Star Trek Online: Dyson Science Destroyer Review

Posted by | February 16, 2014

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With the Federation and Klingon Empire discovery of the Solanae Dyson sphere in the Delta quadrant, and subsequent discovery of yet-another-sphere, things have been progressing story-wise very quickly in Star Trek Online. This has led also to a multitude of new virtual items, in-game equipment, and especially new ships. The 4th Anniversary Celebration is well underway and the reward ship from participating in that is the Dyson Science Destroyer representative of the Solanae Dyson sphere hybrid-technologies set and everything that entails.

The ships rewarded from putting virtual nose to digital grindstone is an interesting variant of three (one for each faction) that looks like it’s been Teflon-coated with the circularly-etched Dyson sphere material and adds a few game mechanics that are expected to visit STO in 2014. These mechanics include a secondary deflector (adding oomph Science powers) and a transforming capability similar to the Chimera Heavy Destroyer that switches the vessel between a heavy-Science mode and a heavy-Tactical mode.

Acquisition

The Dyson science destroyers are a reward from running the 4th Anniversary Event by collecting Qmendations from Q at Earth Space Dock (Federation), Qo’noS (Klingon), and New Romulus (Romulan). It involves running a little chase-the-Q or pick-the-present minigame and the entire affair ends February 27, 2014.

Soon there will also be a 3-pack C-Store vessel available that will build on the science destroyer set by adding consoles and probably change bridge officer ranks so looking up a brief review of the reward ship should also give a fair idea of what to expect from that.

UPDATE: The Klingon Advanced Dyson Science Destroyer C-Store set has been revealed (Season 8 Dev Blog #50). Featuring the Ta’Sub-class, MoQ-class, and Chontay-class. Each variant adds an extra console slot of the specific type (Tactical, Science, Engineering) and a special console. Romulan Advanced Dyson Science Destroyer C-Store set has been revealed (Season 8 Dev Blog #51)–Harpia-class, Tyton-class, and Caprimul-class; and also the Federation C-Store set (Season 8 Dev Blog #52)–Montgomery-class, Omega-class, Helios-class.

Across factions all of the Dyson Advanced ships are a variation on the same theme.

vox-dyson-science-destroyer-aves-class-bridge-screenshot

Aesthetics

Each variant of the Dyson science destroyer looks like it belongs to the faction it represents but is slightly aesthetically different. Every one looks like it has had Dyson sphere white-and-black smooth curved armor bolted over an exterior fitting the shipyard-design and interesting purple nacelle-glow. The Federation Solanae-class looks as if it has been designed using the Avenger-class battle cruiser’s profile, including the split-front saucer section. The Klingon Nov-class most closely resembles the Peghqu’ Heavy Destroyer in profile with elongated nacelles. The Romulan Aves-class looks like a swept-back and flatted cross between the D’deridex-class and Ar’Kif-class with sleeker lines.

The result in every case is a ship that looks like it belongs to the given faction, but with distinct modifications and the strange Dyson material making up the external skin.

Some players have found this distinct look problematic as the ships certainly fit into the fleet profiles of the given fiction, but at the same time look different enough to make them stand out. Of course, for some players this effect is exactly what many are looking for to give them a good looking ship that doesn’t conform to the expected standards.

Then again, these ships do look like something that belong on a futuristic kitchen counter right next to the dish soap—perhaps that Teflon non-stick coating and not just rigid Dyson-materials.

Numerous players have noticed that the various shields from different sets that change skin and nacelle-glow have an amazing look for many of the Dyson science destroyers. For example the Nukara set creates a beautiful yellow-lines effect and the Borg glow gives a striking green luminescence.

The bridge of the science destroyer is a strange, round space reminiscent of the Dyson sphere interior—grey-blue with eldritch curves etched into every surface. Various sections of the room are on raised plinths with would-be consoles that ignite with azure glows—sitting down at the captain’s chair, a terrible thing that swings up out of the floor, floods the room with a blue cloud of motes.

In the center of the room is a blue holographic image of the ship class spinning slowly and a crew member is nearby pointing a tricorder at a console. A little strange for a craft that’s been commissioned and prepared for people to take it into combat, perhaps the crew is antsy about the alien furniture and technology.

The bridge is self-contained and does not offer access to any other part of the vessel; although there are two doors that would iris-open in the Dyson sphere should they have been connected to anything.

vox-solanae-dyson-science-destroyer-firefight-screenshot

Handling

The handling review of a ship in Star Trek Online is broken up into three parts: maneuverability, armament, and armor. The Dyson science destroyer is an odd bird when it comes to Star Trek Online starships that incorporates a lot of new mechanics including a secondary deflector and a “Tactical Mode” capability—while it’s a science ship, the Tactical Mode increases firepower and Tactical capability while removing Sensor Analysis, Subsystem Targeting, and the secondary deflector.

There are three variants to the Dyson science destroyer so this spec sheet is compressed somewhat to include the Solanae-class (Federation), Nov-class (Klingon), and Aves-class (Romulan). Note, this is the ship earned via Qmendations during the 4th Anniversary event (which ends February 27th, 2014) a three-pack C-Store ship is planned at the end of the event.

Faction: Solanae, Federation; Nov, Klingon; Aves, Romulan

Required Rank: Rear Admiral

Hull Strength: Solanae, 28,500; Nov, 30,000; Aves, 28,500

Shield Modifier: Solanae, 1.3; Nov, 1.25; Aves, 1.25

Crew: Solanae, 400; Nov, 1000; Aves, 600

Weapons: 3 Fore, 3 Aft (+Solanae Dual Heavy Proton Cannons in Tactical Mode)

Device Slots: 3

Bridge Officer Stations: 1 Ensign Tactical, 1 Lieutenant Commander Tactical, 1 Lieutenant Engineering, 1 Lieutenant Science, 1 Commander Science

Console Modifications: 3 Tactical, 2 Engineering, 4 Science

Base Turn Rate: 12 degrees per second

Impulse Modifier: 0.16

Inertia: 50

+15 Auxiliary Subsystems

Can Equip Dual Cannons

Nov, Cloaking Device; Aves, Romulan Battle Cloaking Device

Subsystem Targeting

Sensor Analysis

Secondary Deflector Slot

Solanae Secondary Deflector

Solanae Overcharged Warp Core

Tactical Mode (See explanation below)

First and foremost it’s important to note that the Dyson science destroyers are Science ships foremost with an odd sort of Tactical upbringing. Triggering Tactical Mode causes an animation that turns on the front proton cannons, but shifts power levels away from Auxiliary to Weapons and changes the bridge officers to add that Commander Tactical skill (but removes the Commander Science skill.) Running in Tactical Mode doesn’t suddenly turn the science destroyer into an escort but it does place a lot more firepower under its wings.

For maneuverability, this craft is nimble-enough to keep cannons on target against most foes (especially in Tactical Mode) but Science ship captains generally like to run with at least one beam array to take advantage of Subsystem Targeting.

As for armament, Nov and Aves captains may be tempted to turn this vessel into a cannon-boat and it works well that way; but they still work reasonably well as beam-boats. The up-front Science capabilities can be used by captains to open up with placate or debuff powers when attacking a group of enemies—especially with that Commander slot open for Viral Matrix or Gravity Well. After deploying Science abilities, the captain can switch into Tactical Mode and start pulverizing.

As a ship with 3 fore and 3 aft weapons its fits the role of the standard science vessel—but the odd addition of the heavy dual proton cannons that appear in Tactical Mode make the Dyson science destroyer a very strange beast indeed. Captains will want to weigh their options around Science capabilities and Tactical skills.

Cannon builds may be able to take advantage of the Dyson Experimental Proton Weapon because of its odd dual-cannon-beam properties (the only problem is that the EPW doesn’t seem to handle Subsystem Targeting currently but does handle Cannon Scatter Volley and Rapid Fire.)

This ship has very little in the way of armor and hull–it’s on par with the Deep Space Science Vessel–so it’s best not to get into a prolonged firefight and as a Science vessel depends heavily on its shields. The Nov can withstand more of a beating and Aves captains will be able to use singularity-powers and battle cloak to escape dicey situations; but Solanae captains may want to run extra shield resistance skills for survivability. The Dyson science destroyer’s poor Engineering pool makes this a little bit tricky, but the heavy Science can be used to supplement it somewhat.

vox-dyson-science-destroyer-aves-class-screenshot

Build Advice

The Dyson science destroyer variants pose an interesting conundrum for captains—find a way to make it into a DPS monster, aim for flying it like a science vessel, or utilize the ability to switch between the two modes and wreak havoc. Star Trek Online has always been a game long on giving greater benefit to excessive DPS, but the science destroyer’s transformational capability gives some street cred to assault support.

The Dyson ships also come out with consoles and armament directed towards buffing proton damage (which primarily affects the one heavy dual cannon built into the ship.) This set is the Protonic Arsenal and contains the Gravimetric Photon Torpedo Launcher, the Experimental Proton Weapon, and the universal console Proton Particle Stabilizer. Arguments for this set arise from how useful the Proton Experimental Weapon could prove; while arguments against include the weaker-than-usual output of the torpedo (in spite of its amusing Gravity Well proc) and the relative low yield of proton weaponry and lack of this damage type in the game.

No matter how this vessel it outfitting, it will likely not be monstrous when it comes to damage output. With only 3 Tactical consoles it will be difficult to buff whatever weapon-type is chosen by the captain to extraordinary levels, but it’s still possible to give it an edge—assuming good placement of universal consoles.

The weapon load-out of this vessel makes it much like other Science ships (which means beams) but the addition of the dual-heavy proton built-in cannons does makes a cannons in front, turrets in back build work. The Tactical Mode +15 Weapon power does go a long way to absorbing the drawbacks of a cannon built but it needs to be supported heavily by that Commander Tactical ability. It’s certainly a good space to drop an Attack Pattern Omega 3.

The extremely light Engineering bay in this vessel also means there’s scarce-little room for armor consoles but could be well-used for fleet consoles that hybridize effects.

The Science array on this ship is extremely strong with 4 slots that could be filled with any number of boosts to crowd control or debuffing powers including Graviton Generators and/or Particle Generators to tackle exotic damage from Gravity Well and Tyken’s Rift. Of course, for captains going for team support might slot Shield Emitters and/or Countermeasure Systems to enhance heals and confuse/placate in the field (a good strength for a Commander Viral Matrix might be suited for this.) Given that this ship survives on its shields also means that a Dyson reputation Shield Refrequencer with a suitable buff on it might be called for.

A klingon Nov-class Dyson science destroyer taking on treacherous romulans in the Tau Dewa sector block

Conclusion

The Dyson science destroyer is a new concept for the Star Trek Online universe, especially providing the bridge officer station changing capability in the transform. It means that captains have a moment to think about the Commander Tactical and Science abilities they want to be able to switch between in the heat of combat.

As a result, it’s possible to build a boat that takes both Tactical and Science to their near-edge case in builds while not sacrificing too much of either. Especially if the Commander ability in Tac or Sci is the pinnacle power that the ship is geared to use in the particular transform role it’s in.

The “weird” aesthetics coupled with the freely-available (for a little grind) also means that a lot of captains will be jumping into this ship this month to try it out and looking forward to the 3-pack that will appear in the C-Store. Past ships saw Tactical, Science, and Engineering versions released in the 3-pack meaning that captains who want to lean in a particular direction may find themselves in luck with the current variants as the base for additional BOFF and console fitting weighting towards a particular role.

As a test for the transform ability and the secondary deflector concept the Dyson science destroyers will be a milestone for STO when it comes to adding these new mechanics. The captains flying these vessels will be the vanguard for a brand new play style—or simply fall back into their old habits—that will tell us a lot about how development will continue based on player behavior.


2 Comments so far
  1. Drew
    March 26, 2014 12:56 pm

    Would you recommend it for a tactical captain ?

  2. Helvetica
    March 26, 2014 3:39 pm

    Good question.

    I fly an Aves with a Science captain; however, because the Dyson destroyer is in fact a destroyer means it has a nice layout of guns to work with Tactical captain innate skills. Some players choose to take these ships out of drydock and fly exclusively in Tactical mode (with the extra cannons up front active, and the Science mode benefits offline.) For Tactical captains it’s certainly got a lot of good things that can be done with a cannons-all build, spread and scatter for AoE, and rapid fire for heavy DPS; it’ll just have a heavier science trend going on that can be used for debuffs and cleanze.

    In fact, even for a Tactical captain, switching back into Science mode to open up that final Science skill could be used for an opening Gravity Well; or in my case I use it for a Photonic Officer (to lower BOFF cooldowns between fights.)

    The destroyer is not quite as good as an escort when it comes to being DPSy; instead for a Tactical captain it would fly with some medium-level firepower backed up with Science tricks. At this point it’s going to boil down to playstyle.

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