Wekcome to Part Three of “The Road to the U.S.S. Zuikaku” a series of in a sense “dev blogs” on how U.S.S. Zuikaku became to be the ship she is today. So set back; have a nice comfortable seat; lets get this part three on the Road.
Stardate 90847.28 – On the Saturday Morning in later March 2013; I was nervous as all heck. U.S.S. Zuikaku was booked into the Kombat Klass that evening with the Ausmonauts; to have her build looked at and me to be informed what changes they would recommend.
However I knew one thing; U.S.S. Zuikaku was going to get ripped apart down to the braces and then rebuilt. I was scared; it was unknown terrority. But I was also determined; I knew U.S.S. Zuikaku’s current build was crap; and I knew that I needed a “prod” to get me to change. I also knew that U.S.S. Zuikaku was becoming a increasing burden on whatever group I was with; she just wasn’t pulling her weight. Basically; U.S.S. Zuikaku was at a cross road; either I improved with the assistance of others; or the alternative wasn’t good.
So; that evening I logged into the game; connected to my main toon; and waited. I also connected to the Vent server that the ausmonauts have and asked for a invite to their starbase. 6pm rolled around and several Ausmonauts introduced themselves to the Class. Vice Admirals Koppenflak; Kruglack and Nagrom were running the class and did a short introduction. They then asked for who would like to go first for their build. I swallowed; took a deep breath and said me. U.S.S. Zuikaku’s time had come; she was about to be evaluated; her soul revealed; and to determine what new path she would take into the future.
First Koppenflak; Kruglack and Nagrom asked me why I designed the ship the way I did and why I choose the abilities I did. I then spent the next 30 minutes explaining to them what I had chosen and why; and what I was thinking at the time (Largely what I told them I included in “The Road to the U.S.S. Zuikaku” Part one as my reasons for why my ship was built the way she was).
After that; the Ausmonauts systematically went through each system; BOFF ability; skill tree changes and weapon improvements they recommended; or things they said I should immeditately change.
First to change was her weapon emplacements. The Ausmonauts told me (and honesty I should have known this) that the weapon loadout I had was only using 50% of my maximum potential weapons; which meant I was really cutting down on my ships capable weapon damage. So they recommended a change from a 4 beam array 4 torpedo setup to a 6 beam 2 torpedo setup. They also recommended for one of the torpedos getting the 180 degree quantum torpedo from the C-Store regent. The basic thing was I am a engineer in a Assault Cruiser; and since beams have a 250 degree arc; I should be aiming to broadside my target (bringing as much as 7 weapons to bear at once).
They made several changes to my BOFF abilities; but kept the Warp Plasma 3 in the Lt Commander Engineering slot; as they said they honesty didn’t know what else they could put there; but also said Warp Plasma 3 was still a extremely useful ability. The also removed one of my torpedo Abilities and added Beam Fire at Will; since I had 6 beams (or where going to) it made sense to use a ability that used them to their maximum potential.
The Ausmonauts also went through my consoles; making several changes including removing my torpedo damage console and adding another phaser array console; improving the damage my beams could do even more. They also recommended adding the “Assimilated Console” into my engineering console slot for several improvements. The funny thing was; I had avoided the borg consoles because I had a feeling that maybe at one stage Cryptic would pull a surprise event where everyone with a borg console there ship would turn against them 🙂 (Still a good idea; would make for a fun event : )
My skill tree was one of the biggest changes; the Ausmonauts ripped into it and over Vent explained every change they recommended and the reasons behind it. One of the main things I remember was that they removed all my skill points from Driver Coil, As Driver Coil is basically useless in combat and they said it would be better to add the points into something that would improve my ship in combat.
After 1 1/2 hours of discussions; me asking questions and hearing their experience we were finished. I asked the Ausmonauts to save a copy of their recommended build for me and they where more than happy to help.
For comparsion sakes; this was my ship build before the ausmonauts rebuilt U.S.S. Zuikaku.
And the below is after they had made their recommendations for U.S.S. Zuikaku.
The next morning I spent 2 hours in Spacedock #23 in Earths Orbit. U.S.S. Zuikaku was built from the ground up again using the recommendations the Ausmonauts recommended. BOFF abilities; weapons; skill tree and consoles were all changed.
After that; for the next month U.S.S. Zuikaku was put through the ringer. I downloaded a new program that could record STO combat logs and then for me to see how much DPS my ship was doing. U.S.S. Zuikaku was still only doing 3-4K PS; not much of a improvement.
I spoke to several ausmonauts; and they helped me with recommendations. Including setting my weapons to auto-fire. As I had been doing it manually which meant not all my weapons were firing at once; which meant I was losing out on potential damage.
But something was coming up; U.S.S. Zuikaku still needed an upgrade. The ausmonauts were reaching tier 5 shipyard at the time and that meant they could purchase a Fleet Assault Cruiser. I was again scared; U.S.S. Zuikaku as a normal assault cruiser had served me well in the past 14 months; and with her upgrade she was doing even better then ever before. Would a Fleet Assault cruiser be a good replacement; would the slight loss of engineering BOFF abilities in exchange for tactical hurt her tanking and support capability?
But I again thought of Kombat Klass; I had to take a deep breath. I could easily purchase a Fleet Assault Cruiser and test it out to see if it could be good enough to replace my flagship. Project Iris was born.
Stardate 90927.65 – Project IRIS was born; the Fleet Assault Cruiser that rolled out of the Ausmonauts shipyard got gifted with the name U.S.S. Iris; so the project began.
So builder trials began; I would do a series of STF’s with both U.S.S. Zuikaku and U.S.S. Iris; recording their combat logs and seeing who did more damage; had better survivability and who generally seemed to be a better ship overall.
After several weeks; after a couple of trip ups; the Fleet Assault cruiser was showing that the Lt Commander Tactical Station was a great benefit to the ship; without really sacrificing any of the Assault cruiser’s tank like traits.
But it was still one of the hardest decisions of my life; the old Assault Cruiser was renamed to U.S.S. Shokaku and the Fleet Assault Cruiser was renamed to U.S.S. Zuikaku; my flag was transferred. She also received a upgrade of removing the rear torpedo launcher and adding the Kinetic Cutting Beam; this meant that effectively my ship could broadside with all 8 weapon slots which could potentially make her a devastating opponent.
It had been an interesting 2 months; the old U.S.S. Zuikaku was gone and the new one had taken her place; the future uncertain; as with a new ship; new abilities; weapons and consoles; I wondered how far U.S.S. Zuikaku could go; and how far I she could chase the sky in a new bright future. Everything seemed new; I had a new determination; new purpose to continue to have fun; and I was excited to where this new path would take me.
To be Continued In…………
The Road to the U.S.S. Zuikaku – Part Four – Chasing the Sky