Federation Ships Analysis Part II

The Ships Themselves

For this thread, Iíve chosen to analyze just the general overview of the Federation ship classes:  frigate, destroyer, light cruiser, heavy cruiser, battlecruiser, dreadnought, and battleship.  These techniques arenít set in stone, and sometimes they canít be used with various hulls (and besides, I donít have a listing of all the weapons and BPV for individual ships, because since came out, all the data in the strategy guide became obsolete-and shiplist.txt is too clumsy for this aesthetic soul).


FRIGATES, or Itís The Little Things

 Federation frigates, especially in early years, are one of the most underrated elements in the game.  They have really nice shielding and good assortment of weapons, not to mention an acceptable turn mode and capability for long-range bombardment (proximities/drones) or close-in slashing (phaser-1s, phaser-Gs).  But to fly these things successfully without being force-fed (insert heavy weapon here), you have to know three major points:


1)  Speed is life.

2)  Speed is life.

3)  Speed is life.


Itís true.  In a Federation frigate, speed is life.  But how to get speed?  Once again, itís all in that phaser capacitor.  Chop that thing down to one-half and youíve just freed up a bunch of energy that you can use to give your frigate every point of speed that it can get.


My main strategy with a frigate is to stand at long range with proximity photons and blast away at their shields.  Itíll take a while, but Iíve taken down a few starbases (the real deals, not the puny battle stations) with a fleet of three frigates with proximity photons.  Against ships that can move, however, you need to try a different tack.  When you begin a mission (usually far from your opponent), look for him, crank up your speed, and run-in the opposite direction.  Thatíll keep him from finding you, and give your precious proximities time to charge (I love proximities).  When theyíre done, target them, flip your ship around, and let Ďem have it.  Repeat.  When theyíre pretty badly damaged (and trust me, they will be, it will try your patience), charge them with overloads at range 5, smashing their shields and then punching holes in their hull with your phasers, possibly following up with a drone assault and/or a suicide shuttle/scatterpack.  Ouch.


So remember, with the Federation frigate, the all-important axiom:  Speed is life.  But of course, pizzaís nice too.


DESTROYERS, or <Sigh> What Were The Mechanics Thinking?


The most maligned Federation ship is their destroyer, which (from the side) looks like the Enterprise flipped over and flattened.  Unfortunately, this is rather well deserved.  The basic Federation DD has 4 photon torpedo tubes and six phaser-1s.  Good load-but look at that power bar and youíll be shocked.  NINETEEN, 19, NINETEEN power???  You canít even roast a chicken for Thanksgiving dinner with that thing (shut up, Hydrans!), let along charge all of your photons.

 So:  In a destroyer, how do you win?  Two possible answers:  1)  You donít, or 2)  Barely.  There are some really good captains online that can fly the DD well, but they have had a lot of experience in the Federationís smaller ships.  I am not one of them. 

My suggestion is to turn off one photon hardpoint, which frees up a lot of power.  Watch your special shuttle usage-WW and SS now cost one point of energy to arm as well.  Other than that-I would recommend a prayer.  Itís a deadly ship, but one which requires a lot of skill.

  LIGHT CRUISERS, or Where Can I Get Me One Of Those??

 Ah, yes.  My favorite class of ship.  Dump me in a Federation NEC and you have dead Mirak au AMD or maybe sautťed with some phaser-Gs.  And besides, they look cool (ever wonder why Khan chose the Reliant instead of the Enterprise?  Now you know.).

Federation CLs can be described quite succinctly:  theyíre lean, mean fighting machines, armed to the teeth with phasers, missiles, and the deadly photon.  Try engaging one at range and youíll see why.  Unlike most Fed ships, theyíve got some power to burn (especially those old favorites, the NEC and the NCD+), and when used in conjunction with a few frigates and a heavy cruiser or two, they become some of the best escort ships in the game (even rivaling those of the Klingons!).  With all that power, a savvy captain can make his CL nearly impossible to hit while delivering a nice load of weapons in exchange.

 The light cruisers come in three different varieties:  phaser boats with photon banks as supplements, light bombardment ships armed with phasers and missiles, and (of course) the lucky ship with all three weapons systems.  They generally all have really nice forward shielding, but are a bit Ďfragileí in the aft parts of the ship, and so it follows that a Federation captain worth his bars will almost certainly not let his opponent get behind him.

 All right, the phaser boats.  You really canít use these in many different ways, since their main weapon, the phaser, is only effective offensively at close range (10 or under).  Thatís why the Federation Ship Design Bureau, a tank-full of grouching old men drawing designs of new ships and pirating old 20th century videos of Britney Spears, reeling from the bad publicity the got for those icky destroyers, decided to give your cute little CL some photons.  As always, start at range 55, blast Ďem with those proximities, and then run like heck until they recharge.  You can turn off your phasers at this range as well, leaving a few on to take care of any stray missiles that come your way.  When youíve bled them and pounded them, then close and destroy them with your phasers.

 The missile ships are a bit harder to fly, since theyíre easy prey for plasma ships and saber-dancing Klingons.  The best place to test out your drone-chucking abilities is against the best drone-chuckers in the whole known galaxy-the Mirak Star League.  Take your beautiful NEC into Mirak territory and I GUARANTEE you that they wonít even scratch your new paint job.  Your phaser-Gs are the best reusable point-D system in the game, so use them mainly for defense (unless heís showing you a down shield and you canít resist the urge to see the fireworks).  Concentrate on using your other phasers for offense, knocking down shields and then using your H&R against their AMD systems (despite the patch release).  Once theyíre down, feel free to capture them or just overwhelm them with your drones.

 With the last type of CL, the ships armed with phasers, photons, and missiles, use a combination of all these tactics and your cute little light cruiser will emerge victorious.


HEAVY CRUISERS, or Destroyer Madness:  Part Two

 Sadly, the most familiar ship in the game, the NCC-1701 Enterprise, is, I must inform you with a breaking heart, a Federation CA.  Now who in their right mind would fly a CA?  Captain Kirk?  Oh, waitÖBut humor aside, the Federation heavy cruisers do not have as much potential as their smaller cousins, the light cruisers (although they have some nice ship classes, which will be discussed later).

 Usually, the year you play in as the Federation doesnít matter.  But here, it does.  In early era, all you get is the pathetic CA, armed with four photons and eight phaser-1s.  Itís got horrible shielding, a horrible turn rate, and no power.  Eventually, they improve it to the CA+, but still, itís a really bad ship.  The heavy cruiser Iím talking about is the CC+, the ship that nearly everybody learns to respect the hard way.

 Now, there are a few ways to fly a heavy cruiser.  First of all, remember that your redundant systems are a lot better than other races (except for the Hydrans, but theyíre your allies, thank GOD!), so donít be afraid to get into the melee and start pounding them with your phasers.  However, once again, I must remind you of the best way to fly a Federation ship.  Close to range 55, fire all proximities, and run away.  Repeat.  I know it sounds rather repetitive, but trust me.  It actually works.

 With a heavy cruiser armed with both photons and missiles, your job is a lot easier.  Send in your missiles after the photons have stunned a phaser or two (use a probe to make sure, youíve got 10, remember?) and youíll have them reeling.  Close the distance with full overloads and you have a dead ship on your hands.  Just donít fire them at range 0-1 (someone has already pointed that out), or youíll end up taking down your own shields as well.

  With the heavy cruiser classes, you have to learn to use shuttles.  The ships youíll be facing will mount a lot more missiles (Mirak/Klingon) or a lot more crunch potential (Gorn/Romulan/ISC).  In short, youíre screwed if you donít have at least one WW ready in that shuttle bay.  A scatterpack can also help you get a lot of missiles in the air at a time, and that SS will hurt once youíve dumped it into a shield already damaged by your proxies.  It is also a good time to Mizia (fire your weapons in staggered intervals rather than all at once) once youíve proceeded to alpha strike their shields.

 That is a tactic often misused with Federation ships:  the alpha strike.  Let me describe to you the typical thought procedure of a new Federation captain seeing his shiny CC for the first time:  ďWOW!  Look at all those phasers!  Look at all those photons!  Daddy says that those photons are really good, so letís run up to them, dump them all, and knock down a shield!  Then Iíll fire all those phasers into that shield!Ē 

 Unfortunately, this utopian view of the enemy doesnít work very well.  First of all, youíll eat their weapons before they eat yours, and if youíre charging full speed towards a waiting Romulan, your ship will suffer some dire consequences, and I donít mean being forced to sit in the corner with your head to the wall.  Instead, use your alpha strikes wisely.  This is how an experienced captain thinks:  ďHmm.  I have a lot of phasers, and a lot of photon torpedoes.  (Note:  Some Federation ships are also armed with missiles)  Letís use the photons on proximity mode to do damage to some shields before closing and using a Mizia on their down shield.  Once Iíve scored some internals, Iím free to alpha strike them and destroy them before they kill me.Ē  Thatís the purpose of an alpha strike-to overwhelm the enemyís defenses and wipe them off the face of the earth.  Use them wisely, and youíll be pounding even mighty battleships with your little CC+.


BATTLECRUISERS, or Nice CruiserÖNice CruiserÖNo, Donít Fire Those At MeÖ


The Federation battlecruisers are a big improvement over the heavy cruisers, providing your ship with a lot of weapons to choose from and use effectively.  Use these babies well and you have an easy astounding victory.

 There are three original Federation battlecruisers:  the Kirov-class, the Bismarck-class, and the New Jersey-class.  Each one is armed with its own types of weaponry, and each one is a decent fighting ship in its own right (Hit me on the head, please.  Iím starting to sound like a university lecturer!).  Translation:  bad-ass shields, firepower that would make even a Gorn captain cry, and one nasty shuttle bay.

 The Kirov is basically an improved CC with additional missile racks installed.  This thing is really dangerous, because it has a powerful phaser battery as well as capability for long-range bombardment (once again, with proximity photons and missiles).  These are especially deadly when combined with a carrier fleet-you tie up their AMD and their Plasma-D with your missiles while the fighters chew them out at the same time.  Itís not very healthy for the other guy.

 The Bismarck is probably the most controversial ship in the game, but I think this is just a bunch of anti-Federation propaganda.  It combines the striking power of the Kirov with two plasma-F launchers.  Now, THIS is a ship for close-in fighting!  Once youíve knocked down a shield with your proximity torpedoes and your missiles, you kick up the speed and lob your plasma into their hull, following up with your phasers to keep them reeling.

 The New Jersey-class battlecruiser is also a good ship, but for far different purposes.  Its photons are nice shield-lowering devices, true, but youíre not going to have the power to charge all of themÖso set them on proximity mode and start pounding away.  The BCJ is my ship of choice for base assault missions (well, the DNH works too).  However, in a skirmish, I much prefer either the BCF or the BCG, because those ships can shoot and scoot.

Am I missing something?  Ah, yes, the Excelsior-class battlecruiser.  Personally, I really donít care much for this ship either, simply because it canít move quickly enough to avoid missiles or plasma.  However, that rear-firing photon is a nasty surprise for anybody that will try to tailgate you.


DREADNOUGHTS, or My God That Thing Is Big


And I donít mean the size of the ship.  Taldren jacked up the BPV on some of the Federation dreadnoughts, making their price tag high enough to make even Bill Gates faint at his desk.  Now, on this forum, Iíve been reading some awful slandering of the Federation dreadnoughts, and I have three words to say to those who have not seen the light:  Space.  Control.  Ship.  SCS for short.  This thing is really, really, really deadly.

 But nowís not the time for individual strategies (I had to digress in the battlecruiser section).  Basically, your typical dreadnought is under-gunned, but has better shields and a better power curve than others.  You can get speed-use it!  Otherwise, you wonít stand a chance.

 And once again, I must state the obvious-in a dreadnought, you also have to use the proximity photons.  Donít be lulled into thinking ďOh, boy, Iím in a big, big ship that can take eighteen plasma-Rs on its front shield and still remain in good fighting shape!Ē  Any damage you sustain is really bad for your ship.  Lessen that amount of damage, and youíll be able to fight longer.

 Another tactic I have found useful in the DN series is to fly the DNF, with a bunch of plasmas on board as well.  Think of it as an improved BCF, with better shields and more phasers.  Buy a bunch of administrative shuttles as well, just to launch those suicide shuttles into the shields youíve knocked down with a plasma volley.  If they cloak on you, laugh and overrun them with your phasers.  If they start uncloaking on your attack run, though, smile nervously and HET the hell out of there.  Itís the only way to win.


BATTLESHIPS, or The Afterthought


I really donít fly these behemoths:  My own personal ship, the ISCS Rod and Berry, is an ISC Torpedo Dreadnought.  But the Federation battleship is one of the best in the game.  It has enough power to take on multiple targets at once and still deal with missiles, and the last time I checked, it had a few fighters as well.  The phaser array ALONE can destroy most light cruisers, and that rear-firing photon is a plus. 

 Tactics?  Sure, you just pop into range 55 and fire all of your proximity torpedoes against a single ship in an equal BPV match.  If youíre faced with a bunch of smaller ships, use the same tactic and stay at range.  Eventually, theyíll grow impatient and charge you (or leave the game cursing mightily at your unwillingness to charge into their enveloping plasma-Rs).  Either way, you win.


Captain SíTasik,

 ISC Division



ISCS Rod and Berry, DNT