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Now that I have my big, slow-moving, tank of a cruiser - four weapon slots fore and aft - what are good weapons and tactics to use against ships that are nimbler than I am? (Meaning, pretty much everyone).

Currently, I'm running the following (firing arcs in parens): Fore - 2 Cannons (180), 1 Beam Array (250), 1 Torpedo (90) Aft - 2 Beam Array (250), 2 Torpedo (90)

Tactically, this lets me get a good volley away as I approach. Once we get into the turning death-spiral, I can generally keep the enemy ship in the forward quarter (where all the beams and the cannons can fire). After the shields drop (either mine or theirs), I can turn away and fire the aft torpedos at their weak/downed shield.

What I'm disliking about this tactic is that it tends to focus all the incoming fire on the inside shield (where my target is) and to the aft (where everyone else can play follow-the-leader). Is there a better tactic for the large cruisers?

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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Typically, the maneuver that's most effective for slower vessels isn't a head-on assault, but to "fire broadside".

Essentially, all of your beam weapons should be the 250* variety. When attacking a target, your goal is to have your side facing the enemy and to circle around them as much as possible while keeping your side to them. With this method, both your fore and aft weapons will be able to fire constantly on your target since their firing arcs will both have the enemy within them. Not only does this increase your DPS, but you can easily swap between sides of your vessel and continue to perform the same maneuver.

Two beam weapons will have a higher DPS than one dual-cannon bank (the highest weapon type). Comparing 4 beam arrays firing broadsides (2 fore, 2 aft) to two dual-cannon banks (2 fore, 2 aft, only 2 can fire at once) will show that you'll do more damage firing broadsides as much as possible until you puncture the enemy's shields.

At that point, you need to do a mixture of adjusting your course such that you can fire torpedoes when they're off cooldown and weaving back to broadsides to keep shields from regenerating.

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You can't put the 180s in the aft slots, so I still have a "broadside" - the overlap is just slightly smaller. –  Allen Gould Feb 23 '12 at 22:44
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For me I have the following , front : three beams, one missile launcher back : two beams, one missile launcher, one mine launcher.

I ended up being the only one left in a 5man pvp and handled it all by myself, no worries. no eps used, just some high end armor for the hull. took me long but was never in any danger of being destroyed

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A sic ship is really hard to do right I watch player after player screw them up. Sci ships are about the proxy and you BoFF abilities. If you can prox power drain and max aux power and have the right sci cons you can throw down a grav well with we'll over 3k dps then just keep them there. Sci ships need beams or turrets. Unless you in a fast mover. Long range, recon, wells, or lots of EPS. So the basic tactic is the same run around him avoid the main dps of his weapons and smash him with ablities.

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...This is about Cruisers. Not science ships. –  Frank Oct 3 '12 at 18:46
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Simple Tactics ^_^

Arrays for cruisers/ non turning ships lol

Cannons dual or heavy for escorts and for

Science well with a a balanced sett up its a trial and error thing lol

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I find that making large figure 8s really works well. I get to hit them will full broadsides for the most part, with the single torpedo launchers on each end, plus if one shield is weak its easier to bring a stronger one to bear faster. Also, if you're someone who really loves the duel cannons that lets you keep those since your bow will face the enemy at some point, but for the most part the beam arrays really do work best.

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The problem with cannons is their tiny firing arc; cruisers are too slow to keep an enemy ship inside that arc. –  Frank Jul 11 '12 at 17:52
    
Another problem is that if a ship decides to target you, the figure eight gives them many opportunities to get behind you (and once they're behind you it's very difficult to dislodge a more maneuverable ship). –  Allen Gould Jul 11 '12 at 20:03
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My current weapon loadout consists of one torpedo launcher in front, the rest are filled with single beam arrays.

I'm not at home, so I can only give a rough outline of my build. I'll edit when I have a chance to review it. Consoles include at least two EPS conduits to keep the power drain to a minimum and tactical consoles that increase energy damage. My two remaining Engineering consoles are used for +3.5 Weapon and Shield power. For defensive builds, swap out the weapon console with a shield one. You will want Warp Core Potential and Warp Core Efficiency. These two skills grant a power bonus, Potential a flat bonus, and Efficiency a scaling bonus. Granted, they don't provide much, but every little bit of extra power helps. Power levels are customized; offensive is set so I just barely hit the cap, with the excess dumped into shields. Engines and Aux are basically set to minimum. The opposite for defensive. EDIT: I lied; I didn't customize my power settings. Offensive is 100, 50, 25, 25. With bonuses, weapons and shields have +13 power. Engines and Aux just have +5, so definitely, the bonus isn't very large. This lets me broadside to great effect. Swap weapons and shields for the defensive configuration. Don't forget, Emergency power to shields bumps up your shield power stat, so even in offensive, with +13 flat bonus, and the +26 bonus from EPtS III, that gives me 89 shield power.

For the most part, when you're in a cruiser, DPS shouldn't be your main focus. Yes, you want to be able to do decent damage, so you don't take forever to kill stuff. But if you're going the cruiser route, survivability takes it. You're big, slow, and can take tons of damage.

Tactics

I can't speak for PvP, so this is all PvE. First thing to realize, you turn like an arthritic granny with a walker. Don't count on being able to keep them in your front arc. Most NPCs you'll be able to keep in a side arc, though. This is where beam arrays shine. Keep up the shields on that side as best you can (Reverse Shield Polarity works wonders as a panic power). Engines at half impulse. With maxed weapon power, anything under a battleship gets its shields shredded in no time at all. When you add the two EPS conduits into the mix, even firing all seven beams at once is no issue; power builds back up to full before the next cycle. ALL beams are on autofire, so I can focus on angles, power use, and threat management. There are some ships that you won't be able to keep in the side angle; if they start hitting your rear shield, start turning the other way. You WANT a side angle, to bring all your beams to bear.

For team missions, you'll usually act as the tank. I took Beam Fire at Will, Feedback Pulse, and the Threat Management skill for that reason. In the middle of a group, hit fire at will, and wait for things to hit you. Then hit Feedback Pulse to solidify the aggro. If things are really starting to hurt, use the defensive configuration, and start using everything you can to stay alive. If you have that much hate, your teammates should be able do damage without having to worry about getting hammered. With lower powered beams on autofire, you're still doing damage, so it should suffice to keep their attention on you long enough to tear them apart.

On the special task forces, I can keep threat roughly half the time, even with escorts doing their best to get swatted out of space by a Tactical Cube or somesuch. When I get aggro, I can usually keep it. Of course, this means you're the primary focus, and you better have the ability to take the damage they're sending your way. Engineering teams and aux to shield powers are your best friends for this. When all of these are on cooldown, hit Reverse Shield Polarity. Use those few seconds to get the hull as repaired as possible, as the shields won't last long.

Neat fact: reverse shield polarity recharges shields instead of draining them, that's obvious. What's NOT obvious, is if the shield getting hit is full, it starts channeling the excess into the other shield segments. I once went from no shields (stupid Borg drain), to full shields. Too bad Reverse Shield Polarity has a two minute cooldown.

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I'm intrigued by the single torp launcher - do you find you have trouble getting targets into the forward arc? –  Allen Gould Feb 29 '12 at 20:42
    
It sort of occurred organically. You start with a single torp launcher upon character creation, and it just kinda stuck around. At max level, I re-vamped everything, bridge office skills, weaponry, you name it. And Cruisers have only one spot for a Tactical officer, up to Lieutenant. At Ensign, the only one I thought was viable was Torpedo: High Yield 1. Sorta useless without a launcher, so the two sort of reinforce each other. Besides, a single extra beam array would add a negligible amount of firepower. –  Frank Mar 1 '12 at 0:07
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