Surviving as a Squishy Ship

February 10, 2010

Becoming a Commander and receiving my Heavy Escort starship was an exciting event to say the least, but reaching this milestone was also a wake-up call. Yeah, you’re climbing up the ranks and getting new abilities, but then again — so are your enemies. They’re bigger and badder with more tricks up their sleeves, and sure enough, I found myself barely making it out alive during the first few space missions on my new ship. While I may come out victorious, limping from the battlefield with your hull short-circuiting like a lightning storm is hardly a satisfying experience. Escort ships may be armed to the teeth, but we’re arguably more fragile than our cruiser and science ship counterparts. Therefore, my main priority now will be to find ways to boost my survival. After all, all the firepower in the world won’t do squat if you can’t stay alive.

Here are my current observations and recommendations for maxing escort survivability, with a strict focus on PVE. Definitely a work-in-progress, and keep in mind a lot of it is based on my own personal play style and experimentation, so not all of this may meet every captain’s preferences.

First things first:

Shield Power Settings:

I’ve found that allocating at least 50 power (100% regen) to shields is a must. Even then, I found this a little lacking. However, pushing it up to 75 (200% regen) also felt like I was gimping my weapons too much, as that’s where the extra power was mostly coming from. In the end, I believe I found the balance at 60 power to shields, which feels adequate for now when combined with the usage of certain defensive abilities.

Bridge Officer Abilities:

Speaking of defensive abilities, this was the next area I sought to tackle. I’m currently trying to get my bridge officer abilities in order, especially in the science and engineering departments (tactical will be reserved for pure damage boosting abilities). Here is what I’ve decided for my current set up:

Engineering Bridge Officer abilities:

– Emergency Power to shields (so so so useful)
– Reverse Shield Polarity (just got this abilities for my new engineering ability slot and I love it! Converting all incoming energy weapon damage into additional shields makes this ability a must have)

Science Bride Officer abilities:
Lots of options here, but here are the two I’m playing with right now…

– Science Team (the best part about this of course is the instant shield repair in all directions. I just added this ability and I’m really liking it, a solid contribution to survival)
– Jam Sensors (I just replaced Tachyon Beam with this because the former just wasn’t cutting it — especially since I’m running at lower-than-average auxiliary power levels, and there are better abilities out there. Jam Sensors is fun because it prevents the enemy from targeting you, and I’m finding that using this ability is a great way to zerg ’em hard and fast! As to how much it’ll help me live longer…it sure makes for a nice panic button, but I’ll need more time with it before I make up my mind)

And now for starship equipment…

Ship Shields

When it comes to shields, I find the only ones worth having are either Regenerative or Resilient. I’ve had experience playing around with both, and in my opinion Regen is slightly better for survival.

Ship Consoles

I’ve made many adjustments in the console department since making the decision to increase my chances of survival (again mostly for science and engineering, tactical consoles are reserved for the pew pew) and I think I’ve decided on the following:

Engineering Console – I’ve mostly been playing with damage resistance consoles so far, and my conclusions are that they’re pretty decent. However, I’ve just switched to one with shield regen as I’m curious as to whether or not it’ll make me less squishy. So we’ll see how that goes.

Science Console – Before this, I had been using the + to deflector dish because of Tachyon Beam, but now that has to change, maybe to a +crew or a +sensor array console. Haven’t gotten around to making a decision, so this area is still a work in progress. All I know is, whatever gets chosen will be one that boosts a Science Bridge Officer ability.

It’s only been a for a short time , but so far this new set up seems to be working well for me. I’m automatically screwed anytime I let one side of my escort ship’s shields become vulnerable, so I find anything that will help boost shields and keep them intact are good things to have. To be sure, I’m no longer coming out of my PVE battles as a smoking heap — hull integrity is usually still at 90% or more and I’m none the worse for wear. Of course, a lot of it also depends on knowing which abilities to use and when to use them, but in general the changes above have helped dramatically. Please feel free to offer your comments and opinions on this, or help me out in case I’ve missed something. As I said at the beginning of this post, my set up is still a work-in-progress, and any tips on how to become less squishy (especially for future upgrades!) is always appreciated.


  1. Two thoughts:

    – Science Team is awesome, but not just because it boosts your shields. It also grants a damage resistance bonus to your shields for 30 seconds, which is awesome.
    – Jam Sensors is great for preventing one big thing from firing at you (and in PvP). Scramble Sensors is what I prefer in PvE – it forces a bunch of enemy vessels to fire on one another for ~15 seconds. They’re not firing at you, AND they’re killing one another. This works on mines, too – if they’re deployed while Scambled, they’ll target a friendly ship.

    • Yep, I’ve heard science team also breaks holds as well, but I’m not sure if it works after the fact or if it’s only preemptive.

      Hmm, good point on scramble sensors. I might look into switching it up.

      • I heard it was a good preventative measure, but I suspect that you can’t use it after you’re held. But I’ve yet to experience any holding, so I can’t tell you.

      • Being held is so annoying. The good thing is, I just got attack pattern omega, which you can use while being held, if science team didn’t prevent it.

  2. Question: would this change drastically if you weren’t soloing?

    • Honestly… hmmm. Good point. They’re all solid abilities, in or out of PvP. Those are my two cents.

    • I would definitely say it changes things a bit…I wouldn’t be so concerned about survivability if I always had a wing man.

      For example, my husband and I have run some missions together, and he’s a cruiser. Our plan is usually he goes in and “tanks” the enemies, I fly around and blast them down. If I pull aggro, he keeps me alive by replenishing my shields.

      • Ha ha, that’s good that he takes the beating for you 🙂

      • I’ll say it’s time he repaid the favor 😛

        Back when we played World of Warcraft, I was the feral druid tank and he was the glass cannon mage 😛

  3. ha! I keep wanting to have a wingman so I can max-out Auxiliary power and do crazy things with my science abilities!

    • One of these days! Maybe I can help out on one of your missions. How are you liking it in fleet actions etc. though?

  4. I’m having a similar problem with my Akira class ship as well. I hadn’t looked at the Science Team ability, I’ll have to take a look at that, thanks for the ideas.

    • I’ve been playing with Science team for a couple days now, and it’s a godsend. It’s gotten me out of several tight spots, especially when the enemy manages to get through my shields. Boom, instant shields again. And like Adventure Historian pointed out, it also gives a damage resistance buff to them, so it gives me a little time to catch my second wind.

  5. Fun figuring out what you need and making adjustments and see how they all work out eventually but keep adjusting to customized improvement tactics.

    I read somewhere recently if I remember Science Team is good for the reasons listed above by others as well it’s a huge boost to your ground team when on away missions. Science it boosts all science abilities among other things it helps with boosting Shield draining skills as well as boosting Shield regen which on away missions is awesome aside from it’s great use in Space fir your BO’s.

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