivable, and the console is pretty cool.  It is marginally better than the existing Atrox, and if you’re buying a carrier for the first time – there’s no reason why you should not consider the Jupiter if your preference is a ship that has nacelles and a saucer-like primary hull.

I don’t regret buying it, but…

The Jupiter is not better than a 1 year old carrier which most players could earn* during the Winter Event, and for me that’s the frustrating part.  This ship could potentially be so much better if even one two of the following:

  • The ship trait worked as promised  Now i need it to work for me!
  • The pets dropped ‘Lock Trajectory’ for anything else
  • The pets responded quicker
  • Lt. Commander tac station, while dropping the Science Commander seat to Lt. Commander
  • Secondary Deflector
  • Sensor Analysis

The Breen carrier for me does more damage, and provides greater opportunity for DPS than the Jupiter.  The same goes for all of the carrier’s I’ve highlighted at the start of this review.

The Jupiter IS the best Federation carrier in the game, but that’s because it’s the ONLY Federation carrier in the game.

The best analogy is you’re stuck in the desert, you’re thirsty, and the only choice in front of you is a glass of stale warm water. It’s not perfect, but it will do – even if the glass is dirty. And depending on how thirsty you are, it might even taste like champagne.

My two bits

Lootcritter

 

*For Rahhmi Starchaser who felt my opinion that the Breen ships were free was incorrect, resulting in a the conversation below.  I think rewards are technically free, in that it takes me a small amount of time each day to earn a piece of currency to buy said reward.

Clearly, she felt otherwise and sent me this nice card.  I have edited out ‘free’  in my opinionated blog post just for her 😉  As to her unsolicited offer, having completed 1 fleet, and worked on others I have no desire to do it again.  I’ll have to pass on her offer of a ‘gifted’ ship – although I could use the Cardassian cruiser…

Update: Crap. Someone offered me a Galor.  Thank you, but I’ll have to pass 😉

12 thoughts on “First Impressions: Hands on with the T6 Jupiter-Class Carrier – 3/5 stars

  1. As Twittered, I totally disagree with your use of the term “free” when referring to the BREEN ships regardless of the fact that Cryptic Falsely advertised them as “free”, and if I could, I would file agreements over false advertising.. not because I hate cryptic, but because it’s literally just blatant false advertisement.

    The Odyssey came out.. Following a short “overview” mission, it was released “for free”. Okay. I could believe that.

    The BTTF Style Hoverboard that came out, however, WAS ACTUALLY “free”. It required logging into the game, heading to the C-store, and grabbing the item.

    But each (yes each) of the winter ships required you to play over 20 3-5 minute races, and they didn’t even manage to function as account unlocks (actually they still aren’t for me). This is most certainly NOT “Free”.

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  2. Just to point out, the 4/4/3 console slots are the Fleet carrier. The standard only has 3 engineering, which the Fleet adds a fourth to, not a fifth. (If it WAS a 5/4/3 carrier, well then!)

    Callisto AI is definitely bugged, but that’s likely to be fixed soon enough. The stats look pretty solid, and even with the current issues of failing to follow orders and not going anywhere, I’ve got a parse of 3700 with the elites. Poor, granted, but it should be viewed through the lens of the issues it has.

    I rather like the idea of a sci-wizard carrier machine, something that can handle all kinds of support and CC while its pets hammer away on targets. Abusing the pants off of Scramble Fighters and the hangar time reduction means damn near 100% invincible Peregrines, which…is amusing me much more than it should. I might just have to grab some more of those. I currently run a fleet Carrier on Aeka, and so far the Schwarzschild has parsed 27-29K with a sci-focus build and using only a few serious endgame bits.

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  3. But if you drop the Commander Science to a Lt Cmdr, then the ship wouldn’t have a Commander seat and we would be even more mad at the BOFF Layout!

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  4. I wanted to like the idea of the Jupiter. It felt like a great vessel for an Admiral to be in. I guess most of the charm I found with the Jupiter was that using it might make my character feel more like an admiral in some grand flagship of somekind (also, when T6 ships were announced, having a smaller selection on extraordinary “flagship-style” vessels such as the Jupiter had been my idea of what T6 might be like, rather than just “another tier to populate”).

    Unfortunately, the Jupiter’s performance fell short of my expectation. The firepower coming from the fighters (Elite Obelisk drones, Scorpion Fighters or twin Elite Callisto bays) simply aren’t all that relevant to the damage I can already bring with particle manipulator, 250 partgen, gravwell3/destabilizedbeam2, particle emission torpedo spread II and 5 antiproton beam arrays firing at will.

    They aren’t able to intervene fast enough to make a gainful contribution in shorter skirmishes. In bigger fights with large powerful targets, I’m not finding their damage output to be all that significant. Basically, I’m underwhelmed.

    So, I went back to my T5U Vesta Multi-Mission Surveillance Vessel. It feels far more effective. (I recently fell out of love with the Luna-class, nearly 6 years of being neglected is simply too long for me; I’m moving on and the Vesta is soon to get T6 treatment – it’s not like I disliked the Vesta so much as simply liked the Luna better… but now I’m tired of waiting. Time to move on.)

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  5. Remember torpedos have a long cooldown. It may be your ships are unable to trigger the ability until the torpedo resets – that was how it worked when I tested the ability on my player.

    My guess is your killing things before the ability has a chance to go off since it only fires them at your current target.

    I have the same AI experience with the Xindi carrier’s frigates. Their sluggish on the attack and catching up and really ruined the ship for me.

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    1. Oh and I almost forgot. The Atrox is almost as good and I have it. why would I buy this for ‘a bit better’ than a five year old ship. Esp when the Atrox has been begging for a stat rebalance and upgrade.

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  6. Great review. Thank you for doing it – I know how long it takes and the amount of effort required to do a write up.

    So, this is a minor grammar thing . . . but it is “bated breath” and not “baited breath.”
    Short for “abated.” STO players aren’t fish to be hooked . . . oh, wait.

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  7. Any time I read these mmo technicals it makes my head spin just sounds like “bork bork bork” I just invest in a toon could care less if it has 90% accuracy shooting potatos out of the tail pipe. Its all about the visuals and at the end of the day nothing lost nothing gained as is the round about mmo strategy minus the pay to win model. We have to seriously stop treating STO like Star Trek yes it has some interesting story and plot twists but its really not compareable.

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    1. I don’t think we are comparing the two, rather that some players identify with immersion in different ways. If I were comparing a MMO with any of the series, I’d say it’s a pale imitation. But that’s not the sole reason why I play.

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