In the previous weeks episode (USS Vizier – Building the Next Generation – Week Two – Consoles) i explained the consoles that were fitted onto the Vizier. With Season 14 released this weekend, and Vizier taking pride of place as my new flagship officially.
This week, we take a look into another key area of Vizier’s build – Her BOFF Station layout and Specialization choice. Alot of the choices I have made her, are similar to Zuikaku.
But as usual, Vizier has her quirks 🙂
BOFF Stations, short for Bridge Officer Stations, are key parts of start trek online. They give additional commands and abilities to your ship in and out of combat. These stations are usually the primary driving force of any ships performance.
Sure, you can have picked out the perfect gear, with beautiful consoles. But if you dont merge that with good BOFF station choices, you wont get very far.
To that end, I took particular attention to Vizier;s BOFF Layout, ensuring the choices i made, had synergy with my gear and console choices. Alot of times, my BOFF station choices, influenced my gear choices. So, lets begin say we.
With the Vizier being a cruiser, naturally her biggest station reflects that ship type – pone being of the engineer career variety. Vizier’s layout is slightly different from Zuikaku’s. With a slightly more focus to offensive than defense.
The first ability, is Emergency Power to Shields 1. This ability regens shields, repairs disabled shields, gives the ships shields extra resistance as well. It also adds shield power to the ship. Basically, this ability is a shield heal ability. I choose this ability as i knew with Vizier’s design, she would not have as much shield redundancy as Zuikaku. Furthermore, Vizier actually has a lower shield BOFF station than Zuikaku, as Zuikaku uses Emergency Power to Shields 3.
The next ability, is one i have used on Zuikaku before, but is not part of her standard boff layout – Overload Integrity Field II. This ability adds a +26.6 to Starship hull restoration. Basically improving hull healing for a 12 second period.
For example, if my Hazard emitters 1 power heals my ship for 14,000 hull hit points. If i use Overload integrity field, it bumps this healing up to 15,200. Basically this boff station is like a boost to your slotted healing abilities. I choice this ability, as i knew with Vizier being more focused on offense, i need an extra ability to keep her at maximum hull points. As well as give me the ability to rapidly repair my hull hit points as quickly as possible.
The next ability is Emergency Power to Weapons III. This ability increases Vizier’s weapon power, as well as increases the damage of her weapons for a 30 second period. With Vizier being tactically focused, i ensured the highest emergency power ability was resolved for the weapons version.
The final ability, is Auxiliary to Structural Field III. This ability is a rapid fire healing and damage resistance boost. It utilizes Auxiliary power, so the high y aux power, the more hull heal and damage resistance boost i receive. This ability is pretty standard on all cruisers with a commander engineering station. As the community considers it a “must have” considering what you gain, for the abilities cooldown (15 seconds) as the boost you receive.
Lieutenant Commander Universal/Command
The next on the BOFF station tour of Vizier, is her Universal station – the Lieutenant Commander Universal/Command hybrid. With the station being universal, and no other science stations on a Assault Cruiser class ship, basically everyone choices science as their career to fill out the station. With Vizier being no exception.
The first station contains Hazard Emitters 1. This ability heals a number of hitpoints over a 15 second period. It also removes any hazard debuffs that are on your ship at the time over activation, or try to get applied during the 15 second period the ability is activated. Hazard emitters 1 also applies a damage resistance buff for that 15 second period. I choose this ability, as it is my standard ensign science ability choice across all my ships in Task Force Eleven, with Vizier being no exception.
The next ability is Science Team 2. This ability regenerates shields, as well as removes any science debuff for a period of 5 seconds. Science team has a cooldown period of 30 seconds. This ability was chosen over its shield boost capabilities, as well as its ability to remove science debuffs. Considering the NPC’s i verse, it was a logical choice.
The next ability, utilizes The Fleet Command Assault cruisers command hybird boff station. In this station, I have slotted Concentrate firepower 3.
This ability has a 180 targeting arc, and its primary focus is boosting kinetic damage capabilities. As you can see in the above screenshot, its marks a foe for extra kinetic damage, that has a 100& shield penetration. Also, while active, once per 2 seconds, it grants a Torpedo High Yield 1 to one damager (could be Vizier, or a teammate i am with) and resets torpedo cooldowns.
I choose this ability for several weapons. One, with Vizier having a more focus towards torpedoes and kinetic damage than Zuikaku, it made a logical choice to enhance this ability. Also, with my specialization choices of Command (discussed later in this piece) it further added to Vizier’s kinetic capabilities. Second, Vizier was envisioned as a ship capability was placing down-road a large amount of high powered torpedoes to a target very quickly.
During tests and STF missions, several times I have been able to launch between 6 – 12 torpedoes at a single target, with help from this ability. It also tries to ensure that Vizier can keep firing torpedoes as quickly as possible, in an attempt to keep a targets shields and hull under constant threat. Considering the torpedo loadout of Vizier I have chosen.
The next stop on our tour, is Vizier’s engineering BOFF station. The first station contains Engineering Team 1. This ability has two effects. First, it is an instant hull heal that is applied to the ship. Second, it repairs disabled systems (power systems) over a 5 second period. This ability is pretty much a standard choice for me in any ship that has a Engineering BOFF station.
This abilities hull heal, is affected by the hull restoration skill points you have in your skill tree. With the choices I have made for Vizier, this ability heals 9,100 hull hit points – or roughly 10% of Vizier hull total.
The second ability, is reverse shield polarity. Called the “Green/Brown Nappy” back in the day, this ability is more known for being a “oh shit” button. This ability, when activated, converts 50% of incoming energy damage into the ships shields for a 12 second period. It also makes the target immune to teleport for that twelve second period as well.
This ability has a 2 minute cooldown, but is very powerful when a ship is under constant energy damage attack, and can very quickly regen a ships shields back to maximum. Due to its long cooldown, it is considered an ability to be used when your ship is at medium to low hull hit points, with shields on the verge of collapse. I choose this ability considering Vizier’s weakness in her shields, as well as lower hull hit points and resistance compared to Zuikaku. As a result, keeping Vizier’s shields up is much more critical than Zuikaku.
Next, is the ensign tactical station. Being an ensign level station only, there is only one choice i made – Tactical team. Tactical team is considered a “must have” on every single ship, and every single build without exception.
Tactical team removes hostile boarding parties, and tactical debuffs over a 10 second period. The ability also adds an additional +18 skill points to Energy weapon and Projectile weapon over a 10 second period. However, one of the greatest additions, is that it redistributes shield strength to shields receiving damage over a 10 second period. Basically, if a ship has 15k shields for each facing, this ability turns a single shield facing into potentially 60k shields.
The cooldown on Tactical team is usually 30 seconds. However, I have been able to get the cooldown to the global of 15 seconds by using the following DOFF officer on my active space doff officer list – Conn Officer.
I have two of these officers on my active DOFF space list. As a result, my cooldown for tactical team goes from 30 seconds to 15 seconds. Essentially meaning i can keep using this ability almost back to back without any breaks in between.
Lieutenant Commander Tactical
Next, is Vizier’s second biggest station, and bascially one of her most important. Vizier’s Lt Commander Tactical Station is quite a break from Zuikaku’s, especially with changes that were made, at the time of this writing, only 36 hours ago.
Originally, for the last 2 1.2 months, Vizier has been using Beam: Fire at Will 1 in her ensign slot of this station. This was on par ewith Zuikaku as well. However, 2 days ago, I had a brain wave, and decided to go in a new direction. This new direction would be quite a change for myself, and how i have operated beam cruiser builds in the past. I was going to utilize Beam Overload outside of PvP.
Beam Overload 1 had quite a change in Season 13, changing from barely used, to potentially being of close to the same benefit of Beam Fire at will. Beam overload now increases you next beam attack to 470% of its normal damage. Potentially turning a normal 1600 damage beam attack into a 9000 attack even before critical chance and severity would come into play.
However, the second side effect of this ability, is a unique one. It upgrades all of your normal beam weapons to do 30% extra damage and critical severity for the next 10 seconds. This further enhances this abilities against a single target, especially if it is a harder target or boss level.
I made this change, just recently, because i decided to go in a new direction. I decided to attempt a more rapid turn around of Vizier’s beam attack capabilities, in an attempt to get more damage more constantly. The aim being that in a 60 second period, to get more beam special attacks in compared to normal.
This has its risks, as I am most likely losing out on AOE damage capability with my beams, in an attempt to get more damage overall on either a single target, or more damage overall. Time will tell how effective this change will be, as well as how much this will affect Vizier’s “DPS” rating.
The next ability is torpedo spread. This is another change compared to Zuikaku who uses Torpedo High Yield in this station. Torpedo Spread upgrades you next torpedo attack. Depending on the ability level, it launches multiple torpedoes at multiple targets. This ability is great when your torpedo has special abilities that are more effective when targets are bunched up.
Considering Vizier’s torpedo choices, this choice was a no brainer, As it enhances the unique torpedoes i use on Vizier. However, this ability does not affect “clicky” consoles. No Vizier torpedo console does not get an upgraded attack.
The final station, is similar to Zuikaku. Beam: Fire at Will 3. This ability when activated upgrades your beam attacks for the next 10 seconds. Your beam weapons fire two random pulses per pulse, and pulses five times instead of the regular four. These strikes are random, and will strike any target within your weapons range regardless of if you have them selected as a target.
However, there are downsides to this ability. One, weapons deal 90% of their normal damage per shot. Additionally, the beam attacks suffer a degrade in their accuracy rating. Meaning they have an additional chance of missing their targets.
This ability was again a no-brainer, as while the ability has downsides, I had used Beam Fire at Will 3 to great effect for years on Zuikaku.
Specializations are an additional benefit you can unlock for your character. These abilities and additions add extra capability to ships and captains within the game. You can have one primary, and one secondly specialization.
This is one area that didn’t change from Zuikaku to Vizier. Both ships use the same specialization, with no differences. With my primary specializtion being “Command” and my secondary being “Strategist”
Primary Specialization – Command
Command, or Command Officer, is my primary specialization. This specialization is really built towards a multi-role sort of captain. Providing boosts to the team, as well as the player themselves. These boosts include both defensive and offensive. Effectively being a Command officer.
The base specialization itself, provides additional maximum hull capacity based on the amount of points you have spent within the specialization. Since I have spent all 30 points in this spec, it grants me an extra 15% in maximum hull hit points on any ship i select. This was one of the primary reasons i choose this specialization several years ago, for its defensive capabilities.
However, there are other reasons i choose this specialization, of which, several i will go through with you now.
Achilles Heel 3
Achilles Heel 3, provides an extra debuff against an enemy target when I land a critical hit on them for a 10 second period. This ability grants a -25 damage resistance against a target I hit. The effect can only trigger one every 30 seconds maximum. Granting a potential rough 33% debuff time against a target per minute.
This provides my ships, which were mostly built with defensive capabilities in mind, a chance to land debuffs against targets I am attacking. Debuffs, which normally, my ships do not carry in the terms of captain or BOFF abilities. Additionally, this effect helps my teammates. Adding a damage resistance debuff, means the more damage orientated members of my team can used their ships strengths even more, without necessary having to relay on their own debuff abilities.
Additionally, with Vizier built with firepower in mind, this part of the Command specialization, helps alot.
Debilitating weakness II
A part of the Achilles Heel debuff, debilitating weakness applies when achilles applies. However, this part of the command specialization has a different effect. For a 10 second period, it reduces outgoing damage by foes by 40%. Meaning foes hit by this ability, their weapons become less potent. This is a great addition, and while hamstrung by the fact it needs Achilles to function, it is still a welcome addition.
Mainly, because in my mind, the most effective time with this debuff, is against harder or boss level targets. Who, usually, have several nasty damaging abilities and firepower at their disposal. Additionally, with Vizier’s weaker defenses compared to Zuikaku, less outgoing enemy damage, means she has to weather less incoming, which is always good.
Boost Morale, is a clickable ability that is part of the Command Specialization. It effects yourself and all teammates with an ongoing removal of all forms of defuffs and control effects for a short 4 second duration. This allows for great team capability, and can assist in situations with your normal BOFF abilities, that might be able to remove duffs might not be available.
This clickable ability, with a 2 minute cooldown, has been a great addition to Zuikaku’s build, as well as Vizier’s. Having an additional backup debuff removal capability, and one that removes all debuffs, is a great emergency reserve. Again, considering Vizier’s build type being more offensively minded, ensuring i have the ability to get Vizier out of trouble was a major consideration.
Especially considering Vizier’s defensive capabilities compared to Zuikaku, being debuff, for any substantial length of time, would be potentially fatal.
With Command specialization out of the way, we know move to my secondary specialization – Strategist.
Strategist, is my secondary specialization. This specialization is more built towards a single player’s build, and really does not have any effects or abilities that can be added to the team. However, Strategist does have several abilities and boosts that are quite beneficial to the Vizier.
Every point slotted in Strategist, provides extra maximum shield capacity. With all 15 points slotted in strategist, it provides an additional 10% maximum shield strength to any ship i fly.
Again, I will show you several of these boosts and abilities.
Logistical Support III
When using or not the ability Threatening stance, logistical support III comes into play. This part of specialization provides a boost to temporary hull for a 10 second period when threatening, or a boost to critical chance for a 10 second period after an incoming bridge officer or captain ability heal.
Since a lot of times, I am in a threatening stance, this means i gain temporal hull for a 10 second period, which can stack up to 10 times. This boost is 30% of the incoming bridge officer or captain hull healing amount. This provides an extra hull hit point buffer for Vizier, meaning that if i am hit, the points are deducted from the temporary hull first, before being applied to my ship.
This defensive boost, also gives me a bit of emergency redundancy when i am at low health. I can have this effect apply, utilize Vizier’s speed capability and extend the range out of danger. All the while having the temporary hull hit points take the damage first.
Attrition Warfare, is one of the key reasons i choose this specialization. Attrition warfare, while threatening, provides a reduction to bridge officer recharge times by 20%, once every 30 seconds. This has the effect=, of when i heal myself, the boff abilities that are on cooldown get a reduction on their cooldown timer, as long as it isn’t already at the abilities global.
This was an excellent choice for Zuikaku back in the day, as it allowed my BOFF abilities to be cycled quicker, as i was the constant source of attention. The same is said for the Vizier. With her bridge officer abilities even more crucial, having the capability twice a minute to reduce their cooldown by healing myself is very benefical.
I haven’t had much experience with using the part of strategist when not threatening, so it will be interesting to see what effect the bonus to shield regeneration and hull regeneration effect would have.
Counter-offensive III is a part of the strategist specialization. Once evey 20 seconds, when struck by directed energy damage, Counter-Offensive III deals 10,000 electrical damage to the target with 50% shield penetration. This only happens once every 20 seconds, and only applies to one target, regardless of how many are targeting you.
This is another reason i choose this specialization. This is a minor additional boost to damage that flies under the radar. Due to its low damage capability, it would not be noticed very often. However, in Vizier’s case, any additional damage is well welcome. It also assists with higher level targets or bosses, where any damage is needed to target them down in time.
This concludes the third week of the USS Vizier – Building the Next Generation Blog. Next week, is a big week in a sense. I have showed you Vizier’s gear, console and BOFF stations. But how does it all compared to the ship she has replaced – Zuikaku?
Next week, we investigate and compare the stats of the USS Vizier and USS Zuikaku. To see their design choices, as well as their differences compared to one another.
Next Week – Week Four – Stats & Replacing a legend.
Hope you all look forward to it.