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During last year's event campaign, the options for the grand prize were either 2 100% off Z-store ships, a Premium T6 ship choice, or 1500 lobi.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to participate in the event, but if I get the opportunity this year, I will attempt to do so.
I am a Level 65 Fleet Admiral with no zen, 0 T6 ships, and no space gear above MKXII. In other words, I'm dirt-poor in-game. So any T6 ship that I can get my hands on is a blessing. Lately, I've been really interested in the T6 Inquiry and the T6 Gagarin Miracle Worker. However, the Gagarin is a Z-store ship and the Inquiry is a Premium ship.

Because I know this kind of information can make a difference in what ships are right for me, I am a tactical captain who really likes phaser beam builds. Hypothetically, if I completed the event campaign and had the option to get a free Arbiter and Gagagarin or a free inquiry, what should I choose? Of these two options, which favors phaser beam builds? Which choice would give me higher DPS?

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    This sounds like its only going to receive opinionated responses, which makes this off-topic.
    – Timmy Jim
    Jan 20, 2023 at 16:34
  • I'm not sure why this has to receive opinionated responses. I'm asking which decision would be more valuable for me. Jan 20, 2023 at 16:38
  • "Hypothetically, if I completed the event campaign and had the option to get a free Arbiter and Gagagarin or a free inquiry, what should I choose?" - that seems like it would be opinionated. I guess it's the wording I'm stuck on. Maybe it should be something like "of these two options, which favors phaser beam builds"
    – Timmy Jim
    Jan 20, 2023 at 16:42
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    Per your suggestion, I edited my question to be more specific and build-based. Jan 20, 2023 at 17:06

1 Answer 1

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First off: the fastest way to get a T6 ship is going to be by completing the Anniversary Event that starts next week. This will give you a specific new ship, rather than allowing you to choose though. Similarly, the daily give-aways this week should include a T5 ship token, which could allow you to claim the Avenger (the T5 version of the Arbiter/Inquiry; the consoles from all 3 ships form the Deadly Maneuvers set)

However, let us examine the options you are mulling over, broken down by the 5 categories of Accessibility, Traits, Consoles, Seating/Loadout, and Specialisation.

Accessibility:

Purchasing the Arbiter and/or Gagarin from the Zen store will unlock that ship account wide — every character you create will be able to access it without additional purchases. (Caveat: you will need to raise a Klingon character to Level 65 to unlock Cross-Faction Flying to use Federation ships on Klingon Defence Force-aligned characters). The ships can be dismissed and reclaimed as many times as you like.

Claiming the Inquiry will grant a single copy of that ship to a single character. Dismissing the ship deletes it permanently, until and unless you purchase it again.

For this reason, the Arbiter and Gagarin win out over the Inquiry. Also, you are getting 2 ships (and, by extension, Admiralty Cards) instead of 1.

Traits:

The Arbiter comes with the "Emergency Weapon Cycle" trait, which makes your energy weapons cost 50% less energy and fire 20% faster for 30 seconds after you use the Emergency Power to Weapons ability. (This will result in your weapons energy draining at 60% of normal — the increased fire rate means energy is drained more often, but less energy is being drained per shot)

The Gagarin comes with the "Entwined Tactical Matrices" trait, which will trigger the Torpedo Spread 1 ability when you activate the Beam: Fire at Will or Cannon Scatter Volley ability, or activate the Beam: Fire at Will 1 and Cannon Scatter Volley 1 abilities when you activate Torpedo Spread.

The Inquiry comes with the "Weapons Hot, Deflectors To Full" ability, which gives you extra shields, and makes your energy weapons fire 15% faster for 30 seconds when you activate the Emergency Power to Shields. However, this also means that they will be draining your Weapons Energy 15% faster.

The Arbiter and Gagarin Traits are considered to be 2 of the best Energy Weapon traits in the game. The Inquiry trait is considered… rather rubbish.

Consoles

The Arbiter console, "Ablative Hazard Shielding", passively reduces damage to shields. When activated, it will provide bonus shields for up to 45 seconds, and then heal Hull and Shields when it expires.

The Gagarin console, "Refracting Energy Shunt", will passively increase Power Transfer rate and reduce the cooldowns of Engineering abilities. When activated, it will deal Proton damage to your Target and enemies near it, but then drain 20 points of Energy from all four subsystems for 10 seconds.

The Inquiry Console, "Variable Assault Deflector Array", will passively increase Turn Rate by 22% and Phaser Damage by 15%. When activated, it will deal Phaser Damage to all foes in front of you, and heal 75% of damage dealt to your forward shields for 20 seconds. (The +15% Phaser Damage will also apply to the damage dealt by the console, as will any other Phaser Damage boosts you are using)

(The Arbiter and Inquiry Consoles are part of the Deadly Maneuvers set, long with the "Variable Auto-Targeting Armament" console from the Avenger. Having any 2 consoles from the set equipped will increase all weapons damage by 15%, and Turn Rate by 33%. Having all 3 consoles equipped will additionally increase both Flight Speed and Hull Hit Points by 15% each.)

Due to having better Passive abilities, a more-easily-boosted Active ability, and no detrimental effects to activating it, the Inquiry Console is far better for a Phaser Build than the Arbiter or Gagarin consoles.

Seating/Loadout

All 3 ships are 5 fore/3 rear weapons, with no hangars/Experimental Weapons/Secondary Deflectors

In terms of Console Loadout… we have a complication. The Gagarin has 3Tac/5Eng/2Sci/1Uni slots, the Arbiter has 4Tac/5Eng/1Sci, and the Inquiry has 4Tac/5Eng/2Sci/1Uni. However this is because the Inquiry is a Fleet Grade ship. Purchasing the Arbiter and the Gagarin from the Zen store will grant you an 80% discount on the Fleet Modules required for the Fleet versions (Fleet Avenger / Fleet Shepard) — and you get one free Fleet Module for every Reputation you push to Rank 6.

Comparing the Fleet Versions of the ships, all 3 of them have 4 Tactical slots, 5 Engineering slots, and 2 Science slots. The Gagarin and the Inquiry get an additional Universal slot, because they are both Miracle Worker ships.

For Bridge Officer Seating: rather than running through all of the seats (which are very similar, since all 3 ships are Battlecruisers), I will summarise: the Inquiry has 2 Universal seats and 1 Tactical seat, while the Gagarin and Arbiter have 2 Tactical seats and 1 Universal seat. The Gagarin only has an Ensign Science seat, while the Inquiry and Arbiter have Lieutenant Science seats. The Inquiry has 1 Miracle Worker and 1 Intel specialist seat, while the Arbiter only has 1 Intel seat, and the Gagarin gets 2 Miracle Worker seats. (Miracle Worker seats allow you to combine Beam and Cannon weapons with the Mixed Armament Synergies ability, but are otherwise less useful than Intel abilities)

This means that the Inquiry is slightly better than the Gagarin and Arbiter here, because it can carry out the roles/builds of both the other ships.

Specialisation

The Arbiter does not have any Specialisation mechanics.

The Gagarin and the Inquiry are both Miracle Worker ships, which means they have the aforementioned Universal Console slot, and also the Innovation Mechanic which will automatically grant buffs when using abilities. (Specifically, a combination of the 3 careers — Tactical, Science, and Engineering — will be displayed, and ticked off as you use an ability from that career. When all 3 boxes have been ticked, the randomly chosen buff will activate, and the Innovation ability will go on a 10 second cooldown before displaying a new combination)

Results:

Accessibility: Arbiter & Gagarin win
Traits: Arbiter & Gagarin win
Consoles: Inquiry wins
Seating/Loadout: Inquiry wins
Specialisation: Tie

Final Verdict: The ability to equip both Traits from the Arbiter and Gagarin will increase the strength of your build more than the damage boost from the Inquiry console — and will apply to any energy build you use on any character, rather than just to a Phaser build on this 1 character. This is especially true since, not having any other T6 ships, you don't have many other options to slot in to your Starship Traits, while there are plenty of good Consoles you can easily acquire to fill that slot (e.g. Approaching Agony, which has been subject to several Giveaways over the past year due to its association with the current story arc. Just search the internet to see which are still active!)

There is a reason why the Arbiter and Gagarin are generally considered to be the best choice for Players' first T6 ships…

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  • What is this daily give-away you talked about at the beginning of your great answer? +1 Jan 20, 2023 at 19:28
  • @SovereignInquiry Check the "Promotions" tab in the Zen Store. Yesterday was 4 free Ship slots, today is a T5 ship token, tomorrow is an Elite Services Starter Pack, then it's The Motion Picture uniform, 2 Fleet Support Officer Packs, and finally 2 Elite Bridge Officer Upgrade tokens. Then the Anniversary Event starts. Jan 20, 2023 at 20:58
  • Thank you for the information! I desperately need better ships. Jan 20, 2023 at 21:31
  • Any Tier 5 ship is viable for endgame content; the usual issue is not "better ships", but "better build". The game does a very bad job of teaching you how to actually build your ship, and has a huge difficulty spike when you enter the Delta Quadrant (that being the expansion when they raised Level Cap from 50 to 60). Try looking at the STOBuilds reddit, especially the "Baby Step" guide. But, in short: one energy type only, Beams OR Cannons (not both), at most 2 torpedoes (usually 1), and all of your Tac slots with damage-boosting consoles (i.e. Phaser Relay or Fleet Vulnerability Locators) Jan 20, 2023 at 22:27
  • I got the free 100% off T5 Z-store ship, thanks to you. Now I'm not sure whether I should go with the Armitage or the Arbiter. I'm sorry to bother you with so many questions, but what do you think I should choose, considering my specialization (Tac) and playstyle? I actually like Dual Beam Banks and cannons as well; I'm just looking for whatever will get me the most firepower. Jan 20, 2023 at 22:40

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