Feb 282014
 

Welcome Everyone

Previously; in “The Road to the USS Zuikaku” Five part series; I described USS Zuikaku’s launch from just after Free 2 Play to the end of 2013; describing the mistakes; pains; lessons learnt and self critical condemnations of myself in my decision processes and choices as I strove USS Zuikaku with the help of many people I call friends; fleetmates and allies into the ship she became.

Close Up Mr Divil

After the end of the third instalment; I started drafting tentative plans with what I would do next; what would be my next featured article for the website; and what else would I do. I strove through several ideas; before setting on one of my major “beta plans” and decided it would go into “Live” status. Funny enough just after I had made that decision Vice Admiral Jim commented on Facebook that USS Zuikaku’s build never ends; and hence the series would never truly end. I cryptically commented that ” I already had that figured out :)”.

A couple of weeks later I sent Vice Admiral Jim and Fleet Admiral Will my next series I was planning to do; describing in detail what would be in this series. They seemed to really like the idea and wished me all the luck. This also had a extra benefit of allowing me to continue to describe in process how USS Zuikaku would continue and what other changes she might have done in 2014.

I don’s hide USS Zuikaku secrets; and freely tell everyone exactly how she is built up; as I prefer to tell people my own experiences in ship and build building and what mistakes I have made; cause lets admit it; we all make mistakes or bad calls with our ship builds that we usually kick ourselves over later.

This is partially what the new series is going to be about; actually describing my thought processes and other things as we proceed through 2014 and what Star Trek Online has install.

So; Welcome to the “Zuikaku Chronicles” a new six part series describing USS Zuikaku’s foray in 2014; and what may occur over this year; another part of this series is to tie my “Captains Logs” role playing posts into the series. This way not only do you get my thoughts on my ships builds; but you also get to see my role playing side a bi more frequently.

So ladies and gentleman; without further ado; I hope you enjoy the initial foray into this six part series; “Principium”

Fleet Together

Stardate 91605.27 – The New Year came around and we were into the year of 2014; 2013 was behind us and we shook off the new years celebrations and looked into a blight new year. USS Zuikaku started the year like normal; bashing Borg over the head and giving the klingons a run for their money; situation normal for USS Zuikaku 🙂

But; I still had a ship to command; choices to be made with reputation systems and passives; as well as a host of other things to think about; and I was eagerly looking forward to what was beyond. My first decision to be made was to consider what Dyson Reputation Tier 4 passive I would choose. However this choice was one of the easiest of all the reputation passives I had chosen so far so it didn’t trouble me too much. I ended up going with the “Active Hull Hardening” which gives a +0 – +75 damage resistance boost based on the damage to your ship; the more damage you had; the stronger the bonus became.

Active Hull Hardening

However being that USS Zuikaku is designed to be a tank first and damage dealer second; having the passive would be very useful especially if PvP if I became the target. Having some more time to bring my heals to bear or being the centre of attention would help my team out; as while the enemy is focused on me; they aren’t focused on my more vaper friendly team mates :).

Fleet Tactical Consoles

My next decision was for Fleet tactical consoles; which type would I choose? Would I go for more critical severity; making my hits when they did crit much more devastating; or would I go for more critical chance over severity; making my ship do more critical hits at the expense of their potential destructive capability.

Critical 1Critical 2

Eventually; I choose to go for 4 Fleet Tactical Locator consoles; as after much thought it would be better to improve USS Zuikaku’s critical chance over her severity; as I preferred more Chance in my strikes than severity. This has the effect of boosting USS Zuikaku’s stats to the following.

Critical Stats

PvP changes

While I drove into USS Zuikaku’s consoles; I also drove into her BOFF layout; specifically for PvP. For the longest time I had been running “Beam Target Weapons 1” believing that helping minimise a Escorts initial alpha strike or completely removing it by disabling their weapons.

Previous PvP Lt Commander Tac

However; for several weeks I had been thinking I had made a massive mistake; and when I took a cold hard look at myself and my choice; I realised I had indeed made a grievous error. I will post a short section of my build update on the ausmonaut forum about my statement and how I felt about what I had done.

“Link from Ausmonaut Forum Post” I had made the biggest and most stupid idiotic mistake possible by choosing “Beam; Target Weapon Subsystems” I will freely admit that I mucked up massively choosing that ability; which I will go into detail below.

One of the main issues with “Beam Target Weapons” is that it shares a cooldown with Beam Fire at Will and Beam Overload; so basically I would either have to choose between the three when in a PvP match and which one I would use against my target. This made me indecisive and inflexible to changing circumstances; which can be a big killer in PvP.

I would keep debating between using “Beam Target Weapons” or beam overload on my targets; and since they shared a cooldown if I used “BTW”; it would place Beam Overload into cooldown; and usually a opening would appear while BO was in cooldown that could have been effective or landed a killer blow and it wasn’t available.

Also the fact that most ships natively; even if they lose their weapon systems (especially escort flyers) they would only lose weapons for maybe 1 second; 3 max. Also since “BTW” didn’t removed tactical BUFFs; it really didn’t do anything for my ship and actually massively hampered what USS Zuikaku was good at and her main weaponary – Phasers.

So i decided to look into alternatives; and after having a quick look at other lieutenant Tactical BOFF abilities; I decided upon using ATTACK PATTERN DELTA 1. Attack Pattern Delta gives a boost to the attacking player of a +20 all damage resistance rating for 15 seconds; which basically means that USS Zuikaku goes from 39% energy damage resistance to 45% energy damage resistance for those 15 seconds.

Another good thing about the ability; is that If i get targeted while using it; my attacker receives a -20 damage resistance rating for 5 seconds for each hit; which for a escort can be extremely dangerous. So far PvP testing has found this to be a extremely good ability; and especially good for team assistance.

6th DOFF SLOT

Stardate: 91662.72 – Late in February 2014 the 101st Fleet reached Tier 3 Operations on our Fleet Spire; which allowed players to purchase a 6th DOFF slot for both space and ground. I picked mine up pretty quickly and decided on what DOFF to purchase or place into the 6th DOFF slot for space.

I chose pretty quickly; picked up my DOFF and equipped here. I had decided that I wanted USS Zuikaku to have even more power at her fingertips; so I choose a warp core engineer DOFF that had a 20% chance to boost all my power levels my 20 on any activation of a EPtX ability.

6TH DOFF

This boost seems to be pretty good as well as gives me a chance for a nice reserve bit of power to come into play when I might need it most. Since both my EPtX abilities are Emergency Power to shields; and I keep these cycling constantly in battle; my enemies will never know how much power I have in reserve. Several times USS Zuikaku has had 125 power across the board for 10 second intervals 🙂

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Admirals Logs

Computer begin recording

Stardate 91627.16 – The Briar Patch continues to be a dangerous place; as we have received communications that USS Iskandar captained by Captain ulaan; has been ambushed in the Briar Patch.

The USS Iskandar was responding to a distress call from the Briar Patch when she was ambushed by the IKS Cobra; one of the ships that took part in the initial ambush at the Briar Patch that caused the destruction of the USS Queen Mary C and 200 Souls aboard her.

From Initial reports Captain Ulaan handled the situation very well and caused the destruction of his opponent; which launched escape pods that then headed to the Klingon Border.

USS Iskandar received medium damage in the encounter and is on its way back to Starbase 101 where I will de-brief Captain Ulaan personally. I have ordered that no 101st Fleet ship enter the Briar Patch alone; it is indeed a confusing set of circumstances. Why were there more ships at Briar Patch fielded by the 101st Imperial Fleet; what is it with this jackal style of action. Something is afoot.

Computer end recording.

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Admirals Log – Stardate 91684.61

USS Zuikaku has docked at the Emissary Shipyards in orbit around Bajor; she is here was part of normal maintance overhaul as well as to allow Zuikaku’s crew members some much needed shore leave.

The Last time USS Zuikaku was at Bajor was when she was towed back into the shipyards by none other than USS Enterprise. After engaging the Dominion Fleet around DS9 USS Zuikaku had almost been destroyed in the ensuring battle.

Bajor Orbit

I lost many good crew members that day and coming back here brings back some not pleasant memories; especially for Lt Commander Tarah and Lt Yarud; who are the only remaining senior members of staff that were onbaord USS Zuikaku at the time of the Battle.

However; seeing the welcome the Bajorans have given USS Zuikaku on our arrival has brought the entire crews spirits up; they treat us like we were the only ship in the battle when in reality we were part of a much larger team.

USS Zuikaku is also hosting several tours by School children of Bajor; I have to admit I have enjoyed giving some of the tours; as making children happy and seeing their faces light up as myself and my crew so them around is the biggest reward I could ask for. Maybe I can introduce them to the joys of a chocolate Milkshake 🙂

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Admirals Log – Stardate 91699.2

USS Zuikaku has received a secret communication from the 101st Fleet commander of the IKS ta’be’ ghaH; asking for a meet-up in the Briar Patch to discuss a diplomatic solution to the current mess between 101st Fleet and the 101st Imperial Fleet.

First Officer Jones has informed me she doesn’t like this one on one meeting and believes it is a trap. She may be right; but if we can find a diplomatic resolution to this mess; I am going to make every effect to make it a reality.

However we will take precautions; I just hope Commander Jones isnt right. USS Zuikaku is scheduled to arrive at the coordinators in 8 hours; all we can hope is that this Klingon is true to his word.

Admirals Log – Supplemental

Commander Jones was right; after arriving at the location specified I started to discuss options for ending this war with the commander of the IKS ta’be’ ghaH. However; it was all a trap in a attempt to destroy or capture the USS Zuikaku.

About 5 minutes after discussions had begun Lt Commander Linde had discovered a mysterious build up of energy. It was pretty quickly determined that it was the Klingon commander trying to slowly charge and build up his weapon power before attacking.

In the resulting battle the Klingon ship was destroyed for minor damage to the USS Zuikaku. Again like before the klingon escape pods headed to the Klingon border and we let them go.

I have no idea why the 101st Imperial Fleet has become so aggressive of late; my only hope is that they come to their senses before this war gets any worse.

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Admirals Log – Stardate 91707.18

Once again late in the night I received some bad news from Commander ones waking me in the middle of the night; the USS Silver Baron; captained by Captain Hero; has gone missing while on patrol in the Eta Eridani sector. No contact has been received from the ship in the past 48 hours; leading to fears for the ship and its 800 crew.

I have organised and ordered a search of the last known coordinators by the 101st Fleet; with 8 starship’s involved in the search. However hope is failing quickly with each passing hour. Starfleet Intelligence believes the 101st Imperial Fleet is responsible.

Admirals Log – Supplemental

The USS Silver Baron’s crew has been found; all in escape pods drifting through space. I have de-briefed Captain Hero myself and he has informed me that his ship was ambushed by the commander of the IKS ta’be’ ghaH.

From all reports his ship was patrolling in a normal sector of space before being ambushed by the Klingon Commander. After what seems to have been a hard fought battle; Captain Hero had to order abandon the USS Silver Baron.

How exactly that commander of the IKS ta’be’ ghaH got another ship so quickly is making StarFleet intelligence scratch their heads. I also feel partially responsible for this; as I had the chance to take the klingion commander into custody. Commander Jones has told me that she believes I did the right thing and that in human terms “I shouldn’t beat myself up about it”.

She is most likely right; but I cant help but feel for the commanders and captains of the 101st Fleet; as there seems to be no end in sight for this war.

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Admirals Log – Stardate 91734.54

USS Zuikaku has just finished a 60 hour deployment in the Ker’rat system under constant battle stations alert. A Klingon House named “House of Beautiful Orion’s” had seemed to declare war against the federation ships trying to push out the Borg in the Ker’rat system.

Starfleet Command has ordered 12 Fleets into the system as the Klingon House was attacking Federation ships trying to assist in Ker’rat; command wanted stopped immediately. After a long and protracted battle it seems the Klingon’s have retreated.

The good news is that while the Fleet did suffer casualties the Klingon House seems to have suffered massive damage and seem to be in temporary disarray. To say the commanders and captains of the 101st Fleet performed well would be a understatement. USS Zuikaku is proceeding with the Fleet back to Starbase 101; to give our crews some rest and to repair our ships.

Hopefully the next couple of weeks will be a bit quieter.

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Admirals Log – Stardate 91756.43

USS Zuikaku is currently dry docked at Earth Shipyards; under going routine maintenance. I will soon be attending the decommissioning of the USS Queen Mary B; as Starfleet Command has decided that after the last engagement the ship was part of; it would not be worth repairing the ship which is now showing her age and wear and tear.

Spacedocked

I am sure Vice Admiral Ieon will be sad to see her go; but like all great starships; she has had her time and deserves a nice peaceful retirement.
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I hope everyone enjoyed this initial installment of the “Zuikaku Chronicles”. The next part should be posted sometime at the end of April 2014 if everything goes OK.

Until then; I wish everyone a wonderful day and I will see you in game.

Fleet Admiral Aaron S. Lawford

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